This was our second trip on the Sea Princess, both sailing round trip San Francisco Alaska. We booked a mini suite and an interior cabin thirteen months out. It was a long wait but worth it. Our mini aft cabin (C745) on the Caribe deck is the largest of the minis on the Sea Princess. We booked our kids (teens) directly across in a JJ category (C745) which is 155 square feet.
Room: Our room had a long entry that opened onto the "lounging" area which consisted of a couch (for two) two large side chairs, a television cabinet and wet bar. The bed was made to a king and did not appear to be able to be separated as the side tables seemed to be bolted to the wall. There was another television cabinet and desk. Two doors flanked either side of that area one being the walk in closet (one person at a time) and the other door lead to the bathroom. There was a single sink with two mirrored cabinets on either side. The shower was a tub/shower combination. The toilet was housed off the main bath (with sink too) and could also be accessed from the entry hall. A note about the bed: it was not hard! It was very comfortable and the sheets so soft. This room was perfect to get together with the kids before dinner and to play cards during the day.
The kids room had more room than I thought interior cabins would have and we would even book that cabin and be quite comfortable. The space between the beds was about 40" and there was a dresser between the beds. The standard desk was at the foot of one bed and the closest was huge. The kids got all of their stuff in the dressers and closet with room to spare. The bathroom was small though with the darned shower curtain that finds you while you're taking a shower! One thing I noticed is that both rooms had quite a bit of room under the bed (like 14" deep) so all the luggage and duffels were stored out of sight.
Both rooms appeared to be well taken care of without any noticeable wear or tear. The ship overall appeared to be in very good condition and I did not notice maintenance issues. The carpets were very clean throughout which must be difficult with so many passengers, the stair hand rails were always polished, never saw any fingerprints in the mirrored elevators, they must have night fairies that take care of maintenance issues while we are sleeping! It was too cold to check out the lounges on the pool deck, all I can remember is they are blue.
Food: Subjective of course. We enjoyed 99% of the food we were served. We prefer to eat in the dining room but did go to the Horizon Court for breakfast two days and the selection was good. Our dinner server was essentially alone for three large tables, his helper appeared to not only work his station but another was well. We are creatures of habit, so the sodas were always there for the kids and our wine was waiting, so hopefully this helped them by not throwing another thing at them to get. The waiter was also the wine server and there was no mention of wine packages that were offered to our friends on the Star Princess. The wines are fairly priced though. We did not eat in the Sterling Steakhouse this time.
Entertainment: Cannot comment as we only went to one show.
Daily Activities: So much offered and we did very little. That's the beauty of cruising, you can do as much or as little was you want, it's your vacation!
Teen Activities: The kids are 16, 17 and 17 so they were still able to sign up with the teen club which we did the first day. The teen club had get togethers throughout the cruise which the kids seemed to enjoy, they are past the age of pressing all the elevator buttons and running around the ship so it was nice to allow them to just go hang out at the teens club and not worry about what they were up to. The teen activity schedule was delivered to their stateroom, so not sure of all the details. They did come home with phone numbers and Facebook friends.
Other ship stuff:
Soda Cards: I had preordered the soda and more stickers for the kids but only received one sticker (already on the card at check in) and was attached to my husband's card. I had ordered all on one form even though we were in separate rooms thinking the stickers would be in the room for us to attach, but that was not the case. I had the sticker removed from my husband's card and attached to my daughters. After checking in with the front desk we were only charged for one sticker so I had the boys go to the area they were selling them (more than one) but when I walked over when I was done found the staff were giving them just the soda card. The mix up is that they call the package online Unlimited Soda and More but on the ship they call it the Ultimate Soda Package. Easily remedied though, they got their sticker and fancy cup and off we went.
Alcohol: We had also ordered scotch for our room and shortly after arriving we were delivered three certificates for scotch. Princess processed the order backwards and should have been one scotch and three soda cards. Another thing I noticed is that we paid $17.00 per bottle of scotch, but you can order from room service for $15.00.
Coffee Cards: We ordered two Cafe Selects Coffee Cards and again the certificate was delivered to the room. Was definitely worth the 31.00 price, we were also able to share the card with the kids for the specialty coffee, but we would not allow them to use our card for the brewed coffee. They will allow you to order three specialty coffees at once using one card. Not sure if this varies by sailing length?
It was not worth the time or effort to preorder these things. I thought the items would be delivered to the room (as HAL does) but we had to call room service for the scotch and go the Explorers Bar to get the coffee card. The day we boarded there were tables set up to make the process easy, so we will do this the next time.
Television: We do not take the time to go to the movies when we're home, so I REALLY enjoyed the programs and movies that were offered. It was too cold outside to enjoy MUTS, but we could watch the movies on TV. Our room was so comfortable it made watching movies very enjoyable. Princess has much better programming than HAL and on a long voyage (with a lot of sea days) I would have to consider Princess!
Running out of Alaskan Beer: Really? Three days in Alaskan Amber was out and by day six the Alaskan Summer Ale was low. We're not big beer drinkers but enjoy Alaskan Amber occasionally with lunch especially while cruising to Alaska.
Ports: We booked all excursions through Princess. The things we did you could not save much money doing on your own anyway.
Embarkation and Debarkation: Embarked when they said (not staggered), on the ship within 30 minutes even though there were lots of other passengers. Ship arrived back in San Francisco and hour late due to a medical evacuation in Coos Bay, Oregon the day before. The ship was cleared in a very short time after docking. We went to our designated area at 9:20 and were called within five minutes, gathered our luggage, a short walk to the 55 Francisco St. garage and we were on the road by 9:45. Certainly the best debarkation we have ever had!
Note: I am glad that Princess is bringing the Grand Princess to San Francisco! We have only sailed the Dawn and Sea Princess and look forward to a different Princess experience.