I will never again cruise on Princess Cruise-lines after this trip. The only relatively smooth parts of the trip were embarkation and disembarkation. Embarkation was annoying but ok, it was a constant line to get into another line with each line magically taking 30-45 minutes to get through. After already having traveled for more than 8 hours, it was not pleasant. The bus we were on from the airport to the docks 12 miles away took 40 minutes to make the trip. 12 miles, 40 minutes. You'd think they could do better than that. They could cut down on all the lines, which would make it much better, but all in all it was an ok process.
From the second we set foot on the boat, and i mean the second we set foot on it, we could tell something was not right. There were massive vibrations throughout the ship which made it look like I had parkinson's disease when i sat on a bench and tried to read an excursion sheet. Mind you we were still docked and that boat shouldn't have vibrations like that. I pointed it out to my wife, she was shocked when she saw me trying to sit and read the excursion paper with how much it was shaking. In addition to this, the boat had a massive pitch and roll issue the entire trip. We were in calm seas all but one day of the trip, near glass like waters. And yet the Island Princess swayed, pitched and rolled non-stop. I have never experienced this before. I sailed on a Carnival ship in the Caribbean 9 years ago in huge swellS and that boat didn't move an inch. I also have vast experience boating, power boats, 60+ foot sail boats, river kayaks, ocean kayaks, canoe's, lake sail boats, ferry's, white water rafting. Many years of experience. I have never, ever gotten motion sickness or sea sick from any boat before this ship. It is ridiculous. A ship this big should not be moving so much in calm waters.
From the very start of the trip Princess was all about nickle and diming it's passengers. I spent 3,800 dollars on this trip before I even set foot on the boat, to be nickle and dimed to death on everything was a big downer on my vacation. A bottle of water, $3.50. A can of pop, $2.00. A milkshake, that's extra. Everything had a price. I understand that they want to make money, but when the nickle and diming takes away from the experience of the trip, it's a problem. Before we reached our first port of call they did a 2 hour shopping seminar. DO NOT WASTE TIME ON IT. It is essentially this, 2 hours of their shopping guy telling you to buy everything in site, including their super great deal $30 shopping book that guarantee you freebies and added great discounts not available to those that didn't buy it right then and there on the spot. It is nothing more than $30 down the toilet. The exact same deals can be had without the book just by walking into the stores, all of which advertised free walk in items, the same items advertised in the $30 book. And whats more insulting, even better deals can be had by going to the stores themselves and looking for the FREE discount book that has loads of coupons in it. The freebies offered in this coupon book are far superior to the junk that the $30 book yielded. After chasing down all the items in the $30 book, I'm hard pressed to say that we got more than $5 worth of value. Most of the freebies were cheap plastic mass produced junk.
The food was mediocre, with only the second formal evening having superior food. That night we had lobster tail, muscles and shrimp prawns. All of the other dinners were nothing more than mediocre food that you can get at any buffet. The anytime dining was a joke. We consistently waited 30-45 minutes for a table, even though many tables were empty in the dining hall. These tables were reserved for those that made reservations. Reservations, in the any time dining restaurant.
These people that had reservations had tables set aside for hours while others had to wait for a table. Then when you sat down it took us an average of 2 hours to complete our meal. Service was incredibly slow. After having breakfast one time in the restaurant and being told that there were no tables available to eat at a 2 person table, we were forced to eat with a table of 8, after a 20 minute wait. We did not go back to breakfast and instead got room service. That one time that we were told we couldn't sit by ourselves, the hall was 80% empty with tables all over the place. To continue on food, the pizzeria and grill are both outside in areas unprotected from the weather. Alaska, rain, 38 degrees. Lets put a couple food places outside. Genius!!!! Getting rained on while I wait for my burger and fries or chicken sandwich, boy did I love it.
There is no thought or planning put into this boat, the main pool is outside and unprotected from e weather, GENIUS!!!! The main pool happens to be right next to the indoor pool and the Buffet. Guess what happens when an open outdoor area that is cold is next to constantly open sliding doors? Those areas get cold too, GENIUS!!!
To end this review, the nickle and diming, the food, poorly plannned boat, the black mold and mildew in the bathtub, the torn and ragged sheets on the bed, to constant sales pitch to buy everything in sight, the fact that our cruise was cut short and we didnt even go to the main wildlife area College Fjord. This cruise and cruiseline was a giant waste of money. I will never cruise with this company again and I will discourage anyone that even considers it.