About us: I am a retired executive, my wife is presently working for a larger brokerage firm. We have traveled extensively in the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean. We like to go to new places, last year we were in Seattle and got the urge to go to Alaska on a cruise.
This review will cover the ship and a little bit about the Mark Hopkins hotel which Princess endorses. If you want to read about excursions, go to YouTube, that will give you a good idea of what you can expect.]
What to expect on Princess: I studied this cruise quite a bit, i looked at a bunch of videos on YouTube which gave me a good idea of the ship and its ports. We were on the Caribe deck (10) in cabin 743 which is the back of the ship (which is where you want to be, close to an elevator and quiet.)
We have been to SanFran before so we knew the taxi ride was about fifty bucks plus a tip. We arrived on a wednesday and had purchased the Princess package at the Mark Hopkins on Knob Hill. They picked us up at the airport, paid for the taxi and even the tip. The hotel was built in the 1930's but is in real nice shape.
The room was ok nothing great and you could hear the people in the next room which kind of sucked. Dont plan on eating at this hotel, its a small fortune. But there are good restaurants nearby. Make sure you go to the Top of the Mark on the 45th floor i believe. Thats neat to go, just dont try going at six o clock. Princess picked us up with a big bus about 12, There were quite a bit of people there besides us.
Embarkation: What a disaster. There was a line (I'm serious) about a quarter of a mile long to get into this cruise terminal. Grand Princess plus another ship Regent Seven Seas. This was not a fault of Princess Cruises, you just have to go with the flow. The Brits were going nuts.
Cabin: We had a large balcony, the room was tired, kind of like the room at the Mark Hopkins, BUT IT WAS CLEAN. Cabin steward was super nice and kept on top of the room like you wouldnt believe. Bed was real comfortable with big pillows. Balcony was neat, bigger than other ships we have been on.
Public rooms; Five stars all really clean, pools super clean, all bars really nice, Dining rooms five stars I will elaborate later. Spa and gym five stars. Another point; this captain is not a big horn blower and thankfully they only use the ships intercom sparingly, unlike Carnival which is blaring out crap every second.
Dining: We ate at Lido every morning. Great! We did find the coffee on deck five was much better, it cost $1.75 but so what. Nice rolls and especially the chicken salad! The rest of the nights except for one, we ate at anytime dining. I actually read a review from some hater that said the menu never changed. Thats rubbish. They would offer for example, a hamburger or a shrimp cocktail/caesar salad all the time, but we had main entrees every night that were different. One night I had a baked chicken that wasnt so good, I was kind of full so I ate part of it, now remember I could have had our server bring me something else in a second, so I am not bitching about it. That was the only one time i had less than excellent food. The one night we went to their Pizza restaurant and it was way past wow! We went to the Sabatinies (probably not spelling that correctly) and had lobster. This cost $25 per head, hardly anyone seemed to go here and it was well worth that. This would have been a $150 meal at any good restaurant. DONT BELIEVE THE CRANKY PEOPLE THAT BITCH ABOUT THE FOOD ON THIS SHIP.
Entertainment: Best of any cruise ship we have been on. All genres of music are covered, we went to a Princess production of Frankie Vali and the Four Seasons, really good, we saw a comedian and he was funny. Seriously, we saw about eight different performers/bands and they were way above average.
Service: I spent my entire life in the banking business so I know about service. Princess must have a mantra and that must be they hire people with good attitudes and those people are not fake, they really like other people. Everyone we ran into, from cabin steward to bar tenders to waiters were super polite and some of the passengers were just plain rude. I was really impressed.
Excursions: Go to YouTube and see them for yourself, thats what I did so I was informed before i stepped foot on deck.
Debarkation: A total disaster and I plan to write to Princess about this.
Overall: We had a blast and I will sail on Princess again. If you have further questions please e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be more than glad to answer your questions.
AGAIN, THIS WASNT OUR FIRST RODEO AND WE WERE FRANKLY IMPRESSED WITH PRINCESS.