Hubby and I booked this trip just a little over 2 short weeks before embarkation. The priced dropped to an incredible low so although we have been to Alaska many times, we decided to take advantage of the price and go on Princess again. Our first cruise was on Princess and we had not taken another Princess ship since 2007.
We were both curious and excited to experience a Princess ship again. Overall I would have to say we were both disappointed although for the price we paid - no complaints. So first . . .
The Good -
*Embarkation was easy and fairly quick. As we live 30 min from Seattle we were dropped off and there early so were among the first few to board.
*Cabin steward - Edgardo was excellent. Our room always spotless and anything we asked for he took care of very quickly. We requested extra pillows and robes which he brought right away.
* Dining staff - This was definitely among the highlight of our trip. We had great dining partners at a table for 8. Abel and Alberto were wonderful. Abel was extremely knowledgeable about the food and it's preparation as well as wine suggestions. He gave us nightly tips on the best options. On top of their attentiveness, they were both a delight with fantastic sense of humor. We looked forward to sitting at their table as if they were long lost friends. It was wonderful and they were fantastic! Overall we thought they food was quite good. Obviously some things better than others but we certainly never came away hungry and enjoyed it!
*The pizza was quite good and we enjoyed that! The pizza ovens are by the pool and there were two standard selections and a special one each day! A nice easy way to grab a quick lunch or snack!
*The wine bar - Great staff there who was very knowledgeable about wine. It was often not busy so we could duck in there for a glass of wine or a wine flight which we enjoyed.
*The international cafe - This must be one of the hidden secrets of the ship. All of the food offerings there are complimentary. They have sweets, sandwiches, soup and other snacks. One day they had shrimp! It's open 24 hrs and never had a line. There was a panini press if you wanted your sandwich toasted. A great place and the food quite good!
*The ship itself is clean. The decor is soothing and pleasant it colors, design and decor.
*the 50's and 60's night was lots of fun as was the Abba night. Too bad there weren't more of these types of things and that they lasted a little longer. 45 min to an hour is hardly enuf time to get things going and by the time folks were really enjoying things it was time to stop.
The Bad -
*The staff - - Overall they were unfriendly and at times rude. With the exception of the dining staff, our room steward and the cruise directors staff they were not welcoming.
*The shows - we usually enjoy the productions but these were not good. One of the lead singers did far more "screaming" than singing. Overall we felt the entertainment was mediocre.
And finally the Ugly! -
*the beds! Absolutely horrible. One of our dinner companions and her husband complained as well. We thought at first it was just us but over the week we overheard and met several who thought the beds were very uncomfortable. They were hard and we woke with backaches every morning even after a mattress topper was put on our bed.
*The buffet - - -it is not laid out well. Usually a line and the way it is laid out you have to wait in the line even if you just wanted a roll. We ate there only a couple of times and the food was always cold!
*The dance bands had a limited number of songs they played over and over each night and in some cases the same song twice in one night - despite the fact that they rarely played for more than on hour. It got so that we laughed everytime we hard the song Layla. Music during the day was minimal if not non-existent.
*Our room - Like I said we booked last minute and so had no choice in room - which for the price was okay for us. With that said we have never had a room this small. Not only that, but we were unable to stand to get out of bed as there was a bunk on each side that protruded from the wall. We had to get out and bend over inching our way to the end of the bed. Hubby hit his head more than once! The water in the shower was never hot.
Glad this was not our first cruise. Would we take Princess again? All things considered we would choose to go with Holland America or Carnival before Princess - however, if the price is right we would sail with Princess again. We still had a good time - - hey? what's not to enjoy - -- it's a vacation! As experienced cruisers we have learned to enjoy it all - -the good, the bad and the ugly!