This is rather lengthy, but I’m trying to cover different aspects of our cruise.
DISEMBARKATION…I had read stories before leaving that warned that embarkation would be horrible. We did not experience any such thing. However, getting through traffic in San Francisco was another story. Once we got into San Francisco, it took another hour to get to the ships terminal. We arrived at the terminal about 12:30. By 1:30 we had already checked-in, visited our cabin and consumed a buffet lunch. Watching our ship pass under the Golden Gate Bridge was breath taking.
THE CREW on the Grand Princess must really love their jobs. They were all so helpful, courteous, and constantly smiling. I truly believe that smiling is contagious. We began every morning with a pleasant greeting from our cabin steward Edgar, who also greeted us throughout the day, every day, and asked us if there was anything we needed. Our cabin was perfect. We stayed in ocean view cabin on the Aloha Deck next to the terrace swimming pool. We found ourselves to be drawn out to pool deck quite a bit.
FOR ENTERTAINMENT, we did many things while on the ship, as the first two full days are at sea, six days total. I have to say one my favorite past times was comedian Kevin Hughes, who also gave a seminar on the brain, which we enjoyed as much as his comic act. We also very much enjoyed the theater show “British Invasion”. The performers are truly talented, and the theatrical sets and costumes were beautiful. It was a class act. During the day, we played some bingo (won $200), visited the spa, we watched both a crew, and then later, a passenger talent show. We also watched some silly game shows that the passengers were contestants in. They were parodies to the old TV shows The Newlywed Game & Match game. There was also the Princess Pop Star competition…karaoke. Also my husband joined the pop choir which performed in the Piazza one afternoon. There really were too many things to do, and we missed some things we had later heard were quite fun.
NOW FOR THE FOOD…and boy did we eat lots of it! I found the buffet to be mediocre. That’s not a complaint. I’ve just never really been a big fan of buffet food. The only place I’ve really enjoyed buffet food is in Las Vegas at one of the finer casino resorts. So I tend to compare every buffet to Las Vegas. I have to say though, there were some dishes that I very much enjoyed, like the leg of lamb, and sea scallops. I thought all of the desserts in the buffet were very good. We also ate in the dining room three times, which was nicer than the buffet. We even did one formal night in there. But for a real treat…pay the $25 each and dine at the Crown Grill. We dined in there on two nights. We ate filet Mignon, rack of lamb, rib-eye steak and lobster. This restaurant is a classy place. They give you full servings. And second helpings if you want more lobster. I saw the lady across from us order a 22 oz. porterhouse steak and three lobster tails. We also ate at Sabatini’s (Italian) Restaurant. It was good, but we both preferred the Crown Grill. Now for what was my favorite “everyday must have”…The Pizzeria in the Piazza. A sit down restaurant where you order you own whole pizza. They make it right there. The toppings and sauce are flavorful, the crust is perfect, and you get an ocean view while you are listening to live music from the piazza. That was my guilty pleasure…one pizza every night after gambling just before the trip to the dance club…my fourth meal! Our waiter Widy always asked us if we enjoyed our meal. Our reply was always an enthusiastic “Yes!” Also, the chocolate cookies were an everyday event as well.
FOR PORT ACTIVITY…I liked Juneau and loved taking Roberts Tram up to picturesque trails, colorful foliage and snow caped mountains. We ate at Tracy’s Crab Shack and did a ton of shopping in town too. In Skagway we went zip-lining. Fun! My favorite excursion however was in Ketchikan. We went on the Aleutian Ballard’s Crab Fishing Tour. That was a lot of fun, and educational. We were able to watch them catch fish, sea creatures, and crabs. We also stopped in an area where bald eagles fly, where they threw fish to feed the eagles. We took such amazing pictures of wildlife on this tour. Ketchikan was a quaint town to visit. To my surprise, I didn’t expect to love Tracy Arm Fjord so much. The glacier was just breath taking. Again, we took some gorgeous photos. Later we sat in the buffet and ate as we looked outside cruising through this beautiful scenic area. Victoria was a lovely city to visit, although we really didn’t spend much time there and used the day to eat where the locals eat and do some more shopping. I would love to go to Victoria again to do more than just shop.
SO NOW FOR THE NEGATIVES:
It clearly is a money-making business. They over charge for portraits, as well as some other gift shop items too. My husband also had a problem with his cruise card getting demagnetized. We were at the cursor’s desk almost every day to get him a new card. The casino also did not seem to pay-off. The spa was also over-priced. Save your money and get a massage when you get home for half the price. If money is no object, you won’t care about my negatives. All-in-all, the good by far, outweighs the negatives.
GOODBYES…We will miss everything about out trip. (Although, I am tired of eating!) Well miss the crew… from the entertainment people to the people serving us our meals...to our cabin steward Edgar. We’ll miss the people we met and hung out with throughout the cruise…the Jersey girls, the Brazilian kid in the Disco (he looked like our son), the chicken-dance lady we seemed to see everywhere, the family from PA, and Bill & Helen from Bakersfield. I’ll even miss the Rhapsody Trio who played in the Piazza every day. I was mesmerized by the classical violinist. (And I don’t usually listen to classical music.) I apologize for rambling on. If you are planning on taking a future cruise and you have questions, or if you are any of the people I mentioned above and want to keep in touch, I welcome hearing from you.