Grand Princess Cruise Review by BJS: Very disappointed
Overall Member Rating
Embarkation: San Francisco
First the positives:
The itinerary and the beautiful weather we had made this a great cruise. This was our 3rd Alaska cruise, the 2nd with Princess, and we had also traveled via RV three times to Alaska. The staff was very accomodating and friendly with one of the best room stewards we have ever had. This was our first time to book in a forward cabin feeling the motion would be a problem but we found even less motion in A219 than we have felt elsewhere on the same ship with the same sea conditions. The Naturalist was excellant and we attended all of her lectures. We enjoyed the selection of movies shown in the Princess Theater. The meal and service we had in Sabitini's was wonderful. Kevin Hughs, who we have seen before, was great and the best entertainer on this cruise.
The disappointments: The food was bland and unappealing and dispite the usual selections we had four years ago, which we had enjoyed, this cruise the same selections were a big disappointment the More majority of the time. An example was Escargots prepared in a greasy butter sauce without a hint of garlic. The selection in the International Cafe has greatly decreased and the gelato was no longer offered. We were so disappointed that we came home and canceled a booked 7 day cruise which we had planned to take just to enjoy the food and celebrate our anniversary.
The production shows have been shortened and we found they were very amaturish in both content and presentation. The evening entertainment was so bad we walked out on both of the other comedians (Kevin Hughs was great and we enjoyed all of his shows).
One of the biggest disappointments was in the Photo Department. We purchased our embarkation photo, very over priced , which we always do as a rememberance of the dates we cruised and the ports we visited. When getting back to our cabin I noticed that Glacier Bay (on our itinerary) was missing and Tracy Arm (which was not on itinerary) was listed. When we took the photo back they were shocked at their error and remade the photo with the correct ports of call. Where we had the problem was they instructed us not to tell anyone about their error. Princess shame on you! We can see not remaking all of the photo BUT...everyone of the people who purchased this photo should have been contacted or told when they went to purchase the photo of the error and be given the opportunity to have it remade. We discovered this on the second day of the cruise which gave the ship plenty of time to make the correction.
We understand that many cutbacks have had to be made to keep cruise prices down and agree with things like the greatly reduced portions served but we will no longer cruise with Princess "just to cruise". When we do book again, based on the itinerary and the perks we receive as Elite cruisers, will we expect that the Princess of 4 years ago is no longer there. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Mount Roberts Tramway
Beautiful day with beautiful views but $31 per person was horribly expensive just for a view. There was a family doing a musical performance but the room was so hot we had to leave. The trails were steep in places so we were unable to take them. We had been to Juneau 3 other times and had done other excursions which were a much better value. I would not recommend this excursion unless there was nothing else to do.
Ketchikan On Our Own
This was our third time to Ketchikan so opted to take the free shuttle to the Totem Heritage Center which we enjoyed. We walked back to the port via the fish ladders but the town was so crowded with 4 ships in port that we did not want to deal with the crowds.
We took the high speed ferry to Haines where the Takshanuk Mountain Trail is located. It was a great day which included fresh baked cookies and a drink at the Lodge half-way up the mountain and a delicious halibut and chicken lunch on the way back down. Having been to Skagway 5 other times this was a great choice for us.
We purchased the Princess shuttle to town after reading there would be long lines for the other shuttle and it would be more expensive. This was not the case as the Senior rate was $4 cheaper and there were no lines. We had to wait about 10 minutes for the Princess shuttle to fill and leve the dock. this was the 4th time we had been to Victoria and the ship was only in port for half a day leaving a limited amount of time. We went to the Royal BC Museum which was excellant.
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