For the most part, it was a wonderful experience. Cherished memories. Memories made within our group. NOT because of Princess staff. The ship and offerings were beautiful and fun.
The entertainment was a lot of fun. We enjoyed the movies under the stars. Shows and movie in the Princess theater were a great way to spend the evening.
Breakfast at Sabatini's was relaxing and delicious. The service was top notch it was an incredible early morning experience.
In Skagway, we took the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad excursion to the top of the mountain. It was relaxing, informative, and beautiful. We took a ton of beautiful pictures. Be aware the return trip is along the same track as on the way up. You see each point of interest twice.
In Juneau there was free transportation from the terminal to Wal-Mart.
Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan are beautiful and friendly. We chose leisurely walk around and enjoy each port. The souvenir shopping was a lot of fun if you like little gadgets. There are lots and lots of other items to purchase. We also saw a lot of food and clothing items.
With great anticipation of our adventure, I spoke with several Princess Representatives. Most of the information I received was accurate and only fueled my excitement and anticipation.
I asked over several calls about the best time to arrive to meet the transfer from Anchorage airport to the cruise terminal in Whittler. (We flew in a few days prior) I wanted to limit our wait time. I was told transfers directly from the airport to the ship leave starting at noon and leave about ever 1/2 hour so there should never be much of a wait. I asked that notation be made on our reservation that we will arrive to take the noon shuttle.
We arrived at the airport about 11:20 am in anticipation of catching the noon shuttle. The female was pleasant but told us we had to wait for the 1:00 pm shuttle. Of course we did...but over 1 1/2 hours waiting in the airport?
Embarkation was unbelievably smooth and quick. YIPPIE.
Our cabin was absolutely beautiful as we anticipated! It was fabulous and exactly what we planned as we were celebrating with our group and anticipated spending lots of time in our cabin.
Our cabin steward was attentive, and wonderful. He was crucial in making our in cabin experience wonderful. Along with his normal/usual duties, Allan kept us in ice & clean glasses, helped decorate for the celebration. He made restaurants aware of the events which allowed from birthday cakes at dinner. Thank you...Thank you...Thank you Allan.
We were advised the cover at two of the restaurants was waived for the first two nights. We decided not to take advantage of those offers because we chose to spend time with members of our group. It seems that privilege could/should have been available to use at our discretion at any time throughout the cruise.
When making our reservations at the Sterling Steakhouse, the Matre D was incredibly rude. I asked his name, he covered his nametag and repeated his name twice very quickly. It was something like Demitri.
We enjoyed our meal at the Sterling Steakhouse during our reserved time. Our server Chip and other staff were very attentive. The steaks were incredible absolutely incredible.
I decided to use the automated kiosk to check the balance due. Though I followed the directions on the kiosk, no report was received. I attempted this several times, a nearby crewmember assisted with the same results. The screen was dark on the other kiosk. He directed me to an adjacent desk for assistance.
At the desk I explained what happened. The female seemed unhappy because of the interruption and explained the directions for using the kiosk in less than pleasant tone. I explained again it was inoperative. She exhaled sharply before swiping my card and generating the requested report. (I learned of an error on the report which was promptly corrected by another staff member)
I approached the grill at the Horizon court at the same time as a male. We both requested sandwiches. A second male arrived and placed an order for a sandwich. When the first two sandwiches were ready. The person working the grill gave the first male French fries he just removed from the fryer. He looked at me, dumped the fresh fries in the holding area, mixed them with the fries that had been there, and gave me a batch. He told the male behind me "It will be a couple of minutes for fresh fries (There were more fries in the holding area than I was given) the male behind me told him that he will wait.
Our group regularly enjoyed breakfast at the Horizon buffet. The made to order omelets and fresh fruit were spectacular.
Often our group would choose a table. Several individuals would visit the buffet while others waited at the table in hopes of having coffee, water and juice ready when the others returned. Rarely did we receive timely or non-requested service. It was difficult to watch other parties take their seats after us and promptly receive staff attention where they received coffee, juice or water.
Often we regularly had to flag someone down for service or self-service. It was truly a disheartening experience to which we did not look forward. But we had to eat and dining options were limited.
While waiting for disembarkation directions, a female announced from outside the restaurant that our group was ready to disembark. She stated, if our luggage tag was what she called to see her for directions. I approached her outside the location as directed and asked for directions/instructions. In a less than pleasant tone, she asked if my entire party was ready. I explained my partner was in the restroom and I would like to have the instructions when she is ready. The female told me to come ask her again when my party was ready.
Within a couple of minutes we were ready and searched the area. The female was nowhere to be found. We disembarked following the crowd.
In the terminal, it was determined we were in the incorrect location. We were directed through and around several barriers to the correct location.
Once aboard the transfer our driver told us about the only woman forklift driver in the terminal. Two weeks in a row she carried and spilled cantaloupes as she drove. He ended by chuckling and telling us that she is no longer works for Princess. What was the point of the story? What was the point in telling us the driver was a woman?
We were advised several times we will receive feedback forms from Princess within a couple of days of disembarkation. The importance of Princess receiving that information was emphasized No one in our group has received and such documentation. I have emailed customer service twice. Our disembarkation was Saturday August 17.
Based on our overall experience, this was the last time I will look to Princess for a wonderful overall vacation experience.