My wife and I live in Florida and decided we would like to see Hawaii, but not fly there.
We arrived in San Francisco two days early in order to do some sightseeing. We enjoyed Muir woods,Sausalito and Fishermans Wharf.
Embarkation. We took a cab to Pier 35 from the Fairfield Marriot Airport Hotel.The Embarcadero was backed up with traffic, our taxis meter continued to run, when it reached $75 we stopped the cab and walked the last half mile, not a good start. It looked like a circus when we arrived about 11:30 am, but we soon secured a porter for our bags, and we were on board eating lunch in Horizon court by 12:45 pm.
Public Rooms. The Grand Piazza did not seem as grand as we expected, the main lounges and bars on the ship were OK, nothing outstanding.
Entertainment. The Princess theater was average, some of the shows were very amateurish, some were excellent. Vista lounge was way to small to put on shows, so no seats available unless you arrive very early. Lectures in the Princess theater by Gary Shahan were outstanding.
Pools. Pools were fine some overcrowding as to be expected. Ship was pitching pretty good so they drained the pools one day. Shortage of towels on some days, otherwise no problem. Movies under the stars just played old movies over and over.
Dining. We had anytime dining. Never any tables for two although we don't mind sharing, but not every night. Dining room service was abysmal, it seemed like the waiters were all trainees.
Very slow and painful service, food left on service stations until cold. Steaks and meat dishes like shoe leather. Many people complaining sent meals back. Saw two blind people with service dogs arrive, waiter handed them menus while another waiter tried to wave him away. Food was mediocre to poor served barely warm. My wife had stomach pains every night and one night actually threw up. At breakfast one morning I saw one woman swinging a coffee cup around her finger trying to gain the waiters attention.
Hot milk served for cereal instead of cold. Coffee was barely drinkable, had to buy coffee at the international cafe. The Horizon court seemed a better option. Best eatery on the ship Alfredos Pizza. Even the waiter in there delivered two unopened beers to the table then walked away with the glasses.
Service and food on our Norwegian Cruise was way better. Dining and food were the worst problems for us and many others. One rude waiter tried to sell us wine tasting for $25 each, when we declined he snatched the Advertising pamphlet off the table and walked off.
Service. Service in the bars, Horizon Court and other parts of the ship were excellent
Disembarkation Had breakfast at Horizon Court then found Every bathroom on the main part of the ship was out of order. Toilet bowls overflowing onto the ground a filthy mess. Had to scour the ship, it took a half hour to find a clean bathroom a total disgrace. They didn't care we had paid our money and disembarking Departure was OK, picked up our bags in the terminal and walked to our hotel on Fishermans wharf.
Summary. After our experience with the Grand Princess my wife said she will never take another cruise again. So this will be my last review. We definitely did not come back new. On the positive side we did meet a lot of very nice people on this cruise, some we hope to meet up with again in the future.
Walked off the ship into town, A lot of cheap trinkets from street sellers. Did not waste too much time there.
Saved a lot by booking with Roberts Of Hawaii. First class tour very informative driver. Went to Rainbow falls and Volcanoes National Park Saw Kilauea and walked through the lava tube and finished up at the orchid outlet. Ships tour did not go to the orchid outlet.
Once again a first class tour with Roberts of Hawaii Hanauma bay and Pali Outlook
Too late for tickets to Pearl Harbor. Took the free bus to Hilo Hatties and the free shuttle to Waikiki
First Class trip to Waimea Canyon the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. Including trip to Coffee plantation Excellent informative driver
Excellent Trip to Iao Valley and tropical plantation and tram tour. Once again Roberts was first class