I booked this cruise as a 40th anniversary trip for my parents we had 2 balcony cabins. I am an experienced cruiser but this is my first and my last on Princess.
Embarkation went fairly smooth a little disorganized but not terrible. We were allowed in our rooms immediately which was a cruise ship first for me. It seemed great at first until I saw the room was not very clean there was dust all over and even items from past guests on floor and in nightstands. I do not blame the steward I am sure it is almost impossible to clean the rooms properly when guests are allowed to go into them so early. The room itself was dated carpet stained, mold in the shower, the finish peeling off bathroom mirror.
Next we headed to the buffet. It was the tiniest buffet I have ever seen and the food was barely warm even Carnival has a great buffet for embarkation day. The muster drill was extremely long at least 30-45 minutes maybe this is some new regulation but I was on the NCL Epic in November and it was 10-15 minutes which is pretty standard in my experience. I next begin to notice hand sanitizer was not readily available on this ship mainly at the buffet and the coffee shop I had to buy my own in the gift shop and pay $5 for 1oz. Even the main dining rooms did not offer it upon entering. Ok time to discuss the food. I will start with breakfast. Very limited choices in seated dining room compared to Carnival and NCL eggs,bacon,ham,oatmeal,cereal,pancakes,fruits. NO made to order omelets,No eggs Benedict,No waffles,cream of wheat, just not as many choices as I am used to. Lunch was bad one day good the next. Dinner was mediocre until night three then it was wonderful 180 degree turn around. Maybe they picked up a new chef in Skagway? The buffet was always luke warm and limited in choice at breakfast and lunch. I never had dinner there. No late night buffets or chocolate buffets were offered to my knowledge. The Piazza coffee shop was pleasant I enjoyed the availability of the snacks some were good some were not although the specialty coffee was inconstant and not very good. The pizza was good as well as the grill items such as hamburgers,hot dogs. The ice cream was ok only soft serve is offered and the milk shakes have too much syrup in them so they are too sweet.There was a very nice soup bar on the Lido deck a few times you put vegetables and meat in a bowl then it was covered in hot broth. The sushi was not worth the huge line and I did not try the Reindeer chili bar.
My biggest complaint on this cruise was the fact that we were not allowed off the ship in Victoria BC. At every port the gangways were terrible either very steep or they had large gaps to step over. The last stop prior to Victoria was Ketchikan and the ramps were worse then ever! Not surprisingly someone fell and was injured causing a delay in the ships departure. The seas were quite rough that night and we were informed that due to leaving Ketchikan late and the rough seas we were running behind schedule and would not be able to stop in Victoria the ship would send out a tender to make the required non US stop. Well I guess the Victoria port said that was unacceptable so we had to dock in Victoria anyway but still no passangers would be allowed off the ship. When we arrived I was shocked to see the Holland American Ship Westerdam in Port with passengers getting off and on. This ship was docked next to us in Ketchikan and left AFTER the Golden Princess! I have no idea why Princess decided we could not visit this port maybe they did not want to risk getting sued if someone else got injured on their poor excuse for gangways but I feel I was cheated out of an important stop on this cruise. I highly recommend any other cruise line. The days of the Love Boat are over.