Grand Princess Cruise Review by Deck Chair Dave: Pleasantly surprised at how Princess stepped up their game!
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Pleasantly surprised at how Princess stepped up their game!
This was my 7th cruise, and second with Princess. First time sailing to Alaska. I was extremely pleased with every aspect of the cruise except the weather. But after all it was Alaska, and you cant do anything about the weather anyway. I read some of the early Grand Princess reviews prior to booking, and I have to say that the negatives that are pointed out really are no big deal, and non existent unless your a fault finder.
We booked last minute Friday before the Sunday June 27 sail date. It was sold out prior to that and some rooms opened up so Tally Ho and away we went. Last minute was because we wanted to go that week, and it was sold out but we were ready so we did it. We came from Portland Oregon, took the "Bolt Bus" up to Seattle, Only 50$ round trip, and it dropped you in downtown Seattle. We then to public transportation to the dock. Dropped us right at the bridge, and we walked down, and met a shuttle that took us the rest of the way to the pier. Pretty awesome, More better than having to fly.
Food: It was really good in my opinion. I sailed with princess before, and my fellow passengers had mixed reviews. On the Grand Everyone said the food was excellent. Princess really stepped up their game on the chow! Some memorable meals were Pheasant, Beef Wellington, and Lobster, Spiced Cod, Orange Roughy in the Michelangelo dining room. Then the Buffet always had Indian curries on hand. Pretty much always had salmon on hand. I would take the fillets of salmon and mix them with the Indian curries MMMMMMMmmmmmm. Only negative was that in the buffet they tried to get creative with the salmon and put BBQ sauce on it, and one day at breakfast KETCHUP . I am sure that if someone liked those condiments on the salmon they could just put it on themselves. Anyway the curry worked for me.
Entertainment: This is another area where princess has stepped up their game. The musical production / dancers musicals were great. Mostly one hour shows but they were fabulous, probably the best I have seen on a cruise. Costumes were first rate. They also had a Magician that was off the hook good, we are talking David Coppertone level of player. Comedians were good and kept us in Stitches. Cruise director Gavin was brilliant, probably the best of any I have had in my past cruises. He was quite witty, real corker, and his support staff did an amazing job as well. Sail away was kind of ho hum, unlike the Florida ones where you have conga lines etc.
Staff was super nice, and friendly. First time I ever had the staff fetch drinks in the buffet, it was great. All crew were friendly, and were sincerely glad you came along.
Embarkation had a line but moved well. I know some have complained but from the time the city bus dropped us off it only took 45 minutes before we could go to the DaVinci dining room for a nice lunch. Luggage handling was great.
Disembarkation was the easiest I have ever had. It really worked out well. Less
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Cabin review: P206
Our cabin was on deck 5 at the front of the ship. It was smaller because the ship tapers of course. We were really happy with our cabin, and the steward was super good. Felt the waves on the first, and last day when we were outside the straights because we were so low, and so close to the front. But it was good considering we booked 2 days before embacation. THey said we would have obstructed ocianview, but it was clear.
Port and Shore Excursions
We went to Mendenhall glacier in Juneau, book a bus ride there on the cheap. It was amazing, saw a porcupine climbing the tree. This is a must see.
Ketchikan we just rode the free bus around the city. Stopped at one of totem pole museums, it was awesome. Then we jumped back on the bus went around the city. We got discounted pints at the Happy Bear Bar.
Again did it on the cheap found a free tour of the city offered by our national parks. A ranger took us around and gave us quite a talk. It was great. Afterwards went to Red Onion for some refreshments.
We took a shuttle from the ship to the harbor as it was a fifty minute walk otherwise. 10$ round trip. This was purchased through the ship, and was a princess exclusive bus. It actually was quite a plush double Decker bus. Driver of the bus actually acted like a tour guide giving all sorts of useful information.
As luck would have it we stumbled across a Ska Reggae festival. We walked around a bit and realized a restaurant with patio seating would be the best way to go because we could hear the concert. We had a view of the Empress, the Parliament, and the Harbor from our table.
One thing I have to rail on Victoria for is the lack of Police presence when they had a hooligan packed event going on. Nothing happened, but while walking around some drunk kids said, "I am Canadian, your American Get the F out". I am sure this is not typical behavior, but there were some people outside the festival that were hanging out in open areas drinking too much etc. I just thought it was interesting that I did not see one cop the whole time. But its all good. Maybe they should have a Canadian Mounty in full retro regalia keeping them in line, LOL.