Grand Princess Cruise Review by HowieD: Excellent cruise to Alaska
Member Since 2014
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Excellent cruise to Alaska
My wife and I had cruised about 9 times before, all the way back to the early 1980s. This was our first time on such a large cruise ship, plus we took our two grandchildren (ages 10 and 17) on their first cruise. On the July 6 cruise, we had two adjacent balcony staterooms -- they weren't connected, but we asked our room steward when we first met him, if he could open the outside door between the two balconies, and he said absolutely, he could do that. Within a couple of minutes he had that door opened, so all four of us could sit together out on our balconies and go between our balconies as well. That made a huge difference throughout the entire cruise.
The cruise exceeded our expectations in every way. The food was excellent, the shows were very entertaining, the scenery was breathtaking, and the staff was very helpful and pleasant. We had anytime dining, and a wait to be seated in the dining room, without reservations, never exceeded 20 minutes. When we made reservations More earlier in the day, we were seated right away. The cruise was very smooth -- through most of the cruise you couldn't even feel any ship movement. The ports were busy (a few thousand people descending on their facilities at once) but they seemed to be well prepared for the onslaught. The 1/2 day of cruising through Tracy Arm was fantastic. We were able to get close enough to Sawyer Glacier to get some great pictures, although we weren't close enough to see or hear any ice calving. An on-board naturalist gave some great talks about the Alaskan natural features and wildlife.
We took the Duck Tour in Ketchikan. It was interesting and entertaining (in a corny way), but the seats on the Duck vehicle were very close together and confining. (I'm 6"6" tall and my knees/legs wouldn't fit without sitting sideways.) In Juneau, we took a bus to the Mendenhall Glacier and took some great pictures from the areas around the Visitor's Center. As I have bad knees, we didn't do any of the hiking, but there are plenty of things to see and do near the Visitor's Center. In Skagway, we took the "Gold Panning, Sled Dogs & 40 Degrees Below Zero Experience" excursion, and it was great fun and educational for the grandkids (but we had fun too!)
The only negative for the cruise was the activities for children and teens. There didn't seem to be that many kids on the cruise, and that surprised us given that this July is during the school summer vacation months. However, there were plenty of things for the kids to do with us.
Overall, this was a great cruise for us seasoned cruisers and an excellent introduction to cruising for the grandchildren. None of us wanted the cruise to end. Less
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Cabin review: Grand Princess B312 & B314
Good cabins, but everything seemed really close together and crowded in the staterooms, and there was very limited drawer and open bin storage. A small safe was a plus. At our request, the room steward unlocked the door between our adjacent balconies, which greatly improved our outside experiences.