I have to say that my me and my husband were extremely disappointed in our recent roundtrip cruise from Seattle to Junea, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan, Vancouver Island and then back to Seattle. As Australians we have great distances to travel and we pay premium prices to do cruises and tours around the world; and our expectation is that we experience something that is special and relaxing and "come back new" as the Princess Cruises logo states. As a comparison, we paid the same amount of money to do a 13 night cruise as we did for this 7 night cruise. Same deck with balcony.
Our particular cruise was what I would call ordinary. This is my fifth cruise in total and my third with Princess Cruises. The previous two cruises I have done with Princess have both been spectacular!
On this cruise we were on the Aloha deck on the Port side. We sailed out of Seattle and initially the weather was sunny but cool, but as we headed up the Pacific Ocean it soon turned dark, More
foggy and rained all the way up to Juneau. So much for the balcony view.
On the first night and several nights thereafter, I was kept awake by the dragging of chairs and tables above us. Just my luck, our cabin was located under Lido Deck - Calypso pool. I had to ring down to passenger services to complain as I we being kept awake between 12 and 2.00 am each night.
The next thing that contributed to our cruise being ordinary was the stale smell as you walked down the corridor towards our cabin from the aft of the boat. This was the case in many other corridors, as we discovered in the following days. It surprised me even further when we had to walk through the Casino to get to the Theatre and passengers were smoking in the the Casino. This is something I have never seen on any of the four other cruises I have done. This is absolutely appalling!
Once again in comparison to previous Princess cruises the food in the Horizon Court was very ordinary. Some of the dishes were dry and overdone and on several occasions were mostly seafood. One day I went in and all the hot food was seafood, except for one chicken dish, which look dried up and over cooked, so I had to quickly go down to the dining room. In camparison to the four other cruises the food here was very average.
Specialty Coffee; only one ilacated inside - The International Cafe. As this cafe also served light meals and snacks, the queues were huge. No-one wanted to go outside to the bar to order their coffee because it was wet and cold.
Waiting staff seemed to be fewer in numbers than previous and it took such a long time to get a drink. On two occasions, my husband had to cancel our drinks as we were going to be late to an event in the theatre. (Golden Princess bigger boat and more passengers on board).
Shore excursions were organised chaos. In previous cruises passengers were asked to report to a designated area and would then be dispatched in an orderly manner from that location. The disembarkation area on the Golden Princess was a small congested area and caused delays and confusion for many passengers. Especially when the photographers were holding up passengers. This could have been done port side as was the case in our previous cruises. This allowed passengers to disembark smoothly and without long delays.
Shore excursions were of a high calibre and the tour conductors were extremely experienced and knowledgeable of their surroundings and its history. This part of the cruises seems to be very consistent.
Inclement weather followed us to each port and by the time we got to Ketchikan we finally saw sunshine. We only had a morning here and had to saill away. Not even enough time to do souvenir shopping.
The remainder of the cruise was still foggy and overcast and raining but our last stop at Vancouver Island was amazing, even though it was at 7.00 pm at night. It would have been better if we had more daylight whilst we were visiting the Buchart Gardens even though they were lit up at night and they were spectacular.
I have discovered that the Golden Princess will be based in Australia soon and this concerns me greatly. Firstly it really needs refurbishment and secondly, I hope that smoking will be totally banned inside the ship and only allowed in designated areas outside on the ship. My friend has asked me to do the New Zealand Cruise with here and I am very reluctant to go on this ship again.
Make sure when you book through a travel agent that you know exactly what you are paying for and exactly where you are located on the boat and how this will impact on you. I have been caught out twice now. On my previous cruise our cabin was directly under the dance floor and the pool, so we did not get much sleep at all. Less