On June 8, 2014 we embarked for our cruise on board the Grand Princess. Being from Texas, this was our first time in this part of the country and we were all very excited to see Alaska and Canada. My husband has relatives in the Seattle area, so it was a very convenient port to travel out of. Embarkation was easy, but time consuming. We accidentally packed our passports and boarding passes in our carryon, but the port staff were very helpful with regards to this issue. We waited for what seemed like forever to board, but we finally got on the ship after an hour or longer wait.
The ship looked old, but was clean overall. Our room steward was very friendly, but intrusive towards our privacy. It seemed that if we did have our privacy sign on the door or didn't, he thought it was fine to come into our room and clean. Sometimes our room went without being cleaned when we were out and about on the ship during the day. We had a difficult time getting the steward to change the More
bedding on our baby's crib and my husband had to finally write a note asking the steward to please change the linens in the crib. The staff on board was not the slightest bit friendly. One waiter in the buffet was the friendliest person that we had met on board for the entire week. On at least two occasions, I found hair in my food in both the dining room and buffet areas. When I mentioned the issue in the buffet, the manager called the head chef who informed us that the manager had pinned the responsibility on him and that it was really the manager's responsibility to address hair in food. We were asked for our cabin number, received an apology, and nothing else was said or done about the issue. That was super irritating and nasty, we felt. We are veteran cruisers, so we knew what to expect with regard to the quality of service and food. The food in the buffet was not good. We were offered choices of lentils with boiled eggs, rice dishes, and other foreign food choices that we do not typically eat. We heard others complaining about the food on elevators and around the ship. The food in the dining room was mediocre, just as it was in the buffet. I found a hair on my plate in the dining room, and they brought me another dish if I recall correctly. The service in the dining room was decent, but not good. The assistant waiter mainly brought bread or refilled our drinks, but would disappear and spend more time at neighboring tables than at our table. The service was also very slow.
With regard to past cruises, we have had prompt and friendly service. With Princess, we just did not have the level of quality that other ships possess.With our passports being inside our carryon at the time of embarkation, they were confiscated when we showed them to the purser and not returned to us until the day that we visited Canada. Frequently attempts to reclaim our passports were futile, as the purser made it clear that they were being examined and verified by the appropriate staff members, which further frustrated us.
The ports of call were decent to good. I was a bit bored in Ketchikan, and our tour guide on the tour that we selected snapped at us and told us to be quiet, but allowed others on the tour to talk freely and loudly. We were most impressed by Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia. Overall, the cruise was a nice change away from the Texas heat and lack of scenery. The views were pretty in Alaska, but we only saw snow on the tops of the mountains and saw no wildlife whatsoever. I was also very unhappy that Princess does not offer childcare for children under 2 years. We were told that they were "not allowed to handle nappies" and that was the reason for no childcare for young children. In conclusion, I would surely go on another Alaskan cruise, but I would definitely not cruise with Princess again. Less