11 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Alaska

Getting on the ship - We flew into Seattle early Saturday and took Princess shuttle to port. Shuttle was easy to find, lots of Princess employees to take bags and give directions. Waited about 1 hour at port before we were able to board, ... Read More
Getting on the ship - We flew into Seattle early Saturday and took Princess shuttle to port. Shuttle was easy to find, lots of Princess employees to take bags and give directions. Waited about 1 hour at port before we were able to board, so not too long. Ship Cabin - I was expecting a very small room but was happy as it was almost the size of hotel room (I had a balcony, maybe that helped.) There was enough storage to unpack everything. The shower was small but plenty big for one person to use. The bathroom was large enough for me to get ready in the bathroom while the wife showered and vice versa. Ship - The ship had a pool for families in back, 2 pools and 4 hot tubs for everyone's use mid-ship and (for a small fee) an adults only pool and hot tub up front. I had planned on using the hot tub, especially during the nights, but with children playing in the pool and tubs there wasn't a nice quiet time to use them other than before breakfast unless you paid for the adult only area. They had a bar and casino which we never used. Movies outside almost every night, recent releases like The Martian and Star Wars, so if you were willing to put up with the wind and cold it was good. Food - We mostly ate at the buffet due to our schedule. Large selection so you could always get something you wanted. Fruit was very good and fresh while the rest of the menu was ok, good but not great. We did pay extra, $29 each, to eat at the steakhouse for dinner, this was very good and well worth the extra as we had shipboard credits to use. Pizza was open for lunch until 9 or 10 at night and was good. They also had soft serve ice cream and a hamburger/hot dog grill but I didn't try those. I did pay for the all inclusive beverage package. On the days at sea it was good to have but for 4 of our 7 days we were in ports so it wound up being a loss of money for me as you need 6 or 7 drinks per day to break even. If I do this again I will stick to the soda package and pay for any alcohol I drink. Ship decks were plenty big so we could move side to side without being too crowded to view the glaciers or whales as we went back. Activities - Lots of entertainment, especially at night but being early we go to bed early and get up around 4 so I missed most of the music and bar scene. They did have a speaker give 4 sessions about the wildlife and native people of the area which was very informative and worth the hour per session. They had a photography class which was a refresher for me but could be useful depending on your knowledge of your camera. Staff - All the staff were great, courteous at all times despite my first time cruiser 'stupid' questions. The room was always kept clean and lots of staff at the buffet to take your dirty plates and get drinks for you. Excursions - We stopped at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria, pretty standard among all cruise it seems. At Juneau we took a helicopter to Mendenhall glacier and ran a dog sled. It was great and highly recommended with one caveat - $$$. At night we went whale watching and saw many whales in the inlet. Skagway was a railroad ride and visit to Liarsville. Salmon bake at Liarsville was a very good lunch with a little show and gold panning. Ketchikan was a wildlife viewing cruise, no bear sightings but eagles, deer and seals made it a good trip. Victoria was orca viewing in Juan de Fuca strait, couple of people thought it was rough but tour guides said we were lucky as it was calm. I guess if you aren't used to the water it could bother you. Summary - I enjoyed the ports and want to go to Denali sometime so I will probably cruise to Anchorage and visit these same ports to do that but I don't see myself cruising the caribbean or down to Mexico. Lots of people were in the bar watching tv or in the casino but I can do that at home so the non-port days weren't the best. I did have a good time and if I do cruise again it will be with Princess. As a first timer I don't have anything to compare to but everything was good and I would hate to switch to try to find something better and wind up being disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This extended family of 8 cruise was my mother's wish to celebrate her 80th birthday. As first time cruisers, my husband and I were already wanting to do it again before we disembarked! We can't say enough about the ... Read More
This extended family of 8 cruise was my mother's wish to celebrate her 80th birthday. As first time cruisers, my husband and I were already wanting to do it again before we disembarked! We can't say enough about the Discovery/Animal Planet Whale Watching excursion with Gastineau Guiding. Amazing! The room steward, Edgar, was so pleasant and always around even though we are not high maintenance guests. The ship was clean and the crew polite. The dining menu was a little too fancy for our 10 year old. I would have rated this a 5 except for a couple things. There was one server in the Da Vinci Dining room that was trying to hurry us out. We had anytime dining and were not able to arrive until 9pm due to a unanticipated late 8:00 return from an excursion scheduled through Princess. We were also not pleased with the kids programming at Shock Waves. We registered my 10 year old upon booking. We received a schedule of events the 1st night. We signed her in 3 different times on different days for scheduled events. Upon signing her out, none of the 3 scheduled events actually occurred. The kids were just allowed "free play". We purchased a photo package on the ship that included a flash drive. Upon returning home, 6 of the 10 photo files were corrupted. BUT, we called Princess explained our situation, the photo department contacted us right away. We emailed them the required information and got a new flash drive in the mail 3 days later! Now that is customer service done right! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Embarkation at Seattle: Easy. Line always kept moving. Room was ready when we got there. Service: Exceptional. I’m not one who usually goes for being “pampered,” but I felt like a king (or a prince since this is Princess ... Read More
Embarkation at Seattle: Easy. Line always kept moving. Room was ready when we got there. Service: Exceptional. I’m not one who usually goes for being “pampered,” but I felt like a king (or a prince since this is Princess Cruises?). Our steward was helpful and always seemed to be around…but never hovered. Wait staff was amiable and professional. Top notch all around. Food: Ranged from average to excellent. Two great meals in the Crown Grill (loved the filet mignon!) and had good food in the MDR (hello salmon! And I’m still having dreams about you, Fettuccine Alfredo!). Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe was standard buffet food, pretty much what I expected (how ‘bout some berries in the morning, please?). And what’s with the nickel and dime charge for gelato at the International Cafe? It’s good, but not worth paying extra. We did Anytime Dining because we didn't want to stick to a rigid schedule. Well, we learned it really should be called "Anytime Dining but reservations highly encouraged!" So, we decided what time we wanted eat dinner in the morning and made a quick call to the Dine line for reservations. Facilities: Loved all the open areas, walking around the Promenade Deck, Skywalkers Lounge, Terrace pool area. The piazza is beautiful. Most of the time, the ship never felt crowded (and that’s good because I’m not a “crowds” person). Some issues finding seating in Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe at peak times (mainly from people taking up tables who weren't actually eating). Onboard Activities: Alaska is so port-intensive, we were sometimes too tired. But we did go to several performances (“Magic to Do” musical and 70’s music show) and liked them. Tried our hand at trivia…fun time. Attended the culinary demo and galley tour…fascinating. Watched the finale of “Voice of the Ocean”—some talented passengers on board! Ports: Juneau--ate at Tracy's King Crab Shack, did Harv & Marv's whale watching, and went to Mendenhall Glacier. Skagway--did Frontier Excursion's Yukon Discovery Tour. Glacier Bay scenic cruising--AMAZING! Ketchikan--Island Wings Misty Fjords flightseeing tour. Victoria BC--took the shuttle bus and walked around downtown. Found something to love in each of the ports! Disembarkation at Seattle: bit of zoo, but I guess that’s usual? We did Express Walk Off and would do it again. As first-time cruisers, we weren't sure what to expect. We loved it! Will definitely cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the line, even though our cruise was almost 3 hours late to set sail due to over 500 late arrivals! It ended up being a gorgeous sail away, the sun was setting across Vancouver as we left the port, those pictures are some of my favorites. The food left something to be desired in my opinion, the buffet food was almost inedible, we tried it twice and just didn't bother to go again, it tasted like cheap cafeteria food that's been sitting under heat lamps for hours. We ended up paying to eat at the steakhouse and Italian restaurant more often because the food quality was FAR superior to the buffet and dining rooms. We splurged for the gourmet coffee stamp card, we used almost all the stamps and looked forward to a delicious, fancy hot coffee to enjoy on the deck everyday. We didn't catch any on board entertainment because the BEST show was happening outside!! The views were jaw-dropping and I just couldn't tear myself away to see a cheesy cruise ship show... Maybe next time i'll try one? Movies under the stars was just too cold to endure at night, even with the blankets and hot cocoa. The ports were fantastic, we were like kids on Christmas morning every time we got to a new port, we couldn't wait to explore. We did the train ride in Skagway (WOW!!) and Zip-lining in Ketchikan.. so fun! We also did the tram ride up the mountain in Juneau and did a little hike when we got to the top. We would 100% do this cruise again (and we plan on it!) Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The ship overall was very nice, some what dated but clean and very large. I did not even feel like I was on a ship. I took a lot of medication just in case because I can get car sick but did not need it one time. The service was awesome, ... Read More
The ship overall was very nice, some what dated but clean and very large. I did not even feel like I was on a ship. I took a lot of medication just in case because I can get car sick but did not need it one time. The service was awesome, loved all the staff. We chose anytime dining because we were not sure what time we wanted to eat every day. We were happy with this choice and came and went as we wanted. We joke that we ate our way through Alaska. Room service was great and we used it the day of Glacier Bay because we did not want to leave our room or balcony and miss a moment. I went to my first art auction and loved it everyone should for sure go once. We were so tired from the shore excursions that we would come back to the ship eat and go to the balcony and fall asleep , than move to the bed. I was also not to excited about being on a ship with so many people and loading and unloading but the process they have down and it is quite efficient and it did not bother me at all. I would for sure go on another Princess Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We had a inside cabin in the Emerald deck. Room was very clean and well kept during our entire cruise. Rodney did a wonderful job. By the way, this was our first cruise. We did not know what to expect, but our vacation planner helped ... Read More
We had a inside cabin in the Emerald deck. Room was very clean and well kept during our entire cruise. Rodney did a wonderful job. By the way, this was our first cruise. We did not know what to expect, but our vacation planner helped us with every aspect of our planning. She was a great help. White the exception of one waitress in Sabatini's, the wait staff everywhere on the ship was superb. If you dined in the evening Micheal Angelo's was the place to dine. They have a different kitchen than the other two restaurants and the same food is cooked much better. We found that out the first night of our cruise. Every dinner cooked just right and the staff was wonderful. The excursions were well worth the cost. We did the Alpine Zipline and Mendenhall glacier. It was one price for both. The Vines wine bar staff was terrific and wine selection was well priced. The drink package is well worth the extra cost if you are a wine drinker as we are. Lotus spa has many services at reasonable cost. It took us less than 20 minutes from getting out of our van at the port to our room on the ship. They have this procedure down to a science. Everyone was very helpful. Disembarkation went the same. From the time we walked off the ship until we got into the cab was less then 15 minutes. Glacier Bay by itself was worth the whole trip. What a place to see. Awsome experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Wow! As first time cruisers we did not know if we would enjoy cruising (we love the freedom to roam), but wanted to see Alaska by ship. I must say this was one of the few vacations where the experience exceeded our expectations. ... Read More
Wow! As first time cruisers we did not know if we would enjoy cruising (we love the freedom to roam), but wanted to see Alaska by ship. I must say this was one of the few vacations where the experience exceeded our expectations. Alaska is breathtakingly beautiful and the ports fun & interesting. Everything about our cruise was fantastic. We got a mini-suite with a balcony because we knew the scenery would be gorgeous and it did not disappoint. We were lucky too - the weather was awesome our week - we loved spending time on our balcony. We were on the Dolphin deck - D223 - our stateroom was spacious with a huge closet and plenty of storage - lots of room to stretch out with a long sofa and chair in the living area. Our bed was very comfortable, slept like babies. Our room steward, Ador, could read our minds! He anticipated our needs and was so polite and kept our room spotless; we tipped him generously. The food was outstanding, with the exception of Sabbatini's (it was just ok). My husband and I felt like we were on a date every night - going out to fancy restaurants and then onto shows. The comedian, Carlos Oscar, was by far the best, but we enjoyed everything. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. For $20 per person, we let Princess handle our luggage - we didn't see it again from outside our cabin until we arrived in Knoxville. That made traveling so easy. I highly recommend this cruise! We can't wait to do another one now. One tip: if you buy a drink package, we noticed the wait staff was a little slow to bring drinks, but if you just tip $1 or $2, they will give you great service. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We stayed in an accessible balcony cabin, and we very surprised and pleased by the spacious, comfortable, and fully accessible accommodations - nicer than many very good hotels. Cruising is very relaxing and stress-free; the ship was ... Read More
We stayed in an accessible balcony cabin, and we very surprised and pleased by the spacious, comfortable, and fully accessible accommodations - nicer than many very good hotels. Cruising is very relaxing and stress-free; the ship was beautiful, and had good food and many wonderful amenities. That said, we had a few access issues. (1) When initially boarding the ship, the last section of ramp onto the ship was very steep and scary, and their were no ship staff to help. (At all other times, there were several staff.) (2) As recommended in a disabled cruising website, we asked our steward for an extension cord for my husband's power wheelchair and CPAP machine, since the electrical outlets are on the far side of the room. The steward was surprised and not prepared; he said if he couldn't find one he would bring us his own! (He did bring one.) (Note: When we asked about using a power strip, the steward said we weren't supposed to, but no one would stop us if we did.) (3) Despite providing all the information online months ahead of time, and then having to provide it again when we boarded the ship, there was no life-equipped bus waiting for my husband's shore excursion; the tour operator had to call and get another bus. For shore excursions, my husband went to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, and in Skagway we took the train to the summit; he enjoyed both tours. One complaint: the cigarette smoke from the casino floods out to the shore excursion and customer service desks, where passengers are standing around, often for some time. This is noxious and disgusting, and Princess should either keep the doors closed, filter the air better, or relocate the casino. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
So this was our first and last cruise. I found if you like to wake up, eat, walk about a boat, eat again, walk some more and then eat while looking for stuff to do then a cruise is ideal. We were bored most of the trip, we don't eat ... Read More
So this was our first and last cruise. I found if you like to wake up, eat, walk about a boat, eat again, walk some more and then eat while looking for stuff to do then a cruise is ideal. We were bored most of the trip, we don't eat like grazing cows, we don't gamble and we like to explore. Also we don't drink like we are just out of high school so having to pay $3.75 per bottle of water was crazy to me. The days we were at port, two were great. Mostly all day excursions which were far cheaper booked off the boat. However two days "or a few hours I should say" were nearly pointless. There is too much to see and do with only four hours off the boat. Our room was nice, we had a balcony room, and our stateroom steward was awesome! He took very good care of us, he had what seemed like unlimited knowledge of the boat and ports we were visiting. Most of the crew on the crown princess was this way. My biggest issues with the cruise came when the trip was over. I enrolled "or thought I did" in a service called EZ Check. This service is supposed to transport you and your luggage from the ship to the airport. As with everything on a cruise ship it was an additional fee. Due to the amount of people trying to get off the ship I figured it would be a good idea, I was charged a fee and figured everything was set up. Morning came, instructions were followed for leaving my luggage outside my stateroom for crew pick up and transport. We received our ride from the ship to the airport and were waiting for our flight when I got a phone call. The call was from the transport company saying my luggage was in their possession at the airport and she was asking where I was currently. I advised I was waiting at the gate to bored my flight and I explained I had enrolled in EZ Check, I was assured this was an oversight and my luggage would make in onto my plane. I think it is important to note that I had plenty of time to go pick up my luggage, take it to the airline check in, "which was pre paid" and get back to the gate prior to take off. However being confident in the service which I paid for I did not. Well the flight was on time, we landed and went to claim our luggage. It was not there, and of course this was on a holiday weekend so three days pass before I'm contacted by princess cruises. I'm told I did not enroll in EZ Check and only enrolled in transport of myself from the ship to the airport. I'm also told it would be an additional charge of just over $90.00 dollars to get my luggage sent to me via FedEx. So here I am five days after my cruise which was nearly $5500 dollars for the two of us, plus the additional money spent on board and I still don't have my luggage. A cruise may be great for some but for us, we will never go on another. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first cruise ever, and we were generally pleased with it. We knew several other couples who had done the Princess cruise to Alaska, and none had complaints, so we never even considered another cruise line. Our total vacation ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever, and we were generally pleased with it. We knew several other couples who had done the Princess cruise to Alaska, and none had complaints, so we never even considered another cruise line. Our total vacation was 3 days in Vancouver before the cruise, 7 days on the ship, 5 days of Princess cruisetour on land, and then 3 days, mostly in Seward. The 3 days in Vancouver before embarkation was just about the right amount of time. We stayed at the Landis, a suite hotel, and there are many small restaurants within walking distance. We rented bikes to go around Stanley Park,and also went to the Aquarium, the Capilano suspension bridge and the Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden. We went to Vancouver Island and Butchart Gardens on a previous trip, so skipped it this time. Cruise embarkation was as slow as other reviewers have reported, but we finally made it on. The weather was warm and sunny as we sailed from Vancouver, and after exploring the ship a little, we settled on our balcony with the wine we had brought on board and watched the city slip away. Our cabin was spic and span and, although small, there is adequate storage space for everything. Our steward came in at least twice a day to clean and replace any used towels. We were very satisfied with the food in general. We ate almost all breakfasts and lunches in the Horizon Court (buffet). On the first at-sea morning, we tried the Da Vinci dining room to order breakfast off the menu. That was a mistake, as the service was extremely slow, and the food was no better than in the Horizon Court. There is a large selection of food at all meals in the HC. The only problem is it can be difficult to find an open table, as people tend to sit at the window tables for a long time to just enjoy the passing scenery, but staff are helpful in getting you a table. We ate most dinners in the Michelangelo dining room, as we wanted any-time dining. The food was generally very good there, although sauces tend to be heavily salted. The service is slow there, and it was usually 9-9:30 by the time we were done, so not being night people, we did not go to any evening entertainment, except once for the 50's and 60's music night. We did not purchase any beverage cards as we are not soda drinkers and I couldn't see spending an additional $49/day for alcoholic beverages, so we just ordered them a la carte, and remained well below the $49/day . As first-time cruisers, we found the Princess Patter daily newsletter very helpful in notifying us of the day's events, port info, etc. The weather in Alaska in August was not as rainy as I had feared, but at sea it was quite cold, as were some of the days during the land portion (the second half of August is already Fall season in Alaska). Going out on the outside decks meant dressing in warm jacket, hat and gloves most of the time, but in the ports it was warmer. Many days were cloudy with occasional drizzle, but there were periods of sun, especially in Skagway, where it was warm and delightful. We did shore excursions at every port. In Ketchikan we did a Misty Fjords float plane sight seeing flight; well worth it; in Juneau the rain forest garden, Mendenhall glacier, Mt. Roberts Tram-- warm and sunny at the top so we hiked around a bit. We saw bald eagles, Dall sheep and a marmot. We had booked the Yukon train from Skagway, which it turned out was a bus ride up, and then train back (the train actually is slower than the bus, so you wouldn't want to take it both ways anyway). It was very scenic but Caribou Crossing (not to be confused with the nearby town of Carcross) is a tourist trap and the barbecue lunch there is mediocre, although it was fun to see the sled dogs. Glacier bay and College Fjord were stunning, for the last 2 at-sea days. On one of the at-sea days we attended a presentation by Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod race. Her story was fascinating. We also attended a naturalist presentation, which was informative, but not as riveting. After disembarkation in Whittier we got right on the train up to Denali. We were lucky to get views of Mt. McKinley from the train as we approached--everyone tells you that only 30% of visitors get to see it as it's usually in clouds. The room in the Denali Princess lodge was a let down after our nice cabin on the Crown--dark and musty smelling but at least the window opened to air it out. We went to the Music of Denali dinner theater which is a very silly retelling of the first climbers to summit the mountain. Food is served family-style at long tables, and is plentiful and adequate. It did seem ironic, however, after all of the sanitary precautions on the ship buffet (hand sanitizer at entrances, staff wiping up spills quickly, clearing dishes quickly, etc.), that you would have perfect strangers serving themselves seconds onto their used plates as was done at the dinner theater-- always a no-no at buffets. We did the park bus shuttle tour into Denali the next day, instead of the included Natural History tour and got a refund from Princess for it. We took the shuttle all the way to the Eielson visitor center, which is farther than either the Tundra tour or NH tours go. We were very lucky that the mountain was "out" again that day and got some great pictures of the sun glowing on its white peaks. We were also lucky in seeing lots of wildlife--about a dozen grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. The next day we took the bus down to the McKinley Princess lodge, which was, surprisingly, a 3 hour trip. No more views of the mountain, though, as it was foggy and drizzly. That afternoon we did the Byers Lake nature walk and the weather cleared up a bit. I was surprised that we didn't encounter any mosquitoes, since I'd heard they are really bad in Alaska--maybe too cold already? The following day in Talkeetna we did the Mahay jet boat adventure which was a blast as you go through rapids before the turn around point. Saw a black bear and more bald eagles. Back to Anchorage the next day; Captain Cook hotel was very nice--meals a bit pricey but there are also many restaurants within walking distance. After our cruisetour ended we rented a car and drove down to Seward on the Kenai peninsula to extend our Alaska vacation a few more days. We took the Kenai Fjords Tours National Park boat tour-- it was fantastic, in part due to great weather, and the park is gorgeous. We saw glaciers and lots of wildlife-- whales, sea otters, sea lions, seals, puffins, cormorants and more. In Seward we also hiked to Exit Glacier--an easy hike, and did the Ididaride sled dog ride. On the way back to Anchorage we stopped in at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage. We did the behind-the-scenes tour which was well worth the money as we got to go in the pens of the more docile animals. The weather our last 3 days in Alaska was mild and sunny (upper 60's), so a great ending to our trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Things to keep in mind as you read this: 1. First time cruisers. 2. Spouse is out of her comfort zone and is not adventurous. 3. 75 year old mother is in cabin right across hall. 4. Ship is huge with 3000+ people. 5. Expectation is ... Read More
Things to keep in mind as you read this: 1. First time cruisers. 2. Spouse is out of her comfort zone and is not adventurous. 3. 75 year old mother is in cabin right across hall. 4. Ship is huge with 3000+ people. 5. Expectation is that everything is paid for. 6. Not expecting a medium to hard sell to buy extras (Think time share presentation!!) 7. Weather was horrible with two days at sea that were very rough. 8. Two out of the three of us ended up getting sick 4-5 days into the cruise. On July 4th 2014 three people embarked upon their first cruise. The cruise included a land tour immediately following the water portion. Three celebrations would occur on this cruise: A 30 year anniversary; A 75th Birthday; 32 year retirement. We arrived in Vancouver and stayed overnight at the Quality Hotel in Richmond. I would highly recommend this hotel as an alternative to the higher priced downtown hotels. Saturday morning we took a taxi to the docks. The taxi cost $35 and delivered us right to the cruise entry area. I would highly recommend this mode of transportation. Porters then took all of our luggage which eventually showed up in our rooms. More on this later. We entered into a line that moved right along through customs and security. We had arrived at this area around 11:00. We then entered an area with chairs and this is where the cruise line took over. Someone made the decision to start boarding early and off we went. We were immediately stopped to take the embarkation photos. Let me stop right here and say that unbeknownst to us this was the first of what we found to be very intrusive picture taking. We also did not know that these pictures would be displayed for all to see and of course would be available to purchase for $20 per page. Each "page" consisted of either one 8x10 or a collage of three photos. Every time we turned around it seemed the cruise line wanted to take another photo. We started to say no very quickly. I'm talking about every port you stop at, every time you sit down to dine, as you walk through the picture gallery, etc... After stepping on board there were plenty of Princess employees to help us find our cabins. My wife and I had a balcony room and right across from us my mom had her room. (See description of cabin.) We found that Princess placed employees that spoke and understood english at strategic locations. However many, many, employees seemed to neither understand or speak english. We found this to be a problem when we would ask someone for directions or a general question about the cruise. As a matter of fact the only people who knew anything about our specific cruise was the people at the 800 number. You really, really need to know your own personal itinerary!!! The employees on the ship know only about their own area or specialty. Don't get me wrong every single employee we met tried to help us. Our head waiter for our dining room visited our table every evening. Our room steward was fantastic. Our server was also fantastic. Everyone had a job to do and did it well. As I said earlier every time we turned around it seemed that Princess was trying to sell us something or there was an extra fee. From the pictures to the bingo to the markers for the bingo cards to the so called auction to the drink programs to the specialty dining to the exorbitant fees for the Lotus Spa and the hard pressure sale of their products to the cost for the Sanctuary to the tour of the kitchen and then have to squeeze by the table where they are selling cookbooks and then at the end of the tour going into a room where they are selling leftover items from previous cruises. It all got to be to much and frankly turned us off on future cruises. Now let's talk about the tipping. Princess charges $11.50 per day per person for tips. Other then your tour director if you take a land tour there are no other tips you HAVE to give. Tips are also automatically added onto any bar tab. When you break it down this is really not to bad. However it does make you stop and think how much are the people who are personally serving you getting?!? As soon as possible after boarding I would highly recommend going to the main desk and opting out of this tipping charge. Then give your room steward a good tip right from the start as well as your server and assistant server. In other words tip those people who actually serve you. With regards to #4 above. Anytime you stick 3000+ people in an enclosed area there will be problems. If you try to go to a show or any event for that matter GET THERE EARLY!!!! I don't care how big the ship is, if you do not like a lot of people around you don't go on a cruise. Also it is impossible to sanitize a ship this big when you only have 4 hours to do so. By the time we disembarked I would unscientifically estimate that half the ship had some sort of cold or ailment. My mom ended up almost having to go to the hospital and did go to the ER after getting home. She was diagnosed with bronchitis. I am still getting over whatever I had. Cold like symptoms. If you can I would recommend taking antibiotics right when the cruise starts. Now the food and dining. Immediately after boarding the ship the buffet's were open for lunch. It was fantastic. As a matter of fact we found the buffet's to be better then the traditional dining. They seemed to have almost the exact same choices as we were given. We did a traditional seating for dinner at 6PM. First of all breakfast. You go to the buffets for breakfast. I kid you not. They have everything you could possibly think of for breakfast. Lunches are a different matter. When we were at port we wanted to dine at a local restaurant which we did. We even had dinner at Skagway. there was always a buffet open on the ship. The first dinner was a bit hectic for everyone passengers and servers. It settled down after that. The way the traditional dinners work is that you are given a menu. This menu will have 6 or 7 appetizer choices, a couple of soup choices, a couple of salad choices and 7 or 8 entree choices. Every night there are special choices in each category. You really can order whatever you want off of this menu. You want one of each appetizer...go for it. Let me make one thing clear. Except for lobster night there are no "high priced" choices. All of the prime steaks are at the Crown Grill. All of the specialty seafood is at the Crown Grill or Sabatini's. The food was good but I still think the buffet is the better value. SIGN UP FOR TRADITIONAL DINING but other then the formal nights and/or lobster night go to the buffet. And you can go to any of the dining rooms and view that nights choices and make your decision then. One more thing...If you do decide not to attend your traditional dining seating please let the dining room know. In addition to these there was also an ice cream bar, a poolside grill (great hamburgers), a pizza area, and the international cafe. All of these areas had free food. There was a charge for milkshakes. Specialty dining......We did two specialty dining options that I would like to mention. As part of a promotion we received a voucher to attend one specialty restaurant. We choose Crown Grill. Hands down probably one of the best porterhouse steaks I have ever had. If we ever go on another Princess cruise I would definitely pay an extra $25 and do this again. Another "specialty dining" we did was an in room champagne breakfast. You can pick the time you want this served. We choose the day and about the time we were going to get to the glaciers. It was fantastic. More food then we could ever have eaten. And high quality food. I would highly recommend this option. Drink programs. We did not purchase a program. Frankly I don't see how this is a good value. You have a fridge in your room. No you cannot bring alcohol onto the ship. But unless you are an alcoholic there is no way one person is going to drink $56 worth of booze in one day. You can bring pop and water onto the ship. So at the first port buy some! Or just get your pop fix at the port itself. The cost for a bottle or can of pop on-board is not that bad either. I don't see how the cruise lines are making money off of this unless people are just clueless or filthy rich. NOTE...I did purchase the coffee card. This is the only beverage option that you can share if you like and if you don't use all of the punches you can take it on the next cruise or give it to someone else. Excursions.....The one Princess excursion we went on was very well organized and the tour guides were well spoken and informed. The decision to book tours ahead of time is a personal one. KEEP IN MIND that you have until 6PM I believe to cancel any tours for Monday morning (our cruise started on Saturday). After that any pre-booked tours have to be canceled at least 48 hours prior or you will forfeit your money. No negotiating. When we got sick, which we had no control over, we tried to appeal to many people to no avail. We ended up paying for an excursion we were to ill to go on. Based on the lines I saw many people wait to book their tours on-board. i will say this...We were offered the same tour that we had to cancel later that same day with an extra thrown in. We also heard of tours that were canceled due to lack of enough people signing up. So good luck with the excursions. On Board Activities...On board activities were plentiful. Of course the obligatory casino. We attended dance classes, bingo, cooking demonstration and kitchen tour, comedian, art auction, band performances, stopped to watch some movie under the stars, and went to the Sanctuary pool and hot tub (Free). The minerature golf course and basketball courts were in sad shape. The fitness center looked pretty nice. My wife and mom got some things done at the Lotus Spa on the very first day. They ran some specials. Princess Patter....The Princess Patter is a "newspaper" that shows up in your mailbox which is just outside of your cabin, later in the evening. This paper will list all the events upcoming for the next day. Weird things to take with you.....take a highlighter with you to highlight those things in the Princess Patter you are interested in...take some regular tape with you to tape those things you will need for the next day on the obligatory big picture in your room or the mirror...maybe take some packing tape with you to send stuff in priority mail boxes back home...get a pair of comfortable water proof shoes to take the place of maybe two pairs...extension cord...don't forget chargers...binoculars...camera(s)...For women-Take at least 1 dressy sweater and a pashmina/extra large scarf for your shoulders. Some of the areas of the ship are rather chilly. Do Not Take....A LOT OF CLOTHES....Believe it or not at the very first port there were nice jackets for sale at numerous shops for only $20...t-shirts $10...sweaters and hoodies $15...hats 3 for $10....These prices were consistent at every port we stopped in...Both men and womens items. And you need souveniers! Men...Take one pair of dress shoes...one or two pair of dress pants..and 3 or 4 shirts to match them. Any more then that would be overkill. I wore shorts on the ship and jeans on land. The weather was chilly on our cruise. Debarkation...I don't care what the Patter says...Get to your debarkation point at least 10 minutes early. This like everything else was well organized. That's about it. We did take a land tour in conjunction with the cruise through Princess. Two days at Princess Denali and two days at Princess McKinley. By the way Mt McKinley and Mt. Denali are the same mountain! We had a fantastic tour guide and except for being sick had a great time. I would highly recommend this add on. HOWEVER...The train ride was horrible. 10 1/2 hours on a slow moving train looking at the same scenery over and over. Even though it is included in the price I would skip the train and find alternate transportation to the lodge. After further consideration if it hadn't been for getting sick we would have had a very good time. There are many things that I wish I would have known beforehand and I have tried to convey these in this review.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Crown Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click