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2 Princess Golden Princess Expedition Cruise Reviews

Ok! First let me start out by telling you if you are going to go on a cruise to anywhere in the world. Do your research! I cannot believe how many people would go on a cruise without taking advantage of all the information that is out ... Read More
Ok! First let me start out by telling you if you are going to go on a cruise to anywhere in the world. Do your research! I cannot believe how many people would go on a cruise without taking advantage of all the information that is out there regarding the region you are going to be traveling in. Hello!!! There are 3 things you have to keep in mind when going on a cruise to Alaska. #1) Possibility of rough seas #2) Possibility of rain #3) Cold weather! I bring this up because, YES! There were passengers on board who were unprepared for this cruise. Because of this, they were miserable. I am a first time cruiser. However, my wife isn't. She told me to make all the arrangements for our cruise. This way I would learn all the in's and Out's. I had so many questions and so much to learn. Learn I did. I was completely prepared for our cruise and had a wonderful time. Here is some tips that I picked up by reading so many wonderful reviews here on Cruise Critic as well as joining the Roll Call for our particular cruise. Check the average weather forecast for the region you are traveling. As well as each port! Be prepared to dress in layers of clothes and bring a light jacket that is water proof. having gloves and a warm hat are nice to have especially in Glacier Bay. Bring a travel size umbrella. It rained five out of the seven days we were on vacation. If you get sea sick. Start taking your medications before you start your cruise and keep taking them throughout. Drink ginger ale, Eat green apples as well as crackers (Yes, they serve both items on-board the ship). Also, spend most of your time in the middle of the ship. If you can, try and select a room that is as close to the middle of the ship as possible and as low to the water as well. Less rocking and rolling there. Embarkation: As many of you have read. Princess cruises knows how to get people on-board there ships in an extremely efficient manner. I can say this without any reservations that I agree. We had arrived early at the terminal at Pier 91 in Seattle around 9:30 am. I knew we would have to wait. No Big Deal! I guess you can call it First time cruiser anticipation! My wife was laughing at me the whole time. Hey we weren't the only ones waiting! LOL...As soon as Princess opened the terminal around 10:00 am. We checked our luggage with customs. Then went to the check in counter, were we received our room keys after handing over the appropriate documents. Than it was more waiting til they started to load the ship in groups of about 200 passengers starting at 11:00 am. We were unfortunately not part of the first group. Because we were not preferred passengers. However, we were next. as soon as yo get on-board you have you r picture taken for security reasons and than your picture is taken again for your embarkation photo. After that it is party time your cruise has pretty much begun. We went straight to our cabin to check it out. It was wonderful. Than we called the Dine line at noon and made our request to eat at the chefs table (by the way the price to dine at the chefs table went up from $75 to $95 per person. But still worth it in my opinion). As passengers are boarding the ship they are told to go to the Horizon court for lunch. We learned from other cruise critic members that one of the main dining room is open at this time. So we went there and had a nice relaxing and great tasting lunch and watched from the window all the activity of getting the ship ready for leaving. At 3:30 pm we had our life boat muster drill. that didn't take to long. Than it was party time. By the way! for the first day and a half. expect all the offers to buy soda, coffee, and ultimate kid package drink stickers. We put our room keys on a lanyard around our neck so we weren't bothered that much because the stickers are placed on your room key and visible to the serving staff. first day at sea: We had rough seas (Swells approximately 17 feet tall)that lasted about a day and a half. We had a couples massage planned for 9:15 am. We still enjoyed the treatment and commend the therapists for the great job under the conditions. Items that were on the shelves and counter ended up on the floor and the wooden sliding shutters that covered the windows were slamming back and forth against the wall. That is my only complaint about the spa. Not very practical for a ship at sea. Dining: We chose Traditional dining 2nd seating (8:15 PM). Food was wonderful and the service was superb! We had great table mates. The only thing we would do different next time is do the first seating next time. Second seating didn't allow us the freedom to see the shows we wanted to see. we were so busy during the day that we were to tired to see the late shows. 10:30 Pm and on... Special thank you to our server Svetlana. She indulged my desire to try so many things I have never tried before. We ate at the Chefs Table on our 3rd day of the cruise. Well worth the money paid. It was a pleasure from start to finish. My wine glass was never empty and the food just kept coming. The Horizon court buffet, The food there was pretty darn good. I was pleasantly surprised. My only complaint is that the serving lines as stated before have no rime or reason to them. Yes you go in one way and out another. But while you are in, it can be a mad house at the popular times. also, when you sit down to eat. it can take a long time for a server to come and ask you what you would like to drink. The Trident grill was fantastic. We didn't try out either of the Specialty restaurants on-board Entertainment: We love to gamble. The casino was great, However, we did have to wait on a few occasions for some of the tables to be opened. There were always tournaments going on at one time or another. The slots are very tight. However, I did manage to hit one Big Jackpot! Woo Hoo!!! As for the shows on-board. Well, we weren't to impressed. especially with the aerialist and the illusionist. They were pretty bad. The Motown show was like something out of a collage production. (there were only a couple of cast members that could really sing) Wished we had a chance to see the British Invasion. I had heard great things about that. Glacier Bay was Beautiful! What an amazing site. It was very cold and of course it was raining. But we were prepared once again. We actually went to the top of the ship and enjoyed the sites from under the radar installation. Hint Hint... Great place to view. LOL... If you want to take pictures from out side. go to the prominade deck. it is covered. Our port of call in Ketchikan was cancelled due to rough seas. Oh well. we didn't get to go zip lining like we wanted but we went straight to Victoria B.C, Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
With the exception of a few staff members who did not smile, say hello, or excuse themselves prior to cutting in front of us on Deck 14, our cruise was fabulous. The cabins are comfortable, especially if you take one of the balcony cabins. ... Read More
With the exception of a few staff members who did not smile, say hello, or excuse themselves prior to cutting in front of us on Deck 14, our cruise was fabulous. The cabins are comfortable, especially if you take one of the balcony cabins. I'd highly recommend it because of the sheer scale of the landscape. We had a little bit of rain and drizzle (which didn't matter, except to obscure the windows). It was nice to stand on our covered balcony and have a perfectly clear view. You can run back and forth across the ship to see what's surfaced on either side, but when you're in Glacier Bay they'll stop the ship and then turn it around so everyone has a chance to see whatever there is to see. It was spectacular. The highlight of our cruise was meeting Tom Strand of TNTours. The cruise lines are not yet aware of him which is why you'll need to contact him directly at tntours98 at msn.com. Seeing Skagway with Tom Strand of TNTours was much more than an excursion. It was a lifetime experience. Tom of TNTours was recommended to us by Dyea Dave's outfit when Dave's tours were too full to accommodate our party of 7. We had intended to take a tour from one of our Princess Cruise tours but the cruise ship's endorsed guide's recommendation seemed like it could be a great idea. I explained to Tom that we were interested in a more intimate group tour, as opposed to taking one of the large busses. He suggested that if we were willing to pay for a total of 8 fares he'd be able to give us the whole van as our private coach. We were to find that very convenient and comfortable as we were able to leave our personal items on the bus at each stop without worry. We booked our Skagway excursion with TNTours and were told the cancellation policy was 24 hours advance notice which we thought was more than generous. Tom continued to be very flexible with our group. He was waiting for us at the dock with his "TNTours" sign picking us up in a very clean, comfortable van. We headed straight up through the center of Skagway all the way up to Emerald Lake. Our path allowed us to watch the train excursion, too. It was charming to watch it parallel our trip. Our anticipated 6.5 hour tour turned into over 8 hours because Tom let us take our time for all the photo opportunities and wild life and scenery viewing we'd needed. We were able to watch four bears having their meal of dandelions and spring grasses. One of them got spooked at the sound of the van. It made me wonder if the folks who spent $100-140 on their train tickets were able to see any bears close up. The bears we saw were not more than 20 feet from our van. Tom used a small microphone system which enabled all of us to comfortably hear his commentary as we drove along. Additionally, he carried several books by local authors which he shared with us throughout the drive. He told us stories about the area's historical movers and shakers and pointed out their photos from his small but useful on-board reference library. We had binoculars and cameras, but we were very impressed (and grateful) that Tom also brought binoculars and a tripod. You'll be looking at wildlife that, in some cases, may be a little dot way up a nearly vertical rock sheer. Tom would set it up the tripod at each stop giving us plenty of time to get a good, close look at the wildlife. At one stop, we ran across a competitor's bus tour which lacked the binoculars on the tripod. Tom very generously offered to let their customers take a peek as well. The competitor's bus driver seemed very impressed saying "We don't have one of these". Tom responded that they should get one because they're great to have. We agreed—being so lucky as to see such wild life was too good not to share. It was great to see Tom's dynamic with the other tour operator. He explained that in that remote area all of the tour operators try to help each other out because you never know when you might need help yourself. It was a glimpse into a lifestyle where business could be done on a handshake and goodwill is worth more than a dollar. For me, that was as much a part of the tour as the tour itself. Seeing the wild beauty of Alaska was a once in a lifetime experience. Seeing it with Tom made it truly special because he thoughtfully planned our activities not to coincide with droves of other tourists on the large busses. It gave us a lot more time to spend looking around instead of standing in lines. Additionally, he had a great sense of humor and wasn't shy about getting a little silly with us. He even posed in front of one of two stuffed battling grizzlies, so as to appear to be battling a grizzly himself. If you're looking for an incredibly interesting, personalized, relaxed tour out of Skagway, AK without the customary 30% broker's fees, I would highly recommend going direct to TNTours owned by Tom and Michele Strand in Skagway. Tom and Michele are the "little guys" you always hear about who go above and beyond and whom you really should meet if you're ever in Skagway and looking for someone to both inform and entertain you. Thanks to Dyea Dave, too, for the friendly recommendation. It says a lot about Dyea Dave that he'd recommend us to such a fine competitor! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Golden Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 5.0 4.2
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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