After my husband had a major heart attack, we decided once he was well enough to start on his bucket list. His big item was a cruise to Alaska. We wanted to go for more than 7 days and looked at Princess because they were significantly ... Read More
After my husband had a major heart attack, we decided once he was well enough to start on his bucket list. His big item was a cruise to Alaska. We wanted to go for more than 7 days and looked at Princess because they were significantly less expensive than some competitors. Bad decision! I guess you get what you pay for! We booked our excursions through Princess and included a night before and after the cruise dates in their affiliated hotels (International Mark Hopkins and the Westin).We flew into San Francisco and the Princess representative had our name wrong looking for us in baggage claim. That was not a big deal but it went down hill from there! We had filled out all the handicapped accessibility paperwork and Princess Cruises KNEW we were coming with medical supplies such as insulin, insulin pump supplies, CPAP machine and such. We had two suitcases each plus our medical supplies and hubby's walker. The Princess rep said "Is all THIS your's?".......YES! They knew we would not fit in a Toyota Prius so tried to find a minivan or SUV taxi to take us to our hotel. It took about 45 minutes after baggage claim to finally get a taxi to take us to the hotel. Get to the hotel and read the instructions another time to make sure we followed them for the morning pick up of our bags. The following morning, no porter came to the room during the time the instructions said to have the bags ready. I headed downstairs to the lobby to find a Princess representative. They had one and she was not the most friendly person and curtly told me that "There are only 4 of you and the porter will be up later to get the bags." Once the porter did come, we went to the lobby and stood around waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Eventually, the tour bus came to take us to the pier. Just as we are boarding the bus, the Princess rep tells the group that we will need our documents out and will go through a TSA type screening to get onboard the ship. Well.....had we known that ahead of time, I would not have packed the items of medical equipment that could not be xrayed in our baggage! I had to search through our bags to find it because I had take it out of our carry on luggage thinking we were done with TSA screenings until we were flying home after the cruise was over. Once at the pier, you were on your own and basically went through the embarkation and clearing process like cattle in the stockade! Finally got onboard and thought okay......from here it should be better! NOPE........first thing was a muster drill. Princess had their crew block the elevators so you could not use them in the muster drill to get to your muster location. OK, I understand you would not normally want to use an elevator in an emergency, BUT..........just exactly HOW is a handicapped person supposed to get down four (4) decks if they are wheelchair bound? We could make it with hubby's cane but there were passengers in wheelchairs, on oxygen, on electric scooters that could not have done it! After the mandatory muster was done, the crew members that blocked the elevators were gone and it was a free for all in trying to get an elevator to take you back UP the four decks. Those same passengers in wheelchairs, scooters and on oxygen were not afforded priority to the elevators. I guess in a real emergency, they would have drowned!
Stateroom was cold. Thermostat put out cold air no matter what setting you put it on. The floor from the bathroom towards the bed was often wet so the seal between these two rooms is not sufficient to keep shower water from running to the carpeted bedroom.
Dining......We had signed up for anytime dining. Any time you went to get to the buffet dining area, you had to travel through an exposed area and wet decks to get to the dining hall. There, it was so cold, most passengers kept their coats and scarves on or shivered through their meal. The food was mediocre at best in the buffet. Several times, the buffet was closed down to only one side so you had long lines to get to the food. The food in the Michelangelo Restaurant was good. We had reservations for one other night a specialty dining and it was good but even though the restaurant was empty, the staff would not seat us until exactly at the hour of our reservations. We hate to be late and had arrived about 30 minutes ahead of time. I could understand it if it was a busy night and they were already full but the place was virtually empty of passengers!
Excursions.....The disembarkation in Juneau was a nightmare! Passengers with handicaps had to travel down a gangway that was at a much too steep angle! The Security personnel walked backwards in front of the passenger's walker or wheelchair to keep it from falling or going down the gangway and toppling the passenger on their faces but it was entirely too steep and dangerous! Once on the pier, their was no instruction on how to meet up with your excursion transport. This may not be the fault of the cruise line but they have the power to tell the port authority or town council that they need to provide better service to the many passengers the cruise line brings to their town. There was very limited covered area for being out of the bad weather....again, the town council could be made aware and fix this if the cruise line wished to be proactive. Skagway was a much smoother disembarkation and experience. The experience going through Glacier Bay was nice and the scenery shots were fabulous! The stop in Ketchikan was short but pleasant for our excursions.....HOWEVER, those same handicapped passengers were left to hike about a mile from the lumberjack show to the pier in a very short time to be back in time to get on the transport to the ship. Not easy for someone who is handicapped.
We had misheard our meeting time for our bus to return from our excursion in Victoria, British Columbia. It was our fault and we accept full responsibility for it. As soon as we discovered we had been left behind, we contacted the appropriate personnel and got a taxi to get us back to the ship. We had been told that the booking through Princess for excursions meant you would not be left behind. We were told we would not make it back in time and the captain would sail promptly on time. The taxi driver did his level best and wove in and out of traffic trying to get us back to the ship as fast as possible. We were being constantly called by the ship and asked how far out are you? How in the **ll would we know!? We did not live in Victoria, British Columbia! They were more concerned that we had our American passports than the fact we were doing everything possible to get back as quickly as possible. Yes, it was our fault that this situation existed, but we were told we would be about 5-7 minutes late getting back to the ship. It's a mighty big ocean out there and you cannot tell me the captain could not make up 5-7 minutes! Pilots do it all the time! I even pleaded that they tell the captain that my husband was an insulin dependent diabetic and open heart surgery recovery patient and our insulin was in our stateroom! He continued to say he was sailing promptly on time! I did have a little insulin with me but this callus and cold attitude was absolutely insane! We were not asking for 20-30 minutes......just 5-7 minutes!
Will we cruise again.......probably not. Would we recommend Princess Cruiseline.......ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!! Read Less