This is our second trip from SF to Alaska on the Sea Princess. The first time was 2010 had a scenic cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord and this time was through Glacier Bay (highly recommended!). We didn't go on the train excursions and did not go through Glacier Bay which is much nicer. So I decided to use my cruise travel points (saves us $200) I went to the Princess website and their prices were quite high. Expedia had a great deal with an additional $200 in credits, but I can't use my cruise points. I told my wife and booked it and she was a bit surprised it was the same ship. It seems like SF is quite picky on which ships can dock on its ports.
My first time on the Sea Princess the general feeling was how it represented the classic cruise experience. For a ship that is mid size, the atrium felt very grand and classy.
There are traditional tea times and many activities and shows for the passengers.
Sea Princess Fellow Passengers
Unlike Carnival with more party goers, Spring break frat boys and first time cruisers or Norwegian with more serious, experienced cruisers, Princess passengers are more mellow. The demographics are mostly seniors and families. Not too many kids and hardly any teens. Very friendly and mellow people.
Sea Princess Dress Code:
It is mostly smart casual with two nights for formal nights.
Like all cruises, Princess deducts $11.50 per person per day for tips and also have the option for us to provide additional tips at the end of the cruise. The crew is very nice and helpful and I would recommend providing additional gratuity in a discreet fashion for the wonderful services.
Sea Princess Cabins:
Like all cabins, it is small for the average big man. The steward kept it very nice and clean. They don't fold a towel like a stuffed animal like all cruises since the demographics are more senior. Since our second cruise was a last minute deal and a savings of 40%, we had an obstructed view. The window shows the tender ship and we see the crew members preparing it. No complaints from me. Rating is an 8.
Traditional restaurants the Rigoletto and La Traviata are very classy. My only complaint was how low the ceilings are compared to other cruises. Service was great. Breakfast and lunch are for anytime dining. For dinner it can be anytime or a set time. Our second cruise, we had to share our table. This maybe awkward for folks to share the same dinner table for the whole cruise, for lunch and breakfast we only shared a table once and people are generally very happy to be on vacation. Rating for the dishes is a 9.
THe pizza cafe has thin crust pizza and a limited number of choices for lunch. Dinner has pasta and desserts. Sometimes the pizza may be a bit soggy due to the thin crust. I would rate the food a 7.
Horizon buffet is for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is not 24 hours. They shut off a side of the buffet for dinner for the steak house which has a cover charge. Unlike other cruise ships, the tables are set up in a very classy manner, however there are limited space to sit and I find myself sitting outside by the pool area most of the time. Mostly a mix of European, classic America and Asian food with a bit of Mexican cuisine. There are not too many dessert choices and no ice cream. There is a sundae restaurant by the pool and it is open for a limited number hours too. We skipped the buffet most of the time to go to traditional dining. I would rate the food a 7.
The Riviera Grill is outside of the buffet and has grilled food and a drink station. Perfect area to sit by the pool, eat lunch, watch a movie and the view. Rating of 7.
There are movies, music numbers and comedy/music acts at the Princess Theater and the Vista Lounge. We really enjoy the friendly crew when they performed and had a talent contest for the passengers. Rating of 8.
The Atrium is the best part of the ship. The shopping areas are good and the watch store is not too big and does not have enough selection. That is my only complaint. Overall an 8.
The photo gallery is nice to buy pictures.
The library is nice, but a bit small. There's the internet cafe, however cruise speeds for the net is slow.
The Razzmatazz nightclub is big but narrow. We played XBox Kinect there.
The pool is not too big and has a children's pool. No water slides. There is an additional pool area for adults to relax. A few hottubs and an additional hottubs by the spa. A plus is the movie theater by the main pool. What better way than to enjoy a movie in a pool. Rating of 8.
Spa and Fitness area.
Not the biggest gym compared to other cruise ships. There is an extra studio for classes and I was able to use it to practice karate and other passengers used it for stretching and special exercises. There's a salon for manicures, teeth whitening and other stuff. Rating of a 7 since it's too small.
The childcare center for youth is great with many games and activities. The hours are 9AM-12N, 1P-5P (yes!) and 6-10P. The teen area is not really used since there's hardly any teens there. On my first cruise a few teens just sat there playing Guitar Hero. Rating is 9.
There is a kids pool, ping pong tables, ball court. No water slides.
The depart from SF is very nice as we sailed by Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge.
The scenic cruise to Tracy Ford is limited (6AM-10AM). This time to Glacier Bay (6AM-3P) had many glaciers and park rangers to answer our questions.
Juneau is the capitol of Alaska. Had many stores. The prices are quite high. I would recommend the excursion to see the glaciers when you are there.
Skagway is an old town. I rented a mountain bike last time. This time the whole family went on a train ride. It was through the mountains. The price is less if we had purchased it from the train stop.
Ketchikan is a small town with nice stores. Most people recommend the helicopter ride over the glaciers.
Victoria, British Columbia
We were there from 9A-1:30P. The city reminds me of an American city, has a downtown area, a mall and Chinatown. Free wifi for the downtown area. A few Starbucks, but the most charming thing were the mom and pop stores. There was a street with 3 competing comic book stores on the same block next to each other. It's nice to see stores that sells cool stuff you don't find in the malls.
Overall it was a great trip. The ship is not the most modern or spacious of all the new ships. I give it extra points for the service and the style which is very classy and traditional.