Couple in our 50's with another couple. This is our 8th cruise 2nd with Princess. 3 Royal and 3 NCL. We flew from New York state to Seattle, long flight - take snacks, we flew with United and 2 beverages for an approx 5 hour flight was only offering unless you paid extra for a few pieces in a box.
Stayed at Best Western Airport Exe. It was ok, clean etc. Pool area was nice and also a deep pool and a Hot tub with actual hot water. Shuttle service was good etc. Nothing really close, walked up to Dennys for a meal. Not a real good area, a lot of vacant buildings and we were followed for awhile by a strange fellow. Breakfast in the morning was good, with enough options etc.
We reserved a private shuttle through the hotel for the 4 of us as it was just as cheap with a good tip as taking the shared service.
Dropped at port, took our bags in and put through the xray machine, then they were taken by staff to be loaded on ship. there were a few porters outside but carts filled very quickly, not enough working it seemed.
Then showed our ticket and id and on to port security. Completed our health questionnaire and in line for our ship cards etc.
Took approx 1 hour from curb to cabin. Nice thing with Princess is your cabin is ready to go when you arrive, so you can drop any bags and store things etc.
We then went to dining room with other couple for lunch which was good.
SHIP: The ship is older and showing signs of age, who and what isn't? I do not find it to be a pretty ship. The atrium is very plain and crowded. Main dining rooms tight and awkward to get around . Some of the public washrooms were rather scary with cracked tiles, uneven floors etc. As always lines for ladies also, only 3 stalls and 1 always seemed to be closed for maintenance. I just went back to our cabin. Meals were ok, buffet could be warmer and change up items. Main dining room food was ok also. Ate at Crown Grill final evening and it was very good and we felt worth the money. Breakfast was always the same mixture of items.
Entertainment was quite good. the singers were excellent. shows ok. the comedian i found ok also, but lots of people loved him. the Magician was excellent. bands were also good in the lounges. The Cruise Director was Awful. Usually you hear him/her all over the ship often with upcoming events etc. Not on this cruise. As this was an Alaskan cruise we did not spend much time around pools etc, If you were not interested in shopping seminars or bingo we found very little to do.
COFFEE CARDS - If you purchase the coffee card for the week - first do not do ahead of time. It is the same price (as it should be) on the ship, but on the ship you also get your coffee thermos. I prepaid, had to wait to get card, so no coffee until later when delivered to state room and no thermos.
i paid an additional 5.00 for the thermos and first time i went to use it, it fell apart. i was asked when i got it and how many coffees i had, none, just got it. so he tried to give me another, but 3 more fell apart on him, so i went the next day and they gave me a different style. 30.00 for the week gives you unlimited coffee and 15 specialty coffees. They punch holes in your card (which is heavy paper) until 15 are used.
Well i used 1, mainly i had bought for the reg coffee as i enjoy a good cup and find the ship coffee usually is not so great. one morning on way off ship for an excursion i got my coffee and stuffed the card in my pocket. It fell out at some point during the day and that evening i realized it was gone. i went the next morning and asked if i could get a replacement for the coffee ONLY. i realize there is no way they would know how many specialty ones i had or did not have. If you lose your card, tooo bad. Not even a regular coffee from there unless you pay the 1.75 each for them. i also went to customer service, as this seemed ridiculous, but no, nothing can be done, so HANG onto that card. Another couple who sat with us at breakfast had hers taken from the table she sat at the evening before, she had put it there with her room card, so she did not get anything for her 30.00 for most of the week. Crazy, such a silly thing to leave such a bad taste in a customers mouth, that is how i felt anyway.
We had cabin P309 ocean view on deck 5. handy to everything basically, no sewer smell on our sailing. Room was in good shape , we found lots of storage, there were lots of hangers also. washroom average. room steward pleasant, NO animal towels. our friends on another floor did not get any either. Guess they did not feel the need to do them, or only some stewards did them. we definately missed having them.
Staff, a lot seemed to be near the end of their 9 month contracts, tired but still smiled etc. There was a tall girl who reminded most people of a prison guard or something to that line in the buffet during the am and then in the DaVinci for evening, who could not smile or be pleasant until the last full day, she was in a great mood that day. We heard a lot of passengers discussing this.
Ports - we had good weather, very little rain. the ship did use the last possible dock available and shuttles etc were provided, most with a cost, unless you booked an excursion etc. Ketchikan was only a 10 min walk along a good boardwalk type area. We walked around Ketchikan and i took a float plane out.
In Juneau we did the whale watching and glacier Photo tour 5 hour. it was really good, our guide and the ship captain were wonderful and passionate about their jobs. we saw lots of humpback whales and got great pictures etc. This only left us approx 1 hour in town. so i did not get to have anything in the Red Dog Saloon which looked really interesting on line.
Skagway we did the train/bus tour and again it was all day had no time at all in town. we took the train up (sit on the left) and the bus back. The bus driver kept telling us he would let us out downtown and the ship would not leave without use. hahahah. we were back in town at 4:10. our time to be on board was 4;30 and it was a 15 minute minimum walk. We tried to tell him the ship would leave without us, and he thought we were crazy. we all thought he was the crazy one.... frankly the train would have been enough, it was a long day doing both and on the bus for so long, went further in and came back the same way, so not a lot of new and Carcross and Caribou Crossing were not worth the extra time or cost either. We were told not to miss the husky puppies, they were at least 6 months old. anyone with a puppy image would miss them for sure.
they take a lot of pictures as always. 19.99 for embartation and ports, 24.99 for formal evening pictures. they print and print, if they offered them a bit less (15.00 and 20.00) or buy 3 get 1 free, i think they would do a lot better and not destroy thousands of pictures. i usually always buy the port pictures, great way to start that section of the memory album, but at 20.00 each, that was 60.00 plus the embarking one and they really were not great. so i got the embarking and left the rest.
Our final port was Victoria 7pm to 11pm. dark out . did 2 hour tour but could not see much of anything.
It was also our understanding that we sailed through the forjd on Wed from 6:30am to 10:30am.
we did not get anywhere near the Glacier, it was a clear quiet morning, cold of course, but very little in the way of any icebergs, some small ones (small) but we did not go within eye shot of the glacier. Not told ahead and no reason given.
disembarking was easy as usual.
Alaska , sorry whatever. told we needed to do the further north cruise and go on land/sea tour. frankly we wish we had not wasted our money on this one. but it was a vacation which we needed.
We will head south and back to Royal Caribbean again next time.