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So this was my third cruise, with a previous cruise on Carnival (Caribbean) and Norwegian (Greek Islands). The biggest negative of this cruise was right at the start. Embarkation was a nightmare. First we had to sit in chairs in Vancouver for like an hour. Then wait in a line in customs for another 30 min, Then wait in a line for our cruise cards for another 30 min, Then wait in a line to board the ship for another 30 min. By the time I got to my cabin I was pretty angry and annoyed. I have NEVER NEVER had it take more than like 15 min to get on a ship. This system is broken and needs fixing. Once past this ORDEAL! Our vacation got much better. We chose early standard seating, (but only made it there 2x. Our balcony cabin was gorgeous! Our steward, Cesar, was fabulous. The only thing was that being on the Aloha deck, there was a pool deck I think above us and every evening we could hear them dragging the chaise lounges around. We could also hear kids running on deck. The food in the Horizons buffet was shockingly good. MUCH better than buffet food I have had on the other cruises. The majority of the food I had in the dining room was excellent, with the striking exception of the shrimp cocktail which was an embarrassment to say the least! Like 4-5 tiny soggy ridiculous shrimp. How they could even call it a shrimp cocktail is beyond me. We ate one night in the Crown Grill steakhouse which is an extra charge and it was Amazing! One of the best steaks I have had-(I had the bone-in rib-eye) Most of the on board entertainment was good- The piano bar singer Liam Ryder was amazing, funny, talented, and real hoot. We saw him I think 3 nights on our cruise. The Cruise shows that we saw were OK- The British Invasion show was very good. The show the first night was a real stinker- there was one production number which was actually very good, but then it was followed by like 40 min of the Cruise director Frank talking about himself and his staff- I mean, who cares? 5 min- OK, but 40 min, really? It wrapped up with 10 min from a very good comic. Just cut out all the talking please! They had a naturalist on board who gave narration when we were cruising the glaciers, which was nice. Also other Alaskan -relevant people came on board, too. We did 3 excursions, which we loved. Ketchikan we did the wilderness cruise and all you can eat crab feast- fabulous! Juneau we did helicopter to Mendenhall glacier -walked on the glacier- a wonderful bucket list thing for me, and then the salmon bake. (salmon bake food was just ok , but there was a gorgeous waterfall behind it.) Skagway we did the Kroeschel wildlife refuge which was very cool, but a bit of a long haul, and I will review it more in depth separately. Be aware it's a long trip. In Whittier, debarkation was a breeze (a super contrast to embarkation) and we boarded the train for Denali, and it was a really nice train trip. We stayed at the Denali Princess property, which was nice. One night we ate at the King Salmon, where I thought the food was very overpriced and nothing special- I mean my SALMON was overcooked. The second night we walked across the road to Great Alaskan Fish and Chips which was much more reasonable, and really good. Denali itself we took the Tundra tour option, which means 8 hours in a bus. For us, there was an extended family group who through it would be a good idea to do this with very small children. I think Princess should offer options for this tour such as Adults only bus- and Family-friendly bus. By the end of the day we were all tired of hearing these kids crying. We took a bus to Fairbanks for the end of our trip, where we staying in the Bear Lodge, which is not the Princess property. It was very nice and had a free shuttle that went all around Fairbanks every hour. We went to the Museum of the North which was very nice and interesting. We had dinner in downtown Fairbanks, which was in need of urban re-development. The next day we had an excursion on a Riverboat in the morning and to a Gold Dredge in the afternoon, Both were relaxing and interesting. Then we flew home in the AM.

Alaskan Adventure was awesome!

Grand Princess Cruise Review by irisarbor

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2015
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
So this was my third cruise, with a previous cruise on Carnival (Caribbean) and Norwegian (Greek Islands).

The biggest negative of this cruise was right at the start.

Embarkation was a nightmare.

First we had to sit in chairs in Vancouver for like an hour.

Then wait in a line in customs for another 30 min,

Then wait in a line for our cruise cards for another 30 min,

Then wait in a line to board the ship for another 30 min.

By the time I got to my cabin I was pretty angry and annoyed.

I have NEVER NEVER had it take more than like 15 min to get on a ship.

This system is broken and needs fixing.

Once past this ORDEAL! Our vacation got much better.

We chose early standard seating, (but only made it there 2x.

Our balcony cabin was gorgeous! Our steward, Cesar, was fabulous.

The only thing was that being on the Aloha deck, there was a pool deck I think above us and every evening we could hear them dragging the chaise lounges around. We could also hear kids running on deck.

The food in the Horizons buffet was shockingly good. MUCH better than buffet food I have had on the other cruises. The majority of the food I had in the dining room was excellent, with the striking exception of the shrimp cocktail which was an embarrassment to say the least! Like 4-5 tiny soggy ridiculous shrimp. How they could even call it a shrimp cocktail is beyond me.

We ate one night in the Crown Grill steakhouse which is an extra charge and it was Amazing! One of the best steaks I have had-(I had the bone-in rib-eye)

Most of the on board entertainment was good-

The piano bar singer Liam Ryder was amazing, funny, talented, and real hoot. We saw him I think 3 nights on our cruise.

The Cruise shows that we saw were OK- The British Invasion show was very good.

The show the first night was a real stinker- there was one production number which was actually very good, but then it was followed by like 40 min of the Cruise director Frank talking about himself and his staff- I mean, who cares? 5 min- OK, but 40 min, really? It wrapped up with 10 min from a very good comic. Just cut out all the talking please!

They had a naturalist on board who gave narration when we were cruising the glaciers, which was nice. Also other Alaskan -relevant people came on board, too.

We did 3 excursions, which we loved.

Ketchikan we did the wilderness cruise and all you can eat crab feast- fabulous!

Juneau we did helicopter to Mendenhall glacier -walked on the glacier- a wonderful bucket list thing for me, and then the salmon bake. (salmon bake food was just ok , but there was a gorgeous waterfall behind it.)

Skagway we did the Kroeschel wildlife refuge which was very cool, but a bit of a long haul, and I will review it more in depth separately. Be aware it's a long trip.

In Whittier, debarkation was a breeze (a super contrast to embarkation) and we boarded the train for Denali, and it was a really nice train trip.

We stayed at the Denali Princess property, which was nice. One night we ate at the King Salmon, where I thought the food was very overpriced and nothing special- I mean my SALMON was overcooked. The second night we walked across the road to Great Alaskan Fish and Chips which was much more reasonable, and really good.

Denali itself we took the Tundra tour option, which means 8 hours in a bus. For us, there was an extended family group who through it would be a good idea to do this with very small children. I think Princess should offer options for this tour such as Adults only bus- and Family-friendly bus. By the end of the day we were all tired of hearing these kids crying.

We took a bus to Fairbanks for the end of our trip, where we staying in the Bear Lodge, which is not the Princess property. It was very nice and had a free shuttle that went all around Fairbanks every hour. We went to the Museum of the North which was very nice and interesting. We had dinner in downtown Fairbanks, which was in need of urban re-development. The next day we had an excursion on a Riverboat in the morning and to a Gold Dredge in the afternoon, Both were relaxing and interesting.

Then we flew home in the AM.
irisarbor’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BC A335
Our balcony cabin was gorgeous! Our steward, Cesar, was fabulous.
The only thing was that being on the Aloha deck midship, there was a pool deck I think above us and every evening we could hear them dragging the chaise lounges around. We could also hear kids running on deck.
We were on the Land side which I would recommend if possible for Alaska.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Helicopter Tour
    We took the helicopter flight that landed on the glacier, then got to spend about 30 min on the glacier, walking and learning. Bring a water bottle to fill. Dress warm. It was AWESOME!!! BEST EVER!!! Then we went to the salmon bake which was kind of meh-food wise, but it was a beautiful setting with a gorgeous waterfall behind it.
    View All 120 Helicopter Tour Reviews
  • Wilderness Tour & Crab Feast
    This was a cruise on a small ship- The guide who was so cute pulled up crab pots, we got to hold the crabs, she fed bald eagles, which we got to take many pictures of. Then back to the lodge for the feast- they show you an easy method to eat the Dungeness crab which is delish! Don't worry about trying to win the crab tower contest, just eat!
    View All 118 Wilderness Tour & Crab Feast Reviews
  • Wildlife Tour
    We went to the Discovery-endorsed Kroeschel Wildlife refuge.
    The refuge itself was very fun and interesting. You see lots of cool animals and even get to pet some of them. The issue is getting there. It's 2 HOURS away.
    So first you get on a ferry to the town of Haines, which isn't so bad, but then when you get to Haines it's another HOUR on a SCHOOL BUS on bumpy roads, then AFTER you spend like 2 hours at the refuge, it's 2 more hours of this nonsense to get back to the ship. Is it worth it? There were animals you would never see, and would never see that close up... but it's up to you whether it's worth it.
    View All 27 Wildlife Tour Reviews
  • Vancouver
    We did have afternoon tea at the Hotel Fairmont Vancouver, and that was lovely, tho expensive.
    Our negative experience with embarkation is detailed in my review.
    View All 641 Vancouver Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Vancouver Cruise Port Review