This was my third Princess Cruise and 2nd time to Alaska. I chose this cruise ONLY because it left from San Francisco and the price was fair. My family and I enjoyed the cruise, but Princess service, food quality, food presentation and choice was poor (e.g. boring). The buffet is a joke. Small and boring food. The onboard entertainment was along the lines of a guy giving a Billy Joel concert, the piano lounge guy was dull and not particularly musically inclined.
The good, the boat is spacious, I never felt crowded even though I was told the boat was full. The Grand Princess has the lamest design as to stair cases and elevators There are stairs you start to climb but lead to no where (except for crews). The upper deck has a small pool hidden that no one will use. Just over all the ship architect for the Grand Princess designed about the worst layout possible and one of the dullest.
The atrium which is the centerpiece of the ship is a simple white staircase. Just no pizzazz to this ship. The food by was dull except for the special chocolate deserts in the main dining room. Its a little confusing to have three dining rooms. Reservation, open and reservation. I never had a problem promptly getting a seat between 5:30 and 6:30. 6:30 is a little rush, sometimes a 10 minute wait to be seated but it was ok. They give you a pager.
I bought the all you can drink package. Psychologically that made me much less stressed but I didn't come close to using $50 a day worth even with espressos and drinks. We also had a soda and more package. That is waste as it does not include bottled water. To save a little money, e.g. $600+ skip both drink packages. I also saw many people not using up their coffee cards, so skip that too.
Except for the train ride which was priced about the same as booking on my own and more convenient through the ship, save your self maybe a thousand dollars and book your shore excursions off the boat. They will be better and cheaper, especially Juneau whale watching and the Mendenhall glacier.
My room steward was very ordinary, I also had to ask twice to change sheets with an orange and brown spot on it. The waitstaff are 99% excellent. I was disappointed with the ship galley tour, skip it. The two flea market sales they had of $10 items was very tacky, but I did buy a little purse for my daughter. The kids club was good, my kids liked that. Also, the best part of Princess (and Carnival) is they have a self serve laundromat.
I have been on at least 10 cruises. I'm not planning any more Princess cruises. For me, the best cruise line out there for a 40-65 year old is Celebrity. Carnival is also very good and don't think its just for kids. Holland is very good, NCL I've had very poor experiences with. I dream to go on a Disney cruise but my kids are almost to old for constant Mickey and Minnie mouse, and Disney is at least 1/3 more expensive than a comparable cruise. Anyway, the Grand Princess is well maintained for a 20 year old boat, (built by a naval architect without a brain) but next time I'm going on a boat less than 3 years old and probably Celebrity.
I had a balcony on Baja deck. Room was a nice size, plumbing worked it was ok. We also had an inside cabin which is quite small.
Also, the best part of Princess (and Carnival) is they have a self serve laundromat.
great company fantastic boat and price.View All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
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