We have sailed a number of times with PRINCESS and found the trips very enjoyable BUT this recent trip to ALASKA was very disappointing.. I will start with the + and then list the - of the trips.
CHECK IN - In Seattle was great, no issues, PRINCESS' policy of allowing passengers to bring aboard their own Wines is a great plus. Each passenger gets (1) one 750ml bottle without corkage fee, and then as many 750ml bottles that you want to carry to your cabin for a $15.00/ea corking fee, which beats the cost of the different wines you would buy at dinner. Yes if the bottle is stamped that the corkage has been paid you can bring the bottle to dinner.
We found our cabin with no GREAT ISSUES, but here is the 1st negative; My brother is confined to a wheel chair so I located, AFTER WEEKS of looking for a Veranda handicapped cabin with an adjacent standard veranda. I booked handicap cabin A301 for my brother and the "right next door" veranda cabin A 259, BUT when we checked in our cabin had been moved from the starboard side cabin A259 to the port side cabin A258. The point of the cabin selection was so WE could share common sights from our adjacent balconies, This happened in the beginning of the cruise and I was not a happy cruiser.
The muster drill was a bit upsetting for my WHEELCHAIR BOUND BROTHER, After the drill, NO PASSENGER WOULD ALLOW HIM ON THE ELEVATORS, AFTER 30+ minutes his wife FORCED the other passengers to let him on. I complained to the cruise desk about the "could be very bad" lack of access to wheelchair folks, in case of an emergency. I was told "IT WAS ONLY A DRILL" and if it had been a real emergency, a CREW elevator would be made available to handicap folks. What a laugh that was, since in a real emergency, able bodied passengers would stampede all elavators and my brother would NEVER be allowed to escape the danger.
ROOM SERVICE - BREAKFAST, only offered a semi-hot McMuffin type thing wrapped in foil, nothing else. Ths was not good for my brother & wife who were 1st time cruisers, and looked forward to a nice in-room breakfast on their veranda.
EXCURSIONS - In SKAYWAY, AK We booked a WHITE PASS RAILROAD TRIP with a 15 mile downhill bike ride via a non-PRINCESS tour operator. What a fun EXCURSION this was, down hill back to SKAYWAY on a mountain bike with disk brakes at speeds up to 27 mph, crossed from Canada back to the US on a bike. What a thrilling adventure. PRINCESS only Allowed 1/2 of a day in both KETCHIKAN, AK & Victoria, BC, the cruise line did not allow a lot of time to explore either city. SUGGESTION... Before you book ANY CRUISE check actually how much time there will be in the port. We all felt ripped off by PRINCESS telling us in the advertisements we would enjoy x number of ports, only to find out that the port of call was actually not productive for touring.
VICTORIA, BC we arrived in late late afternoon, we had booked a $60.00/ea tour of BUTCHARD GARDENS, which we were told were beautiful BUT we arrived at the gardens via the tour bus AFTER DARK, and the beauty of the place was not visible to anyone.. Very disappointing and a rip off of many people.
The only reason that PRINCESS CRUISES stopped in Victoria, BC, was to have a FOREIGN PORT OF CALL within the Alaskan trip, so the cruise line could utilize non- American crew members, to reduce the trips costs. What this did was improve the bottom line and turn off frequent cruiser to PRINCESS CRUISES.
Finally, the dining experience for WHEELCHAIR BOUND passengers really is demeaning in the handicapped on the LIDO DECK RESTAURANTS. crew members place obstructions o piled plastic glasses and plates on racks that block ANY access to wheelchairs into the tabled areas, We would have to search high and low to find ANY way into the tabled areas, with the blocked eating areas. In one particular occasion, I forcible pushed a rack of glasses out of the way, spilling all the glasses to the floor in a effort to cause a bit of a scene to draw attention to the disregard PRINCESS has for those confined to wheelchairs.
Princess also allows SMOKING in the casinos, so the smoke permeates to other areas of the ship, Could this be that the smoking is allows to GRAB the CRUISERS who smoke a lot to enjoy their cancer sticks ? then go into the elevators smelling of smoke to trap the 90% of the passengers who do not smoke in those elevators...
Beware of the new type CRUISE PASSENGERS who is rude and self absorbed.
Cabin & veranda area was typical cruise ship. The cabin service was average, FYI, the best we have had was on our 15 day ocean to ocean Panama Canal trip on princess.
Cabin A258 had noises of pots or dishes banging together at different times of the day. I searched above and below our deck to see of I could locate the source of the noise, but we had no kitchen, or clubs on any level just above us or below.
Fun City have to see CHIHULY's GLASS EXHIBITS
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