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This was the first Alaska Cruise for both of us and we chose it particularly because it was round trip from San Francisco so no flying was involved. Embarkation was great and as Elite Members of the Captain's Circle we got onboard quickly just before 1pm and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. Getting off the ship was also easy. We work as Ushers with the SF Giants and went to work, so we dressed in our work uniforms. We got to the Elite Lounge and had a cup of coffee and a pastry and were off the ship by 8am (walking off with luggage) and had lots of time for a leisurely breakfast before going to work! Overall, the cruise was fantastic. Sailing out of the SF Bay on a beautiful, sunny afternoon was a treat. The first few days were rainy, though we never did use our $3 ponchos in Juneau, but the rest of the trip was cold but dry. The shore excursions were all good experiences and it was warmer in Victoria on Friday, 5/26 than it was in the bay area! The food on this cruise was fantastic. My partner enjoyed lots of seafood while I found plenty to eat in steak, pork and lamb. Our most recent cruise, 25 days from Beijing to Sydney last Oct/Nov,(on the Golden, a very similarly laid out ship) was lacking in that department, IMHO, but I enjoyed every meal we had. The one MAJOR complaint I had -- and it may well color my choice of cruise lines in the future -- was that SMOKING was allowed in the CASINO on all but two nights. I had understood the ship to be fully non-smoking except for a couple of deck areas, so this came as a shock to me. Also, the placement of the "Cigar Lounge" (shouldn't this be a thing of the past?) was a HUGE problem as it was right outside the theatre. This meant that going into the theater often meant encountering both the casino smoke and the cigar lounge. And the ventilation of the cigar lounge was non-existent so it was really terrible. Add to that the theater ventilation system seemed to suck in even more smoke. As I recall, on the Golden, the cigar lounge was tucked away on an upper deck an I don't recall even encountering it. The Golden's sports bar was outside the theater and non-smoking. The ship IS old and in spite of it's recent retrofit shows the age more than it should. But the crew was great. The entertainment on the ship was a bit lacking. The day-to-day bands etc. were very good and we were pleased to see A J Clarke (who was on our Asia Cruise) again. But the Theater entertainers were hit and miss and the production shows were not great. The destination expert, Tess was entertaining and informative, but the "personal shopper", Bonnie was hyperactive and a waste of time. There were few other "enrichment" activities, with way too many touting spa and shopping. We did enjoy our one couples massage, although I ended up with peeling skin on my fingers which I have to assume had to do with one of the lotions used.

Alaska R/T SF May 18, 2017

Grand Princess Cruise Review by jackt1951

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Interior
This was the first Alaska Cruise for both of us and we chose it particularly because it was round trip from San Francisco so no flying was involved. Embarkation was great and as Elite Members of the Captain's Circle we got onboard quickly just before 1pm and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. Getting off the ship was also easy. We work as Ushers with the SF Giants and went to work, so we dressed in our work uniforms. We got to the Elite Lounge and had a cup of coffee and a pastry and were off the ship by 8am (walking off with luggage) and had lots of time for a leisurely breakfast before going to work!

Overall, the cruise was fantastic. Sailing out of the SF Bay on a beautiful, sunny afternoon was a treat. The first few days were rainy, though we never did use our $3 ponchos in Juneau, but the rest of the trip was cold but dry. The shore excursions were all good experiences and it was warmer in Victoria on Friday, 5/26 than it was in the bay area!

The food on this cruise was fantastic. My partner enjoyed lots of seafood while I found plenty to eat in steak, pork and lamb. Our most recent cruise, 25 days from Beijing to Sydney last Oct/Nov,(on the Golden, a very similarly laid out ship) was lacking in that department, IMHO, but I enjoyed every meal we had.

The one MAJOR complaint I had -- and it may well color my choice of cruise lines in the future -- was that SMOKING was allowed in the CASINO on all but two nights. I had understood the ship to be fully non-smoking except for a couple of deck areas, so this came as a shock to me. Also, the placement of the "Cigar Lounge" (shouldn't this be a thing of the past?) was a HUGE problem as it was right outside the theatre. This meant that going into the theater often meant encountering both the casino smoke and the cigar lounge. And the ventilation of the cigar lounge was non-existent so it was really terrible. Add to that the theater ventilation system seemed to suck in even more smoke. As I recall, on the Golden, the cigar lounge was tucked away on an upper deck an I don't recall even encountering it. The Golden's sports bar was outside the theater and non-smoking.

The ship IS old and in spite of it's recent retrofit shows the age more than it should. But the crew was great.

The entertainment on the ship was a bit lacking. The day-to-day bands etc. were very good and we were pleased to see A J Clarke (who was on our Asia Cruise) again. But the Theater entertainers were hit and miss and the production shows were not great. The destination expert, Tess was entertaining and informative, but the "personal shopper", Bonnie was hyperactive and a waste of time. There were few other "enrichment" activities, with way too many touting spa and shopping.

We did enjoy our one couples massage, although I ended up with peeling skin on my fingers which I have to assume had to do with one of the lotions used.
jackt1951’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin IA A417
The cabin was the usual interior with plenty of storage space and the usual tiny bathroom and shower. The cabin steward was attentive to our needs and quickly provided an extension cord for my Sleep Apnea machine.
Baja Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins