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We chose this cruise because we love Princess Cruise lines and Alaska was on our bucket list. We had read reviews of this ship from others but booked it anyway. It has been our experience with reviews that they are one-sided and often do not give a true representation of the ship. We found the Grand Princess to be a charming older ship but it did not feel or look its age. Yes it had normal wear and tear, the sea is hard on ships. This being said we had a wonderful time and the crew was awesome as always. Our cabin was on the Dolphin Deck D734 and was a Premium Balcony on the back of the ship. We found it strange that we were able to get this balcony room, which also was on our bucket list, for this cruise but after sailing we found out why. It had nothing to do with the room, it was wonderful and the balcony was secluded and covered. Yes they call it an obstructed balcony, but you can not notice it and the balcony is actually protected by the little overhang. The reason we were able to book it had to do with the weather in Alaska, it was a bone chilling cold, even though it did get in the 50's. We did not use the balcony as much as we would have in the Caribbean. The entertainment on the ship was good. I would recommend watching the movies in the Princess Theaters or in your cabin instead of MUTTS. We watched one movie and froze, even though they hand out blankets. The Main Offenders were the ships band and they were very good. We enjoyed listening to them. The comedian was funny and they had two different singers for the piano bar which were very different and good. One played Stevie Wonder songs and the other John Denver type songs. We did very well in the casino, infact our shipboard account after applying our winnings was only $36 so we can not complain. I would recommend playing the machines in front of the pay out windows, we hit on 3 different machines in that pod. Our only complaint about the cruise was the smoking, please this is only our opinion, but I wish the whole ship would be non smoking. Yes they have smoking and non smoking in the casino but when the machines are next to each other it does not matter, you get the full brunt of the smoke as the ventolation is poor. Also near the Princess Theater on deck 6 is the Cigar bar and the hallway reeks of smoke and is very hard to get to the theater through it all. I would recommend entering the Theater from deck 7 instead. We did not go on a tour in Ketchikan, we walked about and did some shopping. In Juneau we did the Whale Watch/Salmon bake tour. The whale watch was fun but for some reason the Captian of the boat kept turning the ship everytime a whale surfaced so he could see, this left many with poor photo oportunities, but they may have had one of the ships photographers on board. The Salmon bake was good but could have been run better. They know in advance how many patrons to expect, but they still did not have the salmon ready. Everyone waited in line over 20 minutes and their sides were cold by the time they got to eat. The Salmon was very good. Also they should have had netting overhead to keep the ravens from bombing everyone for food. The ravens were very brave and had no issue with diving on your table to grab food off your plate. After leaving the Salmon bake we went to the Tram and went to the top. It was not worth $34per person unless you hike, then you can walk the trails. We can not hike due to my husbands knees and my hips. We did however love seeing the Bald Eagle they take care of, it is not able to fly and is blind in one eye so they care for it. It is a beauiful bird and I felt bad for it but you can tell it is well cared for. In Skagway we took the City trolley tour and it was fun. After that we walked the town, it is quite small, and visited the Elks Lodge since we are Elks members. It is a nice little hidden gem in the town. Finally we went to Endicott Glacier instead of Tracy Arm Fjord due to the ice. It was beautiful. We did opt into the Ultimate Breakfast that morning but, there was little that we liked. It was supposed to be smoked Salmon but the texture was of a steamed fillet instead of smoked. Save yourself $45 and just order room service for breakfast if you have a balcony, it is much better and free. We did not get off the ship in Victoria BC as it was raining. We did go to the Crown Grill on the 28th, it was worth every penny. I would recommend everyone go atleast once in your cruising lifetime. We did anytime dining and actually prefer it over the assigned dining. The food was very good, but there was not as much Alaskan food available as we would have liked. There was one Salmon dinner that never changed throughout the whole cruise. We expected to see Alaskan King crab legs on the menu as well as many other types of seafood but we only saw it on the Crab Shack menu which was an upcharge of $29 pp. We have done this on other cruises and did not opt into it this time. We did not utilize the pools or the hot tubs due to the weather. Even the enclosed pool area was very chilly. There were some children on this cruise but you did not notice as they were well behaved. This was a very diverse sailing, most of the folks very mid 50's and older.That being said it was very hard to get a seat in the Piazza as they were parked there all day and night. To our disappointment Vines wine bar was made smaller to make room for Alfredo's Pizzeria. We would suggest removing the Pizzeria and making Vines larger. The Pizza was not as good as the Pizza on the Lido deck. At Vines you can not get the complimentary sushi anymore since it was reduced in size. All in all it was a beautiful cruise, the ship and staff exceeded our expectations and Alaska is beautiful. I would recommend everyone go atleast once, many on this sailing have gone 5-6 times. We did not see the amount of wildlife we expected, Discovery Channel gives you a unrealistic view of what to expect. We saw 4 humpback whales, maybe 10 seals and a couple eagles. We expected to see Orca's as well and did not and also we did not see any bears. It could be because it was the start of the salmon season and it had not drawn enough of the wildlife in yet. I would suggest going anytime from July to September.

Excellent Alaskan Cruise

Grand Princess Cruise Review by Pandora407

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Premium Balcony
We chose this cruise because we love Princess Cruise lines and Alaska was on our bucket list. We had read reviews of this ship from others but booked it anyway. It has been our experience with reviews that they are one-sided and often do not give a true representation of the ship. We found the Grand Princess to be a charming older ship but it did not feel or look its age. Yes it had normal wear and tear, the sea is hard on ships. This being said we had a wonderful time and the crew was awesome as always.

Our cabin was on the Dolphin Deck D734 and was a Premium Balcony on the back of the ship. We found it strange that we were able to get this balcony room, which also was on our bucket list, for this cruise but after sailing we found out why. It had nothing to do with the room, it was wonderful and the balcony was secluded and covered. Yes they call it an obstructed balcony, but you can not notice it and the balcony is actually protected by the little overhang. The reason we were able to book it had to do with the weather in Alaska, it was a bone chilling cold, even though it did get in the 50's. We did not use the balcony as much as we would have in the Caribbean.

The entertainment on the ship was good. I would recommend watching the movies in the Princess Theaters or in your cabin instead of MUTTS. We watched one movie and froze, even though they hand out blankets.

The Main Offenders were the ships band and they were very good. We enjoyed listening to them. The comedian was funny and they had two different singers for the piano bar which were very different and good. One played Stevie Wonder songs and the other John Denver type songs.

We did very well in the casino, infact our shipboard account after applying our winnings was only $36 so we can not complain. I would recommend playing the machines in front of the pay out windows, we hit on 3 different machines in that pod.

Our only complaint about the cruise was the smoking, please this is only our opinion, but I wish the whole ship would be non smoking. Yes they have smoking and non smoking in the casino but when the machines are next to each other it does not matter, you get the full brunt of the smoke as the ventolation is poor. Also near the Princess Theater on deck 6 is the Cigar bar and the hallway reeks of smoke and is very hard to get to the theater through it all. I would recommend entering the Theater from deck 7 instead.

We did not go on a tour in Ketchikan, we walked about and did some shopping. In Juneau we did the Whale Watch/Salmon bake tour.

The whale watch was fun but for some reason the Captian of the boat kept turning the ship everytime a whale surfaced so he could see, this left many with poor photo oportunities, but they may have had one of the ships photographers on board.

The Salmon bake was good but could have been run better. They know in advance how many patrons to expect, but they still did not have the salmon ready. Everyone waited in line over 20 minutes and their sides were cold by the time they got to eat. The Salmon was very good. Also they should have had netting overhead to keep the ravens from bombing everyone for food. The ravens were very brave and had no issue with diving on your table to grab food off your plate.

After leaving the Salmon bake we went to the Tram and went to the top. It was not worth $34per person unless you hike, then you can walk the trails. We can not hike due to my husbands knees and my hips. We did however love seeing the Bald Eagle they take care of, it is not able to fly and is blind in one eye so they care for it. It is a beauiful bird and I felt bad for it but you can tell it is well cared for.

In Skagway we took the City trolley tour and it was fun. After that we walked the town, it is quite small, and visited the Elks Lodge since we are Elks members. It is a nice little hidden gem in the town.

Finally we went to Endicott Glacier instead of Tracy Arm Fjord due to the ice. It was beautiful. We did opt into the Ultimate Breakfast that morning but, there was little that we liked. It was supposed to be smoked Salmon but the texture was of a steamed fillet instead of smoked. Save yourself $45 and just order room service for breakfast if you have a balcony, it is much better and free.

We did not get off the ship in Victoria BC as it was raining.

We did go to the Crown Grill on the 28th, it was worth every penny. I would recommend everyone go atleast once in your cruising lifetime.

We did anytime dining and actually prefer it over the assigned dining. The food was very good, but there was not as much Alaskan food available as we would have liked. There was one Salmon dinner that never changed throughout the whole cruise. We expected to see Alaskan King crab legs on the menu as well as many other types of seafood but we only saw it on the Crab Shack menu which was an upcharge of $29 pp. We have done this on other cruises and did not opt into it this time.

We did not utilize the pools or the hot tubs due to the weather. Even the enclosed pool area was very chilly.

There were some children on this cruise but you did not notice as they were well behaved. This was a very diverse sailing, most of the folks very mid 50's and older.That being said it was very hard to get a seat in the Piazza as they were parked there all day and night.

To our disappointment Vines wine bar was made smaller to make room for Alfredo's Pizzeria. We would suggest removing the Pizzeria and making Vines larger. The Pizza was not as good as the Pizza on the Lido deck. At Vines you can not get the complimentary sushi anymore since it was reduced in size.

All in all it was a beautiful cruise, the ship and staff exceeded our expectations and Alaska is beautiful. I would recommend everyone go atleast once, many on this sailing have gone 5-6 times. We did not see the amount of wildlife we expected, Discovery Channel gives you a unrealistic view of what to expect. We saw 4 humpback whales, maybe 10 seals and a couple eagles. We expected to see Orca's as well and did not and also we did not see any bears. It could be because it was the start of the salmon season and it had not drawn enough of the wildlife in yet. I would suggest going anytime from July to September.
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Cabin Review

Premium Balcony
Cabin B4 D734
Our cabin was on the Dolphin Deck D734 and was a Premium Balcony on the back of the ship. We found it strange that we were able to get this balcony room, which also was on our bucket list, for this cruise but after sailing we found out why. It had nothing to do with the room, it was wonderful and the balcony was secluded and covered. Yes they call it an obstructed balcony, but you can not notice it and the balcony is actually protected by the little overhang. The reason we were able to book it had to do with the weather in Alaska, it was a bone chilling cold, even though it did get in the 50's. We did not use the balcony as much as we would have in the Caribbean.
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