We cruise a lot so feel we can make reasonable comparisons. We really ENJOYED this cruise. This was a fun cruise for us. We are 71 and 72, so not youngsters, and often enjoy "peaceful" cruises to educational places....unique ports in Alaska most recently. These types of cruises are indeed worthwhile, but for just having FUN, this cruise was it.
Check-in was easy although we surprised that when we boarded at 11:30, we could not drop off our carryon bags in our room. They now close off the entire hallways until around 1 pm so that they can more efficiently prepare the rooms. Not a big problem....just different from past practice on Princess ships. Our cabin steward, Manual, greeted us in the hallway as we headed to our cabin. The ship was going into drydock the following week, so we weren't sure about the condition of the ship furnishings, but it turned out that the ship showed a little wear, but not exceptional, by any means. Nor were we inconvenienced by drydock preparations, which is sometimes the case. In face, they gave us extra port time at our last stop in Victoria, and they loaded on construction materials for the drydock.
Back to the main topic....the entertainment staff did an amazing job from sailaway until disembarkation. There were always numerous fun activities going on, and plenty of people watching opportunities in the Grand Foyer, as well. Since we didn't want to gain weight (at least, not much) during the week, we chose to eat breakfast in the main dining room (to avoid temptation of the extensive buffet), and a light lunch of salad and sandwich at the International Cafe), and then enjoyed dinner in the dining room, using the any time dining program. We never had to wait for a table and had generally good service. One thing I noticed is that the waiters no longer routinely offer coffee after dinner as they have in the past. They will readily serve it when requested, but it is not the standard.
We found the food to be a B+ or A- in quality in the main dining room. There is always something available either in the Lido or though room service. Breakfast room service worked well with the exception of the timing....for some reason, they would deliver breakfast about 15-20 minutes EARLY, which was a minor irritation.
The ports of Astoria, San Francisco, Monterrey and Victoria were all interesting, but in different ways. This itinerary is a great one for enjoying the northern California coast.
Great cabin for the price range. Relatively close to the forward elevators and no noise from other cabins or the hallway. Typical Princess configuration. Spinner suitcases fit under the bed (opened to act as an additional drawer) or in the large open closet space.
Nice transportation from port to downtown on a shuttle bus or trolley. Nice town to walk around. Farmer's Market on Sunday very interesting.
Five Star Whale Watching provided an excellent experience. Comfortable, safe boat with bathroom on board, and they were great at getting to the whales and also showing us sea lions and seals.View All 53 Whale Watching Reviews
Just walked along the pier and did people and seal watching.
Taste of San Francisco gave an excellent tour, in a 15 passenger van, with just 6 people. Our driver had amazing knowledge of the area and customized the tour showing us local neighborhoods we were interested in. He took us to two wineries that we never would have found on our own....one large with beautiful outdoor views and seating....extremely peaceful setting. One small winery with excellent wines and interesting presentation. Will definitely do this again when we are back in the area.View All 4 Sonoma Wine Country Reviews