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So being a cruise virgin, my wife elected to take me on the Alaska cruise from San Francisco. It was a 10 day journey, ten very interesting days. Before anything, I need to mention how poor the security was. When we got on board in San Francisco, you could have walked on with whatever you liked. Nobody was actually paying attention. The girls on the metal detectors were talking about boy problems, and boy did they have problems, and casually waved us through. I walked through with my phone and inhaler in my pocket, didn't set off the detector. Later on the journey I came to find out our neighbor had metal rods throughout his body and those didn't set them off either. In today's world, this is unacceptable. I am not saying there needs to be a crazy amount of security like an airport, but the gaps in what was provided were astounding. Not to mention an update in cannabis policy needs to be made. Threatening to throw you off the ship for something that is legal in literally every port you're visiting is a joke. So lets start with the bad, I am one of those who prefers the bad news first. My first and biggest issue with this cruise was the food. The quality of the food was atrocious. Mainly in the main dining room, we were in the Botticelli, which was the biggest surprise to myself considering I was told it was going to be great quality from every person I have asked about cruising. So maybe I went in with high expectations, but what we were given was not acceptable. I honestly felt as though we were given canned vegetables every night, meats were often overcooked and tough. Not to mention the over complication of certain dishes, which ruined the overall meal. For example there was a spinach flan accompanying steak one night, which tasted like boxed flan that had just been mixed with rotting spinach juices. Not pleasant to taste, or listen to my mother in law complain about it. You can really tell they're pushing for you to dine in the boutique restaurants, Crown Grill and Sabatini's for this journey. The gap in quality is astounding and honestly I wish I would have known or I would have planned to dine in those areas every night. Secondly, I would have to chime in on the service. 99% of the trip we received amazing service. From Albert and Carlos in the dining room to Marlon who serviced our stateroom daily. But there were a few bad apples that really left a sour taste in my mouth. Forgive the cliche, but as someone who comes from a hospitality background, that one bad apple can ruin all the hard work you put in. Mainly it was a gentleman who worked the Coffee & Cones stand. More than once, I got rolling eyes when I asked for two latte's for me and my wife. And one night I was walking up to get an after dinner coffee, because the coffee provided everywhere else was not even passable for coffee it was so weak, they just shut off the lights and stared at me as if to say "cant you see we are closed." Forgive me for not realizing the time while I was on vacation, a simple "Sorry sir we just closed, come back tomorrow" would have been fine but this experience really left a bad taste in my mouth. I wish I remembered his name, because I would call him out on here, every other staff member I encountered at this stand was pleasant and very helpful. My third and final complaint is related to the fitness area. I used this 9 out of the 10 days we were on board and don't get me wrong the facilities are nice. But, there were two things I observed. One the cleaning is very minimal if not at all, I broke my Fitbit and the clasp fell off while I was using the Lat Pull Down machine on the 2nd day of the cruise. Well on the last day of the journey, I found it on the floor of the gym next to the machine. Which tells me they do not clean the floors at all during the voyage and if they are, they're doing a skimpy careless job. Some people may think this is a baseless complaint, but in the area of the ship where tons of people go, get sweaty and 90% of the people don't know what to do (i.e. clean the machines after they use them) well then it becomes an issue, or a petri dish. Also the amount of kids going through here unsupervised, even though there are signs everywhere saying "Under 16 needs to be supervised" , was ridiculous. I had one kid climb on the leg extension while I was using it, I had to yell at him and he ran off without his parents anywhere to be seen. So maybe the Spa desk staff can do a little better at observing who is walking in and enforce their own policies before someone actually gets hurt. Last gripe about the gym is that the Leg Press was broken when we boarded, I checked out the gym before we even left San Francisco, and it was not fixed the entire time, although a sign saying it was broken kept appearing and disappearing. Your card dealers in the casino need to be more consistent too. I know rules are different on a ship, but consistency doesn't have to be. I had one guy who moved so fast, he would mess up deals or make it seem shady, anyone with fast hands in a casino is a major red flag in my experience. Not to mention I jokingly said to him "I've gotta win back my money you took last night at roulette" and he proceeded to scold me (or at least it came off that way) saying "Its not me who took your money, we are just the dealers, don't blame me sir." I was obviously kidding and everyone sitting at the blackjack with me immediately got uncomfortable. If you're going to take my money in the casino, at least do it with a smile, it comes off much better. All that complaining out of the way, I did really enjoy the rest of the journey. The shows were decently fun, we saw Rollin Jay Moore, the comedy magician (forgot his name sorry) and Vern Cotter. So for the comedy side of things, it was a good job. Although I felt bad for Mr. Cotter, as we were there for the last show of the last night, which was about 30 people in the crowd. But that just lead to a really cool intimate experience that you normally wouldn't get anywhere else. But please, please, please add some actual soul singers to the Motown show. That was the only show that was painful to watch. We also joined in with the trivia's and other game shows. All of which were a great time, from Harry Potter trivia which was good for family fun. All the way to the 18+ adult game show, which my ribs still hurt from laughing so much. Our shore excursion we chose to do was fun as well. We elected to do the nature walk and crab feed in Ketchikan. Everything about that was awesome, from Sharon the bus driver who was hilarious, all the way down to the servers at the crab feed. So overall this experience was a great first cruise, yes there were negatives, but the positives out weigh those greatly. I only wrote so much on the negatives, because realistically those are areas for improvement and the more knowledge they have the better they can get. I will be back.

Some good...Some terrible

Grand Princess Cruise Review by hb408

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
So being a cruise virgin, my wife elected to take me on the Alaska cruise from San Francisco. It was a 10 day journey, ten very interesting days.

Before anything, I need to mention how poor the security was. When we got on board in San Francisco, you could have walked on with whatever you liked. Nobody was actually paying attention. The girls on the metal detectors were talking about boy problems, and boy did they have problems, and casually waved us through. I walked through with my phone and inhaler in my pocket, didn't set off the detector. Later on the journey I came to find out our neighbor had metal rods throughout his body and those didn't set them off either. In today's world, this is unacceptable. I am not saying there needs to be a crazy amount of security like an airport, but the gaps in what was provided were astounding. Not to mention an update in cannabis policy needs to be made. Threatening to throw you off the ship for something that is legal in literally every port you're visiting is a joke.

So lets start with the bad, I am one of those who prefers the bad news first. My first and biggest issue with this cruise was the food. The quality of the food was atrocious. Mainly in the main dining room, we were in the Botticelli, which was the biggest surprise to myself considering I was told it was going to be great quality from every person I have asked about cruising. So maybe I went in with high expectations, but what we were given was not acceptable. I honestly felt as though we were given canned vegetables every night, meats were often overcooked and tough. Not to mention the over complication of certain dishes, which ruined the overall meal. For example there was a spinach flan accompanying steak one night, which tasted like boxed flan that had just been mixed with rotting spinach juices. Not pleasant to taste, or listen to my mother in law complain about it. You can really tell they're pushing for you to dine in the boutique restaurants, Crown Grill and Sabatini's for this journey. The gap in quality is astounding and honestly I wish I would have known or I would have planned to dine in those areas every night.

Secondly, I would have to chime in on the service. 99% of the trip we received amazing service. From Albert and Carlos in the dining room to Marlon who serviced our stateroom daily. But there were a few bad apples that really left a sour taste in my mouth. Forgive the cliche, but as someone who comes from a hospitality background, that one bad apple can ruin all the hard work you put in. Mainly it was a gentleman who worked the Coffee & Cones stand. More than once, I got rolling eyes when I asked for two latte's for me and my wife. And one night I was walking up to get an after dinner coffee, because the coffee provided everywhere else was not even passable for coffee it was so weak, they just shut off the lights and stared at me as if to say "cant you see we are closed." Forgive me for not realizing the time while I was on vacation, a simple "Sorry sir we just closed, come back tomorrow" would have been fine but this experience really left a bad taste in my mouth. I wish I remembered his name, because I would call him out on here, every other staff member I encountered at this stand was pleasant and very helpful.

My third and final complaint is related to the fitness area. I used this 9 out of the 10 days we were on board and don't get me wrong the facilities are nice. But, there were two things I observed. One the cleaning is very minimal if not at all, I broke my Fitbit and the clasp fell off while I was using the Lat Pull Down machine on the 2nd day of the cruise. Well on the last day of the journey, I found it on the floor of the gym next to the machine. Which tells me they do not clean the floors at all during the voyage and if they are, they're doing a skimpy careless job. Some people may think this is a baseless complaint, but in the area of the ship where tons of people go, get sweaty and 90% of the people don't know what to do (i.e. clean the machines after they use them) well then it becomes an issue, or a petri dish. Also the amount of kids going through here unsupervised, even though there are signs everywhere saying "Under 16 needs to be supervised" , was ridiculous. I had one kid climb on the leg extension while I was using it, I had to yell at him and he ran off without his parents anywhere to be seen. So maybe the Spa desk staff can do a little better at observing who is walking in and enforce their own policies before someone actually gets hurt. Last gripe about the gym is that the Leg Press was broken when we boarded, I checked out the gym before we even left San Francisco, and it was not fixed the entire time, although a sign saying it was broken kept appearing and disappearing.

Your card dealers in the casino need to be more consistent too. I know rules are different on a ship, but consistency doesn't have to be. I had one guy who moved so fast, he would mess up deals or make it seem shady, anyone with fast hands in a casino is a major red flag in my experience. Not to mention I jokingly said to him "I've gotta win back my money you took last night at roulette" and he proceeded to scold me (or at least it came off that way) saying "Its not me who took your money, we are just the dealers, don't blame me sir." I was obviously kidding and everyone sitting at the blackjack with me immediately got uncomfortable. If you're going to take my money in the casino, at least do it with a smile, it comes off much better.

All that complaining out of the way, I did really enjoy the rest of the journey.

The shows were decently fun, we saw Rollin Jay Moore, the comedy magician (forgot his name sorry) and Vern Cotter. So for the comedy side of things, it was a good job. Although I felt bad for Mr. Cotter, as we were there for the last show of the last night, which was about 30 people in the crowd. But that just lead to a really cool intimate experience that you normally wouldn't get anywhere else. But please, please, please add some actual soul singers to the Motown show. That was the only show that was painful to watch.

We also joined in with the trivia's and other game shows. All of which were a great time, from Harry Potter trivia which was good for family fun. All the way to the 18+ adult game show, which my ribs still hurt from laughing so much.

Our shore excursion we chose to do was fun as well. We elected to do the nature walk and crab feed in Ketchikan. Everything about that was awesome, from Sharon the bus driver who was hilarious, all the way down to the servers at the crab feed.

So overall this experience was a great first cruise, yes there were negatives, but the positives out weigh those greatly. I only wrote so much on the negatives, because realistically those are areas for improvement and the more knowledge they have the better they can get. I will be back.
hb408’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MD D314
Pretty standard cabin. Amenities were basic but good. Fixtures could do with a face lift, as can much of the Grand Princess, but we weren't there to hang out in our room the whole time.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews