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Sail Date: September 2014

Just returned from our cruise on Grand Princess, round trip from Vancouver, we have nothing but praise for the staff, they are all helpful and friendly, especially Thanaya and I Wayan in Da VInci Resturant.

We had booked 4 ... Read More

Just returned from our cruise on Grand Princess, round trip from Vancouver, we have nothing but praise for the staff, they are all helpful and friendly, especially Thanaya and I Wayan in Da VInci Resturant.

We had booked 4 excursions with Princess - we had problems with them all, we will think twice about wasting our money next time.

Los Angelos: The bus was 1 hour late turning up at the pier for our excursion to Long Beach - think before doing this one, it's a waste of time and money, very little to see and do, you get the bus to the aquarium and then you have to get the free bus downtown - which has about 7 shops! There was no information or maps to guide us, We were fortunate to speak to a local girl on the bus who told us when to get off and walked into the town with us, Walmart and Ross is the main shops!

San Francisco: was beautiful but again we were 4 hours late docking supposedly due to our weather the previous night, but we heard that pier 27 was being 'officially opened' that morning a lot of men in suits around even although we were 4 hours late! Would we have spoilt the party Berthing on time I wonder??

We did the city tour for 4.5 hours which was really good and very informative. We then got off at pier 39 which was buzzing and had a lovely atmosphere, we had an overnight stay so enjoyed being relaxed and eating out.

Vancouver: we did the excursion which did the airport drop off, we then realised they take your cases from the pier to the airport which was good, but you were given hop on hop off bus tickets and a train ticket to the airport which you have to find yourself!

We had the most awful coach driver who said he was having a bad day and wished he had stayed at home!!

We complained about the intense heat on the bus he said the air conditioning wasn't working! He left the door open to allow fresh air in but it kept closing going round corners! We got off at Robson Street and never went back onto the tour.

The excursion team need to get there act together as it was very poorly managed.

Overall we enjoyed the cruise.

 

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Sail Date: May 2014

This was my third and final cruise aboard Century which has been sold and will end its run with Celebrity next year. Century is my favorite ship. I had not cruised for 12 years when I first boarded Century with DH, DD, and DS in 2006. ... Read More

This was my third and final cruise aboard Century which has been sold and will end its run with Celebrity next year. Century is my favorite ship. I had not cruised for 12 years when I first boarded Century with DH, DD, and DS in 2006. We had gone on two Baja California cruises when DS and DD were young, but did not sail while they were growing up. Finally, in 2006, when they were in high school, we sailed again- this time on the “beautiful Century” (as the crew calls her).

Century re-introduced us to cruising again, for which I am grateful. (Can you tell this good-bye cruise was seeped in sediment?). We sailed with her to the Caribbean, to Hawaii, and now to Canada. I was on Century last February when it was announced during our Cruise Critic get-together by the cruise director that Century would undergo a major overhaul. This led to several cruises to Hawaii and the Panama Canal to be canceled. Then, Celebrity changed course and decided to do only a minor facelift in order to sell the ship. Many people whose cruises were canceled were livid. Don’t blame them. After all of that drama, Century ended up having very little done to her. Perhaps new carpets, and a few other cosmetic additions, but little else. In fact, some things had been removed (perhaps in anticipation of the sale). In the Islands Cafe, an object d’ art had been removed, however, the placard stating the artist and title of the piece was still displayed and the metal brackets which had held it up were still there. A tile was missing from an otherwise attractive tile art display in Islands as well. It had obviously fallen off and was just left like that.

At our Cruise Critic get-together, many people expressed their disappointment that Century had been sold. One lady called her a “jewel” and stated at length how upset she was with Century’s retirement to Europe. In fact, cruise director, John Grantham, had to finally cut her off and segue onto another topic. As he said, “They don’t fly 707s anymore”. Unfortunately, the reality is that Century, in cruise terms, is old. She just can’t compete with the mega-ships of today.

This was an eight night trip from L.A. to Vancouver- Century’s new summer home while going on a series of Alaska runs. We had requested a table for two (DD and DS did not join us). We had been told “Of course” when booking the cruise, however, upon arriving prior to dinner to check out the table, we found ourselves assigned to a table for eight. We spoke with the gentleman in charge of solving all of the dining problems (good luck to him!) and we offered to switch to late seating (for the first time ever). He was able to get us a nice table for two. We enjoyed our dinners- nothing outstanding, but nothing terrible either. As always, more vegetarian choices would be appreciated. Islands Cafe always had something to offer, as well as the burger and sandwich stations near the pool. The Aqua Spa Cafe offered healthy choices.

Our inside cabin was kept clean and neat by Dee. We didn’t see any of the shows- two of them sounded like the same ones we had seen in 2007 onboard Mercury and last year onboard Century. There was a guitarist/singer who performed in the Cova Cafe and Rendez-Vous, other performers were also featured in the Rendez-Vous. The ship’s band performed at the Captain’s Club party. A band played as we sailed out of Victoria (they seemed to be practicing for the next cruise), otherwise there was no music by the pool. Also missing was the string quartet or trio.

The ports were great. One disclaimer, however. Be advised that some ports require the use of tendering boats. On this trip, as well as last year in Hawaii, I saw people struggle to get out of wheelchairs to be helped onto the tendering boats, with the boats rocking back and forth in the choppy water. Scary sight. Please consider your agility before booking a cruise which involves tendering. Even those of us who are nimble are forced to almost jump into the boat at times when boat really gets to rocking. Not something I would want to be doing when I am 70- 'nuff said. Catalina Island proved to be a nice port with different activities to choose from. We stopped at the Sandtrap for Happy Hour. Can’t say enough good things about it! Great drinks, $1 tacos, other food items as well. Wished I lived nearby, I would go every week! San Fran was an overnighter and a great experience. DH and I went to an Oakland game. They won 11-0, great game! Victoria is a nice place to visit, but as with some cities, bathrooms are limited. Even customers making purchases in some establishments aren’t allowed to use the restroom (such as Craigdarroch Castle- although there are restrooms for the castle tour guests, however. Gift shop customers are told to go to a nearby gas station- you get the idea). The Empress is an option for more than just a restroom break- don’t miss the afternoon tea! The gardens are a must-do. Seattle has many options, including three observation decks: the Space Needle, Smith Tower, and Columbia Center (don’t miss the world’s tallest Starbucks on the 40th floor). Seattle is also home to the original Starbucks located at the famous market at Pike Place. The Underground tour is a must-do. We went on a tour of the ballpark and loved it (if you are a baseball fan, go). EMP is great for music fans.

We disembarked in Vancouver and walked around before taking the subway to the airport- a quick and easy half hour ride. We will miss Century, but it is time to choose a new favorite ship. She can remain our sentimental favorite.

In sum:

Pros:

Food- lots of choices. Liked the ice cream and pizza in the Islands Cafe. (We liked the pizza so much we wanted to enjoy one last slice in the Hemisphere during the 80s party on the last night, but were refused admittance, being told “No, no, no”. Would have liked to have gone to the party, but thanks to the Hemisphere’s bouncer, we got an early start on packing instead. Funny, we had just been told at dinner to think of Celebrity as our “Home away from home”. I guess that’s true if you have a mother we doesn’t let you eat pizza in the living room because you might make a mess).

Aqua Spa- love the Turkish bath and aromatherapy steam room.

Aqua Spa Cafe- healthy eating.

Workout room- great views from the front of the ship.

Hemisphere Room- great views for the Alaska passengers who don’t want to get cold while enjoying the sights. (Just don’t bring in any food or drinks).

Cons:

Theater: Could use more variety in the production shows. They are repeated year after year it seems.

Aqua Spa Cafe: No longer serves salmon or chicken as they did last year. Very limited menu.

Michael’s Club: The club is now a “private” club. Last year we enjoyed listening to a musical performance there, not so this year. Class system, anyone?

If you have yet to sail on Century, don’t be afraid to do so- she is a classic. If you don’t mind the lack of bells and whistles which accompany the modern mega-ships, you can look forward to an enjoyable cruise on a ship which will be missed by her many fans. Just hurry and book before it’s too late!

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Sail Date: May 2014

THE SHIP:  My wife and I and 2 friends of ours cruised on the Pearl from Los Angeles to Vancouver, BC....stopping in San Francisco and Victoria, BC along the way. We got on the ship about 1.5 hours before it sailed, so we were ... Read More

THE SHIP:  My wife and I and 2 friends of ours cruised on the Pearl from Los Angeles to Vancouver, BC....stopping in San Francisco and Victoria, BC along the way. We got on the ship about 1.5 hours before it sailed, so we were literally the only people in line. So obviously, that all went fast. When we got on, we immediately noticed this ship was SO much nicer than any of the Carnival ships we had been on in the past. I have cruised Celebrity and Carnival, but my wife had only been on Carnival. She was extremely happy about the obvious difference.

The ship itself was EXTREMELY clean and we did not meet a rude employee the entire cruise. The layout of the decks were great. We did not need a ship map and never got lost. All of the elevators had informative deck plan placards, and there were occasional placards posted on the walls throughout the ship. The pool area had 4 hot tubs and 2 pools. 1 pool was for kids and 1 was for adults. They were both labeled and enforced. Each pool had 2 hot tubs connected to them. The pools were small, but no smaller than other ships. Who really swims in cruise ship pools anyway?

CABIN:

Our cabin (9132) was a balcony room which had plenty of space, a couch and a good sized balcony. The only complaint about the room was the limited drawer space. A nice surprise was a pay mini bar in the room and the selections were the same prices as up on deck. Our Room Steward (Cristian) was attentive and friendly.

SPA:

The spa had everything you need; hot tubs, sauna, steam bath, heated loungers, relaxation area and locker rooms. The spa employees were very nice. My wife gets cold easily, so she spent a lot of time in the warm spa.

DINING:

The food in all of the restaurants was amazing, except the sushi which was dry and obviously not freshly made. We ate in 3 specialty restaurants; La Cucina (Italian), Moderno Churrascaria (Brazilian Steakhouse) and Lotus Garden (Teppanyaki). All were add charge restaurants, but Lotus Garden had additional charges for certain items. I did not realize this until our bill of $80 was presented at the end. My wife saw the additional charges on the menu, but I did not....so my bad there. La Cucina was the best of the three. We ate in the regular dining rooms as well, which had as good or better food than the specialty restaurants. When we cruise NCL again, we will probably just eat in the regular dining rooms.

ENTERTAINMENT:

The entertainment on Pearl was focused at an older crowd. Most of the cruisers appeared to be in their 60's, 70's and 80's. We are in our mid 40's, so the music was not to our liking. However, there was a very entertaining juggler in the main auditorium (Stardust). One night we went to the Spinnaker Lounge to watch a comedian who was horrible beyond belief. Even though the crowd was older, we enjoyed their company throughout the cruise. Everyone was having such a great time that the age gap was not always noticeable. The casino was awesome! Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps and plenty of slot machines. My wife actually hit the jackpot on a quarter slot and took home $600. I enjoyed hours of $5 Craps and $5 Blackjack on just $40.

SHORE EXCURSIONS:

Prior to cruising, we booked Alcatraz tours directly through the Alcatraz people. We paid $35 per person instead of the higher rate through NCL Shore Excursions. This turned out great because the Alcatraz tours left from the dock right beside where Pearl docked. I would recommend this for future cruisers. As for Victoria, the four of us couldn't agree on a shore excursion so we took a cab into town ($5.50) and walked around the Legislative Building, Empress Hotel and the adjacent shopping district. The Canadian people were so nice. From the shop employees, to the food servers and bartenders. It was such a breath of fresh air to talk to nice people. Not Los Angeles people (aka: Angelenos) who are so bitter and nasty. Unfortunately, the nastiness becomes normal when you live there and nice people stand out when traveling. We stopped for a couple drinks in a little place called "The Local" and highly recommend the bar to anyone looking to relax and enjoy a few drinks with friendly bartenders. The experience was so nice that we gave a 100% tip.

CLOSING:

We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise! The Freestyle Cruising concept fit us well, the ship was immaculate and the employees were top notch. The tipping system was a bit of a confusion for us because you have no set waiter and such, except your Room Steward. We were unsure of what cut Cristian got of the $12 per day, so we left a little in the room for him. I almost wish NCL would go to a percentage tip for each meal as you eat, and a set amount for the Room Steward. This would be more clear for cruisers who want to make sure their Room Steward is taken care of. I have seen bad reviews of NCL, but we did not experience any problems and look forward to our next cruise with them. We have a Caribbean cruise planned on RCCL, but had so much fun on Pearl that we are thinking of switching it to NCL.

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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014

We had a very fantastic and enjoyable trip crossing the Pacific -- the entertainment was outstanding, the lecturers knowledgeable and witty, the service top notch, the food delicious (especially the Olympic) and the crew entirely ... Read More

We had a very fantastic and enjoyable trip crossing the Pacific -- the entertainment was outstanding, the lecturers knowledgeable and witty, the service top notch, the food delicious (especially the Olympic) and the crew entirely approachable with excellence in the forefront. I have read other reviews about this trip and although I agree with some of the points raised I wholeheartedly disagree with complaints about the ship and crew.

First to mention, our upgrade from 'suite guarantee' to a Royal Suite was fantastic and made for a very incredible trip! Hence, I imagine part of our experiences enjoyed on the voyage may not be comparable to others.

Embarkation in Yokohama was confusing and if we had not taken matters into our own hands it could have been a long and drawn out process (i.e. waiting in line to get a number to wait in line to get processed). But, that was the port’s process, not the ship. Since we were in a suite we by-passed that process, although we had to convince security to let us through; however, once we got into the ship's processing area we were treated like royalty. There, we were met by Maritza (Michael’s Club concierge) and personally escorted on board to Michael’s Club -- where we waited comfortably while our room was readied, which needless to say, was fantastic -- and our butler, Richard, was outstanding!

This was the inauguration of Michael’s Club on the Millennium and I want to say we were totally spoiled by the service. Maritza did an outstanding job of making everyone feel welcome and helping to connect everyone in the club; also, kudos go out to Helen and Tipi for providing great service.

The port stops were in Hakodate, Muroran (Sapporo) and Petropavlovsk. These are not the most exciting ports, but a chance to see something different. Hakodate’s port was quite far from the city. Buses were provided to the central market area (school children were at the port to assist with information and giving themselves a chance to practice their English which was a nice touch). Muroran was also a port far from the city. Here we opted for the one hour bus to Sapporo and explored on our own. We just missed the peek of the cherry blossoms, although there were still many in bloom. As an added delight, a very beautiful send off came from the locals as the ship was preparing to leave.

The next port, Petropavlovsk, was a running joke by Steve, the cruise director, on the inefficiencies of the Russian customs which surprisingly enough did not present any problem to us in getting off the ship; we took a cruise tour to avoid the visa issue (the U.S. embargo was a problem with purchasing though, charge cards were denied and dollars were not accepted at the places we were trying to buy). The delay came, however, as the ship was trying to leave because of passport issues (5 hours delay) -- partly due to Russian immigration and partly due to the ship needing a better system on making it known about the re-collection of passports upon re-boarding. We almost walked through without turning ours in and we could see how others could have gotten by.

One of the other complaints of reviewers had to do with the norovirus outbreak and the constant announcements on washing hands. I think the crew did a very good job of cleaning all parts of the ship during the initial week when this was identified as a problem, and even afterwards when it was contained. Actually, one precaution that was practiced when we first boarded that I believe should have been continued was having attendants serve all buffet items to keep the guests hands out of the food areas including beverage dispensers.

Steve, the cruise director, did a fantastic job of providing top-notch entertainment, considering having to get a new act on the spur of the moment when one group was denied entrance into Japan. The concert pianist was a magnificent showman, especially with the addition of the young violinist. The other outstanding addition to this cruise was the Celebrity Corporate Executive Chef Rufino joining the cruise to give cooking demonstrations and classes (a favorite with my wife). The last treat was the captain took the inside passage on the way into Vancouver. Overall this trip set a high bar for service and enjoyment for all of our cruises going forward.

 

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Sail Date: May 2014

I will say I was a bit apprehensive over booking a Pacific Coastal Cruise on a "small" ship (my goodness my mom crossed the Atlantic in a 35K ton ship). I had read the reviews and knew that the Century was old and showing her age, but ... Read More

I will say I was a bit apprehensive over booking a Pacific Coastal Cruise on a "small" ship (my goodness my mom crossed the Atlantic in a 35K ton ship). I had read the reviews and knew that the Century was old and showing her age, but then in ship years 20 is getting up there.

Embarkation was fairly fast and easy, we are used to being a higher category on Royal Caribbean so it was a bit of a shock to be with the "masses". We headed straight for the Cova Cafe and fell in love at first sight even though we received our second shock. We had upgraded our cabin and had a drink package as a bonus. We ordered our tea and received a bill, so we headed straight to Guest Relations and they had it fixed immediately. We continued to enjoy our first ever beverage package for the rest of the voyage. Even after that initial shock Cafe Cova became our favourite spot for morning coffee and afternoon tea -- special shout out to Kristina and the morning baristas!! And the Black and White Cookies are to die for!!

Our cabin (4087) was lovely, extremely clean and my goodness the storage was incredible. Our luggage arrived quite early and we actually had space leftover. Our cabin attendants were cheerful, friendly and kept everything so neat and tidy. I missed Vithal when we left the ship -- no towel animals on my bed at home.

From the get go all the crew were friendly, helpful and being on the smaller ship there was more contact, never once did we meet anyone that was less than nice and friendly.

We like to have Select Dining with a table for two in the main dining room. We liked the service from our waiter Joseph and requested him each night. We are easily pleased but we didn't have a bad dinner at all and I quite enjoyed the selection. Not terribly fond of the table for eight that they deem four tables of two - -but space is limited so they do what they have to do.

Catalina Island was quite nice, we did have delays during the tendering process and we thought we might have missed our excursion. But somehow they caught up and we enjoyed an afternoon of kayaking. We weren't too thrilled with the lack of explanation for the excursion. We ended up walking twice the distance than we had expected - not a big deal but we would have planned better and saved our shopping for later rather than rushing ashore and shopping first.

San Francisco - what can you say except we were extremely lucky to have fabulous weather. We just did our own thing and loved being over night in the harbour.

Seattle - another not so great excursion experience. I won't go into great detail but the bus company seemed to have messed up, we paid the price and in the end Celebrity refunded our excursion. Interesting when we went and talked to them at the excursion desk we mentioned that we were not looking for a refund, but they gave it anyway. Very nice.

Victoria - back home for us, Bit of a delay with the CBSA (border guards) and when we left the ship we had to really hike to get to our privately booked whale watching ship. Even though we know Victoria fairly well we misjudged the distance and the time to walk to the Inner Harbour. We finally went into a local hotel to ask for a taxi to be called and the conceirge offered to drive us to the Inner Harbour - what a true gentleman.

We just enjoyed the slow pace and lack of belly flop contests on the deck of the Century, the blankets laid out when the weather turned chilly. I would truly love to book a week to Alaska this summer to enjoy her one last time, but time and money just doesn't allow for that indulgence.

It was a great break and our bonus was only having to fly one way. It wasn't perfect, there were bumps in the road, worn couches in the lounges and a few other glitches but over all we really enjoyed.

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Sail Date: May 2014

As a solo traveler, I got a really good deal, which is rare obviously. I just wanted to get away and try and build up my next tier for cruising on Princess. Additionally, I wanted to check out the ship and try and relax and have a good ... Read More

As a solo traveler, I got a really good deal, which is rare obviously. I just wanted to get away and try and build up my next tier for cruising on Princess. Additionally, I wanted to check out the ship and try and relax and have a good time, which I did. As a previous passenger on the Pacific Princess last month, I really enjoyed the Island Princess even more. It was on a bigger in scale scale, the service was slightly better, the crowd was a little bit younger, the food was better and the entertainment was absolutely outstanding.

The cabins are laid out much differently than the Pacific Princess. They are smaller in square footage but I like the layout better. For example, there is ample closet space and a bathroom is more private and secluded then on the Pacific Princess since you have the closet as a divider! Additionally, the balconies have a glass transparent structure that allow you to look at the ocean with less obstruction.

One thing I do not like about most Princess ships is that they have balconies that protrude under other balconies. On this particular ship, the forward section of balconies are at level from top to bottom decks on the ship. This means you're not looking down on someone or turning your head and looking up at a sea of balconies looking at you. For the most part, their larger ships really missed the mark on "private balconies" in my opinion! If you want more private on this type of ship, select one in the forward section.

The ship, three years newer than the Pacific Princess felt much newer and did not show her age. The public areas were completely shiny and new, the carpeting was in great condition and so was all the furniture throughout the ship.

The entertainment on board was outstanding. The show, "On the Bayou," was wonderful and is only shown on the island and its sister, the Coral as they built a stage made just for this show that rotates, has hydraulic lifts and spins. The "Piano Man," at the princess theater, was also superb and featured songs of Billy Joel, Elton John and Barry Manilow.

One thing Princess is extremely behind on is there anal-retentive nature about dressing formally on a formal evening. They seem to forget people are on vacation and although some people want to dress in formal attire, many do not. It should be "formal optional" and Princess really falls behind the mark in this domain.

The only drawbacks are the formal evenings and the disembarkation was not the greatest. I did a "self-help" disembarkation, meaning I did not purchase a princess transfer. When I went to the "platinum lounge," the Captain's Cruise Circle hostess (Julie) told me to "be gone." That really put a damper on the last memory I had getting off. Being that I enjoy the rest of the crew so much I did not allow her rudeness to interfere with the good time I had but I did leave immediately when she pointed me out to the gateway.

Another drawback, their afternoon tea is extraordinarily rushed and you could tell the servers do not want to do this additional task. They are downright rude and passing around sandwiches and tea as quickly as possible. Although they wear white gloves, it is certainly far from white glove service. Princess needs to rethink this and make it a little bit more as they advertise it.

Lastly, I really appreciate that Princess allows people to have gluten-free bread and rice milk or soy milk for those of us who prefer an alternative to dairy or gluten. Great product, I recommend anybody to go on this beautiful ship.

 

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Sail Date: May 2014

My friend from high school and myself delighted ourselves with a 3 day cruise. Flew to Vancouver for 2 nights before sailing out of this glorious port. (My favorite second to San Francisco, where we live) We stayed at Blue Horizon, my ... Read More

My friend from high school and myself delighted ourselves with a 3 day cruise. Flew to Vancouver for 2 nights before sailing out of this glorious port. (My favorite second to San Francisco, where we live) We stayed at Blue Horizon, my third time there. You can't beat the price and the view. They say harbor view is best so we asked for that this time. But I have had three different views now and they are all pretty spectacular. Plus it's located on Robson Street, you can walk almost anywhere from there. Or bike. We rented a tandem bike and rode around the seawall. Highly recommend, that was so much fun!!! I took her to dinner to celebrate her graduation from grad school last year. She never threw a party so I threw one for her at Seasons in the Park. Oh my goodness, it's about a 20$ cab ride and so worth it. Sits atop a hill in Queen Elizabeth park and the view of Vancouver is amazing. We sat on the outside covered patio in the rain in front of a fireplace and they provided warm blankets too. So Vancouver was fabulous, then we took a taxi to the port, about five minutes away. (oh, don't forget to get a cupcake at Cupcakes a couple blocks away).

Embarkation was pretty slow. Slowest I've ever endured, actually, but that was the fault of the port I think. Two cruises were embarking at the same time. Once we got to the Princess area it moved a bit faster.

Our stateroom was your standard balcony, I suppose. We loved it. We had a balcony dance party before dinner (bring a mini speaker for your iPhone to play music). Played 80s music and had so much fun. Brought our champagne down from sailaway to finish it up.

Standard Princess ship, except that this one has a THERMAL SUITE!!!!! Last time I had access to a thermal suite I thought I didn't want to part with $50 but I was wrong. Totally worth it if you like that sort of thing. Otherwise, it seemed like the others. Except that Vines on this ship does not have a pizza oven and that was really sad.

The ship itself seemed in ship shape. haha. Not run down. Really nice and clean. Food was really good in the dining room, buffet, and fish and chips were good. We didn't really have any misses on this one, yay! At least where food was concerned...

Now for the staff and overall service.

I've been worried since Carnival bought Princess that service would go downhill. Not that Princess was ever perfect, but they have never actually bait and switched me before! Well, now they have. As mentioned, a friend and I were taking a long girl weekend, and we had never been on a cruise together, though we have known each other since high school. We were so excited, and she said she would buy us a bottle of Dom Perignon for sailaway. Having never tasted this champagne, I was quite excited. She makes extremely good money and is quite generous :) We tried to buy in Vancouver but it was 287 dollars. Even she balked at the overcharge, saying she purchases it at home for about one hundred dollars. I found a bottle of pink rose Veuve Cliquot that I thought was charming, plus I love pink champagne. She said that was more close to what the actual price should be so she bought that instead. She has money but that doesn't mean she doesn't want to get a good value. So we board and plan to drink that. But it was in her suitcase and the bags hadn't arrived so we were going to have to drink something from the bar. Out of curiosity, we asked the price of the Dom. I told her their Korbel (which she won't drink) was very reasonably priced so maybe Dom would be too. We were quoted 129 dollars. She said "Sold!". Very reasonable. The waiter agreed with us, saying their prices were very good. We told him the story about how much it was in Vancouver and 129 was so much better than that price! So our bucket finally arrives just before we get to the Lyons Gate Bridge, he takes photos of us, we clink glasses as we enter the bridge, people ask what we are celebrating, we say nothing, just old friends from high school. It was so much fun! We were about halfway through our first glass of champagne, chatting with people, gazing at the glorious scenery, sharing our bannister spot with people. The waiter comes back and says can you sign the ticket. She quickly takes time out from our fun to sign and then we carry on. Later that night as we are getting ready for dinner she is changing bags and she notices the ticket she signed says $179 for the bottle. We can't believe it. I'm thinking, Princess would not do that, we will go talk to Passenger Services later and surely they will correct this. WRONG. We explain the story and are basically questioned as to whether it was a language barrier. It was not, he spoke perfect English (from the Philippines). And even if it was, should they really be having people serving alcohol who might have language barriers? The woman says she can't do anything, we drank it. We have to speak with food and beverage. So it's our job to hunt down their managers for their mistake when we are trying to enjoy and escape completely on our very short cruise? Ok, so we talk to the maître d because we don't know how to locate food and beverage manager. He says he will talk to the manager, can't believe that happened to us, how horrible, that should not be happening on Princess, etc. etc. That was the last night so we did not have an opportunity to speak with him again. He took down our information so we thought maybe it will be deducted from the final bill. NOPE. It was not. My dear friend had $50 basically stolen from her by Princess. It is bad business practice, to say the least, but also extremely stupid of them not to cover for their own mistake over $50!!! She said she still would have paid that price if that was what she had been quoted. But she was not and they cheated her. They stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars from this woman. She loves to shop and vacation and drink wine and enjoy spa treatments. I didn't have to talk her into paying $50 for the thermal suite for the 3 days. She didn't blink. Just said, absolutely! And booked spa treatment. Princess is led by idiots if this is how they are going to treat their customers. Quite unbelievable. I'm platinum level so it will be hard to leave. But I have cruised other lines who I'm pretty sure would not treat guests this way. Time to search around for an organization that doesn't find it acceptable to cheat guests.

I also wrote about this in the survey Princess sends out after the cruise. Nobody even bothered to contact me about it. It fell on deaf ears, apparently. Nothing. Unbelievable.

Our cabin stewardess was not that wonderful either. She was friendly, but I had written in our pre-cruise information that we were celebrating my friend's graduation and her balloons and congratulations poster weren't put up until the night before we disembarked!! Why bother at that point?? It was kind of embarrassing. You talk all highly about Princess to your friends and then they let you down several times over the cruise...

We enjoyed dancing at Skywalker's, I was so excited we were on a ship that still had that. It's the coolest thing, I hope they leave it on a few ships. Good music.

Our day in Victoria was splendid. We went to Craigdarroch castle. I recommend. It's fascinating. And had to visit the Fairmont for their chocolate bars. So yummy and it's so cute in there. Then I asked our taxi driver from the castle to take us to the pub that has a Guinness brownie and he knew exactly what I was talking about! Irish pub or something. We had poutine, dark matter beer and a chocolate beer which was utterly ridiculously delicious, and the brownie, which was possibly even more delicious than I remembered (ate it on Alaska cruise last July). Must eat. MUST EAT!

Disembarkation was a bit chaotic because I'm guessing SF port is still under construction so immigration had to come aboard and we had to pass inspection before disembarkation. But Princess did do a fine job here, telling us to continue to relax in our rooms or wherever we wanted since that was so chaotic.

In summary, Princess is not like it was ten years ago. It is slipping. I believe it could very easily be bumped up to that same level where their customer service was excellent. But right now I am sad to see where they are. May have to cruise NCL next time. I like them too, very much. (Are they also Carnival??)

However, so far no cruise is a bad cruise. And now me and my friend have more funny jokes about our adventures, good and bad, we make a joke of it. Even though the $50 thing isn't really that funny...our cabin steward stealing our ice bucket caused a cabin rant that we will be laughing about for the next 20 years. As long as you can laugh about substandard service you will be okay.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014

This was my first cruise with Celebrity and was the worst cruise vacation so far because of the services food quality and entertainment.

Embarkation at Yokohama was very unorganized and confusing : no signboards directing guests ... Read More

This was my first cruise with Celebrity and was the worst cruise vacation so far because of the services food quality and entertainment.

Embarkation at Yokohama was very unorganized and confusing : no signboards directing guests where to check in their bags and where to line up for passenger check in procedures, very few guest relation staff to help out guests, insufficient chairs in the terminal hall.

The overall services of most staff members were satisfactory. However, my cabin attendant was careless in doing his job. He did not refill shampoo bottle when empty. He only provide one bathing soap for 2 persons in the cabin for the entire cruise. He even left a cleaning spray bottle on the floor outside the washroom one evening. I came across 2 cabin attendants on my deck floor and one officer on the staircase and they had a very unhappy faces and did not let you pass. I had to step aside and let them go first. On several occasions, I saw bucket of water with cleaning towel in it left in the deck corridor overnight.

For the first 7 day of the cruise, buffet meals in the main dinning room were served by staff members but they were under staff and did not know their duties very well. Guests had to face with long line up for food and drinks. The food in all restaurants was always cold and of poor quality : steak overcooked, shrimps and lobster tasteless. They deployed too many waiters selling soft drinks and alcohol during meals, even at breakfast.

The shows in the theater were only satisfactory. They had too many guest speakers giving out boring talks and only staged 1 movie at the theater during the entire cruise.

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Sail Date: May 2014

Hotel: Doubletree San Pedro - the hotel is nice, and beautifully located right on the marina, but the first room they gave me was so noisy that I and to request a change. They have two or three rooms whose front doors give onto a ... Read More

Hotel: Doubletree San Pedro - the hotel is nice, and beautifully located right on the marina, but the first room they gave me was so noisy that I and to request a change. They have two or three rooms whose front doors give onto a balcony right above the reception desk. You hear everything - music, luggage, front desk clerks, telephones - I mean everything. Of course, the room the replaced it with was at the very far end of the hotel - A very long walk for a partially disabled guy like me! But at least the 2nd room was quiet!

Dinner the night before the cruise at 22nd St. Landing. Delicious grilled sea bass - not cheap, but worth every penny.

Embarkation was delayed, so there were hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in the terminal, but at last we got on and made our way up to the Horizon court buffet. I was pleasantly surprised by the food. It's been my experience that the first lunch buffet on Princess is mediocre at the very best, but this time the food was good. Our stateroom was ready, and it was a standard Princess balcony stateroom. Bed was very comfortable, everything was clean and the bathroom looked a bit updated, but of course the shower was tiny as always.

I had two stewards - one left when we were in San Francisco, but both of them were good.

The ship: Yes, the Crown is a bit older, but I thought it was in very good shape. It's a bit different than the other Princess ships I've been on - the Vista lounge on other ships is 'Club Fusion' on the Crown, without the bench seating. Crown Grill is where Sabatini's is on other ships, etc.,etc. No problem, really. The one problem is that the Crown takes more passengers than the Grand/Star/Golden, but the many of the public rooms are the same size, which means they fill up quicker. The International Cafe area was always packed with people, and there were lines every night for dinner...even if you had a reservation!

On the good side, unlike the Grand and Golden, the changing rooms in the spa/gym area have showers, sauna and steam rooms, so that is a definite plus.

Food: Unlike some other folks on my cruise critic roll call, I thought the MDR food was quite good - didn't have a single bad dinner there, and the maitre'd at DaVinci was very helpful. Buffet food was good too - always a good variety to cater to every taste. the only disappointment for me was at Sabatini's. The special pasta when i went was spaghetti carbonara, which had way too much egg, and ended up very heavy and gloppy. And I had the veal chop, which was tough. Lastly, I got a glass of wine, which was good, but very skimpy for the price.

Service: Great - absolutely no complaints - Princess appears to have made a concerted effort in the past couple of years to improve on service, and it shows.

Entertainment: Fair, with one glittering exception and one piece of eye candy: The acts they had in the theater (hypnotist, impressionist) were mediocre. However, the classical quartet (Magdalena Quartet) was probably the best classical ensemble I've seen on a cruise. They ladies were good, and that was evidenced by the people (like me), that made it a point to attend their performances, rather than just listening for a few minutes while passing by. The eye candy was provided by a very muscled - and shirtless- young man performing acrobatics in the piazza.

Ports: Well, you can't go wrong with Santa Barbara and San Francisco, especially when the sun is shining. I actually didn't get off the ship until Victoria, as I live in the SF bay area and have been to Santa Barbara many times.

Disembarkation was very quick and easy.

Overall, I had a nice, relaxing time, and the ship and crew made it a good vacation.

 

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Sail Date: May 2014

I am an avid cruiser. Been on Carnival (not a great time), 4 amazing Disney Cruises and a couple of 2 night NCL (repo Vancouver-Seattle). I am a Disney cruiser at heart, but one good thing about living in Vancouver is taking advantage ... Read More

I am an avid cruiser. Been on Carnival (not a great time), 4 amazing Disney Cruises and a couple of 2 night NCL (repo Vancouver-Seattle). I am a Disney cruiser at heart, but one good thing about living in Vancouver is taking advantage of last minute cheapie 1 night cruises to get a cruise fix for 60 bucks now and then.

It was my daughter's 18th birthday the same night as the cruise - which for a well travelled and cruised teen, it meant FINALLY being allowed into adult areas, spa, etc... This made a perfect choice! I brought her best friend along and the 3 of us set off for a mini-adventure.

I had booked 2 side by side BB balcony staterooms on deck 12 mid deck. Single supplement fee was only $15 and was worth it to have my own cabin so the 2 'kids' could stay up as late as they wanted and I could go to bed when I wanted. I paid $59 plus $80 in port/taxes each (and $15 supplement for me). About 5 days before the cruise the inside rate was $29 and all the inside people got upgraded to balconies - so wishing we had done that - but we got upgraded to mini-suites. Only problem was mine was Deck 9 D120 and they were waaaaaaaaaay at the back around D630 I believe. We were hoping to travel light and were going to share a few toiletries and stuff, so had to double pack everything because of this. Only one night so not a big deal. Enjoyed the upgrade.

We took the skytrain down to Canada Place, grabbed a starbucks and then headed for the line up around 10:55am. First security line took about 15 mins, then through the next one, about 10 minutes, then another 15 to get our key cards. We sat and waited about a half hour and were on the ship by about 12:15pm.

I was hoping we were going to get the patter to read in the waiting area before boarding, but we didn't. No big deal.

When we boarded the ship we were surprised that they said our rooms were ready. Any cruise I have done in the past the rooms are usually not ready until about 2pm -so this was a bonus. We went and checked out just one of the rooms and then headed to the Horizon Buffet.

Was not overly crowded. Food was pretty terrible. I found a few things I liked but things were just over cooked and too salty. We noticed this a LOT on this ship - everything chewy and salty.

We went exploring, went to the spa to make an appointment for my daughter to have her first 'adult' spa at sea experience. Spa staff were super nice.

I didn't find the staff elsewhere on the ship overly attentive or nice -I really got the vibe they hate these 1 night cruises, and who can blame them? A load of people for just one night - knowing they have to re-do everything the next day (muster drill, welcomes, etc....). I have often thought they should make these 2 nights or just give the staff a night off.

We explored the ship a bit, not much was going on anywhere so I went to my stateroom. I arrived to my bed request of 1 queen to be 2 twins. Sat on the balcony and my room steward came by to see if everything was ok and offered me a free glass of champagne. I asked him to please put the bed together later and he said no problem. I sat on the balcony and enjoyed some peace and quiet with my drink (terrible champagne) and then had a quick 20-30 min nap to refresh for the rest of the day.

We went and found the pizza and had a slice (it was so thin you couldn't just hold it and eat it - you had to use a fork and knife). My daughter's friend had a burger and fries and said it was good. We were debating whether to bother with the dining room later or just get burgers.

Being separated at different ends of the ship meant 2 different muster stations. I had to go this alone. Let me say, on Disney, they have muster drill to a fine art - no life jackets needed, go to your station and in 10 mins you are done. My station was the theater. We had to bring life jackets. Of course a ton of people showed up very late. Our muster captain was on the mic and said this should take no longer than 25-30 mins. WHAT??? Are you kidding me??? We sat and waited, and waited - and waited. Finally the captain came on, then left - and apparently still many people were missing. Then people showed up with no life jackets and we had to wait for them to get them - almost 45 mins later we were done. I almost fell asleep in there. They really need to work on this muster drill thing and get some lessons from Disney on how to do this!

We then all met back up at the sail away party.

Again - on Disney, the minute the drill is over you have to book it up to the pool for the party - its packed FULL of people - nowhere to stand if you don't get there in time. So we meet on deck 14 and nothing is going on. I asked where the party was and was told 'here' - well there was no party. We went up to deck 15 to overlook the pool area and waited for the sailaway party. Finally a band started playing and about 6 staff members danced. That was it - no blowing of the horn when we actually sailed away - nothing. Very underwhelming.

I checked out the patter to see what was happening. I was surprised there was no bingo at all - I enjoy a cruise bingo and have won a lot of cash at them in the past, so was hoping for that. Nothing. We opted to explore the ship and check out that adult only area back by the spa.

When we arrived at the sanctuary it was a hot mess. The pool was under some major reno, dirt everywhere. I was really hoping to use that area. The entire area is very tired and worn looking and needs a serious dry dock. The green 'carpet' throughout was filthy and coming up in the corners. It needs a complete refurb.

Went and wandered the ship and found it an odd layout. I found when I went to deck 5/6/7 that it feels like there is nothing beyond the restaurants. If you didn't look at a ship map, you would feel that is where it ends. The atrium is underwhelming and dark. I checked out the restaurant menus and saw prime rib, so we decided we would eat there that night.

Fast forward to dinner and we went to the dining room. The staff was rude and short with everyone. It was my daughter's 18th bday and we wanted a table to ourselves. We didn't want to share, and got a huge dirty look when we requested this. There were dozens and dozens of tables open.

We had ceaser salads and they were made with a vinegrette dressing, not ceaser. I had the prime rib and it was not much thicker than a piece of roast beef, overly salty and kind of tasted like ham. It was fatty and gross. My potatoes were good but the corn on the cob was mushy and gross. The 'kids' both ordered the chicken and it was inedible. It was tough and salty. They ate a bit and just sent it off. They brought out a little chocolate mousse cake to my daughter and sang and I had the flourless chocolate cake. YUCK! We left hungry and decided to go get a burger. In the patter it said the pizza and burgers were open until 10pm - they were shut down at 6:30pm. Went to the buffet - shut down (even though was to be open until 11pm). We got ice creams. We went to the comedy show and it was good - the guy was really funny (Aj something...). We enjoyed that. Then went to deck 14 as we were starving - we caught the buffet 10 mins before closing. Food was terrible, but it was something.

We went down to the casino because it said it would be open at 10pm - closed still. Went down to deck 5 and found the international café - Ok finally found some decent food!!! If we ever go on a one nighter on this again I know to grab burgers early and then just eat at this café!

We then checked out the skywalkers nightclub. I was exhausted - it was about midnight so I left the kids to the club and I went back to the casino - still closed. I opted to go back to my cabin to watch some tv and enjoy the balcony at night.

My room steward had never been back to my room - the bed was put together earlier in the day (during the drill I believe) and I had no disembarkation info at all - I phoned guest services and was thrilled to hear we could stay on the ship until 10am.

Had a good nights sleep.

Went down to breakfast buffet at 845am and food was 'ok' -pancakes and waffles were good. Eggs were gross (liquid eggs). Lots of cornbeef hash and stuff offered, but not our thing. It wasn't great. I was sure happy I didn't have to eat on this ship for a week.

We went down to the international café again and had good coffee (pay for) and really yummy apple Danish and choc croissants - again we should have just gone there to begin with!

Overall we had a fun time - was nice to get on a ship and get my fix in for a night. Laying in a lounger in the sun (we had great weather) can make you fee like you are on a mini vacation.

I wouldn't sail this ship (or possibly even Princess at all) for more than 1-2 nights as I felt the ship was very tired. My sink countertop was cracked, lots of dirt and rust in the 'corners'. The pool area needs a paint job - basically this ship could really use a good few months in dry dock and a big spruce up.

I wasn't expecting tons of offerings of 'things to do' on a one nighter, but with casino being closed, offering a bingo would be fun. They had gravity playing by the pool and it was fun to lay out there and watch. Someone needs to teach them how to put some flavacol in the popcorn though - just plain popped is pretty boring - 1 tsp of flavacol costs about 10 cents and turns it yellow and yummier.

I also felt nickeled and dimed on drinks - they 'just happened' to always be out of anything free to drink but water. No lemonade ever seemed available, and if it did become available it was gone in 2 seconds and never refilled. I am spoiled with all the free drinks on Disney cruise, but also expected at least one self serve beverage station that was more than coffee and tea! Even on NCL they have fountain drinks of the freebie stuff all day. The food was all extra salty on princess in an effort to get you to buy more pop!

My daughter said the spa was nice but not as nice as some she has been in before (off ship). They didn't darken the room for her massage and play soft music. She is a bit of a day spa junkie and said she would give this one a 6/10. I found the services more expensive than other ships.

Our 2 nighter on NCL was a better short cruise - more things offered to do, didn't feel like we were 'putting out' the staff.

These staff were not into this cruise (really can't blame them, but please don't show it). They all were tired and could have used a day off I think.

I would definitely do this one nighter again for some fun and a quick getaway from my stressful job, but this cruise did not entice me to look into cruising anything longer with princess ever again. I came home from my 2 night NCL and was looking up future cruises with them, but not with Princess. Very under-whelmed!

 

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