Although I know this was going to be very special because it was the 50th Anniversary Cruise....filled with elites, cast members from the T.V. show and special entertainment [folks who had won best this and best that], it was going to be ... Read More
Although I know this was going to be very special because it was the 50th Anniversary Cruise....filled with elites, cast members from the T.V. show and special entertainment [folks who had won best this and best that], it was going to be my very first Princess cruise onboard a ship with fewer than 1,000 passengers onboard.
I've been cruising since 1985 and sailed for 10 days onboard the beautiful Sun Viking to the Caribbean. It was a small ship and my very first experience with cruising. I fell in love with the sea and sailing on her. I started with Royal Caribbean but have chosen Princess as the years have gone by!
The port in L.A. was so easy....drop off luggage, find a parking space [I live in the San Fernando Valley] a 50 minute drive away. Walk across the street to the Port entrance with the delightfully cheery Princess employee's to welcome and direct you. I will NEVER get tired of being treated well by them.
What I love most about driving to the pier is that you can see the ship docked at it's berth and the goose bumps start at my feet and travel to the back of my neck as the ship comes into view. I can see flags flying and the very top deck with the promise of the week or two ahead filled with sun and fun. With the Pacific Princess there is none of this......You CAN'T see the ship behind the buildings.....what an eerie feeling....have they left without me? NO! She's there. She's just so much smaller than I've ever seen at this pier before. From the Diamond, Golden, Star, Crown and all the rest.....this is the first time the ship is smaller than the building she's anchored next to!
I checked in within 20 minutes of dropping the luggage, parking and walking to the registration desk. There was another bit of a wait [15 minutes] until we could actually start to board.
Walking onto this ship, showing my key card and getting into the elevator was the easiest I've ever experienced on boarding a ship. The crew welcomes you and asks where your stateroom is so that they can direct you to the front or back of the ship. As you step inside the ship you get the feeling of entering into a time warp. There's dark woods, wrought-iron railings, large stair cases.......sort of Titanic-like. She's friendly and welcoming.....like visiting a Great Aunt's home, who's lived there forever and taken great care of her environs.
I entered my Stateroom. The furnishings were fresh, old feeling, but fresh and clean. The woods were dark and there were doors on the closets [just like at home.] I had a veranda stateroom, not huge, not so small that I felt like the walls were closing-in, it felt "just right!"
I met my Steward; a nice young man "Andre", he had a clipboard and asked if there was anything special that I would like. I told him that I liked the bed separated, although there was only me and my Service Dog in the cabin, I don't like the feeling of a big bed in a small room. I think separating the bed gives the room a larger feel. He said he would do that when I went to dinner. I also like a top sheet on my bed [between me and the duvet.] I had early traditional dining and he said he'd take care of it later. He proved to be a lovely person who always greeted me with a friendly "good morning" each and every day.
I found that there was NEVER a long line ANYWHERE onboard this ship. How delightful it was to ALWAYS be able to catch an elevator, to always be able to go where I wanted to go without the feeling of maddening crowds everywhere and to be able to go to the buffet and find a table to sit at.......that was really nice!!! I'm really beginning to like the small ship experience.
It's so easy to figure this ship out and to find everything so easily. I really liked that feeling.
Our cruise director was Sammi. She is a hoot! That's the only way I can explain her best. She puts her heart and soul into her job and shows you that she really likes what she's doing.
The Hotel Director, the Dancers, the Staff in total were wonderful and helpful. When you travel through life with a Service Dog it's not always easy for the folks you encounter. There's potty box's, extra towels, needs and necessities that MUST be met and EVERYONE onboard this ship [except for the occasional server who just had to whistle at him] treated my dog with the utmost respect. Thank you Pacific Princess for your professionalism and kindness!
The buffet and dining room staff are top notch. They work very hard to please and although there were a few glitches in the food area.......it was obvious at some points that they were understaffed and our server was doing "double-duty!" I know what it's like to work to the max and do the very best I can do.......they did just that!
I loved the entertainment.......It's so different to be at the same level as the entertainers and to literally have them almost in your lap and even more interesting to watch how they manage to not knock your drink off your table at those high kicks. They were wonderful and I felt totally entertained at the end of each show.
Having the Love Boat cast onboard with us was an extra special treat. To hear Jack Jones sing the Love Boat song in person is pure fun and joy! They were ALL gracious and lovely to share their time with us, some of them for the entire 2 weeks.
I must admit, this cruise was totally going to be about the ship and not the ports. I walked off and back on without ever going on any excursions. Sometimes the cruising experience is just about the ship, the ocean, the entertainment and the food! And, because Princess was celebrating it's 50th year, I knew I'd love every minute onboard!
The seas coming up the Baja coast were over-the-top rough and this small ship certainly showed her sea worthiness.
Disembarkation was a breeze......so easy....again, no long lines and big smiles and thank you's from the lovely crew and staff! Getting the luggage, Immigration, getting my car could not have gone easier for me. Remember, I'm alone with a 95lb Service Dog in tow. With a Porter to help me, I could handle the luggage, the dog and get the car by myself. For any woman who's traveling by herself, there are lots of people all around to help and assist you at every turn.
I can't wait until I can board another small ship and have that same experience all over again! Read Less