1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Princess Cruises
  4. Princess Cruises Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: April 2014

I will preface this with, this was 17th, SEVENTEENTH, cruise on Princess. I have NEVER EVER had one complaint, none, nada. I do this time. My major complaint was the food. Always have had excellent food on this line, and 2 nights we had ... Read More

I will preface this with, this was 17th, SEVENTEENTH, cruise on Princess. I have NEVER EVER had one complaint, none, nada. I do this time. My major complaint was the food. Always have had excellent food on this line, and 2 nights we had to send back as you could not have cut the meat with a hatchet. The only good meal we had on the ship was in the Crown. Our cabin steward was surly, trashed some of our personal items the night before leaving ship. One of the cabin supervisors told me the reason the safe quit working was because I had slammed the door and killed the batteries! Seriously! First did not slam door and second batteries may become dislodged if you slam, but that certainly does not make them lose their power or juice~! She was beyond rude. Altho the food was marginal, the dining service was quite good. Some have said the ship is in bad shape. I did not find that to be true. The carpet needs replacing, but all else was up to Princess standards. A couple of the gents in white coats in the Buffet area were rude, but I can handle a rudeness or two on a cruise, the supervisor of cabins being the exception. So before you elect to tar and feather me, A. were you on this cruise? If so, where did you eat? B. Keep in mind this is my 1st complaint in 17 cruises, so I feel I am versed in what Princess is, was, and should be. So all in all, I KNOW OF WHAT I SPEAK. And our cabin was certainly more that someone suggested. On a cruise I expect good service and good food. That is all I require.

Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014

After cruising many times in the past, I finally convinced my sister and brother-in-law to join me and my parents on a cruise. It was the first for them. My parents are Elite status and I am platnium. It was so much fun traveling with ... Read More

After cruising many times in the past, I finally convinced my sister and brother-in-law to join me and my parents on a cruise. It was the first for them. My parents are Elite status and I am platnium. It was so much fun traveling with newbies!!! The ports were ok about what you would expect in the Caribbean. The highlight was obviously the Canal. It was spendid!!

The Ship was nice. It is smaller which I enjoyed. There were always places to find a seat in the Horizon Court. Believe it or not the International Cafe was never very crowded. Not the case on many other cruises!! I loved that part. The food selection was good. We had traditional dining in the Provence dining room. Hated eating at 5:30 pm but the late seating at 7:45 pm was way too late. What happened to 6:00 pm??? All I ever hear is how people love the anytime dining. However, it seems like traditional time slots are always full.

The entertainment was not enjoyable unless you include Movie Under the Stars. Dancer and singers were lack luster at best. I did enjoy popcorn during the movie.

Embarkment and disembarkment were both efficient.

Overall I would recommend this boat and this distination.

Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014

For years I have wanted to go on a cruise, but my husband was very reticent. Finally, in this our 49th year of marriage, the decision was made and I found the cruise that fit us perfectly: Sapphire Princess to the Mexican Riviera.... ... Read More

For years I have wanted to go on a cruise, but my husband was very reticent. Finally, in this our 49th year of marriage, the decision was made and I found the cruise that fit us perfectly: Sapphire Princess to the Mexican Riviera.... and what a treat it was!

Right from the start things went well: parking right at the dock for a reasonable price and friendly porters to take our bags. Then getting to our stateroom and meeting our "caregiver." Lily was wonderful throughout the trip, doing her utmost to make us comfortable. We had decided on a balcony, and immediately knew that our choice was the right one. Even before we left the dock we were out there relaxing. In fact, we ended up spending a lot of time in our very comfortable cabin--more perhaps than some would, but that's what we liked, and that's what the cruise was all about: doing what we wanted.

Of course we also spent time outside of our cabin, on excursions and in the buffet and dining rooms. The food was absolutely excellent, as was the service. We got to know some of our servers personally, especially the young Peruvian man whose Mexican wife also worked on the ship.... what a lovely couple they were! Seeing Ensenada and Puerta Vallarta by bus were also great fun, especially the visit to the tequila factory in the latter, where we learned that saying "mas tequila" could be dangerous--but fun--thing to do. We decided to "do" Cabo san Lucas on foot, perhaps not the best idea for a couple in our age range, but we survived and had fun doing it.

Sailing back from Puerto we really relaxed and just enjoyed the Sapphire Princess.... which included the casino and the shopping facilities, as well as some of the entertainment offered. Reaching Los Angeles was a bit of a bummer.... I would have liked to start all over again. Still, we were left with wonderful memories, and my husband admitted that cruising was great, and that he'd like to do the same cruise again sometime.

Whether it's your first cruise that you're planning, or the next in a list of many, you'll not regret choosing the seeing the Mexican Riviera on the Sapphire Princess.... the ship is beautiful and the people are amazing.

 

Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013

This is rather lengthy, but I’m trying to cover different aspects of our cruise.

DISEMBARKATION…I had read stories before leaving that warned that embarkation would be horrible. We did not experience any such thing. ... Read More

This is rather lengthy, but I’m trying to cover different aspects of our cruise.

DISEMBARKATION…I had read stories before leaving that warned that embarkation would be horrible. We did not experience any such thing. However, getting through traffic in San Francisco was another story. Once we got into San Francisco, it took another hour to get to the ships terminal. We arrived at the terminal about 12:30. By 1:30 we had already checked-in, visited our cabin and consumed a buffet lunch. Watching our ship pass under the Golden Gate Bridge was breath taking.

THE CREW on the Grand Princess must really love their jobs. They were all so helpful, courteous, and constantly smiling. I truly believe that smiling is contagious. We began every morning with a pleasant greeting from our cabin steward Edgar, who also greeted us throughout the day, every day, and asked us if there was anything we needed. Our cabin was perfect. We stayed in ocean view cabin on the Aloha Deck next to the terrace swimming pool. We found ourselves to be drawn out to pool deck quite a bit.

FOR ENTERTAINMENT, we did many things while on the ship, as the first two full days are at sea, six days total. I have to say one my favorite past times was comedian Kevin Hughes, who also gave a seminar on the brain, which we enjoyed as much as his comic act. We also very much enjoyed the theater show “British Invasion”. The performers are truly talented, and the theatrical sets and costumes were beautiful. It was a class act. During the day, we played some bingo (won $200), visited the spa, we watched both a crew, and then later, a passenger talent show. We also watched some silly game shows that the passengers were contestants in. They were parodies to the old TV shows The Newlywed Game & Match game. There was also the Princess Pop Star competition…karaoke. Also my husband joined the pop choir which performed in the Piazza one afternoon. There really were too many things to do, and we missed some things we had later heard were quite fun.

NOW FOR THE FOOD…and boy did we eat lots of it! I found the buffet to be mediocre. That’s not a complaint. I’ve just never really been a big fan of buffet food. The only place I’ve really enjoyed buffet food is in Las Vegas at one of the finer casino resorts. So I tend to compare every buffet to Las Vegas. I have to say though, there were some dishes that I very much enjoyed, like the leg of lamb, and sea scallops. I thought all of the desserts in the buffet were very good. We also ate in the dining room three times, which was nicer than the buffet. We even did one formal night in there. But for a real treat…pay the $25 each and dine at the Crown Grill. We dined in there on two nights. We ate filet Mignon, rack of lamb, rib-eye steak and lobster. This restaurant is a classy place. They give you full servings. And second helpings if you want more lobster. I saw the lady across from us order a 22 oz. porterhouse steak and three lobster tails. We also ate at Sabatini’s (Italian) Restaurant. It was good, but we both preferred the Crown Grill. Now for what was my favorite “everyday must have”…The Pizzeria in the Piazza. A sit down restaurant where you order you own whole pizza. They make it right there. The toppings and sauce are flavorful, the crust is perfect, and you get an ocean view while you are listening to live music from the piazza. That was my guilty pleasure…one pizza every night after gambling just before the trip to the dance club…my fourth meal! Our waiter Widy always asked us if we enjoyed our meal. Our reply was always an enthusiastic “Yes!” Also, the chocolate cookies were an everyday event as well.

FOR PORT ACTIVITY…I liked Juneau and loved taking Roberts Tram up to picturesque trails, colorful foliage and snow caped mountains. We ate at Tracy’s Crab Shack and did a ton of shopping in town too. In Skagway we went zip-lining. Fun! My favorite excursion however was in Ketchikan. We went on the Aleutian Ballard’s Crab Fishing Tour. That was a lot of fun, and educational. We were able to watch them catch fish, sea creatures, and crabs. We also stopped in an area where bald eagles fly, where they threw fish to feed the eagles. We took such amazing pictures of wildlife on this tour. Ketchikan was a quaint town to visit. To my surprise, I didn’t expect to love Tracy Arm Fjord so much. The glacier was just breath taking. Again, we took some gorgeous photos. Later we sat in the buffet and ate as we looked outside cruising through this beautiful scenic area. Victoria was a lovely city to visit, although we really didn’t spend much time there and used the day to eat where the locals eat and do some more shopping. I would love to go to Victoria again to do more than just shop.

SO NOW FOR THE NEGATIVES:

It clearly is a money-making business. They over charge for portraits, as well as some other gift shop items too. My husband also had a problem with his cruise card getting demagnetized. We were at the cursor’s desk almost every day to get him a new card. The casino also did not seem to pay-off. The spa was also over-priced. Save your money and get a massage when you get home for half the price. If money is no object, you won’t care about my negatives. All-in-all, the good by far, outweighs the negatives.

GOODBYES…We will miss everything about out trip. (Although, I am tired of eating!) Well miss the crew… from the entertainment people to the people serving us our meals...to our cabin steward Edgar. We’ll miss the people we met and hung out with throughout the cruise…the Jersey girls, the Brazilian kid in the Disco (he looked like our son), the chicken-dance lady we seemed to see everywhere, the family from PA, and Bill & Helen from Bakersfield. I’ll even miss the Rhapsody Trio who played in the Piazza every day. I was mesmerized by the classical violinist. (And I don’t usually listen to classical music.) I apologize for rambling on. If you are planning on taking a future cruise and you have questions, or if you are any of the people I mentioned above and want to keep in touch, I welcome hearing from you.

cadillon@email.com

 

Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013

Background: We planned this trip for a year in advance. 10 signed up and 2 dropped out due to a medical situation. Our initial contact was with Vacations To Go but we were disappointed in call-back responses so we dealt directly with ... Read More

Background: We planned this trip for a year in advance. 10 signed up and 2 dropped out due to a medical situation. Our initial contact was with Vacations To Go but we were disappointed in call-back responses so we dealt directly with Princess and were glad we did so, traveling from the East Coast left too much room for problems and we wanted the Princess "assurances", even though another, earlier, booking experience with VTG was fine. The Princess booking people were a pleasure to deal with. We used Princess Air and all of us got on the same planes. Our only hitch was that we found on our own, without any notice from Princess, that our return flight was booked into Dulles, not BWI as we had signed up for (lesson: keep checking your itinerary). One key element in this cruise was the desire to be able to have adjoining cabins with interconnecting balconies, which was a big selling point for our group and we were able to do that on Coral Princess, so everyone was pleased with that. More on the cabin arrangements later, but a balcony cabin is almost a must for this cruise.

Arrival in Anchorage: We flew into Ted Stevens Intl. Airport. We were greeted warmly by Princess reps. Our bus was waiting for transfer to Cpt. Cook Hotel. Baggage was handled efficiently and ALL of it went to the hotel. We boarded and were off for about a 45 min. ride into Anchorage with some good commentary along the way.

Capt. Cook Hotel: One of several in downtown Anchorage, which is more cosmopolitan than we imagined. Arriving around 9 p.m. (still daylight) we were tired from a long trip and hungry. We went to the rooftop "Crow's Nest" restaurant with a great view. However, that restaurant does not allow shorts, flip flops, or hats. We found the staff in it somewhat condescending. We had a drink in the "Nest" and went to Fletcher's on the ground floor where the food selection was much better and the staff eager and accommodating. The room in the hotel was very nice, not extravagant. The one issue with this leg of the trip was that our bags were to be tagged with "Meet Me Onboard" or "Keep With Me" luggage tags and NOT placed in the hall the night before, but left in the vestibule to the room which the porter would enter around 7 am the next morning to retrieve. We got up early to make sure all was in order and not be surprised by his arrival. Leave plenty of time for breakfast as the hotel lobby restaurant was mobbed and the service was slow. We walked around Anchorage the morning of our departure. Mosquitoes (it was very mild) were an issue down near the waterfront, but the downtown area is nice. We saw our luggage loaded on to trucks for transport to McKinley lodge (not on the bus) and to Whittier, for the ship, then ate our breakfast and boarded our motor coach for McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge in Talkeetna.

Arrival at McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge and Talkeetna: The bus trip of about 2.5 hours from Anchorage to Talkeetna went quickly. Nadine. our driver, provided great commentary. Views of the countryside were excellent. On arrival at the Lodge, our luggage had not yet been delivered, but it was promised soon. Again, a lot of mosquitoes (some said it was the worst in the last 40 years due to the mild weather with temps in the 70s and 80s F). A fabulous view of Mt. McKinley greets you at the lodge. New arrivals crowd the deck in the back for views of the mountain. Our room was spartan, but neat, with a tv, desk and a fan since there is no air conditioning in the rooms. We could have used the a/c but the fan proved enough. The staff at the Lodge was pleasant and answered questions. The Lodge operates a shuttle into Talkeetna, since the Lodge is about 45 mins. outside of town. The shuttles run throughout the day and into the early evening and are free, except for gratuities. Our first experience with "Roy" was not too pleasant as the a/c on the bus went out and it became very warm inside. After arrival at the bus "turnaround", we walked through the town. The women did some shopping and the men went to Denali Brewing Company where the food was good and the beer excellent and cold and we were subsequently joined by the women.

Talkeetna Air Taxi Excursion to Ruth Glacier at Mt. McKinley. This was not booked through Princess. The air trip and the glacier landing was a FABULOUS experience. The staff was warm, welcoming, and competent. It takes a bit of an easy walk from the town center to the airpark. Once at TAT, you are weighed and given boots to protect your feet from the slushy snow on the glacier. Sunglasses are a must and TAT will provide them if you don't have them. Trent was our pilot and he advised he had a lot of hours on multiple aircraft and was fully certified. To say this was a breathtaking excursion would be putting it mildly. The weather was perfect - clear skies and great visibility. Trent remarked that the weather is not often like it was that day since the Mountain generates its own weather. Anyway, we landed smoothly on Ruth Glacier. No one needed a jacket even though we had them with us. Long sleeve wicking material and a tee shirt over it (we were our Ravens' shirts) was sufficient with a pair of jeans. We stayed on the glacier for about 20 to 30 minutes and then smoothly took off. Trent took us over "Moose Meadow" where we spotted some of them grazing. Our flight back to Talkeetna and landing were smooth and uneventful. Do not miss this type of excursion if you can help it. (Note: We learned after our return that another TAT pilot's plane and passengers suddenly got "fogged in" while on the Glacier. News accounts stated that the passengers spent about 2 days on the plane, which carries emergency supplies and sleeping bags, on the glacier with additional emergency supplies delivered by rangers who hiked in. The lesson is not to take this excursion for granted.)

Dining in Talkeetna. There are not a lot of restaurants in Talkeetna, as you might expect, but what's there is very good. In addition to our lunch at Denali Brewing Company, we ate at West Rib (site of the tv show episode of Man vs. Food for its giant burger) for dinner after our TAT flight and were served by Trent's girlfriend and a charming and pretty young woman. The next morning we had a great breakfast at Roadhouse, which truly is a Roadhouse, with accommodations for day hikers, etc.

Alaska Railroad's Denali Express: Our "Keep With Me" luggage was placed outside our door in the a.m. and picked up for transport to the railroad. The rail trip was a great experience. Different cruise lines have different cars. We were in the last car. They are double deck with the dining area below and seating on top. The panorama is great. You sit at a table on the top level and have plenty of room to spread out at your table which fits 4 comfortably. The trip takes about 4.5 hours after about a half hour ride to the train depot. Our coach supervisor, "Zach", kept the trip interesting. The service was great. You are assigned a time to eat lunch but you can "defer" your time until a later point if you are not yet hungry, but at some point dining service stops. The food served is soup and sandwiches, but it was very good. Upstairs and down in the rail car you can have beer, soft drinks or mixed drinks. The bartender has "specialty" cocktails available. All of this is paid for at the end of the trip by credit card. We had no issues with the rail car travel at all - it was a pleasant experience.

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge: Again, this Lodge is Spartan but nice. The dining here is limited. The area across the street is rather "honky tonk" but a number of people were seen going over there for liquor or food at Subway and another restaurant. The bar at the Lodge serves food which is fairly reasonably price and seats a large number of people both outside and in. There is a pizza parlor on the site which we did not use. The view from the bar's dining area is fabulous. Again, mosquitoes were an issue outside. The King Salmon dining was "overpriced" in our opinion. The main lodge area has a snack bar and the ever present gift shop. Get to the snack bar early on the morning of any excursion as it becomes "mobbed" and you might miss departure. Be warned that the Visitors Center at the Park and the Wilderness Center are not easy walks from the Lodge as we were led to believe. It's about 3 miles to the Visitor Center on foot.

Kantishna Experience: We were up early to take this excursion, grabbed a bite at the snack bar and boarded a bus to the Denali National Park Wilderness Center. Tours of Denali depart from there. Watch the excursion you book as this one goes all the way into Denali and turns around to head back out. It is a long day but a great trip. We heard that the partial trip into the Park was not as enjoyable. Our driver, Don, spoke the entire length of the trip, save for brief times when he had to negotiate traffic on switchbacks. The buses are not air conditioned and do not have bathrooms on them but there are frequent rest stops. We saw the "Big Five" game in the Park and additional wildlife. Photographers were living a dream. The bus provides a "bag" lunch of snacks and drinks with plenty to keep hunger at bay. At the end of the trip, a Park Ranger boards the bus for the final leg into Mirror Lake and to tell the fascinating tale of Fannie Quiqley. Again, this is a long day but highly recommended if you wish to see all Denali has to offer. Don said that only about 10% of all the visitors to Denali see what we saw on that day. It was great.

Denali to Whittier: Our final day of the Cruise Tour was marked by a 8 hour or so bus trip from Denali to Whittier. Our driver, Bob, provided great commentary. Frankly, the time passes quickly. We were so tired from our land adventures we slept most of the way. But if you don't think you'll sleep, bring lots to do. To get to the port at Whittier you will pass through the Anton Anderson Tunnel, only one way each hour and your coach's arrival is scheduled so it has to be on time or else you might miss the ship's departure. There is a brief stopover in Anchorage on the way to Whittier where you can buy some liquor in accordance with Princess rules to bring onboard.

The Coral Princess: We were one of the first buses to arrive. Embarkation went smoothly and continued for others throughout the afternoon. The ship looked to be in fine shape with no showing of excessive wear and tear. As promised, our travel companions and we had adjacent cabins. Also, as promised, doors on the balcony opened to allow all the balconies to flow as one and we could move freely between our cabins. We were on the Emerald deck on the starboard side, which I would recommend to anyone going Southbound because on our trip the prevailing winds coming over the port side made for colder and windier conditions than the starboard. We found our cabin steward to be pleasant and provided good service. We only attended one show which was comedy and pretty good but very short (an hour at most). We enjoyed a movie on deck on several nights. We would not recommend the dining room for breakfast, we found the buffet had a greater selection and the service in the dining room for breakfast did not merit using it. Plus, the view was better. When we arrived on board we cancelled a helicopter glacier landing since we had already done that and thought our prior experience with Talkeetna Air Taxi could not be topped. Our dining experiences in the Bordeaux Dining Room were just superb. The food was good and our server was excellent. A nice feature from Princess is a kiosk near the service desk on the main deck that allows you to check your bill each day. We had no children with us but I do not think this is child's type of trip. We did not see many children on board.

Hubbard Glacier: We could not see this stop on the trip as we were fogged out of Yakutat Bay with much ice floating in the water. The Captain apologize for this but felt it just unwise to proceed for safety reasons. It was creepy moving through the waters in the fog with ice floating by and the fog horn sounding. Shades of "Titanic".

Glacier Bay: Here we had a great visit and the Captain spent much time in the Bay and he maneuvered the ship marvelously to allow those on both sides of the ship a view of the Marjerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers, as well as some "lesser known" such as Johns Hopkins (which we did not maneuver around but passed going and coming). The weather was perfect.

Skagway: Having cancelled our helicopter trip over the Chillkoot Mountains we opted for a walking trip to White Pass Gardens, which was beautiful, then walked back into town to eat at Skagway Brewing Company, doing some shopping, and hitting The Red Onion for a drink before returning to the ship. Skagway can become very crowded on certain days of the week with multiple ships in port. Watch out, we were told, for long lines on those days which I believe were M-W.

Juneau: Here we got a close up shot of an eagle AND a close up view of whales with a calf on the Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest run by Allen Marine Tours (Princess Excursion). Our boat for the Quest was big, very comfortable seating (airplane like) with lots of viewing area and with a bar with snacks. Be prepared for the wind up top if you go and dress warmly even if the day is warm. The commentary on the trip was superb. We walked the town, went to the Heritage Center (but did not go in due to limited time) and passed on the Roberts tram which is very expensive to ride.

Ketichikan: We ended our trip with a great excursion with Backcountry Zodiac Expedition. Jeff, our guide was wonderful and it is an experience that can be shared with young and old alike. All gear is provided for the trip. The Zodiacs are fun to drive and easy to do so. A more comprehensive review of this great excursion (also through Princess) is posted on Tripadvisor as the vendor requested.

Disembarkation: This went smoothly. We boarded buses for Vancouver Intl. Airport at the dock and waited for several hours until our plane was ready to go. The plane ride was pleasant and uneventful.

In summary, this is a very active Cruise Tour but a great experience. If you have good weather, as we did, and you allow Princess to give you some peace of mind as to your travels, it is a wonderful experience. All of group shed tears remembering it. A true "bucket list" voyage. Bon Voyage!

 

Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
After a short flight from our home in Buenos Aires, we arrived in Valparaiso and joined the Star Princess. Our group consisted of 10 family members of which I am the only English speaking member. I have sailed with Princess before, so ... Read More
After a short flight from our home in Buenos Aires, we arrived in Valparaiso and joined the Star Princess. Our group consisted of 10 family members of which I am the only English speaking member. I have sailed with Princess before, so the ship itself provided no surprises. One of the main reasons for picking this cruise was to visit the Argentinian cemetery on the Malvenas Island, otherwise known as the Falkland Islands. Unfortunately The Malvenas was cancelled and we were not able to pay our respects to family members lost. To say we were disappointed would be an understatement. Our cabins were sufficient, clean and comfortable, we did not spend much time in our rooms. The Cabin steward was friendly and made sure we had everything we needed. We found the food on the ship to be good in most cases. We utilized the Crown Grill and found the quality and service worthy of the $25.00 per person surcharge. In the afternoons we would grab a quick bite at the horizon buffet, and in general found the food decent with the exception of the black beans and rice which in no way represents typical South American food. Our dinners were taken in the Portofino dining room where we found the quality of food and service to be very good. With 4 sea days, we found ample activities to keep us busy. We enjoyed the port director, Joe May who supplied us with the Spanish translation of all the shopping and tours available in the upcoming ports. The Spanish culinary demonstration and the Spanish relaxation session by the hypnotist Fernandez were excellent. Our group did not attend the dance shows or comedians but loved Lovena Fox and the Spanish hypnotist show, especially since two members of our party were hypnotized on stage. I did notice however, that the shows were much shorter and would have preferred longer shows.30 Minutes is not long enough when you are enjoying great entertainment. Our most memorable excursion was to Punta Tomba, where we were able to walk through the Magellanic penguin's natural habitat and see them up close. We wanted to take a helicopter tour in Ushuaia, but found it extremely expensive as were most tours for a family of our size. We really appreciated the efforts of the Argentinian Assistant Cruise Director Matias, who was in charge of all of the Spanish events, he went above and beyond the call of duty to make our experience the best possible. Without him, we would have been lost as we barely saw the British Cruise Director. Disembarkation was extremely chaotic and unorganized and something that Princess Cruise lines needs to address and correct. It was every man for himself and left a bad taste in our mouths after a memorable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
We traveled with Princess because of the itenerary. That was great; just what we wanted. We had a mini suite at the very back of the ship. We had no trouble with the location as we enjoyed the walk to the dining room, etc. The cabin ... Read More
We traveled with Princess because of the itenerary. That was great; just what we wanted. We had a mini suite at the very back of the ship. We had no trouble with the location as we enjoyed the walk to the dining room, etc. The cabin was very little larger than we were accustomed to in a balcony room. We had a tub with shower and my husband found it difficult to turn around without hitting the curtain. There was no top sheet on our bed. Out cabin steward (who was excellent) immediately placed one on the bed but why did we have to ask for something that shoulw be standard. They gave a welcome aboard party for those who had not said with Princess before. They served "hot" tea and "hot" coffee and pastries. I filled my cup with tea and walked to the tray of pastries where a waiter stood with tongs to serve. As I approached he said: "They are numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4; give me a number and do not touch!!" I shook my head, gave him a number and took my lukewarm tea and my numbered pastry to a seat beside another lady who was drinking her lukewarm coffee. Is this a way to encourage people to come back? Our dining waiter was rude; he would walk up between 2 people and in mid sentence stick the menu in their face and ask what they wanted. We were always late starting our dinner. The later hour did not bother us as we are used to late dining but it was irritating to stand in line for up to 20 minutes past time. The food was not up to the standard we are used to and when I ordered a steak medium rare and it came medium well and so tough I could not cut it I told the waiter and he just looked at me, looked at the steak and walked away. Tips are mandatory so why would any employee go the extra mile when they know the tips are coming anyway, On other lines we received envelopes with suggested amounts. Many times we gave more for excellent service and in rare instances gave less if we felt they were not doing their best. We had an excellent cabin steward, some excellent waiters at buffet upstairs and the shopping helper (her name was Greenwood) was also very good. We missed seeing the captain around the ship (he came to one event and stayed about 5 minutes). We are used to being offered the opportunity to have a picture with the captain. There was a lack of entertainment at an hour compatible with our dining hour. Only 2 days did they have an early show and it was only 30 minutes long. We were just relaxing and enjoying it when it was over!!! All in all we did not feel we had our money's worth. We took this cruise because it went to the Panama Canal leaving from Ft. Lauderdale and returning there. It seems I am looking for something good to say and the visit to the canal was it. Embarkation was very slow. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
The 28 day cruise aboard the Sapphire Princess was the longest cruise my wife and I have ever taken. I was afraid it might be too long, but much to my surprise,I was disappointed when we got back to Los Angeles. The main reason ... Read More
The 28 day cruise aboard the Sapphire Princess was the longest cruise my wife and I have ever taken. I was afraid it might be too long, but much to my surprise,I was disappointed when we got back to Los Angeles. The main reason we booked this cruise was because we live near Los Angeles, we wanted to see Tahiti, and we hate the hassle of flying. This cruise was perfect for us. We were dropped off at the Port and were on board eating lunch within an hour. The Sapphire Princess was recently remodeled and had the appearance of a new ship. Our room was was the typical Princess interior, but everything was clean and fresh. The public areas were all nicely decorated. We enjoyed watching the Presidential debates, and the World Series "Under the Stars" on the big screen TV next to the pool. Being out to sea for as long as we were, I was surprised at the variety and quality of entertainment provided. I have to mention the Hawaiian Dancers and the Tahitian Dance troupe were exceptional, and a must see if you take this cruise. I want to remind everyone to book your excursions on line as soon as you can. I forgot to book an excursion in Moorea and by the time I remembered everything was filled. The ship did add a tour at the last minute, but I would have been lost trying to find something on my own. I never thought I would ever go to Western Samoa, but I have to tell you, it is the most friendly and beautiful island I have ever been too. The people are so proud of their island. They keep it amazingly clean and love to show it off. Every person we passed, waved and smiled. I would highly recommend a visit. I was surprised at the number of passengers we met that had taken this cruise, or the Hawaiian cruise before. Some of them as many as 6 times. They just enjoyed the ship and the cruise. My favorite on board activity was the Ukulele lessons. I hope they keep them. I thought the food was good, but I do have to say, if you have the anytime dining, you have to find a dining room you like. Until we found a Waiter and Maitre D you like, we felt ignored in some of the dining rooms. We finally ended up in the Pacific Moon Dining Room. Frances the Maitre D always had our table ready, and Simeon our waiter and Yahany, gave us excellent service. The only negatives on our trip was the casino, which needs updating, and the surprising number of plumbing problems we encountered. All in all this was a great cruise, and I would recommend it to the people like us, that cruise not so much for the destination, but because you love to cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012

Let me start by saying we are loyal Crystal cruisers but Princess' itinerary attracted us, so we thought we'd give it a try. To compare Princess to Crystal would in no way be fair, so I'll try to be objective as possible.

... Read More

Let me start by saying we are loyal Crystal cruisers but Princess' itinerary attracted us, so we thought we'd give it a try. To compare Princess to Crystal would in no way be fair, so I'll try to be objective as possible.

EMBARKATION: As easy as it gets. We got there early and once we checked in,we sat in a waiting area. Ruby Princess is a gigantic ship and with 3,080 passengers, we sailed full. Most of the nationalities were U.K., Spanish, Australian, Canadian and American along with a small contingent from the Phillipines. There were only 16 children on board and we hardly saw them.

At 1:00 pm, we were allowed to board.

CABIN: Our cabin was extremely small. One side of queen bed was pushed against the wall and we had a narrow L-shape to walk around. Cabin was divided by a long closet with shelf and hangers. Another narrow closet housed a cranky safe. Shower was very tiny. We shared one sink and a wide countertop. TV transmitted enough channels to satisfaction. Our steward, JORDAN, was really, really good. Although our requests were small, he made sure they were met and always wanted to do more. Great job, Jordan!!!

FOOD: Food was good, not gourmet. We ate breakfast and lunch on top deck at Horizon court and we never felt cramped or crowded. On the days when excursions forced us to eat early, other couples at tables willingly let us share their table. We had anytime dining and I found that the desserts in the dining room were much better than Horizon Court. Horizon court offered many puddings, mousses (blech!), and always a fresh selection of fruits. Fabulous Fabbio is the maitre d' of the DaVinci dining room. He is very concerned about the quality of the service. If you have any complaints regarding DaVince, see Fabbio & he will resolve it right away. Trident Grill always served up hotdogs, hamburgers and fries. Pizza bar was pretty good. Soft serve ice cream was cold and tasteless.

FORMAL NIGHTS: Ladies unless you already have formal eveningwear,don't go crazy for formal night. A nice pair of black slacks and pretty top will do the job and lighten your load. That's what most women wore, myself included. Most men wore a jacket and tie. I saw three tuxedos.

SABITINI'S: Definately worth the cover charge. Husband & I had lobster 3 ways which was delicious and they also gave us a small portion of spaghetti with clams. Everything was good, the waiters were very attentive and the food was out of this world.

ENTERTAINMENT: We both agree that Ruby has the best entertainment.I'd rather gamble than see shows so the first night he dragged me kicking and screaming. I was so impressed by the talent, I went almost every night. The dancers kicked and flipped and did things I didn't know were possible. Also the singers were very good. One night they had a second rate magician who was so lousy, I walked out. Don't miss the crew's talent show night. It was the best!!! Also, a salute to Broadway and Once Upon a Dream were beautiful. Each show is approx. 45 mins., so just as I was beginning to get antsy, it ended. Also DUO CLAUDIO perform mid-court around 8:00. They are acrobats that are so daring, you got to see them to believe it. Social director is Sam Hawkins from England. She bubbled over with cheeriness and enthusiasm. She did her job well.

BEST THINGS: The Serenity Pool way up top prohibits children. It is a wonderful escape. I used it several times. Movies under the Stars is a delight. They give out blankets and we snuggled under the stars to watch the giant screen. Waiters come around with popcorn, pizza and ice cream. Another stroke of genius. If you go for a massage, ask for TASHA. She was absolutely amazing and did in one session what my chiropracter couldn't do in four. She's a petite woman with magic hands. I wanted to take her home with me. The Lotus Spa was beautiful. Unfortunately I didn't find that out until the trip was almost over.

WORST THINGS: Didn't like the constant hawking of specialty drinks and photographers trying to get us to buy. One night our waiter asked us three times if we wanted the specialty drink! It became annoying. Also, next time I will do more research on cabins before I book. Now we realize that it would have been worth the extra $$$ to upgrade, but being first time Princess cruisers, we didn't know.

Overall, I'd say Princess does a pretty good job of juggling 3,000 passengers and keeping things running smoothly. We didn't have any ugly situations or run-ins with rude passengers. The staff we encountered were courteous and friendly. They responded to our every request. In conclusion, we would definately sail Princess again if the itinerary were good.

Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2012
My wife, adult daughter, and I sailed the Island Princess in July -- August 2012 from Whittier to Vancouver, and had a blast! We had booked our daughter her own room, which by a tremendous stroke of luck, turned out to be a very good ... Read More
My wife, adult daughter, and I sailed the Island Princess in July -- August 2012 from Whittier to Vancouver, and had a blast! We had booked our daughter her own room, which by a tremendous stroke of luck, turned out to be a very good decision indeed. I suppose that Princess must have over-booked the cruise, because 2 days before embarkation, they called and offered to exchange our 2 interior rooms for one premium suite, plus give us $1,000. We received the message late in the day on a cell, plus our daughter was a bit hesitant to give up her private room for sleeping on a pull-out sofa, so (fortunately) we didn't respond that day. I called the next day to ask about the sleeping arrangements in the suite, and the agent informed me that the pull-out sofa could be separated from the bedroom area with a curtain, and when she described all the amenities that came with the suite, and upped the ante to $2,000, this was an offer we couldn't refuse! They apparently really wanted space, and I suspect we were one of the very few families of 3 -- if not the only one -- from whom they could get 2 cabins. In any case, we didn't look that gift horse in the mouth any longer, and so we were livin' large on the cruise. If money is no object, I highly recommend the suite. You'll feel like a rock star. Only qualifier is that sleeper sofa has a rather thin mattress, so it's hard to sleep on it comfortably. Two solutions are to put the mattress on the floor, or, if you enjoy sleeping under the stars and the weather cooperates, pull the mattress onto the balcony. The latter was what our adventurous daughter ended up doing most nights, and she enjoyed the experience. Otherwise, perfect -- lots of storage space, roomy bathroom with both shower stall and jetted tub, wet bar, 2 TVs and a DVD player, enormous balcony. But even apart from the sweet suite, the cruise itself was great. About the ship: As a perk of staying in the suite, we ate breakfast at Sabatini's every morning (with free mimosas), and loved it. (Only suggestion for improvement here would be to expand the menu a bit, but the service and food were great, including an excellent rendition of my favorite, eggs benedict.) For lunch, we generally went to the buffet (we only ate lunch at the sit-down restaurant once), and for dinner we did the buffet 3 times, the Bayou Grill once and Sabatini's 3 times. As you might infer from this, we had great experiences at Sabatini's and so kept going back. But the food at the buffet was quite good, with lots of options. We also enjoyed the pizza place a couple of times. For wine lovers, they have a pretty good wine list, with prices that in general are moderate. The exercise room on the ship was well equipped with weight machines and all kinds of exercise machines (running, rowing, ellipticals, biking, etc.). The only time it was crowded in my experience was at prime time the first day cruising; otherwise, it was very under-utilized. They offer an extensive list of spa services, and our daughter used a few. She was unhappy with one massage, but they immediately offered her another. We didn't avail ourselves of many late-night activities -- too much to do during the day -- but we did watch a movie in the Universe Lounge, which is a nice facility. The lectures by the Park Rangers and narration during the cruise (rangers came on-board 2 days of the cruise) were very informative. The cruise resident lecturer, Dr. Ryan, is obviously very knowledgeable and has a lot of experience in Alaska, but we found his talks a bit disorganized. Still, they were worth hearing, except the last one (titled something like ''The Inside Passage''), which we found was pretty repetitious of the previous ones. There was a lecture by the first woman to win the Iditarod, but unfortunately this was during the day in Skagway, so we had to miss it. (It would seem they could have brought her on board the previous evening.) About the sights and ports: As much as we enjoyed the ship, what really made the cruise special was what went on in the water and on shore. While cruising, we saw our first whales soon after leaving Whittier, then later saw many, many whales, sea otters, seals, sea birds, and even a bear and wolf (a long way off) while cruising Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay. The only excursion we did was whale watching with Alaska Galore tours in Juneau, which was fabulous. (Read my review on Tripadvisor; search ''Alaska Galore''.) In Skagway and Ketchikan, we looked around town on our own, and had a great time. I'm sure the excursions are good, but we found plenty to see and do on our own. A final word on a topic about which I consulted Cruisecritic chat groups before our cruise -- bringing beverages on board. At our original embarkation and while re-boarding after a port call, I brought on board boxes and (at embarkation) plastic bottles of wine and a 12-pack of soda cans. At one stop, our daughter brought a 6-pack of beer and some cans of cider. No one said anything about this. This is not Princess's official policy, but I have to infer that they have sensibly concluded that it's not worth the time and aggravation (for their staff and passengers) to really try to prevent this. This certainly makes me more willing to cruise on Princess again. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise