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506 Princess First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

I have never cruised before and would do it again tomorrow! We always book luxury holidays and have high expectations and this cruise ship filled them all. Cruise Staff: i was surprised at how many staff were around to help you. They ... Read More
I have never cruised before and would do it again tomorrow! We always book luxury holidays and have high expectations and this cruise ship filled them all. Cruise Staff: i was surprised at how many staff were around to help you. They are extremely friendly and professional too. Room: queen size comfortable bed, large dressing area/hanging space. This room was an aft room (back of the ship) so amazing views at all times. Large private balcony which had added bonus of an extra corner, so was bigger than other stateroom balconies Food:Wow very high quality, so much choice and we had an anytime dinning which allowed us to eat anywhere at anytime. We did pay 20 dollars each to eat in Sabetinis one night, the food was delicious so well worth the extra money. Drinks : We paid for 2 drinks packages. 54 dollars for a soda package and 84 dollars * 15 dollars tax for non alcoholic cocktails and soda.these entitled us drinks anytime of the day. I was surprised that we did not feel the ship move at all as i was worried i would suffer from seasickness as i am sensitive to movement. Apparently if you do suffer, book a room in the middle of the ship to prevent this. Overall i would rate this as a five star experience and we will definitely book another cruise with princess cruises. This cruise was on the RUBY princess ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We picked up the eavesway coach from the services,put bags on coach and never saw them again until we got to the state room,we booked a ocean view and were upgraded to a balconey then to a mini suite.The ship is masive clean and very well ... Read More
We picked up the eavesway coach from the services,put bags on coach and never saw them again until we got to the state room,we booked a ocean view and were upgraded to a balconey then to a mini suite.The ship is masive clean and very well run.the food is made on the ship(no fast food)it was it was top quality,the entertainment was very good with acts from x-facter/britains got talent/and the voice,the ports that were tendered were run like clockwork.they know what they are doing.you can't get board on this ship there is always something to do. We brought the ultimate drinks package worth every penny(€89)we done two tours one to rome and one to pisa,not worth the hassle of missing the ship $149/$79 worth the piece of mind. First stop Cadiz, very warm,going the firsttwo days with fair weather then the sun you burn very quick(factor 50 needed)i used factor 30 no good burn't,cadiz is easy on you own to walk around.very clean and loads to see. Next Aleghro, very hot 38 there is a road train that takes you through the old town,do the neptune caves only €15 well worth it.Next Rome,very hot,and a long day 8 hours tour,if you are travel wise do it yourself if not go with a tour company.the vatican get tickets online from vatican site €15.remember to be quite in the sistine chapel. Next Livorno,done pisa with princess beautful place well worth a visit you need about three hours to look around,beaware you will be set upon by afican steet sellers just say no,also children under eight will not be permited to go in any of the sites. Next Cannes,not much there but the beachs are lovely and clean,we traveled on the road train to see the sites(€10). Next barcelona,we used the hop on hop off bus (€24)saw all the sites got off and looked around,worth the money but very busy,walked down the la-ramble packed,did not see any pick pockets, Next Gibraltar,we went up the cable car(£10)each the views were amazing the monkeys were all over the place,they will steal anything they can grab.the sail away was a show stopper,fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
7-5-12 The travelers included my husband and me, our kids, and my mother. Our daughter turned 12 on the cruise and our son turned 9 on the cruise. Arrived in London around noon. We stayed at the elegant Chancery Court Hotel. The staff were ... Read More
7-5-12 The travelers included my husband and me, our kids, and my mother. Our daughter turned 12 on the cruise and our son turned 9 on the cruise. Arrived in London around noon. We stayed at the elegant Chancery Court Hotel. The staff were very personable and helpful. The kids enjoyed riding on the London Eye. Had a good dinner at Garfunkel's near the Strand area. 7-6 We had a wonderful sightseeing tour by a guide from Toursbylocals.com in a large Mercedes van. Our guide was a true English gentleman. After a rainy city tour by car where we stopped at landmarks for photos, we went to Madame Tussaud's wax museum at our kids' request. Next, our guide took us to a 350-year-old pub for a fish and chips lunch. Then we spent the afternoon at the Tower of London. The kids enjoyed being able to explore the area. 7-7 We boarded our cruise today with the kids wearing their "Love Boat" t-shirts. The kids got a kick out of watching some old episodes in anticipation of our cruise. Embarkation was simple except we did not reserve a wheelchair ahead of time since my mother injuured her leg right before the cruise. It took hours for the ship to get her a wheelchair because they told us they don't do this anymore without prior reservations with a third party company. The ship is beautiful. Kids insisted on going to the Shockwaves Kids Club (their age group was 8-12) while we had dinner. There were plenty of planned activities each evening at the kids club and the kids chose to go there each night rather than have dinner with the adults. We would take them to the Horizon Court buffet before they left for the kids club at 6 pm. They also insisted on spending all 4 sea days in the kids club (with breaks for lunch and swimming with us) and the port days they were with us all day. The adults did traditional dining at 6 each night in the Boticelli Dining Room. 7-8 We slept very poorly because the bed was hard as a rock. When the ship was re-furbished last year only certain rooms got the new pillowtopo mattresses. Our balcony stateroom was not one of them. My mother was in a mini-suite, however, and enjoyed the new mattress. Our bed problem was partially remedied for us by requesting an egg topper for the mattress. Our room steward Ignacio was very proactive in keeping our room clean and making sure we were comfortable. He was also very fun to chat with. Our room was forward on the Lido deck so we expected to feel some of the ship's movement but were surprised at how smooth it was. There were only two nights that it seemed very choppy and we did not get seasick. This was our first cruise so I really did not know what to expect but one early morning it became very rocky and the whole room seemed to be shaking. I heard an announcement being made in the hallway so I jumped out of bed to listen to it in the hallway. Since I missed the first two sentences of the announcement, all I heard was, "So, by now, you have probably heard that we will begin the evacuation shortly." I looked around and those in the hallway appeared calm, going about their business. I soon found out that the announcement referred to a passenger with a medical emergency had to be taken off via Coast Guard ship. The announcement was to let us know why we were stoopping in the middle of the sea to make the transfer. I never heard anything else so I hope the person is OK. 7-9 We arrived in Rotterdam today. Our toursbylocals.com guide in Amsterdam was laid back and very attentive. The city was beautiful but it rained the whole day. It was good for the kids to see the Anne Frank house as they had learned of it in school. The canal ride was gorgeous. My favorite part of the day was visiting the windmills. The miller and his family live in there. 7-10 Sea Day Kids enjoyed swimming and the kids club. I signed up for 3 Pilates classes (1 for each sea day) and they were all good and cost 3 for $30. Went to the traditional English lunch at the Crown Grill for fish n chips. We also met the Captain at the Cruise Criic Meet n Greet. The second in command officer was kind enough to arrange for the kids to have a private tour of the bridge on one of the port days. This was the first formal night and it was fun to see everyone dressed up. Our waiter was always eager to please us and took an interest in getting to know us. 7-11 Went to 7:00 am free stretch class with wet hair since the stateroom dryers have very little power (ladies, bring your hown hair dryers). At 10:00 am we disembarked at Copenhagen, shopped the souvenir shops at port and took a city bus tour to Tivoli Gardens. The kids were thrilled to be at the world's oldest amusement park. My 9-year-old son was disappointed he wasn't tall enough to go on many of the thrill rides. Somehow he was tall enough to go on the giant swing ride with me. Those are the tallest swings I have seen at any theme park. Terrifying ride for me but thrilling for the kids. We had lunch at a family restaurant, Pirateriet, shaped like a pirate ship. The gardens were beautiful. They also have shows there, music, and an aquarium. I wish we were there at night because I heard it's magical with all the lights. This was the only port where we didn't have a guide and it was fine except we had a bit of trouble getting back to the port. It's our fault we forgot to exchange money. The city bus to Tivoli had accepted American dollars while the one on the way back did not. So we had to find a cab instead and the driver was kind enough to describe the city highlights and stop at the Little Mermaid statue for a picture. 7-12 Stockholm, Sweden Beautiful entry into Stockholm. Prettiest country I've seen so far. Our Toursbylocals.com guide took us to the Vasa museum. Kids enjoyed it very much. Sadly not enough time for Skansen (open air folk museum) or the Pippi Longstocking museum but we spent an enjoyable afternoon touring Gamla Stan (Old Town). Shopped for souvenirs there. I have been collecting a Christmas ornament from each country. We had delicious Swedish meatballs with lingonberries. My son said it was the best meal ever. 7-13 Helsinki, Finland Our toursbylocals guide took us on a ferry to Suomenlinna, a fortress built by the Swedes in the 18th century to guard the harbor. Kids climbed on rocks and went through tunnels to explore. Had a nice Finnish lunch of fried flounder and more at the buffet at the fortress. Went to a cute toy museum on the fortress. Took the ferry back and shopped in an open air market where my mother got a great deal on pretty necklaces and bracelets. Then she found her favorite store Marimekko and bought a bag. 7-14 St. Petersburg, Russia "Best Guides Children's Tour" The day was off to a rocky start when we passed through immigraton because the agent was grumpy and we couldn't understand her directions so she yelled at us in Russian. Once we met our guide we knew it would be a good day. What makes her a "best" guide is she always spoke directly to our children and made the tour both educational AND fun for them. Started the day with a city tour with stops for photos and the kids were given specific instructions to hunt for "secrets." They even found gold keys. Went to a fortress that was a political prison 100 years ago--very creepy. My son got to experience solitary confinement when he volunteered to let them turn off the lights when he was alone in a cell for a few seconds. We took a hydrofoil (like a boat on skis) to Petershof Gardens/Fountains (the czars' summer palace). Very pretty with gold everywhere. Our guide whipped out some supplies for her purse and showed the kids how to make their own fountain using a hose, bottled water, etc. The kids were also challenged to walk across a series of stones while trying to "avoid" stepping on a mystery stone that would set off a fountain. They were soaked in seconds and didn't seem to mind it being so cold. Had a Russian lunch on site. Delicious beef stroganoff which was invented in St. Pete's and Russian pancakes for dessert. The bathhouses were interesting. The highlight of the day was the private Matroshka wooden doll painting class. The teacher was so patient and we all did a good job. I got bit by quite a few mosquitos while there. The class was supposed to be in one of the guides' home but it had to be moved since my mother injured her foot right before the cruise and the guide's home was on a fourth floor --not accessible. Too bad because our kids were supposed to meet her kids and practice their language skills. Maybe some other trip. But in any case, the doll painting class was a real treat. By this time we were exhausted. We could have arranged tickets to the Russian ballet at nighttime but we were glad we did not as we still had a full day in St. Pete's the next day. 7-15 Day 2, St. Petersburg Our guide took us to the Hermitage Museum. Lots of gold everywhere and beautiful art. We also went to the gorgeous Church of Spilled blood and had another good Russian lunch of Borscht soup. We climbed nearly 300 steps of St. Isaac's church for a spectacular view. Also went to pretty St. Nicholas's church where the guide had headscarves ready for my daughter and me. Our guide taught the kids about mosaic art and gave them "sidewalk chalk" to practice on the ground in an area where it was permitted to do so. These hands-on activities were perfect for the kids to have fun while learning! 7-16 Tallinn, Estonia Too bad it rained all morning because this was such a beautiful medieval town, similar to Sweden's Gamla Stan. Our guide from Estonian Experience did a great family friendly tour. The highlight was getting to paint our own marzipan figurines. She gave us a nice walking tour and, in the van, showed us parts of the documentary "The Singing Revolution" to give us a perspective on Estonian history. I would have spent time shopping for pretty wool sweaters but at that point it was pouring rain and almost time to get back on the ship before lunch. 7-17 Gdansk, Poland Our toursbylocals guide picked us up at the port in Gdynia and gave us a driving tour of Gdnyia and Sopot on the way to Gdansk. The Old Town of Gdansk is beautiful. Very charming. We saw Lech Walesa's office, St. Mary's Church (maybe the largest brick church in the world?), and lunch at the Red Door where we had pierogi with all types of fillings and delicious potato soup, perfect on a cold, rainy day. The highlight of the day was an amber workshop where we learned how it is cut, polished, and used for jewelry, incense, etc. Most of the world's amber comes from Poland. When we arrived the craftsman gave us each a shot of Polish vodka (well, not the kids) with gold in it. It has rained in nearly every country but it has not spoiled our fun and learning. 7-18 Fun sea day and family birthday celebration. The kids went to a Junior Chefs program where they got to bake their own birthday cakes in the ship's main kitchen with the chef. They loved it! My husband rested and explored the ship while my mother and I enjoyed an afternoon at the spa. We went to the spa on a couple of occasions. The staff do an incredible job with the services but we found the hard-selling of products to be a bit excessive. Tonight was also our last formal night. 7-19 Oslo, Norway Our guide from OsloGuidebureau made the tour especially kid-friendly. She took us on a city tour by van then we stopped at Vigeland sculpture park. Wonderful place for kids to see 200 sculptures of the human experience from birth to death. Some were hilarious. We went to the Homulken Olympic ski jump where the kids went in a simulator that allowed them to experience Olympic downhill skiing! Trolls were everywhere and I think it's part of the charm. Norway did the best job of marketing itself at the port, by the way. Then the kids enjoyed the Viking ship museum where we saw an original intact ship from 800 AD. Then we had a yummy lunch of cold sandwiches on fabulous fresh-baked bread. Kids loved the chocolate cake and curran jam (Swedes call it lingonberry jam). Next we went to the Norwegian Folk Museum (open-air)....one of the highlights of the trip. Old buildings were physically moved here to reflect Nordic life in the old days. We saw schools, Nordic farm animals, folk dancing, music, etc. and rode in a horse-drawn carriage. The church was from the time of the Vikings...1200 AD. This was a tour where we saw the most in the least amount of time. My favorite souvenir is a beautiful wool Norwegian sweater I got for half price ($100) at one of the cruise terminal port shops. These were the best cruise terminal souvenir shops of any port we visited on this cruise. 7-20-12 Today was our last sea day and we were all a bit sad. I definitely see cruises in our future. This was the trip of my dreams. Today there were tasks to do like packing, laundry, printing boarding passes (very hard to do with the internet being painfully slow), settling our account, buying ship photographs, and putting luggage tags on our luggage. Some things I forgot to mention...The food on the ship was great with a nice variety of choices. I didn't comment on entertainment because we didn't seem to find the time to go to many shows and many were too late for us. We enjoyed the port lectures and tried bingo for the first time. Bingo was fun but seemed like a very small "prize" (e.g., $250) for all the people paying about $30 each to play. As a first time cruiser I found the operation of elevators in this ship's layout odd. We would prefer to use stairs but as I mentioned we had a wheelchair with us due to an injury. Certain venues could only be accessed by certain elevators and the stairs did not even seem to run "all the way through." For the most part the weather was cold and rainy, unusual for July even in the Baltic so we wish we could have spent more time outside on the ship's decks. 7-21-12 We all agreed that next time when we don't have a wheelchair, we will use the express disembarkation and walk right off the ship early with our luggage. We were held up quite bit by having to wait in a group of all the other wheelchairs but, all in all, we made it to the airport on time. Too bad the service where they check your luggage all the way to the airport wasn't available on this cruise. Favorites of the trip: Touring a real working windmill in Holland, visiting the charming "old towns" of Sweden, Poland, and Estonia, and the Matroshka doll workshop in St. Petersburg. Going with private tours with hands-on activities ended up being the right decision for our family. I can't imagine being on a bus with 50 other people and not having the personalized attention we were so lucky to get with private guides. I was surprised that private guides usually cost us less than the ship's shore excursions. The kids club was a highlight because they met kids from all over the world, gave the adults a bit of alone time, and my daughter now has some new pen pals!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was my first cruise and I chose Princess after a lot of research, specifically regarding facilities for disabled guests, as I have to use a wheelchair full time. My family party consisted of ages ranging between 11 and 73. We ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I chose Princess after a lot of research, specifically regarding facilities for disabled guests, as I have to use a wheelchair full time. My family party consisted of ages ranging between 11 and 73. We travelled from Yorkshire, 250 miles to Southampton by private taxi on the morning of the cruise, arriving just in time for our specified check-in. There was a lot of traffic nearing Southampton and at the dock gates, as to be expected on a Saturday in July. Next time, if travelling down the same day, I would allow extra time (even though we had left quite early) just to be on the safe side of any unforeseen traffic hold ups and queues at the terminals. As the taxi pulled into the QE2 Terminal and then parked, our luggage was immediately taken, in a very quick and efficient manner. However, you need to be prepared for a quick exit from your taxi, grab your hand luggage, and get across to the terminal building, as this is a very busy area and they need to keep the flow of taxis moving to prevent congestion. We were then split up as a family group for check-in. Myself and one other family member were directed to accessible desk and asked if we required any assistance to board. A very quick check-in. Again, you need to have your passport and boarding card ready and be prepared to go through security quickly. Less hand luggage next time! A photo was taken for each of our pass cards before boarding the ship. We were directed to our staterooms on Baja Deck 11. Our luggage was already waiting outside and our very pleasant Cabin Steward was there to greet us and explain the facilities. I was delighted with our accessible stateroom - B303. It was very spacious, with comfortable beds and plenty of room for manoeuvring the wheelchair in both bedroom and bathroom. My only complaint would be that the ramp to the balcony was too steep for me to get in and out on my own. An improvement on this would have made my cabin rating 5. The cabins were very clean and this was maintained daily to a good standard. There was conflicting advice about the life-jacket and safety drill which was at 3.00 pm. I was told by our Cabin Steward that I, being in a wheelchair, could stay in my cabin and watch the drill on the T.V. ship channel. This wasn't the case, as when other crew members saw me in my cabin at 3.00 pm they said I must go to the Muster Station, so I had a frantic rush to get there in time. As this was our first cruise we were all a bit bewildered on the first day, but pleasantly so, and we soon found our way around. The majority of the crew were incredibly helpful, polite and friendly. The dining service we experienced was excellent at all times. We chose "Anytime Dining" and found the flexibility it gave suited our plans. We did not have to wait for a table at any mealtimes. Dining staff were very attentive, friendly and efficient. We found the choice of food wide ranging and varied with pleasant and comfortable dining areas. The ship's information service was good for the daily on board activities, as a newsletter was delivered every evening with the next day's itinerary. However, I found hardly any details were provided regarding excursions and port accessibility for wheelchair users. The staff at the Excursion Desk seemed unaware of what options were available and suitable. There were shuttle buses with ramps at the Port of Bergen, we just had to wait ten minutes longer for one. It would be a great improvement if information on the accessibility to Ports of Call for wheelchair users was readily available and more precise. The entertainment we saw was enjoyable and varied. We missed some of the shows as we were still in the dining room when they started. Again, next time, I would plan to eat and finish in time to make for the shows we particularly want to see. Considering all that is included in the price, together with the high standard of service and efficiency, I would rate the value for money for this cruise very good. The cruise destination, the Norwegian Fjords,was a delightful and very memorable holiday for the whole family, which I would highly recommend. As this was my first cruise I have no experience with another company to compare with. I was generally very satisfied with Princess and have therefore booked with them again this year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
My husband and I booked a mediterrenean cruise on Star Princess (Venice to Rome) for our one year anniversary. I was not sure what to expect as I've always been a laid-back traveller....certainly not used to travelling in luxury. We ... Read More
My husband and I booked a mediterrenean cruise on Star Princess (Venice to Rome) for our one year anniversary. I was not sure what to expect as I've always been a laid-back traveller....certainly not used to travelling in luxury. We honestly booked the cruise more for the ports than anything, however, the cruise itself was just as fantastic as the ports. Everyday we kept saying to each other...could this literally get any better! Our embarkation at Venice was super easy..maybe 20 mins max, and our room while small was cute and most importantly clean. We were exhausted from the long flight from Toronto, but we spent the evening exploring the ship...it was beautiful. Our luggage didn't arrive with us, but Princess gave us little bags of tolietries and even provided outfits for the first formal night, although out baggage arrived beforehand. Overall, we absolutely loved the ports...it was incredible waking up to such gorgeous places everyday. We did a few excursions...The Parthenon in Athens as it is such a big city, Ephesus in Kusadasi and Vesuvious and Pompeii in Naples. The rest of the time there was no need to book an excursion and we just had a lot of fun exploring the various little port towns. Evenings were really fun because the food was always so good. I don't think I can recall a bad meal. It was delicious and varied. The buffet was also good, but we prefered meeting the other passengers and dressing up a bit in the proper dining rooms. We had an anniversary meal in the italian restaurant on Star Princess....$20 extra and worth every penny. The food was to die for! Some nights we played bingo...a good laugh or went to shows or events on board...it was all good. Our fave thing though were the movies under the stars...we went often and it was so much fun. We are big movie buffs so it was the perfect way to end the day. I used the gym most mornings and it got busy quickly but it was also really nice to have use of those facilities. I also got a massage in the spa and it was fantastic...well worth the splurge! I can think of a few things that could be better, but they are so many minor it didn't change our feelings about the cruise at all. The biggest thing was I felt there was quite a bit of sales going on...trying to get people to buy stuff...the worst were the photos..that was pretty annoying, but whatever...not a huge deal. I didn't like the way some people put towels on chairs and never seemed to come back all day...I wish people were monitoring it more, but again, not a biggie. The positives of this cruise far outweighed the negatives. We met some interesting people, and found a few of the old fogies to be complaining about little things but seriously...they had nothing to whine about. I liked that there didn't seem to be kids running all over the place...I assume they were all in the kids programs during the day...fine by me. Overall, I cannot think of a better value for money than this cruise. If you drink like a fish I'm sure it would get expensive, but we don't so who cares. We had a truly amazing time and would be doing it again this summer if I weren't pregnant! I have convinced my husband and parents to go on an alaskan cruise next summer and I am literally itching to go!!! If you went on the same cruise as us and didn't like it, I don't even know what to say. Your expectations are unreasonably high and god knows what would make you happy! Trust us...it was out of this world! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We embarked and disembarked from Vancouver on this back to back Alaska cruise, our first cruise together. Both my wife and I had taken independent cruises earlier in our lives. Embarkation process was very smooth and fast, took less ... Read More
We embarked and disembarked from Vancouver on this back to back Alaska cruise, our first cruise together. Both my wife and I had taken independent cruises earlier in our lives. Embarkation process was very smooth and fast, took less than 30 minutes from our drop off at the port. We both use C-PAC for our sleep apnea and had been told to bring an extra extension and power bar. That and our four suitcases easily left space in the closet and left room for other items we bought on board and on the excursions. Service was attentive and very good at all venues. We had the late dinner booking and was set with two other couples who were fantastic and hopefully will be life long friends. We ate one night at the Italian restaurant and did not feel the quality was any better than the regular restaurant. We did some Princess excursions and some with others from cruise critic. The ones we arranged with others on Cruise Critic were much better. The glaciers were unbelievable good, but it was cold doing the watching from the top decks, on the return trip we found it better on the 7 deck walk around was better for watching. We had an inside cabin and it appeared for others who had balconies that it was a better choice for sleeping if you are easily waken by light as the nights are very short. Visually we would rank this cruise a 9.5 out of 10 for the scenery. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Last July my wife and I took our first cruise on a cruise tour to Alaska with Princess. This was our first cruise. We are glad that we started with the land portion of the trip and followed that with the cruise portion on the Diamond ... Read More
Last July my wife and I took our first cruise on a cruise tour to Alaska with Princess. This was our first cruise. We are glad that we started with the land portion of the trip and followed that with the cruise portion on the Diamond Princess. We enjoyed our cruise very much. Things went very well with our trip. Our flights from CMH to ORD and from ORD to ANC went very well (we had quite a hike at ORD from the United flight to the Alaska Air flight, but we made it in plenty of time). We were met by the Princess folks at the airport in Anchorage. Things went smoothly on our trip into Anchorage to the Captain Cook Hotel in downtown Anchorage. Our bus driver on the way into Juneau told us about free films that are shown all day long at the Federal Building in Anchorage. The building was only a few blocks from our hotel some did catch the end of the film presentations that day. We enjoyed the hotel, and our brief stay in Anchorage. We ate at the fine roof top restaurant at the hotel, and we enjoyed our meal there very much. On Tuesday we began the land portion of our trip with a coach ride to the McKinley Princess Lodge. We spent two nights there. The lodge was very nice. The rooms were basic -- more like a Comfort Inn. We did enjoy good views of the mountain both days while we were there. I discovered as we were leaving on the second day that some of the best views of Denali were available from the road that leads up to the lodge. There is a marked trail for walking along the road. On the day we arrived at the McKinley Lodge, we had scheduled a float trip on the Chulitna River. The trip took about four hours. Unfortunately it was a cloudy day so we did not enjoy much of the scenery in the area. The young woman who was our guide did a good job navigating our raft down the river to Talkeenta. We enjoyed the little village that evening. We ate at a local pizza place (Mountain High Pizza), and then we finished our evening there with a cinnamon bun that we purchased at the Road House. The highlight of our trip there was the flight seeing trip that we booked to the Alaska Range from Talkeentna. We landed on the Kahiltna Glacier at the 7000 foot level, and then we were able to get out of the plane and walk around in the snow (the flight service provided us with snow boots). This is the base camp for the climbers on Mt. McKinley. It was a great trip. When we arrived back in Talkeenta, we took some time to explore the village. We visited some of the shops, and we were able to have lunch outside one the deck of one of the Wild Flower Cafe. After our second night we headed for the Princess Denali Lodge on the Princess dome cars on the Alaska RR. The three-hour trip was very scenic. The domed cars are very comfortable. Princess has a narrator on each car who describes points of interest and history along the way. I had reindeer chili for lunch in the dining section of our car along the way. We enjoyed our stay at Denali. It had a different feel with all the shops and restaurants across the road from the lodge. After arriving at the lodge, I went on a two hour nature hike that I had scheduled. The trail took us above the on a mountain side above the lodge area. I think the guide adjusts the hike according to the folks who have signed up so it was not a strenuous trip. He did point out several nature and geological features along the way. My wife enjoyed an excursion to one of the sled dog camps. She said it was informative and entertaining. On our full day in Denali, we opted for the all day school bus ride in the park to Kantishna. We only saw glimpses of the mountain, but we saw a lot of wildlife. We also enjoyed the park ranger interpretation from Wonder Lake to Kantishna. The lodge was nicely appointed at Denali, but again the rooms were more like what I would expect at a Comfort Inn. The all day train ride from Denali to Whittier went well. Checking onto the ship and boarding went well. It was nice that they're able to do some processing of our passports and our room keys on board the train. We really enjoyed the cruise portion of the trip. Of course this was our first cruise, but we enjoyed the Diamond Princess very much. The crew and staff were friendly and helpful. I was not impressed by the efforts to get us to buy diamonds, watches, and art, but I understand that is part of the deal. We enjoyed our mini suite with the veranda very much. I'm glad we chose the balcony room, and I am glad we paid a little more for the mini suite. It was nice to have the sofa and the extra room. Travel on the ship was very smooth. Most of the time I could not tell when we were moving and when we were in port. We never experienced any motion sickness on the ship or on any of our excursions. We had selected the any time dining option so we could choose from several restaurants each evening. All the restaurants have the same menu, but each may include a specialty item. We did try out the two dining rooms that an extra cover charge. I found those meals to be very enjoyable. The only nights that I made reservations were the nights that we dined in those restaurants. Usually we would strike up a conversation with folks who were seated at tables near us. We enjoyed our service and the meals. Everything was well prepared and nicely presented. We were glad that we chose the anytime dining. It gave us flexibility around when and where we wanted to eat. There was only one time for dinner that we were told that no seating was available so we just went to another restaurant. On three mornings we had continental breakfast in our room. Those meals were ok, but convenient especially when we had an early excursion scheduled in one of the ports. We went to the buffet the other days for breakfast. We went there for lunch when we were not in port. The buffet is kind of hectic because it is rather crowded and busy. The food was ok there, too. We also tried out the grill and the pizza place when we didn't want to go to the buffet. I appreciate the fact that the ship monitors persons coming into the buffet and requires everyone to use the hand cleanser before selecting their food items. Most evenings we took in the live entertainment in the theater. The shows were nicely done, and we enjoyed the shows. We also watched some of the movies in our room. We didn't do the "Movies under the Stars" because it was just too chilly for us. On days we were at sea, I enjoyed walking laps around the Promenade Deck. I also did lap swimming two days in the adults only pool. The "current" pool feature was not working, but the pool and hot tub were nice. On the last full day of our southbound trip, we enjoyed a presentation on board by the head chef of the ship and the matrie d. The chef did a cooking demonstration, and then everyone had a tour of the galley. During the cruise, we enjoyed the day in Glacier Bay. We got to see some nice calving of the glacier. We had a nice day in Juneau (we has some sunshine). We selected a combo of the whale watching (we saw humpbacks), a salmon bake (nice meal at a nice lodge with a nice view), and a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier. We also enjoyed our trip on the Yukon RR. We had an extension to Frasier, BC with a coach ride to Caribou Crossing in the Yukon. We saw a lot of pretty scenery. We went to a little tourist place for lunch. We enjoyed our float plane trip over the Misty Fjord. I wish I would have chosen the round trip float plane trip. The return jet catamaran was not very exciting. I thought we would cruise more in the narrower fjords than we did. We did most of our shopping on Creek Street in Ketchikan. I liked several of the shops in that area. Again I didn't care for the all the diamond and watch shops. Of course there are the other typical souvenir shops along the streets. I found more variety and more seemingly Alaskan artist and artisan items on Creek Street in Ketchikan. We did not care much for the shops in Skagway although we did enjoy the interpretive museum that is run by the National Park Service there about the gold rush. We did not have time to visit the shops in Juneau because of our excursion schedule and the ship's departure time. We were amazed on both the land and sea portions of the trip how well Princess kept everything organized and kept folks (and our luggage) going where they needed to be. The only small glitch we had concerned disembarkation. Princess had us scheduled to depart to the Vancouver airport. We saw the notice about selecting the self-disembarkation option. Before I was able to sign up, we received information about our transfer to the airport. I went to the passenger service desk, and they helped change my status. When it came time to disembark on Saturday morning, we were scheduled to be in a group that was to meet in a lounge. When we took the elevator down to that floor, they were letting the folks in our group off so we just joined the line and got off the ship. We were through customs by 8:00 am. Thanks for the heads up about the self-disembarking option. We basically had no lines when we got through customs in Vancouver. We got a taxi, and by 8:30 we were having breakfast in our hotel. All in all it was a great trip. It was a once and life time experience for us. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We had always wanted to visit Alaska and we were not disappointed. The cruise up the inside passage is fantastic and the trips into Glacier Bay and College Fjord are awesome. The ship goes right up to the Glaciers through icebergs and ... Read More
We had always wanted to visit Alaska and we were not disappointed. The cruise up the inside passage is fantastic and the trips into Glacier Bay and College Fjord are awesome. The ship goes right up to the Glaciers through icebergs and you see icebergs being calved off the glacier. Also we say countless whales - the naturalist on board gives a running commentary in the areas that whales are expected. One tip- on the north bound trip starboard cabins have the best views. Princess booked us into the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver and this set the excellent standard for the trip. Cruise representatives check you in on the morning of the trip, your bags are collected from the room and after a short shuttle trip to the dock you board straight onto the ship with only minor formalities. Service on board was excellent - all staff were helpful and friendly. The cabin steward was great with lots of advice. The ship had recently been refurbished so all public areas were immaculate. We ate in Sabatini's for breakfast and on our first evening - perks with the cabin. Good quality food and service. Italian music could be a bit quieter. All other nights we ate in the Savoy restaurant. We asked for a quiet table with a sea view and he had a super table for 4 (but just us two) in a quiet corner next to a window. The service was attentive and good. We enjoyed it so much that we booked "our table" every night. It is worth booking a time and table in advance.We usually had lunch in the Atrium either sandwiches of pizzas. We tried the buffet a couple of times - it was so so - I expected to see a bigger variety of international dishes. The soda card is a good deal at $7 per day. One card covered us both and includes all soft drinks including non-alcoholic cocktails. However for some strange reason it does not include iced tea. The ship never felt crowded and once you had orientated your self was easy to navigate. There is various styles of entertainment going on throughout the day from full blown productions to solo artists in various bars. There are numerous attempts to get more money out of you but none of the these was over obtrusive. Good talks by the on-board naturalist, by a officer on the running of the ship and entertaining demonstration by the head chef. We continued in land to Denali. Two nights at the Denali lodge and two nights at the Mount McKinley lodge. Both are owned by Princess and are in superb locations. You courier meets you disembarkation at Whittier and stays with you for the full trip. Do take the full day trip into Denali park - wonderful wilderness and we saw bears, moose and caribou. However be aware that the train trips are long (+9 hours to Denali and 6 hours Denali to McKinley) - I would recommend you opt for the bus instead: its quicker and you get more time at your destinations. We were lucky and had full views of Mount McKinley but apparently there is only a 30% chance. We finished in Anchorage - the Captain Cook hotel is fine with excellent views across the city to the mountains. Do take the 1 hour tram tour - fascinating insight into city life and the 1964 earthquake. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We just got back from our first ever cruise, 12-nights on the Caribbean Princess to Norway and Iceland. We have been on small luxury dive boats in the Maldives and Indonesia before, but this was clearly different! We were unsure whether ... Read More
We just got back from our first ever cruise, 12-nights on the Caribbean Princess to Norway and Iceland. We have been on small luxury dive boats in the Maldives and Indonesia before, but this was clearly different! We were unsure whether a cruise was "right" for us as we generally want beautiful natural scenery and peace and quiet on our vacations - safaris, small remote islands, etc. Cruise ships seemed to us like floating Las Vegas hotels, which is fine for a long weekend but not really what we want to do for two weeks straight. However, we were very keen to go to Norway and a cruise seemed like the best way to see the fjords. The ship also looked big enough to provide a lot of quiet areas. Also, we were travelling with an infant, and the ability to stay in one "hotel room" and not have to continually pack and unpack while still being able to see lots of different places was an attraction. We picked this Princess cruise largely because of the great itinerary. We looked at a lot of different cruise lines, but choose Princess from a broad list of choices (Cunard, Celebrity, Fred Olsen, Royal Caribbean) that seemed to offer similar quality onboard experiences due to the far superior itinerary, sailing dates and start/end port (Southampton, we live in London) of this cruise. Hopefully this review will be helpful to potential first timers, to people looking to go to Norway but unsure about what ports they really want to visit, and to people considering Princess. Embarkation -- super smooth and quick, no problems. We were in the first group of the staggered boarding, arriving at the pier around 11:40am. We walked right through to check in, then right through security and on board. Twenty minutes from taxi drop off to room. Room -- D734 aft balcony. Fantastic room! We loved the aft and spent many hours sitting on the (huge) balcony on sea days watching the wake. We slept with the door slightly open and loved the white noise and fresh air. We would definitely recommend this to anyone who has not tried an aft room, and especially for anyone with an infant as the white noise from the wake can really drown out other noise and help a baby sleep. We were surprised by the size of the closet, which had a huge clothes rail that was bigger than most hotel room closets and had plenty of space for clothes. Food -- This is obviously a very subjective area, and different people will have very different reactions to the exact same thing depending on what they are used to and what they want. To give some perspective on our views, we eat "healthily", rarely eat fast food and appreciate food made with the best ingredients and cooked well. We like a wide variety of cuisine and have lived, travelled and eaten all over the world. We ended up eating at the Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe for almost all of our meals as our baby's schedule made it impossible to sit down for 1.5 hours in the MDR, and we did not want to subject anyone (including ourselves!) to a fussy, crying baby at mealtime. Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food. Some meals were ok, most were good, and often they were very good. The carving station was alternatively good or very good (brisket, veal chops), and there was plenty of choice of other starter/main courses, so there was always something that we were happy with. The fruit, however, was bland and not very good. However, we are used to getting very good fruit, so our "standards" here might be very high. We were also not impressed with the deserts, as the cakes that we had were all fairly dry, and were more like store bought cakes rather than bakery made cake. But we did like the cookies. We did eat breakfast in the MDR one morning and it was not very good. We both ordered salmon and scrambled eggs and when they came they were clearly not freshly cooked and seemed like they had been sitting around for 15+ minutes. We ended up eating the rest of our breakfasts in the buffets, and were very happy with the quality and variety of the food there. This was a surprise, as we expected the quality of the MDR to be much better than the buffet. Perhaps we were there on a bad day, but.... Service -- This was also a pleasant surprise, and better than expected. Again, this was our first cruise so we cannot compare the service to what it was on cruises 5, 10 or 15 years ago. But considering how badly service levels have deteriorated in luxury hotels/resorts/restaurants across the world over the past 10 years, and after reading lots of service complaints on Cruise Critic, we were not expecting a lot. However, staff were almost universally friendly and very helpful. Wait staff and bartenders were quick and efficient, and with only two exceptions (one of the HC waitresses, and the older bartender at the bar between the outdoor pizza and burger stations) they were all very friendly -- and other support staff were almost all also quick with a smile and a hello. Out of a staff of 1000+, that is really nice and unusual. There was only one real hiccup in service the whole time, but it was dealt with beautifully and turned the incident into an example of great service. I was eating alone at Cafe Caribe and had a glass of wine. I went back to the buffet to get a dessert and when I went back to my table, it had been cleared, including my glass of wine that still had a large sip left. The waiters then saw me and realized that I had not left, and that they should not have cleared my not-yet-empty wine glass. Before I said anything or reacted in any way at all, one of them immediately came to the table, apologized and said they did not realize that I did not in fact leave, and said that they were bringing me another glass of wine "on the house". The fact that they did this right away, and without any comment or suggestion on my part, was nice. It was of course the right thing for them to do, but again, they handled it extremely well. Other -- We were a bit concerned that the Movies Under the Stars would be very loud and intrusive and would detract from the peaceful beautiful surroundings that we came to see. This was not the case, however, and it was easy to find quiet areas on the decks to enjoy the scenery. Ports/Excursions -- The itinerary was the most important reason why we chose this cruise, and we were looking forward to the beautiful natural scenery and relaxed atmosphere of Norway and Iceland. They certainly delivered! We did a Princess excursion in one port (Olden), used a local tour agency in one (Geiranger), rented a car in three (Alesund, Akeruryi, Reykjavik), and just walked around town in Bergen. Geiranger -- Geiranger is generally considered to be the most beautiful fjord in Norway, and it was amazing. Sailing quietly through Geiranger fjord was fantastic. We then did a bus tour to Mt Dalsnibba, which has incredible views down into the fjord. There is beautiful scenery everywhere you look here, making this 2 hour bus tour is a must do. We used Geirangerfjord service http://www.geirangerfjord.no/ as recommended by others on Cruise Critic, which for $40 offers the exact same tour on the exact same type of buses as the $129 Princess tour, except without a stop for coffee and pastries. This is one of the few black marks for Princess -- their tours are very expensive compared to alternatives. I understand that using the cruise line tour offers some benefits -- most notably protection against missing the boat if the tour is late -- and am willing to pay a higher price because of that, but $129 vs $40 for the exact same thing (minus coffee) is a joke. For comparison, I looked at the Royal Caribbean excursion price list, and saw that Princess excursions are also very expensive compared to RCI. For example, the Mt. Dalsnibba bus tour on RCI is $60, or less than half what Princess charges (and still 50% more than what you can book on your own). The difference in other excursion prices is also quite large. Princess charges $199 and $129 for excursions that RCI charges $120 and $75 for. These are EXACTLY the same excursions, and probably use the same local contractor. And before anyone replies "don't tell Princess how to run their business, they know what they are doing, they make a lot of money selling excursions and they charge what the market will allow", please note that I am not telling Princess what to do, I am just pointing out to people that the price difference between Princess and other alternatives and cruise lines is quite high, and they may want to take that into account when booking their own excursions or even cruises. One other point. We really loved the sail in and sail out of Geirangerfjord (and the fjord all the way out to Alesund). There are many discussions on this message board about whether to do the full day bus tour that starts at Hellesylt and meets the ship at the end of the day in Geiranger (and miss the sail in to Geirangerfjord, but enjoying the fjord on the sail out), or to stay on the ship to enjoy both the sail in and sail out of the fjord. As enjoying this journey from the deck of the ship is such a great experience that would be a shame to miss, one should take into consideration the possibility that bad weather could affect the sail out. Staying on the ship for both the sail in and sail out gives you two chances to have a nice sail. Olden -- I did the Princess tour to Lake Lovatnet and Kjendallen Glacier. It was very nice, especially the 1 hour or so boat ride on Lake Lovatnet. Recommended. Alesund -- We rented a car and drove an itinerary recommended by CC member Trotto, who lives in the area. The highlight was road 655, which organized tours do not visit. I ran out of superlatives describing Geiranger, so I will repeat them here -- this was a stunningly beautiful drive, similar in many ways to the sail in/out of Geirangerfjord, with countless waterfalls coming down very steep and high mountains. It was also very quiet and peaceful, with almost no traffic. It was about a 6 hour roundtrip from Alesund and you have to pay attention to ferry times (there are 3 ferrys in total that you have to take) to make sure you do not miss the ship, but this drive was one of the top 3 highlights of the whole trip. Bergen -- We were primarily interested in the beautiful scenery on our trip, and not so much in cultural or historical places, or shopping. Bergen is a nice enough town, but quite frankly there was not much in it that interested us. We walked around town for an hour or so and then headed back to the ship. If you are planning a Norway trip and want a rest day from one of the port days, Bergen is the place to do it. Akeruryi -- We rented a car in Akeruryi and drove out to the waterfalls Detifoss and Selfoss, about a 2.5 hour drive out to Detifoss, so a 6 hour round trip including visiting time. It was well worth it as Detifoss was amazing, more impressive than the other beautiful waterfalls we also saw in Iceland (Godafoss near Akeruryi, and Gullfoss near Reykjavik). This was one of the highlights of the whole trip. Adding to Detifoss' beauty is the fact that since no organized tours go there, there are not many other people and so you can enjoy it in peace, in great contrast to the tourist hordes that clog up Gullfoss. When we arrived, there were about 10 other cars in the parking lot, and over the next hour only another dozen or so more came. The drive to/from Detifoss was very beautiful too. This and Geiranger were our favorite ports. Reykjavik -- We again rented a car and drove the Golden Circle, stopping at Geysir and Gullfoss. This was another beautiful drive, with nice contrasts between lush green valleys and desolate volcanic moonscapes. Driving is really the best way to see Iceland, as you can choose where you stop and can go off on side roads. Debarkation -- Very smooth. We did not realize that there would not be passport control coming back into the UK. That was a pleasant surprise as we just had to walk off the ship with our group, pick up our luggage and walk out the door. 15 minutes from debarkation lounge to the taxi rank outside the cruise terminal. Overall - We had a great time on this vacation. It was an absolutely fantastic itinerary and Princess delivered a very good experience. Will we sail again? Yes, but we will be itinerary driven and are interested in other Arctic type cruises (Norway, Greenland, Antarctic), and not so much in warm weather, Caribbean type cruising. We have actually booked several Northern Norway cruises for next summer and will spend the next 6 months figuring out which one we will take. Visiting Norway by cruise ship may be the best way to see it as sailing through the fjords is such a highlight and you avoid the very high meal and hotel costs there. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Embarkation: It went relatively smoothly. However, 1) the embarkation pier was kind of a zoo; 2) I was irritated that (apparently) I had to use a porter to bring our 4 bags to the loading area when we were perfectly capable of doing it; ... Read More
Embarkation: It went relatively smoothly. However, 1) the embarkation pier was kind of a zoo; 2) I was irritated that (apparently) I had to use a porter to bring our 4 bags to the loading area when we were perfectly capable of doing it; and 3) it wasn't until after dinner that my wife's 2 bags were delivered; my 2 arrived soon after we got to our cabin. Dining: We ate dinners in the dining room; breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Court or Cafe Corniche (pizza). Service was excellent; the food generally good, not great. "Anytime dining" seemed like a great idea, and we opted for it. Never again. What it meant for us was that you get in line "anytime," after which you get a pager and wait for up to half an hour for a table. I tried to reserve a table several times and was told that nothing was available until 8:30, later than we like to eat.Entertainment: I can't comment on the entertainment since we had no interest in and didn't attend any shows, etc. Cabin: Our balconey cabin was clean and comfortable. I would have liked more than one chair, but there wasn't room for one. Our steward was excellent. My wife appreciated that I was not permitted to smoke on the balconey. Staff: Overall, we found the staff to be friendly and helpful. This is contrary to what I've been reading in some comments about cruises on other Princess ships in the Caribbean. Shore Excursions: We each took six, four together and two each apart. We enjoyed all of them. My favorite was a Zodiac expedition in Ketchican -- we were the only two passengers signed up for it and, so, had a boat to ourselves. According to the tour operator, Princess requires a minimum of four for any excursion, and Princess had picked up the tab for two so that we wouldn't be canceled. Kudos to Princess if this is true and, if so, they did it behind the scenes. You can likely save money by booking excursions on your own. Princess is upfront about this, saying that about 20% of excursion fees go to them.Other: My wife has multiple chemical sensitivities and also requires a gluten-free diet. Princess was very accommodating in this regard. Indeed, there is an "accessibility person" in the home office; she was very helpful. But for the assurances she gave in advance, we would never have dared to try the cruise. Kudos also to Greg, the head waiter in the Rigoletto Dining Room, who went out of his way insofar as my wife's gluten-free diet is concerned. Value for money: Due to my wife's problems noted above, we paid considerably more to get a specific cabin. Based on our experience, next time we'll pay less for whatever balconey cabin we are assigned. Overall: As stated above, we were very satisfied with the cruise and are already planning our next one with Princess, to the Caribbean. I must admit that I'm a bit put off by some of the reviews of the two ships, one of which we will be on, but we'll likely give it a try nonetheless. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
When I noticed on the Internet that Princess was sailing from San Francisco, I knew I wanted to be on one if their ships. The fact that Sea Princess is one of their smaller ones was even more appealing. When I boarded the ship, I was ... Read More
When I noticed on the Internet that Princess was sailing from San Francisco, I knew I wanted to be on one if their ships. The fact that Sea Princess is one of their smaller ones was even more appealing. When I boarded the ship, I was pleasantly surprised by the total atmosphere of the public areas. While busy with the rush of people boarding, the atrium was still a roomy area that never felt crowded. My first stop was my stateroom, located on the starboard side near the front with an ocean view window that was not a large one, but the right size for viewing. Being a single traveler, I never felt jammed into a small space or crammed into the shower or bathroom space. After watching us pass under the Golden Gate and out to sea, it was time for my first seating time at dinner. I had opted for traditional dining since I knew that I would always have dinner companions, and for the early seating so I would be able to see the earlier shows. I ate with a couple from Arizona, one from Napa, California and a third couple from San Francisco, but originally from Guangzhou China and limited in their English. We got along fine because I knew a little Cantonese.I was always very satisfied with my meals. I selected items from the menu that were not foods I would normally get at home.Breakfast and dinner were always an adventure, and never rushed. While the seven of us visited at dinner each evening, there was never a feeling of slow service, and dinner usually ended in two hours. Our waiter and his helper were very friendly and accommodating. After dinner and a short walk around the Promenade Deck or within the ship, I went to the shows in the Princess Theatre or the Vista Lounge and was disappointed in only one, but was informed the next day by one of the Cruise Director staff that the situation had been taken care of. It was a case of an extremely bad comedian with no comedy. He was paired with a fantastic ventriloquist, so that show was not a total waste of time. I have always lived by the Golden Rule, so enjoyed talking each morning with the Stateroom Steward and felt he did an extraordinary job in taking care of his assigned rooms. Being the lone traveler that I was, I had opportunities to visit with crew and other passengers, making some wonderful friends. I feel that it makes for easier traveling and faster connections to have personal cards in your pocket with name, address, phone numbers and email addresses. They are easy to pass out and have resulted in continued connections after my cruise.Of course, Alaska is further north that I am used to and July is perfect for late sunsets, lengthy dusks and early sunrises. There were several days of cloudy weather, but only one day of real rain and that was the day we cruised Glacier Bay. By staying on the Promenade Deck, I was under cover and still able to see spectacular calving. I found this cruise to be very pleasing. There were over 300 children on the ship with families, but the programs for them were numerous and you never felt like they were in the way or bothersome. In fact, in looking back, I cannot recall any crying from unhappy, hungry children, nor any rude behavior from any of the teens on board. With 2,000 passengers, there will always be the pushy, rude, snobbish ones. But they have to be overlooked. Sometimes, it is necessary to be aggressive with them, but also there are times to let them have their way. They are also the ones who complain about the food, the service or anything else, but they should be complaining about their lives instead. My cruise experience was so positive that I have decided to travel on Princess to the Panama Canal, but I will always travel alone. Hope to meet you. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was our family's first cruise, and everyone had a great time. We traveled as husband, wife, 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son. We flew from Boston to Rome and spent a few days in the city. From Rome we took the train ... Read More
This was our family's first cruise, and everyone had a great time. We traveled as husband, wife, 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son. We flew from Boston to Rome and spent a few days in the city. From Rome we took the train to Venice and spent two days before the start of the cruise. Venice is the most beautiful city I've ever seen and a great port to begin a cruise. The ship is very large and offers more activities than you could ever experience. Since we were traveling with children, Movies under the Stars was big part of our evening experience. Each night a different movie was offered with a showing at 7:30 and 10:30. The movies are current (e.g., Hunger Games) and the showing is on a very large screen by the pool. The pizzeria, grill, ice cream stand and buffet are close by if you want a snack during the show. Popcorn, cookies and milk are offered by the staff. My son and I also used the gym and worked out every day. The gym is first rate all the way. We also spent about an hour each day playing basketball. The courts are busy, but we usually managed to get in for some play time. We went to a handful of shows, including a four season's concert, culinary show, and magic show. The shows were very good to excellent. We were so busy and tired from our shore excursions, however, that we didn't take advantage of more shows. We had two cabins side by side with ocean balconies. We were able to connect through the balcony, so we were able to keep our family together through the entire trip. The rooms were spacious and comfortable.... Better than we expected. The air conditioning was very comfortable. Housekeeping was excellent.... We had no issues at all. The food on the ship was fantastic.... Especially the traditional dining. The breakfast buffet was very good, and fairly traditional. I'd compare it to an excellent breakfast buffet at an upscale hotel. Since we were very busy with shore excursions, we had room service most mornings and it was good and dependable. For lunch you had many choices. On sea days, we usually ate by the pool. The Pizzeria was absolutely first rate (better than the pizza in Italy) and the grill was decent (burgers and fries). We occasionally had lunch in the buffet and the food was very good. There was usually a theme (e.g., Mexican) and there we many choices. Dinner was our favorite. We LOVED the traditional dining. The meals were 4 courses and FANTASTIC. The service was as good as the food. On the outside, these meals would cost you $50 to $75 a person. We did not expect the food to be this good. We went on one private shore excursion. The remainder we did with Princess. The Princess expeditions were very good and two of them were OUTSTANDING. One was cheese tasting in Sorrento, and the other was visiting Orvieto (with a meal at the Tipica Trattoria Etrusca, a 5 start Italian restaurant). We were very pleased with the excursions. The employees on the Ruby Princess were pleasant and helpful. They were never far from your table during a meal, and the pool and bar staff deserve special mention. To sum it up, we were very satisfied with our experience. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Having just returned from the Grand Mediterranean cruise from 5 -- 17 July, as a first time cruiser, I make the following comments. First piece of advice to give a first time cruiser is "Don't take any notice of the depressing ... Read More
Having just returned from the Grand Mediterranean cruise from 5 -- 17 July, as a first time cruiser, I make the following comments. First piece of advice to give a first time cruiser is "Don't take any notice of the depressing advice given by experienced cruisers". After reading their advice I would have happily cancelled my cruise as I was so put off it by their comments. Forget the excursions! Overpriced rip offs in most cases and if the weather is hot (as it usually is in the Mediterranean you will be obliged to wait for the others many times, not be able to take a break for a coffee or a sit down without losing the group probably be out earlier in the morning and later in the evening than you should be on a holiday. One lady even said that after the cruise she would need a holiday to get over it. People were getting up at 5.00am to leave the ship at 7.00 and not getting back until 6.00 at night, all in 102f heat! Better still, do it yourself. Take Civitavecchia, take the ships free shuttle to a few hundred yards of the main railway station, buy a return to Rome on the 9.19am train and get into your air-conditioned reserved seat to travel to the Termini station. Cost €21 return. Then take the Metro, a new superb system two stops to the Coliseum where EU nationals under 18 or over 18 with photographic proof of age (Passport or driving licence) get in free. (Many national monuments run the same system so saving about €12 each time) After the Coliseum take the metro back to the Termini and then two stops more to the Trevi fountain. Pausing to stop for coffee and watch the world go by. Buses, trains, trams and even water buses are cheap and plentiful and most are air-conditioned. Beware of Kusadasi - it's a free for all rip off land! To me the trip was wonderful, as they say "Escape Completely" and you do. It was a wonderland of superb service (A bit overdone by the waiters perhaps) wonderful food and superb dining. Take the "Anytime Dining" and you will meet the most cosmopolitan crowd of people, different every night unless you want to join them again. Don't even try to see all the sights but pace yourself so you ENJOY IT! Remember, you are on holiday -- not on a travelator that never stops. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We arrived at Southampton nice and early and ignored the staggered check in time sent to us, we checked in received our cruise cards and were allowed on the ship by 11am not much waiting around at all, nice and simple. Once on board the ... Read More
We arrived at Southampton nice and early and ignored the staggered check in time sent to us, we checked in received our cruise cards and were allowed on the ship by 11am not much waiting around at all, nice and simple. Once on board the ship was our oyster - Wow! We found out cabin with ease and were pleased to have been given an upgrade beforehand with an obstructed window, but that didn't spoil the view as I could see plenty beyond the small boat in front. The cabin was more than comfortable, lovely power shower, flat screen TV etc. I will say that mine and my son's mattress was a bit hard compared to my friend's family cabin whose mattresses were lovely and soft, I did wake up with an aching back each morning but it soon disappeared. I didn't mention anything at the time as the cruise was only for 7 days and I don't like to make a fuss (I could live with it). Our cabin steward Nick arrived 10 mins later to introduce himself and give us some discount vouchers, British hats and flags for the Jubilee sail away party. He was very nice but not always on hand to ask him questions, I did page him once and he turned up pretty quick. The only letdown at this point was that my son's suitcase arrived early and mine took another 30 mins to come to the cabin. The ship is lovely and spacious, food was excellent and the service was outstanding, the staff bent over backwards for us, they especially like friendly passengers who make conversation with them which we did being that sort of person anyway. We dined at 8.30pm in the Botticelli dining room and our head waitress Barbara was fab she knew exactly how we liked things after the first evening. The tasting Chef Katerina from Serbia came and saw us every evening to check that our food was up to scratch and it was excellent every evening, what a lovely lady she was very friendly and was happy to take photos with us and the kids. The restaurant manager Nello from Italy was also there checking that the junior waiters were on hand for anything we required. As mentioned before the service was second to none.On one evening we dined in Sabbatini's and another in the Crown Grill these restaurants have a cover charge but you can order doubles if you want to but there was no need as were were stuffed from a 3 course meal (Sabbantini's was a five course meal with the 3rd course being pasta) great food once again. Most mornings we took breakfast in the buffet on deck 14 as it was available for a longer period of time and wow what an array of choices. We had lunch here too on most days their onions rings are to DIE FOR) light crispy and not greasy whatsoever! We also tried the Pizza in the Piazza and the burgers and chips by the pool. The kids enjoyed ordering room service which was also complimentary 24/7 whilst watching TV in the cabin. On the 2 formal evenings 90% of cruisers dressed up in evening wear as did we and how fab and great that felt, professional photographers on hand to take photos which you were not obliged to purchase but I did buy 2 one of me and my son together and another of him alone ($50 for both) not bad price really. The weather wasn't very warm but at least it didn't rain at all and on the last day before sailing back in Oslo, Norway the sun came out and the decks quickly filled up with cruisers to catch a few rays, as we did too. All in all a fab cruise had by all, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend he Grand Princess at all. I actually got really upset when we disembarked and didn't want to leave. The cruise was for 7 days but another 3 days on board would have been even better. I am now looking forward to my next cruise which sadly won't be until next year unless I win the Lottery (no chance)! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
I had never been on a cruise before, and went with my dad who has been on several cruises. I have to say, overall I am not a cruise person, but I am glad that I took this cruise! It was well worth it. Pre-cruise: We flew into ... Read More
I had never been on a cruise before, and went with my dad who has been on several cruises. I have to say, overall I am not a cruise person, but I am glad that I took this cruise! It was well worth it. Pre-cruise: We flew into Seattle the day before, so that we did not have to rush to get to port. We stayed at the Westin, which was a great choice. The location was perfect - just down the street from Pike's Place Market and across the street from the monorail that took us to the Space Needle. It was also near a lot of shopping and some parks. The hotel also was very comfortable, and perfect after a long day of traveling. We took a taxi right from the hotel to the port, and it was no problem- very easy. Embarkation: We had an assigned time of 2 p.m., but were given a tidbit of information to arrive by 11:30 a.m. We had no problems getting through security or check-in, and were on the boat soon after it opened at noon. We went straight to our room, where the bags had already arrived. Our steward greeted us almost upon arrival- he was great the whole time. We ate at the buffet- not many people on the boat yet, so we had no problems getting our food or finding a place to sit. Stateroom: Our room was on the Aloha deck, and had a balcony. The balcony was definitely well worth the cost. The room was small, but not cramped. The closet was huge- which I really liked. The bathroom wasn't too bad- small but manageable. We were afraid on the Aloha deck there would be a lot of noise from above, but we didn't hear anything. I think I heard our neighbors once when they were yelling. Dining: Overall was good. I was pleased by the food. I had worried that there wouldn't be many options and I would get sick of the food, but this did not happen. We ate mostly at the buffet, and there was always something new to try. There were only one or two nights when the lines at the buffet were ridiculously long, and I had to decide what I wanted and just sneak in here and there to get my food. There was also only one time we had trouble finding a seat, but sat at a big table with another group. We ate at one of the dining rooms a few times- the food was almost the same as the buffet and the service took forever. We preferred the buffet because the food was good and we could get in and out. I don't like sitting for long meals! The pizza was very good, as were the hamburgers. Very tasty! The only downside is that those were outside, and it was COLD outside. The ice cream was very good. There were only 2 flavors and nothing special, but the quality itself was good. The International Cafe was good- tasty sandwiches and little desserts. Entertaintment/activities: I only went to the 60s show and found it disappointing, so I didn't go to any other shows. My dad went every night, but said they were mediocre. The naturalist was interesting, but I only went to one of his talks. On certain days, he was on deck telling us about things we were passing, and we could hear him from our balcony. Ports/excursions: Juneau- We did the whalewatching and Mendenhall Glacier excursion. It was well worth it. We saw lots of whales and eagles and the scenery was unbelievable. We did not see any whales from the cruise ship, so I was glad that we went! The glacier was neat, but I wish we'd had more time to walk around and do one of the hikes. Juneau itself is a nice city. We took the Mt. Roberts Tramway to the top of the mountain, and the views were awesome. No rain, and the sun even came out! So we had great views. We saw a lot of bald eagles and were above them when they were flying! Skagway- We did the White Pass Scenic Railway. The weather was cloudy and cold, but not rainy. The train ride was ok- not worth the money since we couldn't see too much. But it was interesting to ride on the train up the trail of '98. We took a shuttle into town afterwards- it was a long walk into town! Tracy Arm Fjord- Beautiful. We were really glad we had the balcony for this day. We ordered room service and watched everything from our room. Words cannot express the awesomeness- waterfalls, seals, icebergs, the Sawyer Glacier. Ketchikan- Loved it! Cutest little town. We had sun that day- which apparently they had not had in a while. We did the Bight Totem State Park and the lumberjack show. The Totem Park was interesting- it is in a beautiful setting and I loved the ride through town. The lumberjack show I would have skipped. It was not great- I would have rather been exploring the town! The ship was only in port 7 a.m.- noon that day, so we had to rush right back to the ship. Victoria- We did the Butchart Gardens. No rain again- it was actually quite warm! We were in port at 7 p.m., so the buffet was very crowded that night. The gardens were ok. They were very far out, and being the last night we were very tired. Plus we had an early departure the next day! If you like gardens, you will find the Butchart worthwhile. Otherwise, you may just want to walk around town. Disembarkation: Very easy. We had the ship transfer, so we were assigned a color group. We put our bags out the night before and had to get to our location by a certain time. The bus dropped us off down the street from the airport- so we had to walk. The airport itself was a nightmare- I would recommend leaving the boat as early as possible and getting a taxi to the airport in order to miss the cruise crowds! We waited in line at least half an hour at curbside check-in, and we were told the line inside the airport was 3 hours long. Good thing we weren't rushing for our flight! Overall a great experience. For Alaska, cruising is definitely the way to go! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was our first time to cruise with four of us going. Princess made it easy, but of course, I poured over all the CC comments and was aware of what to avoid and/or enjoy the advised advantages! Thanks to all of you for your comments ... Read More
This was our first time to cruise with four of us going. Princess made it easy, but of course, I poured over all the CC comments and was aware of what to avoid and/or enjoy the advised advantages! Thanks to all of you for your comments and warnings! Seattle: Stayed and the Mayflower Hotel. We loved the older and beautiful architecture, and the hotel has all the modern conveniences. Also, it is close to Pikes, the rail, and other downtown attractions. We received the package with the breakfast and shuttle service, and they met us on the dot at 11:00 to take us to the pier. Concierge service and front desk were all AWESOME, and we felt we were in a European hotel! Embarkation: Got to the pier at about 11:30. Lines were very long, unlike others on CC saying to go then. However, the staff directed us with efficiency and got us on as quickly as possible considering the l-o-n-g lines. Our baggage followed us shortly. Rooms: Some have said that the showers were very small. We had absolutely no problems, including our 6'+ sons who stayed in an inside cabin. Also loved the large closet and cubby-holes by it where the safe was conveniently located. I would highly recommend getting a balcony on the Carib deck. Though it is partially covered, it was the largest of all the balconies on the ship and accommodated the four of us very well. (Note: The deck below us -- Dolphin Deck -- had NO covering at all and no privacy from us above.) Weather/Packing Tips: The weather was GREAT while we were there, and I think the time to go is definitely early June. We checked the 10-Day forecast sites before going, and they were right-on! It said mid-50's with one low-60's, so we did not have to take the heavy coats. Be sure and layer, though. Also, grab some blankets from the evening Movie-Under-The-Stars, and we kept them in our room to wrap up in when out on the deck. Food: We did not care for the buffet, except maybe breakfast. We had anytime dining and did not have to wait hardly at all. The Italian night was the best, and avoid the Steak-Wellington. At lunch, some of us had the sirloin burgers, and they were the best HBs we had ever had. Staff was superb and selections were varied and delicious, though sometimes hit-and-miss when you are guessing at something you have never eaten. (Though I considered the title of one dessert, the "menage-a-trois" rather vulgar. . . .) The ice-cream by the pool was great, as well as the pizza and HB/Hot Dog place which we opted for on the 1st dress up night. The second dress-up night was fun, though one of my sons had to go back and get on a long-sleeved shirt before they would let him sit. (Note: Thankfully, no jackets are required.) Disembarkation: BEWARE!!!!! We opted for the "Princess Transfers" at $24 per person, rather than the "Independent Arrangements", thinking we would have the better of the service. WRONG! For a total of $96, we stepped out with our luggage, had to walk PAST the taxis to the end of the pier pick-up buses. Then we had to wait in line to get on the bus, with the bus driver complaining about our 2-each bags (what do you expect for a week-long cruise? . . .), and then were herded on the bus. Then, at the airport, we were NOT dropped off at the airline doors, but w-a-y down at their drop off. We had to haul our baggage uphill, as we watched the taxis drive by and their smiling passengers. Found out later, we would have saved a LOT had we taken the taxi, and not been EXHAUSTED before checking in at the airport. BAD! BAD! BAD!, and I reported to Princess and have heard nothing back. Overall, though, the trip was great, the staff was superb, and we had a great time. Princess, though, needs to realize there is lots of competition out there, and they need to take care of details. We may try a different line next time to compare. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
I have long since wanted to do an Alaskan Cruise and we finally did it for my birthday! We flew into Vancouver from Australia the day before the cruise started and stayed at the St Regis. I highly recommend this hotel - everything is ... Read More
I have long since wanted to do an Alaskan Cruise and we finally did it for my birthday! We flew into Vancouver from Australia the day before the cruise started and stayed at the St Regis. I highly recommend this hotel - everything is included, breakfast, WIFI and even phone calls back to Australia. On the day of the cruise we took a taxi to the port. Customs and check-in went fairly smooth, there were lots of people there as there were two ships leaving that day. But we didn't wait too long at customs and the cruise line check in was very fast. Stateroom: We had a mini-suite on the Caribe deck aft. The suite was beautiful and clean. Lots of room to move around. The bathroom was beautiful and large, no problem having two people in the bathroom at the same time. The balcony was 2/3 covered with four chairs, two of them half reclining and a small table. Service: The cabin steward did a brilliant job every day. I celebrated my birthday on the cruise and on the day, there was a sign on the door wishing me a happy birthday, 3 balloons and a card. I was also given another card to take to the dining room on my birthday to pass onto the head waiter. At dessert time, 3 waiters came with a gorgeous little birthday cake and sang happy birthday. What a way to celebrate. We had different dining room staff each day, but they all did a brilliant job. Dining: We had any-time dining which was a good choice as it allowed us to go to dinner when we wanted to. We ate most meals in the main dining room as the Horizon cafe did not appeal to us. The meals in the main dining room were superb! Entertainment: We went to all the shows and they were all very good. "On the Bayou" is recommended. We also saw two comedians with one of them being a bit funnier than the other one. We also attended a couple of lectures on Alaska and thoroughly enjoyed that. Disembarkation: We disembarked in Whittier. That went very smooth. The cruise-line gave us a set time which was predetermined on what our plans where regarding tours and transfers. We had booked our own transfer over the Internet and pick up was smooth. It rained the day we arrived, but there was lots of undercover area for everyone who had to wait for their tour bus. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
ANCHORAGE: First, please be there a day early if you are just doing the cruise. The ship leaves at 8pm, but you have to land at the airport by 4pm to make it thru the (one way every 30 minutes) tunnel. My sister was supposed to land at ... Read More
ANCHORAGE: First, please be there a day early if you are just doing the cruise. The ship leaves at 8pm, but you have to land at the airport by 4pm to make it thru the (one way every 30 minutes) tunnel. My sister was supposed to land at 1 pm, got delayed and landed at 6pm. She missed the ship and had to meet us 3 days later in Skagway. Now, Princess was wonderful. Helped her every step of the way and refunded her ship days, but plane hopping and hotels were absolutely not in the budget. We had trip insurance, but it doesn't cover mechanical problems with the plane, and the airlines have a 6 hr window before they comp you a hotel. Since she was only 5 hrs late, she had to do everything out of pocket. We are still irked at United for not putting her on a different airline which would have had her in Anchorage in time. We were able to get there a day early. Stayed at the Captain Cook Hotel and had no complaints. In fact the beds were amazing! The black out shades were sufficient and we didn't need the sleep masks we brought. Dinner was at the Glacier Brewhouse. Highly recommend it! The food was perfect and I fell in love with the Denali Red microbrew. Drank it everyday of the land tour. All the Princess Lodges carry their beer. We also visited the Alaska Museum and enjoyed it very much. FOOD: not that impressed with the sit down dinner. In fact, our last night we sent the steak back... It was tough, overcooked and had no flavor. The salmon was always good. My favorite was the pizza. In fact I ate it every lunch. The buffet had a good selection, but it was no better than other buffets I've eaten at. Not that impressed with the drink of the day either. Gave up after the second day. I purchased the kids soda card. Best thing ever. Now, I had to drink out of fish themed cup, but it was a double walled tumbler and came in handy. All you can drink soda, all you can drink milkshakes and malts, and all you can drink virgin cocktails which I enjoyed :). My sister purchased a coffee card. Not worth it. You basically got 1 drink free, but you had to drink 2 coffees a day and being in the ports all day, she just didn't drink that. She had 3 coffees left so she actually lost money.ENTERTAINMENT: we enjoyed the shows. Not the best singers, but the dancing was very good. There was a presentation by Shelley Gill on Iditarod dogs, Denali and other stuff. She was hysterical and very informative. Rangers came on board for Glacier Bay, and again.... Very informative. ROOM: We were in B603. Covered balcony and great views. The beds were decent, but the comforters need to be replaced. We used the 3rd bed that pulls down from the ceiling. It was just as comfortable as the others. Getting up was no problem, getting down the ladder took a while, but by day 3, I had it perfected. Tons of closet space and hangers. The bathroom had 3 shelves so our toiletries fit just fine. The shower is small, and it's tricky keeping the curtain inside. We flooded the bathroom more than once. There is a small shelf that holds 1 body wash and the ships shampoo and conditioner. That's it. The best tip I found on these boards was to bring the shower caddies that suctions to the wall. We needed that! Shaving your legs is tricky, but doable if you turn off the water. We also brought the over the door shoe hanger. We put our gloves and misc. in there, but honestly.... We didn't need it. There were plenty of drawers and desk space. It's mid ship, so we didn't have traffic noise and it was very smooth. We took Dramimine the first day just in case, but didn't need it at all.DISEMBRKMENT: actually, very smooth. Make sure you check your luggage tags the day before. They had us in the wrong group, but it was fixed quickly. Princess people direct you the whole way. We left at 7:30 for an 11am flight and had plenty of time. Picking up your luggage at Vancouver Airport is mass chaos. People directed you every step of the way, but it's just so much luggage and only one way in and out of the room. For the whole cruise, there's no crowds or lines, then boom..... Back to reality. Also make sure you call your credit card company before you travel. Canada is on the list of blocked countries for my Credit Union and I couldn't use that card to pay for my checked bags or anything else at the airports! If you are connecting thru Toronto, you pick up your luggage on the 3rd floor area G. It's right next to customs, which was smooth, but going thru security again took forever. EXCURSIONS: My only complaint is you don't know your excursion is cancelled till you go to check in. We had a 10 am tour that was cancelled, so we didn't have enough time to do another before our 1 pm tour. The tour director was there where you meet and was very helpful in getting us situated. We were never charged for the tours that were cancelled or the ones we cancelled so we could do the main one we wanted. So, have a back up plan :) Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We were very excited to do this as well as all the excursions. Paid mucho dinero $$$ for the expeditions that were average and now, in hindsight very overpriced! I feel ripped off by Princess. Did the 12 day cruise-tour. First night at ... Read More
We were very excited to do this as well as all the excursions. Paid mucho dinero $$$ for the expeditions that were average and now, in hindsight very overpriced! I feel ripped off by Princess. Did the 12 day cruise-tour. First night at Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage which was very nice, great room with views of water and town (corner room), eating at a local pub called Humpy's which now in hindsight was THE highlight of our meals in AK over all, including the cruise ship fare. Second and third nights at the McKinley Princess Lodge was just an average, boring place, including the restaurants. The uninspiring decor could have been anywhere. I did not feel as if I was in Alaska. Boring, plain rooms. In fact, I can't even recall a single detail about them. Mt McKinley showed it's face for about 20 minutes. Rain, Rain, Rain. Our first very overpriced excursion was the horseback riding trip with very, very nice wranglers and horses that were kept in really awful quickly built cover, not worthy to be called a stable. Nice new trails, but I longed for a bit of cantering and galloping as I am an experienced rider. This is ALASKA! Where are all the animals????? Saw nothing other than the horses. Next days overpriced excursion was the Devil's Canyon Jet Boat trip. Rainy, but enjoyable, very nice staff, but saw 2 bald eagles and quickly, 2 young moose running away from the rivers edge. 130 miles and WHERE ARE ALL THE ANIMALS? Ate at the 20320 restaurant twice and the staff were clearly overwhelmed and clueless asking us twice on 2 different dining occasions if we wanted anything else before the check when we hadn't even received our meals yet. Went into Talkeetna and ate at a very nice Cafe (something Brewing Company) which was delicious!!! (better than Princess food) Next two days at Denali Princess again: rain, rain, rain... and overpriced food, especially at the King Salmon restaurant with a King Salmon entree for $46-$48 which was just so-so. Ongoing disappointment, thus far with Princess and their price gouging. The Lodge was much better than McKinley in terms of ambiance and projecting that you are actually in Alaska, the river views below were lovely, but I longed to get on the ship for my very first cruise! Our "included" Denali History Tour advertised for a 6+ hr tour was just about 4 hrs and was on a cold school bus. The guide was informative, friendly & funny. Again: WHERE ARE ALL THE ANIMALS? FINALLY...ONWARD TO THE SHIP! I was excited and the 9 hr train tour to Whittier was very nice and went by quickly thanks to a nice older couple from Florida and the very knowledgeable guide on board. Our first night on board was nice and the anytime dining option chosen was fine. We were eager to sit with others at a shared table as we are friendly. Our room steward Bonifacio was very attentive and helpful from the start. No problems with him at all, exceeded my expectations here @ Princess. The Horizon food court was average to below average and we tried not to eat here much unless hurried or if only for breakfast. Food was fine for breakfast, but "eehh" for other meals, in my opinion. Fruit and desserts were always good however here. Not crazy about the main courses. As far as the Bordeax anytime dining room, the staff were good and the food was anywhere from just okay to good. Never anything great or fantastic. The room itself is quite large and well appointed. Spa services: $19 for a nail polish change!!!!! I did it as my nails were a mess after the land excursions. At home in NYC metro area, one of the priciest places in the USA, same service for $6. I pre-booked a Swedish massage for the second to last day and was happy to change it for a lower priced "special" advertised the night before. Still, I can get a better price at home. As far as all of our land excursions off the ship in Scagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, again, while they were nice and the staff were excellent and friendly, Princess prices again were overly inflated for what we actually got. Just way too over the top price wise for the actual product. Suggestion: look into booking privately to save big bucks. As we are first time cruisers, we just took the whole Princess package as we didn't know better. We spent ~ $1200 on all of our excursions above and beyond our cruise costs. I do not feel that any of them were worth that kind of money NOW IN HINDSIGHT! Another issue: the Spa staff are heavily attempting to sell, sell, sell you overpriced products you don't need or can get at a fraction of the cost elsewhere. My spouse coined the phrase "Prince-sell" cruises. The FINAL insult was the 14 hr layover in the Vancouver, BC airport to fly back to NYC on the red-eye at 11:00pm. Thankfully, Cathay Pacific was wonderful and short and sweet. Our flight on Delta to Seattle before transferring to Alaska Airlines has sworn me off Delta for life. Overall, in hindsight, I would not do the land part before the cruise as there was little of value for me. In conclusion, I feel taken advantage of by Princess with price gouging of the optional excursions and Spa services. As a now "experienced cruiser", I would pack less, (people were very informal), I would make my own land tours with a independent company ashore and probably NOT use Princess again IF we cruise again. I can't stand all the waiting around and time wasted. We travel all over, but without formal tours; I do all the planning and work and our best travel has been this way. If you are considering a trip to Alaska, there are far more superior National Parks in the USA. Yellowstone is AMAZING as are the Grand Tetons. Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Arches, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks are all far superior to Alaska, IMO. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
As a stone cold cruising rookie, I really did not know what to expect from this adventure so my expectations were pretty low. So, here are my "likes" and "dis-likes" about this cruise: Likes: Weather was perfect ... Read More
As a stone cold cruising rookie, I really did not know what to expect from this adventure so my expectations were pretty low. So, here are my "likes" and "dis-likes" about this cruise: Likes: Weather was perfect Slept like a baby in my tiny stateroom Scenery and ports on the cruise were outstanding Wildlife viewing was outstanding Most (but not all) tour guides were very good and seemed to enjoy their jobs Excellent service from a few (but by no means all) of the ship staff In general, the games and onboard programs were good. Some were quite fun. Dis-Likes: Food was only "OK". REALLY got tired of the upsell on everything from soft drink cards to health remedies. Was not aware that this was part of the cruise environment. And what is the deal with the jewelry sales onboard and in ALL ports of call? Don't get it. Service from the majority of the ships staff was marginal. The good ones stood out. Spa services were over-priced compared to what you would pay anywhere else. Drinks were over-priced and all carried that automatic 15% gratuity That being said, the cruise overall was enjoyable. Saw lots of neat things that I had never seen before and will probably never see again. And did I mention the great weather? Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was my first cruise, and I was very disappointed with my "cruise experience". Friends and family had reported magnificent experiences on other cruises that just didn't seem to be the case for this cruise. I spent a ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and I was very disappointed with my "cruise experience". Friends and family had reported magnificent experiences on other cruises that just didn't seem to be the case for this cruise. I spent a good deal of time talking to other people on the cruise to see if this experience was "typical". Without exception, the experienced "cruisers" on this journey stated that this was the worst cruise that they had ever been on. Those with "Princess" experience said that the quality of the Princess cruises has decreased dramatically and that this would be their last Princess cruise. Problems with the cruise were evident from Day 1. Embarkation from Southampton was a two hour circus, with long lines, poorly communicated instructions and inattentive staff. We were scheduled to leave Southampton at 5:00 PM on June 7, but were detained in port for some sort of "technical problem" which was never defined. Announcements were made every few hours that the "issue" was taking longer than expected, he would update us later (which he never did) and that our safety was his primary concern. He never mentioned a bilge pump problem or that the ship had failed an inspection a day earlier. As a result of their poor maintenance, we left port exactly one day late, resulting in our being a day late for our first three ports - Guernsey, Cobh and Dublin, and missing our fourth stop in Liverpool. We also missed our scheduled stop at Edinburgh due to rough seas. Instead of finding another port or reaching Paris a day early for additional sightseeing, we meandered our way to Paris, taking two days to reach Le Havre. Humm, reduced fuel costs and keep the casino and shops open for additional revenue opportunities. Way to go Princess! What a wonderfully innovative way to take care of your passengers. The internet was completely inadequate and very very slow. The Library was not well staffed, which was inexcusable considering we were stuck at sea for all of that extra time at sea. On a cruise advertised to include nine port stops and two days at sea, we ended up with three days at sea and one day trapped in the ship at Southampton. For this, we received a totally inadequate compensation of $75. Some of the tours that we took were poorly planned and we spent too much time at minor attractions like the Falkirk Wheel, and very little time at major sites like Stirling Castle. Our bus for Stirling Castle parked at the bottom of a very steep hill and we were forced to walk up to the castle, depriving us of valuable time. Those guests who were not in good physical shape could not make the walk in the time allotted and missed seeing Stirling Castle. Our guide said that the road was closed, even though there were busses at the entrance to the Castle and buses were transversing the road while we were walking down. If it was a matter of timing, the tour should have been arranged to arrive at Stirling Castle when the busses could make the steep assent. The service in the dining rooms was often very slow and the Horizon Court was usually packed since the weather was not suitable for outside dining. If one elected to "sleep in" the only place to have breakfast was the Horizon Court since none of the three dining rooms was open for breakfast after 9:00 AM. The food was very average, some of the "entertainment" was appalling, with the singers being off key in many songs. The food was "cafeteria quality" with almost none of the fabulous food that is normally associated with cruise ships. We had bought the "Coke" drink package with "all you can drink" fountain Cokes. These beverages were almost undrinkable, despite repeated complaints to the staff. Basically, they could care less. I wrote an e-mail message to Coke because of the poor representation of their product. All in all, a very poor experience! I would not recommend Princess Cruises to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Me and my wife went on the Alaska cruise that disembarked from San Francisco. We had both never been on a cruise, so didn't have high expectations or any biases as to what to expect. To sum it up, between the Norovirus and and ... Read More
Me and my wife went on the Alaska cruise that disembarked from San Francisco. We had both never been on a cruise, so didn't have high expectations or any biases as to what to expect. To sum it up, between the Norovirus and and jail-like "balcony" experience, we were clawing to get off the ship mid-way through the cruise. If it wasn't for the Alaska ports, this would have utterly been the worst experience of our lives. I don't even know where to start. The minute we walked into this insanely tiny room (1.5 feet around the bed to wiggle by) and a toilet where your left leg is in the shower stall because there is simply no room, we realized it was going to be a bit cozy. That's fine, we can deal with that if the trip is good. We weren't here to complain, we wanted to have a good time! I went out on the balcony when the ship was preparing to leave, and realized that my hands and white T-shirt stuck to the newly varnished balcony railing. It was stuck to my hands for three days and my shirt was ruined. Can't understand why they decided to do this now of all times, but whatever, lets move on. I believe it was the second day of the cruise where the Norovirus issue was announced and that there would be preventative measures in place. These measures basically caused an hour + delays to be seated. We waited nearly an hour to receive our food. During which, I watched a cockroach scramble by the waiters jug of water. When I told him about it, he seemed unimpressed and said sorry and walked away. It took three hours in total to check in, eat, and leave. The problem here is that this was the issue everywhere, it wasn't a one night kind of thing. If you went to the buffet you had them put the food on your plate for you, which is fine, but we found hair in our food between the two of us three times throughout our experience. The wife literally ended up ordering food that was pre-packaged such as yogurts from the room service menu, 5 at a time, so she could be assured she was not eating something with person's bodily fallout in her food and/or Norovirus possibly infecting her. When browsing the ships activities, you quickly realize that the Sea Princess is severely over-booked and a small ship. Every activity in the auditorium you had to get there an hour before it started to get a seat. If you didn't, you were forced to stand and watch. A presumably 70+ age woman with air tubes had to stand and watch the show because getting there 20 minutes before it started was not sufficient for finding a seat. We did the arts and crafts option because the wife loves these type of things. We went there and waited 20 minutes in line before a girl tells us all that the 3 (yes three!) tables were full. The literally had 12 chairs available for this project for the ENTIRE SHIP. The girl was obviously annoyed, probably because she knew this was ridiculous, but she failed to tell people waiting in line for almost half an hour that they weren't going to get to do the activity this afternoon. She snapped at the lady in front of us and cut her off and told her there is nothing she can do and to come back tomorrow and that's all there is to it. Well, we came back the next day, this time an hour ahead of time and played a board game on the table until the wife could go get our materials (I had to fend off the rights to our two chairs, fending off numerous dissatisfied people who couldn't participate). An hour later she comes back with our materials (you only get 2 hours to work on your project). We rush through our projects and the deal is you come back the next day to pick up your oven-baked piece of art. We came the next day, and it wasn't ready. Fast forward a few days because they don't offer it on port days, and again, it was not available. The very last possible day we went down there at 10 am, and again, it was not available! They told us all the items would be available by 1 pm and they were finishing them up. We come back at 1 pm and our items aren't out on the table. I ask the girl where our pieces were. She says if they aren't there then they "blew up" in the oven. At least two people were looking at her like, are you serious? The apathetic girl said that many of the items blew up. My guess is some idiot over cooked the items on too high of a temperature to get them all done within time and they don't want to take responsibility for it. The quality of the food was overall terrible. Given that you had to wait 3 hours to eat at one of the restaurants, you were left with either two choices: wait three hours for food that coexists with cockroaches, or eat food prepared and served by people with hair in it from the buffet. We ultimately used room service quite frequently, also to avoid Norovirus. At least half the time they sent the wrong items. You order a turkey sandwich and they send you a Roast beef sandwhich. You order a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and they send you nachos. The TV channels were all centered around trying to get you to buy overly-priced items. I get it, they want to get you to buy the art and jewelry items, that's all fine. It came across though as though they care more about making a buck than they do the quality of the customer experience. We tried to watch the movies under the stars, but due to it being an outdoor theater, you had to battle the wind and children screaming in the pool directly below it. You literally could not hear 90% of the words. We went back to our jail cell to finish the movie. There are too many things to list for this review, but the last one I will mention is not to use their wake-up service and early departure option. On our departure day, the courtesy call came in two hours earlier than it was supposed to. We packed everything up, forced ourselves to be awake, and walked out of our cabins with bags in hand and quickly realized it was still 4 am. For whatever reason, they screwed up the time to receive the call. This happened twice. I can only assume it has to do with the change in hours when going to Alaska, but if this cruise is your specialty, shouldn't you have this figured out by now? Anyways, we went down at the proper time to leave the ship early (literally wanted to be the first ones off if possible!) and there was no one directing anyone on where to go or what to do. I asked the security officer at the exit and he said this would be the exit and to wait here if we wanted to start the line. We obliged. As more than half an hour passes, the room just gets congested and none of the workers took the initiative to put out poles, dividers, or verbally instruct people on what to do. It was a logistical failure and it boggles my mind as to how a cruise ship can be so disorganized. The people on the ship were nice. Even though we were a younger couple than the average age, everyone was for the most part pleasant. Even though children were screaming in the pools during the movie under the stars, the ship really was a good mix of people and we felt comfortable despite being younger. The onus of our experience falls directly on a cruise ship that cares more about making money than the quality of their customers experience. We will never cruise with Princess again. Many echoed our thoughts, and suggested to try other cruise liners. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
General comments: We are in our late 20s and this was our first cruise. We chose to do a cruise as a low stress way to fit in several destinations over a short period of time, and it was a great decision. We stopped in several beautiful ... Read More
General comments: We are in our late 20s and this was our first cruise. We chose to do a cruise as a low stress way to fit in several destinations over a short period of time, and it was a great decision. We stopped in several beautiful ports (Venice, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Katakolon, Athens, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Naples, Rome), more than we would have been able to cover on our own over 12 days. After a busy day it was great to be able to come back to the ship to relax. I did feel a bit trapped on the two sea days and found some areas of the ship quite noisy. It was much easier to find a quite spot to relax near the front of the ship just outside the sanctuary. Room: We had a balcony cabin on the caribe deck (deck 10). Balconies on this deck seemed to be the largest, and were half covered, half exposed. Because we booked a balcony and not a mini suite, we only had two rather uncomfortable chairs and a small side table. I had read some reviews saying the chairs were uncomfortable and was surprised that it was as noticeable as it was (I thought people may have been exaggerating). We asked for stools thinking that it might help and were provided smaller side tables to use as stools (real stools are apparently only for the minisuites). Anyways, fairly minor issue but did impact the amount of time we spent on the balcony. Because of this, I would probably look at another cruise line that offered more spacious rooms (i.e. with a couch or living space) and better balcony furniture before sailing with Princess again. The room otherwise was great. Flat screen tv, efficient bathroom, large closet with room to store everything. Our room steward Jerry was excellent and refreshed our room several times a day. Restaurants: Buffet was good with new items daily. Most things were pretty good and only a few misses. I enjoyed the smoked salmon for breakfast and the different scrambled egg combinations each morning. Pizza was very good and we often had it as an afternoon snack. Dinner in the main dinning room was also quite good. I really enjoyed the clam linguini as well as the lobster tail on the second formal night. They had some really creative soups as well. Cheesecake and princess love boat dream desserts were delicious. Portions are small enough that you can order all 3 courses. Wine selection was good and reasonably priced, especially coming from Canada. We got a seven bottle wine card that cost around $140 (I don't remember the exact cost). On one of the sea days, there was a free cooking demonstration led by the chef and the head maitre D, followed by a tour of one of the kitchens. Highly recommend. We didn't pay to try the specialty restaurants, as we were very satisfied with the main dinning rooms. Coffee, tea, iced tea, lemonade, and juices at breakfast all free. The sushi at the vines wine bar was decent (complementary with wine order), about what I expected on a cruise ship. Public spaces/entertainment: The restaurants, buffet, etc were all very clean and nice spaces. The main atrium area was also very nice, as were the lounges on flours 5-7. I didn't really think they were dated. There were hardly ever any people in the lounges or bars after dinner, but maybe because it was a port intensive cruise and there weren't that many younger people. As mentioned, I found the areas around the pools very noisy with loud music and movies going all day. Pools were always very crowded on sea days. The best spot we found to read and relax was at the front of the ship, just outside the sanctuary (anyone can use the pool outside of the spa, which was generally much less busy, especially at the beginning of the cruise before people discovered it). The bars we enjoyed most were tradewinds and the aft bar (great place to watch the sunset). We also enjoyed walking around the promenade deck. It looked like a nice place to read during the day if you wanted to avoid the sun. Other: We didn't do any princess tours, because once we did a bit of research, we found better options with private tours or using public transit. Highly recommend rick steves book for do-it yourselfers. Note that Princess sometimes omitted info or provided false info to sell their transfers. In particular, they advised people that there were 50 stairs and no escalators if they decided to take the train to Rome instead of paying for a transfer, and we didn't encounter any stairs at all after a quick 10 min walk from the port terminal. Also, there was a public bus for I think $1.60 euro in Mykonos, but they were pushing people to buy bus tickets for a shuttle to town for $15 dollars to avoid a dangerous walk along the road. On a positive note, the crew was flexible in terms of what you could bring on board at each port. Overall, it was a great experience and a great way to see a lot of different places in a short period of time. We came home feeling relaxed, which may not have been the case if we had tried to visit the same places in the same period of time on our own Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was our very first cruise. Absolutely loved Alaska! I'll cherish the memories forever of the spectacular scenery and wonderful experiences we had. The cruise itself......it had it's highs and lows for me. Don't think ... Read More
This was our very first cruise. Absolutely loved Alaska! I'll cherish the memories forever of the spectacular scenery and wonderful experiences we had. The cruise itself......it had it's highs and lows for me. Don't think we'll go on another. We're just not "cruise folk". Everyone is different, which is what makes the world go round. The excursions we took were fabulous and the weather always cooperated just as we began each one (rain would stop or the sun come out). Couldn't have asked for better timing. Seattle was a beautiful city. We arrived the day before the cruise and toured the Space Needle (plan a lot of time to see this...lines were long for both buying tickets and waiting for the elevators (both coming and going). Pikes Market was such an interesting place! I wish I had a place like that near me! We had dinner that night at "Salty's". Great seafood and the view of the Seatle skyline was gorgeous. They offer complimentary round trip limo service from certain downtown hotels (check Salty's website for the hotel list)if you are one of the first three people to make a reservation for that night. I called two and a half weeks out and was the first one that evening! Limo was fun and the driver gave a mini tour talk of Seattle as he was driving. Our balcony room (port side) was lovely and we were on the Caribe deck. We paid $60.00 extra to be on this deck as the rooms have a bigger (deeper) outside balcony and contain two lounge chairs besides the two standard ones. Our steward was great. He knew just when to do up the room when we were out. Lots of closet space and a strong powerful hot shower. Bed was comfy after asking for a mattress topper. Ask for a couple of deck chair blankets for sitting outside on your deck! The food on the cruise, though, wasn't very good at all in my opinion (and I'm not a foodie or food snob). EVERYTHING we had was lukewarm or cool. Even at the sit down dinners. Nothing worse than warm lobster tail with a bowl of cool butter to dip it in. Service was spotty and never once did the waiter come back and ask us how the meal was (until the end when he cleared the plate) or refill the water/beverage glasses without us having to beckon him over. The buffet selection was the same every morning for breakfast....same choices and not that many. Many times the serving trays would be empty and you'd have to wait for them to bring more out. By that time the food was even cooler! Even the same dry pastries every morning were the same. I have to praise the International section, though, off of the piazza. Fabulous HOT soups, delicious sandwiches and very yummy desserts. The desserts on the cruise were the best part of all of the meals as was the pizza and hamburgers (even though you had to go out in the open 43 degree air to get to where they were located!). As far as the formal nights, there was a variety of everything from tuxes to shorts and rubber flip flops! I'd say that "very formal" was in the minority. Maybe half the crowd was what I'd called dressed up. The ship itself is gorgeous and both the evening and daytime entertainment was VERY enjoyable. Vine bar had a nice trio of various wine samplers to buy for a reasonable price. The central piazza was gorgeous. Lots of variety and venues to choose from. The piano bar gentleman was great! The "British Invasion" stage show was amazing! These singers and dancers work very hard each night putting on a different theme show. The "Motown" show was excellent also. I do think the Golden is better suited for warm weather cruising, though. There were definitely some disadvantages to the way the ship is laid out/designed for cruising Alaska. Certain sections of the buffet area get blasted with cold winds as the glass doors open and close every time someone steps on the automatic door opener located under the carpet. Brrrrrrrrrr! Also one of the dining rooms (I forget which one) has cold wind circulating thru it sometimes when that particular gangway door (located right next to it) is opened for leaving the ship! Even the wait staff said it was breezy! I highly recommend taking the whale watching tour with Harv and Marv in Juneau. Six on a boat and the captain would be talking to other boat captains all of the time to find out where the whales were. Got to see a bunch of whales including a breech by a young whale with it's mother. We stayed on (didn't return with them to the ship) when they took us by bus to Mendenhall Glacier. Spent an additional 90 minutes or so there walking down to the waterfall and lake to get up closer to the Glacier. Was totally worth it! Chilkoot's White Pass seven hour bus/train tour(Skagway) was spectacular and the small passenger bus was perfect as the driver was able to stop a dozen times to grab photos and to stop for the bear sightings (even did a U-turn and backed up several times to catch them). Something the big busses wouldn't be able to do. Train ride back went thru some spectacular scenery. We enjoyed our two Princess excursions also. First one in Ketchikan (lumberjack show and Totem Bight village) and the night tour of Butchart Gardens in Victoria. OMG! The most gorgeous flowers/gardens I have ever seen! We met some wonderful members from here onboard and even shared a few excursions with them. So nice to finally see faces! All in all we enjoyed ourselves, as the main purpose to us was to get to see Alaska and not so much emphasis on the ship/cruise itself. Here is a LONG slideshow of our cruise. You can click on the blue text "Full Screen" (located in the LR corner) if you want to view the pics bigger..... http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v668/Pudgewill/Digital%20Pics/Alaska%20slideshow/?albumview=slideshow Here are five short videos also.....the first two from the whale watching tour and the remaining three from the White Pass bus/train tour in Skagway..... http://youtu.be/ZNwRgBHzVtQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYBRd1Pf1js http://youtu.be/QJJ90lHydqc http://youtu.be/gitm2vKkNhg http://youtu.be/ZhU28tdw_EQ Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
My husband and I are in our mid-50's and were 1st time cruisers. We decided to take a 4 day land tour prior to our 7 day cruise. Everything we did was booked thru Princess as we felt more secure that way. From the time we landed in ... Read More
My husband and I are in our mid-50's and were 1st time cruisers. We decided to take a 4 day land tour prior to our 7 day cruise. Everything we did was booked thru Princess as we felt more secure that way. From the time we landed in Anchorage until we arrived at the Vancouver airport to depart, Princess handled our luggage and had it at our doorstep at each point along the way. This alone is amazing as they have several land tours that go in different (crossing) directions but all end up on the same cruise! Our first 2 nights were at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage. We are east coast residents and chose to fly in a day early to allow for the 4 hr time difference and to see some of Anchorage. The hotel was as expected from the various reviews I read. There are plenty of those so I won't go any farther with that. We took the Explore Anchorage tour which was $59/ea - not really worth it. I recommend taking the local trolley tour (ask the hotel desk) and also spending 3-4 hrs at the Anchorage Museum. This is a WONDERFUL museum with lots of history on the native people and the city of Anchorage. We ate at the Snow City Cafe and the Sandwich Deck for breakfasts - I would recommend either. Snow City is a bit more trendy while Sandwich Deck is basic breakfast food. OH, and while in Anchorage try the Alaskan Amber Ale - if you are a beer drinker, you'll enjoy this one! Our 1st tour stop was Mt McKinley - very nice lodge, mountain was out in full view and everyone was friendly and helpful. A bonus to traveling in May is that you are the first customers of the season and everyone you meet is eager to please. Although some are new and the resorts just opened for the season so there were a few small hitches. But worth it to be welcome guests. Next on to Denali - a larger property but lovely all the same. The tour of the park that is included was nice and enough. Were lucky enough to see Dall sheep, caribou and moose in the park. We took the ATV excursion which for an additional $10 per person included dinner. You won't find food any cheaper!! The meal was pretty good too. Next day was a 9 hr train trip to the port of Whittier. It was on the double-decker train we've all see in brochures. The dining car was wonderful (if a bit pricey - captive audience!). Coming out of the tunnel and seeing the ship was a lovely site. We were lucky enough to have our cabin upgraded at the last minute so we enjoy the additional space a great deal. We also had a balcony. Many said that would not be worth it in Alaska as it's cold in May. True, it was cold but totally worth it any way. We were able to view the glaciers on our balcony without being crowded and enjoy ALL of the views from inside our cabin thru the full glass door. I would be hard pressed to not have a balcony next time. They keep the ship spotless and the service was excellent. There were plenty of electrical plugs and hangers in our room although that may vary by room size. I did take a couple of those plastic hangers that bras come on and used them to hang a couple of things I hand washed so they were handy and small/light to pack. 1st port: Skagway. We took the White Pass Railroad (all day) trip. The Yukon scenery was worth it all! Lunch was pretty good and the town we stopped in (Carcross) was unique. Didn't get to see much of Skagway itself as the tour took up all of our time there. 2nd port: Juneau. We took the Northstar Trekking helicopter flight/hike to Mendenhall Glacier. WOW!! Very expensive but I would have passed on all other excursions and done this one if cost were a big concern. The young people who worked there were delightful and very helpful/accommodating. The flight was amazing as was the time on the glacier. 3rd port: Ketchikan. We took the Kart Adventure excursion here as my husband loves to drive fast. :) It was a bit scary for me (I just rode) but he loved it. I enjoyed the totems in Ketchikan and heard the trips to see them were good. The weather was mid-50's. We did wear long underwear to the glacier and on the ATV and Kart rides. Otherwise 2 light layers under a coat were more than fine. It was mostly windy which made it feel colder. I had read all of the forums and reviews before so there wasn't anything that I felt surprised me. The formal nights had some in long dresses and tuxes and others in much less formal wear. So don't feel you have to go all out - pack what fits in the suitcase as you will only wear it once or twice. All in all it was just as wonderful as we expected. Princess did a great job of getting us and our luggage where we needed to be. I'm glad we went in May. Many in AK said May was the best time to come - although, they may say that to everyone no matter when they come! HA! We did purchase and take a netbook computer to download our pictures on each day. That was a great decision as we enjoyed doing this and we didn't have to worry about extra digital cards, etc for the cameras. Plus when you are waiting at the airport or on the land tour, you can use the wi-fi. I hope you enjoy your trip to Alaska as much as we did. Bon Voyage!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
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