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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the price and cabin. Having sailed with Princess before and in a rear-facing cabin which we loved. The only thing that was not as expected was the restaurant. We normally opt for Any Time dining and usually ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the price and cabin. Having sailed with Princess before and in a rear-facing cabin which we loved. The only thing that was not as expected was the restaurant. We normally opt for Any Time dining and usually eat late 8.30pm and have not had much trouble getting a table for two, but on this cruise, everybody seemed to want to eat at that time and tables for two. The system when this happens is that you are given a pager and they call you when a table becomes available. This worked very well as the bar is adjacent to the restaurant and was handy for pre-dinner drinks. I think the longest we had to wait was 15 minutes, no time at all. The shows were a bit low on the quality side and having cruised with Princess many times we have noticed that the resident dancers seem to be doing less and less. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Princess Cruises have always done exceptionally well! Delicious food, clean and modern furnishings, state of the art technology most especially with the Medallion, expert and friendly staff, relaxing environment and a full range of ... Read More
Princess Cruises have always done exceptionally well! Delicious food, clean and modern furnishings, state of the art technology most especially with the Medallion, expert and friendly staff, relaxing environment and a full range of entertainment. The company prioritizes safety from the minute you board all the way to the end. The process of embarkation and disembarkation were easy. We always look forward to waking up in the morning because of the activities they offer daily. Food is excellent with so much variety to choose from. The cabin is kept clean with respect to privacy upon request. The technology is above and beyond with the Medallion. The staff are respectful, accommodating and have shown professionalism. Every minute is priceless while on board. Whether you seek to relax, pampered or be entertained. Princess Cruises deliver the best vacation ever! My family and I are looking forward to our next cruise with this company. We highly recommend Princess to people of all ages. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
we chose this ship because it was new but it is badly designed you have to go to different floors to get from one end to the other end of the ship food was average would not sail again on this one found the sun and diamond princess ships ... Read More
we chose this ship because it was new but it is badly designed you have to go to different floors to get from one end to the other end of the ship food was average would not sail again on this one found the sun and diamond princess ships are better. Not enough cover around the pool area dance floor between the pools was a wasted space not enough seating for 3500 people no entertainment on pool decks just movies no good for families used passengers as entertainment with line dancing every day played lawn bowls in front of lifts .this ship is ok if you are over 70 and you like gambling or wake up in the morning have breaky then lay at the pool and sleep until lunch have lunch then go back to the pool and sleep until dinner when you have finished dinner they are ready for bed same again next day. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Everything was incredible!! They make you feel like family and you never want to leave the ship! The food was world class and the service on the ship was otherworldly, the drinks on board were incredible and allowed you to venture into a ... Read More
Everything was incredible!! They make you feel like family and you never want to leave the ship! The food was world class and the service on the ship was otherworldly, the drinks on board were incredible and allowed you to venture into a whole other culture and a whole other world of excitement! It is a wonderful mix of people and every passenger on board was so fun and excited and so sweet to everyone else. The stage shows that they put on our like a broadway musical and the performers can sing with the best of them! They have a full range of things for you to do whether it’s hanging by the 5 pools and jacuzzi’s they have, learning about the many secrets of pirate treasure, world class shopping with incredible deals, or anything else you can think of, there is never ever a dull moment. Everything was so smooth especially with their new medallion you use for everything!! It is the best thing out there!! 100% recommend!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
they clean your room everyday, Varieties of food, Dining experience is really awesome. service is great, Ice cream bar was great, international cafe, Karaoke bar, fitness room, Art auction, love the idea of formal night and going to a fine ... Read More
they clean your room everyday, Varieties of food, Dining experience is really awesome. service is great, Ice cream bar was great, international cafe, Karaoke bar, fitness room, Art auction, love the idea of formal night and going to a fine dining after having pictures from the photographers and you will your pictures that same day...you can watch live shows everyday with their funny Cruise director & his staff, lots of entertainment and things to do, love all this fun games with the staff especially with the cruise director Matt, foods is great, enough restaurants to choose, great service, smooth sailing and they are organized, i will plan a next cruise this year again and i will convince some of my relatives and friends to join me and my wife for the next cruise before end of 2019, and hoping they will come out a promotion to back up my plan Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
My family needed a cruise suitable for our range of ages and tastes and this family friendly, low stress cruise absolutely matched our needs. Very clean ship inside and out with friendly staff and fun entertainers. We travelled from ... Read More
My family needed a cruise suitable for our range of ages and tastes and this family friendly, low stress cruise absolutely matched our needs. Very clean ship inside and out with friendly staff and fun entertainers. We travelled from Sydney, Australia to Melbourne and Hobart and then went to New Zealand getting stops at Port Chalmers, Akaroa, Tauranga and Auckland. There was a large variety of activities that suited the seniors in our group as well as the younger cousins, too. From Zumba to Bingo to jaw-dropping production shows, we were thoroughly entertained onboard. Food was easy to acquire and change to our tastes as necessary for those with food allergies. I am pleased to note that there were accessible shore excursions and the entire ship was accessible for people with mobility issues. The outside and inside of the ship were truly majestic, with details everywhere to enhance the experience for guests of any culture. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We have been traveling with Princess for 15 years and they are consistently good. We are not up for a late night party crowd and not looking to have kids running around... so the critical comments about it being an older crowd are ... Read More
We have been traveling with Princess for 15 years and they are consistently good. We are not up for a late night party crowd and not looking to have kids running around... so the critical comments about it being an older crowd are actually a plus for me. Over the years the bar service has been changing, especially so after the drink packages were introduced. Instead of an annoying army of folks always asking if you want a cocktail, now you usually have to get your own... and the attentiveness of the bar staff is not as good as it was historically. The entertainment is good enough but nothing special. The food is great with a HUGE selection of choices at the buffet. Cabins have been fine and comfortable. Balconies seem to be getting smaller on the new ships. In particular on the Regal I LOVE the area near the retreat pool with the sun screens on the edges which don't block but diffuse the full force of the sun. I really wish they did this on more of their ships. Being a gay couple I will also note that this has never been an issue on any our our cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise about 6 weeks beforehand as we were looking for a winter getaway. I was looking at a few different options and I am very pleased with the choice we made. Starting with embarkation, the tone was set. Really efficient ... Read More
We chose this cruise about 6 weeks beforehand as we were looking for a winter getaway. I was looking at a few different options and I am very pleased with the choice we made. Starting with embarkation, the tone was set. Really efficient and seamless - we got our luggage quickly and from port to ship was fast and all staff were friendly! Although it was not perfect (what is?) there were so many positives on this cruise. Near or at the top of the list was the social nature of this cruise. We met so many nice people - I feel like the design of the ship really encourages chatting, social time and not rushing! Food was very good. Entertainment was a bit hit and miss - AJ the comedian was quite good, we had a group called the phat pack that were excellent (and not part of the cruise specific entertainment!) and some of the musical acts were fun and location appropriate (eg Mariachi) The colours of the world was not great for a variety of reasons and I found the show times of 630 and 830 really conflicted the dinner times. Dinner was typically at a leisurely pace and we missed quite a few shows. No matter, we just chatted with friendly passengers! We had an inside cabin which was ok but I think we will be back on a balcony next cruise. If you have not had a balcony you may not know what you’re missing. We did and noticed it! One other complaint was a one off - there was an unruly passenger that was picking a fight with another, much older passenger on the tender back from Cabo - I tried to alert the Princess Staff and nobody seemed to know what to do or act with a sense of urgency. I am guessing that it is not common on Princess which may explain why but it could have turned serious and they should have been quicker to act. Overall, loved the ship crew was good passengers were almost universally friendly. We will definitely be sailing with Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise simply for the itinerary. We didn't make it to the fiordlands due to weather, which we understand. The ship seemed understaffed and I've definitely been on happier ships. Late embarking led to harried crew ... Read More
We chose this cruise simply for the itinerary. We didn't make it to the fiordlands due to weather, which we understand. The ship seemed understaffed and I've definitely been on happier ships. Late embarking led to harried crew ordering us to our muster station, where we were told to move when we tried to put our heavy carry on luggage and stroller down. So sitting on a step which was the only available seating, we waited 40mins for the muster briefing to begin. Time enough I would have thought to drop our hand luggage and stroller in the cabin. When we did get to our cabin, it was to find a dirty plate with cold food under the bed along with a dirty sock and paper. I won't mention what was near the drinks tray, suffice to say the room felt vey dirty. Again I blame understaffing. The attitude of the crew improved toward the end of the first week however, the emphasis on 'cruise status' and the colour of your ships card was obvious all through the cruise. Very disappointing. The upper bunks in our cabin were incredibly uncomfortable, with mattresses like cement. We initiated a roster system so the adults could take turns having a comfortable nights sleep in the lower bunk. Princess it seems have iniated a Third Class system, keeping tradition with the Titanic. While there were some fun moments, those aimed at a younger demographic for a change, they were far and few between. Our grandson loved kids club, and was cared for beautifully by them. Sadly there were no really child friendly outdoor areas, and instead of an adults sanctuary, which was in fact the whole ship, we could have done with a family sanctuary, one to keep out the grumpy older passengers. We are a fit 63 years old, yet on this ship I felt 30 years old still the overly loud music played near the pool was a poor effort to acknowledge younger minded passengers. I'm a retired RN, and I understand the special needs of the elderly however, almost an entire ship devoted to them alone is too much. If the line only wants that demographic on board they should be fair and state as much in their marketing. Traditional dining in the Rigaletto restaurant was fantastic. Our waiter Rod and assistant waiter Joel were unbelievably caring and attentive. Service was impeccable. They were incredibly patient with our grandson and intuitive of our needs. We can't thank them enough. Buffet dining was relatively bland and hot foods were especially lacking in variety at breakfast and lunch. Food options it appears were sacrificed for a larger seating area, which given the number of passengers who ignored signs designating tables for the disabled, it seems there still weren't enough. We had no trouble finding a table somewhere everyday though. We paid over $600 to go to Hobbiton on a bus with non-existent air-conditioning for an hour both ways, were rushed back to the bus because the driver gave us the wrong time. Too huge a group meant standing for too long in the heat, with a couple of people close to fainting. Not worth the cost. Price of alcohol on board was phenomenal. A bottle of wine on board selling for $55 can be bought for $30 in Australia. Wine by the glass averaged at $15 a glass. Cocktails averaged at $15 a glass. Our cabin was noisy on port days as the ship docked and the disembarkation equipment was erected. On one night at 10.30pm a balloon drop party with loud rock and roll music was held 100 metres from our room and went on until 11.05pm, waking our grandson and his designated babysitter - grandfather, but then again third class doesn't count. Considering the complaints we had to hear from certain upper deck passengers when forced to queue at ports, I understand the need to inflict the party on us. If I sound a little unhappy it's because I am, an expensive, long anticipated holiday was a disappointment. Princess line please be honest in your marketing approach, and try to remember the colour of your cruise card just depends on how many repeat cruises you make. Mine will forever remain the colour it is. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Wonderful ship and crew... all the amenities without the amusement park. The ships staff and services was a bit overwhelmed the second week which was Christmas but they still tried very hard to accommodate 500 more people than the normal ... Read More
Wonderful ship and crew... all the amenities without the amusement park. The ships staff and services was a bit overwhelmed the second week which was Christmas but they still tried very hard to accommodate 500 more people than the normal sailing. Entertainment was great and I highly recommend Kori Simon in the Piano bar and Barbi McCulloch and the ships entertainers in the show ENCORE! The Secret Silk show was ambitious as well. Dining was varied and always wonderful and the ships International Cafe and coffees were a great addition. If visiting Roatan I highly recommend going off the regular choices and seek out Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout. It was an amazing tour and the highlight of my trip. Check them out on TripAdvisor and reserve your spot ahead of time. Alexander, the ships cruise director was a pro and his staff kept everything running like clockwork. The casino was a bit hit and miss but that’s why they call it gambling. Overall another great Princess cruise. Can’t go wrong with the Royal or Regal Princess Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The Bad : Ship shakes under sail and unbelievably worse in port, especially annoying when you are dining. Common areas good condition but we had hit and miss cabins this fall and winter, some ok and some awful condition. Ship staff said ... Read More
The Bad : Ship shakes under sail and unbelievably worse in port, especially annoying when you are dining. Common areas good condition but we had hit and miss cabins this fall and winter, some ok and some awful condition. Ship staff said they can’t update the rooms without a dry dock and the company keeps putting that off. Personally had and witnessed some negative interactions with the Guest Services Staff. As typical of the brand no built in activies for active adults and children. Just off a Christmas cruise on another ship of the brand, many families cruising and the young people were bored out of their minds. Royal Caribbean, Carnival or Norwegian would have been a better choice for a family vacation. The Good: The company has invested in Internet upgrades for this ship. Room and Dining staff generally excellent as is usual throughout the brand. Food quality and selection was on par with the brand and far superior to Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our first cruise out of the west coast and we were impressed with embarkation. From the time we arrived at San Pedro, we were on the ship in only a few minutes. The public areas of the ship were in good condition, as the ship ... Read More
This was our first cruise out of the west coast and we were impressed with embarkation. From the time we arrived at San Pedro, we were on the ship in only a few minutes. The public areas of the ship were in good condition, as the ship has very recently come out of dry dock. Everything looked great. We did notice that the clock at the aft pool was out of service during the entire voyage - a minor annoyance. Once we were permitted to go to our cabin, we found the temperature a bit warm. The climate control had no impact, so we simply closed the drapes and waited for the evening. Once the sun set, we were able to open the drapes and the slider, and allow the ocean breezes to cool the cabin and lull us to sleep. The larger television mounted on the wall was great. It freed up a lot of room. We also liked the motion-sensitive nightlight on one on the nightstands. The fridge in our room was caked with ice and badly needed to be defrosted. Food on the ship was mostly disappointing. The first morning, we were searching high and low for the omelet station. We were finally directed to where we could place an order only to find that our order would be taken and would be delivered to us in the dining room within five minutes. Sure. We gave our claim slip to a dining room attendant and he returned, literally, 25 minutes later with a cold, sorry excuse for an omelet. It was thin, like a crepe, and the chosen fillings were stuffed inside like an enchilada rather than cooked into the eggs like a proper omelet. The spinach was not fresh and appeared to be thawed, frozen spinach. Disgusting. That was the last morning we attempted to order fresh eggs. Extremely disappointed that Princess has decided to discourage guests from ordering "omelets" and freshly cooked eggs by serving the dreck they served. In the restaurant for dinner, we were disappointed to see that the steak offering had been removed from the "classics" section of the menu and if one wanted a steak it was only available for a fee. On the evening that surf & turf was offered in the dining room, I was quite disappointed to see the steak served to me. While B's "filet mignon" was about an inch thick, mine was *literally* no more than 1/4 inch thick, though it was cooked to the requested medium temperature. I could not believe the kitchen had the nerve to serve that cut of meat as a "filet mignon." Service throughout the cruise was hit or miss. Efren in the dining room was great and we really enjoyed his thoughtful service. The grill attendants at the Salty Dog Grill on the pool deck were slow and inattentive. The dining room attendants at the buffet became noticeably less attentive as the week wore on. By the final morning, it was like they weren't even trying to be cordial. They also had "run out" of cranberry juice by the final morning. Our cabin attendant, Julio, was great - very friendly and eager to assist. What happened to the late night food offerings/buffets on board? Buffets closed promptly following dinner service and it appeared that the very limited menu at the International Cafe was the only thing available until morning. Overall, the cruise left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth regarding Princess. We have cruises currently booked on other lines and hope they will not be following in the Princess manner of a noticeable decrease in food quality. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because 1, it was going to Alaska, nd 2, it left and returned from Los Angeles. We couldn’t afford our normal balcony room, so we opted for a window room. It was just ok. We did learn a lesson though. We won’t ... Read More
We chose this cruise because 1, it was going to Alaska, nd 2, it left and returned from Los Angeles. We couldn’t afford our normal balcony room, so we opted for a window room. It was just ok. We did learn a lesson though. We won’t opt for a upgrade option. We were put in a room we wouldn’t have chosen. It was too close to the front of the ship instead of the middle or closer to the back like we needed. Like usual on Princess ships, the International Cafe was our favorite place to start and end our days and nights. The waitresses were the BEST!!! Friendly, fun, got to know us by name and favorite drink! The food was just ok. Sabatinis was the best meal we ate! The coffees in the International Cafe were great. Just wish we didn’t have to pay for them. Wish they offered coconut milk as an option. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
All in all, we really enjoyed it, but Princess would do well to take a few statistics classes. When we checked in at Southampton, woo, hoo, we’re platinum, you know. This is our eighth Princess Cruise (and could be our last if the ... Read More
All in all, we really enjoyed it, but Princess would do well to take a few statistics classes. When we checked in at Southampton, woo, hoo, we’re platinum, you know. This is our eighth Princess Cruise (and could be our last if the keep playing those godawful reworded 70s Love Boat theme-song safety messages - thank GOD they stopped after the first day) so roll on the bennies! Let’s skid sideways through the special quickie check in lanes and get this party started!! The line for elite/suite/platinum/not-sure-what-else looked like Disneyworld suddenly decided to throw a half price sale. The Princess person guiding people in apologetically said they had a rush of elite guests. Um...maybe. Or the boat is loaded with them. I’m no idjit. Where’s the steerage lanes? Waaaay down ther...I waddled with increasing speed towards the line that could’ve had tumbleweeds blowing through it. Then I started doing my “come hither” dance at my other half. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done. Splaying limbs, expressions of a Maori warrior communicating half the British armed forces are bivouacked over yonder hill, I’m certain I’m adorable in all my middle aged glory. So my beloved and a few other canny people moved to the unimportant people line, which ended in the same place. I figured, even if they sent ten premiums through for every one pauper, hell, we’d still be in our stateroom hours ahead. We joined the remarkably short queue of commoners. As did several people from the premium lanes when they heard what we were doing - and those bods were halfway through the line already. Ducking under the rope that separated their highnesses from the likes of us, they now had mere feet to get to the head of the line rather than wrapping around like the Haunted Mansion awaited them. The young woman in the Princess uniform at the front was trying to send more premiums than commoners through, but as we inched forward, the guy behind us cried, “We’re platinums!” I couldn’t help myself, I could see this young lady pulling him from the line ahead of us and hell, it was my idea in the first place, I was the Moses who lead this line of premiums into the General Area. Which, as I write that, sounds really snotty. Yes, we did jump the premium line, but honestly, it was set up in such a way that anyone could. You just had to think about it. So I snorted and said “so are we!” Well, that rattled her some...elite passengers from all directions, so she didn’t stop to think we’d walked through the almost empty third-class lane. “Oh, of course. Please, step this way,” much, I’m sure, to the annoyance of the next up in the elite lane. This, in turn, got us earlier tickets to get through the security checkpoint. I kinda feel bad but really, it was there for anyone to do. Next comment: The other thing Princess would do well to change about this cruise is the ice cream. Last cruise, the ice cream bar by the pool had sugar free which they happily dispensed at no charge along with the sugary soft serve 12 hours a day. I skip dessert at night...no hardship, sugar free mango cheesecake didn’t sound appealing, but a bowl of ice cream sure did. I’m thankfully not diabetic but after my bariatric surgery I find I can only tolerate small amounts of sugar. So we get poolside, only to be informed if I’d like sugar free, they’d be happy to help me at the gelato bar** on deck five. Okay. Couple issues with this. 1. The Royal Princess is one of the largest ships in Princess’ fleet. And Princess doesn’t really redesign their ships, they more accordion them - they stuff extra decks in. I try to limit my elevator usage to one per day. The pool is on 16. Gelato is on 5. Bed is on 11... 2. The gelato bar** is always followed by asterisks. Just like the Crown Grill**, Sabatini’s Italian Resturante**and the snooty tooty Lotus Spa**. Yep. You guessed it. “May I have your cruise card for a moment, please?” Cha-CHING! Smarmy smile, as that automatically incurred a 17.5% tip on toppa the cost. Thank you, madame. We can afford the charge, of course, it’s the idea of the thing. But I’m especially cheesed off for the child diabetics on these cruises who can’t just sneak an ice cream like any other kid can. Instead, they have to choose to either mess with their blood sugar or have their folio rat them out - they can’t even pay cash outta their allowance. What fun is that? So for my sugar intolerance, I get an extra $50 charge (yes, fifty bucks. Don’t judge me. I don’t judge YOUR dessert consumption and two scoops are nearly $3 each. Over 15 days, that’s what? One a day? Like YOU have ONE dessert a day? Please.) This will get too long if I add everything that happened, so if you’re a glutton for punishment, I kept a semi-regular log at examiningmisadventures.com. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
My wife and I went on this cruise and brought along my parents and one of our best friends hoping to have a nice 8-day escape to Alaska. We chose this cruise line because they had -- what appeared to be -- a reasonable price for the ... Read More
My wife and I went on this cruise and brought along my parents and one of our best friends hoping to have a nice 8-day escape to Alaska. We chose this cruise line because they had -- what appeared to be -- a reasonable price for the experience we were seeking and they were also a subsidiary of Carnival (of whom we had previously sailed with many times before and with whom we had enjoyed each and every previous cruise experience). Little did we know that these things would not be worth our rather nightmarish experience aboard the Ruby Princess. Embarkation: I would actually rate this relatively high. Princess's embarkation process out of Seattle was one of the quickest most painless processes I've ever been through in my many times sailing. I would even go out on a limb to say that this experience was superior to the other cruises I've taken out of other ports with other cruise lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian). This being our first impression of Princess, we were actually pretty excited and expecting our cruise to be better than we thought it would be (after having read many bad reviews about the same ship we were boarding). Cabin: Our cabin was kind of awful. Laying on the top bunk bed felt worse than laying on a plank of wood. There were blood stains on the sheets the entirety of our stay which leads me to believe that the sheets don't actually get changed or cleaned for the duration of the cruise. The air conditioning didn't work the first night in our cabin and we nearly roasted in our room waiting for someone to come fix it. Shortly after our air conditioning was repaired, the toilet stopped working. Our shower had only one (unfixable) setting and that was scalding hot. The room constantly smelled like sewage. Overall, the rooms sucked. But we tried to remain positive since we knew we wouldn't be spending much time there anyways. And for the most part, Princess would send someone (albeit it was usually someone with a bad attitude) to come fix the problems we were having. Dining: One of the better parts of this cruise was the service in the main dining room. Our friend has food allergies and the head waiter made sure to cater to her needs and remained easily accessible to us should there be any question of what ingredients a dish may contain. Though there wasn't ever any question because the menu was always clear and concise about what each dish contained. The food was not the best but decent. There were good nights and bad nights with more just okay nights than not. But you could tell that the staff was willing to go out of their way to make sure your experience was pleasurable and enjoyable. The buffet, however, was a different story entirely. The food was always cold and usually everything tasted like fish (even the baked goods like cupcakes and cookies). We usually tried to stay clear of it if we could. Services: My parents did a few of the spa services on board. And they both said that the spa staff constantly tried to sell them products the entire time. That it's not a very relaxing experience because of how much they are trying to push products on you. Also, my mom had a few issues with scheduling her massage. She scheduled with the manager of the spa for a specific time in the morning and then when she showed up to the spa the day of the scheduled massage the very same manager told her that her appointment wasn't in the system and that it was never scheduled. They ended up rescheduling but I think the entire spa experience definitely stressed my mom out far more than it relaxed her. Activities: This cruise line is very obviously geared towards an older crowd (60+). My wife and I are in our late 20's/early 30's and found it was very difficult to find activities geared towards our age group. Which didn't really bother us too much since we were mainly there to spend time with our family. But we certainly had to make a lot of our own entertainment on this ship (which we haven't had to do as much on other cruise lines). Entertainment: One night we went to the princess exclusive Stephen Schwartz show called "Magic To Do." This was, hands down, the worst thing I have ever sat through in my entire life. The show made no sense. It was supposed to be part musical/part magic show. But the singing was dreadfully bad and hard to listen to. The dancing appeared as if a 4th grader choreographed the show. And the magic tricks were the most basic of basic tricks. Not even a little kid would be entertained by it. It was laughably bad. Kind of like the movie "The Room" (by Tommy Wiseau) is to film. "Magic To Do" is the "The Room" of musicals. A complete disaster. I felt really bad for the cast for being forced into doing it and butchering their potential careers. Towards the end of our cruise we went to a comedy show with Steve Moris as the performer. He started out singing and making a lot of self-deprecating jokes. Then the joking turned darker and he started making homophobic jokes and racist jokes. They were distasteful and certainly not my brand of humor (considering my wife and I are a lesbian couple and don't care much for racism). I didn't think any of them were funny, so I didn't laugh. I didn't heckle him or comment, I simply sat there quietly and waited patiently for the show to end. He noticed that my wife and I weren't laughing and proceeded to call us out in front of everyone. We continued to sit there quietly (still not laughing) and allowed him to poke a little fun. But then he wouldn't stop and his entire show became centered around insulting and harassing us for not laughing. He continued to make racist and homophobic jokes and then harassed us more for not laughing. At that point, my wife and I quietly discussed walking out because his constant attention was starting to make us both very uncomfortable. We ultimately decided to stay because we thought walking out might further fuel the fire so we sat there and continued to take his abuse. Eventually, he harassed us to the point of throwing a water bottle at me and by that point I was so mortified and upset at being treated the way I was that I stood up and walked out. He made sure to harass me the entire way out with jokes about me being a "sensitive millennial." He even had quite a few people making rude comments to me as I walked out. It was one of the most humiliating moments of my life. I love stand up comedy and have been to many live performances from my favorite comics and never have I seen them treat anyone this way (front row or not) -- I've not even seen hecklers get treated this poorly. I feel like any comedian that has to rely solely on bullying audience members (who aren't engaging in the show in any way) for a laugh is not a very good comedian at all and probably won't make it very far in the business. We spoke to management on the ship after the show and they apologized and said they would write up a report and speak to him and the staff about it. We tried contacting them the day after we got back from the cruise for a status report on the report that was written to see if any action had been taken on this matter and they told us they "don't have access to the reports that get written on the ships." I don't feel as if justice has been or will ever be served for how I was treated as a paying customer on board their ship. And I am extremely disappointed in Princess for how they handled this entire situation. Ports/Excursions: This was the best part of the cruise. We stopped at the following ports: Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria, B.C. They were all amazing ports. Absolutely breathtaking views of the mountains and glaciers. We did a seaplane over the glaciers in Juneau which was absolutely amazing. We did dog mushing in Skagway and greatly enjoyed getting to hold and cuddle puppies as well as learn more about Iditarod. We did a jeep and canoe excursion in Ketchikan and it was pretty fun and informative. We explored Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria and it was a beautiful building. The only complaint is that we wish we could have spent more time in Ketchikan and Victoria. We were only allotted about 5 hours in Ketchikan and 4 hours in Victoria and it just wasn't enough time to do excursions and explore/shop the towns. Would we go back to Alaska? Absolutely. It is a beautiful state and the sights were amazingly beautiful. There is so much there to explore and learn. Will we ever go on a cruise again? Of course! We love cruises. They are a great way to explore a number of different locations in one trip and usually are a lot of fun to do. Would we ever use Princess again? Absolutely not. We will never use this cruise line ever again. They seem more focused on making money than assuring customer satisfaction. And I am more than willing to shell out the money for an awesome experience, but when I'm basically paying for discrimination and to feel like I don't belong and like I'm nothing more than an ATM, it's just not worth it to me. I'd rather go somewhere else where I'm treated better and there certainly are places like that that exist. If Princess isn't going to change the way they do business they should at the very least put a disclaimer somewhere that warns against the fact that they have poor customer service and if you are a minority or protected class that you will probably run into some issue onboard -- if not from the staff and entertainment guests then surely from the other passengers. Vacation isn't really vacation on Princess. Would I recommend Princess to any of my family and friends? Not at all. I love and respect my family and friends. I wouldn't want them to have even the slightest chance of going through what I went through on this cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was my first cruise with Princess and as a result of my experience, it will definitely be my last. Prior to booking, I had this impression that Princess was an elite cruising brand. I expected more of them than I would a Carnival, ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Princess and as a result of my experience, it will definitely be my last. Prior to booking, I had this impression that Princess was an elite cruising brand. I expected more of them than I would a Carnival, Norwegian or Royal Caribbean cruise line. I could not have been more wrong. Let's start with the PROS since its a short list. PROS: Embarkation - Princess is very organized. I was on the ship in less than 20 minutes from my arrival to the pier. I have NEVER gotten on a ship that fast before. There was no haggling to buy onboard packages and no pressure to take pictures. It was the most quickest, easiest embarkation I have ever experienced. Shore Excursions - I really liked that while the Excursions desk was not always manned that they had iPads at the desk so I could book excursions during their non-operating hours. I struggled whether to add this to the CONS list really, because the Excursions desk was closed before and during our sail away period, but I do like that I had this as an option. I like to book my excursions as soon as I get on the ship. I later learned I could have booked them in my room via the TV. Entertainment - I really enjoyed some of the musical talent on this ship. I learned of some new artistic gems like George Thursting that I now follow through social media. Love them. Folks, that's where my PROS list ends. Let's dive into everything that made this cruise horrible and left me vowing to NEVER cruise with Princess again. CONS: Bed Bug (in Room B249) - I usually don't sleep much, if at all, the night before a cruise, because I am busy packing and getting my house (and life) prepared for my extensive departure, so I usually make up for that sleep the first night on the ship. This cruise was no exception. I grabbed a bite to eat and booked my excursions once I got on board and I headed straight to my room to snooze. After we set sailed, I got up to grab something out of my bag and when I returned to the bed I noticed what looked like a bed bug crawling over the duvet cover. I screamed! I ran outside where the cabin steward was. He came in looking embarrassed, but not surprised, and scooped the bug into a glass jar. I was mortified. All I could think was how grateful I was that I had not unpacked yet. I did NOT want to take any of these critters home with me. I hear bed bugs are horrible to get rid of. I went straight to the reception desk to report it. Its the first night, so there's a long line. I patiently wait. When I get to the line, the service desk rep (Ignacio and Aracelli) said there was not much they could do besides send someone to investigate and clean the room since the ship was sold out. They did not offer me some place to sit or rest at during this 2-hour investigation. They did not offer me a complimentary beverage or meal. They did not apologize for the inconvenience. They did nothing, but "investigate." I stood on the side of the reception desk for 2 hours exhausted. I finally got back in line to see if there was an update, since NO ONE spoke to me during those 2 hours and only after I got back in line did someone call to check on the "investigation" and that's when I was told they were done and they did not find anything else (meaning another bug). For all I know, the investigation could have been completed an hour earlier. I return to my room alone. Visibly shaken, they did not offer to escort me to my room to reassure me and show me their findings. No one was there when I arrived. It was hours later when the cabin steward supervisor and my cabin steward returned to tell me the supervisor found nothing. I asked if I would be able to get checked by medical - something the front desk rep said I would be able to get as a courtesy to check for bed bug bites - and the supervisor told me NO. He said the ship doctor is not like a doctor on land, they're expensive, so I would have to pay for this myself. Um... OK! I was done after this. Done. He treated me like I was an inconvenience. Very hostile. I never unpacked my bag. I kept it closed the entire cruise and I checked my room for bed bugs each and every day. I tried not to let this ruin my trip cuz then I would definitely be on the losing end. I tried to make the best of it. Ship - Its old. Real old. Very dated. There's rust, mildew and mold everywhere. While I stood in line at the guest desk, I noticed there were multiple leaks from the ceiling. Also, the layout makes no sense. They give each deck a name. For example: Deck # 11 is named Baja and Deck # 15 is named Lido. Instead of referring to the deck number, you had to learn the deck names, because that is how they were referenced. It was so cooky. Then there were only so many elevator banks. I believe there were three or four for the entire ship and one or two of those only went to a few floors. There were no machines for people to add money to their room card/key. Everything went through the very incompetent guest desk. And they had to escalate everything. No one at the desk could make a decision at their level. No one was empowered to just do common sense things for guests. While I waited for my bed bug investigation, I heard a man with Platinum Level Status get upset over his beverage package and how someone screwed it up. I stood there thinking: If this guy is a loyal Princess cruiser and they treat him like that, how should I expect them to treat me? Not good, folks. Not good. Dining - I actually like the seating in the buffet dining areas. I liked that there were pub seating that looked directly out the window, so if you're a party of one you're only taking one seat and not an entire table. That's where my likes end. The food options were very limited and buffet small. It was about one-third of the size of the buffet area on the average Norwegian ship. Horrible! I made due, but I was just shocked. In Conclusion: The pros definitely did not outweigh the cons. I cannot justify the cost of the average Princess cruise for me to try the brand again. Outside of wanting to experience the Princess brand, I really chose this sailing because it was going to the ABC islands and it was full of smart at sea days. Heed my warnings. If nothing else, stay away from this ship unless you've cruised it before and know what to expect. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Every review should undoubtedly be taken with a grain of salt, as each person’s experience of a vacation will be filtered through their own unique set of needs, tastes, etc. That said, I wish I had paid greater attention to the reviews ... Read More
Every review should undoubtedly be taken with a grain of salt, as each person’s experience of a vacation will be filtered through their own unique set of needs, tastes, etc. That said, I wish I had paid greater attention to the reviews on this site before booking my cruise, so here is my experience, for what it’s worth. Atmosphere/ship in general (or, what I wish I had known): The ship was dated and tired. In both appearance, amenities, programming, and clientele. The cruising ‘lifestyle’ is definitely geared towards the white, conservative, 70+ crowd, with events and services including ‘how to look 10 years younger’, ‘how to lose 10 pounds’, napkin folding, and countless jewellery shows and expensive art auctions. Tired platitudes about what ‘ladies’ enjoy, jokes about foolish husbands, and basically your generic sexist, heteronormative talk were all around the ship. This is not the place for younger (or just socially-conscious folk, as this does not have to be mutually exclusive with age) travelers, and if I had considered this more heavily prior to booking, we would not have gone. Princess - and all cruise lines, for that matter - will have to drastically revamp their programming and overall culture if they hope to appeal to younger, more socially progressive generations. It should be noted that most of our fellow travelers (and staff) seemed quite conservative, and were evidently not comfortable with gender non-conformity or LGBT+ identities. Service: While I acknowledge working on a cruise ship is likely a constrained choice, most often for the marginalized worker, and requires long and difficult hours with harsh working conditions (this needs to be fixed at an institutional level), the staff seemed indignant toward us and our questions were met with frustration. I’m not sure what this was about (our age and apparent lack of relative wealth?) but it made for a very uncomfortable experience. Ports: The excursions are expensive, though likely on par with other cruise lines. We would have liked 2 days in LA, but 1 day in Santa Barbara and Monterey was enough. Disembarking from the ship for the latter ports was very poorly planned. We waited approximately an hour and a half simply to be be able to leave the ship on a tender boat, cutting our time down in port significantly. Food: I have a myriad of food allergies and while the crew assures allergy-sufferers that they take great care in providing allergen-free food and I was meticulous about what I ate, I had two reactions on board. I don’t think the crew knows what allergies involve and require. It is not simply about not having the allergen IN what you are eating, but must include absolutely no cross-contamination. For instance, the food that was suggested for me at the buffet as being ‘safe’ was sitting right next to my allergen. The salad bar, for example, had containers of nuts scattered around so that when other passengers scoop the nuts, little bits can fall into other bowls etc. The quality of food in the buffet was also very poor. I am almost positive the ship uses instant coffee and minute rice, if that is any indication. Most days we ate white bread and fresh fruit. The dining room food was better quality but sadly resulted in allergic reactions. Many fellow passengers commented on how good the food was on board, though this is entirely relative, and I suppose depends on what you cook and eat in your own home. Expenses: They say that cruising is the ultimate all-inclusive vacation, and while that may be true for some, the hidden costs of the trip are extremely high (for us, this was ginger ale to calm our nausea, good coffee, and internet to text our family). It felt as though we were constantly being asked to spend more money, with daily pamphlets about spa offers and on-board shopping. The exclusive ‘adult only’ space is an additional charge, as are fitness classes and any drink other than water, milk, tea and (instant) coffee. Motion sickness: If you are at all sensitive or anxious, I caution you. We were nauseous 90% of the time and the motion was unnerving. We had one night in particular that was so rough, our entire cabin shook and the drawers banged open and closed all night. One seasoned cruiser said it was so bad she thought we were going down, while another fell that night and broke her toe and her husband hurt his hip. Entertainment: There is not much to do during the sailing days (see above re: programming) unless you are content with full days by the pool. There were a few evenings with exceptional entertainment, including a comedian/magician and Broadway music and dancing. Other than that, most entertainment involved outdated trivia, game shows, bingo, ‘guess the weight of the sculpture’, napkin folding, art auctions, etc. I've watched many videos about Princess and its entertainment but it does not live up to its promises. Overall: Read the reviews and trust your instincts. We will never be going on a cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
It has been our third eastern Caribbean on this itinerary but we choose to do it again due to the support for the hard hit areas of St Thomas and St Maarten and the fact we had not been on the Regal before. The Regal is exceptional with ... Read More
It has been our third eastern Caribbean on this itinerary but we choose to do it again due to the support for the hard hit areas of St Thomas and St Maarten and the fact we had not been on the Regal before. The Regal is exceptional with many of the Royals original issues resolved. The ships staff was truly exceptional and so were the folks on the shore excursions. Improvements to Princess Cays are great from the extra tenders to stingray encounter and improved facilities. There were a few minor issues like overbooked Sanctuary impossible to get into, lack of 110V power supply on the night stands but these were in the end insignificant on this overall flawless cruise. There have been some truly outstanding staff members like at Crooners and the Crown Grill which we visited 6 nights on this cruise. Also the new Flying Dutchman excursion in St Maarten is amazing for anyone with a sense for action adventures. Keep up the good work Princess! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
As always, this Princess cruise was chock full of the senior set, which is fine - we're just coasting into qualifying for AARP ourselves, so it's not a problem - we're not party animals by any stretch. The good: The ... Read More
As always, this Princess cruise was chock full of the senior set, which is fine - we're just coasting into qualifying for AARP ourselves, so it's not a problem - we're not party animals by any stretch. The good: The Coral Princess is one of their smaller ships, which meant we developed more friendships with people than on larger ships, which was nice. Likewise, we got to know more of the staff members on a more personal basis. The ship is able to go through the Panama Canal (only just, it squeeked through) and it's amazing to watch. The activity tours we went on were amazing (ziplining in Costa Rica, swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman) but the walking tours (Gautamala, Cartagena) were really bad (how much will you buy, rich American tourist? Oh, yeah, there's a bit of history here, but let me show you where to spend your dollars...) My advice: do the activities. Serious fun. You do NOT need to be in fabulous shape to do them. It's okay to be chubby and wheeze a bit. You do need to be willing to laugh and feel a bit ridiculous. You will make the BEST memories if you do. We stayed at the Ft. Lauderdale Renaissance Cruise Ship Terminal, and it's literally right next door to the terminal. This does NOT mean you can stay there then walk to your ship, but it does mean it's an easy Uber/taxi ride. I would not walk it - it must have been a good 2 miles considering we had to drive all the way around the port to get to the ship. It's a decent hotel and we were able to Uber from the airport to the hotel, then walk over and get dinner from Chipotle next door. It made getting on the ship the next morning stress free. We're a lesbian couple celebrating 25 years together and despite this being an overwhelmingly straight, elderly demographic, we felt nothing but welcomed and accepted, which was the best thing ever. The bad: "Anytime Dining" on the Coral Princess apparently means line up at 4:45 or you won't eat until 7:00pm - and those old folks are SERIOUS about getting din-dins on time. Don't be messing with their meals. It's worse than third grade recess with line-cutting. One person will stand in the line and 42 people will walk up and join them before the doors open. The Universe Lounge has movies and production numbers, but the balcony level is awful to be watching anything - there's multiple safety bars. No idea why they don't put in plexiglass instead so people can actually SEE what's going on. There's less food selection in the Horizon Court than the larger Princess ships - a LOT less. I found that really disappointing. Same ol', same ol' every morning for breakfast. The ugly: Sales, sales, sales. I imagine it's the same on all cruise ships - we haven't been for a couple of years, and wow, it seems like they're selling at every turn. Most conversations seemed to start with "You want to buy..." Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our second cruise in the Grand Princess (and 13th on Princess). Overall we were very pleased, but of course there were some concerns. THE GOOD: -- excellent cabin steward; very helpful as we prepared to host a cocktail ... Read More
This was our second cruise in the Grand Princess (and 13th on Princess). Overall we were very pleased, but of course there were some concerns. THE GOOD: -- excellent cabin steward; very helpful as we prepared to host a cocktail party; great attitude -- superb entertainment, as is usual for Princess -- service in the dining room was excellent - attentive and prompt -- enjoyed meals in both specialty restaurants -- the daily LGBT gatherings were fun, with over 20 folks a couple of times; fun to meet people from across the country -- the variety of excursions offered on the four Hawaiian Islands was good. We loved the submarine dive in Maui. -- the New Years Eve parties were a lot of fun -- although a water leak in the 14th level Horizons Court closed half of it for most of the cruise, the dining staff responded well and opened other dining rooms for added hours to compensate, resulting in a minimum of inconvenience for the passengers THE NEGATIVES: -- the ship was always cold! Not just cool, but so cold that folks were wearing jackets to the shows and lounges. The first night our cabin would not get above low 60's - maintenance adjusted the settings as we were comfortable the rest of the cruise. -- food in the main dining room was not as good as on previous cruises (fish was overcooked and dry) -- young children screaming during dinner in the specialty restaurants really detracted from what was otherwise a very nice experience. I would love to see a policy of no babies (perhaps under 2) in the surcharged restaurants -- I did not like the Latin focused ballroom dancing lessons, much preferring traditional ballroom that I have enjoyed on previous Princess cruises -- although we have enjoyed days at sea in the past, including trans-Atlantic crossings, with ten days at sea (four over and six coming back (with a four-hour stop in Ensenada) became too many days out of a fifteen-day cruise. We will certainly cruise with Princess again, and even on the Grand Princess since it remains based in San Francisco and is very convenient for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
We selected the cruise due to a Costco promotion that popped up, when I was browsing the Costco website. It fit our timing and budget. The ship looked magnificent and huge. I found the cabin , which is a pretty standard, spacious , ... Read More
We selected the cruise due to a Costco promotion that popped up, when I was browsing the Costco website. It fit our timing and budget. The ship looked magnificent and huge. I found the cabin , which is a pretty standard, spacious , balcony was a definite plus. (Later on I would that more than 80% of the cabins had a balcony, so it is definitely a huge advantage. The food was tasty, buffet was very good, the a la Carter restaurants dinining was a bit formal with a low selection of entrees. Vast majority of the entertainment was targeted to retirees. The service was very good. Shore excursions were priced ok and good. I would like to have some better selection of active excursions. Mine was cancelled a day before the cruise departure. The shopping experience was great, however the promotion of the on board EFFY jewelry was too intrusive and overboard. The store manager was definitely a pusher. The ship definitely makes lots of many from them. The promotion of other stores and shore shopping was done on a much nicer and pleasant way. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We choice this cruise to celebrate our 33 wedding anniversary. We went with our son et his wife. The ship did not have a slide , my son was a little bit disappointed but we enjoyed the jacuzzi on the deck 15 with a panoramic view. ... Read More
We choice this cruise to celebrate our 33 wedding anniversary. We went with our son et his wife. The ship did not have a slide , my son was a little bit disappointed but we enjoyed the jacuzzi on the deck 15 with a panoramic view. The food was average at the buffet, bad coffee but the dining at Botticello was very good. We had a beverage package so we went at the International coffee for good coffee. and our servers Emilio and Romina were plaisants and funny.(table 28) The service was very good. We were disappointed with the AC of the cabin (A 306) We called several times , they came but did not fix it. It was hot at night with 4 people in the room. An accident spoiled my trip . The first night the door slammed at my finger. I had to go to the sick bay the next day because it was close . The Dr. did 7 sutures on my finger. I could not go snorkling or swimming the rest of my trip. I filed an accident report and had witnesses. The next day they fix the door (loosen) I had to pay the medical fees they told me to do complaint after the cruise.(which I did and wait for a reimbursement) The 2 nice things about this cruise was a tea time at the Botticelli in the afternoon and also a good tango quintet every day. I rated this trip poor because the accident and the AC in the room Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We are retired and doing a canal transit was on our list. The ship will be in dry dock soon and needs significant repairs. For us personally, this was not a major factor. Our balcony room, E-711 was fine. Nothing broke. The room is ... Read More
We are retired and doing a canal transit was on our list. The ship will be in dry dock soon and needs significant repairs. For us personally, this was not a major factor. Our balcony room, E-711 was fine. Nothing broke. The room is too small. There was a desk chair and one other chair that did not fit well in any position is the small space available. No way a small sofa would have. Comedians can have a field day on the small shower, but the balcony was of decent size. Our room steward was great. In areas of the ship there were bad odors at times, but not in our area. There were small pipe leak floods in some halls and rooms, but not in our area. Emerald deck has a great public back deck, but no seating. It would be a nice area to sit and watch the sea, visit, or read. Embarkation was very good. The room was available immediately and ready for us at noon. Luggage came efficiently. The ship was not full, so it was rare to feel crowded. The one level theatre only seats about 660 people, so there were often three shows in the evening. The entertainment was very good, The ship is currently rated by passengers as the top Princess ship for entertainment. The central plaza area has a tiny dance floor, but the Explorer Lounge and Wheelhouse bar are public areas are very nice and intensely use. They must be zoos when the ship is full. In terms of decor, colors, and art, this is a very fine ship. The crew and service staff are tops. Our time in Aruba was very short, but we had a great Princess snorkel excursion. Our time in Cartagena was also too short, but we had great private tours there and in Nicaragua arranged through the board pre-cruise discussion here in Cruise Critic We did a good Princess archeological tour with a lot of walking in Huatulco, but were on our own in Costa Rica and in Puerto Vallarta, places we've been multiple times. Cartagena, Nicaragua, and Huatulco were all first time places for us, and we loved all three. The sea days were lovely. Lots of diving birds to entertain us. The first sea day out of Puerto Vallarta gave us great views of Cabo and the Baja Coast. Lots of sail boats, motor crafts, even oared and paddled craft. Lots of dolphins breaching and even jumping out of the water in unison. The buffet, because of the excess of rooms to public space had very tight passage ways between tables to exit the area. It must really be difficult when the ship is full. The central plaza patisserie bar is markedly below average for a snack or dining space, but everywhere the service was wonderful. Don't expect a donut on this ship. We had a set dinner time at a table for 8. We started out with just 4. Nelson, the head waiter was able to find 4 more people to fill out our table. Nelson is the best head waiter I've had on any cruise. We got on well with out tablemates. Overall, the food in the dining rooms and buffert were high average, but I sometimes felt some food was being strictly rationed. I could not get extra spinach, but could get asparagus, green beans and peas. I'm on coumadin and my dosage is based on me eating a certain amount of green vegatables. Several salads I had that contained "tomato" had a single cherry tomato split in half. Just before the end of the cruise they ran out of papaya and banana. I sang a chorus of "Yes! We have no bananas!" with a tablemate that last morning. Callie, the cruise director was wonderful. He was the best cruise director ever. One evening he hosted the shows in drag. It took his feet days to recover from the spike heels, but he looked fabulous. I'm sure some female passengers were envious. Disembarkation were smoothly, very smoothly. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because of convenience. We took the ferry to pier 41, then walked a few blocks to our vacation. It was as simple as that. The process of embarking was fairly simple and quick, even being as crowded as it was. The ship. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of convenience. We took the ferry to pier 41, then walked a few blocks to our vacation. It was as simple as that. The process of embarking was fairly simple and quick, even being as crowded as it was. The ship. I had read some reviews of the ship looking tired with well worn carpets and other noticeable blemishes. Didnt notice anything bad about the boat. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on the Aloha deck. I found the cabin to be a little bit small, without many power outlets. I think there were only 2. 1 in the bathroom and on in the room. The bed was super comfortable, and the balcony was nice to have. Our room attendant was very nice, but there was a bit of a language barrier as he did not understand some of our requests. No big deal though. Our dinner restaurant was Bottocelli's. I found the food to be good, but not great. Our 2 servers Rodel and Made' though were excellent, really good people! Most of the entertainment was pretty good, the cruise director Dave is pretty good at keeping the entertainment going. The shore excursions were pretty good all around as well. Disembarkation was easy as well. My list of dislikes is small. What comes to mind is the paid for wifi. If you can avoid it, do yourself a favor and do so, its worse than old dial up internet. I hope to do this cruise again in the near future. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We choose this cruise and itinerary because we heard that Princess had a great reputation for Alaska. Overall, I had a nearly perfect experience on the ship. The highlights of the cruise were the superior level of service from almost ... Read More
We choose this cruise and itinerary because we heard that Princess had a great reputation for Alaska. Overall, I had a nearly perfect experience on the ship. The highlights of the cruise were the superior level of service from almost everyone on the ship and the seamless way our cruise was handled. Our roundtrip out of Seattle pier 91 was very simple. My first Princess cruise, we arrived at the port around 11:15 and were on the ship by 12:15. Embarkation was handled smoothly in groups. People who had gotten to the pier earlier were called earlier, but they didn't start boarding until around 11:45. We received our bags in our cabin around 6:30PM. My only other cruising experience has been with Carnival multiple times, and I would say overall this is a step up in many ways, especially staff to passenger ratio and service. As Carnival is my only previous experience, most of my observations compare the two experiences. There weren't many children visible on the ship; passengers were mostly couples in their early forties and older. Food The room service and main dining room experience was excellent from a service standpoint. Food quality was pretty good and the breakfast room service menu is better than Carnival, but the MDR food selection was definitely more limited than Carnival. It helps to know that with AnyTime dining, you can make a reservation in advance and not have to wait. Although the MDR opens at 5PM for dinner, we arrived at 5:30 one night and were given a pager and told it would be 30-45 minutes to wait in the DaVinci dining room. Ultimately, we only waited about 20 minutes and enjoyed a drink from Vines wine café across the Piazza. Bartender Mark Anthony in Vines remembered us after the first night and would always offer our glass of Chandon before dinner. Also Vines offers a modest sushi plate or cheese plate in the afternoon if you order a glass of wine. I also loved the quality and selection at the included International Café in the Piazza. From pastries to sandwiches, salads, and desserts, these options were good. As for the specialty dining, we tried the Salty Dog gastropub in the Wheelhouse Bar on the first night for $12 and were impressed with the quality of the pub fare. The umami burger was fantastic, as was the crab cake. On our first elegant night, we opted for the Crown Grill which everybody raves about, but I was underwhelmed. The service was fantastic. The food quality paled in comparison to the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouses on Carnival. For a $29 upcharge per person, we had a nice selection from the menu, and you can order as many things as you want. However, we started with a "special off the menu" appetizer of oysters on the half shell which weren't that fresh. They seemed slightly dehydrated. The scallop appetizer was excellent. Soups and salads were all right. My chop porterhouse steak was too fatty. They served the sides family style in the middle of the table which seemed a little sloppy. There were no amuse bouches served nor specialty breads and butters like on Carnival. We also tried the Crab Shack one night which operates in a special corner of Café Caribe on certain nights. Overall this was better. While the salmon rillettes and clam chowder were fine, the crab and shrimp and royal mixed steamer were very good and an excellent value, the dessert tray was a real let down: just four cakes under plastic domes already partially cut up and not particularly appetizing looking, so we skipped it. The highlight of the specialty restaurants is Curtis Stone's Share at 16 aft. We really enjoyed the ambiance, excellent service by hostess ZaZa, and the food quality was certainly a significant notch higher than on the rest of the ship at $39 per person. This 6 course restaurant aspires to Michelin star territory, and with the exception of slightly under-salted pasta courses, was superb. We didn't use the buffet too often. One night it was just after 10PM and the last pizzas were going into the oven as we approached, so it was our only option. The area can get a little crowded and the selection is okay. Because there were so many Asian passengers on board, I was surprised to find that at least 30% of the dishes on the buffet were Asian. It's wouldn't be my first choice for dining on the ship. I'd rather have a more limited menu with table service than search for a table after the buffet. However, in contrast to Carnival, the buffet dining room tables are set with cloth napkins and silverware and the service staff were quick to come to us after sitting down to ask if we needed anything else like drinks. I regret that the Café Caribe was not open as often, because for food selections, the atmosphere was newer and the choices were healthier. Bar Service I enjoyed the coffee shop in the mornings for our iced espressos and chai lattes. It was only late in the cruise that I discovered the coffee shop also offered spiked frozen chocolate mint milkshakes. Those frozen Polar Bears were awesome! We had booked our cruise with a Sip and Sail promotion, so all of our beverages and drinks were included. With the exception of a few wines by the glass, room service drinks, and wines by the bottle, unlimited beverages are included with the package-- which I loved. I will also note that one major difference between Carnival and Princess with the drink packages is that on Princess, they may ask you to show your card to order a drink, but they never have you sign a slip with the option to tip on each drink. This was very nice, and it kept our overall tipping tab down. Overall bartending was excellent across the ship. My only nits were that the same drink wasn't always served the same from bar to bar. I had an excellent signature bloody mary from the bar next to the Trident Grill on the first night and it was never recreated exactly the same way again. I loved that there were roving servers in the dining rooms and on decks to ask us if we wanted anything, which was a far cry from the Carnival experience where it's rare to have someone on deck ask you for a drink order. We loved the Adagio bar in the back on 16, it was nearly always empty and very private. Our bartender Rosie was special, asking about us and serving us our favorite drinks every time we visited. Entertainment Until the quite fun balloon drop on the second to the last night and it's excellent accompanying Magic To Do stage show, entertainment on the ship was mediocre. It seemed to be focused on an older crowd. The magic show was tired and lame, the singer was good but the shows were basically just singing song after song. One night, there was a pub review sing along with a bunch of old songs our group in our forties and fifties didn't even recognize. The comedian was pretty funny. Otherwise, I found the tone of the entertainment to be several notches below Carnival. We enjoyed the few trivia challenges we entered, and we won two of the four we played. I wish Princess offered a keepsake collectible from winning a trivia challenge like Carnival's ship on a stick. We got some dollar store bargain DVDs for one prize and princess wine stoppers for another. The de rigueur British-accented Cruise Director was fine. Ship Design Most of the ship's dining rooms and bars were nice, but indistinguishable from one another. The interiors were very suburban McMansion styled from the '90s, with a strange mishmash of Sixties clocks and Italian styles. It's not modern with the exception of the Café Caribe and Share restaurant. It's nice to have so many hot tubs and pools on the ship which were unfortunately not really used for the Alaska cruise. There were usually a few people in the hot tubs while on ship. Enrichment I loved the naturalist on board for the Glacier Bay viewing. We also had another naturalist who offered lectures and tips about what to do in port throughout the cruise. These were very good. I wasn't much interested in dancing lessons, but there were many of these. I didn't go to champagne art auctions, of which there were many. I also didn't go to the many "parties" they threw in the shops to sell jewelry. Sanctuary and Gym We booked the Sanctuary first thing for Glacier Bay viewing at $60 per person. From 6:30AM until about 4PM, this included excellent service with unlimited bloody maries and mimosas, our own padded lounger with blankets, a thermal mug, ear warmers, special food service at a private buffet for breakfast, lunch and tea service, and a keepsake picture. In order to see the glaciers without the blue glass of the Sanctuary, I had to move to another part of the ship which was close, but overall, this experience was fantastic. It was cold! I jumped down and stood fully-clothed the sauna for about five minutes when I needed to take the chill off. The gym below the Sanctuary was fine with jogging machines and elliptical trainers. We went to a spin class for a fee one morning, and really broke a sweat! Itinerary and Excursions I don't think I'll go on an Alaska cruise again any time soon, but if I did, I'd be happy to do it again with Princess. This seems like a once in a lifetime experience, and overall Princess didn't disappoint. I wish we had more time in Ketchikan (8AM-noon) and Victoria (6PM to Midnight), but otherwise we had plenty of time in Juneau and Skagway. We booked a dog sled on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau which was cancelled because of the weather. Instead, my group of 4 booked a float plane to view 5 glaciers. This was considerably less expensive ($215 per person vs. the $600 per person for the dog sled through Princess.) I loved the gorgeous views, but if you're prone to motion sickness, beware of float planes! I white knuckled this for a part of the ride. One nit with the cancellation of the dog sled excursion was that Princess showed that I had a $1300 credit on my bill after we had cancelled the prepaid trip, but still charged my credit card (which dropped off the card), and then they told me that I would have to wait 10-15 days after the cruise to get the refund by mailed check from corporate. That's bogus. They could easily refund the card I used to pay for the excursion. We also booked the luxury car train for the White Pass Scenic Railway. This was SUPERB! If you can afford it, I highly recommend this upgraded experience with unlimited snacks, beers, wines, and champagne for the 2.5 hour train ride. Only 14 people in the car for the experience are allowed. The views are breathtaking! Our final planned excursion was the 4 hour boat ride in Ketchikan to Misty Fjords. This was a long excursion that precluded us from any other activity in Ketchikan. The bulk of the ride in either direction was taken up with talks from the naturalist and native American speaker. However, the cruise through Rudyerd Bay was worth the trip! So beautiful! It was like no place I've ever seen. So green with ribbon waterfalls, seals, bald eagles, and puffins, we were fortunate enough this rainy day to have this part of the ride without precipitation. I loved it. Final Thoughts I went on this cruise with my husband and we've been together for 34 years. We were hoping to experience a vow renewal. It had shown on our itinerary under the payments and schedules section that we had this included, however, there was some sort of miscommunication between me, my travel agent, and Princess, because we were told no service package was included for our cruise without us paying a minimal addition of $229 for a vow package. I had called Princess in advance of the cruise to confirm that our package was included and spoke with someone who said it was. No one at the customer service desk including the manager would consent, and we weren't prepared to pay more for this, despite the fact that we both wrote new vows. We tried multiple times with confirmations, but were ultimately left disappointed in this omission. It didn't ruin our cruise, but we felt sad that we couldn't have our renewal ceremony. This leads me to another point about LGBT meetings on the cruise. Every night at 6:30PM there was an LGBT gathering in the Adagio bar. We'd go with our traveling couple companions nightly, and we were almost the only people in the place. Twice there was just one other couple who weren't particularly friendly. This was inconsistent with our experience on Carnival. Once again, this didn't disappoint or ruin the cruise, but we were surprised that nobody else on this full ship of 3100 passengers would come to a gathering. Princess is an upgraded experience over Carnival, with superior service and a very laid back, mature vibe. It's calm, serene, and a good value overall. The atmosphere is like an upscale suburban traditional wedding reception. It's not a fun ship party atmosphere. It's genteel, refined, and quietly luxurious. Read Less
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