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109 Princess Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date May 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 April 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
Sail Date March 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 January 2018
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
Sail Date December 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
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
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date October 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
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date June 2017
This is our second time on the regal. This time we took the kids and we knew the regal would meet at least 90% of our expectations for their first experience. For anyone that wants a good cruise it won't disappoint. It's not the ... Read More
This is our second time on the regal. This time we took the kids and we knew the regal would meet at least 90% of our expectations for their first experience. For anyone that wants a good cruise it won't disappoint. It's not the most luxurious cruise money can buy but certainly way above most. In speaking with those who have many cruises under their belt they come back for the same reasons. It's not a party ship and is not geared to young families as with Disney. It's a cruise experience with something for everyone who want a relaxing cruise with above average food and most of what you expect is included. My only complaint this time was the entertainment, as it wasn't as good as the first time. Our youngest although an adult gets motion sickness and therefore for anyone who is susceptible to motion sickness, needs to be on a big ship as with the regal. I've been on a smaller ship and unless you are lucky enough to have calm seas throughout that's not where you want to be. We had two days this time with moderate seas and the regal and its size eliminates the effects of 10-15 ft swells pretty well.E Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We had cruised the Caribbean 5 times (including Cozumel) and preciously visited Puerto Vallarta (1982) and Cancun twice to all inclusives with the grown up kids. But this was a different way to see Mexico that appealed to us, it being ... Read More
We had cruised the Caribbean 5 times (including Cozumel) and preciously visited Puerto Vallarta (1982) and Cancun twice to all inclusives with the grown up kids. But this was a different way to see Mexico that appealed to us, it being Valentine's Day and everything (my 60th birthday on the 13th). We found our aft cabin, B256 cramped and noisy. Our steward was fine, he needed some time off. I love the food but my wife just gets by with it. Sometimes she liked it but she liked less of it than I do. We had one of the best excursions ever in Puerto Vallarta with Valarta Adventures through Princess. We got WAY more than we paid for with snorkeling, kayaking, a hike, a waterfall, a beach, a close whale encounter, great food, drinks, and entertainment. Highly recommended. The entertainment was OK. The first comedian was really funny and the "Magic To Do" production number tried very hard. The fitness equipment was good but the jogging track was the worst ever. The weather was great, though it seemed it would be too cool (the last day really was) and the experience on the whole was lovely. I prefer going to the Caribbean (and it is easier from here) but this was a nice time too. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities ... Read More
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities need to allow for multiple entry points to the ships instead of funnelling thousands of passengers into one entry point. Enough said. Once on board, the Princess crew were all over the place providing assistance to locate our cabins. Food was already being served and it never stopped for the eleven days we were on board. The decor on the Emerald Princess is tasteful and subdued with a mix of many shades of blues and browns but lacking a little pizzazz. Nonetheless all areas and venues are clean and comfortable. Our mini-suite (D526) was immaculately clean and our cabin steward couldn't have been more helpful and responsive to our requests. As cabins go our mini-suite was very spacious and comfortable. When selecting the cabin, we didn't realise the balcony was open/visible to the decks above but worse, there was no relief from the sun. We did change the pillows for smaller ones as the standard ones were so big and luxurious we were almost smothered as our heads descended into pillow overload. The air-con all over the ship was on the cold side for my liking so make sure you take some longer sleeved items and a cardi/jacket. Of course you can buy on board! We didn't bother with the specialty dining venues (at additional cost) as the food in the main dining rooms was perfectly fine. A few misses but in the main, the options were many and varied and well cooked and presented. Still amazed at the precision and quality considering the number of passengers. We chose "anytime dining" and shared tables at lunch and dinner and we met many delightful people, some of whom we will keep in touch with. Great staff in the dining rooms too. We are not fans of buffets but when in port, it's the main eating venue on board. Food was fine. A tip for coffee lovers... there is often a long queue to order lattes etc. in the International Cafe (deck 5) despite having to purchase them. Just sit down at a table and flag a waiter who will order for you and deliver it to your table (even if you want takeaway). There is a variety of entertainment from musical stage productions, to comedy, mood music, ballroom dance lessons, line dancing, Zumba, a full gym, in cabin TV/movies, a giant screen for movies under the stars, a kids club, games on deck, art auctions, shopping sales, spa services, competitions, giveaways and if that's not enough you can attend churches services too! Excursions are not always good value for money but if you do your own thing you really need to do a lot of research beforehand and be aware if you don't get back to the ship on time, it doesn't wait for you! Some South Pacific Islands are really beautiful like Isle of PInes (not visited this trip) and Champagne Bay but Noumea is very tired looking and the locals not particularly friendly. Port Vila is run down and dirty but the people are all very friendly and chatty. Of course there is no need to go ashore as the entertainment just keeps going on board. We met many people who have cruised on Princess ships many times and some debatable incentives are offered for loyalty. There are still other cruise lines I wouldn't mind trying but I have no hesitation in recommending the Emerald Princess and may well cruise on her again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
12 night extended family cruise with 6 of us in 3 staterooms on Caribe Deck. The Diamond Princess is a lovely ship and seemed very well maintained. As always the staff are magnificent providing excellent service. A younger cruise for ... Read More
12 night extended family cruise with 6 of us in 3 staterooms on Caribe Deck. The Diamond Princess is a lovely ship and seemed very well maintained. As always the staff are magnificent providing excellent service. A younger cruise for Princess with an average age probably around 45 comprised of about 50% Australian, 25% Russian and the rest of the world making up the other 25%. Highlights for us was the evening meals - usually in the Savoy Restaurant with anytime dining. The anytime dining restaurants seemed to peak around 8pm so we chose to eat earlier at 6:30pm and got very nice window tables and got to know our regular waiters Albert and Atesh. We usually had four course meals (you can have as many courses as you want) which were mostly excellent and beautifully presented. We had drinks packages so had wine by the glass and a cognac to finish. We splashed out sometimes on things like Veuve Champagne (at 40% off made it priced pretty reasonably). Horizon Court is what it is - a buffet - but the choices were reasonable. Celebrity do it much better in my opinion. Our only gripe was that after 11pm there was nothing to eat anywhere other than room service. Even just a pizza station would have been good. We enjoyed all the activities with the Entertainment staff who worked very hard and were good fun. The production shows, in particular Bravo, were excellent. We really didn't go to the non production shows and just hungout in Explorers in the evenings. For speciality dining we had one night in the Sterling Steakhouse which could have been a bit more atmospheric - the waiters we had were a hoot and the steaks not bad either. Sabatinis was not so good - nice atmosphere but did not live up to expectations. Food was ok but the staff did not make you feel like you were having a special night. Lots of time for relaxation in the Japanese the spa - which seemed quite underutilised. For $15 it was good value including the outside spa and deck chairs. We weren't fussed about the destinations really - just happy cruising around the equator - highlights were Penang and Langkawi. We had drinks packages which we utilised well making the most of after dinner single malt whiskys and cognacs. It was great to have Churchills as a nice place for cigar smokers. Not the fault of Princess but the behaviour of some of the passengers left a lot to be desired. I've never seen so many brawls (why fight over a deckchair!). Security did handle situations well but it should not be tolerated. Embarkation and disembarkation were exceptionally smooth. One of our family members noted that the first GLBT get together was supposed to be hosted but was not. Some kind of identifier for the first meeting would have been really good. So many reviewers seem to moan but the Diamond is a good quality 4 star plus ship! We like Princess so would go again - but also like Celebrity as well. Celebrity is just that bit posher and cultured. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We booked this cruise because of it's itinerar, and having never sailed on the Regal. As we usually sail the smaller Princess ships out of the West Coast. Embarkation was efficient, and our 11:00 am. Priority Boarding allowed us to ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of it's itinerar, and having never sailed on the Regal. As we usually sail the smaller Princess ships out of the West Coast. Embarkation was efficient, and our 11:00 am. Priority Boarding allowed us to be on the Regal in time for lunch at Alfredo's Pizzeria. Luggage was deliver to our stateroom by 3:00 pm. Our stateroom attendant. Alex, was very efficient and made sure our special requests were met. Although the Regal carries almost 4000 passengers, it never seemed crowded, as there were many different venues and activities throughout the ship. The MDR staff were generally efficient, although one evening our MDR waiter, Piano, seemed overwhelmed, because both he and his assistant waiter, Darko, were new sailing on the Regal, and not too familiar with the layout of the dining room to pick up the food from the kitchen. We had, as requested, 5:30 pm Traditional dining, table for two, and the early searing allowed plenty of time for us to attend either early or late evening performances in the Princess Theater (at the other end of the ship). Service, variety and quality of food in MDR was generally excellent for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Alfredo's Pizzaria was a good option for enjoying a pizza, salads, or light pasta dishes, throughout the day. There was a good variety of sandwiches, soups, deserts, coffees, teas, at the International Cafe offered 24 hours per day. The Horizon Court Buffet, had quite a bit of variety of American, European, and ethnic foods throughout the day. We noted that many foods offered in regular and "salt free". Certain foods could be cooked to order. The Horizon Court Bistro offered lighter fare. Many cookies and deserts offered "sugar free". Good for passengers with high blood pressure, heart problems, or diabetes. Many cookies and deserts offered "nut free" for those with nut allergies, and separated on opposite sides of the buffet. The HC never seemed crowded, with plenty of seating, and the service staff were friendly, continually offering juice, coffee, and tea and cleared the tables quickly. We did not try the speciality restaurants, or the Trident Grill for burgers, hot dogs, or fries. The evening entertainment in the Princess Theater was excellent, with big production "Las Vegas" style performances of Bravo, Fireo, Rock and Roll. Other evenings, a stand up comedian, and modern music singer, pianist, guitar performer. The Princess Theater fills up quickly, so allow at least 30 minutes before showtime to get good seats. Ushers were there to discourage "seat hogs", and available to find you seats. Bar service staff were available to take your drink orders. However, there are no folding tables attached to the seats, like other Princess Theaters on the mid size ships (Star, Crown, Golden,) that we've sailed on, to allow setting down your drink. This seemed to be an oversight to the modern design of Regal's Princess Theater. Enrichment programs on this cruise included talks on pirates, and on bushcraft and survival skills. I found both programs to be enjoyable and interesting. We attended only a few trivia game shows, of which there were many. Zumba was offered on sea days. Venue was outside on the Sports Deck. Fitness Center was well used by passengers, days, and evenings. Fitness trainers were helpful and knowledgeable. We did not use the spa or spa services. The public seating areas were plentiful, and we never had a problem finding a quiet place to sit and read a book, or have a conversation. As I have stated, the ship and public areas never seemed crowded. Debarkation was efficient and quick. We chose to debark as "Walk Off" passengers with our luggage. We were off the ship and through customs, in 10 minutes. In summary, we thoroughly enjoyed sailing on the Regal Princess, and we've already booked cruises sailing on her and sister ship, Royal for 2017 and 2018. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Hawaii's islands were on my bucket list for my retirement. I could check it out from the list. This cruise characterized in a large population of disabled people and seniors. For the cruise excursions, it took a long time to ... Read More
Hawaii's islands were on my bucket list for my retirement. I could check it out from the list. This cruise characterized in a large population of disabled people and seniors. For the cruise excursions, it took a long time to get off or get into the bus at each location. The same was with tender. We had an interior cabin and although it was quite small, it was a great place to sleep without the sleeping pills; the cabin was very quite. However, after 15 days on the ship, my husband and I are taking a break from the long destination's cruising that have 9 days at sea, when the weather is not perfect. Very smooth embarkation; however, the police at the San Pedro, Los Angeles' port was very aggressive and, when my daughter helped as with the loading of our baggage, she get a $93 ticket for leaving the driver seat. That fact a little sour our experience with embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Overall, the ship was amazing. The dining was a WOW!! Although the entertainment was average, with only 4 or 5 musicals, the ship still kept our family of 4 busy throughout the whole day. The sporting and fitness facilities on the ship ... Read More
Overall, the ship was amazing. The dining was a WOW!! Although the entertainment was average, with only 4 or 5 musicals, the ship still kept our family of 4 busy throughout the whole day. The sporting and fitness facilities on the ship were outstanding, the ship provided us with a number of sports, such as table tennis(ping pong), basketball, soccer, cricket, paddle tennis, mini golf a jogging track and a well equipped high-tech gym. Every night, when the room steward refreshed our room he left us with delicious chocolates and the next day's edition of the Princess Patter( the newsletter with showed all the activities happening in the next day). One very important thing I would recommend you to purchase, especially if you are travelling with kids, is to buy the soda and drink package. And also purchase once you get on the ship, not before, because the price onboard is cheaper than purchasing it from the website. With 60 Australian dollars we could get all the drinks we wanted for free. And one thing that you should know is that Princess is not very strict with the package. For example, I could but a drink and then give the card to my sister and she could get a drink for herself. Our interior cabin was very nice. The service on the ship was amazing. The dining was also great. The pizza in this ship was amazing. For breakfast there was a huge variety of food, from pancakes, to waffles, to omelettes, to hash browns, to scrambled eggs, to croissants, to yoghurt, to chocolate croissants, to fruit etc. The dinner was amazing too, and the dessert was absolutely wonderful. The cruise was actually very great for children too, the kids clubs were awesome, and the youth counsellors very very friendly. The service on this ship was also very great. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
The Caribbean Princess is not the prettiest girl at the dance anymore. She is looking tired and worn and is need of a face lift. Staterooms very dated and the bathrooms seemed small compared to other Princess ships. The crew was great, ... Read More
The Caribbean Princess is not the prettiest girl at the dance anymore. She is looking tired and worn and is need of a face lift. Staterooms very dated and the bathrooms seemed small compared to other Princess ships. The crew was great, friendly, and helpful. The food was inconsistent - one night great, the next awful. The chef must have taken Thursday night off...the food that night was not good at all. The buffet had little variation from day to day. My only complaint with the staff...enforce the no smoking rules throughout the ship. Too much smoking happening in the cabins and on balconies. The comedian gave a great show. The southern Caribbean is not the most exciting place to cruise. Not much happening in the ABC islands. Maybe we have been on too many cruises to appreciate the uniqueness of those three islands. Four days at sea may be a bit much for some newbie cruisers, but we liked those four lazy days at sea. It was a pleasurable and relaxing 8 days. I would have given the cruise at least a 4 but could not due to the dilapidated rooms and other ship venues. This old ship is slated for her face lift in the spring of 2017 according to the crew on board. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
10-day Southern Caribbean Repositioning Cruise Brooklyn, New York to Ft. Lauderdale Visiting St. Maarten, Antigua and Bonaire The Regal Princess lives up to her name. She’s regal, beautiful and very, very big. Upon ... Read More
10-day Southern Caribbean Repositioning Cruise Brooklyn, New York to Ft. Lauderdale Visiting St. Maarten, Antigua and Bonaire The Regal Princess lives up to her name. She’s regal, beautiful and very, very big. Upon embarkation (which was very easy) you enter the ship through the Piazza, the main shopping and entertainment area. It soars three stories tall, gleaming with brass, inlaid marble and crystal. It’s a spectacular place to be introduced to the ship. And it's the hub of activity day and night. This was my 50th cruise. I’ve been sailing on cruise ships since I was 13 and I am now 54 years old. I hadn’t sailed on Princess for 15 years; sailing most recently with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Holland America. As a brand Princess positions itself as a mass-market, top-tier cruise experience. It lives up to it’s branding fairly well, however there are problems with the ship itself that were lower than my expectations. At almost 150,000 GRT the ship is large. Very large. She’s not as big as Allure of the Seas, but big enough that going back for a forgotten item can take upwards of 10-15 minutes to retrieve and return. It’s not a good choice for anyone with mobility issues or wants the feel of an intimate shipboard experience. Or for anyone who easily gets lost. Because she’s a big ship, she maneuvered through rough seas very well. We sailed out of Brooklyn into a storm and though there were15-18 foot waves and 50-60mph winds, there was little noticeable rocking/movement. The only time we felt motion was when we went to bed on the first night. The hangers in our closet kept banging together. For the remainder of the cruise we never once felt any rocking or movement. This was also true for Allure of the Seas, which is 75,000 GRT larger than the Regal. This is a good ship for anyone concerned with having sea sickeness. Regal Princess has one MAJOR FLAW. There are no mid-ship stairs. Because of this lines for the elevators, which there are 8 mid-ship, can be very long during high-traffic times like embarkation, shows and meal times. We booked a mid-ship stateroom and more often than not, had to wait 5 minutes or more for an elevator. Many elevators just glided by our floor without stopping. I had promised myself to use stairs as often as possible to help curb buffet weight-gain. To do this I had to walk all the way forward or aft to use the stairs. This was a logistical nuisance and added too much time to maneuver through the ship. (Note: Rumor has it that during it's 2017 dry docking they will be adding stairs mid-ship. Let's hope so.) We selected traditional seating for a late dinner. Our dining room was the somewhat lackluster (for a new ship) Allegro Dining Room. We had table 300, a nice round table with a booth and chairs. Our meals were wonderful. Always served hot, nicely prepared, with a good choice of options. Our servers were outstanding. The Allegro served the best food of any main dining room that I’ve ever had on any cruise. Unfortunately, there's a logistical problem with the placement of the Allegro Dining Room. You can’t access it from the deck that it is on. You must either take a very crowded stairwell down from the deck above or use one of four elevators that open up onto a mass of people stuck in line from the stairwell. Princesses’ architects really planned this entrance poorly. It was always hot and jam packed every evening 15 minutes before the restaurant opened. Not good for formal night. We dined in Sabatini’s one evening. The food and service was exceptional. The only drawback was we were seated next to a door leading into the kitchen. It must have also been by a trash bin because throughout most of the diner there was a foul stench waifing by our table. We had sushi one evening in the Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar. It was delicious and well prepared. Though it was al a carte the price was very reasonable and well worth it. We also dined at Alfredo’s several times for lunch (free). The pizzas, soups and pastas were outstanding. Worth the 20-30 minutes it took to individually prepare each individual entree. The coffee house had free pastries and sandwiches that were bountiful and good. The Horizon Terrace and Bistro was adequate. Compared to the buffets that we’ve had on Celebrity, the food was just ok. Selections were abundant, however the taste on many of the dishes was bland and boring. The logistics through the serving stations and the small aisles on both sides of the dining rooms made maneuvering though the area claustrophobic during peak times. One of the quirks with the buffet is that you don’t collect your flatware when you go through the buffet. The flatware is set on available tables. Unfortunately during peak times there’s not enough staff working the dining area. Many times there’s no flatware at empty tables and you have to steal flatware or wait for a server to come by and have them retrieve it for you. My favorite bar was the Wheelhouse Bar. It is elegant and the bartenders were friendly and made great cocktails. We purchased the beverage package and didn’t get our full value out of it, even though we did drink a good amount and had specialty coffees, water and sodas every day. Unless you plan on drinking from dawn to dawn, it would be hard to get your money out of the package…tho we did try to. My partner and I went to the LGBT mixer every night. The first evening was hosted by a ship’s staff member. The other evenings the group was left on our own, which was fine. There was about 25 participants and it was a nice way to meet other LGBT people on the ship. The mixer is proudly advertised in the daily paper/schedule and on The Princess at Sea App. for your smart phone (which was great to use throughout the cruise to find things that were going on). For our cruise the mixer was held at 7pm in the Wheelhouse Bar and then moved to Club 6. One of the disappointing things about the Regal Princess is there’s no forward facing bar/lounge overlooking the bow of the ship. I really missed sipping a cocktail while enjoying the view over the sea from 15 stories up. It’s just a shame. There’s very few few good sea views from any of the interior public spaces except from the lounges on the Piazza. This tends to make some of the spaces seem claustrophobic. A HUGE disappointment was The Sanctuary. It’a a joke. We boarded the ship right when boarding commenced. There were no more than 200 people ahead of us. We immediately went up to The Sanctuary to reserve chairs (I had read that chairs sell out quickly). We waited in a line of 12 people for 45 minutes only to be told that there were no more chairs available. Worse was it was cold and raining and there was o overhead shelter while we waited. The way they book chairs for The Sanctuary is archaic and frustrating for both customer and staff. NOT a good way to start a leisure cruise. If Princess can’t automate chair selection then they should just bundle this area into Suite packages and not offer it to the masses. Entertainment on Princess is mediocre. We had taken a Celebrity cruise a few months earlier and their entertainment was fresh, contemporary and extravagant. The Princess shows in all of the lounges was sophomoric. The singers and dancers were adequate however the production shows were left overs from the 1990’s. Obtaining seats to the main show room was a nightmare. If you were not there 15 minutes before a production there were no seats left. Lastly, I had to work during part of the cruise. I'm an illustrator and brought my laptop and a monitor toward in my room. The wifi, which I bought a 500 minute package for pre-sailing, was a joke. The internet is extremely slow on the ship. Painfuly slow. It would take upwards of 15 minutes to establish a connection to gmail or Yahoo. Forget trying to download or upload anything... or stream video. This is another reason I like Celebrity and Royal Caribbean better than Princess. Their internet is land-speed and can accommodate uploads of files. It's 2016. People want to be connected, even at sea. In the future I’d probably book Celebrity or maybe Holland America over a Princess Cruise. The cruise was nice however it just didn’t have that special quality and touch that Celebrity’s products consistently delivers. If I do sail again with Princess I’d like to try a smaller ship. I have no issue with big ships, in fact I like them. However Regal Princess should have hired better architects to design the flow of the ship. On the flip-side they did hire fabulous interior designers. The ship is beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was a Pacific coastal cruise--somewhere I wanted to see. It was vintage Princess, but the Coral Princess is very nice no matter what you may read in these reviews on Cruise Critic. Yes, there are a couple of chips, etc here and ... Read More
This was a Pacific coastal cruise--somewhere I wanted to see. It was vintage Princess, but the Coral Princess is very nice no matter what you may read in these reviews on Cruise Critic. Yes, there are a couple of chips, etc here and there, but it's very nice, very clean. The size is good. I hardly every had to wait in line for elevators or food at the buffet. My husband's leg started giving him trouble while walking when we were gone and Princess staff couldn't have been nicer even going so far as to bring up a wheelchair at Santa Barbara tender port out of nowhere and loaning us a cane from the desk until the medical area opened. The food was so-so, and I thought more varied in the buffet than in the dining room. Why can't there be some regular food like ordinary cake or pie or fried chicken or a casserole? The shows were much, much better than before that I've seen on Princess. They were modern with modern music and enthusiastic singers and dancers and a very funny comedian. The northwest area of the continent is beautiful. We stayed at the Pan Pacific in Vancouver. It's the way to go if you can swing it. The hotel takes your bags to the ship, and you just go downstairs to board. Nanaimo has a beautiful harbor and a great Dollarama store close by. There's also a grocery store and drug store. Just hop on the free shuttle and get off at the harbor. The mall is across the street. Volunteers couldn't wait to showcase their town. Astoria, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco were all pretty and have their own things that you would want to see. Alcatraz, the wharf, vineyards, scenic views--all beautiful. If you use Gray Line in San Francisco, make sure you know exactly where you are going and the address. We and several other passengers had trouble finding it even with a taxi. It's a very small place on a corner. Book your tour of Alcatraz from home. You'll be sorry if you don't. Also Alcatraz is a long winding, slanted (13 story) walk uphill. It's doable, but, again, know your abilities. In Santa Barbara, it is a 3-4 block walk to any shopping or eating after you get off the tender. Most of the walks from the ship to the ports themselves are long. I say this not for those who are used to walking, but for those who may have physical limitations. Santa Barbara is a tender port where wheelchairs are not permitted unless they fold and the person can walk on to the tender. There aren't many activities on the ship. That was a bit of a disappointment since I like to stay busy and not just read and relax although some of that is nice too. Maybe historical classes, free smaller tours of the kitchen. The one tour was much too large to hear what was said. Tours of back stage? Information on the towns we are visiting? Of course, no one wants to get off, but it has to be done. It's my most unfavorite part of the cruise. Get your bags out before bedtime then sit and wait for awhile the next morning. But it was a smooth disembarkation. We had an extremely long wait to get on Super Shuttle at the port. The shuttle was there, but the driver would not leave until the van was totally full. I'm ok with that except in this case we sat there full except for two people for 45 minutes. No one was happy. He ignored us wanting to go ahead and leave. The shuttle people there were on our side, but he refused to leave. There aren't many of these cruises during September and I know sometimes it's rainy. We had beautiful weather the whole way. We were very lucky. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We selected this cruise because our good friends (frequent Princess cruisers) invited us to join them. It was my first Princess cruise since 2005, and my husband's first cruise ever. We live in the SF Bay Area, so the 10 day ... Read More
We selected this cruise because our good friends (frequent Princess cruisers) invited us to join them. It was my first Princess cruise since 2005, and my husband's first cruise ever. We live in the SF Bay Area, so the 10 day round-trip to Alaska from San Francisco was super-convenient for us. I know the Grand is not a brand-new ship, but she is aging gracefully, and has plenty of amenities. I never felt that I was cruising on a tired or worn-out ship. While the Grand is large, she still looks and feels like a ship,which is more than I can say for some of the newer ships (for example RCL's Harmony of the Seas). That ship just looks like a shopping mall from the pictures I've seen. Our cabin (A507, large inside) was spacious and had excellent storage. I do wish they would find a way to keep the king-size bed (two twins pushed together) from separating during the night, but that's a very minor quibble and happens on every ship I've ever sailed. I like the fact that your cruise fare still includes most everything you need for a lovely vacation. I purchased a soda and more package, since I don't drink, and that was a good move. It would be even better if bottled water was included, but I didn't mind buying a bottle or two of water a day. In general, I get tired of all the "upselling" that the cruise lines do, and have no interest in onboard (or portside) shopping or art auctions, so I just tune that stuff out. I would have liked more games shows and trivia contests as far as entertainment goes. And I love to play board games, so some organized game nights would be fun, too. Food and service were generally excellent in the Da Vinci Dining Room (where we had Anytime dining), though some nights service was better than others. Since we ended up dining around the same time every day, next time I think I will go back to Traditional Dining, so I can get to know my waitstaff and table mates. We also enjoyed the Crown Grill, Sabatinis, and Alfredo's alternative dining. The Horizon Court and Trident Grill were also quite respectable. Being a cigar and pipe enthusiast, I was grateful for the retreat provided by Snooker's Bar on Deck 6. The staff (particularly waiter Emil) took excellent care of me and I felt like it was my very own little corner of the ship. I love that the room is available even when the bar is closed, so that I could enjoy my pipe or cigar any time. I urge you to continue including this feature on your ships, as it makes a huge difference in my enjoyment when I can have a great cigar after dinner, or get away from the crowds for a pipe in the afternoon. Back when open-deck pipe/cigar smoking was permitted, it was basically impossible because of the wind and elements. Having a comfortable indoor spot where pipes and cigars are allowed is a major consideration for me when I book a cruise. Alaska, was of course beautiful. We found Glacier Bay to be the highlight of our trip (just like the first time I cruised on the Dawn to Alaska in 2000). We also found Victoria to be a surprisingly lovely port. I wish we had been given a little more time there. I would highly recommend both the itinerary and the Grand Princess to anyone who wants to cruise to Alaska from California. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Princess Cruises has built the most dysfunctional and perhaps the poorest-designed ship I have ever sailed on- a complete disappointment. I was lost the entire two weeks we cruised the Med. First of all, there is very limited outdoor ... Read More
Princess Cruises has built the most dysfunctional and perhaps the poorest-designed ship I have ever sailed on- a complete disappointment. I was lost the entire two weeks we cruised the Med. First of all, there is very limited outdoor space- and what space there is always had blaring music or movies 24/7. Most of the views from these decks also have glass partitions so there is no way to clearly see the shore or any vista. The best deck for sun, quiet space and views is the smokers' deck on 17- which, by the way, is located next to the children's play area. There's no circulation around the decks-- remember when ships had promenade decks?; a lack of stairways, or stairs that lead nowhere, and most importantly no center stairway. Most of my travel time was waiting for an elevator. The spa is on deck 5- tucked into the bowels of the ship, while the gym is on 17--- none of it makes sense. This ship feels like something built by a committee of men who've never cruised before. Adding to the design flaws was Princess' indifference to returning guests. I sailed with a Ruby member and there was no recognition- reception or otherwise- to acknowledge the line's loyal customers. Top that off with a surly hotel staff (my partner's key was de-magnetized 7 times) who wanted to lecture a guest before offering assistance, and you've really created "Faulty Towers" at sea. Our itin. was changed two weeks from the sailing date- no Turkish ports this year- but the replacements were mixed. Loved Kotur and was happy to return 2x, but the late addition of Messina, Sicily was a disaster: dirty, dangerous and nothing that compared to Greece or Montenegro. We arrived at 1 pm- just when Southern Italy takes a siesta- and had nothing to do until everything re-opened at 4 pm. We wandered the hard-scrabble streets of this port city scratching our heads and asking "why"? I guess we could have taken the $200 cab ride to Taurima. Whatever. I thought Princess was learning something in the refurb of Diamond, which was our best cruise ever for 10 days in Japan in 2014, but the Royal is a complete disaster and a menace to the reputation of the brand. Princess- I think I'm taking some time away from you in 2017. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We typically travel suite class. Because it has been going where we want to go, when we want to go, we've been traveling Princess. The Sapphire Princess is a large ship! The disadvantage is that it often is berthed in a cargo area of ... Read More
We typically travel suite class. Because it has been going where we want to go, when we want to go, we've been traveling Princess. The Sapphire Princess is a large ship! The disadvantage is that it often is berthed in a cargo area of the port Vs. "in/nearer town". Despite the number of passengers, there is enough space on the ship so you don't think it is crowded. The dining rooms serves good food. The alternative dining rooms, additional fee, are fine too. There are formal nights; however, the dress code is slipping (on all the cruise lines). The code is not enforced. Some passengers make a mockery of the code. The ships tours are good. Eliminates the need to arrange for private tours at the various ports (although we have arranged to be met by private tour guides). No matter what category you are traveling on the ship, check-in leaves a lot to be desired. Typically, check-in is the worst part of the cruise. They haven't mastered it yet. Some cabins do not have a separate shower from the tub; ugh! Bottom line: You'll enjoy your Princess Cruise! Late submission due to extensive overseas travel April-July Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Hi Folks, Well, I don't really know where to start, but let's start from the beginning! March 14th to April 1st - Santiago to Los Angeles... 17 days. We flew to Santiago 4 days before the cruise. The time in Santiago was ... Read More
Hi Folks, Well, I don't really know where to start, but let's start from the beginning! March 14th to April 1st - Santiago to Los Angeles... 17 days. We flew to Santiago 4 days before the cruise. The time in Santiago was good and we stayed at the Marriott. As normal tourists, being in a new city for the first time, we took the "Hop-on Hop-Off" bus tour, to get our bearings. Santiago was nice and we enjoyed our time there. The port of Valparaiso, is about a 1.5 - 2 hour drive from the city. We took an UBER Black SUV, as we had so much luggage. Initially, the driver could not find the cruise terminal, as he drove towards the visible ship. He stopped and asked a friendly guy where the drop-off point was. We were there in about 5 minutes. A porter met us and whisked our 9 pieces of luggage off to the ship. You have to take about a 2 km bus ride from check-in to the gangway. All went well. Check-in was a breeze and the terminal was virtually empty at around 1500h local. The building looks very dilapidated from the outside, but inside it is good. We went through the normal terminal security screening, and then, to our surprise, we subject to another security screening upon embarkation. No worries; it all went well and smoothly. The greeting on board was warm and friendly. As we had previously sailed on the Star Princess, we knew exactly where our cabin was. D205 was a mini-suite, and was in very good shape. Our room steward was very good... never travel without a balcony, especially when the cruise has a lot of sea days. I caught up on my reading. As for the ship itself, it is showing its age a bit, but was in overall good condition. We ate in the Main Dining Room for 15 out of the 17 days. The food and service were very good! We went to the Crown Grill and Sabatini's on two other nights, and I would not recommend either of them, as the service was slow, and the food was not what one would expect for a $25 cover fee, per person, over the menu offered in the MDR's. The bar staff was excellent! We did purchase the All-Inclusive-Beverage-Package, and there was no more signing of tabs; that is a very welcome addition to Princess. I am not sure if this has been expanded to all ships yet. As another aside, we had 2 nights in Lima, so we decided to stay at the Hilton Miraflores, instead of on board. We had a good time there, but the traffic in Lima is the worst I have seen in my travels; including Bangkok! I partook of the Spanish-at-Sea classes with Alan, an Assistant Cruise Director. I learned more than I thought I would, and used, with some success, my newly acquired linguistic skills, in other Spanish ports. We took two excursions, booked through the ship. The first was in Pisco... I didn't do my research, but we literally arrived in a desert. It was beautiful, and the tour was excellent! The second excursion was to the top of Mombacho volcano. It was billed as a 4WD tour, and that was correct. It was about 1.5 hours each way on a bus, to get to the base and back. Then we were herded into two large vehicles that each held about 24 passengers. The climb was steep (and a bit scary at times). The actual tour of Mombacho, was actually a very gruelling 1.5 km hike. If you don't like steps, down and up, this is not a tour for you, but there was a 75-year-old man in our group who did it unflinchingly! Princess should have posted a better description of this particular tour. Just to go back a bit, after we dropped some passengers off in Pisco, for their land tour of Machu Picchu, we heard 2 days later, in Lima, that there was an aircraft accident. Princess took very good care of the affected passengers, and forwarded them to Manta, Ecuador, for an unscheduled pick-up. All went well, except for a few who did not book with Princess. We settled in and enjoyed the entertainment on board. Princess has come a long way in this area. Kudos to the Cruise Director. We did not get off the ship in Cabo San Lucas, due to the short port time, and a tender operation. The next day, there was a USCG helicopter evacuation, for a sick crew member, on our way to Los Angeles. It went off without a hitch, and the crew seemed very well-trained. Lots of people were trying to get pictures of the operation, but, unfortunately, all passengers were confined inside during the helo-op. I really have to say that Princess really surpassed my expectations, and I would not hesitate to cruise with them many more times. I hope this VERY LONG review helps! Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Having read a number of online reviews prior to the cruise, I soon realised that this ship is NOT the best Princess has to offer. The food quality onboard was poor, which led to disappointing meals - with the exception of the ... Read More
Having read a number of online reviews prior to the cruise, I soon realised that this ship is NOT the best Princess has to offer. The food quality onboard was poor, which led to disappointing meals - with the exception of the supplementary restaurant Sabatini’s. The selection on many days in the Horizon Court left a lot to be desired, the quality of food seemed much lower than normal in both the Horizon Court and main dining rooms onboard, and we never experienced one hot dinner. On numerous occasions we spotted insects and flies around the ship, mainly in the public restrooms and on one occasion in the Horizon Court Buffet. The crew’s attitude, with a few exceptions, were the most miserable and unhelpful we’ve ever experienced. Most of the crew onboard were extremely rude and overall seemed highly demotivated. The entertainment was quite frankly atrocious. The singers and dancers performed ONE show in seven nights and even then, half the dancers looked as though they didn't have a clue what they were doing. As an avid theatregoer, I found this extremely disappointing considering I have seen countless outstanding Broadway quality shows on other cruise lines. The itinerary was the only thing that saved the cruise for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
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