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11 Princess Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

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 is a new ship so everywhere you went it was clean and new. The styling was pleasant. The buffet court is above average and the food quality is good. We tried two specialty restaurants and they were worth the money. The pizza place was ... Read More
This is a new ship so everywhere you went it was clean and new. The styling was pleasant. The buffet court is above average and the food quality is good. We tried two specialty restaurants and they were worth the money. The pizza place was average. The thin crust pizza up by the pool was decent, as was the burger bar. The ship lists and vibrates. I learned it had old fashioned stabilizing/power systems. I had sea legs for days afterwards and the room vibrated which made sleeping a little difficult. The ship's layout is frustrating. Some stairways dead end on you and it was tricky finding things. Sometimes you have to walk through the casino and go up or down and then you find your location. I was not impressed with the clunky layout at all. Service was average. Staff was mostly friendly but often indifferent. The restaurants were a disappointment. There are three, and you might get to one and it would be full and you'd be sent elsewhere. One night we waited 1.5 hours for our food (after getting appetizers), and we poured our own wine as the wait staff were juggling many tables. Dinners could take hours on end, and the food at the dining rooms was average in my opinion. They pour VERY weak drinks. Be warned. Your alcohol bill will be high if you are a drinker. The tender boat situation was also slow. Honestly, I've had better cruises. This ship is so-so.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our seventh cruise. We had previously been on several Carnival ships, a couple Royal Caribbean ships and one MSC ship. This was our first Princess ship and like the MSC ship, it was an RSVP Vacations charter. RSVP Vacations really ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise. We had previously been on several Carnival ships, a couple Royal Caribbean ships and one MSC ship. This was our first Princess ship and like the MSC ship, it was an RSVP Vacations charter. RSVP Vacations really do a spectacular job of entertaining their passengers and so it makes it a little difficult to sort out who gets accolades for the positive and blame for the negative but I do want to try and sort it out here. First of all, the positive: Last year was our first RSVP Vacations cruise and they had chartered an Italian line, MSC and that crew was a bit aloof, inattentive and unfriendly. The Regal Princess crew was just the opposite- they were warm, attentive and friendly and seemed to enjoy having us as passengers. They genuinely seemed to be having almost as much fun as we were. We appreciate that. I would give the crew a 10 out of 10. They were great. The ship was fairly new and beautiful as most of the ships we have been on. It was a bit smaller than some of the other ships Milton and I have sailed on. My preference is for larger ships- favorite being RC "Allure of the Seas." There is just more to do and see on those out at sea days on a larger cruise ship. With RSVP Vacations handling most of the entertainment on our cruise, things to do were certainly not a problem, but seeing a couple of the Regal Princess shows in their theater, I would put those on about the same level as Carnival or MSC- kind of a Las Vegas sort of vibe. Once we had gone on "Allure of the Seas" with their full production of "Chicago," their ice skating shows, their Cirque De Soleil type show, their promenade parade, rock climbing walls, etc, etc... it is hard to go back to just mediocre Vegas type review shows. There were a few negatives for me on Regal Princess. I thought they were a bit skimpy on the jetted pools. Out of the seven cruises we have been on, this ship had the least number of jetted pools and these were all very small. The cabins also left a bit to be desired. They were about the same size as MSC. I don't know the exact footage off hand but both RC and Carnival have two beds and a couch in their cabins. Their was no couch in the Regal Princess cabins. The balconies are very small in comparison as well. As a retired Registered Nurse that has taken microbiology, I am always aware of cleanliness on a cruise. Every cruise we have been on have been great in the public areas for the appearance of cleanliness but most get a fail when it comes to the buffet. Royal Caribbean probably did the best job of encouraging passengers to use hand sanitizer as the entered the buffet line. As you entered, a crew member would tactfully direct each passenger to the hand sanitizer. I think that is a good idea. Watching passengers enter the buffet line on the Regal Princess, I think only about one in ten passengers used the hand sanitizer. The other thing about the buffet cleanliness on Regal Princess was that it was not always clear to the passengers where the serving utensils should go after the passenger served themselves. On most of the other cruises we have been on, there are plates in front of each dish on which one can lay the serving utensil after use. On the Regal Princess, this was not always the case. People would be seen coughing or sneezing into their hands, serving themselves and contaminating the handles of the serving utensils and then, not having anywhere else to place the utensils, they would just lay them across the food. You get a few hundred people doing this and those buffet dishes become petri dishes for noro-virus and other contaminates. The dirtiest thing in restaurants are the menus because they are handled by everyone and rarely wiped down. The dirtiest thing in a cruise buffet line is the handles of the serving utensils. It grosses me out. I won't eat anything from a buffet line where the handle of a serving utensil has been in contact with the food. This was the first cruise we have been on that I have gotten sick. The night before I got sick, we had eaten in one of the dining rooms which should be relatively safe compared to the buffet lines. I ordered what they called a Caribbean Shrimp Cocktail. The shrimp itself seemed okay but the cocktail sauce seemed a little off to me. I also had a dish that was made of chicken breast with a thin slice of ham over it. The first bite was disgusting. I should have spit it out but I didn't. I swallowed it and thinking that it was just the ham that tasted so bad, I peeled the ham back and discarded it to the side of my plate but then foolishly ate the chicken. I am pretty sure there was something wrong with the ham and it had probably contaminated the chicken and I do believe that was very likely what made me sick. One other option, though was the made to order omelet I had the next morning. I love the idea of made to order omelet BUT it should be thoroughly cooked. Mine was cooked on the outside but the egg was runny on the inside. Regardless, whatever it was, it put me out of commission for most of one day. Thankfully, I just had one episode of vomiting and had some Ondansetron (Zofran), with me and took one of those and was feeling much better within about an hour. I was a little surprised at the dining room food on Princess. For some reason, I was thinking it might be a step up from Carnival or RC but definitely not!! Out of the seven cruises we have been on, Princess had the worst food. The only positive thing I can say about the food was that most of the cruises we have been on only serve hamburgers, hot dogs or pizza after 10pm. I don't know if it was due to RSVP Vacations or if it is just standard, but the Regal Princess had a full buffet every night! Milton, who has a cast iron stomach, was eating at the buffet every night as late as midnight and 1am. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Room a little cramped for 3 uncommitted people. Balcony railings and partitions were never wiped off, they were down right dirty. For a 4 day trip to the Bahamas, we had cold temperatures and rain for 3 1/2 days. The only sun was on the ... Read More
Room a little cramped for 3 uncommitted people. Balcony railings and partitions were never wiped off, they were down right dirty. For a 4 day trip to the Bahamas, we had cold temperatures and rain for 3 1/2 days. The only sun was on the ship at sea on the way back to port. I know it wasn't the ships "fault", but it was a lousy cruise. There was hardly any entertainment in regards to games, contests, and other deck parties. Again the Weathers fault. I got motion sickness on the way home. At this point, all I wanted to do was get home. Ship looked it's age, rust noticeable. Staff was fine. Room Steward, couldn't seem to keep inc in my room. Never responded to pages sent to her. She didn't deserve her tip. Food was good, not GREAT, but good. Best part of the cruise was the entertainment and joy the two bartenders (Christopher and Wilson) in Crooners bar gave us.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
The ship is showing its age, numerous issues presented themselves on this journey. From the air conditioning not working for two days, pieces of ceiling tile falling down during rough seas, The pool/tile areas could use a good resurfacing. ... Read More
The ship is showing its age, numerous issues presented themselves on this journey. From the air conditioning not working for two days, pieces of ceiling tile falling down during rough seas, The pool/tile areas could use a good resurfacing. The bar service fell short all the way around, the drinks were weak, poorly made and had little variety. Carnival's bar service was far superior. The dining/buffet options were a bit underwhelming. Overall for my first princess sailing I was very disappointed, I expected better Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
EMBARKATION This cruise was out of Vancouver, which is a great city with a beautiful port. Canada Place is wonderful, modern and scenic. There were three cruise ships in port the day our cruise began, and embarkation was a mess. ... Read More
EMBARKATION This cruise was out of Vancouver, which is a great city with a beautiful port. Canada Place is wonderful, modern and scenic. There were three cruise ships in port the day our cruise began, and embarkation was a mess. Princess provided transfers from the airport by bus. But the terminal was so crowded with passengers, the buses could not approach. Instead, they stopped the buses in a "holding area" about 1/2 mile from the ship. Our bus was packed full, and on a warm day it had no air conditioning. So the bus was hot sitting there, as we waited permission to approach the terminal. People were overheated and complaining. My partner and I got out of the bus (against the advice of the driver) and walked to the ship. Despite the distance and getting lost on the way, we beat our bus to the terminal. After getting to the terminal, embarkation was smooth and efficient. The lines were long but moved quickly. Everyone was friendly and doing their best to deal with 10,000 passengers arriving nearly at once. Getting on the ship was a breeze, and we were warmly welcomed. Our suite (aft, Caribe 757) was clean and spacious. However, it looked lived-in. Colors were kind of dingy, fabrics a little bit frayed, and the carpet lumpy, but otherwise very nicely appointed and quite clean. For an Alaska trip, I recommend an aft cabin with balcony (or a suite like ours). It was the perfect location. More on that later. We left about two hours late because the terminal was so crowded. THE SHIP This is a big ship that holds 3,000 passengers, but the only time it feels crowded is when you want to get food. The lines at the Horizon Court buffet were always long, and there were rarely any tables available. The anytime dining was crowded with long lines, as well, but we always got a table. The wait for food in the dining rooms was sometimes very long. Otherwise, the public spaces never seemed crowded. We loved Movies Under the Stars (MUTS), though we read a lot of complaints about it. We only saw one movie in MUTS, but the experience was a blast, despite it being really cold outside. We just bundled up, and they brought us popcorn, food, snacks and drinks. It was a lot of fun. :) The spa is nice, but the technicians are young and inexperienced. THE CREW If there is a jewel on the Diamond, it is the crew. They were almost universally fantastic. Incredible, even. Friendly, enthusiastic, and they work very, very hard. We saw a lot of self-entitled passengers being rude or abusive to the crew, and where I would have killed such a passenger where they stood, the crew was amazingly patient, tolerant and helpful, to even the rudest of passengers. They do, however, have a term they like to use for rude passengers. The term is "FOCUS," and they will say it like, "Sir, you need to FOCUS." FOCUS, it turns out, stands for "F*** Off, Cuz U're Sh**." I heard them joke about it, but never heard them actually say it, even to a really rude passenger. I have to give a shout-out to Peter John, the Captain's Circle Host. First, he's gorgeous. That must be said up front. :) And when you get past his good looks, he's terminally friendly, with boundless energy and enthusiasm. What a great man, and he goes out of his way for absolutely everyone, and does it with wit, charm and grace. He's the best thing on the Diamond (though I hear his current contract will expire soon). There is a waiter in the lobby bar named Edwin. He is incredibly friendly, always wears a smile, and will go above and beyond the call of duty to make passengers happy. Fantastic man. There is also a waiter in Sabatini's named Christian. As suite passengers, we were allowed to have breakfast in Sabatini's. One day, the main dining rooms were serving blueberry pancakes and my partner wanted some. She asked for them in Sabatini's and was told they were not offered there and she could not have them. But Christian actually went to the main dining room and got her some blueberry pancakes and brought them back to Sabatini's for her, even after she accepted that they weren't served there. It was a great surprise, unexpected, and a real treat. I've heard that they will often do this for passengers, which is a testament to the crew's dedication to their jobs. They do things when they don't have to, and they do it with grace, style and flare. FOOD The food sucks. There's no other way to say it. We ate in every venue, and universally it was terrible. Oh, there was a nice dish here and there, but overall the food was cafeteria quality. I understand that they have to cut expenses somewhere to keep fares low, but the food has really gone down the tubes. It's really bad. Sometimes they make a nice presentation, but it's still terrible food. We couldn't wait to get off the ship because of that. At the last performance of the cruise, the cruise director joked, "You're going to have to start cooking your own meals now," and the crowd actually cheered this. That's how bad the food was. The Sterling Steak House was okay, but iffy. A filet was good, but a porterhouse was tough. A potato was good, but a vegetable bad. It was very hit and miss. Sabatini's was the best food. We especially liked having breakfast there just for the fresh squeezed orange juice. Elsewhere on the ship, the orange juice was from concentrate, with about three times too much water added. It was so weak, it was little more than orange colored water. And that's kind of how the whole food experience was. Like they were trying to feed 3,000 people with 1,000 people's worth of food, and cutting corners everywhere. When we got off the ship at the end of the cruise, we ate at the hotel at Canada Place (the Pan Pacific) and the food there was AMAZING compared to the Diamond's food. We swooned over simple scrambled eggs, when comparing the same basic dish to the Diamond's version. We marveled at how hard the Diamond must work to make the food as bad as it is, because no one can do that badly without some effort. So, am I getting my feelings across about the food? ;-) PORTS OF CALL We took no excursions, but instead went out on our own. Now, a caveat about my comments here. There are people who love the cruise experience of being on the boat and then getting off to shop in stores (which we found out are mostly owned or controlled by the cruise ship companies themselves) or to take some bus excursion to a glacier and salmon bake or some such thing. We are not among those folks. We are less "tourists" than "travelers." We like to immerse ourselves in a destination, not merely hit a few stores for some mass produced trinkets and then grab a drink in a tourist bar. So, if you are one of those people, then ignore these comments. SKAGWAY. What we found was that most of the ports were little more than excuses to get passengers to spend more money with the cruise line. For instance, Skagway is a fake town. It no longer exists except for cruise ship season. Skagway has had three "booms." The first was the gold rush. The second was World War II, when it was a military priority. And currently it is in the midst of a cruise ship boom. When cruise ships come into port, the "town" comes alive, and when they leave, it folds up shop. When the last cruise ships leave in September, so do almost all the town's "residents," many of whom spend the season living in temporary quarters like RVs and little shacks, only to return to their real homes when the ships leave. The excursions are almost all run for the profit of the cruise ship companies, and they are largely fake excursions. What I mean by that is that they run people by train and bus to other places that exist only for the cruise ships. Specifically, the White Pass and Yukon Railway to carcross, and then the passengers get on a bus that takes them to exciting places like Caribou Crossing, where they get a "famous" BBQ chicken meal and a chance to see a wildlife exhibit. We rented a Jeep and went to those places. Carcross has not a single person about or a single door unlocked when there are no trains full of cruise ship tourists about. But when the train comes in, it's as if the actors don their costumes and put on a show, collecting as much money from the tourists as possible, and then the town closes up when the tourists leave. At Caribou Crossing, there are no caribou and there is no crossing. The "wildlife" exhibit is a goat and a burro. The "famous" BBQ chicken is frozen chicken parts that are microwaved, then tossed on a grill with some canned BBQ sauce, and served to the tourists with 1/2 a plain baked potato. There's nothing "famous" about it. It's terrible and cheap, and in fact we watched them preparing it for the tourists that arrived by the busload. For this excursion, the tourists paid >$200 apiece. We, on the other hand, rented a Jeep from Green Jeeps for $180 for the day, which came with a cooler full of snacks and drinks. Expensive, but a far better expense than the terrible phony $200/pp excursion that we got to see the "behind the scenes" of. With that jeep we followed the same path that the railroad took and got to see all the same things, and we were able to go lots of places that the tourists could not. One thing we did was to drive to the historic Chilkoot Trail and hike the same trail that the gold rushers did. That was cool. And free. And real. We also met and talked with many of the "locals," who all confessed to us that most everyone lived somewhere else when cruise ships were not in, and that Skagway had really only one reason for existing: to sell trinkets to cruise ship passengers. That's why I call Skagway a "fake" town. If a town exists only to sell trinkets to cruise ship passengers, and would not exist if the ships didn't stop there, then it's a fake town. Skagway is a fake town. Now, some excursions are worth the money. If, for instance, you took the excursion to Haines (a real town) to visit the bald eagle preserve, that would be worth the money imho, because you get to see something real and interesting. But most passengers do not do that. They ride the railroad or shop for trinkets, and give even more of their money to the cruise ship company. JUNEAU is a real town, but you have to get away from the harbor to find it. The cruise lines have bought up most of the property near the harbor, and when passengers think they are buying souvenirs from local businesses, they are really buying more junk from a store owned by the cruise lines. To find a locally owned store, you have to really look for them. Almost invariably, they will post a sign in the window or indicate in some other way that they are locally owned. No sign = owned by the cruise lines in most cases. Juneau is very touristy these days. I spent a lot of time there 30 years ago, and it was a different town then. Amazingly, lots of tourists thought that Sarah Palin still lives there, and they all wanted to know where she lives. Goodness... There are some good whale watching excursions out of Juneau, but are pretty expensive, as the companies have to pay a percentage to the cruise lines (if they are not owned by the cruise lines, themselves). But rather than take an excursion to Mendenhal Glacier, you can catch a city bus for $1.50 each way. Or if you want to be taken directly to the visitors center, you can pay $16 round trip for buses that come and go ever 30 minutes. Much better than $200 for a bus trip excursion that then tacks on a (really awful) salmon bake (again owned by the cruise lines and not authentic Alaskan), imho. KETCHIKAN is a real town. It has the mandatory cruise line owned stores near the harbor, but there is a real town there to enjoy behind them. We blew off the excursions again, and opted to rent a car and explore on our own. We ended up hiking in the mountains, taking a 6.5 mile round trip hike to Lake Perseverance. We were all alone. With 10,000 cruise ship passengers in port, we saw only one local couple the whole time we were out there, and not another soul. And we saw the "real" Alaska of Ketchikan. And it was absolutely stunningly beautiful and unspoiled. Then we went back to town and did some touristy things on our own, like visit the totem pole village and do some shopping. It was hard, but we managed to find some true one-of-a-kind Haida and Tlinkit jewelry, but to do it we had to wade through a lot of pricey mass produced junk marketed to the cruise passengers as authentic. So, if like us you want to see the real ports and not just the facade that the cruise ships use to separate you from your money, you can do it, but it takes some effort. The effort is well worth it, though. We saw some truly stunning scenery and wildlife that the vast majority of cruisers missed out on. What surprised us was that most cruisers weren't interested in finding that. They were happy to be aboard the ship, and then to get off for a couple hours to sit in the Red Dog Saloon or buy a trinket or two before returning to eat at the Horizon Court buffet. That's not what we were after. Most were into the cruise ship experience. We were definitely destination travelers, and being one of those on a massive cruise ship takes a little effort and dedication, but it can be done. And cheaper than doing the typical cruise stuff. ENTERTAINMENT We thought the entertainment was universally terrible. Bad comedian. Bad magician. Bad dancing and singing shows (though the performers were giving it their all for tepid crowds). Bad string trio. Bad pianist. We didn't find one good performer. I am comparing it to Sitmar cruises to Alaska of 30 years ago, which provided top, if aging, entertainers. I recall cruising and mingling with Mel Torme, Harry James, Buddy Rich, Marilyn McCoo and others who had real star power in their day, and who brought their own professional back-up bands and singers. No headline acts these days. They market these shows as "Vegas style," but the design, choreography and execution are not very professional, and they have young but eager "talent" doing their best to make a show of it, and not succeeding very well. I did not like the entertainment. SUMMARY Some things were GREAT! The crew topped that list. The ship itself running just behind. And the destinations were amazing if you took the trouble to find them under the commercial cruise company veneer. We liked MUTS, too. Other things were truly awful. They were the food, the entertainment, and the aforementioned commercial veneer. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
When booking a suite, one expects a bit of first class treatment. Princess makes a lot of promises, but the delivery of services is less than expected. You have to ask for all the little extras on Princess, NCL justs delivers them all. ... Read More
When booking a suite, one expects a bit of first class treatment. Princess makes a lot of promises, but the delivery of services is less than expected. You have to ask for all the little extras on Princess, NCL justs delivers them all. First of all, the Crown Princess is beautiful as was the suite. Unfortunately, this ship is very unstable and tends to pitch and roll with even the smallest waves. Of all my cruises, this ship was the worst. If you tend toward motion sickness, please avoid this ship. The staffing seemed very light. Many of the restaurants were very short handed. I agree with many of the other reviewers: the staff is very stuffy and walk around like zombies half the time. Many seemed like they would rather be anywhere else but working on a cruise ship. I hate to profile but much of the staff is from Eastern Europe and quite unfriendly. Pool areas are extremely crowded during days at sea. Unlike on cruise lines, Princess crew does not go around and keep things in order. The decks are a mess of wet towels, garbage and deck chairs. Again, it seems like the ship is short staffed. The Crown Grill steak house ($25 up charge) is nice but the meat is tough and chewy. Deserts are pretty, yet bland. My biggest criticism is how bland the food is throughout the ship. It looks nice, but has no flavor. except for the French Onion soup which was incredible. The Italian restaurant, Sabatini's, does not fare much better. ($20 up charge).Bland and very slow service. The maitre de (Pedro) is downright rude and treats the staff - and guests - poorly until the last day of the cruise when then the "rate our service" cards are displayed on the podium. Let's take a look at the suite amenities and what was delivered. -Luxury mattresses [very comfortable] -Fluffy duvets in place of blankets [ more flat than fluffy] -Luggage protector on bed at embarkation [every cabin gets it] -Luxury bathrobes [very stiff, needs fabric softener badly] -Luxury towels [they look nice but very rough] -Pillow menu [requested pillows never appeared] -Massage shower heads [broken] -Luxury bathroom amenities (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, bath gel, plus new lip balm, gel eye mask, bath salts and loofah mitts) ["luxury"? not really] -Facial mist (choice of scents) [zilch] -Complimentary slippers [very small] -Fresh flower arrangement [ very nice and looked great the entire trip] -Complimentary mini-bar - one-time set up [nice!] -Combined DVD/CD Players [ broken] -DVD Library [no one seemed to know about this amenity] -Complimentary Princess tote bag [very cheap] -Umbrella for use during the cruise [zilch] -Expedited embarkation process [nice to walk past 800 people standing in the other line] -Preferred Anytime DiningSM reservations [yes, you can make a reservation, but NO the table is never available and wait time can be up to an hour] -Personal shore excursion reservations [zilch] -Complimentary laundry and dry cleaning service -Complimentary shoe polishing service [zilch] -Welcome glass of champagne at embarkation [zilch] -Extended room service menu (extended breakfast, lunch, dinner offering) [no one on the ship knew anything about an extended menu for suites] -In-suite afternoon tea service [never happened] -Passenger's choice of deluxe canap?s, delivered daily [delivered once] -Complimentary internet access in onboard Internet Cafes [we got free wireless] -Private portrait sitting [do not confuse this with receiving a free photo] -Complimentary use of the thermal suite in the Lotus Spa [zilch] Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
first of all I must state that the service on the ship was wonderful. Ever princess employee was nice and very helpful. a few were above and beyond what anyone could expect or wish for. the check in process was efficient and very ... Read More
first of all I must state that the service on the ship was wonderful. Ever princess employee was nice and very helpful. a few were above and beyond what anyone could expect or wish for. the check in process was efficient and very friendly. We had a wonderful Balcony cabin BB. c753 on the back end of the ship and a cabin that was wonderful with an extra large balcony. much larger balcony than standard balcony cabins or mini suites. I am a fan of Princess product based on prior 12 cruises. the service was above average and exceptional from many princess employees. I loved princess in the past but there were many noticeable downgrades in service. the food in the horizon court was below expect ion to poor for afternoon and evening service. it seems as if food came out of a can and was not fresh food. I have never been disappointed with princess before and the food on this trip was the worst I have ever experienced on princess. food in the fining room was OK. the service was wonderful but again the food was not as good as in the past. the cruise director staff did not provide as much entertainment as in the past. less event than in the past and music that was for 65-95 set. i am 45 and found the music for someone 30+ years older. nice ship but I will be cursing with another cruise line next time. princess is looking a lot more like that cheap name of the holding company with the "c" word. princess was a higher end product until recent time. i use to recommend princess to friend as an exceptional modernly priced cruise line that was above average and fun. most disappointed. great staff that does everything to please-your hope for the product and bad management that cutting cost and product hoping we are to stupid to notice. I loved my prior 12+ PRINCESS CRUISES WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO ELITE STATUS BUT AFTER THIS CRUISE I WILL BE SAILING ANOTHER CRUISE LINE NEXT TIME I have done 13 cruise on princess 1 on celebrity 1 on Holland America next on royal Caribbean value for the money I can only rate 3 every other princess cruise I rate 4.5+ very disappointed in the downgrade of the product Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Returned my rental car to Sunshine Rental on Rte 84, just outside the west port road entrance- great prices on cars! $12 ride in with tip. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and painless. Muster drill now assigned to a lounge/casino ... Read More
Returned my rental car to Sunshine Rental on Rte 84, just outside the west port road entrance- great prices on cars! $12 ride in with tip. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and painless. Muster drill now assigned to a lounge/casino or other area, not outside. As Port Everglades raised their fees to accommodate Oasis (also in port), sailing time was moved up an hour to 4 pm. Note, it's always important to stay on ship's time when in port. Cabin was spacious. The ship had just come out of The Bahamas dry dock for 'freshening.' Opted for 50% surcharge to be alone. Leo, the steward was helpful. Travelled with a group of 220, so we had many of our own activities planned; but, used Princess for shore excursions. Luggage seemed to be delivered for everyone before dinner. It was unusually rocky crossing the gulf stream in both directions.... The Lido deck buffets were okay. I visit Vegas often, and it's always an issue when items are not labeled and the dish looks unusual requiring finding someone to offer an explanation. Staff attentive in helping you to a table and refreshing your drinks. Enjoyed pizza; but, mostly really enjoyed the choices at the International Cafe. Actually, preferred their mini desserts to the dining room desserts. Ordered room service breakfast twice and it arrived a bit ahead of requested time. They don't understand how to toast an English Muffin though for their breakfast sandwiches. Did not particularly care for the Crown Grille food or service. The prices had just been raised $5. Sabbatini's was more enjoyable, but, it's insane to serve all those separate side dishes in bowls to a party of four when there are also four entrees. Alas, Proseco is no longer available on the ship. As I did Chef's Table previously, chose not to cough up another $90 for the experience. I recently donated the souvenir cookbook I received. Have some great pix of the dishes served though! Main dining room service was generally very good and the food choices fine, if uninspired. Sometimes service backed up to a most leisurely pace. Some table gets served last....I'm not a big red meat eater and enjoyed mostly fish (probably frozen) and chicken, turkey, pork. Had a coffee card and it was always nice to finish with a decaf cappucino. MUTS- caught one and probably missed 35% of the dialog. Shows- These are the exact same production shows I saw three years ago. There were even a few numbers that were identical to the Carnival ship I had been on for the two previous years. Comedian was good; enjoyed music ensembles around the ship. Never got to see the hula hoop gal who got very good reviews from other cruisers. Casino- Diddled at the slots; if you find a machine that seems to have a better payout; then start playing maximum coins for some really nice jackpots. Had the 10,000 suitcase (penny machine); but made a deal at the end for 5,400. Lucky Lemmings has infectious music. Hotel Desk- Always helpful! Spa/Gym- Even though there's a sign that says lockers are for spa patrons only, you just leave your room card and get a locker key. Bring a small towel in from the gym to stand on.... Ports- As I had been travelling for over a week before getting on the Crown; I chose the first day to stay on board- eat leisurely, do laundry (bring your own detergent and softener sheets and a roll of quarters) and iron all my evening wear shirts. So, missed Princess Cay which is a tender stop. It's just a beach and last time there were flies like crazy around the buffet items. Curacao- Group walking tour and off to see some caves by bus. As humid as it was on the island, the caves were worse. Do your own thing. Dine off the ship and catch the lovely lit village. Aruba- a desert island, with little landscape that is natural, our tour bus was one of those party buses which run at night and I wasn't ready for blasting R&R at 8:30 am. Went only to Lighthouse and the chapel for a pee break amongst the cacti. The restaurant adjacent to the Lighthouse charged and fee had small bills. Then dropped at Nikki Beach Restaurant, south of town and near the airport. Calm water and pleasant, narrow beach with comfy lounge chairs and their own pool. However, the lunch sandwich that was included was meager though it did include a welcoming mimosa. Owner was genuine- but, this is no relation to Nikki Beach of South Beach, FL fame. The first K was placed backward and was missing from the "crab" salad sandwich. The smoked salmon sandwich looked to be the best bet. I'm just not impressed with Princess- found Carnival more enjoyable, even with the hokey waiter singing and dancing during dinner. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The May 2009 cruise to Alaska on the Star Princess may well be my last cruise on a Princess Cruise ship.........Since Carnival added Princess Cruises to it already overflow of cruise line companies, Princess has steadly gone down hill with ... Read More
The May 2009 cruise to Alaska on the Star Princess may well be my last cruise on a Princess Cruise ship.........Since Carnival added Princess Cruises to it already overflow of cruise line companies, Princess has steadly gone down hill with Carnival touches. Especially evident is dining, the wonderful traditional Italian dining and service experience offered by Princess Cruises for years and years has been replaced by substandard banquet food and shotty service........One area Princess (Carnival) must deal with is the Lido Buffet, Princess is one of only a few cruise lines that allow passenger to self serv in the buffet area and I witnessed serving spoons and utinciles dropped on the floor by a passenger and replaced (without cleaning) back onto a buffet item...As far as the ship, Star Princess is one of the largest in the Princess fleet and the public areas are numerous and spaceous. Cabins are adequate for all inside, outside and balcony categories. Suites in all categories are the best buy, spaceous and well designed. Entertainment on the Star Princess was nothing to write about, good to poor on most occasions. ONE very important item to pass onto any passengers using the "NEW Cruise Terminal" in Seattle for any cruise line for any sailing.....the terminal is a disaster, from passenger drop off to luggage check to passenger checkin the process is a nightmare, arrive early for your departure and use self check out at the end of a cruise in Seattle and rush away from the terminal ASAP Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
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