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38 Princess Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

We only cruise Princess since our first Alaskan trip. We took all 4 of our kids on that one and highly recommend people bring their kids and use the kids clubs. This one was just me and my partner for a quick break. We were only doing ... Read More
We only cruise Princess since our first Alaskan trip. We took all 4 of our kids on that one and highly recommend people bring their kids and use the kids clubs. This one was just me and my partner for a quick break. We were only doing the first 7 days - Eastern CARIBBEAN! Despite all the health fears this year, with the information we had at the time, we felt safe to travel at the end of Feb as planned. There were extra precautions throughout or trip and a 16 hour delay disembarking for checks at the end of this cruise. Despite this, the staff were as professional, friendly and patient as ever. Problems can happen with any service provider at any time for many reasons, we are all human after all. For me, it’s not about whether a problem happens but how the problem is handled and risks mitigated for the future. Those extraordinary events aside, the cruise was perfect, literally my only complaint is too much food to finish the exquisite dessert at Sabitini’s. We booked the Sanctuary bungalow at Princess Cays and ordered the upgraded lunch. Highly recommend! Shore fishing was great. Villa botanica excursion was good, their patio daiquiris were Devine. We plan to do it again, with the kids this time next year. If you arrive a few days ahead of your cruise, try a sport fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale with Tacohookedup.com. We also stayed at the Hilton Marina, which was minutes from fishing and the cruise port. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Like to travel on Princess ships. This was a amazing itinerary. Two things I really wanted to do was Easter Island and the Nazca lines. For me that was a over the top experience. There where many other things that I really enjoyed. Zumba ... Read More
Like to travel on Princess ships. This was a amazing itinerary. Two things I really wanted to do was Easter Island and the Nazca lines. For me that was a over the top experience. There where many other things that I really enjoyed. Zumba in the morning, the shows at night. The Entertainment team was super. The whole crew, starting with the captain was concerned to show us a good time and to keep us safe. Embarkation was a little lengthy, but that will change once the Island Princess is a Medallion ship. The disembarkation went smoothly, considering there where 6 cruise ships docking at the same port on the same morning. Cabin B623 was nice and we enjoyed the balcony. On the days we had a excursion, we ordered breakfeast to Be delivered to the room. It came timely. The food was great, we had a choice of going to the buffet or eating in the dinning room. I belonged to the singles group, so there was no waiting in line since we had a table reserved for us. Then we had special lunches sometimes, that where announced in the Patter ( on board daily 4 page news ) at 3 pm we could have English tea. Then in the evening there where specialty restaurants or wine tasting. There was so much to do, also different areas to relax in, arts and crafts, anyway I never got all of it done. You just have to deceit what your priorities are. A wide variety of excursions where available or you could just go on land without a excursion, there was always something to see and do. Not many children where on board, it was mostly a older crowd. Some people in wheelchairs and walkers. Would love to do this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Selected cruise for its Hawaiian ports and warm weather plus sailing on the Grand via San Francisco. Amazing cruise, amazing service by Grand Princess staff, and beautiful islands. Highly recommend Grand Princess for its world class ... Read More
Selected cruise for its Hawaiian ports and warm weather plus sailing on the Grand via San Francisco. Amazing cruise, amazing service by Grand Princess staff, and beautiful islands. Highly recommend Grand Princess for its world class service, wonderful and warm staff, and clean ship. Though it's an older ship, staff work hard to maintain the Grand Princess, and officers and staff were present throughout the ship 24/7. Had an excellent cabin steward and professional and wonderful dining room wait staff. Amazing trip onboard the beautiful Grand Princess! Like our waiter, Jonel Bola said, "The Grand Princess is known for #1 service out of its entire fleet of 18 vessels." The entire dining room staff was amazing and wonderful to all its dining passengers. The food was good, plenty of desserts to choose from, and staff are generous with service, extras/portions, drinks, and smiles! All staff throughout the ship were kind, courteous, warm, and provided consistent service and were very hard working. Service throughout the ship was consistent and amazing! Ship Captain, JP Bryant, was very nice and courteous and always greeted passengers pleasantly. This was a 16-day cruise! Have done shorter and longer cruises, but a 16-day is a perfect amount of time for a winter getaway! I highly recommend the beautiful Grand Princess! Others might be concerned that it's an older ship but I find it to be quaint, comfortable, has character, beautiful, has internet service, and has excellent and consistent customer service. I've sailed on the Grand 6 times and each time I've experienced consistent customer service! And, if something wasn't right, staff will work quickly and very hard to make the problem right! No complaints when I'm on the Grand! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Great time with family. Better than staying at home. If you have special abilities members of your family this is the place to go (with the exception of Shore Excursions helpfulness). The ship is great and assessable. Staff is ... Read More
Great time with family. Better than staying at home. If you have special abilities members of your family this is the place to go (with the exception of Shore Excursions helpfulness). The ship is great and assessable. Staff is wonderful and willing to help when needed. Always felt very comfortable at letting them just go about their day without us having to worry about them. From the entertainment staff to the the room Stewart, to the staff cleaning all were helpful (except shore excursion). You will be very pleased with the experience onboard. The medallion was such a great asset. You were able to locate and not worry about your party. Thanks again for making this a memorable event. And yes, we did book another cruise. Our special needs group also booked a cruise and they are planning on going alone, and I am sure they will be very pleased with the trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I came to Princess after some posh cruises on a competitor. The first was an Alaska Inside Passage that was all good EXCEPT the quality of food and the staff who were so surley...from the cabin steward to the dining staff. However, a ... Read More
I came to Princess after some posh cruises on a competitor. The first was an Alaska Inside Passage that was all good EXCEPT the quality of food and the staff who were so surley...from the cabin steward to the dining staff. However, a promotion lured us back and I am so glad we gave Princess another chance. In 2018 we did a Southeast Asia cruise on the Sapphire Princess and were very satisfied. The Regal is a 3500 passenger ship - a little large for our taste. We were happy to see they have "greened" up; replacing one-time use things with cloth napkins, flatware, glassware. Both the staff and the food were phenomenal. The line seemed very gay friendly (is that a term?) - inclusive I guess is better. The Medallion experience was OK. When they get all the bugs out it will be great. If you like to snorkel I recommend bringing your own equipment - there are lots of opportunities in this itinerary. We didn't really care about the ports of call. We always book a local guide for private excursions to immerse in the culture (as much as is possible in a half day) and for the personal connection. I avoid all excursions that include shopping. Jamaica was great fun. Climbing the famous Dunn River Falls is not as strenuous as reported, we saw some pretty outa shape folks doing it. For the "secret, hidden" Blue hole or White river area - skip the big bus and go to Island Gully Falls. We really loved it and had personal attention. Do not try to drive there yourself - get a driver or taxi, the mountain roads are daunting. Grand Cayman was unimpressive because we didn't go offshore since we snorkel on Princess Cay and in Cozumel. The Grand Cayman port staff said we needed a taxi to go to Caymen Spirits rum distillery- a tour we booked in advance. They said our map wasn't to scale and it was too far and too much traffic. But it was a little over ONE MILE and we easily walked back to port in 20 minutes. Enroute we stopped at a grocer and got the sunscreen and spices we wanted for 1/3 the harborside shop prices. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Since I had not been on a cruise before, a friend asked me would I like to go to see if I would like it. I absolutely enjoyed it very much and I would like to go again. Having a disability which requires me to use a walking ... Read More
Since I had not been on a cruise before, a friend asked me would I like to go to see if I would like it. I absolutely enjoyed it very much and I would like to go again. Having a disability which requires me to use a walking stick and some limited movement, I was worried how I would manage, but I managed very well. From embarking to disembarking everything was Great, even the weather was perfect. All staff and crew were friendly and helpful. The stateroom was ideal for me., especially having grab rails in the shower and near the toilet. I enjoyed taking my time walking around the ships and I had no difficulty get on and off the tender when going ashore. I enjoyed the entertainment, movies and the wonderful food and I even got to see dolphins , the one thing I wanted to see. If you have a disability or mobility issues, I recommend checking out going on a cruise. Rough seas I think would be a challenge getting around, but I think I would stay in my stateroom, order room service and when the seas calm down, I would head out to enjoy everything the ship had to offer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
1. Overall comments: This cruise exceeded all my expectations. I’d give it 10 stars if I could. I had read many reviews of this ship on Cruise Critic and they were decidedly mixed. Thus, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This cruise was ... Read More
1. Overall comments: This cruise exceeded all my expectations. I’d give it 10 stars if I could. I had read many reviews of this ship on Cruise Critic and they were decidedly mixed. Thus, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This cruise was amazing! The ship was wonderful and I saw no signs of the age and decay that I had read about. Everyone from Princess we met was great. The food was excellent. Our mini-suite cabin was very comfortable. I don’t know why people are so negative about this ship. Perhaps some people have ridiculously high expectations that no ship could live up to. For us, the experience on the Grand Princess was truly “grand.” How much did we enjoy this cruise? We only got off the ship one time even though we visited four ports in Mexico! 2. Food a. Horizon Court: The food in the buffet was uniformly excellent. Things were very fresh and everything was really tasty. So many people posted negative things about the Horizon Court, but I don’t get it. The staff was very friendly and the hand-washing station at each entrance was very comforting to see. All passengers entering were gently encouraged to wash their hands. There wasn’t a piece of brown lettuce in sight, typically the sign of a bad buffet. The smoked salmon was plentiful at breakfast, one of our favorites. The baked goods and fruit was all fresh. What REALLY surprised me was the overall atmosphere in the Horizon Court. It was downright calm and low-key. The indirect lighting, the carpeting, the comfortable chairs all worked together to create a very pleasant ambiance. b. Sabatini’s: We ate there one night and it was spectacular. The food was very rich and tasty. So many great flavors. The 3-pasta course was amazing. Service was also great. This was worth every extra penny. c. Crown Grill (Daniel from Brazil): We ate there early in the cruise. One of the steaks (the Sterling Chop) was perfect while the 14oz ribeye was a bit disappointing, although my partner ate it. The next day, he casually mentioned it to someone at the Guest Services desk. That person was named Oana who turned out to be an Assistant Maitre’D. She was very apologetic and said she would make this right. She invited both of us to dine again at the Crown Grill at no cost. This we did a few nights later. This time, the waiter (a wonderful guy named Daniel from Brazil) brought the raw steak to our table to get our approval before cooking it. The piece of meat was great and was cooked exactly as requested. d. Alfredo’s Pizzeria: Several Cruise Critic reviews suggested having lunch here on departure day, since it would be a lot less crowded. They were right. We had some wonderful pizzas that kicked off the cruise deliciously. They are hand-tossed and made to order. The view outside the window as the ship was getting ready to sail was a bonus. I thought about eating again at Alfredo’s later in the cruise but didn’t make it there. e. Salty Dog poolside: Food here was fresh and VERY tasty. The regular burger was great, but the Ernesto Burger made with prime rib and pork belly ($5 extra) was well worth it. Two thumbs up here! f. Coffee and Cones: Right between the two big pools, this location was great. I am not a coffee drinker, but I sure do like soft-serve with sprinkles on a hot pool day. There were almost never an lines waiting to get served here. g. International Café: Very popular spot located in the Piazza area. Even at peak times, I didn’t need to wait too long. The offerings were fresh and the options changed all the time. The sandwiches and soups were very tasty. This is a great concept. 3. Condition of cabin: Despite reviews to the contrary, everything worked in E729. All the doorknobs matched (a common complaint), the safe was handy, and the bed was very comfortable. The linens were like silk. The twin LG flat-panel TVs worked just fine. There were a number of lighting options. Closet space was more than ample, and the large bathroom was great. Having a tub was nice, and the water pressure in the shower was STRONG! 4. Elevators: On two occasions, elevators were out of commission. But, in both cases, crew members were working on the issue and the elevators were back in business very shortly. 5. TVs in cabin with on-demand programming: I knew that all-new LG flat panel TVs had been installed during the retrofitting earlier in 2019. We had two of these and they worked great. The choice of live TV channels was limited but acceptable. The on-demand programming was quite extensive. We watched several movies from the comfort of our mini-suite. 6. Production shows (Motor City, comedian, British Invasion) and movies in the Princess Theater. The two production shows we saw were quite good. The one comedian we saw was also very funny. We also took in the film “Rocketman” in the Princess Theater. That worked very well and the sound and picture quality were great. 7. Balcony: We carefully chose our mini-suite because it had the double-width balcony that was private. Nobody could see onto it and the balcony wrapped around the stern of the ship providing views in two directions. That was great! 8. Ease of boarding and disembarking: Nothing could have been easier. The relatively new cruise port at Pier 27 in San Francisco worked super well. In the ports, people seemed to be getting off and on the ship with no major issues. I didn’t see a single “pier runner!” 9. Pools: We mostly used the Neptune and Calypso pools, neither of which were ever very crowded. There were always plenty of chairs and loungers available; space was never an issue. The pools were large enough and the water was just warm enough. With one pool exposed and one covered, these were great choices. I didn’t visit the other pools on the ship, but they looked nice. I didn’t watch any “Movies Under The Stars” poolside, but I did see some other shows shown there. Watching an NFL game on the giant screen while lounging in the pool was a major highlight of this cruise! 10. Casino: I spent some time there. It was decent sized but a bit dark and forbidding. The smoke smell was strong, but not on the smoke-free days they had there. Most of the staff was Eastern European and not uniformly friendly. Still, it was a positive experience. 11. Internet: Despite what cruise lines say, internet speeds are slow. Princess claims to be fixing this with its Ocean Medallion service, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Speeds were no slower or faster than I’ve experienced on other ships. 12. Cabin steward: We had the best steward ever: Roberto Leynes. He was always hanging around in the hallway outside our cabin, but not in a creepy way at all. He was just so friendly all the time! 13. Friendly staff: Leo and Oana at the Guest Services deck were exceptionally helpful. Knowing all the crap they must deal with on a daily basis, I was so happy to receive such excellent service from them. 14. Walking on the Promenade Deck: This was our regular form of exercise with great views and fresh air to boot. In order to completely circumvent the ship, one had to go up a flight of stairs to the Emerald Deck at the bow and back down the stairs to the Promenade Deck on the opposite side. The deck narrows down quite a bit in some locations, but things never got too crowded and it was easy to work up a sweat while circling the ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Princess Cruises have always done exceptionally well! Delicious food, clean and modern furnishings, state of the art technology most especially with the Medallion, expert and friendly staff, relaxing environment and a full range of ... Read More
Princess Cruises have always done exceptionally well! Delicious food, clean and modern furnishings, state of the art technology most especially with the Medallion, expert and friendly staff, relaxing environment and a full range of entertainment. The company prioritizes safety from the minute you board all the way to the end. The process of embarkation and disembarkation were easy. We always look forward to waking up in the morning because of the activities they offer daily. Food is excellent with so much variety to choose from. The cabin is kept clean with respect to privacy upon request. The technology is above and beyond with the Medallion. The staff are respectful, accommodating and have shown professionalism. Every minute is priceless while on board. Whether you seek to relax, pampered or be entertained. Princess Cruises deliver the best vacation ever! My family and I are looking forward to our next cruise with this company. We highly recommend Princess to people of all ages. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Everything was incredible!! They make you feel like family and you never want to leave the ship! The food was world class and the service on the ship was otherworldly, the drinks on board were incredible and allowed you to venture into a ... Read More
Everything was incredible!! They make you feel like family and you never want to leave the ship! The food was world class and the service on the ship was otherworldly, the drinks on board were incredible and allowed you to venture into a whole other culture and a whole other world of excitement! It is a wonderful mix of people and every passenger on board was so fun and excited and so sweet to everyone else. The stage shows that they put on our like a broadway musical and the performers can sing with the best of them! They have a full range of things for you to do whether it’s hanging by the 5 pools and jacuzzi’s they have, learning about the many secrets of pirate treasure, world class shopping with incredible deals, or anything else you can think of, there is never ever a dull moment. Everything was so smooth especially with their new medallion you use for everything!! It is the best thing out there!! 100% recommend!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
they clean your room everyday, Varieties of food, Dining experience is really awesome. service is great, Ice cream bar was great, international cafe, Karaoke bar, fitness room, Art auction, love the idea of formal night and going to a fine ... Read More
they clean your room everyday, Varieties of food, Dining experience is really awesome. service is great, Ice cream bar was great, international cafe, Karaoke bar, fitness room, Art auction, love the idea of formal night and going to a fine dining after having pictures from the photographers and you will your pictures that same day...you can watch live shows everyday with their funny Cruise director & his staff, lots of entertainment and things to do, love all this fun games with the staff especially with the cruise director Matt, foods is great, enough restaurants to choose, great service, smooth sailing and they are organized, i will plan a next cruise this year again and i will convince some of my relatives and friends to join me and my wife for the next cruise before end of 2019, and hoping they will come out a promotion to back up my plan Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My family needed a cruise suitable for our range of ages and tastes and this family friendly, low stress cruise absolutely matched our needs. Very clean ship inside and out with friendly staff and fun entertainers. We travelled from ... Read More
My family needed a cruise suitable for our range of ages and tastes and this family friendly, low stress cruise absolutely matched our needs. Very clean ship inside and out with friendly staff and fun entertainers. We travelled from Sydney, Australia to Melbourne and Hobart and then went to New Zealand getting stops at Port Chalmers, Akaroa, Tauranga and Auckland. There was a large variety of activities that suited the seniors in our group as well as the younger cousins, too. From Zumba to Bingo to jaw-dropping production shows, we were thoroughly entertained onboard. Food was easy to acquire and change to our tastes as necessary for those with food allergies. I am pleased to note that there were accessible shore excursions and the entire ship was accessible for people with mobility issues. The outside and inside of the ship were truly majestic, with details everywhere to enhance the experience for guests of any culture. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
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
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
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
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
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
Papua New guinea is a must go destination for everyone no matter what age and background you are. Returning expatriates, returning ex-service personnel, children of those who once lived in PNG, inquisitive travelers etc. Our first time ... Read More
Papua New guinea is a must go destination for everyone no matter what age and background you are. Returning expatriates, returning ex-service personnel, children of those who once lived in PNG, inquisitive travelers etc. Our first time with Princess Cruises and they excelled in every area. In Alotau we did the Cultural Festival on board tour which was worthwhile. We noted that independent travelers still had to pay the same as passengers if they wanted entry. Good range of cultural dancers and the arts and crafts were very nice and affordable. We noted that the sellers were not used to haggling and when we were dropped off at the local market on the way back to the ship we could see why. All the produce in the markets was marked with a price and that was what was paid. There were other tours to suit other interests such as WWII or local village and cooking tour. Off to Kitava Island where we were greeted by three young ladies in traditional dress who we felt were only doing it because their mum had insisted. We saw her taking note of the numbers of passengers getting off the tenders so I'd say she billed the cruise line for the privilege as many of the other children had signs "K5 a snap" in front of themselves. The primary school children were there to greet us and put on small performances and were a delight. More carvings, shells, string bags (bilums) for sale. Lovely place for a swim and snorkel. Off to Rabaul where we took a full day tour with Kokopo Tours (wish I could insert their flyer here so others could benefit!) AU$150.00 each including water and lunch at the Gazel Peninsular Hotel. Saw everything there was to see, Yamamoto's bunker, Bita Paka War Cemetery, Kokopo War Museum and Cultural Center, Hot Springs, Volcano, WWII Zero crash site etc. The devastation of the last major eruption in 1994 is still very evident. Sea day before reaching Doini Island for more snorkeling, dance groups etc. More arts and crafts to buy. What a great little 'resort' island. Check out www.doiniisland.com and if you're cruising there pre-book snorkeling or trips to Samarai Island etc. Love to come back and chill!!!! 2 more sea days and back to Brisbane. On the way up to PNG and on other sea days we were entertained by very knowledgeable speakers who obviously loved their work. All in all a very pleasant visit to our next door neighbours. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This old lady holds up remarkably well...yes age is apparent but not really noticeable...a few stains here and there and rust is normal....food is best at the Crown Grill, Sabatini's is overly rich in butter and garlic...I find the ... Read More
This old lady holds up remarkably well...yes age is apparent but not really noticeable...a few stains here and there and rust is normal....food is best at the Crown Grill, Sabatini's is overly rich in butter and garlic...I find the MDR's noisy and the food soso...the Horizon Court is awful BUT great salad fixings that are very fresh for a perfect lunch...the ice tea can range from great to hints of chlorinated...yuck...coffee is decent However, the real magic was my full suite aft...quiet...roomy...with an incredible wrap around balcony...spent many hours dozing, reading, eating and gazing at the sea...the screw cavitation rumbled, the stern moved and the wake white noise all rocked me to sleep at night and my frequent naps...I found the rest of the ship crowded and noisy...the music mediocre, the entertainment corny...lots of selling of stuff...stores overpriced...excursions overpriced...spa massage average and overpriced with irritating sales job...there is a great hideaway, starboard deck 15, just outside with really comfortable chairs, shaded and not crowded...great for the kindle crowd...enjoyed the elite lounge canapés at 5:00 pm where I met new friends for the cruise with great drink specials...I rented convertible on Big Island through Hawaii Discount rentals...perfect choice for the day...also went with Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tours (significantly cheaper than Princess) for a bedazzling tour of Kauai ( best island for Helicopter tour)...a must do...shuttle to and back to pier with great staff...I enjoy sea days and there were plenty (9-10) as opposed to destinations...but Hawaii is magical except for Honolulu where I remained aboard...hot and humid except for the cooler less touristy Hilo...Lahaina, Maui is quaint mostly shops and beaches but a great cool park right by the tender pier...great for stretching out and watching the surf and water roll in....Ensenada is funky Mexico...crowded and poor...grab a cab (extremely cheap $2.00 per person) and go to downtown for beer, margaritas, guacamole and nachos with new found friends from the ship.... I must admit that my voyage would not have been lovely if I hadn't been a full suite aft (Dolphin deck vista largest and best value) morning breakfast delivered, In room dining from MDR menu, free laundry and dry cleaning, chocolate dipped strawberries every afternoon, private elite lounge for cocktails, quiet, roomy with an impeccable at your service stateroom steward...It felt like my own yacht many times...it is the only way to do it...re-booked the same suite for the Mexican Riviera next year...I will do Hawaii again Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a ... Read More
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a Cruise Critic member's (foolds) proposal to his girlfriend. I met lots of great friends on the ship and I am so lucky to have had this experience. Embarkation/Bon Voyage Program My grandfather joined me on the ship before it left port as part of the Bon Voyage Program. As soon as we arrived we were taken in and led to the priority check-in line and were taken to board the ship. The whole process was very smooth. He absolutely loved the ship and one of the bar servers, Nhorman, helped us get him and his wheelchair on to the ship. He was exceptionally nice and friendly to us and to my grandfather. Ship Overall the ship is pretty nice. There are a few design issues such as moving between dining rooms but overall it is nice. The public areas are well decorated and somewhat elegant. Overall the ship appears well maintained. I find some people have unreasonable expectations for ships (remember that they operate 24/7/365). I saw plenty of maintenance taking place and did not feel the ship to be in disrepair or dirty. Crew/Service I must say that the crew on the ship was very helpful and kind. Dining room service was decent but not outstanding. The bar people were nice and friendly. My cabin steward (it's steward, not stewart by the way) was great. I take a medication that I have to mix with water. I usually use a fork to mix it in a cup so the first night of the cruise I went to Horizon Court and picked up a fork and brought it back to the cabin. The next morning the steward took the fork, which I figured he would, so I went to and picked up another fork that night. Well the next morning the steward brought me a clean fork and extra glass and left them in my restroom for me to use with the medicine. I find this to be extraordinary service that he did this without me having to ask. I gave him the Consummate Host card. Ports/Shore Excursions I have been to Cozumel and it is more of the same it has always been. The only excursion I took was in Belize which I really loved. I took the open air trolley tour. I am kind of torn because I loved the tour and the people seemed nice but Belize is a horribly homophobic place so I do not plan to spend any money at all there in the future. Mahogany Bay at Roatan blew me away. Let me say this now: I heard an Princess Elite member telling people on the ship that they could NOT use the beach at Mahogany Bay because it is owned by Carnival. This is 100% FALSE. The beach is free for any cruise passenger that docks at that dock. If someone tells you any different they are simply misinformed. I spent the day at Mahogany Beach and it was simply amazing. The water was beautiful and so was the atmosphere. Entertainment The only show I really attended was the magician, Michael Barron, and he was excellent. This was probably the best magic show I have ever seen and was very entertaining. I did attend the Princess Pop Star competitions as a friend I met on the ship was competing and they were amazing. We (a group I met on the ship) also went to Skywalkers most nights and had a blast. LGBT Get Together There was a LGBT get together every day at 5:30 in one of the bars, usually Wheelhouse. I met a few other guys there and we all hung out together for portions of every evening. The only thing I would like to see them change is maybe have a crew member host it (there are plenty of gay guys in the crew) and have some way of marking where the event is within the bar such as a sign. Cabin I was in cabin A403, an interior cabin on deck 12. The cabin was small but comfortable with adequate storage and closet space. The bathroom was small (as all are) but it served it's purpose. The Elite bathroom amenities were nice. Captain's Circle Elite Benefits The Princess Captain's Circle is awesome. The benefits are outstanding. I received a free mini-bar, priority service at the pursers desk, 10% boutique discount, priority tender embarkation, 150 free internet minutes and much more. These were all awesome benefits. Bad Parts Avoid the shopping show on the second sea day. You will lose part of your life if you go. There was little to no actual port info given and the whole thing was a long, drawn-out sales pitch and the man (Vince) was repetitive and not very genuine. I would not lose sleep if they did away with his position. Disability Accommodations I have some medical problems including a damaged spine. I did not ask for or sign up for any disability accommodations but the facilities seemed ample and appropriate. I did use the elevators which were usually available but sometimes had a wait. There were quite a few mobility impaired people onboard who seemed to get around easily (as easily as possible). The tender ride in Belize and the trolley were a little uncomfortable and I had to take pain meds after returning to the ship but that was the only real annoyance. Solo Cruising I have taken many cruises but this was my first solo cruise. I was nervous at first but it worked out really well. I did not attend any of the SOLO cruiser meetings as they all interfered with the LGBT get together or other activities. Summary The cruise was amazing. I absolutely loved it and am looking forward to another. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We actually flew in the previous night to Houston, late; all went very smoothly getting on the ship the next morning, light drizzle... Our cabin facilities were outstanding, and the surprise gift was there with beautiful tropical ... Read More
We actually flew in the previous night to Houston, late; all went very smoothly getting on the ship the next morning, light drizzle... Our cabin facilities were outstanding, and the surprise gift was there with beautiful tropical flowers from my husband with our surprise breakfast the next morning when we were underway with a full wait staff to our cabin on the balcony! Food delivered was fresh, hot, and delicious as well as the service! Throughout our voyage facilities on the ship were like no other we'd been on. Clean, respectful service, and once in a great while a waiter would ask us if we wanted a coctail on deck, but not pestered every 5 minutes!!! We are a gay couple of 12 years now, and felt respected, and no discrimination whatsoever, myself I am 56 now, and Rich is 57, and we love cruises, have never really had a bad experience, also there were a group of Bears aboard we befriended, and hung out with on occasion...; except.....When we were scheduled for Belize POC, we teathered for awhile; but the weather was to bad to stay, so we were redirected to Costa Mya(exuse spelling) but it was a nice little short 5 hr stop before we headed to Cozumel, with a day at sea, we still had a wonderful time in Costa Mya, rented a funky little car and drove all over the area, went swimming in a small village with the locals, and had some of the best grilled fish tacos I think I ever had! All other POC's were great, and ship's crew and captain took our safety first in concern about the weather. We would recomend Princess Cruises to everyone looking for an outstanding cruise experience. Our next cruise is coming up Dec 18th 2016 Carribean once again... Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My mom and I went on the 7 day cruise with 4 Ports (more later) We stayed in a hotel close by with transportation to the port which was very convenient. We had an amazing lobster dinner that night at the Ruskin Inn (highly recommend ... Read More
My mom and I went on the 7 day cruise with 4 Ports (more later) We stayed in a hotel close by with transportation to the port which was very convenient. We had an amazing lobster dinner that night at the Ruskin Inn (highly recommend great value). The next morning we had a nice leisurely light breakfast at our Hotel the Fairfield Inn who also provided transportation to the port (very organized) Once we arrived at the port we stood in line for about 20 minutes but it went rather quick. Our cabin was ready once we boarded so we were excited to check it out and put away our carryon's. We loved our cabin mainly because of the nice large balcony, aft location and walk in closet! (C752). Buffet was complete with a great selection so you had your choice of pretty much anything you wanted to eat. Very well organized and service was fantastic, as the wait staff anticipated all your possible needs. We enjoyed our assigned dining experience as we enjoyed visiting with a very nice family who ate with us. We also enjoyed getting to know our Maître d' and the staff and they even got to know our tastes offering some fabulous recommendations! I think my mom had a secret crush on him. We also loved the serenades during dinner from our consummate host Hector, truly loved our dining experiences every night food and entertainment was tops! Our first port was Princess Cays and we signed up for the tour of the Island and Colleen was a very informative, kind tour guide. We enjoyed many stops including a beautiful church on the beach in Eluethera. We fed the fish at the Ocean Hole at Rock Sound. Our final stop was for lunch on the beach and was good. My mom enjoyed dancing the Junkanoo with the locals right on the white sand beach and beautiful blue waters. It was an absolutely wonderful excursion and well worth the money. We lunched at Vines where they had some delicious sushi & tapas and wine tasting. The service here was a bit slow but we're on vacation so no worries! Enjoyed the entertainment on the ship too especially the Piazza flamenco Express!! We tried out the casino and had some fun but didn't have much luck winning any jackpots! We loved the Champagne waterfalls and all the festivities in the Piazza! We thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in the Sanctuary on at sea days. We didn't leave the ship at Ochos Rios but went on an amazing excursion at Grand Cayman Islands! Our guide Native Way Watersports (booked through cruise) was by far one of the top highlights of our trip. We went snorkeling, swam and held stingrays, shopping, lunch and even got our hair braided. Very well ran tour with a small group from our cruise. Highly recommend this tour guide. Really enjoyed formal nights on the cruise, great opportunity to get dressed up!! Princess does a great job of making it a very special evening with a 6 course lobster dinner and all the best entertainment! Our last port was Cozumel and we booked the VIP Dolphin Encounter at Chankanaab which was very exciting once we were in the water. There's a lot of waiting around with this tour (2 hours) We were in the water for about and hour and got to interact with the Dolphins which made all the waiting well worth it. It was truly a magical experience learning how to interact with the Dolphins!! My mom is not a swimmer and they made sure she felt comfortable and helped her with the push, boogie board, etc..(They said she was the oldest participant so far at 78, lol) We both loved it!! We had a great lunch after at the venue La Laguna and took a taxi back to port to board the ship. easy peasy! We also did a lot of shopping here, great bargains to be found I can't say enough about how much we enjoyed Princess, if you want to relax, enjoy new sites, great food and impeccable service Princess is for you! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This cruise experience was nothing short of amazing. After having read many of the reviews I was a bit concerned that the experience would be akin to our Carnival experience...something no one should ever have to live through. But, we were ... Read More
This cruise experience was nothing short of amazing. After having read many of the reviews I was a bit concerned that the experience would be akin to our Carnival experience...something no one should ever have to live through. But, we were pleasantly surprised. Our room was perfect, clean and comfortable, and our staff and crew members were kind, curious and always willing to assist. Dissimilar to some of the reviews I have read here, I never encountered any staff member gunning down the hallway with the intent to run over passengers. The only encounter I had with a hallway issue was a sweet, little old lady with her walker and oxygen tank. There was no way I could get around her, so I walked behind her until I could move past. We had a nice conversation about the cruise and the mileage that she got out of the tennis balls that were fitted to the bottom of her walker. She was a delight. The food was good in the main dining rooms and the buffets, but it was AMAZING in Sabatini's and Crown Grill, as well as room service. We ate at Sabatini's 5 of the 7 nights and every day for breakfast, one night at Crown and the other evening was room service. Hands down--awesome. The boat was well equipped and we loved it. With that...here are just some things that you should know when booking this cruise. 1. The gym hours are really limited: (07h00 to 22h00). Given the ports of call, the capacity of the gym, and a number of other scheduling factors, it is not as convenient as some people would like. Extended hours would be nice especially on days when the boat is at port. Furthermore, given the location of the gym, only a small number of treadmills (5) are available before 9h00. Power to all other treadmills is disconnected until 9h00. While it was comical to see other passengers get on the disabled machines, read the signs, remove the signs and then proceed to figure out why the unit was not turning on, it did create frustration. While it's understood there are cabins below the gym and the restriction is due to ensure quiet enjoyment hours for passengers on the deck below, this creates a further bottleneck in the availability of equipment. 20 minute restrictions on cardio equipment (while understood) further detriment the gym experience. If you are an avid gym goer, you may have to sacrifice some port time to get your workout in during off-peak times. That's what I had to do to ward off the harmful effects of martinis and pina coladas. 2. If you are adults, over the age of 18, and you wish to book time at The Sanctuary spa (for the week), try to be on the boat as soon as possible. This is a very popular destination and it fills up fast. They only allow so many reservations for the week, and then it is first come, first serve on a 1/2 day basis. We wanted to reserve chairs at The Sanctuary for the week, but by the time we got there (which was just after 12h00 on the first day) all of the week reservations were filled and we were number 16 on the waiting list. The crew member advised us that next time we should get there earlier and do not go to the stateroom first. Go right up to The Sanctuary, get your reservation then go settle in. 3. While menu items are subject to change, many of dining items in the main dining rooms as well as the specialty restaurants were centred around seafood and beef as a second choice. Sabatini's was mainly seafood, with one beef, chicken, and veal option. The food was AMAZING, but limited in scoop. The Crown was the same. It was mostly beef with one...perhaps two non-beef choices. The buffets always had a vast assortment for any taste buds. 4. Unless you are and avid pop drinker, do not buy the unlimited pop/souvenir cup that they offer you at the beginning of the cruise. Firstly you get another plastic cup that will take up space in your cupboards, and secondly, the cost is 4.50 a day. I don't drink pop, but I do like club soda. In hindsight I was better off with just paying by the class. The only two things I think that Princess could do to make the experience a bit better is to: 1) Reduce the number of formal nights. On a seven day cruise, one formal night is sufficient. For the vast number of people who do not partake in this evenings, all they do is serve to clog up the ship's main areas while over-dressed people, have their pictures taken on the main stairs--again blocking egress for other passengers. On the formal evenings it as near impossible to navigate the Piazza between crowds and closed areas for pictures. 2) Cut out the picture taking bits all together, or make it such that passengers are not bombarded with cameras and folks in get-ups every time they get on or off the ship. It's brings down the classiness of the experience. If folks want their pictures taken, sure thing, just have a place for that away from egress areas and out of the way of folks who want to get on and off the ship without having to wait for photo ops. While the Princess Paparazzi were all very respectful of our space, it's tiresome having to ward off cameras.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Let me begin by stating, my partner and I love to cruise and pick Princess exclusively. When we cruise, we are on vacation, period. We relax, go with the flow, and enjoy the time away from work. Short of death, nothing is going to ... Read More
Let me begin by stating, my partner and I love to cruise and pick Princess exclusively. When we cruise, we are on vacation, period. We relax, go with the flow, and enjoy the time away from work. Short of death, nothing is going to "ruin” our cruise. This is a term most CC readers hear used on ships throughout their cruises and my partner and I believe that is just people that are never happy. Embarkation: We booked a S4 Suite and check in was smooth as silk. We were told to proceed to the suite area and look for a uniformed representative to "whisk” us onboard as we have seen many times before. Unfortunately what we experienced was nothing more than a large room filled with a mass gaggle of Elites (E) and Preferred (P) passengers, and one haggard Princess employee who was valiantly trying to appease their demands. This made the embarkation process painful yet humorous due to the amount of Princess Elite and Preferred passengers all trying to be the first passengers to board the ship. Boarding was delayed due to clearance issues from the earlier 5 day cruise. Once the door was opened for boarding the Es and Ps went crazy. They swarmed the door but an older man with a New York accent took control and started the process of boarding, scolding them and demanding they listen to him and follow his directions. The Elites went crazy because "Blue Cards” (Princess first timers) were boarding ahead of them. It was quite entertaining. My partner and I just laughed and wondered when it would all end, after all, it is vacation, right? After 6 cruises with Princess, we wondered, would we ever act like that as Elite, doubtful. Once aboard, our vacation could begin. Suite and Concierge Lounge: S4 suite is arranged like the former PH suites on Grand Class ships, however, it is much smaller. The balcony is narrow and has only a two top table with forward facing chairs and two easy chairs; unfortunately there are no sun loungers in the S4 Suites on Royal. The marble bath is stunning. Glass shower stall with shower head and a hand held wand. A separate non-Jacuzzi bathtub and dual sinks. The bath is split into two rooms, with the commode and sink in one room and the shower, tub and sink in another room, quite convenient for a couple. The suite has a queen size bed with 2 nightstands, 2 place sofa, 2 leather chairs, a coffee table and a desk. Standard dry bar and 3 closets and underbed suitcase storage. Our cabin steward David, was by far the best steward we’ve ever experienced at sea. He is like a ninja steward. We would leave the cabin for 20 minutes and return to a refreshed cabin with new towels and a refreshed bed. The best part a suite on the Royal Princess is the private Concierge Lounge. This lounge became the great check-in equalizer. As stated in the brochure and on-line, it is only for full suite accommodations S2, S4 and S5 on Royal. Imaging the joy my partner and I felt as black card after black card tried the door for entry, only to have the light turn red. In fact, one Elite tried to piggy back in, but the Concierge scolded them. So sorry, your Elite status means nothing here, unless you have paid for a suite. The two Concierges are some of the finest staffers I’ve experienced on Princess and you can see they have been selected for their professionalism, dedication and discretion, well done Rosbert and Monika. While the lounge provides light snacks, all varieties of espresso based drinks with the coolest machine ever, juices, and a nice library, it is really a nice place to relax. Plus as suite guests you get a made to order breakfast at Sabatini’s. Food/Dining: We did anytime dining. As suite guests you get a free pass to either Sabatini’s or Crown Grill on the first night. We chose the Crown Grill and our traveling companions all enjoyed it. I would compare it to the Palm for food quality but the service was lacking as it is on every first night with Princess. We dined one other night at the Crown Grill and service was much better. The main dining room was ok when we ate there; our anytime dining waiter was so bad the first night we just laughed because we were on vacation. The second night, he greeted us with "oh, you came back” which made us burst out laughing. I let Monica, the Concierge, know and we were changed to a different waiter for all MDR dining after that. The highlight of the dining was "Lumiere” the $115 private Chef’s Table experience. This multi-course extravaganza starts in the kitchen and ends in the crystal curtained dining room. It was so intimate and delicious. I tried sweetbreads for the first time. I guess it was all the champagne that lowered my inhibitions. Breakfast itself was wonderful at Sabatini’s every day. A coffee, mimosa and made to order poached eggs. My partner and I looked at the buffet on day one and it is nicely organized but we never went, we don’t like the crowds who push and shove and act like it is a competition to get as much food as possible. I do like the fact that the plates are smaller on this updated buffet. Ship Likes: Overall Look/Design, Retreat Pool for Adults Only, Expanded Sanctuary, Expanded Piazza, Seafood Bar/Bellini Bar, Concierge Lounge. Ship Dislikes: Balcony Depth, Suite Size, No Sommelier for Wine (Budget Cuts), Less Expansive Wine List, Whiney Passengers. Overall Royal Princess is a lovely ship. There is a tradeoff for suite guests to consider. Give up the room/balcony size for the new Concierge Lounge (only Royal and the new Regal have one) or keep the bigger suite and balcony on Grand Class ships. Our next cruise is on Ruby and I may just do a Mini-Suite since there isn’t a lounge.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
The impetus for this cruise was in part to celebrate my 50th birthday. Nothing like a 15 day cruise to help you forget how old one is getting. Although, considering the average age onboard was 71, according to our Cruise Director, most ... Read More
The impetus for this cruise was in part to celebrate my 50th birthday. Nothing like a 15 day cruise to help you forget how old one is getting. Although, considering the average age onboard was 71, according to our Cruise Director, most other passengers considered me to be just a baby. Prior to our departure, we stayed two days at the Double Tree San Pedro. We chose this property due to its close proximity to the Port of Los Angeles and the free shuttle service to the pier on the day of embarkation. The hotel was a rate of $160.00 per night and the hotel overall was a decent moderate property. Friendly staff and just one restaurant which I would say was mediocre at best. It was definitely location that mattered most in choice of this property. The hotel was definitely showings signs of age, but was by no means intolerable. Had one very strange customer service issue for which they called our room the night before checkout and had the audacity to ask if we could vacate the room before 900am or they would like us to move to another room that evening. I was completely outraged at such a request and I told them quite bluntly that I had no intent of vacating that room by 900am, nor were we going to move. After explaining my upset to the front desk the following morning, they took 50% percent off my room rate for the last night of the stay. It was most appreciated in terms of good will. Once arriving I must say I was completely surprised at the size of the Island Princess as I knew this ship had been built to Panamax size, I somehow thought the ship would have to be smaller in order to fit through the canal, but in fact, the ship was still quite large. Embarkation ran very smoothly and efficiently. We had a short wait of maybe 45 minutes after we checked in the waiting area, but we were onboard by 1230pm. Activities were your typical fair of bingos, game shows, trivia, pool games, and such. I most enjoyed the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire Game" where it was the men against the women. Had a really wonderful meet and mingle from our Cruise Critic role call. We had also organized a slot pull and cabin crawl which I thoroughly enjoyed. The entertainment overall was excellent, although their was certainly some entertainers I enjoyed more than others. Although, more unique to this 15 day sailing for me, was that often, the entertainers were brought onboard for a longer length of time and would perform twice with two different shows, but the same brand of entertainment. There were jugglers, pianists, trumpeters, vocalists, a mentalist, and a ventriloquist. The highlights were the mentalist, Brent Webb who in a word was simply amazing. He was extremely unique from any other entertainment I had ever seen on other cruises. You can find is site at http://www.brentwebb.net/. The other entertainer that I just loved was Michael Paul Ziegfeld. He was a comedian/ventriloquist and he was absolutely charming. I spoke with him after one of his shows and I had asked him, if he was related to Flo Ziegfeld, from the Ziegfeld Follies fame. Turned out that Flo Ziegfeld was in fact the father of his mother who had adopted him. You can find more information about him at http://michaelpaulziegfeld.com/. We had chosen anytime dining which for the most part worked out just fine. Although, you didn't need reservations, we found it to be quite helpful as your wait for a table was almost nothing as there was a significantly much shorter queue. The worst issue we ran into was the very first night of the cruise, we had met up with two other couples and showed up without reservations and needed a table for six. After waiting 45 minutes, and yes, I checked with the hostess more than once, upon the last time I checked with the hostess, she had given our table of six to another group. Well, I must say I was livid at that point and I can simply say that the Maitre' D stepped in and got us a table for six and very short order. We did eat at the Horizon Court (buffet restaurant) for all our breakfasts and lunches and quite a few dinners. I must say, for a cruise this long, one can tire over the 90-120 minute long dinners, at least we felt that way. We never really had too much difficulty finding a place to sit and everyone of our fellow passengers were very friendly. The ports we stopped at during the cruise were Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Cost Rica; Fuerte Amador, Panama; Cartagena, Columbia; and Oranjestad, Aruba. Of course, the highlight of the trip was our 10 hour transit through the Panama Canal. Overall, we had quite nice weather considering how hot and humid Central America is. We certainly had all the humidity, but the temperatures were mild overall, so it was pretty bearable. One very nice Princess service was upon returning to the ship, they offered a cool damp wash cloth and cold water. Disembarkation went quite smoothly as well, probably waited a little longer than we should have before tag color was called, but once called, we were off the ship very quickly. This cruise ended in Port Everglades, which I just love as this port is extremely close to the airport. We obtained a porter who helped with us with our 4 pieces and got us a taxi once we were through customs. I have to say, getting a porter is well worth whatever you tip him/her. I usually tip $2.00 per bag, more generous than some I suppose, I really appreciate their assistance. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We embarked on our Singapore to Sydney cruise very smoothly and were impressed by our cabin. C103, with its in port only balcony . We found there was lots to do during the day and evening, although I would have liked more classical music ... Read More
We embarked on our Singapore to Sydney cruise very smoothly and were impressed by our cabin. C103, with its in port only balcony . We found there was lots to do during the day and evening, although I would have liked more classical music concerts (there was one and it was excellent). We were disappointed with the night club. DJ Mikey has no idea how to get a party going and his "Abba Night" consisted of 25 minutes of songs because, he said, "i tunes only have this amount of playing time of Abba available". However the lounge bands were good. We were particularly impressed by the food on the Diamond Princess. At lunchtime there were a variety of venues all serving good quality fresly cooked food. In the evening we went for Anytime Dining which was good because there were lots of people from around the world to talk to in a choice of 4 restaurants. In fact many of the waiting staff were highly qualified and spoke several languages and were interesting to talk to also! The choice and quality of the dishes was excellent. We booked a couple of excursions with people we'd met through Cruise Critic and these worked out really well, and were cheaper than those organised with the ship. Although I had booked and paid for the cruise most of the administration, including the after-cruise evaluation, was sent only to my (male) partner. He e mailed me the evaluation form but I was not allowed by the system to fill it in! ! made a formal complaint a month ago and still have not received a reply. Despite this lack of courtesy, I would certailnly go again on a Princess cruise and would recommend this particular one, Singapore to Sydney (sailing for the first time into Sydney harbour is magical!) Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
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