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43 Princess Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of the price and cabin. Having sailed with Princess before and in a rear-facing cabin which we loved. The only thing that was not as expected was the restaurant. We normally opt for Any Time dining and usually ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the price and cabin. Having sailed with Princess before and in a rear-facing cabin which we loved. The only thing that was not as expected was the restaurant. We normally opt for Any Time dining and usually eat late 8.30pm and have not had much trouble getting a table for two, but on this cruise, everybody seemed to want to eat at that time and tables for two. The system when this happens is that you are given a pager and they call you when a table becomes available. This worked very well as the bar is adjacent to the restaurant and was handy for pre-dinner drinks. I think the longest we had to wait was 15 minutes, no time at all. The shows were a bit low on the quality side and having cruised with Princess many times we have noticed that the resident dancers seem to be doing less and less. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have been traveling with Princess for 15 years and they are consistently good. We are not up for a late night party crowd and not looking to have kids running around... so the critical comments about it being an older crowd are ... Read More
We have been traveling with Princess for 15 years and they are consistently good. We are not up for a late night party crowd and not looking to have kids running around... so the critical comments about it being an older crowd are actually a plus for me. Over the years the bar service has been changing, especially so after the drink packages were introduced. Instead of an annoying army of folks always asking if you want a cocktail, now you usually have to get your own... and the attentiveness of the bar staff is not as good as it was historically. The entertainment is good enough but nothing special. The food is great with a HUGE selection of choices at the buffet. Cabins have been fine and comfortable. Balconies seem to be getting smaller on the new ships. In particular on the Regal I LOVE the area near the retreat pool with the sun screens on the edges which don't block but diffuse the full force of the sun. I really wish they did this on more of their ships. Being a gay couple I will also note that this has never been an issue on any our our cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise about 6 weeks beforehand as we were looking for a winter getaway. I was looking at a few different options and I am very pleased with the choice we made. Starting with embarkation, the tone was set. Really efficient ... Read More
We chose this cruise about 6 weeks beforehand as we were looking for a winter getaway. I was looking at a few different options and I am very pleased with the choice we made. Starting with embarkation, the tone was set. Really efficient and seamless - we got our luggage quickly and from port to ship was fast and all staff were friendly! Although it was not perfect (what is?) there were so many positives on this cruise. Near or at the top of the list was the social nature of this cruise. We met so many nice people - I feel like the design of the ship really encourages chatting, social time and not rushing! Food was very good. Entertainment was a bit hit and miss - AJ the comedian was quite good, we had a group called the phat pack that were excellent (and not part of the cruise specific entertainment!) and some of the musical acts were fun and location appropriate (eg Mariachi) The colours of the world was not great for a variety of reasons and I found the show times of 630 and 830 really conflicted the dinner times. Dinner was typically at a leisurely pace and we missed quite a few shows. No matter, we just chatted with friendly passengers! We had an inside cabin which was ok but I think we will be back on a balcony next cruise. If you have not had a balcony you may not know what you’re missing. We did and noticed it! One other complaint was a one off - there was an unruly passenger that was picking a fight with another, much older passenger on the tender back from Cabo - I tried to alert the Princess Staff and nobody seemed to know what to do or act with a sense of urgency. I am guessing that it is not common on Princess which may explain why but it could have turned serious and they should have been quicker to act. Overall, loved the ship crew was good passengers were almost universally friendly. We will definitely be sailing with Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Wonderful ship and crew... all the amenities without the amusement park. The ships staff and services was a bit overwhelmed the second week which was Christmas but they still tried very hard to accommodate 500 more people than the normal ... Read More
Wonderful ship and crew... all the amenities without the amusement park. The ships staff and services was a bit overwhelmed the second week which was Christmas but they still tried very hard to accommodate 500 more people than the normal sailing. Entertainment was great and I highly recommend Kori Simon in the Piano bar and Barbi McCulloch and the ships entertainers in the show ENCORE! The Secret Silk show was ambitious as well. Dining was varied and always wonderful and the ships International Cafe and coffees were a great addition. If visiting Roatan I highly recommend going off the regular choices and seek out Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout. It was an amazing tour and the highlight of my trip. Check them out on TripAdvisor and reserve your spot ahead of time. Alexander, the ships cruise director was a pro and his staff kept everything running like clockwork. The casino was a bit hit and miss but that’s why they call it gambling. Overall another great Princess cruise. Can’t go wrong with the Royal or Regal Princess Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our first cruise out of the west coast and we were impressed with embarkation. From the time we arrived at San Pedro, we were on the ship in only a few minutes. The public areas of the ship were in good condition, as the ship ... Read More
This was our first cruise out of the west coast and we were impressed with embarkation. From the time we arrived at San Pedro, we were on the ship in only a few minutes. The public areas of the ship were in good condition, as the ship has very recently come out of dry dock. Everything looked great. We did notice that the clock at the aft pool was out of service during the entire voyage - a minor annoyance. Once we were permitted to go to our cabin, we found the temperature a bit warm. The climate control had no impact, so we simply closed the drapes and waited for the evening. Once the sun set, we were able to open the drapes and the slider, and allow the ocean breezes to cool the cabin and lull us to sleep. The larger television mounted on the wall was great. It freed up a lot of room. We also liked the motion-sensitive nightlight on one on the nightstands. The fridge in our room was caked with ice and badly needed to be defrosted. Food on the ship was mostly disappointing. The first morning, we were searching high and low for the omelet station. We were finally directed to where we could place an order only to find that our order would be taken and would be delivered to us in the dining room within five minutes. Sure. We gave our claim slip to a dining room attendant and he returned, literally, 25 minutes later with a cold, sorry excuse for an omelet. It was thin, like a crepe, and the chosen fillings were stuffed inside like an enchilada rather than cooked into the eggs like a proper omelet. The spinach was not fresh and appeared to be thawed, frozen spinach. Disgusting. That was the last morning we attempted to order fresh eggs. Extremely disappointed that Princess has decided to discourage guests from ordering "omelets" and freshly cooked eggs by serving the dreck they served. In the restaurant for dinner, we were disappointed to see that the steak offering had been removed from the "classics" section of the menu and if one wanted a steak it was only available for a fee. On the evening that surf & turf was offered in the dining room, I was quite disappointed to see the steak served to me. While B's "filet mignon" was about an inch thick, mine was *literally* no more than 1/4 inch thick, though it was cooked to the requested medium temperature. I could not believe the kitchen had the nerve to serve that cut of meat as a "filet mignon." Service throughout the cruise was hit or miss. Efren in the dining room was great and we really enjoyed his thoughtful service. The grill attendants at the Salty Dog Grill on the pool deck were slow and inattentive. The dining room attendants at the buffet became noticeably less attentive as the week wore on. By the final morning, it was like they weren't even trying to be cordial. They also had "run out" of cranberry juice by the final morning. Our cabin attendant, Julio, was great - very friendly and eager to assist. What happened to the late night food offerings/buffets on board? Buffets closed promptly following dinner service and it appeared that the very limited menu at the International Cafe was the only thing available until morning. Overall, the cruise left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth regarding Princess. We have cruises currently booked on other lines and hope they will not be following in the Princess manner of a noticeable decrease in food quality. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because 1, it was going to Alaska, nd 2, it left and returned from Los Angeles. We couldn’t afford our normal balcony room, so we opted for a window room. It was just ok. We did learn a lesson though. We won’t ... Read More
We chose this cruise because 1, it was going to Alaska, nd 2, it left and returned from Los Angeles. We couldn’t afford our normal balcony room, so we opted for a window room. It was just ok. We did learn a lesson though. We won’t opt for a upgrade option. We were put in a room we wouldn’t have chosen. It was too close to the front of the ship instead of the middle or closer to the back like we needed. Like usual on Princess ships, the International Cafe was our favorite place to start and end our days and nights. The waitresses were the BEST!!! Friendly, fun, got to know us by name and favorite drink! The food was just ok. Sabatinis was the best meal we ate! The coffees in the International Cafe were great. Just wish we didn’t have to pay for them. Wish they offered coconut milk as an option. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
All in all, we really enjoyed it, but Princess would do well to take a few statistics classes. When we checked in at Southampton, woo, hoo, we’re platinum, you know. This is our eighth Princess Cruise (and could be our last if the ... Read More
All in all, we really enjoyed it, but Princess would do well to take a few statistics classes. When we checked in at Southampton, woo, hoo, we’re platinum, you know. This is our eighth Princess Cruise (and could be our last if the keep playing those godawful reworded 70s Love Boat theme-song safety messages - thank GOD they stopped after the first day) so roll on the bennies! Let’s skid sideways through the special quickie check in lanes and get this party started!! The line for elite/suite/platinum/not-sure-what-else looked like Disneyworld suddenly decided to throw a half price sale. The Princess person guiding people in apologetically said they had a rush of elite guests. Um...maybe. Or the boat is loaded with them. I’m no idjit. Where’s the steerage lanes? Waaaay down ther...I waddled with increasing speed towards the line that could’ve had tumbleweeds blowing through it. Then I started doing my “come hither” dance at my other half. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done. Splaying limbs, expressions of a Maori warrior communicating half the British armed forces are bivouacked over yonder hill, I’m certain I’m adorable in all my middle aged glory. So my beloved and a few other canny people moved to the unimportant people line, which ended in the same place. I figured, even if they sent ten premiums through for every one pauper, hell, we’d still be in our stateroom hours ahead. We joined the remarkably short queue of commoners. As did several people from the premium lanes when they heard what we were doing - and those bods were halfway through the line already. Ducking under the rope that separated their highnesses from the likes of us, they now had mere feet to get to the head of the line rather than wrapping around like the Haunted Mansion awaited them. The young woman in the Princess uniform at the front was trying to send more premiums than commoners through, but as we inched forward, the guy behind us cried, “We’re platinums!” I couldn’t help myself, I could see this young lady pulling him from the line ahead of us and hell, it was my idea in the first place, I was the Moses who lead this line of premiums into the General Area. Which, as I write that, sounds really snotty. Yes, we did jump the premium line, but honestly, it was set up in such a way that anyone could. You just had to think about it. So I snorted and said “so are we!” Well, that rattled her some...elite passengers from all directions, so she didn’t stop to think we’d walked through the almost empty third-class lane. “Oh, of course. Please, step this way,” much, I’m sure, to the annoyance of the next up in the elite lane. This, in turn, got us earlier tickets to get through the security checkpoint. I kinda feel bad but really, it was there for anyone to do. Next comment: The other thing Princess would do well to change about this cruise is the ice cream. Last cruise, the ice cream bar by the pool had sugar free which they happily dispensed at no charge along with the sugary soft serve 12 hours a day. I skip dessert at night...no hardship, sugar free mango cheesecake didn’t sound appealing, but a bowl of ice cream sure did. I’m thankfully not diabetic but after my bariatric surgery I find I can only tolerate small amounts of sugar. So we get poolside, only to be informed if I’d like sugar free, they’d be happy to help me at the gelato bar** on deck five. Okay. Couple issues with this. 1. The Royal Princess is one of the largest ships in Princess’ fleet. And Princess doesn’t really redesign their ships, they more accordion them - they stuff extra decks in. I try to limit my elevator usage to one per day. The pool is on 16. Gelato is on 5. Bed is on 11... 2. The gelato bar** is always followed by asterisks. Just like the Crown Grill**, Sabatini’s Italian Resturante**and the snooty tooty Lotus Spa**. Yep. You guessed it. “May I have your cruise card for a moment, please?” Cha-CHING! Smarmy smile, as that automatically incurred a 17.5% tip on toppa the cost. Thank you, madame. We can afford the charge, of course, it’s the idea of the thing. But I’m especially cheesed off for the child diabetics on these cruises who can’t just sneak an ice cream like any other kid can. Instead, they have to choose to either mess with their blood sugar or have their folio rat them out - they can’t even pay cash outta their allowance. What fun is that? So for my sugar intolerance, I get an extra $50 charge (yes, fifty bucks. Don’t judge me. I don’t judge YOUR dessert consumption and two scoops are nearly $3 each. Over 15 days, that’s what? One a day? Like YOU have ONE dessert a day? Please.) This will get too long if I add everything that happened, so if you’re a glutton for punishment, I kept a semi-regular log at examiningmisadventures.com. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
As always, this Princess cruise was chock full of the senior set, which is fine - we're just coasting into qualifying for AARP ourselves, so it's not a problem - we're not party animals by any stretch. The good: The ... Read More
As always, this Princess cruise was chock full of the senior set, which is fine - we're just coasting into qualifying for AARP ourselves, so it's not a problem - we're not party animals by any stretch. The good: The Coral Princess is one of their smaller ships, which meant we developed more friendships with people than on larger ships, which was nice. Likewise, we got to know more of the staff members on a more personal basis. The ship is able to go through the Panama Canal (only just, it squeeked through) and it's amazing to watch. The activity tours we went on were amazing (ziplining in Costa Rica, swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman) but the walking tours (Gautamala, Cartagena) were really bad (how much will you buy, rich American tourist? Oh, yeah, there's a bit of history here, but let me show you where to spend your dollars...) My advice: do the activities. Serious fun. You do NOT need to be in fabulous shape to do them. It's okay to be chubby and wheeze a bit. You do need to be willing to laugh and feel a bit ridiculous. You will make the BEST memories if you do. We stayed at the Ft. Lauderdale Renaissance Cruise Ship Terminal, and it's literally right next door to the terminal. This does NOT mean you can stay there then walk to your ship, but it does mean it's an easy Uber/taxi ride. I would not walk it - it must have been a good 2 miles considering we had to drive all the way around the port to get to the ship. It's a decent hotel and we were able to Uber from the airport to the hotel, then walk over and get dinner from Chipotle next door. It made getting on the ship the next morning stress free. We're a lesbian couple celebrating 25 years together and despite this being an overwhelmingly straight, elderly demographic, we felt nothing but welcomed and accepted, which was the best thing ever. The bad: "Anytime Dining" on the Coral Princess apparently means line up at 4:45 or you won't eat until 7:00pm - and those old folks are SERIOUS about getting din-dins on time. Don't be messing with their meals. It's worse than third grade recess with line-cutting. One person will stand in the line and 42 people will walk up and join them before the doors open. The Universe Lounge has movies and production numbers, but the balcony level is awful to be watching anything - there's multiple safety bars. No idea why they don't put in plexiglass instead so people can actually SEE what's going on. There's less food selection in the Horizon Court than the larger Princess ships - a LOT less. I found that really disappointing. Same ol', same ol' every morning for breakfast. The ugly: Sales, sales, sales. I imagine it's the same on all cruise ships - we haven't been for a couple of years, and wow, it seems like they're selling at every turn. Most conversations seemed to start with "You want to buy..." Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was our second cruise in the Grand Princess (and 13th on Princess). Overall we were very pleased, but of course there were some concerns. THE GOOD: -- excellent cabin steward; very helpful as we prepared to host a cocktail ... Read More
This was our second cruise in the Grand Princess (and 13th on Princess). Overall we were very pleased, but of course there were some concerns. THE GOOD: -- excellent cabin steward; very helpful as we prepared to host a cocktail party; great attitude -- superb entertainment, as is usual for Princess -- service in the dining room was excellent - attentive and prompt -- enjoyed meals in both specialty restaurants -- the daily LGBT gatherings were fun, with over 20 folks a couple of times; fun to meet people from across the country -- the variety of excursions offered on the four Hawaiian Islands was good. We loved the submarine dive in Maui. -- the New Years Eve parties were a lot of fun -- although a water leak in the 14th level Horizons Court closed half of it for most of the cruise, the dining staff responded well and opened other dining rooms for added hours to compensate, resulting in a minimum of inconvenience for the passengers THE NEGATIVES: -- the ship was always cold! Not just cool, but so cold that folks were wearing jackets to the shows and lounges. The first night our cabin would not get above low 60's - maintenance adjusted the settings as we were comfortable the rest of the cruise. -- food in the main dining room was not as good as on previous cruises (fish was overcooked and dry) -- young children screaming during dinner in the specialty restaurants really detracted from what was otherwise a very nice experience. I would love to see a policy of no babies (perhaps under 2) in the surcharged restaurants -- I did not like the Latin focused ballroom dancing lessons, much preferring traditional ballroom that I have enjoyed on previous Princess cruises -- although we have enjoyed days at sea in the past, including trans-Atlantic crossings, with ten days at sea (four over and six coming back (with a four-hour stop in Ensenada) became too many days out of a fifteen-day cruise. We will certainly cruise with Princess again, and even on the Grand Princess since it remains based in San Francisco and is very convenient for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We selected the cruise due to a Costco promotion that popped up, when I was browsing the Costco website. It fit our timing and budget. The ship looked magnificent and huge. I found the cabin , which is a pretty standard, spacious , ... Read More
We selected the cruise due to a Costco promotion that popped up, when I was browsing the Costco website. It fit our timing and budget. The ship looked magnificent and huge. I found the cabin , which is a pretty standard, spacious , balcony was a definite plus. (Later on I would that more than 80% of the cabins had a balcony, so it is definitely a huge advantage. The food was tasty, buffet was very good, the a la Carter restaurants dinining was a bit formal with a low selection of entrees. Vast majority of the entertainment was targeted to retirees. The service was very good. Shore excursions were priced ok and good. I would like to have some better selection of active excursions. Mine was cancelled a day before the cruise departure. The shopping experience was great, however the promotion of the on board EFFY jewelry was too intrusive and overboard. The store manager was definitely a pusher. The ship definitely makes lots of many from them. The promotion of other stores and shore shopping was done on a much nicer and pleasant way. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We are retired and doing a canal transit was on our list. The ship will be in dry dock soon and needs significant repairs. For us personally, this was not a major factor. Our balcony room, E-711 was fine. Nothing broke. The room is ... Read More
We are retired and doing a canal transit was on our list. The ship will be in dry dock soon and needs significant repairs. For us personally, this was not a major factor. Our balcony room, E-711 was fine. Nothing broke. The room is too small. There was a desk chair and one other chair that did not fit well in any position is the small space available. No way a small sofa would have. Comedians can have a field day on the small shower, but the balcony was of decent size. Our room steward was great. In areas of the ship there were bad odors at times, but not in our area. There were small pipe leak floods in some halls and rooms, but not in our area. Emerald deck has a great public back deck, but no seating. It would be a nice area to sit and watch the sea, visit, or read. Embarkation was very good. The room was available immediately and ready for us at noon. Luggage came efficiently. The ship was not full, so it was rare to feel crowded. The one level theatre only seats about 660 people, so there were often three shows in the evening. The entertainment was very good, The ship is currently rated by passengers as the top Princess ship for entertainment. The central plaza area has a tiny dance floor, but the Explorer Lounge and Wheelhouse bar are public areas are very nice and intensely use. They must be zoos when the ship is full. In terms of decor, colors, and art, this is a very fine ship. The crew and service staff are tops. Our time in Aruba was very short, but we had a great Princess snorkel excursion. Our time in Cartagena was also too short, but we had great private tours there and in Nicaragua arranged through the board pre-cruise discussion here in Cruise Critic We did a good Princess archeological tour with a lot of walking in Huatulco, but were on our own in Costa Rica and in Puerto Vallarta, places we've been multiple times. Cartagena, Nicaragua, and Huatulco were all first time places for us, and we loved all three. The sea days were lovely. Lots of diving birds to entertain us. The first sea day out of Puerto Vallarta gave us great views of Cabo and the Baja Coast. Lots of sail boats, motor crafts, even oared and paddled craft. Lots of dolphins breaching and even jumping out of the water in unison. The buffet, because of the excess of rooms to public space had very tight passage ways between tables to exit the area. It must really be difficult when the ship is full. The central plaza patisserie bar is markedly below average for a snack or dining space, but everywhere the service was wonderful. Don't expect a donut on this ship. We had a set dinner time at a table for 8. We started out with just 4. Nelson, the head waiter was able to find 4 more people to fill out our table. Nelson is the best head waiter I've had on any cruise. We got on well with out tablemates. Overall, the food in the dining rooms and buffert were high average, but I sometimes felt some food was being strictly rationed. I could not get extra spinach, but could get asparagus, green beans and peas. I'm on coumadin and my dosage is based on me eating a certain amount of green vegatables. Several salads I had that contained "tomato" had a single cherry tomato split in half. Just before the end of the cruise they ran out of papaya and banana. I sang a chorus of "Yes! We have no bananas!" with a tablemate that last morning. Callie, the cruise director was wonderful. He was the best cruise director ever. One evening he hosted the shows in drag. It took his feet days to recover from the spike heels, but he looked fabulous. I'm sure some female passengers were envious. Disembarkation were smoothly, very smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because of convenience. We took the ferry to pier 41, then walked a few blocks to our vacation. It was as simple as that. The process of embarking was fairly simple and quick, even being as crowded as it was. The ship. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of convenience. We took the ferry to pier 41, then walked a few blocks to our vacation. It was as simple as that. The process of embarking was fairly simple and quick, even being as crowded as it was. The ship. I had read some reviews of the ship looking tired with well worn carpets and other noticeable blemishes. Didnt notice anything bad about the boat. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on the Aloha deck. I found the cabin to be a little bit small, without many power outlets. I think there were only 2. 1 in the bathroom and on in the room. The bed was super comfortable, and the balcony was nice to have. Our room attendant was very nice, but there was a bit of a language barrier as he did not understand some of our requests. No big deal though. Our dinner restaurant was Bottocelli's. I found the food to be good, but not great. Our 2 servers Rodel and Made' though were excellent, really good people! Most of the entertainment was pretty good, the cruise director Dave is pretty good at keeping the entertainment going. The shore excursions were pretty good all around as well. Disembarkation was easy as well. My list of dislikes is small. What comes to mind is the paid for wifi. If you can avoid it, do yourself a favor and do so, its worse than old dial up internet. I hope to do this cruise again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We choose this cruise and itinerary because we heard that Princess had a great reputation for Alaska. Overall, I had a nearly perfect experience on the ship. The highlights of the cruise were the superior level of service from almost ... Read More
We choose this cruise and itinerary because we heard that Princess had a great reputation for Alaska. Overall, I had a nearly perfect experience on the ship. The highlights of the cruise were the superior level of service from almost everyone on the ship and the seamless way our cruise was handled. Our roundtrip out of Seattle pier 91 was very simple. My first Princess cruise, we arrived at the port around 11:15 and were on the ship by 12:15. Embarkation was handled smoothly in groups. People who had gotten to the pier earlier were called earlier, but they didn't start boarding until around 11:45. We received our bags in our cabin around 6:30PM. My only other cruising experience has been with Carnival multiple times, and I would say overall this is a step up in many ways, especially staff to passenger ratio and service. As Carnival is my only previous experience, most of my observations compare the two experiences. There weren't many children visible on the ship; passengers were mostly couples in their early forties and older. Food The room service and main dining room experience was excellent from a service standpoint. Food quality was pretty good and the breakfast room service menu is better than Carnival, but the MDR food selection was definitely more limited than Carnival. It helps to know that with AnyTime dining, you can make a reservation in advance and not have to wait. Although the MDR opens at 5PM for dinner, we arrived at 5:30 one night and were given a pager and told it would be 30-45 minutes to wait in the DaVinci dining room. Ultimately, we only waited about 20 minutes and enjoyed a drink from Vines wine café across the Piazza. Bartender Mark Anthony in Vines remembered us after the first night and would always offer our glass of Chandon before dinner. Also Vines offers a modest sushi plate or cheese plate in the afternoon if you order a glass of wine. I also loved the quality and selection at the included International Café in the Piazza. From pastries to sandwiches, salads, and desserts, these options were good. As for the specialty dining, we tried the Salty Dog gastropub in the Wheelhouse Bar on the first night for $12 and were impressed with the quality of the pub fare. The umami burger was fantastic, as was the crab cake. On our first elegant night, we opted for the Crown Grill which everybody raves about, but I was underwhelmed. The service was fantastic. The food quality paled in comparison to the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouses on Carnival. For a $29 upcharge per person, we had a nice selection from the menu, and you can order as many things as you want. However, we started with a "special off the menu" appetizer of oysters on the half shell which weren't that fresh. They seemed slightly dehydrated. The scallop appetizer was excellent. Soups and salads were all right. My chop porterhouse steak was too fatty. They served the sides family style in the middle of the table which seemed a little sloppy. There were no amuse bouches served nor specialty breads and butters like on Carnival. We also tried the Crab Shack one night which operates in a special corner of Café Caribe on certain nights. Overall this was better. While the salmon rillettes and clam chowder were fine, the crab and shrimp and royal mixed steamer were very good and an excellent value, the dessert tray was a real let down: just four cakes under plastic domes already partially cut up and not particularly appetizing looking, so we skipped it. The highlight of the specialty restaurants is Curtis Stone's Share at 16 aft. We really enjoyed the ambiance, excellent service by hostess ZaZa, and the food quality was certainly a significant notch higher than on the rest of the ship at $39 per person. This 6 course restaurant aspires to Michelin star territory, and with the exception of slightly under-salted pasta courses, was superb. We didn't use the buffet too often. One night it was just after 10PM and the last pizzas were going into the oven as we approached, so it was our only option. The area can get a little crowded and the selection is okay. Because there were so many Asian passengers on board, I was surprised to find that at least 30% of the dishes on the buffet were Asian. It's wouldn't be my first choice for dining on the ship. I'd rather have a more limited menu with table service than search for a table after the buffet. However, in contrast to Carnival, the buffet dining room tables are set with cloth napkins and silverware and the service staff were quick to come to us after sitting down to ask if we needed anything else like drinks. I regret that the Café Caribe was not open as often, because for food selections, the atmosphere was newer and the choices were healthier. Bar Service I enjoyed the coffee shop in the mornings for our iced espressos and chai lattes. It was only late in the cruise that I discovered the coffee shop also offered spiked frozen chocolate mint milkshakes. Those frozen Polar Bears were awesome! We had booked our cruise with a Sip and Sail promotion, so all of our beverages and drinks were included. With the exception of a few wines by the glass, room service drinks, and wines by the bottle, unlimited beverages are included with the package-- which I loved. I will also note that one major difference between Carnival and Princess with the drink packages is that on Princess, they may ask you to show your card to order a drink, but they never have you sign a slip with the option to tip on each drink. This was very nice, and it kept our overall tipping tab down. Overall bartending was excellent across the ship. My only nits were that the same drink wasn't always served the same from bar to bar. I had an excellent signature bloody mary from the bar next to the Trident Grill on the first night and it was never recreated exactly the same way again. I loved that there were roving servers in the dining rooms and on decks to ask us if we wanted anything, which was a far cry from the Carnival experience where it's rare to have someone on deck ask you for a drink order. We loved the Adagio bar in the back on 16, it was nearly always empty and very private. Our bartender Rosie was special, asking about us and serving us our favorite drinks every time we visited. Entertainment Until the quite fun balloon drop on the second to the last night and it's excellent accompanying Magic To Do stage show, entertainment on the ship was mediocre. It seemed to be focused on an older crowd. The magic show was tired and lame, the singer was good but the shows were basically just singing song after song. One night, there was a pub review sing along with a bunch of old songs our group in our forties and fifties didn't even recognize. The comedian was pretty funny. Otherwise, I found the tone of the entertainment to be several notches below Carnival. We enjoyed the few trivia challenges we entered, and we won two of the four we played. I wish Princess offered a keepsake collectible from winning a trivia challenge like Carnival's ship on a stick. We got some dollar store bargain DVDs for one prize and princess wine stoppers for another. The de rigueur British-accented Cruise Director was fine. Ship Design Most of the ship's dining rooms and bars were nice, but indistinguishable from one another. The interiors were very suburban McMansion styled from the '90s, with a strange mishmash of Sixties clocks and Italian styles. It's not modern with the exception of the Café Caribe and Share restaurant. It's nice to have so many hot tubs and pools on the ship which were unfortunately not really used for the Alaska cruise. There were usually a few people in the hot tubs while on ship. Enrichment I loved the naturalist on board for the Glacier Bay viewing. We also had another naturalist who offered lectures and tips about what to do in port throughout the cruise. These were very good. I wasn't much interested in dancing lessons, but there were many of these. I didn't go to champagne art auctions, of which there were many. I also didn't go to the many "parties" they threw in the shops to sell jewelry. Sanctuary and Gym We booked the Sanctuary first thing for Glacier Bay viewing at $60 per person. From 6:30AM until about 4PM, this included excellent service with unlimited bloody maries and mimosas, our own padded lounger with blankets, a thermal mug, ear warmers, special food service at a private buffet for breakfast, lunch and tea service, and a keepsake picture. In order to see the glaciers without the blue glass of the Sanctuary, I had to move to another part of the ship which was close, but overall, this experience was fantastic. It was cold! I jumped down and stood fully-clothed the sauna for about five minutes when I needed to take the chill off. The gym below the Sanctuary was fine with jogging machines and elliptical trainers. We went to a spin class for a fee one morning, and really broke a sweat! Itinerary and Excursions I don't think I'll go on an Alaska cruise again any time soon, but if I did, I'd be happy to do it again with Princess. This seems like a once in a lifetime experience, and overall Princess didn't disappoint. I wish we had more time in Ketchikan (8AM-noon) and Victoria (6PM to Midnight), but otherwise we had plenty of time in Juneau and Skagway. We booked a dog sled on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau which was cancelled because of the weather. Instead, my group of 4 booked a float plane to view 5 glaciers. This was considerably less expensive ($215 per person vs. the $600 per person for the dog sled through Princess.) I loved the gorgeous views, but if you're prone to motion sickness, beware of float planes! I white knuckled this for a part of the ride. One nit with the cancellation of the dog sled excursion was that Princess showed that I had a $1300 credit on my bill after we had cancelled the prepaid trip, but still charged my credit card (which dropped off the card), and then they told me that I would have to wait 10-15 days after the cruise to get the refund by mailed check from corporate. That's bogus. They could easily refund the card I used to pay for the excursion. We also booked the luxury car train for the White Pass Scenic Railway. This was SUPERB! If you can afford it, I highly recommend this upgraded experience with unlimited snacks, beers, wines, and champagne for the 2.5 hour train ride. Only 14 people in the car for the experience are allowed. The views are breathtaking! Our final planned excursion was the 4 hour boat ride in Ketchikan to Misty Fjords. This was a long excursion that precluded us from any other activity in Ketchikan. The bulk of the ride in either direction was taken up with talks from the naturalist and native American speaker. However, the cruise through Rudyerd Bay was worth the trip! So beautiful! It was like no place I've ever seen. So green with ribbon waterfalls, seals, bald eagles, and puffins, we were fortunate enough this rainy day to have this part of the ride without precipitation. I loved it. Final Thoughts I went on this cruise with my husband and we've been together for 34 years. We were hoping to experience a vow renewal. It had shown on our itinerary under the payments and schedules section that we had this included, however, there was some sort of miscommunication between me, my travel agent, and Princess, because we were told no service package was included for our cruise without us paying a minimal addition of $229 for a vow package. I had called Princess in advance of the cruise to confirm that our package was included and spoke with someone who said it was. No one at the customer service desk including the manager would consent, and we weren't prepared to pay more for this, despite the fact that we both wrote new vows. We tried multiple times with confirmations, but were ultimately left disappointed in this omission. It didn't ruin our cruise, but we felt sad that we couldn't have our renewal ceremony. This leads me to another point about LGBT meetings on the cruise. Every night at 6:30PM there was an LGBT gathering in the Adagio bar. We'd go with our traveling couple companions nightly, and we were almost the only people in the place. Twice there was just one other couple who weren't particularly friendly. This was inconsistent with our experience on Carnival. Once again, this didn't disappoint or ruin the cruise, but we were surprised that nobody else on this full ship of 3100 passengers would come to a gathering. Princess is an upgraded experience over Carnival, with superior service and a very laid back, mature vibe. It's calm, serene, and a good value overall. The atmosphere is like an upscale suburban traditional wedding reception. It's not a fun ship party atmosphere. It's genteel, refined, and quietly luxurious. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This is our second time on the regal. This time we took the kids and we knew the regal would meet at least 90% of our expectations for their first experience. For anyone that wants a good cruise it won't disappoint. It's not the ... Read More
This is our second time on the regal. This time we took the kids and we knew the regal would meet at least 90% of our expectations for their first experience. For anyone that wants a good cruise it won't disappoint. It's not the most luxurious cruise money can buy but certainly way above most. In speaking with those who have many cruises under their belt they come back for the same reasons. It's not a party ship and is not geared to young families as with Disney. It's a cruise experience with something for everyone who want a relaxing cruise with above average food and most of what you expect is included. My only complaint this time was the entertainment, as it wasn't as good as the first time. Our youngest although an adult gets motion sickness and therefore for anyone who is susceptible to motion sickness, needs to be on a big ship as with the regal. I've been on a smaller ship and unless you are lucky enough to have calm seas throughout that's not where you want to be. We had two days this time with moderate seas and the regal and its size eliminates the effects of 10-15 ft swells pretty well.E Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We had cruised the Caribbean 5 times (including Cozumel) and preciously visited Puerto Vallarta (1982) and Cancun twice to all inclusives with the grown up kids. But this was a different way to see Mexico that appealed to us, it being ... Read More
We had cruised the Caribbean 5 times (including Cozumel) and preciously visited Puerto Vallarta (1982) and Cancun twice to all inclusives with the grown up kids. But this was a different way to see Mexico that appealed to us, it being Valentine's Day and everything (my 60th birthday on the 13th). We found our aft cabin, B256 cramped and noisy. Our steward was fine, he needed some time off. I love the food but my wife just gets by with it. Sometimes she liked it but she liked less of it than I do. We had one of the best excursions ever in Puerto Vallarta with Valarta Adventures through Princess. We got WAY more than we paid for with snorkeling, kayaking, a hike, a waterfall, a beach, a close whale encounter, great food, drinks, and entertainment. Highly recommended. The entertainment was OK. The first comedian was really funny and the "Magic To Do" production number tried very hard. The fitness equipment was good but the jogging track was the worst ever. The weather was great, though it seemed it would be too cool (the last day really was) and the experience on the whole was lovely. I prefer going to the Caribbean (and it is easier from here) but this was a nice time too. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities ... Read More
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities need to allow for multiple entry points to the ships instead of funnelling thousands of passengers into one entry point. Enough said. Once on board, the Princess crew were all over the place providing assistance to locate our cabins. Food was already being served and it never stopped for the eleven days we were on board. The decor on the Emerald Princess is tasteful and subdued with a mix of many shades of blues and browns but lacking a little pizzazz. Nonetheless all areas and venues are clean and comfortable. Our mini-suite (D526) was immaculately clean and our cabin steward couldn't have been more helpful and responsive to our requests. As cabins go our mini-suite was very spacious and comfortable. When selecting the cabin, we didn't realise the balcony was open/visible to the decks above but worse, there was no relief from the sun. We did change the pillows for smaller ones as the standard ones were so big and luxurious we were almost smothered as our heads descended into pillow overload. The air-con all over the ship was on the cold side for my liking so make sure you take some longer sleeved items and a cardi/jacket. Of course you can buy on board! We didn't bother with the specialty dining venues (at additional cost) as the food in the main dining rooms was perfectly fine. A few misses but in the main, the options were many and varied and well cooked and presented. Still amazed at the precision and quality considering the number of passengers. We chose "anytime dining" and shared tables at lunch and dinner and we met many delightful people, some of whom we will keep in touch with. Great staff in the dining rooms too. We are not fans of buffets but when in port, it's the main eating venue on board. Food was fine. A tip for coffee lovers... there is often a long queue to order lattes etc. in the International Cafe (deck 5) despite having to purchase them. Just sit down at a table and flag a waiter who will order for you and deliver it to your table (even if you want takeaway). There is a variety of entertainment from musical stage productions, to comedy, mood music, ballroom dance lessons, line dancing, Zumba, a full gym, in cabin TV/movies, a giant screen for movies under the stars, a kids club, games on deck, art auctions, shopping sales, spa services, competitions, giveaways and if that's not enough you can attend churches services too! Excursions are not always good value for money but if you do your own thing you really need to do a lot of research beforehand and be aware if you don't get back to the ship on time, it doesn't wait for you! Some South Pacific Islands are really beautiful like Isle of PInes (not visited this trip) and Champagne Bay but Noumea is very tired looking and the locals not particularly friendly. Port Vila is run down and dirty but the people are all very friendly and chatty. Of course there is no need to go ashore as the entertainment just keeps going on board. We met many people who have cruised on Princess ships many times and some debatable incentives are offered for loyalty. There are still other cruise lines I wouldn't mind trying but I have no hesitation in recommending the Emerald Princess and may well cruise on her again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
12 night extended family cruise with 6 of us in 3 staterooms on Caribe Deck. The Diamond Princess is a lovely ship and seemed very well maintained. As always the staff are magnificent providing excellent service. A younger cruise for ... Read More
12 night extended family cruise with 6 of us in 3 staterooms on Caribe Deck. The Diamond Princess is a lovely ship and seemed very well maintained. As always the staff are magnificent providing excellent service. A younger cruise for Princess with an average age probably around 45 comprised of about 50% Australian, 25% Russian and the rest of the world making up the other 25%. Highlights for us was the evening meals - usually in the Savoy Restaurant with anytime dining. The anytime dining restaurants seemed to peak around 8pm so we chose to eat earlier at 6:30pm and got very nice window tables and got to know our regular waiters Albert and Atesh. We usually had four course meals (you can have as many courses as you want) which were mostly excellent and beautifully presented. We had drinks packages so had wine by the glass and a cognac to finish. We splashed out sometimes on things like Veuve Champagne (at 40% off made it priced pretty reasonably). Horizon Court is what it is - a buffet - but the choices were reasonable. Celebrity do it much better in my opinion. Our only gripe was that after 11pm there was nothing to eat anywhere other than room service. Even just a pizza station would have been good. We enjoyed all the activities with the Entertainment staff who worked very hard and were good fun. The production shows, in particular Bravo, were excellent. We really didn't go to the non production shows and just hungout in Explorers in the evenings. For speciality dining we had one night in the Sterling Steakhouse which could have been a bit more atmospheric - the waiters we had were a hoot and the steaks not bad either. Sabatinis was not so good - nice atmosphere but did not live up to expectations. Food was ok but the staff did not make you feel like you were having a special night. Lots of time for relaxation in the Japanese the spa - which seemed quite underutilised. For $15 it was good value including the outside spa and deck chairs. We weren't fussed about the destinations really - just happy cruising around the equator - highlights were Penang and Langkawi. We had drinks packages which we utilised well making the most of after dinner single malt whiskys and cognacs. It was great to have Churchills as a nice place for cigar smokers. Not the fault of Princess but the behaviour of some of the passengers left a lot to be desired. I've never seen so many brawls (why fight over a deckchair!). Security did handle situations well but it should not be tolerated. Embarkation and disembarkation were exceptionally smooth. One of our family members noted that the first GLBT get together was supposed to be hosted but was not. Some kind of identifier for the first meeting would have been really good. So many reviewers seem to moan but the Diamond is a good quality 4 star plus ship! We like Princess so would go again - but also like Celebrity as well. Celebrity is just that bit posher and cultured. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Hawaii's islands were on my bucket list for my retirement. I could check it out from the list. This cruise characterized in a large population of disabled people and seniors. For the cruise excursions, it took a long time to ... Read More
Hawaii's islands were on my bucket list for my retirement. I could check it out from the list. This cruise characterized in a large population of disabled people and seniors. For the cruise excursions, it took a long time to get off or get into the bus at each location. The same was with tender. We had an interior cabin and although it was quite small, it was a great place to sleep without the sleeping pills; the cabin was very quite. However, after 15 days on the ship, my husband and I are taking a break from the long destination's cruising that have 9 days at sea, when the weather is not perfect. Very smooth embarkation; however, the police at the San Pedro, Los Angeles' port was very aggressive and, when my daughter helped as with the loading of our baggage, she get a $93 ticket for leaving the driver seat. That fact a little sour our experience with embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was a Pacific coastal cruise--somewhere I wanted to see. It was vintage Princess, but the Coral Princess is very nice no matter what you may read in these reviews on Cruise Critic. Yes, there are a couple of chips, etc here and ... Read More
This was a Pacific coastal cruise--somewhere I wanted to see. It was vintage Princess, but the Coral Princess is very nice no matter what you may read in these reviews on Cruise Critic. Yes, there are a couple of chips, etc here and there, but it's very nice, very clean. The size is good. I hardly every had to wait in line for elevators or food at the buffet. My husband's leg started giving him trouble while walking when we were gone and Princess staff couldn't have been nicer even going so far as to bring up a wheelchair at Santa Barbara tender port out of nowhere and loaning us a cane from the desk until the medical area opened. The food was so-so, and I thought more varied in the buffet than in the dining room. Why can't there be some regular food like ordinary cake or pie or fried chicken or a casserole? The shows were much, much better than before that I've seen on Princess. They were modern with modern music and enthusiastic singers and dancers and a very funny comedian. The northwest area of the continent is beautiful. We stayed at the Pan Pacific in Vancouver. It's the way to go if you can swing it. The hotel takes your bags to the ship, and you just go downstairs to board. Nanaimo has a beautiful harbor and a great Dollarama store close by. There's also a grocery store and drug store. Just hop on the free shuttle and get off at the harbor. The mall is across the street. Volunteers couldn't wait to showcase their town. Astoria, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco were all pretty and have their own things that you would want to see. Alcatraz, the wharf, vineyards, scenic views--all beautiful. If you use Gray Line in San Francisco, make sure you know exactly where you are going and the address. We and several other passengers had trouble finding it even with a taxi. It's a very small place on a corner. Book your tour of Alcatraz from home. You'll be sorry if you don't. Also Alcatraz is a long winding, slanted (13 story) walk uphill. It's doable, but, again, know your abilities. In Santa Barbara, it is a 3-4 block walk to any shopping or eating after you get off the tender. Most of the walks from the ship to the ports themselves are long. I say this not for those who are used to walking, but for those who may have physical limitations. Santa Barbara is a tender port where wheelchairs are not permitted unless they fold and the person can walk on to the tender. There aren't many activities on the ship. That was a bit of a disappointment since I like to stay busy and not just read and relax although some of that is nice too. Maybe historical classes, free smaller tours of the kitchen. The one tour was much too large to hear what was said. Tours of back stage? Information on the towns we are visiting? Of course, no one wants to get off, but it has to be done. It's my most unfavorite part of the cruise. Get your bags out before bedtime then sit and wait for awhile the next morning. But it was a smooth disembarkation. We had an extremely long wait to get on Super Shuttle at the port. The shuttle was there, but the driver would not leave until the van was totally full. I'm ok with that except in this case we sat there full except for two people for 45 minutes. No one was happy. He ignored us wanting to go ahead and leave. The shuttle people there were on our side, but he refused to leave. There aren't many of these cruises during September and I know sometimes it's rainy. We had beautiful weather the whole way. We were very lucky. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We typically travel suite class. Because it has been going where we want to go, when we want to go, we've been traveling Princess. The Sapphire Princess is a large ship! The disadvantage is that it often is berthed in a cargo area of ... Read More
We typically travel suite class. Because it has been going where we want to go, when we want to go, we've been traveling Princess. The Sapphire Princess is a large ship! The disadvantage is that it often is berthed in a cargo area of the port Vs. "in/nearer town". Despite the number of passengers, there is enough space on the ship so you don't think it is crowded. The dining rooms serves good food. The alternative dining rooms, additional fee, are fine too. There are formal nights; however, the dress code is slipping (on all the cruise lines). The code is not enforced. Some passengers make a mockery of the code. The ships tours are good. Eliminates the need to arrange for private tours at the various ports (although we have arranged to be met by private tour guides). No matter what category you are traveling on the ship, check-in leaves a lot to be desired. Typically, check-in is the worst part of the cruise. They haven't mastered it yet. Some cabins do not have a separate shower from the tub; ugh! Bottom line: You'll enjoy your Princess Cruise! Late submission due to extensive overseas travel April-July Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first cruise, so it was all new to us. Having read previous reviews of this ship we did wonder if adverse comments were true. More of that later. We are an early 60s British couple recently retired, travelling with a ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so it was all new to us. Having read previous reviews of this ship we did wonder if adverse comments were true. More of that later. We are an early 60s British couple recently retired, travelling with a relative. The cruise was 16d/15n from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal, with stops in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Aruba. The ship was built in 2002 and refitted last year, with extra cabins added at the rear of Deck 7 Promenade. It is one of two built to Panamax size to suit the Canal, although larger ships can be taken when new locks and channels are commissioned later in 2016. Standard of fit out and furnishing was excellent, with much polished and varnished wood, chrome and marble. Maintenance continued throughout the voyage, and at each stop crew were on shore painting out rust and tug marks on the hull. Previous posters complained about the addition of cabins in the 2015 refit, cutting off the stern part of the Promenade Deck. This wasn't a problem for us when walking , as you could either turn around and walk a long U shape, or cross a landing to do full circuits. There were also comments about crowding in public areas, but we only found a problem in the breakfast buffet in Horizon Court at peak time. The answer was to order hot drinks, cereals and fruit from room service, then to have a cooked breakfast when the crowds had subsided. A daily news letter listed activities, talks and shows, with extra information sheets on destinations. There were also regular deliveries and reminders about "enrichment" (shopping) opportunities. It was irritating how Princess constantly tried to squeeze more money out of the passengers, through on-board shopping, wine tastings, photos and DVDs, the casino, and exorbitant behind the scenes tours at $150 each. Although we only saw a few shows they were varied and good quality. The food was varied and of good quality. Our dining option was the late sitting of fixed time, which gave time to relax and have a drink before dinner, especially after shore excursions. Although we three had asked to join a table of eight we were on our own for the first two nights. The Maitre D' then placed two other couples on the table with us after they changed their options. We like to think that he was proactive to ensure compatibility. The dress codes, including formal nights, were generally adhered to and enforced. Most passengers were American, with some Brits, Germans and Canadians, and generally older than us. Although there's a teenagers' area we only saw one young person and one toddler. Previous reviewers said that some staff were rude. Without exception, all staff were friendly, attentive and efficient. The only rude people we met were some passengers, who talked to staff as though they were inferior beings. Some vocabularies don't include "please" and "thank you". Doors to decks had stiff closers for obvious reasons, and when holding them open for passengers some didn't thank or even acknowledge me. It was irritating on shore excursions when passengers had loud conversations when guides were talking. A "sailaway" party was planned for departure, but was cancelled as we sailed away four hours late following a faulty software update on the ship's control systems. There were four sea days before the first stop at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, which gave us time to familiarise ourselves with the ship and to get over jet lag. A shore trip took us to to a coffee plantation and Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Both were worth seeing. At the next stop in Puntarenas we visited a rain forest where a modified ski lift takes passengers above the canopy. Tours started late as another cruise ship was moored at the same pier, and space was limited for coaches to reverse to the ships. The walk around Panama was interesting, when we anchored off Fuerte Amadore and were tendered ashore. At Cartagena and Aruba we decided to do our own thing. The cruise dock at the former is in a commercial port, but there's a shopping centre a short walk along the dock. Check out the emeralds, and haggling can reduce the marked price. Aruba's pier is next to the city, and there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to visit. The short time in port meant that some trips would have been rushed. Due to a late return flight to the UK we booked a disembarkation tour at Fort Lauderdale, cruising the Intercoastal Waterway before transferring to Miami airport. The coach driver and guide were confused about where to drop passengers for Virgin Atlantic, and dropped us at the furthest point. We then had a long trek through the airport with our luggage. It is worth paying to use an airport lounge, with drinks and snacks, as the catering provision in the airport is awful. Our cabin was one of only 8 mini-suites on the ship, with the same area as balcony cabins. There was some shuddering when sailing into heavier seas, and there was noise when docking due to being directly above the bow thrusters. In their wisdom Princess have put all laundromats at the stern, so the round trip from a bow cabin like ours to wash or iron was 500 metres. Given the number of sea days we paid for the all inclusive drinks package, which was value for money. If you tot up specialist coffees, bottled water for the cabin and excursions, cocktails before dinner, glasses of wine with, and liqueurs after it is worth it. Don't order bottled water from room service as you still have to pay for it. My wife lost a crown during the trip and I asked the front desk if treatment could be arranged during one of the stops. They never got back to us. We will definitely cruise again, and probably with Princess around the UK or to the Baltic, so the ships will be different. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Greetings and welcome to my review of the Royal Princess. This was my 12th Cruise and my 5th cruise with Princess and my 1st cruise onboard the new larger class Princess Ship. Prior to this cruise I was always reading such negative reviews ... Read More
Greetings and welcome to my review of the Royal Princess. This was my 12th Cruise and my 5th cruise with Princess and my 1st cruise onboard the new larger class Princess Ship. Prior to this cruise I was always reading such negative reviews towards the balconies, and the lack of stairs midship. So i was quite nervous that I would be very disappointed once onboard the Royal. So lets get to it… Originally we booked a Mini-Suite because I prefer the larger bathroom shower/tub combo. About two months before the cruise we were offered an up-sell offer from Princess from a Mini-Suite to a Suite for $399/person. We pounced on the offer and luckily we got it. Our room was R603. The room was beautiful. The first thing I did was go to the balcony and see how narrow they are since all the reviews online talk about how small they are. Now considering I was in a suite, which was like having two balconies in one, I never thought they were too narrow thou. Now if you compare them to the mini-suites on the Ruby/Emerald/Grand class ships, then yes they are smaller because the balconies do not extend out further like those ships. But overall, my first thoughts were when I walked out on the balcony was..what are all those negative reviews for? It wasn’t that bad. So lets squash that complaint. Now I did tour a mini-suite on the Royal and I felt the mini-suites on the Ruby/Crown/Grand class ships were a tad better. I liked the bathroom but the main room seemed to lack some of the storage areas that I recall on the Ruby/Crown/Grand class ships. One of the perks Suite Owners have is your own Concierge Lounge which offered a variety of snacks and drinks you could pick up and take back to your room. You could also make reservations thru out the ship with the Concierge Lounge staff. She took care of all our dinner reservations and request all week. Suite owners also get to have dinner on embarkation evening at any of the speciality dinning venues. We choose the Crown Grill and was very nice and quiet since only Suite guest can dine that evening. Another perk was breakfast in Sabatini’s which we ate at a few times for breakfast. The list of perks goes on and on so if you do get a chance for an up-sell offer to a suite I would highly recommend jumping on the offer. Dining - we went with the anytime dinning and our 2nd night we dined in the Concerto Dining Room and that is where we got off to a bad start. Our service was slow and then the waiter goofed up on a few of our orders. So the 3rd night we decided to go to Symphony Dining Room and that is were we had excellent service from there on out. Our waiter Larry really made for some memorable dinning. The food I felt was very good as well thru out the cruise. I had no major complaints there. Even the buffet area which we dined in one evening was very good. So overall I was very satisfied with the food onboard the Royal Princess. Entertainment - We went to both the major production shows and we had a taste of two different performing crews. The 1st production show was that crews last performances for their contract and they really performed the show well. The new cast who performed on the 2nd production show felt new and nervous since it was their first time performing on the ship. So I am sure as they get more comfortable in performing that will improve. My recommendation would be to find the string quartet who plays sometimes in the Piazza or near the Crown Grill and sit back and relax listening to these very talented young ladies. If you enjoy classical music played on strings, then this is a must see venue. As for the other entertainment, I can’t comment on since I didn’t go to those. Overall Ship Layout - Yes especially on Day 1 those middle elevators are a nightmare as everyone is boarding the ship and using those. I did feel thou as the week went on I became used to the fact that the mid ship elevators are usually more crowded then the front/rear elevators and stairs. But was it a major nightmare that so many reviews say it is? NO. Just calm down people, your on a cruise and vacation so relax and enjoy yourself. If your familiar with the flow on the Grand/Ruby/Crown class ships then you’ll learn the layout of these ships very quickly as well. Favorite Area to relax - Outrigger Bar in the lounge seats. At the end of the day this was the area we always migrated to for a drink and socialize with friends while looking out at the ocean. Lotus Spa/The Enclave - We also purchased the Enclave package which is $175/person if purchase as a couple. You purchase this on embarkation day because they only sell 60 passes and you get access to a very nice relaxing area to wind down in. The large hot tub sure beats the over crowded hot tubs on the lido/sun decks. Plus you get steam rooms and many other features. St. Martin Tip - We booked a tour thru Bernard's Tours which I found on TripAdvisor and was very satisfied with our tour. Highly recommend them! Now to my complaints I didn’t like. I miss the wrap around promenade which you could walk around the ship. Very sad that Princess decided to get rid of this. I sure hope in future new builds that they bring this back. My 2nd complaint was the lack of bar service staff while laying out in the sun or just sitting outside relaxing. Almost all times we would have to go to the bar to get a drink instead of ordering it from a bar waiter walking around serving drinks. Which brings me to the subject that we learned thru staff that they were running the ship on a smaller staff then they should be. Now I don’t know if this is related to the fact that the Royal was scheduled for dry dock soon and many of the staff’s contracts may have expired, but overall I just felt that area of service was lacking onboard this ship. Overall I was very please with the cruise and I would give it a solid 4 stars out of 5. Now for a quick dis-embarkation tip - for $20 you can have Princess check you into your flight and print out your luggage tags and you place them outside your room the last evening of the cruise and you pick them up when you get back to your home airport. That means no hauling around your luggage in taxi’s or to the airport and just made coming home so much easier. Highly recommend taking advantage of that option. So if your soon to be cruising on the Royal Princess, don’t get all nervous from some of the negative reviews on here. Just go and relax and enjoy yourself. I sure did. =) Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Flew from Melbourne & stayed overnight at Hacienda Motel opposite the docks. Adds nearly $1,000 per couple to the over all holiday. Real pain for us Melbournians. Apart from that, Brisbane Portside Precinct is lovely and within ... Read More
Flew from Melbourne & stayed overnight at Hacienda Motel opposite the docks. Adds nearly $1,000 per couple to the over all holiday. Real pain for us Melbournians. Apart from that, Brisbane Portside Precinct is lovely and within walking distance of several motels, it was hot, we called a taxi -$8. No real problems boarding, except so many people arrive hours before time. Brisbane is quite organised, there is seating but thank goodness we walked down the precinct again and had a coffee and looked at the ship from the balcony viewing area, before checking in (Platinum). Not been on Sea Princess before, the upgrade/refit in Horizons is lovely, appears much lighter than on Dawn Princess. More room around the tea & coffee area and sweet & savoury snacks and treats behind glass, does seem somewhat cleaner in these times. Rooms - we had an inside as we booked late and took what was available, near the back but all good. We like fine dining, had problems in Rigolletos as we had booked for table for 2 and on table for 10, two men very unpleasant and argumentative. Tried to get smaller table, on 4th night we had a table to ourselves, 5th night arriving at 8.10 (7.45 was our booked time) the Maitre de (rudely) said we were "too early"! Really! I offered to look at the shops, he then said he had no room for us, try Traviata's - really! This was our 9th cruise so were quite taken aback by his attitude. Traviata's were also surprised but accommodated us with no problems. Note: A passenger told us there are only 4 tables for 2 in the Fine Dining Restaurants. I can't confirm this. Anyway, all good from there on, I even had a birthday cake one evening, very nice. The PNG Cruise itself - hot, humid, fun, very good company most people our own age, we are 72 + 76. Shows were good, islands were fun. Cultural Show at Alatau is a must and take a chance and ride a canoe, the people will look after you. Sure there's not a lot to see but we got off at every stop, swam in the beautiful pristine waters, took another chance and with the help of local finally got on a sailing boat to the little island only 5 mins away. $5 each. Locals are lovely, they do have markets but have little idea of pressuring you to buy. THINGS YOU MUST HAVE: Plenty of $5 notes, lollies for the children. Other items you could take are books, pencils, clothing. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
As the title suggests, the cruise was pretty good overall, but not perfect by any means and not as good as it could have been with better management. This was our 6th cruise and having sailed with P & O and Celebrity, we had ... Read More
As the title suggests, the cruise was pretty good overall, but not perfect by any means and not as good as it could have been with better management. This was our 6th cruise and having sailed with P & O and Celebrity, we had obviously experienced both ends of the spectrum of quality, with P & O clearly the worst of the cruise lines on just about every front and Celebrity so far ahead a telescope would be required to see them. Before this cruise we tried to find out if we should have a drinks package, but despite a considerable effort, we could not find a definitive price list for on board drinks, so I wrote to both Princess and my own agent with a handful of questions. Oddly enough I received mixed replies and none of them accurate. For example, Princess sent me a list of prices which were so under priced as to suggest they were either from a different cruise line or decade and my agent categorically stated we would require a US electrical converter! So just to set the record straight let me list a few prices and facts here for anyone else trying to organise themselves before departure. A Crown lager is $7.95, cocktails start at around $10 and a half decent wine was $10 a glass. A bottle of red would set you back around $35, but remember all these prices are subject to a 15% gratuity. And talking of gratuity, Princess state that passengers will be automatically charged a per night gratuity of around $12 per person, unless they opt out, but in fact if you book in Australia for a cruise from Australia, they DONT charge gratuities at all and you need to make your own arrangements or opt IN to do it. There was a universal plug socket in the cabin (a mini suite of very generous proportions indeed} and the choice of in room movies was beyond impressive - we are talking dozens of them and several VERY new releases. The TV channels however were to put it mildly very poor. Having said that, we have found they usually are on Cruise ships. Now for some personal highs and the odd lows of the cruise. Embarkation at the Sydney International Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay has been improved over the past couple of years and is virtually seamless, swift and painless. We were given a boarding time and arrived about 30 minutes early. Our cases were dropped off before entering the terminal and we were on board in our cabin less than 30 minutes later and our bags were delivered soon after. Another high is the food, which in our opinion is better than Celebrity in as much as Celebrity seem to serve their food with an American twist, meaning everything is OVER sauced, over flavoured and very salty, whereas Princess 's food was delicate and subtle with LOTS of seafood across the 13 days. We chose anytime dining and had the choice of four silver service restaurants to eat at at any time in the evening we wished along with the trough - err sorry I mean the buffet upstairs, a grill with burgers and hot dogs and a pizza bar. ALL of these are included in the fare and require no surcharge. For breakfast and lunch the choice of dining venues was more limited but still more than ample with breakfast in the main Princess dining room offering table service and the trough - sorry again - the buffet offering self service and these being joined by the grill and pizza bar for lunch. The main dining room also offered a totally unnecessary but still pleasant afternoon tea as well. There are a large number of bars on the ship as you would expect, but this leads me to my first negative of the cruise. I am a rather large individual, standing over 6 foot and not exactly slim in stature, yet gaining the eye of the waiters in most bars was virtually impossible on most occasions, though I would stress there WERE the odd exceptions. I am not used to being invisible and can only surmise that the staff have somehow perfected the art of not seeing people waving frantically, with arms over their heads directly in front of them - having given up on waiting for the staff to come over of their own free will. Could only describe this aspect of the cruise as abysmal, made worse by the fact we had purchased a drinks package for over $700 and therefore it was the drinks we had already paid for they werent serving us!!! Having said that, Skywalkers Bar and the Churchill Bar were exceptions to this with excellent service and a delightful young girl called Ruri ran herself off her feet serving everyone in various bars at different times, while some of her colleagues chatted to their mates behind the bar!!!!! Other pluses included the on board musical group Evolution who were very VERY good and very , VERY approachable and pleasant, with a stunning repertoire of songs crossing all genres and datelines. The best on board entertainment ever! I wont dwell on the odd negatives, though a couple were pretty bad. One involved the staff tying up 3 out of 4 aft lifts for the benefit of around 200 passengers to the detriment of the remaining 2000, turning what was normally a good and reliable method of transport between decks into a completely useless system and forced many less mobile passengers to become prisoners of their cabin or to be exiled from their cabin if they were elsewhere when the exercise started. Another was the refusal of the International Dining room Maitre D to allow passengers to be seated as on 2 seater tables on the final morning - forcing them to sit on large tables with other passengers. This is fine for most, but not for all and the minority should have been accommodated. My final is about the disembarkation process which went horribly wrong for about an hour and a quarter through no fault of the shipping line or its staff, but which should have been handled better on board with a bit of intelligence by the officers. Basically the Immigration departments computers went on the blink and the disembarkation process all but stopped. NO announcements were made for the best part of 3/4 of an hour and when it was explained, there was no guide as to how likely it was to be fixed in the short term. As I said NOT the crews fault in ANY way that the problem occurred, BUT keeping the passengers informed as quickly as possible and keeping them, updated VERY regularly would have avoided stress for those with a timetable to keep to. Personally I would have given free internet wifi for all passengers during the delay. This would have allowed those WITH a time problem to deal with the problem using the internet on their phones and kept the other passengers occupied as they either read the news, played games or communicated with family and friends. Simple, but NOT offered. All we got was silence! Moving back to the more pleasant aspects of the trip, the tendering service from the Diamond Princess is brilliant. With 6 tender vessels operating, the longest we waited was 20 minutes to get a ride ashore. That is remarkable. The ships singers and dancers were very entertaining and the special effects, props and costumes were all excellent for all their shows. Having said that the theater didnt seem to be large enough for the number of passengers with all seats filled with 1/4 of an hour to go till the first show started. The second performance usually had a little more space. The shows were generally around 30 minutes long, which was about half the length of those on the other cruises we have done, but they were very fast paced and well choreographed. Personally, we didnt like ANY of the invited guest performers, but I guess that was just us. I havent mentioned the shops and wont, other than to say there were less shops, less variety and very little value in any of them, which surprised us a LOT. Cant really explain why they would be so much worse than on all our previous cruises, but there you go, Princess Cruises saved us a bit of money we WOULD have spent on board, so thanks! So in summing up, the ship is in great condition, rides the waves very well due to her size and offers plenty of variety for dining, drinking, entertainment and pretty much all the sorts of activities you would want on board. I would recommend it to anyone who doesnt mind large numbers of people around them and a fair number of kids. Again speaking personally, I would rate the Celebrity above the Diamond Princess but there again you pay for that difference - our Mini Suite was about $2200 each with a few on board credits included, where as our ordinary Balcony suite with Concierge class service was $2500 each, and that went to the much cheaper destination of the Pacific Islands and Fiji compared to New Zealand and at a lower season time of year. Diamond Princess is however miles ahead of P & O which has slumped from its once average to poor level of service, to its current dreadful state with ancient ships, and a policy of trying to suck money out of every passenger on ANY excuse once they get on board. We really enjoyed the cruise which seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. Met some nice people and would not rule out travelling with Princess in the future if Celebrity arent going where we want to go! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
The service on there was really good nothing too much trouble but be careful with reception as some of them do not speak good English or understand. The best person to speak with is Bernard who comes from Canada. We have never had such ... Read More
The service on there was really good nothing too much trouble but be careful with reception as some of them do not speak good English or understand. The best person to speak with is Bernard who comes from Canada. We have never had such friendly helpful staff. The food is always cold so do not except too much, the deserts in the Horizon is really good for choice and the staff up there are the best always asking if you would like coffee or tea , Water nothing was too much for them to do for you. The free ice cream on the Lido deck is free and really good. The biggest problem was the shaking of the cabin at the AFT deck lido deck 14 on island princess shaking these are new cabins even though they were clean and nobody could look down on you and were not noisy the shaking is like being on one of those fitness shaking machines all the time. The shows were very short and some of the acts were terrible. The Films on Deck at night were good with free popcorn and cookies. The Burger bar is very good very hot food and fresh. Room Service which is free try the steak sandwich in the afternoon what a treat. The cabin Staff were so good always cleaning and perfect. Always sun lounger’s room in the pool space for all as there are 2 main pools and a splash pool on top deck forward. Be careful with the photographs can be very persistent. One of the best things is Any dinning you can go for dinner between 5:30 and 10 o'clock and sit a a different table every night. When shopping on board we found that staff very unhelpful and always looking at their watches rather than helping you. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
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