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1,040 Princess Los Angeles Cruise Reviews

I have sailed on three of the Princess ships now and the Sapphire is the largest so far. My stateroom was in the front quarter of the ship and the dinning room was at the stern so I had to walk three footballs in length to get to supper! ... Read More
I have sailed on three of the Princess ships now and the Sapphire is the largest so far. My stateroom was in the front quarter of the ship and the dinning room was at the stern so I had to walk three footballs in length to get to supper! And you can't get there from here either. It turned out that the best way to get there was go walk the length of the ship to the aft elevators to get down to the proper deck. You are unable to get there from any of the decks in the middle of the ship. And the first seating is at 5:30 PM. I like to eat early due to acid reflux, but that was a little too early. Then, from the main dining room, it is quite a hike to the bow of the ship and the theater for the evening's show. Aw well. Exercise after dinner is probably good. I knew it is a big ship, I just didn't realize how big it really is. There are lots of good things about the Sapphire Princess though. For one, the promenade deck goes all the way around the ship. Nice. And passengers can get to virtually everywhere on the far upper decks too. That was really nice as we entered, and left, exotic island ports, especially being able to get on top of the bridge! Some of the dining room menus were not as interesting as they were on the other Princess ships I have cruised on. But the other venues well made up for those few days. Sabatini's was wonderful as always. The Sterling Steakhouse is actually a section of the Horizon Court that is divided off in the evenings so the ambiance was lacking a little. But the service and food there was definitely up to par with the other ships. Alfredo's Pizzeria, in the atrium has caused me to decide to never again partake of the pizza on the pool deck. And the cafe in the atrium, with all the little hot sandwiches and great deserts proved to be a great place for a light lunch. There was absolutely no problem finding too much good food on that ship! And they managed to always have something interesting going on. Maybe too much. You just can't take it all in. We had 8 sea days getting back from Tahiti to LA and it went by like it was only a couple of days! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
"We sailed on the STAR Princess for the 3rd time as a last minute getaway. This was the California Coastal Cruise to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Ensenada round trip from Los Angeles. With the exception of a few ... Read More
"We sailed on the STAR Princess for the 3rd time as a last minute getaway. This was the California Coastal Cruise to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Ensenada round trip from Los Angeles. With the exception of a few "short timer" staff with the wrong attitude we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. Our cabin steward left after 2 days upon our arrival and was replaced with an outstanding person, who made our trip very enjoyable. Several wait staff were also replaced and the atmosphere in the dining rooms became very good. The shows that we attended were good as well but the star was in the Piano Bar and that is where we chose to be every evening. As we are initially from California the ports were not all that important to us as we truly went on this trip for the R&R and didn't plan to do much sightseeing. In San Francisco we enjoyed walking around the pier area and totally enjoyed a fabulous luncheon at Fog Harbor at Pier 39. We took the tender in to Santa Barbara and spent some time walking along the beach before going back to the ship, finding a comfy spot by the pool and relaxing. We didn't even get off the ship in San Diego and had a ball while pretty much having the ship to ourselves. We did take a side trip to La Boufadora in Ensenada and enjoyed great margaritas and fish tacos while looking out over the ocean. The ship needs some TLC, bed linens thin, towels and wash cloths could use replacing but we absolutely got the rest and relaxation we Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My husband and I are in our early 70's. We traveled with three other couples. We are Elite travelers so have been on several Princess ships. The Coral Princess is a great sized ship. None of the venues ever seemed crowded. You could ... Read More
My husband and I are in our early 70's. We traveled with three other couples. We are Elite travelers so have been on several Princess ships. The Coral Princess is a great sized ship. None of the venues ever seemed crowded. You could always get a seat by the pool or in any of the showrooms. The food on this cruise was excellent. There was only one meal that we did not care for in all the days we were at sea. For a change their fish was actually cooked perfectly (often on ships it seems to be over cooked). We ate at both of the specialty restaurants and they were both excellent!! Well worth the extra cost. The only complaint we have about the Coral Princess is that their front desk/management staff were not up to par to other Princess Ships. A tendency to blame other people for problems rather than try to help solve your problem. Were just not helpful. We did not take any Princess Excursions. We choose to do our own. In Cabo San Lucas we chose to go on shore on our own and just do a little shopping before meeting a friend who was vacationing there for lunch. We did stop at the Monkey Business Bar in Cabo for one of their famous Margaritas. We were not disappointed. Don't miss it. You can find them on line. In San Juan Del Sur we hired a tour company to take the eight of us around the country. I highly recomment then. They are Macua Tours & Travel (located in Rivas/Nicaragua), and the owner is Edwin Ruiz. Edwin speaks wonderful English and is a fountain of information on his country. This was the best tour of the cruise. I found them on line (not easy to find). You can e-mail him direct by using his name at macauatours.com. Our tour (by my choice) took us to Rivas, Granada, boat ride around Lake Nicaragua, Masaya active volcano, Apoyo's inactive volkcano, and Masaya handi-crafts market. A great tour!! Highly recommend. In Puntarenas we used a company called Odyssey Tours. They did an okay job of showing us around, but did not tell us much about the country and its customs. On this tour we went to a Coffee Plantation (very interesting) quite a long ride from the ship, then to Sarchi where they do the hand painted ox carts. We went to where they actually make and paint the carts. Opertaing run by a water wheel, very interesting, then we went to a bird sanctuary. Lots of beautiful birds, some wild some in large wire enclosures. Saw mot of the local birds including Toucans, scarlet McCaws. In Cartagena, Columbia my husband and I opted to go it alone and just hired a taxi driver to take us to the sites. This worked out very well as we were able to see everything in a short period of time. It was a very hot and humid day so we did not spend long on shore. Cab cost was a lot more reasonable than a Princess Tour. We did everything that was on the Princess Tour and were back two hours earlier. In Aruba we had a great adventure. We rented Trikes from Trikes-Aruba. Again, I would highly recommend this activity. We saw almost all of the island and visited the highlights. Plus it was a kick riding on the trikes. Very easy to drive, especially if you have ever driven a stick shift. This was one of the trip highlights. Disembarking as terrible -- it was during the Gov't shut down. Have never had this problem before on Princess and it was certainly not their fault. All in all, we had a great trip and will continue to sail with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Tuesday was embarkation day, but we couldn't board the ship until noon. We grabbed some breakfast a few short blocks from the hotel (Courtyard, Long Beach) to Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. Best fried chicken ever! We had ... Read More
Tuesday was embarkation day, but we couldn't board the ship until noon. We grabbed some breakfast a few short blocks from the hotel (Courtyard, Long Beach) to Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. Best fried chicken ever! We had chicken, waffles and Mac & cheese for breakfast. YUM-O! Then we went back to the hotel. Check out was at noon, but I could hardly wait to get to the ship! We left the hotel at about 11:45 and there was a cab waiting right outside. It was about $20 bucks to get to the cruise port. Nothing is as exciting as seeing your ship docked! Embarkation was a breeze. The ship was really empty. As soon as we got on we went to the Sanctuary, this is an exclusive section of the deck with big comfy chairs and a private pool. The day we got on the ship was absolutely gorgeous out, so we over zealously booked the Sanctuary for our 2 sea days. Turned out it was was too cold on Wed and Thurs to enjoy the sanctuary. Luckily, they only charged us for the 1 day. On the second day we went up just to check it out and the worker guy was dressed like he was going on an arctic expedition! Our room was ready, so we were able to drop our back packs off and explore the rest of the ship. We had both been on this class of ship before, so we kind of knew the lay of the land. The ship was beautiful. We walked around a bit and went to the aft bar for a cocktail and had some pizza for lunch. Sail away was at 4 pm. There was party on the top deck with a live band and dancing. The ship was really empty, but there was plenty of activities and entertainment planned. Our late afternoon ritual was to go to Vines bar and order a bottle of wine and get tapas and sushi. I ate the tapas, hubby ate the sushi. We would have a glass of wine and then save the rest of the bottle for dinner. The tapas and sushi were complimentary if you ordered wine. We ate dinner every night in the Portofino dining room. The food was very good. I got my fettuccine Alfredo every night! The service in the dining room was impeccable. 2 nights we had a waiter from Poland, Luckas. The last dinner of the cruise, they served escargot! It was excellent!!!! I love the way they prepare it and it's consistent no matter what Princess ship you're on. There was several different shows every night. The first night was a show we had seen already, Destination Anywhere, so we skipped it. But we did see a magician. On the second night we saw a comedian and the magician, he did a new show. On the third night was a show called "British Invasion"' it was one of the best we've seen on Princess. We also saw the comedian again, "Sarge" he did a different show too. Our cruise was short and sweet. I only wish it could have been longer! I love cruising. I became "platinum" on this cruise and they gave me a pin! Hubby was jealous, so he stole it, but I didn't mind. He became platinum on our cruise last year on the Crown that got cancelled and he never got his pin! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Service: We had an excellent cabin attendant Rheena, who always greeted us by name with a smile and always took a few minutes to talk to us about our day or answer any questions we had. She kept our cabin immaculate and serviced it ... Read More
Service: We had an excellent cabin attendant Rheena, who always greeted us by name with a smile and always took a few minutes to talk to us about our day or answer any questions we had. She kept our cabin immaculate and serviced it several times per day. The staff around the rest of the ship in dining rooms or elsewhere weren't quite as friendly or outgoing as other cruise companies that we have sailed with. Food: I love starting my day off with a good breakfast while cruising, and unfortunately each day this particular meal was a disappointment. In the interest of time each day we ate at the Horizon Cafe. The scrambled eggs tasted like powdered eggs, very mushy. The fried eggs were almost always undercooked with jelly-like whites, despite posted warning signs warning of the hazards of consuming undercooked eggs. The coffee tasted like instant. My wife commented that the fruit was very good though. In the afternoon's, Alfredo's Pizzeria on Deck 5 was a highlight for food. Delicious, freshly prepared pizza to your order! The dinners were good and the service for the most part was good, although the last dinner on this cruise we had about a 20 min. wait between each course which kind of ended our last dinner on a sour note and we ended up missing the show as a result. Ports: The weather at every port with the exception of Ensenada was around 66 degrees, partly cloudy and sunny. Ensenada was sunny and in the 70's. Perfect weather if you enjoy walking around each city. San Francisco was very nice. The ship ports right in downtown and we had great views of the city including the Golden Gate, Alcatraz and the newly lit Bay Bridge at night. We didn't do any shore excursions, but I heard people talking about going to Alcatraz and having a good time. We just enjoyed walking throughout the city taking in Chinatown, Ghiradelli's, Fisherman's Wharf, the Coit Tower and riding the cable car. Santa Barbara was a beautiful city. We took the trolley (only 25 cents for seniors!)into downtown and saw the courthouse and then took the bus to the mission and then back to State St. and visited some of the unending designer stores. The next day we visited Catalina Island. We walked around Avalon and the shops around town. We walked to the Casino, which was not open and onto one of piers and fed the fish. We then rented a golf cart from Catalina Golf Cart Rentals and drove up into the upper levels of Avalon for some fantastic views and beautiful neighborhoods as well as the Wrigley Memorial. It only took us an hour, so it ran us $40. The rental company charged $40 per hour with a 2-hour maximum and refundable $40 deposit. They give you a map and will mark the route to take to take in the sights. The next day in San Diego, again we port right in downtown with another great view of the city. Again, we just walked around the city visiting Seaport Village, Horton's Plaza and the pier area. If I had a choice, I would rather have spent the next day in San Diego rather than Ensenada although we were pleasantly surprised after deciding to leave the ship in Ensenada. This is a much larger city than I expected with a population of around 300,000. Many passengers opted to stay aboard the ship. We took a nice bus into town ($2 in and $1 back to the ship) and then ended up transferring to another bus for a tour through the city to the La Bufadora Blowhole and flea market area ($15 per person and delivered us back to the ship). I believe the trip to the La Bufadora was around 45-50 mins. It turned out to be a fun excursion and an enjoyable day. Ship: We were on the Aloha deck 12 with a balcony a little aft of midship. The cabin was pretty typical of other cruise ships although it had a large closet area to hang clothing although a very small shower in the bathroom. The cabin was quiet and we were in a good location for the Horizon Cafe (one deck up)and the upper decks. We had a good time and enjoyed each port on this cruise although there really wasn't a lot to do onboard the ship. We only took in a few of the shows so I can only comment on those, and they were good. The ship was clean and well maintained. There was a much older demographic onboard this cruise, I would guess the average age would be around 70, not that I'm that young myself, but I prefer a mixture of ages. Tendering was well done in Santa Barbara and Catalina with reasonable wait times. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
May 11-18 Pacific Coastal Cruise Cabin C605 Our demographic: early 60s; cruise only for the itinerary -- not loyal to one cruise line. Do not participate in many cruise activities. We don't use the pools, go to the bars, or ... Read More
May 11-18 Pacific Coastal Cruise Cabin C605 Our demographic: early 60s; cruise only for the itinerary -- not loyal to one cruise line. Do not participate in many cruise activities. We don't use the pools, go to the bars, or eat in the dining room, so I will only comment on what we experienced. CABIN: Only booking available to us was a guarantee and I was pleased with our cabin location -- pretty much between the mid and aft elevators and just a few cabins down from the laundromat. Absolutely quiet location. I happen to like the small verandah cabins and this cabin was pretty much the same as I have had on other ships. Nice amount of storage and great closet space. Didn't use the verandah much due to the colder itinerary but it was so nice to have the extra daylight and fresh air. We do, however, spend some time looking over the veranda railing and it was really annoying to be looking down into someone else's verandah instead of directly to the dock or water. I also didn't like the fact that the people above us would be looking down directly on us (on the half not covered). Nice large verandah but I would have preferred the standard size rather than have these strange overhanging verandahs. I would never sail on this ship in a warm water itinerary just because of the balcony layout. We are very low maintenance cruisers, so we never asked anything of our steward (Edwin), but he did an excellent job of keeping our cabin in tip top shape. CASINO: We only play the dollar slot machines just for fun before or after dinner. These machines were not only the tightest machines we have seen in quite a while but the selection of machines was just plain boring. We gave up going to the casino after the 4th day -- no fun at all. HORIZONS COURT BUFFET: Since for us this cruise was in the last half of a three-week vacation, we decided to limit the clothes that we brought and to only eat in the buffet. We are very plain eaters -- just want the food to be half decent and a varied selection. This was one of the worst buffets. The layout of the serving area was fine and the seating plentiful and well laid out. The people serving the drinks and cleaning the tables were very nice and efficient. The food, however, was disappointing. I don't eat much meat, but my husband said that the cuts of meat were poor, tough, stringy. . . I could tell just by looking that most of it looked dried out and not too appealing. The fruit selection was bad -- cantaloupe and pineapple that you had to cut off the rind yourself, watermelon, etc. What was missing: no berries. Even the kiwi had to be cut open yourself. The salad bar was ok but not much variety there either. Salad dressings were not individually labeled so at times it was guesswork. The breads, rolls, and breakfast pastries were so stale tasting that it was easy to not indulge. Good mashed potatoes every night but the same old pasta with tomato sauce just about every night. Vegetables were pretty good although for the first few days it was the same mixed root veggies over and over again. Desserts were mostly above average for buffets but there was just this typed list of what was offered with no labels on the trays of each item. This meant that people had to continually ask "what is this?" Cheesecake made a rare appearance. I tried the scooped ice cream and thought it was terrible but saw people eating lots of soft serve. Pizza was decent as were the items at the grill. Scrambled "eggs" tasted okay but had such a weird consistency that we couldn't eat them. They did have plates of over easy eggs so that was good because at least I knew they were real eggs although they were slimy. MUTS: (movies under the stars). I was actually looking forward to this even though I knew it would be too cold in the evenings to be out there watching movies. What I didn't expect was to have the same things shown multiple times. Concerts, for example, Billy Joel and Barry Manilow several times. Certainly there are other more current concerts out there that could be shown. But in either case, I still think the concept of MUTS is cool and in a warmer climate cruise I would have been out there in the evenings. ENTERTAINMENT: Went to one movie in the afternoon on one sea day. Loved that they showed movies in the Princess Theater. If this was an itinerary with sea days, I would have gone to the movie every day, probably. Went to one show -- something with the word "dance" in it. Not bad as ship troupe shows go. However, the one male lead singer (the shorter one) had such a loud voice that wasn't too good that he ruined the songs for me. Because of that I didn't bother to go any of their other shows by the troupe. One guest singer was one of the former Lettermen. He had a good voice and it was a decent show. I liked the short times for the shows. Not enough time to get bored with them. Went to one enrichment PowerPoint presentation lecture about sea life we might see; a little boring but somewhat informational. FITNESS CENTER: I only used the gym once, unfortunately, but they had a nice enough free weight area -- wasn't that impressed with the weight machine selection. The schedule had classes offered each day. PORTS: Took this cruise because we have never been to any of these places. Extreme fog kept us from tendering into Santa Barbara so that was disappointing and meant an extra sea day and we do not like sea days. We try to avoid ship sponsored bus excursions whenever possible so this time I tried something different. I had read somewhere on the Web about a private tour guide company called Tours By Locals. I took a real chance and booked 6 private tours with them. I am so glad that I did. I had one in LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Victoria and two in Vancouver. In all cases, the guides showed up where and when expected, were excellent drivers, and worked hard to make sure we saw exactly what we wanted to see. I would definitely use this company. The only thing I would recommend is carefully reading about each guide on the web site -- how many tours they have given, their background, etc. It is easy to communicate via email with each guide to be sure you are getting the tour you want. Look carefully at the reviews as well -- only people who have actually taken tours can leave reviews so it isn't filled with bogus reviews. SUMMARY: I wouldn't take a Princess cruise again just because of the food in the buffet and the tiered balcony arrangement. This was the only ship that I could find that did this particular itinerary and luckily we only missed that one port. However, they did change the time by over five hours that we left Victoria from what was printed on my initial cruise documents on the web site. I never saw this printed anywhere and only found out when attending the sea life lecture. This really annoyed me as I had to cancel my whale watching trip for that port as I wouldn't have been back on time. It was particularly annoying because I saw or heard no explanation and the fact that our next port was Vancouver which was so close that without an explanation I didn't see why it took the extra time to get there. I asked around and only got blank looks from the staff. If I had not found this out until my Princess Platter arrived that night I would have not been able to get a refund of what I had paid for the tour. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Our family flew from Eastern Canada to Los Angeles, where we spent a few days before boarding the Sapphire Princess. In L.A. we stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn at the edge of Beverly Hills; this was a great choice, as it was ... Read More
Our family flew from Eastern Canada to Los Angeles, where we spent a few days before boarding the Sapphire Princess. In L.A. we stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn at the edge of Beverly Hills; this was a great choice, as it was convenient to our sightseeing and fully equipped for relaxing without getting in each other's hair every evening. After a very busy day we were all happy to get stuff from the local grocery and veg out in our suite over a bottle of wine and dinner, rather than trek out again in search of a restaurant. We were also able to do all the accumulated laundry in the hotel's laundry room before starting on our cruise trip. Boarding day couldn't have gone more smoothly; really, it was the most easy and stress-free experience we've had yet; we literally just walked in from the pier, got our cruise cards, and boarded the ship in about ten minutes. The ship is nice but there were things we didn't love; having big-screen concerts and movies blaring over the outdoor pool at all hours of the day was a bit of a drag; on Mother's Day, we were told early in the morning that we couldn't tender in to the first port of call, Santa Barbara, because of fog, but it turned out to be a gloriously sunny day and we decided to lounge in the sun, only to discover they were playing a movie from the 1980s followed by a Barry Manilow concert. Really? I don't think so. There aren't enough Drinks of the Day to get me through that. The Captain announced that the upside to missing the port was that we'd get to San Francisco that much earlier, but in the end we docked in S.F. exactly ONE HOUR earlier than scheduled. San Francisco was glorious, and we made the most of our day there. Our next port was Astoria, Oregon, which is apparently famous for being the setting of another 1980s movie, The Goonies. We never saw it. There is NOTHING TO DO IN ASTORIA, although the people are very nice. I cannot imagine why it's a cruise port, aside from the fact that the cruise has to go somewhere, and Astoria has a port. Seattle was fantastic, and once again we did everything we could cram in during our day there; we also loved our day in Victoria. In all these ports, we made our own plans. We had discovered in the past that the cruise excursions cost up to three times more than we pay by registering directly online, and this was confirmed when we saw that, for example, a walking tour of Underground Seattle that we bought online in advance for $16 each was a whopping $59 Princess excursion choice. I suppose they bused the people there from the pier, but really, it was easily walking-distance, and we were able to enjoy fabulous oyster poor boys and beer at Pike's Place Market with the money we saved on the difference in price. (And, by the way, the walking tour isn't worth $59, though it is well worth $16.) We like traditional late-sitting dining, as we enjoy getting to know our waiters and sitting at the same table each evening. This trip, the food was a bit disappointing. About ten years ago we experienced the "Parade of Baked Alaska" dessert on a Pacific cruise, and it was elegant and fun; they lowered the lights, and the waiters actually carried huge flaming Baked Alaskas through the dining room. This has now degenerated into a ho-hum masquerade in which bored lead waiters are already passing out slices of Baked Alaska for dessert long before the "Parade" begins, and the "Parade" consists of the assistant waiters, after a long delay, shuffling around holding fake plasti-form models of Baked Alaska with electric bulbs on top, only half of them lit. ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz. (That being said, the woman at the next table who was whooping and screaming and cheering either thought it was the most exciting thing she'd ever seen or was plastered. She was more entertaining than any of the "entertainment" on the ship.) Time for the "Parade" to go away. The laundry room on the ship is very nice, and as always we did laundry a couple of times. It makes perfect sense to save on the baggage weight and use this convenience -- one on every stateroom floor -- and it enables us to fly home with a suitcase full of clean clothes instead of a jumble of dirty laundry. The housekeeping staff are pleasant and honest and very friendly, and work like dogs. Ditto the wait staff in the dining room. The buffet staff seemed a bit more indifferent; many times as we searched for a table for breakfast or lunch we'd encounter someone sullenly guarding an empty area who would bark "Closed. Other side." Not great. At time for Disembarkation everything went quite smoothly again, and although there were people complaining about the long taxi line at Port of Vancouver, the process was pretty painless. There was an older crowd on board this cruise, along with a few families with children; we'd have been happy to have seen a little more life on board. Is it the awful entertainment that keeps people away, or is awful entertainment the only thing this sort of crowd likes? Either way, I am not sure I'll do another Princess Cruise. It was a little like being at a huge family reunion with distant relatives that you had forgotten you don't like very much. We took an extra two days in Vancouver before flying home, staying at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which is a lovely hotel, and seeing the city. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We are rather new to cruising and found this Hawaii adventure worth the cost even though there were unfortunately many cold and cloudy days at sea. First off we did fly out of Arizona EARLY on embarkation day. Arrived @ the LAX at 8:00 ... Read More
We are rather new to cruising and found this Hawaii adventure worth the cost even though there were unfortunately many cold and cloudy days at sea. First off we did fly out of Arizona EARLY on embarkation day. Arrived @ the LAX at 8:00 a.m. and boy were we surprised when we went to get our luggage. Princess representative greeted us(we purchased Princess transfer to and from the port) immediately and assisted us with our luggage and explained the process clearly. Because we were there so early we were bused to the Sheraton hotel near the airport. Totally pleased with the greeter, very nice and informative. We were given drink and snacks. We were also partially checked in while @ the hotel. We left the hotel around 12:30pm due to the ship having issues with their previous disembarkation of the last trip. I must say that it was a great bus ride however I have to agree with previous posters that their process to board us was long and I must of had my paperwork and ID checked 5 times before we boarded the Golden. Too long! We had a balcony room on Caribe deck and had an excellent stewardess names Alona. Any special request we needed was met with a smile and completed. She kept our room nice and clean. For breakfast and lunch we only ate at the buffet and it had plenty of food to chose from. We had anytime dining and mostly ate @ Bernini's and since we would sit anywhere with anyone we never waited more than 2 minutes. Excellent service by all. We liked doing anytime and will do it again. Met some really nice people and waiters. The food on a scale of 1 to 10 IMHO was a 7. It was just a bit bland even by my standards and I don't like spicy food. It was evident because ground pepper was offered constantly with every dish except dessert. Oh, and the desserts...FANTASTIC. My DH and I totally thought that there was enough entertainment and we would plan dinner around 2 shows. Granted they are only 30 minutes long but I thought that was perfect! The staff worked very hard to make everyone happy, entertained and INVOLVED. Our favorite was the comedian Steve Caouette was fantastically talented. Also the ventriloquist Dan Horn was exceptional as well. We only took one tour with Princess to Kauai' - the Movie tour and it was done very well and was an enjoyable day! It was worth the cost. Disembarkation was a bit slow but organized. Bottom line: We will go with Princess again and in spite of the cold weather days we did escape completely and were sad to have to go back to reality. Service was a 9 all through the ship (I don't give 10's easily). Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We booked this cruise to Hawaii as we began to anticipate the grace of God in granting my husband a 5 year cancer free CT scan in early April. Five years ago, that seemed like more than impossible. Scan after scan revealed that God had ... Read More
We booked this cruise to Hawaii as we began to anticipate the grace of God in granting my husband a 5 year cancer free CT scan in early April. Five years ago, that seemed like more than impossible. Scan after scan revealed that God had done "immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine." When your oncologist is surprised that is proof that only God could do this. So, we planned this cruise over my husband's birthday to celebrate...with a long and relaxing way to get to Hawaii! I read an unfavorable review by another cruiser and so it is easy to see that the same trip for one is completely different for another. We enjoyed every moment of this trip. We were blessed to meet 6 new friends at our assigned early dining table...and have a wonderful waiter and junior waiter. What fun we had! We also loved meeting new people to join up as teams at Trivia...everyone was so inclusive and friendly! Our embarkation/disembarkation was smooth and we decided on the trip to return to the airport via Princess transfers. Good move. This was less expensive (which isn't always the case) than catching a cab or van. We experienced a temporary "loss of luggage" when the bus driver could not find our suitcases but then finally did in a compartment housing luggage for another drop off. Minor glitch. Our Princess excursions had a few issues but we enjoyed them nonetheless. It was interesting to read the review for the Beach Snorkeling on another review because we were on that exact same excursion. Goes to show that 2 people can witness the same thing and see 2 different things. Yes, the "beach" was not what we pictured. Yes, the surf was rough (in fact I didn't last long because I ended up motion sick from the experience--and yes, I mean sick.) This excursion was a reach for me but I wanted to do it for my husband. I will always remember his concern for me as we entered the water...but most of all I will remember his huge smile and "babe, thank you so much for this...I saw a huge turtle and followed it for a long time...and I got to see the octopus that Paul (one of the guides) coaxed out of its hole! It was awesome!" I also heard the conversation the other reviewer mentioned about the sand on the wet suit...Paul was totally joking with Marilyn. Paul was our van driver and despite my nausea, I enjoyed his humor a lot! He even commented to me when we returned to the ship that he wondered if I was OK because I was not smiling at his jokes. I told him I had gotten sea sick and he told me to drink ginger ale...which they had already provided. The other guide, Colin (who was in our van) was the one who took me back to shore with reassurance that i had not interrupted the group as I apologized...he told me "no, this is what we do...whenever you have had enough we get you back safely!" Colin was also the one who searched for a plastic bag for my trip back to ship (yup, still feeling icky.) It was interesting that the other negative review mentioned the guides looked like "surfer dudes." When I first saw them at pick up I leaned over to my husband and said "they are the real deal...should be a great time!" It was a highlight for my husband...and worth my need to sleep off the effects;) I am not challenging the other review...their experience was their experience...we thought Paul was hilarious and the other guides so attentive. To hear Paul say he loves what he does was telling to me...because yes, it is obvious that he loves the ocean...but to take 2 tours a day off a cruise ship and make sure they are safe and have an enjoyable time is saying a lot. All of his comments as we arrived about how we were going to do everything was because it could be dangerous...in fact he had to "rescue" several people in our group who got to far into the current. Enough said. We do not need night life so having 4 days to relax to Hawaii and returning to LA was a gift to us out of our way to busy lives. Cell phones in the safe (except for US ports) is why we love cruising. The staff was wonderful. The CD even led Sunday worship. This is a trip we will remember forever (despite finding our camera did not make it into our suitcase)...we have limited cell photos...and new friends that we be so forever! Our weather was perfect and seas were fairly calm (although Pacific swells made for constant motion that was more of an issue for me after my snorkeling issue.) Another lesson learned. Loved this cruise. Aloha! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
March 23 cruise on the Star Princess. With this cruise, you get what you pay for which isn't a bad thing, just not very good. If price is your only consideration, this is a good deal. Fortunately, we traveled with friends and kept ... Read More
March 23 cruise on the Star Princess. With this cruise, you get what you pay for which isn't a bad thing, just not very good. If price is your only consideration, this is a good deal. Fortunately, we traveled with friends and kept ourselves busy but the entertainment, with exceptions, was pathetic. As one of the other reviews noted, the shows were reduced to 30 minutes which, for some was about 29 minutes too long. I was told this is a Princess wide change. If so, here's how you deal with it if you bother to go at all. Sit near an exit and as soon as you hear the cruise directors voice, get up an run to the next venue if you want to get a seat in the same zip code(or at all)as the stage. The entertainment as a whole was the weakest of any cruise we've taken and will be a factor in choosing our next cruise. Some of the passengers left the ship a day early in Ensenada to switch to a Celebrity cruise to Alaska when the next destination for the Star Princess was.....ALASKA. More expensive, I'm sure, but a significantly different experience. Totally unrelated to Princess, Hawaii unlike most third world ports has a lot to offer and you only get a whiff on a cruise. Again, if Princess is trying to position itself as the McDonalds of cruising, they're headed in the right direction. This cruise was dirt cheap and I feel I got value for money spent but little to brag about. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
To begin the trip we used the Princess Transfers and Hotel in L.A. The Airport Marriot. Even with our late evening arrival at the A/P a Princess Rep. was there to meet us and take us to the luggage and shuttle points. I knew I was on ... Read More
To begin the trip we used the Princess Transfers and Hotel in L.A. The Airport Marriot. Even with our late evening arrival at the A/P a Princess Rep. was there to meet us and take us to the luggage and shuttle points. I knew I was on Holiday as soon as I saw the Princess sign being held up. The hotel room was good and the transfer in the morning went very smoothly. A really good deal for the low price. Embarkation at the pier went very smoothly, we are Platinum so there was no waiting to speak of and we were on the ship in about 20 min. of leaving the bus shuttle. Our room was ready and my rented Tux was already hanging in the closet, we met Romeo Eschavez our Room Steward and he took care of everything throughout the cruise in a very efficient and friendly manner. We became friends over the two weeks. We had a Balcony cabin on Caribe near the bow, great location. We found all the activities to be good and well run, just too many of the things I wanted to do were at the same time, so always choices to be made. I found the Astronomer and the lady that lectured about the "Enigma Machine" to be very good. Having a good Astronomy lecture every Sea Day was wonderful. We did not attend the port lectures because we live in Hawaii and have been to all the places. I did have one interesting experience with Passenger Services. We were getting off the ship one day early in Ensenada so the night before I took our letter from Princess down there with the L.A. Disembarkation form that I did not need to check with the and make sure everything was a go. I showed the Lady there my letter and gave her back the form. She says I cannot get off Ensenada and I need to fill out the L.A. form, I point to the approved spot on the letter. We go back and forth several times. Then she brings me up in the computer and turns to me to say "You are getting off in Ensenada, you won't need this L.A. form." I almost started laughing, but maintained somehow, and said "Mahalo". The younger generation will not believe a letter on their own letterhead, but will believe a computer, amazing. We did not do any of the ship tours because we live in the islands. Our Stateroom was very nice, the bed in good condition, the pillows good. I do wish that during the next drydock that perhaps glass door and a foot rest could be added to the shower. Too hard to balance against the wall and wash ones toes and feet. Also, the water temp in the shower would fluctuate quite a bit and it did not matter what time of day I was showering. Very early morning was the best for a steady temp to be maintained.(0530-0600 hrs.) With Anytime dining one does not get to know the Wait Staff as personally as one would with Traditional dining, but the care and attention to detail was there. Food was good and I did get my Root Beer Float for dessert one evening. Once I explained it Vladimir our waiter that evening he had it for me even though he had never heard of such a thing. Both Specialty Restaurants were very good with Sabbitinis getting the nod this time. Vladimir was very good. We found the Bar Staff to be very good and they knew our drinks as soon as we walked in and called us by name, very nice. My Wife did make good use of the Spa facilities. I do wish the Casinos on Princess would open the Crap table with a full crew, just makes the game more enjoyable rather than the half table routine. Our special disembarkation went very smoothly. The man sent with the luggage cart took our stuff all the way to the other ship for us. One minor glitch with Mexican Security about which door to go through was the only problem. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Our 7th cruise, first to the California Coast. Last minute itinerary change forced cancellation of shore tours on our first stop in San Francisco, of which we were not informed (we found out on Cruise Critic forum). The first night Main ... Read More
Our 7th cruise, first to the California Coast. Last minute itinerary change forced cancellation of shore tours on our first stop in San Francisco, of which we were not informed (we found out on Cruise Critic forum). The first night Main Dining (anytime) had a 45 minute wait at all dining rooms, and when we finally got seated the service was so slow it took us an hour and a half to get through the meal. Food, however, was excellent, and the waitstaff was not at fault. In fact the food was excellent the whole way through, the only negative comment is that the specialty restaurants, while worth the extra $20/per +tip, are not nearly as good as what we experienced on the Celebrity Millenium recently. Since San Fran had been unceremoniously chopped down the first day, we simple walked to "The Waterbar" restaurant next to the Bay Bridge, ate some oysters and watched the light show. The next day we took a private three hour tour (I give it a thumbs up if you've never been to San Fran and have limited time). We did the GG Bridge, GG park, Japanese Tea Garden, ChinaTown, Pacific Heights, Theatre of Fine Arts, Twin Peaks, Haight-Ashbury, and a few others too numerous. LOVED the flexibility of the private tour. Then shopped at Fisherman's wharf, did Coit tower. Back to the ship, the entertainment was sorely missing from previous cruises we had taken, the singers in all the lounges were not as good as the Karaoke contestants (save one, in the "crooners bar", he was OK), the comedians were almost embarrasingly lame, and the dancers were apparently still trying out. The Ship was otherwise fantastic, it's simply beautiful and huge. The decor is very pleasant from deck to deck and lounge to bars to dining rooms. My favorite was the Churchill lounge, where I could enjoy a cigar. But most of all, on the Lido deck was a soft serve ice cream machine, where I found myself passing by unusually often. Waitstaff, servers, stewards, bartenders, were all very nice and accomodating. Bottom line is they need to fix the entertainment and get sommeliers for the premium dining, everything else is in place. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was our 5th cruise with Princess, but the 1st on Sapphire Princess. This was the best of any of the Princess cruises or the 5 other cruises on Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. We arrived at the port at 11:30 am. Boarding ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Princess, but the 1st on Sapphire Princess. This was the best of any of the Princess cruises or the 5 other cruises on Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. We arrived at the port at 11:30 am. Boarding started at 12:15 pm and we were on board and in our cabin by 1:15 pm. We left port 2 hours late due to a medical emergency. The late departure and high seas delayed our arrival in San Francisco from 1 pm Sunday until 4 pm. Due to the late arrival, all Sunday afternoon excursions through the ship were cancelled. This did not effect us since we were planning on walking around The Wharf, which we were still able to do. Due to the late arrival, the Captain decided to stay in SF until 4 pm Monday, which worked out better for us. Had a light rain shower Sunday night but awoke to a cloudless sky on Monday morning. We had booked the 9:10 am tour to Alcatraz. Well worth the trip. After about 3 hours on The Rock, we went back to The Wharf, had lunch and walked around for a few hours. Sailing into and out of San Francisco Bay was so beautiful. Such a thrill sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge. Santa Barbara - I booked a private tour with Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo (www.SBHotRodLimo.com). Had a great time. The tour was in an extended hot rod limo convertible that seats 8 people. Great way to tour the town. The weather was again beautiful. The tour lasted 2 hours and covered all the highlights of Santa Barbara. What a beautiful town. Catalina Island - Another beautiful sunny day. We walked around the port area and had lunch. Very pretty port. San Diego - We did not book anything in advance. After having breakfast on the ship, we got off and took the Hop On/Hop Off tour. Weather was a little cool and partly cloudy. The tour was OK but a little disappointing after visiting Santa Barbara and Catalina. Ensenada - Could have done without this port but I understand the necessity of the ship stopping here. We got off the ship and took a bus to town ($3 round trip) Walked around for about 2 hours and headed back to the ship. Disembarkation - Arrived at the Club Fusion lounge at the scheduled time of 9 am. Our group was called at 9:20 am. We were in our Supershuttle van at 9:40 am on on our way to LAX. Dining - we did the Traditional dining, 5:30 pm seating, in the International Dining Room. Richard and Angle were probably the best servers of any we have ever had. There attitude and service were exceptional. Cabin - Had a Mini-Suite on Emerald Deck. Mini's cost more but we prefer the extra room in the cabin and the larger bathroom. Well worth the extra cost to us. Cabin steward (Nick) was also great. Shows - Saw 2 variety shows, 1 good, 1 not so good and 2 entertaining comedians. Ship - I can not say enough about this ship and crew. Everyone seemed to want to go out of their way to make us feel special. The was the best crew of any ship we have sailed on. Hats off to Princess for making this a very special experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Cruise number 22, number 8 on Princess and the 2nd time on the Sapphire Princess. My wife and I picked the California Coastal Cruise, because being from the East Coast originally, we never have spent any time in the cities on the ... Read More
Cruise number 22, number 8 on Princess and the 2nd time on the Sapphire Princess. My wife and I picked the California Coastal Cruise, because being from the East Coast originally, we never have spent any time in the cities on the itinerary other than passing through them on a bus going to the port. After an UN-eventful trip to LAX we boarded the Sapphire Princess in quick order, bypassing the photo stop as usual. I know some people like to get a photo each time they cruise, but quite frankly I have enough photo's. After putting out bags in our stateroom and meeting Piotr (sic), our state room attendant, we headed off to the buffet for lunch. later the safety drill, and then we looked forward to leaving Los Angeles. As it turned out, we heard were two problems, missing staff, and a serious medical emergency that caused us to be about 3 hours late in leaving Los Angeles. No problem, we were there for 7 nights! Again as usual we chose anytime dining, so our dining companions each night were different for the most part. Because we do not pack formal clothes so on those, what I call, "dinosaur nights" we ate in the buffet. I can say that the food in the buffet was for the most part very good with the EXCEPTION of the scrambled eggs, (powdered), they were bland and tasteless! I did have some dis-appointments with the dining room menu and some of the service. We did luck out for a couple of night in getting into the Santa Fe Dining Room and got an excellent waiter named Marc Ryan. Other than that we found the service in the other anytime dining rooms to be not as we are used to. The Sapphire has 4 dining rooms for regular service with the International Dining Room, hidden on Deck 6 Aft, being the designated fixed dining room. Anytime dining is in the Santa Fe, Savoy, and Vivaldi, all smaller venues. The International is also used for Breakfast each day and lunch on sea days, (unfortunately there was only one sea day on this cruise). Princess has been playing with the menu's again it appeared, as the offerings have changed. The last night on board I could not find ANYTHING to my liking and settled for a BLT Burger as my entree', that is NOT my idea of cruise ship dining. Still on the menu was one of my favorites, Fettuccine Alfredo, however I felt that it was not up to par, yes, I did sample it more than once. Outside of some glitches in dining, the cruise in general was very good. The first port of call was San Francisco, we actually chose NOT to get off the ship even though we were there for overnight. The offerings from Princess for Shore Excursions failed to interest us as we both are not a mobile as were once were and we had a bad experience with the terminal on an other cruise. We did get some great pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, the harbor and Alcatraz. It was foggy when we arrived, but the day of departure it was sunny. Next Port Of Call was Santa Barbara, I was looking forward to this port since I had never been there before. Again nothing offered by Princess interested us, so we got off the ship and grabbed a cab and went to the Reagan Ranch Museum. This facility house a lot of memorabilia from the Reagan Ranch with is not open to the public. We spent several hours there and then cabbed back to the ship. If you take this cruise I highly recommend going to the museum, even though I had long been a Reagan fan, I learned a lot of things about him and his time in the White House I didn't know. The next port of call was just "26 miles across the sea" Santa Catalina, this is a tender port and we chose not to get off the ship but rather enjoy the quiet that is a port day. The third port of call was San Diego. Again this is a port we had been to several times and yet have seen nothing other than from the window of the bus or the deck of a cruise ship. Again, nothing from Princess Excursions interested us, so we grabbed a cab for a short trip to the Aircraft Carrier Midway, which is a museum. The ship for the most part is accessible to mobility limited people, there was one elevator from the hanger deck to the crew deck that did not work so we didn't get to see as much as we would have liked to. The Midway has a great collection of aircraft from WWII to today. One highlight was a talk about carrier landings by a retired pilot who had landed on the Midway and he told us even one of the planes he flew was displayed there. We spent several hours at the Midway and finally took a cab back to the ship. The last stop of the cruise was Ensenada, I WILL NOT get off the ship in Mexico, I know several people did to go to the shops along the pier. Finally back to Los Angeles and a pretty seamless debarkation to the airport and home. A highlight of the trip home was that Matthew and Gunner Nelson twin sons of the late Ricky Nelson were on the plane. I am pretty sure that my wife might have been the only one who recognized them as she had seen them in concert a few weeks earlier. She did get a chance to say hi after we got off the plane and they I think were pleased that she expressed how much she had enjoyed their concert. The Sapphire was in good shape and for the most part the crew was friendly and helpful. One downside was the night we were leaving San Francisco it was a formal night so we ate in the buffet. The seas were a bit rough and I was having trouble moving about (I use a cane) with my food. No one offered to carry my food so it was a struggle to reach my table without spilling anything. When I sat down I asked to see the supervisor and told him that I felt that the attendants needed to pay attention to people with mobility problems ESPECIALLY on rough nights like that night. To his credit he made sure that someone was there to help me and my wife and it seemed each time that I was in the buffet after that I had help from the same attendant. Our stateroom attendant Piotr, was very good, always greeting us by name when we saw him and took very good care of the state room. One annoying problem we experienced was the air conditioning in the stateroom, if just did not work right even after we placed a call to maintenance and they supposedly fixed it. The room only got below 70 once or twice with 75 being the normal at night, a bit too worm for sleeping comfort. Of the Princess ships I have been on I like the Coral the best, with the Golden close behind. I would rate the Sapphire and the Island as pretty good, in general, but not my favorites. As far as the entertainment on the ship, we did not attend any of the formal productions shows or the comedian. We had seen the shows before and with the "new" shortened format it is hardly worth going to the theater! We did see two movies that we had wanted to see Lincoln and Argo, both were shown in the Princess Theater and were well attended. All in all I would rate the California Coastal and good trip for people who want the chance to visit these cities without a hotel bill. I feel that Princess' Shore Excursion offerings could have been a LOT BETTER and that only serve to enhance the trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
On 27 April I sailed on the Sapphire Princess along the beautiful California coast and this was cruise #15 for me. This being a port every day, the experience is differing from the rural scenery of Alaska or New England/Canada. For one ... Read More
On 27 April I sailed on the Sapphire Princess along the beautiful California coast and this was cruise #15 for me. This being a port every day, the experience is differing from the rural scenery of Alaska or New England/Canada. For one thing I found the experience to be more urban in flavor, with ports such as San Francisco, Santa Barbara and San Diego. The absence of sea days tended to drain me of energy. Embarkation: I utilized Princess air and hotel package where I stayed at the LAX Marriott. The hotel stay more than met my needs. There is a restaurant in the lobby and fast food within an easy walking distance. My balcony room over-looked the fabulous swimming pool area. There was a representative greeting me at the airport and the more representatives at the hotel to assist me to the ship via a Princess coach. I found the embarkation process to be very simple and speedy. The ship: after 15 cruises all the ships seem about the same to me...however I can say that the Sapphire met or exceeded my expectations. The 1730 fixed dining was standard cruise food which met my expectations ...not that I'm a discerning gourmet. One night I did dine at the Sterling Steakhouse and I truly enjoyed the Filet Mignon > Yes.....it is $20 extra but well worth it. My room was an inside on deck 12 Aloha ( A 314) which certainly was close to the Lido facilities. The various service people were excellent to me and I had no issues. The Shows/entertainment: There were three production shows and I enjoyed Born to be Wild and Do You Want To Dance. Sorry to say I missed the comedy and other shows, being on a busy port intensive schedule. I absolutely loved the live band in the Explorer's Lounge & Club Fusion. The Skywalkers Disco way up high was a trill to visit. The trivia and Karaoke activities on-board were sufficiently to my liking. Ports: San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Catalina, San Diego, & Ensenada. ~~ Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and the night lights made San Francisco an excellent port of call. There is plenty to see in walking distance, but I opted for the Muir Woods/Sausalito tour, then the Alcatraz tour the next day. A word of advice...if one wishes to visit Alcatraz do book the ship tour since otherwise it will sell out. ~~ Santa Barbara is best done on your own without a shore tour. I found the 1786 mission and Spanish Colonial Revival Courthouse to be most fascinating. Also of note is perhaps the world's biggest ficus tree. ~~ On Catalina I did the ship's back-country off road tour and saw wild bison and other wildlife. This is an interesting place being mostly a nature preserve of native California flora. ~~ The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has to rank as one the nation's premiere animal parks. I opted for the behind the scenes Caravan tour where I was allowed to feed giraffes and rhinos. ~~ In Ensenada I enjoyed the ship tour out to the Baja wine country where we toured two wineries. Shopping for bargains in town was a hoot. Disembarkation was as quick and simple as embarkation and I was at the airport in a timely manner. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Let me start by saying this was our first cruise and we really enjoyed it. Princess did a wonderful job and the Sapphire ship was beautiful and clean. The service was very attentive. The weather was nice this time of year as a whole. ... Read More
Let me start by saying this was our first cruise and we really enjoyed it. Princess did a wonderful job and the Sapphire ship was beautiful and clean. The service was very attentive. The weather was nice this time of year as a whole. This particular cruise (late April) did not have many children or teenagers. We would sail with Princess again. EMBARKATION: We purchased Princess transfers from LAX airport to the pier. Princess was at the airport earlier than expected and we went straightaway to the pier via bus. This went very smoothly. When we arrived at the pier, they proceeded to check us in quickly and efficiently. Once we got our cruise cards and through security, we only had to wait about 10-15 minutes before boarding. We were on the ship by 12:45 and went straight to our room that was already cleaned and ready for us. DINING: We were pleased with the food on board. We ate the most at the Horizon Court buffet, which was tasty and had a different venue each day (along with some mainstay courses as well). We enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner there. One of my favorite places was the International Cafe that was open 24 hours. Very good desserts there, as well as some sandwiches and side dishes. It was all free except the specialty coffee. We tried both pizza places (Alfredo's and Prego's pizzeria), and we both preferred Prego's by the pool with the traditional pizza. Both however were good and served thin crust, which is our favorite. The burger from the Trident grill was nothing to boast about, not bad, but not the best either. We had anytime dining and only ate in the dining room 3 times--one breakfast and two dinners. The food was very good. For our two evening meals we ate in the Savoy one night and the Pacific Moon the other. Service was very attentive in the Savoy, but lacking at the Pacific Moon. We arrived at 5:30 both nights and were able to be seated by ourselves, with no wait. We did not participate in the two formal nights (as we only packed carry-ons, of which I am very proud, and we didn't use all our clothes that we brought anyway). Overall the dining rooms were a nice atmosphere, but the buffet was more handy to us and of course a lot quicker. The Sundaes ice cream was good and we helped ourselves to this soft serve ice cream way more than once. No charge for basic cones, but an actual "sundae" did have a charge. We did not eat at the two specialty restaurants on board (if you're like us, there's too much good free food, so why pay more? You can get steaks anyway without having to be at the specialty restaurant) ENTERTAINMENT: We only went to one evening show, which was good--your basic singing and dancing. I appreciated that it was only 30-40 minutes and not a 1-2 hour production. They had a kitchen cooking show that was very comical and funny in addition to teaching some basic recipes. CABIN: We booked a room at the very front of the ship on deck 11(Baja 103). After reading up prior to our cruise, I was worried about the potential movement in this room. My husband and I are not bothered by motion sickness but so many people talk about it that I went and bought some ginger and Bonine to take just in case. Now I like to tell people that sure enough, you stay true to who you know you are. We did feel motion in this room but were not bothered at all by it. I was actually hoping for bigger waves and more movement (I love roller coasters by the way). It really was not bad to us, but if you are a person bothered by such things, I would not recommend the very front of the ship. The room was a Deluxe Oceanview with a balcony, and a caveat...the balcony door had to remain closed during the sea days due to high winds off the front of the ship, and it had no furniture on the balcony. We thought the view was great--being able to see forward as opposed to only one side. The balcony could be enjoyed on port days and was larger than the others on this deck. Curtains had to be kept closed at night due to the room lights interfering with the bridge. We noticed this room was also larger than other balcony rooms, but still too small for a sofa, which we would have liked to have. Very comfortable room overall. The bathroom is small and the shower very small! We are both on the thinner side, and found the shower to still be pretty small. Our room steward always kept the room tidy. OTHER ACTIVITIES: We attended a lecture about the bridge and navigation of the ship, and a separate lecture on the engine room. Both were very informative and highly recommended. Shopping on the ship was very basic (clothing, perfumes and jewelry) and not as many shops as I would have hoped for. The shop staff were very helpful and friendly. They had an interdenominational church service on Sunday that we appreciated and thought was done very well. The promenade deck was very nice and did go around the entire ship. I have read that cruise ships are doing away with or scaling down their promenade decks. Too bad, as it is very relaxing and closer to the water than you can get anywhere else on ship. SPA/EXERCISE: We used the treadmills and at times had to wait for one. There were about 15 of them total. I used the "swim against the current" pool once. This pool did not seem to be busy every time we passed by it. I had wanted to get a massage on board and was waiting for a special on various days, but nothing was ever offered at a price I was interested in. PORTS: Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada. We got off ship at all three ports just to walk around for a few hours. We did not book any shore excursions. The ports were all okay, but pretty much the same as far as shopping on the main strip goes. Tenders in Cabo were fast and we did not have a wait time for them. DISEMBARKATION: Again, very smooth. Once off the ship we were directed to the correct bus for the transfer back to LAX, which left pretty quickly and got us to the airport with no problems. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Travelled in a group of 4 adults aged 40-50, yes we were some of the youngest on board but that didn't affect our enjoyment. We were a bit nervous about the 4 days at sea each way but we really enjoyed the time we had to relax, we ... Read More
Travelled in a group of 4 adults aged 40-50, yes we were some of the youngest on board but that didn't affect our enjoyment. We were a bit nervous about the 4 days at sea each way but we really enjoyed the time we had to relax, we were lucky with the weather , although it was cloudy first thing in the morning most days the weather became sunny and warm. As soon as you reach the evening of day 2 at sea you notice the difference in the air temperature it warms up considerably. We had one evening where it was a little choppy but again nothing to be concerned about I have experienced worse in the med. The Golden Princess is a lovely ship and these were the best inside cabins we have experienced in regards to size and layout. The food was good in the main restaurant, we had anytime dining which was brilliant, all you had to do was notify them that you required a table and for how many people and they would issue you with a buzzer they you could take to the bar and it would buzz when your table was ready, the longest we waited was 15 minutes. The buffet food was ok but not as good a selection as royal caribbean and celebrity. We bought a soft drink package, which worked out about £5 per day and was excellent, you could get drinks everywhere and they included fruit juices, sodas, all non alcoholic cocktails and hot chocolate and you didn't need to buy one for everyone in your stateroom. Hygiene on the ship appeared to be excellent with cleaning crews always washing down hand rails and common areas, hand gel available in the restaurants and all main doors to toilets had hand towels and bins beside them so that you didn't need to touch door handles. One of the downsides was the entertainment, not the quality of the shows themselves but the fact that they have made all of their shows 30 minutes, so you spend a lot of time being herded from one venue to another, sitting down for 30 minutes and then moved on to the next. I appreciate the need to allow everyone the opportunity to see all the shows but in fact what was happening was that people didn't bother going as they new they would have to move again in half an hour and particularly for some of the less mobile this was a problem. Hawaii itself was lovely the islands and trips were excellent, we did the trip to Pearl Harbour and the Whale watching both of which we enjoyed. My major complaint would be why on earth did they make Ensenada in Mexico a stop ???? There is nothing there and no reason to get off the ship, it is not a tourist area and is very run down. Considering we spent 4 days at sea getting to Hawaii an extra stop there or and overnight stop would have been much better. Everyone said this and Princess really need to take this into consideration. Something tells me there is a business reason for this stop and it is not for the benefit of the passengers !! All in all a good cruise , still prefer Royal Caribbean but would go with Princess again and would now consider more days at sea. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Our Hawaiian cruise was satisfactory except for the short time in ports. Having to return to the ship at 5 pm really puts a damper on the time spent to enjoy the islands. In Honolulu we had to return by 11 pm which was ample time to tour ... Read More
Our Hawaiian cruise was satisfactory except for the short time in ports. Having to return to the ship at 5 pm really puts a damper on the time spent to enjoy the islands. In Honolulu we had to return by 11 pm which was ample time to tour the sights. The ship was comfortable and the seas were fine except for 2 nights when the sea got a little rough. Dining in the formal dining rooms was much better than the on deck buffet. We have notice a lowering in the quality of the buffet food. It wasn't as good as the last cruises we took on Princess. We were disappointed that there was no midnight buffet prior to the last day of the cruise. However, I must congratulate the staff on excellent friendly service. Our room attendant was the best and so was all the other staff members we met especially the servers in the dining room. During the cruise we had one unruly group on deck who drank and acted quite inappropriate using foul language. You'll always get one on any cruise who can't behave themselves. The ships security personnel spoke to them and after that they cooled down considerably. Overall, the cruise was as advertised with plenty to do during the day and good entertainment at night. I must admit that the gratuity payment of $11/day/PP on top of the 15% gratuity for drinks seems a little excessive. We elected to have the $11/day/PP removed and tipped those persons as we pleased for good service. Overall I would rate the cruise a 9 out of 10 only because of the high cost of drinks and short shore visits. Other than that we are pleased. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Warning! This is somewhat long~~~~~ This was a spur of the moment cruise, in as much, as I received the e-mail on Feb. 22, 2013 for a Mini-Suite Sale for a 14 Day Hawaiian Cruise aboard the Golden Princess. The cruise was for March 27, ... Read More
Warning! This is somewhat long~~~~~ This was a spur of the moment cruise, in as much, as I received the e-mail on Feb. 22, 2013 for a Mini-Suite Sale for a 14 Day Hawaiian Cruise aboard the Golden Princess. The cruise was for March 27, 2013. This gave us just one month to book, plan, and finance, schedule and get to San Pedro, CA from Oklahoma. No Problem! We discussed the offer and determined that while it was short notice, the deal was just too good to overlook. The savings amounted to just over $1,250 per person savings over the cruise that we were planning to take in the spring of 2014. After a quick check of the financials the booking process got underway. Since we had just returned from an Alaska Inside Passage in Sept. 2012, we knew what was needed! Clothes were going to be the first issue as the climates of Alaska and Hawaii are somewhat different. (Dont ya think?) What we determined as essential soon became unnecessary or irrelevant. But enough about that, what I want to let you know is how great the Princess Cruise Line (PCL) personnel are. My call connected me with Kimberly Simaha, Consumer Support Personnel representative who answered our questions and handled the basics in one phone call. We even got the area of the ship that we prefer, mid-ship deck 9. The next day I called Sharonda Huff, our normal Cruise Vacation Planner. With her help we completed the little extras that take the cruise one step above the normal. Over the next 3 weeks, we retrieved from various nooks & crannys and closets our suitcases and items of importance (?) as was determined. I purchased a couple of Hawaiian Shirts and an extra pair of Bermuda shorts for the trip, while the wife managed to keep her purchases to a minimum also. We really did a good job. During this time we selected a number of excursions that might be of interest to us and started paring them down to the best for our first trip to Hawaii. We booked 3 PCL Excursions and 2 Online Excursions, do to conflicts with what we wished to see. Then there was the e-mail on Mar. 19 with the offer to upgrade to a Full Suite from the Mini-Suite for what to us was a very reasonable amount. Making the call was easy but accepting the revised location was another issue all together. The suites offered were located at the aft of the ship on the Sun Deck, deck 15. Since we had never been anywhere but the middle of the ship this presented a dilemma since this was our first open ocean voyage. However, the luxury of the suite won out over the aft location on the ship, so we booked the upgrade to the Corsica Suite, S703. More on S703 later.Start of Vacation: We drove to the LA area. Being retired does have some advantages and I would rather drive than fly anytime. After 2 ½ days of relaxed travel, we arrive in LA and drove straight to the Pacific Ocean and Redondo Beach Pier. We arrived around 10:30AM where we met some dear friends for a nice relaxing lunch at Tonys on the Pier. We started out with a Mai Tai followed by a wonderful lunch and great conversation. After several hours, we parted to go our separate way for who knows how long. We drove south from Redondo Beach around Palos Verde on our way to San Pedro. If you are new to the LA area this is one of the most scenic drives of California. The Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Pedro was the hotel of choice since they offered the best rate and the best accommodations, hotel and car wise. The rate included garage parking for the 14 days of the cruise, transportation to and from the ship plus several extras during our stay at the Crowne Plaza.Cruise Time: 1st Day of Voyage & Embarkation; Wed. 03/27/13. Clear & Cool! The morning of our cruise, we enjoyed a buffet breakfast at the hotel before boarding our shuttle to the ship. At the Pier, we were directed to the proper line based upon our boarding passes and quickly preceded through the boarding process which took less than 30 minutes total. After boarding the Golden we were directed to our suite and upon arriving found it to be just a luxurious as the suite on the Star last September. The Golden and the Star are as close to twins as possible. The major exception is the suites on the Sun Deck! Then we proceeded down to deck 14 to the Horizon Court for lunch. After lunch, we found half of our luggage in the room and began the unpacking. By the time we were almost through the rest of our luggage arrived. What timing, however, that would come after Muster Call. This is mandatory and you are checked into your muster station with a scanner. After Muster, we completed the unpacking. We then combined our luggage within itself and stored it under the bed. However neatly we pack, it seems that there are always things that need pressed. So we laid out my suit, Hawaiian shirts along with several of my wifes pants suites and nicer blouses to be pressed. One of the many perks of a suite is free laundry & dry cleaning. Before dinner time our room steward Charlie had retrieved them and brought more ice for our bucket. He was starting off really great. Now it is time to relax and unwind on our wonderful full deck with a glass of the complimentary Champagne and Chocolate Cover Strawberries. There was also a large Fruit Bowl of selected fruits and of course lets not forget the beautiful flower bouquet in the room. Now that is rejuvenating and relaxing. Our major issue with the Sun Deck Suites is the paltry number of aft elevators that service the Sun Deck. As previously stated the Sun Deck Suites are located at the aft of the ship. To get to our suite, the best route is to go to the Lido Deck 7 and walk to the elevators at the rear of the ship. While All Aft elevators go up to deck 14 where the Horizon Court Buffet is located, only the two outer aft elevators go to deck 15 and beyond. Needless to say, they are very busy, so getting to our rooms was a bit of an adventure. Time to check out the Golden Princess! Guess what? Its just like the Star Princess except for the Sun Deck Suites. The Piazza is the central focal point for most gatherings, shops, lounges or access along the hall of the Lido Deck, casino and dining rooms. It also has entertainers performing most of the time from lunch until late every evening. As a perk for booking a suite, we had a free cover charge for the sail-away dinner and we chose Sabatinis (again). The atmosphere was spectacular and the meal and service was outstanding. They pampered you and by the end of the 2 hour meal were calling you by you names. After dinner we began our cruise with the entertainment of the night. Of course we celebrated with a cocktail (Mai Tai) to break the ice, so to speak. During the evening, we started meeting couples we had conversed with on Facebook and Cruise Critic. Everyone was thrilled to finally be onboard and cruising. One couple that we met was from Michigan and we became good friends with them over the course of the cruise. Another couple & their daughter that we had met on Facebook, were just great and really made the cruise enjoyable. We ran into quite a few couples daily and looked forward to our encounters. One of the great things about cruising is that you never meet a stranger. Everyone is willing to share their tables, provide information and just be pleasant. We ran into all of these people daily and looked forward to our encounters. One of the great things about cruising is that you never meet a stranger. Everyone is willing to share their tables, provide information and just be pleasant. We signed up for Anytime Dining and were really thrilled by our tablemates almost every day, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. The staff of the Golden Princess proved to be one of the friendliest and hospitable assemblages of people we have come across in our travels. 2nd Day of Voyage; Thurs. 03/28/13. Somewhat rough seas! The ocean cruising days were simply refreshing! The DW & I really enjoyed the relaxation that came with the cruising! We began to fall into a rhythm that soon became the norm. The day began with coffee delivered to our room around 6:45AM, followed by breakfast at Sabatinis around 8:00AM. This morning we met another couple at breakfast, Pam & Cal and we struck up a mutual friendship. Then it was time for the Lecture by Naturalist John Manke. His talks were very informative and quite interesting. At 12 noon every day the bridge would sound 12 Bells and provide the status of the ship with all pertinent information (including the depth of the ocean at that location). They also, provide a bit of sailing history with explanations of where certain nautical term came from. These were really interesting facts to learn. We were having a bit of roughness in the seas. It was fun to watch everyone staggering down the halls without bumping into everything. It was the latest craze, as everyone was doing it. Shortly thereafter, we made our way to the Piazza for live entertainment. Of course, if you wanted to you could just find a place to sit and watch the people. Later it would be time for lunch and of course you had your choice of several places to eat. Then you might want to retire to you stateroom and enjoy your balcony and read! This was something that I enjoyed even if it was sometimes a little windy. However it was never crowded. Around 3:00PM it was time for Snowball Jackpot Bingo which was relaxing as well as exciting. There were many lounges to relax in or there was the casino for a little more excitement. When we got back to the room to freshen up prior to dinner there was a fresh plate of Chocolate Cover Strawberries. (This occurred every day of the cruise and believe me they were delicious!) Evening began with Anytime Dining at your convenience which provided the opportunity to meet a variety of fellow passengers. The evening shows were among the best that we have seen on a cruise and the Piazza entertainment was simply outstanding. 3rd Day of Voyage; Fri. 03/29/13. Somewhat rough seas! Again the day began with coffee delivered to our room around 6:45AM, followed by breakfast at Sabatinis around 8:00AM. (If you start to see a routine then you are correct.) This morning I attended a seminar on Acupuncture and back pain. I scheduled two appointments for Friday and Saturday late afternoon. Of course we found the ships Casino and were enjoying ourselves at the Slots. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and meeting other passengers. This was our first â(EURO)oeFormal Nightâ(EURO) and the atmosphere was exciting and fun. Some people dressed to the nines while others simple wore suits and nice dresses or blouses & pants. 4th Day of Voyage; Sat. 03/30/13. Calm seas but windy! It was Coffee & Breakfast @ Sabatinis as usual to start the day. This was the first day that the seas were somewhat calm, and people didn)t know what to do! After the second Acupuncture treatment, I couldnt see any real improvement and chose not to schedule any follow-up treatments. But within a few days even my wife began to see some improvement in my ability to get around, so I guess you could say it worked.5th Day of Voyage; Easter Sunday 03/31/13. Calm seas but windy! The morning began as usual and I noticed that there were Easter Services scheduled so after breakfast we attended the service. It was a very good sermon and service. Of course, later on Easter Sunday morning and afternoon was kids time for Easter egg hunts and what have you. This was really the only time that we actually saw the majority of the kids. Meeting fellow passengers became the rule of the cruise. It seemed that every other person was from England or Canada. I guess the cheap dollar worked form them. This was the day that I decided to go to the Internet area and send out a short email to friends and family. Ports of Call: The port of calls for this cruise were Hilo (Big Island), Honolulu (O'ahu), Nawiliwili (Kauai) and Lahaina (Maui) beginning tomorrow.6th Day of Voyage & 1st Day in Hawaii; Mon. 04/01/13. Beautiful skies! April 1st came but it was not April Fool Day as it was a Hawaiian Celebration that we had been looking forward to! We sighted the Big Island early that morning while drinking our morning coffee and after breakfast we retired to our balcony to view the docking at Hilo! It was interesting to watch the tugs assist the Golden Princess in to dock. There were a myriad of excursions from which to choose, depending upon you activity level. Ours choice was Akaka Falls, Kahuna Falls, Rainbow Falls, Tour #ITO480A, it departed at 09:30AM and returned by 01:00PM. Given a choice, we usually take the waterfall tours. The scenery was spectacular and of course the weather was perfect! Since neither my wife nor I are much at shopping and since walking long distances are not our cup of tea, well, guess what. We arrived back at the ship in time for a late lunch at the Horizon Court. Then it was time to enjoy the balcony with relaxation, reading or napping. As the time came to leave port it was also time to eat again. Our first encounter with Hawaii was everything we expected and more. This gave birth to an idea in the back of our minds that this might not be our only visit to Hawaii! 7th Day of Voyage & 2nd Day in Hawaii; Tues. 04/02/13. Clearing skies! Sailing proved to be a much need tonic for my insomnia, what with the gentle rolling of the ocean and ship I had little trouble sleeping soundly until around 6:00AM. This morning, there was a change in our routine as we had ordered Breakfast on our Balcony delivered to our room by 6:30AM for an early start. While shaving out on the balcony, I saw the outline of Oahu around 6:00AM. We watched the sunrise over Waikiki Beach/Hotels! We arrived at the dock at the projected time of 7:00AM. While eating breakfast, we were able to enjoy the beautiful sights of Honolulu from the ship. We had a perfect view of the Aloha Tower just off our balcony. WOW! Then it was time for our first tour of the day, that being the USS Arizona and the Mighty Mo! We were not going to miss this on our first trip to Hawaii and we were glad that we didnt. Words cannot convey the emotions that you experience! Please remember this is a memorial and as a show of respect, gentlemen should remove their hats while on the USS Arizona Memorial. We had time for lunch on shore before we caught a tour bus for The South Shore of Oahu Sightseeing Tour! I love tours where I get to set back and relax and not drive. This was a spectacular tour of Oahu and we really got to see a lot of the island. After the actual tour was over and we were dropped off other passengers at our pickup hotels, we found out that we will never book a hotel within the Waikiki Beach area. That area is block after block (6 wide by 15 long) of nothing but High-Rise Condo and large Resort-Hotels. If you are going to Hawaii for rest and relaxation then the wall-to-wall people in the Waikiki Beach area is not that place! Arriving back at the Golden Princess and our suite, we relaxed with a pick-me-up and showered before dressing (casual) for dinner. 8th Day of Voyage & 3rd Day in Hawaii; Wed. 04/03/13. Beautiful skies! Early Wednesday morning, we were treated to a magnificent sunrise over Kauai! This was just one of many grand sunrises that we saw while on this cruise. In-bound for the port we spotted a whale from our balcony. This was our first whale sighing, but not our last. As we entered Nawiliwili Bay, we saw the prototypical Hawaiian cove and decided that this was just what we came to Hawaii to see. During the docking process, while awaiting instructions from the harbor master, a tug captain who evidently was a little bored began to put on quite a show of the tugs skills. I only wished that I had taken a video instead of pictures of the tug doing what we came to call the Tug Dance. All of the people on our side of the ship seemed to really enjoy it because when the tug finished the show everyone applauded. Again after a very relaxing breakfast at Sabatinis we gathered out cameras and hats for our on-shore experiences. This was our first experience of visiting an ABC Store. Talk about a tourist trap, which seems to be its claim to fame. At the appointed time we met up with the rep from Wings over Kauai for our tour of Kauai! While this was our first time in a smaller airplane, it was absolutely fantastic. Our pilot Josh was the greatest and really seemed to enjoy showing us the island and its wonders. We even spotted a mother and her calf in a lagoon and he made a couple of loops so we could get a great view and really great pictures. Wings over Kauai advertisement states: Every seat is a window seat and that is what sold us! The 65+ minute flight was wonderful. The sights were unbelievable and fantastic. To top it off, the cost was much cheaper than the helicopters. After returning to the ship, we grabbed a bit at the International Cafe & Coffee Bar. Then spent another afternoon enjoying our balcony with its great view. This port has a spectacular view of the Pacific, the cove and the Island. One bit of Kauai Information, after the first two multi-story hotels were being built, Kauai governing board made a decision that from then on No Building would be taller than a palm tree! Simply a great idea to retain the tropical scenery as the first thing you see!9th Day of Voyage & 4th Day in Hawaii; Thurs. 04/04/13. Clear & Beautiful! While this was the last morning of the cruise to Hawaii, we vowed that it would not be our last time in Hawaii! This was the only port that we didnt dock at a pier, but instead we anchored off-shore about ½ a mile. Tender boats were very active this morning going to and from the docks at Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. Fortunately, we had scheduled a PCL Whale Watching Tour and boarded a separate ship for this. During this excursion, we were never more than 1 ½ miles from the Golden Princess. Our first sighting was within ½ a mile and that was a mother and her calf. Both of whom were being followed by a male as an escort. As our guide stated, he was hoping to get lucky as the mother would not leave the Hawaiian waters until she was pregnant with her next calf. So he was hanging around After the excursion, we were dropped off Lahaina, where we finally decided to do our shopping, other that the shopping we had done onboard the Golden. First off we took a couple of pictures of the magnificent Banyan Tree Grove. It covered the entire central square of Lahaina. Our goal was to find a Sun Catcher to hang in a window of our 4 Seasons Sunroom. However, we found a wonderful little jewelry store and proceeded to buy a beautiful pair of Plumeria Earrings and a Plumeria Necklace Pendant to go with it. Then it was time to grab a bite to eat and of course we had a local brew, Kona Longboard draft that was so good that it deserved an encore brew. Of course the local food was very good, particularly the fish tacos. Then we walked across the street to a tourist trap gift shop, which was what we were looking for. There we purchased Hawaiian shirt and dresses for the grandkids. Then we boarded the tenders back to the Golden Princess. While we had a great day, it soon became evident that our visit to the beautiful islands of Hawaii was now at an end. Tonight we would up anchor and begin the relaxing cruise back towards the mainland with its intermediary stop at Ensenada, Mexico. 10th Day of Voyage & 5th Day @ Sea; Fri. 04/05/13. Calm seas & clear skies! This was the first day of our return voyage to the mainland. Of course it began as almost every morning began, with coffee delivered to our room around 6:45AM, followed by breakfast at Sabatini's around 8:00AM. The staff at Sabatiniâs seemed to become more than just the maitre de and waiters, by now they were great friends. One of the waiters was in charge of serving the pastry tray and everyone referred to him as their pusher or dealer since with his smiling face would greet you with the tray and immediately go into his spiel for your selection. Of course, if you only took one pastry, he immediately stated that this other pastry comes along because it would be lonely to be left. While another server believed that if one Bellini was good then two was better. Needless to say it often took up to 1 ½ hours to eat breakfast. But there was never any hurry! Since the Snowball Jackpot Bingo was temporarily halted during port days, it was now time to resume. Every day the jackpot was not won, it increased by $200. The casino held daily Slot Tournaments. And not to be outdone, there were daily Bargains for sale in the boutiques and on sale tables. One of the best buys were reversible weather proof jackets prior to arrival at the islands. As usual, we went to Bernini Dining Room for dinner. This was our second Formal Night and of course we were seated with several interesting couples that added to the festive atmosphere of the night. The ability to meet other cruisers is the main reason for choosing Anytime Dining. After dinner it was off to the Princess Theatre for the evening's entertainment along with a cocktail to relax us from our hectic day at sea. 11th Day of Voyage; Sat. 04/06/13. Somewhat rough seas & clear skies! This proved to be a wonderful day to just enjoy the relaxation. After breakfast at Sabatini's we went down to the Piazza, found a couple of seats and watched the people while partaking of a couple of coffee-lattes before attending the Naturalist Seminar. Then the wife went to the casino while I head up to cabin to get a book and read. Even though there were rough seas, I enjoyed sitting in the chaise on the balcony to read with the sun beaming down. Around 11:30 AM we got together in the Piazza to decide about lunch. Salad and Fruit was the order of the day. Of course, we checked the picture galleries just like so many others were. We did buy more of the ships pictures this trip because of the scenery and poses. Again I decided to use the balcony for reading and maybe a little nap! Did I mention that they had refilled the fruit bowl in the room yesterday? This evening we had dinner at the Crown Grill with our friends from Michigan. It was a truly spectacular meal. Everyone's steaks were grilled to perfection and the sides were outstanding. I can honestly say that I have only had a better steak one time and that was at Jess & Jim's Steakhouse in KCMO. The evening was one to remember because of the meals and of course the company. The atmosphere at the Crown Grill is second to none and helped make the evening what it was. Spectacular! 12th Day of Voyage; Sun. 04/07/13. Calm seas & beautiful blue skies! After the morning coffee on our balcony while shaving, it was time for Sabatini's again and another spectacular breakfast. Then it was time for Sunday services. This is something rather nice that is provided by Princess. I believe that my better half and I are really getting use to this cruising thing. While everyone told us that we would go crazy with all of the sea days during this cruise we found it simply great for relaxing and enjoying life without any pressure to constantly be doing something.13th Day of Voyage; Mon. 04/08/13. Choppy seas & cloudy skies! Since this was the third of 3 Formal Nights and this was the last of one. That evening we were seated at 'Table 63' which as it turned out was quite an honor. We were seated along with another couple at the table. Everyone introduced themselves and we were introduced to Mr. Thomas & Mrs. Dorothy Churley, Princess Cruise Lines 'Most Traveled Passengers' of the voyage. They have sailed 1,097 days with Princess since 2005! This was their 6 b-t-b cruise to Hawaii and were also booked on the next cruise. They have this table each cruise in addition to having the same waiter. The evening was most entertaining. Now to the other couple, Mr. and Mrs. John Manka were a very interesting, both of whom who are retired US Park Rangers having served at many National Parks across our wonderful country. I knew that I recognized his voice but couldn't place the face. Then just before the dinner was coming to an end, it finally dawned on me he was the Ship's Naturalist. When we attended the Naturalist's Talks, we set in the back of the Princess Theatre due to the stairs. It is at least 60 rows away from the podium and my eyes must really be bad. Anyway, it was an extreme pleasure to sit and talk with these two interesting and nice couples. Of course that is why we chose Anytime Dining.14th Day of Voyage & Port of Ensenada; Tues. 04/09/13. Calm seas & clear! After morning coffee it was breakfast at Sabatini's. This was one thing that we both were going to miss after the cruise. Then we went down to the Piazza, found a couple of seats and watched the people while partaking of a couple of regular coffees, before attending the Naturalist Seminar. This day was just for relaxation and enjoyment. I partook of the balcony as we had sun and pleasant temperatures on our balcony for most of the day. Well, too be perfectly honest, it wasn't exactly all relaxation and enjoyment, as we had to pack our suitcases for tomorrows debarkation. This really brought home the fact that this wonderful cruise was fast coming to a close and we would be back to waiting on ourselves.As we entered the port of Ensenada, we fixed ourselves a couple of drinks and enjoyed the docking experience. We chose not to go ashore but instead just relax and have a late dinner. Before going to eat, we placed all of our luggage outside of our door. Then we enjoyed dinner followed by the entertainment in the Piazza one more time. All through the afternoon and evening, we exchanged travel cards with several of the couples that we had met and enjoyed each others company during the cruise. 15th Day of Voyage & Disembarkation; Wed. 04/10/13. Clear skies but LA still has smog! With coffee delivered at 6:30AM for the last time I enjoyed it while shaving on the balcony as the Golden Princess docked for the last time. After docking, around 7:30AM, we checked out of our suite S703 and went down to our assigned disembarkation site, the Bernini Restaurant, where we were served an assortment of pastry's, coffee or tea. Several of us went out to the International Cafe and picked up breakfast croissants. Our Color Tag & # was called around 9:50AM and we proceeded through the cattle chute of disembarkation. Surprisingly, we flew through customs and immediately found our luggage. (We wrapped each piece in a brightly colored and decorated duct tape which made identification quite easy. We had a porter with a cart that lead us to our rendezvous point for pickup by the Crowne Plaza shuttle. We waited around 10 minutes and were on our way to get our car. After getting our car, it was on the road again heading towards Las Vegas and the Flamingo hotel. We spent 3 nights at the Flamingo before heading back to Oklahoma. Gratuities:Now let me inform you that while we prepaid gratuities! But I always carry a stack $2.00 bills to reward the extra service that we received almost all of the time: morning coffee, bar service, special waiter/waitress, International Cafe and other services too numerous to mention. I also carried a stack of $5.00 bills for bellhops, parking attendants, tour & shuttle drivers, etc. I believe that you get what you pay for and I believe in rewarding service. Remember what my wife and I always say; TRAVEL FIRST CLASS, IF YOU DON'T, YOUR KIDS WILL!Just us, RetiredNTraveling! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our 13th total cruise and sixth in a row on Princess. We sailed with DW's sister and her husband. We choose this cruise mainly for the number of sea days and the fact we live less than 100 miles from the port of San Pedro ... Read More
This was our 13th total cruise and sixth in a row on Princess. We sailed with DW's sister and her husband. We choose this cruise mainly for the number of sea days and the fact we live less than 100 miles from the port of San Pedro so no flying was involved. We did the same cruise on the Golden in 2011. Liked it so much, we booked this one as soon as bookings opened. Since we lived so close, we didn't do a pre-cruise stay, just a short ride to my sister's house who was nice enough to give us a ride to the port. As far as the actual embarkation, it was very smooth for us as we got to the ship quite late. We basically walked right on the ship. We were late due to a last minute medical issue on embarkation day. The issue subsequently cleared up so we decided to sail. I arranged a cruise critic meet and greet in Skywalkers on the first day at sea. The meet and greet was well attended. It was nice to put faces to people you had been electronically corresponding with. We had a Vista suite (D738). The suite is on the aft portion of the ship on Dolphin deck. This was our first aft view cruise and now that it's over, I am hooked. The balcony was huge and the beam didn't bother us at all. The suite was well appointed and it was nice having a separate Jacuzzi tub and shower. In my opinion, the closet space was somewhat tiny but there was definitely enough storage space with all the drawers. The best thing by far concerning our Vista suite, was the cabin steward. Fernando from the Philippines was arguably the best cabin steward we've had on any of our cruises. He always had a smile on his face and kept our room spotless. The one thing that really impressed me was the level of enthusiasm he displayed despite the fact he had been doing this for twenty years. The Sapphire Princess is a beautiful ship. We had sailed the Diamond on a previous cruise so we were somewhat familiar with the layout. All areas were spotless. All crewmembers that I came in contact with always had a smile on their face and went to great lengths to make sure all passengers enjoyed their cruise. As far as some of the areas of the ship we enjoyed, I'd have to say Alfredo's was my favorite. The pizzas were great and the venue to enjoy them was nice. I also enjoyed Muts, and the Neptune pool area as well as the Terrace pool area. I did note however the jets on both Jacuzzi's above the Terrace pool weren't working for the entire cruise. I made good use of the gym, going early in the morning on most days. I did this to avoid the crowds. When in the gym, I noticed that all of the cardio equipment was in good working order. I tried the thermal suite in the Lotus Spa. I found the stone beds nice. I did note that the temps in both the thermal suite sauna as well as the sauna in the men's room were a little cool. The steam room in the men's room was not working when I visited. DW made use of the salon services in the Lotus Spa. She enjoyed the services and did not encounter any hard sell issues. We like to eat later so we choose late seating traditional dining in the international dining room. The time was 7:45 which was different than the 8:15 time I had experienced in the past. We had a table for four which we shared with DW's sister and husband. Our waiter was Virgil from the Philippines. He was assisted by Edmond who was also from the Philippines. Our headwaiter (sorry, I can't remember his name) was also very active in ensuring service was up to par. I'd have to say the service was outstanding. The food was very good to excellent. We enjoyed Sabatini's on embarkation night and found the food and service to be very good. We also enjoyed breakfast each morning in Sabatini's which was outstanding. Alice, Elena, and Gabriel were the best. In additional to the traditional venues, I enjoyed some tasty burgers at the Trident Grill. I also enjoyed the tasty offerings from the international cafe. I never really ate a meal in the horizon court, so I can't really rate it. All in all, I'd say the food quality I encountered was very good to outstanding. There was a variety of entertainment offerings to suite everyone's tastes. I only saw one production show that I thought was good. Each production show/princess theater show was performed three times (7:00pm, 8:15pm, and 10:15pm). One comment about the 7:00pm show, it was always packed. My guess is people finishing their early meal and late seating folks wanting to go before they ate. In addition to the production shows, the Princess theater also0 had a couple of comedians as well as vocal performers. One thing I did miss from previous voyages was seeing a comedian perform in the Explorer's lounge. There was always a pianist on Crooners and a quartet in the Wheelhouse bar every night. The quartet was very popular and the dance floor was always full. As far as excursion go, in Hilo we did a helicopter excursion (ship based) that was amazing and worth every penny. In Honolulu we did the Paradise Luau (privately arranged) that was very good. In Kauai we visited the Waimea Canyon (ship based) which provided some great VIEWS. Rained a little bit while we were there but it didn't detract from the views. In Maui we did a whale watching excursion (privately arranged) on a small boat. We saw tons of whales but got quite wet. The weather for the entire cruise was overall good. We had some rough seas the first night out and the second to last sea day coming back. Rough seas don't bother me so it was not a big deal. All in all this was a great cruise. I could us doing this cruise from time to time for the simple reason of not having to fly. I would also definitely recommend this itinerary to anyone who loves sea days. It's a great way to relax or get motivated for your next cruise which for me will be in October on the new Royal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Mom and I have now been on our second cruise with Princess, the first being the Caribbeans and this one to Hawaii March 9 thru' the 23rd. It was a wonderful experience in every way. First of all the crew made sure we were ... Read More
Mom and I have now been on our second cruise with Princess, the first being the Caribbeans and this one to Hawaii March 9 thru' the 23rd. It was a wonderful experience in every way. First of all the crew made sure we were comfortable and satisfied. We were, no question. The food was deliscious daily and I ate to my hearts content as I had planned to do. The entertainment was great especially the voice impersonator and the guy who played the electric guitar in the piazza. The speciallty coffee drinks were soothing every afternoon before a yummy dinner every night. We shared a dinner table every night with someone new and it was so much fun to get to know so many people. Everyone had a story to tell and it was a real highlight to listen to. The movies were a good choice. The weather was beautiful in all four islands....probably because we were expecting it to be lousy due to what we were warned...rain, rain, rain..hah!! None of that! The sun wanted to show off and it did. Honolulu was the highlight of my personal experience..the big city with a beautiful beach, etc. What more could a cruise traveler ask for!! Most of all, it was so neat to feel connected with the crew members. Billy was a great cruise director, Collette, very friendly and approachable. About Adam, I heard people raving about him the whole time. First of all people commented how he spoke nice, slow and articulate in Bingo for the hard of hearing and many other compliments throughout the cruise. He is a great asset to the Princess Cruise Line. We hope to see him again. Thank you so much for a lovely vacation. I felt like a brand new person when we returned. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Our group consisted of my 70-something year old parents (who treated the rest of us to this cruise), my husband & me (in our 40s), our 2 sons (ages 10 & 12) and my brother, a single 40-something. I had cruised once 20+ years ago ... Read More
Our group consisted of my 70-something year old parents (who treated the rest of us to this cruise), my husband & me (in our 40s), our 2 sons (ages 10 & 12) and my brother, a single 40-something. I had cruised once 20+ years ago and my parents had cruised several times but never on Princess (RCL and others). We chose this cruise simply because it worked with everyone's schedule. Overall I highly recommend it, especially for a large group. Everyone could do their own thing. Sometimes we'd do things together but we always knew we'd meet up for dinner. The service was exceptional. We felt like we were at a 5-star hotel. From the moment we got on board, the staff was always asking us if we needed something. One night we ordered room service that never came but we forgave them because every other interaction was so wonderful. Food: The food was much better than I expected it would be, especially the sit-down dinners. We did the early seating sit-down dinner and had our own table. Our waiter was warm, friendly and attentive. For breakfast we mostly did buffet (we did a sit-down one morning that was meh), lunches we ate burgers or the delicious fresh wood-fired pizza on deck, but every single night we did the family dinner which was a great way to end a day/begin an evening. We never tried the other restaurants because we enjoyed "our" table so much. Rooms: My husband & I had a balcony room and our kids had an inside cabin directly across from us. (Baja deck, B419 & B421) The idea was to put 1 adult & 1 child in each room (that is how you have to book it) because we thought there would be no WAY we'd let them be in a cabin by themselves. They are barely 10 and 12 and we tend to be worriers! But after less than a day on board, we felt so comfortable and safe that we let them sleep in their room by themselves. It certainly made it more of a vacation for us! (By the way: Getting 2 rooms was only a little bit more expensive than putting the 4 of us in 1 room, and cheaper than a family suite.) My parents had a balcony room next to us with a gate that opened so we could go back and forth. My brother had a view room a couple decks away (Emerald) which he found ideal. (Tip: You can call and ask for an "obstructed view" room that does not have a lifeboat in front of it, giving you a view room for an obstructed view price.) My dad was afraid the elevators would be noisy but nobody heard a thing. The beds and pillows were super comfy and I'm picky. The only complaint was the first night, the engine was so rumbly I couldn't sleep but the rest of the trip was fine. The TVs had tons of great first-run movies (including plenty for kids) and lots of other channels including repeats of the Love Boat! Activities: There was a schedule every day but we didn't do a ton of them. We mainly hung out around the pools & jacuzzis, reading, playing cards and chatting. The movies on deck were fun. Excursions: In Cabo we did the Dolphin Swim which was great, though we had to wait a long time before our group was called. Had a GREAT lunch at Solomon's Landing afterwards, walking distance from the dolphin center. In Puerto Vallarta we did the zip lining which my kids are still talking about. We got pictures both places, which are expensive but worth it. (We booked both through Princess.) Ensenada was a complete waste of time: dirty, seedy, boring. Next time I wouldn't get off the boat. Speaking of getting off the boat: that was easier than I thought it would be. But I had expected to wait forever and be highly annoyed so the wait didn't seem bad! Kids Club: My kids didn't want to go and I didn't make them. But on day 4 they met some kids on deck that had been in kid's club and from that point forward, they hung out with Kid's Club kids. If parents ok it, kids can leave the club and walk around the ship. (They could go to the sport court, play shuffleboard, get food, etc.) Amazingly, my husband and I agreed to this and the kids LOVED their independence. I can't believe we felt comfortable enough to let them do that, but the ship really felt that safe. I could criticize some things but there was nothing that ruined the trip. For example it would have been nice to have a "funner" pool for the kids like Disney (which of course is 3x price), the entertainment wasn't memorable (except one guy in the lobby who was great), and not everything I ate was stellar. Expect some waiting around to get on/off the boat and get that first buffet meal. But overall whenever I think about that cruise I smile. Would definitely do it again. My husband did NOT want to go in the first place but is now telling everyone how great cruising is and can't wait to go back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Flew to LA with 2 night pre-cruise stay in Long Beach arranged execucar transfers to hotel, but were dropped at wrong hotel. Took taxi from hotel to pier and although we arrived at time stated we waited for an hour to embark ship. ... Read More
Flew to LA with 2 night pre-cruise stay in Long Beach arranged execucar transfers to hotel, but were dropped at wrong hotel. Took taxi from hotel to pier and although we arrived at time stated we waited for an hour to embark ship. Never encountered this delay before. Went straight to cabin, droppped off bag then went for a drink & wander around. We had arranged an informal meet & greet at sail away at calypso bar, so missed sailaway. We had anytime dining this is the first cruise where we didn't have to queue for tables. Dining room was quite quiet at 8pm definitely a first. With 4 sea days we settled into a routine of relaxing on balcony or wandering around, Zumba Gold/fitness was available & I took part on the sea days out, but not as available on the return. We also had our formal meet & greet, and made Leis. Evening entertainment was varied and good, especially Kevin Hughes the comedian. He was so funny. Elua, could be found at various venues around the ship, they were very entertaining. There was always entertainment going on somewhere in the evening, with 2 resident bands, crimson & Rhapsody. Our first stop Hilo, we had booked with Aina Tours, with others from our roll call. Leaving the ship in pouring rain & puddles we made our way to our vehicle and set off to the Volcanic National Park, Macademia Nut Factory & Rainbow falls & botanical gardens. It didn't stop raining until the end of the day, our tour guide provided us with coats and umbrellas. But it was very muddy through the lava tube & quite chilly. Due to the rain Rainbow falls produced some great photos, and it actually stopped raining here. Great tour definitely recommend them. Next stop was Oahu, we had booked a tour with Roberts Hawaii to Pearl Harbour & Mighty Mo. As our tickets weren't til 1pm we were given a city tour first & visit to punchbowl cemetery. We went to see Mighty Mo, but when we drove back to pearl harbour we were told the shuttles were closed due to the wind so we were unable to go out to the memorial. The weather was warm but windy. Actually got sunburnt. We had an enjoyable tour with Roberts. After arriving back at the ship we decided to go for a walk along ala moana boulevard, after a while it poured with rain and we got soaked. But we dried out walking back to the ship. Kaui, shuttles were provided so we caught one to Anchor cove & Walmart. Maui, booked a Princess tour here to Haleakala National Park & Ocean Centre. Although it was wet we managed to catch the views of the caladera when the mist lifted but it rained most of the time here. We had lunch at the ocean centre then walked round. This tour was late getting back so we had no time to look around the harbour. The ship was delayed leaving. We did see whales around the ship. Our 4 sea days back to ensenada was quiet not a lot of activities going on unless you had taken part on the way out, ie hula dancing or ukelele lessons. Only 1 Zumba Gold class. The sea was quite rough and the pools were emptied, on a couple of days. It wasn't warm enough to sit on the balcony. Arrived Ensenada at 4pm, although shuttles were available we walked to the shops and back in an hour. Felt very pressurised to go into shops, women & children begging on the streets, meant we went back to ship early, to finish packing. We had booked princess transfers. I had requested last transfer at 10.45 as we had a 4pm flight. We were still at the airport by 12pm. Check in wasn't open until 1pm. Some had been given earlier transfers and had been waiting since 11pm, for our flight. There is nothing to do at Terminal 1 LAX and nowhere to store luggage, that I could see. Overall we had a great cruise to celebrate my birthday, the weather was disappointing, didn't expect quite so much rain. Hawaii wasn't what I was expecting its very amercanised and not much of their culture shows through, but it has beautiful views. We also noted this cruise had a large majority of disabled or older people on board, compared to our previous cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
First I would like to say the staff are very good. The staff on Pursers desk were always friendly and pleasant. The person cleaning our cabin was very good. There is lots going on daily. The big screen was great except they showed mostly ... Read More
First I would like to say the staff are very good. The staff on Pursers desk were always friendly and pleasant. The person cleaning our cabin was very good. There is lots going on daily. The big screen was great except they showed mostly all old movies. Enjoyed the pools and water games. Nice loungers to tan on. Food was good. The prices in duty free shop not great. Took advantage of ordering bottle of alcohol thru room service. As said entertainment was ok but shut down early. We went on 2 excursions. We did the Beach Snorkel in Kauai and it was fantastic. We got some great pics. We also booked the Hawaiian Luau & Polynesian Cultural Center trip and we would NOT recommend this excursion to anyone. They do not give you all the important info on this trip till u arrive. There is NO alcohol served as would normally be at a luau. So no Hawaiian drinks to try. Put on by the Mormons. It takes the whole day in Honolulu so u see nothing else. NO picture taking at the Luau. Everything is sell,sell,sell. U walk around in the heat all afternoon. $3 for small bottle of water. Luau is held in a stadium. Depending on where your seat depends on high up u sit. It was like an amusement park w/o the rides VERY DISSAPPOINTED in this excursion. We tried to do shopping before we left for the excursion but they could not guarantee we would be back in time to go. Found the cruise was great except for 2 much sea time and need longer times in port visits. Dining room service was very good. Will go on another Princess Cruise, but not this one again. 2nd time to Hawaii. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My husband and I have been loyal Celebrity cruisers but because of the fact my husband had a small window of time in which to travel, we decided to take the Golden Princess to Hawaii. This was only our second Princess cruise. The last one ... Read More
My husband and I have been loyal Celebrity cruisers but because of the fact my husband had a small window of time in which to travel, we decided to take the Golden Princess to Hawaii. This was only our second Princess cruise. The last one was nine years ago. We had somewhat low expectations when we boarded, but we were happily surprised the moment we stepped onto the Golden Princess! The ship was clean and well appointed. Our inside room was clean and smelled fresh. It had a small table and one chair. If you order room service, one person needs to sit on the bed. We had some kind of a utility room over our room and on the first night and thereafter we heard sounds like carts moving across the floor with accompanying footsteps. It got worse as the cruise went on. By the 9th day we complained to guest services and the next day they gave us a new room down the hall along with one hundred dollars cabin credit! The dining experience was also superb. We had a great waiter named Irina. But what most impressed us was the attention that was given to our table mate. She had a gluten and nut allergy. Every night during dinner, the head waiter came with the next evening's menu and she told him what she would like for dinner and the chef prepared her dinner gluten and nut free! The head waiter personally came and served her dinner plate to her every night! He even had the chef make special desserts for her so she didn't have to have creme brulee or ice cream every night. We were all blown away! Tea was also served every afternoon in the dining room with sandwiches and scones...what a treat! Another thing that made our trip special was the husband and wife duo called "Elua". They not only sing beautiful Hawaiian music, but they lead various Hawaiian activities on the ship such as ukelele lessons, lei making and hula. I took ukelele lessons from Dave and I had such a blast. Not only did Dave make it fun, but we received 7 hours of instruction. They have such a personal interest in each passenger and gave so much of themselves to us. I joined eighty ukelele players and forty hula dancers for a show on the last cruise day. Thanks to Dave and Leialoha for giving the passengers much aloha! The cruise director gave interesting talks about the history of the islands. We also had a naturalist on board and we enjoyed her lectures, too. A few people said eight and a half sea days were too long, but we loved them. I think it's one of those things that if you love sea days, you will like this itinerary. If you don't like sea days so much, it might be too many for you. The last thing I would mention is the weather. We had beautiful, warm, sunny days in the islands but the weather was cold as we crossed the pacific. Bring warmer clothes with you as well as summery clothes. Also, bring your aloha clothes to wear in the islands and on the ship. My husband has already said we are going to do this same cruise next year...fine with me! Aloha Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
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