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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this particular sailing because we wanted to have the ease of leaving from San Francisco (again) on a familiar ship and we wanted to visit Hubbard Glacier, which was everything we had hoped for, and Haines, a beautiful little ... Read More
We chose this particular sailing because we wanted to have the ease of leaving from San Francisco (again) on a familiar ship and we wanted to visit Hubbard Glacier, which was everything we had hoped for, and Haines, a beautiful little Alaskan town. We like the Grand Princess even though an older ship because the staff is pleasant and we like the Princess cultural programs and activities such as the Captain's champagne waterfall and Captain's Cocktail Party for previous cruisers. We like the food, the service and often the entertainment--the party band on this cruise was very good (Fee Fee and the Sentiments) and the Naturalist, Tess Juliana, is excellent. We had a 12th floor aft balcony so it is convenient to the buffet and has a covered balcony. On this trip we had trouble with our room thermostat, but we finally had it completely replaced. We started asking our steward on the second or third day and an electrician came twice. We ended up going to the front desk after several days and a supervisor verified that it needed fixing, then it worked properly. We requested and hand held shower attachment and it was waiting for us when we got on board. We were gifted two specialty restaurant dinners from our travel agent so ate in Sabatini's for my husband's birthday and it was wonderful. The food in the Crown grill was very good but it was much more crowded, so I preferred Sabatini's. Going North along the coast toward Alaska the seas were pretty rough the entire first night, enough to wake me up, but after that we never had much rocking. The scenery and weather on this trip were absolutely wonderful. We went to Juneau and then Hubbard Glacier first, then Haines and Ketchikan, ending in Victoria before heading home. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose his cruise because it was a best fit in the schedule we had. It was a nice trip with plenty of great scenery but if you want to experience Alaska, this sampler cruise isn’t enough. The ship was clean, comfortable and everything ... Read More
We chose his cruise because it was a best fit in the schedule we had. It was a nice trip with plenty of great scenery but if you want to experience Alaska, this sampler cruise isn’t enough. The ship was clean, comfortable and everything appeared to be in working order. This specific vessel has been sold to another cruise line and will not be used by Princess after this fall so if there are any issues with the vessel it’s not an issue Princess travelers will face in new Year. The caribe deck hallways did smell musty but the cabin (C319) itself didn’t have any of that oder and was comfortable. Beds and pillows were nice and fluffy which made for a comfortable nights sleep. Room was clean and as usual, the room steward was very attentive. While an interior cabin is the most economical, I really recommend a balcony suite to take advantage of great coastal views available on an Alaskan cruise. The northern skies have lone daylight hours, the ship is often close to shorelines and the speed of the ship through channels is very peaceful. From our balcony we saw so many bald eagles and dolphins. While we did see whales spouting in the water some distance away, we weren’t close enough to see what kind of what. It goes to show you though that the potential to see this kind of nature is possible with a balcony. If I d plan a balcony, ask for one that has a partially covered exterior so you can still sit outdoors and enjoy the view on those rainy days and evenings. The food on board was good but on this trip we didn’t use the dining room or any of the specialty restaurants. The Horizon Court buffet was a mainstay for use on this trip because it’s available anytime, the variety of options available should be able to please you on any visit and it’s quick. I think the trend now has been for travelers to select “anytime” dining because they want the flexibility to dine when they want rather than a set time. However, be cautious with this option because on this trip, we know of many travelers that had to be turned away due to capacity and/or wait an hour to be seated. If you value your time consider agreeing to a set dining time before you sail or be prepared to dine at the buffet if waiting in one is not your thing. This Alaska sampler only offered Ketchikan as a port and while it’s a nice stop for a day with great jewelry stores and King Crab restaurant, there is so much you miss by not taking a longer cruise. If you want to use this 4 day itinerary your likely going to test out how you might like the crushing experience, then it’s perfect. However, if you have the time and money to take a longer voyage with more ports, I highly recommend it. I’ve been on a previous Alaska cruise that included Glacier Bay and other ports and have to say it’s worth it if you can take a longer trip and see further north than Ketchikan. Despite a cooler early May trip, the pools, hot tubs, sauna and steam room were all available urging the cruise. Guests had the option of using the pools/hot tubs in the enclosed conservatory or using any of the outdoor pools. While definitely more refreshing outside the conservatory, it was very much usable and suggest you bring swimwear on your trip no matter how cold you might think it will be - you have options. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We had not been to Alaska before but have heard that everyone who goes loves it so we decided to give it a try. Alaska exceeded all of our expectations. Embarkation was easy, make sure you do all of your medallion stuff before you go and ... Read More
We had not been to Alaska before but have heard that everyone who goes loves it so we decided to give it a try. Alaska exceeded all of our expectations. Embarkation was easy, make sure you do all of your medallion stuff before you go and get your medallion mailed to you. This will make embarkation quicker. The ship is beautiful and very big. The staff kept it so clean and that was wonderful. I loved the beds, they were so comfortable. Dining in the buffet area was good. Everything was washed down daily and it felt clean. Food freshly prepared in the buffet areas was delicious. We were disappointed with the food in the dining room. It was under seasoned and over cooked. It actually appears that they are outsourcing Dining room food and receiving it pre-cooked and possibly warming it up. The excursions we took from the ship were well organized and excellent. Wildlife viewing was amazing and our Glacier experience mesmerizing. Naturalists board the ship for the two Glacier Days and they are amazing. All in All we had a fantastic time! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary as well as the cruise line. As always, we were not disappointed. The ports were excellent with various excursions. There were many more things to do if we only had more time in port. We had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary as well as the cruise line. As always, we were not disappointed. The ports were excellent with various excursions. There were many more things to do if we only had more time in port. We had never been to Europe before, so this was all very exciting and new for us. The ship, Regal Princess, was absolutely stunning as it always is. We have cruised on this ship twice before so we knew what to expect when booking this ship. Personnel were very nice and helpful. You only had to ask and things were done for you. Our cabin, which was a mini-suite on Aloha deck 12, was very nice and comfortable and our cabin steward, Fernando, kept it looking very nice all the time. We had Anytime Dining in the Symphony Dining Room most evenings and the food was delicious. One evening we went to the Crown Grill and that was very delicious as well. Service in both restaurants were top notch even though they were very busy. We began and ended our cruise in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to explore this city, however, the next time we are there we definitely will!! We want to go back on this cruise and explore the ports more. It was a fabulous cruise and, as always, Princess Cruises are the best!! They are definitely our favorite cruise line and we will be back!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
The chance to see cities such as St Petersburg, Berlin and Oslo was a draw card. We had several days in Copenhagen before departure and this is worth it. Very smooth process for embarking the ship- good service and quick luggage delivery. ... Read More
The chance to see cities such as St Petersburg, Berlin and Oslo was a draw card. We had several days in Copenhagen before departure and this is worth it. Very smooth process for embarking the ship- good service and quick luggage delivery. The food was available very quickly and without a ripple the ship departs port. Interior room is spacious and the bedding is lux. Amazing pillows. Service on the ship is excellent- friendly and genuine. Food is always good- variety and options. Cabins, halls and all areas were spotlessly clean and polished. Lovely travel photos along the hallways. Take your swimmers for a hot spa on deck after a day of tours. Some of the best shore excursions- Hermitage and Palaces, train to Berlin, Tallin by hop on bus. Good service when cancelling one day trip. Honest service when returning my lost item. Smoothest sea the whole trip-not a ripple. Can not recommend the ship and the cruise destination enough. We had the Lido deck 16 which was so handy to all areas. Love Princess Cruises Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Choose this due to low price. Had problems with a flight booked through princess cancelling and not being rebooked. This resulted in us having to pay a second time for air fare to and from ship with absolutely ZERO help from princess. ... Read More
Choose this due to low price. Had problems with a flight booked through princess cancelling and not being rebooked. This resulted in us having to pay a second time for air fare to and from ship with absolutely ZERO help from princess. I'm sure we can kiss that money good bye. Cabin was a nice size. Good sized shower and a good view. Our cabin steward was great. Very helpful. We lived Funch. He is a piano player and singer. The show's were good too. Tours/excursions could have gone smoother. Food and service in the dining rooms was great. The buffet was below average. Our specialty dining wasn't worth the extra money we spent for it. Pushy sales people everywhere. A lot of misinformation at the booking of the cruise. Next time, I will not book directly with cruise line or use a travel agent that I can't meet with face to face. Having a direct number for someone that could have helped with flight issues could have changed this whole review Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
DH & I chose this sailing to celebrate our 15th anniversary. It was the only ship departing from Vancouver that day so embarkation was a breeze. We received an email to board at 1pm but we decided to ignore that & arrived ... Read More
DH & I chose this sailing to celebrate our 15th anniversary. It was the only ship departing from Vancouver that day so embarkation was a breeze. We received an email to board at 1pm but we decided to ignore that & arrived shortly after 11am & were onboard by 12pm. Lunch was available in the Donatello dining room 12-1:30pm. Guest Safety Assembly is at 3:45pm Klondike Sailaway Party at 4:30pm. Mckinley Moose & Stanley Bear will be there to take pictures with you. This is Princess' 50th anniversary in Alaska so for their trivia games, they are giving away "Life-Changing prizes": a drawstring bag of Princess logo items. ( I don't know what they were as I didn't win any). Be sure to attend the Captain's Circle event as you will receive a beverage voucher (up to $15 value) which you can also use in the International cafe. There are 3 Production Shows: Born to Dance, Let me Entertain You & British Invasion. The use of multimedia in Born to Dance & British Invasion really enhanced the show. British Invasion was my favorite. If you're on 1st seating, you need to get to the theatre at least 30 minutes prior to the show if you want good seats because 1st seating/Anytime Dining starts at 5 pm. Puppies in the PIazza: meet sled dog puppies. Midnight Sun Event - Experience an Northern Sunset with blankets, cookies, hot chocolate & the songs of Alaska with Frostie. I tried to attend this but it was way too windy (in the Sanctuary). Every morning from 6 am to 12 noon, you can watch the Wake Show with the Cruise Director on Channel 21. Answer the daily question & you could be picked to win a prize. Answer forms are outside the library on deck 5. On the back of the form, you can also indicate if you're having a celebration. If you notified Princess ahead of time that you're having a birthday/anniversary, they will present a voucher for a small rectangular chocolate mousse cake at your dinner table. Crown Grill is worth the $29.00 cover charge. It includes 1 appetizer, 1 main, & 1 dessert. They also have seafood. Chocolate Journeys - by chocolatier Norman Love. These are available in the International Cafe, Horizon Court, and in the dining room. Each venue will feature a different dessert & at different times of the day. If you have a balcony, that's the best place to enjoy the glaciers. You don't have to fight for a spot at the railing. It's very cold & windy on deck. The partitions on your balcony will protect you from the wind and the Captain will rotate the ship so everyone will have an opportunity for that perfect pic. But remember to enjoy the glaciers with your eyes not just through the lens, otherwise you might miss the ice calving. You will usually hear a rumble like thunder before the calving. The last sea day of the cruise has so many activities, there's hardly any time to pack. Don't bother with the galley tour. There's no one explaining anything, no samples, & nothing interesting to see. British-style pub lunch is 12-1:30 pm in the Crown Grill. Lunch is free. Beverages are additional. Disembarkation Day: Express Walk Off 7:45am, 7:50 am 7:55 am Last group off the ship by 10 am. You must vacate your stateroom by 8am. Breakfast in the dining room starts at 6:30am Breakfast in the Horizon Court starts at 5:30am * We didn't see the Disembarkation form on our door on the morning of the last sea day. But I saw one on my neighbour's door, so I looked at theirs & saw the times for Express Walk Off. DH went to the Front Desk & got the last pass for Express Walk Off at 7:45am. I love how Princess has Destination Immersion experiences onboard their ships. You don't need to get off the ship to experience the culture of the destination. So be sure to participate in the North to Alaska/Klondike activities. One night was the Captain's Gala dinner. Lots of steak & seafood options including Red Alaska King Crab Legs. We had sunny weather in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. It was cold & very windy in Skagway & Ketchikan. In Juneau, there is a free shuttle to Fred Meyer & Costco. In Skagway, we took the roundtrip White Pass & Yukon Route. Don't worry about which side to sit on because you will be looking at the other side on the return journey. Free bottled water is available onboard. In Ketchikan, there is a free shuttle to Walmart every 15 minutes. We were on Anytime Dining but on our 1st night, I liked our waiter Mario so much, I requested to sit in his section every night. Also, if you have allergies or a special diet (Low Salt for me), let your waiter know. He'll send over the HeadWaiter who will show you the next day's menus so you can pre-order your meals. There are a limited number of tables for 2 & they are set very close to other tables. If you don't want to share a table, there may be a bit of a wait (unless you go right when the dining room opens). I found the pillows in the stateroom much too soft. They were more like body pillows but the duvet was nice & warm. In addition to Movies Under the Stars, they also show movies on your stateroom tv. We enjoyed our cruise & are looking forward to Japan in 2022. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our 25th cruise, 5th on Princess and 3rd on the Grand Princess. My wife and I have cruised all the major mass market cruise lines, Carnival, Princess, HAL, Norwegian, RCCL and Celebrity. We cruise just to be on the ship, not for ... Read More
This was our 25th cruise, 5th on Princess and 3rd on the Grand Princess. My wife and I have cruised all the major mass market cruise lines, Carnival, Princess, HAL, Norwegian, RCCL and Celebrity. We cruise just to be on the ship, not for ports or itineraries. We enjoy relaxing, reading, looking out at the ocean, entertainment and good food. We are basically cruise potatoes. I provide this information just so you know where this review is coming from. As stated, this was our 3rd time on the Grand Princess and she had just come out of dry dock, which basically was done to electronically equip her for their Medallion service. There was some changes of carpeting and some cosmetic sprucing but really not a distinctive noticeable change since the last time we sailed on her, other than the mailboxes outside the rooms were gone. My problem with Princess as a whole is with their stateroom size. We typically book an oceanview cabin (picture window) and their oceanview rooms are among the tiniest of any of the mass market cruise lines (ditto their bathrooms).They seem to be competing with Norwegian for who can have the tiniest oceanview staterooms. Sometimes we get a balcony (we didn't this time) and those are also smaller than most standard balconies. We knew this going in, so it was expected and was not a surprise. What was a surprise was our oceanview stateroom was even tinier than normal. I'll get to that later. The other negative surprise is that the food, particularly the buffet food, has gone down in quality (and choices) from when we last sailed this ship. It went from sometimes mediocre to now, mediocre at its best. The MDR menu has, as do most cruise lines, one side of standard choices that never change and the other side of the specialty options for that particular evening. The standard fare usually consists of a meat dish (typically a steak of some kind), a chicken dish and a seafood dish. The daily change entrees usually consists of different fancy or gourmet dishes. On their standard side of the menu, the dinner meat option is now a hamburger and fries. How classy can you get??? It seems like they are trying to go cheap on the food wherever they can. We did eat at the Crown Grill one night, their extra fee specialty restaurant and I had one of the best filet mignons I have ever had but you have to pay extra to get that. So why did I give this ship 4 stars? Because we had possibly the most fun on this cruise ever. Every single one of the staff we encountered could not have been nicer. They bent over backwards to do what they could to make sure you had a great time.Friendly and accommodating to the extreme. While the food has deteriorated the entertainment and cruise activities have improved. Kevin, the cruise director, was the best cruise director we have had in 25 cruises. he obviously loves his job and it shows. Ditto for his assistant, Martin, who ran many of the activities and has a great sense of humor and fun. We got more involved in the activities on this ship than we usually do just because the entertainment crew were so personable and so much fun to be with. My wife and I enjoy production shows with singing and dancing, costume changes and set changes. The singers and dancers in the main theater were outstanding and fun to watch. Loved the costumes and sets. There were four production shows, The last one, Born to Dance, is a show that Princess commissioned Steven Schwartz to produce for them. It is, as you might suspect, a showcase for the dancers. It is absolutely the best production/dancing show I have ever seen, and I have seen it four times now. The choreography is just phenomenal. There was a lounge act, Fee Fee and the Sentimentals, two female sings and a 4 piece combo band that were just great. It was hard to not want to dance when they played. Their shows were usually packed. Aside from the usual trivia and Karaoke game activities. they had some unique fun and funny game shows that we really enjoyed. So while the food quality went down, the entertainment quality, which was already high, went up. Now, for my cabin surprise. I supposedly had an upgraded oceanview cabin on midship Plaza deck. As stated Princess cabins are small. Normally, there oceanview cabin consists of a bed or beds (depending upon whether you request twin bed or queen size) pushed up against the back wall where the window is. There is a night stand on each side of the bed, if you have it configured as queen or two nightstands in between the two twin beds. That takes up the whole width of the room. Across from the bed is a desk with a mirror, a refrigerator built in at one end of the desk, some shelving above and that is it. On the other side of the wall the desk is mounted to is a closet, some shelving for clothes, a shelf safe and the tiny bathroom. The first thing I noticed when we entered the room, is there was only one nightstand (which also holds the reading lamp). It was on the side my wife traditionally sleeps on and she is also an avid reader. I have a CPAP machine. Without a nightstand, my only option was to place it on the floor. I copntacted my room steward who told me the room WAS TOO NARROW to place a second nightstand in there. I had been in an oceanview room on Princess before and had two nightstands and told him so. He said that the other oceanview rooms had two nightstands except for the room I was in and the one next too mine. They were a little more narrow that their already narrow oceanview rooms. He said he would talk with his supervisor to see what could be done. He later brought in a cardboard carton for me to use as a nightstand to solve the problem although I still had no reading light. So except for a cardboard nightstand and dummying down on the food, we had a great cruise on the Grand. Would I sail her again? Probably, if the incentive package was right but I would be very careful about my room. Alaska is drop dead gorgeous and even though we do not cruise for ports or itineraries, Alaska cruise are among our favorites. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is our fifth cruise on this particular ship. Grand Princess is one of our favorite ships for the following reasons (in no particular order): WRAP AROUND PROMENADE - We walk around the promenade daily for exercise, and later, for ... Read More
This is our fifth cruise on this particular ship. Grand Princess is one of our favorite ships for the following reasons (in no particular order): WRAP AROUND PROMENADE - We walk around the promenade daily for exercise, and later, for digestion. COVERED POOL AND CONSERVATORY - The ping pong tables are actually usable, without wind tunnel. The shared puzzle area is out of the way. The covered pool is nice place when weather is too hot or cold for us in the open air pool. NICE GYM PLACEMENT - The gym machines look out from the 15th level. Noted many more cruisers utilizing gym than on previous cruises. Always full with very little trickling-off as cruise neared end. Nice view. Going to be sorry to see this ship move. Add to that: SAN FRANCISCO HOME PORT - Convenient home port with round trip cruises. BEST EMBARK/DEBARK EXPERIENCE - New Pier 27 is one of the best with always friendly, efficient staff. Many things to like in food service as well. This was one of the best cruise experiences we have had: Food and service in Davinci MDR was wonderful. I heeded our waiters' (Norman) recommendations for the most part and we were never disappointed by the food flavor. Norman was attentive and entertaining. My fall-back is the always good, daily available salmon, if the nights menu items are unappealing. I found the food in MDR better than the Crown Grill experience we had one time on this cruise. We were fortunate to have wonderful dinner-mates at our table-for-eight. We visited the buffet for breakfast and lunch. I ordered omelets daily and they were done well each time with a generous amount of ingredients. We have, on past cruises, found MDR breakfast better than the Buffet. This time we ate breakfast in the buffet, exclusively. The bacon was mostly crispy...a plus. We ate lunch at venues throughout the ship. The soups were a favorite. The ship is getting old, no doubt. However, everything worked for us. Even the hinges in our cabin were silent. I get up earlier than my spouse, generally getting out for exercise and fresh air between 5 and 6. I never woke my spouse on these early exits from the cabin. Also, noted the upholstery in places was new...particularly in the Vista Lounge. New plastic, green chairs in the open air pool area are more comfortable than the wicker ones in the covered pool area. One glitch happened with the propulsion system encountered a problem that delayed out approach to Ensenada. The 30 minute delay was unnoticeable. The ship stayed an additional hour in port to accommodate those going ashore. We use internet sparingly. Internet service seemed better this trip. Of course, can't be compared to home wifi. Service dropped once in 10 uses. Took one Princess tour from Hilo. Nice experience there. We generally do our own thing, having used near port, car rental services in the past. Stayed on the ship in Ensenada. Overall...very pleasant cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first cruise and Wow what a cruise. We flew into San Francisco from Florida a couple of nights before the cruise. We stayed near Fisherman's Wharf which made it very easy the morning of the cruise to get to the port. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise and Wow what a cruise. We flew into San Francisco from Florida a couple of nights before the cruise. We stayed near Fisherman's Wharf which made it very easy the morning of the cruise to get to the port. We went through security which was so easy (nothing like the airport). The Embarkation process was smooth as well. We were not able to settler into our rooms for about an hour though, which was okay because we were entertained, fed and were able to have a drink and watch us take sail. How beautiful going under the Golden Gate Bridge. Amazing experience. Our Stateroom was perfect for us. We had a balcony and can not imagine going on a cruise without one. Waking up to the amazing scenery and hearing the ocean at night was scerene. Dennis our Steward took such good care of us. We didn't want for anything. There were choreographed shows, piano pain, folk singer, bingo, trivia, karaoke, amongst so many other fun events. Kevin our cruise director and his great team kept us entertained. Joey the "Piano man" is so very talented. The dining in all the dining rooms were delicious.However the Horizon Court buffet had variety but everything from breakfast, lunch and dinner were bland. The baked goods were dry and tasteless. There are two pizzarias the first is on the Lido deck pool side that is pizza under hot lamps and taste like pizza under hot lamps. The second pizzaria on deck 7 with a brick oven and freshly backed looked and smelt delicious. Getting a seat was impossible (they were always busy) and you have to be sitting in the dining room to order from them. It would be nice if there was a to go option. The International fast food had a limited variety. the sandwiches and salads were good but baked goods were dry. Coffee was great though. The Crown grill was very good and Sabitini's was superb. The shore excursions were so wonderful. We had a great time. The train ride to the Yukon in Skagway was filled with scenery from a picture. This was our favorite excursions. My husband and I prepaid as much as possible including gratuities and gave additional grattuities as we thought individuals deserved. You can also prepay Excursions, photos, drink packages (which I suggest). Even pre-pay for ship spending. Next time I would pre pay ship spending. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
“Winter with Leaves” A May Cruise around the British Isles “Call me Ismael” - Herman Melville; we wander when we can as there is so much world, and so little time. This time, for our May 1st cruise, we packed for cool/cold ... Read More
“Winter with Leaves” A May Cruise around the British Isles “Call me Ismael” - Herman Melville; we wander when we can as there is so much world, and so little time. This time, for our May 1st cruise, we packed for cool/cold weather and guessed correctly, as the temps never got above the mid-40s to low 50. We, Gene & Susan, left Houston Hobby, with a slight delay, (they had to reboot the plane?) April 29th to DFW, and on to an over-night flight to London Heathrow, landing about midday the 30th. Heathrow to Soho at the “Sticky Wicket” We decided to cut to the chase, jet lag being what it is, and had booked Heathrow Taxis (good value) down to the Hilton at Ageas Stadium, getting there early afternoon. The hotel is actually built into a Cricket Stadium surrounded by a Golf course. If you don’t know the game of Cricket, I wouldn’t encourage you to explore it too closely, and just assume that it resembles a cross between baseball and croquet!! We did get to watch a Cricket practice out our room window with bowling to the batsman on a Cricket pitch and wickets of course. “And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” John Masefield We taxied to the Crown Princess, May 1st (about 5 miles), arriving around noon, and had a very quick and easy embarkation with priority boarding. One of the main dining rooms was open where we had a leisurely lunch, avoiding the frantic crowds at the Lido. Our cabin, a balcony on Caribe deck, was ready and we relaxed until Muster Drill. I had hosted a Cruise Critic roll call, so we followed Muster with a Sail Away Party in the Wheelhouse Lounge, as outside was a bit chill. It was well attended, as a number of CC people were there and introduced themselves. Guernsey Where getting there is half the fun!! Guernsey is a tender port so all the ship tenders were used. They loaded the usual 75 or so on tender 21 and set out for shore. Sadly, it’s steering was broke that day and it water bugged us in circles and didoes all over the ocean. It finally got back to the ship, loaded three mechanics and set out again, with the same outcome, more circles and didoes. By this time passengers were turning green from ocean motion, and were considering holding a Muster Drill. They finally wallowed back to the ship and off loaded us on to another tender which worked. Some of the people in the lines behind us missed their tour due to the delay as it caused delays to the whole process. Guernsey = Blue Bell ice cream The original Texas Blue Bell was made using only milk from the Guernsey cow. The Guernsey and the Jersey, on the next isle over, have the highest butterfat content of all the dairy cattle (took Ag in HS). There are few cattle left on the island, as it’s about 90% developed, and is considered an off-shore banking and financial center much like the Caymans. Immigration is limited to those who can prove that they have a job when they arrive, or enough money to sustain them. We joined about 6 others on an island tour with “1st call Taxies” that circled the island. Those who read or watched “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” might be somewhat disappointed at the island’s modern development as there is little wild sea coast left. There are still a number of German observation posts and gun emplacements, however. Besides driving around the island, our guide took us into a 4,000-year-old barrow from ancient people on the island and a unique chapel built of cut glass. We had an excellent lunch at a local pub, fish and chips with panko bread crumbs, picked up some wine for the cabin, and it was time to get back to the ship, but not on tender 21 I’ll tell you! Cobh/Cork Our goal today was Blarney Castle and the Irish countryside with Ecoach (Butler tours). We wound our way through Cobh & Cork out to Blarney Castle, which almost resembles a theme park as you arrive at a woolen mill which advertises the most Irish souvenirs in Ireland. Also, there were a couple of Pub/restaurants, and ticket purchase (we had skip the line) with public rest rooms. You next stroll through forest gardens and streams to the castle, and it is beautiful; set on a hilltop surrounded by battlements and some discreetly hidden gift shops. Since there was a long line to kiss the Blarney Stone, I asked the wife if I needed to get in it. She replied that the Stone ought to be kissing me?? We roamed for about an hour with the wife taking pictures and then back to the visitor’s center where I enjoyed a pint of Irelands best while the wife visited the woolen mill. My son says that drinking Guinness is like eating a loaf of bread, and he might be right. We explored the Irish Countryside, had a pub lunch in a historic port town, picked up some wine for the cabin and returned to the ship about 5. Dublin We ported two days in Dublin which is about right, as will be explained. The ship didn’t dock until 11 AM but there was no rush as we planned a leisurely day riding the HoHos and had an evening event. We taxied into the city to the Hop-On Hop-Off office where we purchased tickets and also “jump the line” entrance to the Guinness brewery. Dublin is a city of young people. It was a Saturday, and young families were everywhere pushing babies in strollers and doing what they needed to do. Our first stop was Dublin Castle where the wife got some shots of the building as it is now used as Govt. offices. The next “God help me” was Guinness!! In retrospect, you should find a local pub have a pint and salute Guinness at a distance. The Guinness Store House is a 7-story exhibit with stairs, little A/C, and 1,000 of your closest friends!! It is a very nice history of the Stout with grains and a water fall, the brewing process, and a free pint at the end. When we reached the top of the tallest building in Dublin (I could have used a Sherpa), the wife took pictures when she could get near a window, as a Fire Marshall would have a coronary with the crowds in that building. They were mostly young Irish who must consider it a pilgrimage or some such, children and all. When we finally fought our way out of the building it was getting late afternoon so we hopped the HoHo, so to speak, and got off near our evening adventure, Irish Nights at the Belvidere Hotel. It was wonderful with Irish folk music and step dancing, a good dinner and wine by the glass with cruise friends. Dublin Day II “I don’t think my heart can stand another ewe!!” Sheep Herders lament Do you ever tire of cities?? Same ole public buildings, cathedrals, and museums?? We have, so it was time to see the country side, the Emerald Isle, and it didn’t disappoint. This time with two other cruise friends Susan and I taxied into Paddywagon Tours for a trip out to Kilkenny and the Wicklow Mountains. It was a wonderful day with emerald green pastures full of sheep with Grose hedges. Our first stop was Glendough, the ruins of a monastery from the 1100s. It was wonderful to walk and see it in the crisp cold air. You could spend a day here hiking as there were three lakes in the glen and numerous trails. There were also very good facilities (hotel etc) as well. Off to Kilkenny, or almost, as our bus blew a tire. But, no problem, there was a 2nd behind us on the same route with 30 empty seats. Cruise passengers had priority. The first bus limped into Dublin about two hours later than ours. Kilkenny was the ancient capital and featured quite a nice castle, a lunch at a good restaurant, and two bottles of wine for the cabin. It was close to 2 hours back to the ship, but it was a beautiful day in the country. Belfast Northern Ireland This one was a bit difficult; less than 5 miles from Belfast our 14-passenger bus, a Mercedes, blew an engine. But once again no problem as they had a replacement there shortly, and it was on to the Giant’s Causeway, a unique headland of Columnar Basalts that cooled into hexagonal crystals. We saw the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge and had a good pub lunch before returning to Belfast. We completed the tour with a visit to the Titanic dry dock, interesting, but a barn where the cows are gone, then back to the ship after 7 in the evening. Greenock/Glasgow It was a rainy morning with a grey mist falling over Greenock on the Firth of Clyde, the port for Glasgow, as we set out with Discover Scotland tours on another wonderful adventure. The first stop, the rain was very slight, was at Loch Lomond, a beautiful lake where we walked a village and down to a dock to the calm waters and the silence of nature. Have you ever wondered about the term “Skyfall” the title from a Bond film? It means that when the waters are so calm that they mirror the sky above and this we found reflected in the Loch. This was a good start, as our next destination was Stirling Castle, one of the most famous in Scotland and most visited, where we rejoined tourism as we know it. Susan bravely shot the castle with her camera as there were heights and voids that were out of her comfort zone. We then visited the village of Callander where we lunched in a “Tea Room” favored by the locals, small, with shared Formica tables. I had a steak and haggis pie served in a pastry, as this was also a bakery for scones. Haggis, dear reader, is when you stuff a sheep’s stomach with mutton and oatmeal, and boil it until it turns to mush. The steak and gravy in the pie, (remember Marie Callender?), provided the flavor. We picked up some wine for the cabin while there, and set out for Glasgow. It is the third largest city in the UK but we didn’t spend much time there as we were due to get back to the ship. Invergordon/Inverness My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here, My heart’s in the Highlands a chasing the deer, Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe, My heart’s in the Highlands where ever I go. -Robert Burns- In Invergordon, on the Firth of Cromarty, we were picked up by Highland tours at the ship for a trip through the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Our first stop shortly after viewing the ruins of Urquhart Castle was Loch Ness where my wife wanted me to dabble my fingers in the water to tell her how cold it was while taking pictures. (She gets double indemnity if I’m eaten by a Sea Monster!!) The Highlands are beautiful but still in their winter colors of brown heather and pale brown grasses on all the hills and mountains, some of which are snow capped in the distance. The Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most photographed in Scotland, was our next stop on a crisp cold day in a land where they see the Northern Lights. While winding through the glens of Scotland, we turned into a road that said Single Trac, you guessed it, a one lane road going to the ferry on the Isle of Skye. There was some backing and pulling over in a dance with on coming traffic, not that there was much. Here I should perhaps mention that the highways of Ireland and Scotland are not wide, as most two-lanes don’t have room for a stripe in the middle. But they get you there with the occasional four-lane to take you back to a city. Scotland’s are marginally better. The ferry to the Isle of Skye is the last “Turn Table” ferry in the world. It is a motorized barge with a parking platform on top which rotates to turn the cars in the opposite direction from which they boarded, in order to offload. It is only a short distance to the Isle itself. We drove through the hills of Skye to a small village for a pub lunch (sound familiar); it was actually more of a café with an order line and shared tables. Following lunch, we saw a little more of the Isle and returned to the mainland via a modern bridge and eventually back to the ship. Our First Sea Day Thank you, Jesus, as we’re running on empty and need the rest. Rest did come with responsibility, however, as it is time for our Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle. I had sent invitations once we were on board, and had rented a mic for the event. The ship provided Skywalkers and a cash bar. It went well with probably 60 in attendance. The officers introduced themselves and spoke about their area of responsibility. We finished with the attendees getting to say who they were, where they were from and what was their favorite port. A good time was had by all. The rest was a sea day as we try to avoid the Lido for meals, and we don't do the shows, but some wine and dancing in the evenings. Edinburgh We awoke anchored off South Queensferry on the Firth of Forth, the port for Edinburgh. Our tour for the day was with Go Scotland but first we had to tender ashore. Oh My God, they were shoving us on to Tender 21, but surely, they had got it fixed. Oh no they didn’t, as the pilot used the two engines to steer and we wallowed like a sick hog under a famous railroad bridge which was trying not to get hit, and finally to shore. In every case, we were met promptly by our tour guide, and today was no exception. We begin by driving out in the country to Roslyn Chapel founded in 1446. This is beautiful with gothic design and elaborate stone carving throughout. The Knights Templar came here to fight alongside the Scots. It is said that they buried both the Arc of the Covenant and the Holly Grail under this chapel. While you are down there, you might find Jimmy Hoffa and Amelia Erhard as well!! Traveling through Edinburgh on the way to the castle, we saw many famous sites as Trinity College one of the world’s oldest. Why did they always stick castles on hill tops? Yeah, yeah, I know, as they didn’t trust their neighbors and probably had some pretty good reasons not to. We trudged up the hill from our small bus, and quite a hill it was, where we had jump-the-line tickets as there were 1,000 of our closest friends taking selfies and trying not to fall off the battlements!! The castle is still an active military base and fires a 1 O’clock gun, much to the consternation of the pigeons, and the benefit of the hundreds of tourists gathered to watch it. A fine time was had by all as Susan shutter bugged the edifice and we moved down hill (thank God) to where the tour group met for an hour and forty-five-minute walking tour. Something my walking ability told me not to do, as I got a new hip last Fall. So, I bought two bottles of wine for the cabin, and retired to a convenient pub/restaurant for lunch and relaxation. Those of you of the culinary nature would enjoy exploring “Toad in the Hole”, a shell of Yorkshire pudding layered with mashed potatoes, with three “bangers” pork & Haggis sausages, topped with caramelized onions and a brown gravy!! It was a hearty dish although hardly heart healthy, and in the States, subject to a Surgeon General’s warning!! Susan joined the walking tour, taking in historically significant sites as well as the Greyfriars Bobby statue, a haunted cemetery and Harry Potter points of interest. We regrouped, boarded the bus and circled Arthur’s Seat, a small mountain that hung over the city. We stopped by Holyrood Palace where Elizabeth stays when in Edinburgh, before returning to the tender port. As luck would have it, a commercial tender seating more than a hundred was a comfortable ride back to the ship. I did keep a wary eye out for “Sea Cow 21” as I had vowed to sacrifice my place in line, and it was long, if offered another ride with her. The Second Sea Day I really don’t recall much about this day as there was no agenda and no pressing need to have anything but three meals in the MDR as for once on a cruise, we never visited the Lido. We did attend the Capt.’s party as it was the last formal night, and did book a future cruise at a discount while on board as we are thinking a Northern Alaska visit with seeing Denali this next time with perhaps a night in a Princess lodge. Le Havre France Paris and Normandy are the two attractions here but, as I’m a Marine from a Marine family, Normandy wasn’t our war. We declined seeing Paris about 300 miles away as I felt that the French needed no help turning over cars and setting them on fire. We opted to visit a local mall, Docks Vauban, where Susan did her last gift shopping and we enjoyed a three-star grill where the French did what they do best, cook!! The Longest Day We had opted for a Princess transfer from SOHO as we had an early 12:15 flight. No one wants you off the ship more than the cruise line, so we met to disembark @ 6:30. As the traffic was interesting, we made Heathrow by around 9. After check in and airport security, I can confirm they are even more intense than our own, as I lost a can of shave gel. We had a leisurely brunch and boarded for our 91/2 hr flight to DFW, which arrived on time. After the ordeal of Customs and Security all that was left was the short hop to Houston, right? They loaded us on the small plane on time and then sat there in a sweat box for close to an hour waiting for them to get more fuel that they might run the air conditioners among other delays. Even with that amount of time my luggage missed the flight and was delivered the next day. Thus, from the ship’s cabin to home made about 21 hrs of travel. I’ve mentioned a few mechanical problems that occurred on this vacation, and have visited with God about them from time to time, but none posed a serious threat to us or our travels so let the cow chips fall where they may as it was a wonderful cruise. We hope that this has been informative and helpful for those of you traveling to this part of the world and until I write again. May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind at yer back not be yer own. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Gene & Susan Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The cruise started with the sun, but that's about the only day it was with us... Every day, when arriving in a port, people would say : "yesterday was nice and warm, but today... rain and very cold"! We even had some snow in ... Read More
The cruise started with the sun, but that's about the only day it was with us... Every day, when arriving in a port, people would say : "yesterday was nice and warm, but today... rain and very cold"! We even had some snow in St-Petersburg! Temperature, we can not predict nor change, so that is why we had our hats, gloves, good shoes, rain coats and many layers. Good for us! The Regal is a beautiful ship, food was wonderful and personnel were very nice, smilling and helpful. Our cabin (mid balcony on Riviera deck ) was perfect and well located. The itinerary and length of cruise were great. The Medaillon was not as expected... but one day... it will! Here are a few of the problems we encountered: it could not open our cabin door nor retreive me (with Compass app) if in my pocket! Our tablet (Samsung Tab S2) could not run some of the apps (we were told we needed a smart phone!). Internet was slow! very slow, not the "fastest internet at sea". It was fast only after 11PM! And, since the TV works with the internet system, when it is down, the TV doesn't work either. At least twice during the cruise, we were told by the waiters that we need to sign the invoice because the system was not working. My husband could not login into his account, because the system doesn't recognize the accent in his name! We were lucky mine worked, to check our onboard account and excursions. But we did find a few good things: we both had the beverage package and we could order 2 drinks with one medaillon, without showing both. On every floor, there are big screens with Medaillon apps, so we can find our way or what is going on or find our friend (of the medaillon is not in a pocket)... And the worst problem : if you loose your medaillon and someone finds it, he can walk to a screen with Compass app, log in with the medaillon, find your cabin and go to your cabin... the medaillon will unlock the door and he is in! WOW! ... So beside the temperature and the medaillon, we had a great cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I loved the Alaska ports and the sea days. The staff and crew were very accommodating. The food was very good, also. We enjoyed the entertainment and lectures about Alaska. The highlight of our cruise was our vow renewal ... Read More
My husband and I loved the Alaska ports and the sea days. The staff and crew were very accommodating. The food was very good, also. We enjoyed the entertainment and lectures about Alaska. The highlight of our cruise was our vow renewal with Captain Tuvo. Our cabin was nice and Madee our steward did an excellent job. We found embarkation to be a complicated process. One thing princess could improve on is to have more of a variety of food in the Horizon Buffet. It was good but not much of a variety. Also, it takes too long from start to finish in the main dining room to eat. The different kind of music that was played around the ship was pleasant. Matt Baxter, the guitar player and vocalist, was fantastic. This was our first cruise with Princess and we would most likely sail with them again. Debarkation was much easier than Embarkation. It would be great if karaoke was offered every day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Never having sailed on Princess our good friends suggested that we join them on the Royal for a 7 day sail to the Mexican Riviera departing April 27, 2019. They entrusted us to do the booking and manage excursions and upgraded dining. We ... Read More
Never having sailed on Princess our good friends suggested that we join them on the Royal for a 7 day sail to the Mexican Riviera departing April 27, 2019. They entrusted us to do the booking and manage excursions and upgraded dining. We proceeded with 2 deluxe balcony staterooms side by side so we could hang out on the balconies together when we wished. We prepaid our gratuities and our excursions and began our count down (about 80 days from finalizing our purchases). With just 4 weeks until blast off Princess called and offered us an upgrade for about $350 for my wife and I and $350 for our friends. (we did not use any TA's so we dealt directly with Princess) Big mistake on my part as I assumed that all the extra amenities hyped up on the Princess website for mini-suite cabins would apply to us. I called our friends and read them all the extra goodies and they wanted to upgrade as did we. Not being a TA and not originally looking to book a mini suite, I had no idea that princess had 2 types of mini-suites. The "CLUB" mini suites had all the goodies, whereas our extra $350 boiled down to an extra TV and more bathroom space. This way we could watch 2 tv's at once, one for each eye. lol Once onboard we went to the suite concierge, Francisco Galvan and to my embarrassment discovered the phone scam upgrade. Did the Princess rep tell me about the difference in the club mini and a regular mini? HELL NO! If she did we never would have upgraded and encouraged our friends to upgrade. Ok I know that not using an agent was dumb on my part, however for Princess to upgrade us over the phone without a proper description of the upgrade is on them. Funny thing is that once we left the concierge a mysterious posting was made on our private Princess dossier that we were briefed by the Princess sales department on the benefits of a mini suite. This of course was totally bogus as the concierge knew that we were going to take our problem either to the Hotel Manager or the Guest Relations Manager. Someone made this entry in an attempt to cover their rear end. I would swear under oath that they never advised us of the difference in a club or a mini suite. Why would anyone upgrade for just an extra tv and and about 10 more square feet? They wouldn't of course. Not me at least. Ok, enough of this and thanks for allowing me to vent. During the cruise I did get a private meeting with the guest relations manager, Luca Cozzolino to discuss this issue. Mr. Cozzolino handled the situation professionally and to my satisfaction and that of my wife and friends. As they said once in a great movie "What we have here is a failure to communicate". Our impressions regarding the Royal Princess cuisine was somewhat a mixed bag. The dishes in the main dining room were quite average at best with the amazing exception of the lobster served on the second formal night. We all thought it was the very best we ever enjoyed on a cruise. Sailing in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez , we all had hoped that the shrimp cocktails would feature the famous jumbo delicacies. Nope! We all had a great laugh when the waiter delivered us 4 tiny shrimp that measured under 2 inches. This pennywise and pound foolish chef selection was made by a bean counter that has no idea of how to make a customer feel he picked the right cruise line. Same can be said about the grade of ice cream on the dessert menu. Based on an old fashioned taste test the Royal buys bargain ice milk in lieu of premium grades. Great way to top off a mediocre dinner is with a scoop or two of drug store ice cream. The service that we had in the main dining room was absolutely spectacular. From the busboy to the maitre'd all worked their tails off to please us and several nearby tables. You can tolerate food that's mediocre if your servers are bending over backwards to please you. These folks and your cabin attendant can make or break a cruise vacation. Princess seems to have this part of cruising down to a science. Room service food was pretty sad although we didn't use it much. The much hyped "BEST PIZZA AT SEA" failed to mention the they only make 3 pizzas a day available for room service. The $3 charge is no big deal but we had been craving a Hawaiian pizza only to find out that only cheese, pepperoni and margarita was available. We went with pepperoni and couldn't finish a slice. Again things were hit and miss. The difference between the Celebrity buffets and those aboard Princess are night and day. Almost impossible feeding 3000 to 4000 people with exciting fresh food and snacks on the Royal, Our Solstice Alaskan cruise recently amplified the many awards Celebrity has garnered for dining. Of course people have various types of palettes and tastes so if you read 100 reviews about dining on Princess versus others, you will get a wide range of ratings. Our final night aboard the Royal was a highlight with dinner in the Crown Room. Wonderful window table for 4 with great food. My buddy and I tackled 22 ounce porterhouse steaks with huge baked potatoes. I am not sure how but I actually lost 2 pounds on this cruise. Maybe they did me a big favor by serving crummy ice cream? Find the gelato station because it's great. The minor $1.50 per scoop up-charge is well worth it. One final note is that the elevator waits on the Royal can be very frustrating. Try and prepare yourself by bringing an extra bag of patience aboard. Also try and relax when you wait to embark. So many folks get all worked up into a lather waiting for their call to board. The ground personnel do a great job of getting thousands off and thousands on. Some poor souls had the all night duty of hauling 13,000 suitcases down to the warehouse to be ready by 7am. These cats are exhausted and after a short break start bringing onboard another 13,000 bags. Some people can be grotesque when awaiting to board the ship. Most passengers are asked to come at assigned times varying from Noon to 2:30 It appeared to us that the majority are ready to storm the gang planks at 10 am. Crazy! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Summary: This was the first cruise on a Royal-class ship for my wife and myself. It was our 9th Princess cruise overall and a bit of a disappointment following the spectacular Panama Canal cruse we had on the Coral Princess last ... Read More
Summary: This was the first cruise on a Royal-class ship for my wife and myself. It was our 9th Princess cruise overall and a bit of a disappointment following the spectacular Panama Canal cruse we had on the Coral Princess last November. Positives: For the most part, service from the crew was excellent. Waiters in the dining room, restaurants and bars/lounges were very pleasant and attentive. Robert and Franco at Sabatini's were outstanding. Attendants at the Buffet could not do enough to assist. Our cabin steward, Donna, was excellent. Kory Minor, the piano player and entertainer at Crooner's, was tremendous. We had one run-in with a chauvinistic cook at the Trident Grill who was insulting to my wife. I reported this to the Front Desk, but heard nothing in reply. Otherwise, the crew was outstanding. The Ultimate Balcony Dinner is an incredible experience. This was the second time we have done it and it will now be a staple of our Princess cruises. We did it on Monday night while we were anchored off Cabo. Not sure how well this would work if the ship were underway, might be too windy. (Our first Balcony Dinner was done the night we were anchored in the Panama Canal last November.) Our waiters were attentive and timely without being intrusive. The food was all excellent (menu attached). The setting is so romantic! By all means, try this activity. It is easily worth the $100 price. We also loved the Super Tuscon Lunch at Sabatini's. Multiple courses all served with wonderful (and high-end) Italian Super Tuscon wines (menu attached) Our Mini-suite was smaller than mini-suites on other Princess ships, but that did not bother us at all. The new design is better than the old one, with the removal of the large desk and TV counter between the bed and sitting areas. Negatives: Although advertised as a “non-smoking” environment, there are many locations on the ship where the smell of smoke was irritating at best and unbearable at worst. Biggest problem area was the Casino on Deck Six, with its open ceiling to the shops on Deck Seven. Clothing and other items in the shops reeked of smoke. Also, poorly designed ventilation in the Allegro Dining Room on Deck six Aft drew in smoke from an outside smoking area. By the end of the seven night cruise, my wife's eyes were bloodshot and her throat sore and raspy. Due to this condition, we canceled a reservation to sail the Royal Princess to Alaska later this year and re-booked to the Golden Princess in 2020. The passenger population would overwhelm ship's resources on occasions. For example, the ship has 12 main passenger elevators, the same number as on much smaller ships. In comparison, the much smaller Coral Princess (2,000 passengers vs. 3,500-plus on the Royal) has the same 12 main elevators. This led to congestion and excessive waits during peak periods, such as show times and start of dinner hours. Also, crowds would build up outside of venues before the start of activities since there was insufficient room to handle the volume of people. Ocean Medallion has tremendous potential to be a great tool for future passengers. The functions which currently work are wonderful. But they do not work often enough. OceanCompass repeatedly crashed while trying to find my wife. I found it very frustrating to be wasting my precious vacation time attempting to debug this system. It could not even correctly locate me at times! OceanNow had limited menus. And it surprised me by charging for cocktails even though we had full beverage packages (Sip & Sail). I brought this to the attention of the Front Desk and they said I would find it in my Cruise Passage contract that drinks ordered through OceanNow would be charged. That is not acceptable. This system reminded me (a retired IT manager) of systems rushed into production before they were ready or properly tested in order to meet a management-directed schedule deadline. System quality should be the only criteria for determining system implementation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We just got off the Island Princess sailing from Los Angeles to Vancouver. Service overall, with one exception (see below) was fabulous. We were on the Royal Princess in January and are booked for Australia in December with a Cruisetour. ... Read More
We just got off the Island Princess sailing from Los Angeles to Vancouver. Service overall, with one exception (see below) was fabulous. We were on the Royal Princess in January and are booked for Australia in December with a Cruisetour. If we had not booked Australia prior to this cruise, we would have definitely considered another cruise line. The Royal was such a completely different experience and this is not due to size. The Maitre d's in the dining room are only interested in catering to the Club Members and have no difficulty ignoring the remaining passengers. This was heard constantly throughout our cruise, on shore excursions, at the bars, in the Horizon Court.... Not nice at all!!!!! It was as if there were two classes of passengers. There was one occasion where the Maitre d' came over to the table beside ours and apologized for the place they were in as "their table" had been given away. It suddenly made us feel as if we were in a horrible place in the dining room. Coming to the dining room every night was not comfortable for many of us and this should not be the case. Of course, once we were seated, the wait staff was outstanding and all was forgotten. However, this happened, EVERY NIGHT to all of us. Service everywhere else was fabulous, from the Horizon Court to the Bars to Excusion Staff. We had a wonderful time. Bayou was great with a live jazz band playing during dinner. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We had a wonderful cruise because Alaska is gorgeous, however the Ruby was the worst ship I've sailed on. Not only does the ship appear old and tired, so does much of the crew. Our steward didn't address us by name, so if ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise because Alaska is gorgeous, however the Ruby was the worst ship I've sailed on. Not only does the ship appear old and tired, so does much of the crew. Our steward didn't address us by name, so if that's your thing, good luck. Personally, it doesn't matter to me. I'm more concerned about having service, like ice in the cabin, without having to beg a few times. It took 3 days for pre-purchased alcohol to get delivered to our cabin. The flowers finally made it on day 4. Air conditioning seems pretty basic and certainly expected in a premium aft-facing balcony. No, it's wasn't. Four phones calls, three techs, and finally we were told that would just be the temperature of the room. Never thought we would literally sweat all night on an Alaskan cruise. So, if air conditioning is high on your list, look elsewhere because sleeping on the balcony for cold air is miserable. The food...well, it's there and usually lukewarm. You pay extra for the good food. We did have the $100.00 balcony dinner and that was awesome. I can't comment on the MDR because we never went. On all other cruises, the stewards are like ninjas. You walk out your cabin for an hour and POOF, your cabin is refreshed and the bed made. Our bed was made 5 times on a 12 day cruise. I told y'all the crew seemed tired. I can say that the big suite next to us seemed to always have their door open with the steward in there. Lucky dog. Anyway, I know that I forgot a lot because this looks much too pleasant. Oh, it's a 2ft square shower with a non adjustable shower head. Take a good bath before you leave and when you get home. Not sure how a large person fits in there. Definitely can't shave legs. No, I'm never going back on Princess. Never, ever. I've sailed Holland America, Norwegian, Carnival and Princess is absolutely last place. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
For our 50th anniversary, we took a 12-day Princess cruise to Alaska originating in Los Angeles. From the moment we stepped aboard the 5-star Ruby Princess, we were surrounded by helpful, smiling faces of staff. Our balcony room gave us a ... Read More
For our 50th anniversary, we took a 12-day Princess cruise to Alaska originating in Los Angeles. From the moment we stepped aboard the 5-star Ruby Princess, we were surrounded by helpful, smiling faces of staff. Our balcony room gave us a wonderful view and fresh air throughout our cruise. The bed was SO comfortable with cozy Egyptian linens. Our cabin Steward, Christopher, was so helpful and attentive. The ship holds about 3500 guests and about 1500 very service oriented staff- which is a nice size and ratio. The restaurant meals were fresh and fabulous with very attentive waiters.There were fresh food options 24- hours a day! We enjoyed the flexibility of "anytime" dining. The entertainment was nonstop. We especially enjoyed the nightly musical shows in the Princess Theater. They have very talented performers- bands, singers and dancers.The different lounges also had good entertainment and often dancing. The casino is spacious and has lots of variety, including blackjack tournaments which are really fun! The gym provides nice machines with an amazing view! We especially enjoyed the tram excursion in Juneau and the train in Scagway. We plan to fly to Anchorage on our next Alaskan trip to explore the more northern regions and to do a land tour to Denali. We highly recommend Princess cruises without reservation! We look forward to our next Princess cruise!! The 12 days flew by!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
First time on a cruise. Expectations were high. Those glitzy commercials... First, the positives. Overall it was a relaxing and friendly environment. I cannot say enough positive about the wait staff in the dining areas and every ... Read More
First time on a cruise. Expectations were high. Those glitzy commercials... First, the positives. Overall it was a relaxing and friendly environment. I cannot say enough positive about the wait staff in the dining areas and every other staff member we crossed was cheery and enthusiastic and very willing to help and engage. The state room was filthy on arrival. Feces smeared on the sides of the toilet bowl, dirty hand prints in the shower, and clearly not vacuumed. Patio doors to deck were filthy too. Sofa in room was grimy looking. You board a ship with trepidation about getting norovirus and this is what greets you. We were given a complimentary meal in the steak house after complaining. Never did see the complimentary robes we signed up for before the cruise. The internet service you purchase is locked to one device. This is not mentioned prior to purchase. The ship's television service went out three times for hours, once for a solid 24 hours. - so much for relaxing in your room at the end of an evening with a show before bedtime. I was glad to not be traveling with children. The buffet featured food that was bland the majority of the time. Maybe I can appreciate this more when I am a geriatric. Food had from the other dining areas was much better. AMATEUR live entertainment. For example there was a Mariachi band with some members pretending to play instruments along to canned recordings. It made relaxing in common areas during live performances difficult. It really was that cringe worthy. I am not musical at all and I was picking up on it. For my husband who is a classically trained musician it was excruciating. The Medallion GPS tracker/room key/electronic payment device was convenient. I felt like part of a wildlife tag and release program but it did aid the room stewards in knowing we were not in the room and we found it cleaned at all differing hours of the day which was convenient. For those signing up for shore excursion packages please do NOT assume that if lunch is provided as part of the excursion that a beverage of ANY sort is included as well (billed separately for water - surprise!). Mazatlan is a hard pass. Anyone who has visited a Mexican city bordering the US has already seen what they have to offer of squalor, but now add in many Mexican federal policemen with machine guns for that extra war zone feel. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We are from the Bay Area and booked a 6 am fight out of San Jose to LAX. We were up at 330 am so we were tired and excited. We got an uber to a breakfast place near the airport called Bread and Butter. It was really good and very ... Read More
We are from the Bay Area and booked a 6 am fight out of San Jose to LAX. We were up at 330 am so we were tired and excited. We got an uber to a breakfast place near the airport called Bread and Butter. It was really good and very inexpensive. We took an uber around 11 am to the pier from the restaurant. It was so surreal to see the enormous Royal, which would be home for the next 7 days. Since our daughter was celebrating her Sweet 16 birthday we decided to book a suite a 102.. and make it a surprise on what room we booked. When we dropped off our bags we we ushered into a medallion line. i kept asking if this was line for suites everyone told me yes. We and everyone else were given number 5. We were checked in and asked the lady about suites and she had no idea so she called her supervisor and asked if there was a special area or a person to walk guest on. The supervisor said, " Because you're medallion pre checked you just sit with everyone else. No special area or walk on host." OK/// Even Carnival has an area for suites but we were tired and glad to find a chair to rest. The kind lady next to me overheard that we were in a suite and told me to go up to the lady calling out numbers. We did. she apologized and said to go right on. The ship was beautiful and so impressive. Our cabin on Aloha deck A102, was also amazing. A really gorgeous bathroom with a deep soaking tub and separate shower. We met briefly with our steward, Edsell. We were so hungry and tried to find the dining room for lunch, that was open but no one seemed to direct us right. We stumbled onto Alfredo's and what a delicious place this was. We had the vegetarian pizza and Hawaiian pizza. we also tried the tiramisu for dessert and it was clearly the best dessert we had. all week. We went to the room and unpacked and rested. After mustered we made reservations at the crown grill for dinner. It was complimentary with suite privileges. I had the prawn appetizer and filet mignon with baked potato. My husband had the same and my daughter had the steak tartare and lamb. She loved it. Not sure if I would eat raw beef. We were full for dessert. The wait staff was excellent. Our room steward tried his best but when we asked him to exchange the mini bottles for all sky vodka, instead of the various other liquors. he told us to call room service, which I did. Room service directed to tell our room steward for this request.. Finally we had a room service drop off our pre purchased liquor bottle and we told him and he took care of it. We also asked our steward if we could have menus to order dinner since we wanted to just relax in our cabin. He again told us to call room service. My husband just went down to the restaurant and took pictures and we did receive it. Room service was fantastic. Always early and a white table clothe was et out. We did the ultimate balcony dinner and it was amazing. I recommend this highly. We had so much food and it was fresh. The lobster was way better then what is offered in the regular MDR. The nice thing about it was my daughter was able to order food from the regular menu and eat with us. We tried to see if she could get our UBD menu but they can not separate so it would have been another 100 dollars for an additional one person. My daughter and husband did the scuba diving tour in Cabo. It was so cold and the visibility was not good but that is Mother nature. In Mazatlan we went to the beach in the golden zone. We did jet skis.. The rental is 60 dollars for half an hour. My husband and daughter did fresh oysters from a beach lady. She had a table and just through oysters out on a table and shucked them..They were very fresh and no-one got sick. In Puerto Vallarta we did the Eco tour which was amazing. We stopped in a tiny village called san jose and ate fresh tortillas. Then to the jungle to go on a hike. We also ate homemade tortilla with beans and guacamole from a traditional farm. Delicious and I could have ate a dozen.. Our tour guide discussed the birds and plant life in this region... Very interesting. We ended on a beach ( non swimmable) for a bbq lunch. Really enjoyed this and the people were nice and friendly. Just make sure to have hiking boots and bug spray. We used Sabatini' for breakfast which was amazing. Our highlight was the Pub lunch on our last day. The food was ok, Club class had amazing pastas. It did take awhile to get served. We bought the thermal pass Enclave but were so disappointed that we got a refund. It was so crowded it was hard to find a space to sit. The Spa had foam in it , which I know want harm you but it is not pleasant to bath in.. People were not pre-showering which grossed me out. And a lady had a band aid on her foot. We were refunded, but were pushed to use our money instead on a massage or other service. We said no and then she said the salt rub needed to be returned or she would need to charge me for that. Thankfully we did not open them and gave it back. Only one refund was done, so a trip to guest services to rectify. I did not like also, there was no sea view just a dark tomb with people walking back and forth.. It was not for us. Holland America has the best thermal suites in my opinion. We had a great time and I love cruising but we prefer small ships. Please ask any questions. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted to get away for a short cruise so went on this 7 day to Mexico on a Medallion class ship. The medallion level isn't what is cracked up to be. Where as your embarkation is supposed to be faster, I saw no difference from my ... Read More
We wanted to get away for a short cruise so went on this 7 day to Mexico on a Medallion class ship. The medallion level isn't what is cracked up to be. Where as your embarkation is supposed to be faster, I saw no difference from my Elite Priority Boarding. They need to get staff up to speed on this new Medallion boarding, example: We preregistered on line by scanning passports and photos, yet we had to produce our passports 3 times when once would have been adequate. The upgrade of the TV system is excellent when it was working, was down 3 out of 7 days and why they would only have 4 episodes of Love Boat is beyond me as Princess Cruises has always touted their affiliation with the Love Boat series. They should have all of the episodes available. The ones they were displaying were the same ones we had on our Japan Trip last year. The food was not what we consider 5 star, the beef being served in the dining room and buffet was tough and tasteless. My experience in the dining room was excellent (waiter was very attentive) and for the 17th time I did not get assigned to the table with the correct number of passengers, ask for four got two. The 2 production show were superb especially the one with the guest vocalist. The comedian was horrible. , . The disembarkation was was flawless was fast and efficient. Princess air and transfer was excellent, best prices and easy to book, have used it several times and have never had a problem. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Princess Cruises have always done exceptionally well! Delicious food, clean and modern furnishings, state of the art technology most especially with the Medallion, expert and friendly staff, relaxing environment and a full range of ... Read More
Princess Cruises have always done exceptionally well! Delicious food, clean and modern furnishings, state of the art technology most especially with the Medallion, expert and friendly staff, relaxing environment and a full range of entertainment. The company prioritizes safety from the minute you board all the way to the end. The process of embarkation and disembarkation were easy. We always look forward to waking up in the morning because of the activities they offer daily. Food is excellent with so much variety to choose from. The cabin is kept clean with respect to privacy upon request. The technology is above and beyond with the Medallion. The staff are respectful, accommodating and have shown professionalism. Every minute is priceless while on board. Whether you seek to relax, pampered or be entertained. Princess Cruises deliver the best vacation ever! My family and I are looking forward to our next cruise with this company. We highly recommend Princess to people of all ages. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife and I wanted a "special" trip for our 50th anniversary. We have been cruising for 40 years now and enjoy the experience. We elected to go to Hawaii and wanted a round trip cruise. That fact limited us to only two ... Read More
My wife and I wanted a "special" trip for our 50th anniversary. We have been cruising for 40 years now and enjoy the experience. We elected to go to Hawaii and wanted a round trip cruise. That fact limited us to only two cruise lines Princess and Carnival. The wife said to look at the trip as a celebration not a vacation. We thought since both lines belonged to the Carnival corporation the Princess cruise would be a little more upscale. We chose a Club Class Mini-Suite and air transportation arranged by Princess. The Club Class upgrade included Priority Boarding, I expected the same benefits as Carnival's Faster-2-Fun boarding. Not so, just a different check-in desk. No priority room preparation, no quick luggage delivery, no priority on excursions, and no speedier disembarkation. I'm sure Princess has a target cliental. If that is the case, my wife and I do not fit the criteria. As I said we were celebrating 50th years of marriage and are not all that young. However, we are young at heart, able to walk, like to smile, and do not believe the way to elevate your social stature is to belittle the ship's staff. We found a majority of the passengers were not smiling, used a cane or walker, were rude, and ready to complain about any topic. There were some great things on the ship in spite of the depressing overall attitude of many passengers. The Club Class dining venue was a shining star of service and attitude. Our cabin steward was excellent and kept the cabin in pristine order at all times. Maybe our expectations were just set too high. We expected to "Come Back New". We came back looking for a "Fun Ship". Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
The cruise was fabulous. Truly magical! My only complaint was that sometimes the toilet flushed and sometimes it did not. It was a system wide problem and Princess compensated us for our trouble. Still, it was annoying. The dining ... Read More
The cruise was fabulous. Truly magical! My only complaint was that sometimes the toilet flushed and sometimes it did not. It was a system wide problem and Princess compensated us for our trouble. Still, it was annoying. The dining was wonderful! Food was delicious and our waiter Aurelia and Asst. waiter Lido went out of their way to provide service that went above and beyond. The shows were quite nice. Some of the guest entertainers were not to our taste. They were good, but they played a selection of music that was designed for people in their 80s. Movies under the Stars was great and not too cold. Blankets were provided upon request. The Naturalist onboard was an interesting and engaging speaker. The guest lecturer spoke on Olympic games and the Nobel Prizes. He offered some unique tidbits of information and had personally met many of the people he spoke about. We only booked 3 shore excursions through the ship. One of them was for a tour of the Bishop Museum. Unfortunately, the tour was cancelled and no reason given even though it was listed as sold out. Sadly, we were not informed of the cancellation until 2 days beforehand. By that time most of the excursions were already booked so we had to settle for a less than optimal tour. The best shore excursion was snorkeling in Nawiliwili. The company took pains to keep everyone safe and to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves. Ensenada was both safe and fun. We took a locally operated 45min harbor tour through Juanitos (located right along the ocean walk) for $2,50 per person. It was a great deal and got to see sea lions VERY close up (within 7 feet of them). Overall it had a few bumps in the road, but was still a fabulous cruise and would happily do it again! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
this cruise was with a group on Utube ,however it turned out be a series of missed communications and bad service .nothing stands out about this cruise except the night we dined at the Crown Grill was fantastic ..My medallion did not work ... Read More
this cruise was with a group on Utube ,however it turned out be a series of missed communications and bad service .nothing stands out about this cruise except the night we dined at the Crown Grill was fantastic ..My medallion did not work very well it rarely let me into my room ,the apps were not working for me ,I had the medallion changed and reset but never really worked . However to be fair I never used the apps very much ,its just not convenient for me . The weather was great . The ports were very good but we never seemed to stay very long at them . We were in Mexico for about 10 hours . The use of tenders to get ashore although necessary was a pain . I did enjoy the comedian and the cover band . We did take two excursions one in Jamaica which was a tour of Islands wildlife. And one in Cozumel which was the sunset cruise .. All in all ok Read Less
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