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Cruise Ratings
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151
Sail Date: September 2019
Overall a nice experience. Great cabin, balcony was well used and steward was perfect. Food was not up to other Princess ships I've been on but service was wonderful. I should clarify, Horizon Court Buffet at times reminded me of ... Read More
Overall a nice experience. Great cabin, balcony was well used and steward was perfect. Food was not up to other Princess ships I've been on but service was wonderful. I should clarify, Horizon Court Buffet at times reminded me of college dorm fare. Shows were very good. The most annoying thing was the constant announcements of sales. Yes, they have to make a profit but sometimes it's the little things that make a customer feel special. It was exciting to receive a packet in the post with documents, luggage tags and great expectations of an upcoming adventure. Now you have to print yourself documents etc etc. Nice touch at the end of the cruise was the airlines luggage program. Bags whisked away not to be touched again until you land at your home airport. Note the Star is getting a bit long in the tooth. Showing some age, it gets hard to maintain a ship after 15 years of service. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2019
Overall we had a wonderful time. I looked forward to the captain's greetings which always ended with "bye-bye". We purchased the steak and lobster balcony dinner, however this being our first cruise we thought you would dine ... Read More
Overall we had a wonderful time. I looked forward to the captain's greetings which always ended with "bye-bye". We purchased the steak and lobster balcony dinner, however this being our first cruise we thought you would dine on a special balcony of the ship. Not so, you are supposed to have a balcony room for this feature (they really should include that in the ad) so we asked the dining staff how we could amend this and they rose to the occasion. We had our own private waiters, James and Nino, who set us up at table on the aft balcony of the ship and dusk. They kept our champagne glasses filled, they took photos for us and even shelled our lobster. They provided us with a night of amazing memories. Alan, our cabin steward was also amazing. The first day he knew our names and always greeted us with a smile, even took a moment to ask about our excursions or our experience. He made us feel like family, not guests. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2019
Our group of 7 had a fantastic 2 weeks in Ireland and on the Crown Princess. From embarking to disembarking, we were always busy doing something. This cruise had 9 ports in 12 days with only 2 split days at sea. It's a cruise for ... Read More
Our group of 7 had a fantastic 2 weeks in Ireland and on the Crown Princess. From embarking to disembarking, we were always busy doing something. This cruise had 9 ports in 12 days with only 2 split days at sea. It's a cruise for active individuals. All the ports were wonderful in their own way. The lone exception was Southampton. The bus ride to London and the time able to be spent their wasnt worth it as you always felt rushed. We took advantage of all the ports that offered hop on hop off buses and just used them as city tours. We saved so much money doing this and saw the same sites, and if we wanted to get off to explore extra we could and then jump right back on the next bus....never had a problem. Food on the ship was good with lots of choices off the buffets and the main dining room was very nice. The pizza and the Salty Dog grill were also very good as always. The service on this cruise was also excellent. All the staff attendants and servers were extremely accommodating, friendly, and always warm and genuine. If there was one disappointment it was the specialty restaurants. We paid for one and had one given to us. The Crown Grill was awful and unfortunately the one we paid for. Nothing about it was good from the bread on the table to the water in the glass. No flavor in anything, presentation was extremely lacking and the service was horrible. What made it worse was that they weren't even close to being half full during a prime time dinner hour. Sabatini's was a couple notches above with the lone saving feature being the service. Our server was "right on it". She was always around without being over your shoulder. The food was good, not spectacular but light years above the Crown Grill. I wouldnt pay again for either, but I would go back to Sabatini's if offered as a perk......the Crown Grill is yours to keep. Entertainment was fine, the shows were entertaining. They were cruise ship productions but done very well. Comedy was pretty good and always packed. The entertainment in the piazza was also very good with either a group band or violinist's. We were so busy off the ship we honestly didn't spend a whole lot of time in any one venue on the ship. What we experienced was pretty good. The ship itself was fine. You can see the 13 years (2006?) of cruises building up on it and they have done some renovations in 2018. Overall it's a solid ship maybe with some touch ups or extra carpeted areas, or LED lighting needed to perk it up a bit more needed around the public areas. Everything worked, or turned on/off, or drained, opened/closed, went up or down, that was supposed to, so that's about all you can ask. Overall it was a great 2 weeks and have nothing but good things to say about the majority of our Princess manner of services. Cant wait for our next one in about 6 months on the Regal. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
It was our relatives that were going on and it was recommenced by our travel agent. we were astonished by the number of activities. we were not pleased with the breakfast accommodation especially for the people that wanted a quick ... Read More
It was our relatives that were going on and it was recommenced by our travel agent. we were astonished by the number of activities. we were not pleased with the breakfast accommodation especially for the people that wanted a quick breakfast and cup of coffee without having to pay extra. also, we were not appreciative of the fact that we that we tried on sunday to make a reservation for thursday and we were told that there were no reservations available. this was calling five days in advance. Not happy. when we tried to make a reservation we were put on hold for a long.........................period of time. we finally went to the customer service desk and they were able to get to the dinner reservation call center after a long period of time and they were told there were no reservations available for the rest of the week. (this was on sunday when we were trying to make reservations for a wedding anniversary) !!!! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Because we wanted to visit Alaska for the first time, cruise was nice but I would definitely switch Anchorage or Sitka for Victoria, we arrived at 7 PM and left at 11:30 PM, it was dark and not a chance to visit anything. Another Alaskan ... Read More
Because we wanted to visit Alaska for the first time, cruise was nice but I would definitely switch Anchorage or Sitka for Victoria, we arrived at 7 PM and left at 11:30 PM, it was dark and not a chance to visit anything. Another Alaskan port wouod be way better and less expensive excursion too, $130 train trip to nowhere and could not go down, beautiful scenery but poor excursion, but anyway me and my wife were looking for relax and that's what we've found, but I will definitely go back to Alaska again with a different itinerary if possible. Stateroom service was excellent, food quality in the cruise standards, staff very friendly, some services could be handle better, like make a call to find a different flight or arrange a pick up. We had an open dining and was the best choice, we usually don't eat very early as we like to enjoy the onboard entertainments. Overall Princess is the best cruise line in a matter of service and quality of the ships, unfortunately we cannot change the quality of the people ( passengers) lots of them rude, grumpy and with bad habit like fill a plate full of food and then leave half of it, waste waste waste or touch the food and place it back at rhe buffet,...disgusting and maybe they did not even wash their hands. What really made me upset was that on formal nights lots of people were dressing like they go to the beach!!!! Formal night....it is FORMAL....use a dress/ suit it's an occasion to dress nicely once in a while but some don't get it..... Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We received a Princess brochure which included Canadian Maritime Provinces and Greenland. It peaked our interest, particularly Greenland which is an unusual destination. We felt it would be an ideal place to visit before it shows up ... Read More
We received a Princess brochure which included Canadian Maritime Provinces and Greenland. It peaked our interest, particularly Greenland which is an unusual destination. We felt it would be an ideal place to visit before it shows up on more itineraries and gets overrun with "tourist" shops; jewelry stores and t shirt shops etc. The itinerary was 16 days, but only 6 ports, so a lot of sea days which are relaxing. We sailed on Caribbean Princess before and enjoyed the ship. Good weather and enjoyed the ports taking 2 Princess excursions in Canada (Halifax and Sydney). We opted for a Hop-on-off in St Johns which was excellent and inexpensive. Greenland tours were extremely expensive and limited so we decide to explore on our own and were pleased with that decision. Tendering at 2 Greenland ports was awful, taking over 2 hours or more. Princess did a dreadful job handling this and they have been to Greenland before so they should have planned better. Very interesting places and very glad we took the trip. Rustic. Almost like a glimpse into the past! Overall meals were very good but not great but we did opt for a few specialty restaurants and these were great. Princess buffet dining is OK for breakfast or lunch but not really as well organized as some other cruise lines. Entertainment was probably excellent however seating was far too limited because of the show times of 6:30 and 8:30pm wherein many people ate at 5pm and went to both shows. Really good music is lounges with something for everyone. Finally, this was a Medallion Class ship. Princess loves this concept but frankly it is much like the cruise card with more chances to buy drinks and gamble, and might be fun for kids. I didn't think much of it. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Booking a Club Class Mini Suite entitled us to priority embarkation - the process could not have been quicker or smoother. We had both red and white wine (half bottle of each) in our room on arrival, canapes on request, and the cabin was ... Read More
Booking a Club Class Mini Suite entitled us to priority embarkation - the process could not have been quicker or smoother. We had both red and white wine (half bottle of each) in our room on arrival, canapes on request, and the cabin was superior in both comfort and layout (see cabin review below for more detail). The ship was easy to navigate and never seemed crowded, even in the most public places! There was something for everyone in terms of entertainment, whether it be bingo, trivia, comedy etc. Of particular note is the very talented Pianist Liam Stewart who performed most evenings in Crooners Bar. The highlight of our cruise was undoubtedly the Club Class dining experience. Absolutely 'anytime dining' in a separate area of the main dining room, with dedicated Maitre D and wait staff who displayed impeccable customer service, and who made the experience very pleasurable indeed. The food was of a very high standard, presented beautifully and in a timely manner, with such delicious offerings as Lobster tail. The bar has been set rather high, and now that we have experienced Club Class dining (in fact Club Class sailing) it will be very hard to book a lower category in future. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise since I have always wanted to go to Quebec City and we thoroughly enjoyed that French-speaking port. We had good weather--in fact in was hot in Quebec City. Our second favorite port was Portland, Maine, an attractive ... Read More
We chose this cruise since I have always wanted to go to Quebec City and we thoroughly enjoyed that French-speaking port. We had good weather--in fact in was hot in Quebec City. Our second favorite port was Portland, Maine, an attractive and charming town. We had been to Boston and Halifax before, but enjoyed both of them again. The trip was rather port-intensive and I would have liked more sea days, which are relaxing since you don't have to get up early for an excursion. We went on an excursion in almost every port. On the sea days I missed having any enrichment lectures on board. The ship itself is very attractive and we enjoyed the variety of food, especially in the buffet, where they had gluten-free and dairy-free choices and also left out cereal for a snack or to take to your room. The dancers and singers in the production company were excellent. The party band was also excellent. The sailaway activities seemed somewhat limited until halfway through the cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Our first time on Princess in 24 cruises. Quite pleased with the condition of this older ship. Well maintained, though the decor is a little dated. 2400 passengers is just about the perfect size. We never found it to be crowded anywhere ... Read More
Our first time on Princess in 24 cruises. Quite pleased with the condition of this older ship. Well maintained, though the decor is a little dated. 2400 passengers is just about the perfect size. We never found it to be crowded anywhere and there was seldom any lines to wait in. The crew were very polite and appeared to be having an enjoyable time with the passengers and with one another. I would prefer self-serve ice cream and more free drink options at breakfast and dinner. The food quality and taste were good, but not over the top. Service was awesome! The cruise director is Awesome! It's the perfect ship for glacier viewing, and that is why we chose it in the first place. Lots of "railing space". Not a lot of activities if you bring along the teenagers (ie. there are no slides, mini-golf, etc.) We will definetly cruise with Princess in the future! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was the first Princess cruise we'd sailed that offered the new Medallion class experience; had seen on other reviews that people loved it so were looking forward to it. Essentially, the medallion is a version of the Disney ... Read More
This was the first Princess cruise we'd sailed that offered the new Medallion class experience; had seen on other reviews that people loved it so were looking forward to it. Essentially, the medallion is a version of the Disney MagicBand and has all of the same functions like opening your cabin door, registering your entrances/exits from the ship, charging expenses, etc.; it also includes operations like being able to order drinks and have them delivered to wherever you are onboard ship, tracking other people in your party onboard ship, playing various games, etc. We were told that eventually it will replace all paper on the ship including the daily Princess Patter newsletter, which lists all shipboard activities. All this sound may sound nice enough, but what we also discovered is that some of the personal information encoded into the medallion doesn't really stay personal; in fact, every waiter and even entertainer with whom we interacted had ready access to our names, cabin numbers, and even birth dates (which, incidentally, is all that's required to access your Medallion Internet account). What a surprise it was to have ship staff we did not even know call us by our names and then show us how our photos and other personal info showed up on their devices when we were within a certain distance of them. Don't know exactly how much information they have access to, but as one waiter put it, "We know everything about you!" Other than this issue of personal data exposure, the cruise went well although the food offerings and quality seemed to have diminished in quality—it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t up to what we had come to expect from prior Princess cruises. We were disappointed especially in the food court as it was so tiny for such a large ship! And on some mornings, it was so very crowded that getting to food was difficult and time-consuming---it really needs to be larger. Dinner offerings in the main restaurants were usually okay, though I can't say any were fantastic (though I did love that chocolate ice cream!); on the other hand, all the wait staff were always very competent, efficient, professional, and friendly and the kitchen really does take food allergies seriously: Thanks to all the wonderful kitchen and waitstaff! Entertainment was so-so: the duo in the Wheelhouse Bar (Jezzebel) were quite good though I'd suggest that broadening their dance music to include a few traditional types of ballroom dance might be beneficial to their audiences; e.g., a typical old-time waltz, a foxtrot or two, a rumba, cha cha, etc. The party band (The Drop), however... music was actually fine but their volume was painful, and we could never remain in their venues without ear pain so never did get to dance to them. As far as itinerary, there are quite a few ports included (and we could have used more at-sea days to relax!), but each port was of value. We tend to like to visit cities using the "on your own" option and we did this in Cork (Blarney), Dublin, Glasgow, Paris, and also London, sometimes using the cities' hop-on, hop-off bus system to visit museums and other sights. And in each city, I'd recommend the "Big Bus" hop-on, hop-off system over the other companies as Big Bus always seemed to have the most buses and the best schedules; routes were pretty much equivalent.. Prior to the cruise, we arrived in England a day early and stayed at the Heathrow Renaissance Hotel; after the cruise we remained in London another few days and stayed at The Windermere Hotel, near Victoria Station and not far from Buckingham Palace. Both of those places are highly recommended, although they are quite different in that the Renaissance is a huge chain hotel and the Windermere is very small boutique hotel, but both provided excellent service, very friendly and helpful staff, clean rooms, a safe environment, and good food. The Windermere's Pimlico Brasserie was excellent: the chef is a master at cooking dishes to perfection and then serving them in very attractive ways---he's as good at food presentation as preparation. Both were wonderful places to stay. Overall, the cruise was enjoyable and I would recommend it for its diversity of ports and what they all have to offer; I just have great reservations about how our personal information is being used. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise as we had wanted to see Alaska for quite sometime and finally had the opportunity to take the trip. On boarding was fine. Of boarding for excursions was slow and getting off on the last day was also slow. Our ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had wanted to see Alaska for quite sometime and finally had the opportunity to take the trip. On boarding was fine. Of boarding for excursions was slow and getting off on the last day was also slow. Our excursions were fun. We did the hike and float in Skagway and the self guided jeep tour in Juneau. The ship was old and dated but clean. The vegetarian options were lacking. I lived off side dishes for lunch and dinner for all 7 days. The cruise director Gary was amazing, he was one of the highlights for sure. SherAnn in the dining areas was simply fantastic, a true spirit to serve associate. The quality of the dancers and singers was not great in a few of the shows. The piano bar singer played all the songs in the spirit of a barber shop quartet but was missing the quartet. The female singers in the UK show had some annoying vocal habits. We tried to avoid any further shows staring them~ We went to one karaoke night and it was super fun, the place was packed so it must be popular but they only did this twice and both times the show was so short only a few people could sing. Why not do them for a longer period of time due to popularity?? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our first cruise and we picked both Princess and this particular itinerary having talked to friends who had years of cruising experience and also wanted to see places we had not been to before. We were keen to find a ship which ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we picked both Princess and this particular itinerary having talked to friends who had years of cruising experience and also wanted to see places we had not been to before. We were keen to find a ship which was neither full of kids or senior citizens and were not disappointed as there was a good spread of ages amongst the passengers. Although there were embarkation problems in Southampton which were not the fault of Princess Cruises (mainly severe road works on the route to the docks and a fire alarm going off in the terminal we were lucky to be one of the first to check in and found things well organised as it only took 15 minutes from parking the car to being in our cabin. We had booked a mini suite and were not disappointed. The cabin was extremely spacious with lots of storage and would suggest that four adults would be able to occupy the cabin without feeling too claustrophobic. The cabin was immaculately clean and we felt that all the fittings were more than acceptable. We note that some people have stated on here that the bathrooms are either poor or "tired" but we would say that whilst looking a bit dated the bathroom was certainly acceptable and again lots of well thought out storage. As for food whilst Horizon Court buffet shows less quality than a high star hotel in Europe there was plenty of choice both at breakfast and lunchtime. We had booked anytime dining and had no difficulty in getting a table for dinner in the three restaurants available to us. The food was generally well cooked and service was good rather than exceptional in the restaurants. The main gripe we had with the menus were that for us they seemed too geared to an American pallet and my wife especially struggled at times to find dishes she liked which limited her choice. With credit the Head Waiter on the first night arranged for smoked salmon to be available for her every evening if wanted. We did one night eat at Sabbatinis and whilst the food was excellent the service was very lacking as the waiters seemed keener to set tables than serve us! The entertainment in the evening was mixed. Some of it was less quality than we assumed it would be however we did enjoy various entertainment most evenings and the Entertainment Director was excellent. As for port visits we did our own thing which we are used to from having travelled round Europe many times. This tended to give us more time at the attractions we wanted to see than the organised tours and at a fraction of the price as the ship's tours were very expensive. To sum up the pros were both the cleanliness of the ship and general standard of service especially our cabin steward for whom nothing was too much trouble and always with a smile. Also considering the number of people on board generally the ship did not feel crowded and usually we found places to sit in the various lounges. The cons were the fact that there is a very heavy selling by Princess at every opportunity and you have to watch out your cruise account as gratuities are added to all drinks. Also we were surprised and felt it was poor of Princess to charge for shuttle buses from port to town when we heard from people that other cruise lines don't. Also to charge for a cocktail on sailway from southampton surprised us. To sum up if you haven't cruised before I would ignore the bad reviews on here but be aware that Princess whilst relaxing does have some warts that come with the fun. Also we have already booked our next Princess cruise but will be older and wiser when we go. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Over all we enjoyed our first cruise very much and felt like it was a great value. We give the highest scores on most categories except dining (very good but not excellent). The dining rooms were beautiful and service was very good. We ... Read More
Over all we enjoyed our first cruise very much and felt like it was a great value. We give the highest scores on most categories except dining (very good but not excellent). The dining rooms were beautiful and service was very good. We felt the regular menue at each meal was a bit limited and felt somewhat tricked by the pay-extra choices at our first dinner. We didn't know better and ordered entrees that had a fee. We discovered this a couple days later when reviewing our onboard statement. We felt tricked. However - the steak and lobster we had was fantastic! The rest of the cruise we felt we had to be on our guard so as to not order something with additional charges. There were these intimidating men with blue jackets at each meal in the dining rooms. They were intense and stern looking and you could tell the staff were terrified of them. We called them "the goons". They gave an uncomfortable vibe to the dining room. They need to lighten up! Unless we were in a hurry, we skipped the Horizon buffet dining room. The mass feeding- frenzy was kind of gross to deal with. We had a couple room service meals that were nice and easy, and quick. Ate on our balcony. Almost all the staff were encountered were wonderful and gave us great service. They all seemed overworked however, and spoke of 12-15 hour shifts, everyday. They were all from oppressed countries and it seemed they were being taken advantage of by Princess. Did not encounter a single American staff member on the ship. Princess doesn't have ultimate control over this but we found the port stops to be extremely touristy - a big turn-off for us. Ketchikan and Juneau were especially bad. Lots of people, souvenir shops and jewelry stores!! Everything else was wonderful. A great way to see some Alaska highlights! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Wanted to visit Alaska and wanted to see Victoria BC. Loved the beauty of Alaska and we had wonderful weather our whole trip. But was very disappointed in our short stay in Victoria, but my fault for not reading the itinerary time at ... Read More
Wanted to visit Alaska and wanted to see Victoria BC. Loved the beauty of Alaska and we had wonderful weather our whole trip. But was very disappointed in our short stay in Victoria, but my fault for not reading the itinerary time at port and was also shortened because of time for us clearing customs. Wish the dinning room menu had a much better selection after being on over 10 cruises this one had the least amount of choices . And some of my other cruise was Princess. Our dining room staff was wonderful. As all the other employees of Princess. Excellent embarkation and debarkation. Fastest we ever had. Used the flight program where we placed our luggage outside our room and didn’t not have to deal with them again till our final destination. A great feature that is now offered. We did make a mistake by thinking our bill would be at the room the final night as previous cruises so we left without a copy, did stop to ask and one of the employees and they said it will be emailed. Not so..... Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports that were on it & heard that Princess was a nice company to work with. First, the medallion system was great for quick entries & exits on the ship, finding out how to get where we wanted to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports that were on it & heard that Princess was a nice company to work with. First, the medallion system was great for quick entries & exits on the ship, finding out how to get where we wanted to go and where things were located. Loved this system & wish other lines would follow along. The cabin itself could use an updating but was clean & the service was great. I especially liked the huge closet area that separated the bed from the bathroom. Loved the balcony. We liked the food in general and ate one night at Steamers/Planks, we were able to order from both at the same time, which was a nice feature. We tried to do a bit of everything Re: entertainment, some trivia games, casino. The seats in the theater seemed to be one size fits all and seemed to be a bit cramped. We took 2 shore excursions through Princess, A tour in Roatan with gardens & a butterfly garden and a stop at an animal place, stops at a restaurant for drinks & a stop at a cameo factory. In Cozumel we chose a sunset catamaran cruise which was just beautiful with perfect weather. In Grand Caymen, we were the only ship docked, so we just walked to the pier area and picked a tour of the area which was very nice. The only small problems were not enough clocks around the ship and the lack of a food area for midnight snacks. This was a great cruise and I can see us going on Princess again in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Island Princess was a nice ship. Smaller and less spacious than the previous Royal Princess that we have been on. But we knew this when booking. Shower in cabin is EXTREMELY small. We are small to average size people and found this ... Read More
Island Princess was a nice ship. Smaller and less spacious than the previous Royal Princess that we have been on. But we knew this when booking. Shower in cabin is EXTREMELY small. We are small to average size people and found this shower to be very tight. Paid ahead of time for the full photo package however sometimes the photographers left early and set up late so we missed them sometimes. If you want your photo with the champagne tower on the first formal night and it starts at 7pm, don't wait like us to avoid the line. We went at 750pm and they were already in the middle of taking it down. Super disappointing. The photographers often had us pose in rather unflattering or odd looking positions. My husband was frequently told to lift his chin up which made for really abnormal looking photos. I was frequently asked to keep my fingers together when my hand was on my hip. Looks very strange in the photos. These are just examples. Typically I would say the full photo package is more than worth the price if you value photographic memories however, on this specific cruise experience I would be less likely to agree. Cabin Steward Ephraim was amazing. Super attentive and very on the ball. We did not find any of the wait staff outstanding which we have in the past. Food in the main dining rooms was awesome. Usually not a long wait to be seated. Sabatini's not worth the money as lobster was over cooked. Lido buffet was good. Food was average but variety was spectacular. One can't say they didn't have a ton of options. Ports and excursions were awesome. We chose this cruise based purely on going to Hoonah or Icy Straight Point for the Ziprider. Ziprider - awesome, if you are a thrill seeker this is probably up your alley Jeep tour - not a great value in our opinion. We didnt really get to go off roading which is what we had envisioned based on the description We didn't do any whale watching specific tours but many people who went on them in Icy Straight came back saying that many whales put on quite a show. Juneau - Helicopter to Mendenhall Glacier and salmon bake Amazing awesome experience. Loved all of it. Stunning scenery. Breath taking views. Mouth watering salmon bake. Skagway - lake Bennett and Carcross train tour Most beautiful part of the trip. Largely untouched beauty. Train itself is super cool as the train cars are original (updated) Glacier bay cruising was mesmerizing and the rangers were awesome. Handy little tip, book your seat in the Sanctuary for the day and have open photo opportunities. You don't have to fight other people to take great photos in an unobstructed area. Although we did have a clear day so for us it was well worth it. I should note we had near perfect weather for this cruise which made everything so much more awesome. We actually came back with sunburns. However, that is not the norm, most people experience a lot of rain or overcast days. We did not have time to see any shows but heard they were good. We did not use the fitness facilities, as again, we were too busy doing other things. Ultimate ship tour is awesome if you want to see how some things work behind closed doors on the ship. We got to visit the bridge, multiple galleys, some food storage, printer room, photo lab, engine control room, anchor area and a few others. A few perks also included as part of the ship tour fee were brand new bathrobes to take home, princess aprons, named stationary pad, a few photos as a group in different areas of the ship, champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries and a few other awesome goodies. We highly recommend it if it sounds like something you might be interested in. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Always wanted to go and see the Fjords and had heard lots of good things about Princess. Wasn’t looking for a party style cruise, more something quieter and relaxing as had lots planned for shore. I found it difficult to get information ... Read More
Always wanted to go and see the Fjords and had heard lots of good things about Princess. Wasn’t looking for a party style cruise, more something quieter and relaxing as had lots planned for shore. I found it difficult to get information on the ports of call so I hope someone else may find this useful FOOD The food in the main dining room was outstanding, great quality and fantastic selection, there really was something for everyone. Steak/ Lobster was additional surcharge of $19 each which I haven’t seen on any other cruise however it was worth the price. Buffet selection was well presented and fresh however not a massive selection of main dishes like P&O for example. No themed nights in the buffet as other cruises may have (eg Mexican night or local themed dishes). Alfredo’s pizzeria on deck 5 was lovely and was always able to get a table there. Not a huge selection of other restaurants even specialty ones- Italian or steakhouse were the only two on board. Very speedy embarkation and CPS in Southampton made this seamless CABIN We had balcony cabin C709 on the starboard side which had a huge balcony- much bigger than deck 11 or deck 8 and below (I believe). Was kept very clean and had a fridge and tea making facilities. American style plug point but took a power strip with me to make life a little easier. The hairdryer was better than the one I brought with me and there were plenty of clothes hangers and storage. TV selection was very good and our cabin steward was very helpful and friendly. Ports of call BERGEN Did the funicular tour and hike with Princess which was a great day out as the sun was shining and was very warm. It’s a beautiful town and well worth getting a little higher to see the views. Great fish market down by the port which is well worth having a look through although Norway in general is a little expensive. GEIRANGER We did the Eagle road tour and Mount Dalsnibba with Princess. The mountain was closed due to snow but our tour guide took us to the lake for a photo stop. Great tour and fantastic driving from the coach driver on the very bendy and high roads! Highlight of the trip on this unspoilt part of the world. Note- this is a Tender port although there was a moving gangway, this was being used by a bigger ship in on the same day as us. OLDEN Very small port so would recommend doing a trip or doing some research. We did Briksdalsbren glacier which was breathtaking. A beautiful walk up there and stunning views. Approx 45 min walk to the top although you can hire a troll car to take you some of the way as there are steps and the path is quite steep STAVANGER we did the pulpit Rock hike with Princess which was hard going but well worth it. Allow 2 hours of hiking up a steep path but you will be rewarded with incredible views. It was raining this day but certainly didn’t make it any less enjoyable. ENTERTAINMENT This is an area I would say Princess are lacking in. There wasn’t a large selection of things to do during the sea days and the weather isn’t like the Caribbean cruises where you can sunbathe during the day. Evening shows were not as good as some other companies although it was never difficult to find a seat in the theatre. The comedian Jeff was great although the magician production Amethyst was quite awful. There were a few enrichment lectures on which were ok although a lot of people walked out when this was ongoing. LOTUS SPA Staff were incredibly rude and would avoid this at all costs. I cancelled a massage which more than adequate notice and was lectured on the phone for several minutes Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We took this cruise to celebrate our anniversary and this was the only ship doing the eastern caribbean itinerary at this time. We’ve been on the Caribbean Princess 4 times previously were curious to see the changes after the wet dock. ... Read More
We took this cruise to celebrate our anniversary and this was the only ship doing the eastern caribbean itinerary at this time. We’ve been on the Caribbean Princess 4 times previously were curious to see the changes after the wet dock. We felt that this experience was more of a 3.5 - 4 rating. What we liked/loved: Service everywhere was very good, and the staff seemed happy and friendly. We were approached immediately in the buffet sometimes by multiple people to ask if we wanted drinks. Club Class waitstaff was attentive and excellent, but we only ate there 3 nights because some night the menu options didn’t appeal to us. Our room steward Renante was efficient and friendly. All of our needs were met and our special requests were handled quickly. Our aft suite views were breathtaking, we felt like we were the only people on the ship when we were out on our balcony. The sound of the wake is almost hypnotic. The cruise director and staff seemed fun, energetic and personable. Breakfast for suite guests in Sabatini’s was delicious with lots of food options and again, attentive service. Really enjoyed the Salty Dog Grill, the pizza, and Coffee and Cones on the Lido deck. Never had a problem finding lounge chairs at one of the pools. And we liked that towels didn’t have to be checked in or out. Loved the salad bar area in the World Fresh Market, and the desserts were plentiful. Thought the Fantastic Journey show was contemporary and fun. Loved the aerialists and the singing and dancing were great. Comedian Troy Thirdgill was so funny, a little edgy and not the typical cruise ship humor so many if them repeat over and over. What we feel could be improved: Started off really liking World Fresh Market until we realized half way through the cruise that food choices were very redundant. For lunch and dinner, we found It was a good thing that we like salads, lol! Lounge chairs on our Vista suite balcony would have been perfect if they reclined all the way (or at all for that matter). Table was too short and not dining height. We would have ordered the ultimate balcony dinner, but didn’t want to eat hunched over. Suite bathroom had no shelving over the sink which was inconvenient and our shower water was cool/luke warm all week. Someone came to fix it, but whatever they did didn’t help. The shelf in the refrigerator door was too short and anything in there fell out every time we opened it. Princess, do you have any women ship designers? And if so, don’t any of them shave their legs? A little shelf or foot rest in the showers would be so convenient. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to see some of Europe and this looked to be a great way to see a lot of the places we wanted to see and cruising is one of the best ways to holiday. unpack once and let them take you to the places you want to see. The ship ... Read More
We wanted to see some of Europe and this looked to be a great way to see a lot of the places we wanted to see and cruising is one of the best ways to holiday. unpack once and let them take you to the places you want to see. The ship is very welcoming lots to do well set out very clean. Was impressed with the food on board especially the dining room, all food groups were catered with. service on board was exceptional couldn't fault it. Activities on board were ok some needed to go on longer as passengers were enjoying themselves, and some games, etc just stopped. some activities were only available on port days but we were off on shore would have liked some of these to be done later or on sea days. the Ports were very interesting and different we did x2 tours with Princess a bit more than we wanted to spend but very happy with the experience. Overall it was a rewarding experience and one I would recommend to anyone Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Let's be honest - Alaska pretty much sells itself. We could have been on a tugboat and still fallen in love with Alaska. But, that being said, there are still a few things to point out about this ship. Embarkation out of Seattle ... Read More
Let's be honest - Alaska pretty much sells itself. We could have been on a tugboat and still fallen in love with Alaska. But, that being said, there are still a few things to point out about this ship. Embarkation out of Seattle was a dream. We arrived via uber and 45 minutes later we were in our cabin WITH OUR SUITCASES. Seriously - it was amazing. We did anytime dining and therefore always sat with a different group of people. We tend to prefer the dining hall to the upstairs buffet. the food was excellent in both places but there were some challenges and room for improvement. The chairs are very small. I am a larger woman and I can say the chairs are probably smaller than an airplane seat. I can sit pretty comfortably in an airplane seat but I could not in the dining room or the buffet. So, if you have a big butt, beware. The service in the buffet was pretty bad. You sit and wait for coffee and OJ and every time we had the same experience - we cruise the floor for a long time trying to find an open space. We finally find something and there is no silverware so we need to steal it from another table. Then, halfway through our meal, someone would come by with drinks. It's a terrible system and one of the reason we preferred the dining hall. the boat was very clean and nice. the common areas were beautiful and I really liked the decor. I was not too impressed with the entertainment or shows, however. Besdies, the chairs in the theater were worse than the the dining hall. Seriously, I'm about 250 lbs and I could not fit into the theater chair. I had to sit with my butt skootched all the way up. This is my 8th cruise (first on princess) and I've never had this sort of trouble with the seating. The shore excursions were all wonderful. Great ports, great itinerary, beautiful and breathtaking scenes. Hope you enjoy it! 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
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
“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
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