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1,033 Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

This was my husband's first ever cruise and my first with Princess. I have cruised many years ago. I only know the if anyone has complaints, it's not for Princess' lack of trying - we have no complaints. Sailed out ... Read More
This was my husband's first ever cruise and my first with Princess. I have cruised many years ago. I only know the if anyone has complaints, it's not for Princess' lack of trying - we have no complaints. Sailed out March 10, 2013 and were delayed in Embarkation due to the prior cruise's sudden illnesses the night before. (It later turned out to be a probable contamination/ virus from Grand Turk, so we did not stop there - went to Nassau instead, which was nice instead of an extra day at sea.). We met Aris, the DJ, in the terminal and he was just awesome. Talked to us and several others for 30 minutes. He remembered us all throughout our cruise and was one of many, many people who were very special. Embarkation was easy once in process. Lovely night, a little rocky, but no major motion. Seemed unusually rocky in the sea the first part of the trip. Day 1 was Princess Cays - gorgeous beach. Very relaxing, yes, not the grand barbecue, but just fine. Drinks and music were good - drinks a little pricey, but no more than any other vacation spot. I have some digestive issues, so that afternoon, I began experiencing a little troubles and our waiter noticed this. (We had 6 pm seating in Boccelli - best way to go!). Jorge immediately contacted one of the main waits and he took care of my dietary needs - each night I previewed the menu and he prepared all my meals lactose free and made me a special dessert each night. I was so surprised by that detail to care. Food was delicious, tried new things, and we ate one night in the Crown Grill - worth the extra. The service was impeccable and food outstanding there. We did a kayaking excursion through our travel agent on St. Maarten - ok, but St. Maarten is not my favorite place. Crowded, dumpy in areas, and the taxi drivers are crazy. Total chaos getting a taxi. Once there though to Simpson Lagoon, it was a great experience. Our guide Megan was very knowledgable. We rode back with the RC Oasis of the Sea group who had a nice bus. St. Thomas was a trip to Meghan's Bay - we loved the relaxing and the taxi drivs were super. Nice, funny, and polite. Organized, too! We stayed on the ship for the Nassau port and loved it. Very light on the passengers, so you had the ship almost to yourself. Sun seemed to shine always after lunch! Overall, we loved it. Princess treated upswell, our cabin steward, Reggie, was moved to our area and was new but really did a great job. Room with balcony awesome, clean, plenty of room. I brought a pocket compartment hanger I got online to hang in the shower with our shampoos, etc, and it was perfect. Suitcases all fit under your bed. Or bed was good, but by Friday, I wished I had asked for the padded mattress cover. We would definitely go back. Before we sailed though, I read a lot of reviews and found the positive ones most helpful. The negative ones I really don't undstand afttere our trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We pretty much walked on to the ship on departure day at 2 pm on the afternoon. No crowds. Simple and efficient as ever. Our cabin steward greeted us with a smile and assured us that he would make our cruise "excellent". We ... Read More
We pretty much walked on to the ship on departure day at 2 pm on the afternoon. No crowds. Simple and efficient as ever. Our cabin steward greeted us with a smile and assured us that he would make our cruise "excellent". We enjoyed the sea days by soaking in the sun, watching movies under the stars, napping on our balcony and partaking in spa activities. I had every intention of exercising everyday but alas found other things to do instead. Many people complain about the high pressure spa by a seasoned cruise, I was will aware of what I wanted and felt no pressure to have to make any purchases. I took advantage of the savings of booking 3 spa treatments. I even had my hair done at the last minutes on the day we went through the canal and was pleased the the expertise of the stylist. The canal was the highlight of the cruise. I heard lots of good reviews of the various excursions that day. Our favorite port was the Cartagena, Columbia Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My husband and I booked this cruise after Princess cancelled our two previous choices so we weren't expecting much from a one week cruise to the Southern Caribbean. At ages 67 and 68 we are "senior" and enjoy cruising as an ... Read More
My husband and I booked this cruise after Princess cancelled our two previous choices so we weren't expecting much from a one week cruise to the Southern Caribbean. At ages 67 and 68 we are "senior" and enjoy cruising as an easy way to travel, The "easy" aspect is important to me as I have problems walking due to having had polio as a child. Then, just after Christmas I had a portion of my upper jaw removed due to cancer. I was unsure if I even wanted to cruise but am so glad we did. We live 754 miles from Fort Lauderdale and decided to drive to the port. We left on Friday and drove about 650 miles to Fort Pierce where we stayed at a La Quinta Inn. This was a typical roadside motel with a nice breakfast and a clean and comfortable room. We arrived at the port around 10 AM which is early for us. The previous cruise was still debarking. We found a parking space and after dropping off our large bag went to the terminal. There was no line to stand in, perhaps because we are platinium and also perhaps because I was on my scooter. We were shown to a lounge and waited for the ship to be ready. We were on board the ship by 11:30 AM. We went to our room and then down to the Coral Dining room for lunch. My husband had the tenderloin and I chose the salmon and we agreed both were delicious. After returning to our room (B304) we met our steward, Damkerng or DK as he asked us to call him, who exceeded our expectations for a steward. Muster was next and it was easy as our station was in the casino. Then it was time for sailaway and we decided to do this on our balcony. It was lovely and the fun was only starting. From this point onward everything and I do mean everything was done to perfection. We had anytime dining and never once, not even on formal nights, had to wait for a table. We ate with many different people, all of whom were fun to spend time with. The menu always presented us with at least two entrees we could choose. The hot food arrived hot and the cold food was cold. The pacing of the meal was also excellent and we seldom waited long between courses. I particularly loved the various sorbets I tried for dessert, especially the basil lime one I ordered even though I thought that combination seemed strange. It was yummy. We ate in both specialty restaurants which were excellent. We also went to the pub lunch which we also enjoyed although wish the cottage pie was back on the menu. The waiters in the main dining room were all very good but one stands out. We had Agnelo from India on the evening of our 43rd anniversary. He was warm, funny, gave very good menu suggestions, and also sang a few songs for us. He went well above average. We enjoyed the comedian A. J. Jamal so much, especially when he explained the problems you may run into if you go on the "cabbage diet". The movies were good as was the illusionist. We did not attend the production shows as we had seen them before. We don't gamble so can't describe that. The bar waiters are available but don't bother you which is very nice. Our steward DK also saved me from having one unhappy experience. I use special shoes to help me walk and the toe of one shoe separated from the sole. DK took my shoe and got it repaired (no cost I should add)in less than 2 days. What would I have done without my special shoes in the islands? I didn't have to find out which was special. Our cruise was just one perfect day after another. We were even off the ship quickly at the end of the cruise to begin our long ride home. If I had to change one thing about the ship would be simply to stay on it. It was cruise perfection Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I would say this has been the best vacation ever and look forward to cruising with Princess again. Embarkation Day. Everything went very smoothly and quickly. We arrived at 11 AM, and were group 6 to board the ship at noon. ... Read More
I would say this has been the best vacation ever and look forward to cruising with Princess again. Embarkation Day. Everything went very smoothly and quickly. We arrived at 11 AM, and were group 6 to board the ship at noon. I'd say we were on the ship about 12:10 am. Our first stop was the front desk to sign up for the Ultimate Ship Tour and to our stateroom to call and make reservations for Sabatini's restaurant as well as the Chef's table. We followed up by going to lunch in the Horizon Buffett, which was crowded, but this was the only day it was crowded. The other sit down restaurants would not be open until the evening. We do recommend getting to port early and getting on board as quickly as you can. You'll be able to reserve dining as soon as you enter the ship and you will get lunch. Sabatini's restaurant As American Express Platinum card holders booking via American Express Travel , one of the perks from this 450 dollar annual fee credit card is that you get a free night for all accompanying passengers at either the Crown Grill steakhouse or Sabatini's Italian Restaurant. We opted for Sabatini's. This would normally be $25 dollars extra per person, but AMEX pays for this, but oddly only for the first night of the cruise (I have heard -- but unconfirmed you can ask for a different night -- but at least I was told it's only guaranteed for the first night). The food was especially good! We really enjoyed our meal! I do regret not bringing more slacks as I felt dressed down wearing jeans, but no problem getting served. This is a very elegant establishment. American Express Platinum card holders cruising via AMEX travel also get a free bottle of champagne and a $25 dollar per person stateroom credit. The waiter asked us if we wanted to replace wine with the champagne, for which we would receive a $14 dollar credit and pay the difference for the wine. We accepted this idea as wine with fine Italian food was much more preferable (I never saw a 14 dollar bottle of champagne anywhere on the menu -- but I digress). We did run into our first of several problems as the promised credit never appeared on our billing statement. I did happen to catch that as we were charged full prince for our wine selection but the credit was nowhere to be found (thanks to the automated statement kiosks). I felt rather cheap having to stand in line and explain all this to the passenger service representative, but I did manage to later get the 14 dollar credit I was promised. Cabin Room and Cabin Steward We stayed in a balcony room, on the Caribe Deck 10. I think this was a nice area of the ship to be in. We had an excellent cabin steward, Arnel, who attended to our every need and always addressed us by name (amazing how he can do that for all his passengers, with a new bunch arriving every week). Arnel was sooo good, I nominated him for employee of the month as well as rewarded him with an additional gratuity over and above our daily billed amount. We were very pleased at our room and all its amenities. We absolutely loved our balcony. The room represented great value. I can't find anything to nit-pick over the room. Dining -- All the dining was excellent -- all of it. We elected for our evening meal to have a set time with late seating. I recommend people do this over the anytime dining. We never had to wait for a seat. Just walked right to our table. Table 71 was 'ours' at 8:15 pm each night. Same table. Same wonderful waiters. Same excellent service. The food was awesome, plentiful, and delicious. I love how they will allow you to buy a bottle of wine and 'save' the bottle for the next night, saving you money. I also nominated our waiter, Katrina, for employee recognition and gave her and her assistants additional tips at the conclusion of our cruise. Entertainment We 'loved' all the shows. They were top rate. From the comedian (AJ Jamal) to the magician (Jonathan & Trisha Hawley) to the CP dancers. Cruise director, Neil Roberts and his staff were really great. Plenty of musicians , acrobats, and other entertainers. You could not get bored on this ship if you tried. We also really loved movies under the stars! Casino Well, I guess I enjoyed the casino. I would have liked it a whole lot more if I hadn't lost a lot of money there. But it was good. Smokey place -- even when they have selected smoke free days -- the smoke is in the air, but otherwise there are lots of machines and tables. Video Poker (pretty good odds) too, which is my favorite, but I seemed to have the worst luck this week. It is what it is. (Disclaimer -- I believe this is as true as it is but may not be exactly precise -- and of course this could all change) Let me tell you about Blackjack -- now I think this is with all their blackjack games, but I played at a particular table called "Fun Blackjack". Fun Blackjack is really the same as regular blackjack, except they have a side bet to make a pair or something that people usually drop a dollar every hand. These are what people from Vegas affectionately call "sucker bets", so people who are gamblers and in the know -- know enough to stay away from these optional bets. But here's what is really interesting -- at least to me as a blackjack lover. Believe it or not, having lived not far from Atlantic City, New Jersey, spending time in Vegas, and playing in casinos all over the world, I may have found the very best odds for the player no place else other than onboard the Caribbean Princess (except perhaps one deck hand dealt blackjack in old town Vegas) Here's why, first surrender is permitted. Surrender is not found in most places. So when a player has a hard 16 with the dealer showing a face card, most likely that hand is going to be a total loss to the player. Usually the player will hit a hard 16 and bust or if the player stays, usually the dealer will have a 17 or better. But if you surrender, you lose half the bet. I like those odds. But wait! It gets even better; you actually win if you hit 21. No matter what, reach 21, you win! You don't push when both you and the dealer have a blackjack -- you win! And you win 3 to 2 payout (think time and a half overtime payout). Unbelievable! But you also get a blackjack payout if you make 21 with 5 or more cards! WOW! You win even money on 21 if you do it on three or four cards -- regardless if the dealer has 21 (or even blackjack!). There are also very favorable rules regarding splits. Finally, this one really shellshocks me. You can double down on your first two cards, but after doubling down, you have the option to surrender! Say what ? That's right. So any basic strategy BJ book will tell you to always double down on an eleven. You do that and score a two for a total of 13 (with the dealer having a face card showing). In just about every place, you just lost double your money. But you have the option to surrender! The dealer will wait for you to say "stay" or "surrender". So if my dumb luck gives me a 13, I'll just opt to lose my original bet rather than double my money. I am not a mathematician, but I know the odds have to be so favorable to the player. But even player odds being super favorable to the player doesn't make one immune to bad luck. Playing at the best BJ table in all my life, I still managed to lose. When I would have 20, the dealer would have 21 -- this went on and on during my bad luck streak. Go figure. I do plan to save up a nice bankroll for the next cruise. Hey, I hit a royal flush on the Las Vegas strip recently, and they had some of the worst odds for the player -- so I guess all things are relative. I liked the casino. Sometimes it would be crowded and other times it would be dead. They did have all kinds of contests and competitions that we never had time for on this cruise. Drinks are not free in the casino while gambling -- which is a bummer. Figured out later my ultimate drink sticker would work there however. Chief's Table If you only listen to me on one thing, you MUST do this. You MUST. There are about 3000 passengers on this ship, and only 10 people will get to do this. So your mission is to get on board as early as possible, proceed directly to your stateroom, call the dining reservations line, and make your reservation before you do ANYTHING ELSE. This will be all filled up after the first hour or so of the cruise. The cost of this experience is $95 dollars per person, but friends, trust me, this is a bargain. Keep reading. Once you get on the reserved list, you'll be invited to the chef's table and the invitation will be delivered to your stateroom. There is a meeting with all your fellow diners the day before with the matre'd who will go over some basic rules (you're not sick, you're not allergic to anything, etc) and explain what will happen. This is a three hour affair, so you should plan your excursion appropriately (this is way better than any excursion, trust me, plan to be back on ship with plenty of time to refresh yourself) One this night, you will meet up again with the matre'd who will give all those attending a white coat, and you will be escorted to the galley. You pass by all the passengers in the dining room wondering just who are these VIPs coming through are! You will now go into the kitchen (galley) and see the interworking of the complex operation of serving three meals a day to three thousand passengers (and 1500 crew). You can take as many pictures as you want. Staff is happy to pose with you! You will get to meet the executive chef, the boss of the whole operation. Our chef was legendary Chef Antonio Cereda. After our tour, we were escorted to the back part of the galley where a place was made for us to enjoy at least five different appetizers, including champagne and caviar. I must have had at least 3-4 glasses of champagne, my glass was never empty and friends, this wasn't the cheap stuff, and this was all included in the chef's table experience! I felt like I died and went to heaven! After our appetizers, we were escorted back to the dining room to an especially prepared table. Chef Antonio Cereda himself personally served us a seven course meal. What I write just doesn't do what we experienced justice. Let me just say, it was the very best meal I ever ate. If I died tomorrow after eating such a meal, I'd die a happy man. That is how thrilled I am! During our meal, we were indulged with at least different three wines from the wine steward. Again, the good stuff, and our glasses were constantly filled. We drank as much as we could possibly consume! When it was all over, the chef presented each of the ladies a rose, each couple a cookbook of what was served at the meal, and complementary photos of us and the chef as well as a group photo. All for 95 dollars. I would have paid at least three times this -- at least -- because it's worth that and so much more! This was the highlight of our entire cruise. Later during our cruise, we would see Chef Antonio Cereda in passing several times, and he would greet us like we were old friends. My wife was just enthralled by the chef. She would say -- "oh honey -- I just love the chef! I LOVE LOVE LOVE him!" He really is a wonderful person and a fantastic chef -- every meal on board the CP was fantastic -- but at the Chief's table -- even the chief outdone himself. Again, the greatest meal I ever had the pleasure of eating. WOW. Hope we get to do this again! Ultimate Ship's Tour Another in demand experience is the Ultimate Ship's Tour. Here you get a tour of some of the area's most passengers never get to see, including the medical center, engine room, and the bridge. But even though we painstakingly made reservations way in advance for this tour, the ball was dropped somehow and we missed out. I was pretty upset as I really wanted the comprehensive tour. We didn't get to do this, but the ship's hotel manager did try to make up for it and we did get a complementary tour of the bridge on the last day of our cruise. I was satisfied with the apology and the abbreviated tour (along with saving 300 dollars as the UST is 150 per person). The bridge tour was super. Fantastic view from that vantage point. Ports of Call I thought the excursions offered by Princess represented good value Princess Cays Our first port of call is the private beach owned by Princess called Princess Cays in the Bahamas. We walked the beautiful beach enjoying the complimentary buffet consisting of hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, and the like. Warning - this is only open from 11-1, so if you want a free meal ashore, be sure to plan your excursions accordingly. We opted to going kayaking, which is a bargain for 2 people for 30 minutes at 29 dollars. Please follow my advice people -- don't bring anything in the water that you don't want to get wet. We provided the beach goers ashore some free entertainment when our kayak capsized and everything in my wallet got wet (and ruined my wallet). Very luckily, my wife handed off her high speed camera to a passing boater to take our photo when we went into the water. So, I learned my lesson, use one of the lockers --(yeah pay 5 dollars for the privilege) before doing any kind of water activities. We were darn lucky she passed the camera off before taking our swim. I will say the water was warm for April. Curacao We took the Distillery Tour, Hato Caves, and Museum tour. This was OK. We enjoyed it. We especially liked the caves. Tour was sort of rushed as our ship arrived late to port. Make sure you bring water for the tour. They were closed at the end of the tour and we were dying of thirst (they DID warn us to buy water before the tour -- which we did not follow -- so this is our fault). Incidentally, they do have someone selling small bottles of water when you get off the ship for 2.50 each (a little too high for water) Aruba We elected horseback riding which was fantastic. I never rode a horse before, so I was able to cross this off my bucket list. It was a real treat. I had no problem. Staff was wonderful at the Ponderosa ranch. The ride was three hours, and we had a beautiful ride through the countryside and on the beach. Very nice. I will always remember. Disembarkation Princess cruise line had a really good deal to transport us to the Miami airport. A taxi ride would be about $80 from Port Everglades to Miami Airport. But Princess charged us $24 dollars per passenger, which is very reasonable. The problems came when we were a bit delayed waiting in the dining room for about 40 minutes. Then, our bus did not take off for an additional 45 minutes. The bus' air conditioning was not working, so we just sat there roasting away. The bathroom on this bus was disgusting -- looked broke and looked as if it hadn't been cleaned in ages. The lock mechanism on the bathroom door was also broken. Finally, we had such a charming driver. He instructed us "you will stay in your seat while the bags are off loaded from the bus". I had a basic training flashback right then and there of the drill sergeants barking out orders to us new recruits when we arrived to the military reception center for basic training. Oh, at the end of Mr. Driver's tirade -- he said he would appreciate any tips. You have got to be kidding. He got nothing at all from me. What I really liked about this cruise: I really liked most of the staff. I liked the cabin stewards, waiters, assistant waiters, bar staff, entertainers, and security personnel. All were very nice, even when dealing with poorly behaved passengers. I really liked the food. All the food. The snacks in the international cafe, the short order, the pizza, the buffet, room service, and of course, our evening dinner meal. The entertainment was FIRST CLASS. Awesome job. We had a GREAT time! The value of the cruise was great. We feel we got a lot of fond forever memories for a fair price. You can't put a price on that. The shore excursions and our ports of call were fantastic. When the front staff mishandled my ultimate tour reservation, management made amends for us. This is greatly appreciated and does not go unnoticed. And of course, the Chef's table was the absolute best meal we ever had. Ever. So this would have been a perfect cruise. So perfect in fact that it pains me to write what we didn't like, because, Princess Cruise Lines, you are so darn close to being completely perfect, you just have a few tweeks to iron out. What we didn't like: We didn't like that we didn't go on the Ultimate Ship Tour because of an employee error. All is forgiven as management saved the day for us and at least we still got to see the bridge (and saved 300). Still, I hope to see the engines and other 'restricted areas' of the ship sometime in the future. We didn't like a plurality of our fellow passengers. The cruise line can't control this too much. I saw passengers cut in line, outright disrespect each other, just act nasty in general. My wife took time to hold a door for an old lady who took her time moving. She didn't even acknowledge that my wife was going out of her way to be nice. My wife's kindness was repaid with a nasty scowl. This just drives me crazy. So people reading this review, if your only happiness in life comes from being miserable, please do the rest of us a favor and do NOT cruise. Miserableness is contagious. The passengers are miserable to the crew, and the crew becomes miserable to other kind passengers, and soon we have a miserable ship. Don't be a butt hole , ok? Don't cut in line ( I witnessed one passenger actually mouthed off to the chief of ship security when he tried to stop him from cutting in line when entering a tender boat, who sort of lost his cool and threated to bring passenger in front of the Captain). Also -- buttholes were reserving seats on deck and I didn't see enforcement of the 15 minute rule. The disembarkation and especially the transfer that Princess arranged for us. And finally, the unfriendly future cruise consultant. I don't mean to nit-pick on my review, we had an awesome time overall. In fact, this vacation was near perfect. So many people going the extra mile, clearly showing they were dedicated to putting passengers first and helping us all achieve a wonderful vacation. But then you run into someone that just takes the wind out of the sails of the entire operation. That person was the future cruise consultant. So here's what happened. On day 3 of our 7 day cruise, after a wonderful performance in the theater, the cruise director told us all about the future cruise program, and how we could buy as many future cruise deposits as we wanted. Already sold on cruising with Princess again, we wanted to bring our three youngest children along next time. Without getting too personnel, I am serving alone without my wife and children in a dangerous part of the world. This cruise was on my break to spend some much need private time with my wife. We're planning an even bigger family vacation in November. So, having heard the information from cruise director Neil Roberts, we rushed right to the future cruise office, filled out the form requesting deposits for the five us , and dropped our form in the drop box. I never heard anything further about my deposit form. Surely I thought I'd get something delivered to my stateroom -- a receipt or such. Or I figured if there was a problem, they would call me and leave a message. I heard nothing. Having had a prior bad experience with a missed reservation for the ultimate ship tour, I did not want any more balls to be dropped. On the last day of the cruise, I went to see the future cruise consultant personally during his limited office hours. This person was not particularly friendly. Remember, I dropped off my form on day 3 and this was now day 7. My form sat in a pile for four days with no attempt by anyone to contact me that there was a problem with what I was asking. There was no apology with having my request sit there with no action taken. "Oh, right -- yes, you asked for five deposits -- who are the five people?" asked the future cruise consultant . "Myself, My wife and three children" I replied. "Are your children with you?" "No , not on this cruise." " "Well, sorry, they don't qualify". "They also don't qualify because the future cruise doesn't apply to third/fourth berth passengers, and even if you got them a separate cabin, they have to be able to hold a credit card" (I still don't understand this). I protested -- saying these are my young little girls. "Unfortunately, the rules are the rules". "Do you want to do the two deposits for you and your wife?" I was tempted to exit then and there, but I knew these deposits are fully refundable -- so I went ahead and just did two. Incredible through -- I went from -- definitely will cruise again with princess to probably will (I was actually de-sold by the person who there to promote future cruising). This man made no effort to sell to me. I would expect a future cruise consultant to at least be like -- Welcome ! Welcome Mr. F, you say you want to cruise with your family? What a wonderful idea! Cruising with Princess is one of the most affordable ways for a family to enjoy a vacation. While you don't qualify for the future despots, let me show you just how affordable cruising with Princess can be. Instead of -- No No No , you can't do that! The rules are the rules. It's all there in the fine print. Is there anything else you need? Why are you bothering me? (ok, I made the last one up, but that's the way I felt his demeanor was when meeting with him in his office). Princess may want to rethink its rules regarding buying deposits for immediate family members not cruising. The kids were in school -- this was just time for mom and dad to do our third honeymoon. We want to give princess our business! Princess does so many other things so nice. I am retired military, and Princess is one (if not the only one) cruise line that gives military a free $100 credit per seven day cruise (on top of whatever else you get). It's a wonderful gesture -- make me proud to have served. Why the future cruise deposits have so many rules is beyond me. Overall -- a great cruise. Despite a few setbacks, we're looking forward to cruising with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My hubby and I took our first cruise ever for our 30th wedding anniversary. We decided to head to Alaska since we had always wanted to go. We were not disappointed with any part of the cruise.The food was great whether we ate in the ... Read More
My hubby and I took our first cruise ever for our 30th wedding anniversary. We decided to head to Alaska since we had always wanted to go. We were not disappointed with any part of the cruise.The food was great whether we ate in the Horizon Court or in Bernini's restaurant or the international cafe. We chose anytime dining and only had to wait one night for a table. All of the waiters were excellent and made us feel like royalty. We purchased a coffee card on the first day and really enjoyed the specialty coffees. They also have several virgin drinks available in any of the lounges, and since we really don't drink much it was a real treat.The entertainment was top notch! We made a point to catch all of the shows taking place in the theatre and were impressed with all of the productions that the princess singers and dancers put on. We also spent time in the lounges, kind of hopped around between them and got a chance to hear some great entertainment and kick up our heels! Wow! What a great time we had burning off some calories!I had researched anything and everything about the ship for several months in advance, however nothing can compare to our first glimpse of the Piazza! So beautiful! We spent as much time as we could in the area, taking in the entertainment and relaxing with coffee or drink from the bar, or just people watching. I have to say that when Princess talks about the Piazza being the heart of the ship, in my opinion, it truly is! I can't think of a better way to relax and unwind. It is my favorite part of the ship. We had such a great time in each of the ports. We were not disappointed with any of the excursions we chose. We went to the Totem State Park and Lumberjack show in Ketchikan. We went to the Mendenhall Glacier, Museum, and Rain Forest Garden in Juneau. Our favorite was the White Hill Summit railroad trip in Skagway. We also took a city tour while in port and then did some shopping downtown before returning to the ship. Victoria is such an gorgeous place! We took a tour of the area and went to see the Craigdarroch castle. What a treat! The Tracy Arm Fjord is a absolutely beautiful place! We live in Wyoming and spend time in the mountains, but there is something special about being so close to such magnificence! The water was pristine, and the water falls were innumerable. I remember telling my husband, since we did not want to purchase a whale watching tour, due to the expense, that the only thing that could top everything we had already seen and done, was to see some whales. Well we got our wish on the sea travel between Skagway and Victoria. We were on the port side of the ship on our balcony and we were traveling in a channel that is well known for Humpback Whale. We spent about an hour watching with our eyes and our binoculars about 15 or 20 humpbacks. They showed us their dorsal fins and their tales! We also saw Orca earlier in the voyage. They are awesome creatures.I have to say that this will not be our only cruise! We would like to go back to Alaska, but we have already reserved a cruise on the Royal Princess in October 2014 to Canada/New England. I so wish I could go on another cruise between now and then, but have to thankful I can go again at all.I have read other reviews making comments on the age of the Golden Princess. I think she is beautiful! They have taken very good care of her. I would like to cruise on her again, it would feel like home!Princess cruises really takes care of you, the cruiser, and would not hesitate to recommend them or an Alaska cruise to anyone that will listen! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Tuesday was embarkation day, but we couldn't board the ship until noon. We grabbed some breakfast a few short blocks from the hotel (Courtyard, Long Beach) to Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. Best fried chicken ever! We had ... Read More
Tuesday was embarkation day, but we couldn't board the ship until noon. We grabbed some breakfast a few short blocks from the hotel (Courtyard, Long Beach) to Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. Best fried chicken ever! We had chicken, waffles and Mac & cheese for breakfast. YUM-O! Then we went back to the hotel. Check out was at noon, but I could hardly wait to get to the ship! We left the hotel at about 11:45 and there was a cab waiting right outside. It was about $20 bucks to get to the cruise port. Nothing is as exciting as seeing your ship docked! Embarkation was a breeze. The ship was really empty. As soon as we got on we went to the Sanctuary, this is an exclusive section of the deck with big comfy chairs and a private pool. The day we got on the ship was absolutely gorgeous out, so we over zealously booked the Sanctuary for our 2 sea days. Turned out it was was too cold on Wed and Thurs to enjoy the sanctuary. Luckily, they only charged us for the 1 day. On the second day we went up just to check it out and the worker guy was dressed like he was going on an arctic expedition! Our room was ready, so we were able to drop our back packs off and explore the rest of the ship. We had both been on this class of ship before, so we kind of knew the lay of the land. The ship was beautiful. We walked around a bit and went to the aft bar for a cocktail and had some pizza for lunch. Sail away was at 4 pm. There was party on the top deck with a live band and dancing. The ship was really empty, but there was plenty of activities and entertainment planned. Our late afternoon ritual was to go to Vines bar and order a bottle of wine and get tapas and sushi. I ate the tapas, hubby ate the sushi. We would have a glass of wine and then save the rest of the bottle for dinner. The tapas and sushi were complimentary if you ordered wine. We ate dinner every night in the Portofino dining room. The food was very good. I got my fettuccine Alfredo every night! The service in the dining room was impeccable. 2 nights we had a waiter from Poland, Luckas. The last dinner of the cruise, they served escargot! It was excellent!!!! I love the way they prepare it and it's consistent no matter what Princess ship you're on. There was several different shows every night. The first night was a show we had seen already, Destination Anywhere, so we skipped it. But we did see a magician. On the second night we saw a comedian and the magician, he did a new show. On the third night was a show called "British Invasion"' it was one of the best we've seen on Princess. We also saw the comedian again, "Sarge" he did a different show too. Our cruise was short and sweet. I only wish it could have been longer! I love cruising. I became "platinum" on this cruise and they gave me a pin! Hubby was jealous, so he stole it, but I didn't mind. He became platinum on our cruise last year on the Crown that got cancelled and he never got his pin! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Quick cruising background: We are in our lower mid-40’s and just recently took up cruising. Our first experience was over 10 years ago with family…and our children were little then. I only half remember the cruise itself, not sure if ... Read More
Quick cruising background: We are in our lower mid-40’s and just recently took up cruising. Our first experience was over 10 years ago with family…and our children were little then. I only half remember the cruise itself, not sure if it was because of some sea sickness and worries about the little ones, or the food/service was just ok. Regardless I didn’t come back from that cruise eager to book another one. Then for our 20th anniversary looking for a special trip, all inclusive or renting a house on an island, I stumbled across cruising and cruise critic, and the rest is history (in terms of vacationing). I wanted a balcony experience, and Carnival had the itinerary and price at the time, so we sailed on the Miracle. We really enjoyed the experience, and have been hooked on cruising ever since....sailing twice a year so far (Carnival 4 times in a row). BTW I haven’t had a bad cruise yet, I just love the water, scenery, ports of call, and overall cruising experience. I do look forward to trying other lines and ships in the future…there are darn too many destinations/ships to try in my lifetime! So since my last 4 cruises have been with Carnival, I will have some inevitable comparisons between Princess and Carnival. I have another Princess cruised booked in January 2014, so after that I will know if I am hooked on Princess, but I think I am already. We just had a fabulous time on the Sapphire, which I know a lot of Princess cruisers claim as one of their favorites. Quick overall comparisons/thoughts MDR food – I thought was great. Always hot and fast (dinner was never over an hr), interesting selection at times (never heard of some of the dishes, but tried them anyway. Crème Brulee was great! (my go to staple dessert – like the warm melting chocolate cake on Carnival). What surprised me with Princess during the entire cruise…every MDR dinner and in 3 different dining rooms, sometimes very crowded – we were in and out within 45 minutes or so…every single time. This never happened to us in our 4 previous Carnival cruises (in fact MDR dinner would always be 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs sometimes, the steakhouse would always be 2hrs). I don’t know if this is typical Princess or just the Sapphire, but we appreciated this. We didn’t feel rushed at all…everything was just timely. Loved the live music on the ship, shows were ok but not bad (I did like the shorter format, gave us more time/options every evening). Alcoholic drinks were weak on Princess, not sure if just this ship or fleetwide (every Carnival drink on every ship I have sailed were pretty potent, even the free drinks for past guest). International Café (IC) and Alfredo’s were very nice – visited both every day it seems. Service was fantastic and the crew/staff very friendly. Another nice touch by Princess was the various communications regarding our anniversary on this cruise. We received a nice card one evening, of course a spa special offering, one night they placed balloons/flyer on our cabin door, and the anniversary chocolate cake/singing at dinner one night. Day 1 -We had booked a package deal (train/lunch/Prince William Sound tour) with Major Marine to spend the afternoon seeing glaciers/water falls/wildlife before boarding the Sapphire, since the ship did not leave until 8:30pm. The train arrived at 12:15pm and Major Marine took off at 12:45pm. We got close to two beautiful tidewater glaciers, and to Hidden Falls. We saw seals and otters, and scenery was just gorgeous. After Major Marine we boarded the Sapphire no problem - stateroom itself was nice, loved the location behind the art gallery on the Piazza level. Room P327 - Inside 1C. The cabin had easy access to the Promenade deck (LOVED how wide it was, I wish more ships had this type of room), dining rooms, bars, International Café and Alfredo’s…and nearby stairs to avoid the elevators for just going up a few floors. It was pretty quiet (no foot traffic, ship equipment etc.), but we could hear snoring from our neighbors form time to time, so the room was not as soundproof as our Carnival cruises (I never heard our neighbors). The TV/movie choices were great, a lot better than Carnival. I do wish they had MDR menus/stateroom account access like they do on Carnival though. Our inside cabin had plenty of closet space, and I liked the safe system (4 digit code versus using a card w/magnetic strip). Yes the shower was small, smaller than Carnivals, but one can manage (barely). Day 2 - Hubbard Glacier Unfortunately the ice field in front of Hubbard was extensive, and we had to stay 12 miles away from the glacier itself. That sounds like a lot, but Hubbard was 6 miles wide, and we looked closer than we were. The expansiveness of Alaska is something you need to experience. So Hubbard was too far to observe any calving, but she was beautiful to see. Day 3 - Glacier bay was awesome - fabulous weather---did the Glacier Scenic Package in the Sanctuary - loved it. Day 4 - Skagway---Based on trip advisor/port forums on CC I decided to book a Carcross/Yukon tour with Dyea Dave. We enjoyed British Barry as our tour guide and his commentary. We always stayed ahead of the big tour buses on every stop, and had lots of photo opportunities (off and on the mini-bus). We were treated again to wonderful weather (it was sunny, no wind, lakes were glass, and in the afternoon it nearly reached 80) and to seeing a black bear eating dandelions roadside. The highlight for us was seeing the various glacier lakes along the way, including Lake Bennett and Emerald Lake. Carcross was a neat small town (quickly saw the world’s smallest dessert), and we had a quick lunch there as well. The backdrop Yukon scenery for your 2 hr road trip up to Carcross was magnificent. Day 5 - Juneau For Juneau we had a Harv/Marvs whale watching tour booked. We were fortunate because the time I actually booked the cruise itself (late March), Harv/Marvs had one slot left and only for their 11am tour (Sapphire left at 3:30pm). However that gave us enough time to have breakfast in the IC, take the $8 shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier, and have Harv/Marv pick us up at the Mendenhall Visitor’s Center at 10:45am (Mendenhall close to the docks where whale watching boats are kept). Mendenhall Glacier, wow, I was surprised at how beautiful this place was. I had seen pictures, but the hike/views were fabulous. Again this was a beautiful sunny day, so that played a factor in its awesomeness! Nugget Falls was flowing heavy too, it was just a roar. The hike is easy, most can manage it, worth doing! There were beautiful flowers and trees along the way as well. Harv/Marv - awesome!!! Saw 5 or 6 bubble nets and plenty of eagles, sea lions, and humpbacks of course. PERFECT day. Day 6 - Ketchikan For Ketchikan we did not have any excursions planned (I tried getting a tour with Ketchikan Cab Tours but they were full), so we planned to do our own walking tour. Day turned sunny in the afternoon - just a shopping day and laying out! Day 7 - Inside Passage - nice scenic cruising...weather good. Overall the Princess product met/exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed our cruise and the ship. Love the Sapphire and its amenities (the multiple dining rooms, Alfredo’s/Vines and IC in the Piazza). That large Promenade deck that circled the entire ship was nice. I liked having the options during the day/evening (dance classes, other stuff), the music choices were good. Most of the music was a decade or so earlier than what I am used to (I am an 80’s/90’s lover – rock and dance) but it was fine to me. I dig 70’s and good 60’s rock and roll. I didn’t miss the rapping DJ even though at times I enjoy that as well. The service and food was great – better than my previous 4 Carnival cruises (and I enjoy the food on Carnival as well – again I have not had a bad cruise yet!). Alaska was better than I imagined…hope to get back soon!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
This was our sixth Princess Cruise. Booking last minute we found an incredible bargain ($1329 for a $3799 balcony; interior cabins were sold for $599). We are Platinum members, and hence boarding was very easy, as was disembarkation. Our ... Read More
This was our sixth Princess Cruise. Booking last minute we found an incredible bargain ($1329 for a $3799 balcony; interior cabins were sold for $599). We are Platinum members, and hence boarding was very easy, as was disembarkation. Our Cabin was R718, aft on the ship, but perfectly comfortable and convenient. Good things: We've always had pleasant experiences with crew, dining hall staff, stewards, and this was true on this cruise as well. Crew worked to be very attentive and helpful, with only one invisible exception I'll mention later. Always found if we are courteous and respectful of crew, they'll be likewise to us. We have liked Princess for social dancing, more floors and venues, space in general for dancing than we have found on Carnival or Royal C. That said, often live bands played very short sets (30 to 45 minutes) and then were wisked off to another venue. The ship has four dance venues. They make generally poor use of the Skywalker Club at the top of the ship, and the objective there didn't seem to be dance but selling drinks.. They kept a band in Wheelhouse Bar regularly most evenings capable of a wide selection of music. Only problem there was length of time between selections, waiting for computers to pull up their music. Explorer's Lounge was underutilized for dancing, bands starting late and leaving early so one of the over-done cruse staff games could be shuffled through, and those well worn performances were eternal, never ending. Club Fusion was mostly DJ music,and often slow without much being offered for dance, just an empty room. It is used some, but could be used much more effectively without huge overhead. I've read some downer reviews on food. In regular dining rooms, two things helped for anytime dining. First, don't ask for a table for two or you will wait a long time. Be willing to mix with others, and you are seated quickly. This cruise was very international, and we always enjoyed meeting others, Brits, Israeli's South Africans, many Asians, Aussies and New Zealanders. One of the great aspects of the trip was only about half of of the guests were American. The second thing that helped was to ask the waiter for a recommendation. A couple of times I went on my own, a steak, or a seafood item I had attraction too. Usually, if it was an every night available or if it was beef, it tended to be a bit ordinary. When I followed wait staff recommendations, I always got a good entree. On desserts, creme bulee is always a good choice. We found food to generally be a bump better than Carnival or RC. Some of the Excursions on this cruise were a mistake. Getting the more expensive excursion where you depart in the morning and meet the ship at Geiranger was a mistake. . Lots of down and wasted time, and the best sites can generally be seen from the Geirnanger side. We opted for a rental car in Bergen, a mistake (use Hop On Hop Off bus). For Flaam, buy railway tickets in Bergen the day before and save a few bucks. Stavenger is a walk on your own city, everything in good proximity of the ship; called that one right. Use public transportation in Tromso (we walked too much).. We were generally disappointed in the shows. Couple of weak entertainers, a magician and comic who brought no energy to the show and the audience was unable to generate any either. Because there were 3 shows each night (limitation of seating in theatre), shows were short, about 45 minutes. On this cruise, four or five times 45 minutes was actually enough. Sameness about them, lack of creative choreography. If not for midriff and sexual inuendo, there wasn't much else to carry them. Nice string group that was used in very limited capacity. A good group where most of the band was from Barbados, but again they were under utilized. My disappointment came in the Admin officers and his staff to help correct an error I made. I use a CPAP machine at night. In packing it, I had inadvertently left the silicone portion of the mask behind, the piece that sits directly upon one's face. I realized my error on the plane before landing at LHR. As soon as I boarded ship, I went to the Purser's desk and asked for an address to have the missing portion of the mask shipped too. We were in Bergen, Norway's second largest city following a day at sea, and I was told that if it were shipped there it would be delivered to the ship. I was provided an address, we called home and my daughter was off to the UPS Store with the address provided within the hour. She paid UPS Global $140+, had them box the item ship it out on overnight delivery. Upon returning to ship, an hour and a half ahead of departure, I asked if the package had arrived. At second request, a call was made to the port agent, who said he hadn't received the package. I was told there would be an effort to get the package traced, and they were certain it would be delivered possibly at North Cape, but certainly by either Tromso or Stavenger. I went by the Medical Office. Staff there was wonderful. We tried to take a regular oxygen mask, which cost about $200, and amend it to work. Good effort, but unfortunately it was $200 down the drain. Doctor there and staff were very responsive and polite. We checked in every couple of days to see if Admin officer had located the package, and answer varied as to whether the mask was in Oslo or Bergen. It never showed up. Six days into the cruise, UPS called my home phone in the states and left a message that they didn't have a deliverable address. UPS offered to ship the package back to my home address for another $170. Upon returning to the states, and running tracking info, there had only been one inquiry with UPS (other than the two I made by internet), and outside of about three crew packages, I don't think any other packages shipped to passengers could have ever happened given the lack of address, and the poor communication between crew and the largest American shipper. I tended to be more angry about this problem with UPS. My wife was more upset with Princess, as she felt there was no link or possibility for success put in place by Princess. With 1300 Americans on the ship as passengers, it seems to me that Princess should have in place a probablilty for successful delivery of a package from the states on a twelve day trip. They clearly did not. I would still recommend this cruise, and taking it with Princess. Holland America typically runs the same route, perhaps a day longer every summer. While a Princess fan for most of the past 20 years, I'll tell you we have generally had good cruises with Carnival, one great cruise on Pride of America in Hawaii, and we are giving RC Liberty of the Seas a shot next month. Our only terribly disappointing experience in cruising was with RC ten years ago, and their fumble made me reluctant to return and had Princess not been screwing up pricing and mismanaging their website this February, my wife would still not be open to returning to RC. Our view is for the money, Carnival offers a good cruise; Food not quite as good, unless one uses pay dining. The ships are gaudy, but crew nice and a fun experience. RC likes big ships, tends to herd passengers around like cattle, lots of unique on ship activity sometimes difficult to access and good shows, but from mid management up service is terribly lacking. Norwegian tends to have fewer frills, but good service; lots of not bad on NCL from my conversations with their cruisers. Hear very good reports on Disney and Cunard, but neither have offered a cruise to the right place and the right price for me. All the older people I know love Holland America, one couples' comment the hubby says "they have the nicest suites and most comfortable beds on the seas," but wife commented, "yeah, but you always walk around the ship feeling like you are going to trip on somebody's oxygen line." In short, if one goes with a good attitude, not aiming to be critical, and makes no mistakes on their end, you can have a good cruise at a reasonable price with a half dozen companies. Each has a target niche. . Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Joined the ship on Friday the day after Kate, the Princess of Cambridge had named the ship and many of the crew were happy to share their excitement of seeing her on-board.The public spaces are certainly a well thought out and a definite ... Read More
Joined the ship on Friday the day after Kate, the Princess of Cambridge had named the ship and many of the crew were happy to share their excitement of seeing her on-board.The public spaces are certainly a well thought out and a definite improvement on the rest of the fleet, we particularly liked the Seafood Bar, good value and a real treat. The entertainment is better planned than previously on Princess- we are elite members so have sailed on a good few of their ships - in the one evening we managed to see 4 acts - a great acrobatics show in the atrium, close up magic in the new (princess live) tv studio venue, the main show in the princess theatre (the lighting is fantastic and 'colours of the world' show well produced and performed) and a terrific violin act in the visa lounge (sorry can't remember his name) but worth seeing.The food and restaurant service as good as ever, and the new buffet layout in the Horizon Court a great improvement.Some teething problems, the spar booking system managed to double book our treatments, and one of their reception staff was more intent on answering the phone (twice) than dealing with a guest inconvenienced by the booking system, standing in front of them but eventually the manager did the right thing. This poor customer service was a shame when otherwise we found everyone happy to go the extra mile and they all showed a great pride in their new shiny ship.We failed to get ashore in Gurnsey but that the fault of the weather and the sea day was well managed. Overall we want to go back and enjoy more. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
My husband and I cruised on the Golden Princess on the week of July 4th 2013. This was our 4th cruise, we have done a 7 night Hawaiian with American Hawaii, a 7 night Mexican Riviera with Royal Caribbean, and a 3 night Caribbean with Royal ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Golden Princess on the week of July 4th 2013. This was our 4th cruise, we have done a 7 night Hawaiian with American Hawaii, a 7 night Mexican Riviera with Royal Caribbean, and a 3 night Caribbean with Royal Caribbean as well. This was our first time cruising in a "non tropical or beachy" type of cruise. I wanted to contribute to the readers on CruiseCritic since it helped me out on planning for our cruise and I like knowing what to expect. Our port was in Seattle. We arrived in Seattle area in the morning and was picked up by a friend who lived there, and had enough time to go around and see the space needle and Pike place market. We got to the cruise terminal, which was a further pier (pier 91) Smith Cove. I suggest heading to the terminal no later than 1pm to avoid any traffic issues. Once we arrived, the check in process was smooth and quick. The room looked great, we chose a balcony for this cruise, per the recommendation of people we know who have done this cruise before and the message boards, and boy it was worth it!!! We opted for anytime dining and we could choose whether we wanted table mates or not, since we weren't sure what time we would like our dinner time to be, and didn't want to feel pressured to stick to a set time or set dinner mates. We loved that they had this option. It was an issue on our last cruise since our dinner mates drank heavily at times and were a bit annoying. I would suggest making reservations, which is a simple process and very accommodating. We dined at the Bernini dining room our first night and had the prime rib and some seafood dish. It was delicious. The staff were friendly, and the service was excellent. We also tried room service- it was great, the club sandwich was amazing, must try. We liked the International Café, we got the coffee card, for about $30 you get 15 specialty coffees/teas/hot chocolate so average of $2 per order, which is so worth it, we love our specialty coffees in the am and after dinner. They also had desserts, sandwiches, salads and soup 24/7. We had the buffet for both breakfast and lunch, the selection was average, but it varies from day to day, which is nice. The previous cruises we had always had the same selections which can get tiring. The first port of call was Ketchikan. It was a beautiful, sun shiny day (unusual per the locals). We booked a tour directly that included Tongass national forest stroll and the Totem Bight state park. It was great! At 6 am we entered the Tracy Arm Fjord, what a magical place. Beautiful. I wish we signed up for the boat that came up close to Sawyer Glacier, costs about $200 per person, but since we booked a sea plane tour over the glaciers in Juneau we opted out of that one. Having a balcony was a special treat, we didn't have to go out on the rainy, cold deck to enjoy the sights. Having an onboard naturalist narrating as we cruised through the fjord was also amazing. It was raining in Juneau throughout the day, but we were prepared for it, we went on weather.com to check on the weather. We took the shuttle to Juneau-good call! The "15 minute" walk, is not 15 minutes, the dock is far from town, and with the rain, no way, didn't want to catch a cold. We had reservations at first about flying out in the rain and fog, but it wasn't an issue. The glaciers seen from above is truly a life changing, amazing experience. Everyone should try this at least once in their lifetime. The third port of call was Skagway. We walked to town, the 5 minute walk was indeed only 5 minutes and picturesque. We browsed leisurely in town while waiting for our Discover Skagway tour to start at 1:30pm. I wished I knew about the train that went to White Pass that offered a 3 hour roundtrip tour leaving at 8 am and 12:45 pm. I would have done the 8 am and had plenty of time before our tour. The fourth port of call was Victoria B.C. We took the shuttle to town bought at the cruiseline and just walked about. I didn't book any tours since we only had about 4 hours at port. It was a nice little town and the weather was perfect, felt like high 70s at 7pm! Overall, this was an amazing cruise. The food was good, the ports were nice and had different characteristics. Didn't feel pressured at all to purchase anything, could be because I didn't attend any of the shopping shows. Enough activities to keep us entertained during our days at sea. I didn't understand at first why people kept telling us that Alaska was the best cruise, now I do...   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I booked this cruise through my favorite online site only 5 weeks in advance of our departure. Although the price I paid was a bit higher than I am used to, the $799pp fare, with $200pp in taxes, for a 14 night cruise to Alaska, was still ... Read More
I booked this cruise through my favorite online site only 5 weeks in advance of our departure. Although the price I paid was a bit higher than I am used to, the $799pp fare, with $200pp in taxes, for a 14 night cruise to Alaska, was still fairly reasonable. (even though some on board paid close to HALF that fare!) The $500 of OBC did make it QUITE satisfying. ($250 for Retired Military and $250 for Carnival Stockholder) Flew to Seattle (vice Vancouver) due to SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper airfare from the US Midwest. It also allowed me to spend a day with two of my kids who reside near Seattle. After touring the Boeing Aircraft Factory, we spent a very reasonably priced ($84 through Hotels.com) night at the SEATAC Ramada. (the free transfers both to and from the airport were easy and fast) The Princess Shuttle Service between SEATAC airport and Vancouver ($49pp) was reasonably priced, as well as easy, friendly, fast and efficient. Passage through the US/Canadian border was MUCH quicker (less than ONE FOURTH the normal time) due to transparent-to-us procedures by Princess. Embarkation was absolutely UNBELIEVABLE. From stepping off the bus in the terminal, to stepping on the ship, took exactly 12 minutes! I didn't think such a thing was possible! Granted, we were some of the last people to board, only a couple of hours before sail away, but still... WOW! From the pier, Diamond Princess is a BEAUTIFUL and impressive looking ship. Clean, bright white paint, well maintained, with sleek aerodynamic lines. As a science fiction fan I am absolutely tickled by the visual similarities between the larger Princess ships, and a "Star Wars" Imperial Star Destroyer! The horizontal gap between the upper and lower halves of the forward hull, along with the bridge windows above, is just too coincidentally cool! Inside, the ship is very nice. The central atrium is visually impressive in a sleek and contemporary fashion, (in line with that of a Celebrity S class) while the rest of the ship is more just "warm, relaxing, and comfortable." The only negative I noticed here, was a feeling of what seemed like VERY LOW ceilings, especially in the Theatre. Our inside room (C221) on deck 10 (Caribe) was spotlessly clean, comfortable, and efficiently laid out, with adequate storage. (similar to Celebrity M class) The "closet" and vanity form a "privacy wall" between the bedroom and bathroom areas, which is quite nice, as opposed to stepping out of the bathroom directly into the bedroom. The only negatives here, were a somewhat too hard bed, (even with an extra foam topper) and a standard shower curtain that wants to stick to you. (instead a shower door) Our Room Steward, (Thanks Sherman!) was possibly the best ever, professional, yet friendly, attentive and efficient. He received an extra tip at the end of the cruise. We chose "any time" as opposed to traditional dining. Having the choice of multiple (4) smaller dining rooms as opposed to a single large MDR (as with Celebrity) was GREAT! Even though they all served the same food, off the same menus, from the same galley, the reduced noise level, and options in décor and ambiance was a welcome and much enjoyed change. We visited each at least once, and found the Santa Fe our favorite for a more relaxed feel, and the Savoy for a more formal setting. Vivaldi and Pacific Moon just didn't hold our interest. A fifth restaurant was only for traditional diners. We never even bothered to try the two specialty dining venues, as the food in all of the MDRs was great! The menus were on a 7 day rotation so we experienced everything twice. (as opposed to a 14 day rotation, I believe, on Celebrity) The lobster-and-prawns were wonderful, and crab legs for appetizers were AWESOME! I don't recall even a mediocre meal. Service was near flawless at its worst, to FABULOUS at its best! Breakfasts and lunches were always at the buffet, and the food was great! Made to order omelets were fantastic. The serving areas however, were very tight, and quite congested. The selection of foods was not as varied, but the SERVICE at the buffet, was FAR above Carnival, NCL, and even Celebrity, and I was THOROUGHLY impressed. The poolside grill was not quite as good as X, but the pizza was FAR superior! I did miss the multiple flavors of homemade ice cream offered by Celebrity, but there was always more than enough soft serve ice cream sundaes available, that it will be MONTHS working off the over-indulgences! Speaking of which, the ONLY area in which I found Princess to be significantly lacking, was the gym. FARRR too small, with nowhere NEAR enough types and numbers of fitness machines. A serious flaw that should be addressed for younger/more health conscious cruisers. I can't for the life of me, remember the name of the party band on board, but they were GREAT FUN! They did a "50s and 60s sock hop night," and a REALLY cool "British Invasion" night, along with some classic rock as well as 70s and 80s disco. They played fantastic music that had a HUGE number of people of all ages, from 40s through 70 dancing non stop. UNFORTUNATELY they never played LONG enough. VERY short sets of sometimes as few as 6 or 7 songs, then they'd take a break and you could FEEL the energy evaporate as did the crowds. Minor changes to scheduling could EASILY take care of this. The BEST part was a "New Years Eve Party" in the atrium, complete with an overhead net, full of balloons that were dropped at "midnight" (really about 1030!) 300-500 people having a GREAT time with GREAT music. Yet another name I can't remember, was that of a solo pianist who played at the "Crooners" venue in the main atrium almost every night and was incredibly entertaining. The heart and soul that he poured into his version of "Do you know what It means to miss New Orleans" was nothing short of PURE MAGIC. Movies Under The Stars, (or Sun or Fog!) is not my idea of how time on a cruise should be spent, but it was actually quite enjoyable during some "down time" with a couple of recently released science fiction titles. Calving glaciers, whales, Orcas, otters, eagles, bears and even mountain goats were all seen on numerous occasions. We had one day of nasty weather while in Skagway on the northbound leg, and two days with some pretty significant fog, but overall the conditions and scenery were ABSOLUTELY *F*A*N*T*A*S*T*I*C*!!! Ports were Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Whittier, with cruises to Glacier Bay, College Fjord, and Hubbard Glacier. As a science geek, I knew the glaciers would be impressive, but I had NO IDEA they would be THAT incredible and awe inspiring! If a similar cruise is NOT on your bucket list...IT SHOULD BE! Although the full time, on board, Princess Naturalist, was knowledgeable and passionate about his subject matter, his ridiculously over dramatic, sing-song voice was so obnoxious it became not only a HUGE detractor, but a running joke among both passengers and crew. People would actually applaud and/or cheer when he would "sign off from the Bridge." Sorry, but if your JOB is public speaking, you need to be able to speak properly and professionally. 14 Nights went by far, FAR, F-A-R too quickly, but debarkation back in Vancouver was as painless, efficient and well executed as any I have seen. In conclusion, this was an absolutely wonderful cruise and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Princess in general, and Diamond Princess in particular. As a matter of fact, I am already looking at multiple options for future cruises on "Star" to Hawaii, as well as "Island" and "Coral" for the Panama Canal.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
My husband and I were in need of a break from our busy lives. This cruise provided us with peace and quiet, interesting activities, delicious meals, and top-notch entertainment. We were welcomed on board by a crew who really seemed to ... Read More
My husband and I were in need of a break from our busy lives. This cruise provided us with peace and quiet, interesting activities, delicious meals, and top-notch entertainment. We were welcomed on board by a crew who really seemed to enjoy making us happy. As one server said, " It is you who are on vacation!" Embarkation was simple: we were allotted a 1:00 time as we were on Dolphin deck. We parked opposite the pier and within 20 minutes we were sitting down to lunch in the Da Vinci Dining Room. We have previously dined in Horizon Court, while in fact the dining rooms are also open. Our stateroom was in an excellent location. it was on a quiet floor with easy access to the elevators. The open balcony allows for maximum sun, but also for viewers from above. Please bear this in mind if you are a private person. Our room steward, Abraham did an excellent job of keeping our stateroom clean, free of trash and replenished with soap and towels. He was friendly and unobtrusive. The Wake Show and Princess Patter are the ship's daily sources for ship news. The show is broadcast daily from 10 pm onwards and the Princess Patter is a daily newsletter delivered in the evening for the following day's news. The Cruise Director, Martyn from England and the Assistant Cruise Director, Frenchie from France, produced an excellent show every day and hosted many daily events around the ship. It is surprising that on a ship of such a large size, a passenger never feels like they are with hundreds of other people. This is possibly due to the fact that at any one time there are several activities happening on different decks. When it was sunny, people congregated around the four pools, so there was usually space for everyone. Only on two occasions were we unable to get into the venue because it was so popular. We felt that our needs were accommodated on the ship. For example, although the Grand Princess tends to seat people for dinner in groups of 6 or 8 people, they accommodated our wish for a table for two. We opted for early dining 5:30 pm and were seated in the Da Vinci Dining Room. On several occasions we ate at a later time because we were busy doing different activities. On this cruise, because there were several sea days, we did not get up early in the morning, so we consequently wanted to eat around 7:30 pm. Next time, if we return to the Mexican Riviera, we will probably choose anytime dining so we can go to dinner whenever we wish. The menus in the Da Vinci Dining Room contained regular items and special items. My personal favorites were Fig Copote in a lemon syrup for breakfast, the cheeseburger and fries for lunch, and the chilled coconut sou for dinner. However, there were so many different fish, chicken and meat dishes as well as a variety of delicious salads. Our waiters,Gerald and Stephen were phenomenal. My husband and I dined at the Crown Grill and Sabatini's. They were an excellent value for money with a $25 surcharge per person. The food was remarkable and the service impeccable. This is our third cruise with Princess, and until now we were not tempted to try these specialty restaurants. But, we were glad we did! The entertainment was of excellent quality: classical music by The Rhapsody Trio, big band music by the Grand Princess Orchestra, steel drum music, super shows with talented singers and dancers, commedians and an amazing magician! During the day there were numerous activities to choose from: scholarship at sea, bingo, golf, board games, reading circle, knitters and natters... The list is endless! Suffice to say, we really didn't need to leave the ship! The average age of the passengers was a little older than ourselves, mid sixties to our late forties, but we had a wonderful relaxing time!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I have been on 4 other cruises but had yet to sail with Princess. After much research , I chose the Golden Princess to Alaska for our anniversary cruise and I am very glad I did. I was a little nervous because I don't like to be cold ... Read More
I have been on 4 other cruises but had yet to sail with Princess. After much research , I chose the Golden Princess to Alaska for our anniversary cruise and I am very glad I did. I was a little nervous because I don't like to be cold and I was thinking Alaska at the end of September might not be a good idea. But the weather actually wasn't too bad. I am from the Portland Oregon area, so a little rain wasn't anything to worry about. One of the main reasons we chose this cruise is because we didn't have to worry about flying anywhere, being from the Portland area, we could just drive up that morning and thereby saving a little money. If you are driving in and looking for somewhere to park your car during the cruise, I found Seattle CruisePark to be perfect. They charged less than parking directly with the cruise line, they were in a nice and secure lot and they provided shuttle transportation to and from the ship that was quick and convenient. I found the embarkation process to be pretty smooth, keeping in mind; they are trying to load 2000 people onto one ship at pretty much the same time. It took us about an hour from the point that we were dropped off at the pier until we were on the ship. I didn't find that too terribly long. The lines seemed daunting, but they moved pretty quickly. It did seem like you were going from one line to the next, but it all worked out fine. If you really want to avoid the lines, I would recommend coming later. They don't start letting people on the ship until noon and as we were eating lunch around 1:00 or so, there was hardly any line left at all to board the ship. A piece of advice about lunch. I know the majority of the people head up the buffet for lunch once they get settled, but I would recommend heading over to the dining room to have a wonderful sit down, unrushed lunch. I heard the buffet lines were pretty long, but it was very empty in the dining room, I don't think many people know about it. I know they really push everyone going to the buffet, but I find the dining room to be a great start to the trip. There is usually only one dining room open for lunch, for us it was the Donatello dining room, but you can just check with one of the crew, they will let you know. We booked a balcony room on deck 11, Baja deck. I would certainly recommend a balcony if you are cruising to Alaska, the little bit extra that it cost was well worth it! It was great to sit on our own balcony as we were traveling through Tracy Ford and you don't even have to worry about getting dressed. Just throw on one of the robes your room steward will bring and enjoy breakfast on your balcony. We were on the starboard side which I think worked out nice because that was the side that you came into the ports on so you could see town as you were coming in, but really either side has a beautiful view. I also liked being on the Baja deck because both of the decks below us were open to the top and you could see right down on the balconies I personally just preferred not to have to worry about people looking down on me, plus we were completely sheltered so we could be out on the balcony while it was raining and not get wet whereas you couldn't if you were on decks 10 (Caribe) and 9 (Dolphin). I felt there was plenty of space in the room. The beds were high enough off the floor so you could store the suitcases underneath which kept them out of the way. There was plenty of cupboard and drawer space to store your clothes. I even found there was enough room in the bathroom to store everything; there were 3 shelves that were pretty deep. It also worked out well to store my shoes on the very bottom shelf in the bathroom. As I did read in other reviews, the hairdryer wasn't very strong, so if you have long or thick hair, you probably will want to bring your own. I found the beds to be very comfortable, but I like a firmer mattress, for those that don't, you can just ask your room steward to throw one of those eggcrate mattresses on top for you. I would recommend bringing an outlet adapter if you have electronics you will need to plug in. There wasn't much for plug-in space. I have read some of the other comments about the ship looking run down, but I really didn't see that anywhere. The decor is very warm and inviting throughout most of the ship and it all seemed to be well maintained. I didn't see anything that looked like it needed updating or maintenance. Everything was very pretty and I felt, very classy. The food was the only thing that was a little disappointing. While most everything I tried was pretty good and very nicely presented, it did seem to be lacking a little in flavor. I do suppose they have to keep the seasonings to a minimum so everyone is able to eat the food, but I felt they could have used more, even a little salt works wonders. I think in comparison, Carnival had better food. It was pretty good for the most part, just nothing spectacular. We didn't try the specialty restaurants, I just didn't feel like spending the extra $50 for the two of us to have dinner when we had already paid to eat in the dining room. The food that we received for dinner was always hot and fresh. Also another note about the dining room, they also serve breakfast and lunch in the dining room so you don't always have to go to the buffet to eat. Again, I found that not everyone knew they could eat lunch and breakfast in the dining room. Which we tried to do most of the time, because it was nicer and more relaxing than fighting the buffet crowd. The service that we received on the ship was outstanding! Our waitstaff in the dining room was friendly and attentive. They remembered our drink order every night and really made us feel cared for. Our room steward did a great job as well. Our room was always cleaned and ready for us twice a day without us even seeing him in there. He would greet us in the hall every time he passed and always asked about our day. Every crew member that we interacted with seemed to enjoy their job and made us feel very well cared for. We didn't make it to any of the shows so I can't really say how they went. I did hear the magician was good and the comedian was very funny. We did get a chance to listen to the piano player one of the nights and he was amazing. He sang and played the piano and provided us with a lot of information about different composers. Very entertaining and informative. I did see some of the other reviews that mentioned all the selling that they felt was extreme. But I really didn't experience anything that I found to be a "hard sell". They did offer things like wine tasting and such, but when we said no, they didn't push it, now I didn't go to any of the shopping/sales shows so I don't know about that, but I would kind of expect that there. One thing I found kinda interesting.... I saw a lot of people in other sites talking about smuggling alcohol on board and all the various ways you could do it and HOPE you don't get caught. Which really I found silly. You are allowed to bring one bottle of wine per person and we just brought one of the box wines which meant we didn't have to try to recork it if we didn't drink it all, plus it also provided us with more than 1 bottle per person all in one package. But if you would rather have the hard stuff, it was only $14.95 to buy a 375ml bottle of alcohol from room service such as Bacardi, Skyy, Gordons gin, Jim Beam or Cutty Sark. I don't know about your liquor stores, but that's cheaper than ours and you don't have to worry about them confiscating it! And you can keep the bottle in your room and use it whenever you want. Then you could also buy the unlimited soda package for $4.95/day and just get the soda or tonic water to mix with your drink. A word of advice for those of you that are first timers.... go ahead and get as many pictures taken as you can by the ships photographers, it doesn't cost anything to take them and you might find something you really like. But wait until after the last formal night before you buy anything. That way it gives you a chance to compare all the ones you had taken and pick the ones you like the best. Otherwise, if you buy them after the first formal and you like the second set better, you will end up spending more money you might not have. Disembarkation was quick and easy! It only took 15 minutes from the time we left the ship until we had our luggage in hand and was headed to the parking lot to meet our shuttle back to our car. We had to meet in one of the lounges with lots of other guests to wait our turn before they called our group to leave, but we ended up being called almost exactly according to the schedule on the sheet so it wasn't bad at all. All in all, I found this to be a wonderful cruise. The staff was friendly, the ship was lovely and the scenery in Alaska was beautiful and the food was even okay. I would definitely sail with Princess again!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We were on the Sep. 8th sailing out of Seattle. We have sailed on two other cruise lines but this was our first time on Princess and not fully sure what to expect. We were very pleased with our overall experience. We went with two other ... Read More
We were on the Sep. 8th sailing out of Seattle. We have sailed on two other cruise lines but this was our first time on Princess and not fully sure what to expect. We were very pleased with our overall experience. We went with two other couples, so we were a party of 6. We booked Seattle Airport Express to take us from airport to Pier 91. It was a great deal. $12 per person each way. They used a black Cadillac Escalade, very nice. Embarkation in Seattle was a breeze. I knew that Princess had advised us of our designated boarding time of 12:30pm, according to our deck, but timing had us arriving at the terminal at 11am. When we arrived we just got in line, checked our luggage, and then got in the line to go to "check in". We figured they might tell us we were early and needed to wait and that would have been fine, we just wanted to get rid of the luggage. We breezed through security fairly quickly, went through the check in process and no one ever mentioned the boarding time... We then went to a sitting area to wait to board the ship. As we were sitting there we saw the lines becoming very long with most people having to stand to wait to board. Seating was very limited for the amount of people boarding. We were on the ship by 12pm. We went directly to our cabin to drop off our stuff. We were greeted warmly by our Cabin Steward, Jensel. We requested an extra foam topper for our bed & slipped him an advance tip, which usually ensures us excellent service. Our cabin was very quiet. It was located near an elevator and a self service launderette. The launderette was nice. It had 2 ironing boards and irons available for use at no charge. Laundry costs were $2 wash $2 dry per load. I sent my husbands suit out to be cleaned the 1st day and had it back in time for formal dinner the next evening. Very reasonably priced at $10.50 for dry cleaning and they did an excellent job! We then Went to Crown Grille to make reservations for later in the week and then began touring the ship. We stopped by the international cafe to purchase a coffee card, which proved to be a great deal, (unlimited fresh brewed coffee & tea as well as 15 punches for specialty drinks). We also purchased a beverage plus card which is good for unlimited soda, shakes & mocktails. This was an excellent choice. We had many virgin Mojitos, virgin strawberry Daquaris, virgin margaritas, Etc.... well worth it!!! : ) We thought the ship was beautiful and well kept. The Piazza was gorgeous, although there was never enough seating especially during events. Almost every staff member was warm and friendly. The food was fabulous. The pastries at the International Cafe were to die for!!! I also really enjoyed their toasted Panini sandwich and chicken salad. I had heard mixed stories about Princess food, but we were very pleased. We chose traditional early dining. It was in the Donatello dining room. We had requested a table for the six of us. We found the menu had a good variety and the food was tasty. Our servers Silvano and Marco did a fabulous job. We ate the pub lunch on one sea day, excellent fish & chips and the bread pudding very yummy! We only ate lunch at the buffet twice and breakfast once. We enjoyed the slower pace and personal attention of breakfast and lunch in the main dining room. We had 2 formal nights and the menus went along with the atmosphere. The second formal night they served huge prawns and lobster. The Crown Grille was Excellent!!! The steaks were huge and perfectly cooked to order! A truly great dining experience! We had mixed feelings about the entertainment. The illusionist was great. Sarge the comedian was very good, although He used a lot of swear words and some off color jokes that I thought should have been saved for a late night show when children were not present. He was an excellent singer and pianist as well. The "princess singers and dancers" were good on most shows, but we did not enjoy "British Invasion". The Entertainment staff was great. We attended many of the game shows held in the Explorers lounge. We also enjoyed the Karaoke contest. There were plenty of activities around the ship. I had read others comments about the pushy sales on board. I just did not find that at all. Of course they held the typical shopping show, we just chose not to go and there is always a certain amount of "offers" out there but not any more than I have seen on the other lines. There were different sales events taking place on sea days, and I enjoyed browsing and never felt pressured to buy. We chose an inside cabin and were very pleased. It was plenty roomy and had a lot of storage, (and I am NOT a light packer). There was sufficient drawer space and the closet is very big. There was room to store luggage under the bed, but I had enough room in the closet so i just stored it on one end. There was also a cabinet that had a lot of shelves, great for storing jeans, sweaters, etc... It also held the safe. Even though we had an inside cabin, we had bathrobes, twice daily service with nightly turn down and a fresh fruit basket every day. We received excellent service from our room steward, Jensel. The bathroom although small was sufficient. We found that with the shelves on the wall and the big shelf under the sink, we had plenty of space for all of our toiletries. Our bathroom was kept very clean & we had fresh towels twice a day. We enjoyed our time in the ports; Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. Disembarkation and Embarkation at the ports was very organized. Both Juneau and Skagway were quite a walk to the town, but shuttles are available. Tracy Arm was beautiful!!! We were able to get fairly close to Sawer Glacier - Stunning! The Naturalist on board, Kathy Slamp, was very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to. We had beautiful sunny weather the whole week. This was our second cruise to Alaska, 2nd week of Sept. and both times gorgeous weather. So Awesome! We planned for wet, rainy weather and were so thrilled to have sunshine! : ) Disembarkation was simple. Princess requests that you are out of your cabin by 8am and they give you a designated lounge to meet in and the time. We were to meet there at 9am. I know that the buffet is usually a crowded mess on disembarkation day, and was pleased to find that one of the dining rooms was open. We left our cabin at 7:45 and went for a nice relaxing breakfast at the dining room. It was not crowded at all. We met at 9am at the lounge to wait for our color/ number to be called. We only waited about 5 or 10 min, walked off ship, found our luggage in the proper color area in the sea of luggage, went through customs (literally! The guy didn't even look at our passports & that was kinda disturbing to me). We then went outside to wait for our return shuttle to airport. Although we have enjoyed Holland America and Royal Caribbean in the past, we equally enjoyed Princess and will definitely sail with Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We have sail a few times on Princess and have not ever had a really bad experience. We had a smooth pickup at airport and took very little time at the terminal before boarding the Island Princes. I guess my one complaint was the food. In ... Read More
We have sail a few times on Princess and have not ever had a really bad experience. We had a smooth pickup at airport and took very little time at the terminal before boarding the Island Princes. I guess my one complaint was the food. In the main dinning room some was good, some was just ok and dinners were repeated. We ate at the specialty restaurant Bayou Cafe and Steak House one night and the food was good and plentiful especially the huge Porterhouse steak that my husband drooled over. However, since we are not fans of spicy foods, most of it we only just tasted. I still can't get use to taking 2 1/2 hours for dinner, but I guess it is expected when food is cooked to order. Our waiter was great and did his best to keep us happy. We made reservations at Sabatinis but canceled after hearing several people telling us how the food was not that good. Most of the employees were welcoming and polite. A special shout out for Archie and Honey at the Wheelhouse Bar, they were always pleasant and knew what we wanted to drink before we even had to order it. They were interested in us and we learned so much about their family and their life. Hope to see them again. Most of the ports we enjoyed but from the time you got off of the ship you were constantly reminded that you were in a third world country. The constant begging put a damper on the tours almost to the point that it was annoying and we just wanted to get out of there. The Panama Canal was an interesting journey which I'm glad we took. Amazing the process of going through the locks, and was especially unbelievable as the ship went up and down and you can see just how close the ship comes to the concrete wall, it was like you could reach out and touch it. the lakes were beautiful and was fun to watch us playing tag with another ship. I do wish we could have gone to the City of Panama, maybe another time. If you go on this cruise especially in Aug, Sept. be prepared for it to HOT, HOT, HOT. Also, if you want to purchase jewelry in port, be sure to use the recommended merchants so that if there is a problem you have Princess to back you. All in all it was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I've been on a number of the Grand Class ships before but this one beat them hands down in most areas! It is so well designed: you never realise that there are so many passengers. Like other Princess ships, there are main dining ... Read More
I've been on a number of the Grand Class ships before but this one beat them hands down in most areas! It is so well designed: you never realise that there are so many passengers. Like other Princess ships, there are main dining rooms, speciality restaurants, bars, a club, theatres, shops and plenty of deckspace around the pools/tubs. What it didn't have was young people! My wife, aged 51, must have been in the youngest 150! In fact 150 could've been the average age! With such elderly cruisers the pace was slow and the music/PA seemed to be rather too loud ---for our ears. Most of the passengers were fellow Brits. This was a shame because I really enjoy meeting people from other countries. Still, the many trivia competitions were well attended and fun. We dined in Sabatini's for our breakfast ---the three waitresses in there were brilliant! For lunch we tried various locations and for our evening meals we went to the Crown Grill steakhouse four times (thanks Marius & George who looked after us so well), had room-service once and otherwise used the main restaurants. We did find the plague of photographers too much. The prices are so high as well. You'll sell more if you half the prices, guys. Yes, we did some ship's tours at some ports: Gibraltar: the dolphin watch. Great fun but no dolphins. I give it **** Corfu: missed because we helped some poor Syrians who were in a really bad way. Dubrovnik: Sadly I missed this because I had injured my leg playing tennis (!) Koper: ship's tour to Piran. So interesting---although some people found it too focused on history and culture! I give it ***** Venice: we did our own thing (ate at Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal---wow!) Valetta: I've never been to Malta before. We went on the ship's Hypogeum tour. It was absolutely amazing. If you are into history this is a great experience! ***** Cadiz: the ship's tour to see the Andalusian horses and taste sherry was one of our highlights. ***** Otherwise, the good and bad things: For me, the food in the main dining areas was disappointing. Also, the long queues that happen on such a huge ship. The luggage collection ashore once we had disembarked in Southampton was awful. The good things for me that I haven't already mentioned.... the crew were fab, some of the entertainers were so good (the Russian girls Lady Hit Trio who played their violins and accordion so well plus Chris Ricketts, the singer/guitarist who was so enthusiastic about sea shanties ----not everyone's cup of tea though. Would I go on this ship again? Yes. Would I go on this cruise again?...Probably yes. Would I change the time of year? Well, I just wish that there was a greater mix of passenger nationalities and ages.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
The Royal Princess is a beautiful ship. It has a fabulous crew. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to most. Don't be put off by the weak approval rating thus far. I spoke with several Princess loyalists onboard and have discovered ... Read More
The Royal Princess is a beautiful ship. It has a fabulous crew. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to most. Don't be put off by the weak approval rating thus far. I spoke with several Princess loyalists onboard and have discovered the source of much of their displeasure. For years, it seems, there was a certain "Princess way" of doing things. Each ship had many of the same offerings and a similar layout. The Royal Princess is completely new with a floor plan like no other in the fleet. The poor Princess purists can't find their way around. It's like someone took their favorite pair of comfortable Colehaan shoes or trusty Callaway golf clubs and completely redesigned them. Change can be difficult. But if you're new to Princess, like me, you'll wonder what all the fuss is about. The Princess faithful do make two valid points you should take note of. First, the lack of a true Promenade deck that allows you to walk completely around the ship outdoors is a shame. That's part of the romance of a cruise ship. Sadly, the era of all-balcony stateroom ships may be the death of the wrap around porch at sea. Secondly, the absence of a midship staircase or elevator system is a real issue. It gave Princess room for a beautiful atrium or "piazza" but causes the elevators to be overcrowded and thus quite slow. It is frustrating. It's not a deal breaker but the Princess front office would be wise to listen to its long time clients and perhaps modify the Royal's sister ship, the Regal Princess, before she sails in 2014. The Princess shore excursions, like most cruise lines are a little expensive but well done. The guides are knowledgable and fun. I chose a few Princess offerings in bigger ports of call to give me piece of mind I would get in a full day and not be left behind. Other ports I did my own thing. And I found Ekol Travel tours in Turkey quite good. If you can afford the time, build in an extra day or two on each end. Barcelona and Venice are both worth some extra time. The food on board is fine to good. Meals at the Crown Grill and Sabatini's are very good, but come with an added fee. The breakfast selection got a bit boring after two weeks, but no one has ever starved to death on a cruise. The production shows were fine too. But I've seen more elaborate and extensive shows on other cruise lines. The Lotus spa is quite nice and beautifully designed though pricey. The staterooms are smartly laid out if not just a bit small to give everyone a balcony. I opted to spend a few hundred dollars more for a roomier mini suite and found it well worth it. It gave my wife more desk space to spread out all those beauty products while I stretched out on the couch sipping a cocktail before dinner. The beds are comfortable and the linens are high quality. The flat screen TVs are quite nice. The center Piazza is the place to be each evening. It's the center of activity. You can sip on champagne, fine wine, or your favorite drink from one of many venues while enjoying talented musicians. The pool area is beautiful. I agree with others that the center fountain area seems to take up valuable space, but the pizza bar and crystal clear, larger than life video screen will keep you smiling. That said, the jumbo screen at the pool is quite loud. If you're watching the movie shorts or music videos you'll love the central pool area. If you want to read or fall sleep in the sun you'd better be able to do so with the sound of a freight train all day. The adult pool area is quieter and nice but fills up fast. And its windy since its located close to the bow. Movies Under The Stars (MUTS) is a kick. Good popcorn. The SeaWalk that hangs over the ship is quite fun, but after you've walked over it a couple times you're kind of done with it. The real gem of the Royal Princess is its staff. I give 'em an A+ for customer service. The crew seems genuinely happy to be there. They are very pleasant and helpful. Each time you disembark in a new port and hesitate oh so slightly to find your way - there's a smartly dressed Princess employee at every turn offering their assistance. You're in good hands while on Royal Princess. If I had younger kids I'd probably be looking for a ship with a wave machine and a super slide, but as a mid-50's empty nester the lack of these attracted me to this ship. I've got to wonder if its a bit bland for the Caribbean, but seems ideal for mid-lifers sailing the Mediterranean. I imagine if Jimmy Fallon, Beyonce, and Justin Timberlake were on board they'd find the ship beautiful but a bit sleepy. It may not have enough of that throbbing Vegas vibe. Yet, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Morgan Freeman would probably feel right at home engaging in conversation with other middle aged couples from the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. The Royal Princess is not a muscle car with flashy rims. She's understated luxury. Think Volvo S80 or Mercedes C-class. If you need zip lines or crazy pool games this probably isn't the ship for you. Fear not, you can find a way to party on board. The DJ rocks music videos on the big screen at day, and at the club at night. And the rock, pop band called Volume is quite talented. I was looking for a beautiful ship with decent food; outstanding European ports of call; a comfortable bed with a view; and a cheerful, experienced staff. I found all of that on the Royal Princess. Happy traveling. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We loved our cruise on Royal Princess for the first nine days, unfortunately the ship had mechanical problems and we had to disembark in Naples. No ones fault and we were compensated very well by the cruise company and eventually ended in ... Read More
We loved our cruise on Royal Princess for the first nine days, unfortunately the ship had mechanical problems and we had to disembark in Naples. No ones fault and we were compensated very well by the cruise company and eventually ended in Barcelona. The ship was fantastic and we loved our cabin mini suite on Aloha deck. Our balcony was plenty big enough to sit outside and enjoy breakfast of just relax with a book. We had anytime dining and it worked very well and we enjoyed all our main dining room meals. Also the buffet was a huge improvement with a very spread out layout and a lot more seating, the food was very good as well, lots to choose from and a high quality. We also enjoyed the International Café for casual meals and great coffee. The service all over the ship was excellent and our cabin steward was very good. The atrium has a real WOW factor, and is a great place to relax, dance or watch some form of entertainment. The shows in the main theatre were good and there were plenty of other activities through out the day. We enjoyed the adults pool area and the Sanctuary on a couple of days. All in all we really enjoyed our cruise and loved the ship. We would book the Royal again in a heart beat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary with a cruise that began on Sept. 9 in Rome. The itinerary was very good and we have sailed with Princess about 5 times now, the last being just 6 months ago when we sailed on the ... Read More
My husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary with a cruise that began on Sept. 9 in Rome. The itinerary was very good and we have sailed with Princess about 5 times now, the last being just 6 months ago when we sailed on the Coral Princess through the Panama Canal. I liked the Ruby much better than the Panama canal trip with the Coral. The ship was big enough to have the amenities we like and not so big that we feel we have to trudge miles to get anywhere. We stayed on the 11th floor and felt we were close enough to the pools and Horizon Court and everything seemed quite easy to find except the Boticelli dining room, which is on deck 6, in the mid-ship area. The food was actually better on this ship than it was in Panama but I do think overall, Princess has gone down in quality quite a bit since we first started cruising 15 years ago. The familiar icons of the dining room such as the flambe' cherries jubilee and Baked Alaska parade, singing waiters for Italian night, etc. are shadows of how things were. Some changes are good, we actually like smaller portions and I think Princess is trying to be flexible by allowing 1 bottle of wine per person to be brought in each port stop. We carried in wine and beer almost each time we stopped and security never even glanced at them. Often we paid a corkage fee to have wine in the dining room but sometimes we asked for wine glasses and drank it somewhere on the ship. The excursions have gone up quite a bit in price and they still have the same format, spend 1 hour sitting in the theater or someplace waiting for your tour to be called and ending with shopping at some place that Princess picks for you to shop. Wasted time in my mind and Europe has great opportunities for self-guided tours. Check out Rick Steves' website for Mediterranean cruise ship port guidebook and free apps you where you can download tours for your iphone or ipad/ipod. They were fabulous, and no heavy foreign accents to wade through. My husband has hearing issues and we did the Sorrento/Pompeii tour and it was really hard to understand our tour guide. Also, we had some very elderly, slower people on the tour even though it had a 'strenuous' emblem but they still came. Really read the tour materials to get the most out of your tour. We loved Dubrovnik, Athens, and Corfu. Corfu had a city bus in the parking lot that you could take into town and back, Athens had a bus stand across from the terminal we took to the metro, went to the Acropolis (couple of ways to do it, ask in the cruise terminal), we shared a cab in Dubrovnik and there were Ephesus tours advertised in the cruise terminal in Kusadasi that were half of the ship's cost. Venice had a vaporetto (water bus) stop at the cruise terminal ( it only takes Euros ) or take the People Mover over to the train station and walk to the Vaporetto stop. The Princess ticket for the water shuttle didn't go down the Grand Canal, it went outside, by the cruise ship entrance so if you took that, you missed a chance to see the canal. Some of it took a bit to figure out but not too bad. Since you only have a few hours in Athens, check out the Acropolis museum, it is new and much closer than the other museums. Overall, we loved the trip, we probably will give Princess another try since we just hit Platinum after this cruise but we are interested in checking out other lines. Enjoy!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We're just getting home - this was our first 15 day cruise - and we loved it and were not ready to get off the ship!! Everything was spotless clean - we had the best room steward - although I was quite disappointed in the service in ... Read More
We're just getting home - this was our first 15 day cruise - and we loved it and were not ready to get off the ship!! Everything was spotless clean - we had the best room steward - although I was quite disappointed in the service in the dining room. Most nights it took us 2-1/2 hours for our meal - which is way too long to sit at a table when you had other great things going on!! The shows were top notch and all crew (shops included)very friendly & helpful. Our favorite excursion - by far - was in Fuerte Amador (Panama) - to see the Embera Indian Village via hand dug canoes!! What a surpise! The bus ride thru the forest to the river was gorgeous - & the 1-1/2 hours on the river to the village unbelievably beauitful! These people are awesome & amazing to be living as they do in this time & not to mention how talented they are! We are served FRESH tiliapi & fried plantin & it was great as well. The best tour we did!! In Costa Rica we did the river rafting - it was ok but a little bit too easy! Chiapas was neat & the ruins & the chocolate were very interesting! The Canal (the main reason we did this!) - unbelievable!! Get up early & get a good spot on the railing!! All in all - great ship & great iteneary! Would recommend it to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This is the first time I have posted a cruise critique but I just have to. This cruise was fabulous in every way. There are a lot of complaints posted but I just could not find anything to complain about. First of all, I had read on other ... Read More
This is the first time I have posted a cruise critique but I just have to. This cruise was fabulous in every way. There are a lot of complaints posted but I just could not find anything to complain about. First of all, I had read on other postings to be sure to sign up for the chef's table dinner. As soon as we got on the ship (even before we went to our room) we went straight to the customer service desk and signed up for this. The dinner is $95 per person extra and only 12 people a chosen to participate. Let me tell you, it was worth every penny!! The dinner was 18 courses and 5 courses of wine or Champaign. Just don't eat the day that you are planning for the dinner, there is a lot of food!! It was awesome. You get to take a tour of the kitchen and meet the chef, then they start bringing out the food. It is an unforgettable experience and one I would do again!! You get pictures and a signed cook book from the chef at the end of the evening. It lasted about 3 hours and was very good and entertaining. The ship was in great shape although someone told us it is soon going into dry dock. I am not sure what they are going to do because it looked great to us. The cruise was completely sold out but the staff was very organized and we never had to wait in line or didn't get to see a show that we wanted to see. I had read that this was a problem but it never was for us. The ports were so pretty. We have never been to the Northeast and we loved it. Our favorite was Newport, RI. We loved touring the mansions but the town was very nice, clean and quaint. I think we would move there if we had jobs.........I can see why the rich people built their summer houses there. The only excursion I was disappointed in was in Boston. There is a lot of history in that town and I would have liked to look around and do some shopping. The tour we went on was on a bus and never stopped for us to take pictures and by the time we got back to the pier it was time to go. There were no shops close by so no shopping was possible. I was disappointed and would not take the bus tour next time. I would rather get a taxi to the shopping areas and have time to look around. Overall, the cruise and the overall experience was outstanding and I would highly recommend it!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
wonderful new ship. sky walk and bar offered a new and different view. when moving the view while walking can be disorienting. uniqueness seemed to wear off as cruise wore on to most passengers. the lack of a walk around on deck 7 was ... Read More
wonderful new ship. sky walk and bar offered a new and different view. when moving the view while walking can be disorienting. uniqueness seemed to wear off as cruise wore on to most passengers. the lack of a walk around on deck 7 was troublesome to me. not to actually walk but the lack of a covered, shaded place to sit. the disjointed areas [forward area- rarely open], mid ship at crooners and facets and aft are connected by life boat areas which were never open to passengers. none of these areas provide any cover so you selected a side [when open] based on sun location. starboard aft is the smoking area. these aft open areas had wooden padded chairs and were the best seats available. few passengers seemed to have found the area and was a quieter part of the ship. lido burger and pizza restaurants were same size as grand princess even with 1000 more passengers. burger side was always understaffed when we went. area under big screen often in use by bands or setting up or breaking down so not a pass through. made moving about awkward and more crowded than necessary. skeet shooting was crowded when open and seemed to lack any ventilation. whole thing just seems crowded and lacks flow. really nice ship and wouldn't go again mainly because of deck 7. regal princess is reported to have fixed the walk around but not the shade. there are small covered areas on lido deck. there is no access to a forward view except through the pay access serenity area. really missed that. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We recently sailed on the 11/30 to 12/07, 7 day Southern Caribbean cruise aboard Crown Princess. This cruise was my 8th, my husband's 5th and our first Princess sailing. We had very high expectations and were thoroughly excited to ... Read More
We recently sailed on the 11/30 to 12/07, 7 day Southern Caribbean cruise aboard Crown Princess. This cruise was my 8th, my husband's 5th and our first Princess sailing. We had very high expectations and were thoroughly excited to take this cruise. My reviews are typically long as I was to give fellow travelers an idea of what to expect. Everyone has a different take on their experiences, likes, dislikes, food tastes etc. We are not the "I'm the only person aboard the ship and how dare the crew not bow at my feet every time I made my presence known" kind of reviewers. We are pretty down to earth people in our mid and late 30's. You are on vacation!!! Don't sweat the small stuff! You are bound to have a bad time if you can't let go of a few bumps. It's your choice to waste your vacation pouting. If you want or need something ask! These people aren't mind readers just as you aren't! So here goes: Pre Cruise: We flew in the night before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Airport on Sheridan Blvd. in Hollywood. Nice, Clean, modern and comfy. Lovely pool area, decent but pricey meals and kind staff. The port was about 20-30 minutes away via taxi. They also offer a shuttle for $10.00pp. The hotel messed this part up on us but refunded the fee and called a cab for us. Great. Service: Most important. Every staff member we encountered was very nice. They always said hello with a big smile. This is hard to do. There are over 3,000 passengers on board for goodness sake! I mean, do you feel like smiling and being happy every day at work? I bet not. I know I don't!! They always aimed to please. If the smallest morsel of food was left on the plate, they wanted to make sure we liked it. If they even so much as stepped an inch in your path they excused themselves over and over. I cannot understand what a previous reviewer said about feeling that the crew snubbed them. I never once felt that way. One tiny observation was the some of the spa staff seemed a wee bit "uppity" but I can say it didn't so anything to affect my vacation. Embarkation: We got to the port around 11am. We stood in a line for about 15 minutes, we were given a zone card, checked in and waited with the rest of the passengers for about 45 minutes. We made small talk with some fellow passengers and then were called to board. Very smooth. We were able to get to our cabin right away which was so awesome. We've never had that on any other cruise before. Ship: The ship is lovely and has many places to explore. It was always clean. I was still a little lost even on the last day but enjoyed navigating around and having a sense of humor in regards to my lack of navigational skills! We never felt overly crowded and could find plenty of places to go to get away. The Christmas decor was done while we were in port to Curacao. Lovely! Someone recently posted that the ship was in disrepair?? I've never been on a cruise where they aren't painting something or maintaining something. That salt water can wreak havoc on a ship as well as usual wear and tear. I'd be more concerned if they neglected these things. However, I will say that some of the public rest rooms did have a few toilets out here and there but they seemed to be fixed quickly. Our cabin commode had a 'touchy" flush. You have to push it once and wait. It will flush. These are vacuum like systems rather different than what we have on land. Fellow Passengers: Ok, each cruise is different but I still wanted to share. We met really nice people aboard. I also participated in the Cruise Critic Roll Call a few weeks prior to setting sail. Please participate in this if you are as social as we are. A nice lady in our group set up a meet and greet with Princess. Thank you Beth!! The Captain even showed as well as the Cruise Director, Lisa and the Hotel Manager. It was so fun!! We wound up "hanging out" with one of the couples here and there and we had a blast. Many people were well seasoned cruisers and were so lovely, lively and fun. We did encounter the "elevator grabbers", the "if I say excuse me or thank you my head will pop off", the "spot savers" and the "line cutters" and let us not forget the "hallway chicken players" who would just assume run you over than look at you. My favorite was the lady in the spa on the first day. They had a drawing and there were probably over 100 people crammed in there. They had us all stand in one small area. She actually asked my husband to move because she couldn't see. Really lady? It was wall to wall people and hardly anywhere to move. Not sure what she needed to see so badly anyhow. Just plain rude. Oh well. If that's what these people need to do to have fun, go for it but manners never killed a single person. Ever. Food: Every person has their own tastes in food so this is just a general review. It was excellent most of the time. I didn't care for the Horizon or Caribe but my husband really liked it. I preferred eating all meals in the dining rooms. We opt for shared seating. We met very nice people this way. We had late seating in Botticelli. We only ate there 4 nights out of the 7. We ate in Crown Grille (to die for) for our 7 year wedding anniversary, Sabatini's (I didn't care for it) and Chef's Table (Loved all of it and worth the price). We also ate at a different table for the Curacao day because we were in port so late, (10pm) everyone's dining was a little different than their regular time on that day. We sat with some wonderful people and wound up at the Chef's Table with one of the couples. We ordered room service a few times as well. The Moroccan hot pot was to die for. Loved this the most. The pizza was tasty as well. My husband enjoyed the International Cafe. It's open 24 hours. The coffee there as well as in the Crown Grille was the best. All the others areas had yuck coffee. We didn't have many drinks but the Key West was tasty as was the Mojito. We were delighted with the English Pub Lunch in the Wheelhouse and I was ecstatic to have a Pimm's Cup! My favorite drink thanks to a friend of mine from England. All in all the food is tasty. Shows: Because we had late dining, we didn't see most of the shows. It could have been our fault as we much prefer the tear off slip Carnival provides in their Fun Times as opposed to carrying around the full size Princess Patter. Not that the thing was heavy we just didn't bother bringing it around with us most of the time. We saw the guitar playing, singer/comedian/shadow puppet performer. He was great. We also caught the crew talent show and had a blast with the balloons and mingling with fellow passengers. We also watched the piano player in the atrium here and there. He was good. Only Issues we had: Not enough fun activities for us. We enjoy lots of trivia, funny game shows (the ones they had were so lame and boring) scavenger hunt that doesn't involve a sales pitch on the first day (aka the 8 stamp card). We were bored often. We don't play bridge or mahjaong nor do we ballroom dance. As a skin cancer survivor, I cannot lay out in the sun for too long. The game selection in the library was lacking. :) We can watch a movie any time we want but it was great for people especially those with kids. I'm not trying to sound like a prima dona but more activities for a younger crowd is appreciated. We were not the only ones who thought this. Many felt the same way. Debarkation: It was fairly smooth and typical. We didn't opt to pay extra for transport provided by Princess. There was a large line to get transport to the airports, hotels, parking garages etc. That was a little annoying but there were 8 ships in port according to our driver.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We are experienced cruisers (approx. 40) on many different lines but have always been partial to Princess. When we first learned of the Royal being built we knew we had to experience her early on. We chose the inaugural 7-day eastern ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers (approx. 40) on many different lines but have always been partial to Princess. When we first learned of the Royal being built we knew we had to experience her early on. We chose the inaugural 7-day eastern Caribbean sailing and booked the first day cabins were available. We watched all the videos as she took shape and were even more excited when we learned Captain Tony Draper would be the master. We’ve sailed with Captain Draper twice before and love his wit and dry sense of humor. Reading the initial reviews during the Royal’s Mediterranean season began to cause us some concern. Normally we attribute negative reviews to personal observations but there seemed to be recurrent issues reported by the Princess faithful. Nonetheless, our sailing day arrived and seeing her in Port Everglades made us giddy with excitement! Initially embarkation went very quickly and smoothly right up to the time we got our cruise cards and saw many passengers queued up inside the terminal building. More and more people arrived and there was no information from Princess what the delay was. We were early, but not that early (1030 AM), and we sat not knowing what the issues were. Finally we heard that the boarding was delayed due to a back-to-back passenger who failed to get off the ship between sailings (as required) and could not be found. This caused thousands of others to wait up to two hours before boarding finally commenced. Not Princess’s fault but some info would have been helpful. Once on board, one cannot help but be overwhelmed by the beauty of the atrium and the gleaming "new car” look the Royal has. Everything shines and we were anxious to check out the rest of the ship. I will try not to be too repetitive on comments already covered in other reviews but some do warrant further discussion. Cabin: Our favorite category is the mini-suite and we loved the soothing decorations. We don’t watch TV on cruises (or much any other time) so the new flat screens did nothing for us. Yes, the balcony is much smaller but we were able to enjoy our morning coffee out there. The cabin seemed completely soundproof and we never heard anyone next to us or above us- very nice! Cabin steward was friendly, very efficient, and much deserved the extra gratuity. Elevators & Stairs: Much has been written on this and most of it is accurate. What concerned us was not so much the inconvenience for able-bodied persons but if one has mobility challenges we could see a lot of frustration (if not downright danger) should one need to move quickly. I’m sure the Royal has an excellent evacuation plan, but I couldn’t help wondering what one would do if the elevators went out. Horizon Court: The newly designed and expanded Horizon Court is just fantastic. So many choices, no lines, and excellent food. In the rear is the new Horizon Terrace where we enjoyed all our breakfasts and several lunches. It is covered from the sun, has comfy chairs, and never felt crowded. Dining: We always choose Anytime Dining on Princess and the Symphony Dining room is dedicated to that group. We loved that there are many, many tables for two now and we never waited more than 15 minutes for a place to enjoy a quiet dinner. The headwaiter quickly learned of our location preference and the waiter team treated us famously. Princess has upped their game in the food department and one meal was better than the next. As a side note, I was also very happy to see enforcement of the dress code on formal nights. A passenger was very upset to be turned away but the staff stuck to their guns and I complemented them on this. We were very disappointed last year on HAL when people in shorts were allowed into the dining room at night. If one chooses not to dress up, there are plenty of other options on the ship. Speaking of other options, don’t miss Alfredo’s Pizzeria for great pizza and salads. Pub lunch was offered twice- it was good as always. Pools & Spa: We had read much about the pool situation and agree that during the Caribbean season this may lead to a lot of overcrowding. We liked the adults only Retreat Pool but unfortunately were not really able to use it. A very large charter group (several hundred) chose this area to gather each day so there were no chairs to be had and the pool was filled with people to capacity. For those liking sauna or steam rooms, your only option is the Enclave located in the Spa. This involves an extra charge ($159 per person) and gives access to the thermal pool, heated benches, steam, and sauna. We went for it and used it each day but this, too, was a favorite of the group on board and it was quite crowded at times. One should be able to at least use a sauna without having to pay extra each time, especially on longer voyages. Gym: We work out regularly and were looking forward to seeing the facility onboard. All the necessary equipment was there but the area was very tight and claustrophobic. I wanted to participate in the TRX classes but found $60 to be ridiculous. Without paid classes, one cannot use the TRX equipment. Library: As others have noted, it is painfully small for a ship this size with very little in the way of interesting reads. Not everyone has an e-reader and this would again be an issue on a longer cruise. Entertainment: Wonderful choices all week long no matter what one’s taste is. The highlight was comedian Carlos Oscar, the Princess 2011 entertainer of the year. If he is on your ship, do not miss it! We also very much enjoy the art auctions and have decorated our home with many pieces purchased onboard Princess ships. The art director, Daniel, was knowledgeable and very personable. Ports of call were standard Eastern Caribbean with Grand Turk being substituted for Princess Cay due to high winds. Grand Turk is, unfortunately, beginning to look a lot like Disney Land or Vegas with loud music and people crammed into Margaritaville. We fled back to the ship after a very short time. All- in- all we loved our cruise on the Royal. Yes there are some design decisions that make experienced cruisers shake their heads, but we have to defer to the experts and enjoy the ship- or not. Clearly with the Regal coming out next year it will be interesting to see if passengers warm to these ships or if they become deeply discounted just to fill them. Only time will tell. For now, we say go and enjoy the first class service, great food, and wonderful entertainment.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I don't think this ship lived up to the hype of a "new ship." If I'd never cruised before I might have been more impressed, but some things were lacking. I missed the aft pool/bar area that was adults only. (It's ... Read More
I don't think this ship lived up to the hype of a "new ship." If I'd never cruised before I might have been more impressed, but some things were lacking. I missed the aft pool/bar area that was adults only. (It's now forward, and no smoking.) The shortage of smoking areas was an issue as well. I don't mind not smoking inside, but I did mind the lack of ventilation in Churchills and the only 2 outside smoking areas were aft, and the one on deck 7 I could not use as it was not mobility cart friendly. This meant a LONG trek from where ever I was to the aft end of the ship where there was pretty much "nothing." No bar, no pool, just some tables, or loungers in the sun. You could use e-cigarettes anywhere except the dining areas, but if somebody complained they would explain it was an e-cig. If they still complained you either had to put it away or move. If you sail on this ship and require US style flat plugs at your bedside, take 2 or 3 VERY long extension cords and a couple of strip plugs. There are NO plugs near the beds you can use and NO ADAPTERS! On the desk/vanity area there are exactly TWO plugs. We ended up having to get a heavy duty extension cord from the ship and run it over to the bed across the floor from the desk to power our bipaps and creating quite a trip hazard for me. I did have a power strip, so we used that to create extra plugins since we both use bipaps and had a number of electronic toys to charge. We had to use the 2nd available plug to recharge my cart battery, or swap out one of the 2 plugs to power/recharge something else. We made it work, but it was rather awkward. Also, the room lights require a keycard to come on. The closet light switch is at the door which was weird and awkward. The bathroom is adequate, the shower is way better with a hand held adjustable shower head. LOTS of storage and closet space/shelving. The elevators were TINY. More people meant more people needing elevators...can we say traffic jam? If you're designing a new ship and you know elevators are always a problem why in the world would you make the elevators smaller??? That was the bad. The good was our room steward who was awesome. He helped us fix or adapt to some of the issues we had at various times. For example, if you like soft feather pillows, you'll LOVE these. I don't. So our steward found me an extra "sofa back" pillow from a suite loveseat, and put a pillowcase on it. It wasn't ideal, but much better than the feather pillows. I suggest bringing your own pillows if you're particular. The BEDS however, were awesome, new and not um, well broken in shall we say. I heard many complaints about service in various areas, but we never encountered it. Every dining venue we used had exceptional service. No waiting for drinks, plates whisked away as soon as you finished, the next course served in a timely fashion, etc. The waiters and stewards were always cheerful and smiling and helpful. Water glasses refilled before they were empty. On other ships I've had to wait sometimes halfway thru my meal to get water refills, but not on this ship. Since I utilize a mobility aid (an electric cart) we found most areas were easily accessible for me. Stairs were not an option, but the lack of stairs in the center areas of the ship was a bit of a problem for others. Again, at high traffic times (ports, embarkation, debarkation, muster drill, etc) I had more trouble than most getting an elevator. I did find however, if I spoke up, people made room quite willingly. The hallways got a bit tight, especially when the stewards were doing their thing, but every one happily made room if a utility cart was in the way, etc. I was able to put my cart in our room, but I had to hit the door just right and in other cabins this might have been difficult, but mine did well. Ah, and cart batteries discharge faster in carpeted areas than on "deck" areas. The carpets are pretty thick so require more power to move you about. We just got in the habit of plugging my cart in anytime we were in the room even if it was just to change clothes for dinner. Overall, I will sail with Princess again, but probably not on this ship. It's just different enough from their other ship designs to be quite confusing and I was lost and turned around til about Wednesday. We're not show people, nor much for pools or hot tubs and definitely not sun bathers. There was still plenty of activities to take part in though. I do highly recommend the massage therapies in the Spa. Also, if you wish to eat in Sabatini's or the Crown grill, make reservations early or go early. The Crown Grill is now combined with the Wheelhouse bar, and not the intimate place it used to be. We chose to skip these options although in the past we loved the Crown Grill. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
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