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607 Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

In case the title didn't give it away, this was the first cruise that my wife and I had ever taken. In fact, this was the first time we'd ever even been to the Caribbean. We had done months of research leading up to this. Where ... Read More
In case the title didn't give it away, this was the first cruise that my wife and I had ever taken. In fact, this was the first time we'd ever even been to the Caribbean. We had done months of research leading up to this. Where did we want to go? What activities were important to us? Compared cruise lines, and just about every other thing you can think of we looked into it. I had actually spent years looking into this stuff as I had spent the last two years trying to convince my wife this was something we should try. Once I finally convinced her, here is what we ended up doing. Against the better advice of most people, we flew down to Fort Lauderdale the morning of our cruise. Most would suggest you not do this, and I would have to agree. We did this simply because it saved $200CAD per person on the flight ($400CAD for both of us combined), but it was a relatively stressful way to start the trip and I suggest going down the night before if you can. After receiving some advice from a travel agent friend we opted not to take the airport transfers offered by Princess. By doing so, we saved ourselves about $50CAD on arrival and on departure. The cab driver on the way down was great and got us there is plenty of time, but the port is jam packed on weekends. The cab driver ensured us we had plenty of time, but as we sat behind hundreds of cars waiting we were somewhat concerned. When my wife and I talked about it afterwards we decided that the savings were great, but again, piece of mind may have been a better choice in the long run. When we arrived at our terminal things seemed a little busy, and at first we weren't quite sure where to go. In the end, we left our bags at the bag drop and then proceeded pretty quickly through the various aspect of checking in (going through security, filling in a short form, and then actually checking in at the registration desk). When you look at the number of people your first thought is that it will take forever, but in the end the whole process took us no more than 30 minutes. After that, it was off to the ship! When we got on board we went straight for our cabin. We obviously wanted to put down our bags and get settled in, but I was really interested in seeing what it looked like. I had heard they were very small, so to be prepared. Our room (Deck 9 Dolphin, D729) was amazing! Unlike what had been described to us, it really wasn't much smaller than a typical hotel room. We had two twins pushed together to make a king sized bed, a sitting area with a love seat and table, and finally a small desk that my wife used to get ready most of the week. The bathroom was the only part that was small, so this desk was handy for her. The room was aft facing with a larger than normal balcony, so if you plan to cruise on the Regal Princess book this cabin! We ate most of our meals at the buffet, though we did eat once in the main dining hall, once at the Crown Grill steakhouse and once at the Alfredo’s Pizzeria. I found the buffet to be hit and miss for dinner, but breakfast and lunch we always spot on. For dinner they had these great daily themes to the food like Asian, Italian and Mexican. Some were spot on, but I wasn't impressed by all. That being said, Alfredo’s and the Crown Grill were phenomenal! We paid a small up charge for the Crown Grill, but it was well worth it! We also spent an hour or two each night at Vines or Bellini’s, the two bars in the Piazza. The drink selections were quite good, and the live entertainment was incredibly relaxing. Just the right touch to get you settled for a nice evening. Our days were filled with various things depending on whether or not we were in port or at sea. In the Bahamas we booked an incredible dune buggy tour through Princess. I know you can save bundles by booking elsewhere, but this particular one was well worth the price! It was approximately two hours and we drove a few miles in the dune buggies. We were treated to parts of the island that you’d never see otherwise. And when they decided to give us an extra 15 minutes at the end because we were the final tour of the day it was nice to know the ship wasn’t going to leave without us because we were on an affiliated tour. I guess the last thing to talk about are the activities on the ship. We did everything from laying around by the pool, to interactive TV style shows, as well as comedy and magic shows. I have to say, I was beyond impressed with the entertainment on the ship. The people who were brought in like the magician and comedian were excellent, but the actual Princess staff that kept us entertained by the pool were equally good. I know this is quite a detailed review, but I hope it helps to serve another first time cruiser well. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Another great Princess cruise! Top marks as always on Princess food, service, decor, ship amenaties, and cleanliness. Best things: This 10-day itinerary was appealing because of the stops in less frequented ports of La Paz and Loreto. ... Read More
Another great Princess cruise! Top marks as always on Princess food, service, decor, ship amenaties, and cleanliness. Best things: This 10-day itinerary was appealing because of the stops in less frequented ports of La Paz and Loreto. - La Paz, Mexico. This stop is ideal for swimmers and snorkelers but there's not much to do in the town itself. Book an excusion this day. It will be well worth it. February is whale shark time and the rest of the year is great to visit the very friendly local sealion colonies. - Loreto, Mexico. Everyone commented on how friendly, accessible, and clean this remote town was. The pedestiran-only main street was lovely, salespeople didn't bother you in stores, there was music and dancing put on in the town square, and cafés serving $1 cervesas and $3 margherittas. This is a great stop that should be offered on more itineraries. - New beds! Princess is unveiling new beds across the fleet and the Ruby has hers. They have luxurious pillow tops and are 1000% more comfortable than their old beds. Worst things: - Puerto Vallarta. This port was disappointing. Even though the boardwalk was obviously new, it's just the same bars and stores as every other port. So after 30 mins of wandering, you've seen it all. Bad rip-tides meant we couldn't spend the day swimming at the beach and there's not much else to do unless you want to shop at WalMart or Sams Club. - On-board EFFE store saleslady who didn't know what she was talking about. Let me just say, for all the free prize draws this store put on to get people inside (at least one per day), if you didn't go to the draws, you'd never know the store was there. So that was fine. But I DID go (cause I like sparkly things!) and this one saleslady hovered around me every time I walked in. And eveytime I asked her a questions about a piece she gave an answer that I knew was WRONG. She just didn't know what she was talking about. I hope no one buys jewellery based on her advice. Some things to consider: - Because this cruise left on a Monday, a 10-day cruise required two full weeks vacation time. As a result, the demographics on this cruise was much older than average - even for Princess. We didn't mind (mid-30's), but some of the younger people complained that the entire boat seemed asleep by 10pm. - Climate. This is a personal preference, but this part of Mexico was a little too arrid (desert) for my taste. There were often dust clouds in the port towns. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My husband and I (early 30s) are fresh off the March 3rd sailing of Royal Princess. It was our first time with Princess, so I wanted to share a review and answer any questions you may have. This was our first time cruising Princess ... Read More
My husband and I (early 30s) are fresh off the March 3rd sailing of Royal Princess. It was our first time with Princess, so I wanted to share a review and answer any questions you may have. This was our first time cruising Princess & we definitely came away with mixed feelings, but the benefits of unplugging & relaxing for ten days cannot be understated and outweighed all the negatives. The Ship Royal is the largest ship we’ve ever been on & definitely felt like it. While it never felt crowded, the choppy layout of the ship made it confusing to navigate – a complaint many have had for both Royal & Regal Princess. For instance, the only way to we could access our dining room was through one set of elevators/stairs, which could only be accessed from the 7th floor (so if you were on the 5th floor Atrium, you had to go up to the 7th floor, just to go back down) – confusing, right? You have to go up to go down. Much has been made of the lack of a mid-ship staircase on this ship – there are only elevators mid-ship from floors 7 – 17 – but we didn’t find it to be a huge problem. We just walked forward or aft to the stairs, or waited for a mid-ship elevator (which seemed small and always crowded). But if you’re mobility challenged, I can see how this is definitely frustrating. Even though the ship is only three years old, it’s starting to show a bit of wear & tear in places, which surprised us. When she goes into dry dock later this year, I’m hoping they hit her with a good coat of paint, inside & out. Overall, Royal Princess has very traditional steamliner decor, with lots of muted neutrals & no tacky "cruise ship neon" decor. The exception to this was our dining room, Allegro, which was very dark & featured a decor which my husband equated to Ruby Tuesday. The atrium was beautiful & always crowded with passengers enjoying the live music (it was also oddly warm some evenings…). Activities Royal features a number of activities throughout the sea days, but they’re definitely geared toward their older crowd of passengers (think lots of trivia & bingo). Every evening, they played current movies (including several recent Oscar winners) on MUTS, but the timing never seemed to work for us because of our dinner seating (we would have had to see the show that started at 10:15pm). I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to enjoy this unique feature of the ship. We did enjoy stargazing one night – an activity offered through their partnership with Discovery Channel – but it could have been better done with a crew member who actually had studied up, instead of just reading off a piece of paper. It was still neat to be on deck 18 with the lights turned off, just gazing up at millions of stars in the dark night! We continued our streak of not seeing cruise ship production shows in the theater so I can't comment on those, but did enjoy all the live bands which played nightly around the ship. We also enjoyed the string quartet (they seemed very well received by all passengers). The pool deck was busy during sea days (they always are on a Caribbean cruise), but there seemed to be ample lounge chairs. The biggest problem was that chairs in the shade came at an absolute premium (there were about two dozen of them near the adult-only pool), so we didn’t really sit out on the pool deck much. The Sanctuary area in the very front of the ship offered plenty of shade, but I wasn’t going to pay extra just to have a lounge chair in the shade. Another odd thing about the ship is that all the pools were relatively deep. I’m a little under average height for a women (5’4″), but the shallowest pool was 4’11”, which made it almost over my head, & one pool started at 6′. Definitely not kid-friendly. We found ourselves spending a lot of time on deck 16 aft largely because it was in the shade & featured comfortable outdoor couches to relax on. The area never seemed crowded & was a great place to sit & read or to eat. It definitely felt like an underutilized secret of the ship & became our spot to hang out for sail away (we normally like standing at the front of the ship, but the layout means there aren’t any good views from the front). We loved Princess' anniversary celebration with The Love Boat & watched episodes every evening on our stateroom TV. I can officially say that I wish I was born 10 years earlier to have fully appreciated this show in its prime. Crew A highlight of the voyage was the awesome crew. Every person we encountered was very friendly, making eye contact, smiling & saying hello. Our cabin steward, Maynard, was great, kept our room super tidy & kept us entertained with towel animals on a daily basis. We also got the opportunity to tour the Bridge & all the officers were nice and personable. Oddly, I think we only saw the Cruise Director once, but his staff was certainly out & about & visible. Our Stateroom Our stateroom, Aloha 602, definitely felt like the smallest we’ve ever had on a cruise, yet was the same class of service as we usually select (a standard veranda). We were surprised that, square footage wise, it is actually bigger than the Celebrity ships we’ve cruised on. The layout just stunk – there seems to be a lot of wasted space in the closet area & we really missed the little couch which is standard on Celebrity Solstice-class balcony rooms. The bathroom was absolutely tiny & definitely lacked the enclosed storage & nice finishes we’ve gotten spoiled with on Celebrity (the only storage was just open shelves). It was the most disappointing part of our room & felt like a much lower class of bathroom than what we’re used to. Speaking of the balcony, the balcony space was so narrow we had to sit facing each other, instead of facing out. In addition, the table on the balcony was so small that we felt like we couldn’t really eat out there (something we normally love). We always book a balcony stateroom, but probably spent the least amount of time on the balcony this cruise than any previous voyage. Can't imagine doing Ultimate Balcony Dining on a standard balcony (which is a shame because it's totally the cheesy romance my husband & I love!) On the positive side, the room had nice, neutral decor & a brand new flat screen TV hanging on the wall (very handy for watching Love Boat!). The bed & linens were super comfortable & we both slept well, except for two rough nights at sea. We strategically chose our cabin location, based on the lack of mid-ship stairs, & were further after than we ever have been before. But this meant that we could just walk to the aft elevators or stairs, or walk forward on our floor to the forward stairs (especially helpful on port days). One evening, we returned to our room after dinner & there was a strong petroleum smell in the room – as if we were sitting in a gas station. We called the passenger services desk & within 5 minutes the night manager & a maintenance engineer appeared. They determined it had to do with the location of our cabin & the direction the wind was blowing the chimney smoke from the ship – the smoke was literally coming through our room’s HVAC system. Within 10 minutes, they were able to make an adjustment &, after opening our balcony door, the room aired out & we were fine. What impressed me about their entire situation was the speed which it was dealt with (even late at night) & the number of people who followed up to ensure we were ok (even offering another room to sleep in that night & then following up again the next day). I’m glad we called & wondered if others around us were suffering through the smell for no reason… Dining We had the second seating at Allegro & I’ll finally admit it: traditional dining is dead. Our first few cruises, we had such great tables & really enjoyed meeting other people, sharing about our day & socializing. But the last few cruises, we’ve ended up sitting by ourselves. Our table on this cruise, the second seating for traditional dining, was very awkward: off the main dining room, in a small side room & in the back corner. We were at a table for four with a table for four next to us & were the only people at both tables throughout the entire cruise – it was so isolating. We mentioned to the Head Waiter on the second night that we’d like to sit with other people & he literally shrugged his shoulders & told us there was nothing he could do. We were sad to watch the other tables of passengers around us having such a good time & we felt like we actually dreaded going to dinner because it was such a lonely experience. So from now on, we’ll just be doing anytime dining & making reservations – we heard from many people that this went very well for them. The food itself was very hit-or-miss: I sent a dinner entree back one night because it was so bad & my husband should have sent his chicken back one other night. But then we also had things we loved, especially fresh fish, Greek salad, mahi mahi & Princess’ famous fettuccine alfredo (try the appetizer portion). The bread basket was hit or miss, as were the desserts (except the Princess Love Boat Dream, which was a dreamy chocolate mousse). The Curtis Stone mahi mahi was excellent and we enjoyed many of the Norman Love chocolate desserts, but didn't feel extra special eating "celebrity chef" food. Our waiter & junior waiter were kind, but very business-like & definitely rushed. I understand we were seeing them at the end of their 12 hour day, so it’s understandable they weren’t more friendly, but we often felt rushed through the meal (we were usually at least one course ahead of all the tables around us). On the positive side, they did not push drinks or dessert on us, something we’ve dealt with in the past (we tend to only eat dessert when it’s really something we want & hardly ever drink from the bar at dinner). We had dinner one night at Crown Grill & it was fantastic. I wish the restaurant was more closed off from the Wheelhouse Bar next to it, to create a more intimate feeling, but the food & the service was excellent. Our surf & turf were both prepared to perfection & the dessert sampler was a highlight of the entire cruise. In addition, our waiter Pierre, recommended an excellent bottle of Pinot Noir. We also enjoyed: - the International Cafe, a coffee shop on the 5th floor, which offered espresso drinks & a killer breakfast sandwich (the best hidden breakfast secret on the ship!). They also offered a light lunch & snacks throughout the day & seemed to be a very underutilized area of the ship. If you just want a sandwich for lunch, this was the place to go. - Alfrado’s. Princess claims to have the best pizza at sea & I would absolutely agree with their claim. We had lunch there on the first day right after we got on board & the pizza was excellent. Alfrado’s never seemed very crowded & I wonder if a lot of passengers think there’s an extra charge to eat there (there’s not, so go enjoy!). We also had a slice of pizza on the pool deck one afternoon & it was good, although definitely not as good as Alfrado’s. - the Horizon Cafe & Bistro was better than many other cruises we’ve been on, both in offerings & organization. We enjoyed many of the international offerings (Indian, Thai), but we really missed our daily sushi, which was always our splurge on Celebrity. They did have a nice cheese spread most afternoons & one day we splurged on pulled pork nachos. - afternoon tea: Princess offers two afternoon tea experiences. The Royal Afternoon Tea was $10 per person served in the Atrium & includes a large tower of sweet & savory treats & three different types of tea (along with very knowledgeable staff). It was lovely & absolutely worth the $10 each - felt very special, similar to experiences in London & the UK. The regular afternoon tea is served in the Concerto dining room with similar food, but just one tea option. The day we went, there weren't many people in attendance. A positive regarding bar service on the ship: the waitstaff was ample, but never pushy – I don’t think I was ever asked if I wanted a drink anywhere on the ship, but had no problem finding someone when I did want to order. The drink prices were much lower than other cruises (especially Celebrity), which was nice. We didn’t drink much, but $8 for a glass of wine seemed like a totally fair price point (& is way lower than we’re used to paying at home!). I ordered coffee through room service one morning & it was delivered in about 15 minutes - not bad for morning rush on a sea day! Ports We loved the ports on this itinerary, which was the primary reason why we booked this cruise. We visited four new places (Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada & Princess Cays) & two places we’ve been to previously (Dominica, St. Thomas). With the exception of Dominica, when our tour was rained out, we did all independent excursions, all of which were great. We ended up doing an excursion in Dominica through Princess, the Wacky Rollers 4WD tour, & it was a lot of fun, even in the pouring rain! Spa We had a couples massage in the Sanctuary on our second sea day, which was excellent. Not only was the massage itself good, it was a neat experience to be able to hear the waves of the ship as I fell into a deep state of relaxation. Our alfresco massage included time to relax in The Sanctuary & with this experience, we finally truly felt relaxed & on vacation. I also had a pedicure on our last sea day & it was well done (still going strong 10 days later) & relaxing. I thought the spa prices were pretty fair & comparable to any big city (in fact, my pedi was only $10 more than what I pay at home). Embarkation/Disembarkation We got an email the day before we left that the ship would be returning to Ft. Lauderdale late from their previous sailing, but we were only an hour delayed getting on board. Even though they were late arriving, embarkation was super easy &, in an industry first, we loved being able to go right to our room when we got on board (rather than having to kill time on deck). Disembarkation was also very smooth. Rather than being late, we were actually off the ship 30 minutes earlier than we had planned (definitely a first)! A friend picked us up & the whole process was very smooth & easy, as it always is at Port Everglades. A note if you’re cruising in & out of Port Everglades & have Global Entry: bring your cards! The Global Entry line wasn’t well marked, but once we showed our cards, we were moved to the front of the line. If we hadn’t had our cards, we would have had to wait in line. Make sure to fill out your paper customs form, though, as they do not have the kiosks at the port (we had thrown ours out & had to fill it out at the last minute). Wifi I had the smallest wifi package & the Internet was so slow, it was almost useless! 5-10 minutes to send a tweet & a prewritten email. I saw people working around the ship & I'm not sure how that was even possible. Good ol' 16 Aft seemed to have a pretty good signal, the signal in our room was not great (even though we were right by a router). It's not worth it - just unplug until you get to port! Overall Impression of Princess I feel like I’ve written a lot of negative things, but we really did enjoy it! It was such a nice, refreshing break. It’s amazing the mental break that comes from not checking work email for 10 days. I would cruise Princess again, but likely only with B’s family or in Alaska. We spent much of the cruise comparing our previous experience on Celebrity & decided that Celebrity is definitely a bit nicer across the board. We’ll likely stick with them in the future; however, since we’ve done most of the Caribbean islands where the large ships cruise to, we might take a break from cruising for a while. Viking Ocean Cruises is breaking into the Caribbean next year & their itinerary looks perfect (lots of small islands). Royal was the largest ship we’ve been on & I don’t see us going on a ship larger than her (sorry, Oasis). We learned on this cruise that we definitely do much better with port-heavy itineraries (we were crawling the walls after two days at sea by the time we got to Aruba), but I did read three books, so perhaps I can’t complain! This cruise was a bit unusual with the last day being at Princess Cays instead of at sea – I think I like being at sea better. Overall, a cruise vacation is still an incredible bang for your buck & a great way to unplug, unwind & only unpack once. They work well for us because we can be as active as we want – or as lazy as we want. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Decided to try Princess after a cruise with P&O.We spotted a nice little cruise from Singapore ,Bangkok ,and Ho Chi Min City.,so booked it in Sept. Booked the cabin,traditional dinning, and told we receive credits,being ex forces. ... Read More
Decided to try Princess after a cruise with P&O.We spotted a nice little cruise from Singapore ,Bangkok ,and Ho Chi Min City.,so booked it in Sept. Booked the cabin,traditional dinning, and told we receive credits,being ex forces. Alls well, got my personnel organiser, and looked through it. After a couple of weeks my dinning came up,anytime dinning,wrong.no credits,no cabin.Returned to the travel agents,who contacted Princess on 3 occasions,still no change.We were booked to fly on the 3rd March, but by the 2nd no labels for the cruise.The travel agent sorted it all out,so off we went. We flew Emerates to Singapore ,with no problems, and arrived to be greeted by a taxi to the hotel. We were booked into the Village Hotel,which was loverly. Spent the day in Singapore and come the next day the taxi arrived to take us to the terminal. Now we come to the cruise, embarkation was smooth with no problems,and as traditional up to the buffet for lunch.Went to the cabin to find dinning was still anytime dinning,that's got to change, after spending 30 mins. in line with 20 others with the same problem final year got sorted.Now l find out l had no credits ,.Was told these are only given to American and Canadian. Well not having much luck up to now,but that soon changed, from our steward,right through the crew,we were treated like royalty, (l am not joking )nothing was too much trouble. Dinning traditional was special ,with the meals delicious, entertainment,was good, and loved the sky screen at night. We arranged our own tours as we found the ship tours expensive (take note)and it wasn't too long before disembarkation,this again was trouble free,.All in all , we spent our 47 th wedding anniversary on a loverly ship. I will congratulate the captain and crew for a wonderful cruise. Why the title ?? If Princess sort their administration out before hand they would have received 5 stars all the way, but that went to the crew. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The cruise my wife and booked and what we actually sailed ended up being two different things entirely; and while there was disappointment that we we unable to dock in Key West, we did end up going to Nassau which was very nice. Before I ... Read More
The cruise my wife and booked and what we actually sailed ended up being two different things entirely; and while there was disappointment that we we unable to dock in Key West, we did end up going to Nassau which was very nice. Before I proceed with this review any further, I need to address some misinformation provided in the previous review by bcsjr. In fairness to Princess they did send my wife and I an email the Friday prior to sailing that due to a generator issue (not an engine problem as suggested in the other review) the ship would skip Princess Cays (their private island) and would be replaced by a stop in Nassau so the ship could return to Houston in time. Secondly, while we did skip Key West due to strong winds causing unsafe docking (on a sunny day I might point out) we ended up spending an extra day at sea. Princess provided compensation of $50 per person in the form of on-board credit as well was 25% of the fare we paid as a credit towards a future cruise. All of this we found fair and more than reasonable. While we were disappointed, we did not let it ruin our vacation unlike many other passengers who complained the whole trip endlessly. If you travel by ship, you have to be more flexible and understanding and not so rigid and demanding like we found so many of our fellow passengers to be. Embarkation was very smooth. My wife uses a wheelchair and the staff were amazing and we were on-board in no time. The only issue we had was the dining noted on our cruise cards was incorrect and I had to stand in line at passenger services once we boarded to get it fixed so they reflected the dining preference I had confirmed for months in Princess' Cruise Personalizer. I try to avoid these long lines on the ship on the first day, but it was handled very well by the passenger services staff. I did find that they are a tad jaded, most likely from dealing with so many people yelling at them. As for the cruise, the entertainment was very good. They had a visiting Soprano on the ship who was amazing we saw her in the production of Bravo and during her own show on the last day. The ships singers and dancers were average (some nails on chalkboard moments). We also experience the Voice of the Ocean patterned after the TV show and found the passenger talent to be quite good and the judges very funny. This cruise also played host to Princess' annual Entertainer of the Year Awards where they showcased a singer, comedian and magician who are supposed to represent the best of Princess. The singer was good, the magician was kids birthday party level, but the comedian (AJ Jamal) was fantastic and really funny as well as very nice and personable when you saw him around the ship (he always engaged the passengers). We were not a fan of the Wake Show the cruise director did everyday on TV, it was one endless infomercial for EFFY (the only jewelry line on the ship) and really told us nothing about the ship, activities or ports of call. Dining room and food were fantastic and when we did have an issue it was quickly rectified by our amazing waiter Abel. We ate all of our meals in either the dining room, International Cafe or room service (which was timely and good); we avoid buffets given the "piggy" and rude nature of our fellow passengers in this type of venue. Our idea of dining is not dealing with lines of aggressive, pushy people who think they will never eat again unless they elbow someone for a sandwich. Overall we had a great time. We did not do any excursions given the limitation of wheelchair accessible options, so we explored Nassau and Freeport on our own which worked out just fine (and made easier by the incredible weather). As Platinum members we did enjoy a few perks, but Princess could learn a few things from Royal Caribbean and ramp up the perks. Finally, as for the condition of the ship; it was in very good condition overall and seemed to be maintained well in the public areas. We did have some issues with the cabin which I will address in the cabin review. This was our third time on this ship over the last 2 years and we found the staff friendly and the ship easy to navigate, especially for someone with accessibility issues. My biggest disappointment came from some of our fellow passengers who need to learn better manners. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This is my 41st cruise and my first review on Cruise Critic. Princess is an outstanding cruise line and one of my favorites, but, they need to work on a few things. As I stated, I have been on 41 cruises, so I consider myself a bit of an ... Read More
This is my 41st cruise and my first review on Cruise Critic. Princess is an outstanding cruise line and one of my favorites, but, they need to work on a few things. As I stated, I have been on 41 cruises, so I consider myself a bit of an seasoned cruiser. Princess has the worst embarkation process I have ever encountered. I have only been on four Princess cruises and for each cruise there has been a line outside of the terminal- the wait was almost an hour just to get into the door! WOW!! Yes- Princess is worth the wait, but there are a number of people that find the wait difficult. Once inside, only one security line was open causing a longer backup. After you received your key, we were told to sit in another waiting area, once that area was filler, we were allowed to board the ship. The employees were rude with nasty and unnecessary comments ( I made the mistake of standing up because I was tired of sitting and I was told to sit and wait, the ship isn't going anyplace so just sit). Once on the ship I was amazed at her beauty! The Emerald Princess is a lovely ship and has a lot to offer. First, I must note that most employees aboard the ship are outstanding! They are very hardworking and will do almost anything for you. I traveled with my spouse and some friends. My friend wanted a pickle for her Bloody Mary and Jaime went out of his way to find her some pickles- something that he did not need to do! The staff made the trip enjoyable. My hubby and I stayed in balcony cabin A406 and it was roomy, clean and comfortable. The balcony had room for just a small table and two chairs, but it was mid-ship and covered. Our room steward kept our room tidy and took care of us the entire time. Dining- the food was good. I have had better on other Princess ships, but once again, the staff made the difference. They were outstanding. The top award would go to entertainment. I was very impressed with the entertainment aboard the Emerald Princess. The Illusionist show took my breath away. If you will be cruising on her soon, make sure you do not miss the shows. The comedians were hilarious! This was a short four day cruise, we had two days and a day at Grand Cayman. The pools were clean, the pizza delicious, the malts were the best! It was one of the most relaxing and memorable cruises I have taken. I was very relaxed until disembarkation! Disembarkation was just as bad as embarkation. Due to the port needing to close the parking garage at Terminal 2, this is where we parked our car, the ship returned to terminal 19 and everyone was shuttled back to terminal 2. Once again, the line snacked around the building, the staff was rude and it was very slow going. Princess had one person telling people which bus to take, the driver did not get off the bus to help load luggage- my husband loaded the luggage for our bus, he just happened to be the youngest gentleman (he is 57) on the bus beside the driver who did nothing. Once we were at the parking garage, once again my dear husband unloaded the luggage for everyone, there was no way we were going to have any of the older gentlemen (some with canes) unload those heavy bags. The driver just sat and did nothing. Shame on Princess for allowing this to happen. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We boarded the ship without any issues or delays which is a great way to start any cruise. On this cruise, we had the mini-suite and we found it to be in excellent order. It appeared to me that the ship had recently been refurbished as ... Read More
We boarded the ship without any issues or delays which is a great way to start any cruise. On this cruise, we had the mini-suite and we found it to be in excellent order. It appeared to me that the ship had recently been refurbished as we saw quite a bit of new carpet, paint, etc. I will say that the service on this ship was some of the best that we have ever had, especially our room steward and dining staff. The two bartenders in the Crooners lounge must be mentioned. Ruben from the Philippines and his female co-bartender learned our names (and everyone else) on the first day and never forgot. They made everyone feel so welcome that their bar was packed every night. The entertainment was so, so. Some acts were better than others but the worst was the pool band. Someone needs to tell the lead singer to find another profession – he cannot sing, to the point that people at the pool were laughing at him – even the staff. The first comedian was very good but the second one from Ireland sounded like he was reading two year old jokes from the Internet. The food on the ship was very good but not the best that I have ever had. The dinners were fine but I cannot put my finger on what was missing. We had lobster twice but even it seemed somewhat bland. Again, it was good, just not great like our last sail on the Ruby Princess. Overall, I would highly recommend this ship and this line. We really enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was my first cruise and my husband's first as an adult. We enjoyed it very much. It was very low stress and relaxing. We plan to do more cruising the the future. Ship: The ship was clean, well maintained, and nicely ... Read More
This was my first cruise and my husband's first as an adult. We enjoyed it very much. It was very low stress and relaxing. We plan to do more cruising the the future. Ship: The ship was clean, well maintained, and nicely appointed. While each bar had its own vibe and decor, the three dining rooms were all very much the same. Once I was in a dining room, I couldn't tell which one I was in. It would have been nice if the dining rooms had more varied decor for variety. At anytime of the day or night I could find a quiet spot to read, play board games (we brought a few with us) or watch the water. Or you can always find a lively spot if you prefer. The staff was mostly good but not exceptional. We didn't use the pools but there a lot of them. At least one was adult only with hardly anyone in it. Still the pools were a little small. I would have used one if there had been a lap pool. Dining: We had anytime dining with the unlimited soft drink package. The dining was not really "anytime" as we often waited in a long line for a table. I loved the food in the dining room but my husband did not care for it. It was too gourmet with too much sauce on everything for his tastes. He normally love Eggs Benedict but was disappointed by that dish in the dining room. I loved my dining room breakfast. The best part of smoked salmon and cream cheese on a toasted bagel. Also good granola and yogurt. At dinner, on the first night I ordered a cheese tart (which is an entree) for desert and they were confused for a second but were happy to oblige. At our last meal in the dining room, I didn't like my beef wellington and they happily replaced it with something else more to my liking. Also, the soft drinks served in the dining room were flat and they seemed mostly unwilling to fix the problem. One server, sent his assistant to a nearby bar for our soft drinks and another brought us soft drinks in a can. But others were less helpful all the manager did was blame it on the manufacturer of the drink dispenser. The buffet lacked variety. In the AM the eggs were cold and the pastries stale. We also ate one night in the Italian restaurant and once in the Steak House. The food in the Italian restaurant was okay but not really worth it. The service was mostly wonderful but ... at another table one passenger had taken off his shoes and socks and was getting a foot massage from his son. It was formal night and this seemed well outside the dress code. Even at McDonald's you have to wear shoes. I complained to the waitress but she said there was nothing she could do about it. Not very romantic. The steak house was wonderful. The service there was superb as was the food and atmosphere. We would have eaten there again but it was our last night on board the ship. Even with our soft drink package we had to show our ship ID every time we ordered a beverage. I bought a lanyard (none provided) so that I would always have it on me in easy reach. My husband kept his in his wallet and got very tired of taking it out. We would have been willing to pay more it we could have ordered drinks without the fiddlyness of showing our card every time. Next time we will skip the drinks package and stick to the included drinks of water, tea, coffee. Be warned at least one bar charges for basic coffee even though basic coffee is supposedly included in the cost of the cruise. Entertainment and Activities: I was disappointed that there weren't more scheduled activities. I like more live music and dancing. I'd also like presentations about the upcoming ports covering history, culture, geography, and economy but none were offered. We went to one show in the theater which we enjoyed but there was too much opera singing for my husband's taste. The best activity was the star gazing but it was only offered once the entire cruise. Also, they turn off deck lights on the top deck to better see the stars (good) but when the talk is over they turn the lights back on (bad) so that you have no time just to look without all the yammering. They said it was for safety but they could have given us 30 more min of supervised (for safety) but silent dark to just soak in the night sky. Also the talk was all about the mythology and nothing about astronomy. I would also have liked a talk about ship operation and navigation. Ports: The towns are very poor and ugly. There is nothing glamorous, exotic, beautiful, or quaint about them. The water was gorgeous. The weather was warm and pleasant. Shore Excursions: We booked an excursion for each port and were happy with them. When we first booked, we wanted to do the the America's Cup Race but it was wait-listed so we booked a snorkel thing instead. Luckily someone canceled and we got into the America's Cup Race and had no difficulty canceling the snorkeling but we did have to ask them to do it. It was not automatic. Then, because the water was so beautiful and we weren't doing the snorkeling, we asked to change one of our other excursions to include time at a beach where we could snorkel and we had no problems getting that taken care of either. In Cozumel we did the America's Cup 12-Metre Yacht Race. I highly recommend it. We hope to do that excursion again it was so much fun. In Roatan we did the Gumbalimba Preservation Nature Park & Scenic Drive. We added time at the beach to this one and it came with lunch. It was okay. The scenic drive wasn't very scenic and we didn't get enough time with the monkeys. The lunch was cold hamburgers and there wasn't enough food. The beach was wonderful but the snorkeling was just so so. In Belize we did the Lamanai Mayan Ruins,Mangrove River Cruise & Lunch. I'm glad I saw the ruins once but they were not very interesting compared with ruins I've seen in Europe. The river cruise was loud and windy. Don't expect to see wildlife. I think the noise of the boat scared it all away. Lunch was very good, home-cooked, and the best meal we had on the entire vacation. Embarkation/Disembarkation: The cruise leaves out of our home city. In the morning we drove to the cruise terminal. Parking was easy and check in was low stress. The waiting room could be more comfortable and better appointed but it serves its purpose. We were early and some of the first to board. We had plenty of time to get lunch on board, take a self guided tour of the ship, and unpack. Then sit on the back deck, enjoy a drink and discuss the geography of the area. Then we sailed away thru the ship channel and watched the land pass by. At the ports, getting on and off the ship was easy if a little crowded. At the end of the cruise we had a choice of walking off with our luggage or having them unload or luggage for us. With the second option you have to pick a specific time to disembark. We wanted to be flexible so we chose the first option only to find out that those folks have to get off first very early so we switched the the second option but had to give them our luggage the night before. In the end it turned out well but it could have been better explained in the first place. We were looking for a relaxing stress-reducing week and we got it. We especially liked that there was no air travel involved nor long car drives like all our previous vacations. It was also very affordable. We understand that this is that last season that they are offering the cruise out of Houston but we will take a similar cruise again in the future out of Galveston. We will do the America's Cup Race again and spend the other days snorkeling off a sail boat. We will try a different cruise line in hopes of better dining. We will get an interior cabin towards the front of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My wife and I have 300+ days with princess. Every time we go back we worry (just a bit) after reading current reviews on CC. Before writing this was glad to see all south American reviews (except one) were quite positive. Princess DID NOT ... Read More
My wife and I have 300+ days with princess. Every time we go back we worry (just a bit) after reading current reviews on CC. Before writing this was glad to see all south American reviews (except one) were quite positive. Princess DID NOT disappoint us once again. We did the Valparaiso to LA "we're done in SA" repositioning cruise. Recommend going into Santiago early to spend several days at it is one great city. Used private tour to get to cruise port which worked well and for not much extra than Princess transfer from airport. Embarkation was great and efficient. The ship was in great shape with only some of the furniture looking a little tired. Captain Mario Ciruzzi was very informative and very visible around the ship. Shore excursions are always hit or miss so we are doing more on our own (being very careful) and even did one with a CC group. All in all ports were all great with the exception of Coquimbo but it could have been the tour we chose. We always do fixed late MDR. We are not picky eaters so we ALWAYS found something on the menu to please and are servers were great getting to know our likes and dislikes after the third day. We were lucky to experience the Princess entertainer of the year Nathan Foley. Go out your way to see this guy! Other production shows were ok and nothing that we really hadn't seen before. 100+ passengers on the 3 day shore excursion to Machu Picchu had plane problems and we had to leave Lima without them. Princess did an outstanding job getting them back to Lima for the night, flying them to Ecuador, busing them (3 hours) to the port of Manta where we made an unscheduled stop and picked them up to a heroes welcome two days later. One week later we had a medical emergency for a crew member with the USCG air lifting him off the deck and transporting him to a hospital in San Diego. All in all a great trip on a great ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
All in all, a very nice time! The Spring Breakers were partying up a storm, but never got obnoxious or intrusive...there were just ...em...a LOT of them. That being said, it was my bad for not taking this into consideration; my kids are ... Read More
All in all, a very nice time! The Spring Breakers were partying up a storm, but never got obnoxious or intrusive...there were just ...em...a LOT of them. That being said, it was my bad for not taking this into consideration; my kids are grown and Spring Break hasn't been an issue for a number of years, so...oh well. I'll know better next time. We stayed on the Lido Deck (15) in L102 - pretty much directly on the center point of the bow...AND IT WAS FABULOUS!!! OMG - I will never stay in the lower decks again after this! Lido is where it is all happening, and I didn't have to wait for elevators, etc. Just walk out of the room, and BAM! ALL the fun! Didn't feel any ship sway, slept like a BABY and zero overhead noise! The upcharge restaurants (Crown Grill and Gastro Pub - did not do Share) were well worth it, but the Dining room selections were meh, and so was the Horizon Ct buffet. Food does not seem to be the star on Princess as it is on other lines. The Casino (in my opinion) is pretty lame - all slots and table games - a couple of sad pusher machines. No claws, no throwers. I like slots, but I want coins spilling out, not "credits" on the face of the machine. ESPECIALLY when I am paying cash to play them, not my ship-board account. Again, just me. (DH did a job on the Blackjack tables tho - came back w/ $350 after betting only $40 - but he's good at that kind of thing). Embarkation to Princess Cay (Bahamas) was a long and boring proposition waiting for the tenders, and it was all just a big beach party...I should have just stayed onboard. But Grand Turk was easy as pie and great fun! We booked a Segway tour which was completely hilarious! Our Guides KJ and Manny were so patient and thorough - the Segway can be intimidating at first, but really, it's easy! And COMPLETELY fun - do it, you won't be disappointed! All in all, it was a nice cruise. We had much better service on Carnival, but again, it was Spring Break, so I'm not going to down Princess on this - they were packed full. We'll try Princess again, but we'll probably go with Carnival first. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our second Princess cruise - the last one was six years ago. We wanted to try a new and larger ship, and the Regal Princess fit the bill. We have cruised with four different cruise lines, in twelve years, and are getting a bit ... Read More
This was our second Princess cruise - the last one was six years ago. We wanted to try a new and larger ship, and the Regal Princess fit the bill. We have cruised with four different cruise lines, in twelve years, and are getting a bit more particular about "bang for our buck." Here are some highs and lows of this trip. The food was fabulous! We ate in the Symphony dining room and at the buffet (level16) for all our meals. Everything was tasty, well-seasoned and interesting! Our favorites were the myriad of cold salads in the buffet line, and the wonderful desserts. I must mention the prime rib on the first night ...truly delicious! The service in the Symphony dining room is not as attentive or elegant as in the main dining room six years ago, but it seems that all the cruise lines have eased back on their attention to details. The wait staff seemed a bit over-worked and frenzied this cruise. But never rude! Just would forget to fill our water or bring another serving of bread when we asked. The ship was beautiful and mostly spotless. The exception in cleanliness was our cabin. We were mid-ship on level 8 (Emerald) and the room needed a good cleaning. The carpeting had many, and I mean many, large stains. This surprised us since the ship in only two years old! The pillows smelled musty or something ....not pleasant. The bathroom floor had dirt in the corners and along the edge of the shower. The cabin stewards no longer seem to work in teams of two, and details get overlooked. The shows were above average, and the string quartet (Polonia) was great! There are some extremely talented singers in this troupe! We didn't care for the art auction team at all. They were pushy and had a major superiority complex. But we loved the staff in the photo area and International coffee bar. Overall, the staff was friendly, engaged and really made our vacation wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Our 7th cruise, first time on Princess. Our previous cruise was on the Queen Elizabeth, so I'm not sure if it's fair to compare the two ships. I did notice a few areas of tiredness on the Sapphire.....a few places that needed ... Read More
Our 7th cruise, first time on Princess. Our previous cruise was on the Queen Elizabeth, so I'm not sure if it's fair to compare the two ships. I did notice a few areas of tiredness on the Sapphire.....a few places that needed repair and/or paint touchup. Embarkation was a bit of a disappointment......but I later understood that the wait was for immigration in Singapore, so they did their best to control the amount of people going through at a time. Our cabin was great.....a balcony on the Aloha deck. No complaints there. Our cabin stewart was excellent. Friendly and professional. During the cruise, we had 3 small requests. All were done immediately, even though we told him there was no rush. He was fantastic. We did the anytime dining. We like to relax on vacation and not have to worry about what time it is. All the staff at all restaurants were fantastic and the food was wonderful. Lots of choice on the menu. Cannot say one bad thing about the food. We were pleasantly surprised. We did end up eating most of our lunches and dinners with other cruisers. Had fun meeting people from all over the world. Had most of our breakfasts in the dining room as well. Only used the buffet for going ashore days at breakfast. Used room service for breakfast twice as well. Nice treat. Lots of lounge chairs available by the pools. Not a ton of wait service around the pool area......but really, I don't have a problem getting up and getting our own drinks (first world problems). We usually did get waited on by the pools at least once a day. Had no problems ever getting service at the various bars inside or outside. As for entertainment, we aren't big "show" people on cruises. After hearing positive reviews from other people, we did decide to go to a couple. The violinist was excellent which really surprised me. It led us to try another, but unfortunately, the juggler was terrible. Forty-five minutes was the perfect length of time for the shows. The gym is well equipped but crowded the first part of the cruise. Excursions......we try not to do them. We don't like being led around by a flag and would rather explore on our own, see what we want to see and take as long or as little as we like. We did, however, take the excursion into Bangkok with tuktuk ride. No complaints. The tuktuk was fun. We did pay to take the bus into Ho Chi Min City......the ship being so far away from the city. It was US $90 each (return) for an 1 1/2 drive. I think this should have either been included by Princess, or drastically cheaper. Disembarkation was a bit of a cluster. Beijing could use twice as many immigration officers to help this process. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and would go with Princess in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
After a disappointing start with a later embarkation due to extra sanitation onboard and all the negative reports through the media in regards to Norovirus, we ended up having a really good time on the Golden Princess. We have not cruised ... Read More
After a disappointing start with a later embarkation due to extra sanitation onboard and all the negative reports through the media in regards to Norovirus, we ended up having a really good time on the Golden Princess. We have not cruised before so have no idea how this ship compares to others. Service around the ship was consistently attentive other than the rude boffins in the internet lounge. Points to note: * Hats off the staff for the incredible job they do making getting on and off at ports so well organised. and Hats off for putting up with the constant stupid questions and whining from the small minded minority. * Unsure why we are chrged gratuity surcharge on purchases including drinks when ship runs in AUD. Surely we can choose if we wish to pay gratuities?? * Unimpressed with the shops onboard - but I wasnt there to buy things so it didnt bother me. * Room steward was attentive * I have no idea why so many people choose to eat in the buffet as the restaurants were easy to get into and far better service and food quality. We were impressed with the selections. * we were cruising to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary so we did find it hard to socialise on board as most patrons were a lot older. * we found the shows cheesy and aimed at older patrons. We were happy sitting in a bar listening to the houseband or joining in trivia etc * we enjoyed the art auctions and found them informative. All in all we would cruise again with Princess and recommend to others. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My husband and I were looking for an extended cruise to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and we had not visited most of the ports on the Southern Caribbean itinerary. Overall, we enjoyed the experience. The ship is beautiful! We ... Read More
My husband and I were looking for an extended cruise to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and we had not visited most of the ports on the Southern Caribbean itinerary. Overall, we enjoyed the experience. The ship is beautiful! We especially liked the Atrium. It has a real European feel and is a great location for entertainment. The balcony cabin was very nice but the layout could be better. On similar cruise ships the bed has been positioned close to the windows so you don't have to walk around it all the time. Having the bed in the center of the room makes it feel more cramped than necessary. The bathroom is small but this didn't really bother us, although I found the water pressure to be weaker than on other cruises. But, maybe that was just me. People complain about the size of the balconies on this ship but we thought the balcony was fine. Having traveled on Carnival and Norwegian in the past, we found Princess to be a little more upscale. The extra (included in price) restaurant options like the International Cafe and the Pizza restaurant were especially nice. The food was good overall but we didn't think it was any better than on the other cruise lines and there were evenings where the service was really, really slow. However, the easy availability of anytime dining, sometimes hard to come by on other cruises, was a real plus. Our two biggest criticisms of this cruise were the lack of a mid-ship staircase, and the theatre entertainment. The missing staircase made the elevators extremely crowded and it was frustrating having to wait for an elevator to go up or down one floor. People were really irritable by the end of the cruise. I would think twice about choosing this particular ship again. As for the entertainment, the music around the ship: the house band, the piano player (Korey), the Ukrainian String Quartet, were all excellent. As for the theatre shows, the only thing we really enjoyed was the first comedian, Robbie Printz. We aren't magic fans so while that might have been good, it wasn't interesting to us. The second comic was poor, and the two shows we attempted to enjoy just weren't very good. It was the last cruise to the Caribbean for this ship this year so we thought perhaps the talent may have moved on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on this ship and really enjoyed it. The. ship was very clean and well presented and the crew were extremely friendly and professional. The only fault which we had - was the delay in bussing passengers ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on this ship and really enjoyed it. The. ship was very clean and well presented and the crew were extremely friendly and professional. The only fault which we had - was the delay in bussing passengers to La Rochelle as you are not permitted to take a taxi or walk into port. Tendering to Guernsey was also a slow process though to be fair- there was a heavy sea fog that day. The entertainment on board was quite good and my only fault would be the timings of some of the alternative fun shows, which clashed with the 8:15 set seating dining, meaning that we missed numerous good shows. This needs to be looked at so that all passengers can benefit from all of the entertainment - after all we all paid the same price for our equivalent cabins, so should all receive the same benefits! This was a cold weather cruise, and unfortunately the SkyWalker bar did not open until 10 pm. This would have been fine if you could watch "sail off " on top deck, but as it was cold, it would up have been nice to have a good indoor viewing venue , to watch the sail off in the comfort of indoors, and with bar facilities open. We only booked one shore excursion to Estoriil beach In Lisbon, which really was too early in the season. I did check before booking that the seafront promenade was open- and was assured that it was . However when we got there NOTHING at all was open on the sea front - not even one restaurant or toilets. As It was a cold rainy day, we therefore had to simply return to the bus.! Otherwise a pleasant and enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My review of the Star Princess April 2016 - 10 nights CALIFORNIA COASTAL. First let me say that despite a couple glitches, this was a WONDERFUL cruise that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend or even re-take! BOARDING IN Vancouver ... Read More
My review of the Star Princess April 2016 - 10 nights CALIFORNIA COASTAL. First let me say that despite a couple glitches, this was a WONDERFUL cruise that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend or even re-take! BOARDING IN Vancouver at CANADA PLACE, line ups were big, although we arrived at approx 11:30. Not to worry though, it moved very quickly and by noon we were on board. Princess was organized and efficient as usual. The pre board area for "preferred boarding" was very packed. I am amazed and impressed at how quick and efficient the whole procedure was. Yay Vancouver and the beautiful Canada Place! Staterooms were ready as they usually are. We were enjoying the traditional welcome aboard buffet in no time! Our STATEROOM - Baja deck 11 room 319. Balcony is small size but room for two chairs and a little table. If a big balcony matters to you, you would want to book a Caribe deck balcony room or Dolphin mini suite. Our cabin stewards, Eddie and Ernesto were more than up to Princess' usual fine standards. Nice quiet room. We mentioned that our pillows smelled weird and they were immediately replaced with lovely new ones. PORT OF VANCOUVER: IMO, Quebec City and New York City offer the most beautiful sail a ways! But Vancouver comes in a very close second. Of course a gorgeous 25c day and a bright blue sky doesn't hurt! Really, the sail a way experience right up til it was pitch black around 9 :30 was breathtaking and unforgettable. DINING ROOM Unfortunately We began the cruise with a glitch. Our dining times had not been coordinated with our four travelling companions, despite all of our pre-cruise efforts to do so. I don't know what happened there?? My husband was 29th in line to get that sorted out and it took three hours! No joking and not a great way to spend the first afternoon. However the maître d Jean-Francois Ferat was excellent and did get us a fixed time and table for the six of us for the duration of the cruise. We appreciated that a lot. We also enjoyed and appreciated our waiters Conci and Raj. Food was unfailingly hot n tasty and dinner proceeded at a good pace each night. On our last cruise on Regal, I missed the anytime menu, particularly the salmon which had been replaced with dry as a bone anytime chicken. Very disappointing menu changes. BUT it's all back to normal now! Thank you Princess for giving Cutis Stone the heave ho! INTERNATIONAL CAFE, our favourite place has all we want for breakfast. The yogurt parfait and also the muesli is wonderful! Shout out to Feng Shu, Wan, Yulia and Fernanda, who gave us fantastic service. Great lattes too. These fine workers made a difference for us. CROWN GRILL - we always enjoy Crown Grill and tend to have one dinner there. That black and blue onion soup is always amazing and the dessert sampler can't be beat. Juan did a fine job taking care of us. We enjoyed this scrumptious meal during San Francisco sail a way which made our window table all the more special. HORIZON COURT - very nice welcome aboard lunch. The same one Princess has had for years. Love those scallops. We aren't buffet people otherwise though. Have to say I much prefer this Horizon/ Caribe set up to the confusing maize that is on Regal. SEA DAYS. Our first sea days were cool - about 52f. Seas were calm as could be though and we enjoyed relaxing days. Due to the cooler weather, causing everyone to stay inside the ship rather than be out on deck, the ship did feel somewhat crowded. We also experienced this on Canada New England cruises. It's just the nature of the itinerary. LOS ANGELES The ship docks at San Pedro. Immigration officers come aboard. Here we encountered our second Princess "glitch". Those with a tour booked, like ourselves, were told to be at Vista lounge at 7 a.m. Turns out everyone was told the same thing! Can you imagine 3000 passengers in a pseudo line up of sorts snaking around deck seven? Chaos is an understatement. I felt very sorry for the elderly and those with private arrangements who missed their tours. You would seriously think this was the first time a ship ever docked at San Pedro!!! For the first time I've ever seen, the Princess Patter published an apology for the situation. I believe it wasn't ALL Princess' fault but perhaps it could have been managed better. We had booked the "LONG BEACH on your own tour." The bus scene was chaotic as well and by now people were just plain mad after hours long wait to disembark. Our tour guide was really quite pathetic, giving us a poor narrative some of the way. We arrived in LB after approximately 1/2 hour. By now it was lunch time!!! Lady Luck finally shone on us! Here we were dropped off in front of a Bubba Gumps!!! Whew. The day was looking up. Both service and food were excellent. After lunch we caught the free Pass Porter bus which takes you downtown LB, to the Queen Mary, and to a shopping village. We just took it for the "tour" getting off where we got on and then walked the pier side area. The day was spectacular, blue skies and sunshine! The tour bus actually left exactly at the time the driver said it would and we were back on the ship at 4. Another time... I wouldn't bother with a Princess tour but just take a cab to LB and back. The tour was $40 each. Two of our companions took cab for $25 each, and didn't have the bussing hassel. CATALINA ISLAND Tendering began at nine ... Kudos to Princess for efficient process both getting on and off the island. We went ashore at 10 so perhaps some of initial rush was cleared out. Our golf cart rental for six went smoothly .... Although as a heads up - you'll need your drivers licence and insurance information and be over 25 yrs old. There is also a $60 cash deposit required in case you are late returning the cart. Fair enough. Ok, if you haven't been to Catalina, you're in for a treat. What a pleasant little hamlet of Avalon! We enjoyed our two hour golf cart excursion immensely - map and roads were easy to navigate. Pretty sure we took 1000 photos! The day was sunny and blue again, with a light jacket perfectly sufficient. We paid $120 for six of us for a three hour rental of which we only used two hours. Plenty of time and a bargain price. SANTA BARBARA. Is it possible to be in love with a city? Pretty sure I'm in love with Santa Barbara! What a gorgeous! Clean, safe, happy place! I've never seen so many people walking beautiful, well behaved dogs either. Loved that! The "bells tolled" for at least an hour this Sunday morning. It was heavenly to sit on our balcony, hear the waves splash on the ship and the bells ring out in the city. We disembarked about 11:00 and immediately caught the 50 cent trolley into town. Such a lovely place. I really wouldn't have been sorry to "miss the ship". SAN FRANCISCO - overnight. We sailed into San Fran late due to weather conditions, however we docked so close to Pier 39 aka Fishermans Wharf, it was a ten minute or less walk away. Lots of interesting shops and restaurants to be visited as well as an entertaining couple hundred sea lions! We also enjoyed our second day here. The hop on hop off bus can be caught right at the docks and the cable cars aren't far either. We did neither, but our companions did both and really enjoyed it. Temperature was bright sunny sweater weather! PASSENGER DYNAMICS. A real mix of west coast'ers. Very few children. This IS NOT a racist comment- just a fact... Being the ship left from Vancouver aka Hongcouver, there were approximately 50% Asians onboard. Even the immigration paperwork came in "Chinese"!!! In general, these folks love karaoke and dancing! Fun to watch. THE SHIP ITSELF...has that familiar Princess feel. Star is a little tired in comparison to the new Regal/Royal but that is understandable and wouldn't stop me from sailing on her again! The shops are excellent and have a nice variety. ENTERTAINMENT- Tricia Kellie is part of the Welcome Aboard show. Could someone possibly slaughter Janis Joplin, Laura Brannigan AND Carol King in 1/2 hour? Yes apparently they could. What a dreadful show. I don't remember having left a show before even if I wasn't loving it. However this time I decided that I didn't have enough life left to waste it listening to a cat caught in a fan belt. Unfortunately they gave her a whole show of her own a couple nights later. Perhaps I'm the only one who thought she was terrible? To be fair, I overheard several people say that she was much better at her own show. MAGIC SHOWS don't do anything for me BUT the show by Alex Ramon was great! It doesn't hurt that he is adorable, doesn't act all high on himself, and doesn't use audience members to mock. Look him up - he's great! Good catch hiring him Princess. BILLY JOEL TRIBUTE by David Guidice was good too! I am a Billy Joel fan and quite critical, but I was thrilled to see a second show on the agenda a couple nights later. This second show was combined with the magician. Super show. Production Show DESTINATION ANYWHERE was fantastic for costumes and energy. And the usual Princess Smut factor was way toned down. Thanks Princess for keeping in mind that families are onboard too! COMEDIAN - name I forget. Had a couple hysterical moments which isn't enough to make a whole show! The average rating in the elevators post show was about 3/10! Piano Bar Hits with Dwight Blake in Crooners is lovely. Lots of "old" favourites. Also a nice string quartet La Boheme. The guitarist, however, was downright lame. His repertoire of about four songs grew very very old over the ten days. If I ever hear Lady in Red again.... PIAZZA - we generally spend a lot of time enjoying musical entertainment in the piazza THE SEAS - our night leaving Santa Barbara heading west then north for San Francisco was the roughest I have ever experienced. 25 ft swells slowed us down to 14 knots. This brought about a late arrival into San Francisco. Of course Princess doesn't control the wind and seas! The captain updated us, reassuring us that we were perfectly safe. 2 more SEA DAYS back to Vancouver - here seas got very rough again. My poor aunt spent another half day in bed. Otherwise though weather was PERFECT. I absolutely love the walking and running track on Regal and I missed it. But the promenade deck is a sufficient substitute for walkers when it is all open. Often parts of the deck are barricaded. There are also several flights of stairs to navigate on the deck. Odd. My husband loves the interactive exercise bikes on Regal. They are incredible. There are just "old fashioned " style exercise bikes on Star and not many of them! But frankly and sadly, we don't cruise to exercise! DISEMBARKATION - our last two disembarkations were probably the best we've ever experienced ( in Fort Lauderdale) So we had high hopes for this one too. Our given time to meet in the Princess theatre was 9:05. We were off ship, found our luggage and on the sidewalk waiting for our ride at 9:30. Yay Princess and Canada Place. FINALLY- would we cruise Princess again? Yes of course. Considering itineraries and price, I expect we'll be found aboard a Princess ship again! Also I think it's only fair to say that after my scathing review of our last cruise, Princess Customer Service had a few surprise treats for us this cruise. We are extremely grateful and though it doesn't change my previous review or magically make that dreadful experience go away, it does show that Princess reads reviews and values their elite passengers. Thank you Princess. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We are Platinum Princess cruisers, and overall have had many wonderful times aboard varied Princess ships, but sadly have to say Island Princess was not up to the standard we have experienced before, and have come to expect. We chose ... Read More
We are Platinum Princess cruisers, and overall have had many wonderful times aboard varied Princess ships, but sadly have to say Island Princess was not up to the standard we have experienced before, and have come to expect. We chose Island Princess in order to transverse the Panama Canal, which proved to be a brilliant experience, made even better by the expert commentary on our progress by Chris Roberts, and information given beforehand. The ports were of great interest to us, except for San Pedro and our excursions overall quite good. The service we received from our steward Jaime, and all other staff in the public areas was cheerful, friendly and efficient, with the level of excellence we have come to associate with Princess. The shops were well stocked and had very helpful assistants, and we were lucky to have some stunning musical entertainers and brilliant comedians, but sadly quite mediocre dance bands. Unfortunately, the ship itself was tired and overused, and seemed overcrowded with a rather bizarre layout after the latest retrofit. There was an awful smell like sewerage in our corridor, which seeped out into the stairwell, which could not be remedied throughout the voyage. Though kept immaculately clean, our cabin had worn upholstery, and several of the napkins in the restaurants were tatty and threadbare. The television programming was almost impossible to work out, which made selecting a movie in our cabin , very difficult and frustrating, and the shampoo and conditioner were of very poor quality. Overall the food was very good, but the long queues to get into the dining areas very irritating, and even when we booked a table, there was no indication of where to enter to save being in a queue. We always had a casual breakfast in the Horizon Court, and an easy entrance into the restaurant for lunch, but with a frustrating wait for a dinner table almost every night. Though we had not traveled on Island Princess before, the ill-considered haste to cram in many new cabins was obvious to see, and made several areas quite odd. The poky little gym on Deck 6 was most unappealing, and the heavily used shortcut to the back of the ship through the Lotus Spa completely ruined the sense of privacy and relaxation necessary for such an area. Sitting in a robe with a cup of herbal tea post-massage, with a constant stream of loud chattering persons passing by is a ridiculous situation. The specialty restaurants looked half-empty every night, and if Princess is serious about retaining her loyal customers, while adding in so many extra cabins to get more on board, some thought should be given to converting one at least, to another public dining space. We did have a superb and generous Crab Shack meal, but the other surcharged meals did not look worthwhile. The Cruise Staff were energetic and fun, but seemed rather overworked, and though the professional entertainers were brilliant overall, the routines performed by the obviously capable Island Princess Singers and Dancers were uninspired and the mediocre costumes should be put in the rag-bag as soon as possible.The Captain's Cocktail Party was very pleasant as usual, but the band Xcite, apparently there to create an uptempo vibe, were excruciatingly loud and overwhelming, necessitating everyone to shout excessively to get over the top of them, so not allowing a pleasant cocktail party ambiance and chance for conversation. The embarkation queue was ridiculously long, though at least with courteous staff, but with the numbers passing through Port Everglades daily, one would assume it could be more efficiently organized by now. At no time in the booking process with Princess, were we told San Pedro was a disembarkation and re-entry port, so being told we had to exit the ship for a couple of hours and having to go through Immigration procedures , on a Sunday morning in a very dull little town was a rather unfortunate enforced exercise. So though we will certainly travel again quite soon on a Princess cruise, we felt the overall management of this particular ship needs to be thoroughly overhauled, as it is letting down the generally excellent reputation of Princess Lines which it has taken fifty years to develop. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My wife and I were looking for a different cruise from the norm to celebrate our anniversary. We had sailed on the Emerald previously (and her sister ships) so the ship was quite familiar to us. Embarkation was one of the easiest we ... Read More
My wife and I were looking for a different cruise from the norm to celebrate our anniversary. We had sailed on the Emerald previously (and her sister ships) so the ship was quite familiar to us. Embarkation was one of the easiest we have ever experienced. We started our trip five days early in London and took the transfer from Victoria Motor coach Station to the ship. We arrived at the port around 11:30 and I figured that we would have to cue up for a while before getting on the ship and being guided to the buffet till our room was ready. No line and the cabin was ready before we got on. Total time from bus to cabin was fifteen minutes, fantastic! Our cabin was E220 and was better than I had expected. The beds were placed on the side of the room instead of the back and it made the cabin seem larger that it was. The room was an obstructed port hole room but it was not overly obstructed. The lifeboat outside the cabin was a smaller one and not one of the tenders which gave us a pretty good view. The only thing that you have to watch out for is the frequent crew going past the window for maintenance or testing. The shows were pretty good but not fantastic, The first comic though was not to my liking. I am one of the people who really enjoys the trivia contests, so having lots of them was great for me. I do wish that the prizes hadn't become so cheap. We do play for fun but a prize other than a key chain, fridge magnet or pen would be nice. The ships on board activities (Princess in general) don't overly excite me, so besides the trivia, I mostly find quiet places to read. The Skywalkers lounge is a pretty good place for some quiet time during the day. The pools are all open air on this ship and with the cool air for the first three days meant that going for a swim was out of the question. The pool was well heated which would have permitted swimming but getting out of the water would have not been nice. This is not the fault of the ship, except that they could have used one of the other ships which have a convertible roof over one of the pools, for this cruise knowing that it is cold in April in Britain at this time of year. I mostly try to avoid the buffet as I prefer to go to the dining room for my meals. Days in port the dining room is closed but there are other options besides lining up in the Horizon buffet for your lunch. We were ashore at every port (that's why we went on this cruise in the first place), which meant that we sometimes didn't get back till the afternoon and didn't feel like ruining our dinner. On a few days at sea they had pub lunches in the Wheelhouse bar where you can enjoy a nice British pub meal. The ship's shore excursions were pricey (aren't they always) so we did our own. Princess Cruises generally have a higher content of older passengers (as do Holland America which we have also cruised a lot on), but for some reason this cruise had a higher percentage of mobility challenged patrons. I have not seen the quantity of scooters that I saw on this cruise. If you can use the stairs I highly recommend it or you will be waiting for an elevator for quite a while. All in all the ship gave us exactly what we were looking for, a good vacation to a place we hadn't been to yet. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Took the Eastern Med cruise. Had a great time with many ports of call. Each port provided transportation to where ever you wanted to visit. Our choice were antiquities and we visited many museums and ancient temples. Turkey's and ... Read More
Took the Eastern Med cruise. Had a great time with many ports of call. Each port provided transportation to where ever you wanted to visit. Our choice were antiquities and we visited many museums and ancient temples. Turkey's and Greece's Island were just great and the view from the mountains in Santorin were breathtaking. We did travel in Istanbul and the travel guide provide historical details for all the stops. We were a disturbed at the problems with the politics and would probably not travel there after the latest news reports. The ship was well manned and the help was very friendly with entertainment every night at sea. They have movie under the stars which enjoyed although a bit brisk at night so you will need a sweater and they provide blankets. The restaurant Santorin on board the ship had the best Italian dinner of the cruise. The Cruise line goes out of their way to make your trip comfortable and the food is well prepared in the cafeteria. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the line, even though our cruise was almost 3 hours late to set sail due to over 500 late arrivals! It ended up being a gorgeous sail away, the sun was setting across Vancouver as we left the port, those pictures are some of my favorites. The food left something to be desired in my opinion, the buffet food was almost inedible, we tried it twice and just didn't bother to go again, it tasted like cheap cafeteria food that's been sitting under heat lamps for hours. We ended up paying to eat at the steakhouse and Italian restaurant more often because the food quality was FAR superior to the buffet and dining rooms. We splurged for the gourmet coffee stamp card, we used almost all the stamps and looked forward to a delicious, fancy hot coffee to enjoy on the deck everyday. We didn't catch any on board entertainment because the BEST show was happening outside!! The views were jaw-dropping and I just couldn't tear myself away to see a cheesy cruise ship show... Maybe next time i'll try one? Movies under the stars was just too cold to endure at night, even with the blankets and hot cocoa. The ports were fantastic, we were like kids on Christmas morning every time we got to a new port, we couldn't wait to explore. We did the train ride in Skagway (WOW!!) and Zip-lining in Ketchikan.. so fun! We also did the tram ride up the mountain in Juneau and did a little hike when we got to the top. We would 100% do this cruise again (and we plan on it!) Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
It was our second cruise with Princess Cruises(The first one was with Pacific Princess in French Polynesia). We found the ship in overall good shape. I did not notice that we weer more than 2600 cruisers since the ship is so big. The ... Read More
It was our second cruise with Princess Cruises(The first one was with Pacific Princess in French Polynesia). We found the ship in overall good shape. I did not notice that we weer more than 2600 cruisers since the ship is so big. The embarkation was really perfect. Princess helpers everywhere. San Francisco is really a good port compared to what I read on Seattle. Everything went out smoothly. The embarkation afternoon we saw the maître D to get a table for 2. No problem at all. We had dinner at Boticelli at second seating 8PM. Our head waiter Benjamin and his assistant Restituto treated us like king and queen. We had relatively calm sea on our way to Alaska. The way back was a little rough. I found many cruisers have seasick. Alaska to us was a must. The scenery in the inside passage will last for a long time in our memory. We were spoiled by the weather except in Ketchikan (Very Humid). Will choose again Princess Cruises for Alaska in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The cruise to Alaska was outstanding....College Fiord was simply breathtaking. We were fortunate to have sunshine and warmer temperatures (50-65 degrees F for the most part). The ship itself was fine. The cruise was sold out but it did ... Read More
The cruise to Alaska was outstanding....College Fiord was simply breathtaking. We were fortunate to have sunshine and warmer temperatures (50-65 degrees F for the most part). The ship itself was fine. The cruise was sold out but it did not feel overly crowded. Full suite passengers get priority boarding. However, the majority of the staff working the port does not seem to know this. Finally someone with a clue got us in the right area but it really started our cruise off poorly having to keep telling people we were not going to wait in that looooooooonnnggg line as we paid mega bucks not to. The thermal spa was not too crowded and we enjoyed the steam room (unlimited access with your full suite). Unfortunately, the Lotus Spa Pool is NOT adult only and of course parents on vacation can’t be bothered with their children. You would think that parents would know to take their children to the Lido pool and let adults have the spa area as a peaceful retreat free of running, yelling, kicking and splashing. I will not sail the Island after we finish our upcoming Panama cruise for this reason. I feel it is important to have at least some space outside my cabin that is not ruined by parents too lazy to control their children. We did not go to any of the entertainment shows. The views on the cruise were spectacular and we could barely peel our eyes away. We did not spend hardly any time inside where we could not see the view. When we did it was for one of the enrichment talks, these we did enjoy. We also went to 2 of the trivia games and the marriage match game and liked them as a little diversion. The MDR staff seemed utterly overworked as did many of the bar staff and Patisserie staff. They were not rude but they were rushing from one passenger to another simply trying to keep up. So the level of warmth and friendliness was lacking. We enjoyed our tablemates at the traditional dining each evening. The food in the MDR was quite good for the most part. The only thing I was disappointed in was the Alaskan King crab legs. A shame…..being on an Alaskan cruise…….. You get a free dinner in a specialty restaurant on embarkation as a suite passenger. We went to Bayou. This was exceptional. We used room service for lunch most days and this was really worth the price of the suite. They set the table on the aft balcony (breezeless) with linens and we had all the same food as the MDR. Twice we went to Sabatini’s where they set up Alfredo’s Pizza at lunch. I hate to say it but Alfredo’s was much better on the Grand. I went back the second time to see if the first time was a fluke…it wasn’t. It wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t worth the calories. Our Maître d’, Neville, was extremely good. He and the head chef Jozef, put together a fabulous Chef’s table. I don’t know if other cruise lines do chef tables or not but I really like them and feel the $95 price per person for the food and wine pairing is absolutely worth it. Excursions: We took the Yukon exploration and White Pass railroad in Skagway. Highly recommend this. The Yukon is gorgeous...the Caribou Crossing tourist trap at the end of the road trip portion was not too offensive and the lunch was good. The train trip down was jaw dropping incredible. There are no words... just do it. In Juneau took the Mendenhall Glacier and Rainforest and Tram Excursion. The Glacier is recommended; the Tram is too if you like that kind of thing (it is just off the ship so no excursion needed for this) but I'd skip the rainforest part of trip. It was just a little loop walk with a few signs. It is not like you are actually walking through a temperate rainforest (except in the sense that the whole area is one) it rates a meh. The Glacier is included on many of the excursions. We had booked an excursion from Princess at the end of our cruise for a scenic tour to Anchorage where we were staying independently for 5 nights. We found out the first day at sea that it had been cancelled. That really stunk. Long story short it was just such a pain to try to recreate it and I really did not want to spend any of my vacation fussing with it so we ended up throwing money at the problem. It cost $525 for a town car to take us on the same tour. It was a very nice transfer and we had a lot of freedom to do what we wanted but I really could have found a fairly similar experience much cheaper if I had planned it in advance from home. That is the last time I use Princess at the end of a trip to get me anywhere. Disembarkation was a breeze. They used the Explorer Lounge for suite passengers while they waited. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Connoisseur Escorted Cruise Tour My wife and I traveled from San Antonio to Vancouver the day before our cruise started. No hitches or glitches during travel to Vancouver, other than the amount of time it took to get there from San ... Read More
Connoisseur Escorted Cruise Tour My wife and I traveled from San Antonio to Vancouver the day before our cruise started. No hitches or glitches during travel to Vancouver, other than the amount of time it took to get there from San Antonio. I don’t travel as well as my wife and the extended time in the airplane kind of got to me. I am very glad we decided to arrive a day ahead of our departure. We stayed at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown Vancouver. We took the train from the airport to the city center station and walked to the hotel, a very nice short walk. The downtown was busy and full of life. The city itself seemed clean and cared for, quite beautiful. I cannot say enough about the hotel staff at the St. Regis, they had answers to questions we didn’t know we would ask and we asked a lot of them. The front desk staff was the best we had the experience of dealing with at any hotel we have every stayed at. To say the least we were very impressed with the front desk staff. The service staff was also excellent and available to ask extras of anything, or help with whatever. Breakfast the next morning was free, and good, and the waitresses were way above average. After we checked into our room we decided to go to the Vancouver Aquarium, located near the entrance to Stanley Park. And after talking with the front desk staff we decided it was too far to walk, and I didn’t feel like riding a bus that didn’t get us all the way to our destination, so we took a taxi. It didn’t take long and the cost was minimal, to us, that is. We wondered about the displays, watched a show of a whale species I was unfamiliar with, ate lunch and wondered about some more until about 4 PM. We had reservations at “The Teahouse,” a restaurant also located in Stanley Park, but all the way across from where we were, near the entrance. Since our reservations were for 6 PM we decided to walk across this large wonderful park. We were very glad we did. We met some of the most wonderful people of Vancouver. They helped us with directions, took our picture standing under a tree, so enormous it made me look thin. We took our time and still we arrived a bit early at the restaurant. Since there was an open table near the windows looking out over the water, they seated us right away. The restaurant is mainly a seafood restaurant and our choices were very good. After our meal we decided we didn’t want to walk all the way back across the park, so called for a taxi from the restaurant. When we got back to the hotel we were really tired, I was actually falling asleep. We got to the room, readied for bed and I think I fell asleep while lying down, what a comfortable bed. I did wake once for about three seconds due to some siren noise in the street. We got up on time the next morning got ready and went downstairs for the free breakfast. It was a real breakfast that one orders from a menu. Then went back to our room packed up. I noticed I had forgotten some toiletries. We asked at the front desk and were told that a drug store was right across the street. So we went shopping. Then checked out, caught a taxi to the cruise ship terminal. It was bad, very bad. There were four cruise ships in port, all unloading and loading passengers, traffic to the cruise terminal and within the cruise terminal was awful. There were people everywhere trying to get into the cruise terminal and processed onto their cruise ship. Once we turned our baggage over to a porter, tipped him, and made our way into the cruise terminal things went a bit smoother. We actually missed our call as it took a bit extra time for people to process their passports. So we didn’t sit and wait at all. We went from one room to the other processing whatever we had to process there and onto the ship. I don’t think the whole thing took a half hour, even with the large crowds. When we boarded we went to eat lunch at Horizon Court. Horizon Court was really nice, crowded but nice. They had a good selection of foods, hot and cold. I ate more than I should have. I didn’t notice that they had regular sized plates, as well as the platters at the entrance to the food lines. At about 3 PM it was announced that we could go to our cabins. When we entered we were surprised by the size. We had previously gone on a river cruise and that cabin was almost half the size. Our luggage had not been delivered yet, nor had the bottled water I ordered. We checked with the purser and he said he would get right on it. Then we went wondering a bit. When the announcement was made for the muster drill we went to our cabin to get our life jackets and the water was there, the luggage arrived within minutes. Muster drill had some start and stop fits. It seems our departure time was delayed, so they delayed our muster drill for a half hour or so. But it finally got done. We put up our life jackets and went wandering again, to find our any time dining restaurant. We also found that taking the stairs, if one is able, is a lot faster than the elevators. All I can say about dining is that it was wonderful. Everything I ordered was excellent, done the way I wanted and time between courses was rather quick, not fast, but quick. We ate breakfast in Horizon Court, usually lunch also. There was a blueberry desert they had for lunch that was the best I have ever had. I cannot remember the name of it. I am sort of glad I can’t, or I would be making it at home and weigh about a hundred more pounds. All the food was, as far as I can tell, and what the chefs told us, from scratch, all of it. And you could taste it, you really could. I started taking pictures of what we ordered but after a day or so was so impatient I couldn’t wait to start eating it. The picture taking went by the wayside. Except for the Chocolate covered Pistachio Pudding, International Café, and our meals at Sabatini’s. Nope I didn’t take a picture of the blueberry desert I talked about. I didn’t have my camera and I wasn’t going to go get it. I even ate two of the blueberry deserts, the only one that I did, promise. The service everywhere was excellent, even getting off and on the ship, I didn’t keep a list of the names of all the people that helped us, gave us information, or gave directions, but I should have. No matter what the question, or how many times it was asked the people at the cruise service desk always smiled and were pleasant, every time, really. The entertainment was usually good. There was one show that my wife said was loud to the extreme, I didn’t go. It didn’t seem, from the write up that I would like it. I am glad I stayed away, and napped. The rest of the shows were very good to excellent. Even the ones that were just advertisements for shore excursions. We liked the lumberjack show in Ketchikan. The Best of Juneau was OK, but a bit over priced for what we expected. I was excited and thought we would see whales breaching every five minutes, but it didn’t happen and it was a bit rainy and cold. The water was a bit choppy. We saw lots of eagles, sea lions and a mother whale with baby. Also the lunch was really not great, it was OK, but, like I said, I was excited and expected more. Skagway was very good. We did the sled dog ride, which was a pretty good van ride away from Skagway. We got to pet the lead dogs and then later some of the puppies. Glacier Bay was fantastic. I really envy people that get to go there and stay to fish or do research. The sun was out, it was near 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it was marvelous. I wanted to stay the whole rest of the cruise. As we crossed the Gulf of Alaska we saw a lot of Orca and other sea life. It was also the only time we walked the promenade, which I really liked. It was cold, windy, and rainy but I didn’t care, I liked it very much. Disembarkation was a snap, no luggage to handle ourselves, except our carry on. Just walk off the ship and onto the train at Whittier. At Whittier the cruise ended and the tour began. We had to get up early because we were the first group off the ship and onto our train to Talkeetna; and the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge for two nights. The big mountain, Denali, was clouded over for the two days we were there. On the first day you could barely see about two thirds of the mountain through the clouds and mist. Since the weather around the lodge was kind of misty, we decided to go tour Talkeetna. How funny weather can be. It was partly cloudy and the sun shown bright in Talkeetna. We walked about the town, went to a couple of museums, ate lunch; saw a movie about the mountain, Denali. Then caught the buss back to the lodge. During supper the power went out. I am glad we went early; we were supposed to eat later. Some people didn’t get what they wanted because of the power outage. The next day was cloudy and rainy all day. We stayed about the lodge and walked the trails. We went to a presentation about snowy owls. The man doing the presentation had a live snowy owl with him. The owl had an injured wing that healed badly so it could not be released back into the wild. The presentation was very good and I got a couple of decent pictures of the owl. The next morning the people that came to pick up the luggage, to transfer it to the Denali Lodge, came a bit early, too early for us. We missed their pick up. It was supposed to be at eight in the morning, but they picked up the luggage about fifteen minutes early. We got our luggage to the front desk and they got it to the Denali Lodge before the other luggage arrived, yea. I started to get sick from what I thought was the Birch Tree pollen when we were at the McKinley Lodge. I was coughing, sinuses and, ears clogged up. I couldn’t sleep all night and was usually up at about 3:30 AM to cough up blow out, yuck. I went to the emergency medical clinic in Denali and they gave me an anti-biotic, guess they thought it was something more than allergies. Anyway, it didn’t seem to help much. We went on the bus ride into the Denali Wilderness area and saw Moose, Bears, Dahl Sheep, Caribou, but not one wolf. We also saw many eagles, and birds of relatively hard to find species. Some I have pictures of and some were just blurs. I forgot my tripod at home, ugh. It was hard enough to get pictures on excursions from the ship but now, through an open window on a bus and, no tripod, bad, real bad. I am amazed I have as many decent pictures as I do. It was a long behind weary bus ride for our average age group, which was, I believe, over 60. But I am very glad I went, feeling bad, full of anti-biotic and allergy medicine I am still very glad I went. We also saw some humans hiking the wilderness area, amazing to remember that we were once that young, and had that much energy, I envied them a bit, but not too much; it was cold, and snowy. The naturalist that drove our bus was very good. He usually spotted the animals before we did and put real time videos of them on the buses’ video system. When we got back to the lodge we rested a bit, got up and ready to go to the dinner theater. It was a good show, better than we expected. The food, however, wasn’t that good. Guess we had gotten used to the food on the ship, because we kept comparing the service and food at the lodges with what we got on the ship. The lodges always came out real bad. The lodges use seasonal contractors and they need a much longer training period before going to their respective hotels. Instead it seems they get to practice on the guests instead. Perhaps Princess could put them on the ships as extra crew for a month or so before the Alaska tourist season starts. That way they could see what real service, and real food is. Then it was on to Fairbanks by bus. It was still cloudy and rainy, I was feeling a bit worse, but enjoyed the stop, I forget where it was, huh. It was interesting because it was where they have a device that is placed o n the river ice during winter and one buys lottery tickets guessing the day the ice will break. It is worth a good bit of money. In Fairbanks I was sick and didn’t want to go to dinner. When my wife got back to the room I was laboring a bit to breath. We went to the front desk to ask for a taxi to go to the emergency room. They called our tour escort and he arranged to pay for the taxi to and from the E.R. At the E.R. they gave me an inhaler, after several tests, which helped a great deal. I was able to go on the last tour to the gold dredge and riverboat, Indian village. To me these were the second best of the whole trip, Vancouver and the ship being tied for first. We did gold panning and got $38.00 in gold. Lunch was included in the riverboat tour but I can’t say too much about it, being kind of under the weather, I didn’t like it. Over all I would say take the land tour first, then the cruise back to Vancouver. You would have time to build relationships with the other, Connoisseur Escorted Tour, members. And, be able to enjoy a continued camaraderie on the ship and perhaps in Vancouver. If I were to do it all again that is the way I would book it. It was a wonderful tour, our escort was good to excellent, me being a tad sick, he was probably excellent, I just couldn’t tell, or didn’t care. We flew out of Fairbanks to Seattle and stayed overnight at the Cedarbrook Lodge, near the airport, but away from the traffic noise. It is a beautiful hotel, and grounds with walking trails. By this time I was feeling a bit better away from all of the Birch Tree Pollen, at least I wasn’t getting worse. We had a great lunch at the hotel, expensive but great. We rested until dinner and decided to walk to a nearby restaurant. It was much like a Denny’s that we have in Texas. It was enjoyable and the walk helped me a great deal. I am very glad my wife picked this for her 65th birthday present, and let me come with her. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our 10th Princess cruise, having also cruised with RCCL, MSC, Carnival and HAL. We have been on the Island 3 times and was a little worried with more people from the added cabins, less upper deck space and a sold out ship for ... Read More
This was our 10th Princess cruise, having also cruised with RCCL, MSC, Carnival and HAL. We have been on the Island 3 times and was a little worried with more people from the added cabins, less upper deck space and a sold out ship for Alaska! No worries! It never felt like we were sailing with a full ship. There was always plenty of deck space and viewing areas. Embarkation was a breeze, especially after taking the morning train in and getting on the ship the earliest. Ships looked a bit more fresh to us. Our cabin was an obstructed ocean view and was fine, even offering some great views! Weather was amazing, sometimes even getting a bit too warm directly in the sun! Food is subjective, but we thought is was good overall. Sometimes the buffet food wasn't hot, just lukewarm. We did Anytime dining about 3 nights and thought the food and service in the dining room was good. We thought all the staff were polite and friendly and loved our cabin steward. We had an old coffee card from last year that they honored, but would punch it even for brewed coffee. I love their brewed coffee! This cruise was mostly for relaxing and watching the amazing views on the decks. We aren't much into the shows, bars or casino, so I can't comment on that. We really enjoyed the talks and commentary of Mark the Naturalist, and the Park Rangers during the scenic glacier cruising. We did a lot of hiking during our ports, so I can't comment on any excursions. If you want to experience the natural beauty of the ports on your own and that are free, I suggest going to the visitors centers and asking for the hiking trails. We loved this so much, we will be doing this again! We experienced some amazing scenery and burned a lot of calories too! We aren't your typical cruiser...we don't spent a lot of money on our cabin, at the bars, or on excursions, we go for complete relaxation and spending time together. We really have come back refreshed! Again, we aren't your typical cruisers, but really do enjoy the look and feel of Princess. My only complaint with the Island Princess, is there was too much blue glass on the upper front deck for viewing Alaska. We ended up going to the small forward area on deck 11, and deck 8 for aft viewing (the only aft view unless you have a cabin aft.). Otherwise, the upper middle decks were fine, and the promenade was great also for views. This ship never felt crowded. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our fourth cruise. We have earlier cruised on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Princess. Cruises are a good way to have a leisure holiday where you can choose what you want to do on every day you are on the ship. The ship it self ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise. We have earlier cruised on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Princess. Cruises are a good way to have a leisure holiday where you can choose what you want to do on every day you are on the ship. The ship it self is very interesting to explore and there are many tucked away places of interest which many miss if you wish to do the day long shore trips at all stops. Royal Princess is a good ship and the balcony room we had was very nice. My experience compared over the past cruises that we have done is There is cost cutting at many levels. On food : Some exotic items are off the menu, the choices at dinner are lesser, midnight buffets stopped, sushi which till the last time we cruised on Princess was paid in is now priced extra, they encourage you to buy WATER? There is no thermos in the cabins and we called for x glasses from room service for the night. We asked for berries on desert as some on the table did not want to eat sugar or aspartame. The dinning room had a tough time locating the same!!!!! One of the guests on the table asked for prawns which were being served at the Horizon dinning area was politely refused!!!!! On other amenities: The sauna and steam which earlier was included is now priced and you need to take a full sailing package. On cabin maintenance: The towels are not soft and not full size, the staterooms are not vacuumed and the balcony not cleaned through the stay. It is sensible in business to cut costs but do remember this is a holiday where we expect to get the best and you to earn through numbers on board and not through cutting on earlier included services now getting on to pay mode. Having said this it is still a great experience. The Food that was served was good, there is food around the clock and room service to top all of this, there is daily entertainment, a casino, movies to see and munch popcorns under the stars or have hotdogs, a gym for those who do not need it as those who need the gym most do not go there. There are excursions choices at all ports of call organised by the ship at extra cost or you can walk off the ship and take a private excursion of your own as there are tour / taxi operators on the docks or like us who were travelling as a group pre-organise own excursions at ports of call. The special nights are still fun and you do help bring the child out hidden deep within most of us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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