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Sail Date: November 2014
We were on the Nov.16th to 23rd cruise. Wife and I are platinum so we had preferred boarding, which was very easy 1/2 hour at the most, was on and in cabin by 12:30. Muster was 3:00 and very quick and then was sail away. That was very ... Read More
We were on the Nov.16th to 23rd cruise. Wife and I are platinum so we had preferred boarding, which was very easy 1/2 hour at the most, was on and in cabin by 12:30. Muster was 3:00 and very quick and then was sail away. That was very good and the weather for the first 6 days was very good. Rain on the 7th day coming back to Ft Lauderdale. The ship is in my words HUGE and it is a very nice ship. I wanted to go on it because of the newness, and all the talk about the balconys being small I could not see it. They have 41 sq. ft and the Crown Princess only has 40 sq. ft. All the talk about elevators I also didnt have to wait, so saw no problem with them. Over all the ship is a beautiful.I will not go on this one again because of its size, I like the closeness with the crew and this is so big you dont get to see most of the crew as much as I have on other Princess cruises. Entertainment was good, they are not top of the line but not bad at all. The only problem we had was on our dinner in the Crown Grill my wife steak came out so rare she had to send it back. She had ordered medium well and it came out all red inside, the second time was almost as bad so it went back for a third time and still came back rare. We told them forget it and I finished mine and we went on our way. Would not go there again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
Pacific Princess Alaska Review – 13-20 May 2014 We booked the Pacific Princess about 6 months in advance, to celebrate of my wife’s birthday. We were intrigued by the concept of a small ship since our days at the rock-climbing walls ... Read More
Pacific Princess Alaska Review – 13-20 May 2014 We booked the Pacific Princess about 6 months in advance, to celebrate of my wife’s birthday. We were intrigued by the concept of a small ship since our days at the rock-climbing walls and zip-lining are sadly behind us and we don’t really desire a huge activity schedule. Reading out on the balcony is more our speed. We have taken 20 + cruises on several different lines, including one other cruise on Princess. We are both customer service providers and are interested in how well cruise staff is trained to respond to travelers. We booked a full suite, which was excellent. The ship just came out of drydock and we were a bit concerned that the smell of paint, carpet glue, etc., might bother us. We found none of this. Previous reviews indicated that the ship badly needed freshening. The only thing I noted was that the pillows on the lobby sofas looked like they were smashed down and lost some stuffing. There were no faded or torn upholstery, peeled wallpaper or other marks visible. We arrived around 11 AM and there were only three porters available at Canada Place. One was tied up with a large group, so it took about 10 minutes to take our baggage. Check in was very efficient and took less than five minutes. We were told that boarding would start around noon and by 12:10 we were on the ship. We heard about the Sanctuary in reviews of other Princess ships and went to the spa to see what it entailed. On this ship there were around 20 chaise lounges surrounding a thalassotherapy pool. The pool had no water, but we were told that it would be filled by the next morning. They charged $99 for the week. Later we found that they charged $99 for the previous 12 day cruise, so we felt a little cheated. As suite guests, they waived the cover charge for the Steakhouse on the first night. The steaks were good, but the vegetables (mushrooms, creamed spinach, asparagus) were excellent. I like to go to a coffee shop (both on and off ships) and have a mint mocha cappuccino. It always amazed me that no ship carried mint syrup but, to our surprise, the Pacific Princess had the alcoholic version. Since I brought my own flask of the non-alcoholic syrup, I was pretty set anyway. They also carried Vitality brand lemonade, our favorite. Then we went to Sabatini’s for breakfast and had a great breakfast. I have always enjoyed a couple of canned figs, when available, for breakfast while on the cruise. Can't get them at home. I asked our waiter, Sandro if he could get them. He said that they didn’t have it but would try to search them out. By the time my wife’s juice arrived, he had the figs in front of me. Nice customer service, Sandro! The food in the main dining room was slightly above average and fairly good (but not spectacular). The TV had the usual channels but the quality of reception, although not HD, was exceptionally good. Never saw a better picture on the ship. Only on one night (the second inside passage day) did the satellite drop out for a few hours. The first day at sea (Inside Passage) was foggy and there was nothing to see. Kind of put a crimp in our plans to sit out in the Sanctuary or our balcony and read. Instead we hung out in the beautiful library, the lobby and the room to read. The sun peeked through about 2 PM but there was still a chill in the air. The next few days (Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and Ketchikan) – sunny with temps in the high 60’s and low-mid 70’s on our thermometer. Rather unusual for the first cruise in May. On our last Alaska cruise, the temp never got above 55 degrees. The lowest it got was the low 60’s during inside passage cruising. We had no rain for the entire week. The first inside passage day had a light misty morning. We don’t do much in the way of excursions (already been there, done that in Alaska) so we usually take a long walk around town. We found nothing really special in Juneau and Skagway. Ketchikan had Creek Street, which has some lovely shops along with the usual trinkets. The small size of the ship lends you to see the same passengers over and over again. You can also find many quiet places to stay by yourself or with your significant other. The ride was a little bumpier than we saw on larger ships, but no one appeared seasick. Overall, the ship had a rather dowdy décor, with a crew that gave great customer service. It appeals to folks (like us) who just want to spend time on our own. It was perfect for us.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
My wife and I sailed on the Royal Princess for our 1 year anniversary and had the time of our lives. Love this ship. We were lucky to get a cabin upgrade to a large balcony mini-suite. The large balcony was great and big enough to hold 4 ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Royal Princess for our 1 year anniversary and had the time of our lives. Love this ship. We were lucky to get a cabin upgrade to a large balcony mini-suite. The large balcony was great and big enough to hold 4 people. Embarkation took about an hour (very fast compared to other ships). The piazza was very impressive with complementary snacks served at the international cafe. The service was excellent - top notch ( special thanks to Ricco from Aloha floor, Luis & Suthep from Allegro, and Natalie & Olenka from Horizon). The food was delicious on all restaurants with lobster and steak dinners on formal nights. The lotus spa was out of this world. We decided to get the $179/person to have access to enclave and relaxation room for the entire 7 day stay. We'll worth the money. Trust me on this one. Also, the gym was well designed with brand new equipment and multiple health and fitness seminars/ classes. The shows at night were great, specially the illusionist show on levitation. One negative thing about the shows on the ship was the British humor was a bit too much for us, but nothing to complain about. The only thing negative about the ship was the photo service ($25 per photo is too excessive). If they could lower each photo to $5, more people would buy it and they wouldn't have to throw all photos to waste. Luckily for us, we brought our own professional camera but still ended buying 3 photos. Other than that, this ship gave us the royal treatment. We hope to cruise again on the Royal Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Just came back from a birthday cruise with my husband...WHERE to begin....First of all, I am probably one of Princess cruises' biggest fans and "PR" people (cruising not only with Princess but also SITMAR way before cruising ... Read More
Just came back from a birthday cruise with my husband...WHERE to begin....First of all, I am probably one of Princess cruises' biggest fans and "PR" people (cruising not only with Princess but also SITMAR way before cruising was a popular way to vacation) and in all of my travels with this line I have never really felt the need to complain about any ship/service/port, etc. Having said that, here are my thoughts on the Ruby Princess 5 day cruise (I would hope that these complaints would only apply to these shorter cruises and things would be "Princess normal" on the regular sailings). LIKES: 1. Great embarkation procedures -- as an elite passenger we waited to (priority) board in a separate area. The cruise rep made passengers sit in the order in which they came into the room (as opposed to "the mad rush to the door" we recently experienced on the Royal Princess) and we were permitted to board in the order in which we had arrived. Kudos to Princess for finally "getting it right" on this aspect -- hopefully it will trickle down to all the ships' embarkation procedures. Our Princess hostess was fantastic -- friendly, cheerful, entertaining and very professional. Nice way to start a cruise! 2. Delicious food -- the food on every other Princess ship has been very good, but the food on the Ruby was excellent! No matter where/what we ate....it was all delicious! We had anytime dining and were lucky enough to catch the same waiter both nights we ate in the dining room (Mandol and his assistant Victoria) and they made our dining experience pleasurable. We also dined in both Sabatini's and the Crown Grill and enjoyed both meals. 3. Wait staff/bar staff/cabin steward -- The staff on this cruise was outstanding -- some of the friendliest men and women I have ever met on any cruise I've been on! I sailed many times with the Commodore of the Ruby way back when he was a staff captain on Sitmar's Fair Sky (later Sky Princess) and his warm, gentle, friendly personality seems to have had an effect on the staff on his ship. Kudos to all working on board -- they were the best crew I have sailed with in many years! CONS: 1. The Sanctuary -- The Sanctuary is now $30 per day per person. REALLY? (No one told us about the increased cost and while we would have still booked at whatever price, it would have been nice to know in advance what I was paying, especially since we didn't pay that much on the Royal in December.) Also, they charge you on embarkation day (Royal, as well as the other ships on which we booked the Sanctuary for the entire week didn't open until first day out). In my opinion this was a wasted day since most people don't carry their swim gear with them and have to wait for their luggage to be delivered to their cabin (or are out "exploring the ship"). On this particular cruise there were only 20 people who reserved for the entire week; on day 2 when my husband went to the Sanctuary ahead of me he sat down "one seat over" from our seats and the original "owner" of the seat made a huge scene and the crew member chided my husband for not remembering his seat. Again...REALLY??? For what we are being charged and for the small amount of "guests," it would seem to me that SHE (the person who escorted my husband to our seats) should have known exactly where to seat him. Also, we didn't see the Sanctuary manager the entire cruise and the staff was not attentive in the least (no towel to take to the pool; had to chase them down for iced tea/water; no cool towels or mists, no one standing at the reception desk greeting passengers as they came into the Sanctuary). This was really an annoyance to me -- Princess is known for its attentiveness to its passengers, especially in specialty areas such as the Sanctuary, and in my opinion both the "missing in action" manager and his staff need extensive training if they are to stay in this location. The Sanctuary is located on deck up from the Spa and on other cruises the pool near the spa was reserved for Spa and Sanctuary guests only so that the environment was one of relaxation - not so on this cruise; the entire pool area was loud (which carried into the Sanctuary), crowded and, on certain days, filled with older teenagers. Again, I am not a complainer, but I have experienced and expect a certain environment (which I paid for) and was disappointed by what was actually experienced. As I stated earlier, it is my hope that these problems would all be rectified once the Ruby was back on a "normal" sailing schedule. 2. Passengers -- there was a wide variety of passengers on this cruise (still spring break in some parts of the US) and it was extremely obvious that many people were having "one too many" cocktails. I have never seen so many drunken people staggering around the public areas nor have I ever seen the maître d' permit passengers wearing flip flops/shorts/wrinkled tee shirts into the dining room at dinner time, let alone seating in the middle of the dining room clearly intoxicated women. Where has happened to the Princess standards? The same concerns hold for the one "formal" night - and I use that term loosely. I have NEVER seen such a casual formal night -- especially in a specialty restaurant. We dined in Sabatini's on formal night (excellent food, wonderful waiter) but we were quite surprised to see so many people dining in shorts, jeans, etc. (Again, I am hoping that everything reverts to normal after the short sailings have concluded.) 3. Passenger services -- I guess the staff here has never heard of the phrase "the customer/passenger" is always right... We had a problem with the safe in our room. We boarded at 11:15 a.m. and, once I could get someone to answer the phone (3 separate calls, wait times of 2 or 3 minutes before hanging up) I was told that someone would be sent up in "10 minutes" -- we waited 45 minutes and decided to leave for a quick lunch at the buffet (excellent food selections and everything was delicious!). Got back to the room a little after 2:30 and the safe had not been fixed. Called again; no answer. Went to muster drill, came back and called one more time only to be told that they were "busy" and would get to us shortly. Finally an extremely personable officer showed up, made a call to have the prior combination removed, and we were back in business! It took all of five minutes. Not sure what was happening at the front desk but they need to be instructed to answer the phone when it rings. Please do not think I am a "snob" or a "cranky old lady" because of my complaints. I am 57 years old, have sailed on many ships over the course of the past 30 years and I just think that cruising (and the passengers who enjoy the cruise experience) should be awarded the respect it is deserving of. Princess has always had high standards which were well known in the industry and to its loyal passengers. I hope that this is not a precursor of things to come with this line. I personally have always held it "above the rest" in terms of passenger service and it's "classiness" -- I will be highly disappointed if it falls into the same category as Carnival but that is what I felt on this past cruise. Will I cruise on Princess again -- ABSOLUTELY! Will I do a five day (or less) sailing again on Princess -- absolutely NOT. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Sailed from Port Everglades on the 8th December for my wife's 60th birthday present. We had a Mini Suite R609, many issues and problems we did not expect as a suite passenger. 1st ever time on Princess as a passenger. (1) no water ... Read More
Sailed from Port Everglades on the 8th December for my wife's 60th birthday present. We had a Mini Suite R609, many issues and problems we did not expect as a suite passenger. 1st ever time on Princess as a passenger. (1) no water in the room unless you paid for it everyday, I haven't been on a cruise before where this took place, as a passenger in a suite you expect to be given some perks. This alone would put me off going on this ship again. Felt like I was being nickel and dimed for basic things like water. (2) Power cut out in the room the 1st night and it took 5 calls to passenger services to get anyone to come and look at the problem. (3) toilet block at 5am on the 2nd evening again it took them almost 1 and a half hours to come and look at the problem with people not understanding the English good enough to understand the problem. (4) tap handle broke in the WC within the 1st hour we used the bathroom, again it took 2 days for anyone to do anything about it. (5) 1st night in the anytime dinning was a total shambles, they told us the place was full and we had to go to the other dining room, when we went to that one they had no idea about how to fit us in for anytime dinning, the senior manager of the restaurant then cam to our aid after 10 minutes and seated us. The waiter was like a comedian and just throwing plates down in front of us with no decor or interest at all. I ordered a good bottle do red wine and the waiter split it the 1st time he poured onto the table cloth and left it there to dry in.The food in anytime dinning is terrible, worst I have ever experienced on any cruise line ever. There are major safety issues on this ship, no stairs on certain floors so if there is a fire or evacuation you have to go across the ship to use stairs and nothing was available at the floor we were on , only lifts which you cannot use in emergency situations. (6) the internet is a total joke, I tried to send 1 email and after 2 days it still never sent and cost me over $40.00 in internet costs. Everyone was complaining about the slowness and total non functioning of this internet on this ship, you would think that for the newest ship on the seas this would be sorted. When I spoke to the IT guys they said it's the satellite, being in IT myself this was total rubbish, there is just not enough servers on the sip to do any level of internet activity at all. 100s were complaining and I asked and got a 100% rebate on my account for this shambles of a system. (7) the patio doors in our suite creaked every night making sleeping difficult. Princess needs to really buck up their logistics and customer focus, because as a suite passenger I felt nothing extra. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean blow Royal Princess out of the water as far as passenger detail and quality of food is concerned. Good points are the entertainment was fantastic on this ship. We made our cruise vacation a good time but felt we would never go on anther Princess cruise again. Even passengers who had 21 previous Princess cruises told us the Royal Princess was very very poor in comparison to other Princess ships.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My (DH) and I were first time cruisers on the Princess Cruise Line, but sailed on Royal Caribbean twice, Celebrity, Holland America and Carnival (Europe) lines. Our sail date was Dec. 15, 2013, seven day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on ... Read More
My (DH) and I were first time cruisers on the Princess Cruise Line, but sailed on Royal Caribbean twice, Celebrity, Holland America and Carnival (Europe) lines. Our sail date was Dec. 15, 2013, seven day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Royal Princess. We booked a Mini-Suite through an Internet Travel Agency and selected our Mini-Suite on Deck 11, which is called the Baja Deck and the Mini-Suite was located midship-aft on the portside. I changed from a Mini-Suite starboard midship side due to the fact that all of the midship rooms located by the “Seawalk” have zero privacy. Pre-Cruise We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel in Fort Lauderdale associated with the Marriott chain, but it had no visible signs of the Marriott Brand and our taxi driver was unaware when I asked him to take us to the Marriott Renaissance. We were disappointed with our “deluxe” corner room and the view of a rooftop parking lot. The room was old, shower curtain’s bottom perimeter was filthy and overall the hotel is outdated. The best part about the hotel is its location being directly across from Port Everglades. We walked to Outback for dinner, which is across from the Embassy Suites and prior to dinner we tried to take a free “Trolley/Shuttle” to the Mall, but the driver said that due to a Boat Parade the Trolley/Shuttle could no longer cross the bridge (hmm). The free Trolley/Shuttle is located on the side entrance across the side street from the Renaissance, but the “free” service normally ends at 6pm. Embarkation We signed up for the Renaissance’s Port Van Shuttle to Pier 2, which is where the Royal Princess was docked starboard side and portside facing the water. The shuttle cost $6 per person, which in relation to the distance being across the street is pricey, but due to Pier 2 being full of traffic, a taxi meter would have cost more. The Renaissance’s Shuttle had multiple stops, RC Allure being first because it was the fastest and the Royal Princess being the last because it was the slowest. We arrived around 11:45am and a Princess Port Attendant told me that we could not board with priority, despite having booked a Mini-Suite. We waited in a very long line that was being halted until at least 1pm. Since I took care of our accommodations, my DH was not aware that Mini-Suites had priority. After 20 minutes, I asked another Port Attendant and they apologized and immediately allowed us to surpass the line and board. We finally boarded, dropped off our carry-on bags in our Mini-Suite and ate in the Horizon Court for lunch by 12:30pm. All luggage arrived shortly thereafter and our Muster Station E was in the Live Theater. Mini-Suite Nice size and arrangement of the room. The bathroom had a tub, no metal case around the toilet paper and access to the roll was not a problem. However, we were HIGHLY disappointed with the small size of the balcony, I love sitting on the balcony for breakfast and at night, but the lack of space did not allow for us to sit forward, we could only sit at an angle. Our room was high enough to not have an obstructed view with the lifeboats, but I agree they should be recessed because looking over the rail; no water is seen only orange life and tender boats. My only other complaint about the room is the creaking all night of the walls and ceiling and how thin the walls are as we heard our neighbor in the cabin to our right moaning all night. The Captain was sailing at a very high speed while sailing toward St. Thomas and that night was the worst creaking and kept us up, along with the ship rocking. We had to remove the hangers as they banged together all night. We moved the table from in front of the sofa to have an unobstructed access to our balcony. We would recommend rooms without a sofa, as two chairs and a small table would have been sufficient allowing for expansion of the small balcony. Elevators Horrible, too small and way too slow. The capacity stated 18 people, but barely eight of us fit and if we had a scooter on the elevator, then only four people could fit. Passengers were rude when you crammed your way onto an elevator that finally stopped on your floor and/or finally stopped without bursting at the seams with people. Time Change The shipped moved time forward by one hour Tuesday 2am or as described in the Patter Daily Newsletter as Monday night. I thought it was unnecessary and made me really tired the entire cruise, along with throwing my medication schedule off. Time changed back Friday night (2am Saturday). Crew Drill There is a required biweekly Crew Drill that took place our week on the 4th day (St. Thomas), which started at 9:45am. The Captain announced the morning of for the entire ship and some decks and staterooms were heavily impacted. The sirens/alarms/horns were extremely loud and repetitive. Thank God we had an excursion, but for those who planned to sleep in, so such luck. Please note that the required Crew Drill will take place again during the cruise week after Christmas and every other week then on. Testing Our water was being “tested” and turned a brownish color and was unappealing. When I’m on vacation I would appreciate all test be done the morning of embarkation while the ship is in transition. Ports The weather was GORGEOUS in all ports including Fort Lauderdale. Sunshine, warm to hot and no rain. Part of our first night sailing, a little rain fell and MUTS was emptied. Otherwise, warm and sunny days, which is just what we needed being from the Northeast. Since we had been to all Ports in the past, except Princess Cay, we only booked an Excursion to St. John through the ship. We ran late and did not complete all activities, but a fractional on-board credit was granted upon request. We took a noon tender to Princess Cay and found chaises and dragged them under a palm tree. We took the Port Boat Taxi over to Phillipsburg in St. Martin for an all-day pass of $7 per person and we shopped, connected to wifi and sat at a bar and on the beach. Casino Too small, too much smoke and not generous. There were two non-smoking nights (formal nights), but the smell still lingered and on the right side of the Casino, the entryway is facing a cigar bar. I feel sorry for the workers who have to endure the smell and be exposed to cigarette smoke toxins. I really don’t understand the “Smoking Section” of a Casino or any other place. A Smoking Section still makes the whole Casino fill with smoke. There were only a few smokers, but they ruined the entire Casino with their toxic smoke. There also seemed to be more people in the Casino on non-smoking nights and I had to avoid many slot machines and a roulette table due to their proximity to the “Smoking Section.” Another pain was having to utilize your stateroom card to “Cash-Out” on any slot machine and the constant request from the table dealers to swipe your card prior to playing. I often decline as I was having bad luck whenever they swiped by card. Spa I tried to book a hot stone for multiple days and at the same time, but they were booked. Again, another example of the ship not being able to accommodate the capacity. Dinner/Food We were assigned a table for two as requested, but that was all that was granted. I waited forty-five minutes to speak with “Rouland” the head Maître d' about our request for a table by a window and traditional dining at 6pm, but to no avail. We arrived at 5:30 in the Concerto Dining Room and asked that our request be honored. After a nasty verbal dialogue, we were accommodated with a window, but still no late dining. We were celebrating my birthday during this cruise and I requested a yellow cake, but they brought me chocolate. My DH also had to call about our stateroom door being decorated, which we were told they had no such request (untrue) because I saw the word “birthday” written on the Maître d's dining list and the birthday was clearly noted under My Princess tab on their website. Finally, after we returned from dinner after 8pm, our door was decorated. However, it was Too Late, as the day was over. The Head waiter Peter from Bulgaria rarely spoke and I made a request from our very helpful and kind waitresses Katarina and Zoryana that he speak to us as he spoke to all other guests around us. The food was hit or miss for me, but my DH enjoyed most meals. I don’t eat pork or beef and never had a problem finding other choices on other cruise ships, but on this ship, it was very slim pickings, especially for breakfast in the Horizon Court, which only had turkey sausages one morning, along with many food items being cold (eggs, pancakes…) I caught the waffles being placed hot off the grill. There may have been other venues that served none pork/beef breakfast meats, but I should not have had to search for such a common item, or order a special dietary menu prior to sailing. We usually went directly to the Horizon Court after dinner so that I could find something to eat, which I did and my husband thought the food tasted better than most meals served in the Dining Room. I did enjoy three out of four meals served in the dining room, but I really enjoyed all meals I selected in the Horizon Court. The Court is the best designed on any ship in our opinion. I must highly recommend the hazelnut ice cream on the dining room menu, as it’s the best tasting I’ve ever had in the entire world! The ship’s lido deck only served ice cream for free, but my DH can only eat non-dairy products and enjoys the yogurt served on other cruise lines. We both missed that option and a strawberry flavor. For a charge, there is Gelato, but I’m not a fan. Room service was great for lunch, but they could never bring me COLD milk for breakfast with my cereal, so I stopped ordering breakfast. I thought the pizza on the lido deck was fair, a bit too greasy for me and the fries were good from the grill. Frozen Drinks were not authentic and others drinks were comparable. This is the only cruise where I lost weight after sailing. Entertainment We went to two shows: Colors of the World and the Motown Show, both were good. We had to get to the theater extra early to find a seat and to also find a non-obstructed seat because some rows are not tiered. Latin night was ok and the Club 6 was ok. I loved the Band Steel when they played Caribbean Music by the pools. Pools were small and always full. My DH tried the shooting range and enjoyed the experience. Football was shown on Monday night only on the MUTS screen and not in your stateroom. I enjoyed the free On-Demand movies in our Mini-Suite and having two televisions came in handy. I enjoyed the water fountain dancing music and light show (Bellagio don’t worry), but the deck became flooded during most shows making the floor slippery. My DH and I had to help a lady get up who fell really hard because the deck was so slippery when wet. The Seawalk is in a bad location and should have been placed on a lower deck (closer to the water) in the front or back of the ship, along with being slippery most of the time. We must note that most shows for any event are not timed appropriately to effectively coincide with dining times. Disembarkation We were in the first group, with the ship handling our luggage, to disembark. We were delayed by 35 minutes and knew there would be a delay as our ship was still sailing close to 6am. The Customs’ line took another 40 minutes, but no problems with Customs, taxis or at the airport. Conclusion Would I cruise again with Princess? No. I would reconsider ONLY if Princess COMPLETELY redesigned this flawed and future ships, honor my request in advance of sailing, served more variety of breakfast meats and most importantly, take note from Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Management on how to schedule and manage venues, elevators, dining , embarkation, excursions, balconies, pier drop-off and 3800 plus passengers effectively.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We looked forward to our first Princess cruise, especially as the Royal Princess was christened only 6 months before our departure. The Royal is a beautiful ship. The crew is friendly and, for the most part, when they understand English ... Read More
We looked forward to our first Princess cruise, especially as the Royal Princess was christened only 6 months before our departure. The Royal is a beautiful ship. The crew is friendly and, for the most part, when they understand English they are competent. Crew members go out of their way to be helpful even if what you ask isn't in their job description (as in, when deck personnel couldn't be found, an officer located a stack of towels at the pool). Now for the not-so-good news. The food and entertainment were mediocre at best. The restaurants and buffets offered many choices, but the quality of the food was only average. Entertainment: meh. Food: feh. The drinks, reasonably priced, had minimal alcohol, and the choice of liquors was poor. This brand-new ship has decks that are slippery when wet. Slippery when wet! That means that even if you don't have rain, you'll find a lack of sure footing every day when the decks are washed down. Who builds a ship that embarks in 2014 with slippery deck material?! (We saw a little boy fall--and he wasn't even one of the many elderly on board.) The Sanctuary, an adults-only private sundeck, requires a hefty extra fee. Upgrading to a specialty restaurant also will cost you $25/person to walk in. Whoa, Nelly. You've already paid for the cruise. In truth, the Sanctuary is a bit nicer than the all-adult Retreat, but is it necessary for Princess lines to add an elite, VIP area for those willing to shell out about $100/day more? We could have afforded the Sanctuary, but the principle is offensive and elitist. The Enclave, part of the spa, also has an extra charge. This dark area of the ship is small and can be noisy. You'll find about 8 warm tiled lounges and a small pool, fragranced showers, and sauna and steam rooms. The pool and sauna areas are co-ed. The spa offers the usual: bamboo massages, salt scrubs, etc. Perhaps the best deal is the $99 "20-20-20" offer, in which you choose three 20-minute options. The casino allows smoking. Enough said. So much more to say about our disappointment with the Royal Princess, but let's leave it at this: why would anyone want to spend a week on a ship that has only average food and below-average entertainment? Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My husband and I just returned from the Thanksgiving cruise on the Royal. It was our fourth cruise on Princess and ninth cruise overall. We’re in our early 30s and traveled with my husband’s dad who is in his 60s. We stayed the night ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the Thanksgiving cruise on the Royal. It was our fourth cruise on Princess and ninth cruise overall. We’re in our early 30s and traveled with my husband’s dad who is in his 60s. We stayed the night before the cruise at the Hyatt Place. We’ve stayed there three times now and it works great—free breakfast and right next door is a grocery store where we buy soda and wine to bring on board. We all three had the best time on this cruise. I’d read many of the reviews of the ship in advance and was a little worried—but I have to say I really can’t figure out why anyone wouldn’t enjoy this ship. We have another cruise booked next month on the Caribbean Princess, and I’m worried it will be a letdown after being on Royal! There are several improvements from other Princess ships that we loved. The buffet is designed so that a line never forms because there are multiple stations. Drink service in the buffet area is much improved, and we never once had trouble finding a table. Alfredo’s is a wonderful addition. We loved having on-demand movies and TV shows in the state room. I read lots of complaints about the lack of promenade deck, but there is a deck on level 7 (it just doesn’t go all the way around). This deck turned out to be one of my favorite places, because they had nice cushioned chairs there and it was always quiet. A great place to read. The Seawalk is incredible and the fountain shows are very nice—not quite the Bellagio but nice :) And the fountain area is not a waste of space—during the day they place sun loungers there and at night it’s cleared and used for a dance floor or stage. All of the things we’ve enjoyed about Princess in the past were there too—great entertainment and activities, excellent service and food, the International Café, the best pizza at Prego’s, and Movies Under the Stars. There were a few negatives as with any cruise. It’s true that the lack of a central staircase causes the midship elevators to be jammed. My best advice is don’t take those elevators! We never waited more than a minute or two, because we always used the aft or forward ones. It helps to have a forward or aft stateroom. As we anticipated, the stateroom balcony was small but there was still enough room to sit and enjoy a champagne breakfast. With Princess, staterooms are very small—my father-in-law had a deluxe balcony which is the size of a normal room on other cruise lines. If larger staterooms are very important to you, spring for a mini-suite or try Holland America which has bigger rooms. I agree with others that Princess Live is definitely a downgrade from the Explorer’s Lounge. The spa facilities were gorgeous (I bought the week pass to the Enclave) but the spa management had some issues—the electronic locker keys NEVER worked and they were always out of towels and water. If you buy an Enclave pass, go first thing in the morning—I was literally the only one there for the first half hour and no more than five people were ever there the first 90 minutes. The stops on this cruise were great; we’d been to all three before. Try Bernard’s Tours in St. Maarten and the Princess champagne sail and snorkel to St. John in St. Thomas. Both were great fun. I’ve posted some pictures from the cruise at www.goingplaceswithcamille.wordpress.com if you’d like to see them. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
EMBARKATION.... was a breeze! We took 2 friends aboard on the Bon Voyage Package and got on the ship before anyone else. It included a tour of the ship and lunch. We were finishing our lunch before most of the others were onboard the ... Read More
EMBARKATION.... was a breeze! We took 2 friends aboard on the Bon Voyage Package and got on the ship before anyone else. It included a tour of the ship and lunch. We were finishing our lunch before most of the others were onboard the ship! LOTUS SPA....I visited the spa the first day at sea for a Thai Poultice massage. But an odd thing happened, the person who started my massage was not the person who finished my massage! Ariana started my massage and Martha finished!! I was not told about this either and when the massage was over, someone else was standing there! Just a little strange. This has never happened to me before!! But the massage was good. I did NOT like the hard sell of products after the massage either! It took away from the blissful feeling! How many times do you have to say NO! I booked a second hot stone massage for another day and also got the same hard sell for products again! Whatever..... I also had a haircut and style from a delightful girl from South Africa. RJ gave me a wonderful cut that I'm so very pleased with! FOOD.... The food on the ship was ok. Better than Carnival by far, but just ok. I got all the pizza I ever wanted. The Horizon Court had good salad bar. The lettuce could have been drier. The desserts were good there also. The service was here was prompt, my iced tea glass never went empty. We went to The Crown Grill one night and the food was devine! The waiters seemed to speak better english here and the service was quick and very courteous. Next time I will eat here every night!! CANCELLED PORTS OF CALL....of course I realize that you can not control Mother Nature! I commend Captain Perrin for getting us safely back to shore. He and his crew did a perfect job of keeping us up to date on the foul weather conditions in store for us. However, I am as guilty as most. I never dreamed it would have gotten THAT BAD! But it did, right at dinner time! We had the good presence of mind to get back to our room and scratch our dinner plans for that night. My husband and I could stand to miss a meal anyway! No biggie! Safety was more important. Glad we did. The next day I heard about windows breaking on the ship and ladies breaking their legs in the storm. So due to this freaky weather, we missed out on Ketchikan and Victoria. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Arrived at Pier 93 in San Pedro at approximately 10:30 am. Plenty of parking at cruise terminal. Cost for parking was $12 per day. Easy walk with luggage to the cruise terminal. Was met by numerous porters wanting to take our luggage. I am ... Read More
Arrived at Pier 93 in San Pedro at approximately 10:30 am. Plenty of parking at cruise terminal. Cost for parking was $12 per day. Easy walk with luggage to the cruise terminal. Was met by numerous porters wanting to take our luggage. I am a little uncomfortable using porters. I would prefer to handle my own luggage. When I arrived at entrance to the terminal, I was told by a Princess cruise representative that I couldn't proceed until I had used a porter to check in my luggage. So had to turn around and go find a porter. No big deal. Check in was fast and efficient. The only problem we had was, there was confusion as to what line to put us in. On the Golden Princess there are two Deluxe Ocean View Staterooms located on Deck 15. Our room is located right next to a row of suites. The code for our room which was S704 listed it as a suite. So we were put into a line with other suite passengers. Again no big deal as there were no long lines. The check in rep had to go to another area to find our stateroom keys which took some time to locate. After check in. We were directed to the waiting area to await boarding that was supposed to start at noon. Boarding didn't start until approximately 12:45 pm. The waiting area was comfortable. The only problem I had with this area is the fact that the gangway is located right in the middle between the check in area and the waiting area. So when the ship boarding process began you had people making there way from there seats to get in line with there group. but you have people entering the waiting area and getting mixed up with the passengers heading to the gangway. caused a lot of confusion. Once on board we headed straight for our cabin to drop off our carry on's and to call the Dine line and made or reservations to eat at the Crown Grill. Once this was done we headed to get some lunch at one of the Main Dining Rooms. We asked a rep on board which MDR was open. We were told that none were open for lunch that we had to go to the Horizon buffet. Having eaten in the MDR in the past, I questioned the rep about this. and she finally told us which MDR was open. Lunch was wonderful and not very crowded. Hmmm I wonder why. We loved our room. The bed was comfortable and the floor to ceiling windows were fantastic. The room had crown molding and pictures on the wall. The air conditioning worked great. The bathroom was typical with the small shower. But the sink and counter had upgraded features like tile work and fixtures. The only issues we had were as follows: Overhead speaker in room didn't work so P/A announcements were heard from speakers outside of room. remote for the TV didn't work very well. Our room steward (Frenchy) was pleasant and informative and kept our room clean. However, we never got the robes that we requested and he kept all 3 of his cleaning carts right outside of our room. Which would get banged around every so often and he would have long conversations right outside our door with his assistant. Also our room was directly in line with the elevator hallway so we got a little bit of noise from people waiting on the elevators. This wasn't to bad because there are so few people in this area of the ship. Surprisingly the make up of passengers on this cruise was mostly older. If I were to guess I would say 85% were age 50 and above. There were only maybe a dozen kids on board. We dined in the Canaletto Main Dining Room We had originally requested a table of 6. I have a hard time hearing so anything bigger than a 6 person table can be a little hard on me to carry on a conversation. We were put at a 8 person table. Luckily we had wonderful table mates and wonderful servers. Natalia (Head server) and Marina (Asst server) Did a wonderful job and kept us well feed and entertained. We ate at the Crown Grill, one of two Specialty restaurants on board. The food was great and the service was fantastic. Well worth the $25 cover charge per person. The Entertainment on the ship was only so so. This time around we managed to see the show The British Invasion. Kind of a college production. The singing and dancing was just ok. We say comedian Phil Tag. He was entertaining and well worth watching and we also attended the Culinary arts show hosted by Maitre d Giuseppe Gelmini with Executive Chef John Convery. Both were very entertaining and put on a great class. One disappointment I had was there was no Wine Sommelier on board and I never saw the Maitre d during the entire cruise with the exception of the culinary arts class. In the past the Maitre d would make it a habit to at least introduce himself to each table and welcome everybody. Also dining at the Chefs table wasn't offered on this cruise. Another issue was formal night. There was supposed to be one formal night on a 4 day cruise. Many passengers had brought formal wear on board only to find out later that there was no formal night. Santa Barbra was wonderful. The beaches were pristine and the weather was gorgeous. Had to take tenders ashore. that went nice and smooth. Ensenada, I could have done without. It was dirty and I don't like dealing with beggars and the children trying to sell Chiclets. In my opinion there should have been more excursions offered besides going on a city tour and going to wineries or two the blow hole. Bought a few cheap gifts and enjoyed some good chips and salsa and beer at Papa's and Beers. Disembarkation was horrible. received info notice two days before which was a sea day. didn't read notice until the night before. My mistake. On the day the notice was distributed you were supposed to contact passenger service to arrange your luggage to be picked up outside your stateroom the night before. If you didn't it was assumed you were a walk off passenger. Well I would have to say that probably 75% of the passengers were walk off. We were the very last group to be let off the ship. Our meet time was 11:45 am. We had to be out of our stateroom by 8 am. We had to carry all of our luggage and not leave it unattended for 3 hours and 45 min. Also the ship had to do crew emergency drills that also slowed down the disembarkation process. We didn't leave the ship until shortly after noon. No wonder our embarkation process at the beginning of the cruise took so long. Princess you can do a lot better. As a result of our late disembarkation. we got charged for another day of parking. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was our second cruise on the Golden Princess, Was looking forward to a nice relaxing getaway. Embarkation to me at the Port of Los Angeles was horrible. Started out with all the porters offering to take my luggage. I don't ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Golden Princess, Was looking forward to a nice relaxing getaway. Embarkation to me at the Port of Los Angeles was horrible. Started out with all the porters offering to take my luggage. I don't normally like to hand my luggage over to anyone and would rather check it in myself. After making it through the army of porters. We were met by a Princess Cruise representative at the entrance to the cruise terminal. We were told we had to have a porter check in our luggage. So back we went and found a porter to take care of our luggage. Not that big of a deal. Next when we went to check in. There was some confusion in regards what line to put us in. We had one of the two deluxe window staterooms located on Deck 15. Our room number was S704. Because there was a S in front of our room number that indicated we were in a suite. So they put us in the line for suite passengers. Again no big deal. the check in clerk ended up having to go get our keys and other documents from another location. LOL... After we checked in we were directed to the waiting terminal. The layout of the terminal was rather odd in my opinion. the gangway to board the ship was located in the center of the terminal. So when loading began (Almost 45 min late) there was passengers coming in from the check in side of the terminal and getting mixed up with the passengers who were called with the rest of there group to get ready to board. Once on board we went straight to our room and dropped off our carry-on's..We knew there was a main dining room that was open for lunch so we set out to find out which one was open. Each crew member we spoke to tried to direct us to the Horizon Court Buffet. Finally, Spoke up and asked when did Princess change there policy about one of the main dining rooms not being open for lunch. We were than told which one was open. I thought that was pretty sad that the crew members tried to purposely mislead a passenger. Food however in the main dining room was wonderful and so was the service. Our room, S704 was fantastic with only a few small issues.The room is located on Sun deck 15 which is right outside of the aft elevators. I mention that because it has it's pro's and con's. While there aren't that many passengers that have rooms on Deck 15 aft. sometimes there were issues with noise from passengers waiting on the elevators. Our room was also located just up the hall from the Hearts and Minds wedding chapel. which gets used for meetings. So that caused more traffic.right outside our room. Ok more about our room. We loved the floor to ceiling windows. We would normally prefer a balcony, but heard about rooms S702 and S704. So we decided to give it a try. No regrets. The room was well decorated and clean with upgraded features such as a bar and the fixtures in the bathroom were also upgraded. the only two issue's with the room was the overhead speaker didn't work. so we couldn't hear any announcements and the TV remote didn't work to well. So again over all nothing major to complain about. Our room steward (Frenchy) was attentive and kept the room clean. The only issues with him that we had was we never received our robes that we had requested and he kept his three cleaning carts right outside our room with would bang against the wall every now and than. The Golden princess looked fantastic and was well kept up in our opinion so Kudos to the crew for maintaining her for as old as she is. The entertainment on board was only so so. The shows were just ok. nothing to brag about. I wish Princess would come up with some new shows. The British Invasion and Motor city are kind of getting old. We enjoyed Comedian Phil Tag. Food in the Main dining room was fantastic. Our servers Natalia and Marina did a great job and made sure all our needs were met. The Horizon buffet was better than the last time we were on the Golden. The last time on board there weren't enough servers which made getting your drinks and other needs a hassle. I am glad this wasn't a problem this time around. The food was just ok. We decided this time around to try the Crown Grill. It was probably best my could buy. The food and the service was fantastic. Our server just kept on bringing out the goodies for us to try. Boy! I don't think he knew what he was getting himself in to when he kept bring out the food. for us to try. yep we ate it all and a lot more than he expected. LOL We had Massage appointments at the Lotus Spa. They were wonderful and almost worth the amount we spent. Yeah! services in the spa are expensive. but the facilities were clean and the staff friendly and professional. Santa Barbra was wonderful. The weather was gorgeous! We had no problems taking a tender ashore. The beaches were fantastic and clean. We enjoyed our walk along State street checking out all the shops. Wish there were more excursions offered besides wine tasting and whale watching. would have loved to do some Kayaking or rollerblading maybe rent a bicycle. Ensenada, Well lets just say the place hasn't changed at all since the last time I was there 20 years ago with the exception of the cruise port terminal. I guess I will wait another 20 years before I go back. unless the another cruise happens to stop there. I will just stay on board and enjoy what the ship has to offer. Disembarkation, What a Mess!!! I made the mistake of not reading the disembarkation notice that we received on the second day of the cruise. As a result we didn't get our request in to the customer service desk to have our luggage picked up outside our state room on the last night of the cruise. We weren't the only ones who missed out. Looking at the disembarkation priority list it looks like 85% of the passengers were in the same boat as we were in. We were scheduled to be the last group to leave the ship. Our meeting time was at 11:45. So we had to carry all of our luggage and not leave unattended for the next three hours and 45 minutes. We had to be out of our room at 8 AM. What made things worse was the fact that the crew had to do emergency drills while in port under the supervision of the coast guard. So no wonder the ship was about 45 minutes late on embarkation day. we didn't leave the ship til noon.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
This review favours the ship more than the destination. My TA offered me a cruise for 869. pp incl taxes for 2 wks in Alaska August 28 - Sept. 11, 2013. My daughter and I cruised strictly for r & r. As "destination cruisers" ... Read More
This review favours the ship more than the destination. My TA offered me a cruise for 869. pp incl taxes for 2 wks in Alaska August 28 - Sept. 11, 2013. My daughter and I cruised strictly for r & r. As "destination cruisers" we sailed w/ apprehension as "journey cruisers". First we'd been to Alaska before and as natives of British Columbia we were not impressed . northern B.C boasts more dramatic and stunning landscapes unless.the traveller is seriously into ice burgs, but Vancouver is our home port. we took public transport and walked straight onto the ship about 2 pm. we cruised w/ carnival (1st and last time) elation and Norwegian star (tolerable w/ a balcony cabin) in feb. (see my reviews) and i was hassled over wearing my glasses for pics, so princess' laid back, but efficient boarding was a treat. our cabin was ready and lucky us we'd been upgraded from an inside to a window cabin. as always we headed straight to the spa and purchased access to the thermal suite (99 per wk) -the special area (10 for a morn or aft) is just plain silly in alaska and was deserted - whose going to pay to sit outside in a cabana in freezing weather? who would sit there for free? the thermal suite offers heated bed similar to HAL, but less elegant and 3 wet spas - eucalyptus, tropical and plain steam. open 9 - 10 my daughter and i went up every night at 9 and relaxed. we had set early dinner, but princess offer "freestyle" if desired. warning - long lines for couples who don't share and large groups. if that's you i'd opt for a set time. dining rm opens at 5:15, but couples got in at 5 somehow and glommed on to a window seat. there was a mix up in our reservation and we were led to a table for 6 --mario, the mgr quickly found us a table for 2 and that worked well for the rest of the voyage. Food - less than HAL, better than NCL or Carnival. i'm diabetic so i eat 5-6 small meals a day so i usually opted for 2 appetizers and 1 desert. sugarless desserts were scrumptious especially the mango mouse cake and taramisu. salads few and mostly inedible w/ bitter greens which drove me to discover .the buffet on the Lido deck had a sumptuous salad bar - we also took to going up there for dessert because of the variety and they were identical in qaullity to dining rm fare. formal night - always the second night at sea uually has surf and turf, but on our cruise it was available first night -- odd. i don't eat red meat, so i was offered 2 servings of prawns (no lobster on the pacific coast). lunch was in the buffet. indian food w/ a different curry every day, great salads, lots of cheese, cold cuts and sandwich fixins', fresh roast of lamb or pork or beef sliced to order, chicken entrees, and fruit and veggies galore. also a burger bar available and an ice cream station. breakfast in the dining rm - pastries, juices, waffles, pancakes,oatmeal, lox and bagels, eggs bennie, and any other way you might order your eggs, ham bacon sausages, hash browns wtx. the buffet also available. In Ketchican (the salmon were running) we had a fresh salmon bar b q. room service - free - pizza $5. rm service offers little variety and the food is ho hum. mostly sandwiches, the ceasar salad was inedible. we discovered we could order the fruit plate and cheese plate from the dining room (marius strikes again) and they would deliver it to our cabin. cabins big and comfortable w/ 2 lg beds side by side and a small table. usual amt of closet spc. safe. shower in bathroom. cabin smaller than HAL; bigger than NCL. robes available on request. our room server was always available and honoured our request to skip the nightly cheap chocolate and towel animals. he knew we ate on schedule and serviced our room when we were at breakfast or dinner. service was fine, but i expect that on a cruise. no complaints; no kudos. room clean (my daughter is fussy). vacuumed weekly. Ports - Ketchican - rains a lot - opposite Prince Rupert, BC (90 min drive) - small and accessible by walking off ship. shopping and small art galleries on Creek st. tours for whale lovers and animal lovers. architecture ho hum. you can walk in the woods - no tour, but be careful not to get lost.not great for shopping wait for Juneau (next port) Juneau. - capital of alaska. pop. 32K. only accessible by ship or plane. first stop on the turn of the century gold rush trail shoppers paradise w/ great sales in sep. - every week in sept. the prices drop except inketchican.. walking distance from ship (10 min to town). Red Dog saloon complete w/ sawdust on the floor -- worth a drink to soak up the ambiance. adequate band w/ a sense of humour.. we were there on a sunday and tried to go to church, but the priest was stuck in a nearby town and his lane was delayed by fog. that info was almost as good as mass. Skagway - it was cold and rainy. took shuttle from ship to town. ($2). museum of gold rush has film and a few artifacts of the bygone era (free). first stop on the gold rush trail and my personal favorite town in alaska.did you know wyatt earp dealt farrow on a ship off the coast for 28 years? train trip booked on ship (1 1/2 hr) gives you a great tour of the surrounding landscape and fun to spot animals. the six block old town in the centre of town is preserved exactly the way it was at the turn of the century w/ wooden sidewalks and freshly painted, but authentic buildings (if you like architecture bring your camera). be sure to see the former mayor's office made out of drift wood.great little restaurants and snack shacks w/lg portions of plain , but hearty fare. shoppers paradise, but diamonds international here is like Juneau. if you get tired of souveneer shops-- try the russian store and for you ladies "temptations" is a fine boutique w/ enchanting styles. i can't resist a visit and always buy something -- remember sept. sales. Red Onion saloon and brothel (offers tours of the brothel along or town and brothel museum at ridiculous prices. still, ladies in authentic dress serve lunch and drinks. Wittier - stay on ship. pop. 225 fork and 90 per cent live in one bldg. from ship you can see the bldg surrounded by train freight depot. really ugly site. Ship - lots to do - we went for a lecture on how to take better pictures, a craft class (on the way up we mad birthday cards and on the way back, boxes), the spa had a health seminar - beware spas are pushing a seaweed cure that my doctor says is bogus. all seminars, even the footprint analysis, end up in selling the algae cure. the spa offers a stretch class 7-7:30 am followed by abs crunch .lots of state of the art fitness equipment. we got hooked on trivia offered 2 times a day, great fun. scrabble and card games offered. i met a woman who entered the elevator chuffed at getting a word for an enormous amt of points. the casino offers bingo as well as the usual slots, cards etc. i was pleased to see the casino was tucked aft and could be avoided if you so choose. taking and perusing and hopefully, on the part of the photographers, buying pics seemed to be a major pastime. Entertainment:the usual hoaky musicals provided w/ the exception of the New Orleans musical that played great music related to new orleans that was so entertaining we watched it on the way up to seward and back. a vegas type music man was pretty good if you like soul. the motown musical was ok as was the world offering. there only the celtic music fit the dancing.-- how could you get jive wrong? the illusionist was disappointing -- he pulled his wife out of ten different boxes - yawn! skipped the comedian. princes offers movies unders the stars, but in alaska its music under the ice, on our trip to the spa at night we saw a few hardy souls who were covered in blankets and cloths that coverdevery part of their bodies excet the eyes. who cares if they offer free pop corn. noone ate it because they would have to remove their mittens. i am happy to report a couple of the movies were shown inside, for example the latest star trek rip off -- it was sad - a rehash of "the wrath of kahn" w/ action and a muddied storyline. a tom cruise sci fi was also shown -- so forgetable i forgot the title. at least i as warm. drinks available during evening performances. The highlight of the trip was dr. ryan, a naturalist. who lectured on the history of the gold rush, whales/otters and took you on deck to see them, and ice burgs. a movie on the people who live in alaska (available on your cabin tv) was enlightening. real survivalists. also park rangers came on board for 6 hrs and taught about the ice burgs and wildlife. while i appreciated that others were thrilled w/ alaska i like the philosophy of a man on deck who said to me, "what is the socially acceptable length of time to stare at an ice burg?" my sentiments exactly. tourists who come to alaska are a hearty breed. on the whole i enjoyed my trip. there was plenty to do on the ship. sometimes i felt like i was running from activity to activity and i skipped a lot. there was time to read and relax. there was also dancing in the bars. and late night activities i skip. i came for r & r and i came home rested and happy. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was our second cruise on Princess, and better than our first on the Pacific (though the Amazon itinerary was great!). Though the Diamond hadn't been refurbished in dry dock, we enjoyed the ship. Spacious, and always a place to ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Princess, and better than our first on the Pacific (though the Amazon itinerary was great!). Though the Diamond hadn't been refurbished in dry dock, we enjoyed the ship. Spacious, and always a place to hole up and read and relax! We stayed in a Penthouse Suite, mid ship. The service and amenities were fantastic. Loved the suite life! Overnight stay at the Captain Cook was ok. Tired hotel, but good supper in their pub. Transfer service was very good. Coach to Whittier. Our ports of call were in Russia, Japan, South Korea and 3 in China. Several sea days, which we loved. Lotus day spa was just right! We reserved a table for 2 for the early dining, and were given a table in the Savoy. Not really impressed with Princess' culinary and dining room service...however their steakhouse satisfied! In-room dining was good. Enjoyed a couple of evening meals at MUTS and that was fun. Enjoyed our cruise and the staff. Would give the nod to Celebrity for service (where the smiles and attention seem more genuine) and dining in Blue / Specialty venues seem more to our liking. Glad we did this itinerary, finally! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2013
My Husband and I have just come from a Panama Canal Cruise on the Island Princess. What a treat! For a very long time, seeing the Panama Canal has been a dream of mine. However, a 10 day cruise was out of the question until this year. ... Read More
My Husband and I have just come from a Panama Canal Cruise on the Island Princess. What a treat! For a very long time, seeing the Panama Canal has been a dream of mine. However, a 10 day cruise was out of the question until this year. Although we did not travel completely through the Canal, it was enough to get the experience. What also enhanced the experience were the TV shows and presentations on the history of the Panama Canal. those are a must if you want to get the most out of this cruise. I really enjoyed the set up of this cruise. There were two days at sea, several ports, the Canal, another port, sea day, port and a final day at sea. On other cruises, the port days have been back to back without much time to enjoy the ship. The days at sea were just enough and at the right time to relax and enjoy cruising. The choice of ports were also good. Besides the Canal, I especially enjoyed Aruba, Cartagena and Costa Rica. The locals selling wares in Jamaica were a little overpowering. The Island Princess is a mid-sized ship and, since our previous cruise had been on one of Norweigan's larger ships, it took a little while to adjust. However, I can't say enough about the mini suite with a balcony! The cabin was spacious with a full size bathroom including a bathtub, two TVs, plenty of storage room and a great balcony. Some of our favorites about the Island Princess were the breakfast room service, the Lotus Spa and the Movies Under the Stars. It was a true pleasure to have breakfast on the balcony. On the first cruise day we paid to use the Lotus Spa tranquility room for the entire trip. The steam, sauna and eucalyptus rooms were great but the heated tiled loungers were wonderful, especially after a day of sightseeing. At night, Princess turned the chairs in the pool area into movie loungers and showed first rate movies on a very large screen. I loved snuggling up in a warm throw (provided by Princess) sipping a beverage, eating popcorn and watching a good movie with waves splashing in the pool and the cool ocean breeze blowing across my face. The buffet choices and foods were very good. However, I wasn't as impressed with the formal dining arrangements. We had signed up for "anytime dining" because I didn't want to eat early or late. I probably wouldn't do that again on Princess. Because the wait for the dining room was lengthy, we ate most evening meals at the buffet instead of the fine dining room. We did eat in the speciality restaurant, Sabatini's, which was excellent except for the $25 per person cover charge. That combined with a bottle of wine made the cost over $100. All in all, we had a wonderful time with a lot of memories. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
We left from Los Angeles on our adventure aboard The Coral Princess on February 21, 2013. The boarding process was pretty uneventful and quick. We were able to go to our rooms as soon as we boarded and our luggage arrived not much after ... Read More
We left from Los Angeles on our adventure aboard The Coral Princess on February 21, 2013. The boarding process was pretty uneventful and quick. We were able to go to our rooms as soon as we boarded and our luggage arrived not much after that. As to the general impressions of the cruise: The ship was well cared for and kept in beautifully clean shape throughout the trip. All of our staff, from room steward to waiter, were excellent. The food...great! Our only concerns were as follows: The use of tenders at two ports (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua) ate up several hours of our time in port. The way the line handled it was to have everyone go to the formal dining room and wait around (sit) for hours until all the "Princess Cruise Excursions" and "preferred" passengers were tendered. Then (after two hours in Cabo and an hour and a half in San Juan Del Sur) the remaining passengers who wanted to go ashore were taken in small groups (depending on the number on a ticket you were given when you entered the dining room). You were unable to wander around the ship while you waited. You had to sit in the enclosed dining room on a beautiful day and wait. Very disappointing. We had scheduled a tour in Nicaragua and because of this missed two hours of it! Also, when we did go on Princess tours, which we did in Costa Rica, Columbia and Aruba, we were usually herded into jewelry stores even when those were not on the tour. We all felt like we were constantly being "sold" things while on board the ship and while on the tours organized by the ship. While in Costa Rica we went on the "Rainforest Canopy" tour from the ship. Immediately we were told by the tour guide that although the tour states that you will be hiking to 5 bridges through the forest canopy, we will only be including 3 today. No refund, just a shorter tour. The tour took a turn for the worst when we got to the hiking trail and one of the men on the tour (who clearly should not have been there) collapsed and couldn't walk any further. So for the next 2 hours our tour guide and driver along with two of our fellow passengers helped this man make the "hike" though the rainforest. All of us had to wait and the entire tour was altered. He was fine but I wonder why the ship doesn't make it clearer that those who can't walk very far shouldn't be signing up to go on a "hike" through the forest. We went on another tour in Columbia where the tour guide rushed us up and down the beautiful streets of the "old city" at breakneck speeds so that he could try and force us all into, what I'm sure was, a "friends" jewelry store. Those of us who simply said "no thank you" went on about our tour of the streets but he went inside with the others and was none to happy with us. More of a variety of musical entertainment on board the ship in the evening would have been nice. Honestly unless you wanted to listen to one of the "oldies" bands you didn't have much to chose from. I admit the crowd was mostly older but there should be some variety. How much can you play trivia games and do the Foxtrot? There were younger people (say 30's, 40's & 50's) on board and they had nowhere to go for fun music at night. The one exception was the "deck party" at the end of the cruise. Another problem is the lack of any snacks in the lounges at night. When you go for a cocktail before or after dinner shouldn't there be some offering of chip, nut, snack...anything on the tables in the bars. We asked one evening and were brought a little container of peanuts that was mainly dust from the bottom of the bin. When we asked if there were any more the waitress reluctantly said "no" but must have felt badly about it because she went over to the "preferred" (there's that word again) cocktail party and brought us back a few shrimp from their table. Also, the drinks leave a lot to be desired. They are not made well. In the two weeks we had very few that were actually good with the exception of a couple of martinis. The others were either terrible or void of alcohol. There are no drink specials, ever. Princess does a good job but they seem to be going the way of the "nickel and dime" lines. Suggestion: Charge a decent price and don't try and open the passenger's pocket the entire time they are on their trip. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
The Eighth Wonder of the World -- Princess Cruise Lines! My family recently completed a Christmas cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, December 23-30 2012. The highly professional staff kept the vessel shipshape throughout the journey in a ... Read More
The Eighth Wonder of the World -- Princess Cruise Lines! My family recently completed a Christmas cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, December 23-30 2012. The highly professional staff kept the vessel shipshape throughout the journey in a most proficient and seamless manner. During our seven night stay we were impressed by a clever layout of the stateroom for optimum comfort with ample balconies, tremendous storage, good lighting, and super bathrooms. Our steward took extra care to make surprise towel animals for our youngest child even though the children's' room was not in his section. Our other steward worked perfectly making our three-room separation from our children seem mostly unnoticeable. Both stewards were quite helpful with the various ports regarding distance for shopping, snorkeling and sightseeing. It was so refreshing to see someone take such intense pride in his work. Both stewards were a joy. Facilities for easy self-service laundry including stations for a quick ironing touch-up was much appreciated for the formal nights. The vast gastronomical experience was led expertly by the Executive Chef and Maitre 'dHotel. We ate in the Botticelli Dining Room at the early sitting and had the type of service that harkens back to a more elegant time. Our waiter was especially professional, sophisticated, and expertly helpful at every turn. My children appreciated the opportunity to try escargot, pheasant, and beef wellington just to name a few. Every evening our waiter would offer recommendations that never failed to impress; from presentation, to timing, to taste, all was wonderful. I would also like to express a special acknowledgement for my favorite gathering place. The International Cafe became the spot to start and end each fun filled day on Ruby Princess. The selections of sandwiches, soup, and desserts were unique, enticing, and delectable and all served in a most gracious manner. We discovered the flavor and flair with which the staff maintained this most comfortable European-style respite in the Piazza. The spa and fitness center were well-equipped but a bit solicitous. Classes for yoga and the like fill up fast so get there early. We enjoyed marvelous fish and chips at the Wheelhouse Pub, a gracious afternoon tea in Da Vinci dining room, and an informative wine tasting hosted by the astute sommelier in Michelangelo. The entertainment including a juggler, comedian Glenn Hirsch,illusionist David Catz, and all the singers and dancers especially Ron Goodman as Cruise Director did a superb job. The magical snow show for our ultimate Caribbean Christmas experience was surreal. Captain Tony Yoemans runs a fine ship and you should be very proud of his remarkable staff. We truly did escape completely! Thank you Princess Cruise Lines. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
I have never been on a cruise that I was counting down the days until it ENDED. This was the worst cruise my husband and I have ever been on. We typically go with RC or Carnival but had decided to book Princess for our honeymoon since it ... Read More
I have never been on a cruise that I was counting down the days until it ENDED. This was the worst cruise my husband and I have ever been on. We typically go with RC or Carnival but had decided to book Princess for our honeymoon since it was supposed to be more upscale. Unfortunately, the only thing upscale about this cruise was the price... The service was horrible from the second we got to the port and got on the ship, the crew was poorly trained, rude, snotty, and aloof to the needs of their passengers. They acted more like minimum wage employees than professional men/women who provide services for gratuity. Our steward never kept water stocked in the room, despite numerous requests and we frequently saw trays of food piled in the hallways. When we asked for any kind of assistance or service, we pretty much got the standard "its not my job" response and got direction to call some obscure department. Also, typically on cruises they have very good communication about what is going on for the day and where to find things but this ship always left you not really knowing what was happening. The first couple days of the cruise we thought it was strange that they would not let you touch anything and kept all silverware/condiments off the dining room tables. We later found out that the sailing previous to ours had been quarantined because of a significant breakout. The quarantine continued through the first 2 days of our cruise, without us knowing... The second day of the cruise my husband started showing symptoms of the Norovirus and was forced to spend the entire cruise in our cabin...what a waste. It was clear that even though the ship had gone through the mandatory quarantine period they had not properly cleaned to ensure it did not continue to be an issue. By the time my husband was quarantined, we had also already purchased multiple spa services, many of which were couple oriented. The spa gave me a very hard time canceling the services and was quick to let me know that they are their own company. After multiple calls we were finally able to cancel his services but they would not allow me to cancel mine without paying the full price. Some of the services they made me pay for were ones that it would not make sense to do alone (like the couples thermal suite) so we ended up paying for services we did not receive. To make things worse, we never received any acknowledgement of it being a special occasion, despite other passengers receiving banners/balloons, etc. And at the end, we were slapped with a $100 medical bill from the SHIP to cover the paramedic visit and basic OTC drugs we were given. They did not offer any reimbursement or voucher for the sickness incurred from THEIR ship. On top of all this, at the end of the cruise, even with them knowing that my husband had been quarantined and was still contagious we were kicked out of our room for disembarkation and forced to wait in a busy lobby for 3 hours....Feel bad for anyone sitting near us or boarding the ship afterwards. We will continue to cruise but needless to say, we (or friends/family) will never go near this cruise line again, an outcome could have been very different if Princess had made a few small steps to rectify. It is disappointing to see a service driven company with ethics and customer service as poor as theirs. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We chose this cruise as we had not been to any of the Canary Islands before or to Lisbon. We had also not sailed from Southampton. We chose this cruise in preference to the April sailing because it also visited Lisbon in addition to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had not been to any of the Canary Islands before or to Lisbon. We had also not sailed from Southampton. We chose this cruise in preference to the April sailing because it also visited Lisbon in addition to the Canary Islands. Our transport to the Grand Princess, using Eavesway Travel, albeit at our own expense, was flawless and efficient. We can highly recommend this method of transport to Southampton The embarkation was not efficient. We were given lettered cards on our arrival and had to wait until our "letter" group was called. This waiting did not apply to Elite and Suite passengers. It was noticed that, most of the time, staff were sitting chatting, without guests to process. The waiting could have been reduced by better management of the queue to available processing desks. As it was, it took us a hour and a quarter to reach our stateroom and we had only 15 minutes before the muster. We were certainly not the last on board so a second muster had to be arranged before sailing. On the second day we noticed an intermittent knocking noise in our stateroom near or around the bathroom/ bedroom wall panelling. By the end of the holiday this had become severe, heavy, metal to metal clanging which on investigation,turned out to be a large dislodged pipe. This was acknowledged by Grand Princess staff but could not be resolved during our cruise. We endured restless and eventually, sleepless nights as a result. The noise also disrupted our enjoyment of an otherwise comfortable balcony stateroom. During the cruise, on our corridor on Baja deck starboard side, we noticed buckets and other containers catching drips of water from the ceiling and each day a maintenance worker was up a stepladder, removing ceiling panels or other panels to repair something or other...there seemed an awful lot of duck/gaffer tape around pipes when you looked into the exposed areas. It was not unusual to hear banging and knocking, in addition to our own stateroom's "personal noise", as something was continually being repaired or replaced. We were told by another passenger that their neighbour's stateroom was flooded when water seeped in under the balcony sliding door during the initial passage through The Bay of Biscay. In gerneral the whole ship creaked, especially near stairwells. This was more pronounced than on the newer ships we have been on in eqally rough seas. Despite the recent expensive major refit of this ship, it is still an older ship, launched in 1998. Although the Atrium is new and attractive, the staterooms don't appear to have been updated. The bottom seal and frame on the outside of our sliding door to the balcony was severely corroded and I could imagine that it was just a matter of time before most balcony staterooms had a water seepage problem. There was no matting on the balcony floor to raise you up from any rainwater. The blue painted stateroom balcony floor could be very slippy and very wet. We found the shower bigger with more shoulder space than in the Ruby or Emerald however this was at the expense of wardrobe hanging space. Under bed storage of suitcases was welcome but more storage space should be provided in the bathrooms. The under sink area could be better utilised....this applies to the Ruby and Emerald too. The staff we encountered in Michelangelo dining rooms in the evening, and Da vinci in the mornings were mostly excellent. The cheerful staff in the Piazza Bar were welcoming, hard working and entertaining. Our stateroom steward was excellent. Some meals were very good, some mediocre. Our first cruise with Princess was 4 years ago and we are still experiencing the same dishes...some good, some to be avoided. We had one visit to The Crown Grill and the service and food was excellent. We did book for a second night near the end of the cruise but due to the almost total lack of sleep on the previous night we cancelled as we felt too tired to enjoy the experience. Both the outgoing and return trips throught the Bay of Biscay were fairly choppy and windy. No worse than cruising through the Gulf of Lion or the Skagerrak, just more prolonged. This might not be a cruise for first timers! Lisbon was interesting, dampness in the morning gave way to a sunny afternoon. A trip on the No 28 tram is to be recommended. We took the ship's shuttle bus $8 each way and explored on our own. Gran Canaria was so-so. Not a good impression from the ship. Our trip to the Botanical Gardens and Teror was interesting and the weather was warm and sunny. Tenerife was warm and very humid. Our trip to Puerto de la Cruz and the Orotava Valley was pleasant and very scenic. Lanzarote surprised us. First impressions from the ship were not good but our trip to Timanfaya National Park (volcanic landscape)followed by a camel ride (don't be put off, this is excellent fun) and wine tasting, gave us a good idea of what the island was all about. It was very warm again but this time a dry heat. Great care has been taken to make this island unique and different but you need to go on a trip away from the port to find this out. Madeira...can't comment as, on the morning we arrived, it was shrouded in fog and it was too rough/windy to dock. The Madeiran port authorities closed the port to local ferry sailings as well as not allowing us to dock. I managed to get some good videos of the tugs and the pilot boat being tossed about in the waves! An extra day at sea was not welcomed but although disappointed we fully appreciated that it was impossible to dock. The days at sea, 5 planned, which turned into 6 days have to be considered. This is half of the cruise. The ship organised plenty of things to do and there was something for most people. It also gave Princess chance to open the on board shops more often and arrange "sales" in one of the dining rooms on at least 2 mornings. We had plenty of retail opportunities! Vigo was a disaster. The whole ship was more than ready for a day on shore after the extra day at sea, however, November 1st is All Saints Day, a public and religious holiday in Spain. There is a large shopping mall at the port but this and all but a handful of gift shops were closed. Churches were either closed to visitors or busy with religious services. Fortunately we had been warned of this a few days earlier by the cruise director on the "Wake Show". We chose to cancel our trip to Santiago de Compostela, which was an "on your own" trip with the ship providing the transport. We did not want to spend 3 to 4 hours wandering around aimlessly and take an hour and a quarter each way to do this. It was a rainy day anyway apart from a couple of hours around lunchtime. Given the religious holiday,it would have been better if Princess had arranged to visit Vigo on the way out and Lisbon on October 31st, on the way back. As you will gather, this was not our best cruise. If you want to visit the Canaries, try a June sailing which I believe is available from 2013. The Grand Princess will not be doing the trip as it is off to the Caribbean and then on to Alaska (Alaska cruisers be warned!) Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
The Diamond princess was our first cruise with the princess cruise line. We were very happy with all the aspects of the cruise. We arrived in Whittier after riding the train from Denali. While the line was long, it moved well and we were ... Read More
The Diamond princess was our first cruise with the princess cruise line. We were very happy with all the aspects of the cruise. We arrived in Whittier after riding the train from Denali. While the line was long, it moved well and we were on the ship in a short period of time. We had the anytime dinning feature and enjoyed the opportunity to try the four different dining rooms. The menu in each was the same, except for the fact that a daily special was offered. This special was not on the menu and was given to you by your waiter. We enjoyed the service in the Santa Fe and Savoy the best. The food was good and well seasoned. As like any cruise you could order as many appetizers, entrees, and desserts as you wish. We had six people in our group, so dinner was always an hour and a half to two hour event. We did breakfast in the Horizon court (buffet). They had a wide selection of food from cold cereal to egg omelets to order. They offered many different fresh fruits and pastries and breads. The staff was constantly changing out the food to keep fresh items available. Each day during the lunch hours they provided a theme buffet. We found this food to be very good and fresh as well. Our only complaint was in the specialty restaurant Sterling Steak house. This cost $20 person and is noted as one of the best places to eat on the ship. I need to be very specific, the food (steak) was outstanding. The service on the other had was about as bad as I have every had at any restaurant. We were ignored for the first 25 to 30 minutes, then we almost had to beg to get our water refilled. Just a poor experience from start to finish. We had a balcony room which was so nice. They did a good job of giving each side of the ship the same equal time while viewing the glaciers. So nice to sit on your balcony and watch large chunks of ice 100's of years old fall into the sea. My wife got coffee delivered to the room each morning, always at the time she requested. Good size room and bathroom considering you are on a ship. I used the spa service every day. The steam room was always hot and the showers in the spa were well stocked and larger than the showers in the room. We found the staff to be friendly and helpful for the most part. A few crew members did not seem to know where some places where on the ship, however, for the most part they were courteous. The shows were all good, but none were outstanding. The last nigh members of the crew staff performed and they were very entertaining. The cruise director (Kelvin) and assistant (Dan) were tremendous. The games and shows they MCed were do not miss events. The under the stars movies are not to be missed. They give you blankets to keep warm. They serve warm cookies and popcorn. The drink prices were very fair, much better than RC (Royal Caribbean). Princess lets each person bring on board one bottle of alcohol. Over all we had a fantastic experience with Princess. If you are thinking about Alaska, the Diamond Princess is a great way to go. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We had no idea Princess Cruises were catered for the elderly, (live and learn). - There was a constant flow of "American" fare, unexciting for us, since we enjoy piquing our palates, frozen seafood-sometimes overcooked, lots ... Read More
We had no idea Princess Cruises were catered for the elderly, (live and learn). - There was a constant flow of "American" fare, unexciting for us, since we enjoy piquing our palates, frozen seafood-sometimes overcooked, lots and lots of beef, no wholegrain breads or pasta/rice, some breakfast items like oatmeal, fruits, yogurt and toast were cut off at 8:00am on day of disembarkation, even though supposed to go to 10 am. (Disembarkation went till 10:30) - Many. many smoking areas on the ship, not well assigned, apparently randomly spaced. We had to deal since it was on the way from buffet to our room, not so great. - Many, many, very, very drunk folks. - Cruise entertainment got old after the first day, was kitschy at best. - Stingy with the good free stuff, like soft ice cream. Had to wait on line (to get served, not self serve like Disney) for a tiny cone with 12 jimmies...and got a snide leer for going back a second time in one day...yet very easy to get buckets of beer-ugh! - All beverage purchases include tip, yet also have a line item on your bill (for you) to fill in a gratuity..no exceptions. Soda for $3.49....we bought the "package" up front, that came with a signature cup, only to find out that waiting on line at bars was a hassle if you were seen with the "soda package cup"...the "tip" was charged up front with the package so crew was not motivated to fill your drink cup at a bar, which was the only way to get your prepaid soda...we would have to wait until all the "tipping" passengers got their drinks first...even though we had been pre charged tip for the 7 day cruise on day one....frustrating and disappointing! - crew are not trained to let you pass when there isn't enough room for two in a pathway... - level of service and courtesy after final, additional "gratuities" are handed out goes down to zero, nil, zilch...btw, gratuities are added to your room charge daily, $11.50 per person per day...not sure how much the working crew members, like cabin stewards and table waiters get, and how much goes to the un-working-maitre' de-type-people! - passenger services proved very inefficient, I called in a request for my daughter's 18th birthday celebration twice, and visited with the request once, was assured room balloons and card, yet nothing came. - beach excursions to Cayman Island are a waste, do your own thing with a taxi...better to find your own in every port except Cozumel. - Princess Cruise website is archaic and unmaintained at best, hard to preplan and prebook because of it. Now the good stuff.. - food available at all hours - room service, although very limited in menu, would deliver within 15 minutes of ordering! Amazing! - lots of elevator space for wheelchairs, well utilized . There were times when we opted to take the stairs, which were almost always empty, to allow one more vehicle and navigator on. - spa very big, great massages and facials, best I've had on any cruise ship. - fitness center huge, well run, well equipped - entire ship was kept very clean, all the time - room stewards are very obliging, as are your dinning room waiters. I substituted the fat loaded second course with a sorbet almost every dinner time and our waiter was always at the ready with it. - The Crown Grill had some of the best lamb chops I've ever tasted, and awesome dessert....$25 per person flat rate, and you have to reserve before you get on the boat... - laundry room well placed, well equipped and maintained, not unreasonably priced - disembarkation was well organized Things that bothered me but may not bother the majority- -There is a very apparent ethnic and social divide among crew...Asians at the bottom, then Hispanic, then Eastern Europeans, British at the very top. -There were apparently less than 1% non white passengers on the ship, awkward for us being 3 of those 30 or so.... Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
People in our family have gone on 3-5 previous Princess cruises as well as several Carnival cruises and have been happy with our experiences up to this cruise. However, I was a little concerned after reading reviews here that quality of ... Read More
People in our family have gone on 3-5 previous Princess cruises as well as several Carnival cruises and have been happy with our experiences up to this cruise. However, I was a little concerned after reading reviews here that quality of this cruise would be diminished compared to past cruises but to my very happy surprise, that was not the case. I have never written a review before but since I read so many before my cruise I thought I would chip in with one. EMBARKATIONAN/SAIL AWAY As others mentioned, the line for embarkation was a bit long due to a problem with people disembarking from the previous cruise but once in the terminal things moved quickly and efficiently. Our rooms were ready when we boarded and we attended the 'sort of' sail away party (boat left port late). There was a raffle during the party for people who visited about 8 different venues on the boat before the party and had a card stamped but we barely had time to board, eat, tour the spa, Muster and get to the party, much less get cards filled out so that made the raffle kind of boring, I would suggest giving raffle tickets away to those who dance and participate in the party, that would sure liven things up and get more people to participate! SHIP/ROOM Ship is in great shape, public areas are pristine and there is something for everyone. Our rooms were on the Riviera deck (3 connected balconies) and I was concerned that there would be noise issues from the Lido Deck above but there really weren't (we were just forward of the public areas). Beds are hard but we brought a queen memory foam stuffed into a big suitcase and that really helped. Our stewards were efficient, helpful but not doting which was OK with me, we had everything we needed when we needed it. Food/Entertainment This is where, in my opinion, things were much better than some of the reviews here indicated they would be. We ate at the late seating in the Da Vinci dining room and had a fantastic experience every night. Eduardo the Maitre D, Raymond the Head Waiter, Nick our waiter and his assistant Richie all did a fantastic job of making our experience a great one. My daughter is gluten intolerant and they did an absolutely outstanding job of accommodating her needs and giving her a top notch dining experience. Food variety was good and the key was taking Nick's advice on selections. Yes, there are a few items on the menu that are below par but you definitely can have a gourmet experience if you trust your waiter and get the right things and you can always send back a below par item if you get one and have a better selection. The Lobster, Red Snapper and Lamb were high end restaurant quality as well as many of the appetizers and deserts. I found the Buffet to be fine, not great, but serviceable for breakfast and snacks. The International Cafe is a great option for lunch and snacks and I especially enjoyed the Trident Grill for tasty chicken sandwiches and fries. Bartenders were very friendly (especially Nadia and Andrew)and you never had to wait long for service either at the bars or poolside. Cruise Staff/Entertainment I found the entertainment to be enjoyable and of good quality. The band for the stage shows was very talented and the Poolside Band had great energy and enthusiasm throughout the cruise. The shows were very enjoyable and fun unless you were looking for Tony Award quality and I thought the Hypnotist, Comedians, Magician and Beatlemania concert were all entertaining. The cruise staff worked very hard and with great energy (especially Amy and Oxsana)to create a fun atmosphere for those who wanted to participate and the assistant cruise director did a knock out job at the mid cruise deck party. Only thing that would have been nice would have been more 20-25 year old mixers/activities earlier in the cruise for my daughters to meet others their age (they eventually solved that issue on their own!). Photographers did a nice job and weren't intrusive and I didn't feel as pushed to buy things in the shops on the ship as I had been on past cruises! SPA/Fitness Spa staff was great! Especially enjoyed the extreme shave and two massages. Prices a bit high compared to on land spas but discounts for multiple treatments and those offered as the cruise goes on help offset that. Fitness center was very well equipped and not very crowded most of the time. Logistics I never once had to wait in a long line, struggle to find a deck chair or fight for a seat at a show. The cruise was completely booked but I never felt crowded out. Yes, I tended to purposely avoid the times I knew would be busy but it didn't take much to schedule around the busy times. The crew did a great job of keeping things clean and moving, especially considering the added logistics involved with the NORO precautions. Ports The itinerary was a good one, nice ports interspersed with at sea days. I would have preferred docking in the St. Thomas dock closer to the main part of town and possibly trading a longer day in Grenada for a shorter day in Dominica but otherwise a good schedule. Private Island, as always, was one of my favorites, Paradise Point in St. Thomas is a kick, Went to St. George's Cathedral in Grenada for Palm Sunday and it was a fantastic experience but that didn't leave much time to enjoy Grand Anse beach, which is a gem. Dominica tubing was OK, river was low, Bonaire independent snorkel through Woodwind was the best excursion I have ever been on and we blew it going to Palm Beach in Aruba (very crowded) instead of Eagle Beach (pristine) Summary Overall, a great cruise. People can always find something wrong or to complain about but if you come in with a positive attitude, the Emerald Princess and her crew can provide you with a great cruise experience! Footnote: We were originally on the Caribbean Princess out of San Juan for 14 days but had to rebook on Emerald when Princess cancelled the first week of our CP cruise one week before our departure. Still waiting for response from Princess on the economic displacement we suffered by having the one cruise cancelled (even with 25% credit) and having to rebook (higher cruise fares, lost cabin credits and balcony breakfasts, less cruise days, higher airfares) so hopefully that will turn out the right way and we will all be on another Princess cruise soon! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
The wife and I live in San Francisco and like leaving from LA. We stay at the Double Tree because you can park your vehicle and take a shuttle to and from the port. It makes it very easy to cruise from there without having to fly. It also ... Read More
The wife and I live in San Francisco and like leaving from LA. We stay at the Double Tree because you can park your vehicle and take a shuttle to and from the port. It makes it very easy to cruise from there without having to fly. It also allows you to bring lots of extra things that you can't bring when you fly. The wife and I are Elite members with princess and have done the Mexican Riveria many times. We were really looking forward to the cruise to see how the referbished Sapphire had changed. Friends of ours had invited us to their son's wedding aboard the Sapphire. A great excuse to cruise. We wanted a mini but the owners suite was available so it was a great choice. The owners suite was beautiful with lots of space, a large bathroom with a tub with whirlpool jets. The best part though was the varanda. At the stern you have the best view and no wind, a great place to just hang out on the recliners. Only one very small complaint, they do offer priority baggage delivery but that never happened. We kept checking and they just delivered us last since we were at the stern of the ship. A quick word about the wedding. It was fantastic. The wheelhouse lounge was reserved for the wedding and the captain preformed the service. The captain was very gracious and the service was beautiful. After cocktails and hors d'oeuvres and many pictures all over the ship we were hosted for a private dinner at Sabatini's. A very memorable affair. The Sapphire Princess was in beautiful shape and all the new additions made her very special. All the additions to the Atrium are great. Vines wine bar, Alfredo's Pizzeria and international Cafe are a very warm and inviting. Many of the family of the newly weds had early seating in the MDR. We chose anytime dinning and ate at the 4 different dinning rooms. No problem getting a reservation anytime after 7 pm. We loved the Vivaldi and the Savoy dining rooms and their caring wait staff. All the dining rooms have thesame menus except each offer one entree that is special for each room. The special for the Savoy was osso buco, terrific. Our overall favorite restaurant was Sabatini's. For a small fee it had the best selection of plates on the Sapphire. We loved the wait staff here, they took care of us like family. We also ate there every morning, a special for suite passengers. This cruise had only two stops, Puerto Vallarta and and over night in Cabo. The only excursion we took was whale watching. It was well worth the effort to get up early, sleep late on vacation, to see the many pods of whales in the bay of Cabo. This was jammed packed with whale sightings. We were all glad we chose this tour. The only down side of the trip to the Mexican Riveria is that there are fewer and fewer stops because of the crime issue in Mexico. The last time we traveled to this area we were on a 19 day Panama Canal cruise on the Coral and the day we left LA Princess cancelled all five stops in Mexico due to the H1N1 flu. We still love this area and wish things will get better so we can again visit the place we enjoy. In closing, this was a fun cruise on the Sapphire. We enjoyed our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Pre Cruise in Rio. Stayed at Copacabana Palace and had a private guide. Used Valerie from Rio Plus Tours and they were the best. Wow what an amazing guide. Four days in Rio passed quickly and we had our private transfer to ship. This ... Read More
Pre Cruise in Rio. Stayed at Copacabana Palace and had a private guide. Used Valerie from Rio Plus Tours and they were the best. Wow what an amazing guide. Four days in Rio passed quickly and we had our private transfer to ship. This was also arranged by Rio Plus. Outside the port building was a zoo with 3-4 ships in port. Once in the Port building it was a short 15 minutes till we were in our room. I am Elite so that does speed things up a bit. Luggage arrived shortly after arrival. Room I had an Inside by myself and it had the bunks on the wall. I was also under the pool deck and it was loud at times. I really hated my cabin but was in there only to shower and sleep so whatever. Food Was good to excellent sometimes food was piping hot other times just Warm but if you asked they would bring you a hot plate back. Service was as good as can be in the new age of cruising. They had a lot of tables and really did their best. Not perfect for sure but fine. Always left full and had nice dinners. Loved the new Sabatini's Menu and ate there once. The Crown grill was My Fave ate there twice. Pizza good, burgers excellent. Intl Cafe was great for snacks. The Horizon court on this ship had really good hot food with a great salad bar. I gained 10 lbs on a three week vacation so Hey....Good Food. Entertainment. The usual Princess shows they were fine and the Dancers on this cruise were a friendly group when you saw them around the ship. Crooners bartenders Arnold and Audi were the highlight of our evening every night. Movies were not good at all this voyage I am usually able to catch up on movies I want to see but this cruise had poor selection. Tours. We did all tours through the ship and they were all great except the Buenos Aries Cemetery and Ranch. To much wasted time on this one. Falkland tour to Volunteer point was the highlight. Hiking in Patagonia was great as well. Fellow passengers were a mixed bag I loved it. US, Canada, Europe and many from South America. Wow what a diverse group of cultures and ages. We had great weather and were close to cape horn when we passed around it. Glaciers were beautiful as were the Fjords. What an amazing time thank you Princess for a great product at an affordable price. Remember you can have a more upscale experience but you will pay double. I feel Princess delivers a great product for the Price. Debarkation tour to Winery and city tour. Winery was amazing...WOW to the lunch. City tour was a joke held hostage on a bus and was not allowed a bathroom break or any beverages. Worst guide and tour ever. Flew straight Home from Santiago....Laundry and bills are now done back to work tomorrow. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Ok! First let me start out by telling you if you are going to go on a cruise to anywhere in the world. Do your research! I cannot believe how many people would go on a cruise without taking advantage of all the information that is out ... Read More
Ok! First let me start out by telling you if you are going to go on a cruise to anywhere in the world. Do your research! I cannot believe how many people would go on a cruise without taking advantage of all the information that is out there regarding the region you are going to be traveling in. Hello!!! There are 3 things you have to keep in mind when going on a cruise to Alaska. #1) Possibility of rough seas #2) Possibility of rain #3) Cold weather! I bring this up because, YES! There were passengers on board who were unprepared for this cruise. Because of this, they were miserable. I am a first time cruiser. However, my wife isn't. She told me to make all the arrangements for our cruise. This way I would learn all the in's and Out's. I had so many questions and so much to learn. Learn I did. I was completely prepared for our cruise and had a wonderful time. Here is some tips that I picked up by reading so many wonderful reviews here on Cruise Critic as well as joining the Roll Call for our particular cruise. Check the average weather forecast for the region you are traveling. As well as each port! Be prepared to dress in layers of clothes and bring a light jacket that is water proof. having gloves and a warm hat are nice to have especially in Glacier Bay. Bring a travel size umbrella. It rained five out of the seven days we were on vacation. If you get sea sick. Start taking your medications before you start your cruise and keep taking them throughout. Drink ginger ale, Eat green apples as well as crackers (Yes, they serve both items on-board the ship). Also, spend most of your time in the middle of the ship. If you can, try and select a room that is as close to the middle of the ship as possible and as low to the water as well. Less rocking and rolling there. Embarkation: As many of you have read. Princess cruises knows how to get people on-board there ships in an extremely efficient manner. I can say this without any reservations that I agree. We had arrived early at the terminal at Pier 91 in Seattle around 9:30 am. I knew we would have to wait. No Big Deal! I guess you can call it First time cruiser anticipation! My wife was laughing at me the whole time. Hey we weren't the only ones waiting! LOL...As soon as Princess opened the terminal around 10:00 am. We checked our luggage with customs. Then went to the check in counter, were we received our room keys after handing over the appropriate documents. Than it was more waiting til they started to load the ship in groups of about 200 passengers starting at 11:00 am. We were unfortunately not part of the first group. Because we were not preferred passengers. However, we were next. as soon as yo get on-board you have you r picture taken for security reasons and than your picture is taken again for your embarkation photo. After that it is party time your cruise has pretty much begun. We went straight to our cabin to check it out. It was wonderful. Than we called the Dine line at noon and made our request to eat at the chefs table (by the way the price to dine at the chefs table went up from $75 to $95 per person. But still worth it in my opinion). As passengers are boarding the ship they are told to go to the Horizon court for lunch. We learned from other cruise critic members that one of the main dining room is open at this time. So we went there and had a nice relaxing and great tasting lunch and watched from the window all the activity of getting the ship ready for leaving. At 3:30 pm we had our life boat muster drill. that didn't take to long. Than it was party time. By the way! for the first day and a half. expect all the offers to buy soda, coffee, and ultimate kid package drink stickers. We put our room keys on a lanyard around our neck so we weren't bothered that much because the stickers are placed on your room key and visible to the serving staff. first day at sea: We had rough seas (Swells approximately 17 feet tall)that lasted about a day and a half. We had a couples massage planned for 9:15 am. We still enjoyed the treatment and commend the therapists for the great job under the conditions. Items that were on the shelves and counter ended up on the floor and the wooden sliding shutters that covered the windows were slamming back and forth against the wall. That is my only complaint about the spa. Not very practical for a ship at sea. Dining: We chose Traditional dining 2nd seating (8:15 PM). Food was wonderful and the service was superb! We had great table mates. The only thing we would do different next time is do the first seating next time. Second seating didn't allow us the freedom to see the shows we wanted to see. we were so busy during the day that we were to tired to see the late shows. 10:30 Pm and on... Special thank you to our server Svetlana. She indulged my desire to try so many things I have never tried before. We ate at the Chefs Table on our 3rd day of the cruise. Well worth the money paid. It was a pleasure from start to finish. My wine glass was never empty and the food just kept coming. The Horizon court buffet, The food there was pretty darn good. I was pleasantly surprised. My only complaint is that the serving lines as stated before have no rime or reason to them. Yes you go in one way and out another. But while you are in, it can be a mad house at the popular times. also, when you sit down to eat. it can take a long time for a server to come and ask you what you would like to drink. The Trident grill was fantastic. We didn't try out either of the Specialty restaurants on-board Entertainment: We love to gamble. The casino was great, However, we did have to wait on a few occasions for some of the tables to be opened. There were always tournaments going on at one time or another. The slots are very tight. However, I did manage to hit one Big Jackpot! Woo Hoo!!! As for the shows on-board. Well, we weren't to impressed. especially with the aerialist and the illusionist. They were pretty bad. The Motown show was like something out of a collage production. (there were only a couple of cast members that could really sing) Wished we had a chance to see the British Invasion. I had heard great things about that. Glacier Bay was Beautiful! What an amazing site. It was very cold and of course it was raining. But we were prepared once again. We actually went to the top of the ship and enjoyed the sites from under the radar installation. Hint Hint... Great place to view. LOL... If you want to take pictures from out side. go to the prominade deck. it is covered. Our port of call in Ketchikan was cancelled due to rough seas. Oh well. we didn't get to go zip lining like we wanted but we went straight to Victoria B.C, Read Less
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