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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
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
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