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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
2 Helpful Votes
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: 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
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: 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: 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: 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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