Unlike the previous weeks reviews on this ship, we had an all-around good experience. The only downfall was in the Chops Grill. The food was excellent as usual, but the service was terrible. You could tell something was off this night. We ... Read More
Unlike the previous weeks reviews on this ship, we had an all-around good experience. The only downfall was in the Chops Grill. The food was excellent as usual, but the service was terrible. You could tell something was off this night. We don't drink alcohol and weren't asked if we would like anything else. Our waiter was trying to serve with a smile, but something was building and you could see his frustrations building, and at one point said "sorry, not my fault. We have waiters move over to Chef's Table right now". The Manager heard of our disappointment and insisted on giving us chocolate strawberries in our room...twice. He would have refunded the meal, but ours was comp-ed by our agent.
Pre-cruise hotel- the new Staybridge Suites was like home away from home. Good hot breakfast included, outdoor patio with barBQ and fireplace (off dining room), rooftop patio with 2 barBQ and fireplace to site by with views of Lake Union and downtown, snack shop, movie room, secure underground parking, FREE shuttle to anywhere downtown. We used shuttle to see Pike Place Market, a shopping n entertaining mecca. Had fishNchips overlooking Seattle Harbor.
Cruise Parking- given easy direction's from friendly hotel staff, we parked at Seattle Cruise Park. Booked on-line. Staff at this parking was helpful, courteous, efficient.
Embarkment- went smoothly and fast @ 11:30 am and had a relaxing time people-watching over coffee at the Promenade Café. Mt hubby has medication that's need refrigeration, so we opened the cabin hall door and proceeded to our room. We were told of no entrance yet, but when we explained, they were very accommodating to let us in room, and even let us put knapsack in room. Cabin Steward, Rocky, was so polite and apologetic about the situation. He told of how we won't be getting "turndown" because of luggage retrieval in progress. He made us a different towel animal every day (7 days), and did excellent job of room service.
Dining- Windjammer Buffet was the best we've had. So many option, so fresh, and waiters so happy and accommodating. I personally thanked the chef. Only suggestion was them saving popular breakfast options to place on the lunch menu, instead of throwing out. Some of us like breakfast at lunch. We only did 3 nights in My Time Dining and was not disappointed. Ricardo, our assistant waiter was so funny, yet knowing when to be professional also. Our head waiter was also good, with details and manners at upmost best. As usual, we loved Johnny Rockets atmosphere. The waiter searched the ship @ 11pm to get us a coffee.
Entertainment- didn't do all shows, as we seen most before. Participated in most games in Star Lounge, as this is something we haven't done before. It was entertaining and good way to past time, since upper decks was a bit cool on most days. Amy, entertainment manager, was fun and innovative. Cruise Director, Graham, was always lively, with late night TV broadcasting. His show, "British Invasion" on the Promenade is a must-see.
Santa Barbara- tenders were efficient and timing to get to shore was good. Had a fun ride with Hot Rod Limo (booked online) and strolled the main street, having a coffee while people watching. Wish this port was longer. The tourist info-greeters were very nice and informative, making you feel welcome and at home.
San Francisco- did the Hop Oh Hop Off "BigBus" (booked online), staying on throughout San Francisco (been here many times) and learned some new interests. Nararator was good. Having some glitches of one side of bus earbuds not working half way through, he insisted on stopping and persisted with fixing until it worked again. Took only 10 minutes.We got off after going over Golden Gate Bridge. Caught the trolley down to Sausalito, with stop at bottom of bridge for photo-op. Driver was fun. This quaint community is nice to walk around. Stopped at coffee shop with pastries. Headed back to ship for dinner, then walked to HOHO Bus main building (a 15 minute walk to Pier 39) to do the night tour. This is a popular option, so book in advance. Got beautiful pics of city-line from Treasure Island, with racoons living near the shore. Saw our first albino racoon....so neat!
Astoria- looked forward to this port. Did lots of research. Knew of $1 trolley ride along shore, through downtown, to end of line where "Goonie" house is. But, following the line of cruisers to a shuttle bus system that cost us $6, I instantly thought that this was only option due to late season or overcast cool weather. Went to the Oregon Film Museum, asked of how to get to Goonie house, and was told to walk 2 blocks to trolley, as it should be running. A bit disappointing to know that this option as available and the Visitor staff at the pier only "herded" us towards the costly shuttle. The museum was very interesting, with a staff that welcomed you with options of discounts and trying a had at filming your own scene (to which they emailed you a copy....FREE) Walked down mainstreet and found it not appealing, with antique & "hippy" stores. I searched averwhere for a magnet, ende up going back to museum and was given 2for1 because of my failed quest.
Victoria- because we lived here, didn't leave ship. It was very windy and captain was close to dock, but aborted for the safety of guests getting off and to save his ship from damage. We anchored out for 2 hours until wind went down, then he succeeded in docking. He announced our depart as 2 hours later than planned, so time in port was same, but those with Shore Excursions had to be refunded and made a day on their own.
Disembarkment- went smoothly as expected. We hail a porter for our luggage and he waited for us at other side of customs, which also want smoothly and quick line moving. Our Cruise Park driver was waiting and asked how our cruise was. Insisted on dropping everyone off at each of their cars, and helped with putting luggage into them..Gave us good directions on getting back to I-5. Read Less