17 San Francisco Fitness Cruise Reviews

We have done over 30 cruises, 28 on Princess. The ship and staff are outstanding. We loved the charm of the ship even though it is showing some signs of wear and tear (Princess Theater seats need to be reupholstered.) Club Class meals were ... Read More
We have done over 30 cruises, 28 on Princess. The ship and staff are outstanding. We loved the charm of the ship even though it is showing some signs of wear and tear (Princess Theater seats need to be reupholstered.) Club Class meals were a highlight. The food and service were outstanding. Every night Giovanni, the Head Waiter, made a special dish. We had seen all of the shows so we did Movies under the Stars and saw a couple of comedians which we enjoyed. Sit away from where food is being prepared which can impact hearing a movie. The Club Class Minisuite was comfortable with a wonderful bed. The room was extremely well-maintained. The lecturers were outstanding especially the series on a Route 66. We love everything about Club Class. We never had to wait and our waiters (Edgar and Alvin were amazing!) The gym was well-maintained with some updated equipment, Especially nice was the international appeal of the cruise. The vast majority of passengers were from the US, China and Canada. The only minor downside was we have seen all of the shows multiple times. The6 need some new ones. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I have always wanted to go to Alaska and loved our cruise. In Haines we were lucky enough to see a bear in the wild. We got up close and personal with a couple of glaciers. The ship was lovely and the crew so friendly. Our cabin was a ... Read More
I have always wanted to go to Alaska and loved our cruise. In Haines we were lucky enough to see a bear in the wild. We got up close and personal with a couple of glaciers. The ship was lovely and the crew so friendly. Our cabin was a little small but then we didn't spend a huge amount of time in it.. We thoroughly enjoyed every port but did need more time in Victoria BC. Our 16 year old daughter loved the Beach Hut and made friends. Service was excellent, loved Nino and Alex in the Da Vinci Dining Room. Super service. We would happily cruise with them again. Top service in every bar. There were a lot of activities on the ship, only a few that we enjoy. The tablet based bingo was a bit odd and took the fun out of the game itself. You could however buy just paper tickets but the tablets allowed many more winning opportunities so you really had to be part of that. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We went with the Grand Princess from SFO to Alaska, 10days Roundtrip. The cruise and ports were great. First time in Alaska, Weather was between 40-80 degrees. We packed layers, T-shirts, long sleeves shirts and rain jacket. Don't ... Read More
We went with the Grand Princess from SFO to Alaska, 10days Roundtrip. The cruise and ports were great. First time in Alaska, Weather was between 40-80 degrees. We packed layers, T-shirts, long sleeves shirts and rain jacket. Don't worry about the clothes. If you haven't packed the right clothing, you can buy jackets, hats, sweaters and t-shirts in the stores at the port. Don't forget your binocular (or buy in ship store). We've chosen OV cabin with obstructed view, cabin E619, mid ship on Deck 8- Emerald Deck. Right across from the Laundry- but no noises. Location was great, just go down 1 floor and you have restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment. The cabin interior a little bit outdated and small, bathroom was smelling urine. I guess the steward didn't had much time to clean properly. One thing throughout the ship: all windows were really really dirty, hard to see through- no matter which floor. The grand princess is an older, smaller ship. Needs a deep clean thoughout. The staff very friendly, the food was ok. We had anytime dining, sometimes you needed to wait 30 minutes to get a table (mostly between 6-7pm), but we didn't seen that as an issue, the food in the dining rooms was good, nothing really exciting- lot of fish. Pizza at Alfredo and the International Cafe are great alternative for dinner or snack and is complimentary. Awesome! Recommendation for this area: have stationary water, coffee and tea complimentary as well. The Horizon buffet on the other hand is very small and the food selection very limited, I didn't like it very much. Breakfast alright, Lunch not so much. Entertainment: a lot of singing shows. First day 4 singers and dancers, after that- each of those singers have their own show and then final show all singers together again. I wished, they would offer a bit more variety of show acts, comedy and maybe magic to balance it out. Great option to the shows were Karaoke and The Voice, very entertaining and of course "Movies under the Stars:. So our rating is average, we will give princess another try- with royal princess in December. Casino: small, 1 side smoking, the other side non- smoking, on formal nights non-smoking after 6pm. For our smokers: you can purchase duty-free cartons of cigarettes, you can pick them up by the end of the cruise. ( MSC allows you take it with you) Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because of convenience. We took the ferry to pier 41, then walked a few blocks to our vacation. It was as simple as that. The process of embarking was fairly simple and quick, even being as crowded as it was. The ship. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of convenience. We took the ferry to pier 41, then walked a few blocks to our vacation. It was as simple as that. The process of embarking was fairly simple and quick, even being as crowded as it was. The ship. I had read some reviews of the ship looking tired with well worn carpets and other noticeable blemishes. Didnt notice anything bad about the boat. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on the Aloha deck. I found the cabin to be a little bit small, without many power outlets. I think there were only 2. 1 in the bathroom and on in the room. The bed was super comfortable, and the balcony was nice to have. Our room attendant was very nice, but there was a bit of a language barrier as he did not understand some of our requests. No big deal though. Our dinner restaurant was Bottocelli's. I found the food to be good, but not great. Our 2 servers Rodel and Made' though were excellent, really good people! Most of the entertainment was pretty good, the cruise director Dave is pretty good at keeping the entertainment going. The shore excursions were pretty good all around as well. Disembarkation was easy as well. My list of dislikes is small. What comes to mind is the paid for wifi. If you can avoid it, do yourself a favor and do so, its worse than old dial up internet. I hope to do this cruise again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We sailed for 18 days from San Francisco to New York via the Panama Canal. Prior to the cruise we had a one day tour of Muir Woods and Sonoma, with lunch in Sonoma City - a lovely small town. Embarkation and disembarkation were the ... Read More
We sailed for 18 days from San Francisco to New York via the Panama Canal. Prior to the cruise we had a one day tour of Muir Woods and Sonoma, with lunch in Sonoma City - a lovely small town. Embarkation and disembarkation were the only disappointments, and Regent is not at fault. The 3rd party handler in San Francisco failed to provide transportation to the ship for the majority of passengers. And the New York Cruise Terminal made a two day mess of disembarkation, resulting in some passengers missing their scheduled tour of New York City. Clarifications: The ship was partially refurbished in 2014 - the lounges and dining rooms and other public areas were re-done and are very nice. The cabins and cabin hallways are tired but cabins are still comfortable. The ship will go through a complete refurbishment in 2018. Very clean ship, crew very friendly, good service. Food: Lots of food available. Much is high quality sourcing - fantastic lamb from new Zealand, milk fed veal, shrimp. Excellent bread in the formal dining rooms. Authentic spaghetti carbonara and huge delicious portion of veal schnitzel at Stelli Mari restaurant. Restaurants: In past reviews people complained about the slow service in Compass Rose. We only experienced that once and we ate their several times. Cabin: Loved the walk in shower with large rainshower head. Captain Updates: Gave us detailed updates at noon each day. Gym: Excellent high quality equipment. Fitness Manager rather pushy re trying to up sell. Self Serve Laundry: A great feature on each cabin floor. Swimming Pool: I only used it once as there are no steps going down into the pool suitable for people with mobility issues. The top step in the ladders are too far apart for my legs to reach to the deck. This problem has been resolved in the new Explorer ship. I used the jacuzzis instead. Service: I thought service was good. I'm not a smoker but my travel partner is. Smoking is limited to 3 areas of the ship. Some smokers didn't think the service re appetizers and drinks was as good as it could be. Favorite Parts of the Ship: The 11th floor covered terrace at the back of the ship for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Observation Lounge and Horizon Lounge when going through the Panama Canal and during a hurricane. Size of Ship: Perfect for accommodating around 700 passengers and 400 crew. The ship never felt crowded. Ports and Excursions: This is hurricane season with hot humid weather. Be prepared for this if you go in September. Due to bad weather we could not dock in Acapulco or Nassau. This is not the fault of the cruise line.Highlights included: Pura Vida private garden tour in Costa Rica, Cartagena Colombia Old and New Town tour (Cartagena is a hidden gem - spectacularly beautiful), post dis-embarkation tour of New York City (911 memorial is outstanding). Age Profile: Suitable for 55+. Average age likely 70-90+. Large number of people with mobility problems - may be a challenge in rough weather. Not suitable for children. Would I go again? Yes Strong Recommendation: Please do not wait until after the cruise to voice your complaints. Bring them up immediately to the crew so they can do their best to accommodate your requests. Be specific re your complaints. This cruise line is really trying to make this a memorable experience for you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was my 12th cruise, but first with Princess. I love cruising and have enjoyed all my previous vacations with other companies. We cruised for our anniversary, and brought along our 3 year old son. I wanted to enjoy our vacation, so I ... Read More
This was my 12th cruise, but first with Princess. I love cruising and have enjoyed all my previous vacations with other companies. We cruised for our anniversary, and brought along our 3 year old son. I wanted to enjoy our vacation, so I tried repeatedly to overlook the negative details, but they were too many to overlook. We tried to bring issues to the attention of the staff, but our complaints were ignored and we were repeatedly lied to and patronized. Princess recently paid a big fine for fraudulent record keeping in blatantly ignoring regulations. I think the company has lost money, and it shows in their nickel-and-dime and corner-cutting which is especially obvious on an older ship like this one. Since the list of Pros is shorter, I will start there: Pros: -Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze. SF has a wonderful and speedy port and the experience was the best of all the ports Ive been to (New Orleans, Miami, Galveston, etc) -The waitstaff were almost all delightful with only a few crabby exceptions. -Movies Under the Stars was a fun addition to the ship playing movies such as "Princess Bride" and Emma Watson "Beauty & The Beast" with many new family movies. -The recently updated Kids Club (Discovery) was inviting and fun. Although they frequently watched movies, I can't complain because our 3-yo son loved it and begged not to leave. -The band on board XtaSea was brilliant. They could hit the high notes in the Bee Gees and low notes in Louie Armstrong doing justice to each song they played. They were versatile and played current music (Blurred Lines, Bruno Mars, etc) as well as oldies. There wasn't a decade of music they left unsung and all of it was great. Being that they are originally from the Caribbean, their Regge versions were perfect. -Sabatini's Italian restaurant was our best meal on the ship. We were told they completely re-did the menu about two weeks ago. The pasta is house-made and it shows. Everything we were served was phenomenal and authentic. Our only complaint was that we were so full we couldn't finish dessert.... but we found a way. If Sabatini's were on land, I would go there frequently for dinner. If any of the rest of the ship's restaurants were on land, they would likely go out of business. Cons: -The ship cut corners everywhere imaginable. If you plan to cruise with Princess, be sure to bring your own toilet paper and Kleenex. The paper products provided are the quality that you would find in a gas station bathroom. The towels are old and rough with stains and holes. The paper towels in public areas are the brown ones that lack absorbency. -The hot water system is antiquated, so taking a shower is a series of scalding and freezing. I would have complained, but other passengers said the whole ship was like this, and I noticed it even when washing my hands in the sinks: too hot, too cold, too hot. -Everything is broken, and no staff is interested in fixing it. The women's sauna and steam room were out of order 8/10 days we sailed. At least one pool was closed at all times, and on several sea days, all but one or two hot tubs were closed for repair. Restrooms around the ship were closed for repairs for days at a time. The women's restroom near the kids club was closed for our entire sailing. Many of the restaurants/bars were out of key ingredients for things they offered for the entire sailing. The countertop in several of the bathrooms was cracked and had been poorly glued back together. The ship was constantly being painted the whole cruise, and that combined with the smell of smoke pouring out of the casino were at times nauseating. The smokers lounge is located directly outside the theater and it's doors don't seal, so the smell wafts into the theater and surrounding areas. I joked with other passengers that I avoided the 6th deck entirely due to the smoke smell and they agreed, if you don't smoke, even the smoke-free day in the casino is unbearable. -Three times (in 10 days) our room was affected by 'Essential Maintenance.' One of these times involved a 3 hour interruption in the water supply. They left a few bottles of water in the room for this water interruption which I appreciated. Of course, murphy's law, my son had to poop during the water outage, so I used the bottle of water to flush the toilet and wash his hands. When the water outage was over, I was asked to pay for the water we used. Even though we had the unlimited drink package, we were told that this water was not included. After much complaining, I got them to remove this charge, but I was shocked that we were even asked to pay. It felt like the constant nickel and diming. -The tea library "Leaves" had a hot water station that did not ever contain hot water for our entire sailing. There were also no cups, and all the drawers of various loose teas looked like they hadn't been refilled in a year. We asked staff about them and were either told that the stations would be filled in the morning, or were told that it was out of order. There were no signs, and we found it this way day and night. -Our balcony door leaked each time it rained, soaking the carpet and anything we had stored near the balcony. Despite repeated complaints, this was never fixed or addressed. -The partition between our balcony and our neighbors, broke on the second day of sailing. Despite reporting, it took two days for anyone to address the issue and the partition would BANG rhythmically in the wind, all day and all night. Finally, they came by with wooden door stops and wedged the partition into place. When the wedges came out and we asked for a more permanent fix, they came by with more wedges. All of this wouldn't have been so bad, but we were repeatedly told someone would fix it "right away" and it took days. Each time we asked they would apologize, claim someone would come right up, then never show. -Everyone on the ship is a gimmick to get you to buy something or spend more money. I went to a free "Stretch and Release" at the gym. Turns out this is not really a class at all, it is an infomercial for Good Feet shoe inserts. After a few minutes of stretching, the high pressure sale tactics start. "Normally these are $300... today only $200" The man teaching the class is the head of the gym, with his photo on the wall as you enter. He said "I don't work for princess, I am a paying guest just like you, so selling these is my livelihood" When I declined the purchase, he got angry. Why had I volunteered for the demonstration if I was not interested in buying. Finally, I said "I am sorry, $200 is a bit out of my price range for insoles" and he said "If you are on a cruise, you can afford it- I can't believe I let you volunteer, I always get a sale out of a volunteer, so I have wasted a sale." -Speaking of the gym, it is smaller than any other ship I have been on, so it was always crowded and dirty. They only had one bottle of wipes for the machines, and it was not attached, so it roamed and was hard to find. There isn't a running track on this ship, though they pretend the 7th deck has one, it is just a shared walkway. 3 times is a mile, but you must go up and down stairs and around banisters. It isn't a complete circle. There were only two classes offered: yoga at 7:30am and PDX-type, both were $12/session. They also had personal training for astronomical fees. Outside the gym, in the atrium area there is a free zumba class daily, but I did not attend so I can't say if they were also selling something. -The food was inconsistent. They use real parmesan cheese, but fake olive oil. The staff will swear up and down that the imitation crab is real, even when the giant spiraled chucks with the dyed red edge are obvious. The pizza place was OK, but the pizza's were soggy in the middle and undercooked. We started ordering them well-done, which helped, but we were sometimes told they were too busy to cook them well-done. The creme brûlée came out with a soft and mushy top. Most seafood dishes were overcooked and therefore chewy, I also suspect that much of the seafood had been frozen. The hollandaise sauce on the eggs Benedict came out as a 'crust' I assume perhaps it sat under a warmer too long? I have never seen browned hollandaise sauce. The gazpacho and Ceaser salad were consistently fantastic, and they also did a good job on any kind of stewed dish or anything served cold. In other words, things that are good even if they sit were good. Dessert was mostly good too, but it is difficult to mess up chocolate and sugar. -Specialty Dining: After having the terrible frozen crab legs in the dining room, we decided to skip the Crab Feast. The Crown Grill Steak restaurant was OK. My son got a pork chop which might have been the best thing on the menu. It was explained to me that there isn't any fire on the ship, all the cooking is electric (for obvious safety reasons) but steak and BBQ aren't good without fire, so it seems silly to offer something that you know won't be good. (BBQ at the trident grill tasted like it was boiled and then smeared with BBQ sauce) -This ship offered limited entertainment or activities. I think perhaps it is geared towards retirement age folks, and maybe they enjoy spending money all day? I don't know but 80% of the 'activities' offered in the Princess Patter were sales of some sort. Jewelry, clothing, art, shoe insoles, excursions, acupuncture, spa materials, etc. Even at dinner, they were pressuring us to attend the wine tastings for $25. -While in port, we had a security officer tell us it would be "5 more min" to board while the moved the walkways for the change in tide. He said this repeatedly for 45 minutes. The women behind me in line had a walker, but was stuck in line with us and no where to sit down. We had a hungry child and the line stretched so long, the prospect of fighting backwards in the line to get out got worse and worse. When we finally boarded the ship almost 90 minutes later, I went to the desk to suggest they consider an announcement when the walkways needed to be moved. They can't help nature, but it is a predictable event. I explained that if we had been told "45-90 min" instead of "5 min" we would have left and had lunch elsewhere instead of returning to the boat. The guy at the desk was patronizing and basically told me it wasn't their problem. The lady with the walker, thanked me for trying to complain, but clearly they have no intention of being honest or transparent. -When I finally got in touch with the manager of customer service, he pretended to be apologetic, he pretended he wanted to make it up to us, and offered my son a chance to meet the captain. We were so grateful and excited. He told me the time, and I read it back to him. On the day we were supposed to meet the captain, the manager lied and said that we had gotten the time wrong and that he had repeatedly called our room. We were in our room at the time he said he called, which made him back track. Perhaps he called the wrong number, or didn't let it ring enough times... perhaps his accent caused us to get the time wrong. I reminded him that I had read the time back to him, so his accent didn't matter, and he didn't have a response. He just stared at me and said he was sorry. All of the ports were amazing. The train is Skagway is worth the price. Watch the Discovery Channel documentary on it (on youtube). I would happily go back to Alaska, and all of the ports. I will just never sail Princess again. While in Juneau, we ate at "Salt" and had the best Salmon of our lives and best local beer from Arkose Brewing Company and even the ling cod was flavorful (not something I would normally say about whitefish). They have a fermented chili aioli that was so good I could have drank it, and they were generous with the truffle oil. In Ketchikan we really enjoyed eating at the "Cape Fox Lodge" and they offer a $3 tram ride down the mountain. For the experienced hiker, I recommend the Rainbird Trail. You need shoes with good grip, and preferably waterproof, but the views are breathtaking and worth it. No need for a guide, the trail is easy to follow, but strenuous at times. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Great trip. First time to Alaska, a must see for all. The crew was wonderful, not one negative thing to say about the staff. Everyone was very positive and accommodating. Food, Food, Food. Good entertainment with lots of things to do. Our ... Read More
Great trip. First time to Alaska, a must see for all. The crew was wonderful, not one negative thing to say about the staff. Everyone was very positive and accommodating. Food, Food, Food. Good entertainment with lots of things to do. Our dining experience was the beat, Rosaleo and Nicanor in the Davinci Dining room were the best, top notch fun and entertaining. We had 4 stops all were unique to there own with easy access on and off the boat, All the stops have a lot to do even if you gust get off the ship and explore your self like we did at 2 stops. Do worry about things to do and shuttles are cheap and walking is not that far. We were aboard for 10 days and could have gone more without feeling like it was time to get off. We would sure do this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This will be our ONLY cruise on Princess. We had high hopes as my brother in law likes Princess and recommended it. We however hated it and here's why: Food - The meat and seafood was grossly overcooked. We sent stuff back, we ... Read More
This will be our ONLY cruise on Princess. We had high hopes as my brother in law likes Princess and recommended it. We however hated it and here's why: Food - The meat and seafood was grossly overcooked. We sent stuff back, we ordered it "Medium Rare" - it sill came out slammed. The sides were disappointing as well. For the most part everything friend came out soggy. The buffet was horrible, food way soggy and overcooked. Beds - The Grand Princess beds were replaced just a few weeks before our voyage. We found the beds lacking in support and too soft and uneven. My back hurt for most of the cruise as a result. Crowds - The ship was like an Ant hill. Other cruise lines we've been on pack far fewer people onto a ship the size of the Grand Princess. There were lines and crowds everywhere. We've never had to wait in line for an hour for anytime dining before. We took to calling in at exactly 8AM to make reservations. So that pretty much killed doing anything else around that time. We found it very stressful. Embarkation - I've never seen a crowd that big in a terminal. We showed up a tad early for our appointed check in time but still had to queue up for almost 2 hours before we could board. There was also a 30 minute line to check in suitcases. Never seen a mess like that before. Rust Bucket - while the interior of the ship was worn but in pretty good cosmetic shape the exterior was horribly rusty. Systems such as the Vacuum toilets also broke down repeatedly. Cabin - We booked a mini-suite. It was the size of a regular veranda cabin on some of the other lines we were on. The storage was ample and there was a nice sofa seating area, but calling it a mini-suite was quite an exaggeration. Fitness - the Gym equipment was insufficient for the crowd on board and there was often a long wait for treadmills and ellipticals. The classes were too crowded and unpleasant. The public rooms were inadequate for the crowd. There's only one real theater on the Grand Princess, but the staff had it offline for "rehearsals" and shuffled off the popular enrichment activities to venues way too small for the audience. The only bright spots on the cruise were the Hula and Ukulele instructors and the Naturalist and Forensic Lecturers. They made the cruise for us, otherwise we'd have disembarked at the first port and flown home. I must point out that the staff was uniformly courteous and friendly even when they were not empowered to fix anything. Out cabin attendant was fantastic. All in all, we had a great time, because we didn't let the problems with the cruise get to us, but we'll never cruise on Princess or any Carnival property again. We'll stick with Celebrity and Oceania. Possibly trying some of the other higher end cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We love Princess Cruise Line and especially being able to sail from a port near our home. It was so easy getting aboard; everything went so smoothly and the ship was as ready to have us aboard as we were to embark. Our bags were ... Read More
We love Princess Cruise Line and especially being able to sail from a port near our home. It was so easy getting aboard; everything went so smoothly and the ship was as ready to have us aboard as we were to embark. Our bags were delivered to our door almost as soon as we got to the room so we were unpacked and ready to explore even before the Life Review. Leaving the SF Bay and getting out in the Pacific waters we experienced a bit of rough seas but our Capitan's Team had things under control and of course the entire staff on board were great and used to the tilting of the ship. Our sail from SF to the Islands was 4 days but with all the things to do on board those days, evenings and nights were filled with lots of good things to keep us busy and entertained. The dining was great with friendly and gracious wait-staff. We chose anytime dining and enjoyed being seated with many different people, exchanging entertaining dinner conversation with a wide variety of folks from the US and England as well. We had chosen our tours ahead of time from the descriptions on line and we were not disappointed. Princess had taken care of the hard part of getting to our tour. Although it was the rainy season in Hawaii, we lucked out in not only NOT having rain but to having sunshine every day. We enjoy very much our days with Princess and their choice of staff and entertainers. This was our 15th cruise with Princess and we always feel welcomed and at home during our days afloat. We are looking forward to our next adventure with a Princess cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I chose this cruise because the price was good and it was the destination I wanted to go . This was the first time I used princess and they were rated the best Alaskan cruise line so we chose them. Overall the cruise was pretty good with ... Read More
I chose this cruise because the price was good and it was the destination I wanted to go . This was the first time I used princess and they were rated the best Alaskan cruise line so we chose them. Overall the cruise was pretty good with some areas were excellent and others were not good at all. The destination was excellent although we did not spend enough time in each port. The main dining room the food was good and the service was excellent. The buffet the food was average and the service was ok. The shows were well below average and they were trying to sell too much stuff. The comedian AJ was excellent but the activities guy named Mark was offensive and not very talented everything he did had a sexual overtone which I did not like. Most of the people on the cruise were over 60 which was a surprise. We did a whale watching tour booked through the ship at British Columbia Canada for 3 hours but we did not see any whales so it was disappointing. In the future the cruise should have shows that have a PG rating, more selection in the area of food choices and a 10 day menu on the website or when you check in. They should also have more activities for younger people. They should also give a partial refund on excursions if guests are disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We booked this because we enjoy the resort feeling of days at sea. We begin our day early with specialty coffee at the International Cafe. After walking have a leisurely breakfast in the Horizon Court, love their waffles. Zumba is a ... Read More
We booked this because we enjoy the resort feeling of days at sea. We begin our day early with specialty coffee at the International Cafe. After walking have a leisurely breakfast in the Horizon Court, love their waffles. Zumba is a blast! Then there are lectures where we learn new things. On this cruise we were visiting military bases in Honolulu so the new information we learned about submarines in the Pearl Harbor attack was very interesting. It is difficult to chose what to do, but fortunately most lectures are replayed on the ship's tv if you do something else when they are live. We used the fitness center most sea days too. We did not participate in the choir but some of our table mates did so we went to the performance, and the fashion show to cheer them on. The Happy Hour in the Wheelhouse is a great way to have a before dinner drink, at an affordable price. If you are not traveling with a group then you usually sit with other travelers and it is another opportunity to learn about the adventures of other travelers. We really enjoyed our dinner group! Our waiter and his assistant were so fun. Also, one person was ill and did not come to dinner so our waiter took an order from her travel companion and sent it to her cabin. They have room service 24 hrs. but the dining room menu is special so I was very impressed he did that for them. Since we get up early we don't go to many evening events, but the performances we attended were fun. The British Invasion featured music from our teenage years and was a lot of fun. The ship was decorated with special banners before Hawaii and Mexico, as well as St. Patrick's Day decorations. They also provided special eye protection so when the sun peaked out during the solar eclipse we got to look at that too. I just roll my eyes when people say cruises are boring. We had a blast! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We were treated so wonderfully by everyone. The men at the International Cafe, where I would go at 3:00 AM were always so thoughtful. The staff at the Horizon Court were cheerful and acted like we were doing them a favor letting them get ... Read More
We were treated so wonderfully by everyone. The men at the International Cafe, where I would go at 3:00 AM were always so thoughtful. The staff at the Horizon Court were cheerful and acted like we were doing them a favor letting them get us things. Our waiter at dinner gave me helpful hints on ways to make our trip more enjoyable, like going to the Sanctuary. We made friends and enjoyed meeting them at the Wheelhouse for Happy Hour. Afterwards we played trivia with them. We had a booked schedule since I had rebooked excursions at every port. We learned so much on all of them. We did go with a private tour in Cartagena and there was a noticeable lack of quality. People who say they get the same tour from private vans don't know the difference. We also had to pay to get into the nunnery, and other places, no lunch was included. I was hesitant to go someplace that had not been checked out already. It verified what I had heard that Princess screens the venders they use for excursions. Many people praised Sabatini's so we went there and it was well worth the surcharge. The enrichment lectures were useful. There was even one on the Camino de Santiago. It was so difficult to leave the ship. I booked two more cruises as soon as I got home, Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We're an active couple in our early 30's with five cruises under our belt, three with Princess. This is the second time we've sailed out of SF, and have been to Mexico on multiple occasions. Embarkation: The Embarcadero ... Read More
We're an active couple in our early 30's with five cruises under our belt, three with Princess. This is the second time we've sailed out of SF, and have been to Mexico on multiple occasions. Embarkation: The Embarcadero was backed up with traffic, as usual. On our last trip, the taxi driver used the side streets to get up to the terminal and dropped us off across the street. We wheeled our baggage (carry-on) right into the terminal. This time, our town car driver drove us up Embarcadero, and it was slow going. When we arrived, Pier 35 was a hot mess. A line of cruisers snaked around the sidewalk. It took about 30-40 minutes just to get inside. Once inside, we filled out the requisite health form and stepped into yet another line for check-in. Unfortunately, we don't have Platinum/Elite or suite status, so we couldn't get into the special (shorter) line. One day. After making it through check-in, getting on board was fairly quick. We flew through security screening, then a picture for ship security before stepping on board. Stateroom: We stayed in a standard interior room on the Caribe deck, far forward on the starboard side. We have heard others complain about noise from the Princess theater below, but we didn't have any noise issues. The closet had plenty of hangers and the room was clean. No complaints about our room steward. Dining: By the time we got on board and schlepped our carry-on bags to our room, lunch in the dining room was over. Horizon Court is not our favorite place to eat, but we head up anyway. The food is typical buffet fare, but the service (or lack thereof) is what stood out most. No one offered us a drink, and we had to retrieve our own silverware. The staff seemed rather harried. Luckily, this is the only time we experienced poor service from dining staff or drink servers. I will chalk it up to turnaround day craziness. We opted for fixed dining (2nd seating) after having a poor Anytime experience on our first Princess cruise. Our waitress and assistant waiter were superb. Also, the beverage service was great in the lounges and theater. We ate mostly in the dining room and once in the Crown Grill. I often followed the dinner recommendations of our waitress, and was never disappointed. Since food taste is rather subjective, I won't go into details. But I was more than pleased with the dining room food. However, I noted a lack of "extras" -- no dessert buffet or Mexican-themed night. This didn't diminish my experience in the least, but my husband did miss his favorite chocolate-covered strawberries usually served on dessert night. Service: Except for some minor hiccups -- long embarkation lines, long tender wait in Cabo, and not-so-chipper service at the purser's desk the night before disembarkation -- I was in 7th heaven. I had heard that the ship was fully booked, so a few minor issues on a ship with thousands of passengers won't deter me from sailing with Princess again. Entertainment: Production shows have been shorted to about 30-40 minutes in order to accommodate 3 shows each night. Most were pretty good. We weren't impressed with either of the comedians, though. Rootberry, a juggling duo, was good fun. Ports (we have been to all of them before): Catalina -- We spent more time waiting for the tender than we did on the island. It may not have been Princess's fault, because the Catalina pier didn't look like it could accommodate very many tender boats. We walked around a bit just to stretch our legs. Others recommend renting a golf cart to explore, but this didn't interest us. Puerto Vallarta -- Walked off, took a cab ($6US) to the Malecon, explored a bit and had lunch at one of the beach restaurants. Purchased some small watercolor paintings from a street artist and headed back to the ship via cab. Cabo overnight -- Easy tender compared to Catalina. We walked around town and negotiated a parasailing trip while on the dock. Parasailing was great fun; better scenery in Cabo than in Puerto Vallarta. Then, lunch on the beach at The Office. The food wasn't as good as what we had in PV, but still satisfying. It was their seasonal re-opening (they are closed in Sept) and the tab was half off, which was a nice surprise. We had planned to jet ski on the 2nd day, but got lazy and stayed on the ship. San Diego -- Everyone on the ship had to disembark and go through customs, which was relatively fast for US Citizens (the other line was much longer). Walked to the bus stop and hopped on the 7 line to Balboa Park. Explored a bit but bored quickly and headed back downtown. We stopped at the USS Midway, which was a stone's throw from our ship. Great museum with an audio tour included. Disembarkation: Fast. Ridiculously fast. If you can, walk off with your luggage. I was up at 6:30am and grabbed a small breakfast from Horizon Court to bring to our room. Our meeting time was 8:10am, but we were at the assigned lounge by 7:30am. We were in a cab to BART by 8:30am. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was my 3rd Alaska cruise but my first on Princess. The cruise itinerary was fantastic as was the food and the on-board activities. The only negative aspect of our cruise was the dinner service in the Rigoletto Dining Room. The food ... Read More
This was my 3rd Alaska cruise but my first on Princess. The cruise itinerary was fantastic as was the food and the on-board activities. The only negative aspect of our cruise was the dinner service in the Rigoletto Dining Room. The food was wonderful, but 8 nights out of 10 the service was mediocre at best. We often waited at least 15 minutes just to place our orders and one evening we waited nearly 30! Another evening we waited nearly 30 minute after our plates had been cleared before our server returned to take our order for coffee and dessert. The wait staff was generally cordial but did not go out of their way to be friendly and we were often treated almost as if we were interfering with their duties. We had requested and received anytime dining but it did not work as well as it had on previous cruises on different ships. If we did not want to wait to eat we had to be in the dining room by 5:30. If we arrived between 6:00 and 6:30 then we knew we would be waiting until at least 7:15 to be seated. It was usually closer to 7:30 or 7:45. The first night of our cruise (before we had any of this figured out) we waited 1 hour and 40 minutes to be seated! On other cruise lines we have never waited more than 10 minutes to be seated with any time dining. The on-board activities were varied and plentiful. A nicely equipped, though somewhat small, gym was well maintained and several fitness classes were offered on most days (some of them were extra expenses). Zumba and line dancing classes were also offered most days and were well run. A 1/3 mile walking track was marked on one of the outside decks. Many audience participation game shows were also offered. The shows were entertaining and well presented. We particularly enjoyed the trivia games offered at least twice on most days with prizes awarded to the winning teams. We really enjoyed the evening entertainment. The productions shows were good as were most of the musicians and bands performing throughout the cruise. There was always something to do even for those of us who aren't normally night-time activity type people. All in all we had a very enjoyable cruise experience and already have plans to cruise with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was my first cruise on Princess. While not a luxury liner, I have to say, it was quite delightful. We had a suite, and Princess made arrangements for certain preferences to the people in suites. It wasn't quite the ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Princess. While not a luxury liner, I have to say, it was quite delightful. We had a suite, and Princess made arrangements for certain preferences to the people in suites. It wasn't quite the distinction Cunard makes with the Grills classes, but it was definitely in that direction. Suite residents had preferential boarding, an exclusive cocktail lounge almost every night (in Skywalkers), preference for dining reservations, and preference on tenders when needed to go into port. Also, breakfast was served in the Sabatini's restaurant space -- very calm and the staff were always attentive. One of the best perks: No internet charges! Our accommodation was really fabulous. We were in the center of the ship in the St. Maarten suite. Dare I say it, but the layout was better than Cunard. The living area was more separated from the bedroom area, and there was a curtain to draw if you really wanted to close it off. The space was large and open-feeling with two sets of sliding glass doors onto the balcony (one set from the bedroom area, and one set from the living area). The bathroom was well thought out. The toilet and sink were in a separate "room" from the shower and bathtub "room." The shower was really quite large -- at least 3 and a half feet square. The tub had whirlpool jets. The closet space was rather tight. Also the lighting could have been brighter there. Our steward was wonderful. He was attentive, but not intrusive. Five stars here. Dining was not as special. The food was very rich, and I did notice quite a few "heavier" people with plates piled high with amazing quantities of food. I did participate in the Chef's Table. I highly recommend it. The attention to detail by the Master Chef and Maitre D' and staff was commendable. The foods were prepared with great care and beauty. Sabatini's was quite good. I noticed that Princess effectuates rationing of services and extras by charging. Princess charges extra for wine and liquor (not too surprising), but also for bottled water, sodas and specialty coffees. They charge for a "day-pass" to the quieter adult-area called the Sanctuary. Of course the Grill and Sabatini's are extra, too. A tip -- if you can, bring a case of your own water on board, and wine. There is a corkage fee for the wine, and limitations on quantity, but the price and selection by bringing your own is worth it. One nit: when I bought a post card stamp (32 cents), the staff member insisted that I buy a $1 air mail stamp "because they had to use the old-rate stamps up." Not cool. Medical Center. Unfortunately, my mom got to experience the medical center. Fortunately, the medical center is quite outstanding. It is really a mini hospital - quite something with ability to x rays, blood work on the spot, and of course, provide IVs and medicine. I was very impressed with the skill & service. Spa services. The spa services are quite good, and they feature Elemis products (they do try to push them a bit). The hair salon was very nice and pleasant, and they did a good job. Other stuff. They had a golf simulator, and an area with artificial grass to practice your putting (or bocce ball). They had the "movies under the stars" -- where you could sit by the pool and watch a movie. I found this to be quite odd to walk through and see "Pearl Harbor" being bombed (loudly) on my way to the putting green. Shopping. Here, Princess gets a low score. The shopping on board was pretty bad. The clothes were shop worn, and frankly, designed for the over-75, over 150-lbs, and under-fashionable set. They didn't even have a cute "Princess" sweatshirt. Also, no bookshop. Ports. Embarking was a mess. We had priority, but other folks were forced to sand outside down the block for several hours. Disembarking was better. I am not sure whether this was a function of the difficulties of the SF Port or Princess (I think the former). The ports in Hawaii are always wonderful. Tendering in Lahaina was easy, and the staff were very organized and knowledgeable. I have to say, I love this itinerary: roundtrip SF (or LA) to Hawaii. Flying in and out of the same place makes it easy -- especially for west-coasters, and the tour of the islands is just enough of a break from your cruise-ship destination! I am just amazed Princess is one of the only savvy cruise lines to make this a regular trip! A special note about Princess and my mom's service dog. Now, I have been through getting my mom's service dog on board a cruise before, and to Hawaii (no simple task). That said, the service and accommodation we received was commendable. The advance team was generally helpful in facilitating our departure. The Chief Purser was very helpful in arranging to smooth our entry in and out of ports (even when the port staff were clueless). Most of the staff on board were delightful to us all, and my mom's service dog received lots of affection and attention. The passengers were almost uniformly delighted to see my mom's dog (although we took special care to not be intrusive). Note that travelling with a service dog is doable, but not a trivial task. I wrote a blog giving practical tips about cruising with your service dog, and the trials of dealing with governmental regulation in Hawaii. Please see www.travelindog.blogspot.com Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Norovirus Outbreak History: We were nervous about the Sea Princess having battled the norovirus on previous cruises to Alaska. We were pleased that to our knowledge, it was not an issue on this voyage and the cruise was overall an ... Read More
Norovirus Outbreak History: We were nervous about the Sea Princess having battled the norovirus on previous cruises to Alaska. We were pleased that to our knowledge, it was not an issue on this voyage and the cruise was overall an enjoyable experience. Embarkation: SF is close to our home so it was ideal to embark from. It is my hope that there will be Hawaiian cruises that leave from this port. It's so nice to not have to fly. Ship: Pretty, sleek, clean and decorated nicely. She did well on this voyage. She is a smaller, mid-sized ship. Cabin: Much smaller than our previous experience but clean, and laid out as best as possible for limited space. Having a balcony is a must to privately view Glacier Bay. Cabin was very quiet and well insulated so you don't hear neighbors unless they have noisy children which sadly changes things. (Since this ship isn't registered in USA, it would be VERY nice to have an area of the ship that is child free including cabins/deck.) Bed: Lumpy, dippy and uncomfortable. Found out on last day that you can request an egg-crate mattress topper from room steward. Wish we'd known this at beginning of cruise. Food: Dining Room: Was hit and miss. Some dishes were okay while some were awful. Service was excellent. Horizon Buffet: Good selection but food was tasteless and bland on most occasions. Service was excellent. Riviera Deck Grill: Average hamburgers and better hot dogs. Ice-cream cones and popcorn were a nice treat. Cafe Corniche Pizzeria: Good! A nice break from the mediocre food. Service was excellent. Room Service: Good, nice selection but they consistently delivered 1/2 hour before time I requested so adjust time to accomodate for their early delivery that doesn't follow your request. Self-Service Laundry: Very poor, very crowded with LONG wait times. All dryers, on all decks, were insufficient and required several cycles to completely dry clothes. (Splurge and get laundry done by staff and save yourself the time and trouble.) Entertainment: Floor Show in Princess Theater: Okay. Kind of cheesy but aren't they all. Movies under stars: Really? in the cold weather. Not such a hot idea. Films in Princess Theater: Good Selection. Comedian/Magician Show: Forgettable. Internet/Wi-Fi: VERY expensive. Be prepared. Sea Conditions: Rough going up the coast, calmer in inland passage. Take meclazine, it really works. Also, get a cabin in middle of ship, it helps with movement of ship being closer towards center of ship. Positives: A pretty, mid-sized ship, nice atmosphere, good service, great ports of call. Fun for whole family. Quiet cabins/hallways (if you are fortunate to not have kids in your area.) Negatives: Crowded indoor areas. Not so hot food and very uncomfortable beds. Smaller than normal cabins. Poor self-service laundry. Navigation channel on TV never displayed the wave height or sea conditions. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Hotel Info - We stayed at the overpriced Mark Hopkins. Our AAA travel agent didn't bother to inform us that parking would be over $50 per night. It does not have a restaurant. The hotel has a nice view and that's about all I can ... Read More
Hotel Info - We stayed at the overpriced Mark Hopkins. Our AAA travel agent didn't bother to inform us that parking would be over $50 per night. It does not have a restaurant. The hotel has a nice view and that's about all I can say for it. We should have found a Best Western. Ship Info -  This ship was clean, but worn. The gym was nice. It was comical when a gym employee was giving my hubby that hard sell about taking some "Abs" class. My hubby is in great shape and doesn't need an abs class! The staff was not as diligent about assuring the passengers used the germicide gels after the first day. On board, they were always trying to nickel-and-dime you for coffee cards, soda cards, water bottles, etc. As new cruisers, we weren't expecting this after the price we paid. They had a rummage sale in the dining room one day. They were selling the most hideous art and had poorly-attended art auctions in the middle of the ship. They would have sale merchandise in the middle of walkways around the Atruim. There was an air of desperation. The ship was jam-packed with cruisers. There was nowhere to find a quiet spot. We managed a load of laundry one morning. The laundry room was the site of a few arguments according to our travelling companions. The instructions on the laundry machines was in Klingon. The ships photographers varied form nice to downright annoying. We did buy some of the formal night photos at eyebrow-raising prices. (Figureing that we might ever do this again.)Activities - There were not enough activities on sea days. Service - Average in general.Port & Shore Excursions - Overpriced, but OK. Tending to shore was not a fun experience as the tenders' engines were smoky and we'd have to sit in the smoke while they figured out which tender got to board first. We saw no bears or whales at any time. We did see eagles and dolphins. Stateroom - We splurged for a mini-suite, thank God. It was very clean and comfortable. The ship was so crowded it was great to have a place to retreat. Our steward was very nice. (Folks always say that the cabin doesn't matter because you are hardly ever in it. Well, when I saw how tiny some of those cabins were, I could see why you wouldn't want to spend much time in one. I was glad I'd been paranoid enough to book a larger one to escape the crowds!)Dining - Our waiter for the first two nights was a surly man by the name of Carlos. He was rude and even argued with my hubby about an order that Carlos had gotten wrong. He came back to the table to whine about it *three* times and hubby was ready to get up in his face. We begged to be moved to a new table. Our new servers were outstanding. Our travelling companions, who have done several cruises, told me that Carlos was very unusual. Formal nights were less than formal and any outfit at all (including shorts) was allowed in the the dining room. We ate at the steakhouse one night, which is just a partitioned off area of the food court. I wouldn't say that any of the meals were more than average. Entertainment -  Average. The stages are so small that I was concerned that somebody would fall off. The naturalist was a cure for insomnia. I was thrilled that Libby Riddles came on board. Her lecture was great!Disembarkation - OKSummary - The highlight of the cruise was Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier. Absolutely gorgeous! I could see all the majesty from the comfort of our cabin. In general, this cruise was a disappointment. Perhaps our expectations were too high from all the wonderful cruising stories we had heard. We usually travel by RV, so we really didn't know what to expect. Our travel agent was no help. We'd ask questions and all she's say was, "You can find that out online." Well, if I'd wanted to find out everything online, why did I bother to go to AAA??? I DO NOT feel that we got our money's worth. (Except for the cabin, which I loved.) Someday, we may try cruising again. But, no way on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009

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