17 San Francisco Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

Our large group of travel friends booked this trip a year ago. We are SF natives who love the ease of leaving from SF. The cruise was a California Southern Coastal Cruise with stops in Santa Barbara, LA, San Diego and Encinada. Most of ... Read More
Our large group of travel friends booked this trip a year ago. We are SF natives who love the ease of leaving from SF. The cruise was a California Southern Coastal Cruise with stops in Santa Barbara, LA, San Diego and Encinada. Most of us booked the Club Level for a few dollars more which has it's perks.They have a special bar, the Club 15 where we had our nightly cocktails, a bottle of wine upon arrival in our room, extra thick bath robes and Club Dining (anytime) in a special area of the dining room. We had a mini suite midship which is a fantastic location for ease of getting places on board. The service was wonderful but the smoking in the Casino was a detriment. We hope that Princess will make some changes with that in the very near future! Our experience was otherwise smooth, friendly and easy. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Amazing, amazing trip. Everything, except for casino, was beyond and above expectations. Casino needs more variety on slots. I loved the robes (waffle), and would love to purchase one for my husband for Father’s Day. Please help ... Read More
Amazing, amazing trip. Everything, except for casino, was beyond and above expectations. Casino needs more variety on slots. I loved the robes (waffle), and would love to purchase one for my husband for Father’s Day. Please help with this. The food was ok, but need more variety. Lots of curry in the food. This is not a good choice for all people. Os e of the shipboard staff, such as line dancer teachers were rude and not very helpful as teachers. I enjoyed all the shows that we saw, but he singers were not very good in any of the shows. I do have to say that anything we asked for was supplied right away as far as our room accommodations went. Roberto was an excellent steward. The ship itself, left a lot to be desired as far as luxury went..so much wear and tear showing all over the ship. Very disappointing. Very disappointing. The name, Grand Princess, does not fit this ship. Entirely to much for gratuities....... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Wanted to travel during the Holidays and wanted to be in Hawaii. Excursions are abundant and worth the time. About 400 children on this cruise and they were entertaining and well mannered. However, we would have liked the Grand to be ... Read More
Wanted to travel during the Holidays and wanted to be in Hawaii. Excursions are abundant and worth the time. About 400 children on this cruise and they were entertaining and well mannered. However, we would have liked the Grand to be Princess QUALITY. My husband and I cruised the Grand in Sept 2017 to Alaska and noticed ship quality had diminished, but because the Grand is easily accessed to & from San Francisco we decided to make the Holiday Cruise to Hawaii our next sailing. Of course embarkation was excellent, as always. Our Stateroom Attendant- Edwin, above excellent and the Crown Grill continues to be a favorite for the food and service. However, the Grand is a SICK Ship! We expected sea sickness (not us) and saw it a lot. However, we did not expect other sicknesses - head colds mostly, but a few other illnesses and we did not expect to return to San Fran sick, again. We believe the sickness is in the venting system through the ship. We have NEVER gotten sick on prior Princess Ships, including the Grand which we sailed when it was on the east coast (New England/Canada) years ago. We noticed the obvious wear in the stateroom furnishings and balcony furniture, also the theater seating is well worn and counters in the public restrooms broken, cracked or chipped, but have never seen so much on one ship. The quality of food in sit down restaurant and buffet was not Princess quality, as previous cruising. The entertainment was lacking in quality (elevator roulette) as was the Cruise Director who could use training in customer service. There are 2+ other cruises from San Fran we would like to take, however until the Grand is replaced or totally overhauled we are avoiding the Grand. We will be watching for future reviews about the Grand Princess from other Cruise Critic contributors to see if that happens. BTW, we reported all this to Princess in the Survey. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I was invited to cruise this itinerary and the price was great! Our shore excursions that we took were city highlights because I had never been to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, or Cabo San Lucas. The walking tour with Princess Cruises in ... Read More
I was invited to cruise this itinerary and the price was great! Our shore excursions that we took were city highlights because I had never been to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, or Cabo San Lucas. The walking tour with Princess Cruises in Mazatlan was the best because we were able to see the city highlights while doing some preferred shopping. From the Cathedral to the Cliff Divers, the tour was great and Akino was fun, funny, and helpful. The bus tours in Puerto Vallarta were rich with culture and knowledge. The Mama' LuciaTequila factory people were super gracious-bring money or your card to buy this great product that is only available in this village. I need to watch Night of the Iguana so I can learn more about the movie greats who brought so much business to this lovely area of the world. Los Cabos was beautiful! The glass factory with the handblown glass items was stunning. And the artists who were making the products did a great job. And our tour guide made sure we knew the difference between a "pachanga" and a "fiesta". LoL. Pachangas are a bit wilder. Dining on board was delicious. We had "any time dining" and sometimes made a reservation for two for the Michelangelo dining room, but mostly we sat with others because my husband and I love hearing and sharing our stories with people from around the world. Sabatini's rocked with the Northern Italian dairy-inspired dishes. But I know my husband really enjoyed the bounty of the sea southern Italian meals. Dancing, night clubs, sitting by the pool. It was all good. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so leaving and returning to San Francisco was a real plus for us. No airport hassles. The ship departed right on time, and we enjoyed sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge. Gives you a totally ... Read More
We live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so leaving and returning to San Francisco was a real plus for us. No airport hassles. The ship departed right on time, and we enjoyed sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge. Gives you a totally different perspective of this iconic structure. The cruise was a lot of fun for our group of 10. We enjoyed each of the stops (Astoria, Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria). The staff of the Grand Princess were fantastic. They made the cruise enjoyable for everyone aboard; from our cabin steward Myrcel, to the dining room staff, to the bar server Daniela. Everyone was on top of their game. The shipboard entertainment was also very good. We enjoyed the Modern Gentlemen Quartet, Alex Ramon magician, and the Princess singers and dancers. We were also treated to an unexpected pod of whales off the port side on the first day of the cruise. What a show they put on. We'd definitely consider another cruise from San Francisco. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My wife and I chose Princess Cruises after a glowing recommendation from a close friend. We were certainly not disappointed. Every part of our experience was unforgettable. Our embarkation and disembarkation, the beginning and the end, ... Read More
My wife and I chose Princess Cruises after a glowing recommendation from a close friend. We were certainly not disappointed. Every part of our experience was unforgettable. Our embarkation and disembarkation, the beginning and the end, went reassuringly smoothly. Once onboard, the entire staff was very helpful and courteous. The delicious variety of dining choices were second to none. And certainly, the entertainment was the absolute best. Every day of our 10 day cruise was a new experience in dining and entertainment pleasure. As far as the weather, we were blessed with perfect weather at every port of call; sunny, clear, pleasant, not too cold and certainly not warm. At the time I paid for the reservation, I prepaid for an excursion for every day we were in port. We will never forget them. They were truly an adventure. On our first excursion in Ketchikan, we boarded a boat with about a dozen other cruisers and went to an island where we hiked a rainforest. In Juneau, we rode the tram up to Mt Roberts and saw some spectacular high-mountain views. In Skagway, we boarded another boat (I'll call it a fast boat) and rode our way through a waterway seeing eagles calmly perched in the trees right next to the shore. We must have seen 20 eagles in the hour we there; every few minutes another eagle. Amazing! Later that day, We rode a bus to a high scenic point. We travelled into Canada and got even closer to galcier country. The next stop was actually going into the fjord and getting as close as possible to glaciers. Previously, after having been invited by a staff member, I had reserved a couple of lounge chairs in a private area known as the Sanctuary. It proved to be just right for viewing the glaciers. Not only that but they provided all the comforts including coffee, light snacks, and an extra blanket if we needed it. It proved to be another very pleasant experience. Finally, our last stop was in Victoria. I wish we could have spent more time there. Victoria is an interesting an beautiful city worthy of more time and sightseeing. There is no doubt my Wife and I thorougly enjoyed ourselves. What made the trip extra special was that we enjoyed it as our 40th wedding anniversary trip of which I informed Princess Cruises. They made the trip a little extra enjoyable with some special recognition. Upon our return, My wife said, "Let's start planning for next year!" Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We were on this cruise with a group of 80 friends. Getting on and off ship was very smooth. Front desk staff was awful. I was double charged for $7,400 for artwork. The Purser's staff told me they would remove at end of cruise. ... Read More
We were on this cruise with a group of 80 friends. Getting on and off ship was very smooth. Front desk staff was awful. I was double charged for $7,400 for artwork. The Purser's staff told me they would remove at end of cruise. When I objected I was put into contact with the ship's finance manager. Her behavior was outrageous & grossly unprofessional. She told me she would not remove the charge for me to "call my bank & deal with it myself". When I explained that I was not the merchant & could not remove a charge she said that she was not going to "deal with me" and called me a "bully". Eventually she did contact my credit card & remove the charge. I also purchased a bottle of Johnny Walker Cruise Edition whiskey. What was delivered was a standard bottle of Johnny Walker that was $140 less than that I purchased. Also, Princess only operated 1 tender at a time in Santa Barbara, as a result we waited 1.5 hours in cold and rain for a tender back to the ship. I have been on 20 cruises and will NEVER cruise on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Grouo of 35 going from Oakmount, Ca Retirement Community. The Water arobics was part of the group. The on shore excursion were great. We missed one because the tender sevice was overwhelmed in Santa Barbara, Ca. Weather is Ensenda was ... Read More
Grouo of 35 going from Oakmount, Ca Retirement Community. The Water arobics was part of the group. The on shore excursion were great. We missed one because the tender sevice was overwhelmed in Santa Barbara, Ca. Weather is Ensenda was windy and cold so we did go ashore. Been to Mexico many times in the past, but did not miss going ashore. Do not think it is safe anymore. Do not really want to support Mexico economy at this time. The Dining was excellent. Waiters very nice and pamper you. The Line Dance instructor fro Argentena was superior. Great Personallity. Worked very hard to please us. The cabin Steward Martin was also excellent. He took good care of us. Room was always clean. Ship is very large. Walked a lot. No wieght gain. Excellent selection of food. Lots of vegtables, fish and fruit. Pastries were excellent. Ship is couches in the Explorer need to be replaced. Way to low for Seniors. Drink service slow sometines. Overall we had a great time. Elevators slow during peak times of mobvement. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our 2nd time sailing with Princess Cruises, and 2nd time on the Grand Princess. Overall this is our 10th cruise with many different lines. I have to say living right in the Bay Area is so convenient. We took a 20 minute drive to ... Read More
This was our 2nd time sailing with Princess Cruises, and 2nd time on the Grand Princess. Overall this is our 10th cruise with many different lines. I have to say living right in the Bay Area is so convenient. We took a 20 minute drive to the cruise terminal and from curbside to the ship took less than 10 minutes. It was absolutely fabulous. The terminal was very well maintained and the porters and staff on the ground were very helpful. It was the fastest check in/debarkation process from any other port I have been to. We stayed in a Mini Suite Cabin (D314) as we did so last time we were on the Grand. The Cabin was very nice, 2 tv's and a separate sitting area. We were welcomed by our very friendly Room Steward Dominador and made our way around the ship. You can definitely see some spots where the ship is showing its age however for a 20 year old ship, its in pretty damn good shape. Last time we took this cruise we were cut 2 days short and an overnight in SF. Due to technical difficulties on the last cruise before us which sent the ship into dry dock to get necessary repairs. Fortunately departed right on time, and also a different Captain. The sail away out of San Francisco is extraordinary it's unlike any other port. The Iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The really exhilarating part was there was 10 people on the bridge waving down at us as we passed under! It was great. Food options were great in the dinning room and buffet. We dined at the Crown Grill 4 times as well as the Sabatini's Italian Trattoria once. The Crown Grill is definitely the best restaurant on the ship, all though it does cost extra to dine there, it's definitely worth it. On the other hand, wouldn't recommend the Sabatini's. They completely changed the menu from the last time we were there and wasn't all impressed with their options... Wait staff and Matîre D's were very kind, especially a shoutout to Oana (Assistant Matîre D) and Aleksander (Head Waiter Crown Grill) They were simply amazing. Entertainment onboard was great, there was something for everyone. From outstanding piano players, magicians, vocal groups, and of course the ships dancers and singers. All the ports were great but wasn't so impressed with the stop in Manzanillo, more of an industrial port and was lacking stuff to do. Not to impressed. However the rest of the ports were great! Overall I would definitely recommend this ship especially if you are within the Bay Area or near to San Francisco. It is totally worth the money and even though the Grand is one of Princess's oldest ships it's still very well maintained. I will definitely be sailing on the Grand again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose to transit the Panama Canal a second time because we joined a group of 42 ballroom dance students with their teachers and to see the new channel. We had eight sea days with 15 private group lessons. It kept us busy and physically ... Read More
We chose to transit the Panama Canal a second time because we joined a group of 42 ballroom dance students with their teachers and to see the new channel. We had eight sea days with 15 private group lessons. It kept us busy and physically and mentally active as we are beginners compared to other students. We are platinum level with at 10 cruises with Princess and ten with various other lines. Embarkation in SF was swift and easy. No long lines. We were there at 12:15pm. We had an ocean view cabin on Deck 8. Our room was ready when we arrived. The shower was one of the smallest but we managed. One complaint was the bed was lumpy and not as firm as we liked. Our request for robes was honored later in the evening but was stained and quite "ratty". My friends next door received unclean robes and requested new ones. I usually wipe down areas of the cabin with Lysol wipes. This time, it appeared slightly dirty. I don't blame our steward. He has 19 cabins to handle alone. In the early days, the stewards had assistants. Now they are rushed. They generally keep the cabins tidy and freshened. I notice that the shower curtain was beginning to smell moldy and I am allergic to mold. The bottom was turning pink from mold. The steward changed it and said they change it every two weeks. I think they should change after each passenger leaves even if before two weeks because the shower is so small. Our bed linens were nice but our pillows weren't that good. TV remote was awkward to use. Hard to find channels. Public areas: The gym was a good size with newest equipment. They didn't have a morning stretch class. Liked the laundry rooms and the token system. Best thing ever for long cruises. The Coral Princess production shows were very good and had great singers eg. Stephen and dancers. On previous cruises on Princess, I had stopped going to the production shows because the singers were awful. I enjoyed the contract musicians, e.g. David Klingkenberg and the comedians, Gary Delina and Doug Funk. Rhapsody dance band was excellent. The cruise director Martin and his staff were hardworking and he and his staff were all over the ship. Limited egress was a problem with Princess Theater. Other ships have multiple exits for the crowd to disperse. Food: pastries always a great selection and too tempting. Breakfast, enjoyed chicken congee and oatmeal and fruits. Smoked salmon was not available everyday. Lunch: soups too salty. Usually found something good to eat but in general, Chinese food was subpar. Try and find someone to cook decent buffet Chinese /Asian food. One good item was the butterfly shrimp. Main dining room for lunch was great but we were usually in a hurry to dance class so couldn't go often. Dinner: They always had some great food options for dinner. They had Mongolian stir fry but I didn't try it. Outdoor grill had excellent chicken breast sandwich. Pizza and other hamburgers and hotdogs were good. Sabatini's pizza was the best. Fish and chips at pub lunch was very good. Our wait staff at Bordeaux Dining were excellent. Cheers to Lorena and Yan, the assistant. Disembarkation was horrible. All the public rooms were crowded and over capacity. Elite lounges were overflowing too. Need a new system. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
If you fly from the East Coast to Hawaii you may spend 11 hrs flying. However, 5 1/2 hrs to SFO, hop in a cruise ship and you maybe saving $1500 if you count airfare, hotels, food, tours etc./ Things to remember: passport, book your ... Read More
If you fly from the East Coast to Hawaii you may spend 11 hrs flying. However, 5 1/2 hrs to SFO, hop in a cruise ship and you maybe saving $1500 if you count airfare, hotels, food, tours etc./ Things to remember: passport, book your tours before you leave home, otherwise you may find later on the ship your tour is closed. If you are traveling from SFO remember the avg temp is 61degrees. from Nov-May. Be prepared to feel cold weather, rocky seas and winds upwards of 25 knots for 6 of the 15 days you are sailing. Bring warm clothes for 10 days at sea. We brought bathing suits but the pool temperature was in the low 70s. If you are courageous you may watch movies outdoors. Book your transportation from SFO airport to Pier 27 and back as soon as you sign up for the cruise. Warning, it may take up to 1.5 hours from the airport. Our trip took that long on a Sunday at Noon. It took 35 minutes to travel two blocks at Embarcadero. Tours are very short, the best is the Arizona-Missouri Memorial. Be prepared to just bring a camera, tons of people go thru everyday and the security folks make you rent lockers at the reception center. This forces the rest of the tour group to wait for you to return to the bus. Hilo, Maui and Makawao are excellent tours. Unless you need to find a Pharmacy, the Ensenada tour is not worth getting. Oh, yes, the Pharmacy is 50 meters from the ship. The activity crew keeps you busy all 8 days at sea. Between Hula, line dancing, Ukulele lessons, Hawaiian history, art, photography lectures, Who can forget gambling? How about Bingo? At Happy Hour you can BOGO at 1/2 price. You can eat practically 18 hours a day and just in case you get up in the middle of the night hungry, just walk to the coffee shop and get a snack and a latte. Feel nostalgic? Go to the nightly shows and listen to your favorite tunes, magicians, dancers and stale jokes comics. Feel hungry after the show? Go to the pizzeria for a couple of slices. After all of these, you only wish to had less time at sea and more time in Hawaii. After we arrived home we couldn't wait to go back to work, we needed the rest........ Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Some friends and I were part of a group of quilters, sewing every at sea day plus one port day down in the Botticelli dining room. This was our first time on the Grand and we loved it. The beds are comfy, shower stall a little small, but ... Read More
Some friends and I were part of a group of quilters, sewing every at sea day plus one port day down in the Botticelli dining room. This was our first time on the Grand and we loved it. The beds are comfy, shower stall a little small, but water pressure was great. We had great servers in the dining room, and I was impressed at how many servers were in Horizon Court to bring your drinks or help carry plates. We did late tea and dessert there a few evenings, since it was fairly quiet, they had time to chat a bit. Fun to find out where they were from. We also thought the food was great. My friends and I have a saying, if I didn't have to prepare it, it's my favorite! First time to be in a balcony cabin, that was a huge treat! Shows were good. We loved MUTS! Ports were so-so. But we didn't care because it was more about being able to take quilting workshops and enjoying the ship. Embarkation went quickly, our TA wanted us all checking in about the same time, between 11:30 and 12:00. (Warning, if you're driving over from the valley, traffic was very slow from Tracy until we were on the Bay Bridge.) Disembarkation went smoothly as well, I think we were off and through customs around 10 am. We parked at 55 Francisco (although I don't know if you can still make reservations there). Can't wait to sail on the Grand for another quilting cruise! Kudos to our TA Terry for doing such a great job! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Just returned from sailing on the Celebrity Infinity Pacific coastal with port stops in Monterey, Ensenada, San Diego, Catalina Island and Santa Barbara. Wonderful port stops, and even though we had to tender the majority of the timing, ... Read More
Just returned from sailing on the Celebrity Infinity Pacific coastal with port stops in Monterey, Ensenada, San Diego, Catalina Island and Santa Barbara. Wonderful port stops, and even though we had to tender the majority of the timing, the tenders were quick and always available, no lines. :) We were surprised there was not a whale watching excursion in Monterey, but right off the port we booked our own excursion on Chris' Whale Watching and were not disappointed. Saw over 40 whales up close and personal. fantastic! If you have a port stop in Santa Barbara highly recommend renting a car and driving to Reagan Library and Air Force One in Simi Valley. Takes a little over an hour to drive there but well worth the drive. We took a watercolor painting class which was great fun! highly recommend I had never painted in my life and I would say the majority of the class were newbies, and we all were impressed with the final results. The entertainment was outstanding. Don't miss the shows! Liked every show we saw - Dean Gaines, comedian, David Meyer was OUTSTANDING. What energy! Lou ___ from season 2 of American Idol was the best singer I have ever heard on a ship. Really enjoyed the aerialists from Romania and Croatia (a husband and wife to-be team). There is a 3:30 pm snack time. This is really afternoon tea with scones and teas and sandwiches and desserts. Liked this a lot as you don't have to sit in a main dining room, you can just get your scones and tea and enjoy at your leisure. Also loved that they have free ice cream 4 flavors and sorbets, 3 or 4 flavors on Deck 10, Oceanview Cafe. Plenty of choices. We had great dinners in the main dining room and a wonderful group of servers. DO NOT MISS going to the large outside pool on Deck 10 near the Canyon spa. This was another highlight of the ship. There is not a charge to use this pool and it is fantastic! Not to be missed. The water is warm and wonderful and water is salty. My husband likes a cool pool but I loved this pool!!! Cruise director Patti was great and was also a fantastic singer, Overall rating -- 9+ I would have rated this cruise a perfect 10 had the TV in our room been better and movies been available on the ship. If you are thinking about seeing California coast, be sure to book this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Anytime dining DOES NOT mean "anytime dining". It means you cannot enter Donatello's until AFTER 7:45pm. Bernini, the traditional dining room is the ONLY anytime dining along with the Lido's Horizon Buffet. We received ... Read More
Anytime dining DOES NOT mean "anytime dining". It means you cannot enter Donatello's until AFTER 7:45pm. Bernini, the traditional dining room is the ONLY anytime dining along with the Lido's Horizon Buffet. We received a complimentary entrance to the Grill, but could not get in for the entire cruise. Plus, the certificate was for the GRILL ONLY. I think pre tipping is hurting the service, it was not up to company standards. We also booked this ship because of the paddle tennis, that was a DISASTER! The cruise staff just was not interested. Nets were not set up at prescribed times. Which the ship was not even going to have Paddle Tennis had we not insisted. Unfortunately 4 out of 5 times we had to set up the net and find balls. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Ship: The Sea Princess is a very small outdated ship that is getting redesigned and updated this year. Passengers: Average age of the guests was about 75. Lots of walkers, wheelchairs, canes and oxygen tanks to maneuver around. ... Read More
Ship: The Sea Princess is a very small outdated ship that is getting redesigned and updated this year. Passengers: Average age of the guests was about 75. Lots of walkers, wheelchairs, canes and oxygen tanks to maneuver around. Getting anywhere in a hurry is difficult. Elevators are painfully slow and almost always completely full. I climbed a LOT of stairs on this cruise. Activities: Bring a book. On second thought bring 3. The activities schedule is extremely limited. One activity per time period and many of them were not activities at all (piano melodies from 2-3, GBLT get together from 3-4, car enthusiasts meet 4-4:30, etc). For anyone looking for lots of fun things to do during the day, this cruise is not for you. And you will find no solace in your stateroom. The TV offered a total of 6 watchable channels, two of which were all news. All the other channels are Princess advertising itself in various ways or the hand washing show about the proper way to wash your hands. There are no regular channels you would find on your tv at home on this ship. Staterooms: Tiny, very crowded, 2 outlets, small closet and drawer space. It was adequate for just the 2 of us but I am used to Carnival whose rooms are double the size of these. I was initially going to bring an aero bed for my daughter to sleep on. Wouldn't have been able to blow it up if I tried. 18 inches of space from the end of the bed to the wall. My room attendant was wonderful and made us a towel animal each night even though they don't typically do this (you will only get a towel animal on formal nights). Staff: In many instances, untrained. This got very frustrating at times on this cruise. A simple question like "which floor do we get off the ship on?" would yield 3 or 4 different answers. Our dinner waiter was terrible. I am used to my waiter knowing my name by day 2 of any cruise. By day 10 all the woman at my table were still being address as "lady". "You want more soup lady?" Very off-putting. We all had to switch plates often too since he would put the food in front of the wrong person or bring things to the table that nobody had ordered. I thought he was new. Turned out he has been with Princess for almost 3 years. This level of ineptitude was normal on this ship. If you brought up something that was making you unhappy, the response was defensive and condescending. Food: Princess caters to a much older, mostly Asian, crowd so don't expect any level of gourmet cuisine. I heard more complaints about this from fellow passengers than any other thing. Everything was bland and unseasoned or soft (except the pancakes and waffles which were hard). The lunch buffet was a hodgepodge of ethnic (mostly Chinese) foods sort of thrown together in no pattern. Since I have no desire for, for example, fried fishballs and refried beans for lunch, I ate OFF the ship as often as possible to avoid it. Quality control at the buffett and in the dining rooms was non-existent. The one time I went to breakfast in the dining room I was served a hard omelet, burnt sausage and cold hash browns. I sent it back and got a hard omelet, slightly less burnt sausage and cold hash browns as a replacement. At dinner 3 of the exact same dishes would come out looking like 3 completely different things. There is a pizzeria on board that makes very good pizza (I know this because I ate it anytime we were stuck on board for lunch). Oh, and did you want some crab on your cruise to Alaska? Don't look for it here. I had to get it at the crab shack in Juneau. When a 7 year old looks at you and says "mom, I am not impressed with these pancakes" there is something seriously wrong with your food. Excursions: The sled dog summer camp is excellent and the Great Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan is a blast. All the stops on this cruise were amazing but you can get them on any other line as well. Other weird stuff that didn't make any sense: 1) Coffee is free from room service and the Lido deck but you get charged for it if you walk up to a bar. I was charged for hot chocolate 3 of the 7 days I ordered it from room service (they have no chocolate milk on board so I had to resort to this). I got it free upstairs. Why would a beverage cost money on one floor when it's free on another? 2) The paper towels in the public restrooms are often nowhere near the sinks. You will have Kleenex next to the sink and the paper towels hidden around a corner. Same with the cabins. The toilet paper is 3 feet away and the Kleenex is right next to you. Did the designer of this ship actually think about use? Don't really think so. 3) A portion of the smoking section being on deck 7. That is the only deck you can walk completely around. Many people used it as a jogging track so why would you put part of the smoking section there? I smoke and if I didn't, I wouldn't want to be running through a cloud of it on my morning run. Camp for wee ones: My daughter loved it. There were a total of 40 kids on the whole ship aged 3-17. 15 of them were in her 3-7 year old camp. She spent most of her time there since there was nothing else for her to do except swim and it was too cold and rainy for that. She made some friends with such a small group to play with. Counselors are friendly. Overall, a very disappointing experience. My fellow diners (who were 2 sets of grandparents) and I all agreed we would use a livelier and better managed line for our next trip to Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Overall. Carnival prides itself on making cruising fun. For us, this was definitely a fun cruise. We really enjoyed the food, service, cabin, ship, entertainment and port of San Francisco. We are excited that Carnival has moved this ... Read More
Overall. Carnival prides itself on making cruising fun. For us, this was definitely a fun cruise. We really enjoyed the food, service, cabin, ship, entertainment and port of San Francisco. We are excited that Carnival has moved this beautiful new ship to home port in Los Angeles. The Mexican Riviera will be a fun itinerary for those of us on the west coast. San Francisco Airport Transfers. TIP 1: Save money on transfers or cab fare and take the BART light rail directly from the airport to your hotel or to the cruise terminal. For downtown San Francisco, the cost is $5.35 per person versus a $45 cab ride. It is cheap, quick and easy - even with luggage. Check the BART price before you travel. It will be much easier at the ticket machine if you know how much you need to pay. Also, each person needs his/her own ticket even if you are traveling together. On BART, we left the airport at 4:50 PM on a Friday and came out of the Powell Street BART station a few blocks from our hotel less than 30 minutes later. The InterContinental Hotel on Howard Street. We decided to arrive a day early and stay at the InterContinental Hotel at 888 Howard Street. The concierge staff helped us choose a great dinner and helped us get to the Farmer's Market, Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown before and after our Carnival Cruise. Public Transportation on BART and Trolley Cars make everything easily accessible from this home base. TIP 2: It is always safest to arrive a day early for any cruise. If you cruise out of San Francisco, the InterContinental Hotel on Howard Street is very convenient to the cruise terminal. It is also centrally located with easy access to the Embarcadero with its Farmer's Market, to China Town and to Fisherman's Wharf at Pier 39. On Saturday morning before our cruise we went to the San Francisco Farmer's Market at the embarcadero. The Farmer's Market is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays. You will find both indoor and outdoor booths selling fresh food, baked items, coffee, candy, flowers, cheeses, chocolates, mushrooms and more. We snacked on several decadent home-made candies and picked up a truffle-flavored salt at Far West Fungi - The San Francisco Mushroom store. If you like chocolate - especially dark chocolate, you will love the renowned Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker in the Farmer's Market. You can find good coffee everywhere. Dan found an espresso and Janean found a Chai Black tea at Peet's Coffee & Tea. TIP 3: If you cruise in or out of San Francisco on a Saturday or Tuesday, make some time to visit the Farmer's Market which is only open on Saturday and Tuesday. Cruise Terminal. The Port of San Francisco Cruise Terminal is located at Pier 35 - only about 100 yards north of Pier 39 & Fisherman's wharf. We arrived at the dock at about 12:30 PM. You take your bags inside the terminal where you pass through check-in and then security. Check-in was a breeze for this short cruise. TIP 4: If you cruise out of San Francisco WRITE THIS DOWN! The Port of San Francisco Cruise Terminal is at Pier 35 just north of the popular Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. We were surprised that many locals (including our cab driver) did not know that the Cruise Ships leave from Pier 35. Onboard. Cabin. This was our first cruise in an ocean view cabin since our first cruise in 2006. We prefer a balcony but this was a very comfortable cabin for a short cruise. Our cabin was on Deck Number 1, the Riviera Deck - cabin number 1354. We had close views of the waves passing by and a great view for both sunrise and sunset on this particular cruise. Our ocean view cabin had a double bed, a small couch and sitting area and a small bathroom with stand-up shower. This was a comfortable cabin for us on the short 2-day itinerary. Our cabin steward was Acil. He did a great job taking care of us. By 1:30 PM we were onboard. We were early and our cabin wasn't quite ready, but we dropped our bags in the cabin and started our tour of the Carnival Splendor Fun Ship. We sailed out of the San Francisco harbor at about 5:30 PM on March 21 and passed directly under the Golden Gate Bridge heading out to the Pacific. All cruises from San Francisco cruise under the Golden Gate. It was cool and rainy but there was a lot of fun to come. Penthouse Suite number 7291. Since this was a cruise for travel agents, Carnival opened up Show Cabins for all to see. We toured 7 different show cabins. We were most impressed by the Penthouse Suite, cabin number 7291. The suite is very large. There is a very large entry way and living room. There was a sofa, an entertainment center and a bar just past the entry way. Straight through the living room you find an oversized balcony. There is room enough for a chase lounge out there. It comes complete with a nice big queen sized bed. There is a private dressing area between the bedroom and the huge bathroom. The bathroom is spacious with 2 sinks, a full-size jetted bathtub and a separate bidet. Public Areas & Venues. We toured all public areas on the ship. Splash Park on the top deck looked too cold for us, but it would be great fun for the kids on a hot day in the Mexican Riviera. We tried our hand at Wii Bowling in the Circle C. This is the club room for the kids from 12-14 years old. The kids enjoy video games, dance parties, late night movies, Karaoke and more. What fun! We visited Camp Carnival, the fun area on the ship for 2-11 year olds. This is a great area with plenty of activities for the young kids. In Camp Carnival, everything is customized for the kids including the kid-sized sinks and bathrooms. Club O2 is the place to be for teens 15-17 aboard Carnival Splendor. They can enjoy their own cool parties, movies and shore excursions. Up on the top deck - the Sky Deck at the Carnival Golf Course, the views are spectacular. The golf course is also fun. TIP 5: Don't miss the views up on the Sky Deck next to the Carnival Golf Course. The view is especially wonderful when in port or when sailing in/out of a port! The area that buzzes most on the Splendid is the Splendido Lido Pool on the Lido Deck and the Carnival's Seaside Theatre on the Panorama Deck. This is the same area - with upper and lower deck working together to create and energetic public arena. Watch movies, concerts, news, sporting events, and parties on the Seaside Theatre, a 12'x22' jumbo-sized LED screen with a crystal-clear picture and a 70,000-watt, easy-to-hear sound system. TIP 6: The specialty pizza mid-ship at the Pizzeria on the Lido Deck 9 is a must. Dan tried 4 of the 8 flavors in our 2 days aboard. Tip 7: Window seats for ocean view dining and rail seats for viewing entertainment are easier to find on the upper Panorama Deck above the Lido Pool and Seaside Theatre. The Pinnacle Supper Club is a small specialty restaurant on the Spa Deck number 11. This is a reservations only, $30 per person gourmet delicacies & steakhouse favorites menu. We had fun spending time in the Grand Piano bar on the Promenade Deck number 5. The bar was closed while we were on this cruise but we still had fun making our own music. The theatre on the Splendor is the Spectacular, Spectacular. Views from all seats are great - this is important to us because we are short. The Royal Flush Casino wasn't open during our cruise. You can find it mid-ship on Deck 5. Tip 8: For a relaxing breather, grab a drink and a window seat just outside the Casino near the Ocean view Bar on Deck 5. Your cares will float away with the ocean waves. The El Morocco is a fun bar aft on the Promenade Deck 5. The COOL is another bar right next to the El Morocco Bar. The COOL has fun views to the sea below. After our short cruise, we returned to San Francisco. While the ship was in harbor we were thrilled with the views from the top deck - the Sky deck. The views of Alcatraz from the ship in harbor are great. You also have fantastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf and San Francisco. Tip 9: At the beginning of the cruise and at the end of the cruise, or while sailing in or out of the, go up to the top deck - the Sky and admire the views. They are spectacular. See our pictures here: http://danandjanean.com/CarnivalSplendor.html Fisherman's Wharf is a great add on either just before or just after a cruise from the Port of San Francisco cruise terminal. Captain Jack "Sparerib" is one of the street performers we found at Fisherman's Wharf on Monday around noon. And don't miss the sea lions if you visit Fisherman's Wharf. Tip 10: Arrange a couple of hours before or after your San Francisco cruise to visit Fisherman's Wharf at Pier 39. It is right next to the cruise terminal and is pedestrian friendly even if you have bags. We also walked to China Town and passed the TransAmerica building on our way. China Town is a great place to visit if you have time while in San Francisco. There are some great shops, great food and great souvenirs in China Town. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009

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