41 San Francisco Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Princess was our favorite cruise line and we have taken 29 cruises and spent about 350 days on board their ships. Over the years we have noticed the little cuts but since we have not been on Princess for about 2 years we had an eye ... Read More
Princess was our favorite cruise line and we have taken 29 cruises and spent about 350 days on board their ships. Over the years we have noticed the little cuts but since we have not been on Princess for about 2 years we had an eye opening experience on this 26 day transpacific cruise. They have cut everything from the crew to toothpicks and mints after dinner to the size of the plates at the buffet. The Golden Princess is falling apart. There are water leaks coming from the ceilings of the public hallways and other places around the ship. There is also a significant odor of mold in some areas of the ship. The furnishings are in desperate need of replacing with seats in the theater that are too bent to sit in to tables and chairs in the rooms being broken. The mattresses in our mini suite were so bad that it was hard to get a good nights sleep. I know that they are transferring it to P&O but that is not for another year. On the first day of the cruise I reported that the water temperature control in our bathroom did not work. They sent someone who made an adjustment but it still did not work. I continuously reported it and when I got off the ship 26 days later it still did not work. Dining – the food presentation was good but there was no flavor in any of the food. Some of the dinners that were served in the dining room were uneatable. If you have cruised with Princess in the past you remember the “Always Available “side of the menu. Well they have cut the main courses to just one chicken dish and salmon. The salmon is not so good and the chicken was a dried out chicken breast that tasted like it was cooked the day before and some hot gravy put on it. The buffet has cut the size of the plates I guess to keep you from taking too much. Food choices at the buffet are very limited. Food was sometimes ok and sometimes not so good. The cuts do not stop there- While the production shows were well done they are the same ones that they have had for over a decade and the guest entertainment was so-so. Game shows were scheduled to conflict with the 2nd seating so that even if you rushed through dinner you could not get a seat in the lounge for a game show. This is something we never noticed before but since they changed the early dining tome to 5pm we took the 2nd seating at 7:15pm. We have cruised on most of the cruise lines and we used to always come back to Princess but they just have not kept up with their competition. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was my 15th cruise on Princess, and would put me over 150 days at sea. My wife has credit for 1 additional cruise, so we did qualify for Elite benefits based on her cruise history (so free laundry on the long cruise!). There were ... Read More
This was my 15th cruise on Princess, and would put me over 150 days at sea. My wife has credit for 1 additional cruise, so we did qualify for Elite benefits based on her cruise history (so free laundry on the long cruise!). There were about 450 Elites on the cruise, so that laundry did take up to 3 days to be returned. We had a wonderfully relaxing crossing. Seas were a little rough leaving San Francisco, and we did skip the port of Napier and the scenic cruising of Marlborough Sound due to weather (they did add the port of Bay of Islands, and took us back up north to head to Sydney, rather than a more southerly (and bumpy) route.....although it was still pretty bumpy. The ports were all great. Took the Hoppa On, Hoppa Off bus in Hilo, shark cage dive in Honolulu (wow, but a really small ship heading out, and they cancelled the next tour, although the weather got much better on the way back, and they could have done that tour), snorkeling (2 places, one had rays and sharks) in Bora Bora, a private tour Segway tour in Papeete, a private tour of the national park in American Samoa, 12 mile bike ride in Auckland, the river rafting over the 21 foot waterfall from Tauranga, and parasailing in Bay of Islands). While some hiccups, enjoyed the tours, and would take them all again. Enjoyed the cruise director and the entire department. The food in the buffet didn't have enough vegetable choices. The food in the main dining room was OK, but not stellar. Lobster was undercooked one of the two days. We almost exclusively had seafood dishes, which were mostly OK (always could use a little more spice or flavor). Also like the pot pie. One of the wait staff could play the guitar, and we enjoyed talking him (and he quickly remembered to always see that we got a table for 2 by ourselves in anytime dining.....and we surprised him once when we barged in on him in a somewhat private hallway while he was practicing a song. My wife took the uke and hula class (Brian and Rowena as the Hawaiian ambassadors). Loved watching them in the Piazza, as well as enjoyed their lectures. The Maori ambassador was also informative and fun to listen to. We enjoyed the art projects (both the ones led by the regular staff as well as the kids club staff.....they did a few of the projects because they really didn't have any kids attending the kids club most days. The big issue was the ship itself. As someone else mentioned, there were leaks from the ceilings Not just the public areas, but just outside our stateroom in the rear of Aloha deck. Lots of strange smells in various places (both inside and outside) Rust and paint peeling. Some wallpaper peeling off the wall. It's like they are just trying to wait until they turn the ship over to P&O next year and not spend any more money on the ship in the meantime. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was one of few cruises out of San Francisco with a tour of Alaska and onward to Japan (21 days) with a circle Northern Japan for an additional 14 days. Itinerary: This ship visited several ports not normally on the Alaska cruise ... Read More
This was one of few cruises out of San Francisco with a tour of Alaska and onward to Japan (21 days) with a circle Northern Japan for an additional 14 days. Itinerary: This ship visited several ports not normally on the Alaska cruise circuit including Unalaska (Dutch Harbor) and Nome (tendering was canceled due to weather), three ports in Russia, and a couple in north Japan before stopping in Yokohama, then circle Northern Japan. It was refreshing visiting new ports in Alaska which provided a quiet non-touristy environment with free shuttles to town. The usual Ketchikan and Victoria were the normal hustle and bustle. Wanted to get a "There's no place like Nome" shirt, but due to weather, we could not get off the ship, which continued on its journey towards Russia. Russia required visas and we were not allowed to get off the ship unless we had a visa (difficult to get in the U.S.) or booked an excursion (which provided a group permit to get off the ship in lieu of a visa). Based on reviews of the ports, we opted to stay on board. Japan was very welcoming at each city with taiko, dancers, signing, and other entertainment at most ports (viewable from deck), and free transportation to the city center when needed. Yokohama was the large port with Chinatown and business areas within walking distance. The ship visited several Japanese cities with a similar experience before going to Vladivostok where we did take an excursion. In Vladivostok, the excursion was high priced and not worth the cost. We visited a Russian church, a hill where we could view the city waterfront, a natural history museum, a WWII submarine partially restored and the town square, all of which would have been walking distance if we were allowed to walk around unescorted. We were brought to a single tourist shop, but shopping, at least for cruise passengers, is unmature. On board, we had exchanged some money for souvenirs and ended up exchanging it all back once on board. At least we are now able to say we visited Russia, but we would not visit again unless it is on an independent overland tour or maybe river cruise. Traveling to Russia and Japan and between them required passport inspection which was very tedious with lines across the ship, but at least inspection was on board and it is not the cruiseline's fault its passengers have to endure this. However, a relative traveling with us, a resident of Japan, was apparently directed the wrong way by ship personnel and missed initial Japanese inspection. He was detained, and ship personnel accompanied him on shore to Japanese immigration where they sorted things out (I think they stamped him out so that he could come back in). This detained the ship a while before it was able to depart from the port. Dining was pretty good, but we missed the souffles and other fancy foods we remember from old cruises, and after several weeks, the same basic food kind of got tedious. It was nice to have a choice of soft serve or real ice cream at the buffet (served in waffle or regular cones or bowls) though the selection of flavors was minimal (They should get more flavors and rotate them). As with other cruises, food is prepared by European style chefs who know nothing about ethnic nor even regional foods. Though sushi was regular at the buffet, we, along with lots of crew, ended up going to sushi restaurants in Japan. Western food was okay, but suffered from a lack of variety. Then again, it was nice not worrying about gaining weight on a cruise. Hours were a little off our schedule, so it was pretty often when we were hungry, there was nothing to eat. At the buffet, changeover between meals (like between breakfast and lunch) had distinct and lengthy closures when nothing was available. Same with water and coffee machines which rotated and shut down often, commonly with no cups available either. Enrichment lectures were a joke. The cook/chef failed to follow her own instructions, and though she was supposed to be demonstrating Asian food, it was obvious that she had little experience in cooking, and confused Japanese and Chinese cooking. The Doctor who provided Japanese cultural lectures had no knowledge of Japan - we got more information from the newspaper circulated daily onboard. He was apparently a retired dentist (hence "Doctor") who blamed everything in Japan on millennials, with the explantion, "well, you know millennials". The natural history lecturer out of a Southern California community college, was dry (boring!) and was apparently lecturing to an introductory geology class. The biology lecturer surprisingly was very dynamic and entertaining, and imparted more knowledge about geology than the geologist. Entertainment was particularly disappointing with a few bright stars. There was no dancing or Vegas show type entertainment, with generally a few one person acts singing or playing musical instruments, and a mentalist. One group was vastly inexperienced, scheduled to give two shows, but they only had one show they could do. Singers were generally poor and the lack of talent would not have been acceptable for a small community theater. The lounge groups (performing in the bars and atrium) were generally very good and vastly better than most of the star performers. The Maasdam is ready for retirement (and we were even told it was on sale and would be leaving the Holland fleet). Things are worn out everywhere. Our room had a CRT analog TV, the shower head was broken, plugs were loose, and things wearing out. We felt our room did not heat enough and we heard many others complain of even colder rooms (this was in Alaska) and once we got to summery Japan, our cabin was still cold, but became bearable. Others became very hot, and the elevators to the buffet and the buffet became excruciatingly hot. Our cabin , E390, was an accessible cabin, so we had a wide door and a little more room than others, with very convenient access to the deck. Our rooms were guarantee rooms and that is what we got. We noticed that there were other passengers who could have used accessible cabins, but apparently they ended up in regular cabins. The problem with our cabin was that from the sofa, you can't see the TV, and we had to be careful not to flood the washroom since the floor including shower was flat, and the shower curtain had to be positioned just right. We had concerns about this deck with the promenade right outside the window, but the heavy tinting provided reasonable privacy, and we did not notice any extraneous noise other than muffled talking (the lengthy cruise meant older passengers - it might be different with more kids around). There was an outside bench close to our window. We thought about moving it a foot or two down, but it was bolted down. Crew was very attentive. We commented about the hardness of our bed and the steward provided a foam cushion which helped things immensely. In general, all crew was very helpful and attentive, showing a positive attitude, contentiously helping the passengers. We even tipped the wine steward, though we never ordered any wine). However, at Yokohama, there was apparently a substantial crew change with new crewmembers being less attentive and helpful. At the buffet, suddenly, tables were not cleaned, water/coffee service disappeared, and everything in general became unkempt. At the evening snack, we recall watching a young Filipina, acting in charge, busy flirting with the bus personnel. She did not bother to do any work at all and even got irritated when someone asked for some cups for water. In summary, we would not go on the Maasdam again unless it was renovated. We'll still consider Holland (This was our second cruise with them) and generally prefer another cruiseline though it will take an additional 90 days to reach Elite which appears to provide real affinity benefit. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I chose this short cruise to introduce a 'newb' to cruising. It was intended to give her a taste of cruising.......more than a one day overnight repositioning. By the time you add airfare to SF, and cost to get home as well ... Read More
I chose this short cruise to introduce a 'newb' to cruising. It was intended to give her a taste of cruising.......more than a one day overnight repositioning. By the time you add airfare to SF, and cost to get home as well as port fee's and taxes that matched the cabin charge.....it all add's up to a 'not cheap' cruise.......it's something to consider---cost to value. Arrived in SF to find an 'annual coast guard' inspection underway. The ship had been sailing out of Ft Laurderdale all winter so this wasn't a back to the USA deal......but it delayed getting on board, and then delays getting documents signed caused the departure at 5 pm to be closer to 6:30....... For those that have visited SF going under the Golden Gate bridge is a highlight........unfortunately the ebb tide and delays due to the inspection made a mess of the first night transit. The food in the MDR was less edible than anything I had experienced before. Very few choices for anyone with dietary needs. (GF) We were told more than once that there weren't choices because things cost too much in SF so they had not restocked the ship for the jaunt back to Vancouver. They were simply 'out' of things that they should have had. I believe this was accurate........and further degraded the experience. On the last day we had some good food! While that's nice to see they can produce good entree's.......it's all the more upsetting that they DID NOT, until the last meal. The Captain stated that they have 5 motors/engines on the ship but only need 4. A good thing since he also said the 5th one was not working during our trip. So you spend all day with the coast guard and go out to sea with less than a fully functional ship? I don't care that you only need 4........I'd bet you NEED that 5th one if anything happens to #'s 1-4. We faced Beaufort 10 conditions at sea.............hmmmm, plugging along as best we could with the knowledge that she was not fully rigged. Parts of the ship were extremely cold (Crows Nest, Lido, etc)..........like they had failed to turn off the air conditioning from a more tropical zone (Panama Canal). Thruster and docking procedures took forever---which everyone knows is not a pleasant experience for anyone. I have never listened to so much noise and vibrations as well as the inching of the ship into port or docking or leaving port. So, yet more time was 'lost' with these processes. After docking an hour (or more) late in Victoria--after arriving on time, they 'forgot' to tell folks the ship was cleared for people to get off. During the Captain's talk he made a comment about other captains when a question was asked about an Alaska route. Basically stating that he would not endanger a ship as if other captains had done so when traveling last summer. Very unprofessional given the route in question (Grenville Channel) is a route available to smaller cruise ships and it is a known route to Alaska. This was just plain unprofessional.........if he'll never sail that route, fine, but it's on my list of things to do and sorry I missed the opportunity last year...... I suspect it is not a preplanned route and dependent on tides/condition on the water........for the Captains that have chosen it. Thank you to them........the guests had a rare experience these days! Staff were good overall. Room stewards were great, MDR first night was very slow and not sure if that was new crew or ??? Next two nights we ended up at a different table and service was great. Too bad the food cannot match the service on board! While I have sailed HAL over 5 times, I think this may be the end of our relationship. It's not worth it to have problems with food and the ship. This is not a one off as the last HAL experience 3 years ago had similar issues on the Zaandam. So two strikes are now seen.......dare we try for three or cut our losses and move on. There are other cruise experiences that have been better than HAL' s with Carnival..........it's easier to remember the good ol' days and move on then throw good money after bad........... Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I have been on 2 previous Oceania cruises and chose this one because it left from San Francisco to many ports I hadn't visited and through the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, we changed itinerary for 8 days due to a tropical storm and ... Read More
I have been on 2 previous Oceania cruises and chose this one because it left from San Francisco to many ports I hadn't visited and through the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, we changed itinerary for 8 days due to a tropical storm and missed 5 excursions. Communication from Captain or cruise director was terrible. No explanation for any thing. Morale among the passengers was very poor. I'm sure they lost some loyal customers (including my husband and myself) The food in Grand Dining Room and The Terrace is still very good, but a step down from what we experienced on previous sailings. Toscana and Polo Grill are still wonderful. Service staff in general were lovely, but some were poorly trained with snafus on drink orders and restaurant reservations which seemed to disappear even though we had the print out summary of our reservations from the front desk. There was no explanation, no apology and we were supposed to feel grateful that they managed to "fit us in." There were power outages and some ship sections experienced non- flushing toilets at times. The ship is due for an overhaul and we got the impression it had many ongoing mechanical issues. But none of this was address by the staff. Our cabin was quite nice and kept very clean by housekeeping staff. There was good entertainment and plenty of activities like Trivia, golf putting, shuffleboard, ping pong, Bridge lessons and games, casino w slots and poker tournaments, karaoke. But we went for the port visits and excursions, not endless sea days. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This is my 4th Crystal cruise, my 3rd on the Symphony, and it was wonderful in so many ways. I love the Symphony, because it is luxurious but casual (I feel like I can take my shoes off and put my feet up on the couch to read), and ... Read More
This is my 4th Crystal cruise, my 3rd on the Symphony, and it was wonderful in so many ways. I love the Symphony, because it is luxurious but casual (I feel like I can take my shoes off and put my feet up on the couch to read), and carries a nice amount of passengers (about 750-ish) - not too few that I see the same people everywhere, but not too many that I feel crowded or anonymous. I was traveling solo on this cruise, but knew a few people on board from previous cruises and met several more mutual friends while on board. As I said in the title, there's been a little slippage in the food and service on the ship since its drydock, but in other ways there's been a lot of improvements since the drydock. There are 2 additional dinner restaurants on board, both of which outshine the main dining room ("Waterside") in service and food quality. Both of the new restaurants do not count towards your allotted number of included visits to specialty restaurants -- those (Umi Uma and Prego) still remain the premiere dinner spots on the ship, in my opinion. Crystal put a limit on the number of included visits to those spots several years ago (generally 2 per week) in an effort to keep people from monopolizing them, but now that there are more dining options, I wonder if they will continue to do so (extra visits beyond your allotted amount are $30 each, which is still an incredible bargain for that quality and ambience). Of the new restaurants, I particularly recommend Churrascarria, which is Lido deck aft, in the same location where the breakfast and lunch buffets are......you get views of the sunset, and excellent food. Salads, veggies, and side dishes are available as a buffet, and 6 varieties of grilled meat are brought to your table on skewers (chicken, shrimp, pork, lamb, beef). Be sure and stay for some grilled pineapple for dessert. My friends on board very much enjoyed the evening shows, but I never attended (I don't, on any cruise), but I did enjoy the musicians who played in the lounges throughout the ship. Afternoon tea is served every afternoon (even port days), and it was a good time and place for our friends to meet up to chat before dinner. Going through the Panama Canal was interesting, but I don't feel the need to do it again. As this was an August cruise, in general the ports were all hot and humid, and I stayed on board for most of them. A warning should you take a Crystal cruise that stops in Bimini: The tender to port is at least 30 minutes, so you should take that into consideration before deciding if you want to go ashore. I did not, as there wasn't much on shore I was interested in seeing, especially if it meant an hour (round trip) in a crowded tender. Service is known to be wonderful on Crystal, but this trip I found it to be lacking in several places. Some was still wonderful (restaurants other than Waterside, cabin attendant, library and computer room), but some had slipped from terrific to merely good (Lido deck) or from terrific to pretty bad (Waterside). I submitted my concerns to Crystal in their post-voyage survey, so I hope these are just growing pains that will be worked out now that there have been some significant changes since the dry dock. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise for many reasons; spending time with friends who've moved away, the convenience of round trip out of San Francisco, love of the beauty of the Inside Passage of Alaska. The weather was absolutely amazing!!!! ... Read More
We chose this cruise for many reasons; spending time with friends who've moved away, the convenience of round trip out of San Francisco, love of the beauty of the Inside Passage of Alaska. The weather was absolutely amazing!!!! Never have we been to Alaska when it hasn't rained as least some of the time. This time we had beauty sunny skies in each port. The day we were in Tracy Arm we were able to get closer to the glacier then ever before and the sun was shiny spectacularly on the glacier as we approached. The production shows were very good and I particularly enjoyed the "Born to Dance" show which featured the dancers. I thought the singers were unusually excellent and I really was aware of the beautiful blend of their voices. Our cabin steward, Florante Bagaio, excelled in his serve and attentiveness. He is quiet and unassuming but was graciously available whenever we had need of him. Because we were in a suite we were able to have breakfast every morning in the Crown Grill. Leo and his staff of Juieta, Zoran, Francis and Antonio are exceptional. We had three shore excursions and they were well done. We've taken this cruise before and so we made a point of going on different excursions and the dog mushers was my favorite this time. There is so much to see and do on this cruise that we'll definitely take it again. The only difference will be that we'll go to Glacier Bay. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My husband and I were celebrating a big anniversary, we had never been to Alaska, and we wanted to do something memorable so we decided to go visit this huge state. We began our cruising on Oceania shortly after this cruise line was ... Read More
My husband and I were celebrating a big anniversary, we had never been to Alaska, and we wanted to do something memorable so we decided to go visit this huge state. We began our cruising on Oceania shortly after this cruise line was founded, but we had not sailed with them since the ownership change. We more recently sailed with some luxury category cruise lines on ocean and river but this timing worked for us and the embarkation was perfect out of San Francisco since we also wanted to visit friends in Sacramento. Next time we will begin our Alaska journey farther north. The Regatta was late arriving to San Francisco due to problems on the previous cruise but we had gotten a phone call from Oceania informing us of this late arrival so we were able to extend our time in our airport hotel room and wait until we could board. Some passengers chose to visit San Francisco but we had been in California for a week so we were fine to just relax. Once we were onboard we were told our ship would not leave until the following morning and we would not stop in Astoria, Oregon in order to make up the lost time. Since we were celebrating our anniversary we did book a PH 1 cabin and, while the ship is an older ship, we really enjoyed our room with the wide windows letting in lots of light. Anna, Puku, and Xavier took excellent care of us and our room. As seniors, we would have enjoyed a walk-in shower but after receiving a requested tub mat we were able to make the bath/ shower combination work without any mishaps. The food is still wonderful!!! Every meal was delicious and served so beautifully. Executive Chef Gary Potiphar was delightful in his cooking demonstrations and we saw him quite often throughout the ship with a smile on his face as he stopped at many tables to introduce himself to the guests. He obviously loves what he does. The staff and crew were also excellent as they served us efficiently and warmly. A surprise for us on this small ship were the production shows. The vocals and choreography were wonderful in all 4 shows presented during this 11-day cruise. The presentations from Sandra Mowry about Alaska and, later in the cruise, about nutrition were quite good and informative. She was always prepared and her handouts were helpful. We also very much enjoyed the strings and the ship's band. I must say after reading some of the discussions about Regatta prior to the cruise I was wondering if we had chosen the right ship on the right cruise line for our special celebration, but we were quite pleased and actually booked a future cruise while onboard. We did book our own private excursions in several ports and we did not use Oceania's air since we were visiting California a week prior to the cruise. We did choose the onboard credit and I would definitely do that again if I went with "OLife choice". Next time I will give some thought to going cruise only, but it was fun to have some "spending money" while onboard. We will be on Marina for our next cruise and look forward to the bigger ship with more specialties, but Regatta and its crew and staff provided us with a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Wanted a break so we took a repositioning cruise from SF to Vancouver, which we have done before on Princess. It's a nice trip; leave out the Golden Gate; one day at sea and come through Juan de Fuca, the San Juans and the Gulf ... Read More
Wanted a break so we took a repositioning cruise from SF to Vancouver, which we have done before on Princess. It's a nice trip; leave out the Golden Gate; one day at sea and come through Juan de Fuca, the San Juans and the Gulf Islands the final morning. Wanted comfort so we paid for a Superior Verandah Suite which was very disappointing. The layout of the room was such that one couldn't see out the window or verandah doors, or watch television comfortably, from anywhere but the bed. The sofa was located directly underneath the TV; there was a desk chair where one person could look out the window. The armchair faced the bed. The bathroom had double sinks which was a feature we wanted but the shower was very confusing and it was very difficult to get the temperature wanted. Bed was comfortable. The food was good but the Horizon Grill buffet was a nightmare. Very difficult to see what was available and very slow service getting what was chosen. Whole ship seemed dark. We enjoyed the Lincoln Center concert, BB King's Blues Bar and the covered pool and hot tubs. Disembarkation was chaotic; never clear what time we were getting off. Had to reschedule ground transportation twice. Embarkation in SF was fairly straightforward. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise as it was advertised by a travel agents with a 3 night stay in San Francisco pre-cruise and 3 nights post-cruise in Las Vegas. The cruise itinerary appealed to us as well as the stays. Embarkation was a bit ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was advertised by a travel agents with a 3 night stay in San Francisco pre-cruise and 3 nights post-cruise in Las Vegas. The cruise itinerary appealed to us as well as the stays. Embarkation was a bit disorganised as no one took our cases, or advised us to drop them off, but we were directed upstairs where I realised that very few people had cases. We had to trail downstairs again and find the porters at the far end of the car park. After that it went fairly smoothly. Disembarkation was well organised, and we got off a bit earlier than expected to find our cases clearly marked. We've been on the ship before a few years ago and feel that it is looking a bit tired in some areas. Dining was quite good although not as good as a few years ago. Apart from the last night where we struggled to find items we liked, the choices offered were quite good and the amounts were reasonable, although there were very few vegetables, but this is probably not surprising on an American ship. I did eat a lot of lettuce on this holiday! The buffet food was good for breakfast and lunch though I feel a bit claustrophobic when it was busy. We were Anytime Dining which was a bit mixed, mostly we got in fairly quickly because we were only a couple and were happy to share. Larger parties have problems and have to have pagers. The first night we waited in line for ages then we were ushered upstairs to another dining room which was empty from about 7.45pm. The new sinks in the buffet are a bit of a disaster - very few people use them, probably thinking that they've just washed their hands in their cabin so don't need to bother again. Also they are inefficient as the bin for throwing away the towel is underneath the sink so no one can start washing their hand until the previous person has finished drying their hands and disposed of their towel - and the bin is so small it gets full and you have to push other people's towels down to get yours in - yuk! There should be a large bin at the side, and hand sanitiser for people who have just washed. Drinks - we bought the drinks package and although we probably didn't get our money's worth it was good not having to think about the cost of drinks etc. Shows were all good - comedy acts, production shows. Only problem is that the times vary so you have to choose carefully when you eat so you can fit them all in. Service was good throughout the ship, staff always cheery and helpful, and we found the mainly US cruisers very friendly too. Only went on one shore excursion through Princess - to Hollywood when we were in Long Beach and we enjoyed it although we did too little in Hollywood and spent too long at a Farmers Market. I wouldn't go on this particular cruise again as I've 'done it' but I would probably go on this ship and cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted to do a full transit of the Panama Canal. It left from San Francisco and sailed out under the Golden Gate Bridge, which was wonderful. We also enjoy "Fleet Week" activities by the Blue Angel ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to do a full transit of the Panama Canal. It left from San Francisco and sailed out under the Golden Gate Bridge, which was wonderful. We also enjoy "Fleet Week" activities by the Blue Angel Navy team while waiting to sail! We had been on a previous cruise on Norwegian Sun and liked the intimacy of this smaller ship. We decided to book and Oceanview Stateroom for the first time and were delighted with it! Freestyle dining was typical of other NCL cruises we have been on ~ decent to good food selections, but nothing outstanding. Dining room service was excellent. We also enjoyed meals in the specialty restaurants Cagney's Steakhouse and La Cucina. We only attended one evening show, but it was fun. We enjoyed the talented singers and dancers. Service, in general, was EXCELLENT! No complaints. Bartenders Jeffrey and Jerry, who worked the evening hours in the Champagne Bar (as well as other locations during the day on the ship) were OUTSTANDING! Simply THE BEST bartenders we have EVER encountered ANYWHERE!!! They have taken positions on other NCL ships, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that they might return to the Sun before we sail on her again in March 2019. We had visited several of the ports in the itinerary on another cruise, but they were OK to see again. We were NOT thrilled with the port of Puerto Chiapas, even though there was a VERY NICE tourist area with a huge palapa roofed building and pool adjacent to the dock. Most of the people enjoying the pool there seemed to be crew members. We would have prefered to call at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, which is sometimes offered in the itinerary, so we could see the well preserved historic city of Antigua and near by volcanoes. The city of Tapachula, about 20 miles inland from Puerto Chiapas was definitely NOTHING special. My husband and I have traveled quite extensively in Mexico and this city was a huge disappointment. We took the shuttle back after about 20 minutes. In Costa Rica, we were redirected to the commercial container port of Puerto Caldera instead of calling at Puntarenas, as scheduled. Apparently there was a Princess ship that had top priority that docked there. The commercial port had NOTHING in the way of tourist attractions or services, as far as we could tell. It was located about 30 minutes from the cruise ship area, so people wanting to visit there had to purchase shuttle tickets at $20 per person, if I heard correctly. We had a private tour booked, so weren't affected. The transit through the Panama Canal was simply OUTSTANDING! We will be doing it again on the Norwegian Sun in March 2019 as a part of a cruise from Santiago Chile. Sailing into Cartagena Colombia was wonderful! The tall, white, modern buildings of the modern city skyline were breathtaking. There is a VERY nice tourist area adjacent to the dock with cafes, a zoo, a huge gift shop and more. We took a taxi into the city and did our own walking tour of the historic area with its fantastic, colorful buildings. We were in Cartagena about mid October and it was absolutely SWELTERING and breathless. I have lived in Tampa Florida and south Louisiana for 20+ years and am not bothered by heat and humidity, but THIS took it to a new level! Be prepared to SWEAT! Disembarkation in Miami was quick and easy. We took the NCL shuttle to the Miami airport. We did not book ANY NCL shore excursions on this trip. Ports of call were San Francisco, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco (loved this port and would like to visit there again independently!), Puerto Chiapas, Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), Panama Canal transit (no stops), Cartagena and Miami. Would I do this same itinerary again. No, but I am glad that we did it. We will be on the Sun again and will call at Puntarenas (hopefully!), do the Panama Canal transit again, and Cartagena, with the cruise ending in Miami. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Firstly, we had an amazing 34 night voyage. The crew and friends we made were the best part of the trip. The dining room, restaurants, shops, bars, casino and all of the staff working in these areas were wonderful and we wouldn't ... Read More
Firstly, we had an amazing 34 night voyage. The crew and friends we made were the best part of the trip. The dining room, restaurants, shops, bars, casino and all of the staff working in these areas were wonderful and we wouldn't change very much at all. Our cabin was excellent, although the Neptune Suite on the Noordam is no better or worse than the Owners Suite on Royal Caribbean ships we have cruised on. The food on HAL was generally better than on RCI The wine list on RCI is better The entertainment was on a par, as was the casino, although the Texas Hold-em was an electronic game not a real dealer. There were a couple of things that we found disappointing. The on-board singers and dancers could have been a lot better. The disembarkation process for suite guests could have been much better. Despite having priority we were still faced with long queues. The ship board activities were almost non-existent. This wasn't such a big issue for a long cruise as we made lots of new friends and found ways to amuse ourselves. I'd be unlikely to take a shorter cruise (2 weeks or less) with HAL. Other than the sail-away party, there were no on-deck activities either during the day or in the evening. America's Test Kitchen was very disappointing. It seemed to be focussed on people who had never cooked before. The nightclub was deserted on every night. I was told they plan to move this when the ship gets refurbished. This will be a good thing. Only BB Kings and the Piano bar had any signs of life after 9pm in the evenings. The Cruise Director and staff only seemed to appear once each day - during the morning Coffee Chat. Not sure what they did for the rest of the day, but we didn't see them. On the whole, we had a great time, and next time we consider a longer cruise we'll definitely look at HAL, though probably not the Noordam. For any cruise up to 3 weeks in length, we won't be looking at Holland America. My wife and I are in our early 50's, so maybe this isn't the cruise line for us yet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I would rate the Noordam excellent for the stewards responsible for room, dining, and buffet. The ship was clean, food good and service excellent. BB King club was great. The itinerary, weather and seas were perfect for us. The problem ... Read More
I would rate the Noordam excellent for the stewards responsible for room, dining, and buffet. The ship was clean, food good and service excellent. BB King club was great. The itinerary, weather and seas were perfect for us. The problem with our balcony. An outside vent was so strong in odor we couldn't open the door for even a moment. After twelve days they finally covered it with tape and plastic that took five minutes. It fixed the problem but I still can't believe it took constant phone calls to the front desk to get them to do that. You could also smell the odor in other parts of the ship but not as strong as our balcony. If Holland would have fixed the problem when it occurred I would have been fine. Like I say it took 12 days. Sour note on the trip. Lost a lot confidence in Holland America. 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
The NCL Sun is fighting the aging of the seas quite well. Public areas are kept up to high standards, though some might consider them dated. Cabins, quite the opposite. The dating shows, and only major remodeling will fix some of the ... Read More
The NCL Sun is fighting the aging of the seas quite well. Public areas are kept up to high standards, though some might consider them dated. Cabins, quite the opposite. The dating shows, and only major remodeling will fix some of the "patches" that are being implemented. The main dining rooms are very nice, service is just delightful....but the dinner menu is well below average when compared to our 35+ other voyages on various lines. The specialty restaurants that are squeezed into the Sun, do a terrific job despite limited space and decor. The lone disappointment in this area is Le Bistro. Menu and execution were lacking. Sun hosts a variety of entertainment for everyone.....and they seemed to be well attended. The staff was absolutely wonderful throughout this ship. They are attentive, pleasant and personable. Dining and bar staff were exceptional....cudos to that entire group! The itinerary was simply the best we've encountered on our many trips to Alaska. Well balanced, variety of ports and mostly adequate time in each port. We refrain from ship based excursions, but they seem to be the standard variety found on other lines. We would definitely take the Sun again, and that goes for any of NCL's ships. We like the smaller older like this one, the Dawn and the Jewel.... but, they must put more time and money into the cabin interiors before they fall into seriously undesirable units. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We joined the ship at San Francisco for the Alaska cruise and in spite of having an arrival at the pier time we had to queue for about forty five minutes outside the terminal. Being a hot day I was not too happy about this. Once inside the ... Read More
We joined the ship at San Francisco for the Alaska cruise and in spite of having an arrival at the pier time we had to queue for about forty five minutes outside the terminal. Being a hot day I was not too happy about this. Once inside the terminal things moved slowly but we were on board in a reasonable time. We were delighted with the ship. Having previously cruised on the Getaway we found this ship smaller but well laid out. We soon found our way round and were pleased with the various dining options and bars. The communal areas were rarely crowded even when the weather was bad. The Garden Cafe was sometimes busy and the food was not always hot (hot plate stands were inadequate). There was plenty of variety every mealtime. At breakfast time the complimentary dining often included Cagneys which was underpopulated as I guess was due to it being fee paying the rest of the day. The two complimentary restaurants were similar and provided a very civilised way to dine. Sometimes the service was slow but not the fault of the servers who were excellent. The entertainment was mostly first rate even if some was not to our taste. The shows in the theatre were professionally delivered and there was always a seat without pre - booking. The bars around the ship all had live music and we particularly enjoyed the band Innovation and the piano man called Meny. There were plenty of activities on offer every day. We joined in several dance classes which were fun and watched others participate in silly quizzes. Some talks were informative and interesting. We did not attend any late night parties and I am not sure who did. The average age on board was 60. Port days were well organised with easy and quick access on and off the ship. We did not pay for any excursions as they were very expensive. We were able to do our own thing in the ports either by walking or taking the free shuttles. Many ports had expensive jewellery shops that target cruiser customers. We enjoyed the Lumberjack show in Ketchikan which lasts an hour and is good fun. Icy Strait Point was in a beautiful location. You can tour the free Cannery Factory Museum then walk along the beach road to spot bald-headed eagles and whales. Cruising Glacier Bay was a highlight of the trip. The ship got close to the glacier and rotated several times so that we all got a fantastic view. We had a balcony to view from which was great. We were also able to see whales up close to the ship from our balcony. Only two small criticisms from me are firstly the music played through the PA around the ship was intrusive sometimes and may have suited a group of 20 year old passengers. Secondly the library was also the card playing area and some people are very noisy when playing. There was no real quiet area. Cleanliness was superb on board as the staff were always wiping rails and handles and ensuring that everyone use the hand gel. Overall a fantastic cruise and it is hard to find fault. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise for the opportunity to see San Francisco and Vancouver with extra days of travel at both ends of an Alaskan cruise and were not disappointed. The Sun is a beautiful yet small ship with a great crew and staff. As ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the opportunity to see San Francisco and Vancouver with extra days of travel at both ends of an Alaskan cruise and were not disappointed. The Sun is a beautiful yet small ship with a great crew and staff. As an older ship, it gave us the feel of cruising in the late eighties, early nineties. The entertainment was a 50/50 experience for us. We loved Harry O'Donoghue and Innovation as well as Black Diamonds but were disappointed with the piano music with Meny. Comedy of David Naster was also great! The tribute show to Burt Bacharach had a good selection of his music, but the performers left something to be desired. The venues on the ship were small so if you wanted good seating you needed to get there early. We loved the dining in Seven Seas and Four Seasons, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Garden Buffet was usually crowded and did not have much variety. We enjoyed the ice cream bar and other quick options available for snacks. What was the greatest for us was the itinerary and the glaciers! The Captain took great care to allow for all passengers to view these with his turning of the ship so all sides had the opportunity for experiencing and photoing these magnificent natural wonders. In Glacier Bay we were presented with excellent commentary, history and other facts from the Glacier Bay National Park rangers who were on board to make this experience the best it could be. I can't say enough about this bucket list adventure....but I can say....with the Whales, Seals, Sea Lions, Otters, Porpoises and the access to native culture this was surely a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was a bucket list item. Itinerary was amazing. Taking the repositioning cruise allowed for more time at ports and extra glaciers. Captain did “donuts” with the ship so no matter where you wer on the boat you had a wonderful ... Read More
This was a bucket list item. Itinerary was amazing. Taking the repositioning cruise allowed for more time at ports and extra glaciers. Captain did “donuts” with the ship so no matter where you wer on the boat you had a wonderful view. The cabin Stewart was so helpful and cabin was always cleaned to perfection. Bar staff were very helpful as well. The ship is a little older and had not been updated with the latest technology in the photography gallery. The biggest disappointment was the food. It was exactly the same menu for 14 days. As the weather was not always good, the restaurants and outdoor spaces were not open or usable and therefore the buffet was always over crowded and it was difficult to find a table to eat. Several times had to take our food to our cabin to eat. We had reservations for 4 at the a la Restaurants. Very disappointed. At the Steak House, the food was served cold and the main course was actually burnt. We had to send it back. The maître came to apologize and remove the meal from our bill. The Italian restaurant was the best of all. However what was shocking is that we were not able to get any seafood. No smoked salmon, no Halibut, no Cod. We actually got off the ship in Prince Rupert to go to a local restaurant for fish. After being on the NCL Epic the prior year, this was not we were expecting at all. The chef really needs to review and update the menus. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We sailed from San Francisco (February 4, 2017), with final destination in Sydney. It sure beat having to fly from Orlando, to Sydney. There were stops in Oahu, Maui, Western Samoa, Tonga, Auckland, and Bay of Islands. I highly recommend ... Read More
We sailed from San Francisco (February 4, 2017), with final destination in Sydney. It sure beat having to fly from Orlando, to Sydney. There were stops in Oahu, Maui, Western Samoa, Tonga, Auckland, and Bay of Islands. I highly recommend this ship; the best way to some up the ship, would be elegant. Karen (Activities Staff) made the time fly by and extremely fun!! My wife and I are Elite Plus with Celebrity, so we know what fine cruising should be!! When we crossed the Equator, the ship had a big ceremony for all the Pollywogs to trans form into Shellbacks. All the passengers and crew had to lineup to "Kiss the Fish." Some received more attention then others. Ha Ha We sailed on the Azamara Quest, in November, this is the type of ship we expected. The only thing some cruiser might not like, is you have to dress up for dinner, we enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We flew to San Francisco 2 days early to explore the city. We enjoyed riding on the hop on, hop off bus. We went around the city. The weather was a little bit cold but manageable. I chose this cruise because I would like to experience all ... Read More
We flew to San Francisco 2 days early to explore the city. We enjoyed riding on the hop on, hop off bus. We went around the city. The weather was a little bit cold but manageable. I chose this cruise because I would like to experience all the itineraries of Princess cruise. I had been cruising with princess all the time because I always come home with good experiences. I never cruise with any cruise lines. Our cabin is C523 and I loved sitting in the balcony. The size was just enough to move around and that's all we need. Our cabin steward is Renato and he did a fantastic job. Our room is always clean and every time we meet him he always ask if we need something else. There are so many varieties of places to eat and the crews are all great. Our dining room is DaVinci and our waiter Jeffrey Manantan and his assistant, I Ketut Purnawan are so nice and very good and did a great job. In spite of their busyness they still put time to entertain us by doing some tricks and good jokes. They always wait for us. On our second night they already know what are our favourites. Michael their head waiter is also wonderful. On our second day he knew us right a way and knows where we want to seat. Fatima Santos, who served us with drinks is very accommodating and always got her smile. Another lady I want to mention is April Mercado, anywhere we see her she always smile. Overall everyone did a great job. They are too many to mention. Enterainment is first class especially the "Born to Dance". There are shows that we even repeat to watch. Activities are great. There are quite a few of them where my husband and I join in like; line dancing, ballroom dancing, horse racing, airplane throwing, human slot machine, etc. Services are great. Ports and excursions are awesome. Cant't ask for more. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Great cruise for those living close to the SF Bay area for easy embarkation and disembarkation. The ports of Santa Barbara and San Diego offer a lot of things to do. Long Beach not so much, and Ensenada is, well, Ensenada, but it is needed ... Read More
Great cruise for those living close to the SF Bay area for easy embarkation and disembarkation. The ports of Santa Barbara and San Diego offer a lot of things to do. Long Beach not so much, and Ensenada is, well, Ensenada, but it is needed to allow the ship to sell duty and tax free items. Overall, the crew was excellent, we were treated very well by virtually every crew member. The food served in the dining rooms was very good, a good selection for people of all taste. The Horizon Court buffet offered a good selection of food which was of pretty good quality, a couple of items were a little inconsistent, but they are cooking for 1000's of people. Service in the bars was consistently excellent. The entire bar staff provided excellent service. Our stateroom was a balcony on the Caribe deck, it was clean and comfortable, the cabin steward did an excellent job knowing our schedule and never bothered us while we were int he room. He handled all of our requests quickly and professionally. The balcony was small, but big enough for two people to comfortably relax on it. Closet space was a little limited, we have had larger closets on other Princess ships which we appreciated on 7+ day cruises. We took in a couple of shows,which were well done. Alos participated on trivia games and other crew led activities in the lounges which were consistently of high quality. The Grand is an older ship, irt is starting to show it's age in some areas, but overall it is well kept and provides a very pleasant cruising experience. We would not hesitate to book this cruise or this ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I was lucky enough to be a guest of my parents for this lovely trip from San Francisco, down the Mexican Coast, through the amazing Panama Canal, and up through Caribbean waters to Ft. Lauderdale. First, I'm now a big fan of ... Read More
I was lucky enough to be a guest of my parents for this lovely trip from San Francisco, down the Mexican Coast, through the amazing Panama Canal, and up through Caribbean waters to Ft. Lauderdale. First, I'm now a big fan of reposition cruises as the itineraries are a bit varied. Second, know that this line is indeed for more sedate crowd. Although there were a few, "hipper" activities, don't go on this cruise for excitement and thrill seeking. No water slides or wave pools here, just lovely, nooks and crannies such as the Crow's Nest on 11 forward where an ocean bookstore environment can be found consisting of several computer terminals, vast lending library, specialty coffee bar (extra $) and comfy chairs surrounding the huge windows to laze the day away in. There is also a huge bar and many tables for games, puzzles or visiting. On excursion days, there might be either a guest lecture providing commentary on the wonders of the Panama Canal or the excursion lead providing insight on the town. Also on 11 forward are the private cabanas which I was lucky enough to enjoy throughout the voyage. Our cabana, the Costa Del Sol, was a femily cabin on corner, equipped with 2 large and comfy lounges, table and 4 chairs. Daily amenities were fresh fruit, chilled waters and chilled Evian mist bottles. Almost any food or beverage could be provided and afternoon brought champagne, chic strawberries and frozen grapes. Sprinkled in the day when hot, were chilled towels. Dedicated cabana servers were attentive and charming, anticipating every need and doing best to provide. Perfect spot to spend the day going through the canal. For those lucky enough to be in Neptune Suite, the Neptune Lounge is lovely- note- lounge is almost smack midship on deck 7 so if you want to be real close, book accordingly. Lounge is open 7 am to approx 8-9 pm. And has delightful self serve cappuccino/latte. No hot eggs, bacon etc, but great continental assortment and also meats cheeses a la European boast. And no pursers desk needed for you; the lovely concierges (shout out to Mimi) will care for every need. Our cruise was fortunate to have two great speakers, who provided daily lectures (on sea days) on relevant topics such as Panama Canal history. The other activity which was highly attended were the computer classes. Of course the usual shopping and art auctions were also included as were trivia, bingo, towel folding, various crafts and myriad of other activities. In short, great, relaxing cruise choice for those who wish a more sedate experience and not looking for a bar scene. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We went with another couple (dear friends) who had never cruised before. I made all of the arrangements, and therefore, felt somewhat responsible for everything surrounding this Panama Canal cruise. The embarkation process, the ... Read More
We went with another couple (dear friends) who had never cruised before. I made all of the arrangements, and therefore, felt somewhat responsible for everything surrounding this Panama Canal cruise. The embarkation process, the friendliness of the staff, and the condition of the ship was exceptional. That's where it stopped! I think the entire experience was that of "cheapskate". 1. They didn't have enough dining room staff to service the number of guests. One night, our dining experience took 3 hours! 2. The food quality was so-so. 3. The offerings at the buffet was the same every day, and very limited. One line on both port and starboard sides. 4. The entertainment was average. About half the time, the shows were with the "singers and dancers" of the staff. How many ways can you make a ham sandwich? I must say, the entertainers brought on board were quite good. 5. There was not enough time in the ports of Cabo San Lucas and Cartegena to enjoy ourselves. 6. The major cheapskate was offering a Mexican Fiesta on the fantail to watch the sunset. They piped in Gypsy Kings music (old and from Spain) over the loud speakers,, when for a few pesos, could have tendered a Mariachi band in to do it right. 7. Getting tired...I could go on and on, however, I think you get the idea. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We choose this cruise because going through the Panama Canal had always been something we'd wanted to do. Although this is listed as a 15 day cruise we actually got on in Vancouver which made it 18 days. Vancouver is a great city to ... Read More
We choose this cruise because going through the Panama Canal had always been something we'd wanted to do. Although this is listed as a 15 day cruise we actually got on in Vancouver which made it 18 days. Vancouver is a great city to visit. It's pedestrian friendly with many great things to see and places to eat. Overall this was an excellent cruise. I'll hit the negatives first and they really involve moving people on and off the ship. When we arrived in San Francisco the majority of those who got on in Vancouver were getting off to be replaced by those doing the 15 day cruise. Many of us doing the 18 days had excursions scheduled in SF. We were way late in getting off the ship and to our excursion and since we had to be back for sailing the excursion was cut short. In fairness, Princess refunded some of our excursion fee. Still, it seemed to me Princess should have had a good idea how long it would take to get people off the ship. They blamed customs but again time should have been managed to cope with delays most might expect to happen. Perhaps those with excursions should have been let off first. I'd have been quite willing to go early if it meant getting the entire excursion. This happened to a lesser extent when we tendered in to Nicaragua. We ended up with less excursion time. The planning could have been better. But in life things happen and it didn't ruin our cruise. My other real gripe was when we were leaving a port and there was a party up top hosting by some guy called DJ Delight. This was at night and the music was unbelievably loud. We were two decks down and mid ships and it was loud even in our room Even with a pillow over my head I could feel the thumping of the music. This happened only once so I'm hoping there were complaints and they corrected it. Having said all this we were very happy with the cruise. Service was outstanding. I'm always impressed by how hard working the staff is. Our cabin steward, Nelson, did a great job. The quality of the staff was very good throughout the trip. The food was outstanding. We mostly ate in the Bordeaux for dinner and ate in the sit down restaurants as often was we could. The buffet is fine and is good for quick meals but the sit down offers a more relaxed experience, plentiful choices, and the chance to interact with other passengers. The things to do on the ship were what you'd expect. If you like to do enrichment or like to party on into the night it's there for you. There were shows to attend as well. There were very informative sessions about upcoming ports that we found very helpful. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. So, I heartily recommend the Island Princess and her crew. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
A brief background on this cruise is in order before commencing the review. The NCL Sun was originally scheduled for a two week drydock in San Francisco. For reasons known only to NCL, that drydock was shortened to one week. This led to ... Read More
A brief background on this cruise is in order before commencing the review. The NCL Sun was originally scheduled for a two week drydock in San Francisco. For reasons known only to NCL, that drydock was shortened to one week. This led to the creation of an unusual Alaska cruise itinerary and an unusually good deal for an Alaskan cruise. Instead of the usual departure points of Seattle or Vancouver, this ship left from San Francisco. Also, the cruise was 8 days instead of 7, and I secured a forward penthouse for two people at a cost of $3,700 including taxes and fees. This also included $700 cruise credit, paid gratuities, UDP, SDP, shore excursion credit and 250 minutes internet. The sail out from San Francisco was two hours late, but worth the wait. We sailed past Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate on a beautiful sunny day. The weather remained around 70 degrees and sunny for the entire cruise. Our first stop was Astoria. We took the Seaside and Cannon Beach tour. I would recommend this tour. The guide was steeped in history of the area, and the seaside stops made for some gorgeous photo opportunities. Next stop was Sitka, another good tour: the Best of Sitka. We visited the bear sanctuary, the eagle rescue center and native trails with many totem poles. The highlight of this tour was the raptor center. If you want to see a magnificent eagle about 10 feet from your seat, this is the place. The center does heroic work rescuing and rehabilitating injured birds, and the tour supports those efforts We then sailed to my favorite stop on the trip, Icy Point. This is the real Alaska. Only around 700 people live in this area. However, they just completed a new dock and visitor center. The stop included magnificent scenic mountains, waterways and forest. About an hour after we arrived, we were on our front balcony and five whales passed directly in front of the balcony in deadly calm waters. This was a real bonus on this stop. Our excursion was ancient oceans and newborn forest. Once again, we encountered an excellent local guide. He had lived in Icy Point/Hoonah all his live and had encyclopedic knowledge of the area: history, plant live, forest, sea life, etc. Our last stop was Ketchikan. Ketchikan is pretty touristy and commercial, but we needed a souvenir stop and this is certainly the place. However, it was more than a souvenir stop due to an excellent excursion. We took the Bearing Sea Crab Fisherman Tour. We are fans of Deadliest Catch, but even if you are not, I would recommend this tour. The crew puts on a great presentation and the stop to visit the eagles is amazing. Nice trip back through the Inside Passage. We did not see glaciers on this tour, but he saw just about everything else on the cruise. We arrived in Vancouver on schedule. Did the early walk off and caught our 10 a.m. flight back to Chicago without a problem. Cabin We stayed in room 9002 a forward facing penthouse. If you want some of the best views on the ship, this is the place. The balcony is huge with two lounge chairs, two tables and two regular chairs. The room itself has plenty of space for two. The bedroom and living are combined in one large room. The master bath is spacious and the closet space was large and included a dressing table and mirror. Special mention goes out to our concierge Carlos. We typically sale in suites, and Carlos was the best and most attentive concierge we ever had. NCL should use him to train all other concierges in their fleet. Dining Dining was excellent. As suite guests, we had access to La Cucina for breakfast and lunch. For dinner, we dined at Le Bistro twice, La Cucina twice and Cagneys and the Four Seasons main dining room. We did not have a bad meal the entire cruise. The buffet is smaller than some of the larger ships like the Escape which we sailed in January. However, we did not eat too often in the buffet so the impact was minimal. Entertainment If you are looking for Broadway show type entertainment like on the Escape or Breakaway, this is not the ship. Entertainment was a collection of variety acts (magic, juggling, hypnotism, stand-up comedy). The singers, dancers and band put on the best shows. Also, after the main show, a jazz quartet, Tuxedo Junction, played every night and put on a very good jazz performance at every show we attended. The Observation Lounge is a great place to see a show due to its panoramic view from the front of the ship. Fitness I used the fitness room every day. It is rather small, but as I'm an early riser, I never had to wait for a machine. The room was the usual cardio and weight machines. There is also a room for yoga and other floor exercises. Public Rooms This was the easiest ship to navigate of any NCL ship we have sailed. Elevators were never crowded, hallways were never packed with people and the atrium was accessible for sitting. After the Escapes 19 decks and crowds, the Sun was a very pleasant experience in getting from point A to B Service All service was good. Our room steward was pleasant and prompt. Our concierge excellent as mentioned above. We did not use our butler much, but he was there if we needed him. Dining room service was prompt and professional. Value for Money This cruise offered great value for money. First the fare was excellent for an eight day Alaska cruise, Secondly, all of the amenities payed for our excursions, drinks, dinners, internet, etc. Our bill at checkout was $5 plus tips we left for our room steward, butler and concierge. Conclusion This was my favorite cruise to date on NCL, and we have cruised NCL frequently. Extremely hospitable ship, great excursions and an easy ship to get around combined for a great cruise. Of course, 70 degrees and sunny everyday helped a lot in making this cruise an excellent experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016

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