105 Princess Sea Princess Alaska Cruise Reviews

We choose Princess because the previous year we took a Med Cruise to 7 different countries. We enjoyed the Med Cruise except for a couple deceptive expensive tours!!! For our Alaska Cruise we thought we would save a few dollars and book ... Read More
We choose Princess because the previous year we took a Med Cruise to 7 different countries. We enjoyed the Med Cruise except for a couple deceptive expensive tours!!! For our Alaska Cruise we thought we would save a few dollars and book a room with a view. I chose the room and room location from the website when booking the room. The room we selected was a regular inside room with a view. It turned out to be a room with two fold down beds on either side of the bed!!! This was not satisfactory since by husband and I both use canes and I was waiting for a total knee replacement and it hurt to be on my knees. We constantly were hitting our heads and having to walk in a teensy-weensy walking space. We immediately went to the office staff and demanded another room because of our disabilities and were denied because all the rooms were booked!!! We complained to the office a total of three times. They all said there was nothing we could do. A week before the September cruise we received notice that our bus trip to Denali was changed to a train trip from Whittier to Denali. It was 12 HOURS LONG!!! We received a lunch voucher. Food was good. Had a great tour guide, but, we are seniors, and, we travel a lot and that was a TRAIN RIDE FROM HELL!!! Then we stayed in a Princess Lodge and Village. Our building had nobody at the desk!!! We finally figured out we had to catch the Princess Bus to go to the Princess Restaurants in the Princess Village!!! It was 9PM!!!!!! Everybody was hungry and tired. Lines at all restaurants. We went into a lounge past a long line and found a table. NOT A GOOD CRUISE EXPERIENCE FOR SENIORS!!! Had other issues too! Halibut was warm with tasteless sauce. Beef was tough and too chewy. Others said they received room upgrades, yet, office still told us they were fully booked. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
1) Background info My husband and I are 29 and 31 years old. We cruised the Alaska Inside Passage on Sea Princess from August 21st-31st, 2012. We chose this cruise because our priorities were to see Alaska, sail out of San Francisco and ... Read More
1) Background info My husband and I are 29 and 31 years old. We cruised the Alaska Inside Passage on Sea Princess from August 21st-31st, 2012. We chose this cruise because our priorities were to see Alaska, sail out of San Francisco and enjoy Anytime Dining with a private table for two. 2) Embarkation/Disembarkation Everything went smoothly at Pier 35 in San Francisco. We got in line to board around 1pm and were on the ship by 1:45pm. To disembark, we were in the 10:10am group and were off the ship with all of our luggage by 10:25am. 3) Stateroom Sea Princess inside stateroom P345 is conveniently located near the center of deck 5, close to the reception desk and the Rigoletto dining room. The staff door was about 3 feet away from our door. When inside our room, we could sometimes hear people walking around and talking during the daytime, but it was quiet at night. Our room was certainly not luxurious or spacious, but we considered it adequate for our needs. We did not spend much waking time in the room. Considering the size of the stateroom, we were pleased with its storage capacity. There were 6 desk drawers and 6 bedside cabinet drawers. The closet offered: 4 drawers 24 hangers 3 side shelves for shoes, bags, etc. 1 top shelf (where the life vests were stored) 1 plastic belt rack to hang up to 8 belts The cabinet beneath the TV had two shelves. One contained a safe. We stored our luggage under the bed. Bathroom storage was limited to three shelves above the sink. The shower contained one soap shelf and one bottle-sized shelf. There was a bottle of shampoo/shower gel attached to the shower wall. I kept my make-up in a desk drawer and used the desk as a vanity table. It's a little bit of a challenge for two people to get ready at the same time in cabin P345. There is not much space for two people to move around in front of the open closet or bedside cabinet. Also, if one person is seated at the desk, the other person can not fully open the bathroom door. The room arrangement was such that an open bathroom door would hit the desk chair and block 3 of the desk drawers. I solved this challenge by getting ready early in the morning while my husband slept, and then going out to read a book in the Atrium Lounge while he got ready. Housekeeping refreshed the room twice daily and the cleanliness met our expectations. The carpet near the bathroom had several stains, but this will probably be remedied very soon, as the Sea Princess will be dry docked within the next few weeks. We would stay in cabin P345 again. Although a larger stateroom with a view might be preferable for most people, we didn't spend much time in the room and wanted to save the money for excursions and future vacations. 4) Passenger demographics During the cooking demo, the audience was asked how many Americans were in the room and around 99% of us raised our hands. Many of the people we encountered were from California. Our estimated age ranges of the passengers: Around 25-30 child passengers, ages 17 and under Around 100-150 passengers in the 18-40 age group The vast majority of the passengers were ages 60 and up 5) Atmosphere Sea Princess will be dry docked soon for renovations. The ship's overall design and cleanliness met our expectations. A larger theater would have been ideal though, as it was often completely full during popular shows. 6) Dining We selected the Anytime Dining option, and usually arrived for dinner in the Rigoletto Dining Room between 5 and 6:30pm. Our request for a table for two was always granted. We never made dining reservations in advance, but were sometimes seated immediately. We never waited longer than 30 minutes for a table at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. When there was a wait list, the host or hostess gave us a pager and paged us when a table for two became available. We sat in the Atrium Lounge while waiting to be paged. As a vegetarian, I appreciated that the menus in the main dining rooms always labeled vegetarian items with "(V)." That way I didn't need to inquire about hidden ingredients, such as chicken stock or gelatin. Most of the vegetarian entrees were inspired by Moroccan, Indian and Asian cuisines. Unfortunately, Cafe Corniche and the Horizon Court Buffet do not label vegetarian items, but the staff was helpful in answering my questions about ingredients. My favorite foods on board the Sea Princess were: Chilled blueberry yogurt soup in the main dining room (served in a glass, with a straw, like a smoothie) Veggie egg rolls with peanut sauce in the main dining room Potato turnover appetizer in the main dining room Pizza and tiramisu at Cafe Corniche Any rice dish at the buffet Red velvet cupcakes at the buffet Banana bread at the buffet 7) Activities/entertainment We avoided all shopping-based activities and missed the majority of the evening shows, however we attended most of the nature/wildlife lectures by naturalist Doug Capra and were very impressed. We were also privileged to attend a lecture by Libby Riddles, the first female Iditarod champion. Other on board activities we enjoyed were: Scenic cruising through Glacier Bay Card-making (arrive early to get a seat, as our session filled up quickly and late arrivals were turned away) Cooking demo and kitchen tour Fruit carving demo Towel folding demo 8) Staff All of the staff were polite and courteous during our interactions, and most were friendly and enthusiastic. 9) Packing advice Two things we were glad to have brought were: Plastic bags and/or Tupperware - To save money and insure that we would have snacks if none were available, we brought banana bread, cereal, etc. from the buffet on excursions. A multiple socket electrical outlet - Our stateroom only had one outlet that would fit my phone charger or camera charger. We plugged in the multiple socket outlet that we brought from home and were able to charge multiple electronic devices stimutaneously. 10) Conclusion We had a great time and would book this same vacation again in the future. 1) Juneau, Dog Sledding, booked through the cruise line, Rating: 5 We attended the Dogsled Summer Camp tour and it met our expectations. We were able to ride a golf-cart style dogsled on a trail with a group of 6 people, see an example of a lodging tent that would be used for racers, and observe the sled dogs and puppies. Hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and Oreo cookies were available free of charge. We liked this experience because we could never do anything similar close to home. We chose the Summer Camp instead of the standard dog-sledding excursion due to the lower price, warmer weather, and fear of helicopter rides. 2) Skagway, White Pass Train Ride, booked through the cruise line, Rating: 5+ We booked the White Pass and Yukon Scenic Tour. Alisha was our knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide for the Yukon Route bus tour to Caribou Crossing and Carcross. We stopped a few times for photos along the way. At the end of the tour, the bus dropped us off at the White Pass Railroad stop in Fraser, BC and we rode the train back to Skagway. A casual cafeteria lunch at Caribou Crossing was included in the fee. Lunch was chicken (or lentil soup for vegetarians), potatoes, coleslaw, and donuts. The White Pass train ride had very nice views. Also, we saw part of the dogsled activity in Caribou Crossings, and it was smaller than the Dogsled Summer Camp in Juneau. If you are deciding between non-snowy dog-sledding in Juneau vs. Caribou Crossing, we would recommend Juneau. 3) Ketchikan, Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, booked through the cruise line, Rating 4, and Adventure Karting, booked through the cruise line, Rating 5 The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show was fun. The skits are mostly geared towards children. Each half of the audience was assigned to one of the two lumberjack teams to cheer for. It was interesting to watch the log-climbing, log-rolling, and sawing. The Adventure Kart trail leads to nice views of the water, mountains and mini-islands. We also saw a waterfall on the trail. The tour guides discussed the Ketchikan lifestyle, geography and history. The Karts follow each other single-file along the tail, with one tour guide in the front and one in the back. Each Kart holds 2 people. Helmets and rain/mud-resistant overalls were provided. Bottled water and granola bars were served. 4) Victoria, Craigdarroch Castle, booked through the cruise line, Rating 3 We booked the Mt. Tolmie, City Highlights and Craigdarroch Castle tour. The bus took us through residential areas (we got a glimpse of the Butchart's residence), downtown and Chinatown, but there were no stops for photos. The two stops were Mount Tolmie and Craigdarroch Castle. Mount Tolmie had great views. As part of the Mt. Tolmie, City Highlights and Craigdarroch Castle tour, we were only allotted 40 minutes to tour the castle, which felt very rushed, especially since it was crowded. It was a nice castle though, and we liked seeing the decorations and clothing. Next time we would choose the Butchart Garden + Butterfly Garden tour instead. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This is our first holiday that has been to a country less than warm but it was such a brilliant adventure. The ship Sea princess is one of the smaller ships but that just means it is less likely that you will get lost on it. Excellent ... Read More
This is our first holiday that has been to a country less than warm but it was such a brilliant adventure. The ship Sea princess is one of the smaller ships but that just means it is less likely that you will get lost on it. Excellent service and spotlessly clean, with good amenities and lovely staff. Get a soft drinks package to keep down bar costs and take your own booze in your suitcase. All paperwork says you shouldn't but everyone does. It is not widely advertised, for obvious reasons, but you can ask at reception on the first day to have the automatic tips taken off your account. Otherwise they add on 15 pounds a day each on top of your room bill. Just tell them you want the freedom to add on your own tips at the end. Princess shouldn't guilt trip everyone into the tips package by saying it means the back staff are all included. Perhaps they should pay them enough in the first place, so they are not reliant on tips. My only complaint! Wifi access is easy but make sure you log out after each use. The speed of connection is best when in port but there is plenty of free wifi in the local bars, as long as you have a drink which is no great hardship! Excursions Massively expensive through the cruise line when you can often do the same thing locally, which also helps the local economy. Ketchikan - lovely, small town, really easy to get around. Walk round creek street and see the seals up close, swimming around in the creek. You can pick up deadliest catch and ice road truckers silly stuff from here. It is the best place to buy souvenirs. There is a vernicular cable car up to the hill, where there is a lovely hotel, with free wifi and bar, gives great views of the ship and surrounding area. Only costs a dollar each! Definitely go to the lumberjack show, really entertaining. We bought our tickets on line a month before, but you can just pop into the shop and buy on the day. They have their own website and there are two or three shows a day, depending on the month. It is covered and heated, although the weather was sunny and quite warm when we went. Often rainy so I hear from the locals. Juneau - mendenhall glacier is a must but really easy to get there yourself. There is an eight dollar bus, each, each way, from the port, which takes you straight to the glacier. We got the local bus which gave a great tour of the area, we got to speak to local people who were exceptionally friendly and helpful and it was two dollars each, each way. Ask at the tourist info booth on the port. It meant a mile walk from the bus stop to the glacier but the views were magnificent, and we saw a black bear. Once there, most people take the nugget falls trail which is a mile and a half easy walk and takes you right up to the beautiful waterfall which is next to the glacier. absolutely breathtaking. We compared notes with a couple who had paid for the ship excursion and for the same outing it had cost them over a hundred pounds each. It is free to get into the glacier park. Haines - not all ships stop here because there is only room for one ship. They usually only get one a week. The town is a mile or so easy walk, though the hammer museum is up a steep hill. It is 3 dollars each and is really someone's front room, but a silly fun way to spend a few minutes, and the owners are really friendly and enthusiastic. Our main trip was with the rainbow tours company, an impromptu booking when we arrived. They are just opposite the dock. It was 60 dollars each for an hour and a half in a mini bus to go round along the river and to chilkoot lake. Stunning scenery. There were 8 on the bus which gave everyone plenty of room. It was brilliant. We saw lots of eagles and a grizzly bear fishing in the river, only 15 feet away from us. You get out of the bus but have to stay close for obvious reasons! See YouTube clip grizzly bear in Haines. Thrilled we did it. Someone we met, also watching the bear, who had taken the princess tour for half a day said this was the best part of it. We felt really lucky but actually I hear it is quite common to see grizzlies, because the salmon are coming home to spawn in the summer. Tracy arm fjord scenic cruising- put lots of jumpers on if you are going to stand outside for the full 5 hours. Beautiful, and so interesting. There was, however, so much ice in the water that we couldn't get too close to the sawyer glacier. There was a seal on an iceberg! I've heard that glacier bay, which is the alternative route, is better obviously for glaciers so if you want to see one calving that might be best, but it didn't spoil our holiday. It was the only time we were cold on holiday, but well worth it. Victoria, Canada - we pre booked a killer whale watching trip from home on the Internet which was easy. All companies do similar things and work together to find the whales. We went with orca spirit, on a ten seater zodiac speed boat. It was exhilarating but not for the faint hearted although the two kids on board had a great time. Tie your hair back and wear sun glasses. They provide big waterproof overalls which keep you warm, but wear a big jumper underneath too. We saw about eight whales really close. One came up to our boat, and we saw sealions on the way home. Some companies will send a taxi to pick you up from the port. It is walkable but might not be so easy to find. We only had half a day here so there was some concern about getting back in time for the shop but our trip was 9am til 12, with the ship leaving at 2pm. If you are unsure, you might like to book through princess, because they will wait for you if you are late. Prices for this are similar but the smaller boats are so much more fun and easier to see from. It was 100 dollars each to do it independently. There are whale watching trips from each stop, depending on what type you want to see. But we saw hump back whales from the princess ship, the captain told us over the loudspeaker so for us lazy whale spotters we didnt have to stare at the sea for hours! This is quite regular as we sail through their feeding grounds. We also saw dolphins and porpoises from the ship. I recommend the lectures by the naturalist, really informative and gives you an idea of what to look for and when. Our port was San Francisco. We did the open top bus, walked over golden gate bridge and went to Alcatraz which by far was the best trip here. It was colder than Alaska in the fog but had its sunny moments. You will only need a big jumper for most of this trip and lots of the time people were walking round in t shirts and jeans. There are 15000 homeless people in San Fran so be prepared, it is like most big cities in that respect. Pier 39 is the best touristy place to eat and drink and has lots of sealions. We stayed at the wharf inn for a night before our trip and three days afterwards. It was one of the cheaper places, bit grubby from the outside but nice rooms. Free wifi and parking which is a big deal in the city, really helpful staff and clean inside. A motel rather than a nice hotel, but was a five minute walk from pier 39 and the ship so we wheeled our suitcases to and from the boat. From the airport a taxi was 50 dollars and about 30 mins. Princess recommended Mark Hopkins intercontinental on nob hill, but that is near the big expensive stores and would be a taxi to the piers. Nice area though. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Background We are a couple in our early 50's, traveling with our teen daughters, 17 and 15. This was our first cruise. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. We chose this Princess cruise, because we did not want to fly ... Read More
Background We are a couple in our early 50's, traveling with our teen daughters, 17 and 15. This was our first cruise. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. We chose this Princess cruise, because we did not want to fly anywhere, and the port of San Francisco was closest to home. Travel to Port The embarkation port was San Francisco, California. The traffic along the Embarcadero took almost an hour to travel the 2 miles from the Bay Bridge to the drop off point curbside in front of Pier 35. If you embark from San Francisco in the future, Leave lots of travel time. The Embarcadero is a traffic nightmare. At curbside, two uniformed traffic officers directed traffic and allowed double parking in front of Pier 35 to unload. The sidewalk was amassed with people: tourists headed towards Pier 39 and passengers who had disembarked from the last cruise and where waiting for rides home. Princess personnel in their blue suit jackets and straw hats were present to help us. They called over the porters dressed in yellow vests who took our baggage from the car and loaded them to carts and brought them to the ship via a separate entrance way. A tip of $2 per bag was definitely in order and well worth it. Check in and health issues We started to follow our bags, but Princess personnel directed us to the passenger entrance and then to a table to fill out health forms that asked "Are you currently suffering from diarrhea? Or have a fever?" Not a great way to start our relationship with Princess, but understandable amid fears of the Noro-virus. There were no health issues on this trip. Purell was available from hand dispensers outside the dining rooms and stewards dropped dollops of sanitizer into our hands like candy. The check-in line was long, but the wait to get to the check-in person was quick. We got a map of the ship and our personalized cruise card, which was also the cabin door key, the credit card and identity card. It had our dining time, and table number printed on it. We went through the metal detectors and then had pictures of our faces taken which were linked to our cruise cards. When leaving and returning to the ship, the scanned cards brought up our pictures confirming our identity. The entire process took 45 minutes from curbside to stepping on the ship, where the first of many group photos were taken in front of fake scenic Alaska backdrops or with funny dressed characters at every port disembarkation and formal events. There was no hard sell to buy any pictures, but they had the photos on display in a well-travelled corridor on board. We later decided we wanted a family portrait of us in our formal dinner wear and paid $25 for an 8x10. Upon boarding, we were told our cabins were ready for us, but our luggage would be delivered later. We found our cabins and were greeted by our steward, George, who learned our names and always had a pleasant smile and greeting. He always knew when we went to meals and that is when he cleaned our room, made the bed and changed the towels. His service was exemplary. Ship Info The Sea Princess is a mid-size ship with just over 1900 passengers and it was a sold out cruise. Other than at mealtime in the Horizon buffet, it never felt crowded. I found the ship to be in excellent shape, the decor in many of the lounges and MDR were done in wood veneers, brass fixtures and tastefully decorated. The seats and sofas were clean and comfortable. The ship decor was NOT outdated. So ignore those negative reviews. The elevators were painfully slow and we took the stairs to the MDR and the activities on Deck 7. After all the eating we did, we needed the exercise and you will too. The dance floor in the Vista Lounge wasn't big enough for everyone in the line dancing classes. My only complaint was the Razzmatazz lounge smelled of heavy smoke and my wife refused to go into it. Smoking was allowed outside on Deck 7, but despite the strong ocean winds, the smoke was still noticeable as we took our daily stroll around the ship. (3 times around is 1 mile) There was no smoking in the casino and that seemed to upset some die-hard gamblers who needed to light up but didn't want to leave the gaming tables. Stateroom We booked our cruise in early January, so we had a good selection of rooms to choose from. We booked a balcony on the starboard side in the middle of the ship because we feared we would have motion sickness issues. The middle of the ship is more stable and rocks less than the front or rear of the ship. We did feel some motion in the middle, but it was negligible compared to the bow or aft. We also chose B deck, with state rooms above us and below us to avoid noise issues from people walking on deck above or music coming from the lounges below. In all, it was a perfect room. Our daughters had an inside cabin across the hall. I felt that there wasn't enough overhead light in their inside cabin, but the girls had no problems. The balcony room had a flat screen TV, which had an HDMI and VGA port, so I was able to plug in my iPad and display cable to play a pre-loaded movie, but we were so busy with the ship activities that we never got around to watching it. After unpacking, the empty suitcases easily fit under the bed and out of the way. George brought us robes to use and 2 large pool towels were also in the room and were changed daily when we used them at the spa. Dining room and meals We were hungry after boarding. George directed us to eat at the Horizon Buffet on Deck 14. The buffet was open seating, so after waiting in line and getting our plateful of food, we had to wander around to find a table for four or a large table to share. The waiters then asked for our drink orders and the soft-sell began. We declined to purchase the commemorative drink glass and the unlimited soda sticker for $39 and we stuck to the free lemonade, ice tea, water and coffee. We did buy the $29 coffee card (for 15 drinks) for the specialty coffee drinks like mocha, espresso and lattes. But they weren't as good as Peet's or Starbucks. The regular coffee at breakfast seemed fine to us. The food in the buffet was plentiful but not very good. We did not like the rushed atmosphere or the scramble to find an empty table. We never ate there again. We ate the majority of our meals in the Main Dining Room and we loved the atmosphere, the service, the ambience and the food. We had traditional dining time of 5:15 pm. We thought this was early, but in retrospect, by the time the main entree was served, it was 6 pm, our normal eating time, and we were finished with dessert by 6:45 pm. We had ample time to go to the 8 pm shows, which meant getting a seat by 7:30 as the Princess Theatre filled up quickly. The later 7:15 pm dining time meant we would have to go to the 10 pm second shows and we were not night owls. Roberto was our waiter for the entire trip, and he quickly learned our names and our dining preferences and drinks. When lemonade was not available in the MDR the first night and we made it clear that we would not buy the soda card for health reasons, he had a pitcher of lemonade and ice tea waiting for us at every meal thereafter. Dinner fare included appetizer, soup and salad, and main dishes such as lobster, steak, filet mignon and seafood, and dessert, all presented in the nouvelle cuisine style. The menu varied each night and meals in the MDR were one of the highlights of the trip. Breakfast in the MDR was open seating, and we always asked and got a table for four by the window. The food was freshly made. I had papaya every morning and highlights were the Eggs Florentine and the Eggs Benedict. We decided that for breakfast and dinner, we wanted a table just for the family as we were not awake enough in the AM to be sociable with others, and dinner was the time for the family to meet and talk about our day. But at lunch, when our daughters were not with us, we asked to share a table of 10 and met other couples and had pleasant conversations. (Politics was never discussed, thank goodness.) We also ate at the outside Riverview Grill when the weather was nice and had freshly made hamburgers and fries, and ice cream cones at the sundae bar, and at the Cafe Cornishe there was freshly made thin pizza. My wife discovered tea time at 3:00 pm and we did that several times for the tea, scones, clotted cream and jam. We ate 4 times a day and needed exercise. Exercise The fitness gym is in the rear of the ship on Deck 12 and consisted of treadmills, a couple of stationary bicycles and some weight machines. There was rarely a wait to use them. I paid extra ($40 for 4 sessions during sea days only) for the spinning (cycling class). The 10 spinning cycles in the aerobics room were for the class use only and I exercised with same 5 other passengers the entire trip. Yoga was offered but sparsely attended. The beginning Zumba classes were jam-packed and held in the Vista Lounge with participants in the aisles and dance floor. My wife and I soaked in the adults only spa, but there always seemed to be kids there. The staff never kicked them out. Teen Club I worried that my teenage children, 17 and 15, wouldn't be happy. (at this age, they never are.) But I convinced them to go to REMIX, the teen program, on the first day and try it once. There were 79 other teens on this cruise and they met about 50 of them the first night. They formed their core friendships of 8, and hung around with about 20 others. They did most of the organized activities in the teen center with their newly made friends and by the end of the cruise were trading Facebook addresses. My teens report that there were some teens who played video games all day long, and some who found everything to be "lame", but my teens had positive attitudes. If they didn't like what was being offered in the teen center, they grabbed their new friends and did the line dancing classes or other activities offered to the rest of us. On sea days, after breakfast, we never saw them until dinnertime as they were doing all the activities with their new friends. Entertainment The family-oriented (PG-13 rated) entertainment in the Princess theatre was varied and of Las Vegas showroom quality. We enjoyed the comedy magic of Garry Carson, and comedian Scott Wyler's ship jokes, but his attempt at political jokes fell flat. The International crew talent show was inspiring, as was the cruise staff's sketch/song. (Don't want to reveal any spoilers here). I liked comedian Billy Vader, but could see how others would not. His shtick was sophomoric, some jokes were old and bawdy. We had mixed feelings about the show "British Invasion" as we could tell some of the singers were lip-syncing and we did not like the choice of songs in what was supposed to be a retrospective of British rock music. The dancing and choreography was so-so and the dancers reminded us of where dance show rejects end up when they don't get enough TV votes to become famous. The musical bands in the smaller lounges were good and the piano music of Larry Dunsmore in the Crooners lounge and his banter was your stereotypical lounge lizard act. Activities On Sea days, my wife and I did a fitness hour on the treadmill or spin class after breakfast. No crowds at all. Then headed to Naturalist Doug Capra lectures on Glaciers, Marine Mammals, Alaska Nellie and Alaska history. These four lectures were a highlight of our cruise. Doug was an excellent speaker, had good Keynote slides and good material to present. Doug also narrated on deck at Tracy Arms Ford and during the whale watching in the Tongass Narrows. We did the line dancing classes, the afternoon tea, and the afternoon trivia contests. (won twice) On the complaint side, the advertised Bridge classes were not for beginners. The instructor made it clear that his tips were for advanced players. I wish there would have been a class to teach beginners how to play Bridge. Also, I sat in on a health seminar that turned out to be an infomercial and a come-on to pay $50 for a private consultation to find out how to detox for weight loss. What a waste of time that was. Nothing on the ship was ever a hard-sell, but you couldn't escape the tables of discount jewelry for sale, the over-priced Alaska souvenirs (but 20% off today ONLY), the art auction, and the ever present waiters willing to serve you a pricey alcoholic drink with a swipe of your cruise card. We asked for the free lemonade or ice tea, and they acted like they would have to swim to Seattle to get it. We also wanted to use our coffee card to get lattes in the Vista Lounge. The waiters complained that it would take a while because they had to go to some unknown place to get it and would do it when they weren't busy. But the coffee eventually showed up in a plastic cup with a lid- lukewarm. There was also Bingo at $30 for 6 cards. We did not participate in this, but the activity was well attended. Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) One night, we tried to watch "Hunger Games" outside on the big screen, but it was too cold, so we tried to watch it in our cabin, but there were satellite reception issues and we missed a chunk of the movie until service was restored. There were theme dancing parties in the evenings. One night, we danced 50's music at the sock hop, (with a hilarious hula hoop contest) but passed on the Disco and the country-western nights. TV The TV service did not get the regular network channels. For news, there was BBC, Fox and MSNBC. Wish they got comedy central. They had a romance movie channel, a channel that showed the view from the bridge, the Princess channel with their infomercial. We enjoyed the Wake Show each morning, where the cruise director, Neil and his deputy cruise director, John, would do a short live show on board that featured the day's events and notes and shout-outs from the passengers. In summary, there was so much to do on sea days and nights that we barely cracked open the novels we brought. We had the mistaken impression that we would be sitting on wooden lounge chairs on the open deck, wrapped in wool blankets, reading our novels, but that never happened for us. Excursions- Ports of Call Ketchikan: You can see everything in this town in two hours by walking, which left lots of time for souvenir shopping and visiting the overabundance of jewelry stores. The highlights for us were the Ketchikan Welcome arch, historic Creek Street and the totem poles around town. We took the free bus from Creek Street to and from the Totem heritage museum and the Salmon Hatchery ($15 for both). Another passenger paid for the motorized tour of the town and said it was a waste of money. The visitor information center at the cruise dock was just a counter full of tour operators peddling their expensive tours. We just grabbed a free walking tour map and ignored the sideshow barkers beckoning us to buy their tour. We liked Ketchikan as a port of call. Juneau: Our ship dropped anchor in the middle of the inlet and we tendered to the Juneau docks. We rented a car from National, who picked us up in front of the Red Dog saloon (across the street from the tender drop off) and drove us to the AJ dock to get our car. We drove out to the Mendenhall glaciers and spent 2-3 hours there on a hike to Nugget Falls. If you take an organized tour that only spends an hour here, you won't have enough time to do the hike. You cannot bring food or eat food outside at Mendenhall because of Bear activity. So we drove into the suburbs of Juneau to get lunch. We found out Juneau has a Safeway, a Starbucks AND a Costco! We drove out to the shrine of St Therese. It was idyllic and scenic, and free, so it is not worth paying a tour company to take you there. Other passengers liked the whale watching tours at Juneau, which got closer to the whales than the cruise ship could ever get, but we did see whales from the cruise ship in the Tongass Narrows outside Ketchikan. The naturalist got on the ship's speaker to guide us where to look and what to see. Haines: this port of call is your quaint Alaska town by the water with majestic snow covered mountains as a backdrop. So after ten minutes it was boring. You can walk the entire town and hit all the souvenir shops in an hour and a half. It's a 0.5-mile walk from the cruise dock to the main street. I would have rather docked in Skagway. A lot of passengers paid to go on the ship excursions to the Bald Eagle Preserve and to Skagway. Tracy Arms: this is worth getting up for and being on deck at 6:00 am to see. Dress warmly as it was cold in the early morning. The cruise ship goes into the ford, and the scenery on either side of the ship is awe-inspiring. But the ship cannot get close to the South Sawyer glacier due to the ice and narrow channel. The show is over by 8:30 am, when the ship turns around and heads out to sea. Next time, I'd book a ship that went to Glacier Bay instead of Tracy Arms. Victoria, B.C.: Beautiful, and worth seeing, but there was not enough time in port. We rented a car and went out to the Buchart Gardens on our own to save money, ($150 for a family of four vs. $300 if we had done the ship excursion tour to the same place. One hassle we had, doing the excursion on our own, was that our cellphone reception at the dock kept switching from Bell (US) to Rogers (Canada) and we couldn't call Budget Victoria to send a shuttle to pick us up. The clerk in the gift shop was kind enough to let us use her land line to call for a pick-up from the Ogden Cruise dock and time was wasted when we didn't know where the Budget van would be. The Budget driver walked around looking for us and we walked around looking for him and his van, but it all worked out in the end. The drive out the gardens took a half hour and was easy to get too. With our portable car GPS, we had no problems finding the gardens or getting back in time for the 1:30 pm on-board deadline. The garden can be walked through in 2 hours. We rated the gardens as a highlight of our vacation. Disembarkation We chose a late disembarkation time of 10:00 am, so although we had to vacate our rooms by 8:30 am, we had a leisurely breakfast in the MDR and then a short wait in any seat we could find in the lounges. They called our group to disembark early at 9:45 am and it was an easy walk-off to the specific luggage area where our bags were and we wheeled them out to the sidewalk and waited for our friends to pick us up. But the sidewalk outside the Cruise terminal was jammed pack with people trying to leave, people arriving early to board the ship for the next cruise, and hundreds of tourists walking the streets to Pier 39. Just like when we started our vacation. Back to reality. Summary We loved the cruise and look forward to another one with Princess in a couple years. Princess seemed to be the perfect fit for us and a good value for the price. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Embarkation: It went relatively smoothly. However, 1) the embarkation pier was kind of a zoo; 2) I was irritated that (apparently) I had to use a porter to bring our 4 bags to the loading area when we were perfectly capable of doing it; ... Read More
Embarkation: It went relatively smoothly. However, 1) the embarkation pier was kind of a zoo; 2) I was irritated that (apparently) I had to use a porter to bring our 4 bags to the loading area when we were perfectly capable of doing it; and 3) it wasn't until after dinner that my wife's 2 bags were delivered; my 2 arrived soon after we got to our cabin. Dining: We ate dinners in the dining room; breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Court or Cafe Corniche (pizza). Service was excellent; the food generally good, not great. "Anytime dining" seemed like a great idea, and we opted for it. Never again. What it meant for us was that you get in line "anytime," after which you get a pager and wait for up to half an hour for a table. I tried to reserve a table several times and was told that nothing was available until 8:30, later than we like to eat.Entertainment: I can't comment on the entertainment since we had no interest in and didn't attend any shows, etc. Cabin: Our balconey cabin was clean and comfortable. I would have liked more than one chair, but there wasn't room for one. Our steward was excellent. My wife appreciated that I was not permitted to smoke on the balconey. Staff: Overall, we found the staff to be friendly and helpful. This is contrary to what I've been reading in some comments about cruises on other Princess ships in the Caribbean. Shore Excursions: We each took six, four together and two each apart. We enjoyed all of them. My favorite was a Zodiac expedition in Ketchican -- we were the only two passengers signed up for it and, so, had a boat to ourselves. According to the tour operator, Princess requires a minimum of four for any excursion, and Princess had picked up the tab for two so that we wouldn't be canceled. Kudos to Princess if this is true and, if so, they did it behind the scenes. You can likely save money by booking excursions on your own. Princess is upfront about this, saying that about 20% of excursion fees go to them.Other: My wife has multiple chemical sensitivities and also requires a gluten-free diet. Princess was very accommodating in this regard. Indeed, there is an "accessibility person" in the home office; she was very helpful. But for the assurances she gave in advance, we would never have dared to try the cruise. Kudos also to Greg, the head waiter in the Rigoletto Dining Room, who went out of his way insofar as my wife's gluten-free diet is concerned. Value for money: Due to my wife's problems noted above, we paid considerably more to get a specific cabin. Based on our experience, next time we'll pay less for whatever balconey cabin we are assigned. Overall: As stated above, we were very satisfied with the cruise and are already planning our next one with Princess, to the Caribbean. I must admit that I'm a bit put off by some of the reviews of the two ships, one of which we will be on, but we'll likely give it a try nonetheless. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We have been on several Princess cruises (as well as NCL, Celebrity, Royal Carribbean, Carnival and others) and are Platinum level with Princess. Over the years, we have noticed a degradation of service and I believe there is a chance ... Read More
We have been on several Princess cruises (as well as NCL, Celebrity, Royal Carribbean, Carnival and others) and are Platinum level with Princess. Over the years, we have noticed a degradation of service and I believe there is a chance we will ever reach the top Elite level of Princess' customer loyalty program but only because it is inexpensive. Service levels have receded over the years and while in the past, Princess provided engaging onboard programs, the emphasis is now on selling photos and jewelry. On ship culture seems to have become one of just going through the motions. No staff appeared to even want to provide a good experience to the passengers. In past cruises, staff often tried to interact with us, but on this cruise, they were very standoffish - just doing their jobs. Our first cruise, on the retired Royal Princess, was exemplary, but things have gone downhill ever since. We chose this cruise solely because it was round trip from San Francisco, which is apparently the only reason to go on it. It appears that Princess knows it currently has a monopoly in cruises based out of San Francisco (This was our second from San Francisco on Princess) and the lack of competition shows. Things may change in the future when San Francisco is expected to host more cruises, but until then, residents of Northern California basically can choose only from one cruise - take it or leave it. If you are from anywhere else, consider cruises out of Seattle or Vancouver which will offer more and better choices. In general categories: The ship. The Sea Princess appears to be an older design with fewer spaces found on medium sized ships including a large screen on the upper deck (servicable, but programming was lacking). There is an outdoor pool. An outside decks in the back is reserved for paying guests ($10 for a morning or afternoon) which appeared to be totally unused during our cruise, but the weather was not favorable). There were NO alternative restaurants except the Pizza serving (Cafe Corniche) which operated during certain areas in what otherwise would be a lounge area. The upscale steakhouse wart a blocked off section of the buffet area. Although we planned to visit, we opted not to since a blocked off side of the buffet did not fit our idea of a nice restaurant. There is a relatively small one level theater at the front. The ship appears to be getting old with noticable wear. Public area seating cushions well worn. Minor rust everywhere, some areas worn and dirty. In our stateroom, dripping water in the shower was wearing through the plastic bottom and the shower sides were starting to crack. Window was filthy and the outside sprayer did not work (a few drops came out). Heating/AC variable - appeared to turn off during the evenings (got cold). Linens well work - the blanket should have been retired a decade before. Itinerary. This is relatively standard - Alaska has few ports. On this cruise, we visited Juneau, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Haines and Victoria. It did NOT go to Skagway. If you want to see glaciers from the ship GO YESTERDAY! The glaciers are receding and in a few years, the glaciers may be inaccessible to any cruiseship. The ports are generally the same (our first cruise to Alaska was over 10 years ago and many of the original stores and attractions have not changed). We heard people complaining about not having enough time in port, particularly Victoria which appeared to be merely a refueling stop. In not too early, but out by 1:30 pm. Food. The food was the worst we have experienced on a large cruiseline. In the dining room, service was slow, and this was the first time I did not look forward to dessert. Even the standard fare was disappointing (cold creme brulee?). For breakfast, the omelets were cold and dry, with few options. Even water service was lacking. Afternoon tea was surprising with very good scones and a variety of pastries, but service was variable without any attention to detail - scones were at times served without condiments, and even after request, the condiments where slow in coming. Tea is anything you want so long as it is Lipton brand (To me, not that fancy). Food was generally not as flavorful as we are used to experiencing. The Horizon Buffet was extremely disappointing as it served the same basic stuff throughout the whole cruise. Breakfast was the same (forget about eggs benedict) on this cruise every morning. The difference between Minestone and Vegetable and Pepper soups were the inclusion of pasta or potatoes. They presented fine and the vegetables were tender, but had no salt or pepper and all tasted the same. An Indian chicken appeared to be baked chicken with no spices dipped in food coloring. There were various porks including various Chinese varieties, but all appeared to be the same without the addition of ANY seasoning. The food was much worse than what people in the Bay Area are used to in the local ubiquitous Asian Buffets and not even comparable to Hometown Buffet. Many of the dishes were mislabeled (you would not be able to tell what they were supposed to be if you tasted them anyway), and it tells you something when the meat carvers are unable to correctly identify what they are carving! Lunch often included plastic wrapped half sandwiches of various varieties. Lunchmeats were lacking in variety, as were the smoked fish (watch out for bones) and it seemed more cafeteria than a nice buffet. The persons in charge of wiping the counters were a hindrance and were intent on wiping clean counters and blocking the service line no matter how many people were in queue. Beverage service was useless although Bar service was plentiful and prompt. Cleaning tables or providing flatware and napkins did not appear to be a priority. In short, very disappointing. It appears that the cooking staff are attempting to make things which sort of look good, but have not tasted anything they present. The "homestyle" fare was unidentifiable. Pizza was variable. Sometimes it was very good, but at others, it was bad (and we don't understand how bad pizza could be made from standard ingredients). Un fortunately, there was absolutely no variation in the types of pizza presented and the selection of toppings was minimal. Also, the tomato sauce was unseasoned. The Pizza was aided by generous portions of oregano, parmesan and chili pepper (referred to by the staff as "condiments" which was not regularly presented. Bar service was slow - expect a drink within 20 minutes, but service was excruciating. Seating was as fast as space allowed, but order taking took up to 20 minutes (the servers to not take orders) and at each sitting, we were warned that the Pizza would take at least 40 minutes (actually anywhere between 40 minutes to an hour, with 45 being average). At one point, the table next to us became irate when we got our pizza before them (they had already finished their drinks by the time we were seated). This was very disappointing compared with our cruise on the Regal Princess (5 yrs ago, Panama) which had a dedicated pizza restaurant also serving calzones in a relaxed atmosphere in a dedicated dining area or our prior Princess cruise to Alaska (from San Francisco) which had a part time pizzeria in a lounge area, but better variety and better service. Typical hamburgers, hot dogs and fries are served on the top deck and proved to be popular enough, perhaps because the buffet was so bad, that the line always seemed endless. Soft serve was provided, but it seemed that the regular soft-serve was exhausted by the end of the trip. This is our second cruise without a midnight buffet (seems to be a Princess thing). There was one lobster night, but no King Crab. The only ice carving was saw was the demonstration on deck and the only fruit carvings we saw were during a tour of the kitchen. In the old days, on other lines, seeing a different ice carving each night and a menagerie of fruit carvings everywhere was a delight, and their lack on this cruise was disappointing. There was a Champagne tower, but it was poorly administered and appeared to be more for selling photos than anything else. I did not have to worry about gaining weight on this trip (and one in our party was successful at becoming Vegan (although she rapidly abandoned that after the trip ended). Bars. Very plentiful with reasonably good service. Coffee service was good, and the coffee card apparently allowed unlimited premium Tea drinks - a pleasant surprise. We purchased a soft drink card, but the marketing was a joke. On embarkation, there was a woman standing next to the containers used to sell the cards at the entrance to the buffet. We had lunch without realizing she was selling anything. After, lunch, wanting to buy a card, I asked her where we buy cards. "Right here - it is only $4.00 per day." "$4.00 a day - Okay, I'll get one. How much is it total" "It is $43 dollars - only $4.00 a day" "Isn't that $4.30 a day?" "Its a little more than $4.00 a day. Here is the sign." The woman pulls out a sign which indicates it is more than $43.00. She repeats that it is just a little more than $4.00 per day. I wanted to get it anyway, so I end up getting it. Final cost - over $5.00 per day (over $50.00). Not to be argumentative, but wouldn't it have been more appropriate to display the sign which she was hiding? On board shopping. "Sales" were very frequent, but not much new merchandise. Beer carts were plentiful. Entertainment. This was the second cruise which did NOT have live entertainment on deck on embarkation (Both on Princess - a cost cutting measure?). Live entertainment on deck was absent (NO rain excuse either). The atrium had extremely sparse music entertainment (less than any other cruise we have been on). The bars had the typical groups each evening. Shows varied. Guest performers were good but infrequent. The ship's cast was very disappointing with the singers well below typical for cruiselines (think Saturday Night Live spoof, but its not a spoof) with the dancers high schoolish. The band was very good, however, and the trumpet player, apparently a high school teacher out of Arizona, was surprising good. Activities. One of worst of all of our cruises. No variety - just the standard fare. There were NO on deck activities. Photos. There were 2 formal days with multiple opportunities for photo sessions (This is a profit center). Photographers were poor - who is going to buy a photo with a hand in front of the face or distracting people in the background - framing is important). TV and outdoor screen - Programming was lacking with a smaller variety of channels provided (even compared to other Princess cruises) and nothing between programming except the Princess blue logo screen. No CNN, and the movie/TV loops seemed more repetitive than normal. The outdoor screen could have been used more effectively and more often. If nothing is on - put on a game! Teen program - My daughter says FAIL!. The staff does not know Americans who have a sense of independence and a dislike of rote planned activities and strict supervised supervision. My daughter - a 16 year old, was not interested in the activities offered and a group apparently formed away from the teen supervised activities (On her last Coral Princess cruise, there was still a camaraderie with the teen coordinator and they interacted with throughout that trip). Basically, this appeared to be a cruise for first time cruisers who do not know what to expect. The entire crew and all the staff appeared to be just going though the motions and following procedures manuals without any concept of providing satisfying services or even caring about customer satisfaction. It is an international crew but they really need a local consultant to interact with their clientele. It is hard to satisfy Americans (or Europeans, or Asians, etc) without having a concept of that the target clientele is used to or the clientele's preferences and customs. Embarkation - Fast and efficient - despite the lines, it was relatively quick - necessary since we could not find any restrooms until after getting onboard. Disembarkation - Fast and efficient - customs was handled by the night before (they were collecting the forms even while we were still in Canada) and no inspection was necessary getting off the ship - just a scan of the ship card. Would we go on this cruise again. Probably. It was our second 10 day cruise out of San Francisco to Alaska. It was a cheap last minute cruise for us booked for the holidays. It was available and served its purpose. If we found a viable alternative (like a different cruiseline even if NCL or Carnival), we would take it, but right now it is a monopoly and the choice is take it or leave it. Not a dream vacation, just a convenient vacation. Kind of like eating at McDonalds. It is not good food, but it will satisfy if you are hungry. Princess is not our first choice, but it is cheap (like me). You get what you pay for. Hence, the Motel 6 of cruises. Disclaimer (or disclosure). On a previous Princess cruise (Panama - over 5 years ago on the Regal Princess), our luggage went overboard on embarkation. Princess did not know what to do, other than to tell us they were not responsible, blaming it on longshoremen (We placed our luggage into Princess' hands at the airport while we transferred by Princess shuttle to the Cruiseport). Princess currently makes it a point to disclaim responsibility for luggage at any time even if they are the ones handling it. After our cruise, Princess finally reimbursed us for our out of pocket (replacing our damaged possessions which were inventoried on the ship), but they refused to replace our trip, which continues to cause us consternation. Compare this with Carnival, who recently had a mishap on one of their cruises - they refunded their passengers as well as provided their passengers with a free future cruise. With a refusal to reimburse us for our lost vacation, Princess has become second tier for us in our future cruise vacations, but we will still consider them as an alternative. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
I don't know what is happening with the Princess brand, but after our recent cruise to Alaska, I doubt I will ever book with them again. Cabin -- we booked a suite and it was excellent, as was the room steward. With a suite comes ... Read More
I don't know what is happening with the Princess brand, but after our recent cruise to Alaska, I doubt I will ever book with them again. Cabin -- we booked a suite and it was excellent, as was the room steward. With a suite comes free laundry/dry cleaning, but it was lacking. It took 3 to 4 days to get clothes back, and no one seemed to know where they were or why the delay. Food -- the buffet catered to a decidedly Asian taste. the choices were unusual, such as baked beans for breakfast, lunch meat that I couldn't identify. The potato salad was "swedish" one day, and the next day, the same salad was labeled something else. Nothing had any flavor. The bananas were so black and bruised by the last day, Princess should have been embarrassed. No berries ( only strawberries on two days ) were served, forget about halibut or crab. There were many older travelers who might have like a selection of sugar-free desserts. Forget taste or variety. No "no sugar added" ice cream was available. If you liked the same sugar-free jello, then you picked the right cruise. We ate in the specialty restaurant one night and it was excellent. The best place to eat was the grill. Most people realized that by the second day out. Shopping on-board -- uninspired and very limited. Many children running around -- especially through the buffet. No parents around in many cases. Also, the children (and some adults, too) think it's acceptable to touch the food with their fingers...Also, even though hand-sanitizers were available at the buffet, many passengers just ignored them. Children were also in the hot tubs, with no one from Princess talking to the parents (who for the most part were not around) to restrict them -- there was a sign that restricted children, but no one seemed to notice or care. Activities - I did the ceramics - but it was disorganized and only allowed 20 to a class. Not many other activities onboard. Entertainment - run of the mill -- not up to previous Princess standards... I can't imagine taking another cruise with Princess. The disappointment has left a bad taste in my mouth -- or am I still tasting the food from the cruise?? Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
I had a great time, but was apprehensive about it because of all the Cruise Critic negative reviews. The ship: Yes, it's getting old. The rooms are on the small side. I often felt the room was stuffy, and often, the lower decks ... Read More
I had a great time, but was apprehensive about it because of all the Cruise Critic negative reviews. The ship: Yes, it's getting old. The rooms are on the small side. I often felt the room was stuffy, and often, the lower decks on the ship felt stuffy as well. The elevators were very slow. The food: The MDR is very good. The souffles are not to be missed. The other desserts are hit or miss. The MDR for breakfast is basically the room service menu plus a couple of specials. Pretty limiting. I didn't eat there for lunch. The pizzas in the Corniche Cafe are delicious. The Horizon Court buffet was very disappointing. We mostly ate there for breakfast, and the scrambled eggs, pancakes, and french toast were bad. The Riviera Grill made waffles which were very good. Their coffee is swill, so I recommend ordering the freshly brewed coffee or purchasing a coffee card. The entertainment: The pianist in the atrium was good and pretty funny. The production shows were ok, but I really enjoyed British Invasion. One comedian, Billy Vader, was terrible. He was making an ass of himself, and people kept walking out. His routine incorporates the Princess Orchestra, so I get the feeling corporate keeps him out of convenience. Another comedian, Gary Larson, was hilarious! The ports: Ketchikan is basically one giant jewelry store. We took a bus tour and enjoyed it. In Juneau, we went whale watching with Captain Jack and the Scania and loved it! Afterwards, we were dropped off at Mendelhall Glacier. In Scagway, we took a Chilkoot Charters bus tour to the Yukon, and took the White Pass train back, which was enjoyable. I travelled with two kids. My four year old LOVED the Pelicans. The staff is terrific. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Overall, a wonderful cruise. Stateroom cleanliness and dining room service were excellent. Even better, the Horizon Court service was excellent. I've come to expect great dining room service from Princess. In the Horizon Court...not ... Read More
Overall, a wonderful cruise. Stateroom cleanliness and dining room service were excellent. Even better, the Horizon Court service was excellent. I've come to expect great dining room service from Princess. In the Horizon Court...not so much. But this cruise was the exception. The Horizon Court staff were right there to help, to take away dishes, to refill your drink, and always with a smile. Whatever vendor provides fruit for this ship is doing a great job. The pineapple was consistently excellent. Entertainment was good. I particularly liked one of the sea day activities of making paper airplanes. After we made them, we threw them through a hoop on the lower deck. Some of us threw our airplane many times. There's a couple of shows that were new to me. There's a real high energy show called British Invasion that was so much fun to watch. A comedian, Chipper Lowell was also insanely high energy, but funny, funny, funny. The only dark spot for entertainment was bingo. Yes, the cards are expensive, but I still enjoy playing. I will never again play on the same night as the Captain's Circle cocktail party. The numbers were being called so fast, we couldn't keep up. I yelled, "slow down". So did my mother-in-law. It didn't make any difference. They couldn't get us out of the Vista Lounge until the games were finished, and they made sure the games were finished in plenty of time. It was frantic, and it was so NOT fun. The weather was good (mostly overcast, a little bit of rain), the seas were calm. We saw many whales and porpoises. This is the first time I have ever had a balcony room. I've always been happy with interior rooms, but now that I've had a balcony, I suspect I can never go back. I could sit on my balcony and look for whales. The balcony gives more protection from the wind then you get on deck, so I could stay out longer. Then I could watch from my window. I saw the most sea life before we got to the Alaskan ports, while offshore of Washington and Canada. That was true on the return trip as well. I think I have learned one secret on this cruise. If you want to see wildlife, you should book a shore excursion for what you want to see. I went on a shore excursion that promised eagles. Boy, did I see eagles. My sister in law went on a whale watching excursion. She was thrilled by what she saw. Sometimes you get lucky and are able to see things from the ship, but booking an excursion makes it more likely that you'll see what you want. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
When I noticed on the Internet that Princess was sailing from San Francisco, I knew I wanted to be on one if their ships. The fact that Sea Princess is one of their smaller ones was even more appealing. When I boarded the ship, I was ... Read More
When I noticed on the Internet that Princess was sailing from San Francisco, I knew I wanted to be on one if their ships. The fact that Sea Princess is one of their smaller ones was even more appealing. When I boarded the ship, I was pleasantly surprised by the total atmosphere of the public areas. While busy with the rush of people boarding, the atrium was still a roomy area that never felt crowded. My first stop was my stateroom, located on the starboard side near the front with an ocean view window that was not a large one, but the right size for viewing. Being a single traveler, I never felt jammed into a small space or crammed into the shower or bathroom space. After watching us pass under the Golden Gate and out to sea, it was time for my first seating time at dinner. I had opted for traditional dining since I knew that I would always have dinner companions, and for the early seating so I would be able to see the earlier shows. I ate with a couple from Arizona, one from Napa, California and a third couple from San Francisco, but originally from Guangzhou China and limited in their English. We got along fine because I knew a little Cantonese.I was always very satisfied with my meals. I selected items from the menu that were not foods I would normally get at home.Breakfast and dinner were always an adventure, and never rushed. While the seven of us visited at dinner each evening, there was never a feeling of slow service, and dinner usually ended in two hours. Our waiter and his helper were very friendly and accommodating. After dinner and a short walk around the Promenade Deck or within the ship, I went to the shows in the Princess Theatre or the Vista Lounge and was disappointed in only one, but was informed the next day by one of the Cruise Director staff that the situation had been taken care of. It was a case of an extremely bad comedian with no comedy. He was paired with a fantastic ventriloquist, so that show was not a total waste of time. I have always lived by the Golden Rule, so enjoyed talking each morning with the Stateroom Steward and felt he did an extraordinary job in taking care of his assigned rooms. Being the lone traveler that I was, I had opportunities to visit with crew and other passengers, making some wonderful friends. I feel that it makes for easier traveling and faster connections to have personal cards in your pocket with name, address, phone numbers and email addresses. They are easy to pass out and have resulted in continued connections after my cruise.Of course, Alaska is further north that I am used to and July is perfect for late sunsets, lengthy dusks and early sunrises. There were several days of cloudy weather, but only one day of real rain and that was the day we cruised Glacier Bay. By staying on the Promenade Deck, I was under cover and still able to see spectacular calving. I found this cruise to be very pleasing. There were over 300 children on the ship with families, but the programs for them were numerous and you never felt like they were in the way or bothersome. In fact, in looking back, I cannot recall any crying from unhappy, hungry children, nor any rude behavior from any of the teens on board. With 2,000 passengers, there will always be the pushy, rude, snobbish ones. But they have to be overlooked. Sometimes, it is necessary to be aggressive with them, but also there are times to let them have their way. They are also the ones who complain about the food, the service or anything else, but they should be complaining about their lives instead. My cruise experience was so positive that I have decided to travel on Princess to the Panama Canal, but I will always travel alone. Hope to meet you. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Ship: The Sea Princess is a small outdated ship that is getting redesigned and updated this year 2012. Passengers: Average age of the guests was about 75. Lots of walkers, wheelchairs, canes and oxygen tanks to maneuver around. Getting ... Read More
Ship: The Sea Princess is a small outdated ship that is getting redesigned and updated this year 2012. 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. Suggested activities: Scooters races on Promenade Deck. Activities: Bring a book. On second thought bring 3. The activities schedule is extremely limited outdated and cheaply made. 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. Staff: In many instances, untrained with poor English knowledge . 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. However Our dining room waiter and Busser provided great service with good menu knowledge and satisfactory English. Food: Princess caters to definitely older 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 fried fish balls and re fried beans for lunch, I ate OFF the ship as often as possible to avoid it. Quality control at the buffet was non-existent. 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 if you wanted some crab on your cruise to Alaska, Don't look for it here. I had to get it at the crab shack in Juneau. However my experience confirmed that the CULINARY CREATIVITY never ends we definitely discover that this new Culinary trend is IKEA meets ELEPHANT BAR. I really feel bad for all the man hour that the kitchen crew invest in order to produce a substandard quality products. But is understandable when you find canned ham as a cold cuts. Overall, a non memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Sea Princess June 12-22, 2012 San Francisco to Alaska and back This was our 12th cruise to Alaska, but the first time we have sailed out of San Francisco. We prefer to sail from Vancouver as it provides better viewing of scenery and ... Read More
Sea Princess June 12-22, 2012 San Francisco to Alaska and back This was our 12th cruise to Alaska, but the first time we have sailed out of San Francisco. We prefer to sail from Vancouver as it provides better viewing of scenery and wildlife going through the passage between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada, but we are tired of flying. The cruise embarkation port, San Francisco, is only about 25 miles from our home on the Peninsula. We have found that the easiest way for us to travel to the SF port is to take a taxi to San Francisco Airport and take the Princess transfer from there to the pier. There is always a traffic jam along the Embarcadero heading to the pier and the flat rate charged by Princess is always less costly than paying a taxi to sit in the jam for a long period. We arrived at SFO around 10:45 AM and were on the way to the ship by 11:15. Boarding took only a few minutes and we were in our cabin before noon. Ship The Sea Princess is well maintained and in good shape for her age. I did not observe very many places around the ship that needed attention. Cabin The cabin was a bit of a disappointment. We were in D704, an outside cabin in the rear of the ship on deck 8. It had the head of the bed against the side wall which is a plus. With this configuration, you are able to look out the window without climbing up on the bed. Unfortunately, there was no dressing area between the bathroom and the closet as there is on other Princess ships. There is far less closet space and fewer drawers. One person has to use a part of the vanity for a night stand and also must use the vanity drawers for storage. That leaves only one side of the vanity for storage of female stuff. The bathroom was extremely small and crowded. It was the worst we have ever had on any Princess ship. We have sailed on all three of the Sea Princess sister ships and have not experienced such a situation. The location of the cabin was good. My wife's sister and son were with us and had a cabin near the bow where they were bounced around at a couple of places where we hit rough seas. We slept well on those nights and never noticed the roughness. The bed was very comfortable. Reading lights are suspended from the wall above each side of the bed and provided excellent light for reading. An adequate sized, flat screen TV is above the refrigerator near the foot of the bed. There is no lack of mirrors. They seem to be everywhere. The safe is on the small side, but we were able to cram all our stuff into it. Elite Benefits Being Elite members of the Captain's Circle, we are entitled to certain benefits. Princess asks that we indicate in our Member Profile what kind of items we would like to have in our cabin. Unfortunately, the information from the Profile never seems to make it to the ship. 1. Complimentary Mini Bar Set Up. We are asked what type of drinks we want in the Complimentary Mini Bar Set Up. We have never received what we asked for and always have to call room service to exchange the items. I don't understand why Princess asks for this information if they don't plan to follow through. 2. Complimentary Wine Tasting. I am not a wine drinker, but my wife is. We attended the wine tasting one afternoon and were a little disappointed. On our last cruise, they provided brochures that described each wine and provided the name of the vintner. No such written information was provided on this cruise. 3. Complimentary Internet Packages. The Internet service on this ship was much better than on previous cruises, but we were still knocked off line a couple of times. Email I tried to send using AOL would disappear when I tried to send it. I was not sure whether the problem was with the ship's service or with AOL. All the other Elite Benefits worked out very favorably. Food The food was very good in the main dining room throughout the cruise. There was a good selection of entrees each night. Most evenings, the menus had a selection of at least six items plus those that could be ordered every night. There was also an excellent selection of soup, salads and appetizers. Desserts were good throughout the ship. All the breads and rolls were very good. Once we were in the dining room, service was usually excellent, however there was a serious problem getting into the room. Unless we arrived before they opened, it was necessary to wait up to an hour or more for a table. When we finally got into the room, we noticed that many tables were empty. I suspect they were short of waiters for some reason. Usually, we can arrive whenever we want and get a table immediately. We had a few meals in the buffet restaurant. The food there was not the same quality as the dining rooms. Most of it was lukewarm and tasteless. We tried the hamburger stand near the pool a couple of times and found them to be very good. The fries were excellent. They also made waffles at the grill each morning and they were good. Entertainment We don't care for the production shows, so we only attended one. It was well done. We did go to all the comedy shows. The ventriloquist, Don Bryan, was very good. One comedian, Scott Wyler, did two shows and both were excellent. The other comedian, Billy Vader, seemed to be struggling to stay on topic. A harmonica player, Bernie Fields was very good. Weather We usually bring good weather with us when we travel. This was the first time we have been cold in Alaska. We had no rain in any of the ports and their temperatures were comfortable, but being out on deck between ports was not comfortable. Glacier Bay had heavy fog when we entered the bay, but it cleared up later in the day and the glaciers were visible all during the time the ship was there. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
I will start out saying we had to leave the ship early due for medical reasons, but sailed more than half the cruise. There were some aspects of the cruise we enjoyed but for the most part not impressed at all. From the day two ... Read More
I will start out saying we had to leave the ship early due for medical reasons, but sailed more than half the cruise. There were some aspects of the cruise we enjoyed but for the most part not impressed at all. From the day two outbreak of norovirus which caused gulag like measures to be taken in the dining rooms and all food service areas and greatly reduced any aspect of luxury there might have been otherwise and pretty much ruined the experience. (Having your food salted for you and cream put in your coffee by a stranger since they didn't have packets in the dining rooms, to no olives or cherries being served in cocktails, no pretzels or nuts served at the bars, long lines at buffets just to name a few and believe me there are way more) I also found customer service to be pitiful 90% of the time. With only one exception I found the staff at the Purser's Desk to be lacking in knowledge about how to find or get things done on the ship and quite rude in their demeanor and responses. I am not saying they should be able to fix or respond to everything, but, they should be able to (politely) direct you to whatever it is you need or get an answer quickly and get back to you? Our cabin was cleaned and neat but very obviously well worn and in need of refreshing from the stained carpet, to holes in the drapes and the rust on the balcony. The mattress was ridiculously over used and had a deep curve and valley and clearly should have been replaced ten cruises ago. The room steward first added a foam pad normally used in suites which proved useless since it took the shape of the mattress underneath in just 30 seconds of use. When I continued to complain, the Deck Supervisor was called to check and he agreed the solution wasn't working but wasn't sure they could do anything else since all cabins were full and he did not know of any available spare mattresses. They did manage to get us replacement mattresses after that, but I think they had a whole lot of nerve having the original mattresses in the room to begin with. On a cruise in a cold area, policies like giving out warm blankets on deck only two times per day for short periods of time, left the outdoor areas pretty much desolate, and not a whole lot to do indoors while at sea. The food was good but nothing memorable or exceptional in the traditional dining or buffet areas. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We normally sail out of the Los Angeles area and drive to the port so this would be a cruise of several "firsts" for us. While not our first Princess cruise it would be our first trip to Alaska; we have sailed on the Sapphire ... Read More
We normally sail out of the Los Angeles area and drive to the port so this would be a cruise of several "firsts" for us. While not our first Princess cruise it would be our first trip to Alaska; we have sailed on the Sapphire Princess many times, but this would be our first time on the smaller Sea Princess; because we would need to fly to SFO we decided to use the Princess transfer program, another first for us... We were NOT disappointed with any of these first time experiences! From the time we arrived at baggage claim at SFO and were greeted by a warm, friendly Princess representative to the moment we were assisted to the curb side check in for our flight home Princess lived up to her motto of being the "Consummate Host". The Ship: we had carefully checked the deck plans for the Sea Princess many months before when we booked our cruise and felt we already knew the ship. Yes, it is smaller than the Sapphire so there were fewer venues and most were smaller, but all were clean and well cared for. Our room was located just off the forward atrium elevators on deck 8 starboard just steps from the rear entrance to the Cafe Corniche. Even though we had requested the beds be put together they had been left as twins and we actually felt it allowed more room to move about, so had our steward leave them that way for the duration of the trip. We had been told the room had a fully obstructed view; however we discovered that only a portion of the window was actually blocked by the back end of the life boat and a service platform next to it was open to provide a reasonable view of the scenery. Like most cabins in the "economy" category our bathroom was tiny, but functional; the closets provided more space and hangers than we actually needed and the pull out basket storage below the shelves allowed me to use the vanity and night stands for stuff other than clothing. Because I have COPD and travel with an oxygen concentrator that must be plugged in at night the limited outlets are always a drawback. The Food: our boarding process went so quick and smoothly we found ourselves in the Horizon Court before noon on the first day! Only one side was open at that time and the food was just put out so it was nicely displayed and reasonably warm. Many choice tables were available to enjoy lunch while looking at the wonderful sky line of San Francisco and someone was quickly table-side to take our beverage orders. I wish I could say this was the norm for the rest of the trip, but sadly things went downhill quickly after we set sail, in our opinion, at the buffet. The Terrace Grill was calling me to try the hamburger and fries, but I think the cooks working it that first day were new to the assignment as it took forever and the burger was overcooked and the fries underdone. We tried the grill later in the cruise and, again, were not thrilled with the meal. Service in the Horizon Court was horrid after that first day with tables being left uncleared and passengers resorting to self service for water, ice tea, and other beverages. Many of the crew were simply standing around the carts chatting with each other as people walked by with full plates of food looking for places to sit. An especially large tour group seemed to take over the buffet early in the day and then use the area for games, reading, visiting and a general meeting place even during the busy breakfast and lunch "rushes" We checked the MDR menu each afternoon but really didn't find the food choices all that impressive. During the entire cruise we actually only used the MDR two nights and did the Sterling Steakhouse for Father's Day dinner with friends. We did use the buffet for dinner once but found the food, atmosphere, and attitudes of Cafe Corniche our favorite place to eat. The Entertainment: we attended the lectures by the naturalist and enjoyed all the information she shared about Alaska (even the day her computer messed up and she had to wing it with an off topic presentation it was fun). As the contact person, aka hostess, for the M&G it was wonderful to have Captain Street, Hotel GM Richard Harry, Customer Services Director Robert Moik and Cruise Director Neil Rose join us in Razzmatazz our first day at sea. The Princess Patter had posted our little activity and we had a nice turn out, even though we were competing with several high venue activities that morning. Looking at the Patter each morning we found few activities that interested us and not being "night owls" didn't attend any of the major productions or entertainment. Larry Dunsmore was performing in Crooner's and that was where we could be found until he took his first break about 10:30... then it was off to our comfy beds for us. Between the cold and not a big fan of movies we avoided the MUTS. The few times we were on deck to enjoy the scenery and people watch the constant bombardment of sound and flashing pictures was NOT relaxing! Between our Kindles, people watching, visiting with friends and enjoying the scenery we had all the entertainment we wanted or needed. And, isn't that what a cruise is all about? Doing what you want, when you want, how you want and this trip on the Sea Princess allowed us to do just that! The Staff: except for our dismay over what was being allowed to happen in the Horizon Court when we were there the staff on this cruise was fantastic. Our room steward was excellent, friendly, helpful and always polite. We had a favorite server in Crooners who knew just what we liked and seemed to truly enjoy his job and the people he worked with as well as the passengers. My trips to the front desk with my "silly questions" were always met with smiles, positive helpful responses, and kindness. After attending our M&G Captain Street and the other officers who attended made it a point to ask how things were going when our paths crossed during the trip. FYI: Princess laundry rooms have been a big, positive feature for us, allowing us to travel "light" knowing we can do a quick load or two during the week. As it was our first trip to Alaska we had packed light on many items to allow room for the winter weight items we knew we would need. We DID NOT KNOW that from Juneau until after we left Glacier Bay the laundry would be closed! This also applies to the ship's laundry, so we saw more use of paper napkins instead of cloth in the casual dining options and our room steward mentioned that while there were ample linens he appreciated the fact that we used our towels for more than one time and didn't "demand" fresh sheets every day... Looking Forward: Although Sea Princess will not be back in these waters next year when we return to Alaska we look forward to sailing again with Princess and will have to find some new "firsts" to try, because we will be returning to both Alaska and Princess! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was our third cruise to Alaska and first time embarking from local San Francisco. I was a little apprehensive having read several negative reviews about this ship and tried to temper my expectations. Overall the cruise far exceeded ... Read More
This was our third cruise to Alaska and first time embarking from local San Francisco. I was a little apprehensive having read several negative reviews about this ship and tried to temper my expectations. Overall the cruise far exceeded my expectations. Despite being a smaller ship, I felt that my overall experience more or less on par with previous cruises and if anything the service felt much more personal. Items of note: Embarkation/Disembarkation: Amazingly easy both ways. The Ship: It's smallish for a modern cruise ship but it still felt pretty big to me with lots of areas to walk around and explore. A few complaints: The buffet was small and the seating could be a little dicey at some hours. The theater was also a little small and you had to get there about half an hour early to get a seat (late shows seemed much more open). I also felt the ship lacked a lot of open interior areas where you could enjoy the scenery; most of the windows had you looking into a rail or were slanted and not clear to see through. Otherwise I really don't understand people getting hung up on this ship "being old" or "desperately needing a dry dock". It really seemed fine to me other than a few design issues. Cabins: As mentioned in the title I was traveling with my wife and 4 small children (ages 2-11). We ended up booking two inside cabins next to each other. 3 in an inside really isn't bad at all and I felt plenty comfortable and slept great. I actually enjoyed just sitting in my cabin and watching a movie while my toddler took a nap. Our cabin steward was absolutely outstanding too. Food: The first few meals were a little hit or miss but as the cruise progressed we had some outstanding meals. My wife and I did the Chef's Table which was great but unfortunately due to Norovirus, they could not take us into the kitchen. The head chef and maitre'd were extremely courteous. We also took the whole family to Sterling's Steakhouse which was excellent and despite being set in the Horizon buffet was completely cordoned off and felt like it's own restaurant. The buffet itself was kind of pain with Norovirus scares necessitating the staff serve you every single item. The food itself was fine for buffet-fare; some things better than expected. I also highly recommend the Cafe Corniche pizzeria; very good. If you enjoy coffee, get the coffee card. The staff at the Explorer's Bar on deck 5 were great. Entertainment: Unfortunately I didn't really see any of the big shows; but my wife said she enjoyed them. I really liked the rock group, Prime Tyme which performed a lot in the Wheelhouse Bar (the lead singer is gorgeous). For kids: The pools were super heated at least into the 90's so the kids could swim in any weather. We loved the pools on this ship. The kids program itself was a little sparse and they seemed understaffed (I think that ship is used to a much older crowd). Since we were cruising in the heart of June, there were TONS of families on board. The Movies Under The Stars was more or less ignored except for a few die-hards or those willing to spend two hours in the pool. The staff: Super friendly staff compared to previous cruises. Lots of people called me by name and knew my kids. I felt very welcome and pampered. Laundry: Avoid the self-serve laundry if you can. It's absolutely brutal and will ruin your day dealing with rude passengers and waiting 2-3 hours for an open dryer. It's also closed half the time and no one on board seems to know the actual schedule. Overall, if you have booked this trip have no fear. The ship is nice and you will have a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was my 3rd Alaska cruise but my first on Princess. The cruise itinerary was fantastic as was the food and the on-board activities. The only negative aspect of our cruise was the dinner service in the Rigoletto Dining Room. The food ... Read More
This was my 3rd Alaska cruise but my first on Princess. The cruise itinerary was fantastic as was the food and the on-board activities. The only negative aspect of our cruise was the dinner service in the Rigoletto Dining Room. The food was wonderful, but 8 nights out of 10 the service was mediocre at best. We often waited at least 15 minutes just to place our orders and one evening we waited nearly 30! Another evening we waited nearly 30 minute after our plates had been cleared before our server returned to take our order for coffee and dessert. The wait staff was generally cordial but did not go out of their way to be friendly and we were often treated almost as if we were interfering with their duties. We had requested and received anytime dining but it did not work as well as it had on previous cruises on different ships. If we did not want to wait to eat we had to be in the dining room by 5:30. If we arrived between 6:00 and 6:30 then we knew we would be waiting until at least 7:15 to be seated. It was usually closer to 7:30 or 7:45. The first night of our cruise (before we had any of this figured out) we waited 1 hour and 40 minutes to be seated! On other cruise lines we have never waited more than 10 minutes to be seated with any time dining. The on-board activities were varied and plentiful. A nicely equipped, though somewhat small, gym was well maintained and several fitness classes were offered on most days (some of them were extra expenses). Zumba and line dancing classes were also offered most days and were well run. A 1/3 mile walking track was marked on one of the outside decks. Many audience participation game shows were also offered. The shows were entertaining and well presented. We particularly enjoyed the trivia games offered at least twice on most days with prizes awarded to the winning teams. We really enjoyed the evening entertainment. The productions shows were good as were most of the musicians and bands performing throughout the cruise. There was always something to do even for those of us who aren't normally night-time activity type people. All in all we had a very enjoyable cruise experience and already have plans to cruise with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Me and my wife went on the Alaska cruise that disembarked from San Francisco. We had both never been on a cruise, so didn't have high expectations or any biases as to what to expect. To sum it up, between the Norovirus and and ... Read More
Me and my wife went on the Alaska cruise that disembarked from San Francisco. We had both never been on a cruise, so didn't have high expectations or any biases as to what to expect. To sum it up, between the Norovirus and and jail-like "balcony" experience, we were clawing to get off the ship mid-way through the cruise. If it wasn't for the Alaska ports, this would have utterly been the worst experience of our lives. I don't even know where to start. The minute we walked into this insanely tiny room (1.5 feet around the bed to wiggle by) and a toilet where your left leg is in the shower stall because there is simply no room, we realized it was going to be a bit cozy. That's fine, we can deal with that if the trip is good. We weren't here to complain, we wanted to have a good time! I went out on the balcony when the ship was preparing to leave, and realized that my hands and white T-shirt stuck to the newly varnished balcony railing. It was stuck to my hands for three days and my shirt was ruined. Can't understand why they decided to do this now of all times, but whatever, lets move on. I believe it was the second day of the cruise where the Norovirus issue was announced and that there would be preventative measures in place. These measures basically caused an hour + delays to be seated. We waited nearly an hour to receive our food. During which, I watched a cockroach scramble by the waiters jug of water. When I told him about it, he seemed unimpressed and said sorry and walked away. It took three hours in total to check in, eat, and leave. The problem here is that this was the issue everywhere, it wasn't a one night kind of thing. If you went to the buffet you had them put the food on your plate for you, which is fine, but we found hair in our food between the two of us three times throughout our experience. The wife literally ended up ordering food that was pre-packaged such as yogurts from the room service menu, 5 at a time, so she could be assured she was not eating something with person's bodily fallout in her food and/or Norovirus possibly infecting her. When browsing the ships activities, you quickly realize that the Sea Princess is severely over-booked and a small ship. Every activity in the auditorium you had to get there an hour before it started to get a seat. If you didn't, you were forced to stand and watch. A presumably 70+ age woman with air tubes had to stand and watch the show because getting there 20 minutes before it started was not sufficient for finding a seat. We did the arts and crafts option because the wife loves these type of things. We went there and waited 20 minutes in line before a girl tells us all that the 3 (yes three!) tables were full. The literally had 12 chairs available for this project for the ENTIRE SHIP. The girl was obviously annoyed, probably because she knew this was ridiculous, but she failed to tell people waiting in line for almost half an hour that they weren't going to get to do the activity this afternoon. She snapped at the lady in front of us and cut her off and told her there is nothing she can do and to come back tomorrow and that's all there is to it. Well, we came back the next day, this time an hour ahead of time and played a board game on the table until the wife could go get our materials (I had to fend off the rights to our two chairs, fending off numerous dissatisfied people who couldn't participate). An hour later she comes back with our materials (you only get 2 hours to work on your project). We rush through our projects and the deal is you come back the next day to pick up your oven-baked piece of art. We came the next day, and it wasn't ready. Fast forward a few days because they don't offer it on port days, and again, it was not available. The very last possible day we went down there at 10 am, and again, it was not available! They told us all the items would be available by 1 pm and they were finishing them up. We come back at 1 pm and our items aren't out on the table. I ask the girl where our pieces were. She says if they aren't there then they "blew up" in the oven. At least two people were looking at her like, are you serious? The apathetic girl said that many of the items blew up. My guess is some idiot over cooked the items on too high of a temperature to get them all done within time and they don't want to take responsibility for it. The quality of the food was overall terrible. Given that you had to wait 3 hours to eat at one of the restaurants, you were left with either two choices: wait three hours for food that coexists with cockroaches, or eat food prepared and served by people with hair in it from the buffet. We ultimately used room service quite frequently, also to avoid Norovirus. At least half the time they sent the wrong items. You order a turkey sandwich and they send you a Roast beef sandwhich. You order a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and they send you nachos. The TV channels were all centered around trying to get you to buy overly-priced items. I get it, they want to get you to buy the art and jewelry items, that's all fine. It came across though as though they care more about making a buck than they do the quality of the customer experience. We tried to watch the movies under the stars, but due to it being an outdoor theater, you had to battle the wind and children screaming in the pool directly below it. You literally could not hear 90% of the words. We went back to our jail cell to finish the movie. There are too many things to list for this review, but the last one I will mention is not to use their wake-up service and early departure option. On our departure day, the courtesy call came in two hours earlier than it was supposed to. We packed everything up, forced ourselves to be awake, and walked out of our cabins with bags in hand and quickly realized it was still 4 am. For whatever reason, they screwed up the time to receive the call. This happened twice. I can only assume it has to do with the change in hours when going to Alaska, but if this cruise is your specialty, shouldn't you have this figured out by now? Anyways, we went down at the proper time to leave the ship early (literally wanted to be the first ones off if possible!) and there was no one directing anyone on where to go or what to do. I asked the security officer at the exit and he said this would be the exit and to wait here if we wanted to start the line. We obliged. As more than half an hour passes, the room just gets congested and none of the workers took the initiative to put out poles, dividers, or verbally instruct people on what to do. It was a logistical failure and it boggles my mind as to how a cruise ship can be so disorganized. The people on the ship were nice. Even though we were a younger couple than the average age, everyone was for the most part pleasant. Even though children were screaming in the pools during the movie under the stars, the ship really was a good mix of people and we felt comfortable despite being younger. The onus of our experience falls directly on a cruise ship that cares more about making money than the quality of their customers experience. We will never cruise with Princess again. Many echoed our thoughts, and suggested to try other cruise liners. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was our second trip on the Sea Princess, both sailing round trip San Francisco Alaska. We booked a mini suite and an interior cabin thirteen months out. It was a long wait but worth it. Our mini aft cabin (C745) on the Caribe deck ... Read More
This was our second trip on the Sea Princess, both sailing round trip San Francisco Alaska. We booked a mini suite and an interior cabin thirteen months out. It was a long wait but worth it. Our mini aft cabin (C745) on the Caribe deck is the largest of the minis on the Sea Princess. We booked our kids (teens) directly across in a JJ category (C745) which is 155 square feet. Room: Our room had a long entry that opened onto the "lounging" area which consisted of a couch (for two) two large side chairs, a television cabinet and wet bar. The bed was made to a king and did not appear to be able to be separated as the side tables seemed to be bolted to the wall. There was another television cabinet and desk. Two doors flanked either side of that area one being the walk in closet (one person at a time) and the other door lead to the bathroom. There was a single sink with two mirrored cabinets on either side. The shower was a tub/shower combination. The toilet was housed off the main bath (with sink too) and could also be accessed from the entry hall. A note about the bed: it was not hard! It was very comfortable and the sheets so soft. This room was perfect to get together with the kids before dinner and to play cards during the day. The kids room had more room than I thought interior cabins would have and we would even book that cabin and be quite comfortable. The space between the beds was about 40" and there was a dresser between the beds. The standard desk was at the foot of one bed and the closest was huge. The kids got all of their stuff in the dressers and closet with room to spare. The bathroom was small though with the darned shower curtain that finds you while you're taking a shower! One thing I noticed is that both rooms had quite a bit of room under the bed (like 14" deep) so all the luggage and duffels were stored out of sight. Both rooms appeared to be well taken care of without any noticeable wear or tear. The ship overall appeared to be in very good condition and I did not notice maintenance issues. The carpets were very clean throughout which must be difficult with so many passengers, the stair hand rails were always polished, never saw any fingerprints in the mirrored elevators, they must have night fairies that take care of maintenance issues while we are sleeping! It was too cold to check out the lounges on the pool deck, all I can remember is they are blue. Food: Subjective of course. We enjoyed 99% of the food we were served. We prefer to eat in the dining room but did go to the Horizon Court for breakfast two days and the selection was good. Our dinner server was essentially alone for three large tables, his helper appeared to not only work his station but another was well. We are creatures of habit, so the sodas were always there for the kids and our wine was waiting, so hopefully this helped them by not throwing another thing at them to get. The waiter was also the wine server and there was no mention of wine packages that were offered to our friends on the Star Princess. The wines are fairly priced though. We did not eat in the Sterling Steakhouse this time. Entertainment: Cannot comment as we only went to one show. Daily Activities: So much offered and we did very little. That's the beauty of cruising, you can do as much or as little was you want, it's your vacation! Teen Activities: The kids are 16, 17 and 17 so they were still able to sign up with the teen club which we did the first day. The teen club had get togethers throughout the cruise which the kids seemed to enjoy, they are past the age of pressing all the elevator buttons and running around the ship so it was nice to allow them to just go hang out at the teens club and not worry about what they were up to. The teen activity schedule was delivered to their stateroom, so not sure of all the details. They did come home with phone numbers and Facebook friends. Other ship stuff: Soda Cards: I had preordered the soda and more stickers for the kids but only received one sticker (already on the card at check in) and was attached to my husband's card. I had ordered all on one form even though we were in separate rooms thinking the stickers would be in the room for us to attach, but that was not the case. I had the sticker removed from my husband's card and attached to my daughters. After checking in with the front desk we were only charged for one sticker so I had the boys go to the area they were selling them (more than one) but when I walked over when I was done found the staff were giving them just the soda card. The mix up is that they call the package online Unlimited Soda and More but on the ship they call it the Ultimate Soda Package. Easily remedied though, they got their sticker and fancy cup and off we went. Alcohol: We had also ordered scotch for our room and shortly after arriving we were delivered three certificates for scotch. Princess processed the order backwards and should have been one scotch and three soda cards. Another thing I noticed is that we paid $17.00 per bottle of scotch, but you can order from room service for $15.00. Coffee Cards: We ordered two Cafe Selects Coffee Cards and again the certificate was delivered to the room. Was definitely worth the 31.00 price, we were also able to share the card with the kids for the specialty coffee, but we would not allow them to use our card for the brewed coffee. They will allow you to order three specialty coffees at once using one card. Not sure if this varies by sailing length? It was not worth the time or effort to preorder these things. I thought the items would be delivered to the room (as HAL does) but we had to call room service for the scotch and go the Explorers Bar to get the coffee card. The day we boarded there were tables set up to make the process easy, so we will do this the next time. Television: We do not take the time to go to the movies when we're home, so I REALLY enjoyed the programs and movies that were offered. It was too cold outside to enjoy MUTS, but we could watch the movies on TV. Our room was so comfortable it made watching movies very enjoyable. Princess has much better programming than HAL and on a long voyage (with a lot of sea days) I would have to consider Princess! Running out of Alaskan Beer: Really? Three days in Alaskan Amber was out and by day six the Alaskan Summer Ale was low. We're not big beer drinkers but enjoy Alaskan Amber occasionally with lunch especially while cruising to Alaska. Ports: We booked all excursions through Princess. The things we did you could not save much money doing on your own anyway. Embarkation and Debarkation: Embarked when they said (not staggered), on the ship within 30 minutes even though there were lots of other passengers. Ship arrived back in San Francisco and hour late due to a medical evacuation in Coos Bay, Oregon the day before. The ship was cleared in a very short time after docking. We went to our designated area at 9:20 and were called within five minutes, gathered our luggage, a short walk to the 55 Francisco St. garage and we were on the road by 9:45. Certainly the best debarkation we have ever had! Note: I am glad that Princess is bringing the Grand Princess to San Francisco! We have only sailed the Dawn and Sea Princess and look forward to a different Princess experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Living in the Bay Area we chose to embark in San Francisco. We took the ferry from Vallejo to Pier 41 in San Francisco and walked to Pier 35 to board the Sea Princess. We handed off our suitcases to the porter and proceeded into the ... Read More
Living in the Bay Area we chose to embark in San Francisco. We took the ferry from Vallejo to Pier 41 in San Francisco and walked to Pier 35 to board the Sea Princess. We handed off our suitcases to the porter and proceeded into the terminal to check-in. I must say this was the fastest we've ever checked in and got onboard by noon. Our stateroom was also ready to drop off our carry on bags! C545 is right across from the crew only stairs. It really didn't bother us because hardly anyone used it except for delivering/picking up luggage at the beginning/end of the cruise. It is a great location for emergency exit. The cabin is at the end of mid-ship area and the Casino is below. No public area above, just more cabins. It was quiet and you didn't feel a lot of rocking when the sea was choppy. C545 is about midway between the forward and aft elevators. Off to lunch in the Horizon Court. Service was very good the entire trip. The variety and quality of food in the Horizon Court needs some improvement. We ate most of our meals in the main dining room. I didn't know beforehand that the laundromats were closed while in port in Alaska and made the mistake of trying to do laundry after it was closed for two days. Everyone was queued up trying to wash and dry clothes. Some were lined up 20 minutes before the laundry room opened at 8 am. My husband was in there for 4.5 hours trying to wash/dry our two loads. I'll know better next time to wait until the middle of the day! On the bright side, we met a lot of nice people while waiting to do laundry. Disembarking was very well organized. We were to be out of our stateroom by 8:30 am and then meet our disembarking group at 9:50 am to get off the ship. When we got to the meeting place at 9:50, the escort was already calling the the next group due at 10:10 am. They were 20 minutes ahead of schedule disembarking people!!!! We were off the ship by 10:00 and our luggage was waiting for us down in the terminal. This was the easiest embark and disembark we've had on any cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Let me start by agreeing with some of the reviews here. However, I would not judge all Princess Cruises by the Sea Princess. We have been on 5 cruises to Alaska and have been on 10 different Princess ships and over 25 cruises. This ... Read More
Let me start by agreeing with some of the reviews here. However, I would not judge all Princess Cruises by the Sea Princess. We have been on 5 cruises to Alaska and have been on 10 different Princess ships and over 25 cruises. This ship and the retired "Regal Princess" have been my least favorites. This ship is goofy, it seems like the designers have designed and redesigned the ship into something that cannot compete with modern cruise ships and really does not work. It is not just a matter or size I have been on smaller ships including the Island Princess and have not walked away feeling like I was sailing the "poor step-sister of the Princess fleet". I looked forward to the Atrium experience (coffee, relaxed conversation etc.)and there never was a seat to be found. Too many people not drinking coffee just looking for someplace to sit. They made the casino "non-smoking" except in designated areas and then made the "designated smoking area" smack dab in the middle of the casino! Then they took half of the casino and made it a game room for Mahjong and other board games. The noise of the Mahjong tiles about drove everyone crazy at the blackjack tables. Very bad planning. Why they could not designate an area for board games away from the casino is any one's guess. On to the food, we are not buffet fans and ate in the dining room every night. The food was really unremarkable and some nights seemed like we were participants on "fear factor". More game meats than I would have liked and a serious lack of planning for a menu than should have included more crab, we were in Alaska! duh! The menu lacked many of the items that were my favorites on other Princess cruises and I missed the Italian influence that usually was norm on other Princess menus. The food was not bad but it really was not memorable. We had made friends that did eat in the specialty steak house and they said the food was excellent. I wish we had tried it but was put off by the fact is was just an area of the Horizon court that was curtained off. The room service breakfast menu now includes a mcmuffin sandwich which I think is an improvement and I would be delighted if they did a sausage mcmuffin! Our stateroom was a balcony and I might add, one of the smallest staterooms we have ever had. Our room steward was excellent and made sure I got the three things I requested on meeting him. An "egg crate" for the mattress, an extra blanket, and 2 extra pillows. I told him I would not bug him the rest of the trip and I kept my word. The service is what I have come to expect from Princess. We had one burly waiter one day at lunch and I was determined to kill him with kindness. After that lunch, every time we saw him he always greeted us with a smile and a kind word. Crew members put up with a lot of abuse and impatience from people that sometimes are demanding and maybe not as polite as they should be. We try to treat people respectfully and usually receive it in kind. We had great service, no complaints. I understand the Sea Princess will be going to P&O at the end of this season, I say good riddance. I don't know if it is bad planning on the part of Princess but to send a ship to Alaska with the main swimming area opened to the elements just didn't make much sense. On other cruises to Alaska we have been on, the pool area had a dome that went over the pool area. I don't think we had a day during this cruise and the pools could be used. Movies under the stars was a total waste on this cruise. High winds and waves made it impossible. One more footnote about the poor "stepsister" feeling we had on board. When we docked, this ship had the least desirable berthing. We were over a half a mile away from the shops in Ketchikan, making way for the Disney Wonder and another RCL ship. What is with that? Money, I was told by crew. Embarkation and Debarkation were a breeze and would go out of Pier 35 in San Francisco again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Oh boy. I was very happy to be sailing out of San Francisco as I live within driving distance and did not have to fly or book a hotel room. This was a trip from the city and back. Unfortunately, this was the best part of the cruise. ... Read More
Oh boy. I was very happy to be sailing out of San Francisco as I live within driving distance and did not have to fly or book a hotel room. This was a trip from the city and back. Unfortunately, this was the best part of the cruise. The ship is cramped. There is no other way to describe it. We had a balcony cabin, and for those of you that have cruised before, you know what to expect. This cabin had one chair, no couch, and the chair backed up to the little stool that was provided under the vanity area. If my wife was doing makeup, I would have to sit on the bed. If I chose to sit in the chair I was 12 inches from the flat screen TV. If she need to move I had to get up and move to the balcony so she could get by. . The closet space was tiny also. There were 3 closet doors. Two for hanging clothes, and one that housed the shelves. The top shelf held the life jackets, and they ended up under the bed. The next shelf had the safe. No room for clothes there. That left two shelves for all of our folded clothes. Under the shelves there were two swing out baskets. Six small drawers in the vanity were available for undergarments. one look at this cabin and the mood was set for the cruise. I had to ask for ICE. I was told that it would be in my cabin after dinner. I asked for ice right then and was told that I would have to wait. The dining room area is the same as most cruises and the staff there tried to provide a friendly and relaxing environment. The general congregation areas were very small. The theatre was a one floor venue, the lounge area for smaller acts was the same size as the theatre. The small lounges did not have enough seating for the activities that were presented. Then there was the buffet, if you can call it that. The food area, not the seating area of the buffet, was about the size of 2 panda express food display area. The afternoon and evening choices were minimum. There would be one meat, and one chicken or fish and maybe a veggie, and some starch item. The rest was salads, breads and deserts. There was a pool side grill for hamburgers and hot dogs. We only had breakfast in the buffet and would grab a burger or a snack in the afternoon. There were no quiet places on the ship to sit and read. The weather was cold and sometimes rainy but that was to be expected. It was Alaska after all. Over all We just felt cramped all the time on the Sea Princess. I did not feel as though I was on vacation. I felt like I was at the local mall during holiday shopping. I will not be going on another Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
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
Embarkation was a mess. Two ships in one port = chaos. Some people had their luggage end up on the wrong ship. Signage would have helped a lot, there really wasn't much direction from Princess staff outside the building. Once we ... Read More
Embarkation was a mess. Two ships in one port = chaos. Some people had their luggage end up on the wrong ship. Signage would have helped a lot, there really wasn't much direction from Princess staff outside the building. Once we got moving, check in went pretty smoothly and I was on board in about 30 minutes. Public rooms- I thought the public rooms were pretty comfortable. I really liked the Razzmatazz. It was usually quiet and a great place to play cards or read. Cabin- I got in inside cabin on the Baja deck. It was small, but comfortable and met my needs. The shower was actually pretty big. Fitness/recreation- The workout area was fairly small and I did not use it very much. Enrichment- I did several of the enrichment activities. The talks that the naturalist did were full of great information. Rates- I got a pretty good rate, considering it was a cruise to Alaska, which seem to be higher. I believe the solo supplement was around 160%. Dining- I liked most of the food I ate, and I ate a lot of foods I had never had before. There were a few things that weren't great, but food is subjective. I certainly didn't go hungry, and could always find something that tasted good. I ate at Corniche a couple times and enjoyed the pizzas there. I chose anytime dining and found that it fit my needs well. I liked that I could eat whenever I wanted in the MDR and not have to worry about coming back early from the shore excursions. Entertainment- I really enjoyed most of the shows that I went to. I had a hard time walking straight at times while at sea, I was amazed at what the dancers could do. The entertainment staff did a great job. Service- My cabin steward was great. I had some issues with service, but overall felt that the service was pretty good. Shore excursions- I did two Princess excursions and two ports on my own. I really enjoyed the 8 hr bus ride to the Yukon. I also did the zip line tour. It was a lot of fun, though expensive. The Princess personnel were well organized and knowledgeable on both tours. Value for money- I felt that the value was there for the price I paid. There were a few hiccups along the way, but I think that a vacation, like life, is what you make of it. Overall- I enjoyed the trip and would consider cruising on Princess again in the future. You can see my full detailed review with pictures here -http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1640072 Here is the short version- Embarkation- 7 In short, it was a mess. Ship cleanliness- 9 Ship decor- 8.5 Customer service- 8 Food- 8 On board amenities- 8 Ports- 10!!!! Entertainment- 9 Shore excursions- (I did two) one was a 10 and the other one was a 8. Staff organization- 7 Anytime dining- 8.5 Overall- 8.5 Would I go again? Yes!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This was my 8th cruise,my 2nd on Princess. The food was very good which played a large part in my enjoyment of the the cruise. I missed the coffee shop on the Caribbean Princess with their excellent beignets and other pastries. No coffee ... Read More
This was my 8th cruise,my 2nd on Princess. The food was very good which played a large part in my enjoyment of the the cruise. I missed the coffee shop on the Caribbean Princess with their excellent beignets and other pastries. No coffee shop on Sea Princess. The variety of items offered for sale on the ship was not very good so I was disappointed in not having more things to tempt me.The ship is a medium sized one which I liked because most times I could just walk in 5 minutes ahead of a performance at the theatre. I had anytime dining because I was on the wait list for a 6pm dining. I usually went to dinner at 8pm to avoid the waiting . With most shiplines pushing the specialty dining it was wonderful to look forward to great food in just the regular dining rooms. My previous cruise on Caribbean Princess also had food to look forward to, which has not always been the case with other cruiselines. There were 2 Princess cruises leaving on the same day, with embarkations at the same time and I heard luggages were misdirected. Fortunately my luggage arrived very fast and my check in was also accomplished very efficiently. My inside cabin was small but had lots of storage room for my clothes. I opted for separate twin beds because of reviews I had read. The shower and bathroom are so small that I was happy that my husband and I are just medium sized. The cruise tours I took for Juneau, Ketchican and Skagway were well organized and I enjoyed them enormously. I walked to Victoria by myself- no tour- free tour of the Parliament building. We had excellent weather in May - it was cool - average temperature 14 degrees Celsius. In Juneau, I did the Mendenhall Glacier and Tongas rainforest tour- excellent; in Skagway, I took the White Pass train ride to and back. I met another cruiser who took the bus up, and train back and saw a lot of wildlife on the bus trip. I did not see a lot of wildlife, but I enjoyed the comfort of the train. In Ketchican I took the very fast boat tour to the Misty Fjords. The boat was extremely comfortable but I did not see much wildlife, and only in the distance and it was very expensive but as I said, extremely comfortable. Cruising through Glacier Bay was a treat - icebergs close up and viewing pieces breaking off- great! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We flew with British Airways from Glasgow, Scotland to San Francisco via London. The flights were fine and on-time. Taxi from SFO to Hilton Union Square took about 30 minutes and soon we were checking in. Being a Hilton H Honors member ... Read More
We flew with British Airways from Glasgow, Scotland to San Francisco via London. The flights were fine and on-time. Taxi from SFO to Hilton Union Square took about 30 minutes and soon we were checking in. Being a Hilton H Honors member cuts the wait to check in at this very busy hotel. The hotel was very good and well located, a large hotel and everything done very efficiently if a bit impersonal. We stayed there for 4 nights and done the usual tourist and shopping stuff in San Francisco. Morning of cruise left Hotel around 11.30 and taxi to cruise terminal. After drop off there was a bit of confusion on where to go and getting a porter to handle luggage. However soon sorted out and quickly checked in and boarded. We were in our stateroom by 12.20. Our first stop was to get some laundry done as we had been travelling a few days.We took what we needed to wash and laundry sheets in hand luggage.At first laundromat was closed so we went for lunch and by the time we went back to our deck laundromat was open so got the washing done. On this occasion no problems but at a later point in cruise we had difficulty getting the laundry dry as the dryers seemed to be very cool no matter the setting. Enough about domestic chores, we had a beautiful sailaway under the Golden Gate Bridge in perfect weather. This set the tone for the rest of the cruise as weather was great.The ship was absolutely fine.We had read a few reviews with negative comments but we really were fully satisfied. Stateroom - our first time in an inside and found it perfectly acceptable, sufficient storage if a little short on floor space. Dining - food was good to very good as we experienced from previous Princess cruises. Our experience of anytime dining was fine no real waits for tables as we were mostly prepared to share. We ate also in the buffet and pizzeria some evenings and were more than satisfied with choice and quality. Staff - A really helpful but unobtrusive stateroom attendant in Myrcel who was always pleasant and smiling. All waiters and bartenders encountered were very efficient. Entertainment- Not a big thing for us but enjoyed the navigation lecture from the Senior second mate. The noise from MUTS (especially rock concerts during the day) was a pain with U2 a prime example. The ship generally - all kept very clean and well maintained. Overall a very good cruise and would do it all again tomorrow. Disembarkation - We were collecting a rental car at Fishermans Wharf and heading south to Los Angeles asked for and got an early disembarkation time and were quickly off the ship. No problem getting a taxi to rental car location and soon on road south. We had a scenic drive down Highway 1 to LA with an overnight at San Simeon where we visited Hearst Castle, carried on to LA where we had a 4 night stay at Redondo Beach until flying back to UK. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Sea Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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