This was our third cruise on Princess. We are, or were, loyal to the Princess product. We have sailed others but returned. When our daughter was born we switched to Disney. I was so happy to return to Princess... Disney was great ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Princess. We are, or were, loyal to the Princess product. We have sailed others but returned. When our daughter was born we switched to Disney. I was so happy to return to Princess... Disney was great and served our needs at the time. Disney does exactly what you expect of a Disney product. With that being said, when the kids grow up, it's time to go back to a more refined product. No more mad house of kids running, screaming and pushing you out of the way!
We sailed on the Coral Princess. This is a 12 day land and sea trip, 7 at sea, 5 on land. Their website says it was refurbished January 2019. Some parts of the ship maybe, but not the staterooms. The room itself was okay but the bathroom was nasty. Mold in the grout lines... nothing a little Clorox Cleanup couldn't fix. Which is why I didn't understand it.
Next is the wait staff... The first nights dining was terrible. Painfully slow, no explanation or recommendation on the menu. Drinks were never refilled, water glasses were constantly empty. I tried to engage in conversation with our waiter without success. I spoke with Andre, the person in charge of our dining area. He was great! He moved us to a new location and our waiters there were great. Rico and Socrates were awesome! With them, it was how I remembered Princess dining.
Our first shore excursion was a sea plane ride in Ketchikan. Remember the news a month or so back? The sea plane crashes in Ketchikan... My wife called Princess and inquired about the excursion. Princess assured her it wasn't with that company. We show up on the Coral Princess and there is a letter stating that our excursion has been cancelled because it is with that company. She panics that we won't be able to get a comparable excursion and heads to the excursion desk. Good news, she got a comparable excursion booked. We show up for our sea plane flight and guess what? It is with the very company who just had the crashes! Good news, we went on the excursion and they did an awesome job!
Now part 2, our Princess land tour. Wittier AK to Fairbanks via Talkeetna by rail, Princess rail. That's where we are now, Talkeetna. First experience...
I go to use the restroom on the train. They already briefed for the men to sit down to use the toilet. I get in there and someone didn't listen. There is urine all over the toilet and seat... I grab some toilet paper and wipe it all up. Then I flush the toilet. Seems like the logical thing to do, right? Something goes wrong and the rinse pump spits water and the toilet valve slams open and close several times really fast. Smelly toilet water splashes out and I'm covered from my chest to my knees! The smell is horrific and all I could do was stand there looking at it. These are like airplane toilets with a tank, not like at home. Now the good part... Princess won't allow you to take any bags except for 1 small tote type bag on the train. My one bag was a camera bag, remember it's Alaska! I have no clothes to change into. We have 5 hours onboard this train plus a 2 hour wait until our room is ready. I am counting the minutes until I can get out of these soiled clothes!
Now the icing on the cake. We get to the lodge and our room isn't ready yet but our bags are there. Well, some of our bags are there. My wife's bag is missing and at the time of writing this, still missing. Yeah this sucks but at the moment, thank God it isn't mine that's missing! Now the room... there is 1 king bed. There are 3 of us... The same 3 listed on all of our Princess travel documents. Now we have to go back down to the lobby to get a different room. I'm still in my soiled clothes!
We are at the Mt McKinley Princess Lodge. We kept hearing how great it was, in reality, it's a dump! This is, or appears to be, an old ski lodge. It has that "rustic " worn furniture look. I would categorize it as a motel not a hotel. Boy has the Princess product changed. We are loyal to the Hilton brand. The Mt McKinley Princess Lodge is way, way below the Hampton Inn. The difference is, when you book at the Hampton, you know what to expect! You know it's not a true Hilton. There is no executive lounge... but it is still a nice and a clean product. The furniture at the lodge looks like they got another lodges old furniture when they upgraded!
This cruise/trip is my wife's bucket list trip. Her 50th birthday wish. She has been planning this trip for over a year. She has poured her heart and soul into planning this trip. She has spared no expense... We have a full plate of excursions. Three plane rides, landing on a glacier, a flight to the arctic circle, whale watching and the list goes on. We're standing in our less than impressive room and she is in tears. She asks me if we should just try to get a room at the Hilton? I can't begin to tell you how heartbreaking it was.
Update, as I am writing this, they called to say they have found and delivered the bag. Only a few hour late. Not ready to give them a star back but we are thankful.
We have some serious thinking to do about our future cruise company. Princess, you have really disappointed us this time. You have 4 days to redeem yourself!
On our second night at the McKinley lodge we decided to try a move one of our excursions. The excursion is in Fairbanks and changing it is strictly a matter of personal convenience.
Our next lodge is Denali. Oh my, we're back at a princess product... or at least how I envision one. The Denali lodge is beautiful! The staff is friendly and helpful. Read Less