41 Vancouver Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews

Princess always delivers on their products and experiences. We had a great time and experience on Crown Princess while cruising south from Vancouver to Los Angeles. We visited Seattle, Mount St Helens, Astoria OR, San Francisco, and Santa ... Read More
Princess always delivers on their products and experiences. We had a great time and experience on Crown Princess while cruising south from Vancouver to Los Angeles. We visited Seattle, Mount St Helens, Astoria OR, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara. Lots of wineries to visit! Food was good and service was excellent. Embarkation went well, even after expecting higher waiting times as there were 3 cruise ships on port. Disembarkation was ahead of schedule and flawless. We visited the Crown Grill twice during our stay and did not diassapoint. Steaks are wondurful and lobster was great. We chose anytime dining and had no issue getting a table for two in ten minutes or less. Food at the Horizon court buffet was great and lines seems to move quickly. Only one day we had to wait to get in and I think it was due to people not being familiar with the multiple buffet locations. Overall a top rated experience. Will do another Princess cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
After an impressive cruise with Royal Princess earlier this year, we were very disappointed with this Ship particularly the Horizon Court buffet layout, quality, choices, and service. It seems you feel like a bunch of chicken running ... Read More
After an impressive cruise with Royal Princess earlier this year, we were very disappointed with this Ship particularly the Horizon Court buffet layout, quality, choices, and service. It seems you feel like a bunch of chicken running with their head cut off around a small gated, fenced, and over controlled area. They even tried to charge (adult only) for a hot chocolate at breakfast in Horizon while free in the dining room. We often had to ask for mayonnaise, cookies, butter, and it took so long to appear as you are waiting like a seating duck afraid of going out and having to get back in from the other entrance only. The so called open seating concept at the ding room, only work with big line up at 530 pm in one location while other open seating options must be booked daily or seemed only available after 715pm. Also, if you want to watch an outdoor movie, good luck in finding a blanket as we counted about 25-30 people that had some provided; the rest were using 3 to 4 pool towels. After 9 cruises from 4 different companies, this was our least appreciated cruise. As for the dining room, it provided an excellent choice and service. Overall ship was very cleaned and maintained. Rooms were very cleaned and well taken care off. Boarding and getting off the ship were very well handled. Unfortunately, with these deficiencies, we will not take anymore chances with Princess unless it is on the newer ships like the Royal. The bottom line is that if you go on vacation and continuously have to line up at airports, getting on and off the ship, then for dining room, the last thing you would expect is not more control access in a buffet area, give us a break. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The Crown Princess is a lovely ship. It’s well maintained and its crew was polite and helpful. We have sailed with Princess before but it is not our first choice. This trip did nothing to change that. We felt the Crown lacked the ... Read More
The Crown Princess is a lovely ship. It’s well maintained and its crew was polite and helpful. We have sailed with Princess before but it is not our first choice. This trip did nothing to change that. We felt the Crown lacked the vitality we have come to experience on Carnival. This is particularly true of Carnivals newer vessels (the Breeze and Magic). There simply is more to do on Carnival. Often many of the bar & entertainment venues on the Crown Princess would be closed entirely. The bar in the Skywalkers nightclub was closed both times I went there. I hesitate to criticize much about our cruise or Princess itself. It’s so much about personal tastes and Princess has a very loyal following. Who am I to say they are wrong! The only area I could criticize without reservation was the organization of the Horizon café. The food is served within a small buffet area with one entry and exit. All diners are forced into this small area even if they only want a salad or desert. The line does not proceed in an orderly manner as diners must backtrack several times. Did you forget your desert, well too bad, back in line. The entire process is too frustrating. The buffet selection itself was limited and not really up to the quality one would expect from Princess. Both Carnival and NCL have better casual meal offerings with more selection, better quality and more efficient access. Breakfasts in the main dining room were great. One morning they had a delicious English breakfast. Room service was prompt and accurate. The main dining room was adequate but not exceptional. Menu choices were limited and the preparation was inconsistent and sometimes really poor. I don’t expect gourmet, but the serving of cold overcooked salmon that I was served surprised even me. Overall, we had a lovely trip shared with good friends. Our cabin was clean & comfortable. I will travel with Princess again if the itinerary is of special interest but Princess it would not be our first choice Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Chose this cruise because it was different than what we have done before. It started in Vancouver and then went down the Pacific coast: Seattle WA, Astoria OR, SanFrancisco CA, Santa Barbara CA and finished in Los Angeles. Seemed like ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was different than what we have done before. It started in Vancouver and then went down the Pacific coast: Seattle WA, Astoria OR, SanFrancisco CA, Santa Barbara CA and finished in Los Angeles. Seemed like embarkation was very slow--long lines. Cabin was pretty good, did show some wear--shower very small, had a good room steward. Horizon Court buffet, where we ate most breakfasts and lunches, had a very different set up for getting your food than we had ever seen before and didn't care for. You entered from one specific entrance and exited from another. When we entered, they seemed to be keeping a count on a computer that was near the "hostess" handing you your plate. The buffet food area itself seemed small, cramped, with passengers on both sides of you in a narrow area, getting their food. Food ok, often saw the same food choices 2 days in a row. We had traditional dining, had been confirmed for 8:15 p.m. but when we were given our room card, it had been changed to 7:45--a little earlier than we like to eat. Our servers were ok, not great. Menu was a bit limited, didn't seem to have as many choices as we've had in the past on other cruises we've done. Dinner in the Crown Grill one night--good service. However, steaks not what we thought they'd be for the additional $29 per person charge. Meat a bit tough, dry, tasteless. Took 2 tours that were offered by Princess--In Seattle, the tour Future of Flight & Boeing Factory Tour which was good and in Astoria, the Seaside & Cannon Beach tour which was also good. In San Francisco, we had planned our own trip to Alcatraz, had purchased our tickets online and just walked over to the pier to take the ferry boat over. That was a fun tour. We were given the info for debarkation and given our luggage tags. Were told to put our luggage in the hall before going to dinner--this was different (and much too early). Usually it is suggested to do this around 11 p.m. Debarkation was very smooth. Were assigned a time to meet according to the time of our flight and this was pretty much on schedule. Picking up our luggage was smooth and quick. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My family owns a travel agency and I've been travelling all my life. This was hands down THE worst vacation experience we have ever had. The cabins: We travelled as a group of 9 in 4 cabins. At least 3 of those cabins had big ... Read More
My family owns a travel agency and I've been travelling all my life. This was hands down THE worst vacation experience we have ever had. The cabins: We travelled as a group of 9 in 4 cabins. At least 3 of those cabins had big clumps of hair in the blankets, towels, and showers. Disgusting. Our crib wasn't there when we arrived and my father-in-law's bag was held for inspection but he was never told that until he inquired after it so he could dress for dinner. Though the room guide said there should be pool towels in our room, there were not. They could only be acquired on deck. The restaurants: Overall the traditional and specialty restaurants were good, but if you wanted sit down breakfast the wait for food was an hour and frequently not what you ordered. The selection was very very small. If you ate on deck, they would not let you have a plate without sanitizing your hands, the lines were closed in and disorganized and it was almost impossible to find seating (we usually bussed a table ourselves). Getting your own beverages was discouraged and attendants were not quick to get them for you. We did open seating at the Crown Grill one afternoon with their pubfare menu. Our food was not only not good, but came at all different times, we watched some of it go to the wrong table and then get retrieved, and our dessert (bread and butter pudding) had a HAIR baked into it. More hair. again, disgusting. The Platinum Studio: We had an overall positive experience in the platinum studio. The photographer was great and the photos were nice. Our appointment did start late, and we had signed up on "champagne and strawberries" night which we weren't served. The complaint here is that Platinum studio pictures cost $150/digital image. We paid $450 for 3 photos, the base price for an entire photography package anywhere else in the US, but we got 3 photos, on a CD that we had to wait to be mailed to us. CDs are falling the way of A-track tapes and in our house, we use tablets, we don't actually have a disc drive in our house that allows me to retrieve my $150/image photos. I'm going to either have to go buy a portable disc drive or borrow one. The $200 package for the rest of the photos we had taken on the ship included ALL of our photos and a jump drive, but the platinum studio charges $150/image and I can't even get it on a jump drive. That pricing is beyond exorbitant and i'd expect more for the money. Quite frankly, it feels like a hustle that they aren't upfront about their pricing because no, we wouldn't have even had the pictures taken. We're fine with paying $100 sitting fee and $20/image. We're fine with paying more to have them printed on high quality paper. We're really not fine with $150/image. Why did we pay it? Because although there was never a wait for photos anywhere on the ship, photo times were always around bed time and photographers did very little to get a smile out of our child. He looks sleepy and stoic in all of them. The Platinum Studio did take the time and effort to get a smile. The staff: One of the most beautiful things about cruising is how every member of the staff always makes you feel special. That was sorely lacking on Princess.The staff was not fast or efficient, most were not smiley and did not greet you, some were outright rude. After a long day in port I went to retrieve my bags off the security belt getting onto the ship and an attendant smacked my hand away "No! Wait" I asked if something was wrong with my bags and she picked them up, shoved them at me and said "Are these yours? Take them! You're holding up the line!" When I complained about our experience at the front desk later, we were treated like we just wanted something for free (I never asked for anything). I was told these things must be my fault, maybe it was my (pixie cut) hair tangled up in everything, and since it was the end of the trip why bother complaining at all. She never once apologized. Check-in: This was the absolute longest check in process I have ever experienced with customs being a part of it. It took forever. Many of the amenities tours (like tours of the spa) occurred before we ever got on board. Travelling with a child: We had a 1 year old with us and we've been blessed with a very agreeable baby. However, it really irritated us that no concessions were made for him. We paid full 3rd person fare and service charge for him, and he was generally treated like he didn't exist. 1 is too little to use any of the onboard children's programs so we obviously did not take advantage of those.The crib we had requested wasn't in our room when we got there after a very long check in day. He is 1 (and 85th percentile in size, so not smaller than average or anything that would make you think he's younger), he eats real food, he feeds himself. I had to request a plate for him at the buffet each morning- usually more than once. I had to find my own highchair every morning and in several restaurants. At the Crown Grill, we weren't offered a highchair and servers seemed very busy and harried. Because he was in a grandparent's arms, he knocked over a glass of water, soaking the table, booth and mommy. No one offered to help clean it up or dry us off. He's a baby, he loves candy and chocolate and was super excited about the chocolate on the pillows each night. He was never left his own piece of chocolate and instead got mommy's chocolate. Like I said, we paid full person price for him, give him some chocolate. Some cruiselines understand that if kids are happy, parents are happy. Our traditional dining servers were great with him, but no one else on the ship even acknowledged he was there. Princess did absolutely nothing to make us feel like he was important or valued. They forgot basic accommodations for him everywhere but private dining. Communication: Cruises usually announce everything important over a speaker that extends into the staterooms. Princess does not do this for anything other than the lifeboat drill so knowing when you were allowed off the boat and which deck you should disembark on was always kind of a guessing game. The Princess Patter was terrible with event times that didn't quite match (the wheelhouse had a place in the itinerary and a feature box with times 30 minutes different). There was no channel guide, though at one point the Princess Patter had printed "please consult your princess patter for channels and times". You can only view your stateroom account on your phone through their "Princess@Sea" app. I discovered this by accident because they didn't print anything in the patter or room material about "Princess@Sea" until our 4th day on the ship. Movies Under The Stars: We watched 1 movie under the stars (Alice Through the Looking Glass). It had rained so the furniture was wet and it was cold. There was dry furniture available, but it was stacked and bound and inaccessible. No one passed out popcorn. No one squeegeed water off the deck. No one offered blankets or towels or non-alcoholic beverages. Tours: We did 2 tours with the ship. Both left late, did not meet where indicated, and were poorly signed at port. Our second tour required a long drive. The boat docked early in the morning but the tour didn't leave until afternoon which meant we got 90 minutes at our tour destination before returning to the ship. There was no verbal tour given on that long drive. Our traditional seating servers were nice and most of the photography staff were friendly. We enjoyed the ports themselves. The ship experience was 90% awful. terrible. no good. very bad. We left many comment cards and played phone tag for a week and a half before getting an apology. We didn't ask for compensation and Princess offered $75 onboard credit (for me and my husband, not our child) if we travel with them in the next year. We spent $2100 on the cruise, $1000 on travel to and from the cruise, and $1100 onboard. We spent over $4000 for the WORST TRIP OF OUR LIVES. We will not be spending that kind of money to experience that again, let alone for $75 onboard credit. NEVER EVER AGAIN, Princess. It is my hope that no one ever ever have the experience we did, and so I am putting it out on every review site I can find and telling every person I know just how awful princess was. There are fantastic beautiful experiences out there. Choose another experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I wanted to write a brief review here for other because I find this site so helpful. We traveled as a family of 3 with a mini suite. Our DD is under 2. Ship - Seems to be in very good shape, and very clean. Never found any real ... Read More
I wanted to write a brief review here for other because I find this site so helpful. We traveled as a family of 3 with a mini suite. Our DD is under 2. Ship - Seems to be in very good shape, and very clean. Never found any real damage or markings on the walls etc. It's vacuumed very well as our DD would have probably eaten anything off the floor if she found it. I'm not being sarcastic - I thought that was done well. Its easy to just find a lounge early in the morning to let your kid run around quietly and explore. Cabin - We had a mini suite as I said. While there's no divider between the lounge and the bed, it was enough of an alcove that our DD could sleep fairly uninterrupted. She never heard us using the bathroom when she was asleep etc. We could move around, watch a bit of tv etc. and not disturb her so it was a good size. Bathroom was much larger because of the tub. I found the height of the shower head to be a bit short. I'm 5'10" and had to bend to fit in it but it wasn't a problem for me. Good pressure, and hot water. There's also ample room to keep a stroller and a car seat in the room. Dining - There's many options and I had different opinions of it all. The buffet (horizons court) was a big disappointment. First off I was shocked that they actually separated the room into two so you came in from the left you had half the area to sit, and if you came in the right the other half. You couldn't cross over unless you left HC. Though there was a 3rd buffet room (open less) but more seating. My biggest concern was the quality of food there. There was absolutely no taste in anything, nor was the options very exciting. The fruit tasted bad, the coffee bad, the meat, anything and everything, except maybe the OJ. After 1-2x I wised up. MDR - This was much much better. The service is great, the food is so much better and an entirely positive experience. Go here for breakfast. Avoid the buffet. You can thank me later...even our DD had no problems spending every meal seated here. Other free diners - The international cafe, the pizza + ice cream place, even the burger place was all very good. Service friendly and food tasty. Paid - We just went to Sabatini's. Food was excellent. Service excellent, well worth it. Entertainment - adults - casino was okay not really a big pull, but it was okay. My wife went to a show or two while I watched our DD and she liked it but couldn't get a seat. I can't comment on it too much personally. Entertainment - kids - they have a semi secret kids area if you've never been on a ship you wouldn't know as we saw some parents come check it out later in the cruise. If your child is under 3 they won't let you leave them there unattended. There were plenty of things for the kids (of all ages to play with) but the staff (younger ladies) were not so friendly. They were of the just doing my duty kind of thing aka had to be there but were happy to threaten to kick you out if there were too many adults... which was like 5. There's also a kiddie pool that you can't get to. It's a joke. I'm not entirely sure if its sanitized for diapers but they kept playing kangaroo court in telling you how to get there. You basically can't go. All doors are locked. The weather wasn't the greatest anyway so it is what it is. Service - service on board is great in general. Everyone is friendly enough and does there job well. There can be some miscommunication but they get cleared up. Overall I'd go again. They have a very good product and the service is great. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Great (different itinerary) with a few extra days in Vancouver BC. Embarkation was crowed because 3 ships were in Vancouver the day we left. The ports were beautiful and there was plenty to do in each port exploring on your own. Vancouver, ... Read More
Great (different itinerary) with a few extra days in Vancouver BC. Embarkation was crowed because 3 ships were in Vancouver the day we left. The ports were beautiful and there was plenty to do in each port exploring on your own. Vancouver, Seattle,Astoria, San Francisco,Santa Barbara, Los Angeles... The ship (Crown Princess) was beautiful and they were constantly cleaning and upgrading something. The food was good and plenty. (Had better and had worst) most cruise food is good and my wife says it even better because she doesn't have to make it.) The entertainment was good and there was always something to do on the ship. We really enjoyed the Ultimate Ship Tour (a behind the scenes tour of the whole ship you never see) including the doctor's office, the backstage of the theater, the kitchen stopping for refreshments and meeting the head chef an touring the freezer's the bakery,the food lines the soup kitchens and where the crew eats. Then on to the print shop,the photo lab and the laundry. Then to the bridge to meet with the captain and learn the ins and outs of all the controls and communication's of the ship...a great tour. (4 hours in total) There were a few problems on the cruise but all in all it was a great time as a vacation always is...... Can' wait for our next cruises Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Quick one day repositioning cruise to Seattle from Vancouver on the May long weekend for Canadians. Embarkation took an hour although I heard it took later arrivals a few hours, the key is to know what kind of traffic the port will be ... Read More
Quick one day repositioning cruise to Seattle from Vancouver on the May long weekend for Canadians. Embarkation took an hour although I heard it took later arrivals a few hours, the key is to know what kind of traffic the port will be experiencing (check the Port of Vancouver's cruise ship schedule) and if there is more than 1 ship, arrive well before 11am and even at 10am if there are 3 in port that day. All staff we encountered, on-shore and when we arrived on the ship, were helpful, patient, and cheerful. A great start to the cruise. Sailaway out of a sunny Vancouver harbour was spectacular. It is so exciting when the ship goes underneath Lions Gate bridge, you must head for the top deck to wave at people on the bridge, hear the screams of delight when we go under the bridge, and see how close the ship actually comes to clearing under the bridge deck. Food on the ship was quite average, completely edible but not in the least bit memorable. Only the basics for lunch, salad bar is almost bare minimum, and don't expect smoked salmon or shrimp or bacon bits or anything remotely special in the buffet. Dinner choices were fairly plain as well. I'm not going into great detail as it was a one day cruise only and perhaps they save the good stuff for the full week paying guests (although Princess isn't known for great food). Activities were pretty sparse for the brief time and the musical show in the theatre was two stars, maybe. Again, not important for a single night. Disembarkation was a snap in Seattle and the wait for a taxi was about 30 mins although the lineup looked more daunting than it was with two big ships in port as well. There was no shortage of cabs however the traffic flow and getting guests sorted into cabs could certainly be improved if anyone cared enough in Seattle to do anything about it. We spent the day in Seattle and returned on the Amtrak train to Vancouver for $50 each which was a wonderful experience that we booked ourselves. Much of the train trip is along the beautiful waterfront and there is a restaurant car with reasonable drink offerings if you haven't poisoned yourself enough on a weekend getaway. Overall, we had a great time. The one day cruise is all about the sail away and having a good getaway time with friends for the same price as a nice dinner in town. Why not?? We've sailed with Princess before and our overall impression is that the crew/staff are really great and the food and entertainment is meh. Royal Caribbean is a better fit for our family with better food, ships, and entertainment but we'll return to Princess if another opportunity like this comes around or if a generous relative pays for it :) Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We booked the 1 night Coastal Cruise from Vancouver to Seattle, I am a Travel Agent specializing in standard cruise lines, and was very excited for my first Princess cruise given that I sell these and other cruise lines several times a ... Read More
We booked the 1 night Coastal Cruise from Vancouver to Seattle, I am a Travel Agent specializing in standard cruise lines, and was very excited for my first Princess cruise given that I sell these and other cruise lines several times a day. Unfortunately my experience wasn't so great. I booked cabin A727 for my boyfriend and myself and A731 for my Mom and best friend. The day of departure I got an email from my Agency stating there was delays with port authority and we should arrive to the pier as early as possible between 10:30 am and 12:30pm. Since our hotel was only 3 blocks away arriving early was no problem for us. We walked into the cruise terminal at 10:30am sharp where we were so rushed by what seemed to be annoyed staff that we missed the place to drop off our bags and were stuck carrying them though the nightmare they call customs. Apparently on this day there were 3-4 other cruises embarking that day so the check in at security and customs were very backed up. We got into a large warehouse setting and waiting in the first check in line for about 50 minutes, this warehouse was hot, crowded and not well controlled. Then onto the second line, security, where it wasn't so crowded, went by in about 20 minutes. And finally, to customs, where we were hearded into a large crowded seating area with no further instructions other than, sit and wait. We honestly didn't even know what we were waiting for until we got to the counter. Very weird. After boarding the ship we went to our cabins to finally drop off our bags and headed up to deck 15 Horizon Court for the buffet, which for the 1st 15 minutes we couldn't find any entrances to, all the signs had arrows pointing to the exits! I would normally assume I was just having a slow moment, but there were so many others wandering around looking for the entrances too! After we finally got into the buffet the line went very slowly but luckily the food tasted alright, My favorite for the fried shrimp, poached salmon and espresso desert. We spent most of our day out on the top deck enjoying the bars by the pool and the great weather, that evening we noticed a steal of a deal and purchased some very cheap duty free alcohol and went to try our luck at the casino, unfortunately since this was a 1 night cruise we never made it into international waters, which meant the casino was closed. Later that evening we got our bathing suites on and headed up to the top deck to discover all but one hot tub was closed and the pools were roped off, we tried asking if they would reopen but staff seemed they didn't even know they were closed. We then headed to dinner, which really put me over the edge, this was THE WORST dining experience I've ever had, on or off the cruise. I'm not normally one to complain but this had me so baffled. When we first arrived we were seated by our waitress and the menus were shoved into our faces (literally) we brushed it off assuming it was an accident and then shortly after had a photographer come by to take our picture. We got back into our menus and the waiter came by to ask us for our drink order, while taking the first of 4 orders the other waitress came up, and angrily snatched the order book from his hands and shouted something in his face, then barked at us to repeat our drink order. Afterwards, i had asked if we could order our starters and she shortly responded "You need to wait for your waiter." and quickly walked away. Our waiter arrived and I asked to order the starter and he stated that he will take our order when we know the rest of our entree and dessert. Never had that happen but didn't think much of it. Once we were finally ready I knew that 3 of us wanted the same entree, when I told the waiter this he said "I told you I would take your order ONE AT A TIME" i couldn't believe we were being spoken to this way, since i was under the impression princess prides themselves on service, or so I tell my guests when i book them. Shortly into the second persons order the same waitress from before comes and interrupts to again shout in his face. At this point our patience was wearing thin but we continued to wait. Finally! The food we ordered arrives, our "gormet princess burgers" were gray, flavorless and came without condiments, we asked for some ketchup and were given about a tablespoon, my mother then asked for a side of mayo (since the burger was so dry) and they brought out a large bowl full. The burger came with bacon wrapped shrimp, the bacon seemed slightly warmed up but still completely raw and we tasted the shrimp, it was so under cooked i didn't feel safe eating it. My boyfriend got the pan seared chicken, he tried one bite and said it tasted spoiled. It was then that we got up and left. We were followed out by the management who I'm sure was able to read our faces because he asked us what was wrong with our meal, after explaining to him just as I explained to you, he responded with "yes, that waitress can be a bit mouthy" What?! Never going on a princess cruise ever again. Simply for this reason. The only reason they didn't get 1/5 rating from me was because the accomodations were amazing. The rooms were bigger than any RCC Balconies i've booked in the past. Large closet space and beds were comfy. While we were out most of the night, we came back to our room and saw there was a message on the phone, this message was to notify us that we were reported smoking in our room and we would be fined $250! Not okay for 2 major reasons, we are not smokers, and we were not in our room the majority of the day. We then spend the better part of an hour waiting in line at ship services to get some answers. We were told that the deck supervisor reported us, when I advised this was a mistake we aren't smokers, she asked if we were lying because the deck supervisor is never wrong. Again, just blown away, after some time arguing back and forth they "made an exception" and removed the fine, but just another cherry on top. All in all, i will never book another princess cruise for myself again, and I'm sad to say I will be hesitant booking my clients on Princess either. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I have been on about 15 cruises in the past. I have done 3 of these 1 night cruises from Vancouver to Seattle. We find it a quick and fun getaway. I have done 2 on NCL and 1 on Princess prior to this. I have sailed RCI, Disney, NCL, ... Read More
I have been on about 15 cruises in the past. I have done 3 of these 1 night cruises from Vancouver to Seattle. We find it a quick and fun getaway. I have done 2 on NCL and 1 on Princess prior to this. I have sailed RCI, Disney, NCL, Princess & Carnival. This was the worst experience ever! I have found the trick to one nighters is to get to Vancouver port for 10:15am, check in our bag and then go to the line up, usually wait 15 mins and they open up around 10:30am. Go through security (5 mins), then customs (5 mins) and then go get key cards and wait for boarding group (have been 10-20 mins) and then board. Usually we are on the ship by 11am-11:15am. Nice and easy. Well not this time. They had us check in bags, then go upstairs to the giant conference area. Wait in a massive lineup for about 45 mins (no line for repeat cruisers, gold members, platinum, or whatever it is princess has). Got key cards, then back out and down stairs, into another line up. Waited in that for 20 mins, got through security and then ushered into a huge waiting room of chairs. FINALLY got to sit down after being on our feet for about 75 mins at this point, and then waited for customs for another half hour. Then taken to the area where normally you get your keys, but instead was waiting area to board ship. Only at this point did returning cruisers get to go ahead. We didn't get on board until 12;15pm - 2 full hours of line ups! We were starving, tired, hot, sweaty and almost just left at one point it was getting ridiculous. Finally get on board. We didn't get to board into the main atrium, had to board at the back, so it was a bit underwhelming to walk onto the ship into a hallway. One of the fun parts of a new ship is that big 'wow' when you board, seeing the atrium and stuff. At this point I didn't really care. Went to buffet. Buffet was lined up out the doors and towards the pool. We were going to skip it, but love the embarkation buffet. 20 mins in line we got into buffet. Blech! Worst cruise buffet ever! It was like 'lets throw the one nighters the cheapest food we have and hope they don't notice'. Carving station was fish. Everything was fish. One chicken dish, 2 pastas and then 2 full counters of buns and butter. They really wanted us to fill up on buns. Desserts were boring. Cookies, tarts and a sugar free option. Worst buffet ever! We had to stand in the line going around the buffet and then exit, took about another 20 mins, and by the time we could exit our food was now cold. Ate our cold food by the pool and then got some ice cream. Went to our room and it was as expected. Our balcony was one of the extra large ones on deck 10 and I highly recommend getting one of these. It was nice to sit outside and put our feet up and watch everything. Lots of room. Room felt a bit tight and small. Shower was quite small. Typical older cruise ship room. I didn't find this ship as 'wow' as many I have been on. Nothing super special. Nothing wrong with it, but after being on many ships I would say it was just an average older ship. Dinner was not great. Again, put out the cheapest menu they could. Pasta, chicken breast, etc... NO steak! I have never gone to a main dining room that doesn't even offer a small steak! I had pot roast, which was 2 small pieces of beef on top of 2 carrots, a mushroom, 2 pieces of onion and some cheese thing. Cheesecake was good. Ceasear salad was 'ok'. Our party of 20 people were all very underwhelmed with dinner and left hungry and went to the buffet later LOL. I think the food was so bad and small they hoped we were all going to go pay $29 to each at the upcharge restaurant. Dinner buffet was 'Italian' - and it consisted of salad, some antipasto meats, a giant tub of spaghetti (no meat - just noodles and sauce and tasted like chef boy ar dee), chicken breast, mashed potatoes and a few other things. Nothing exciting. I thought maybe there was going to be chicken parm, lasagne,etc... Nope! Desserts were small pieces of apple pie, tarts and cookies. Boring! Ice cream and pizza was always lined up - a good 10 min wait for those. They shut down at 9:30. The hamburger place shut down at 9:30 as well. No room service available on a one night cruise (not uncommon - have noticed this before). They had a lot of entertainment options, comedy shows, the magic to do show (I left early as I didn't find it super enjoyable), etc.... Movies they chose for under the stars were odd choices- concerts. Last year we had watched a great movie and had fun with this, I had no desire to watch rock concerts. We had good weather, everyone was swimming and stuff. TV in our room was super fuzzy. We were really wanting to watch it anyway, but if we had, we probably couldn't have. Got up in the morning to realize we had no towels in our room. Had to run outside the stateroom at 8am to find a steward to get towels, who couldn't believe we didn't have any and was more the tone of 'yes you do, you stole them' - got towels. Room had no cold water - only hot would work- couldn't shower or we would get burnt. Just washed our hair quickly in the hot water. Found out all our friends got chocolates and turn down service and customs forms in their cabins. We got nothing! I had to track down a customs form that morning. Breakfast buffet line up was insane again. Took a half hour to get food. Pancakes and French toast were good. We were there about 8:45am, but not into the buffet until about 9:15am and there wasn't much left and they were not replenishing because it closed in 15 mins. No bagels, no muffins, no donuts, only a few lemon Danish. Eggs were yucky. No hashbrowns (they put out French fries). 3 boxes of cereal left. We ate a plate of pancakes and French toast - that was about all there was. Never been so glad just to be off a ship. At disembarkation they asked for our number. We didn't have a number- we were never given a number and the lady said "I think you are lying, everyone had a number, you just want off the ship faster not in your group". I want to add they were on group 24 and it was 9:45am, if I wanted to lie and get off the ship faster, I would have been there much earlier than that!!!!!! Elevators were PAINFULLY slow. Too many people trying to go to the same place at the same time on a one night cruise. No one is really 'spread out' in activities. It was not uncommon to wait 10 mins for an elevator, and I have a bad knee so stairs are not an option for me. Couldn't wait to get on that bus and come home - I was exhausted just from line ups, elevator waits, etc..... Was just not a fun time at all. If you like 20 min waits for food and elevators then go on a one night cruise. Otherwise I strongly suggest you skip it! I just felt frustrated the entire time - like we couldn't enjoy ourselves at all because we were always in some kind of huge line! I know lines are part of cruising, but this was cruise #15 for me and never had it like this before! I think the whole embarkation nightmare started us off on the wrong foot. I won't ever cruise princess again after this - if anything they should be putting their best foot forward and making a big impression, not slacking. They should make me want to cruise with them again - put out the chocolate fountain, put out the good desserts, the steak, the good menus - but instead it just made me go "I could never spend 7 days on this ship". I heard this over and over from many people. We would chat in line ups and it was 'never again' 'never princess again' 'go back to disney' 'go back to RCL'. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Review of Coral Princess Alaska Northbound May 14, 2016 Embarkation Embarkation is at Canada Place. There were three ships in that Saturday, which taxes the capacity of the port. Easy access by cab from Delta Suites (Marriott), ... Read More
Review of Coral Princess Alaska Northbound May 14, 2016 Embarkation Embarkation is at Canada Place. There were three ships in that Saturday, which taxes the capacity of the port. Easy access by cab from Delta Suites (Marriott), fare $6 Cn. Shuttle from two Fairmont hotels. Once inside you receive a number (we were in groups 61 and 62) and go to check in. As Platinum, we had no wait. The line for non-suite, non-preferred, looked to run about 45 minutes to an hour. Then into the waiting room for immigration and customs. 50 minute wait. No preference for suite or preferred, so if you stand on line to check in for 45 minutes, you spend no time waiting for immigration and customs. Canada Place has Global Entry, so we went right to the front of that line. Three of us made it through. DW was stopped because her Global Entry card, used for the past year on numerous occasions, had never been registered. (She had used Trusted Traveler part of Global Entry one day earlier with no problem.) That led to a 10 minute delay so a scolding could be placed on her record. Boarded and went to our cabin. One suitcase was spotted on the walk, and the other had already been delivered. Cabin Mini-suite D311. Very quiet. Plenty of room; however, bottleneck is bathroom door and closet area. Cannot handle two people at once. Refrigerator. Two flat screens with typical limited Princess offerings. No robes or slippers in room. Per steward no longer providing robes or slippers except in suites. (We had checked off that we wanted robes in our cruise personalizer.) We discussed it, and robes arrived later that day. Slippers arrived the next day. This may be a language issue. Room Service In contrast to previous years, room service was invariably early, which is good. Much like previous years, actually providing everything on the list is still a goal. On the fourth day, we did not receive a hang tag to order breakfast, and a fellow at the front desk insisted that hang tags were no longer available for anything but suites, but we could call and order, and he connected us with room service. He later insisted that he thought we wanted dinner hang tags, but I noted that I had pointed out to him the absurdity of no breakfast hang tags but you can order breakfast by phone. Another language issue. Thermal Suite $119 per person for the week. No couples discount as on previous cruises. Supposedly limited to 28 people, but we don’t think they hit that total. Four saunas, and a dry sauna in the men’s changing room. Gym: Lots of equipment in two locations at the rear of the ship. Never a wait that we noticed. Spa We had a fifty minute couple’s massage. About $250 plus tip. Very well done. Specialty restaurants We tried Sabatini’s once. Excellent service, but the food was not special, and one of our group rejected her fish. (We had free passes as part of our package.) We ate lunch in Sabatini’s (no extra charge) and it was excellent. We tried Crab Shack once. Excellent food and service. We had the crab and shrimp pots. Tough to finish. About a whole king crab, plus a dozen shrimp, potatoes and some corn. Plus a salmon appetizer, soup and dessert. Liquor Package We had the liquor package as part of a promotion when we booked. Definitely not worth the $49 per day, although it was nice working through the drink menu. Virtually all drinks and wine (including Glen Livet, for example) were under $10, which is what is allowed. Only issue was that on 4 separate occasions we were billed for drinks. Since we had to show our cards with the drink package sticker there’s no excuse. All were reversed; one time required a bit of persuasion. Entertainment The magician, Dillon Farrell, was excellent. I was selected to be in one of his shows, and up close I could not see how he did his tricks. Jere Ring is an outstanding entertainer. 3-4 hours per night at a bar. We went back multiple times. Wildlife Few animals spotted this early. Disappointing. Stops We stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway and took tours in each place. Took a tour which guaranteed you would see a whale, or get $100 per person. Whale showed up. Disembarkation We were taking the tour to Denali and beyond. Get up at 5 (a.m., in case you thought otherwise), disembark at 6, train leaves at 7. The train and crew are very nice, but space is tight. Do not bring carry-on luggage as there is no room. (Luggage goes separately.) The train meets buses brining travelers south to go to the ship. McKinley Princess Basic lodging. See my review on Trip Advisor. Remote. Had dinner at Alaska 20320. Simply awful service; see my review on Trip Advisor. Breakfast and lunch the next day at different venues was fine and service great. Denali Princess Slightly better than basic, and there are other shops in the area. Decent views, but the Mountain is covered by clouds 70% of the time. Had takeout pizza from the Princess pizza place. Good. Lunch at the fancy restaurant which was very good with outstanding service. Decided to go back for dinner with friends. In the meantime, some of the great staff were kidnapped by aliens and replaced with the people from Alaska 20320. See my reviews on Trip Advisor. Food and server were good, but hostess has no idea what she is doing. Bus tour (part of tour package) was very good and guide was excellent. Fairbanks Princess Most modern of the three, but somewhat remote. We ate at Trakkers. The staff from Alaska 20320 was following us. See my review at Trip Advisor. Rolls which could be used as hockey pucks (for which Princess charges) must be an Alaska thing. No apology. No fresh rolls. “Disembarkation” Princess offers a service which will check your bags through straight from the hotel. Not available for all airlines. Do not even attempt to use this. The staff is not as adept as Alaska 20320. We were flying from Fairbanks to Los Angeles. The baggage tags they gave us had our Anchorage flight leaving before our Fairbanks flight. Eventually they returned our suitcases not because we asked but because American Airlines told them that American had “lost confidence” that they had processed our luggage correctly. Staff was quite proud of their rejection by American. We checked our bags at the hotel. We returned later for the free shuttle. The shuttle was 45 minutes late and travelers with approaching departures were getting frantic. (We had plenty of time.) Hotel staff were excellent at announcing that the shuttle was not their responsibility. Hotel manager kept his cool as he proceeded to do nothing. He was outstanding in doing nothing. Bottom line: Would I take Princess again? Yes. I have two Princess cruises booked. However, the land arrangements (which are not common for Princess) give me pause because at each location we had incidents of poor service which reflect that Princess land management has work to do. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our 7th Princess Cruise and first time to Alaska. Second time on the Crown. We flew into Vancouver the same day and had ordered the Princess transfers to the ship. This was convenient, because they take your luggage to the ... Read More
This was our 7th Princess Cruise and first time to Alaska. Second time on the Crown. We flew into Vancouver the same day and had ordered the Princess transfers to the ship. This was convenient, because they take your luggage to the ship from the airport. Our flight was late and we had to wait over 1 hour for the bus to arrive to pick us up. It would have been cheaper and faster to take a taxi, but the luggage would have had to come with us. The bus was beautiful and the driver provided details of the city. It was just a long day having a layover with our first flight. We had priority embarkation, thankfully. We were through all the lineups with in 20 minutes. There was a lot of distance between security, customs and checkin. This would have been difficult for anyone with mobility issues. There were mostly blue cards on this cruise, and non Canadian/American passengers. Those passengers had huge lineups and we heard they experienced 2.5 - 3 hours wait-times to get through the process. The ship left port late due to a large group with a delayed flight. We had a minisuite on Dolphin deck. No problems there. We had early dining. Our waiters were fabulous, the food great. We didn't make it to supper each night due to the late port departure times. We took advantage of our time ashore. The Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe were always busy. It was difficult to find seating. People would sit at an empty table to look out the window or use their phone. The wait staff was very supportive and friendly. We had a complimentary specialty dining. We went to Sabatini's the second night. It was prebooked for us. This was very nice. There were only 3 tables occupied, so it was quiet. We had the ultimate beverage package as part of our booking bonus. This was difficult to get our money's worth out of. We would not have purchased it ourselves. Alaska is not a "sit by the pool and drink" kind of trip. The pools were heated, but were used infrequently. We didn't do much entertainment viewing. The time change of 4 hours and sunrise at 4:30 made it difficult to adjust. We were up at 3:15 Glacier Bay day. (7:15AM home time for us). This was worth it. It was light out and very few people on deck. We had a quiet, unobstructed view of the sunrise on a clear sky day. We took excursions in each of the ports. That will be listed elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We sailed on the Crown Princess, Inside Passage to Alaska, May 6-13th. We couldn't have asked for better weather--not one day of rain and the scenery was beautiful. We loved the balcony stateroom and are glad our TA encouraged us to ... Read More
We sailed on the Crown Princess, Inside Passage to Alaska, May 6-13th. We couldn't have asked for better weather--not one day of rain and the scenery was beautiful. We loved the balcony stateroom and are glad our TA encouraged us to go that route! However, we had a really rocky start in Canada Place which just spiraled down, influencing our itinerary and making the trip somewhat disappointing. To start off, in Canada Place there were only 10 US custom officials to process the 7,000+ people wanting to board the three large cruise ships in port (Crown Princess, Celebrity Solstice and Norwegian Jewel). As a result we had to wait over 4 hours in a holding room (with thousands of others) before we could even go through security and customs. We arrived at 2:00 in the afternoon and didn't board until shortly before 7:00. This delay caused the ship to sail out 3 1/2 hours late. Our 4:30 departure turned into an 8:00 one! Never had we experienced such a lengthy embarkation procedure before. It took so long for us to get through US customs and security that by the time we arrived at our stateroom our luggage was already there waiting for us! Because the ship sailed out so late, we missed the tide conditions that would take us through Seymour Narrows and the Inside Passage. The captain had to reroute the ship taking us out to sea. Now we had to forfeit seeing the beautiful scenery of the Inside Passage with its calm water to just seeing empty sea and also having to endure with rough sea conditions. With the ship rolling back and forth and bouncing up and down, many became queasy--myself being one of them! Even the crew were feeling it! Then the Captain announced that because we sailed out so late and missed Seymour Narrows that in order to catch up for lost time, we would have to skip Glacier Bay! Knowing this wouldn't go over well, the captain changed the itinerary, so we could still go to Glacier Bay. The new itinerary brought us into Skagway and Juneau on a different day with different screwed up times. Our excursions were greatly affected by this and we had to give up half of what we had planned on doing and seeing in these ports. After 7 months of planning and anticipation, this was a big disappointment! Although the service on Princess was good--food and drinks served quickly, room service efficient and on time, entertainment was top-notch, the ship felt crowded. I know the Crown Princess is a large ship but we have been on other large ships and never felt it to be this crowded. The buffet food was nothing special and the variety just wasn't there as we had on other lines. On Princess the buffet was set up in a closed-in area with an entrance and exit. There was always a line to enter the buffet area and if you wanted to go back to check what’s available for dessert, or to quickly grab something else,you had to stand in the line again! The Horizon Court Buffet was always crowded and it was almost impossible to find a table. We often had to eat outdoors and one day we took our breakfast back to our stateroom and ate out on our balcony because we couldn't find a table. To go for lunch in one of the main dining rooms meant standing in a long line--again something we had not experienced on other lines. Once we ended up leaving because the line was so long and just wasn't moving at all and the hallway in that area was filled to the max with people. We tried again a second time when lunch was offered in a different dining room--and although the line was long, at least it was moving. I'm glad we waited though, because the food in the main dining room was superior to the Buffet, the Grill, the Pub lunch at Crown Grill and the Pizza place. The lunch I had in the dining room was the best lunch I had on board all week. I know the Crown Princess is a large cruise ship, but we have been on other large ships and never experienced this dining problem. On other lines, going for lunch in the main dining room, meant we could just walk right in! There also was never a line-up for the breakfast or lunch buffet and we could always find a table. This congestion and waiting to go into the dining room is definitely something Princess needs to work on. You would think that they would at least offer lunch in more than one dining room to help solve this problem. We had dinner in Sabatini's, one of the specialty restaurants on board. The food was excellent and the view at the back of the ship at sunset was amazing. The dinner in the specialty restaurant was the best dinner we had all week. I know that when cruising Alaska, it is more about the ports than it is about the ship, but even our time in port was comprised due to our late departure from Vancouver. Although Princess did succeed in offering us an "Alaskan" experience by having Michael Modzelewski, a naturalist on board and Iditarod champion Libby Riddles, I gladly would have given that experience up than having to forfeit our time in port and give up excursions that we had planned and looked so forward to experiencing. Overall, for being a premiere cruise line that is supposed to be a "step above" Carnival and Royal Caribbean, I didn't think so. The food in the buffet was not that good (actually the worst we had in comparison to other ships we were on) and there were crowds everywhere. To me the inside area of the ship lacked the "WOW" factor. The dining rooms were one level with low ceilings--not a multilevel grand affair as other ships we've been on. The Piazza (main hub of the ship) was also on the small size for a ship of its size and was not as fancy as Atrium's on other ships we've been on. When we boarded the ship in Vancouver our first impression of the ship was a narrow brown hallway by the service elevators--not a grand entrance into the Atrium as other lines have done. Nightly turn down service included two small chocolates on the bed, there were no towel animals or towel creations. This was our first time cruising with Princess and in general, I was not impressed with this line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was my second Princess cruise, and my first Alaska itinerary. While the itinerary was excellent, as was the food and staff, that is where the positives end. I was tremendously disappointed with Princess, and will not cruise them ... Read More
This was my second Princess cruise, and my first Alaska itinerary. While the itinerary was excellent, as was the food and staff, that is where the positives end. I was tremendously disappointed with Princess, and will not cruise them again for quite some time, if at all. Beginning on day one, it was next to impossible to find seating in the Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe buffet during peak meal times. Passengers were, quite literally, sitting at tables for the entire day. When I asked a passenger why they weren't leaving when they had finished their meals so others could sit, I was told that sitting at a window seat in the buffet saved them a great deal of money by not having to purchased a balcony stateroom. I have no problems with passengers enjoying their meals and lingering for a bit to have coffee, or just relax, there needs to be a time limit put on this during peak times. We, along with many others, ended up taking our meals to our cabins to eat. For "complimentary" meals, the only options (aside from pizza/burgers/hotdogs) were the buffet and dining rooms. As previously stated, there was never room in the buffet, and during breakfast and lunch there was only one dining room open. How ridiculous! The lines for the dining room were beyond ridiculous. You needed to be in line a half hour prior to the dining room opening to even hope to have a meal. In the past, I have enjoyed the entertainment offerings and daily activities onboard cruises, and liked to plan itineraries that include a couple sea days. Until this cruise. The activities were dismal. I have seen better planning of activities for a birthday party than for a cruise of 3,000 passengers. The majority of "actives" were related to seminars and talks about wrinkle reduction, liposuction, bags around your eyes, chronic pain or whatever other ailments could be spoken about. Add to this the daily barrage of spa services, and you'd think you were on a medical cruise. I am well aware of the spa on board, and if I want any of their services, I know where to find them. The main entertainment /headliners were a small step above awful, and while the offerings in the piazza were nice, good luck getting near it to see anything. I think there were 20 seats in the piazza. Everyone else had to gather on the stairways. Now isn't that a bit of an issue? Movies Under the Stars is simply wonderful! Many passengers had issues wtih their toilets in the staterooms, and complaints were many. By the fourth day, there was a stong sewer smell in the main elevators. I will going back to Royal Cariibbean. Hopefully Princess will make some changes, as I do love their itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The Good: Alaska, what more needs to be said. It was stunning, the scenery, towns, people, weather, the excursions (we took 2) we had signed up for more but the itinerary changed and a lot of the excursions were canceled. Highly ... Read More
The Good: Alaska, what more needs to be said. It was stunning, the scenery, towns, people, weather, the excursions (we took 2) we had signed up for more but the itinerary changed and a lot of the excursions were canceled. Highly recommended would be the Eagle Island Sea Kayaking trip in Ketchikan. Absolutely spectacular! Also in Ketchikan, if your looking for fresh fish to be sent home "Fish From Trish" is a must. Some of the customer service crew at the customer relations desk were pretty understanding and helpful, some. We had dinner at the Crown Grill one night, other then a mix up with the reservations, (a case were the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing) it was a nice evening. The Bad: This is easy. We left port (Vancouver) 4 hours late, spent 5 hours in a few different lines in order to get thru customs. There were a total of three ships in port at the same time and as much as it was customs at fault for most of the delay, I found out that this happens twice a year. Princess knowing this should have done a better job in preparing for this problem. On board we found the crew for the most part to be rude, disingenuous and they gave the impression that they rather be somewhere else the doing their job. Because of the itinerary change times and days of the original itinerary changes. Over all a total of 12 hours lost, taken away. The worst of it was the change in Juneau where it was moved from Tuesday to Sunday (Mother's day). The town was not notified in time (according to one shop owner) and there for Juneau closed down at 7:00pm. We were in port from 2:30 - 11:30. 4 1/2 hours in a dark town. Bad planning again or lack of from Princess. This happened in Skagway as well. The Terrible: The food, the food and the overall service onboard. For breakfast at the Horizon Court Buffet I asked on a few different day if I may have fresh toast, the answer I was given was "NO" and they walked away. Hard to believe, I know. At the International Cafe I asked for a sandwich with no tomato, easy enough. It came to me cold and with the tomato. Not once but twice. Twice Princess decided to paint right next to the Horizon Court Buffet, Try to eat while smelling oil base paint. They also thought shutting down the running track at 6:30am (this is when most people like to get there running in) was a good idea. And you would think keeping the hot tub area clean would be on there list of things to do. NOT. My wife and I went out there several times after 7:00pm. Not a once was it clean. Dirty towels, empty beer bottles, cocktail glasses, used tissues. I have never seen anything like it before. If I didn't see or deal with any of this myself I wouldn't have believe it. After reading some of the other reviews I'm not the only one who experience such bad service all the way around. I will be going back to the great and most beautiful state of Alaska, but NOT on a Princess Cruise. I highly recommend you do the same. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We wanted to share our recent cruise experience to Alaska on the Crown Princess, May 6th thru 13th. We have been on several cruises in the past and never have we experienced such disregard for the passengers. There are several ... Read More
We wanted to share our recent cruise experience to Alaska on the Crown Princess, May 6th thru 13th. We have been on several cruises in the past and never have we experienced such disregard for the passengers. There are several things that went wrong with this Cruise: customer service was rude and condescending, the food was cold and nasty, and the ship was dirty on decks. This was Just an overall horrible experience. This cruise line started out bad and continued to go downhill. We got to the cruise ship terminal early and went thru 2 customs lines; the entire procedure to get on board took about 5 hours. Which lead to a 4 hour delay in departure! Days and hours changed, times lost and wasted to the itinerary. Princess thought it was a good idea to come into Juneau from 2:30 to 11:30, would have worked, but changing us to come in on a Sunday (Mother’s Day) the town shut down at 7:30, wasting 4 hours in port. Most of the food staff we’re rude! If you wanted something hot and fresh you have to fight with them to make that happen. Every food line you’re forced to use the hand sanitizer and if you didn’t they wouldn’t give you a plate. You think the food would have been fresh and hot. On most day’s we found the food to be undercooked or had been sitting out way too long. This was a reoccurring theme throughout the cruise. This is why I was extremely sick and retired to our cabin the first day. The ship was dirty in areas; our cabin had stains on the pillow. The hot tub in the rear of the ship was not maintained, very dirty, with bottles, glass, trash, used towels, and the staff had the nets rolled into a ball were it could be tripped over. The crew painting near the food line, the smell of oil based paint was so strong and so close to the food eat made it hard to eat. We tried to enjoy the movie under the stars, but when we arrived there were no clean blankets but plenty of dirty blankets lying around. The blankets finally arrived 30 minutes into the movie. On our way back home to Los Angeles we completed the survey received from Princess Cruise line. On the 18th Kyle from Princess called we went over the trauma we had experienced on the boat, all the memories lost and things we missed in Alaska. Kyle said there is nothing that he could do, they don’t have any control of what happens at the ports and that we signed paper work saying that we (Princess) has the right to change the itinerary and the only thing they would do for us if we travel with them again, is that they might be able to give us $100.00 each on board credit or a free meal. My husband laughed and said he would follow up with a letter and post on several travel websites about our experience. Kyle seemed a bit cavalier about it and said “that’s your right, go ahead.” We followed up our letter to the president and customer relations department of Princess Cruise and Kyle return or call and offered us 250 pp discount on a future cruises. Which was still laughable and we haven’t heard back from there president yet. We planned this trip months in advance. We took the time looking into things like cost, itinerary, towns, excursions, flights, hotels, rentals and of course the ship. Only to have it all change on you in a moment. Memories and experience gone. If you’re planning on taking a Cruise to Alaska, I would not recommend Princess Cruise line for TRUE Alaskan experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The destination (Alaska) was fantastic. The stunning scenery was enhanced by near perfect weather for the entire cruise. The ship (Crown Princess), was clean and we saw no evidence of it being in anything other than good order throughout ... Read More
The destination (Alaska) was fantastic. The stunning scenery was enhanced by near perfect weather for the entire cruise. The ship (Crown Princess), was clean and we saw no evidence of it being in anything other than good order throughout the ship. In general, the dining room staff were efficient and welcoming and the food was very good. The only exceptions to the dining/ eating arrangements were the Horizon buffet, were we had to eat on a couple of occasions as there was no alternative available (embarkation and port timings) and the Crown Grill. The Horizon buffet was ridiculously busy and staff seemed unable to cope with demand (it was the only dining available at the time) and at the Crown Grill we found the service to be poor and food mediocre in comparison to the main restaurants on board, despite there being a $29 supplement per person. The major negative factor about this cruise however was the embarkation process. Our ship (as well as two others in port that day) all left our moorings late due to the inability of the Port to cope with the sheer volume of passengers (a significant majority of whom did not speak English). For a significant number of passengers the embarkation process took five hours. Due to our late departure the tidal opportunity was missed and the whole itinerary had to be re-arranged, which impacted on everyone. Our impression, as well as that of many other passengers, was that the ship did not respond well to the issues and indeed there was an impression overall that the ship (apart from the main dining) was not well run/managed e.g. Lots of queueing and either lack of information or contradictory information. Based upon this experience (our first with Princess) I would take some persuading to use this particular company again. The issues at the port could not have been a surprise as they were predicted in the local paper days before hand and ex port staff have told us that it's not an infrequent occurrence. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the line, even though our cruise was almost 3 hours late to set sail due to over 500 late arrivals! It ended up being a gorgeous sail away, the sun was setting across Vancouver as we left the port, those pictures are some of my favorites. The food left something to be desired in my opinion, the buffet food was almost inedible, we tried it twice and just didn't bother to go again, it tasted like cheap cafeteria food that's been sitting under heat lamps for hours. We ended up paying to eat at the steakhouse and Italian restaurant more often because the food quality was FAR superior to the buffet and dining rooms. We splurged for the gourmet coffee stamp card, we used almost all the stamps and looked forward to a delicious, fancy hot coffee to enjoy on the deck everyday. We didn't catch any on board entertainment because the BEST show was happening outside!! The views were jaw-dropping and I just couldn't tear myself away to see a cheesy cruise ship show... Maybe next time i'll try one? Movies under the stars was just too cold to endure at night, even with the blankets and hot cocoa. The ports were fantastic, we were like kids on Christmas morning every time we got to a new port, we couldn't wait to explore. We did the train ride in Skagway (WOW!!) and Zip-lining in Ketchikan.. so fun! We also did the tram ride up the mountain in Juneau and did a little hike when we got to the top. We would 100% do this cruise again (and we plan on it!) Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I had high hopes for this cruse having raved about the 2 previous and reading all the perfect reviews. Ok the good. Food was some of the best. Loved the bed one of the best ones I have been on Princess. Entertainment was very ... Read More
I had high hopes for this cruse having raved about the 2 previous and reading all the perfect reviews. Ok the good. Food was some of the best. Loved the bed one of the best ones I have been on Princess. Entertainment was very enjoyable but only watched the variety show and the comedy that was very good. The crew was top notch and always had a cheerful creating in all our encounters. I tried to get reservations at the Steak house but was always booked. I was told by other passengers it was very good. Our room R214 was very nice and the Room attendant Boni was not in the way but cleaned our room until it was spotless. We did some hot tubing and it was very nice. The rest of the ship had all the glamor that you would expect from a princess ship. I noticed also that a passenger got sick and must of thrown up in the hall. The cleanup of this by the crew was taken very seriously with gloves and masks. Loved the Library and kudos to the future cruise director that was on duty to answer questions. They still had the ice sculpture and fruit carving that was up to princess standards. The cruise director was very funny and we both liked him. The not so liked. Getting onto the ship they had a football game going on the big screen. No movie under the stars that evening but they decided to have a concert of Fiancé under the stars. (this should have been before the main movie at 8:30 or so). Ok we are not football fans but the next day more football under the stars. It was cold and the 10 or 20 people enjoying the game seemed to like it. No blankets that I could find. No popcorn or cookies or milk. I kind of felt like because it was a short cruise it was not important to do these things. I wish more effort was put into this because a lot of these passengers I met were on there first cruise. The public bathrooms are a hit and miss. Most of the time you would find one and have to go to the next floor because it was closed. The Lido deck doors to the cabin hall only had one door operating on each side. The small ramp going up to the transition had separated. I have huge feet and slipped on this. Another lady that I witnessed slipped on this also, even though it did not have any visible water on it. The Lido hall seemed banged up on the side walls (Carpeted) from a lot of baggage dropped on it. The last night was treated more like a normal princess cruise day and had movies twice in the day. It was like they are making up for the rest of the days of football. Ok I did not see this advertised as a football cruise or that the super bowl was right around the corner. I like the movies that are classics and some new ones that I have not scene. They had no new released movies (the one day played) but found that the new avenger movie was playing on the TV in our cabin. If you want to play football do it in the theater or in someplace else besides the main screen. The Club Fusion had a very funny staff but they only had the Bingo and Karaoke, and dancing when we went to see the afternoon’s events. No Church service offered on Monday like other ships. Departure was long and after 2 ½ hours of waiting we got on the ship 15 min before the drill. The tags to get off the ship was only upon request. You had to lug all you stuff off yourself. This would have been fine if we could of used the freight elevators as the luggage came up on. Long lines getting on the elevators to your luggage to the lounges. I love the princess cruise line and am trying to help it for future cruises. I will not be on the Crown again. So far the Star Princess has my vote for best in the cruise fleet (of the 4 I have been on). I feel sorry for the couple that my wife and I spoke with about there first and last cruise. They did not no what to expect or have experienced in my opinion what a first rate escape on princess is really like. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
As background this was our 48th cruise, and we have previously sailed on all the major lines including Princess. I would consider us a little more critical of our cruise because we have had some wonderful experiences to compare to. ... Read More
As background this was our 48th cruise, and we have previously sailed on all the major lines including Princess. I would consider us a little more critical of our cruise because we have had some wonderful experiences to compare to. Overall if this was our first cruise ever I probably would have rated it much higher. We had just sailed on the Ruby Princess a week before the Crown, so I was interested to see how the sister ship would compare as it had been a number of years since we sailed with Princess. One observation was that the staff throughout the ship seemed to be friendlier and more helpful than on the Ruby. However, the hallways are very beat up with dents in the walls and generally very ugly decor. There was also an issue with a foul smell in our hallway (forward Starboard side on the Lido deck). By comparison, we were also forward on Lido deck on the Ruby Princess the week prior to this, and the hallways were far nicer and didn't have that smell. We were in a premium suite and had a dedicated line for check in, but for embarkation there was no priority given at all. I mention this because on Celebrity and NCL you have a separate waiting area with refreshments, and are given priority embarkation. Apart from priority embarkation there are other amenities listed on the Princess website for suite guests that did not materialize. One was an eye gel (I purposely left mine at home), as well as orchids - probably missed the most. These omissions weren't the end of the world, but it sets up an expectation for something that is not given. The food and service in the dining room was a slight disappointment over the Ruby, but overall acceptable. We had anytime dining and quickly learned there really is no such thing, at least not as we have experienced on Celebrity. If you don't make reservations you can expect to be forced to stand in a very long line waiting to be seated. If you make reservations you are given a choice of three times: 5:15, 5:30 and 7:30. Huh? That's not 'anytime' in my books. This was the first time we didn't have a butler with our suite, but we are low maintence guests. Even so our room steward did as little as possible. For example he didn't leave requests forms for the daily canapés which I'm assuming was so he wouldn't have to deliver them. One evening my husband returned to our cabin and was in disbelief at how the room had been turned down so went to Guest Services to complain. I didn't see it before it was corrected, but I can tell you my husband is not normally a complainer. We asked for wine glasses which he brought but never replaced. We found it easier to just get them ourselves from a bar. Other than our room steward we thought the Crown staff were generally helpful. One thing I had a problem with was their system for getting cash from your account in the casino using your room key. I would strongly advise using cash only because I downloaded $50 twice, but was charged three times. The one I know I didn't do was 5 minutes after the first one, because at the penny amounts I play there is no way I went through $50 in five minutes! The casino staff printed out the records (they know every machine you play and what you cashed out with) and according to them I did the second transfer 5 minutes later so there was no arguing. The annoying thing was I had cash in our safe but thought using the account would be easier. Never again! In summary I would consider sailing in a balcony cabin on the Crown, but would not pay for a suite. If we had not been in suites on other lines we may have thought the Cancun Suite was okay, but it pales in comparison and is not worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This Wine Country Coastal Cruise on the Crown Princess departed from Vancouver, stopped in Victoria, Seattle, Astoria, San Francisco and Santa Barbara, and ended in Los Angeles. I am a 41 year old woman who enjoys travelling on her own. ... Read More
This Wine Country Coastal Cruise on the Crown Princess departed from Vancouver, stopped in Victoria, Seattle, Astoria, San Francisco and Santa Barbara, and ended in Los Angeles. I am a 41 year old woman who enjoys travelling on her own. This was my fourth cruise with Princess, and the third time I have taken a cruise on my own, and overall it was a great experience. Embarkation I flew into Vancouver from Florida the day of the cruise and took the Princess transfer to the ship. I arrived around 12:30. A Princess rep with a sign greeted me when I exited the customs area and directed me to another person who took my bags so they could be delivered directly to my stateroom. I then waited in line to board a full-size charter bus. The first bus filled up, but I only had to wait about 10 minutes for another bus to arrive. The bus driver was very affable and gave us a narrated tour as he drove us through Vancouver to the port. At the pier, there were no lines and I was checked in and onboard the ship in about 5-10 minutes. Once onboard the ship, I made my reservations for Sabbatini's and the Crown Grill, and purchased the all-inclusive beverage package which, for about $50/day, includes all alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages $10 and under, including coffees, teas and bottled water (and Perrier, which I drink a lot of). When I returned to my stateroom, my luggage had already arrived. The stateroom, which was officially an obstructed oceanview cabin, had a great view, with the only obstructions being a platform above and below the window (but nothing that really marred the view). Food & Dining: As a solo cruiser, I usually sign up for Traditional Dining, as Princess is very good about seating solo cruisers together. This time, I selected the early seating so I would be able to catch some shows in the evening, but the early seating ended up beginning at 5:30 (not 6:00, like I thought), which was really too early. The maitre'd initially seated me at the wrong table, which created a somewhat uncomfortable situation when I had to relocate to my correct table a bit later. However, I was happy to see that Princess had seated me with four other solo cruisers and we had a great time every night that I dined with them. The food in the main dining room was of good quality and our waiter, Elmer, was also excellent. My only complaint would be that the assistant waiter took her time about taking my drink order every night and rarely offered a refill unless I flagged her down. Formal nights were Monday (Seattle) and Thursday (San Francisco). The food at the Crown Grill was very tasty, except for a lobster cake appetizer that I think upset my stomach later. I was happy that they gave me a decent table close to the window this time, as the last time I dined in the Crown Grill I was seated out front right by where everyone is walking by and looking at their photos in the photo gallery. I observed another couple who was seated at that table request to be moved, and their request was declined, even though there were plenty of other open tables. Sabbatini's was excellent as always. I dined there with a couple I met onboard and we all agreed it was superb. I only dined in Cafe Caribe once, for the Bavarian Bierfest night. I had looked forward to the German food, but the spread was less than impressive. Also, instead of holding it in the separate Cafe Caribe area, they just mixed it in with the regular Horizon Court buffet, which took the shine off the theme night idea. For breakfast, I generally dined in the formal dining room. Be aware that, if you do not want to share a table, you may have to wait a few minutes. I was okay with that, as breakfast is the one time I really like to dine alone. The breakfast menu included all the standard breakfast fare, plus two daily specials, which included such things as English Breakfast, Blueberry Pancakes, Huevos Rancheros, Traditional Swiss Muesli, French Toast, etc. I usually had the special, and they were all very good. I tried the International Cafe on a day when I was in a rush and also enjoyed their yogurt/granola/fruit parfait and pastries. For lunch, when I was not in port, I generally had a burger or pizza up on deck, which I always enjoy. I did not try the Pub Lunch this time, nor did I eat lunch at the International Cafe, although I heard good reviews. Bars As I had purchased the all-inclusive beverage package, I took the opportunity this cruise to try out all of the various watering holes on board and definitely identified a few favorites. For sailing out of port, the best venue is the Outrigger Bar at the aft of the ship. For hiding from the crowd, the Adagio Bar by Sabbatini's is a fantastic hidden gem. The bartenders at Crooners are probably the best on the ship, but unfortunately it gets crowded very early. For great people-watching, I loved Vines, which is located in the Piazza, so you can watch the official and unofficial entertainment while you try the different wines. Every order of wine entitles you to a plate of tapas or a plate of sushi, which were both delicious. The tapas changed every night, but it generally consisted of a plate with four or five items (such as bruschetta, chicken skewers, wrapped asparagus, meatballs,etc.). The sushi generally included a plate with one slice from a roll, and three pieces of sashimi with some seaweed salad and other sides. If you have the all-inclusive beverage package, this is where you can really get your money's worth. In fact, because I had that package, I did not sign up for any of the $10 or $25 wine tastings, as I figured I could make up my own wine tasting throughout the cruise. And get great tapas and sushi with it. Princess also has a nightly happy hour in Skywalkers for Platinum, Elite and suite passengers. When I first boarded the ship, there was an invitation in the stateroom that listed the food action stations and drink specials they would be offering every night. Unfortunately, the happy hour is from 5:00 to 7:00, which conflicted with the first dinner seating, so the only night I was able attend was the night I ate at Crown Grill. That night they had chips and salsa and reduced-price mojitos. Because I had purchased the all-inclusive beverage package, the prospect of reduced-price drinks did not entice me to try to attend the other nights. Entertainment I cannot comment much on the entertainment, as I did not attend any of the production or other Princess Theater shows, other than one magician who was, unfortunately, terrible. I did, however, watch a movie, and I attended the always-fun Princess Pop Stars competitions and most of the trivia. I especially enjoy the trivia, as it is a great way for a solo cruiser to meet other passengers by joining their team. The Casino had non-smoking nights on both formal nights. Unfortunately, the casino manager refused to open the Caribbean Stud Poker table for me. She kept insisting she did not have enough dealers, even though there were always dealers standing at empty tables like Fun 21, which nobody wanted to play. This cruise included three rounds of Snowball Jackpot Bingo, where all of the prize amounts were based on the amount of tickets sold. Beware of the $500 Speed Bingo, though. The ship sold $10 one-game Speed Bingo tickets, with the winner to receive $500. However, after selling the tickets, they announced that because they had not sold as many as expected, they were reducing the prize to $350. Not good, Princess, not good. I told the gentleman who won that he really needed to demand the full $500. Ports: The weather in all ports was sunny and clear, a bit cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. In Victoria, Butschart Gardens was great, but I also heard great reviews of the Pub Tour. If you are considering taking the whale watching tour, you may want to wait for the whale watching in Santa Barbara. In Seattle, all passengers were required to disembark the ship at an assigned time in the morning and nobody could re-board the ship until everyone had passed through customs and immigration. If you are not planning to go ashore, you don't have a choice, so you may as well plan on doing something in Seattle. Also, if you book your own tour, be aware that you may not be able to get off the ship in time to make your tour. If you are a solo traveller, be prepared for extra attention from customs, as we are apparently deemed inherently suspicous. In Astoria, I took the Cannon Beach and Seaside Shopping excursion. Seeing Haystack Rock was great, but I would have preferred to spend more time at the beach, rather than the time we had in town for shopping. In San Francisco, we docked at the brand new Pier 27. Unfortunately, being the first ship to try the new pier turned out to be a bad thing, as the gangway did not work, and we were not able to disembark until 2 hours after we docked. If, like me, you book a private tour, be aware that there is never a guarantee that you will make it off the ship on time. I took a private shuttle tour of the city and Sausalito, with a ferry ride back to the port, but the highlight was certainly sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge at sailaway (and also on arrival, for those who wanted to get up at 6am). The best tour by far was the Whale Watching tour in Santa Barbara. The weather was beautiful and we saw hundreds of dolphins and sea lions, plus a few humpback and meeki whales (including a mother and her calf). The guide was very knowledgeable and everyone agreed that the tour exceeded their expectations. Disembarkation This cruise seemed to attract a lot of seasoned travellers so the Platinum Disembarkation Lounge in the Wheelhouse Bar was packed and there was a line to get in. After breakfast, I decided to go to skip the platinum lounge and go to my regular assigned waiting area in the Explorers Lounger, where there were plenty of seats. I had a 1:00 flight and was assigned to meet in the waiting area at 8:45. Disembarkation in Los Angeles was quick and smooth and the port employees were very friendly. Having read that cab fare from the port to the airport runs around $75-100, I opted to buy the Princess transfer, which worked very well and got me to the airport by about 10:00, in plenty of time for my flight. Conclusion The Wine Country Coastal is a great itinerary with a nice variety of ports. There were very few children and families on board. Instead, this cruise seemed to attract adult frequent cruisers who were looking for something a bit different. There were also quite a few solo travellers on board and all of them seemed to be having a good time. I would definitely sail this itinerary again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Overall, an enjoyable cruise. For the most part, the staff and crew were kind and gracious. The other passengers, however, were rude and pushy. That might have been in part to their average age being "deceased". There were more ... Read More
Overall, an enjoyable cruise. For the most part, the staff and crew were kind and gracious. The other passengers, however, were rude and pushy. That might have been in part to their average age being "deceased". There were more scooters, walkers and wheel chairs than an AARP convention....not that there's anything wrong with that....but elevators have a capacity limit in both number and volume. They didn't seem to understand that and forced themselves in. We used Princess Ez-Air and flew the day of departure from DFW to Vancouver (not my idea but the others in my party were willing to chance). After much praying and breath holding, no problems or delays. Arrived in Vancouver right on schedule and thru Canadian customs in about 45 minutes and onto the bus to the dock (used Princess transfer also). Arriving at the dock around 2:30P related to no lines and directly aboard after signing in. Muster drill was conducted without hitch and upon returning to cabin luggage had arrived. Off to dinner in Crown Grill as comped by being booked in a suite. Met cabin steward on return: Manuel; a delightful young man who was efficient and respected our privacy. Victoria excursion was booked thru Princess: Buchart Gardens and Butterfly gardens. Buchart was delightful; butterfly garden was disappointing. Seattle was also Princess sponsored trip to Columbia and Ste. Michael wineries. We were early arrival and Columbia adjusted accordingly even though is is mostly just a gift shop. Ste. Michael is just across the street so we were also early (45 minutes) arriving there too. They however, made no adjustment....we simply had to wait. The "tour" was educational but the facility was disappointing. The "tasting" was as poorly conducted as any we've participated in. Astoria we joined in a group of golfers on the cruise and played Gearhart golf club, reportedly oldest course west of the MIssissippi; a seaside links course; beautiful. San Francisco we had booked a walking tour of the Italian neighborhood on our own. It was a delightful 5 hours with John our guide and 6 other folks (none from the cruise). The samples were divine and included locally roasted/ground coffee, an artisan bakery, wood fired pizza, pasta, and a confectionary shop. Santa Barbara we arranged for a private tour to Solvang and onto the family wine estate, Demetria. A great day with our limo driver/guide Maria from SB Chauffeuring & tours. Beautiful drive back to the dock thru the San Ynez valley. Disembarkation was a disaster! Princess sets aside a special lounge for Elite and Suite passengers to await disembarkation. That's a finite number of guests, known to the crew/staff. How could they not choose a venue large enough to handle the known number? Long story short, we STOOD in the corner of the Wheelhouse bar for 2.5 hours waiting for our turn to get off the ship. No excuse for this poor planning. Only other complaint was lack of security. They use private security folks to check passenger cards re-boarding the ship at each port. We had to show our ship card 5 times to reboard in San Francisco. After reboarding, I was standing on our balcony watching the goings-on on the dock and in the course of about 30 minutes watched two private vehicles breach the port security thru un-manned gates; drive their vehicles along the dock, the UNDER THE WALKWAY the passengers were using to reboard the ship and down the edge of the dock to about mid-ship where they were finally confronted and made to turn around....not leave, but simply turn around. They both went back about half-way and parked adjacent to the front of the ship and were still there when the ship departed.????? This was our second cruise with Princess, both in suites. We had absolutely NO complaints on the Alaska cruise we took two years ago. IMHO, the service may have slipped a notch or two since....nothing that couldn't be corrected, but we're not going to be in a hurry to return for a year or two. We prefer traditional dining and enjoyed every evening with our wait staff. The food was perhaps just above average, but nothing to shout about. Our favorite meal of the day was of course breakfast in Sabatini's; still the best suite perk. I made a comment about wishing I had Nutella to spread on my croissant and from the next morning on a jar was waiting on our table! The only entertainment we attended was the ship's production of "Disco-Blame it on Boogie". Above average show with familiar songs and good dance numbers. A couple of the singers were perhaps not native english speakers and it told in their performances, just enough to be distracting, Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Did a seven day cruise with 5 day land excursion. Princess did a great job herding hundreds / thousands of us from port to port and then on land from resort to resort. Great attention to detail. The scenery was breath taking, unimaginable ... Read More
Did a seven day cruise with 5 day land excursion. Princess did a great job herding hundreds / thousands of us from port to port and then on land from resort to resort. Great attention to detail. The scenery was breath taking, unimaginable beauty. As a tourist, we barely had to think ... on land we received a transfer packet, followed the instructions re: tagging our bags, and away we went on our assigned buses to see the sights. You will spend A LOT OF TIME ... hours and hours ... on a bus for the land tours. The ship was nice, mini-suite was really great, food mostly good, room service was prompt, scenery amazing, and our ship room steward was awesome. The ship crew did everything possible to ensure everyone got a great view of the glaciers. The Alaskan Gulf was moderately rough, but the boat was so stable it didn't bother me at all, and I tend to get sea sick. Beds are hard. Elevators are always busy. I will say this ... DO NOT USE PRINCESS FOR AIR TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS ... unless you research and control each step of it. I had trouble with my tickets both ways and they booked us on flights with THREE connections ... traveling across the U.S. It was ridiculous, unnecessary and tiring. Their air travel agency stinks. The trouble began, by the way, when they realized they booked us on flights that would have us arriving after the ship set sail. Flights were cancelled last minute and rebooked for a day earlier. Nothing but problems with the tickets after that. That is my one and only warning. Otherwise, it was an act of magic that they managed to get us all where we were going ... including our bags. On ship and on ground service staff were generally good with what they were responsible for, but if you ask something outside of that arena, you'll be told to call corporate. Visited September 2014 Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our first cruise ever, and we were generally pleased with it. We knew several other couples who had done the Princess cruise to Alaska, and none had complaints, so we never even considered another cruise line. Our total vacation ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever, and we were generally pleased with it. We knew several other couples who had done the Princess cruise to Alaska, and none had complaints, so we never even considered another cruise line. Our total vacation was 3 days in Vancouver before the cruise, 7 days on the ship, 5 days of Princess cruisetour on land, and then 3 days, mostly in Seward. The 3 days in Vancouver before embarkation was just about the right amount of time. We stayed at the Landis, a suite hotel, and there are many small restaurants within walking distance. We rented bikes to go around Stanley Park,and also went to the Aquarium, the Capilano suspension bridge and the Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden. We went to Vancouver Island and Butchart Gardens on a previous trip, so skipped it this time. Cruise embarkation was as slow as other reviewers have reported, but we finally made it on. The weather was warm and sunny as we sailed from Vancouver, and after exploring the ship a little, we settled on our balcony with the wine we had brought on board and watched the city slip away. Our cabin was spic and span and, although small, there is adequate storage space for everything. Our steward came in at least twice a day to clean and replace any used towels. We were very satisfied with the food in general. We ate almost all breakfasts and lunches in the Horizon Court (buffet). On the first at-sea morning, we tried the Da Vinci dining room to order breakfast off the menu. That was a mistake, as the service was extremely slow, and the food was no better than in the Horizon Court. There is a large selection of food at all meals in the HC. The only problem is it can be difficult to find an open table, as people tend to sit at the window tables for a long time to just enjoy the passing scenery, but staff are helpful in getting you a table. We ate most dinners in the Michelangelo dining room, as we wanted any-time dining. The food was generally very good there, although sauces tend to be heavily salted. The service is slow there, and it was usually 9-9:30 by the time we were done, so not being night people, we did not go to any evening entertainment, except once for the 50's and 60's music night. We did not purchase any beverage cards as we are not soda drinkers and I couldn't see spending an additional $49/day for alcoholic beverages, so we just ordered them a la carte, and remained well below the $49/day . As first-time cruisers, we found the Princess Patter daily newsletter very helpful in notifying us of the day's events, port info, etc. The weather in Alaska in August was not as rainy as I had feared, but at sea it was quite cold, as were some of the days during the land portion (the second half of August is already Fall season in Alaska). Going out on the outside decks meant dressing in warm jacket, hat and gloves most of the time, but in the ports it was warmer. Many days were cloudy with occasional drizzle, but there were periods of sun, especially in Skagway, where it was warm and delightful. We did shore excursions at every port. In Ketchikan we did a Misty Fjords float plane sight seeing flight; well worth it; in Juneau the rain forest garden, Mendenhall glacier, Mt. Roberts Tram-- warm and sunny at the top so we hiked around a bit. We saw bald eagles, Dall sheep and a marmot. We had booked the Yukon train from Skagway, which it turned out was a bus ride up, and then train back (the train actually is slower than the bus, so you wouldn't want to take it both ways anyway). It was very scenic but Caribou Crossing (not to be confused with the nearby town of Carcross) is a tourist trap and the barbecue lunch there is mediocre, although it was fun to see the sled dogs. Glacier bay and College Fjord were stunning, for the last 2 at-sea days. On one of the at-sea days we attended a presentation by Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod race. Her story was fascinating. We also attended a naturalist presentation, which was informative, but not as riveting. After disembarkation in Whittier we got right on the train up to Denali. We were lucky to get views of Mt. McKinley from the train as we approached--everyone tells you that only 30% of visitors get to see it as it's usually in clouds. The room in the Denali Princess lodge was a let down after our nice cabin on the Crown--dark and musty smelling but at least the window opened to air it out. We went to the Music of Denali dinner theater which is a very silly retelling of the first climbers to summit the mountain. Food is served family-style at long tables, and is plentiful and adequate. It did seem ironic, however, after all of the sanitary precautions on the ship buffet (hand sanitizer at entrances, staff wiping up spills quickly, clearing dishes quickly, etc.), that you would have perfect strangers serving themselves seconds onto their used plates as was done at the dinner theater-- always a no-no at buffets. We did the park bus shuttle tour into Denali the next day, instead of the included Natural History tour and got a refund from Princess for it. We took the shuttle all the way to the Eielson visitor center, which is farther than either the Tundra tour or NH tours go. We were very lucky that the mountain was "out" again that day and got some great pictures of the sun glowing on its white peaks. We were also lucky in seeing lots of wildlife--about a dozen grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. The next day we took the bus down to the McKinley Princess lodge, which was, surprisingly, a 3 hour trip. No more views of the mountain, though, as it was foggy and drizzly. That afternoon we did the Byers Lake nature walk and the weather cleared up a bit. I was surprised that we didn't encounter any mosquitoes, since I'd heard they are really bad in Alaska--maybe too cold already? The following day in Talkeetna we did the Mahay jet boat adventure which was a blast as you go through rapids before the turn around point. Saw a black bear and more bald eagles. Back to Anchorage the next day; Captain Cook hotel was very nice--meals a bit pricey but there are also many restaurants within walking distance. After our cruisetour ended we rented a car and drove down to Seward on the Kenai peninsula to extend our Alaska vacation a few more days. We took the Kenai Fjords Tours National Park boat tour-- it was fantastic, in part due to great weather, and the park is gorgeous. We saw glaciers and lots of wildlife-- whales, sea otters, sea lions, seals, puffins, cormorants and more. In Seward we also hiked to Exit Glacier--an easy hike, and did the Ididaride sled dog ride. On the way back to Anchorage we stopped in at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage. We did the behind-the-scenes tour which was well worth the money as we got to go in the pens of the more docile animals. The weather our last 3 days in Alaska was mild and sunny (upper 60's), so a great ending to our trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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