1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Alaska Cruises
  4. Alaska Cruise Reviews

15 Whittier to Alaska Cruise Reviews

My wife and I were on the Referenced sailing from Anchorage to Vancouver. While the amenities and service were ok, the itinerary compared to the marketing materials were very deceiving. We were looking forward to our first cruise ... Read More
My wife and I were on the Referenced sailing from Anchorage to Vancouver. While the amenities and service were ok, the itinerary compared to the marketing materials were very deceiving. We were looking forward to our first cruise vacation but came away very disappointed. Princess hasn't had the courtesy to respond to this issue I presented to them in writing (Princess if you are out there...this is Ref File 147). Bottom line is that this ship is TOO BIG to sail this passage as shown in the itinerary. Chose another ship or better yet, another cruise line. Item 1 The Princess book '2019 Princess Cruises Alaska' map on page 18 clearly shows the route being the Inside Passage. Page 19 Southbound shows "Cruising the Inside Passage" on Day 7. If there was no intent for the Royal Princess to do that route, it should have it's own map and itinerary. I specifically chose this route because it was to sail the inside passage. Wow, what a disappointment. This was my day to sit on the balcony and see & follow the route of the inside passage on my map. Not to be on the open ocean. Item 2 We had to leave Ketchikan hours early. The Captain said they were 'notified' by Vancouver that the ship was too tall to get under the bridge at the given tide. As tightly run as the ship is, the tide tables/height of the bridge in Vancouver MUST have been known months/years in advance causing us to leave Ketchikan early. So publish this when the cruise is booked so we can chose the appropriate excursions, change ships, etc. We had zero time to see Ketchikan after the Misty Fjords tour. Disappointment #2. Item 3 We got to see Hubbard Glacier on day 2 FROM 7 MILES AWAY. It was barely visible even with binoculars. Google 'Island Princess Cruise Ship at Hubbard Glacier' (a smaller ship) to view the ship in the Ice field and awesome views that are shown. Disappointment #3. All the above is very deceptive marketing and failure to deliver. How can I ever trust another Princess publication or the Princess Company again? Look for another Cruise line. Here's the rest of the cruise information: Ship: Very elegant, but TOO BIG for this route. Dining: The food was generally good and the wait staff was very cordial. The restaurants were generally good, depending on the meal ordered. The Italian specialty restaurant was very good but the 5 course food quantities were over the top. We had favorites in the buffet. The fruit was excellent. Activities: We observed but didn't participate in activities such as dancing, gambling, art, etc. Perhaps next time. Service: All in all it was excellent. The cabin was always clean. We didn't actually interact with the cabin attendant much. Food wait staff was excellent throughout. The tip for Princess: More signs and clarity are in order for folks to know how to leave the ship at port. No one was around to help or answer questions. Entertainment: We really enjoyed the Comedian and the Magician and went to all their shows. The singers were pretty old school in their music selection. It seems something my mother would have enjoyed 40 years ago listening to Lawrence Welk vs what would be good now. Even a 70's tribute band would have been more appealing. Staff: Most everyone was fine, with the exception of the security staff and those putting on the evacuation drill talk who were very humorless. My biggest complaint on Princess staff: I HAVE DOCUMENTED THE 3 ISSUES ABOVE and Princess hasn't had the courtesy to respond to this issue I presented to them in writing (Princess if you are out there...this is Ref File 147). We saw very few children on this cruise. Outside of swimming, there wasn't much for them to do. It's unfortunate that the issues with the trip has had a significant damper on the overall experience for us. I had to rate 'Value for the money' as low because many of the reasons for picking this cruise were not fulfilled. My only recourse is to warn future travelers to not take this ship to Alaska and to carefully check all the fine print that Princess seems to use to skirt around the basic facts. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Wow. Horrible. Bad food, bad service as a simple summary. Lots of whales sighted though (both at sea and at the buffet). Comically bad waiters sticking our menus into our food. Several meals in the dining room were not really edible ... Read More
Wow. Horrible. Bad food, bad service as a simple summary. Lots of whales sighted though (both at sea and at the buffet). Comically bad waiters sticking our menus into our food. Several meals in the dining room were not really edible so had to chase that meal with a visit to the buffet in the hopes of something better than “hot dog pineapple salad”. (No, I didn’t make that up). The on-board naturalist also stated (amongst many other oddities) that Canada doesn’t have any glaciers. That was said while we were actually looking at a glacier in Canada. The beds were very saggy due to the many “girthy” guests that preceded us. The mini putt and kids’ centres were closed each of the 5+ times we tried to go into them. The list goes on but I’m out of room. Scenery was great but with 5 cruise ships in port simultaneously the small towns were overrun and it was horrible on shore. Won’t be back. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The food is less than desirable. You will want to EAT at PORT as much as you can. I had Anytime dining and tried the main dining rooms and Allegro for breakfast. The food overall is bland, and I did not take more than a bite or two from ... Read More
The food is less than desirable. You will want to EAT at PORT as much as you can. I had Anytime dining and tried the main dining rooms and Allegro for breakfast. The food overall is bland, and I did not take more than a bite or two from anything I tried for dinner. The main dining rooms were so disappointing I figured the specialty dining rooms had to be better, so I tried Sabatini’s. While the burrata appetizer was great, the pasta was bland, and the lobster was so salty (plus the same salty lobster from the main dining rooms), that I didn’t take more than a bite at Sabatini’s’ either. I even tried the tiramisu but I’m not sure how that was tiramisu. I quickly learned that the breakfast was also poor with the pancakes being hard and anything with eggs salty. I tried the Horizon Bistro and Horizon Court for the rest of the cruise thinking I could find something edible but was wrong…there was zero nutritional value in most of the food offered and the quality was that of a grade school cafeteria at best. I waited in line for the sushi one day thinking that was safe in Alaska, but the fresh salmon and tuna had absolutely no taste. My main diet for the week consisted of the pizza (which was good) and hamburgers (which were OK) on the Lido Deck. I ate as many meals as possible while at port and off the ship. The activities schedule is disappointing. The performances and bands were all sub-par. There was one pianist that I would listen to in the Wheelhouse Bar but that was it. It was the same musicians for the entire trip that played the same songs every day. The comedian/ventriloquist was not funny at all and I lasted 5 minutes before walking out. I did attend the comedian show both evenings and I questioned how Princess allowed him to perform as he was quite offensive to many in the audience for a family show…it was not a 21+ audience only. The itinerary is 4 days stuck on this ship. There are only 3 days at port. The only days enjoyed for the entire vacation were the 3 days of excursions off the ship. All of our excursions were booked directly with the vendors. You will save quite a bit of money so I do not recommend booking any excursions with Princess unless you want to pay more for the exact same trips. Overall, Princess is sub-par and needs to do some bench marking against their competitors. My impression is Princess is a low cost, low quality cruise line for passengers that have never been on a cruise, have low expectations and don’t have any comparisons. Princess marketing itself as being a premiere cruise line is inaccurate. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Travel agent recommended it for our Alaskan cruise. Embankment was the worst. Had to arrange own way to Whittier to board ship when many were shuttled from Airport. We were not on their list of eligible travelers. They could not tell ... Read More
Travel agent recommended it for our Alaskan cruise. Embankment was the worst. Had to arrange own way to Whittier to board ship when many were shuttled from Airport. We were not on their list of eligible travelers. They could not tell us why. The dock was a mad house with people pushing and shoving to get their luggage to the Shore-man. It was raining. The climb to the boat was steep and the transition down from the walkway to the boat had a small ramp that was wet with not rails to assist seniors who could fall due to wetness and steepness, the crew stood and watched many people struggle to go down the ramp without offering to assist. An accident looking for a place to happen. For the most part the food was not acceptable, nothing like the other cruises. They had a Pizza place that had good food but the other restaurants were not good except for the ones that were additional charge. We ate at one of the steak houses on a special occasion that was good but expensive. All the Excursions was not worth the money. The whale watching one, there were too many people on board and when a whale was spotted, everyone ran over to that side of the boat and if you are not fast all you could see was the back of someones head. Took an ATV ride up a mountain to watch wild life and of course nothing was seen. After arriving back home we did our evaluation for the cruise line and gave them a poor rating. They left a message on our voicemail and said that someone from their customer relations department would call us. They never called. They did call our Travel agent and had him call us and tell us that they would not give us any refund. Funny thing, I did not ask for one. They did offer through him a free bottle of wine if we travel again on Princess Cruise lines. I told him to tell them that that will never happen. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
First and last cruise. Casino was awful and they have not credited me for slot winnings. Casino was usually closed or very few passengers. Once, the crap table was only open on one end due to lack of dealers and players. Restrooms ... Read More
First and last cruise. Casino was awful and they have not credited me for slot winnings. Casino was usually closed or very few passengers. Once, the crap table was only open on one end due to lack of dealers and players. Restrooms were very hard to find and had a bad odor. The food was average at best. Small portions and very poorly presented. They nickel and dimes you on everything. Charged you for coffee and soft drinks. do not select Princess Cruises, very poor return for your money. Shore excursions were very expensive and short. Time in ports was very limited, usually 5 hours or so. Disembarkation in Vancouver was a zoo, with people running in every direction. The land portion was much better. Nicer rooms, better food and lots more time to see local attractions. Most of the cruise was offshore and nothing but open water to see. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I had traveled with Tauck Tours in Europe and choose their land and sea cruise to Alaska. I was nervous about the Princess Cruise, but Tauck sent me assurances Tauck guest would me "a group on its own" for the most part." ... Read More
I had traveled with Tauck Tours in Europe and choose their land and sea cruise to Alaska. I was nervous about the Princess Cruise, but Tauck sent me assurances Tauck guest would me "a group on its own" for the most part." Of our 39 guests, I imagine 70-80% came back sick with a cough and sneezes. 100% of our group of 4 came home sick. We returned to Vancouver last July 1 and I have been sick for 11 days. My husband is also sick. I never saw anyone cleaning the railing or elevators. Princess turned the "Any-Time dining room" into a Flee market - $10 Chinese made items - twice during our 3 days at sea!!! The muster drill was a joke. We had to walk down 5 flights of stair to an interior corridor. I wouldn't know how to get off the ship. After a hour of muddling around inefficiently, we were told to follow the crew if there was an emergency. If you love being sick, if you love terrible food, and you love to buy key chains and purses from China (don't worry, they also set up tables though-out the ship) and be bothered by having at least 6 pictures of each of the 2800 passengers taken, this is the cruise for you. I recommend, before you go, to schedule a doctor's appointment for a day or two after you return home. Or call the CDC. You will be sick. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
The ship was very nice, rooms were clean and large. The food was not good at all, The best food was the hot dogs and pizza. The casino was so quiet you could sleep in it. The shows not good at all, I fell down and broke my leg on the ... Read More
The ship was very nice, rooms were clean and large. The food was not good at all, The best food was the hot dogs and pizza. The casino was so quiet you could sleep in it. The shows not good at all, I fell down and broke my leg on the stairs and they took me below and check me out and send me a bill of 1000 dollars, took me off the boat on my first day and stayed in a hospital for 5 days, I wanted my money back for the unused days of port fees and tips. Tried to call someone and will not give a customer service number out. You have to email them which I did and still did not hear from them.I did not have trip insurance and that was a BIG mistake.If you like to sit around a bunch of old people and eat all day and freeze by the pool then go for it. I rather be in Vegas and have fun . Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This will be a lengthy, transparent, and fair review but anyone considering to go on a Princess cruise should read this to help make their decision. My family and I just returned from a 7 day Alaskan cruise on the Star Princess with ... Read More
This will be a lengthy, transparent, and fair review but anyone considering to go on a Princess cruise should read this to help make their decision. My family and I just returned from a 7 day Alaskan cruise on the Star Princess with several other families. I will preface this review with the fact that our older daughter has life threatening food allergies will include useful information for anyone traveling with kids who have food allergies or who themselves have food allergies/sensitivities. This was our 6th cruise overall, 2nd Alaskan cruise, and the first time on Princess. We have previously cruised on NCL, Disney, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean. We had varying degrees of experiences on these cruise lines but all were positive. By far this experience with Princess ranked at the very bottom and was a very negative experience. Let me start with the pre-cruise issues. Due to my daughter's food allergies, we began to communicate with Princess via phone and email as they requested to make sure we knew how to manage her food situation during our vacation. When we had previously cruised we would normally provide a list of her food allergies and the cruise line would work with us to either ensure their normal stock of allergy friendly food items would work for us or, as was the case with NCL, would purchase the food and have it there for us during our trip. In this case, after providing the list, we were simply told to work with the head maître d on board. I went back and forth with customer service and in an attempt to find what they stocked and to what degree they would be able to prepare dry packaged foods that we brought in case they did not carry the brands suitable for her. To my surprise neither I nor the customer service representatives could speak directly to the food department. After numerous attempts to obtain more information Princess stopped responding and I was forced to give up. At this point Princess was unwilling to give me any details to help us prepare and had took an odd stance telling me that my daughter's allergies are my responsibility and that I am traveling at my own risk. It was an absurd statement – it's my daughter of course I'm responsible - and was a sign of what was yet to come. Thinking ahead, we packed an entire suitcase of dry food to last the week because we had no idea what to expect. Based on our previous experiences cruising we thought it would be a lot easier once we got on the ship and that they would be adequately prepared. In fact, we thought we were probably unnecessarily worrying. After all, cruise ships have endless food and large staff to ensure guests thoroughly enjoy their vacation. Once on board the ship my wife and I were told to meet with the head waiter in the main dining room. This individual was completely useless. He told us the ship could not prepare any special items for her but that the menu would offer foods she could eat. So, we looked at the menu and for every single item he said would work, we would point to an ingredient which was not allergy friendly. It was at this point I realized this cruise line was completely unprepared for passengers with food allergies. The head waiter then had us meet with another head waiter. This person gave us the same story as the other person and then went on to say that they have a very minimal stock of allergy friendly foods. He brought out 5 items which supposedly were allergy friendly. For non-dairy milk he brought Lactaid. I had to inform his that Lactaid was milk and is suitable for a lactose intolerance but not for a dairy allergy. He also brought cheese, a dairy based cheese. The items which were truly allergy friendly was a corn based pasta, a gluten free pancake mix, and tofu (soy is not an allergy for our daughter). We asked if they could use the ingredients used for other foods and prepare meals which she could eat using the allowed ingredients. I was told that the food was made in bulk and many dishes were pre-mixed or prepared. While understandable for the general population on the ship eating at the buffet, this did not address our situation or for that matter anyone who had food limitations based on health factors or any other reason. It was at this point I broke it down for him and explained that they were totally unprepared for this. For the rest of the trip my daughter ate steamed rice, steamed vegetables, pasta (which we brought), and tofu. We had also brought vegan cheese and gluten free bread so cold cheese sandwiches were a typical lunch. I was grateful she at least had food but this was far beneath the experiences on our other cruises. This head waiter tried to accommodate us but even his hands were tied because of the lack of allergy friendly foods and the pre-mixing of nearly all meals. What was also odd was that we were not allowed to communicate with the head chef. In every other cruising instance we would always speak to the head chef to help plan the meals daily. Rather than being understanding or helpful some of the people, like the first head waiter, acted annoyed. Upon returning to my room after the first night I found a postcard in the onboarding package stating that the corporate offices had "received my pre-boarding food requests" and that they went through "extra care" to ensure there would be product available for her. I certainly don't want to accuse anyone of being dishonest but how on earth do these experiences equate to corporate going through "extra care"?! I even took a picture of the postcard in the case someone from Princess contacts me so I can ask exactly what extra care and efforts were done on our behalves. Now let me turn to the typical food. We ate at the buffet and at our assigned dining location (for dinner). They were all consistently bad. The selections were extremely limited. For example, breakfasts lacked dairy alternatives found on every other cruise line which we have traveled such as individual cartons of almond and soy milk. Lunches lacked typical things such as a create your own pasta station as well as a create your own sandwich station. Additionally the food was bland and in many cases the recipes were odd. The staple salmon dish was a fillet covered in a maple syrup and honey concoction; who does that? I was expecting to get some amazing seafood on an Alaskan cruise but that wasn't the case here. If you are vegetarian or vegan, there won't be a single thing for you on the menu and you'll be limited to fruits for dessert (if they don't cover it in rice pudding, which is what Princess typically did). Many things are pre-mixed so there is very little room to adjust any of the dishes. The salad bar at the buffet was worse than what you'd find at typical grocery stores. The specialty coffees (latte's, cappuccino's, etc.) were good but the normal (free) coffee was very watered down and barely drinkable. As all cruise ships do, this one had a pizza bar. The only toppings they offered were pepperoni and onions and it closed at 10:30 pm. We would go to the salad bar to get bell peppers and take it to the pizza stand to have them place it on our order. This was the first time we had to do this and other cruise lines would offer an array of toppings directly at their pizza stand. At dinner it was quite clear they were reusing food from previous nights. For example, chicken soup was the previous day’s vegetable soup with bits of chicken added. The vegetable samosas (Indian appetizer) was the vegetable mix from breakfast wrapped in a shell and fried. During the week they had 2 specialty lunches, a seafood buffet and a fajita station. These were better than the buffet food but stayed open for only 1.5 hours. We did appreciate the fact that their refried beans were vegetarian (at least that's what they told us) and it was a nice treat since typically refried beans have animal products. But, due to the short time being open many people missed out on the opportunity to enjoy these specialties. They should have been open for at least 2-3 hours. Many people were visibly upset about this and complained. Drinks were below average. I'm not a big drinker but I do enjoy wine. I had only one sip of one glass during the entire cruise. I tried a well-known California Merlot which tasted like it had come from a bottle that was opened for a week. After returning it I tried a basic light beer which tasted equally old. Imagine leaving a beer in the hot sun for several days and then refrigerating it again before drinking in an attempt to "refresh" it. That's what this beer tasted like. For the rest of the trip I drank water, club soda, tea, and cappuccinos. I was traveling with friends who hadn't bought the drink packages and according to them the mixed drinks were ok, on the weaker side, but the prices were reasonable. Let me give some highlights of the ship itself. The gym equipment was outdated and in need of an update, and there wasn’t enough equipment for a complete workout. I'm a workout enthusiast and working out on vacations is important. The gym on this ship was very small and the equipment was from the 1990's. You'll be able to get on a treadmill and if you're lucky get in a small amount of dumbbell exercises. Personally, I did enough just to get in some form of exercise but this gym pales in comparison to other cruise lines. Also, it opened late at 7am and everyone I spoke to complained about that. 5am or 6am is typical if not 24 hours. If you want to work out before going on an excursion you probably won't have enough time. The laundry centers were in terrible shape. 1 of the 3 washers on our floor was broken as were 2 of the 3 dryers. The families we were traveling with were on different floors and those also had broken washers and dryers. The quality of the entertainment was just average and the timing of the shows were such that you would either be late for dinner or have to rush in order to not miss the beginning. The ship itself was not dirty but it was a little unkempt. For example, I would see glasses on top of trash cans for hours and in some cases overnight. My experiences with other cruise ships was that any trash would be picked up in a matter of a couple hours or less and the crew would be constantly (literally) wiping down rails, elevators, and doorknobs, etc to avoid spreading of any germs or bacteria. On this cruise I would see staff cleaning the ship in the mornings only. Staterooms were cleaned twice daily, which is normal. The ship also needed maintenance. There were condensation leaks in the hallways that left the carpet wet in a couple of spots, great for growing mold. Our interactions with the staff were inconsistent. In most cases the staff at the buffet were rude and unfriendly. In one instance a waiter brought hot tea and dripped some on the lap of one of the kids traveling with us while pouring into the cup. The waiter's response was "sorry" and he hurried away rather than checking if the child OK. Luckily he had thick pants on otherwise he might have been burnt. On the other hand, our dinner staff were very friendly and served us with a smile every night. These little things, and everything else above, are signs of bad management and a lack of training. It seemed like there are substantial cost-cutting measures in place at the expense of customer satisfaction. Before going on the trip our group discussed how we would communicate with one another. We were excited to hear that Princess had an IOS and Android app with a built in messaging feature. In fact, their website has links to the app. Unfortunately, those links are broken because the app doesn’t exist. We did find out that all we had to do was connect with the onboard wifi and that the website internal to the ship had the messenger app. Unfortunately we couldn’t have all our party in a single group message because of the 120 character limit on the names. Although the website was very limited in messaging features and was non-intuitive, it was better than nothing. However, the wifi dropped literally every 5-10 minutes. It was completely unstable and required us to refresh our wifi connections continuously all week. On top of that, since they were not using an app there was no vibration notification when a new message came in. I would have rather had clunky walkie-talkie then dealt with this. In this day and age I can't imagine why they would not have a messaging app with online maps as opposed to a website-based messaging system with limited features and giving us paper maps which we have to carry around. After coming back to land I wonder what we paid for. This was not a relaxing vacation for us and we were constantly on edge about out daughter's food situation. Princess was completely unprepared for my daughter and we used our own food daily. The ship was old, small, and the food was both limited and unappetizing. I don't know if the experience was limited to just this ship and/or crew but I will never be vacationing with Princess again nor will I be recommending them to anyone. My advice to anyone would be to avoid them at all costs and go with another cruise line. It was heartbreaking to see what my daughter had to eat for an entire week, 3 times a day. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The service was horrible (some just plain rude), food was mediocre, smallest bathroom of any cruise ship I have been on (we had a balcony room), and the activities were all geared towards older folks and those who want to spend money on ... Read More
The service was horrible (some just plain rude), food was mediocre, smallest bathroom of any cruise ship I have been on (we had a balcony room), and the activities were all geared towards older folks and those who want to spend money on purchases. My husband called it a floating mall. The ship is worn, but I had expected that since it is due for a remodel, so I overlooked that portion. Are you used to little details likes getting the towel animals on your bed? You won't get it. Want an adult area? Sure, it will cost extra. Want decent food? You'll have to pay to go to the restaurants. If you want to pay for better food, buy art, jewelry, listen to crooners music and compete in 50s music trivia, then this is the cruise for you. Want to attend a class at the gym? You have to pay for those too. Worst cruise I have ever been on! Unfortunately, this is in the only line that visits Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay. I will never take another cruise with Princess again (my husband says he will never cruise again period after this trip). Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I have been on 10 + cruises and I have to say the was my worst experience. Smoking; The ship needs to update their smoking policies. News flash to Princess most people don't smoke! Half the Casino is smoking with no physical ... Read More
I have been on 10 + cruises and I have to say the was my worst experience. Smoking; The ship needs to update their smoking policies. News flash to Princess most people don't smoke! Half the Casino is smoking with no physical divider. For this reason we did not gamble along with many people I chatted with. The Promenade jogging/walking exercise deck 7 is actually the smoking deck. It is Port side aft but cigarette smoke can be smelled on various parts of the deck when you walk by the ventilation system. Also the strong smell of cigarette smoke from the Casino can be smelled around the Pursers desk to the open Atrium. When you exit the Princess theater you walk by the Snookers smoking lounge which filters in the foyer there. The aft pool area also smells like smoke from a designated smoking area which ruins it for a couple levels since it is all open there. Bad Food; We found the food along with many of the people we talked to pretty darn awful. I'm not sure who is supplying the meat but it is the worst we have experienced and on many occasions did not or should I say could not eat it! The Horizon court food was only sightly better than the dining room. This is the only cruise where we skipped the dining room a couple times because our meals were just terrible. The coffee in the Barista was good but the lady in charge each morning seemed really disgruntled at having to serve us. The fresh made pizza was the best food on the ship. Harassment; From the moment we boarded the Princess we were harassed aggressively by staff to buy their Alcohol card. When one waiter or waitress finished with you another would come over to try again. This buy the booze card harassment went on for two days straight then it just turned to harassment to buy Alcohol. We ordered a bottle of wine one night and were immediately given a high pressure sales spiel on buying a box of three bottles, geeze, really. I only wanted one bottle! We found the high pressure selling to be quite annoying and really unacceptable! Respiratory Outbreak; This ship also had a Respiratory Outbreak and we were around a lot of sick people. One gentleman in particular was beside us in the dining room who had no business being in there since we shared the same server. No wonder it spread like wildfire throughout the ship. It was reported to the CDC and they said it was under control but hey if you are on a ship with that many people (and this ship is no longer a big one) with an outbreak there is no such thing as under control. With a common ventilation system and shared wait staff you are infected every time you move around the ship from the elevator buttons to the handrails. It's just there in the air. Good luck to the next lot getting on the ship. Overall; The lack of dress code in the dining room was shocking. People in jeans and t-shirts, we were seated with a couple who husband had jean coveralls on as if he had just cut a cord of wood or had been coming from the garage, really, no class there. Everyday Princess bombards you with paper literature to your state room mostly trying to sell you stuff, huge waste of paper resources since most of it is dated and can't be reused. Just multiply that by thousands everyday of the year, it's a huge amount. The un-bundling of the cruise industry has really lowered the whole experience. It is all about the bottom line, cheaper food, sell the booze cards and get the people to gamble. The poor workers they are nothing more than slaves and pushers for their bosses who high pressure them into harassing the guests in order to pick their pockets. In my opinion Princess has ruined what used to be once a glamorous experience of a lifetime vacation for most people. This is the only cruise where we experience people yelling at the staff to let them off the ship during embarkation. I suspect a lot unhappy people there. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Well, long story short, my sister and I gave NCL, another chance, after 7 years of not cruising with them. We had been cruising with them on 2 separate ships, and found them both to be less than satisfying. We then decided to give them ... Read More
Well, long story short, my sister and I gave NCL, another chance, after 7 years of not cruising with them. We had been cruising with them on 2 separate ships, and found them both to be less than satisfying. We then decided to give them another chance, and went on the NCl Sun to Alaska. What a disapointment. They absolutely ruined mine and my sister's luggage, along with many other people that we traveled with on a land tour previously. They compensated me with a bag worth a fifth of the cost. The food was awful!!!!! I didn't even get one shrimp cocktail on the whole trip, nor lobster, or crab. It was just blah food, with no pizzaz! The auction people at the paintings on board were aggressive, and basically scam artists and liars. The shows were blah!! The layout of the ship, was beyond ridiculous! Our room, a balcony room, was in bad need of repair. Everything was falling apart, ripped, or stained. Needless to say, I could go into detail, but why waste my time. For sure we will NEVER EVER take another NCL trip agains!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We cruised the Diamond Princess, with a land cruise first to Denali Park. The land cruise - the cabins were frigid and didn't warm up until well into the night; the bathrooms never warmed so showers were quick. The food at the ... Read More
We cruised the Diamond Princess, with a land cruise first to Denali Park. The land cruise - the cabins were frigid and didn't warm up until well into the night; the bathrooms never warmed so showers were quick. The food at the breakfast and dinner buffets was atrocious and expensive. The cruise was okay and allowed plenty of time in each of the three ports visited. The bar service was very good - they make great spicy Bloody Marys. The cabin service was okay considering there was only one steward rather than two as we've encountered on other cruise lines. Food - YUCK! Very little variety in the main dining rooms - same menu in in all of them. The buffet catered strictly to orientals, no variety except perhaps in the freshness of the kimchi, although how a non-Westerner could determine the freshness I'm not sure. It just stinks, period! The little food that was available for the non-oriental palate was bland, unappetizing, and very pedestrian. Overall, we had expected far more of Princess and were exceedingly disappointed. This was our first and last cruise with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
From the disorganized check-in process to disembarkation, the Diamond Princess is a mockery of the hospitality industry. When placed on a different deck than on our reservation, customer service simply said they were fully booked and would ... Read More
From the disorganized check-in process to disembarkation, the Diamond Princess is a mockery of the hospitality industry. When placed on a different deck than on our reservation, customer service simply said they were fully booked and would get back with us and that the option we received was much better and quieter than the original booking. All statements were false. We never heard from anyone while onboard the ship. The food was horrible. It was comparable to a high school cafeteria. I lost ten pounds while on the trip. Not even a decent cup of coffee was to found onboard the ship. The staff was not well train and not able to answer the simpliest question. For example, my husband was locked in the gym by the staff. He had to call security to unlock the door. We asked to change American dollars into Canadain Dollars and was told they did not handle currency onboard. Additionally, we received the same response when a washing machine ate our change and did not work. We were charged for making a reservation to eat in any of the "anytime" dining rooms. The list goes on-and- on. However, probably the most reflective of the Princess Cruise line incompetency is the post cruise online survey. Sent on June 11th, the ending day of the cruise, I was not able to respond to it until June 16th due to extension of our travel. When I attempted to participate in the post-cruise survey, I received the pop-up window that the survey had expired. I guess Princess really does not want to know. I filed this review with Princess via email and did receive an answering machine response but was not able to understand the customer service representative message due to his mumbled verbage. Please do not waste your money crusing with Princess Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was my wife and my second cruise (we had previously taken a Princess Caribbean cruise in January 2008). We travel several times per year, but are relatively new to cruises. Our lodging and travel to our port of embarkation and ... Read More
This was my wife and my second cruise (we had previously taken a Princess Caribbean cruise in January 2008). We travel several times per year, but are relatively new to cruises. Our lodging and travel to our port of embarkation and from our port of debarkation was not arranged by the Carnival. Our entry onto the ship and the handling of bags were accomplished in a very efficient and trouble-free manner. We stayed in a category 11 stateroom. The room was very nice and spacious. The TV in the room was kind of small and had a lot of static. The bathroom was very nice with granite countertops. Although we had a very nice balcony, we often could not enjoy it due to smokers on the balconies on either side of ours. I called the information desk and was told that smoking is allowed on the balconies. The cost for this room for two people was approximately $3500. Dining was our biggest disappointment. We found the food to be poor in both quality and selection. I actually lost a little weight during the cruise. This is in contrast to a cruise we took on a different cruise line (as per above) where we were wowed by the food and found it difficult to not try everything. In addition to the disappointing food, there were long food lines and inadequate buffet seating. The restaurant food was only marginally better, however the atmosphere and service in the restaurant was good. The staff on the ship were mostly average. Many did not seem very motivated to help and provide service. There were some though that provided excellent service, but it was inconsistent. We enjoyed the spacious and well appointed gym, but only wish that the hours were longer to allow easier access. The gym closed at 8:00 pm making it difficult to use at times. The internet in the internet cafe was very slow. It literally cost me at times around $2 to open the home page of cnn.com. The entertainment was a mixed bag. Some of the shows were very mediocre with people leaving throughout the performance. There were a few shows towards the end of the cruise which we found enjoyable though. The shore excursions were standard for this type of cruise, stopping in Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, and Skagway, Alaska. We had no problems with any of the tours, etc that we signed up for. Disembarkation was done in a very efficient manner as was embarkation. In summary: The price for the cruise was very competitive with other cruise companies. What will prevent us from going on another Carnival cruise though is the poor dining we experienced. Also, I wish that people were not allowed to smoke on the balconies as this made it hard for us to enjoy this amenity. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
This was our 2nd trip on the Carnival Spirit, and our third and likely last trip with Carnival. We'd had a good experience on the Spirit in Hawaii in 2004, a bad one on the Jubilee in the Caribbean during Christmas 2003/2004 and now a ... Read More
This was our 2nd trip on the Carnival Spirit, and our third and likely last trip with Carnival. We'd had a good experience on the Spirit in Hawaii in 2004, a bad one on the Jubilee in the Caribbean during Christmas 2003/2004 and now a bad one on the Spirit. This will be a review (rant?) about the shipboard experience. The ports of call we visited were good, even if we were late getting to them, and thus we won't focus on them. Noteworthy items include: ? The Carnival charge for a transfer from Anchorage to Whittier, where the ship docks- take the Alaska Railroad instead, but pre-book; ? Marginal cabin cleanliness; ? The benefits of having a naturalist on board; ? Late arrivals in three out of four ports; ? Exceptional efforts in Sitka by Joseph the maitre d' and the entire staff of the Empire Dining Room to ensure that guests were fed, despite delays reboarding; ? Long waits to reboard the ship because of backlogs at the single x-ray machine in use - with security guards who kept telling guests to keep the line moving, when there was nowhere to go; ? Aggressive photographers who blocked gangway exits upon port arrivals (and their costumed performers who were literally grabbing people to be photographed) - sanctioned by Carnival management, according to the photoshop manager; ? Peculiarities in billing to the sign and sail account - a strange addition to our bill was carried out the last night of the cruise, after we went to bed - and the hostile reaction from the pursers when questions were asked about it; it almost seemed like a last minute charge was applied to EVERYONE'S bill; and, ? Erroneous information provided by the ship's crew regarding shopping and the travelogue video According to the internet the cruise lines don't pay to dock at Whittier. It's certainly not for the benefit of the guests- there's not much in the town at all. Still, it's in a picturesque setting, so increased tourism will likely result in more services, at which point it may be an interesting port to sail out of. The booklet Carnival provides on Alaska mentions embarking at a transfer center in Anchorage- it doesn't mention that you have to pay approx. $49 for the bus trip down. We took the Alaska Railroad from the downtown depot- about the same price, narrated train trip, and at least when we took it, the railroad was ensuring that bags would be routed to the ship, so we didn't have to worry about them. But, we had to pre-book well in advance. Plus, we got to Whittier about 12:20, before the onslaught of Carnival buses, so our time in line was minimal. Our cabin was nice- we'd had a similar one when we sailed in Hawaii on the Spirit. Unfortunately, on arrival there were crumbs on the dresser and a musty odor in the bathroom (which either faded or we got used to). And we noticed that there were frequently room service or Lido Deck dishes left in the hallway, which took a long time to pick up. We really enjoyed the talks and commentary given by Michele the naturalist on board the ship. She pointed out natural phenomena and wildlife during the trip, enriching our viewing. The talks she gave in the Pharaoh's Lounge on wildlife were excellent, providing context for what we were observing. Having a naturalist on board these trips is a wonderful idea, and Michele did a great job. We were late arriving at three out of four ports of call on this trip. We arrived approximately 5 hours late in Sitka, an hour and a half late in Juneau, approximately on time in Skagway, and about an hour late in Ketchikan. Perhaps weather was responsible for the delays, but it was also mentioned at one point that the ship had engine problems, reducing cruising speed. Regardless of the reasons, the effect was severe on the guests' schedules (we personally missed a glacier cruise that we'd pre-booked in Juneau and may have lost our deposit) but undoubtedly this also adversely impacted Carnival's "bottom line". On a positive note, it was in Sitka that we saw an example of Carnival doing something exceptionally well, when the Empire Room fed us when we came back very late. Departure from Sitka had been delayed by an hour (to 5:30 PM) to allow us to have some time in port. But when we returned to board a tender to take us back to the ship, it was obvious by the length of the line that there was no way we'd be leaving on time. In fact, it took us over an hour and a half to get on the ship, so when we got on board around 6:45PM (and there were many more after us), we were much too late for our early seating dinner. Resigned to eating on the Lido Deck, it was a welcome surprise when the voice of Joseph the maitre d' came over the PA system, inviting us "early seating" latecomers to dinner. The manner in which the staff worked together, feeding us, yet having the dining room ready for the "late seating" at 8:15PM, was very impressive - it was obvious that he and his staff were concerned with delighting all their guests. This dinner, rather than any of the formal nights, is the one we remember and regard as special, because of the effort put forth by the dining room in difficult circumstances. Sitka was not unique- long waits to reboard the Spirit proved to be norm for this trip. The delay always seemed to be at the single x-ray machine in use. The security guards "helped" this by telling people to "Keep the line moving", even when there was clearly no place to go. After listening to this in Sitka and Juneau, we got fed up in Skagway. "Where do you expect us to go?" we challenged the guard. He seemed shocked. "The line's stopped at the xray machine- how can we keep moving?" (For our comments, one of us was "wanded" by a very amused security guard.) One of us noticed later in the day that when the "all aboard" time had passed, and there was still a long line, an officer went down to the "exit" gangway and began bringing people aboard who didn't have any shopping or bags to be xrayed. In conversation with him afterwards, he was commended for his efforts, and asked about the delays in reboarding the ship. He confirmed that it was due to the necessity of x-ray screening. He also confirmed that there was a second xray machine on board, but only one was being used. The officer indicated that the necessity of using different decks for embarkation (tides and the port in question would affect where the gangway could be installed) necessitated having machines on different decks. In retrospect, we wonder why it wouldn't have been possible to use the ships' elevators to move the xray machines, so that two could have been used. It would have meant more effort on the part of the crew, but would have saved untold hours of guests' time. Indeed, the knowledge that it would take at least half an hour to get back on board caused to reconsider on several occasions whether it was worth the effort to get off the ship - a sad situation when you're visiting a port! The long waits continued until the end of the trip. It wasn't just the delays to get back on the ship that wasted guests' time - the photographers delayed our disembarkations! In Skagway, we noticed that photographers were actually blocking the gangway exits with their props (the "lifebuoys" used in photos, and the masked characters (Freddy Funnel, etc) were actually grabbing guests for photographs, even when they shook their heads and attempted to wave them off. (As an aside, for Skagway, we booked a Yukon- Whitepass railway trip through the excursions desk. We could have done it over the internet, but we had a shipboard credit to use up. It was about $5US/person more expensive that doing it online, but at least the train was right next to the ship for our convenience. However, our Carnival train cars were a lot more crowded than the other ones. But considering how often we were late getting into port, it was nice not to have to worry about losing our money if we missed the train!) So, when we got to Ketchikan, we watched what happened as the gangway was set up. We saw the photographers place their props to the side of the gangway exits, then reconsider and move the props right to the end of the gangways, so that they were restricting the flow of people leaving the ship. This was a bit too much. Lines were forming on the gangways, because guests who didn't want to be photographed couldn't get around them. So when we were leaving the ship, we said to a photographer: "You're blocking the exit. You should move that thing." In a very rude tone of voice, the photographer replied, "I can't". We continued on our excursion, but later left a message for the photoshop manager about the issue, asking that he call us. We had to call him back later, and he said, "We're following Carnival procedures". He said it was customary to block the exits with his photographers, but would refer our concerns to Carnival head office. Needless to say, he didn't get back to us. We found this whole situation ridiculous- we were consistently late getting into port, then we were further delayed by the photographers, and they claimed they were told to do this?! We hadn't seen this on our previous trips with Carnival - we can only assume that the photographers are compensated based on the number of pictures they take, and the wishes of the ships' guests are not as important. Finally, the morning of disembarkation, there was an extra charge on our bill, and the pursers' office was rude and belligerent when it was discussed. We had checked our account the night before disembarkation, and were satisfied with the bill. Yet in the morning, there was an additional charge for $3.25- admittedly not a lot, but one we didn't understand. When a purser was asked about this charge, she immediately said, "Did you drink the water in your room?" She was referring to the 1.5 liter bottle of water sitting on the dresser in our room. When we told her that we hadn't, she shrugged and said she'd remove the charge. But this issue bothered us. Shouldn't the water have been labelled with a note indicating its price- how would people know that it wasn't complementary (we assumed that it wasn't, because it had a price on it on our other Carnival trips)? And why was the charge put on the bill on the last night, after we'd heard (during the Cruise Director's disembarkation talk) that accounts would be closed the night before disembarkation? So we called the pursers' desk. The immediate reaction when we identified ourselves was, "We changed your bill. What else do you want?!" When we indicated that we were disturbed that people might not be aware that the water was a billable item, the reaction was, "There's no need to put a price on it. It's on the minibar menu". Well we wouldn't have thought to look on that list - our minibar was never even unlocked, so why would we have been looking at the minibar. But the purser insisted that it was not practice to put a price on it-but she'd alert management to our concerns. Right... The other thing that bothered us was why the charge had occurred after we'd thought bills were closed. No explanation was provided. We mentioned that we'd looked at two other bills, waiting to be picked up in peoples' mailboxes, and they too had been charged on the last night for a bottle of water, so we wondered if the problem was limited to our bill. At this the purser was quite indignant at our actions, for violating guests' privacy- if the bill is confidential, perhaps it should be provided in a sealed envelope. She never answered the question as to whether everyone received a last-minute charge for a bottle of water. But to summarize our concerns on this issue, we don't think it's right that the bottle of water wasn't marked as a chargeable item. We also wonder if every cabin was charged for a bottle of water on the last night of the cruise- and people either didn't check the bill, or simply couldn't be bothered correcting it the morning of disembarkation. If this did happen for every cabin on board ship, it would be a significant amount of money! At times it seemed as if the staff was deliberately misleading the guests. We listened to a shopping talk, in which the "super shopper" said, "Carnival recommends these stores for the benefit of our guests. It's not that we're making any commission or anything like that". This is clearly wrong, since the shopping maps say that the stores have paid a fee. Later, when asked about this, the "super shopper" immediately said, "Oh, what I meant to say was that I didn't receive a commission. Oh dear!" "But in the meantime the video of this talk had been shown over and over again. But there were other things that also seemed odd- the travelogue video that was sold to guests was billed as "including the guests' talent show"- yet as one fuming customer pointed out, it was given out before the talent show took place! A small thing, perhaps, but representative of the way things were being done. So, would we recommend a cruise ship as a way to see Alaska? Yes! Would we recommend the Spirit, based on our most recent experience? No. We can't shake the feeling that the ship is being pushed to increase its profit, whether by providing less service (making guests wait) or increasing sales (more photos and bottles of water, for example), and thus it's not about pleasing the guests any more. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click