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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having downsized our large property after our children left home we’re now in a situation where we can spend money on traveling to the places that we have been dreaming about for years, the question was where to start first? Having done ... Read More
Having downsized our large property after our children left home we’re now in a situation where we can spend money on traveling to the places that we have been dreaming about for years, the question was where to start first? Having done a reasonable amount of Australia when our children were growing up, we decided that a trip to our local House of Travel in Motueka to investigate cruising was the best place to start. Friends and family had already been on Princess Line cruises with great feedback on how much they had enjoyed themselves. After seeing what was available to suit our schedule and what we considered to be the best value we decided on the Fiji Encounter with P&O and promptly booked and paid for our tickets. Excitedly we returned home and started further researching our dream breakaway only to be horrified by the online reviews of what seemed to be the holiday from hell so if you’ve just found yourself in this situation I want you to take a breath and relax, Pacific Aria is not five stars but be realistic you haven’t paid for five stars so if you board Aria with a determination to have a great holiday you won’t be disappointed. The ship; Pacific Aria is the smallest ship in the P&O fleet but still packs in all the features that you would expect on the larger ships just on a smaller scale. I would have to say that the Aria is not the greatest ship that I’ve traveled on after we encountered a few days of rough weather, neither of us suffers from motion sickness but there were onboard reports of our fellow travelers struggling with the conditions. Our advice would be to take a sea legs tablet the day before you depart and keep taking them for the remainder of your cruise if you’re concerned about seasickness. We had a balcony room on deck 10 and the condition of the room had lost a bit of its gloss from new and could do with a refresh up. Still, it was very clean, and our room Stewart’s were amazing at keeping it spotless. Again, the Aria is not five stars and we spent very little time in our cabin anyway. The restaurants and bars have faired better and still retain a lot of the original shine. Dining; This is where we feel that the Aria has been unfairly slammed the most in online reviews, so we took special note of what was on offer. The Pantry, is where you can eat as much as you like pretty much when you like and has a good selection on café type food it looked well stocked and clean we only had one quick lunch here and it seemed to be on par with other cafes that we’ve grabbed a quick bite at when in a hurry. In short nothing spectacular but by no means bad. The Waterfront restaurant is where you can dine for all three meals on sea days and has a varied menu with great service. We tried a bit of everything, and it was nicely prepared if slightly lacking in imagination. Again, they’re preparing a lot of meals and dealing with a lot of dietary needs, so we gave them a solid 7 for food and a 10 for service. Angelo’s is one of the two specialty restaurants onboard the Aria that is included in your fare and is well worth a visit. We dined there twice and sampled both menus A and menu B. Angelo’s has beautiful décor and good service. We gave Angelo’s an 8 for food and an 8 for the overall dining experience. The Dragon Lady; “Wow” This is not what we expected when we paid our fare, we would have to rate Dragon Lady as one of the best restaurants that we’ve dined at. This is qualified by over forty years of combined experience in the hospitality and service sectors. We gave menu A, a well-deserved 10 and Menu B a solid 8. Service was exceptional. We dined there on four occasions and would’ve gladly eaten there every night. This is the best GF menu that we’ve ever seen, anywhere! Just needs another GF dessert option on menu B. Salt Grill by Luke Mangan; This is billed as the best dining experience onboard P&O and is the only place where you have to pay an additional surcharge so we were looking forward to something special and at the risk of upsetting our Aussie brothers and sisters we were underwhelmed with both the menu and the service. The food is good, it’s just not as good as it’s hyped up to be and we found the service to be slightly arrogant. In fairness, I do have a GF diet so maybe some of the ingredients had to be removed from the dishes, but this wasn’t an issue elsewhere on Aria. We gave Salt Grill a 7 for the food and a 7 for service. Entertainment; this is where the Pacific Aria shines as the production shows held in the Marquee are world-class with slick choreography and singing which is supported by great lighting and sound. Our favorite was Johnny Balance the Comedian Magician who had us laughing so much that it hurt. Name that tune with Georgie, Cruise Director Cole’s morning Trivia, Bingo with Cameron, Pacific Popstar and the riotous Rock the Room were some of the other standouts for us. Unfortunately, the Ocean Bar is just not big enough for all of those wanting to participate in the fun. This is also where the Aria fell short with the themed parties that were a bit of a let down as we had visions of us dancing the night away in a grand setting, but full marks must go to Cole and his wonderful team. If you can’t find something fun to do on the Aria, we would suggest that you check your pulse. Music and Bars; There is a range of theme bars with matched live music that is of a high standard our favorites were Kawai and Ian Berry, but they were all great. As far as the bars go the Blue Room was the standout for us due to the excellent service and late-night coffees. It’s a great place to chill out reading with a premium coffee during the day or to enjoy live music and a cocktail in the evening. We would also like to rebuff the online nonsense regarding short poured drinks as the drinks that we watched being made were always prepared using the correct standard measures. Bar hygiene was also of a very high standard. We weren’t cruising with any children of our own and there was plenty on board, but we hardly ever saw them we can only assume that they were locked away in the engine room or having the time of their lives in the kid’s clubs and pools. Shore excursions; These were of an acceptable standard for us but we would suggest that P&O send some undercover team along from time to time to make sure that standards are being maintained our tour guides were great on the bus but left us to our devices once we arrived at our destinations. We found a lot more was on offer once we moved away from the group and went exploring on our own. The standout was the amazing cultural shows and singing. The only bad point was the tender trip into Port Denarau which took an hour in very hot and humid conditions. Overall, we had a great time cruising with P&O and would do it again on one of their bigger ships but in saying that the letdowns due to the size and age of Pacific Aria were expertly papered over by the outstanding crew. Pacific Aria is still a fun place to spend a value-packed holiday and a great introduction into the world of cruising. David and Gaylene, Motueka NZ. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I was on a Mediterranean cruise in 2015 on the Queen Victoria. That was my first Cunard experience. It has spoiled me forever now. I have been on two other Ocean cruises with Crystal. Nothing to complain about on Crystal however they ... Read More
I was on a Mediterranean cruise in 2015 on the Queen Victoria. That was my first Cunard experience. It has spoiled me forever now. I have been on two other Ocean cruises with Crystal. Nothing to complain about on Crystal however they have changed there format since being purchased by Carnival and now are less formal and the dining was "freestyle". One of the reasons i chose Cunard was because i like the formal nights and the set dining. It is one of the best ways to meet people that may eventually become friends off ship. I departed from my home port which is located 4 blocks from my apartment so super easy. Embarkation was longer than i thought it would be but not irritating. Note to cruisers departing from Vancouver...its a lovely city please add two or three nights pre or post trip. The cabin i had was an inside so not much to say except it was very well appointed and was serviced professionally and serviced twice daily. I like the amenity products. Food was spectacular. Never a bad meal. I started to order in room service for breakfast after going to the Lido the first two mornings. Room service provided fresh and hot food on time as ordered. High tea is not to be missed. As Vancouver has very similar landscape to Alaska i booked this trip to relax on an elegant ship. Cunard delivers. I can literally go 40 minutes from my house in September to see 100+ eagles in a tree and feeding on Salmon so it was quite funny when on the excursion, everyone was ooing and awwing over one lone eagle in a tree almost too far away to make out. Very few children on board which is a plus. I would definately book another Cunard cruise but would not go to Alaska again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Having been on an earlier cruise on the Pacific Jewel we decided to do a longer cruise on the Pacific Aria. The ship was smaller and more intimate than the Jewel but parts were quite dated and we noticed an almost musty smell in our cabin. ... Read More
Having been on an earlier cruise on the Pacific Jewel we decided to do a longer cruise on the Pacific Aria. The ship was smaller and more intimate than the Jewel but parts were quite dated and we noticed an almost musty smell in our cabin. The service could not be faulted from the housekeeping staff, the entertainment, the restaurants and we felt the food was superior in the Waterfront to previous although not so keen on the pantry food. We were fortunate enough to be gifted a lunch at Luke Mangins Salt Grill and the steaks were absolutely the best we have ever had and would give them a 10+ We felt this ship being smaller was more rockier than previous but it may have been due to the weather. Special thanks to our Room Stewards Viddy and Elmer for helping us and making our stay just that ore special with their service. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my first Crystal Cruise and my second ocean cruise. I was charmed and amazed by the lovely ship (Crystal Symphony) and especially the service. I couldn't sit down anywhere without someone popping up within the minute asking ... Read More
This was my first Crystal Cruise and my second ocean cruise. I was charmed and amazed by the lovely ship (Crystal Symphony) and especially the service. I couldn't sit down anywhere without someone popping up within the minute asking if they could bring me something. The pool deck (Deck 11) was blissfully uncrowded with comfortable seating and plenty of throws to wrap up in on a cold day (and this was a cold, windy cruise to the Pacific Northwest). Nice place to read a book and look out over the water. The service at the Marketplace buffet on the Lido deck was swift and attentive. My husband has a hard time walking, and a waiter or waitress was always on hand to carry his plates to our table. I liked that during lunch, you could carry your food anywhere on that deck (the grill, the Silk restaurant when it wasn't serving, basically any table you saw) and eat there. No one chased us back into the Marketplace eating area but waited on us where we were. Food was good, and the desserts tempted me a long way off my diet. Another thing I loved about dining on this ship--you can have anything you want, you have only to ask. One day at lunch in the Waterside dining room, I craved a sandwich, but didn't want the one on the menu. The waiter was happy to recommend another not listed and brought it to me quickly (and it was good). The public spaces on the ship are bright, airy, and relaxing. I found myself heading for the Bistro (coffee bar) on Deck 6 every afternoon for a pot of tea a scone or cold cuts (or both), to read a bit and relax. I attended one tea in the Palm Court (the Mozart tea), which had a full buffet of pastries and cakes. It was crowded that day, as it is the most popular tea of the voyage. The Library: Not many people review the library I imagine, but it is a book lover's dream. Shelves upon shelves of books of all subjects and fiction genres, plus niches to listen to audio books or just to read. They have a "swap" shelf where you can leave whatever book you brought with you and grab another. Just don't forget to return your library book, because the fines are high (understandably so--hardback books are expensive). Fitness Center: The fitness center, while small, has treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bicycles, and a rowing machine. Plus four or five weight machines that were multifaceted (worked more than one muscle group). I was pleased to see so many free weights from light to heavy, plus kettle weights, medicine balls, and exercise balls. I could replicate my usual workouts exactly. I took a few of the free classes with the fitness director who was very good at keeping the exercises easy for beginners but explained how to make them more advanced for those who were longtime exercisers. She was patient, friendly, and encouraging. The center offered personal training (for a fee), though I was too busy to sign up. Spa: Easily fit me in for appointments. I had my hair cut and got a massage. The massage was last minute on the last day, and they slid me in without a problem. Excellent massage--one of the best I've had. (Note, the spa is an extra fee, and they automatically add 18% gratuity.) Cabin: While small, it was comfortable and nice. The bathroom, while again small, had new fixtures, plenty of hot water, and best of all, lots of large towels. Anytime we needed something extra or when our TV remote stopped working, someone was there within 10 minutes to help us out. Voyage overall: I had been to some of the ports of call before (Seattle, San Francisco), but we found plenty to do. I did not take any of the excursions, because we booked this cruise at the last minute, and any that looked interesting to us were already sold out. I didn't mind, because I prefer to sightsee on my own anyway. Easy to call an Uber or taxi and head to whatever we wanted to do. Recommendations: San Francisco: Legion of Honor Museum, a branch of the SF Art museum. Beautiful place with amazing collection. It lies on the western edge of the city in Lincoln Park near Land's End. Worth the trip. Seattle: MoPop museum. Especially for music lovers and sci fi lovers! Right next to the Space Needle and the Chihuly Glass garden. Astoria: Columbia River Maritime Museum. Small but intense, full of information. I did not do the river walk or the trolley along the river walk, but I would do that on my next visit. Victoria: Tea at the Empress, of course. If you like dollhouses or miniatures, Miniature World museum right around the corner from the Empress. A fascinating collection of miniatures and dioramas. Well done. Butchart Gardens: While crowded that day, a beautiful not-to-miss botanical garden. Roses were in full bloom. A taxi is a must for that. (The free shuttle from the Symphony took us right to the Empress hotel). Overall, I loved this brief vacation on a very relaxing and surprisingly uncrowded ship. The lecturers were great too, as was the new show the Crystal singers and dancers debuted. I like the smaller ship experience--lack of noise, little stress, no lines (I rarely, rarely stood in a line on this ship). I felt like I was truly on a *ship*, not a condo block with a shopping mall that happened to be floating. I highly recommend the Crystal Symphony. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We're a couple of a certain age. Second Crystal cruise, dozens of other cruises over the decades. Our cruise Beijing to Hong Kong in 2015 was my favorite cruise ever. Cabin: Outside ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We're a couple of a certain age. Second Crystal cruise, dozens of other cruises over the decades. Our cruise Beijing to Hong Kong in 2015 was my favorite cruise ever. Cabin: Outside window on deck 7. Balconies were all booked when we signed up. No upsell offer unlike last time. Cabin was clean and well taken care of. Ship must have sailed full, but nothing was crowded. The weather didn't lend to sun worshiping, except the last day, in Vancouver, the heated pool was open and in use. Food: Service was good and no lines for the MDR longer than five minutes (at 6pm). We found a waiter we liked, South African young gent, and asked for his table each night. We ate at Umi once, and had rez for Prego on "formal" night, (blue blazer and gray pants, tie.) but cancelled when we learned MDR had lobster. Brought on board live, said two reliable bartenders. (All drinks free, of course) We liked MDR a lot. As usual we had hot breakfast in the room daily. On time and accurate. This was the only occasion on which we tip "extra." Entertainment: We liked the historical lectures (San Fran earthquake, Lewis and Clark) and skipped a lecture rumored to be somewhat political. I cruise to reduce my blood pressure, thanks. We especially enjoyed the Broadway themed show. Shore Exc: Just did two. Seemed reasonable in price. In Vancouver we took a cab to a museum. Would we go again? Absolutely. Find a good price and it's a value. There's a mid-level cruise line sailing to Iceland next year I have my eye on. Crystal has this itinerary for 2021, but at my age I don't buy green bananas. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We love doing this cruise every year - we take the train up to Vancouver, the ship down to Seattle - it is an awesome little overnight trip. Since it is only 1 night we take an inside cabin, although 1 year we DID book the mini-suite. We ... Read More
We love doing this cruise every year - we take the train up to Vancouver, the ship down to Seattle - it is an awesome little overnight trip. Since it is only 1 night we take an inside cabin, although 1 year we DID book the mini-suite. We travel w/ 4 in the cabin for most cost effectiveness. It was a one night cruise so no big show - the lounges had nice shows - the service was great - the ship was great - the staff was great, as usual - there was a game show between staff & guests that we listened to, it was fun - there were no ports so no excursions. To be fair to the crew, they had NO CONTROL over customs. Customs, for whatever reason, decided to do a FULL customs check on EACH guest, so disembarkation was a nightmare. The staff COULD have allowed for guests w/ flights to catch to disembark first, but no such concession was made. Other than disembarkation, the entire cruise, the food, everything was wonderful. I LOVE the sorbet in the dining rooms and highly recommend everyone trying it... there are odd flavors sometimes, but still so very, very good - Well, that's about it... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Very poor experience overall. Starting it all off my baggage "lost" (sitting behind front desk), first customer service agent told me to come back at 6pm and didn't even check, this was at 4pm and we boarded in the morning ... Read More
Very poor experience overall. Starting it all off my baggage "lost" (sitting behind front desk), first customer service agent told me to come back at 6pm and didn't even check, this was at 4pm and we boarded in the morning mind you. The rest of my cabin mates received their luggage between 11a-1pm, and we all placed them in the same a truck. Went back at 5pm, a new customer service agent was there and actually looked for my bag, she quickly found it sitting behind the front desk. Of course all my clothes and sunscreen were in it so I was unable to enjoy the best the day time activities like swimming with my group. Waited at the bar twice for a couple cans of coke for about 30 minutes each time to receive no service. On the third attempt, after about 15 minutes of waiting, we were able to purchase coke cans woohoo! We found a bloody finger print on the counter in our deluxe balcony suite bathroom, likely from a used feminine product or bloody nose from the last passenger, extremely disgusting.. During dinner I ordered a ribeye steak for dinner which cost $19 extra, cut into it and it was literally raw in the middle (asked for medium but will eat rare). Replacement steak came medium-well, shouldn't be that difficult to cook it medium. The icing on the cake was the 4- hours of standing in line to depart the ship because proper procedure wasn't followed and customs weren't cleared at the port it was supposed to be done at. I would not recommend this cruise line to anyone as I've never had a worse cruise experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Background Information Working toward Elite status on Princess - we had 10 prior to this. Cobbled together this cruise with the 3n Coral Princess LA to Vancouver into our own Pacific Coastal/Pacific Northwest vacation. Second time ... Read More
Background Information Working toward Elite status on Princess - we had 10 prior to this. Cobbled together this cruise with the 3n Coral Princess LA to Vancouver into our own Pacific Coastal/Pacific Northwest vacation. Second time sailing on Ruby (1st time was in 2014) - this is the first Princess ship that we've repeated. Travel to Embarkation Port After disembarking Coral Princess, we stayed two nights in Vancouver. Hotel Information In between our Coral and Ruby cruises, we stayed at the Sunset Inn & Suites in downtown Vancouver. We had a 6th floor king bedroom suite. The room was appointed with modern light wood flooring and hard furnishings. There were separate rooms for bedroom, living/dining, bath, and full kitchen, plus hall closet. Plenty of space. Bed was comfortable. Bedroom has a window A/C and two fans were provided. Continental breakfast is provided but due to limited space in the lobby you actually take it back to your room to eat. Hotel is located a couple blocks from Davie St in the West End area. For the hotel location & spaciousness of the suite, it was a tremendous value for the price. Embarkation Took a taxi over to Canada Place (cost $11). Arrived at port 10:30 am. Since we had priority embarkation privileges with Princess Platinum loyalty status, we ignored the check in begins at 1pm time. It was quite chaotic in the cruise terminal with 3 ships in port. We were thru security and checked in by 11:15 am. Elite/Platinum started boarding by 11:20am. Cabins were not promised available until 1pm - we went at 12:50 and the cabin was ready along with our luggage delivered. Muster drill was at 3:30pm (life jackets not required), and sailaway was at 4:45pm. Cabin We booked an inside sideways stateroom on Riviera deck. We were amazed at the amount of interior space we had. Lots of storage nooks & crannies plus a wall of closets and shelves. Center console area in the middle of the room. Nightstands on both sides of the bed. Spacious walking area around the bed and console. Princess Luxury Bed - got to enjoy this again. TV has the full Medallion setup with lots of free on demand movies. Dreaded shower curtain in the bathroom and a slightly bigger than a postage stamp sized shower. Ship Information This was our second time sailing Ruby. Changes since 2014: SHARE replaced Sabatini’s, Slice is new name with expanded options for Lido deck pizzeria, Salty Dog Grill is new name and expanded options for Lido deck grill, Salty Dog Gastropub occupies the corner section of the Wheelhouse Bar, Coffee & Cones is new name with expanded options for Lido deck ice cream, MedallionNet Internet. No BOGO happy hour. Activities You definitely want to be outside for sailaway from Vancouver- one of the most beautiful ports to sail out of going under the Lion’s Gate bridge. Elite/Platinum/Suite Cocktail hour - guacamole & chips were the featured hors d’oeuvres. Entertainment Saw comedian Carlos Oscar - past Princess entertainer of the year. We’d seen him before so we knew he was super funny. There was a performer in the Princess Theatre, but it wasn’t a full production show and we didn’t see her. Dining Lunch - Slice (pizza & caprese toast) plus seafood ceviche & chips and salsa from buffet Snacks - International Cafe Dinner/Dessert - Salty Dog Gastropub (Scott had the calamari frites, Ernesto burger, and the strawberries & cream dessert. I had the lobster mac & cheese, crab cake, and the bourbon chocolate pot de crème dessert). I had a second Princess coupon book from our Coral Princess cruise, so we got to use the buy 1 get 1 speciality dining on embarkation day offer. Cover charge is $12pp. Disembarkation We left the cabin about 7:30 (required to leave by 8) and went to the International Café for a lite bite. We were off the ship around 8:00 and thru customs by 8:30 - alas no Global Entry. We took a Lyft to our post-cruise hotel Hilton Seattle. Note: Ride sharing picks up/drops off way outside the port area for Pier 91. If you have a lot of luggage and/or it’s raining, you’d be better off taking a taxi. Service We had consistent service during the cruise - no major issues, no examples of above & beyond. Pretty much what I expect on a short cruise like this. Tips & Tricks - Unless you live on the coast, it doesn’t make sense to fly in just to do a one night cruise. But if you can combine it with some pre- or post-land vacation time, or with another cruise (being mindful of the PVCA act), then it’s a great way to get a quick cruise credit toward higher loyalty status. Final Thoughts This was our 19th cruise - 12th on Princess. Hello & goodbye - that’s what a one night cruise feels like! It was our second time on Ruby so it was a chance to check out what had changed since our 2014 cruise. The upgraded dining venues on the Lido deck offer some great new food options. We got to finally try the Salty Dog Gastropub which we enjoyed. Ruby has the Princess Luxury Bed so that was very nice. The inside sideway stateroom was rather spacious - for the right type of itinerary, we’d consider booking this type of cabin again. Hotel Information We did our post-cruise night at the Hilton Seattle in downtown. Hotel is undergoing guest room modernizations. Our king room had the new sepia/gray color palette and new furnishings. Clearly catering to the hipsters, there are no drawers to store any clothes, just the hanging closet. The nightstands are tables with one skinny pullout drawer. The bathroom has an annoying sliding door so that means less privacy and more light exposure to the bedroom. Lots of plugs & USB ports around the room. Mini fridge & coffeemaker but no microwave. Good bedding. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
After finding out that my husband planned to be out of town for the Mother's Day Weekend, I decided on a whim to book the very reasonably priced 1 day Pacific Coastal cruise from Vancouver to Seattle on the Ruby Princess. It would be ... Read More
After finding out that my husband planned to be out of town for the Mother's Day Weekend, I decided on a whim to book the very reasonably priced 1 day Pacific Coastal cruise from Vancouver to Seattle on the Ruby Princess. It would be a business trip, I thought to myself, because booking a cabin as a single would get me double credit towards becoming Elite on Princess. What a great idea! Because I had never cruised out of Vancouver, into Seattle, or on a 1 day cruise, I didn't know what to expect and it actually did turn out to be quite a lot of work. So yes, a business trip.I was able to book Aeroplan points at a discount for a flight from Seattle back to Vancouver, so I wasn't out of pocket for the return trip. I was very fortunate that I had not 1, but 2 different friends offer to drive me to the cruise port at Canada Place. I would have been happy with being dropped off at the Canada Line Skytrain station, but my friend insisted on driving me directly to the port. What chaos in the surrounding area. 9000 passengers disembarking and 9000 more ( 3 ships in port that day) embarking, construction in the surrounding area, and many tourists in the area made for slow going. I eventually got to the place where passengers without checked bags could go down the stairway to enter the check in area, only to be stopped by a security guard who insisted that Princess would not allow passengers to enter the area until 1pm. That left those of us unfamiliar with the procedure to stand outside in the broiling sun, potentially for hours. After walking around for 20 minutes, I realized that if his directive were true, there would be hundreds of people standing around waiting to enter, and there weren't. I decided to follow the many passengers with baggage who were using a different entrance, down a ramp. Surprise, surprise. I walked right up to the security area and Princess check in, and was on board in 15 minutes. The Ruby Princess is very much like the Diamond Princess, which I have been on several times. After boarding, knowing that the cabins would not be available for 2 more hours, I went directly to the Lotus pool, and to the only shade on deck at the time. I saw people lining up in the hallways, waiting to be allowed to their cabins, but it seemed a bit of a waste of time. I spent some time catching up on emails etc., got a great burger from the Salty Dog grill on deck, and a Long Island Ice Tea from the Tradewinds bar to help use up some of my on board credit. I should mention that even on this 1 day cruise, I was able to get 50 USD shareholder credit, and 25 USD travel agent credit. I wanted to use some of the OBC to pay for a transfer to Seattle airport upon arrival, and asked the travel agency to contact Princess to find out it they were selling transfers on board. I was assured they were, but of course when I stopped by Customer Services, they told me no, no transfers, end of story. I worried the whole time about how I would get to the airport, how expensive a taxi would be etc. Fortunately, when I exited customs in Seattle, there was a booth selling transfers. Problem solved, but it would have been nice if Princess had provided that information. I headed to my cabin at 1 pm. I had booked an inside guarantee and was given an obstructed ocean view. It was a very nice, large cabin on Emerald Deck. I discovered I had been given a free drink coupon, so I decided to use it at sailaway. Next up was the muster drill. The time in the Patter said muster drill at 415. No, they called passengers to the drill at 345. At least it didn't last too long. I wanted to check in for my flight back from Seattle to Vancouver the next day, so I checked out the Internet centre. I was able to log in with no problem, using my free Platinum minutes. No cost to print the boarding card. Great, one less concern for the next day. I headed up on deck to the Tradewinds Bar to use my free drink coupon. Along with everyone else on the ship. The bars were packed. I waited a good half hour for my free drink, along with many other people. Anyway, the location at Canada Place is stunning, and the sailaway under the Lions Gate Bridge is spectacular. It was great to hear everyone cheer as the ship seemed to just make it under the bridge. The ship was sold out, and it showed at the fast food venues on deck and in the buffet. Patience was a virtue for sure, with no signage pointing out where to order and where to pick up food. Everyone was asking which line was for what, and where the start and end were. I can't say I really enjoyed any of the food I tried, other than the burger from Salty Dog grill and a piece of flourless chocolate cake from the buffet, which was to die for. I watched the comedian, Carlos ? in one of the lounges, and he was very funny, a real audience pleaser. I did a lot of walking on deck, admiring the stunning views and sunset. Back in the cabin, I enjoyed the wine I brought on board and watched some movies on the awesome widescreen tv. Great selection of on demand movies - I watched Crazy Rich Asians (again!) and First Man. At 1 am, unable to sleep, I headed down to Customer Services to get my refundable on board credit refunded. Under 25.00 is refundable in cash, so I thought I would beat the morning rush. I have never had on board credit before, this was a first for me. I used up the nonrefundable shareholder credit with 1 Long Island ice tea (11.80,) 1 nights gratuity (13.50) and mascara from the on board shop (25.00.) That left me with 24.70 refundable credit, which was refunded to me in cash. There was really no information given about disembarkation except a card in my stateroom telling me to wait until 955 to walk off. Knowing that I had a noon flight home, and American customs to clear, I obviously ignored that. An announcement was finally made in the morning announcing disembarkation, forward and midship. Except crew were telling everyone it was only forward. And in fact, it was forward and aft. No signage whatsoever, I'm sure every single passenger had to ask where to go to find the gangway. Anyway, I was able to pay for a transfer, as it turned out, after going through the very, very, very long customs line. I was on the bus and on my way to the airport in short order. The shuttle cost 29 USD, but I'm sure a taxi would have cost a lot more as it was a long drive. Unrelated to the cruise, on my flight home, on a small aircraft with very little personal space, the man sitting next to me seemed to feel he had paid for 2 seats, not just 1. His right knee and elbow spent the whole (20 minute) flight firmly in my space. Even a gentle hint that I was trying my best to give him room went unheeded. I would really prefer not to be cozied up to a stranger, but he couldn't have cared less. Would I do another 1 day cruise like this? I'm not sure. It really did seem like work, at least for someone travelling solo Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because I heard it had high ratings and was a short 3 day cruise. I really enjoyed everything and the fact that it had a structured schedule of entertainment and activities. We had a great experience at Lotus spa and ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I heard it had high ratings and was a short 3 day cruise. I really enjoyed everything and the fact that it had a structured schedule of entertainment and activities. We had a great experience at Lotus spa and got a couple's massage and hair style.Every personnel was so kind, knowledgable and helped us in every way. We were very satisfied with them. I was really happy that there was 24 hour cafes and room service along with daily live music that one could dance to. All the entertainers were so talented, I was impressed! We had so much fun and danced, ate and drank a lot. We had a chance to relax while at sea. It was absolutely wonderful and my boyfriend proposed to me on the last night we were there. It was truly a special adventure as it was a special occasion and our first cruise together with the exceptional service of the Star Princess Cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Four of us women friends from across the map (Toronto, Florida, San Francisco, and Vancouver) chose this cruise as an opportunity to reunite, to hang out and chill, and it exceeded all of our expectations. Originally, we booked two balcony ... Read More
Four of us women friends from across the map (Toronto, Florida, San Francisco, and Vancouver) chose this cruise as an opportunity to reunite, to hang out and chill, and it exceeded all of our expectations. Originally, we booked two balcony rooms; but when PRINCESS offered us an opportunity to upgrade to a Full Suite at a discount, and we took advantage of the offer. It was completely worth it. We enjoyed welcome champagne, “high tea” one afternoon, and a gourmet breakfast one morning out on our balcony. We made use of the thermal suites in the spa. We enjoyed stellar breakfasts and dinner at Sabatini’s. We took in the comedians, a couple of shows, and then continued our celebration for a couple of additional nights in Vancouver where spring was in full bloom. The weather on the cruise was overcast, foggy, and chilly the whole time. One night, we went to sleep to the sound of the fog horn, but this did not detract from our enjoyment. I would book this cruise again — particularly for a reunion with family. Highly recommend! Thank you, PRINCESS!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Embarkation- super easy out of San Pedro. Was in boarding group 9 and on the ship before 12:30. Ate in the main dining room-delicious! Kept my carry-on with me. Rooms were ready by 1:00. Stateroom L311- nice and clean. Furniture had a ... Read More
Embarkation- super easy out of San Pedro. Was in boarding group 9 and on the ship before 12:30. Ate in the main dining room-delicious! Kept my carry-on with me. Rooms were ready by 1:00. Stateroom L311- nice and clean. Furniture had a few scratches. No USB Ports. No barrel chair. Bed was heavenly. Balcony could use paint. Got Lotus Spa lotion every day. Had to remind steward for ice once. Buffet- nice selection. Mainly made salads for lunch. Coffee and Cones- pizza was good. Baristas seemed like making coffee was a bother. Salty Dog Grill- the Triple Smoke Burger is outstanding. Will cook burger to order. Fries were always fresh. Chef’s Table- WONDERFUL! International Cafe- great as always. Casino- too many of the same machines. Spa- wanted the thermal spa. Signed up and went the first night. Got lost. No one to help. Went back again at 9:10 (closes at 10). They were picking up water. Just relaxed at 9:40 and housekeeping came in. Got my money back and will never go back. Shops- wanted Matrishka Dolls. Asked if they would be available next day. They said yes. Went back next day and they were gone! Asked for them and they said no. On disembarkation they were in the window. Bummed. Disembarkation was easy but too soon! Took a Princess transfer to the airport. Had a bit of a wait so I checked bags and took Sky Train to Outlet Mall (2 stops). Customs was harried. Would have been a 5 except for spa experience and shops/dining options not keeping their hours. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We decided we needed a break and chose to go on a three-day cruise to simply relax. The price was quite reasonable and affordable for almost any budget. We chose the three-day cruise on the Coral Princess departing Los Angeles on Sunday ... Read More
We decided we needed a break and chose to go on a three-day cruise to simply relax. The price was quite reasonable and affordable for almost any budget. We chose the three-day cruise on the Coral Princess departing Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon and docking in Vancouver BC on Wednesday morning. Both ports provided incredibly easy arrival and departure options. The Coral Princess is one of the best ships in the Princess fleet. And it is now our favorite of all the ships we've sailed. It was comfortable, welcoming and warm. The wait and cabin staff were among the best we have ever encountered. The decor was rich and inviting. The Balcony Cabin on the Caribe was comfy. Those Princess beds are the best. You can just snuggle right in. We chose Anytime Dining in the Bordeaux where the menu selections were many. One of the best appetizers on the menu is any of the chilled soups. The Horizon Court food was always fresh with lots of choices. And finally the entertainment in the Princess Theater was high quality, with some of the best singers, dancers and musicians we've ever encountered on any cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Quick 3 day repositioning cruise heading north to Vancouver. Flight in to LAX was perfect since Princess has staff at the baggage pickup area. My flight came in at 9:20 am. Bought transfer to ship at baggage claim from Princess ... Read More
Quick 3 day repositioning cruise heading north to Vancouver. Flight in to LAX was perfect since Princess has staff at the baggage pickup area. My flight came in at 9:20 am. Bought transfer to ship at baggage claim from Princess personal and waited for bus. Our luggage stayed with staff and we were taken directly to ship. On the Coral Princess ship by 11:30 am. Luggage made it onto ship without any problem & was so nice not to deal with it on bus or pier. Beautiful day in LA. Blue sky and able to sit on padded lounge chairs by the indoor pool and watch the seals swimming near the ship. Nice lunch at Horizon buffet which is at the front of the ship. Went to one production show at the Princess Theater/ front of the ship. Enjoyed the special guest singers, Princess singers and band that preformed. Went to a comedy show at the back of the ship, really like that lounge and comedy was nice with little or no profanity. Relaxing Trip. Still like to watch the Yes, No game. Anytime dining was good. For Vancouver I was in walkoff group 2 taking own luggage off. Although we were slightly late to the dock/pier, I was walking off the ship by 7:45 am. Made prior reservation with Quick Shuttle and able to catch the 9 am bus to Seattle without any problem for my flight. This reposition sailing only offered transfers to Vancouver airport. I really liked the size of the Coral Princess and thought it was a pretty ship and like it, would sail on it again. Someone mentioned no seating by the Atrium on this ship, I didn’t really go there much. Didn’t notice any smoke smell from casino which was really nice. Loved that their was always lounge chairs available to use. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this short cruise to introduce a 'newb' to cruising. It was intended to give her a taste of cruising.......more than a one day overnight repositioning. By the time you add airfare to SF, and cost to get home as well ... Read More
I chose this short cruise to introduce a 'newb' to cruising. It was intended to give her a taste of cruising.......more than a one day overnight repositioning. By the time you add airfare to SF, and cost to get home as well as port fee's and taxes that matched the cabin charge.....it all add's up to a 'not cheap' cruise.......it's something to consider---cost to value. Arrived in SF to find an 'annual coast guard' inspection underway. The ship had been sailing out of Ft Laurderdale all winter so this wasn't a back to the USA deal......but it delayed getting on board, and then delays getting documents signed caused the departure at 5 pm to be closer to 6:30....... For those that have visited SF going under the Golden Gate bridge is a highlight........unfortunately the ebb tide and delays due to the inspection made a mess of the first night transit. The food in the MDR was less edible than anything I had experienced before. Very few choices for anyone with dietary needs. (GF) We were told more than once that there weren't choices because things cost too much in SF so they had not restocked the ship for the jaunt back to Vancouver. They were simply 'out' of things that they should have had. I believe this was accurate........and further degraded the experience. On the last day we had some good food! While that's nice to see they can produce good entree's.......it's all the more upsetting that they DID NOT, until the last meal. The Captain stated that they have 5 motors/engines on the ship but only need 4. A good thing since he also said the 5th one was not working during our trip. So you spend all day with the coast guard and go out to sea with less than a fully functional ship? I don't care that you only need 4........I'd bet you NEED that 5th one if anything happens to #'s 1-4. We faced Beaufort 10 conditions at sea.............hmmmm, plugging along as best we could with the knowledge that she was not fully rigged. Parts of the ship were extremely cold (Crows Nest, Lido, etc)..........like they had failed to turn off the air conditioning from a more tropical zone (Panama Canal). Thruster and docking procedures took forever---which everyone knows is not a pleasant experience for anyone. I have never listened to so much noise and vibrations as well as the inching of the ship into port or docking or leaving port. So, yet more time was 'lost' with these processes. After docking an hour (or more) late in Victoria--after arriving on time, they 'forgot' to tell folks the ship was cleared for people to get off. During the Captain's talk he made a comment about other captains when a question was asked about an Alaska route. Basically stating that he would not endanger a ship as if other captains had done so when traveling last summer. Very unprofessional given the route in question (Grenville Channel) is a route available to smaller cruise ships and it is a known route to Alaska. This was just plain unprofessional.........if he'll never sail that route, fine, but it's on my list of things to do and sorry I missed the opportunity last year...... I suspect it is not a preplanned route and dependent on tides/condition on the water........for the Captains that have chosen it. Thank you to them........the guests had a rare experience these days! Staff were good overall. Room stewards were great, MDR first night was very slow and not sure if that was new crew or ??? Next two nights we ended up at a different table and service was great. Too bad the food cannot match the service on board! While I have sailed HAL over 5 times, I think this may be the end of our relationship. It's not worth it to have problems with food and the ship. This is not a one off as the last HAL experience 3 years ago had similar issues on the Zaandam. So two strikes are now seen.......dare we try for three or cut our losses and move on. There are other cruise experiences that have been better than HAL' s with Carnival..........it's easier to remember the good ol' days and move on then throw good money after bad........... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Background Information Working toward Elite status on Princess - we had 10 prior to this. Cobbled together this cruise with a one night cruise on Ruby Princess into our own Pacific Coastal/Pacific Northwest vacation. First time ... Read More
Background Information Working toward Elite status on Princess - we had 10 prior to this. Cobbled together this cruise with a one night cruise on Ruby Princess into our own Pacific Coastal/Pacific Northwest vacation. First time sailing on Coral (2nd time in this ship class - sailed sister ship Island in 2006). Travel to Embarkation Port We flew into LAX one day early and took a Lyft down to Long Beach (cost $39). Hotel Information We decided to do our pre-cruise night onboard the former cruise ship Queen Mary in Long Beach. We arrived around 1pm, so our room was not ready. We had a very filling and excellent tasting lunch in the Promenade Café. We purchased the $25 all access pass (available to hotel, restaurant, or banquet guests). This got us all 3 guided tours - Glory Days, Haunted Encounters, and Steam & Steel. We enjoyed all the tours as well as on our own exploring the ship. We booked an inside king. The bed was comfortable. The size and storage options were sufficient for our one night stay. The biggest drawbacks were the lack of temperature controls and the exposure to exterior noise. The in room thermostat was not functional (and I had a friend stay here the prior weekend and I know it didn’t work for their room either) - you had to call the front desk and be told that the engineering dept would try to adjust for your room. We did that and it didn’t make that much of a difference. Because the walls are steel, you hear any people outside your room who are talking and for us there were loud groups of people having boisterous conversations and across the hallway parties late at night. We had to call the front desk to request that security come address the issue. Things finally quieted down around midnight. I always travel with earplugs so those would be a must for a stay here. The historical significance of the ship was worth the premium rate we paid - it was a unique way to enjoy a pre-cruise night. But my preference for modern convenience and comfort would lead me to choose elsewhere for my next cruise out of San Pedro/Long Beach. Embarkation Used Lyft to get to Port San Pedro. Cost about $14. Arrived at port shortly after 11am. With two Princess ships in port, Coral was docked at Pier 92. Since we had priority embarkation privileges with Princess Platinum loyalty status, we ignored the check in begins at 1:00pm time on the cruise paperwork. We were thru security & priority check-in and in the embarkation waiting area by 11:15 am. We didn’t even have to sit down as they started Platinum all groups boarding as soon as we walked in. Cabins were supposed to be immediately available. However our section on Caribe wasn’t quite finished so we headed down to the atrium to take care of a few embarkation errands (cruise card hole punched for our lanyards, submit future cruise deposit forms, etc). We returned just before noon and the cabin was ready. Our suitcases were delivered by 2 pm. Muster drill was at 3:30pm (life jackets not required), and sailaway was shortly after 4pm. Cabin We originally booked an obstructed view oceanview stateroom on Emerald deck but about three months prior to sailing we received an offer to upgrade to a premium view balcony stateroom on Caribe deck for $78. We were on the starboard side, which was good since the cruise was up the Pacific coastline. Flat screen TV on the wall now frees up easier access to the wall outlet in the minibar storage tower. Still the crappy hair dryer on the wall. Dreaded shower curtain in the bathroom and a postage stamp sized shower - I think the smallest size shower of any Princess ship I’ve been on. Otherwise, the typical setup for a balcony stateroom. This was our first cruise on a ship with the Princess Luxury Bed. It’s fantastic! Supportive yet cushy mattress. Poofy pillows. Top sheet plus a duvet. Ship Information It had been 13 years since we'd sailed on this mid-size class of ship. There is so much public space per passenger it seemed like the ship was hardly occupied. Medallion Net Internet - If you pre-pay it's $8.99pp/per day, otherwise it’s $9.99pp/per day. Platinum/Elite gets either unlimited access discount 1 device $22.49 voyage plan or 4 device $29.99 voyage plan (available only within first 24 hrs of the cruise) or 150 free minutes one device at a time. iMessage worked even when offline. We pre-paid for the soda package - $8.26pp/per day. Forgotten how huge the Wheelhouse Bar is on this class of ship. Coral is the only ship now to have the Universe Lounge. Best library of any Princess ship we’ve sailed. So weird to have International Café adjacent to the casino instead of in the piazza atrium. Horizon Court had been renovated with new flooring and more stations including the Amuleto Italian Café at the aft where all the desserts are featured. So it’s a smaller version of what you experience now on the Royal class ships. No BOGO happy hour. Activities Attended the nightly Elite/Platinum/Suite Cocktail hour. 1st night salsa & chips were the featured hors d’oeuvres. 2nd night beef steak tartare w/ Melba toast was the featured hors d’oeuvres. 3rd night smoked salmon was the featured hors d’oeuvres. Played morning & afternoon bingo on Day 2. Spent quality time in the Library - my happy place with the comfy leather chairs and a sea view. Spent a couple hours at the indoor Lotus pool area. Pool water was frigid but hot tubs were nice. Played afternoon bingo on Day 3. Watched the farewell balloon drop party. Entertainment Sailaway Party on Lido Deck with the party band Symphonee. Listened to the piano player David Moore in Crooners Bar a couple times. Saw the production show “Encore”. Not any plot - just a collection of songs about 1/3 of which were Italian/opera. The guest soprano Jennifer Fair was impressive. But I was kinda meh about the show. Went to the late night comedian Eric Lyden. He was funny but fairly edgy. Dining Day 1 Lunch - Main Dining Room (Scott and I had the same choices: avocado & bay shrimp appetizer, spinach & ricotta cheese ravioli entrée, and orange soufflé dessert) Dinner/Dessert - Bayou Café & Steakhouse (Scott had the crawfish bisque appetizer, gumbo, trinity smothered filet of beef entrée; I had the sausage grillades appetizer, jambalaya, red pepper broiled 8oz lobster tail entrée; we both had the milk chocolate peanut butter bar w/ honey roasted peanuts dessert which is the Chocolate Journeys dessert exclusive to Bayou Steakhouse). Because we received the Princess coupon book from our travel agent, we got to use the buy 1 get 1 speciality dining on embarkation day offer. Cover charge is $29pp. Day 1 Snacks - Pizza (calabrese) for sailaway. Day 2 Breakfast - Buffet (Chocolate Journeys featured pastry was Chocolate Strawberry Cheese Danish) Day 2 Lunch - Buffet (Oriental/sushi feature) Day 2 Dinner/Dessert - Sabatini’s (Scott had the lamb skewers antipasti, I had the burrata antipasti, we both had the escarole salad, Scott had the fettuccine with carbonara sauce, I had the roasted lamb tortelloni, we both had the chicken scaloppine for the second plate, Scott had the vanilla panna cotta, and I had the Rocher which is the Chocolate Journeys dessert exclusive to Sabatini’s). Dinner took about 2 hours. Day 3 Breakfast - Buffet plus pastries from International Cafe Day 3 Lunch - Alfredo’s Pizzeria at Sabatini’s (complementary; doesn’t offer the pastas that Alfredo’s does on the Royal Class ships but has more pizza offerings than what you can get on deck; Scott had the daily special beef & chili flakes, I had the Coral Princess) Day 3 Snacks - International cafe Day 3 Dinner/Dessert - Buffet (Indian Feature) Disembarkation We left the cabin about 7:00 (required to leave by 8:00) and went to the buffet for breakfast. We had walk off so we were off the ship at 8:00. We were through customs by 8:15. Vancouver does not have Uber/Lyft so we got a taxi to our hotel (cost $9). Service We had consistent service during the cruise - no major issues, no examples of above & beyond. Pretty much what I expect on a short cruise like this. Tips & Tricks - Alfredo’s pizzeria in Sabatini’s - Tiramisu martini is only available at the bar for Bayou Steakhouse - "By the Bayou" production show in Universe Lounge - unique to Coral but they didn’t offer this show on this 3 night cruise which was a bummer Final Thoughts This was our 18th cruise - 11th on Princess. Doesn’t have all the amenities and dining options that the bigger ships in the fleet have. But Coral has some unique features (2 deck Universe Lounge, Library with 8 leather club chairs & foot stools facing out to sea view, Bayou Steakhouse), and you often feel as though you have the ship to yourself with the high public space to passenger ratio. It’s a nice change of pace. We would be happy to sail on Coral again (and we’ve in fact booked another Pacific Coastal on her for May 2021). Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Second time on Princess (first on Coral). Had done the same itinerary two years go on Island. Got upgraded to balcony on Caribe Deck. Location was good and had a covered balcony. However it was really too cold to spend anytime on it! ... Read More
Second time on Princess (first on Coral). Had done the same itinerary two years go on Island. Got upgraded to balcony on Caribe Deck. Location was good and had a covered balcony. However it was really too cold to spend anytime on it! Embarkation and Disembarkation went very smoothly (I was in first group both times with carry on luggage). Ship has supposedly been recently updates..seemingly the public area carpets look fresh, ship has the new internet service. There was some exterior painting going on. The metal frame around my baloney door was corroded. Layout of the ship is better than Island, there is still a full Promenade loop on Deck 7 (although closed during rough seas). Small viewing decks at back of upper floors, below the Sanctuary. Library is limited..very sad compared to Holland America. Viewing areas are blocked by blue-tinted glass, very little is unobscured for photographers (a few corners on upper levels, and the back decks, plus Promenade. Blankets provided for outdoor movie viewing are thin flannel, useless in cold weather! Cabin was small, but had room to walk around bed. Bed was extremely soft and saggy, had a sore back after the cruise! Shower stall is cramped, shower head is fixed. Room has small refrigerator. Large flat screen TV. Wine glasses provided but no corkscrew. Standard toiletries are wall mounted shower/conditioner and shower gel, tube skin cream and soap bar. No fruit basket (steward said to request it through room service). Balcony had two chairs and two footrests. Dining in MDR fixed seating was good service. Food was average and somewhat boring. Prime Rib was good, as was beef and lamb chop in mixed grill at lunch. Corvina was fishy smelling. Good scooped ice cream in MDR (choice of two ice creams and one sorbet). Bread is good. Horizon Court food very mediocre with not much choice. Only one smoked fish (mackerel) was available at breakfast. Sushi was terrible! Beverage service is uneven..usually only offered to large parties, not to single diners. Pizza in Sabattinis at lunch is made to order, thin crust style and skimpy toppings. International Cafe food offerings were versions of what was up in Horizon Court. Nothing Special. Room service has limited offerings but was timely. Very little in the way of enrichment..are crafts enrichment? TV had good selection of movies and news channels. Service was overall good except in Horizon Court. I didn't use any ships excursions. I would chose Holland America over Princess for an Alaska Cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our fifth Princess cruise, and our second on the Ruby. EMBARKATION: We took the Princess transfer from LAX and arrived at the terminal around 11:30. We had about a 15 minute wait in line to check in. Since we were still Ruby ... Read More
This was our fifth Princess cruise, and our second on the Ruby. EMBARKATION: We took the Princess transfer from LAX and arrived at the terminal around 11:30. We had about a 15 minute wait in line to check in. Since we were still Ruby level for this cruise, we didn’t have priority boarding, but we only waited another 20 minutes before our boarding group was called. We ate lunch in the Da Vinci dining room, and our cabin was ready for us at 1:00 PM. Our luggage showed up a little later, not sure of the time since we were out exploring. CABIN: Baja Deck B521. This was our first time in an interior cabin. Good location, quiet. Clean, not spacious but enough room for the two of us. The bed was extremely comfortable—great upgrade from the old foam egg crate solution. The motion-detecting night light at the base of the desk was handy. Our steward Manuel kept everything clean and tidy. (A tip if you use the new TV: you have to watch the opening safety video all the way to the end before you are able to change the channel. If you stop in the middle of the video, when you turn on the TV again, the video will start from the beginning. This was a feature we hadn’t experienced on our last cruise.) SHIP: I saw somewhere that they added extra cabins when the Ruby was in dry dock—I don’t know if that’s accurate, but the ship certainly felt more crowded than when we sailed in Feb. 2018. The safety muster was more chaotic than in the past. There were lines for afternoon tea and for the pub lunch in the Crown Grill, but they weren’t too bad if you’re patient. The ship has been refurbished and we noticed certain things: new carpeting in the stateroom hallways is very nice, but we miss the old color scheme that signaled whether you were on the port or starboard side. The new beds are great—we slept quite soundly. The service desk was very helpful when we asked about a missing OBC. They contacted the home office and were able to resolve the mystery, and the credit appeared on our statement before we docked in Vancouver. DINING: We had the early seating for traditional dining in Botticelli, and I have to say I preferred when the seating started later, at 5:45. A 5:00 seating is too early. Dinner was excellent every night, and the food was well-prepared. Everything was fresh and the portions were right-sized. Our server, Arren, and his assistant, Francis, were helpful and attentive, and remembered our preferences each night. We ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room several days, and in the Caribe buffet on the others. I prefer the breakfast menu in the dining room but the service was inconsistent and slow at times (we missed the start of our CC M&M because breakfast ran long). The staff seemed overwhelmed by the crowd. We ate dinner only once in the Horizon and I was not impressed by the selection of food. We purchased the coffee package and had great service from the baristas at the International Court. We were put off by the new up-sell items on the dinner menu, offering “Crown Grill” steaks, etc. We miss having the afternoon happy hour/“Buy one, get one drink for $1” that used to accompany the trivia game in Explorers Lounge. That was always a great social activity and encouraged passengers to mingle and form teams. Apparently other passengers miss it too—the afternoon trivia games were not as well attended as in the past. ENTERTAINMENT: We enjoyed all of the evening shows. We had seen the comic Carlos Oscar on a previous cruise, and he was great as usual. He performed two nights. The musical guest Tricia Kelly is a talented vocalist and does wonderful impressions. The magician Julien Losa performed in Club Fusion and he was very funny. The updated “Colors of the World” benefited from its new staging and musical selections. The new production “Once upon a Dream” was fun and a bit campy. The Princess singers and dancers certainly work hard to entertain. There were some fun evening activities in the Piazza, and we especially enjoyed the “Dancing with the Staff” competition. The line dancing in Explorers Lounge was another fun activity and was well-attended. The cruise director’s staff did an admirable job getting passengers engaged, more so than on our past Princess cruises. DISEMBARKATION: We chose walk-off because we were staying in Vancouver for a few days. The disembarkation seemed rather chaotic but we were able to skirt around the crowds and exit the ship. Inside the terminal at Vancouver, there was a bit of a wait for customs. All in all, the Ruby looks great after her recent refurbishment, the staff was helpful and friendly, and this was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
As a travel advisor I wanted to experience life onboard a Princess Cruise. The embarkation and Disembarkation process was very efficient. There were many venues onboard with different nightly entertainment. The public areas never felt ... Read More
As a travel advisor I wanted to experience life onboard a Princess Cruise. The embarkation and Disembarkation process was very efficient. There were many venues onboard with different nightly entertainment. The public areas never felt crowded. The SPA experience was great and the thermal suite can be enjoyed daily at an extra cost. My cabin had a veranda, mid ship. My companion suffers from motion sickness but staying mid ship was very helpful and she did great onboard. I recommended to anyone looking to experience cruising for the first time. It is a great value for the money. The food in the main dining room is good. The menu changes every evening with a decent selection of choices. The food at the buffet as well as the coffee can be improve. The staff is very friendly. The pools were heated and there were 4 spas to relax and watch outdoor movies on the big screen. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to go to Canada and this seemed like a good approach. The ship was in good condition. Food was ok. Buffet is split into two adjacent sections and it was a challenge to find seating a couple of times. The setup for the Lotus ... Read More
We wanted to go to Canada and this seemed like a good approach. The ship was in good condition. Food was ok. Buffet is split into two adjacent sections and it was a challenge to find seating a couple of times. The setup for the Lotus pool was bizarre. You can see it from the hallway in Lotus Spa but the doors are kept locked. I wanted to use the hot tub beside the pool and I asked the hostess at the spa when it opens and she said that she did not know. There aren't any signs stating when the hottub opens and I ended up asking a ship officer and he said it should already be open, but it was not. It opened about 15 minutes later. To access the pool, go up a flight of stairs, walk across the deck, then go down a flight of stairs. Good exercise but convoluted. There were other times when we tried to go someplace and had to take an indirect route. This is common on almost every ship that I have been on but the Ruby Princess has more than it's share. The production shows were ok. I went to see a presentation on a new ship and it was a video followed by the Princess dancers, the Princess orchestra. I left at that point. We did the Panama Canal on the Island Princess around Christmas last year. We really enjoyed that cruise and did not want it to end. For our Ruby Princess, we were glad that it was over. Our experience was not bad, just meh. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We enjoyed trying the larger Royal ship, which was beautiful, especially the large atrium, and the Medallion system made the experience better. One nice surprise was that the excellent speed of MedallionNet allowed us to watch the new ... Read More
We enjoyed trying the larger Royal ship, which was beautiful, especially the large atrium, and the Medallion system made the experience better. One nice surprise was that the excellent speed of MedallionNet allowed us to watch the new episode of Game of Thrones on a tablet. The only crowd problems were at the Princess Theater, where you had to arrive at least 1/2 hour before showtime to get a decent seat although it was easier for the later 10 p.m. shows, at elevators, and at the gangway to exit the ship when only one was being used. Speaking of shows, comedian AJ Jamal was absolutely hilarious at both shows during the week. Cruise Director Matt O was exceptionally entertaining and seemed to be everywhere; don't miss him when he is in charge of games in the Princess Live room. We thought the production show Colors of the World was just okay, but really enjoyed Encore. Our A-327 mini-suite was nice but the room attendant was just okay. Anytime dining at the Symphony Dining Room ranged from very good to average. Some favorite meals were beef medallions, pork,fried chicken, and the available everyday salmon. For the second Princess cruise in a row, the lobster tail during the second formal night was not that good. Breakfast here was not nearly as good as at the Horizon Court buffet, although sharing a table was a plus. One side of the huge buffet area always offered more dishes than the side more forward on the ship. Sabatinis had excellent service and food, definitely a cut above the MDR; we loved the artichoke souffle, pot roast pasta, lobster 3-way, veal shank, and tira misu. The Crown Grill was a disappointment, being adjacent to the busy and noisy Wheelhouse Bar. Although the service, lobster tail dinner, side dishes, and dessert were excellent, the rib eye steak was very thin and not particularly tasty. The International Cafe was excellent for coffees, desserts, and small plates. The casino allows smoking in one side section, resulting in the entire room and adjacent areas outside smelling. We would definitely like to sail on this larger class of ship again, will look for cruises with the Medallion system, and hope to experience Matt O' Brien again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I had been on two princess cruises in the past both excelent, so when i saw this repositioning cruise pop up with its final destination right in my home city I decided it was a must. The ship itself was beautiful, the restaurants and ... Read More
I had been on two princess cruises in the past both excelent, so when i saw this repositioning cruise pop up with its final destination right in my home city I decided it was a must. The ship itself was beautiful, the restaurants and service within those restaurants were wonderful, but the service at the bars and by the pools were pathetic. My bf purchased the alcohol package and i purchased the unalcoholic drink package, and trying to get drinks was like pulling teeth. you would order from a server after spending about 15 mins trying to wave one down and wait about 30mins before you got the drink or just left, even when you went to the bar you would wait 5-10mins, not because someone was infront of you but because the bartenders would first ignore you, then move in slow motion to make your drink. The activities on board were pretty pathetic aswell.. but this may be because the average age on the ship seemed to be in the 70s (we were not expecting this). There was knitting and painting and when there was volleyball planned the nets didn't even get set up because so few people showed up. The comedian AJ was great and was the highlight of our week. The other entertainment was good. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We did the Coastal sailing from San Pedro to Vancouver. The ports we visited were San Diego, San Francisco (over night) and Seattle. We were fortunate to have sunny skies and calm seas for the entire cruise. Embarkation with our ... Read More
We did the Coastal sailing from San Pedro to Vancouver. The ports we visited were San Diego, San Francisco (over night) and Seattle. We were fortunate to have sunny skies and calm seas for the entire cruise. Embarkation with our medallions was very quick and efficient, check in took minutes. We got to the port around 10:30 and we were eating in Alfredo’s around 11:30. The ship itself is very nice. We ate in the dining room 3 evenings and once for breakfast. All meals we ate in the dining room were not good at all. On the last night I ordered the Pork Belly which was recommended by the Waiter and it was so tough and dry I couldn’t cut it with my knife. The dining room food in quality and taste has really gone downhill from when we sailed with Princess 1.5 years ago. We ate at both The Crown Grill and Sabatini’s. We both ordered the Rib Eye steak in the Crown Grill. The steak tasted very good but a rib eye shouldn’t be 1/4 inch thick. There is less choices for the vegetables to chose from as well. Sabatini’s my husband had the Veal Shank which he thoroughly enjoyed and I had the NY Strip Steak which was okay. We signed up for the WineMakers dinner which cost $40.00 each and was well worth the money. The food and wine pairing was absolutely amazing. Apparently it is only offered on the Royal and the Regal and maybe one other ship, so if you get a chance I highly recommend it. We also did the Royal Tea there was a charge of $10.00 for it. It was nice although we have had better on other cruise lines with no added charge. It was nice to do it but we wouldn’t need to do it again. There were a few entertainers on board that were very enjoyable. It was nice to enjoy a glass of wine at Vines and listen to some music. The wine prices were very expensive averaged 11-15 dollars for a glass. It was cheaper to buy drinks on land than on the ship. We brought wine onboard with us for dinner and are glad we did. One of the cheapest bottles of wine cost around $45.00 with gratuities. Our cabin was D509 which was a mid ship Deluxe balcony. The cabin was fine, we had a two seater couch and a desk with a chair. The bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was very small. I could only imagine if you have long legs that you would need to open the bathroom door if you were using the toilet. The balcony was very small, there is no way you would be able to have a balcony dinner on it! When we arrived we found the coffee table in the closet, the reason being if you brought it out it would be more of a pain to keep trying to get around it so in the closet it stayed. Our cruise director was Matt O and he was always around and about, very good. Every morning he did the Zumba class in the Atrium and him and all the guests were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Overal the cruise was good but the food In the dining room and Buffet were not up to par. Alfredo’s for pizza was good, you can add items to a pizza and make it your own. We found the service in any venue to be very good, everyone on board tries their hardest to make the guests happy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We love the Royal Princess Cruise ship. We had sailed on it on a 21 day Mediterranean Cruise in 2016. Enjoy the layout of the ship, which includes the Princess Live. We were eager to try out the new Medallion Class and were were ... Read More
We love the Royal Princess Cruise ship. We had sailed on it on a 21 day Mediterranean Cruise in 2016. Enjoy the layout of the ship, which includes the Princess Live. We were eager to try out the new Medallion Class and were were celebrating our 35th. Wedding Anniversary. One of the reasons we chose this cruise is because it finished in Vancouver. We live in nearby Point Roberts , Washington State. We were Happy to celebrate our Anniversary in San Diego, California on Cinco De Mayo. Lots of celebrations going on in Old Town, San Diego. This was the first time that the Royal Princess has been on the West Coast! Matt O’Brien was our awesome cruise director. We selected an interior cabin this time. It was super cozy. Comfortable, and clean. We had plenty of room for our clothes. We preordered waters and beers for our room. Totally convenient! Love the new Medallion Class! Ease of embarking and disembarking! Fast! Great way to order drinks! Delivered directly to you. You use your Medallion for all purchases, everywhere on board. Including the laundry room, and the slot machines! Can’t say enough! It was awesome! Entertainment was good. The comedian, AJ Jamal, was a standout! He was the entertainment for two nights! He was awesome! The food was good. The pizza was available in two locations Alfredo’s Pizzeria , where they make individual pizzas to order. They also have other Italian food available. There is NO upcharge. The pizza is outstanding. Pizza can also be found up by the pool. You can get it by the slice. Delicious pizza! We went to the movies under the stars. Popcorn is available during the movies. Omelettes are made to order for breakfast at the buffet. Freshly sliced smoked salmon and bagels daily. Steak and all kinds of eggs, cereals, pastry. Something for everyone to eat at the breakfast buffet. There were two formal nights. The second formal night had mini lobster tails and risotto. I previously lived in Maine, so I am a tad picky with my lobster. This lobster tail was extremely tiny. We ate in the Steakhouse and it was delicious, as always. It never disappoints! My husband had the rib eye steak and I had the lamb chops. Cooked to perfection. Had salad. My husband had the baked potato with toppings and I had grilled fresh asparagus and the creamed spinach. Delicious. We also had dessert. There is a $29.00 upcharge each to eat at the Crowngrill Steakhouse. I highly recommend this for an extra special evening. Pub lunch! What can I say? We look forward to pub lunch on Princess Cruises. There is NO upcharge. Always a lineup! Usually held in the Wheelhouse Pub or the Crowngrill Steakhouse. They have fish and chips with mushy peas, steak and kidney pie, bangers and mash, English Plowman’s lunch. They also have British Beers available for purchase. It is just the right amount for lunch. We thoroughly enjoy the Pub Lunch! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to see the West Coast on a cruise, and we have sailed many times with Princess so decided to go with the Royal Princess. We have had 20 cruises sailing on Norwegian, Carnival, MSC, Celebrity, Holland and Princess. This was ... Read More
We wanted to see the West Coast on a cruise, and we have sailed many times with Princess so decided to go with the Royal Princess. We have had 20 cruises sailing on Norwegian, Carnival, MSC, Celebrity, Holland and Princess. This was our third time on the Royal Princess and we were disappointed in the quality and food choices in the dining room and the buffet. We only went to the dining room twice and found the food choices limiting and not up to the usual standards. They were offering a hamburger now instead of steak in the dining room. The buffet also lacked quality food. It seemed like they were serving up left over food and putting them into strange and unappealing dishes. The food did not look fresh. Also Princess is saying that using the hand sanitizers does not kill germs like washing with soap and water, and I agree, but the sinks they have before entering the buffet do not work well. There was often no soap and the water is not a strong flow. When you enter the buffet they had the hand sanitizers, but they were often empty. Therefore, many people not using either. There were good food options like the pay restaurants. We did eat at the Crown Grill and it was very good. We also liked Alfredos and the International Cafe. All excellent choices for food. All the staff, as usual, were excellent. The ports of our west coast cruise were excellent. The entertainment was very good on this cruise. The only problem, and that is a big one for us was the food. We have two more cruises booked: one with MSC and the other Holland America. We have had good experiences on both these cruise lines in the last few years. Read Less

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