This was our 2nd time on Island Princess. Overall it was a wonderful cruise. Cruise Director, Calli Smit and his team were outstanding especially Sandi and Heather and Mattie. The only downer were minor and had to do with food. The ... Read More
This was our 2nd time on Island Princess. Overall it was a wonderful cruise. Cruise Director, Calli Smit and his team were outstanding especially Sandi and Heather and Mattie. The only downer were minor and had to do with food. The gravy and other sauces were watery. The noon-time pizza in Sabatinis left much to be desired. The matre d in Sabinitins need a class on being a congenial host. However the Crab Shack evening was very nice and the food was exceptional.
Congratulations to the captain and crew who got us through a terrible storm safely.
The other area for improvement would be to train the port crew on what the Bon Voyage package is. We had purchased this package for our daughter and every crew member we mentioned it to at the port looked at us like we had two heads. We embarked at Fort Lauderdale.
Disembarkation was extremely well organized and ran like clockwork. Read Less
Hello, this morning we disembarked from the Ruby Princess after a one-day re-positioning from Seattle to Vancouver.
Our cabin was C409, we paid about $140 each for a balcony, but we had started out booking an inside room. About a month ... Read More
Hello, this morning we disembarked from the Ruby Princess after a one-day re-positioning from Seattle to Vancouver.
Our cabin was C409, we paid about $140 each for a balcony, but we had started out booking an inside room. About a month and a half before the cruise, the prices dropped hard and I was able to kick us up to a balcony for the same price we had originally booked the inside for. Just before we left, the prices for an inside were around $70 CDN. I am happy with the costs of the cruise as I believe we got our money's worth for the trip.
We live in Vancouver and had debated going down to Seattle the day before the cruise and stay in a Hotel, but with every decent Hotel costing in the market of $300-$400 for the night (Saturday), we decided to slum in it on a Greyhound during the early morning before the cruise.
We hopped on a Greyhound in Vancouver at about 0530hrs and it had us in Downtown Seattle at around 1000hrs (we had gotten hung up at the border for an hour or so). We didn't realize until we saw almost everyone from the bus later on the ship that we were all coming down for the same thing.
From the Greyhound station in Seattle, we walked through the baseball and football stadiums and caught a cab at the King Street Station (10-15 minute walk). We had caught an Amtrak train back to Vancouver on our last re-positioning one-day cruise in April so we were familiar with the area). Taxi from King's Street Station to Pier 91 was about $15 USD.
We spoke with some others whom had arranged a transfer. They arrived at the Pier at around the same time as us and had spent $12.50 for the transfer. Worth it to spend $15 for the pair of us, and be able to work at our own schedule to get there.
Anyways, we arrived at port around 1045hrs. Took a few pictures of the Ruby sitting there. We shared the port with Holland America's 'Amsterdam' that day. The Amsterdam looked to be an older vessel, one that we haven't seen much of in Vancouver in the last few years, though we do see the 'Nieuw Amsterdam' quite a bit and it is a beautiful ship.
The Ruby looked very beautiful as we had seen it from a distance in the taxi and it looked very clean as we arrived at the port.
We entered, traveled through Security and registration with the quickness and sat down in a large staging area. I am only a Gold status member and my fiance a Ruby, but we did not see a priority area for Platinums or Elites, not sure if they had one for this trip. I could see a special area for Holland America passengers (with uniformed waiters) but couldn't spot anything on the Princess side.
After about 15-20 minutes of waiting, boarding began. We were in staging group 11, but the wait from group 1 to 11 was only about 5 minutes. We boarded the ship around 1130hrs, I would estimate.
My fiance loves the embarkation photos and she was very concerned when they didn't have anything set up before we boarded. We found that they had a quick screen set up just on board for the photos. The area for embarkation photos was a bit rushed, as we would have like to prepare and pose for a good one, but I guess we were just glad to get one done.
We had received a notice on check-in within the terminal that our rooms would not be ready until 1300hrs. Nuts to that, we went straight to the room at 1130hrs to drop off our bags at least. We found that the room was ready and no sign of a steward, so we dropped the bags and settled in.
We were in C409, 'Caribe' Deck 10. The room was basic, I suspect the bottom rung of the balcony categories, but had a very large balcony. I did notice, however, that once I was out there that I could look right down on the balcony a level down and I suspect the people above us could look down and see us on the balcony. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to keep my pants on.
We hit up the Horizon Court for Lunch. Since we boarded so quickly, we were able to beat most of the crowd to the buffet.
On food, we did not try any of the specialty restaurants this time, just the buffet, Trident Grill and Pizza stand. Nothing was bad, but nothing really stood out as being that great either. I've rated dining as average but again, we did not visit any of the true dining venues.
After napping from 1300-1500hrs, we took part in the Muster Drill. We were station D and attended a lounge on Deck 7. We showed up before the alarm so we could secure some seats. The drill was about 20 minutes and was painless.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the top decks. Hung around the sailaway party for a bit, played some basketball and hung out until the rain started. Was a beautiful day until, right on schedule at 1700hrs, the rain began and sent us back into the depths of the ship.
At around 1730hrs, we bought a embarkation photo for $20. They worked at trying to get us to buy 2 for $40 but it was basically the same picture, the 2nd one merely being a smaller picture but with a display on sailing Seattle-Vancouver along the border, no deal.
We listened in to Comedian Joe Yannetty for a few minutes. His act didn't strike us as that funny so we retreated to the Library to play board games for a bit. We broke off that at 1945hrs to snag a seat in Princess Theatre for the first seating of their stage show "Colour of the World". Really enjoyed it. Between myself and my fiance, we recognized all of the songs and the show appeared to be very polished.
After that, we spent the rest of the night taking part in the Majority Rules gameshow (fun), the Yes/No game show (kinda bland) and the karoke in Club Fusion. Enjoyed Cruise Director Kelvin Joy's narration through the end of the stage show and the game shows afterward. While not particularly good-natured in his ribbing, he was very witty and fun throughout and definitely added to our enjoyment of the evening.
Retired at around 2330hrs and caught a few movies on the television. The on-screen setup is one that I am disappointed with. On this, and our last cruise on the Crown Princess in the spring, the visual set up is pretty basic. My first cruise was on the Royal Princess last year and their On-Demand setup was quite good and one that the other ships have not caught up with.
Slept like a baby on our mattress and woke up home in Vancouver.
We were out of our cabin just before 0800hrs and headed up to Horizon Court for breakfast. So had everyone else. So we filled our plates and had to go back out onto the open deck to find a table to eat at. But the servers were out there as well and hit us right away for drinks, etc.
Disembarkation occurred off of the promenade deck and after handing over our customs forms, were back into the city without any delays.
A few issues that I had during the cruise:
1) I had booked the Soda and More package for both of us on my cruise personalizer months prior to boarding. We did not receive anything to state this on boarding. When I visited Guest Services, they said that did not see anything on my profile to confirm this and would not sell it now that I was on the ship. This was fine, but a recurring theme on this and our previous cruise on the Crown was that the Guest Services desk would never seem to put much effort into fixing problems or offering solutions.
2) While we were waiting for the stage show to start in Princess Theatre, we had ordered drinks on my cruise card. The waiter came back and said that the charge did not go through and he wasn't sure why. We used my fiance's cruise card and the charge when through fine. What is weird, is that both cruise cards were tied to my credit card. I didn't think anything more of it, just resigned to use her card for any further purchases.
3) As we tried to disembark the next day, we were stopped and told that we had to return to the Guest Services desk to resolve an issue. We did and found that it was the same credit issue as above. Once again, Guest Services couldn't do much of a job explaining it but it was found that a $15 charge (I assume the auto-grat) had bounced back. Did a manual payment and noticed that there were quite a few of this manual payments on her clipboard and at the other stations of the desk. Perhaps this was an ongoing issue.
On the whole, we enjoyed the cruise. The only drawbacks are a mixed-bag of crew members who would sometimes go to the moon to get you what you needed and some that felt like you were bothering them to ask something. We had no interaction with our Room Steward, but had no issue with the cleanliness of the room or service times. Read Less
We had such a good time on the Grand. Went from Los Angeles to Vancouver on a reposition itinerary.
Read many reviews saying the Grand wasn't so grand, however we thought it was just great. We always look for the best in a cruise. ... Read More
We had such a good time on the Grand. Went from Los Angeles to Vancouver on a reposition itinerary.
Read many reviews saying the Grand wasn't so grand, however we thought it was just great. We always look for the best in a cruise. The ship was nice, we met some super fine people, had too much delicious food, and some superb entertainment. Service was first-rate in the dining room, in our cabin, and all over the ship.
The Grand, for being 16 years old looks pretty admirable. That means in people years (assuming a ship lasts 20 years) the Grand is about say 80 years old. Wow, I hope I look that good when I'm 80.
Embarkation and disembarking was better that any of the 15 cruises we have taken. Got there at about 11:00 and we were all by ourselves checking in. We waited about 1/2 hour and were on the ship. Got off the ship at about 10:00 and again were by ourselves.
Princess does a great job in making sure you have a grand time if it is a grand time that you are looking for on the Grand.
My cruise experience includes a 12-11-10-9 and many 7 night cruises as well a 5 night cruise, 3 and 2 night and this was my first ONE NIGHTER !! (I'm not that kind of girl!)
All kidding aside. The price (of the voyage) was right and ... Read More
My cruise experience includes a 12-11-10-9 and many 7 night cruises as well a 5 night cruise, 3 and 2 night and this was my first ONE NIGHTER !! (I'm not that kind of girl!)
All kidding aside. The price (of the voyage) was right and our friends agreed to join us for a one night cruise out of Seattle to Vancouver. It was so cheap - You could not get a hotel room and dinner for that cost and I thought how fun it would be.
Usually it takes a few days just to learn the lay of the ship, so a one night cruise is a challenge!
We boarded about 1:00 p.m. Sailed at 5:00. Dinner at 7:30. In bed by 10:30. In port when we awoke at 6:00 and were off the ship after breakfast by 10:00 am.
Embarkation was easy: Don't try to board at the earliest possible time. Wait an hour and the crowds are gone! We were traveling with friends who needed a wheelchair due to a knee surgery recently. Princess was very accommodating and we all boarded together.
The cabin was clean. Ample for a 1 night cruise. The bathroom had a shower and pump amenities (I prefer real amenities). No washcloths. 1 towel each. Queen bed, a little hard. The pillows were really hard. (I usually ask for feather on a longer cruise) TV had very little option and poor reception. Small balcony with 2 chairs and a drink table.
We proceeded to the Vista Lounge since the men wanted to see the Seahawks game. I was surprised they weren't showing the game on the outdoor big screen, which would have been much more fun on a beautiful sunny hot day in Seattle. The vista lounge had ample seating. We had a drink there (beer) and were given salty snacks. There was guacamole and stale (very) chips available self serve by the bar.
We went upstairs to the pool at the aft end of the ship and had cocktails and went into the buffet where there were ample choices of food to curb the appetite before dinner. Would have been nice to have an outdoor grill back there for burgers. There may have been elsewhere on the ship.
I swam in the aft pool. To me it was great. Very warm. 4:00 pm. No towels for any of us available. Adult only pool - and as usual - no supervision to keep kids out. (this is so annoying to me). Crew was selling drink of the day. Bar service lacking a bit. Pet peeve is drinking from plastic. Miss the old days.
Mid ship pool was covered, noisy, smelled of chlorine and sweat. Did not stop here to cocktail.
We wanted to go inside and have a cocktail with proper barware and ended up in the atrium area. We found the One5 club aft but were told NO NO - not a "real" suite passenger or elite enough status. The class separation stuff is a REAL TURNOFF to me. That bar lost about $80 in drink sales due to that.
Dinner at 7:30 with a reservation at Sabatini's. Dinner was pretty good. Service was good, not great. Did not enjoy sitting by the register by the door. Our waiter took our drink order and dessert order and only brought 1 of the 3 cocktails ordered. (another $30 loss for the ship.. they were cognacs)
After dinner we meandered through the lounges trying to find something pleasurable to listen to. I do not exaggerate - there was no decent music to listen to. No talent anywhere on the ship. I usually have my likes and dislikes but perhaps this was an "auditioning" cruise or something.. I don't know. Went to the show (British Invasion) and it was pretty cheesy costumes and choreography. The mikes were super loud yet no one could really sing well. We left after 15 minutes to retire to our cabin.
So as far as the ship goes... It was fine. Clean and I found all the amenities on board to be the same as nearly every other cruise I have taken. Decor.. Ok. By morning we found some lounges we would have gone to had we known about them.
I won't take another 1 day cruise. As for Princess.. my last experience with the Sun Princess on a 3 day cruise was great. San Francisco to Vancouver. I remember being more impressed with the staff, lounges, entertainment and food.
We thought we were big on Holland America and Celebrity, but in all honesty, unless you move into a luxury cruise, they are all about the same. My motto is "there is no such thing as a BAD cruise" and much of it depends on your expectations, the company you keep and your attitude. (IMHO) Read Less
Just returned from our cruise on Grand Princess, round trip from Vancouver, we have nothing but praise for the staff, they are all helpful and friendly, especially Thanaya and I Wayan in Da VInci Resturant.
We had booked 4 excursions with ... Read More
Just returned from our cruise on Grand Princess, round trip from Vancouver, we have nothing but praise for the staff, they are all helpful and friendly, especially Thanaya and I Wayan in Da VInci Resturant.
We had booked 4 excursions with Princess - we had problems with them all, we will think twice about wasting our money next time.
Los Angelos: The bus was 1 hour late turning up at the pier for our excursion to Long Beach - think before doing this one, it's a waste of time and money, very little to see and do, you get the bus to the aquarium and then you have to get the free bus downtown - which has about 7 shops! There was no information or maps to guide us, We were fortunate to speak to a local girl on the bus who told us when to get off and walked into the town with us, Walmart and Ross is the main shops!
San Francisco: was beautiful but again we were 4 hours late docking supposedly due to our weather the previous night, but we heard that pier 27 was being 'officially opened' that morning a lot of men in suits around even although we were 4 hours late! Would we have spoilt the party Berthing on time I wonder??
We did the city tour for 4.5 hours which was really good and very informative. We then got off at pier 39 which was buzzing and had a lovely atmosphere, we had an overnight stay so enjoyed being relaxed and eating out.
Vancouver: we did the excursion which did the airport drop off, we then realised they take your cases from the pier to the airport which was good, but you were given hop on hop off bus tickets and a train ticket to the airport which you have to find yourself!
We had the most awful coach driver who said he was having a bad day and wished he had stayed at home!!
We complained about the intense heat on the bus he said the air conditioning wasn't working! He left the door open to allow fresh air in but it kept closing going round corners! We got off at Robson Street and never went back onto the tour.
The excursion team need to get there act together as it was very poorly managed.
Overall we enjoyed the cruise.
I am an avid cruiser. Been on Carnival (not a great time), 4 amazing Disney Cruises and a couple of 2 night NCL (repo Vancouver-Seattle). I am a Disney cruiser at heart, but one good thing about living in Vancouver is taking advantage of ... Read More
I am an avid cruiser. Been on Carnival (not a great time), 4 amazing Disney Cruises and a couple of 2 night NCL (repo Vancouver-Seattle). I am a Disney cruiser at heart, but one good thing about living in Vancouver is taking advantage of last minute cheapie 1 night cruises to get a cruise fix for 60 bucks now and then.
It was my daughter's 18th birthday the same night as the cruise - which for a well travelled and cruised teen, it meant FINALLY being allowed into adult areas, spa, etc... This made a perfect choice! I brought her best friend along and the 3 of us set off for a mini-adventure.
I had booked 2 side by side BB balcony staterooms on deck 12 mid deck. Single supplement fee was only $15 and was worth it to have my own cabin so the 2 'kids' could stay up as late as they wanted and I could go to bed when I wanted. I paid $59 plus $80 in port/taxes each (and $15 supplement for me). About 5 days before the cruise the inside rate was $29 and all the inside people got upgraded to balconies - so wishing we had done that - but we got upgraded to mini-suites. Only problem was mine was Deck 9 D120 and they were waaaaaaaaaay at the back around D630 I believe. We were hoping to travel light and were going to share a few toiletries and stuff, so had to double pack everything because of this. Only one night so not a big deal. Enjoyed the upgrade.
We took the skytrain down to Canada Place, grabbed a starbucks and then headed for the line up around 10:55am. First security line took about 15 mins, then through the next one, about 10 minutes, then another 15 to get our key cards. We sat and waited about a half hour and were on the ship by about 12:15pm.
I was hoping we were going to get the patter to read in the waiting area before boarding, but we didn't. No big deal.
When we boarded the ship we were surprised that they said our rooms were ready. Any cruise I have done in the past the rooms are usually not ready until about 2pm -so this was a bonus. We went and checked out just one of the rooms and then headed to the Horizon Buffet.
Was not overly crowded. Food was pretty terrible. I found a few things I liked but things were just over cooked and too salty. We noticed this a LOT on this ship - everything chewy and salty.
We went exploring, went to the spa to make an appointment for my daughter to have her first 'adult' spa at sea experience. Spa staff were super nice.
I didn't find the staff elsewhere on the ship overly attentive or nice -I really got the vibe they hate these 1 night cruises, and who can blame them? A load of people for just one night - knowing they have to re-do everything the next day (muster drill, welcomes, etc....). I have often thought they should make these 2 nights or just give the staff a night off.
We explored the ship a bit, not much was going on anywhere so I went to my stateroom. I arrived to my bed request of 1 queen to be 2 twins. Sat on the balcony and my room steward came by to see if everything was ok and offered me a free glass of champagne. I asked him to please put the bed together later and he said no problem. I sat on the balcony and enjoyed some peace and quiet with my drink (terrible champagne) and then had a quick 20-30 min nap to refresh for the rest of the day.
We went and found the pizza and had a slice (it was so thin you couldn't just hold it and eat it - you had to use a fork and knife). My daughter's friend had a burger and fries and said it was good. We were debating whether to bother with the dining room later or just get burgers.
Being separated at different ends of the ship meant 2 different muster stations. I had to go this alone. Let me say, on Disney, they have muster drill to a fine art - no life jackets needed, go to your station and in 10 mins you are done. My station was the theater. We had to bring life jackets. Of course a ton of people showed up very late. Our muster captain was on the mic and said this should take no longer than 25-30 mins. WHAT??? Are you kidding me??? We sat and waited, and waited - and waited. Finally the captain came on, then left - and apparently still many people were missing. Then people showed up with no life jackets and we had to wait for them to get them - almost 45 mins later we were done. I almost fell asleep in there. They really need to work on this muster drill thing and get some lessons from Disney on how to do this!
We then all met back up at the sail away party.
Again - on Disney, the minute the drill is over you have to book it up to the pool for the party - its packed FULL of people - nowhere to stand if you don't get there in time. So we meet on deck 14 and nothing is going on. I asked where the party was and was told 'here' - well there was no party. We went up to deck 15 to overlook the pool area and waited for the sailaway party. Finally a band started playing and about 6 staff members danced. That was it - no blowing of the horn when we actually sailed away - nothing. Very underwhelming.
I checked out the patter to see what was happening. I was surprised there was no bingo at all - I enjoy a cruise bingo and have won a lot of cash at them in the past, so was hoping for that. Nothing. We opted to explore the ship and check out that adult only area back by the spa.
When we arrived at the sanctuary it was a hot mess. The pool was under some major reno, dirt everywhere. I was really hoping to use that area. The entire area is very tired and worn looking and needs a serious dry dock. The green 'carpet' throughout was filthy and coming up in the corners. It needs a complete refurb.
Went and wandered the ship and found it an odd layout. I found when I went to deck 5/6/7 that it feels like there is nothing beyond the restaurants. If you didn't look at a ship map, you would feel that is where it ends. The atrium is underwhelming and dark. I checked out the restaurant menus and saw prime rib, so we decided we would eat there that night.
Fast forward to dinner and we went to the dining room. The staff was rude and short with everyone. It was my daughter's 18th bday and we wanted a table to ourselves. We didn't want to share, and got a huge dirty look when we requested this. There were dozens and dozens of tables open.
We had ceaser salads and they were made with a vinegrette dressing, not ceaser. I had the prime rib and it was not much thicker than a piece of roast beef, overly salty and kind of tasted like ham. It was fatty and gross. My potatoes were good but the corn on the cob was mushy and gross. The 'kids' both ordered the chicken and it was inedible. It was tough and salty. They ate a bit and just sent it off. They brought out a little chocolate mousse cake to my daughter and sang and I had the flourless chocolate cake. YUCK! We left hungry and decided to go get a burger. In the patter it said the pizza and burgers were open until 10pm - they were shut down at 6:30pm. Went to the buffet - shut down (even though was to be open until 11pm). We got ice creams. We went to the comedy show and it was good - the guy was really funny (Aj something...). We enjoyed that. Then went to deck 14 as we were starving - we caught the buffet 10 mins before closing. Food was terrible, but it was something.
We went down to the casino because it said it would be open at 10pm - closed still. Went down to deck 5 and found the international café - Ok finally found some decent food!!! If we ever go on a one nighter on this again I know to grab burgers early and then just eat at this café!
We then checked out the skywalkers nightclub. I was exhausted - it was about midnight so I left the kids to the club and I went back to the casino - still closed. I opted to go back to my cabin to watch some tv and enjoy the balcony at night.
My room steward had never been back to my room - the bed was put together earlier in the day (during the drill I believe) and I had no disembarkation info at all - I phoned guest services and was thrilled to hear we could stay on the ship until 10am.
Had a good nights sleep.
Went down to breakfast buffet at 845am and food was 'ok' -pancakes and waffles were good. Eggs were gross (liquid eggs). Lots of cornbeef hash and stuff offered, but not our thing. It wasn't great. I was sure happy I didn't have to eat on this ship for a week.
We went down to the international café again and had good coffee (pay for) and really yummy apple Danish and choc croissants - again we should have just gone there to begin with!
Overall we had a fun time - was nice to get on a ship and get my fix in for a night. Laying in a lounger in the sun (we had great weather) can make you fee like you are on a mini vacation.
I wouldn't sail this ship (or possibly even Princess at all) for more than 1-2 nights as I felt the ship was very tired. My sink countertop was cracked, lots of dirt and rust in the 'corners'. The pool area needs a paint job - basically this ship could really use a good few months in dry dock and a big spruce up.
I wasn't expecting tons of offerings of 'things to do' on a one nighter, but with casino being closed, offering a bingo would be fun. They had gravity playing by the pool and it was fun to lay out there and watch. Someone needs to teach them how to put some flavacol in the popcorn though - just plain popped is pretty boring - 1 tsp of flavacol costs about 10 cents and turns it yellow and yummier.
I also felt nickeled and dimed on drinks - they 'just happened' to always be out of anything free to drink but water. No lemonade ever seemed available, and if it did become available it was gone in 2 seconds and never refilled. I am spoiled with all the free drinks on Disney cruise, but also expected at least one self serve beverage station that was more than coffee and tea! Even on NCL they have fountain drinks of the freebie stuff all day. The food was all extra salty on princess in an effort to get you to buy more pop!
My daughter said the spa was nice but not as nice as some she has been in before (off ship). They didn't darken the room for her massage and play soft music. She is a bit of a day spa junkie and said she would give this one a 6/10. I found the services more expensive than other ships.
Our 2 nighter on NCL was a better short cruise - more things offered to do, didn't feel like we were 'putting out' the staff.
These staff were not into this cruise (really can't blame them, but please don't show it). They all were tired and could have used a day off I think.
I would definitely do this one nighter again for some fun and a quick getaway from my stressful job, but this cruise did not entice me to look into cruising anything longer with princess ever again. I came home from my 2 night NCL and was looking up future cruises with them, but not with Princess. Very under-whelmed!
Hotel: Doubletree San Pedro - the hotel is nice, and beautifully located right on the marina, but the first room they gave me was so noisy that I and to request a change. They have two or three rooms whose front doors give onto a balcony ... Read More
Hotel: Doubletree San Pedro - the hotel is nice, and beautifully located right on the marina, but the first room they gave me was so noisy that I and to request a change. They have two or three rooms whose front doors give onto a balcony right above the reception desk. You hear everything - music, luggage, front desk clerks, telephones - I mean everything. Of course, the room the replaced it with was at the very far end of the hotel - A very long walk for a partially disabled guy like me! But at least the 2nd room was quiet!
Dinner the night before the cruise at 22nd St. Landing. Delicious grilled sea bass - not cheap, but worth every penny.
Embarkation was delayed, so there were hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in the terminal, but at last we got on and made our way up to the Horizon court buffet. I was pleasantly surprised by the food. It's been my experience that the first lunch buffet on Princess is mediocre at the very best, but this time the food was good. Our stateroom was ready, and it was a standard Princess balcony stateroom. Bed was very comfortable, everything was clean and the bathroom looked a bit updated, but of course the shower was tiny as always.
I had two stewards - one left when we were in San Francisco, but both of them were good.
The ship: Yes, the Crown is a bit older, but I thought it was in very good shape. It's a bit different than the other Princess ships I've been on - the Vista lounge on other ships is 'Club Fusion' on the Crown, without the bench seating. Crown Grill is where Sabatini's is on other ships, etc.,etc. No problem, really. The one problem is that the Crown takes more passengers than the Grand/Star/Golden, but the many of the public rooms are the same size, which means they fill up quicker. The International Cafe area was always packed with people, and there were lines every night for dinner...even if you had a reservation!
On the good side, unlike the Grand and Golden, the changing rooms in the spa/gym area have showers, sauna and steam rooms, so that is a definite plus.
Food: Unlike some other folks on my cruise critic roll call, I thought the MDR food was quite good - didn't have a single bad dinner there, and the maitre'd at DaVinci was very helpful. Buffet food was good too - always a good variety to cater to every taste. the only disappointment for me was at Sabatini's. The special pasta when i went was spaghetti carbonara, which had way too much egg, and ended up very heavy and gloppy. And I had the veal chop, which was tough. Lastly, I got a glass of wine, which was good, but very skimpy for the price.
Service: Great - absolutely no complaints - Princess appears to have made a concerted effort in the past couple of years to improve on service, and it shows.
Entertainment: Fair, with one glittering exception and one piece of eye candy: The acts they had in the theater (hypnotist, impressionist) were mediocre. However, the classical quartet (Magdalena Quartet) was probably the best classical ensemble I've seen on a cruise. They ladies were good, and that was evidenced by the people (like me), that made it a point to attend their performances, rather than just listening for a few minutes while passing by. The eye candy was provided by a very muscled - and shirtless- young man performing acrobatics in the piazza.
Ports: Well, you can't go wrong with Santa Barbara and San Francisco, especially when the sun is shining. I actually didn't get off the ship until Victoria, as I live in the SF bay area and have been to Santa Barbara many times.
Disembarkation was very quick and easy.
Overall, I had a nice, relaxing time, and the ship and crew made it a good vacation.
No norovirus. No code red.
We flew into LAX Saturday morning and took Super Shuttle to the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro to board the Crown Princess. Arrived in San Pedro about 10:30 am and entered the terminal. We waited another 45 ... Read More
No norovirus. No code red.
We flew into LAX Saturday morning and took Super Shuttle to the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro to board the Crown Princess. Arrived in San Pedro about 10:30 am and entered the terminal. We waited another 45 minutes before we checked in. At 1:10 pm we boarded the ship, dropped off our carry-ons, and made it to the dining room for lunch before the 1:30 pm closing time. Lunch menu was the same embarkation lunch we had in March 2014.
Tip: Have all your paperwork ready and in hand for entering the terminal and for checkin.
This cruise had very few minors. 2/3 of the passengers had sailed previously with Princess and were senior citizens. The staff was always available to help those in wheelchairs and scooters.
The food was OK. A large variety, but nothing really stood out as exceptional. DH liked going to the buffet on this trip instead of the MDR. The pizza on the Lido deck was crisp and tasty. The SkyWalker Lounge had good hor d'ourves for the Platinum, Elite, and Suite cocktail hours from 5-7 pm every night. Drinks were $5.
Art auction was LONG and drawn out. It never started on time. Champagne was given out for free at each auction. I won a piece of art at the auction. It would have cost me $269 for framing and shipping. I opted to have it shipped in a cardboard tube for $35. The artwork itself wasn't worth that much in my opinion.
Disembarkation was FAST since I was in the first walkoff group meeting at the Wheelhouse Bar at 6:40 am. I was off the ship before 7:00 am.
As a solo traveler, I got a really good deal, which is rare obviously. I just wanted to get away and try and build up my next tier for cruising on Princess. Additionally, I wanted to check out the ship and try and relax and have a good ... Read More
As a solo traveler, I got a really good deal, which is rare obviously. I just wanted to get away and try and build up my next tier for cruising on Princess. Additionally, I wanted to check out the ship and try and relax and have a good time, which I did. As a previous passenger on the Pacific Princess last month, I really enjoyed the Island Princess even more. It was on a bigger in scale scale, the service was slightly better, the crowd was a little bit younger, the food was better and the entertainment was absolutely outstanding.
The cabins are laid out much differently than the Pacific Princess. They are smaller in square footage but I like the layout better. For example, there is ample closet space and a bathroom is more private and secluded then on the Pacific Princess since you have the closet as a divider! Additionally, the balconies have a glass transparent structure that allow you to look at the ocean with less obstruction.
One thing I do not like about most Princess ships is that they have balconies that protrude under other balconies. On this particular ship, the forward section of balconies are at level from top to bottom decks on the ship. This means you're not looking down on someone or turning your head and looking up at a sea of balconies looking at you. For the most part, their larger ships really missed the mark on "private balconies" in my opinion! If you want more private on this type of ship, select one in the forward section.
The ship, three years newer than the Pacific Princess felt much newer and did not show her age. The public areas were completely shiny and new, the carpeting was in great condition and so was all the furniture throughout the ship.
The entertainment on board was outstanding. The show, "On the Bayou," was wonderful and is only shown on the island and its sister, the Coral as they built a stage made just for this show that rotates, has hydraulic lifts and spins. The "Piano Man," at the princess theater, was also superb and featured songs of Billy Joel, Elton John and Barry Manilow.
One thing Princess is extremely behind on is there anal-retentive nature about dressing formally on a formal evening. They seem to forget people are on vacation and although some people want to dress in formal attire, many do not. It should be "formal optional" and Princess really falls behind the mark in this domain.
The only drawbacks are the formal evenings and the disembarkation was not the greatest. I did a "self-help" disembarkation, meaning I did not purchase a princess transfer. When I went to the "platinum lounge," the Captain's Cruise Circle hostess (Julie) told me to "be gone." That really put a damper on the last memory I had getting off. Being that I enjoy the rest of the crew so much I did not allow her rudeness to interfere with the good time I had but I did leave immediately when she pointed me out to the gateway.
Another drawback, their afternoon tea is extraordinarily rushed and you could tell the servers do not want to do this additional task. They are downright rude and passing around sandwiches and tea as quickly as possible. Although they wear white gloves, it is certainly far from white glove service. Princess needs to rethink this and make it a little bit more as they advertise it.
Lastly, I really appreciate that Princess allows people to have gluten-free bread and rice milk or soy milk for those of us who prefer an alternative to dairy or gluten. Great product, I recommend anybody to go on this beautiful ship.
My friend from high school and myself delighted ourselves with a 3 day cruise. Flew to Vancouver for 2 nights before sailing out of this glorious port. (My favorite second to San Francisco, where we live) We stayed at Blue Horizon, my ... Read More
My friend from high school and myself delighted ourselves with a 3 day cruise. Flew to Vancouver for 2 nights before sailing out of this glorious port. (My favorite second to San Francisco, where we live) We stayed at Blue Horizon, my third time there. You can't beat the price and the view. They say harbor view is best so we asked for that this time. But I have had three different views now and they are all pretty spectacular. Plus it's located on Robson Street, you can walk almost anywhere from there. Or bike. We rented a tandem bike and rode around the seawall. Highly recommend, that was so much fun!!! I took her to dinner to celebrate her graduation from grad school last year. She never threw a party so I threw one for her at Seasons in the Park. Oh my goodness, it's about a 20$ cab ride and so worth it. Sits atop a hill in Queen Elizabeth park and the view of Vancouver is amazing. We sat on the outside covered patio in the rain in front of a fireplace and they provided warm blankets too. So Vancouver was fabulous, then we took a taxi to the port, about five minutes away. (oh, don't forget to get a cupcake at Cupcakes a couple blocks away).
Embarkation was pretty slow. Slowest I've ever endured, actually, but that was the fault of the port I think. Two cruises were embarking at the same time. Once we got to the Princess area it moved a bit faster.
Our stateroom was your standard balcony, I suppose. We loved it. We had a balcony dance party before dinner (bring a mini speaker for your iPhone to play music). Played 80s music and had so much fun. Brought our champagne down from sailaway to finish it up.
Standard Princess ship, except that this one has a THERMAL SUITE!!!!! Last time I had access to a thermal suite I thought I didn't want to part with $50 but I was wrong. Totally worth it if you like that sort of thing. Otherwise, it seemed like the others. Except that Vines on this ship does not have a pizza oven and that was really sad.
The ship itself seemed in ship shape. haha. Not run down. Really nice and clean. Food was really good in the dining room, buffet, and fish and chips were good. We didn't really have any misses on this one, yay! At least where food was concerned...
Now for the staff and overall service.
I've been worried since Carnival bought Princess that service would go downhill. Not that Princess was ever perfect, but they have never actually bait and switched me before! Well, now they have. As mentioned, a friend and I were taking a long girl weekend, and we had never been on a cruise together, though we have known each other since high school. We were so excited, and she said she would buy us a bottle of Dom Perignon for sailaway. Having never tasted this champagne, I was quite excited. She makes extremely good money and is quite generous :) We tried to buy in Vancouver but it was 287 dollars. Even she balked at the overcharge, saying she purchases it at home for about one hundred dollars. I found a bottle of pink rose Veuve Cliquot that I thought was charming, plus I love pink champagne. She said that was more close to what the actual price should be so she bought that instead. She has money but that doesn't mean she doesn't want to get a good value. So we board and plan to drink that. But it was in her suitcase and the bags hadn't arrived so we were going to have to drink something from the bar. Out of curiosity, we asked the price of the Dom. I told her their Korbel (which she won't drink) was very reasonably priced so maybe Dom would be too. We were quoted 129 dollars. She said "Sold!". Very reasonable. The waiter agreed with us, saying their prices were very good. We told him the story about how much it was in Vancouver and 129 was so much better than that price! So our bucket finally arrives just before we get to the Lyons Gate Bridge, he takes photos of us, we clink glasses as we enter the bridge, people ask what we are celebrating, we say nothing, just old friends from high school. It was so much fun! We were about halfway through our first glass of champagne, chatting with people, gazing at the glorious scenery, sharing our bannister spot with people. The waiter comes back and says can you sign the ticket. She quickly takes time out from our fun to sign and then we carry on. Later that night as we are getting ready for dinner she is changing bags and she notices the ticket she signed says $179 for the bottle. We can't believe it. I'm thinking, Princess would not do that, we will go talk to Passenger Services later and surely they will correct this. WRONG. We explain the story and are basically questioned as to whether it was a language barrier. It was not, he spoke perfect English (from the Philippines). And even if it was, should they really be having people serving alcohol who might have language barriers? The woman says she can't do anything, we drank it. We have to speak with food and beverage. So it's our job to hunt down their managers for their mistake when we are trying to enjoy and escape completely on our very short cruise? Ok, so we talk to the maÃ®tre d because we don't know how to locate food and beverage manager. He says he will talk to the manager, can't believe that happened to us, how horrible, that should not be happening on Princess, etc. etc. That was the last night so we did not have an opportunity to speak with him again. He took down our information so we thought maybe it will be deducted from the final bill. NOPE. It was not. My dear friend had $50 basically stolen from her by Princess. It is bad business practice, to say the least, but also extremely stupid of them not to cover for their own mistake over $50!!! She said she still would have paid that price if that was what she had been quoted. But she was not and they cheated her. They stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars from this woman. She loves to shop and vacation and drink wine and enjoy spa treatments. I didn't have to talk her into paying $50 for the thermal suite for the 3 days. She didn't blink. Just said, absolutely! And booked spa treatment. Princess is led by idiots if this is how they are going to treat their customers. Quite unbelievable. I'm platinum level so it will be hard to leave. But I have cruised other lines who I'm pretty sure would not treat guests this way. Time to search around for an organization that doesn't find it acceptable to cheat guests.
I also wrote about this in the survey Princess sends out after the cruise. Nobody even bothered to contact me about it. It fell on deaf ears, apparently. Nothing. Unbelievable.
Our cabin stewardess was not that wonderful either. She was friendly, but I had written in our pre-cruise information that we were celebrating my friend's graduation and her balloons and congratulations poster weren't put up until the night before we disembarked!! Why bother at that point?? It was kind of embarrassing. You talk all highly about Princess to your friends and then they let you down several times over the cruise...
We enjoyed dancing at Skywalker's, I was so excited we were on a ship that still had that. It's the coolest thing, I hope they leave it on a few ships. Good music.
Our day in Victoria was splendid. We went to Craigdarroch castle. I recommend. It's fascinating. And had to visit the Fairmont for their chocolate bars. So yummy and it's so cute in there. Then I asked our taxi driver from the castle to take us to the pub that has a Guinness brownie and he knew exactly what I was talking about! Irish pub or something. We had poutine, dark matter beer and a chocolate beer which was utterly ridiculously delicious, and the brownie, which was possibly even more delicious than I remembered (ate it on Alaska cruise last July). Must eat. MUST EAT!
Disembarkation was a bit chaotic because I'm guessing SF port is still under construction so immigration had to come aboard and we had to pass inspection before disembarkation. But Princess did do a fine job here, telling us to continue to relax in our rooms or wherever we wanted since that was so chaotic.
In summary, Princess is not like it was ten years ago. It is slipping. I believe it could very easily be bumped up to that same level where their customer service was excellent. But right now I am sad to see where they are. May have to cruise NCL next time. I like them too, very much. (Are they also Carnival??)
However, so far no cruise is a bad cruise. And now me and my friend have more funny jokes about our adventures, good and bad, we make a joke of it. Even though the $50 thing isn't really that funny...our cabin steward stealing our ice bucket caused a cabin rant that we will be laughing about for the next 20 years. As long as you can laugh about substandard service you will be okay. Read Less
we were delighted when we joined the cruise in Whittier, the send-off was with fireworks and it was great to see. The sail down to Skagway was quite nice too but it was always quite misty on the shores so we were unable to see much. ... Read More
we were delighted when we joined the cruise in Whittier, the send-off was with fireworks and it was great to see. The sail down to Skagway was quite nice too but it was always quite misty on the shores so we were unable to see much. However Glacier bay was spectacular and the ship did go very slow for pictures and stuff. The activities on board were not so great, the prices of alchohol at meals and at the bar were extortionate to say the least AND this Cruse crowd DO NOT give drinks packages like other lines do so it was put up or shut up. The meals were good to start but got very samey when you got to the 3rd and 4th days. The wine at table was quite ridiculously priced so we declined as did our other 6 diners at the table. If the price for a bottle of wine at the table was reasonable then everyone could have probably bought one, but as I said the prices were extortionate therefore Princess cruises lost out big time. People always speak with their wallets if things are too dear. We decided we would go for something different one night for dinner so booked into the steak house, we enjoyed our steaks and the pudding but we did not enjoy that a surcharge of $20 per head was added on to the bill, plus we were cotracred in to pay $12 dollars per person per day for gratuities to the staff. This is not what I would call tipping for good service, it was in fact tipping for the sake of tipping and it should be stamped out. This should be left to the individual and NOT be compulsory.
The 1st port we visited was skagway which was excellent, a day later we visited Juneau which also was excellent, both were wet but warmish but that did not deter from their appeal. The next stop was to be Ketchekan, but due to a Force 11 storm brewing we were told that it had been cancelled. So we had to sit, the now, Force 12 storm out aboard the ship as it grew worse and worse. It only blew itself out as we approached Vancouver. After paying our bar bill at the end, our gratuities bill was $117.90. Still a total rip-off and should be exposed so that people can choose for themselves about tipping. Read Less
Have always been with Holland America and none of these negatives exited on those cruises of 18, 28 and 10 days.
THE SHIP...Very Nice
FOOD..In anytime dining was lousy. One night ordered pork and sauerkraut and got sauerkraut and a ... Read More
Have always been with Holland America and none of these negatives exited on those cruises of 18, 28 and 10 days.
THE SHIP...Very Nice
FOOD..In anytime dining was lousy. One night ordered pork and sauerkraut and got sauerkraut and a piece of ham. Other nights food was bland at best. The folks servicing the tables were rude at best. Kept interrrupting any one talking with stupid non essential questioning......How is the meal, need anything..any coffee, everthing OK, and on and on. After 5 nights of this went to the floor above and ate in the scheduled dining room. Matre D was a pleasure. Gave us a nice table. Food was better, which I do not understand since I presume it comes from the same prep area. Service here was excellent. Went back for our last night and had the same impression.
STATEROOM...very nice. Good attendent. No issues
ENTERTAINMENT...Please ...no good. An illusionist doing 30 to 40 years old "stuff". The last night the crew show was good for some of the crew ..they do have talent. BUT the last segment on the last night was crude and not up to the standards I THOUGHT existed with Princess.
OVERALL....Next cruise will be with Holland America. Food, Service and entertainment were top shelf at HAL. Princess has lost a prospective cruiser for the future. Its a shame since our Travel Agent recommended them. Read Less
Tuesday was embarkation day, but we couldn't board the ship until noon. We grabbed some breakfast a few short blocks from the hotel (Courtyard, Long Beach) to Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. Best fried chicken ever! We had ... Read More
Tuesday was embarkation day, but we couldn't board the ship until noon. We grabbed some breakfast a few short blocks from the hotel (Courtyard, Long Beach) to Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. Best fried chicken ever! We had chicken, waffles and Mac & cheese for breakfast. YUM-O!
Then we went back to the hotel. Check out was at noon, but I could hardly wait to get to the ship! We left the hotel at about 11:45 and there was a cab waiting right outside. It was about $20 bucks to get to the cruise port. Nothing is as exciting as seeing your ship docked! Embarkation was a breeze. The ship was really empty.
As soon as we got on we went to the Sanctuary, this is an exclusive section of the deck with big comfy chairs and a private pool. The day we got on the ship was absolutely gorgeous out, so we over zealously booked the Sanctuary for our 2 sea days. Turned out it was was too cold on Wed and Thurs to enjoy the sanctuary. Luckily, they only charged us for the 1 day. On the second day we went up just to check it out and the worker guy was dressed like he was going on an arctic expedition!
Our room was ready, so we were able to drop our back packs off and explore the rest of the ship. We had both been on this class of ship before, so we kind of knew the lay of the land. The ship was beautiful. We walked around a bit and went to the aft bar for a cocktail and had some pizza for lunch.
Sail away was at 4 pm. There was party on the top deck with a live band and dancing. The ship was really empty, but there was plenty of activities and entertainment planned.
Our late afternoon ritual was to go to Vines bar and order a bottle of wine and get tapas and sushi. I ate the tapas, hubby ate the sushi. We would have a glass of wine and then save the rest of the bottle for dinner. The tapas and sushi were complimentary if you ordered wine.
We ate dinner every night in the Portofino dining room. The food was very good. I got my fettuccine Alfredo every night! The service in the dining room was impeccable. 2 nights we had a waiter from Poland, Luckas. The last dinner of the cruise, they served escargot! It was excellent!!!! I love the way they prepare it and it's consistent no matter what Princess ship you're on.
There was several different shows every night. The first night was a show we had seen already, Destination Anywhere, so we skipped it. But we did see a magician. On the second night we saw a comedian and the magician, he did a new show. On the third night was a show called "British Invasion"' it was one of the best we've seen on Princess. We also saw the comedian again, "Sarge" he did a different show too.
Our cruise was short and sweet. I only wish it could have been longer! I love cruising. I became "platinum" on this cruise and they gave me a pin! Hubby was jealous, so he stole it, but I didn't mind. He became platinum on our cruise last year on the Crown that got cancelled and he never got his pin! Read Less
Our family flew from Eastern Canada to Los Angeles, where we spent a few days before boarding the Sapphire Princess. In L.A. we stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn at the edge of Beverly Hills; this was a great choice, as it was ... Read More
Our family flew from Eastern Canada to Los Angeles, where we spent a few days before boarding the Sapphire Princess. In L.A. we stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn at the edge of Beverly Hills; this was a great choice, as it was convenient to our sightseeing and fully equipped for relaxing without getting in each other's hair every evening. After a very busy day we were all happy to get stuff from the local grocery and veg out in our suite over a bottle of wine and dinner, rather than trek out again in search of a restaurant. We were also able to do all the accumulated laundry in the hotel's laundry room before starting on our cruise trip.
Boarding day couldn't have gone more smoothly; really, it was the most easy and stress-free experience we've had yet; we literally just walked in from the pier, got our cruise cards, and boarded the ship in about ten minutes.
The ship is nice but there were things we didn't love; having big-screen concerts and movies blaring over the outdoor pool at all hours of the day was a bit of a drag; on Mother's Day, we were told early in the morning that we couldn't tender in to the first port of call, Santa Barbara, because of fog, but it turned out to be a gloriously sunny day and we decided to lounge in the sun, only to discover they were playing a movie from the 1980s followed by a Barry Manilow concert. Really? I don't think so. There aren't enough Drinks of the Day to get me through that.
The Captain announced that the upside to missing the port was that we'd get to San Francisco that much earlier, but in the end we docked in S.F. exactly ONE HOUR earlier than scheduled.
San Francisco was glorious, and we made the most of our day there.
Our next port was Astoria, Oregon, which is apparently famous for being the setting of another 1980s movie, The Goonies. We never saw it.
There is NOTHING TO DO IN ASTORIA, although the people are very nice. I cannot imagine why it's a cruise port, aside from the fact that the cruise has to go somewhere, and Astoria has a port.
Seattle was fantastic, and once again we did everything we could cram in during our day there; we also loved our day in Victoria.
In all these ports, we made our own plans. We had discovered in the past that the cruise excursions cost up to three times more than we pay by registering directly online, and this was confirmed when we saw that, for example, a walking tour of Underground Seattle that we bought online in advance for $16 each was a whopping $59 Princess excursion choice. I suppose they bused the people there from the pier, but really, it was easily walking-distance, and we were able to enjoy fabulous oyster poor boys and beer at Pike's Place Market with the money we saved on the difference in price. (And, by the way, the walking tour isn't worth $59, though it is well worth $16.)
We like traditional late-sitting dining, as we enjoy getting to know our waiters and sitting at the same table each evening. This trip, the food was a bit disappointing.
About ten years ago we experienced the "Parade of Baked Alaska" dessert on a Pacific cruise, and it was elegant and fun; they lowered the lights, and the waiters actually carried huge flaming Baked Alaskas through the dining room. This has now degenerated into a ho-hum masquerade in which bored lead waiters are already passing out slices of Baked Alaska for dessert long before the "Parade" begins, and the "Parade" consists of the assistant waiters, after a long delay, shuffling around holding fake plasti-form models of Baked Alaska with electric bulbs on top, only half of them lit. ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.
(That being said, the woman at the next table who was whooping and screaming and cheering either thought it was the most exciting thing she'd ever seen or was plastered. She was more entertaining than any of the "entertainment" on the ship.) Time for the "Parade" to go away.
The laundry room on the ship is very nice, and as always we did laundry a couple of times. It makes perfect sense to save on the baggage weight and use this convenience -- one on every stateroom floor -- and it enables us to fly home with a suitcase full of clean clothes instead of a jumble of dirty laundry.
The housekeeping staff are pleasant and honest and very friendly, and work like dogs. Ditto the wait staff in the dining room.
The buffet staff seemed a bit more indifferent; many times as we searched for a table for breakfast or lunch we'd encounter someone sullenly guarding an empty area who would bark "Closed. Other side." Not great.
At time for Disembarkation everything went quite smoothly again, and although there were people complaining about the long taxi line at Port of Vancouver, the process was pretty painless.
There was an older crowd on board this cruise, along with a few families with children; we'd have been happy to have seen a little more life on board. Is it the awful entertainment that keeps people away, or is awful entertainment the only thing this sort of crowd likes? Either way, I am not sure I'll do another Princess Cruise. It was a little like being at a huge family reunion with distant relatives that you had forgotten you don't like very much.
We took an extra two days in Vancouver before flying home, staying at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which is a lovely hotel, and seeing the city. Read Less
The ship itself has a difficult lay-out. No gorgeous artwork like other lines.Cabin is tiny (with no sofa). Food completely mediocre. The Buffet had very little food displayed.Soups were lackluster at best. Great beef in the Steakhouse ... Read More
The ship itself has a difficult lay-out. No gorgeous artwork like other lines.Cabin is tiny (with no sofa). Food completely mediocre. The Buffet had very little food displayed.Soups were lackluster at best. Great beef in the Steakhouse (but why should you have to go to a specialty restaurant every nightto get a descent meal)?I'm disappointed that they've cut the Production Shows to 35 mins. (Princess Production shows had always been my favorite). One terrible comedian.Worst Cabin Steward I've ever had (in 49 cruises)! Asked 3 times at leastbefore we got what we needed for our cabin. Unbelievable ....don't even seemworried about gratuities.I hadn't been on Princess in six years. I've been on Holland America andCelebrity. Celebrity being the favorite (just a little better overall).I'm going back to them for my next cruise!SusieStone Read Less
Princess did an excellent job with the land portion of this and the arrangements. However the ship was very lacking in various ways. First, the food, I'd rather go to Red Lobster for seafood and Outback for beef than dine aboard the ... Read More
Princess did an excellent job with the land portion of this and the arrangements. However the ship was very lacking in various ways. First, the food, I'd rather go to Red Lobster for seafood and Outback for beef than dine aboard the CP, portions were small and of poor quality. Numerous passengers noted that their requests for salt free meals, Kosher, etc were not fulfilled. Many of the wait staff seemed to have only limited command of English.
The entertainment was well below what I've experienced on Royal Caribbean, two nights were repeats of the previous night, one night there was nothing.
The cabin had worn out pillows with no support, scratchy towels, the toilet paper was so thin I could read through it, take a roll of your own. Cabins not turned down.
Very hard sell, from the time we stepped onto the gangway and got aboard the ship we had been offered three deals of one kind or another, then there was the wine tasting, cola deal, wine deal, photos, etc.
The smoking lounge was located off the atrium and the stench from it was obnoxious for many feet in any direction.
It's only fair to say that I'm not criticizing the personnel of the CP, they were doing their best with what they were given.
I'd tell anyone going to Alaska to do the land portion with Princess and the cruise with someone else. Read Less
Being first time "big ship" cruisers, and avid travellers, we spent 2 years researching Alaska cruise info before booking our trip. So, we were able to book exactly what we wanted, and were very pleased with the size of the ... Read More
Being first time "big ship" cruisers, and avid travellers, we spent 2 years researching Alaska cruise info before booking our trip. So, we were able to book exactly what we wanted, and were very pleased with the size of the ship, layout and size of our cabin, location of our cabin, and our excursions.
We booked the train from Anchorage to Whittier on our own, and were on the 9:30 am train. A pleasant ride. NOTE: most hotels offer free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and then to the train station. Don't hire a cab without checking this out. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn - which was fine. Nothing fancy, but we were there for only overnite.
At the train station, we checked our bags straight through to Princess and never saw them again until we got to our cabins. When the train arrived, it was a short walk across a parking lot to the ship terminal to fill out health forms and check in. We got there around noon. Chose to walk into town to buy bottled water, and then checked in around 1:30. Our cabin was ready, and our luggage was delivered.
As opposed to recent complaints I had read - we found the staff of Coral Princess to be friendly, helpful, energetic, with happy attitudes. Yes, it was hard to understand some of them, as it is an almost entirely non-American crew. Sometimes we had to ask a question repeatedly in order to understand the answer.
Our cabin was clean, and our beds were comfortable -no need for the egg carton cushion. Only complaint - too few plugs that you could use because of their placement on the walls. Several of our electronics didn't fit the space specifically at the desk location. The locations behind the 2 tv's was difficult to reach.. Bring a multi-plug strip or extension cord ( I had one with me but it somehow didn't get unpacked and I thought I hadn't brought it!). Also, it was hot with the duvet. There were no other covers, and so we requested a top sheet and a blanket. Well, the top sheet was torn, and dingy, and we chose not to use it. However, the blanket came in handy to wrap around as we sat on the balcony when sailing in Glacier Bay! Also, a few extra pillows for the sofa and the bed had to be requested. All of our clothing and items had a place to be stored - and we had 4 suitcases and 2 carryon bags!!! We chose a mini-suite that had a tub/shower so that my 6'4" hubby would have room in the shower. It was really nice!!
We had anytime dining and found the food to be pretty bad. Clearly the chefs were trying to prepare dishes that were too complicated to be served on such a large scale. After a couple of nites we went to the Horizon Buffet and found the food flavor and quality to be much better. Not fabulous, but better! Of course, Sabatini's and the Bayou Cafe were very good (don't get steak at Bayou Cafe - stick with Cajun dishes - poor meat grade).
We had room service for breakfast 2 mornings that we were in a hurry. It was fine.
Note - any beverage you buy has an add-on gratuity, so those latte's at the Patisserie not only had an added-on gratuity, but the ticket you must sign doesn't list the gratuity, yet is has a line for you to (foolishly) add gratuity).
We saw a few show - they were pretty good. Not Broadway, but fine. The crew show on the 2nd to last nite was great.
The naturalist, Kathy, was outstanding. After crowding on the front deck when we arrived in Glacier Bay, we chose to do the rest of our glacier viewing from our balcony. We just turned up the volume on the TV, and easily hear her narration while having space all to ourselves. Also, the Park Rangers that came on-board to narrate were terrific as well.
Ports/excursions: Skagway - took the Chilkoot Charters' excursion on the train to White Pass/Yukon. Loved it - especially since on the van ride back our driver could make any stops we wanted to see sights and take photos along the way.
Juneau - Harv & Marv's whale watching. Captain Sean was terrific. Saw LOTS and LOTS of humpback whales. Stopped at Mendenhall Glacier on the way back. Wish we had more time in Juneau.
Ketchikan - Seawind Aviation floatplane to Misty Fjords. Pretty views. Included a stop in a beautiful cove. Smooth flying. Then on our own took the town's free shuttle to the Totem Pole Center - very interesting. Then walked back to the heart of town.
We arrived in Vancouver around 6 am. Since we were staying on in Vancouver on our own for a few days, we selected a late disembarkation. We put out our bags at 10 pm the nite before. We had to vacate the cabin at 8. Went to breakfast, and then to our waiting area for our 9:50 disembarkation. It went very swiftly and smoothly. And there were a lot of Princess staff on hand to help out if needed. Our bags were waiting for us.
Lucky us it was sunny and fairly warm most days. Never had rain in a port - just one afternoon at sea. All in all - a great trip!!! Read Less
Just got off my first princess cruise and was not impressed with the layout or the mothership's (carnival)Ideas
1st problem design ideology. . Elevator banks are limited to different floors, The front bank of elevators goes from the ... Read More
Just got off my first princess cruise and was not impressed with the layout or the mothership's (carnival)Ideas
1st problem design ideology. . Elevator banks are limited to different floors, The front bank of elevators goes from the 7th to 14 floors ,The lobby bank of elevators goes from the 5th to 8th floors then center bank goes from 2nd to 15 floor.My cabin was on the 10th floor forward... In order to reach 5 th floor dinning room I had to take two sets of elevators or walk the narrow hallways to center ship elevators (about 350')and then double back the other way.
2nd problem Casino Ideology.Carnival lets you put money into there slot machines but does not let you take it out . If you are lucky and win some money you have to insert your sail card and create a pin number along with your birthdate on the smallest keyboard at sea. It's HORRIBLE, you need reading glasses or read brile ,then wait 15 seconds, and guess what happens if you pull the card out a milli second early ..... You have to go to the cashier cage or jail as i see it to get one of the guards. The joy is G O N E ...P.S. don't leave money on "your card" pass midnight on the last night of the cruise or....it's G O N E (carnival cyberspace )I was told that this idea was for "my safety". Directive from the mothership GO CARNIVAL! Surprised Las Vegas hasn't followed that ideology. Simply trendsetting
3rd problem alcohol measuring! I don't want togo on ANY CRUISE that the bartender becomes Betty Crocker with a measuring cup. I spent $9.13 With a tip x 2 on drinks that were horrible
My bartender was a chemist..... who kept on apologizing about the mothership's drink pouring rules
My recommendation is to go on a celebrity cruise, where elevators go to every single floor and where alcohol pours generously,And you don't need reading glasses and a bank pin number to play the casino Slots. Thank you Read Less
We were very excited to do this as well as all the excursions. Paid mucho dinero $$$ for the expeditions that were average and now, in hindsight very overpriced! I feel ripped off by Princess. Did the 12 day cruise-tour. First night at ... Read More
We were very excited to do this as well as all the excursions. Paid mucho dinero $$$ for the expeditions that were average and now, in hindsight very overpriced! I feel ripped off by Princess. Did the 12 day cruise-tour. First night at Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage which was very nice, great room with views of water and town (corner room), eating at a local pub called Humpy's which now in hindsight was THE highlight of our meals in AK over all, including the cruise ship fare.
Second and third nights at the McKinley Princess Lodge was just an average, boring place, including the restaurants. The uninspiring decor could have been anywhere. I did not feel as if I was in Alaska. Boring, plain rooms. In fact, I can't even recall a single detail about them. Mt McKinley showed it's face for about 20 minutes. Rain, Rain, Rain. Our first very overpriced excursion was the horseback riding trip with very, very nice wranglers and horses that were kept in really awful quickly built cover, not worthy to be called a stable. Nice new trails, but I longed for a bit of cantering and galloping as I am an experienced rider. This is ALASKA! Where are all the animals????? Saw nothing other than the horses. Next days overpriced excursion was the Devil's Canyon Jet Boat trip. Rainy, but enjoyable, very nice staff, but saw 2 bald eagles and quickly, 2 young moose running away from the rivers edge. 130 miles and WHERE ARE ALL THE ANIMALS? Ate at the 20320 restaurant twice and the staff were clearly overwhelmed and clueless asking us twice on 2 different dining occasions if we wanted anything else before the check when we hadn't even received our meals yet. Went into Talkeetna and ate at a very nice Cafe (something Brewing Company) which was delicious!!! (better than Princess food) Next two days at Denali Princess again: rain, rain, rain... and overpriced food, especially at the King Salmon restaurant with a King Salmon entree for $46-$48 which was just so-so. Ongoing disappointment, thus far with Princess and their price gouging. The Lodge was much better than McKinley in terms of ambiance and projecting that you are actually in Alaska, the river views below were lovely, but I longed to get on the ship for my very first cruise! Our "included" Denali History Tour advertised for a 6+ hr tour was just about 4 hrs and was on a cold school bus. The guide was informative, friendly & funny. Again: WHERE ARE ALL THE ANIMALS? FINALLY...ONWARD TO THE SHIP! I was excited and the 9 hr train tour to Whittier was very nice and went by quickly thanks to a nice older couple from Florida and the very knowledgeable guide on board. Our first night on board was nice and the anytime dining option chosen was fine. We were eager to sit with others at a shared table as we are friendly. Our room steward Bonifacio was very attentive and helpful from the start. No problems with him at all, exceeded my expectations here @ Princess. The Horizon food court was average to below average and we tried not to eat here much unless hurried or if only for breakfast. Food was fine for breakfast, but "eehh" for other meals, in my opinion. Fruit and desserts were always good however here. Not crazy about the main courses.
As far as the Bordeax anytime dining room, the staff were good and the food was anywhere from just okay to good. Never anything great or fantastic. The room itself is quite large and well appointed. Spa services: $19 for a nail polish change!!!!! I did it as my nails were a mess after the land excursions. At home in NYC metro area, one of the priciest places in the USA, same service for $6. I pre-booked a Swedish massage for the second to last day and was happy to change it for a lower priced "special" advertised the night before. Still, I can get a better price at home.
As far as all of our land excursions off the ship in Scagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, again, while they were nice and the staff were excellent and friendly, Princess prices again were overly inflated for what we actually got. Just way too over the top price wise for the actual product. Suggestion: look into booking privately to save big bucks. As we are first time cruisers, we just took the whole Princess package as we didn't know better. We spent ~ $1200 on all of our excursions above and beyond our cruise costs. I do not feel that any of them were worth that kind of money NOW IN HINDSIGHT! Another issue: the Spa staff are heavily attempting to sell, sell, sell you overpriced products you don't need or can get at a fraction of the cost elsewhere. My spouse coined the phrase "Prince-sell" cruises. The FINAL insult was the 14 hr layover in the Vancouver, BC airport to fly back to NYC on the red-eye at 11:00pm. Thankfully, Cathay Pacific was wonderful and short and sweet. Our flight on Delta to Seattle before transferring to Alaska Airlines has sworn me off Delta for life. Overall, in hindsight, I would not do the land part before the cruise as there was little of value for me. In conclusion, I feel taken advantage of by Princess with price gouging of the optional excursions and Spa services. As a now "experienced cruiser", I would pack less, (people were very informal), I would make my own land tours with a independent company ashore and probably NOT use Princess again IF we cruise again. I can't stand all the waiting around and time wasted. We travel all over, but without formal tours; I do all the planning and work and our best travel has been this way. If you are considering a trip to Alaska, there are far more superior National Parks in the USA. Yellowstone is AMAZING as are the Grand Tetons. Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Arches, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks are all far superior to Alaska, IMO. Read Less
The Diamond princess was our first cruise with the princess cruise line. We were very happy with all the aspects of the cruise. We arrived in Whittier after riding the train from Denali. While the line was long, it moved well and we were ... Read More
The Diamond princess was our first cruise with the princess cruise line. We were very happy with all the aspects of the cruise. We arrived in Whittier after riding the train from Denali. While the line was long, it moved well and we were on the ship in a short period of time.
We had the anytime dinning feature and enjoyed the opportunity to try the four different dining rooms. The menu in each was the same, except for the fact that a daily special was offered. This special was not on the menu and was given to you by your waiter. We enjoyed the service in the Santa Fe and Savoy the best. The food was good and well seasoned. As like any cruise you could order as many appetizers, entrees, and desserts as you wish. We had six people in our group, so dinner was always an hour and a half to two hour event.
We did breakfast in the Horizon court (buffet). They had a wide selection of food from cold cereal to egg omelets to order. They offered many different fresh fruits and pastries and breads. The staff was constantly changing out the food to keep fresh items available.
Each day during the lunch hours they provided a theme buffet. We found this food to be very good and fresh as well.
Our only complaint was in the specialty restaurant Sterling Steak house. This cost $20 person and is noted as one of the best places to eat on the ship. I need to be very specific, the food (steak) was outstanding. The service on the other had was about as bad as I have every had at any restaurant. We were ignored for the first 25 to 30 minutes, then we almost had to beg to get our water refilled. Just a poor experience from start to finish.
We had a balcony room which was so nice. They did a good job of giving each side of the ship the same equal time while viewing the glaciers. So nice to sit on your balcony and watch large chunks of ice 100's of years old fall into the sea. My wife got coffee delivered to the room each morning, always at the time she requested. Good size room and bathroom considering you are on a ship.
I used the spa service every day. The steam room was always hot and the showers in the spa were well stocked and larger than the showers in the room.
We found the staff to be friendly and helpful for the most part. A few crew members did not seem to know where some places where on the ship, however, for the most part they were courteous.
The shows were all good, but none were outstanding. The last nigh members of the crew staff performed and they were very entertaining. The cruise director (Kelvin) and assistant (Dan) were tremendous. The games and shows they MCed were do not miss events.
The under the stars movies are not to be missed. They give you blankets to keep warm. They serve warm cookies and popcorn.
The drink prices were very fair, much better than RC (Royal Caribbean). Princess lets each person bring on board one bottle of alcohol.
Over all we had a fantastic experience with Princess. If you are thinking about Alaska, the Diamond Princess is a great way to go. Read Less
First time Princess cruiser; started off on the right foot by receiving an 8-category upgrade to a balcony after having purchased a very inexpensive guarantee. (Also, our on-line TA booking came with a bonus shore excursion credit which we ... Read More
First time Princess cruiser; started off on the right foot by receiving an 8-category upgrade to a balcony after having purchased a very inexpensive guarantee. (Also, our on-line TA booking came with a bonus shore excursion credit which we used to purchase a private limo transfer from LAX to San Pedro - very nice!). Value for the Price: 4/5
Embarkation on Wednesday was unbelievably quick and hassle-free. Including travel time we were no more than 35 minutes from airport luggage carousel to gangway. (Mind you, this was 12:30 p.m. - peak boarding time.) This part of the process couldn't have gone better. Excellent luck with everything from our transfer arrangements to the curbside porters. Embarking onto Deck 7 rather than the Atrium though, lacked a certain WOW factor, and I was disappointed for my sister, who is a first time cruiser (who fortunately didn't know what she was missing!). Travel & Embarkation: 5/5
Our cabin was ready when we boarded, which I understand is the standard for Princess. Our BE balcony was located way too far aft for my preference, and actually we under-utilized the balcony due to the weather and having so much else to do. Even so, never look a gift-balcony in the mouth (or something like that...). The cabin itself was very spacious, but dated in decor and somewhat ill-kept with stained and worn furniture. Storage was strangely lacking other than the large, open closet (one cabinet with shelves and only bed-side table drawers). The beds were INCREDIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE - I slept poorly and rose early as laying there too long was actually painful. Our cabin steward was perfunctory - not a super job, but adequate. Robes from our Personalizer requests were delivered the second day. Accommodations: 2.5/5
The ship is clearly not new or particularly modern in decor, but is very tasteful and not garish in any way. Clean and tidy, with everything one could ask (children's facilities, bars & lounges, a very impressive library, showroom, shopping, giant movie screen, golfing, spa, salon & casino). We took advantage of almost everything on offer, including the Sanctuary and the Lotus Thermal Suite. (These facilities were completely under-subscribed on this trip and by the end of the second day aggressive "salesmen" were roving the ship trying to get people to sign up. While we really enjoyed both of them, I must say I am a little resentful of having to pay for what used to be included in yester-year cruising). A FEW WORDS TO SMOKERS: There are outside smoking areas along the starboard side of the walking track on Deck 7 and in the open space on Deck 15 forward. There is no smoking at all allowed at the tables or loungers around the pool on the Lido or that I noticed in the Casino, although I was not in there much. There is an indoor facility (Churchill's Cigar Lounge) that is so oppressive and horrible it was more like free smoking-cessation therapy! I did not notice any conflict whatsoever between passengers over smoking on the Coral Princess. Public Spaces: 5/5
Dining was uniformly disappointing, perhaps the worst food I've ever been served on a cruise in every venue. (I had fully intended to enhance this review with "Food Porn", but honestly, there was nothing worth photographing.) Main dining menu selections were not tempting, presentation was not creative and taste and temperature were unsatisfactory. Our table request was not accommodated and we were seated at an 8-top. Two of the other couples had been on the ship since Ft. Lauderdale and had developed a real rapport with the wait staff. We actually felt a little ignored (by the wait staff, not our tablemates), which was a weird experience although I suppose we could have complained if it was that big a deal. Service in Horizon Court was better, but buffet choices were unappealing and deteriorated quickly under intense heat lamps. Cold selections of meats, cheeses, fruit and salad were better, but really, how can you mess those up? In desperation we ate at one of the specialty restaurants (the Bayou Cajun Steakhouse). It was way better, but only as good as main dining should have been - nowhere near as outstanding as the high-end restaurants I've been to on other ships. Dining: 1/5
Service was efficient, polite and professional, but rarely personable. Just O.K. in every way, but O.K. is good enough isn't it? We wanted for nothing, and if we had we were more than capable of seeking out assistance. I'm beginning to believe that we've all developed a mythology around cruise ship crew. They are there to do their jobs, and for the most part are very adequate at it. Few genuinely desire to "be friends", but then again, why would they? (FYI for anyone that's wondering - yes, we did leave our auto-tips in place, which I consider part of the cruise fare. Almost nobody warranted additional cash tips except the sweet staff in the Sanctuary). Service: 3/5
Activities and Entertainment provided by Princess blew me away!! Incredible array of opportunities on the roster each day - I consistently had to miss something in favour of something else. Never before have I been confronted with this happy dilemma! Two shows each evening (one on the main stage and one in a cabaret setting) and each performer was GOOD, really good! Any of you who have seen Steve Moris over the years will understand the caliber of the talent. I do regret that "On the Bayou" was not performed as it was highly recommended, and weather conditions precluded watching an evening movie outdoors. I think in hindsight I would trade better entertainment for better food again anytime. Entertainment & Activities: 5++/5
Itinerary was lovely, we had unbelievable luck with the weather in San Francisco, Victoria and Vancouver, although the winds on board were FIERCE and the seas rough while underway. Ship sponsored excursions were limited as this trip was the first of the season for each port. We toured independently in San Francisco (google GoCar dot com - you won't be sorry!!) and took Princess excursions in Victoria & Vancouver (Butchart Gardens & City Tour/Canyon Walk respectively). Both were very good quality and we were satisfied. I highly recommend taking an excursion on disembarkation day - it allows you to be escorted off the ship past the other 2000 people waiting in line! Ports of Call: 5/5
All in all, we had a wonderful vacation and I'm very pleased with the experience I was able to offer my DSis, who was a cruise newbie. I still have not found my elusive "Absolute Favorite Cruiseline". More and more I'm convinced that I never will, as the offerings of each of them are quite diverse and really serve different, equally worthy purposes. I will confidently recommend Princess when appropriate and look forward to sailing Princess again myself when the circumstances are right. Please feel free to ask any specific questions! Read Less
We took this Pacific coastal repositioning cruise because of the convenient schedule. We flew to San Francisco and Napa Valley for three days of dining and wine tasting. It was natural to take a relaxing cruise back. In addition we could ... Read More
We took this Pacific coastal repositioning cruise because of the convenient schedule. We flew to San Francisco and Napa Valley for three days of dining and wine tasting. It was natural to take a relaxing cruise back. In addition we could bring back wine in our carry-on luggage.
the port of San Francisco was not equipped to handle big cruise ships, especially three on the same day (Star, Sea and Island Princess). The traffic around the port area was so congested that it took two hours to get to Pier 35. with two Princess boats leaving from the same pier, the facilities were really taxed. We left for the port in downtown SF at 11:15 a.m. and didn't get to the Pier until 1:30 p.m. We got on the boat near 3:00 p.m. and nearly missed the buffet lunch. The staggered embarkation instituted by Princess really didn't work as there was a long line-up to get into the Pier anyway.
This was my third cruise on the Star Princess and everything was very familiar. The cabin steward was very helpful in spite of the short duration of the cruise. The buffet lunch at the Horizon Court was a bit dry and stale by the time I got on and I had to rush to finish lunch to participate in the safety drill at 3:30 p.m.
I went to Sabatini's Italian restaurant on the first night and the experience was most satisfying. There was lots of food and the preparation was excellent. Service was also out-standing. I asked for a bottle of the Luce Toscana 2007 and the manager and server managed to get me the last bottle from the cellar (they had lots of the 2006 vintage).
There were a lot of tour groups from Vancouver on this cruise and I ran into a number of friends.
The dinner service at the Capri restaurant (anytime dining) on the second night was a bit slow, especially the delivery of the main course and the dessert. It took me two-and-a-half hours to finish the dinner where normally it would take one-and-a-half hours.
The cruise featured two production shows (British Invasion and Destination Anywhere) but I did not attend either since I have seen them on a previous cruise. I did see most of Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol on Movies Under the Stars. It was too windy for me to finish the whole movie. There would be a second cruise on the Golden Princess one week later and the weather may be more favourable for watching movies outdoors.
Disembarkation was smooth in light of the number of passengers. The boat was half an hour late in docking, so we had to spend more time in the lounge since all guests had to vacate their cabins by 8:00 a.m.
All in all it was a pleasant two day cruise that was very popular with the Vancouver people. Read Less
Arrived one day early in LA before the cruise. Stayed at the LAX Marriott. My wife chose this against based on the fact that Princess was offering a transfer from the hotel to the ship. Nice enough property but the location is poor if you ... Read More
Arrived one day early in LA before the cruise. Stayed at the LAX Marriott. My wife chose this against based on the fact that Princess was offering a transfer from the hotel to the ship. Nice enough property but the location is poor if you want to sight see without renting a car. Cab fare to Hollywood was approx. $55. We took a the #3 bus to Santa Monica. The cost was $2 and took about 35 minutes. Went to the farmers market, walked along the beach and the pier. Wished we would have stayed here. Ship left at 4. We got to the pier a 1:45. No lines and check in was a breeze. Made a suggestion to Princess to offer another hotel option pre cruise.
There were pros and cons to the ship. Let me say this. This was our 10th cruise and 5th with Princess but first on this ship. We are middle class and would classify us as low maintenance. It seemed to us the service on the ship was a little below normal in the buffet. Quite often you would see the wait staff standing around talking to each other when there were drinks to refill and tables to clean. I thought the food was very good and offered variety. Never ate in the dining room so I cant comment on it. The new specialty pizza station is a nice addition.
Our room steward was very good. We never wanted for a thing. The bed was terrible. We actually saw people bringing foam bedding back on the ship. The entertainment was fair. The first couple of shows by the singers and dancers were ok. Their last show Born to be Wild was really good. There was no sail-away show, no crew talent show. I thought the cruise director was dry but the other members of the staff were quite funny and engaging.
I give very high marks for the folks in the spa. We spent quite a bit in the spa but we were treated very well and felt like we made friends with several people. The ship itself was clean and in good condition from what we could tell. In summary about the ship and crew is one that in our opinion things were really good to nothing special.
We chose this cruise based on the Port Of Calls. We had calm seas and good weather. Several days it was early afternoon before the fog would burn off First stop was Santa Barbara.
We did a whale watching excursion. Followed a mom and it's calf for about 5 minutes. Saw quite a few dolphins. Santa Barbara's downtown area was nice to walk around in. Went to the court house. A beautiful building with great views from the top.
San Francisco was next. Did the HoHo tour. This was a fun tour that allowed us to see most of the city highlights. We had been there before 10 years ago so for one day it was the best option for us. Just a fun place with many sights to see and some interesting people.
Sea Day-- Slept in a little. Went to the spa and found a place to lay in the afternoon sun.
Astoria Or was next. A hidden little gem. No glitz or glamour here. A town with extremely nice people, a few landmarks to visit (we did the Flavel House and Astoria Column) some nice brew pubs and the best fish n chips I have ever had a Bow Pickers.
Seattle-- Another fun place. Nice weather with no rain. Did the Underground Tour in Pioneer Square and spent the rest of the day in Pike Place Market. Had been here before so we had already done several of the other touristy things.
Victoria-- Toured the castle did a little shopping went back to the ship (to the spa) then back into town for dinner at the Bard and Banker. Nothing like fresh Canadian Beer!!
Debarkation was in Vancouver.
In closing it may sound like we didn't enjoy a lot of things but actually we really did have a good cruise. Having sailed on Princess before we were accustomed to things that weren't done this cruise. The biggest gripe was the bed on the ship. I wished we had more time in Vancouver. For us the expense and the flight home made more sense to us to go back to Seattle to fly home I know this was a relocation voyage but I suggested to Princess to either make this an 8 day voyage with an overnight in Vancouver or a 7 day and skip Victoria with an overnight in Vancouver. Read Less
Sapphire Princess Wine Country Coastal Cruise May 12-19, 2012 (Saturday to Saturday)-7 days, 6 ports
No staggered boarding that I was aware of. I arrived at the terminal at 12:30pm, need to show boarding pass & ... Read More
Sapphire Princess Wine Country Coastal Cruise May 12-19, 2012 (Saturday to Saturday)-7 days, 6 ports
No staggered boarding that I was aware of. I arrived at the terminal at 12:30pm, need to show boarding pass & passport, filled out a health form, went up escalator, went to Platinum line and turned in boarding pass and health form, changed onboard credit card, then went through security screening, a small line to the gangway, took security photo with a handheld machine(3 ship's security doing this), got on ship and 2 photo screens were set up to take embarkation photo near ship's elevator(s). Went straight to cabin. Met up with my 3 friends at 2:30pm who arrived from LAX and we had our embarkation photo together.
This is a tender port. We were here on a Sunday and there is an Art & Crafts show(sbaacs.com) along Cabrillo Blvd. We walked from the tender area(Sea Landing) there. There is a 25 cent each way shuttle with transfers called the downtown waterfront shuttle-look for the black sailboat with blue circle signs. The bus has a colorful flower on roof.(sbmtd.gov)
We did a brownie & wine tasting at Santa Barbara winery. (sbwinery.com) or check out other wineries at(urbanwinetrailsb.com)
We ate lunch at Mac's fish & chips on State Street, very good, casual place.
We docked at pier 35.We took a cab to The Walt Disney Family Museum in The Presidio area.($15. without tip, each way) Then a cab from museum to pier 39 near the ship. Cabs were near pier 39 at a taxi stand, a short walk from the cruise terminal #35.
The town is named after John Jacob Astor- sole investor in Pacific Fur. Co. 1810. We took the $7.00(paid in cash) all day bus/trolley to stop #1 and then walked a few blocks to The Flavel House.(river bar pilot/areas 1st millionaire) Cost is $4.00 AAA or senior. Then walked back a few blocks to shuttle stop #1 and went to The Maritime Museum,(nice exhibits of nautical and Columbia river facts & history) which was stop #2(trolley was also at this stop). Also included in Maritime ticket is Lightship Columbia. Cost was $11.00 for AAA discount. Got back on the bus and went to stop # 3 the transit area and walked a short distance to Cellar on 10th, elevator or stairs down to a basement store. We enjoyed tasting some Oregon wines here.
If you wish to walk from the port to town along the river walk it is about 1.5 miles.
The dock is just before the Astoria-Megler bridge which links OR with WA-US 101.
There are about 20 or so vendors under white canopies right at the dock, selling handmade jewelry, lotions, etc.
We docked at Bell Street Pier which is #66. We rented a car from Enterprise; they picked us up and dropped us off at pier. We went to 3 Woodinville wineries.(Woodhouse Family, Columbia, & Chateau Ste. Michelle) We had a tasting($5. or $10) and flatbread lunch($6-$12) at Columbia.
We were late disembarking in Seattle, we did not get off ship until 10:45am, we were ready to go ashore at 10am. We also went to Pike Place Market. The ship docks just below the market area. I believe there is a elevator and skywalk bridge that will get you close from where ship is docked at pier 66;we drove. We drove past Seattle center(space needle, saw Chiuly display from Broad St.)This is the only port we had to show ID and cruise card to get back on ship and go through security in the dock building.
We docked at Ogden Point. We took the $8.00 all day bus that dropped us off at The Fairmont Empress Hotel and they also had another stop(Shuttle center) further(don't know where it was though). Pay in cash(took USD) for this; go through sign area that says shuttle buses. Seemed to be plenty of cabs also lined up. Went to tea at The Empress that we had booked through opentable. The tea is $67.14 CAD with HST included. We also went to Rogers Chocolates off Government St., about 2 blocks towards downtown shops from the Empress on same side of the St. Rented a car from Enterprise and they picked us up at The Empress and dropped us back at the ship. We used the car to go to Butchart Gardens; the entrance fee was $30.86 CAD with HST included, no car park fee.
CAD to USD was even;$1.00 to $1.00.
There were 3 ships in port on disembarkation day.(Diamond, Sapphire and I believe Holland America-Zuiderdam)
We had pre -purchased a Princess transfer bus ticket for $49.00 from Vancouver Canada Place to Seattle airport.
There was also a NCL Jewel ship at Ballantyne pier.
We had to be in our lounge at 5:55am,the earliest I have ever met on a Princess voyage.
We had a great CC group. We had a sail away party, a blind wine tasting get together, slot pull, some organized individual tours, and a meet & greet in Skywalkers(had about Â½ of the people show up who said they wanted to meet) .
Elite, Suite, & Platinum Lounge was in Skywalkers from 5-7pm. Wednesday eve-2nd formal night there was no daily hors d'ouvres or 'party".
Our most traveled passenger was from California with 847 days on Princess.
Our Captain was Nick Carlton, CD Billy Hygate with Bex, Maitre d' Hotel was Rui Pereira, & Hotel GM was Shelia Griffin.
Our formal nights were Sunday and Wednesday.
Our general emergency drill was between 3:15pm- 3:30pm approximately, we set sail at 4pm.
The ship went through a dry dock January 2012 and added many public venues.
Near the passengers service desk were 2 'kiosks" to scan your cruise card and get a print out of your current bill. I found this very convenient.
Dolphin & Caribe decks had different(newer) balcony furniture than our Baja deck on the port side.
There was no power hour in the bars. A new system called clean Sweep Bar Bill card which is a punch card(30). Chance to win your bar bill being paid for in full. Beer is 1 punch, cocktails, wine, & spirits are 2 punches, bottle of wine is 6, beer bucket is 3.
Breakfast in The International dinning room was from 7:30am to 9:30am all days but embarkation and disembarkation days.
Lunch in Dining Room-closed on port days; open noon to 1:30pm on embarkation day and our 1 sea day.
Traditional Dining 5:30pm 1st seating, 8pm second seating.
Vivaldi (Anytime )dining room was also used for 5:30pm traditional, 8pm-10pm it was used for Anytime dining
Anytime Dining for dinner 5:30pm to 10pm in Pacific Moon, Savoy, & Santa Fe.
Sabatini's & Sterling Steakhouse 6pm to 11pm.($20. cover charge )
Horizon Court Hours:
5-6am continental breakfast
11:30am to 3:30pm lunch
3:30-5:30pm light snack
5:30pm to midnight dinner
Our room steward was Joselito, our dining room waiters were Dan from Romania & George from Philippines.
I did not notice any special wine tastings on this sailing other than the normal 2.(3:30pm on the day we were in Astoria -Grapevine wine tasting-$9.50 & sea day; 3pm Sommelier's Wine Club) So don't expect any just because it is 'billed" as a Wine Country Coastal-just an FYI.(I did not expected any special tastings,nor did I attend any of the ships wine tastings)
Pub lunch was offered on the sea day from 11:30am to 2pm in Savoy Dining Rm.
Don't Stop the Music, Comedian Rollin Jay Moore, Comedian Doug Funk-CD Billy sang 1st, Do You Wanna Dance, I Got the Music, Born to be Wild(a rock n roll road trip)
Indigo Band-they were wonderful, Oceans Quartet, Bruce Tilden at Baby Grand in Crooner's, David Pitchfork Orchestra,70's Revival Party, Illusionist Landon Swank.(his wife was his assistant.) , and DJ in Skywalkers & Club Fusion. There was much more entertainment than this, but this is a sample. Seemed to always have something going on in The Piazza on deck 5.
Born to be Wild is a new show and it was offered at 7pm,8:30pm, and 10:15pm-lasted about 45 min.
The 10:15pm shows had plenty of seats.
There was no International Crew show which I love nor was there a back stage production tour.
We pre-purchased the Princess transfer from Vancouver to Seattle airport. Because we were 1 of 3 ships at Canada Place, we arrived in Vancouver earlier than scheduled.(originally 7:30am) we met in Club Fusion at 5:55am and left the lounge at 6:35am. We did not have to claim our luggage, only hand in Canadian customs form, that was left in stateroom a few days prior to departure.
Only 1 "hiccup" to our trip was that our suitcases were suppose to be under our bus, but out of 4 of us traveling together only 1 of our suitcases was under the bus. The rest of our bags(4 bags) came on the very last Princess bus. We had a 4:05pm flight and the last bus arrived at 2:20pm with our luggage.(luckily we had time on our side)
We had a restroom onboard our bus, but 1 bus driver told me his did not have a restroom onboard.(make sure if you take a transfer that you have a restroom onboard) We left Canada Place at 7:20am and arrived at Sea-Tac airport at 11:20am. There was about 1 hr. wait, stopped in Saturday traffic to get across to USA. We made no stops along the way.
We liked the itinerary and we love Princess. These ports are easily done on your own, no need for a Princess tour. Read Less
Before we get into the detail we want you to know we really enjoyed this cruise and would do it again.
Our holiday started in Bejing, and we flew from Manchester via Dubai with Emirates on their A480s with 30 Kilos each of luggage ... Read More
Before we get into the detail we want you to know we really enjoyed this cruise and would do it again.
Our holiday started in Bejing, and we flew from Manchester via Dubai with Emirates on their A480s with 30 Kilos each of luggage allowed. We had a two nights pre-cruise stay at the Marriott (City Wall) hotel. The hotel has good rooms, a good Pizza restaurant but breakfast (which was provided free) was only so-so (pre-prepared food only warm, not hot and eggs decidedly underdone for us). Note we were there 29 April to 1 May which is a Chinese bank holiday, Beijing was very busy with the world and his wife on holiday there!
On the 30th April we walked to the Temple of Heaven (this took us about an hour -- Bejing is a large city and distances on the local maps underplay the distances). We bought a Temple, Gardens and other parts ticket, however did not really understand it as all in Chinese, and one of the buildings within the gardens we then would have had to play extra to go into (so we opted not to). After we left the Temple we went across to the acrobatic theatre and booked tickets for the evening acrobatic show -- only charged us 100 Yuan. It was a warm day so after an ice cream in the local KFC we then got a bus up to Tianamen Square (only 1 Yuan/RMB to travel any distance on the bus) which took about 10 minutes -- the buses have the stop place names in English(ish) as well as Chinese which was useful.
After a tour of the square (we had been before on a previous holiday) we caught the bus back to the acrobatic theatre. It was an excellent show, we really do not know how people can be so flexible and strong!
Transfer to the cruise ship took around 2 hours (with a 20 minute stop half way), it is amazing how much building work is still going on (and how much the new developments mimic American/European architecture).
We were on the Diamond Princess in Cabin D503 -- a very good mini-suite but occasionally we could smell cigarette smoke in the bedroom area, perhaps this is because we were above the starboard promenade deck. Since our last cruise on the Diamond Princess (2009) we found a few changes:
- they have introduced discounted drinks for platinum, elite and suite customer in SkyWalkers bar from 17:00 to 19:00 if you have the cocktail of the day (plus canapes/nibbles provided) which we enjoyed most evenings;
- In the Horizon Court restaurant the cutlery & napkins are on the tables now, rather than with the trays;
- Sabatini's has a new (very good menu).
We were "Anytime" dining, and usually ate in the Savoy restaurant -- it is advisable to book a table if you want to eat at a particular time (or if you are a couple and want just a table for 2). Remember that if you are on a large table, you may only want 2 courses but other may want more, and they always serve all the same courses together!
The ports we called at on the Asian side of the cruise were Dalian (China), Busan (South Korea), Vladivostock (Russia) Muroran (Japan) -- do read the instructions provided in the cabin regarding your passports and immigration checks as it will save you time in the long run.
After Japan we then had 6 days at sea -- every night the clocks went forward an hour, which can interfere with your sleep patterns. We also crossed the International Date Line, so we went from 12 hours in front of the UK to 12 hours behind, and we had 10th May twice! During the sea days there was therefore lots of people doing the on-board activities. We did all of the quizzes (general knowledge, music, movies, theatre and musicals), and although there are prizes for the winners, it really is the winning that counts (as the prizes are really only token gifts - such as lanyards, drinking beakers, keyring lights and fridge magnet clips). We used the internet whilst on board, however as this is via a satellite it is more like a dial up speed rather than broadband
There was a storm in the northern pacific, so the captain took a more northerly route into the Bering Sea, before crossing back into the Pacific near Kodiak island, therefore we got to see some of the Aleutian Islands. Due to the Captain's change the Pacific Ocean lived up to its name and most days the ships navigation system recorded the waves as "slight", only once during the entire cruise did the sea look remotely rough and with the ships stabilisers out you really did not feel it. After leaving Muroran the temperature started to drop and the day before we had our first Alaskan port (Seward) it snowed. Many of the passengers (and crew) had never seen snow before and were very excited by this (some of them soon learned that snow is also very slippery, and the outside decks were closed for safety reasons).
We were not lucky enough to see any whales during the cruise, but we saw dolphins, seals and sealions.
We did the following excursions:
Dalian -- City Walk and kite flying. Dalian is a big, modern city. English speaking student guides took us round and were friendly (and you needed them to help crossing the roads, as there was lots of traffic!) midway through the tour we went to a restaurant and were provided with drinks, we chose Beer. Then off to a park for kite flying (cheap kites that you then take home with you), it was a calm day with little breeze so not actually that successful for kite flying. We had lunch back on the boat.
Busan -- we went to Yunggungsa Temple, the APEC building and short time around the central market area (not really enough time to shop, but there were shops opposite the ship) Free shuttle into town (not walkable).
Vladivostock -- The ship docks pretty much in the centre of town so you can easily walk everywhere. Our trip went to the "Eagles Nest" (a hill overlooking the town), a Russian Orthodox church, the local natural history museum and a submarine. All apart from the Eagles Nest was an easy walk from the boat. For us, not going to the museum would not have been a loss but the submarine was excellent! Next door to the dock was the railway station, which is the end of the Trans-Siberian Railway. This is well worth a look around (even if you do not like trains).
Muroran -- We did the trip to see the Lake and volcano, but if you have been somewhere like Lanzorote then this is not on the scale of what you find there. Muroran is an industrial port town, not really a tourist destination as such. We did go to the big supermarket for Sapporo Beer. There were free shuttle buses that do circular routes around the town, which is quite spread out . You can hop-on/hop off at the designated stops.
Seward -- We did our own thing, getting the free shuttle into town. We went to the Aquarium which was interesting, and generally walked around the town (lots of tourist shops there) as well as looking at the Iditarod dog sled trail. We (seemingly like a lot of people) went to Safeways. Other passengers who went on the whale watching trip reported seeing whales etc on that trip. Remember that it can be cold there in May.
Juneau -- We went to the Glacier, a rainforest tour and salmon hatchery. The trip did not start until mid morning, so we walked into town first thing (again the ship is moored right in town) and looked around. There was no food provided and no shopping time available after the trip (at the rain forest there was a Cafe, we never made it to the visitors centre at the glacier but probable there are snacks and drinks available there too). As it was not Salmon season (early July they return) there was not really that much to see at the Salmon hatchery!
Ketchikan -- The ship is moored right in town. We went on the "Misty Fjords" seaplane trip, great little flight and after landing in one of the fjords we all (6 passengers per plane, everyone gets a window seat) got out and walked on the floats. Amazingly calm and quiet. We had a good walk around the town, again lots of touristy shops!
Vancouver -- The only negative comment we have is the final transfer from the ship terminal to the hotel -- getting through customs and immigration was fine, and then we picked up our cases. However once outside it was disorganised chaos, as there then 3 ships berthed all with passengers disembarking and new passengers joining). It took around 20 minutes to get through the formal bits, and then we waited 1hr 40 minutes for the coach to take us to the hotel (the Four seasons) which was literally only a 10 minute walk away.
The hotel was good (no food included as part of the stay), and as part of the "Pacific Centre" complex meant you could access the underground shopping network from the hotel. We Walked to Stanley Park, The Vancouver lookout (ticket is for 24 hours, so you can go during the day, leave and then go back at night), and Gas Street.
The next day it started to rain, so we first went to the Aquarium by bus (we bought a day pass). It was again a bank holiday weekend, so again things were pretty busy in Vancouver too), then we went back into town and went to the cinema. We checked before we went, but there were no significant theatre/music events on whilst we were there, otherwise we would have booked a show.
Princess provided a voucher for the taxi transfer to the airport, we flew home with Air Canada (only 23 Kilos of luggage allowed, if you are over they will charge you $100 Canadian and they were very strict!!). Read Less