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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our first time on Princess and first time doing a Pacific Coastal Cruise. We have cruised with Celebrity three times and six times with Holland America. The Star Princess is an older ship, a little tired, but overall very nice. ... Read More
This was our first time on Princess and first time doing a Pacific Coastal Cruise. We have cruised with Celebrity three times and six times with Holland America. The Star Princess is an older ship, a little tired, but overall very nice. The atrium was lovely. Embarkation was not great. They had an outbreak of Noro Virus on the previous cruise, so were doing a thorough sanitizing of the ship, which delayed our embarkation. We would go through security and have to sit in chairs, then go through customs and sit in chairs, and finally we got to boarding. It felt like it took forever. We discovered when checking in they had changed our Early Dining time from 6 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., which meant we had time to go to our stateroom, unpack, go to the Emergency Drill, get a drink and take it with us to dinner. No chance of going to the Sail Away Party...there wasn't time. We had a lovely table in the Amalfi Dining Room each evening for dinner and were seated with a couple from Illinois. Our waiter and assistant waiter were great, very attentive and thoughtful. The food was very good and the desserts outstanding. We did go to the Pub Lunch that was held twice in the Crown Grill during our 10 day cruise. It was casual and the food good. Breakfast in the dining room wasn't anything special, so we did that once and the rest of the mornings either went to the Horizon Court or International Cafe. The entertainment was excellent on the ship. We would say the best we've experienced on all of our cruises. The Princess Singers and Dancers were very good, the costumes and scenery incredible! and Frankie Moreno was amazing! We saw all four of his shows. The Culinary Arts Show with the Head Chef and Hotel Manager was fabulous...so funny and entertaining. The Cruise Director and his staff were good, we took part in many of the trivia sessions and enjoyed them. The bar staff were great, very friendly and pretty impressive how they could remember what we drink. We finished off most evenings in Sky Walkers Night Club with a few drinks and dancing. The ports were good: Long Beach - we took the city bus from the Port of San Pedro and visited the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and had lunch at Bubba Gumps...enjoyed it very much! Catalina Island - we tendered in and wandered through the town. Santa Barbara - tendered in and took the trolley into downtown. We enjoyed Santa Barbara a lot and would love to go back. Lunch was at Joe's Cafe...great food and service! San Francisco - fabulous, but very crowded. It was Fleet Week and there were an extra 800,000 people in the downtown area, plus President Obama was in town. The cable cars were shut down, so no rides for us. We wandered Fisherman's Wharf and visited Ghirardelli Square the first day. We were thrilled to see the Blue Angels perform over San Francisco Bay and that evening to see fireworks. Absolutely beautiful! The second day, we had booked our own tour to Alcatraz two months in advance online. It is a short walk from where our ship was docked. This was well worth the money and very interesting. We cruised our way home to Vancouver over the next two days. I would definitely recommend Princess Cruises and this itinerary, but it you are prone to seasickness be forewarned and take medication with you. My husband and I don't get seasick, but we did have a couple of pretty rocky days and nights on the ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We loved our Northbound Voyage of the Glaciers. The scenery was stunning - even more so than I imagined. The cabin was all neat and ship shape.The room was clean and staff helpful and friendly. I found the bed particularly hard and ... Read More
We loved our Northbound Voyage of the Glaciers. The scenery was stunning - even more so than I imagined. The cabin was all neat and ship shape.The room was clean and staff helpful and friendly. I found the bed particularly hard and requested and extra duvet and blanket which I folded under my bottom sheet to create a little more softeness. Staff were friendly and seemed to be enjoying themselves. A couple of negatives though. 1. Photography is difficult. The main viewing decks have blue glass all around with small gaps. You have to lean forward and try as best you can to stick your camera in this gap. The blue tint to the glass was very annoying because you couldn't see the actual colours of the scenery. For this reason alone I would not go on Coral Princess again. 2. There was very little information about where we were. We just sailed out and had no idea of the ship's position in relation to the beautiful scenery. I have been on other boats that have a gps screen similar to those shown on aircraft. 3. Getting off at port was confusing - either on decks 5, 6 or 7 depending on the tide. There was no information regarding which deck it was, you just had to try each deck out and see. Surely they must know in advance which deck it will be. Even I can work out the tides at a give port at a given time. And surely they could post the information near the elevators so you don't have to run around each time. 4. Getting into town was difficult if you couldn't easily walk 2 kms or 1 mile. Each town was quite a long way from the ship and they would not hire out wheel chairs. There was no other way to get into town other than walking. No taxi, and a shuttle only in Ketchikan. There were many people hobbling on and off the boat with sticks. Princess call themselves consumate hosts, but there is no way I would treat my disabled guests in this way. 5. Advertising. Grrrrrrrrr. They can't give information, but boy can they advertise. The last straw for us was when my husband was filling in an evaluation form and they asked for our income. Too much Princess. Next time I will try another cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
We just returned home from our Golden Princess coastal cruise, also titled the Wine Country Cruise, up the Pacific from Los Angeles to Vancouver. Only our second time on Princess, but many, many more on other cruise lines so we have a ... Read More
We just returned home from our Golden Princess coastal cruise, also titled the Wine Country Cruise, up the Pacific from Los Angeles to Vancouver. Only our second time on Princess, but many, many more on other cruise lines so we have a balanced perspective. First of all, we are growing to love Princess. We have found them to be at a slightly higher standard than many of their competitors. They also seem to cater to the “older” demographic, which suits us perfectly. Not that we prefer the “voyage of the ancients” mind you, but being with a majority of cruisers who are around our age is more comfortable than sharing it with children and “20 something’s”. Princess seems to structure their entertainment, activities, etc. to that age group as well. As for the cruise, overall we have to score it about a four or five in spite of several issues. At first glance, the itinerary did not intrigue us, specifically Los Angeles to Santa Barbara to San Francisco to Astoria, Oregon to Victoria, BC and ending at Vancouver. Only Victoria, Astoria, and an opportunity to see Alcatraz appealed to us. Spending time in California did not. We were correct. On the plus side, one is able to see the picturesque coast for much of the trip. Victoria was as lovely as we remembered it. Astoria, Oregon was a very happy surprise, with lush landscape, pleasant people and a picturesque little town. Princess did a great job of picking us up at the airport, pre-checking us and parking us at a hotel where coffee and refreshments were served. First class treatment and a great idea. Disembarking at Vancouver was excellent as well. All of the service personnel we encountered on our cruise were top notch, helpful and pleasant. The food, on the other hand, was a disappointment. Almost all of it was good, but none noteworthy or spectacular. One would hope for one or two really good meals in a seven day cruise. Not this time. Everything lacked flavor, some menus were bizarre at best. The Golden Princess had just come back into service from two weeks of rehab at San Francisco. It showed. The old ship looked quite nice, with new carpet, furniture and appointments throughout. Our cabin was basically new as well. We loved it. Nothing to grouse about when it comes to the ship. Yes, one could complain that the layout is dated but that is what you get with an older ship. Read the reviews before you cruise. As for the ports, we are mystified as to why Princess chose Santa Barbara as a stop. We can only muse that it is conveniently located on the way to San Francisco as there seems to be no other logical reason to go there. A waste of time. Sailing into San Francisco under the Golden Gate Bridge and past Alcatraz was a treat. The fun stopped there however. Apart from an excellent tour guide on our bus trip to Sausalito who covered more history than one could possibly recount we are not San Francisco people. Enough said. We took the Alcatraz tour through Princess at a price of $130 for a $38 ferry ride to the island and 60 minutes at Sausalito. Note to self…do homework next time. Princess botched the tour when the guide abandoned us at the pier after disembarking. The group of us “guessed” that we were to walk to the ferry port and did so. That turned out to be the wrong answer. A bus eventually showed up for us about 45 minutes later and took us on a “speed date” to Sausalito where we had 60 minutes to choke down a hamburger and get back on the buss. Alcatraz was great however. It is really a must see, even though one has to climb the equivalent of 13 stories to get to the cell block and do so with 4,000 of one’s closest friends! One more check off on the bucket list. I lodged my experiences with the Princes tour desk but unfortunately they chose to not make an adjustment of even $1 to the price. A gigantic disappointment and a bad breach of etiquette on their part. Shame on them. We were thrilled with Astoria in almost all respects. So much history! We took the trolley ride, which is $2.00 for all day if you buy it at the trolley as opposed to about $20 on the cruise ship. Same holds true for a tour of the historic Flavel House, which came complete with a bus ride, tea and cookies at a whopping $75.00. The house is about six blocks from the cruise port and charges $5.00 admission for seniors and $6.00. Once again…a painful and costly lesson learned. Next time do the homework! Entertainment was OK. That is about all we can say. A valiant effort by the Princess singers and dancers who put on several yeomanlike performance. The movies and activities were all OK as well. Not exceptional, but OK by any reasonable standard. As cited earlier, the food was a let down. Nothing inspiring, nothing tasty, nothing exciting. Many attempts on Princess’ part to add variety, but a bland exotic dish is worse than a PB&J sandwich. We were greatly let down since our earlier experience on Princess was quite different (food wise). Bottom line…90’th percentile service on a clean, attractive ship with a caring crew and edible food. An interesting itinerary that is worth doing once. Always nice to be the first one to stay in a refurbished stateroom! A big “miss” on the excursions, providing us with yet another opportunity to improve our pre-cruise research to avoid “touraside.” Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Overall we enjoyed our cruise on the Grand Princess. It was not a perfect trip, but in our opinion the positives definitely outweighed all negatives. Embarkation was ok. We arrived later and missed the largest crowd. The ... Read More
Overall we enjoyed our cruise on the Grand Princess. It was not a perfect trip, but in our opinion the positives definitely outweighed all negatives. Embarkation was ok. We arrived later and missed the largest crowd. The condition of the ship, as noted by many other reviews is somewhat worn and there are areas in need of upgrade, but she is still a nice ship. Our stateroom did not have any issues. It was clean and well attended to by our cabin steward. We ate most often in the Horizon Court, the food variety and quality was good. The staff in the buffet were all very attentive. We chose this cruise for its itinerary (California Coastal) we were not disappointed by the destinations (when we finally got to them!). Tendering was incredibly slow, as was customs in San Francisco and the port change from Long Beach to San Pedro was an inconvenience. Most of these problems were generally out of Princess’s control (Weather, port restrictions, etc…). However, we felt that Princess and the cruise staff could have done a better job communicating the problem and done more to accommodate the passengers. With the exception of the excellent MUTS selections and some great guest entertainers, the entertainment and activities were very disappointing. We had heard wonderful things about Princess's enrichment lectures and activities, yet these were noticeable missing from this cruise. Nearly every activity on board was geared toward selling or shopping. With this said, we are already planning on taking this trip again next year and would sail on the Grand again if we had the opportunity. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This is a short review of our April 18 cruise on the Crown Princess. Pacific Coastal. San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Ensenada Mexico. We received several e-mail's a few days before the cruise telling us to come to ... Read More
This is a short review of our April 18 cruise on the Crown Princess. Pacific Coastal. San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Ensenada Mexico. We received several e-mail's a few days before the cruise telling us to come to the port late because they had to disinfect the entire ship and port terminal due to a Norovirus outbreak on the previous cruise. When we arrived at the terminal around 2:30 there was a line along the entire front of the terminal. Once the line started to move it went pretty fast, until we entered the lines for the check in. It took about 20 to 30 minutes to get through that line, but once checked in we went straight to the ship. The food was good throughout the ship in all venues. The first three days there was no self serve. All drinks and food were placed on plates by the staff. Staff kept the tables bussed and would get drink refills for you. Even the dining room tables had no butter or bread. Everything was served. The Captain would announce daily the importance of hand washing along with the number of people who were sick. I believe there were only three cases the entire cruise and one of them was announced the very first morning, making you wonder if they were sick before the cruise started. The weather was cool the entire week so there was almost no one out by the pool. Bars were open but hardly being used. The one thing I did notice was there were no drink servers in the outside areas of the ship. The table bussers would get the drinks from the bar for you. This was also done in the dinning room and buffet. I found this better than having to hunt down a bar server. Not sure if this was due to the virus and all staff were doing all jobs due to no self service. Shows were good. The comedian they had was very good, do not recall his name. They also had a small circus type act and a three piece Mariachi band playing at various times throughout the ship. The casino slots seem a little tight, as do most cruise ships. Art auctions three or four days during the week and the usual shop sales going on throughout the week. This is the norm for most of the cruises we have been on. A little larger attendance due to the cool weather with little pool use. The only minus I had was the shower head in our cabin had a hole in the fitting and you had to turn it away from the entrance in order to keep the sink area from getting soaked. The water pressure was not the best and the hole took a little from the output on top of that. We did not say anything to the cabin attendant about this. Instead, at out first stop in San Francisco on day two I found a hardware store in town and purchased a hand held shower head. This made it much easier to get water to areas where the fixed shower head with the low pressure had trouble. This worked out so well that we plan on taking the hand held unit with us on future cruises. I like it much better than the fixed type. We were assigned a disembarking number and were given instructions to wait in a lounge until our color was called. Our paper said we should be able to disembark at 10:30 and indeed it was 10:30 when they called out color. Took about 10 to 15 minutes in customs line then we were out the door. All in all this was a good cruse with interesting ports. We would like to do this itinerary again the in near future. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Just little "aggravations". Perhaps the worst coffee in the world. Not only in every dining room but at the International Coffee Bar as well. The first thing we did when we got off the ship was to seek a decent cup. Really ... Read More
Just little "aggravations". Perhaps the worst coffee in the world. Not only in every dining room but at the International Coffee Bar as well. The first thing we did when we got off the ship was to seek a decent cup. Really yucky coffee every day...every meal. Dining Rooms are attractive and Dining Staff is superb. Professional without 'being your best friend' type. Food is fine. But don't spend the extra $25 a person surcharge for the CROWN GRILL. Just terrible. We were complaining to strangers as we were leaving the ship and they said they heard the same thing from others. My steak was half gristle and fat and sort of thin. The tri tip in the dining room (with no surcharge) was much much better. My wife's lobster was mushy. Can you imagine. It's a trick to get lobster mushy. The lobster the last night, in the dining room, with no surcharge was much much better. I don't get that. Our friends also didn't enjoy the CROWN GRILL. Stay away. The Spa and Sanctuary are five star; check those out. ALL THE STAFF....WITHOUT EXCEPTION...WERE SUPERB. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
DW and I just got off the Golden Princess after a short three-day getaway cruise. This was our 15th cruise overall and eighth in a row on Princess. The main reason we went on this cruise was to celebrate DW’s sister’s hubby’s ... Read More
DW and I just got off the Golden Princess after a short three-day getaway cruise. This was our 15th cruise overall and eighth in a row on Princess. The main reason we went on this cruise was to celebrate DW’s sister’s hubby’s recent retirement. Embarkation was relatively smooth. We arrived around 1430 hours and were on the ship in about 20 minutes after walking into the terminal. We did have to park at an overflow lot because the lots around the terminal were all full. I was told there were 3 ships that sailed before us which filled up all the lots. For this cruise, we had what is listed as a Vista Suite (C751). I think they use to be called the “Premium Suites.” BIL & SIL had the adjoining PH suite (C749). Here is the thing that confuses me. The PH’s pictures show the balcony as being smaller with the cabin being bigger. What we saw was the exact opposite. Our balcony was noticeably narrower that C749 but our cabin seemed noticeably larger. Our cabin attendant (sorry but I cannot remember his name) started out kind of strange but he, overall, was very good. All other crew members always had a smile on their faces and were more than willing to help when needed. The Golden overall seems to be holding up rather well for being a 14 year old ship. We sailed on her to Hawaii in 2011 so we were well acquainted with her layout. All public areas seemed in a good state of repair. I was told the ship is going in for a two-week dry dock after the 10-day cruise that started today. I did see some wear and tear and rust but the Golden is in the water 24/7 365 days a year. Since this was a short three-day cruise I did not get to experience all areas of the ship. As far as the subjective area of food, we ate in room from the MDR the first night. The next two nights, we did ATD in the Bernini dining room. In my humble opinion, Princess does an absolutely terrible job running ATD. The first night we waited about forty-five minutes when we requested a table for six at 1930 hours. While waiting for a table, I noted a number of empty tables. I asked the headwaiter about this. He told me only a maximum of 20% of available tables are allowed to be held for reservations. He also told me the reservations are only available first come first serve on a daily basis. He also assured me that standing reservations for an entire cruise was not allowed on any Princess ship. After reading to the contrary on CC, I decided that it wasn’t worth arguing about. The food overall in the Bernini, along with food in all areas, was very good to excellent. Bar service was acceptable in all areas with the exception of the Casino bar. Service there was abysmal. Since the cruise was a short three-day done during spring break, there were a ton of kids onboard. There were some instances where the kids got out of line but I thought ship’s personnel handled it well. All in all it was an enjoyable short cruise. Just thing to get me motivated for our CB cruise in September. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We are in our 50s and from the Midwest. We try to take a cruise in the late Winter/early Spring every year. Having lived in California for a long time, it was a homecoming of sorts going on this cruise. In order to meet up with some ... Read More
We are in our 50s and from the Midwest. We try to take a cruise in the late Winter/early Spring every year. Having lived in California for a long time, it was a homecoming of sorts going on this cruise. In order to meet up with some family in LA, we traveled into LA on Thursday, rented a car and drove to the Double Tree in San Pedro. The Double Tree was very nice and recommended. Friday, we met up with family and friends and did the TCM movie tour in LA. It was a great time. You can rent a car at Enterprise at LAX and drop it near the port. Simple. Embarkation was a breeze. Being Platinum helped a lot, but we were in the terminal and on the ship quickly. Our friends had a great Caribe Balcony, and we upgraded to our first Minisuite. The cabins were terrific. Our cabin steward, while very nice, and very good, was clearly overworked. This is the first cruise we have been on that it took quite a while for our cabin to be serviced. We put it down to too many cabins. It wasn't his fault. This Crown was a great ship. It reminded us of Ruby, only a bit bigger, and we think it may be our favorite Princess ship. (This was our 12th Princess cruise, so we have sailed on quite a few of them.) Generally, it was in good shape. We have done anytime dining a lot, and on many different ships. This one was the only one on which it appeared confused and crowded. In fact, we skipped dinner a few nights and ate in the International Cafe, which was terrific, or at the buffet. The food and service in the MDR on the nights we did go was so so. The California ports were a lot of fun. We rented a car in SF and did the self guided tour for our friends and met a lot of family. The ship docked at a convenient place, and made it easy to drop off the rental car and walk from Union Square through Chinatown and the Financial District for a fun dinner near the port. Santa Barbara and San Diego were great, too, and we loved the Midway tour. I really don't know why the ship docked at Ensenada. I think they could have found somewhere else in Mexico to go. It was a very unpleasant experience. Entertainment on the ship was so so. You could see the cutbacks. The cruise director's staff worked hard, and did a nice job with the games, etc.. Kudos to them for making things fun. The Happy Hour in the Wheelhouse Bar was also really well done and a lot of fun. The crowds there could have made it difficult, but the waitstaff and bar staff did a good job keeping up with everyone. It is a nice idea and well executed. Disembarkation was a breeze. We walked off, picked up our rental car right near the port and did a SoCal beach tour. Princess air had changed our home bound flights, so we did not leave until 9:30 pm. While it made for a long day, walking along the beaches and having lunch in Malibu were a lot of fun. I think it was even worth getting home at 6:30 am! Overall, we had a blast, but we always do. We could see the cutbacks on Princess which are really unfortunate. I would pay more for the old Princess. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Just finished the west coast cruise, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, LA, San Diego, Ensenada cruise on board the Princess Star, 3/14 - 3/21. I was writing my thoughts on the tour and quickly realized that I was heading into "War and ... Read More
Just finished the west coast cruise, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, LA, San Diego, Ensenada cruise on board the Princess Star, 3/14 - 3/21. I was writing my thoughts on the tour and quickly realized that I was heading into "War and Peace" territory, so I've revamped. My thoughts in truncated form: Food in buffet: Has greatly gone down in choices and lots of food that should be hot were cold (seriously, who likes cold, hard biscuits with cold gravy, for example). Ugh. Room Steward: He threw away the slice of fudge I bought. it was on the table, not sure why he did that, but he crossed the line. Chocolate is sacred! You simply do not touch my chocolate. End of subject - and enough said. Excursions. One left us 40 minutes to grab a bite and drink at Old Town (San Diego). Wish she would have said, "If you'd like to spend some more time here in Old Town, here are alternative options for getting back." (Yes, we could have asked, but our brains were on overload and it simply didn't occur to any of us.) Trust me, 40 minutes is not near enough time to properly enjoy anything, considering at least 10 of those minutes were spent trying to find a restaurant. In Santa Barbara, I had arranged a wine tasting tour by Deetours and was happy, happy, happy. There were 6 of us and we had a wonderful time. I can't say enough about it, best excursion of the whole trip. Coffee place. We love our lattes, so don't allow passengers to butt in and grab them out of order. Riles us up and we get major cranky. Learn to make them in order, and when someone cuts in front of another passenger, DON'T LET THEM. Tender. In Santa Barbara. We've had tenders before, but never experienced this on any cruise. Getting the tender back to the ship required a wait time of at least an hour - standing in line - in the hot sun. I love the Star Princess - she was our first cruise ship and she's as elegant as ever. Love Skywalker Lounge. You meet the best folks on a cruise. Our room was perfectly fine. Every cruise is a learning adventure and I'm looking forward to our next one.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
I've cruised many times on many cruise lines. The Star Princess West Coast cruise out of San Francisco was just excellent and deserves five stars. I would particularly recommend it for families with children. I cruised with family ... Read More
I've cruised many times on many cruise lines. The Star Princess West Coast cruise out of San Francisco was just excellent and deserves five stars. I would particularly recommend it for families with children. I cruised with family including 2-1/2 year old twins. The ship staff could not have been better. The dining room staff really helped us out to the point of walking the kids around the dining room to let us finish our after dinner coffee. I have never before received such good service. The children's activity areas on this ship are top notch. Though the kids were too young for the activity program, we were welcomed to use the family areas that were very well set up for the little ones with craft areas, toys, outdoor space including tricycles and a shallow pool. The West Coast ports are excellent for children. We found a Sea Museum on the wharf in Santa Barbara set up with exhibits the perfect size for little ones with interactive exhibits. San Diego provides easy access to the zoo or Seaworld. We even did a day in Disneyland from the Long Beach port. For the adults, excellent service continued with the bars. This ship still has the Vines bar, my personal favorite, and the staff there became friends before the end of the cruise. This ship also has the thermal suite that is one of my favorite places. This one was particularly nice with multiple steam rooms with varying temperatures and the wonderful heated beds. The new San Francisco cruise terminal is a huge improvement. We live in San Francisco and were able to embark quickly and easily. For people who don't live here, the terminal is on the busiest part of the waterfront and allows quick access to multiple activities. Plus, what could be better than sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge? This ship is in excellent condition. My cabin, aft on Deck 12, was a few steps from the stairs leading to the aft pool and Horizon Court. I could not have asked for a better location. Our other cabin was on Deck 5 allowing easy access to the International Cafe, Atrium and exits with the necessary double stroller. Thumbs up to Princess and the Star staff for making this such a fun and memorable experience! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Introduction After years of my family and my partner saying I should go on a cruise, I finally went. Cathy and I originally booked a premium balcony. I kept track of the fare reductions over the months. Starting at $669 per person, the ... Read More
Introduction After years of my family and my partner saying I should go on a cruise, I finally went. Cathy and I originally booked a premium balcony. I kept track of the fare reductions over the months. Starting at $669 per person, the fare finally ended up at $439. I was able to get all reductions except for the last one. That was for new bookings only. However, the Princess customer service representative (CSR) did upgrade us to a mini-suite for a fare of $449. The original fare for this cabin was about $1,000 each. We flew to Long Beach the day before the cruise. Our hotel for the night was the Vagabond Inn - San Pedro. I do not recommend this hotel. The rooms are well worn, the complimentary breakfast nothing to write about, the free Wi-Fi had a bad connection, and, the worse of all, was the complimentary transportation to the pier. There were three ships in port on February 2. Vagabond had one (1!) van to transport people to the piers. We waited about 2 hours before getting to the pier. The Crown Princess left from Pier 46. All that was there was a large tent for the check-in. Considering the amount of people on the ship (about 2800) the check in went fairly fast. Check-in was suppose to start at 1:30; they checked in people at least 2 hours earlier than that according to one person I talked to. Our room was ready when we got on the ship. More detail is available on the deck plans section. We had lunch at the Horizon Court. The muster drill was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. but, due to late arriving passengers, wasn't conducted until 4:00 p.m. Ship Navigating around the ship was somewhat confusing. Once I figured out that the elevators were always on the aft side of the lobbies it became a little easier. It was difficult to go from one end of the ship to the other without going up or down a deck in between. Entertainment and Activities The entertainment was great. On the second night of the cruise was a revue called "Any Destination." The fourth night was a disco revue called "Blame it on the Boogie." Both were great. The performers were full of energy, the technical aspects (lights, sound, etc.) were fantastic, and, if these two shows are typical of shows on Princess, I recommend you make sure you get to see them. The third night was a magician/comedian named Christopher James. He was fantastic. Do a Google search to find out more about him. As far as I was concerned there wasn't a wide variety of activities. There were trivia games, an ice sculpting demonstration, a chocolate making demonstrating, and a 50th Anniversary balloon drop. We didn't attend the balloon drop but did go to the others. They were okay, nothing really to write home about. Service Service was, for the most part, excellent. I noticed that the service was somewhat slow if you ordered a soda or fake cocktail from the waiters in the theatre and during a trivia game. In fact, we never did get a soda during the trivia game. (We had the unlimited soda package) Our room steward was excellent. One thing that did bother me was the customer service desk. Twice we received voice mails asking us to call them. But when I called back they did not know what I was talking about and they would research it and call us back. We never did get a call back. I felt sorry for our room steward because one of the calls was about changing rooms. Aloponio thought we weren't satisfied with him. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I let him know we had no intention of changing rooms because we enjoyed his service very much. On the last night upon receiving our final bill I noticed a charge for something we didn't order. I went to customer service to find out what this was all about. After the CSR waded through a thick wad of paper she found something that said I had used the mineral water - $3.50 plus tip. Neither Cathy or I drink mineral water. I couldn't believe how long it took for them to remove this charge. Port & shore excursions We didn't book any excursion through the cruise line. We took the Skyline Tour on Catalina Island. This is a tour in a 1952 Flxible Bus. It was a great tour! The bus broke down about 1/3 of the way up the mountain. While a few passengers decided to take another bus back to Avalon, the majority of us stayed until a replacement bus came. Our guide Steven was very knowledgeable about the island. I recommend this tour highly. (This tour was not offered by Princess. Even if it was I still would have booked directly with the tour company because I've noticed that the tours offered by Princess are always priced higher than if booked directly with the tour operator.) We walked around Ensenada. Unless you are into cheap trinkets, overpriced jewelry, and pushy salesmen I'd recommend staying on the ship at this port. I know I will be doing that if I go on another cruise that stops at Ensenada. Dining The Horizon Court buffet was pretty good. We ate breakfast and lunch and three suppers here. My complaint here is that they need to get someone from the South to cook the Biscuits and Gravy. Other than that it was decent food. As far as I could tell there was only one day with Mexican food. This was lunch at Cafe Caribe. It was pretty decent food. I grabbed a hamburger at the Trident Grill. Not worth it. The hamburgers are pre-cooked and only heated on the grill. My hamburger was not very juicy. The French fries, however, were good. I like my French fries well done. I told the attendant at the Trident Grill how I liked them and that's the way they came out! The pizzas in the Pizza Bar were pretty good. Though they were thin crust (my preference is thick crust) they were very tasty and served hot. Milk shakes (available for a price or as part of the soda package) at the next door Ice Cream Bar were decent. We dined in the Michelangelo dining room on the second night. We had anytime dining. We tried to go to Michelangelo on the first night but the lie was very long. We made reservations and got right in on the second night. The food was great but the portions small. Disembarkation We were required to be out of our rooms by 8:00 a.m. Like the vast majority of passengers, we were in a self-help group. In other words we had to carry our own baggage off unless we requested to have it taken off for us. What was bad was that for nearly 3 hours we had no place to keep our baggage. It did turn out good though. We spent a couple of hours on the Sun Deck then went to our meeting room. My partner waited with the baggage as I went to customer service to find out about the erroneous charge on my folio (see above). When I returned Cathy told me we were ready to go. We got off the ship about 45 minutes earlier than our scheduled time. Summary My fellow passengers were friendly. I thoroughly enjoyed my first cruise. My favorite place on the ship, due to its quietness and being an uncrowded area, was the Sun Deck at the aft of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
What was marketed as a 49 day cruise was actually three cruise segments which resulted in menus, production shows, special events (champagne fountain) turning over every two weeks or so. Overall, my wife and I loved the cruise if only for ... Read More
What was marketed as a 49 day cruise was actually three cruise segments which resulted in menus, production shows, special events (champagne fountain) turning over every two weeks or so. Overall, my wife and I loved the cruise if only for the lovely sea days, mostly wonderful ports and of course the great fellow passengers we met on the various private tours we booked together and of course, our truly wonderful dinner tablemates from Illinois and New Mexico! Also, our table waiters Darwin/Annie & Fredrick and cabin attendant Thawon, were superb, professional and friendly. That said however, there were just too many things that were simply not up to snuff and we overheard many passenger comments to that effect, particularly from Elite and Platinum members. We changed captains in Rio with the Fleet's Commodore coming aboard - he became the most visible member of the crew and provided information to passengers on an almost daily basis. We were also aware that he "went beyond the normal" in ensuring passengers felt appreciated - well done! DINING: the standard of the food has noticeably slipped since our 2014 cruise on Sapphire Princess with mostly soggy vegetables and smaller portions of food. While some meals were memorable, many of the dishes lacked taste and seasonings. ENTERTAINMENT: the 4 x 35 minute production shows were excellent but it simply is not good enough to repeat the same shows again and again over a 49 day cruise. The individual entertainers brought on board were, for the most part, of a high standard and some of these played to smaller houses due in part to the almost total lack of information on them in the Princess Patter. (we also noted many errors in many editions of the "Patter). The Cruise Director seemed to be "missing in action" for most of the cruise, only surfacing to introduce and thank the headliner/production shows. His staff seemed disorganized and dispirited for most of the cruise although James and Ali did their best - Ali disappeared from the ship at Valparaiso without comment and staff told me that she was a) sick; b) nearly at the end of her contract or c) was going on another ship in a different capacity. I found it strange that given most of the passengers hailed from the U.S. and Canada, there were no nationals from those countries represented. The daily passenger entertainment consisted mainly of passenger-directed activities (knitting, mah jong, bridge etc.), endless karaoke and trivia events and spa/art presentations where "hard sell" of products and services took place. While there was a daily early-morning Zumba session, the afternoon one with Lily was cancelled without explanation very early on in the cruise despite it regularly attracting over 100 participants. The port review sessions with "Hutch" were always excellent and informative. What happened to the "Crew Show," always a highlight of any cruise! EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION: as someone who regularly was responsible for events while I was in the Army, these two events were poorly planned and executed. People were waiting up to 2 hours to embark with few refreshments available (only outside the building) and little or no seating inside for those who were elderly or infirm; a shortage of wheelchairs was also noted. At least one person collapsed during the embarkation process and had to be attended to by an ambulance. No one seemed to be in charge and little or no information was passed on to the waiting passengers by staff. Disembarkation was an absolute fiasco with assembly area staff giving incorrect information regarding the custom forms to be used which resulted in processing delay by the custom officer as a new form had to be completed by passengers. Once outside the building, the last shuttle was scheduled to leave for the airport at 11:00 a.m. actually left 2 hours and 20 minutes late! I asked two or three staff members who was in charge as people were getting very angry waiting in the hot sun with refreshment/seats; one person eventually said, "well I guess I am." Really! CABIN: we booked a midships cabin on Caribe deck and were satisfied with its layout - excellent use of limited space. We were less satisfied with the bedlinens supplied as they were "tired," "old" and lacked that crispness usually associated with cruise ships. Our bed and pillows were "lumpy" and the bath robes which finally arrived on Day 3, were frayed, had holes and were old, old old! Being on Caribe Deck, we enjoyed a large balcony which we just loved "SICK SHIP" SYNDROME: " Ruby was indeed a "sick ship" for much of the 49 day cruise. We knew of no one among our group who was spared from coughing, fever, nausea, diarrhea and headaches. Some passengers were quarantined to their cabins for 2-3 days but strangely enough, their cabin partner was not - go figure! There were also quite a few negative comments about the operation of the ship's medical department including the doctor's attitude. While people do get sick on cruises, I do fault the staff of Ruby for not reacting sooner to head off what eventually became an epidemic. I also was disappointed that there was little or no information given to passengers to bring home the seriousness of the situation which affected passengers and crew alike. It was our table waiter who told us one night that the sickness alert level had been raised. CHURCH SERVICE: each week, the "Patter" requested a volunteer from the passengers to conduct religious services. For a ship the size of Ruby, this simply is not good enough and as our well-traveled tablemates told us, other cruise lines do provide religious staff to conduct services. PORTS OF CALL: in deciding on which cruise we were going to book for our winter holiday, I noted some advice in Cruise Critic to the effect that one should look very carefully at which ports were to be visited and the length of time in each port (to leave Puerto Vallarta at 4:00 p.m. made no sense from a passenger's perspective.) I should have heeded this advice a little better for while the major ports (Rio, Buenos Aires, Falklands etc.) were stunning, Princess dropped a Brazilian port after we had booked and we were in port on a Sunday for two others. SUMMARY: we did not complain while on the ship and didn't do this review until we could be objective about it. The 49 days were wonderful, people were wonderful, scenery was wonderful! We are actually spoiled now and cannot envisage doing any "shorter" cruises! On board, we had a blast but upon reflection, and based on the foregoing, we do not feel we received "value-for-money" on this cruise. It has also meant that we will not cruise Princess next winter in the hope that it can raise its game - as Platinum members, we know what Princess is capable of. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
We just returned from a 4 night Thanksgiving holiday cruise on the Golden Princess. We have sailed on the Golden Princess previously but this time was definitely not like the first. Most of the dining staff and buffet staff were so ... Read More
We just returned from a 4 night Thanksgiving holiday cruise on the Golden Princess. We have sailed on the Golden Princess previously but this time was definitely not like the first. Most of the dining staff and buffet staff were so unfriendly I couldn't believe it. Food was definitely not the best and on Thanksgiving evening they ran out of dressing and we sat down to eat at the first dining. When food was finally served (1 1/2 hrs after placing our order) it was cold and just plain not up to Princess standards. On two plates they actually put 2 chestnuts as the dressing! We finally had such poor service and food we just went to the buffet the next evening. At least we could get our food but the wait staff in that area were just as unfriendly. It was like they were all tired and did not want to serve you, after all, with automatic tipping they will get tipped whether they do a good job or not. Also if you ordered a drink at the dining table, the waiter had to go get it. Bar service needs to be returned to the bar staff as the waiters already have plenty to keep track of. The bartenders at the Lobby Bar were the best! John, Ferdinand and Delton! Wow do they know how to make drinks and were so friendly and nice. The pool bartenders were rude and one of them in the Vista Lounge actually challenged one girl in our party about why she didn't order when everyone else did! So rude! Production shows are always the same - nothing new. Hawley Magic show was very good. This was my 5th cruise with Princess. If this was my first cruise with Princess I don't think I would be a returning cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
I booked a 3 day cruise on the Golden Princess and invited a couple (first time cruisers) to book a cabin and go as well. After the Golden located to Los Angeles and I started reading the reviews, many of which were very negative, I ... Read More
I booked a 3 day cruise on the Golden Princess and invited a couple (first time cruisers) to book a cabin and go as well. After the Golden located to Los Angeles and I started reading the reviews, many of which were very negative, I becamed concerned to the point of calling Princess and suggested that the reviews be sent to the staff of the ship. My worries proved to be unfounded. I originally booked the least expensive balcony cabin forwards Aloha deck; Princess gave us an automatic upgrade to a midship cabin. Weeks later I received an offer to upgrade to a mini suite at a very reduced price; I took the offer. Soon after that I received an offer to upgrade to a Owner's Suite (S207) at a good price and I jumped on that. Embarkation was a breeze. The very helpfull greaters on the dock even gave our friends passes that would allow them to board with us even though they had no frequent guest status. From entering the building to opening the door to our suite took no more than 20 minutes. Our room was terrific with a very spacious balcony on the Sun deck. I believe this is the only Princess ship that has suites on this deck. We had the drink package and had no trouble with service. Food in the main dining room was good, at least equal to Celebrity, but the buffet was not quite as good as Celebrity. We had the extra cost Ultimate Balcony Breakfast and Dinner. The breakfast wasn't up to expectations, but the dinner was terrific. We invited our friends to that dinner and it reminded me what it must be like if you owned a superyacht; from drinks before dinner to desert it was great with the best main course we have ever had on a criuse ship and we have been on 23 cruises. It was a $100 couple but worth every penny; it was the highlight of the cruise. We enjoyed the main broadway style show but didn't attend any others. The disco (Skywalker's) was the most crowded I have seen on a cruise ship, which was a good thing, often they are half empty. Disembarkation was the fastest we have ever had; even customs was a breeze. All and all we had a great short cruise and would do it again. While not new and if you looked you could see signs of age the ships condition was not as bad as some reviewers indicated. Everything was clean and worked as expected. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
My cruise history includes the Grand Princess (in 2000), the Island (2014), the NCL Sun (2013), a few RCCL ships, Holland and Pacific Princess (2014 - Tahiti). The cruise I did on the Golden was from Vancouver to LA. I wanted a one-way as ... Read More
My cruise history includes the Grand Princess (in 2000), the Island (2014), the NCL Sun (2013), a few RCCL ships, Holland and Pacific Princess (2014 - Tahiti). The cruise I did on the Golden was from Vancouver to LA. I wanted a one-way as it would definitely have less children aboard and as a solo traveler, it would have been less expensive since I pay a 200% premium. I usually get a balcony, but here I had a midship ocean view stateroom, which was really great! OK, so how was the ship, you may ask? It was terrific. As you may have read, Skywalkers (the "handle" in this shopping-cart-designed ship) was taken off some of these ships due to structural problems - NOT the Golden! It still had it and the views up there in the daytime were glorious! Embarkation: OMG - Vancouver was just a mess. I arrived via Amtrak Cascades from Seattle but a friend at the time, who had flown in, had the worst embarkation EVER! Ito took me an hour and a half and I thought that was INSANE but it took her four - YES FOUR hours to embark! There was another Holland America Line ship embarking as well with a similar delay. Everyone said it was US Customs that delayed it but it actually forced me to cancel a cruise FROM Vancouver in the future with no penalty! I have sailed INTO Vancouver, which was terrific but sailing OUT of Vancouver was truly a nightmare. Hopefully this was an anomaly! Deck space: Also, the promenade deck is lovely as it pretty much wraps around (front section was closed the whole time) and you can clearly see the wake of the ship, which I like to do to relax. Public Rooms: All very nicely maintained and has a large atrium lobby. The ship felt new and the staff aboard were great! Entertainment: Best on any ship I have ever sailed on. The magician was featured on America's Got Talent and the comedian was a dude who had a role in Coming to America (not Eddie Murphy or Arsenio - lol). I cannot believe I am saying this but I actually saw the magic show twice - it was that good! I am a person who is quite critical and typically I rate ship shows VERY low. Not here! Food: Sabatini's was spot-on. Great and friendly service, delicious food and no wait. Obviously there is an up-charge but it is a fun thing to do for a change. The main dining rooms were typical Princess food (OK to above average). Room service was great! They have wonderful fresh rolls, croissants and even allow you to have rice milk. Also, the room service does not charge an additional fee like other ships do from 12:00 midnight - 5:00 am. It did not feel "nickel and dimed." Afternoon Tea Service: I absolutely LOVE the fact that afternoon tea is a tradition on all Princess ships. They were MUCH better than the Island Princess here. The service was good, the scones were the best of any ship and it was white-gloved! It's not the Four Seasons or the Peninsula but it's such a lovely touch for a ship to offer this. They truly remember their P&O roots on this one! All in all, it was lovely. No waiting in lines and absolutely flawless. I would highly recommend this ship and give it two thumbs up, way up.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
The Crown Princess needs to be reconditioned as it has been some time and it is clearly visible. The staff tries hard to maintain what they can but carpeting that is coming up and paint that is rusting through are clear indications that it ... Read More
The Crown Princess needs to be reconditioned as it has been some time and it is clearly visible. The staff tries hard to maintain what they can but carpeting that is coming up and paint that is rusting through are clear indications that it is not working. Embarkation and Debarkation were done very well and the crew and attendants were both very cordial and competent. The two specialty restaurants were not up to par. Sabatini's in particular did not merit the additional charge as the food was quite salty and for two of the dishes lukewarm at best. The Crown Grille was better but not that much different than dining in the Da Vinci restaurant. The buffet was done well as was the pizza and hamburger locations. Bar service was very well done and the shows were very good. My wife and I will probably look to Celebrity or Holland America for next years cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
Background Info: My husband and I are both 32. This was our 7th cruise and 7th unique itinerary, our 3rd cruise with our daughter who is 3, our 2nd cruise we’ve taken with other family members, and our 1st cruise with Princess Cruises. ... Read More
Background Info: My husband and I are both 32. This was our 7th cruise and 7th unique itinerary, our 3rd cruise with our daughter who is 3, our 2nd cruise we’ve taken with other family members, and our 1st cruise with Princess Cruises. Our others have been 3x Carnival, 2x Disney, and 1x NCL. I am a travel agent that specializes in Disney and Cruises, so I do a lot of research prior to traveling. We love cruising and wish we could sail all ships and itineraries. We are slowly working our way around the world by sea! We’d like to try out other destinations on their own, but the value of a cruise gets us every time. Travel to Embarkation Port: We currently live in San Diego, so we are able to easily drive to the Los Angeles World Cruise Center. This time, we did Disneyland the day before our cruise. Being it was Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, on Friday nights they host Mickey’s Halloween Party, a special ticketed event. We thought this would be a good opportunity to try that out and see how our daughter would like Disneyland. So, we drove up to Anaheim the night before the cruise, partied, and stayed the night near Disneyland. Hotel Info: We stayed at the Best Western Plus Pavilions, just outside of the Disneyland Resort. This hotel is one of very few that has free parking and we only spent $120 for 1 night. I found this to be a good value, for the area. In comparison, Disneyland parking is $17 per day. With our special event ticket, we did get free parking at Disneyland, but the parking structure was at least a mile from the hotel. The hotel was nice enough. It compared well, on the interior, to another Best Western Plus that we stayed at this summer. The exterior looks like a normal roadside Best Western or other inn/motel. There is no breakfast advertised, but they did have apples and bananas in the afternoon when we checked in and yogurt in the morning when we checked out. We didn’t use the hotel for much other than sleep and a shower. One thing to note is that the A/C wasn’t running in the room when we dropped off our luggage. Normally you probably don’t need it and when we entered it felt cool, despite it being an abnormal 100F degrees that day. Unfortunately, by the time we returned to the room that night, it had gotten a little warm and humid in the room. We were exhausted from our evening at Disneyland that it almost didn’t matter, but we turned on the A/C and slept relatively comfortably that night. In the morning we showered. They had ‘upgraded’ soaps, so they say, but they seemed pretty normal and in really tiny bottles. There was enough for us to use for 1 day, so it fit our needs. There was a hair dryer, an instant coffee maker with a few small coffee and tea packets to choose from, a cooler type of mini-fridge, and a nice TV with local HD digital cable which included various Disney channels ( a nice touch for a preschooler). Cruise Review: Embarkation: Los Angeles World Cruise Center in San Pedro…  We drove ourselves and parked at the pier. Had we stayed in a hotel in San Pedro the night before, we could have gotten free parking at a hotel. I had done the math and it wasn’t really worth it to drive to San Pedro after a long evening at Disneyland. My normal plan is to arrive at the pier around 10:30, good thing we did! When we arrive at the pier, we wanted to drop our checked luggage with the porters. To do this we had to circle the entire parking lot, which included driving past a decommissioned battleship which for some reason slowed down traffic, the berth for Norwegian Sun which also slowed down traffic, large delivery trucks who didn’t seem to know where they were going and slowed down traffic, and finally we got to berth 93 which is right next to the entrance of the pier, where the Crown Princess awaited our arrival. This trip felt like an eternity! We dropped our bags with the porter and our carryon with our family who had taken the shuttle from their pre-cruise hotel (Doubletree San Pedro). They were able to schedule their shuttle to the pier for quite early. I’m not sure of the official start time but they picked 10:15 or 10:30. Knowing that the Doubletree has early options, I feel comfortable with staying there for future LA departures. Anyhow, we tried to escape the baggage drop and get into the parking lot, only to have a crossing guard halt our path for an eternity while he let everyone walk across. The parking lot wasn’t full at all, maybe this is why they have ‘cheap’ parking? $12 a night for parking at the pier, or anywhere in LA, is not bad! Miami, is up to $20 a day, and I think Port Canaveral was up to $15 a day. Long Beach, around 10 mins away, is $17 a day! In Florida, you can find cheaper offsite lots that are safe to use. In LA and Long Beach, you aren’t quite as lucky and have to either stay at a hotel with parking or fork out the $$ to the port authority. We parked, loaded our daughter into the stroller, grabbed our remaining carryon bags. When we got to the crosswalk… the guy wasn’t paying attention and we had to fend for ourselves to cross. Oh the irony! Then there was check-in. For one, it seemed weird that you could enter the cruise building and check-in to the ship before you even go through security. Now that I think back, we were able to check-in at Long Beach before we went through security. In Florida, it seems the other way around. The security is probably all for show anyway, right?! Then there were all these ladies working the port. Oy! First they were all very eager to point you into the right direction, which was mostly nice. But there was this one lady who was rather demeaning about it all. I enquired to find out if Elite level passengers have a special check-in, she asked to see my papers and declared that I did not have ‘preferred’ markings on my boarding pass and should proceed with the rest of the masses. OK lady. When we finally checked in I did receive my Elite card, for being a fully certified travel agent, so that’s what matters. After I had the card in hand, I got plenty of special attention. Getting the card, was a whole experience in itself. One, apparently we made things difficult for the lady checking us in. We didn’t bring our full passport book, we only brought our card. The only foreign port we were visiting was Ensenada, which is a few hours drive away from our house. So, it seemed to us, the risk of losing our passport book infinitely outweighed our likelihood of needing it. Two, this lady is either new or has never entered data on a computer before in her life! The ‘fancy’ scanners for passports couldn’t scan our cards. Yay technology! Then, because our daughter is 3 and we weren’t going to need to fly internationally with her, she didn’t have a passport book either, just a birth certificate. So, this lady had to manually enter all the dates from our documents. She must have needed glasses or something because part way through, when she had to enter my husband’s info a second time because it didn’t save… she declared, that’s weird, they have your birthdays listed as the same date! This is after she said her son and I have the same birthday in AUGUST, the date she now mentioned was in OCTOBER. I was like “um, I think that is the expiration date”. “Oh I see now, yes it is”. D’oh! 100’s of people must have checked in, in the time it took us to. We probably could have been in group 1 to board, but we ended up with group 2/3. Actually, once I had my Elite card, I could have entered with the rest of the loyalty members with priority boarding, but we were happy enough with group 2 and wanted to stay with our family. Either way it didn’t matter much, because boarding didn’t start until Noon! I was somewhat surprised by this, as other cruises seem to start with the special groups no later than 11:45am. The PA system in the building was horrendous. The announcer would come on and you could only catch a few words he said. Between a few of us we could match up our words enough to get an educated guess at what he was telling us. When the group numbers started, that was very clear, as people started moving in large herds. The photo process was interesting. Not sure if it is a Princess thing, or just the way this port building was laid out. We didn’t get a photo taken until we traversed toward the gangway. The security team would scan your card and take your photo with a handheld scanning/photo taking device. It was very efficient, since all they need for your card is a headshot. The group photos were taken, onboard the ship as soon as you stepped inside on deck 7, after they scan you onboard. Most of our grief was due to the lovely city of Los Angeles and it’s Port Authority. It’s surprising that they don’t have a parking garage at the port. Having a garage would open up more space for traveling lanes around the berths. Having to circle the whole port to get to your ships berth is quite annoying. The other big issue was check-in. We are giving the lady the benefit of doubt; we must have been the first people with passport cards to cross her path. We use them every cruise, and have never had an issue. The start time for boarding, wasn’t that late, and can be excused because Princess Cruises tries to uphold the policy that all staterooms are ready at time of boarding. All other cruises we have taken, it is 1:30PM or later that rooms are ready. Embarkation Grade: 3-4, a bonus point is awarded for having our room ready to drop our carry-on bags and stroller! Dining: We didn’t partake in any of the specialty dining at Crown Grill, Sabatini’s, or the Crab Shack. However, the crab shack did pique the interest of my husband and he’d probably try it next time. It was offered at least 2 nights of the cruise, up in the buffet area. They closed off a portion of the buffet and used the seating there. We tried the gelato at the International café for $1.50. It wasn’t as good or creamy as some gelato we’ve had before, but it was still tasty and they gave us 2 small scoops of 3 flavors, 6 scoops total. We often did the buffet for breakfast, which was typical breakfast foods, nothing to complain about, except maybe the eggs, which I’m sure are that weird egg mixture in a carton. For that reason, we did eat in the dining room for breakfast 2 mornings to get my real egg fix. A cruise is not complete until I get Eggs Benedict, which wasn’t on the menu but they will make it if you order it. For lunch, on sea days, we did the buffet because they had a themed buffet back in café Caribe, which seemed to be the only place you could get any kind of ethnic foods. When we were in port, we had lunch while we were out exploring. Next time, I‘m going to pay more attention to the themes listed for the buffet at dinner and try those out, as we really did enjoy what they had to offer. The foods were all fresh and kept warm. I also noticed the food was all served from French looking cast iron cookware, I do believe that helps keep the food warm without drying it out under heat lamps. On the last full day, when we went swimming after Ensenada, I finally got to try the pizza on the pool deck. It was good and I would like to try some of their other specialty flavors, they only serve 3 types of pizza a day, 2 of which are standard flavors: Margherita and Pepperoni. It was definitely better than other cruise line pizza we’ve had and it was served as a full 16”+ pizza, rather than smaller personal sized pizzas. I think I saw that they had 3 full pizza ovens, so I would guess they can keep up with the demand. In the mornings, when we didn’t feel like the dining room or buffet, we’d try out the International Café. We didn’t have enough days to try it out for lunch. Unfortunately, the times we were there in the morning, all they had was pastry. So we got donuts, two of the mornings. They were good, but not quite as good as a fresh donut from a bakery. On future cruises, I would like to eat brunch/lunch here and try the egg sandwiches. I am assuming they make them later in the morning? Or maybe one has to ask about getting one? Either way, I never saw them at the times I was eating at the IC nor did I see any signage saying they’d make one. I know I know, I should have asked! But one does reach a point, on a cruise, where more food choices are not necessary! I do at least. So, that leaves us with the dining room. At dinner, since we were on with a group of 7, I was somewhat coerced a few nights to go to the dining room, when all I wanted was a slice of pizza. I did manage to skip dinner two nights. The first was San Francisco, as we didn’t return until almost 9PM and the second was on the last night.. .when I finally reached the point in which I physically was so full I couldn’t eat any more! I had zero hunger for almost 24 hours. Haha! OK, so the dining room was fabulous. I only had 1 meal that was not so great: the “short ribs”. Every time I’ve had short ribs, they have been amazing… this time they tasted a lot like pot roast! The only appetizer I didn’t care for was the spring rolls… they had no flavor. No garlic or ginger, just slimy cabbage. I did try some other items that were good and very different from my every day palate. The first night, I tried an app called ‘Red Snapper Mojito” which was like a ceviche served in a small martini glass. It was very fresh and similar to eating Sushi, but it was cut into tiny pieces and marinated in a lime juice mixture. Another night, I tried a chilled goat cheese soup. I can’t remember everything I tried, but here are a few of the entrees that were good: Fried Chicken.. yep I did it and it was good! It was offered as a “home style favorite”. I also tried their famous Fettuccini Alfredo which is made with homemade fresh pasta.. .yummy! I also tried a vegetarian dish which was a cheese and leek tart, I think. I ordered a Kalua Pork dish as back up. Actually, it was the other way around. I got the tarts as back up because I was wary about luau style pig, it can be pretty fatty. Both were really good so, joke was on us and we ate more than we should have. Our Executive chef was from Italy, so one night there were many Italian inspired dishes on a menu designed by the chef. I had the fresh gnocchi in red sauce a try and it was fabulous. Oh the desserts! One of the best parts of cruising because we rarely treat ourselves to rich desserts. I ordered soufflé one night.. I don’t know why I do this, but I do it on every cruise and I really don’t care for them… maybe I think that the next person that makes one will “WOW” me. Aside from that, I loved everything I got. A few of the nights they served our desserts and then also offered us Petit Fours… omg… why more food?! The best dessert of all was part of their new ‘Chocolate Journey’. I thought this was rolling out to the fleet next year, but we were lucky and it had already started on our ship. The night I took my journey was a chocolate hazelnut stack thing. It was AMAZING. If you’ve ever tried a French style chocolate with a hazelnut and chocolate filling.. it tastes just like that! If I ever have to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it might be that dessert. The second chocolate journey night, I was much too full from our afternoon snack in San Diego to eat all my dinner, the thought of dessert made me a little ill, but it sounded delicious as well. Dining Grade: 4-5. Food was all very good quality, we just want more variety. Service: Our room steward was good. He didn’t do anything spectacular but he did a great job at getting our room put together. Even if we left early for a quick breakfast, our room was always done up by the time we returned. He was speedy and sneaky, as most time I didn’t even see him in the hallway, yet still our rooms would be done! He even made our daughter a couple of towel animals, which others did not receive and we figured they must be a feature for more family friendly cruise lines. We didn’t have many requests, but whenever we did he was very quick to fulfill them. On a few occasions we had the pleasure of utilizing the bar staff. One time was during the Captain’s Circle get together, where the drinks were free, but the service was still great. We ordered a few cocktails, not on the trays going around, that night and they all came out quickly. The other times we used the bar was during several Happy Hours on board. I don’t see this often, but for 1 hour here or there, they would run a Buy One Get One free happy hour! On our sailing it was 3PM each day, and it got pretty crazy in there. We highly recommend the 24K Gold Margarita. Both times, my husband and I shared 1 order, and it came out as quickly as you’d expect, for such a crazy promotion. We only had to visit guest services twice. The first time, I was asking about the Treasure Hunt booklets on the first day and the guy had to go hunt for them?? The second time, was the last morning, when we noticed a charge from the dining room that we didn’t think we had made. Turns out we didn’t make it, but our family in another cabin did. So we got that switched over after a long debate with the nice woman at guest services. Thankfully she was able to point out what had happened to us and we were all eventually able to understand the situation. We all booked the cruise during a time when a free bottle of champagne was offered. When I used our voucher it was the same Champagne as what was offered, so it didn’t appear on our bill, as it was fully comp’d. The next two cabins traveling with us selected a different, lesser priced bottle of sparkling wine, so they were credited the amount of the original bottle and then charged for the bottle(s) they ordered. In the end, everyone’s wines were free, so yay for Princess! The first night or two, our dining staff seemed very busy and rushed and we didn’t get our dessert until 15 minutes before the next dinner was to start! The first night, we barely made it to the show. The second night we actually missed the one show I wanted see, boo! The next nights were much smoother and our orders went in more quickly. They were very nice and often offered to bring more food than we could ever eat. Be careful mentioning that you are deciding between two entrees! It is very likely that both will show up. :) I do feel like, when a young child is present, that they should put a higher rush on getting their food out. One evening, our daughter fell asleep before her food could get there. Some nights it was quick and others her food was slow to arrive. As always the servers in the dining room are also out and about during the day. We saw our assistant server several times in the buffet, getting drinks for everyone. Service grade: 4 Public Areas: Princess Cruises has beautiful ships. The overall theme of the ship is Italian inspired with nautical touches. There is marble and a Tuscan stone look throughout. The lounges and bars have a classic look with dark wood throughout. The Piazza is central to the ship and is where the service desks, shopping, café, and is where 2 of the main dining rooms are located. The art gallery, library, a few of the lounges/bars, and the casino also have access from the Piazza area. Most of the ‘action’ on the ship is on deck 7 and in the Piazza. The stores on board were filled with very nice things, but were not filled with many things I was interested in buying on a cruise ship. Good for the pocketbook, I suppose! There are 3 dining rooms and I believe we visited all 3 for various reasons. They all looked very similar. Our assigned dining room was Botticelli. It was on deck 6, aft, and the only way to access it was from deck 7 aft. That was slightly annoying, as everyone had to use the same set of stairs or elevators at dinner time. A small plus for this dining room, is there were bathrooms located within the dining room behind the front desk! This was great to have when our daughter decided to drink a gallon of milk and water during dinner and had to use the bathroom 3 times. The buffet on the Lido deck has two areas. My husband and I utilized the Café Caribe in the back more than Horizon Court. This was partially due to Café Caribe being a little less busy because it is all the way AFT. The other reasons, I will cover in the dining section of the review. We did use the ship pools at one point. We went in the pool near the Movie Under the Stars screen which is the Calypso pool. It was the afternoon of the Ensenada port day, and it was nearly empty for the whole time we were there. The pools were very deep and had a short wall surrounding the pools, with an area for overflow of water. I found this nice because it keeps small kids from running straight to a pool and jumping in. The pool was a little chilly, but it was also a warm day, near 80F degrees. The main theater was a little small for the amount of people that seemed to want to use it for the shows at night. But, I do appreciate there not being giant support poles blocking to view of the second level seats! That is one of our biggest complaints from other cruises we have taken. The seats were comfortable and there are hidden trays in the arm of the seat. The lounge that had many of those support poles, had many tv screens installed around the whole lounge, to broadcast what is being done on stage and to show the BINGO screen during games of that nature. The library had many books and a few games to play. The future cruise sales desk had some computers with information on how to book a cruise, there were also puzzles stacked in the corner. They also had a limited supply of mini-brochures. So, if you are interested in shopping a new itinerary to book onboard, I suggest you go there early. The internet café was filled with empty seats. One, internet is slow at sea, and two the Crown Princess is one of a few of their ships that is/has WiFi installed throughout! I wasn’t aware when we boarded, but quickly learned of this feature. You can use your computer, phone, tablet, etc to access the ships intranet. On there you will find operating hours and a list of most activities. We found that some activities didn’t make it onto the internet Patter, so it’s best to double check between both. But, it is nice to not HAVE to carry around your daily Patter with you. Public Areas Grade: 4-5 Entertainment: We saw a few of the main entertainment shows and performers. Unfortunately, we missed all 3 of the main production shows. We were able to see the comedian and also the comedic acrobat twice. We enjoyed both quite a bit. The singers I heard throughout the ship were good. I especially liked this mariachi style trio that performed in the Piazza. Our cruise director and his staff were both funny and entertaining. We enjoyed all the activities they put on for us. In fact, the Cruise Director, Billy Hygate, did a song routine before the comedian put on his set, one night. It made me wish I went to other shows, to see if he did anything else that was entertaining. On the last night, the cruise entertainment staff and crew put on a talent show and it was very funny. A few crew members come out and sing songs and in between the CD staff do little skits that are pretty funny. I hope this show varies ship to ship as it is one of the more unique events we saw on board. As I mentioned we saw the acrobatic guy twice. He was both funny and did balance/strength tricks. The first show of his that we saw was in the Piazza, which was a teaser for his full show in the lounge a few nights later. Both were very good, the manner in which he did his jokes was very entertaining. The stand-up comedian performed in the welcome show and then later on in the big theater. Some of his jokes were the same in both shows, which was disappointing. He was funny, but in a stereotypical kind of way. I didn’t get to see the hypnotist in either the Piazza or the theater/lounge. Entertainment: Hard to judge, but I will give it a 3-4 based on what we saw. Activities/Enrichment: As I mentioned elsewhere, the Cruise Director and his staff were great. We enjoyed their personalities, when we had a chance to see them. In the mornings, I would sometimes watch the Wake Show, to see what was going on and what the different staff members had to say about their particular part of the ship. It was mildly entertaining, and better than doing the ‘nothing’ that occurs between 6AM and 9AM. The show repeats every 60mins or so. If you watch continuously for long enough, you will see it all. There were quite a few events that I wanted to attend, like trivia, Zumba, Movies Under the Stars, Spa Raffle, Arts & Crafts, Casino demonstrations, art auctions, Captain’s Champagne waterfall, group games like Pictionary, Navigation and other seminars. But the timing was almost always not in our favor. We were either out on a port adventure of our own for the day, or the kids club was closed and we didn’t want to drag our 3 year old to an event, or it conflicted with something like dinner! This all helped us realize that anytime dining is the way to go on most ships. As much as we like dining together, in the future, Disney Cruise Line may be the only cruise line we do assigned dining, ever again!! A few of the events that we did get to and I can recommend are the Navigation @ Sea seminar…. If you like history and learning about how cruise or other ships function, this is for you! I didn’t get to stay for the whole thing, because… the kids club closed at 5 and the seminar ran longer than that, and it was my turn to go pick up our daughter. We also saw the Culinary Demonstration. Sit in the front for the best aromas! We thought this would just be a good ‘live’ cooking show type of demo, where we might learn a thing or two about making a dish. What we didn’t know was how funny it would end up being, I highly recommend checking this out. We did make it to ONE whole trivia game, and I liked it a lot, the trivia was actually a bit challenging and had a good variety. We also went to one BINGO game… snore! It was all electronic, done on a tablet type of computer. There were plenty of other activities that weren’t as interesting to us, like dancing classes. The classes ranged from ballroom type dance to country line dancing and tap dance. There was music playing all over the ship. There were piano players, a house band, and a mariachi trio. Never did I hear loud or obnoxious singing or music, so that was nice! We didn’t make it to Karaoke because it always started close to 11PM. Activities/Enrichment Grade: 4-5, lots of choices, just wish I had more time! Fitness/Recreation: I started the cruise with good intentions. The first morning after setting sail, I woke up early, so I decided to get my exercise clothes on and find a spot to run or go to the gym. First, I went to the spa and fitness area and found out nothing opens there until 7am. What?! On other cruises the gym at least opens at 6am! So, I had to go hunt for the running track. It must be the best kept secret on board. There is a deck called ‘sports deck’. It must be there right? Nope. That’s where the youth centers and adults only areas are located. So I go up one more, to the ‘sky deck’, this must be it! Nope, that’s where the night club is located. I go up one more… to deck 19. Finally, I find the jogging track, mini golf, and basketball court. This area is nearly invisible to anyone looking or not looking for it and I believe only 1 out of 4 elevators goes this high. It is out of sight out of mind, I guess. I ran two miles that morning, which was 32 laps. The track was quite short and not terribly wide, especially when an older lady decided it was her right to do her power walk straight down the middle of the track! I had to carefully maneuver my way around her each time I needed to pass. This is the only day I ended up going there. Too bad too because I had meant to go back and try the 9 hole mini golf. The golf, however, looked hard; there were no bricks or other barrier type material to keep the balls on each hole! Since the gym didn’t open7, which was also when the rest of my family was up, I didn’t return to use any of its facilities either. It looked nice, when we took the tour! I didn’t go without exercise this trip. 4/4 of our port days were spent walking all over the place. I think in San Francisco we walked nearly 10 miles! There were fitness classes and Zumba demonstrations, almost daily, but the Zumba was at 9… directly after breakfast. They idea of trying to workout/dance after eating eggs benedict was less than appealing. Next time I will try harder to get to the Zumba class, as I’ve been curious to see what it’s all about! The lack of accessibility of the fitness knocks its grade down a bit. Fitness/Recreation Grade: 3 Kids Clubs: Our daughter loved the Pelican club and couldn’t wait to go back each day. She probably would have rather stayed in there all night than come to bed and stayed in there for entire port days rather than get dragged around by us! We happened to see that there was a count of 30 children between the ages of 3-8, that were on board the ship with her. That is a pretty good sized number, so whenever we dropped her off at the club, there were always at least a handful of other kids there. The pelican room was a good size room and they had plenty of activities ready for them. They played games, did arts/crafts, sang songs, watched movies, built with legos, and had regular play time as well. There was an outdoor area as well, but I’m not sure if they used it. At the start of the cruise we got 1 large printout of the week’s activities. In the past we had seen that each day had its own Princess Pelican Patter. It was nice to get a basic layout of the week ahead, so we could plan our days to the schedule our daughter was given for activities. There were 3 mandatory pick up times each sea day. Noon, 5PM, and 10PM. We have no problem picking our child up and eating meals with her, but this was a bit of an inconvenience. 5PM was 30 minutes before our assigned dinner time and the club didn’t open again until 6PM. So, we had to drag her to dinner with us and when she got bored, someone would have to run her up to the kids club, in the middle of our meal. On port days, you were supposed to book your time in the club by the night before. We only did this on the day we were in Ensenada and it worked out well. Kids Club Rating: 5.5 from our daughter, 4.0 for us. Prices/Rates: Tips and onboard expenses aside, the price of our cruise was less than $100 per person per night. We also got $50 OBC and a bottle of $60 champagne per cabin to enjoy on board! For an inside cabin, I might like to pay a bit less than what we paid, but it was still a great deal for the product we received. Price grade: 4 Cabin: We had an interior cabin A717, Aloha, Deck 12, Category ID. We were 1 cabin away from the AFT elevators. We selected this cabin location to be ‘near’ the kids club, which was AFT on deck 17. We were also 2 decks lower than the LIDO deck where the buffet was located, for easy access to drinks and food in the early morning. We also needed a cabin that had room for 4 and also had similar cabins next door, for our family that was traveling with us. Given the limited choices we had, this was the best pick. The location of the cabin to the elevator bank and stairs was perfect. The location to the spots on the ship we spent most of our time was a bit of a walk. We took stairs when we could, but there were times, with the stroller for instance, that using an elevator would be more efficient, but the waits at peak dining times were bad, due to our closeness to the buffet. The noises from the area in our direct vicinity were minimal. The noises from the thrusters, early in the morning when we arrive at port, or leave in the evening were quite loud. Lucky for me, I tend to get up early, even on vacation. We had some early starts to our port days and the unexpected wakeup call helped in those situations. Our daughter slept through the vibration every time. It wasn’t that loud or disturbing, but just enough to wake you gently if you were in that stage of a sleep cycle. The layout of the room was fantastic. Looking at the floor plan, I was worried that it would feel cramped. Our daughter is only 3, so she doesn’t take up too much space and her bed was only down from the time after dinner through breakfast the next morning. Our luggage fit easily beneath ONE of the twin beds and we found a spot to prop up the stroller in the closet. Speaking of the closet, it is great! I thought I might be bothered by the lack of doors and openly ‘messy’ look of seeing hangers and clothes all the time, but the openness greatly outweighed the messiness. There was room for twice as many clothes as we brought to hang up. We could have used more hangers, and meant to ask for more, but we didn’t run into our steward in time for it to be worthwhile. He was ninja sneaky the first few days of the cruise. Then there is the bathroom. It can always be bigger on a cruise ship, but I don’t have many complaints. I felt the layout was nice. I am smaller than most, so I could comfortable move about. All three of us were inside the room brushing our teeth one night, so that alone is impressive. The shower did seem smaller than some, but I think one always thinks that when they see their shower on a cruise. :) The hair dryer leaves something to be desired, but did in fact dry my hair. It takes a while to get going, but once it reached full heat, it seemed to dry quickly. The air temperature in the room was nice and the control on the wall appeared to work well for what we wanted. The TV, we didn’t use it too much. We mostly caught a movie in the morning while getting ready for the day and at night after picking our daughter up from the kids club. There is a double plug at the desk, in which we could really only use 1 at a time, due to the size of the phone charger adapters. We managed to reach behind the TV and plug in our second phone. We had a double charger, but only one device would charge at a time, they probably have a way to limit the amps going to each outlet. The cleanliness of the room was great, I didn’t notice any areas that were in need of great repair. Though, one of the drawers on a nightstand didn’t work. We had 3 others to use and lots of other shelves and storage spots to stick all our random pieces. To help organize a little, I did bring an over the door organizer to hang on the bathroom door, it worked great for the items I use more frequently. Cabin Grade: 4/5, 5 for an interior cabin. Disembarkation: Being a local, we would normally do self-assist disembarkation and leave the ship ASAP to start the drive home. One: We had a 3 year old and a stroller to contend with, so while we probably could have managed a self-assist, it was easier to have Princess take the bags off for us. We would have picked the earliest time, but Two: we had family that wanted to take the 9am exit because their shuttle wasn’t until close to 10am. We all ended up with 9:15am, which was good except we had to wait to get off with everyone else. Luckily we found a spot in the International Café to sit. We were supposed to be in Club Fusion, deck 7 AFT, but we had some matters to attend to at guest services and people wanted to use their coffee card punches. All the while, the line for US Customs was getting longer and longer! Boy have we been spoiled in the past! It was what it was, but it was a good reminder for us, that it is worth it to take an earlier departure! The wait wasn’t horrendous and the view down the side of the ship was entertaining for the time we had to wait in line. Turns out the luggage is transferred to/from the ship using this forklift/crane type of machinery, with nets underneath to catch bags that might fall into the water. *Gulp!* I wonder how long they had done this without nets in place before the first bags were lost!! I may have been better off not seeing that. Disembarkation grade: 3. I would have liked an announcement over the PA about when groups could get off the ship. Other Observances: There was a high level of older clientele onboard. I think this is generated by the time of year (October, kids in school) and the itinerary (mainly US coastal cities). I also realize this is not a ‘family’ branded cruise line, so it’s not like we expected there to be a ton of younger folks. We also don’t frequent late night events onboard, so it didn’t bother us much at all. But, I do think this attributed to the high usage of the elevators and possibly the somewhat subdued nature of the programming and crowding at the 8PM show time. The portrait photographers were only out for what felt like limited time. The earliest they would start shooting was 5PM and our dinner was at 5:30. Some nights they didn’t start until 6PM. So, if we wanted photos with our daughter we had to rush, on specific nights, to get ready before dinner started. Also, certain backdrops, like the white background, were only available on formal nights. I think they did this to promote their photo studio, in which you could get black and white portraits done, with no sitting fee, but you had to make an appointment. We got a few regular portraits that came out well, which was a nice and easy way to chronical our family for 2014. The negatives that we experienced on this cruise were not deal breakers in the slightest. We had a good time and got to visit cities that we have not been able to before. We would gladly sail Princess again and I look forward to trying more adventurous itineraries and different ships. Value: Given what we paid vs what we experienced, this cruise was a great value. For less than $100pp per night, we got fantastic food, our daughter had a blast in the kids club, and we got to visit wonderful California ports, even if one of them is where we currently call home. My daughter and I usually go to the San Diego Zoo during the week, so my husband doesn’t get to go as often, so it was a nice treat for him and for our family that has never been to this Zoo. Value Grade: 4   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
Having taken 8 previous cruises all on Royal Caribbean, the Golden Princess was a huge disappointment. Let's start with the Cabin, which was located on Deck 8 Forward. On our first day we had a stained comforter, moldy shower ... Read More
Having taken 8 previous cruises all on Royal Caribbean, the Golden Princess was a huge disappointment. Let's start with the Cabin, which was located on Deck 8 Forward. On our first day we had a stained comforter, moldy shower curtain, broken sink and broken toilet. The room itself was quite small, there was no love seat which even the smallest Royal Caribbean rooms have. There was a large storage area next to the bathroom, but lacked adequate shelving. Our room came with two extra beds, but unlike Royal Caribbean where they come out of the ceiling, on this ship they're attached to the side of the walls which makes the room even smaller and led to a few bumped heads going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Underneath the main bed were ladders which prevented us from storing our suit cases there. No towel animals, but you get two pieces of milk chocolate every night. Sleeping was somewhat difficult. While the room was very quiet, the AC wasn't very strong and the comforter quite warm. But after day 4, we lost AC due to the infamous mussel issue, which made sleep even more difficult. And no AC apparently means no TV either, as the equipment overheats. The TV, when it did work, showed many fairly new movies which was a nice surprise. I'm not sure if this was related to the AC issue, but water temperature was problematic as well, it was either Hot or Cold, always the opposite of what you wanted. Our first night we went to the main dining room, where it took over 2 hours to bring out two courses, since we had shows to see we skipped desert as well as the main dining room for the rest of the cruise until Lobster night. On our second time in the dining room, service was much quicker though the lobster was overcooked and the shrimp were very salty. Out of all the cruise buffets i've experienced, this one was simply the worst. It was small, lacked any variety and the food extremely bland. It consisted of mostly hot meats, white or farmed fish, rice, soup and salad. Finding anything enjoyable was a challenge. The other issue is they serve you drinks, which many times didn't even come till after we were done eating, unlike Royal Caribbean which has several options including juices available for self serve. They did attempt Sushi once, but was indelible. In other words, it was no Windjammer. Another thing missing compared to Royal Caribbean was the outdoor Mexican buffet, ice sculptures and fruit carvings. The Gym was nice, though mostly cardio equipment. There was also a sauna and steam room available at no extra cost. The Spa, i'd stay away from. It's 3X the cost, and half the quality as on land. And they spend the whole time trying to up sell you ad-ons and future appointments. I don't get toe nail polish often, so i'm not sure how long it should last, but the "14 day no chip nail polish" was destroyed after my beach excursion the following day. The ship also has something called movies under the stars, where they show movies on a giant screen outside on the pool deck, if you can get past the broken pixels. We were watching a movie one night, when it stopped half way through, and weren't able to get it fixed, a constant theme on this cruise. The on board production shows were quite good, but a level below Royal Caribbean. Many of the costumes look like they came off the shelf from a halloween store. For the most part the crew was friendly, but not as friendly as on the many Royal Caribbean ships i've been on. One thing I noticed was the onboard photographers weren't very aggressive, which can be a good thing. The broken AC also resulted in the ship racing to colder waters and miss a port. For this we were compensated $500. This is probably fair compensation, though I've spent more on this cruise then any cruise in the past due to their weak pours. They charge $7 per measured shot of Vodka, where as Royal Caribbean free pours. The other issue I had with bar service was if you order a Vodka Red Bull, they hand you a large glass with 1 ounce of vodka in it and a can of Redbull, they don't even pour it for you. For Disembarkation we were suppose to vacate our state rooms by 8am, but couldn't leave the ship till 2 hours later, though this was possibly due to customs. This led to many passengers being nervous they'd miss their flight. On royal I normally purchase a transfer to the airport online or onboard, but couldn't find any such option with Princess. We were luckily able to find a shared ride van at the port for $16 per person. The only saving grace was this was an Atlantis Charter, which brought on their own entertainment and hosted their own parties which made for an enjoyable experience. This won't be my last Atlantis Cruise, but will be my last Princess Cruise. And if Princess is suppose to be better then Carnival, then i'm afraid to even try them.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
We sailed on Saturday, October 11, which happened to be the Saturday of Fleet Week in S.F this year... Blue Angels, etc. We got to watch the aerial acrobatics from the top deck of the ship after arriving early... prior to sailing. Amazing ... Read More
We sailed on Saturday, October 11, which happened to be the Saturday of Fleet Week in S.F this year... Blue Angels, etc. We got to watch the aerial acrobatics from the top deck of the ship after arriving early... prior to sailing. Amazing air-show, great vantage point! There were passengers on board that said they chose this cruise in part due to the departure date and the Fleet Week show vantage point. We were upgraded from a cabin near the bow, deck 8, or Emerald deck, two days before we sailed. We received an email that we could trade up (no added cost) a cabin on deck 10, Caribe Deck, mid-ship. It turned out to be an excellent upgrade. The bow of the ship is prone to more motion in high seas (though admittedly the ship is so large, the motion is minimal)... mid-ship you tend not to feel it so much, and that was our experience. We ventured forward during the little bit of rough seas we encountered, and there was a difference, though seemingly nominal. The best part about our location was the closeness of elevators and stairs to the entire ship... that and the large balcony and better than average room-size. This ship was designed to have more balcony cabins than most. My wife has been on two cruises before this, and can attest to the huge difference having a balcony can bring. We loved being able to leave our sliding glass door open to the air at night, to listen to the waves against the hull, and the ability to venture out at 6:00 AM as the ship reached port and set up for docking without needing to dress to go up on deck. It adds an entire dimension to your cruise... well worth the added cost in our opinion... and she would never have expected it after two cruises with inside cabins. Caribe deck is known for bigger balcony's, and better than average sized cabins. This is the deck where most of the suites are, so it stands to reason it's the most spacious and comfortable. We were in C 502, just aft of a string of suites, and close to the central elevator/stairway, which makes for great access to all parts of the ship. The room was more than adequate as far as stowage, a comfortable queen bed, room to move, and a huge balcony with a table and two lounge chairs. The balcony was also 50% covered, adding a measure of privacy. Among the amenities, we loved the rock band "Volume", the line dancing lessons, the Broadway shows put on by the AMAZING staff, and the shore excursions. The food was generally OK (though plentiful, and generally fresh), with higher marks for the Steak House (which costs extra but was worth it), Mostly we kept to the buffet, which had plenty of variety, reasonable quality, and was fast and easy. We also dined in one of the dining rooms twice which was a slight upgrade in quality, but took excessively long, though service was attentive and pleasant. Our steward Rolan was terrific... I made certain to follow up on a recommendation I read in another review, and gave him $60 in advance when we met, with a thank you note, then followed up with another nice note an an additional $20 at the end... this on top of the percentage that's automatically added on to every room, bar charge, etc. Roland probably would have been outstanding regardless, but we enjoyed his discretion, excellent care of our needs timed to our schedule, his willingness to attend to our every request, and his friendly rapport. My wife kept reminding me that there's a tip added to every cost associated with the cruise, and that I didn't need to give anyone cash, but Rolan was worth it, and we did give a few other outstanding individuals a bit of cash on top of the automatic tipping. The auto tipping is fine, and alleviates worry about the "how much" question, but the staff warmly welcomed the added cash when it was earned, and I think the auto-tip system detracts from competitive performance on the part of the staff, at least to some degree. Excursions: Ensenada was OK... the shore excursion was nice enough, but it's mostly about trying to wring out the ships guests wallets. Be careful of what you spend, and how. Don't stray too far from a ship-provided tour unless you speak Spanish, and expect everyone to try and hit you up for a dollar (or twenty). We saw good values in hand-made leather goods, and the winery we visited and tasted at, Santo Tomas, was definitely a highlight. My wife and I both work in the wine business in Napa/Sonoma, and the wines here were surprisingly good. The area just south of Ensenada is the Mexican "wine country", and it showed, though many of our less educated companions on the tour poo-pooed the wines without an informed reflection. Long Beach: Enjoyed a tour of the Queen Mary, with lunch on board (eat elsewhere but enjoy a tour nonetheless). Unguided tours are free with your cruise pass... we found there to be plenty of educational graphics. Don't miss the tour of the Russian u-boat next door. The "Scorpion" is a wonderful example of a cold-war nuclear device-armed submarine, and we felt the tour a highlight. We ended the afternoon excursion with a walk along the banks of the harbor, and tossed bread crumbs to myriads of attentive sea gulls. To visit the region further would require a bus ride, and I'm glad we stayed close to the ship, enjoying what there was to see within a half mile. San Diego: We took a two hour harbor tour (don't go for the one hour tour). The tour of the Naval shipyards to the south was very insightful, and we saw forty or fifty naval ships in one or another state of repair docked there... even a few stealth ships. The harbor is a-bustle with wonderful sights to photograph, and then tour was well worth the cost. We also took a long (3 hour), but rewarding tour of the USS Midway aircraft carrier, docked very close to the cruise ship slip, and an extremely well put-together tour... very professional and historically accurate, very thorough and entertaining. Santa Barbara: We scheduled to take a "trolly" tour of the town... it was informative, but not very professional, and we wanted off before it finished. The ship doesn't actually dock at this port of call... it anchors off shore, so beware... you'll need to board a tender, and those in wheelchairs or needing assistance will not be allowed. Santa Barbara is a charming community... the shopping would be first rate, though no bargains like Encenada. We found ourselves overwhelmed with the crowds, even on a Thursday morning (albeit a beautiful one). We got off the trolly downtown and walked back to the pier, where we ultimately had a nice seafood lunch. The highlight of our day was a (rented) bike ride along the waterfront... about 1.5 hours, covering much of what the trolly tour covered, but at a better pace, and with the added benefit of working off lunch. The beach here is wonderful. All-in-all, the Star Princess was excellent. We were especially pleased with entertainment, dancing; comfort, amenities, and the staff's professionalism. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and well choreographed. The ship is beginning to look a bit rusty around the edges, but is clearly still a first rate vessel, with excellent comfort, a wonderful art collection, and outstanding, colorful tile mosaics decorating the interiors. This cruise company has the business down to a system. Its clearly about them making money, but you can have a wonderful time despite that, and if your a savvy shopper and experienced traveler, you'll generally be happy with the value. Normally, a ship this tonnage end length could hold 3,000 + passengers, The fact the Star Princess has only +/- 2,000 passengers, mostly in balcony cabins, attests to the ships commitment to the finest experience possible on a cruise. We felt the staff did an excellent job providing the best amenities and options available, and that the ship was well staffed and lacking almost nothing. If the food were enhanced a bit, and the nooks and crannies polished, this would be an outstanding value, worthy of 5 stars, all things considered. The size of the ship compared to the number of guests made for a more private and enjoyable cruise... it felt much more custom and accommodating according to my wife, than previous cruises. We give it 5 out of 6 stars.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
The three day coastal cruise was of an excellent value. Arrived in Vancouver Canada Place at 2 p.m. and was surprised to still see lots of people lining up. But the line moved quickly. Passengers go through US immigrations before boarding ... Read More
The three day coastal cruise was of an excellent value. Arrived in Vancouver Canada Place at 2 p.m. and was surprised to still see lots of people lining up. But the line moved quickly. Passengers go through US immigrations before boarding and the check-in was fast and efficient. Service onboard was aomng the top notch. Staff are friendly, always smiling and adressing passengers when meet in the hall way. Public areas are well maintained. On board entertainment and programs were well scheduled, kept the three night journey (stop at no where) filled. The jaggler, and the show were both of excellent quality. Food in both the dinning room, and the Lido buffet were of great quality. In comparision to my previous cruises (RCCL, Celebrity, HAL, and NCL), it stands out. I am very happy. Both Embarkation and Debarkation are efficiently carried out. Only downside is that if you rent a car from Enterprises at the port, the line for the shuttle is so long, that it can take up to 1 - 1.5 hours standing in the sun (the shuttle is a 10 seater van). After arrival at the car rental (the closest to the port), another 1 hour in line is necessary to reach the counter, and another 20 minutes to get the car. It has nothing to do with the cruise, but car renters in Los Angeles Port, please be aware. Children's program onboard are average. For 3 - 7, it is sufficient and the staff are very friendly. For 8 - 12, the room is very small and it seems boring for kids that age. Overall speaking it is the week point of this voyage, as the children's area seems much smaller than other lines.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
My wife, adult son and I cruised on the Crown Princess earlier this month on a 7-day "California Coastal" cruise from San Pedro to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Ensenada. This is our eighth cruise on Princess and ... Read More
My wife, adult son and I cruised on the Crown Princess earlier this month on a 7-day "California Coastal" cruise from San Pedro to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Ensenada. This is our eighth cruise on Princess and our 14th cruise overall. Other cruises have been on HAL (2), Carnival (1), and NCL (3). Embarkation was easy and I noticed that they didn't hold up the line getting on the ship by having everyone stop for pictures while still proceeding to the gangway. Instead, those who wanted embarkation pictures taken had them taken just inside the ship and off to one side. We don't have our pictures taken and this is an improvement to keep the line going. We had a aft-facing balcony cabin on the Dolphin deck (D735). We chose this cabin after reading some reviews advising that aft-facing cabins are better than side balconies. The balcony is bigger and it is nice having a different view and less wind. Also, this cabin only has a neighbor on one side so it is quiet. On the down side, I noticed a smell of sewage when I opened the door to the shelves that contain the safe. It was especially bad the first couple of days, but was only a problem when standing near it. The other negative of the aft cabins is the time and effort it takes to get to the front of the ship. It's like walking a block or so. I had read that the third person in our cabin would be on a roll-away bed. That didn't happen. I slept on the pull down bed. Those beds aren't bad, but I recommend asking the cabin steward to add an egg crate to make it more comfortable. Also, in this cabin, the ladder to the pull-down bed was difficult to place without blocking the path to the bathroom. Bottom line is, if money is anything of an issue, I won't pay extra for the aft-facing cabin in the future. A note about elevators and getting around on the larger ships -- avoid the midship elevators and walk the stairs if you're only going two or three flights up or down. By berthing in the back of the ship, we learned just how much faster those elevators arrive compared to the midship elevators. Same with the forward elevators. And, at least on Princess ships, the fancy windowed elevators located midship are controlled by a separate set of buttons than the main bank of elevators. Most everyone will push the buttons for both sets, then catch the first elevator that arrives. This results in many elevators stopping at floors with no one waiting to board. This slows everyone down. Food First, we're dieting, well, at least when we're not cruising, that is. But I wanted to get away from this cruise without gaining 5-7 pounds like I normally do. So, most days I just ate a big dinner and very little else. I only it the Horizon Court buffet once. The food was good, served at the right temperature, and with good variety. Dessert included a Bananas Foster that was made while you wait. Very good. Dining recommendation - if you're on Anytime Dining, make it a point to call the dining reservation people every day that you plan to eat in a main dining room. We like to eat dinner early on most days, and we like Anytime Dining flexibility. But long lines form several minutes before the dining rooms open. The separate line for those people with reservations will move much faster than the (longer) non-reservation line. Main dining room food was very good overall. Good variety, correct temps, and good portions. I don't know if the food gets worse as the evening gets later. But we were happy with the food quality. The food service has slowed down over the years. Expect a dinner to take 1.5 hours to finish with several minutes waiting between each part of the meal. Servers were friendly but appeared overworked. Passengers seemed louder than normal. This may be because the Crown dining rooms are larger than the Sapphire ones (Sapphire is larger and has more dining rooms.) About formal nights - we're anti-formal. Sorry, traditional cruisers, but we just don't dress up. Period. The cruise has two formal nights. We ate at the Horizon Court on one of them and ate at the Crown Grill on the other one. Note that the Crown Grill has no problem serving customers dressed in "resort casual" on formal nights and most diners took advantage of this. (The Crown Grill food was excellent and service was better than in the main dining room. $25 pp surcharge worth it once every cruise or two.) New food option - The Crab Shack. My wife always wanted to try Joe's Crab Shack. Well the Crown Princess Cafe Caribe turns into a crab shack a few nights each cruise. $20 pp surcharge gets you a huge amount of seafood. We had a Royal Steam Pot, including apps, soup, mussels, clams, a sausage, red potatoes, and several crab legs. Really liked the Manhattan clam chowder and the shrimp appetizers. We recommend giving the Crab Shack a try. Ultimate Kids Package - beverage package. For $8/day (incl tip), you can get unlimited soda, "mocktails" (or any virgin cocktail), and real ice cream milk shakes. Of course, this ruins my diet, but I really enjoy the mocktails and the strawberry milk shakes taste great! We get this and a coffee card ($29 + tip for 15 speciality coffees) on every cruise. Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) - the screen on the Crown Princess needs work. Many lights don't work and the movies are played in less than full-screen. A staff person walks around giving people bags of popcorn, but she never seems to get to everyone watching the movie. On other ships you can get popcorn at the ice cream stand, why not on the Crown? On the plus-side, the movies were nearly current. Recommendation - if the lounge seat is wet for MUTS, just turn it over. Normally, the other side will be dry. Production shows, comedy, etc. - get there at least 15 minutes early! Seats fill up quickly and they announce that no seats can be reserved. People argue with each other over the seats. That said, we saw one production show (Blame It On The Boogie), one comedian (Wayne Cotter) and a mentalist. They were all very good, but the shows are a little short (45 minutes). Wayne Cotter didn't tell one joke about life on a cruise ship. That is a plus! Oh, and the Cruise Director (forget the name) sang a medley of Tom Jones songs. Sorry, I really like Tom Jones and this guy just didn't make it. Disembarkation - was easy. It took about 30 minutes of waiting in the lounge followed by another 30 minutes of line waiting to get to the Customs and Border Protection agent. Several porters were available to help get our luggage to our car, which was parked in the lot close to the ship. I'm not commenting on the itinerary, just the ship. The Sapphire Princess is my favorite ship. Unfortunately, it has been repositioned to Japan. The Crown Princess took it's place on the west coast. The Crown is smaller and doesn't have some of the perks that the Sapphire does. The Crown's Thermal Suite, the International Cafe, and the pool areas are all smaller than the Sapphire. The Crown doesn't have Alfredo's Pizza that the Sapphire does (Alfredos serves fresh made pizza with better quality ingredients, with no surcharge). If found the staff on the Crown to be friendly and helpful, especially when I approached them with a smile. The ship was clean and well maintained overall. I'll miss the Sapphire, but I'll still cruise on the Crown. Oh, and the diet - I gained two pounds onboard. Not bad... A final note about fellow passengers. Normally I don't mind how people dress. It doesn't bother me that some people bend/brake the dining room rules. But this cruise had one man who had a political tee-shirt he wore every day while he set himself up for hours in the middle of plaza deck piazza area. He might as well have worn a billboard. This, and another man who spoke very loudly in the dining room about how America should nuke west Africa in order to get rid of ebola (he was serious!) really bothered me. It used to be customary to leave religion and politics aside when you cruise. Is this custom changing? Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
We have not been on a large ship cruise in several years. We have done several river cruises which are intimate and provide a very different experience. As we had to be in the LA area visiting friends and family, this seemed like a good ... Read More
We have not been on a large ship cruise in several years. We have done several river cruises which are intimate and provide a very different experience. As we had to be in the LA area visiting friends and family, this seemed like a good way to spend some extra time and see some California spots we had not been to before. We were able to board earlier then anticipated which gave us time to unpack, enjoy lunch and not be hurried before the Muster drill and dinner. The ship is in very good shape. Our room was what we expected for a balcony suite at the aft of the Aloha deck. We decided to do the "anytime" dining which really isn't anytime. The have two lines for dinner, one for with reservations and one without. We usually ate at 7.30 pm and both lines were seated quickly. Except for the first night, service was very good, the food was well prepared with ample variety. My wife has a problem with lactose and she was well looked after. She really enjoyed the special desserts they made for her. Most mornings we also did breakfast in the dining room. Its much more leisurely and you get to talk to some real interesting people if you share a table. But stay away from breakfast in the dining room on the last day of when everyone is disembarking. The line is long and they are short staffed because days off and the additional duties of getting the ship ready for the next cruise. Entertainment was good to very good. We only had one day by the pool because of the changing weather. Since last we cruised we noticed there much less discussion or encouragement about the gratuities. I guess most passengers elect just to have added to their account. The other change was the lack of prodding to complete surveys. I don't know why this is, but it was a chore we do not miss. We are a very active mid 60's couple and partake of the gym or the exercise classes most days. Most of the crowd was probably 75+ plus but they are vibrant and had many interesting life experiences to talk about. All in all Princess did a nice job. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
My wife and I are in our mid to late 30's - sailed on Princess and RCCL - 7 on Princess and 2 on RCCL. This was the first time taking our 3 kids on a cruise with us - we thought a 3-night would be a good introduction for them. ... Read More
My wife and I are in our mid to late 30's - sailed on Princess and RCCL - 7 on Princess and 2 on RCCL. This was the first time taking our 3 kids on a cruise with us - we thought a 3-night would be a good introduction for them. We're glad we went and had a good time. Our first cruises were all with Princess, and the two prior cruises to this one, we went on RCCL. Going back on a Princess cruise, we prefer RCCL. Princess is a good cruise line, but RCCL just suites our style better. Here's some of the comparisons: Princess does a great a great job of service in the buffet area, but we think RCCL has more selection to choose from. We like the option of coffee in the promenade on RCCL vs. having to go to the buffet for coffee on Princess. The shows we saw on Princess were quite good - Steve Moris and Motor City in the show lounge, and a juggler in the Atrium. We enjoy the game shows, Quest, and the Ice show on RCCL. And the promenade mall and dining room on the RCCL line (Freedom Class and Voyager Class) are so more grand than that on the Grand class of Princess. The fitness center on the Grand is much smaller than the one on RCCL and the view is blocked on Princess whereas the view on the RCCL Freedom Class and Voyager Class are much non-obstructed. Lastly, RCCL Freedom Class and Voyager Class have the rock climbing wall, miniature golf, and arcades that the Grand Princess didn't have. Other than those differences, the two cruise lines are very similar we think. After being on newer ships, you can tell that the Grand Princess is getting older. Booking Staterooms: We booked 2 interior staterooms close to each other over the phone directly through Princess. They asked if we wanted "Complimentary Automatic Upgrades" and of course we said "yes" - who doesn't like to get upgraded. But beware of this, because they fail to mention that if you have more than one room booked and you want to be close to each other, they do not guarantee that you will be upgraded to rooms close to each other. We were automatically upgraded and notified after the fact via email, and one of our rooms was on deck 5 and the other on deck 14! I called to say we wanted our original rooms back because we could not be split up and they originally denied our request, saying they couldn't. We requested to talk to a manager and he also originally said they couldn't put us back, but after more talking, we were given our original state rooms back. We were on the line with Princess for over an hour to get our rooms back, so beware. We've also heard of others who get "upgraded" but end up in a room with the view of a life boat, or in a noisy area of the ship, so picking "auto upgrade" with Princess is risky business and I think they should stop doing that. Anytime Dining: Like other people have stated, Anytime Dining is not necessarily anytime. We were given 5:30 and 7:30 as our options the first night. We decided to go down at 7 and see if they had an opening and we didn't get in until 7:30. The second night we called and were only given the option of 8:30. So again we decided to go down around 7:00 and we were able to be seated shortly after. I think it's better for a party of 2, but we had our family of 5, plus my wife's parents, so a total of 7 people. The 3-night cruise was long enough to feel like you were on the ship a while and the price was great. The seas were rough the first full day, so the pools were closed that day. We were glad our kids swam the day of embarkation before we left port, because otherwise they would have only got to swim the last day. We didn't register the kids in the programs they had for kids, so we can't comment on those. They played 3 NFL football games on the big screen outside on Sunday, but didn't play the Seahawks - many of the passengers were Seahawk fans, considering we left from Vancouver, BC. Princess wasn't able to switch the game to the Seahawks, so that was a bummer. Embarkation in Vancouver was smooth. We took the skytrain from Richmond to the waterfront. We got there too early (9am), the porters didn't start taking luggage until a little after 10am. We were one of the first in line though, but didn't get on the ship until almost noon. I would recommend coming at 10am or 10:30am if you want to be one of the first on. Disembarkation was late because the rough seas meant the captain couldn't go as fast the first part of the trip. A good reminder not to book your flights too early because you never know what may happen. We like to carry our own luggage off. We didn't get the option to choose what time we wanted off, we were assigned a time via a letter in our cabin. But that was easily fixed with a trip to the Pursers Desk to get it switched to early disembarkation, taking our own luggage off. All in all, it was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
My wife and I have about 30 cruises between us on Carnival and NCL, I really like NCL but we decided this time to go with Princess because we didn't have to fly anyway to get to the ship. 1 hour drive to the port was great. The New ... Read More
My wife and I have about 30 cruises between us on Carnival and NCL, I really like NCL but we decided this time to go with Princess because we didn't have to fly anyway to get to the ship. 1 hour drive to the port was great. The New Cruise ship terminal at SF is awesome except for having to wait in line outside with no cover, going to be pretty bad if raining or a cold day, luckily it was a nice day and from drop off to onboard was maybe 45 mins. We arrived at about 1:30pm. By the time we got on board our luggage was already at our room, super fast and first time that's ever happen usually on other ships luggage maybe might be at your cabin around the time you leave a 5 or later. Food, so so, Main dining room really didn't have much as a menu, I'm and steak and potatoe type of guy and they only offered steak one time , I tried the tri-tip one night and they tend to over spice everything. Our waiter was nice though and took really good care of us, we had daughter son in law and two grand kids ages 1 and 4.......the 1 year old was awesome, she wasn't too bad , a couple of nights she was up early but other than that she had a great time, the 4 year old....totally awesome, she was either at the Kids play area or in the swimming pool, this 4 year old is fearless, she dives in the deep in.....we had joining rooms so it was cool. Food on the buffet was just OK, except some of the workings don't know english well, several nights things listed on the line like Pineapple was listed as Watermelon, or Watermelon listed as Cantalope, and some of the meat items, well not sure what they were, breakfast was good, fried eggs already cooked on a pan and they were great believe it or not, same with omellets....and BACON, BACON and BACON...:) The servers on the Horizen court were good, always asking if we needed drinks with one exception, at the read of the ship deck 14 at the Out rigger bar there was one gut that needed a refresher course on manners....and on other ships we've never had to pay for HOT CHOCOATE , here it 2.50 for it.... We got to know the ship well because the wife and I are taking the same ship to Hawaii in Dec......:) Ensenado was a port I could do without, just off the ship to the gift shop and bought the wife a gift then back on for a massage...:) Long Beach was great, visit the Queen Mary and you get on with your ships card for free. San Diego, Awesome, took the USS Midway tour, got in 1/2 price for both of us cause I'm retired military. Santa Barbara is very pretty, haven't been there for years, have to tender walked state street had lunch back on the ship.   Read Less
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