July 2016 - 7 Night Glacier Discovery Southbound (Seward To Vancouver) Cruise on Zaandam
Know Before You Go
Please read Below for all of the POSITIVES.
If this is your first cruise, you will probably enjoy it. HAL paled in comparison to other cruise lines in food service and food quality.
Although there were many experiences that were good, the poor dining experience, lack of professionalism from one of the front desk personnel and ethnic tensions among staff are the the reasons for the above rating.
Due to discrimination that occured while onboard, I do not intend to use this cruise line again.
July 2015 - 14 Night Mediterranean Medley (Barcelona To Istanbul) Cruise on Emerald Princess
Break away from reality
The Princess Cruise line truly understands the needs of its passengers and does everything possible to make the experience a truly memorable one. The entire cruise was pleasurable and I would definitely recommend this company. As with all experiences, there were a few things that were annoying:PAYING FOR INTERNET ranks the top of the list. We paid $99 for 200 minutes. It should be FREE or FREE when the boat is at a port. The cheapest plan is $69 for 100 minutes. If you have a child or find yourself needing internet service, plan on paying a lot or wait until you get to a little cafe' that has free WIFI in town. We had a problem with the professionalism of our tour guide on the D'Arles excursion. She complained about guests who were not at the exact meeting place on time, was frustrated on got off the tour bus when traffic was held up due to a fatal accident on the road, and did not address an issue with dietary restrictions when it was brought to her attention prior to meal service at the restaurant. Thankfully Princess Cruises addressed the problem correctly after the fact. The name of the tour company was not revealed by the excursion coordinator, but I am hopeful that no other passenger will have to endure the negative experience that we had in France. All other ports were pleasant.
There is a storage facility for luggage on the bottom floor of the convention center (disembarkation location) .
Capilano Suspension Bridge and treetop adventure is a great place to visit. Free shuttle service from the port to the Bridge.
Cruise Inside Passage, Alaska
Calmer waters were appreciated by all passengers.
Water wildlife, dolphins and whales were spotted.
Juneau is a jewelry connoisseur's playground with a plethora of merchants.
You can walk up to Roberts Trail, heading towards the mining museum.
Passengers who did the dog sledding excursions boasted about it.
Cruise Glacier Bay
Glacier Bay was such a phenomenal experience, especially with being able to travel further inland since the Zandaam was a smaller ship.
We went to Exit Glacier. For $10 per person, you get a round trip shuttle to the glacier. It is about a 30 minute hike to the top.
* Bring bug spray - the flies are fierce.
The small size of the ship allows you to see more of Glacier Bay. However, the motion of the ship was felt by many passengers for the first two sailing days. Bring your medicine if you are prone to motion sickness.
We opted not to do an excursion but rather to explore the region on our own. THIS CITY WAS MY FAVORITE!!! If you have the endurance, climb to the top of the steps for an amazing view of the port and town below.(3 Euros for adults, children are free)
The island is small enough to do in one day on your own. If you are adventurous, rent a quad (45 Euros) or car (not sure of the price for a car) We stayed for two days and walked up the active volcano (no lava, just steam vents) , with the opporunity to swim in hot springs (18 Euros per person)
We disembarked here and stayed three days on our own. You probably only need 2 days to see and experience most of the major sites; ALL of which are in close walking distance. God's Restaurant had excellent food, reasonable prices and is definitely worth finding. If you take the seven day cruise and disembark here, consider an excursion to Delfi. The tour was phenomenal and the meal was great. (unlike France) Naxos is a great island but I definitely would NOT recommend renting a car. They make NY City drivers look like amateurs and the roads are only one car width wide.