June 2018 - 10 Night Glacial Adventures (Seattle Roundtrip) Cruise on Regatta
I've traveled pretty much all my life - starting out in the Merchant Marines at 16 (Guam, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam) - had an interesting discussion with my high school vice principal when I returned late for the school year from my first trip. Didn't discover cruise ships until 2000 - and am making up for lost time.
May 2018 - 10 Night Iberian Gems & Morocco (Barcelona To Lisbon) Cruise on Seabourn Ovation
September 2017 - 6 Night Pacific Wine Country Southbound (Vancouver To Los Angeles) Cruise on Emerald Princess
May 2017 - 1 Night Pacific Northwest (Vancouver To Seattle) Cruise on Emerald Princess
May 2017 - 1 Night Pacific Northwest (Vancouver To Seattle) Cruise on Ruby Princess
September 2007 - 13 days on Tahitian Princess
Sail Date: September 21, 2010
Sail Date: June 03, 2013
We loved everything about this cruise. The ship - the itinerary. Everything. Even liked our tablemates. Our cabin steward was excellent - as were our dining room staff. The itinerary was spectacular - loved Scandinavia - loved St. Petersburg. Got a real education in Helsinkii, Rostock and Tallinn.
Sail Date: June 05, 2015
Traveled "Aqua Class" on the Celebrity Solstice - Celebrity was our first cruise line (Century) and has earned a special place in our hearts - although we've since been wooed away by Princess. Round trip to Alaska from Seattle - and Seattle has GOT to be the easiest, fastest and most stress-free port for cruise ship embarkation/disembarkation. We were a bit disappointed with "aqua class" - thought the cabin was small, and the bathroom dinky - but loved the layout of the ship (there was a great library - reaching up through several decks and STOCKED with Audubon journals and texts. The glaciers were spectacular - the wildlife unique and the itineraries did not disappoint. Bring cameras - and binoculars (our cabin provided courtesy binos - but ours were better). I pity the locals - we were one ship among a circus of four or five dumping thousands of tourists in every port of call - locals didn't seem to mind... Loved the specialty restaurants on board!
Sail Date: December 14, 2002
This was our very first cruise with Holland America. Enjoyed it - a smaller ship and quite different from what we'd been used to. Not better or worse - just different. She was only six or so years old - and in great condition. I understand she's undergone major renovations since.
Sail Date: November 20, 2012
It's been awhile - I'm writing this years after the fact - but we loved every single bit about the cruise, the ship and the ports of call (those that we actually stopped at). Venice - always a treat - Monte Negro (a first for us) and Malta - spectacular.
Radiance of the Seas
Sail Date: May 18, 2001
Coastal cruises of just a day or so were the dairy queen curl for Pacific NW cruisers. This was our first short trip - but we've just booked a slew of others. Almost like day trips. Our first and last trip on the Radiance. Not because there was anything wrong with it - we just moved on.
Sail Date: December 18, 2011
We loved everything about this cruise - except maybe embarkation/disembarkation which was a bit rocky at times. Great cabin, friendly outgoing staff - fantastic food (in ALL venues). We enjoyed first seating (our preference) and enjoyed our table mates - two ultra liberal Canadians, two ultra conservative east coasters - and us (somewhere in the middle). The ship was in great condition, the entertainment varied and top notch - and this may have ben the first and last trip I didn't begrudge the tip envelopes at the end. The destinations were fabulous (first time for Grenada - spice island (we had nutmegs for years). The sommeliers still wore silver cups on chains around their necks. Cool.
Sail Date: September 10, 2016
The Crown Princess is a grand ship - way over due for renovation (we took her again - to South America, when she REALLY needed renovation. Won't take her again in her current condition. The trip itself, from Seattle to Alaska, to Victoria BC, Canada and back to Seattle was great. Rough winds aborted our planned stop in Skagway and ruined scheduled excursions, but the silver lining was an unplanned stop at Haines - as interesting as Skagway - and less visited by cruise ships (and less spoiled). A special plus was a tasting tour of the Port Chilkoot Distillery - a craft distillery promoting in house Vodka, Gin, and even Absinthe (they also sold a "bourbon" and a "rye." The glaciers were incredible.
We love Victoria, but our arrival was a bit late (dusk) - our stay was short (just a few hours) and the port facility was several miles from the action in town.
Sail Date: February 15, 2017
A big time bucket-lister - rounding Cape Horn and exploring routes and watering holes of the HMS Beagle. Weather (an essential element of this cruise) was more than doable and often downright spectacular. Rough swells chased us out of the open seas into sheltered passages (got to see more of Darwin's channel than might have been planned - but that was a good thing). Port strikes in Chile made embarkation in Valparaiso a nightmare, and ruined scheduled port tours in Puerto Arenas, Chile - the Crown Princess may have been innocent but it had happened before and they failed to properly inform passengers of what was going on in a timely and credible manner. Three formal nights - but limited access to Captain and staff during these events (a bit truncated and curt).
Sail Date: September 24, 2003
Sail Date: September 30, 2003
Great Trip - Lot's of "Firsts" - First time in Costa Rica - First Time in the Canal, First Time for Grand Cayman. Only made if half way through the canal, loitered a bit and retraced our steps - but didn't have time back in those days for the full passage.
Sail Date: October 14, 2000
The Century was our very first Cruise - and very first trip to the Caribbean - and we loved every single bit about it. Our cabin was waaaay aft (and Starboard) - down low (3rd or 4th deck?) - the last passenger cabin before the mysterious door marked "crew only" which lead to crew quarters. No balcony - just a port hole - and we LOVED it. Loved the ship, loved the trip, loved the destinations - Loved it so much we booked our next trip for the same cabin and were on cloud nine when we actually got it (we were slow learners and finally realized there were such things as balconies). Lots of cruises and lots of other cruise lines later - we still have fond memories of Celebrity - their incredible (and unsurpassed) galley and service. We've since shipped on the Infinity, the Solstice, the Mercury and Constellation - before concentrating on Princess Cruises - and watched Celebrity service slowly decline towards the homogenous level of their corporate competition - but that first cruise remains engraved in our memories as a glorious first.
Sail Date: November 24, 2001
Celebrity will always have a special place in our hearts - Century was our first cruise and was spectacular. The Infinity was even cooler. Incredible food, the best service (before or since), always spic and span with much of the work being done late at night so as not to disturb.
Sail Date: March 19, 2016
Everything was soooo easy! Embarkation was doable. Slight delay at the elevators (not bad though) - slight delay getting the luggage delivered - but weren't in a real hurry. Weather was glorious! Incredible views from underneath the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz while sipping champagne. Tried anytime dining for a change - didn't like the lines. Enjoyed the ports of call.
Cruise terminal is awkwardly placed.
Lots to see and do - even with all the waterfront construction going on.
Great town - deserves another hour or two.
Two for the price of one.
Saw the parrots.
Loved Puerto Rico - got there a a few hours early and explored.
Saw the distillery.
Although there have been a few corporate mergers since this cruise - the kitchens are still great.
Didn't spend much time in San Diego - but the town is worth a day all by itself.
The Ryndam was built in the mid 1990s - when cruise ships still looked a little like ships (sweeping pointed bow, elegant lines, and nautical stacks). Cool. I understand she underwent major renovations in 2004.
What's not to like about San Francisco (other than the politics)? Cable cars, water front, China Town - all neat.
I think it was off-season for the divers - but they put on "second stringers" for us - still cool.
Some economically depressed areas - we stuck to guided tours and the beach.
Cozumel was bright and cheery. Sipped cocktails and watch the swirl.
Didn't actually get to Cartagena due to cartel issues.
The Coral Princess was younger then (she's older than that now...)
If you have time - explore. It is worth it.
The leaning tower.
Pompeii is an absolutely must see.
Explore the back roads (canals) - don't bother with "Harry's" unless you absolutely have to say "'been there."
See all the ancient sites.
Things have surely changed since this trip - but the buffet and MDRs were top quality - no need to pay extra for the specialty restaurant(s).
One of my favorite Caribbean destinations.
A hectic disembarkation - but got to the airport with LOTS of time to spare. Should have considered an excursion.
My general motto is - if it doesn't come from there - don't buy it there. Bought some high karate emerald ear rings - gorgeous and affordable (considering).
Walk to town - it is worth it - see the (little) mermaid.
Visit Catherine's many palaces, see the churches - see the Hermitage (indescribable).
Take the Hop on Hop off bus. See the Vigeland Sculpture Park (incredible) and the Thor Heyerdahl museum.
Explore Warnemunde (an easy walk) - buy a fish sandwich and walk to the lighthouse/beach (brrr). Then take a "cruise" to Rostock - bravely shaking off the last vestiges of the cold war hammerlock.
Buy amber jewelry.
Again - the Hop on Hop off busses do this city proud.
Mid ships - and even a lower deck may be advisable if facing rough seas.
We were there over Christmas - a special treat - got to see the locals celebrate Christmas with Saint Nicklaus and his henchman - Black Peter.
The spice island. Stock up on cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
Tour the distillery (I was disappointed to learn that all those different "flavors" of curacao are the same exact liquor - with food coloring).
Rum distillery, pitons, volcanic hot springs.
We came a day early and stayed a day after disembarkation and enjoyed seeing the town (waterfront, Moro castle - and beaches). Great restaurants.
Neat - two for the price of one (one has only one 'a."
I have heard she hasn't aged well - but we have fond memories.
This was just for disembarkation and a bus ride to the airport - short of time - rush hour traffic and hectic. Not the best end to an otherwise great trip.
Old town is a must.
Book early if you can - and get a tour of the Hypogeum incredibly ancient Neolithic bronze-age temple (they only allow a few visitors per month). Failing that - hop on hop off bus will get you a lot for a little.
Diverted to another - unmemorable port.
Lots of cool tours into the interior and the "old capital" but - book these through the ship.
Touring the Madonna del Salute (sp?) baroque church.
It's been a while (November of 2012) but we absolutely loved this ship and everything about her.
Victoria BC is often "sacrificed" due to weather - even at the best of times, the port is often at the commercial port and not conveniently close to the town proper. Stops are inconveniently short.
Build time on either end to enjoy Seattle. Spend some time in the library - plan to enjoy their formal nights - don't count on too much quality time in Victoria BC.
Study up a bit on Gold Rush lore to get the most of this stop.
Seattle has GOT to be the best place to embark/disembark. Build in extra time to explore Seattle - on both ends of the trip.
Really fun town - but don't pay extra for tourist King Crab or Salmon (you'll do better on board ship).
Juneau is the capital but we failed to take advantage of this in any meaningful way.
Enjoyed the old town - bought some fake Cuban cigars - which was fun (but don't pay too much - try to get a box of phony Montecristo No. 2s - for $20 or $25 - the box is cool - the cigars are crap)
Great "Hop On Hop Off" trolley option - neat museums - beautiful town.
Met a friend who showed us around and lunched at the Trump golf course - LUXURIANT.
POSH - port side out, starboard in still works - particularly down the coast to Mexico and back.
I LOVED Port Stanley. For a special and unique "souvenir" I stopped in at the local police station and asked for a driver's license. The license itself is a big sheet of paper with photo and vitals - for a bit extra they throw in a wallet-sized version (all-told around $50). It took around 30 minutes and is good for life. Warning: the local banks won't accept U.S. dollars that have been "defaced" (that's ANY marks, ink pen scribbles, stamps, etc.). This causes local stores trouble - they want your dollars but don't want to get stuck with bills the banks won't accept.
All scheduled tours were cancelled due to a small but vocal "union strike." We sat on the bus for over an hour until Cruise ship staff explained the bad news. I walked into town to take photos.
Great, clean, friendly (and SAFE) town to walk around in. If you haven't bought your herba mate paraphernalia souvenirs, now is the town (leather case, thermos, silver "straw" and silver brimmed gourd) - go native and eschew the "tourist" versions.
Gateway to Chilean Patagonia. Be sure to book wildlife tours - penguins and seals/sea lion colonies. Optional tours to Antarctica are prohibitively expensive - but after all - for me this was a bucket-list trip.
Great access to wildlife tours (Tombo National Reserve) etc. Town itself is worth an entire day.
We were only in port for embarkation and it was a MESS. Use your smart device to track Port union strike activity
Walk the town (it isn't that big but is fascinating) - work up an appetite and go all the way to the east end and feast on all you can eat gaucho-style lamb, beef and grilled "king" crab.
Princess Cruise's loyalty programs keep their passengers loyal. All else being equal, I'm pretty locked in (going for the Black Card) - River Cruises excluded.