My partner and I recently got back from the Diamond Princess Inside Passage Alaskan cruise. Compared to other cruise ships taken in the past, on both the low and high end scale, this did not meet our expectations. While the optional shore excursions that we took through Princess were exceptional, the ship itself was not. We elected anytime dining, as some of our shore excursions went well into the evening. We dined at several of the restaurants onboard where we found the food to be on par with food at a substandard restaurant. The service was poor. We would have to "flag down" a waiter literally every time we went to dinner. We would have an average of a 30 minute wait for the restaurants. Finally, we decided to just eat at the buffet to avoid having to wait. At the buffet if we went during dinner time (6-8pm) we never found a table to eat on. The ship overall was overcrowded and they did not have nearly enough staff (or tables) to accomodate so many guests. The restaurants (including the buffet) were all closed by 10pm. The room service menu was also very limited. The ship itself reminded me of a Las Vegas casino in the 1970's. Mostly a lot of older people and not many activities geared towards people under 70. We met several other guests who had the same feedback. When we departed the ship and stayed at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage which a lot of Princess guests were staying at, several Cook staff members that we spoke to stated that many of the Diamond Princess guests were dissatisfied with their cruise and were complaining to Princess. Overall, Alaska was beautiful and like I stated earlier the shore excursions were amazing but definitely go with another line such as Norwegian or Holland America.
Food and Dining
1 out of 5
The food was very poor in the restaurants. Table space/seating was very sparse during dinner time and if you elected to eat at the buffet it was very difficult to find an open table.
1 out of 5
The entertainment onboard was quite "campy" and definitely geared towards a much older crowd. The naturalist onboard, however, was amazing. We went to all of her lectures and obtained a wealth of knowledge from her about Alaska and the overall geographic index of the state.
Service and Staff
1 out of 5
The staff onboard definitely as a whole did not go "above and beyond" at all. If you asked a staff member something they acted as though they were doing you a favor by answering the question. The wait staff at the restaurants were deplorable. We would have to flag down the wait staff for more water/coffee/etc.
1 out of 5
As stated in my review, the ship's layout was basically outdated. It was however, very clean with overall good housekeeping onboard.
As far as shore excursions my partner and I ended up doing 2 different excursions with the other couple we were traveling with. I do not like to fly but my partner LOVED the float plane excursion over Misty Fjords. She describes it as a "spiritual" experience with amazing views and a good narrative. They landed in the Fjords and got to go out onto the pontoon. Highly recommended. I went on the Misty Fjords and Wilderness Explorer which was also quite good. It was a boat ride through the Fjords. We saw a lot of eagles, sea otters and starfish, as well as an ancient sun pictograph. The boat tour was quite long so the only thing we managed to see in Ketchikan was the salmon run but this is a "must see."
We took 2 shore excursions in Juneau, both highly recommended. The first was the Mendenhall Glacier Explorer where we were able to hike up quite close to this glacier and we even saw a bear! The next excursion was the Bike and Tram Sensation which was amazing! We biked about 10 miles through the most picturesque areas of a rainforest. The guides were wonderful, stopping often along the way and pointing out various sites. After the bike portion we concluded with a tram ride up the Mount Roberts Tramway where we had the option of hiking. At that point we were all tired but enjoyed the views from 1800 feet! After the excursions we walked around the port area (same old tourist shops and diamonds international) but had a great time at the Red Dog Saloon.
Don't Miss: Red Dog Saloon for the sawdust floor, entertainment, and good beer!! As far as shore excursions go to Mendenhall Glacier!
We took 2 shore excursions here, To the Summit and Glacier Lake and Scenic Railway. I wish we had not taken To The Summit because the next excursion covered the same exact area and then some. The Glacier Lake was wonderful. We took the White Pass Train to Bernard Lake in Canada and saw another bear! We kayaked around the lake which was beautiful! The guides were awesome, stopping to take everyone's pictures along the way. Afterwards we drove back to the ship via bus along the Klondike Highway which was the same highway we took that morning. I recommend if you are somewhat active to take the kayak excursion. It was a treat!
Don't Miss: Kayaking!!
Pros: The optional shore excursions
Cons: The quality of food, service, and overall make-up of the ship
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