Golden Princess Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage

Second Mate

Experience
7+ cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
24

2 out of 5

Princess Cruise Line did not live up to its reputation

Sail Date: May 10, 2014

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

     There were several cruise lines sailing the Alaskan voyage we wanted to take and we chose Princess as we felt they would be an overall better experience.  I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, RCL, Disney and Celebrity in the past and would rank Princess at the bottom......last resort cruise line.  The Golden Princess was a great ship and we loved the layout.  The Glacier Bay itinerary was fabulous and we saw exactly what we wanted to.  The crowd on board was lovely and we enjoyed everyone we met at meals and on our tours.  So what went wrong.....

     1.  Embarkation: we were happy and excited to get on the ship so we were fine waiting in line for security and check in.  Looking back it was sign of what was to come.  We waited a little over an hour and we arrived at the port via taxi at 12:30.  We thought it was just slow since it was only the second week for this ship in Seattle.  This still may improve as the season goes along.  We finally got on the boat and people were being told to go left or right on an exterior deck.  We did not get greeted or enter into a center atrium like most ships which was very odd.  The staff did not look to see what from we were in so we were sent in the opposite direction of our room.  We later realized some people were given big pink stickers at check in so they could be sent left or right at boarding.....our person forgot to give us one.  This became a real pain as the elevators were tied up with folks needing assistance and hauling luggage.  We, along with many others, were struggling on the stairs with our carry on luggage trying to get to our rooms.

     2.  The food and lines for food:  I have never waited in line so much to eat on a cruise ship before.  The Horizon Court buffet on Lido had strange times and often only one side was open.  The buffet food was also pretty horrible with very few options.  The salad bar was the most limited I have ever seen.  You'll love it if you like pickled herring, sliced cheese and fruit.  There was always a line, no matter what time we went.  The worst was the day we arrived in Juneau.  We had a noon tour and the buffet opened at 11:30; dining room at noon.  So, we went up to the buffet at 11:15...where the line was horrendous.  We didn't even get a plate of food until 11:50 and of course were late for our tour.  It was an independently booked helicopter tour so they waited for us.  Only one side was open so it was the only option for people wanting to eat before getting off the boat...we docked at 11:15am.  Hopefully they will work this kink out....had we known it was so going to be so bad we would have ordered room service.  The dining room food was also pretty bad.  We had early seating at 5:30 and then our dining room turned into open seating so we were never rushed but we often didn't get out until right before 8pm!!!  Service was incredibly slow.  The food taste, temperature and portion sizes were awful.  The last two nights in the main dining room were good and selection was much improved - we think they wanted to end on a positive note.  We ate Saturday and Sunday night in the dining room and were very disappointed.  The 6 other people at our table did not show up on Sunday.....and it was Mother's Day and formal night! Monday we did balcony dining and it was VERY much worth the extra money and was by far our best food experience on the boat.  Tuesday we tried the dining room again, awful, and two of the other 6 people were trying the dining room again as the buffet was lacking.  Wednesday we ate at the Crown Grill....it was wonderful and worth the extra money.  We felt frustrated that after paying for a cruise were having to pay extra for specialty dining to get a good meal.  We also ate in every port at local establishments which was much better than the ship food....this was not what we had planned on doing as we have alway liked the food on all of our previous cruises.  We ate in the dining room for breakfast ech day...you can't really mess up breakfast and they were happy to make things that weren't on the menu, like French toast.  Service was always slow, but we don't mind that and like sitting and visiting.  The grill out by the pool was event, looooong lines always.  One thing I did like was during the Glacier bay day they had soup and chili stations set up outside which was a nice thought and lines weren't too bad as nobody knew about them.  Food is critical to our experience and always a large part of our vacations.  On a cruise it is important to stay full to help with any sea sickness and it was very rocky due to wind and waves on our voyage.....the food was a real let down and the main reason we will never sail Princess again.  Also, it was cold on our cruise, so if people wanted to sit somewhere outside of their room they sat inside up on Lido deck.  This meant there was almost no seating available for people with food from the buffet.

     3.  The entertainment:  the entertainment and entertainment options were the worst out of any cruise I have ever been on.  I turned 40 during the cruise and we were definitely on the younger side.  However, there were sevarl couples in our age range and quite a few families traveling  with children.  The nightly shows were awful, I fell asleep during two of them. Mt he cruise director boasted being the cruise director for over 30 years....even he was old!  Time for something new and fresh for sure.  The disco played music from the 50's and 60's which I don't mind, but most of the ship was in bed by 10pm.  The comedian,mon night only, even was a little boring. Mather magician, one night, was pretty bad and who even likes magicians anymore?!?!  There were 2 shows with the ships cast where there were no scene or costume changes....this is just not up to par with other cruise line entertainment.  I was very surprised by this and felt like I was at a senior center production...even our local high sch school has better performances. Mt he last show, British Invasion, was actually really good.  Wish they had done a couple more shows like this.  The last two night sof our cruise were what we had been expecting for the whole week....it was like they finally got it together by the last 2 days.  That or they try to end on a positive note....no idea.  We will definitely not choose Princess again as long as there is another option available.

 

 

 

Ship Quality
Beautiful ship, only down side was a couple doors were broken heading to indoor pool area. Mt hey did not get fixed during our cruise so cold wind was always blowing into that area.. No swimming was done, even by the children on the boat - that maintenance was a bummer.
Food and Dining
Read larger review
Service and Staff
A lot of new staff that had no idea what was going on....gift shop, photography and dining.
Entertainment
Worst of any ship I have ever been on....with the exception of the last show, British Invasion.
Onboard Activities
The naturalists and park rangers that came on were wonderful. The construe constant music and entertainment in the atrium were wonderful.
Destinations and Excursions
A little pricey for what some of them were, but you have to do the to see parts of Alaska. Can get off ship and do same tours independently for less money.
Cabin / Stateroom
Good location, size and clean for a cruise. Only negative was it was below a service station on Lido and some nights the staff use it, I think, and silverware or other items would be dropped onto the tile floor above our room. One night I was jolted awake a few times so the next day I investigated what it could be and that was the only thing I could think of.
Seattle, Washington
Great city....we flew in Thursday before our cruise and enjoyed touring the city.
Juneau, Alaska
We did a helicopter tour and went whale watching...beat our expectations.
Skagway, Alaska
Not much to the town and out only option to see stuff was a 6 plus hour tour. Long day, train ride was nice and beautiful scenery. Could have skipped Skagway, shops in town even closed at 6pm and ship didnt leave until later.
Cruise Glacier Bay
Absolutely gorgeous to see, pictures do not do it justice. It was a cold and rainy day but still wonderful. We sat in a hot tub up top and enjoyed the snow capped mountains, awesome experience.
Ketchikan, Alaska
We did a sea plane tour which was excellent. Booked independently with Island Wings Air based on trip advisor reviews, best decision of the trip. Loved the town but wish we had more time to see it. Ship left at noon and there were 4 ships in port. Favorite town out of all of them.
Victoria, British Columbia
Very pretty to see. We got in late, shops were closing down so no shopping. Not many tour options and we didn't want to go to the gardens. Just went to a bar, but had a great time!

Tip

Room service for lunch, sign up for balcony dining and pay the extra money for a balcony room during an Alaska cruise. Guaranteed views and a place to sit.



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