Princess Cruise Line did not live up to its reputation
Golden Princess Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage
Sail Date: May 10, 2014
Ship: Golden Princess
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: A214
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 3 years ago
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.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
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.