Avoid Tracy Arm early in the season

Grand Princess Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage
Experience: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Vote: 1

Overall Rating:

4.1 out of 5
Grand Princess

10 Night Alaska Inside Passage With Tracy Arm Fjord (San Francisco Roundtrip)

Sail Date: June 05, 2018

Ship: Grand Princess

Cabin Type: Balcony

Cabin Number: D640

Traveled As: Couple

Reviewed: 4 months ago

Review Summary

We've done cruises on various Princess and Holland America ships and itineraries (Panama/Europe/Alaska/Caribbean). This one was not near the top. The Grand Princess may have been "grand" at one time, but our cabin was pretty shabby - loose knobs (that wouldn't tighten) on every drawer and cabinet door, missing/broken shelves in the refrig, and a toilet that looked (and felt) half-detached from the wall. Food - others have mentioned about the meat being over-cooked. I agree. The selections of food in the dining room at dinner are pretty standard, with the usual "Princess favorites" available every night - in case nothing else looks appetizing. There did seem to be more Asian/Indian-inspired dishes in the buffet than we have encountered in the past. The buffet food was definitely less appealing, in general - and there weren't a lot of protein choices unless you wanted a stew or curry of some kind. The standing roasts at the carving station were exceptionally fatty and everything else was swimming in sauce. (We usually do a light lunch in the buffet, so we have room for dinner in the dining room.) We choose Anytime dining, because we like to talk with a variety of people during dinner. We didn't find the lines too bad, if we timed it right. Also, Anytime dining gives us the option of stepping out of line to enjoy a glass of wine or choosing a table for two, if the party next to us in line happens to be a trio of unaccompanied teeny-boppers in sweats. This itinerary included Tracy Arm. I wouldn't recommend this itinerary if you are going early in the season. There was too much ice to get close to the glacier. Glacier Bay, College Fjords, and Hubbard Glacier are all better choices. The naturalist lectures are one of our favorite parts of the Alaska itineraries. If you happen to miss a lecture, it shows the next day on the stateroom TV. The totem pole carver was a nice addition on this cruise. Watching and listening to him was fascinating. We're looking forward to seeing his progress on his website. We also enjoyed the presentation by Libby, the Iditarod winner. One thing that was disappointing was the short time we had in Sitka. For some reason (unknown even to the tour guides), the museum was closed on the day we were in port. Sitka is an unusual port for Princess - and we chose this particular cruise specifically for that port. What we saw was interesting, but it would have been nice to have more time. We will go back to Alaska again, but NOT out of SF, not on the Grand, and not to Tracy Arm. We enjoy the standard ports (Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway) and may try another Sitka cruise, just to have another chance to visit there. I think Sitka is a standard port on some Holland America cruises.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
We have priority embarkation, so it was a breeze.

Ship Experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
The quality of food seems to have declined.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
We generally avoid the programmed ship activities, especially those that are sales-based. The library on this ship was good.

Entertainment

4 out of 5

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Wait staff and room stewards were friendly and efficient.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
The Grand Princess needs an overhaul to be "grand" again.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5

Ports Of Call

San Francisco, California

4 out of 5
We didn't spend time in SF. Just had a bus ride from/back to SFO. As always, traffic is an issue, but the bus drivers were knowledgable and talkative.

Juneau, Alaska

5 out of 5
We just did the tramway this time, since we have done excursions to the other highlights previously.

Skagway, Alaska

5 out of 5
We did the Yukon-White Pass train trip this time. It was a very rainy/foggy day, but the trip was well worth it.

Sitka, Alaska

5 out of 5
This port was the reason we chose this itinerary. We did the historical tour, but didn't have enough time in port.

Victoria, British Columbia

5 out of 5
Not nearly enough time in this port. We did not do a ship excursion. Instead we visited the BC Museum for the Egypt exhibit.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
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