willwork4cruz

willwork4cruz

Cruise Director
SoCal
Joined 12/2016

22

Cruises

9

Reviews

115

Helpful Votes

Upcoming cruises

Past cruises

Caribbean Princess

March 2022 - 15 nights on Caribbean Princess

Great Time

Really loved getting away for 15 days and seeing the Panama Canal. Great older, smaller ship. Really enjoyed relaxing on deck and eating whatever I wanted. I miss you Caribbean Princess! They added a 4 day extension after San Francisco to Canada. At first they were asking for a lot of money but right before the cruise they dropped the price to very cheap. We couldn't make our schedule work but many other (mostly Canadians) opted for the extension. Two days before Princess decided to go to dry dock early and cancelled the extension. This was devastating to many people. They tried to make flight accommodations but were having a hard time. One guy we talked to was being flown to an airport 4 hours from his home. Princess just said they needed more time in dry dock but pretty sure it was because there was several covid cases onboard. Unfortunately that soured many people's trip.

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MSC Meraviglia

January 2022 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip) Cruise on MSC Meraviglia

Meh

We had hopes that MSC would be our new favorite. Cheap fares, beautiful ships, so much potential. Was not a bad cruise and want to try them again after Covid but at this point, our least favorite. It started off bad with dealing with pre-cruise corporate incompetence and lies and that unfortunately probably soured the on-board experience. When we got onboard, we tried again to get our family's cabins near each other liked we booked them but was told "NO". Listend to a woman who was upset because she bid on an upgrade and MSC charged her credit card but she was not given the upgrade. The desk clerk told her, "MSC will refund your money later." She knew that was a lie. I would never trust MSC to refund money. She begged to speak to a supervisor but they would not let her. They just have a different (unfair) way of doing business. I usually dread the end of a cruise but this time I was OK with leaving. Not that I didn't enjoy it all but just didn't feel comfortable. We only had 1400 passengers so having no lines was amazing. If I sailed MSC with a full crowd I don't think I would have enjoyed it much. It is a cheap cruise so hard to complain but strangely the problems with MSC is not much to do with money, just weird business decisions and culture. I hope they get it together for the North American market. Still don't be afraid of trying MSC.

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Carnival Panorama

September 2021 - 7 Night Mexican Riviera (Los Angeles Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Panorama

Best Cruise Ever - in some ways

We only had 2200 guests out of a 4008 capacity. No lines, no chair hogs (except some prime locations) no waiting. It was a whole different experience not worrying about lines and too many people, etc. If you haven't done Carnival in a while I would say give it a shot. This ship decor reminded me of a Princess ship, the food was about as good as any mass market cruise with much better options like Guy's and the crew definitely seemed to be having more fun than on any other line. You don't need to be a party animal or even drink to love Carnival!

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Norwegian Breakaway

January 2020 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Breakaway

Smokers Paradise

I did have a lot of fun. Great ship for a larger group because there is something for everyone. Although, I like relaxing on a deck with a grill close by and that's not Breakaway. People we getting up at 6:30 am to get a chair because the number of chairs on any deck were limited. If you can put up with cigarette smoke in public areas, enjoy game shows, and like to plan then this ship will be a blast. I had a lot of fun but unless it was a big sale, I would pick a smaller, old school style ship next time.

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Grand Princess

June 2017 - 10 Night Alaska Inside Passage With Glacier Bay (San Francisco Roundtrip) Cruise on Grand Princess

Just got back from the ten day Alaska cruise on the Grand. I will break my review into specific segments and post as I have time. First the condition of the ship. Really nice! I expected her to "show her age" as many have said. If you mean it was smaller had fewer amenities than new mega ships then yes it was designed and built almost 20 years ago so it is what it is but it was kept up very well. I have seen much more "wear and tear" on newer ships. The only rust I saw that needed attention was the rain gutter outside my balcony that could only be seen if you hang over. The painting crew was busy touching up paint inside ceiling panels on the Lido that couldn't really even be seen. One cruiser even asked if this was a newer ship it looked so good. Great job Princess!

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Ruby Princess

March 2016 - 15 Night Hawaii (Los Angeles Roundtrip) Cruise on Ruby Princess

Star Princess

March 2014 - 15 Night Hawaiian Islands (Los Angeles Roundtrip) Cruise on Star Princess

Carnival Splendor

December 2012 - 7 Night Mexican Riviera (Los Angeles roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Splendor

Sapphire Princess

March 2012 - 14 Night Hawaii (Los Angeles roundtrip) Cruise on Sapphire Princess

Carnival Splendor

May 2009 - 7 Night Pacific Coastal (Los Angeles roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Splendor

Ryndam

December 2008 - 14 Night Mexican Riviera Holiday (San Diego roundtrip) Cruise on Ryndam

Norwegian Star

December 2006 - 8 Night Mexican Riviera (Los Angeles roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Star

Pride of America

September 2005 - 7 Night Hawaii (Honolulu roundtrip) Cruise on Pride of America

Celebrity Mercury

November 2004 - 10 Night Mexican Riviera (San Diego roundtrip) Cruise on Celebrity Mercury

Celebrity Mercury

March 2004 - 11 Night Mexican Riviera (San Diego roundtrip) Cruise on Celebrity Mercury

Carnival Spirit

October 2003 - 8 Night Mexican Riviera (San Diego roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Spirit

Carnival Elation

October 2001 - 7 Night Mexican Riviera (Los Angeles roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Elation

Jubilee

September 1998 - 7 nights on Jubilee

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway

Sail date: January 04, 2020

Smokers Paradise

I did have a lot of fun. Great ship for a larger group because there is something for everyone. Although, I like relaxing on a deck with a grill close by and that's not Breakaway. People we getting up at 6:30 am to get a chair because the number of chairs on any deck were limited. If you can put up with cigarette smoke in public areas, enjoy game shows, and like to plan then this ship will be a blast. I had a lot of fun but unless it was a big sale, I would pick a smaller, old school style ship next time.

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MSC Meraviglia

MSC Meraviglia

Sail date: January 02, 2022

Meh

We had hopes that MSC would be our new favorite. Cheap fares, beautiful ships, so much potential. Was not a bad cruise and want to try them again after Covid but at this point, our least favorite. It started off bad with dealing with pre-cruise corporate incompetence and lies and that unfortunately probably soured the on-board experience. When we got onboard, we tried again to get our family's cabins near each other liked we booked them but was told "NO". Listend to a woman who was upset because she bid on an upgrade and MSC charged her credit card but she was not given the upgrade. The desk clerk told her, "MSC will refund your money later." She knew that was a lie. I would never trust MSC to refund money. She begged to speak to a supervisor but they would not let her. They just have a different (unfair) way of doing business. I usually dread the end of a cruise but this time I was OK with leaving. Not that I didn't enjoy it all but just didn't feel comfortable. We only had 1400 passengers so having no lines was amazing. If I sailed MSC with a full crowd I don't think I would have enjoyed it much. It is a cheap cruise so hard to complain but strangely the problems with MSC is not much to do with money, just weird business decisions and culture. I hope they get it together for the North American market. Still don't be afraid of trying MSC.

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Carnival Panorama

Carnival Panorama

Sail date: September 25, 2021

Best Cruise Ever - in some ways

We only had 2200 guests out of a 4008 capacity. No lines, no chair hogs (except some prime locations) no waiting. It was a whole different experience not worrying about lines and too many people, etc. If you haven't done Carnival in a while I would say give it a shot. This ship decor reminded me of a Princess ship, the food was about as good as any mass market cruise with much better options like Guy's and the crew definitely seemed to be having more fun than on any other line. You don't need to be a party animal or even drink to love Carnival!

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Grand Princess

Grand Princess

Sail date: June 27, 2017

Just got back from the ten day Alaska cruise on the Grand. I will break my review into specific segments and post as I have time. First the condition of the ship. Really nice! I expected her to "show her age" as many have said. If you mean it was smaller had fewer amenities than new mega ships then yes it was designed and built almost 20 years ago so it is what it is but it was kept up very well. I have seen much more "wear and tear" on newer ships. The only rust I saw that needed attention was the rain gutter outside my balcony that could only be seen if you hang over. The painting crew was busy touching up paint inside ceiling panels on the Lido that couldn't really even be seen. One cruiser even asked if this was a newer ship it looked so good. Great job Princess!

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Grand Princess

Grand Princess

Sail date: May 18, 2017

Grand, Alaska 10 night June 27, 2017 the Entertainment. Over the last five years or so on several Princess ships we have noticed a steady increase in the quality of the entertainment. The production shows especially have seemed to grow in size, talent and budget. Perhaps this is the one benefit from Carnival oversight. The song and dance productions we saw were very entertaining. The new Born to Dance was memorable. The comedian Oscar Carlos was hilarious and very clean. Princess manages to find funny comics who can make you laugh without f-bombs and gutter jokes. We never had a problem getting a seat in the large Princess theater. There were usually two shows there and plenty of room. Ironically when there was only one showing it was scheduled in the tiny Vista Lounge which could only fit a small fraction of the guest who came to view it. We joined the masses of long faces leaving the jam packed lounge after not finding seats. Why Princess would locate a major show in that little venue while the main theater sat idle before, during, and after is mind boggling. Maybe they wanted people to experience different areas of the ship but what they accomplished was making a lot of people question Princess's sanity. I peaked in to see the dance production show they had there, seeing the dozen dancers maneuver around the tiny stage looked punishing. /// The entertainment staff was very personable. We waited in a long line to get some coupons from the shopping guide -the things I do for my wife- and one of the dancers came to talk to us and we had a great conversation about her experiences onboard. Matt the Cruise Director is like a Chihuahua on crack. What energy! I heard the trivia games, The Voice etc was great. Went to Movies Under the Stars once when it wasn't too cold. Hint, ask room steward for extra blankets, much better than the mini blankets on deck. /// Entertainment is always an extra that doesn't make or break a cruise for us but it is nice when there is good options and that was most often the case on the Grand.

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Caribbean Princess

Caribbean Princess

Sail date: March 19, 2022

Great Time

Really loved getting away for 15 days and seeing the Panama Canal. Great older, smaller ship. Really enjoyed relaxing on deck and eating whatever I wanted. I miss you Caribbean Princess! They added a 4 day extension after San Francisco to Canada. At first they were asking for a lot of money but right before the cruise they dropped the price to very cheap. We couldn't make our schedule work but many other (mostly Canadians) opted for the extension. Two days before Princess decided to go to dry dock early and cancelled the extension. This was devastating to many people. They tried to make flight accommodations but were having a hard time. One guy we talked to was being flown to an airport 4 hours from his home. Princess just said they needed more time in dry dock but pretty sure it was because there was several covid cases onboard. Unfortunately that soured many people's trip.

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Grand Princess

Grand Princess

Sail date: June 17, 2017

Alaska 10 day June 27, 2017: the service. Our last several cruises have been with Princess so maybe I'm just getting used to the service but I thought it was just OK. However, we talked with several first time Princess cruisers who had been on multiple other lines who were very impressed with the service on this ship. That is how I remember my first impression with Princess so I think that says a lot. on this cruise we opted for Anytime dining. We always had different waiters. All were fine but it is certainly different not getting to know your wait staff. I missed that. We did get to meet a lot of great tablemates though. One night a waiter was helping our staff and through poor communication messed up the dessert order. No biggy but I didn't get my second dessert! I'm not letting that go. Went to the Crown Grill without a reservation. The Maitre D said to come back after 8:00 and he got us in. Of course the lag was a little longer between courses since it was all made to order but not too long. Service was good but not any better than the MDR. I think the Maitre D expected a tip but I had no cash and no way to add to to bill. I have been increasingly disappointed with deck staff. They do a great job keeping things clean but I sense they make choices that means less work for them rather than convenience for guests. For example they appear to put out only enough deck chairs that would be used and on one of the two sunny sea days, it was not enough. I had no problem taking chairs off the stack though. Often -more than coincidentally- where their was a pair of Jacuzzies, one was roped off. My synical mind thought they were just trying to save on maintenance. Ugh! Never saw officers around socializing. Fine with me, I'd rather they concentrate on the important responsibilities they have. The service high point was our room steward Rusty. Our other Princess stewards were efficient but impersonal. Rusty seemed genuinely happy to greet us and eager to please. He was one of the few stewards I felt compelled to tip extra. There were plenty of staff in the Lido dining areas but the could use some efficiency training. They do a lot of walking around but have the uncanny ability to avoid eye contact when you need something. They would typically do a great job of bussing tables and serve drinks when you say down but if you needed refills etc I often had to flag them down or get it myself. The staff were overall very good. Most looked happy and greeted you in the halls. Cruising means you are treated like royalty and as long as you don't think you really are royalty, you will be fine with the few slips. As far as service goes, Princess does it Grand!

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Grand Princess

Grand Princess

Sail date: May 28, 2017

Grand, Alaska June 26, 2017: the Cabin. We were in a balcony C256. We usually elect for inside cabins. They are quiet, dark and serve our needs but mostly cause I'm cheap. Balconies can cost twice the cost of inside and I would rather sail twice in an inside than once on a balcony. I usually book my inside really close to a deck so it is a quick walk to outside. I originally booked inside for this cruise but got an offer for a $350 pp upgrade to a Preferred Balcony. Preferred just means a preferred location not any bigger. We were able to get a Caribe cabin. Caribe balconies on Grand Class ships have about twice the square feet of regular balconies. Half of it is covered. In Alaska that extra cost was worth it but still wouldn't have paid much more. We happened to have a good view heading towards Margerie glacier so we were able to stay in our cabin for a nice long look. If you are serious about viewing glaciers etc in Glacier Bay you must go on deck or you are stuck seeing what happens to be visible from your balcony at the time. That is fine if you just want to relax and enjoy the view as it comes but you only take in a fraction of what you would see roving to strategic locations on the deck. Closet space for this cabin was tiny. Literally half what we had on other cabins on Grand Class and similar ships. With all the Alaska layers it was a little tight but doable. We enjoyed the cabin but tried to spend as little time as possible in it. We did order the breakfast from the limited wake up menu and ate on balcony. That was fun. Overall great experience having a balcony and would do it again if found a great price.

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Grand Princess

Grand Princess

Sail date: July 07, 2017

Alaska ten day: the food. This may be my main motivation for cruising. That being said let me preface my review by saying I am not that hard to please when it comes to food but I do take notice of it. After 20 years of cruising I can honestly say the quality has not changed much. It's always been fantastic when you realize they made thousands of the servings hours earlier. It's not five star but you're not paying for that either so you can't expect that. I can say the desserts have improved over time, or at least they are fancier. I remember when the Love Boat dessert was the bomb but now it ranks well below the Norman Love creations. I always get two entrees and at least one is really good. The Rib Eye steak could not have been tastier. My wife raved about the Crusted Salmon from the Favorite (available everyday) menu. We did the Crown Grill once. Definitely worth it. Better than the MDR for sure but I would only go on a day the MDR menu was lackluster. You can get in without a reservation if you go after 8:00 pm. The fillet mignon was tender but not Ruth's Chris quality. Breakfast buffet was similar everyday but had literally dozens of choices so you never had to repeat. There is a "made to order" eggs/omelet station where you place your order and they bring it to your table. Just ask where it is if you don't see it. Lunch buffet was meh with occasional great dish. Be sure to find the reindeer chili station during Glacier Bay -awesome, and it's reindeer! No. 1 tip. check out the hamburger stand after 6:00 pm before a port. Princess teams with a famous local restaurant to serve one if their signature dishes. Before Ketchikan it was fish tacos from The Alaska Fish Co. (a $15 dish on shore) before Juneau it was Tracy's Crab Shack's crab cakes. Dinner buffet had some of the major dishes from MDR but not all. Overall, not gourmet but lots of really good stuff with a few misses. Remember, if you don't like it, don't eat it. The cruiseline would rather waste a little food than you have a bad meal. If you eat something you don't like on a cruise, it's your own fault.

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Cruise tips

Panama Canal Transit

Amazing. Got up early to be at the front of deck 7 at 6:30 am. Very cool to go through the locks but it is also very slow. It takes hours to get through each set of locks. If you read up on the history of the canal first it is extra special to see the things you read about.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

One of the most scenic ports I have been to. Unfortunately, the barrage of vendors makes walking around the port almost unbearable.

San Francisco, California

Took the Ships bus to the airport is all. It wasn't that much more money than an Uber and probably faster and definitely easier.

Caribbean Princess

Caribbean Princess

Remember it is an older ship. Don't expect it to be a large glitzy ship.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Not a great port. Didn't do an excursion because they were expensive and not good reviews. Weather was hot in late March but fine if in shade or near water. The people were very nice. Some street vendors but they were pleasant and only asked once. Souvenier stands expensive. Tourism person offers free walking tour map. Started to walk around town but pretty dirty and urban decay. Wife did not feel comfortable. Instead we walked along the boardwalk to the Marina Park. Admission was $10. Inside was exhibits with crocodiles, turtles, sharks, and aquariums with interesting fish. Not Sea World by any comparison... The beach is right at the dock. It has dark sand. Very hot to touch! The water is very murky. It is the perfect temperature but not pleasant to swim in. Local tour guide offered to take us on 90 minute taxi ride to see some crocodiles for $40 each. No thank you. I'm sure Costa Rica is beautiful but here, not so much.

Cartagena, Colombia

Beautiful city skyline rising ot of the water. Weather was warm but nice in late March. Took the emerald jewelry making excursion. A short bus ride through a nice part of town. Super clean streets. Didn't see any trash and only one graffiti. Jewlry making class was fun. You make five pieces of jewelry with rough emeralds and silver wire. Pretty easy. You keep one piece and can buy the others for $30 each... Next you tour the emerald museum which shows how they mine the stones and lots of interesting examples of emeralds. At the end you go through a high end jewelry store. Watch the gem cutters through an open door in the store. Great experience... Back at the port you walk through an amazing Avery with hundreds of exotic birds and some animals. Saw dozens of large parrots and macaws, lots of toucans, peacocks, etc. Even saw an anteater! Kind of expensive gift shop but ok since the Avery is free.

Fuerte Amador, Panama

The Embara Indian Village tour was awesome. A wonderful glimpse of history and culture. These Embara people migrated to the Panama Canal region from the Darian wilderness in Northern Columbia about 60 years ago to find better farming opportunities and safety from rebel soldiers. At first they were successful but then the government made their area a national park so no more farming and hunting. Now they survive through tourism while trying to keep their culture and simple lifestyle... You take a 90 minute guided bus ride, then board dugout canoes for 15 minute river tour to the village. The villagers wear ceremonial clothes. They feed you Talapia fish and fried Plantains wrapped in a banana leaf. They explain their story, play music and dance. You can explore their village then go to their covered outdoor market to buy souvenirs. They weave bowls and carve trinkets. I assume most of the carvings are not really made by them but that's OK. Prices are not bad and you feel better giving them your dollars than the stores in town.

OCEAN CAY MSC MARINE RESERVE, BAHAMAS

Super nice. Still need the landscape to mature but for a lazy day on the beach, it is awesome. The buffet was OK. The food trucks just served hamburgers and hot dogs. The bars will not give you water so bring your own or wait for the buffet time.

Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico

Went out of the port area, followed signs toward transportation to the big pyramid. Negotiated a taxi ride to ChoCChoben Mayan ruins. Charged us $75 for two. It is a 45 minute drive. The taxi waits for you there. Remember to negotiate the time you are allowed. I got 90 minutes which was enough for quick look around. Remember to negotiate on who pays the entrance fee. The cost is $70 pesos ($3.50 US). I forgot to ask the Taxi to pay, so the guy charged me $14 for two. I'm sure if the Taxi paid they would only pay half that. They have guides for $40 but for a small group that is too much. Probably better to go through a local tour company if you can get a price of $50 or so. You would get a guide. The ship excursion cost was about $100 with a group of 100 or so. We got there before them but watching the large groups did not look fun.

MSC Meraviglia

MSC Meraviglia

Low expectations are the secret to good experiences.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

We did the Yelapa and Mahajuitas beach day. Was really nice. The "hike" to the waterfall was well worth it.

Mazatlan, Mexico

We did the All Inclusive Resort. It was good. The buffet was very good. The beach and the pool areas are not near each other. You have to walk and take a boat ride to get between them. I suggest going to beach first in order to get best selection of lounge chairs, then eat, then go to pool. Go to the second "action" pool area. It has a really cool Cave to explore. The Beach area has a loud obnoxious bingo game in the afternoon. All you hear is "B12, G8..." blaring over the loud speaker if you go to beach in afternoon.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Pretty location but salespeople all over the dock area. I get it that they are trying to make a living but some get a little pushy. Not Jamaica pushy but more than the other Mexico stops. We did the Dolphin Swim and it was amazing. Definitely do the underwater swim but don't wait for the guide to count to three. Hold your breath on "one". The dolphins don't wait for "three". Digital pictures and video was $235. Pure robbery but just try not to buy it after seeing yourself SWIM with dolphins.

Carnival Panorama

Carnival Panorama

I was talked into adding the Thermal Spa package for the cruise. The unlimited access price was $219 for two people on the first day special. So if you are contemplating the Spa rooms and it cost more than $110 pp over a normal room then it may not be worth it. Note, there is a free wet sauna in the locker rooms in the Spa area. Ask for a robe from your steward. Use bug spray before excursions. My wife got bit a lot.

Falmouth, Jamaica

Port was the best shopping I have ever been to. Venders were very pleasant, only tried to sell you if you asked about something. Prices were OK. They would only haggle a little. My son went beyond the wall and said it was a different world out there. I stayed on the ship till noon when everyone was coming back then went out. Excursions were far and pricey.

George Town, Grand Cayman

Amazing. Get tender tickets early by using a touch tv. We took the city bus (van) for $2.50 per person per trip. Depot is a block away. First went to Cemetery Beach. We were the only ones at first. White sand, blue water, no waves. OK snorkeling near beach, really good snorkeling about 80 yards out.... Next caught bus (just waive them down on the road) to Turtle Farm. It was fun. Kids loved it. If you've never snorkeled with turtles, here is your chance. If you have then it's a let down.

Cozumel, Mexico

Went to Chankanaab. Purchased online for cheap then took a taxi for $15. Got there way ahead of the cruise excursion people and got good spot. Snorkeling was not great but OK. Maya recreation was neat. Wear bug spray in the jungle. Souvenirs at port mall were cheaper than straw market.

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway

There are lots of fun things to do on this ship but with so many people you have to be really organized. Plan well ahead, make reservations for everything you can and get there early. If you just try to "freestyle" it you may end up frustrated because what you want to do is full or you have to wait too long.

Ketchikan, Alaska

It seemed like we would have plenty of time in Ketchikan. Our schedule was 8 am to 6 pm but as it turned out we had to tender in so that took up a lot of time. There is room for four ships to dock but we had to anchor even though we arrived before two of the others. Some ports are all tenders but if you have a choice when choosing a cruise remember tendering means lines and lost time. We had no excursion booked so no priority. We didn't get off until 11am and there was still hundreds waiting for their turn. /// We took the public bus. Cost is $2 per trip or $5 for all day pass. The stop is right across the street. Look for bus sign or ask Information Booth or store clerk if you don't see it. You can download the bus schedule. It basically makes a one hour loop so whenever it let's you off somewhere it will be back in an hour. The public bus is always a good way to meet locals and get a sense of the place. We went north to Totem Bight Park, a recreated Indian village with totems, rain forest and tidal beach. Really neat. $5 entrance fee. Very educational and scenic. /// We planned to ride bus back south of town to Saxman, an active native village but we're running low on time. /// Asked local were to get off to walk to Creek Street. Had nice walk through neighborhood and across Married Man's Trail. The salmon we're not running yet -first week of July- unfortunately. Creek Street was cool. I was trying to catch up to my wife and walked in front of Dolly's Place alone. The tour guide of this famous bordello now museum, dressed as a lady of the night, stuck her head out the window and propositioned me, "Why don't you come in for a good time." I said, "Um, I'm married." "So am I" she said, "If you won't tell, I won't." /// Went to Alaskan Fish Co. for some salmon but they were out. How can the salmon capital of the world be out of salmon. Oh well, the halibut was good. Shopping by the pier was reasonable. Saw the same jacket for cheaper than San Francisco./// Of course it rained but it was light and didn't slow us down. Fun town!

Skagway, Alaska

What a beautiful little town. One of the few Inside Passage cities that are flat so it's easy to walk around. Lots of historic buildings. Be sure to leave time to enjoy. We wanted to ride the train but did not by excursion on board. after docking I saw a train ticket booth at end of the dock. Bought the three hour ticket to White Pass and back. Turns out the booth belonged to Princess so we paid the same $130 price as on board. Suggestion is to walk a little further to the actual train Depot and buy from White Pass RR directly. It's only $5 cheaper but you board at the station rather than wait in the incredibly long grumpy line in the rain. Also I think you get to board first. It really matters which side you sit on. Do whatever you can to get on the Left side of the car. 90% of the views are on the left side going up. Yes you switch sides on the way down but the experience is not the same as on the way up. Going up to the pass takes two hours, only one hour back so the view is rushed on the way back. All the "wow look at that" happens on the way up as the left side stands up and blocks the right side's view. If you get stuck on the right then try to hang out at the back outside platform. Scenery was great, maybe not as fabulous as some make it out to be but something you should do once in your life. /// The 3 hour trip leaves you time in town. Saw the Days of 98 melodrama play. It was fun and worth the $25. Didn't have time to walk to the cemetery but will next time. Next time will go at the end of July/August in order to see the Salmon run in the creeks.

Juneau, Alaska

Saw a Bald Eagle land on a light pole just after stepping off the ship. Did not book an excursion on board but stopped at one of the tour sale booths on the dock. Bought the Best of Alaska tour for $150 pp. I think it was $200 through princess. Included Mendenhall glacier, whale watching and Salmon bake. Mendenhall was rushed. only had one hour. Just enough time to walk to the waterfall and back. It was amazing but would be nice to have another hour to see visitors center etc. The whale watching was three hours Saw several Humbacks and a pack of Orcas. That was awesome. Salmon bake was a great venue, outdoor in the trees along a stream with waterfall nearby. Food was pretty good. I'm not a salmon bake conisour but it tasted good to me. You can choose if you want the sweet sauce on it or not. Add the sauce on top of the corn bread for a tasty dessert. Driver/Guide was a local native Tlinget and very fun. Back to town in time to see Red Onion saloon and a little shopping. Fun day!

San Francisco, California

SF is a crazy town. We drove in the day before our cruise. Amazing sights, sounds, and smells. Lots of tourists enjoying themselves but always looking over their shoulder, anticipating something crazy to happen. Saw an elderly woman crossing the street and when a car stopped just barely into the crosswalk, she cursed out the driver and gave him two birds. Saw drunks yelling at invisible foes and throwing bottles down the street. Saw a lady walking her dog and let it piss on someone's doorstep. But what a vibe this place has; where history and dystopia meet. Can't wait to come back. We just walked around the Warf and Ghirardelli square. Some shops in between the two had decent prices for souvenirs/clothes.

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