On September 5, 2015, Mr. Cozi and I embarked on our second cruise in 35 years of marriage. We were celebrating our anniversary and taking a huge risk that we would regret choosing this trip. Our first cruise was 20 years ago and when we returned, we said we would never go on another one. It was a different cruise company. So, on my fourth day of a 31 Day Writing Challenge, I am sharing this Princess Cruise review for future cruisers.
We sailed out of Seattle on the Crown Princess. (Known as the original Love Boat) We were heading to Alaska with four ports of call and a tour of Glacier Bay. It was a seven day cruise.
The embarkation was smooth sailing. There were approximately 2,000 passengers on our ship and it was amazing how quickly we were checked in, had our luggage delivered to our room and began to enjoy the amenities of the ship. Everything was organized and moved quickly without feeling rushed. There were people positioned at every station to tell us ahead of time what to expect, what to have in hand and where to go next.
Our stateroom had a balcony and was more spacious than we remembered our first cabin being. Having a balcony made a big difference in touring Glacier Bay, as we weren’t trying to elbow our way into rail space for pictures. It was also very nice to have that extra bit of privacy. We also believe having a view may have helped with sea-sickness which we suffered on our first cruise. Our steward was top notch and took great care to answer all of our concerns. One in particular, was a sour smell we noticed as soon as we walked into the room. We made one call to customer service, went on deck to watch the ship leave port and when we returned the smell was gone.
One of the things you always hear about cruises is how fabulous and plentiful you find the food. The Horizons Dining Room was buffet style and better than any buffet I’ve had on land. However, we both enjoyed the special dining rooms more than the buffet. Sharing tables with other passengers kept the wait down and introduced us to lots of interesting people. The dining rooms on the Crown Princess were Michelangelo’s, DaVinci’s and Sabatini’s with the latter being our very favorite. Reservations are encouraged but not mandatory at Michelangelo’s or DaVinci’s, but required at Sabatini’s. The food at Sabatini’s is gourmet and delicious with an upgraded wine list.
We purchased the all-inclusive beverage package and it was worth it. When you include water, coffee, tea and adult beverages, we definitely drank more than the $50/day package afforded us. I won’t go so far as to say it was a bargain, but we didn’t lose money either.
If Princess were asking me for the most negative experience we had on board the ship, it would have to be the marketers who are constantly presenting you with something else to purchase. It felt, at times, like I was back home with my phone ringing off the hook with one telemarketer after another offering me something I just can’t live without. Even our spa day ended with wares being hawked and additional services added to our previously purchased package. I get a massage and even go on vacation for heaven’s sake to get away from stress!
The fitness and recreation facilities onboard were top of the line and a great way to work off the tensions of the day. There is an aerobics room with scheduled classes, free weights and cardio machines for every need. The machines were easy to operate and we had a great view to the horizon while working out.
Our excursions offered so much of Alaska and we regret none of them. The only one that we both felt was a waste of time was getting off the ship in Victoria, Canada. We had only a couple of hours which didn’t offer enough time to do anything other than shop. In our opinion, the shops closest to the ship were mostly average souvenir shops that you find in all tourist towns. T-shirts, coffee mugs and key rings for a place that you visited for a few minutes didn’t seem worth the trip through security to us. When considering excursions, we can’t stress enough what fun we had! Each stop, whether Juneau, Skagway or Ketchikan were well worth the cost for the excursions we chose. We would give 5 stars to all three. Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, The White Pass Railroad and Swinging Bridge in Skagway and the Eagle Sightings, Totem Poles and Lighthouse in Ketchikan.
Onboard the ship, our favorite activities were the art auctions. The paintings were a collection of old and new artists and ranged in value from $10 to over $250,000. We participated in an auction for the very first time and now can’t wait to attend another one.
Our overall experience would be 4.5 stars. It would be five if not for the stop in Victoria and the marketers who interrupted our good time to sell us something we didn’t want.