In comparison to other cruises that we have taken, there were some obvious similarities as well as differences. Some services were great, some weren't. I will break it down (We took 7 day cruise with Coral Princess from Whittier to Vancouver).
We boarded from Whittier, Alaska which is a fairly small port. Ours was the only ship. Luggage drop off and check in was very smooth as we already have our luggage tagged. We were in the ship in less than 20 minutes after we got off our bus (by the way, bus ride from Anchorage to Whittier was great and quite scenic. I highly recommend doing this if possible). Similarly, disembarkation was fairly smooth. One pointer is that they would drop off instructions out of your stateroom for luggage tags. If you want to change the time you get off ship, just go to customer service and they will be happy to change the tags for you. On the subject, we were considering transfer by cruise line from Vancouver cruise port to the airport which was 29$ per person if arranged by Princess. However, we decided to use private taxi service which was only 30 Canadian dollars for minivan taxi and was very comfortable. Please note that there is no Uber or Lyft in Vancouver.
We did not get greeted while boarding in the ship like we have with Disney or Royal Caribbean. They both provide very warm welcome upon entering the ship. This was definitely missing here with Princess.
Ship looked average size. Not too small, not too big. It was fairly easy to get to our stateroom with minimal help from staff. First impression of ship was that of a fairly clean, well maintained ship with passengers over 50.
Since we have one year old traveling with us, we decided to choose Ocean view rather than balcony that we typically choose. Stateroom was very clean, well maintained and didn't seem too cluttered. Proper use of the space was very evident in comparison to some other ships we have been in. Overall, good experience.
As we had issues with this, I am going to combine the two. First day on the cruise, we went to talk to Maitre D as some of the people in our group wanted changes made to our menu which is what we have done for every cruise we have taken without issues. Usually, they are HAPPY to accommodate as it is very simple request. Maitre D on Princess gave us lecture on how US regulation doesn't allow him to cater different menus as he has to worry about food and guest safety. He made it sound like we are cruising for the first time. The request was as simple as providing Chinese/ Mexican/Indian food items for some of the meals for example. I don't see how that interferes with US regulations. He was very difficult to work with. Even some of the servers in buffet dining area (Horizon dining) were far outright rude. When we went to first night of dining, we made similar request to head server and he was very accommodating. Our servers in evening dining area were great. Food quality was above average but nothing to brag about. Not many choices besides Pizza and burgers in off times. Evening snacks were good.
We did not have internet service for the entire first 24 hours and could not get internet manager to come on the phone to explain why. Even after that there were issues. When it worked, it was fast. On last day, they sent us a letter stating that we would get refund of one day as a gesture. Gesture would have been to make entire package complimentary. Giving money back for the service not used is not gesture, it is expectation. As Princess won't allow me to buy internet per day, they should not be allowed to refund it for a day either. For the inconvenience of no availability of internet, proper customer service would have been apology and full refund in my opinion (by the way, I am still waiting for my one day refund).
Entertainment and activities:
Limited choices of shows, very few performances. Big screen didn't show too many movies. Definitely can improve.
Ports and shore excursions:
As Alaska cruise is mainly about excursions, I would strongly recommend pre-booking excursions either directly with Princess which is what we did or independently. We saw many families who wanted to book on the ports and could not get as they were all sold out. We also strongly recommend checking charges. We have a one year old who was charged for all excursions when we pre-booked it but when the passes came, his passes didn't. Upon inquiry, they told us that infants under 1 are free for all excursions. However, we still got charged at the time of booking and yet to see refund.
Alaska is a must see destination anyway. I strongly recommend cruise with excursions to enjoy wilderness as few friends who explored Alaska by renting a car and hotels at the same time we did cruise felt that they did not get to see as much when we compared notes and pictures. However, I would pick right cruise. It seemed like Princess Cruise was not family friendly with less family oriented activities with rude staff. Princess needs to change culture with focus on customer service for paying customers. We will probably not use Princess for our next several cruises.
Cabin was well maintained and looked fresh. No significant signs of wear and tear and appeared well kept. Room attendant was not making personal connections but was very attentive, punctual and professional.
We were charged for our 1 year old that we were not supposed to.View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews