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Everything posted by Dani24

  1. Ramon was one of our waiters too! Do you have Alberto as well? If so tell him Danielle Jonathan and Daphne from the last cruise (we had the little redheaded daughter) said "hi" and we miss them! Same for Giovanni. He called our daughter "Capelli Rossi". Giovanni makes the best "special" dishes. 🙂 Anyway, Alberto was the one who brought us the info on the wine package. The card still lists the silver. I took a picture of it. But Alberto explained that the Silver package was actually no longer available, and that they'd be coming out with something new soon (but there was no word when yet). He said the new program should have tiers, but for now only Gold was available. We didn't end up purchasing.
  2. We got on the Grand on 7/25. We arrived at the port at 10am. They didn't open the port for oncoming guests until 10:30 am. They did not start boarding until 11 am. So we had a little bit of a wait (but it was pleasant). Once boarding began, we were the second family on the ship. There were no lines that early either. 🙂
  3. My waiter in Club Class on the Grand last week specifically said the Silver package had been discontinued, and that at some point both packages are set to be replaced. Only the Gold was available. Weird that you're finding the Silver available on the sailing right after ours...
  4. Still never saw a blower. But on our very last night we finally witnessed a leak! We saw a single drip from the ceiling in the photo gallery area. No buckets or obvious wet spots. May have just started. Otherwise the ship appeared to be in very good shape from our experience.
  5. We had an escort on embarkation day, and they seemed a bit confused about the location of our cabin too. Even though we boarded on Deck 6, he took us in the elevator to deck 7. Our room wasn't ready yet anyway, but we did have to go back down to 6 for the MDR lunch. 🙂
  6. We just wrapped up our first cruise in a suite (Window Suite). It was amazing, and I definitely hope to do it again. But it's expensive, and we used a boatload of credit card points to pay for half of the cost. As much as I'd love to only sail suites, next time I expect will be in an Oceanview (probably obstructed) or maybe a balcony if we're feeling spendy. We can technically afford a suite on its own, but we prefer stretching our vacation dollars to take other trips too. My favorite perk was the suite breakfast, and that's going to dearly missed next time. Club Class was also great since we had a wonderful Head Waiter who made some really awesome specials. We enjoyed many of the other benefits too, but all stuff we can live without. That said, outside the exclusive breakfast, most of the other exclusive things were also available for elite passengers (and sometimes platinum, which we'll be on our next cruise). I like that we weren't segregated from the general passengers for most things. It's great to mingle with people without needing to concern yourself with status, or what kind of cabin you're in, etc. We talked with lots of people, and the kind of cabin we were staying in wasn't a topic of conversation. But I do think there's value to discussing it on here. All of the suite discussions helped me learn to maximize our experience. Plus I had no clue what the Window Suites were until I saw them discussed here. It's a special experience for most people, who only get to do it once or twice, and they should have access to the information on how to enjoy it fully. Likewise, I love reading experiences from people staying in other categories, and how they maximized their experience. I've learned about non-obstructed Obstructed Oceanview rooms. Or deeper Caribe balconies. Or how guarantees work. All things we've taken great advantage of. And I'm thankful to be able to learn from others!
  7. Very few passengers even know about the hallway to the Window Suites. We never saw anyone in that hall other than crew and other Window Suite guests. The door adjacent to the Guest Services desk is always closed, and is unmarked. It looks like it could be a crew door or something. A few times we popped out, and people looked at us oddly. We never saw the doors propped open. But I would imagine it would have been done either by a crew member or Window Suite guest. You can easily close it. And I heard of someone on a prior sailing that requested that it be kept closed by staff, because it had been propped open, and it was no longer an issue. Honestly, given our experience, I wouldn't worry about the smoke at all. You'll get worse if you're passing by or standing at the Guest Services desk.
  8. I tend to get devoured by mosquitoes too, more than most people. My daughter got one little bite, that went away quickly. I react heavily to bites, and it takes a couple of weeks for them to fully clear. My husband got no bites. And I didn't hear anyone else complain of bites. I only got bitten through my jeans (I'm guessing the weave was just loose enough for them to slip their mouth through, and they were tight jeans against the skin). No bites on exposed areas where I put the citronella oil they gave us. Mosquitoes can be an issue anywhere in Alaska, so don't let that deter you from doing this excursion. It was awesome, and I highly recommend it!
  9. Juneau was listed as a tender port prior to sailing (at least I definitely recall seeing that, though I spoke to many passengers who said they did not see that before the cruise). But I've tendered elsewhere before, and never experienced such a mess. We did have priority tender tickets, but A) it was all the same line, and since we had an early shore excursion the suite tickets wouldn't have garnered any priority over that. They only would have been useful if we were doing the port on our own. But having been through that, I won't book an independent excursion for a tender port that departs in the first hour or two of arriving. Especially if we're not in a suite. I hope you have an amazing time! We'll be that sad family of 3 being dragged off the ship kicking and screaming that we don't want to go home. 🙂
  10. We've used the tub twice. Neither time did we experience brown water from the faucet. My husband did note a little bit of "oily" brown film on top of the water the first time. But he thought it may have come from the bath salts. When we used the tub the second time there was nothing (but we didn't use the salts). As for smoke, it has not been much of an issue. There's a bit in the main hall between the casino and Snookers. But the fire door right in front of our stateroom door has been closed the entire time, and there's been little to no smell in the "secret hall" for the Window Suites, or in our room. My husband is super sensitive to smoke, and if anyone would complain it's him, and he hasn't been bothered by it. He did say he smelled it a tiny bit in our room on like the 2nd day, but not since. There's zero noise from the casino. Even the "secret hall" is totally quiet. The only noise we've experienced is one morning when someone with heels clomped along the Promenade at 7 am. Otherwise, we haven't even really noticed walkers or joggers up there (or at least it hasn't been enough to catch our attention).
  11. It is AMAZING... No. Wait. It's terrible. Horrible. Don't ever book it (unless I'm not going to be using it). Even though we have the smallest Window Suite (F301) it has been really great. We've seen inside the other Window Suites, and they do feel more spacious. But I have zero regrets booking this one (it was the only one left), and would totally do it again. We love the "secret passage" hallway, the smoke hasn't been too bad (and my husband is pretty sensitive to smoke), and there's an amazing amount of storage.
  12. I'm using it right now. 🙂 We're heading to Victoria. We only got the Surf package - so no streaming. The connection is fine enough for our needs. We have mostly been checking emails (including one with pictures that my husband needs to check periodically), Googling something, managing a couple bills, or (in my case) posting to Cruise Critic. 🙂 I have not bothered trying to post to social media (e.g. Facebook) or uploading pictures anywhere. There have been a few times where the wifi seemed to be down. But usually if I checked back a little later it was working again. Not sure whether it works in port since we switched to our cell service there.
  13. It's now Thursday, and the sea day before Victoria. We've had a lovely but busy last few days. Monday was Hubbard Glacier. The weather was clear and we got in nice and close. The boat excursion offered went out (we weren't on it) and it got right up on the glacier. I'll share pics later. The ship pulled in and spun around for a couple of hours before departing. We had dinner in Crown Grille that night, and it was excellent. Although we decided we like Sabatini's more (which I didn't expect, since my husband is a big steak guy). My daughter was being fussy about what she ate, and the waiter very kindly brought her some fried shrimp from the seabass dish, and fetched a Caesar salad from the MDR. It was sort of weird eating dinner in there with a bunch of people, since we've gotten used to our quiet suite breakfasts in there. 🙂 Next day was Haines. Again, perfect weather. And what a picturesque little town! This little collection of buildings nestled between a dramatic display of mountains on every side. I loved it from the moment we pulled in. The town is small and easily walkable, so we explored a bit before meeting our tour. We were the only ship here, so it didn't feel crowded either. I'm so glad we didn't opt for an excursion in Skagway. Instead we did the Kroeschel Wildlife Refuge. Awesome tour! Really quirky staff. I'm not sure how much was an act, and how much was just how weird they actually are. But I'd venture it's a little of both. Still, it was an awesome experience. The only downside is the mosquitoes (it's near "Mosquito Lake"). They gave us some citronella oil that worked a treat on our skin. But unfortunately for me those little buggers snacked on me 7 times through my jeans! There driver was also great, and gave us a ton of great information on the area on both the drive there/back. Ketchikan was yesterday. We arrived around 11:30 am. Before we docked we did the Escape Room. I won't spoil it, but everything you need is contained in a large trunk. We did it in the chapel room. Finished with a little more than 8 minutes to spare (you get 30 minutes). It was fun! We had nothing planned for Ketchikan, so just wandered around and explored. We had lunch at Annabelle's, and it was good, but nothing phenomenal. We also did the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center and got my daughter a Junior Ranger patch. We also watched seals catching fish along Creek Street. There were salmon in the stream, but not going up the fish ladder yet. We also checked out the Yes/No game show, which was fun. We also saw the "Rollin Jay Moore" and "Ventriloquist Patrick Murray" combo show. Moore was funnier than Murray. More later... And lots of pictures to come!
  14. I am currently on the Grand. Formal nights are the second sea day (or third night), and the night before Victoria (which is a sea day). It's possible that the second formal night could be on Victoria night, as we had that the last time we did this itinerary, and I'm pretty sure I saw that on another set of Patters someone posted When we embarked I didn't see a wine table. I brought two bottles of wine in my carry on. Nobody said a word. My cabin steward brought me wine glasses, and I've been enjoying them in the cabin. The chapel is frequently open and available. The chairs have always been set up. There are a few times the room is in use. For instance, we signed up for the Escape Room, and they used the chapel for it. There were several sessions on Ketchikan day and the sea day right after. The "Friends of Dr. Bob and Bill W Meetings" also take place in the chapel every day. And there is maybe one or two other things in there on sea days (like a "How to Boost Your Metabolism" or "Secrets to a Flatter Stomach" seminar, or the "Princess Pop Choir" rehearsal). On Friday they had a "Jewish Sabbath Service" listed in there too, but it stated a volunteer would need to lead the service. There's also an "Interdenominational Church Service" on Sundays in the Vista Lounge at 9 am. This is conducted by the Entertainment Director. On all other days there is an unhosted "Bible Study" at 8 am in the One5 Lounge. Crab Shack was only offered once on this sailing. It was the night of Hubbard Glacier (scenic cruising day). It fills up fast, so make your reservations by calling the DINE line on embarkation day. We missed it this cruise, unfortunately. As for the ship's condition, I think this depends on how fussy you are. 🙂 She is showing her age, for sure. But we've found her to be quite lovely and would not hesitate to sail her again. There are some areas that need addressing (e.g. the sofas in the Explorers Lounge badly need replacing). But I see crew constantly painting, staining, cleaning, etc. to keep her looking good. And I have been looking, but still have yet to come across one leak or blower. The crew on this ship is phenomenal. Probably the best we've had. And the food on the whole has been excellent. I'm sad to be going home in 3 days!
  15. I saw a woman using one yesterday on the Grand. The crew member at the International Cafe didn't question it at all.
  16. It's so funny. I've been all over the ship and haven't seen one blower, bucket or leak! I'll keep a sharper eye out though. I've found her to be quite serviceable still, even if she is showing her age. I will miss the Window Suites for sure when she's gone. It's our first time in them, but they are awesome!
  17. Tonight Giovanni asked us if we'd like to sit in our usual section or closer to the window. We ended up going back to our prior section because we really like our waiter, Alberto, and that was worth sitting in "Club Second Class" as we jokingly call it. 🙂 I haven't seen your general review yet, but I'll look for it! Hope things got much better after your leak ordeal. Considering all the complaints I've seen about leaks on the Grand, so far I have not come across a single leak.
  18. We're docked in Juneau today. Actually, we were tendered. And getting off was TERRIBLE. We had booked a Princess whale watching tour. The ticket said to meet in the theater at 1:30. We were there at 1:15. But then told we had to go to the 7th floor entrance for tender stickers (our room is on 6, right by one of the side exits to the theater, so we came in that way). So, out we went... Only to find a line that stretched WAY back nearly to the other end of the ship (right by Sabatini's). It took 25 minutes to get to the front of the line. There was one check in... And EVERYONE was in this line. Didn't matter when your meet time was (there were people behind us with an even earlier meet time). We finally made it to the front, got our stickers, and back into the theater, only to find our tour group had already left. Fortunately a woman behind us told us our group had already gone, so we booked it to the tender queue. It took about another 30 minutes to make it to shore from there. Fortunately our tour was waiting for us. But they wouldn't have waited much longer. The guide said 2:45 would have been the latest they could wait, and we got there at 2:35! It sounded like there were two more people they were expecting, but we ended up leaving without them. And had we not made the tender we did we absolutely would have missed it too. Everyone was angry/annoyed. There were constant grumbles about how disorganized and stressful it was. It didn't help that when some people expressed concern to an employee who was minding the line, she dismissively said "you'll be fiiine". No, we got lucky. (And others didn't.) Beyond that, the tour was good (we did the Citizen Scientist excursion). It rained on/off in Juneau, but it wasn't particularly cold. Ate lunch and dinner in Club Class today. Lunch special there was penne carbonara, which was excellent. Dinner special was an upgraded Caesar salad, with chicken or shrimp, and a special recipe dressing, which I did not try (since I already wanted like four or five other things tonight)! Libby Riddles was onboard, and while we missed her lecture, we did come across Tess and one of Libby's sled dogs outside the theater. My daughter was in heaven getting to pet CanCan, and practically had her to herself for 5-10 minutes!
  19. Day 3, started with breakfast in Crown Grill again. Same excellent experience as before. Then we dropped my daughter off at the kids club, which opened about 5 minutes after 9 am. Then walked across the hall to the spa for a couple's massage. They were offering a free extra 15 minutes with your treatment this morning. Massages were good, but not the best we ever had. The room was a touch cool, no heated beds or sheets. I mentioned it was a little cool when asked, but they didn't do anything about it. The massage itself was nice. Though at the end there was a few minutes of dead time where my masseuse was not massaging. This was more dead time than I'm accustomed to from prior massages. Still a nice experience, and the price was good compared to land based massages we've had at high end resorts. They also sold me on a blowout right after the massage. It's formal night tonight, and I usually have to wash/style my long, thick hair after a massage, so this saved me that effort. Mona was my stylist, and she was really great and friendly, and did a nice job on my hair. She added curl which stayed all day (and my hair doesn't hold curl all that well). We tried lunch in Horizon Court next, but it was really busy and I wasn't wowed with the selection. Neither was my kid. We grabbed a few bites, and had to search outside for a table. Granted we were there right about noon. Ended up at International Cafe to supplement lunch. The lemon cookies are my daughter's favorite. I also enjoyed the watermelon caprese. Next I popped into the diamond and gemstone seminar to get the next charm. I got there a few minutes late and thought I'd have to sit through the presentation. I spent it playing one of the Sodoku sheets I picked up from the library (they have new puzzles and Sodoku sheets every day). At the end (30 minutes) I learned they passed them out at the beginning. But they still had plenty left, so I didn't leave empty handed at least! Later we popped in on Karaoke, which was delightfully terrible. 😄 My husband was going to sing, but the slots filled fast. After was the High Seas Heist intro. They give you the initial packet here. Then there are multiple check-ins throughout the cruise. Salty Dog Grill had crab cakes this afternoon. They were good, but not a "wow". Came with fries and tartar sauce. Tonight was formal night. There was a definite mix of attire. Plenty of people dressed to the nines. And others wearing stuff more suited to church. One guy at a table near us (in the regular MDR section) was wearing a t-shirt with a big skull logo! Just about every man I saw in Club Class was wearing a jacket. Women varied more, but everyone was at least dressed up a bit. Giovanni's Club Class specials were seared diver scallops with polenta, arugula and balsamic reduction. Plus a pineapple flambe for dessert. The scallops were a bit lacking (probably needed better carmelization, or a touch more seasoning). The pineapple flambe was tasty, though I didn't get to see the flambe. We also caught the Stardust show. The performers were great. But the show itself was just okay. I don't think we've seen it before (it's been 9 years since we've been on Princess). But I don't plan on ever seeing it again. Once was plenty. We also caught the Captain near the elevators, and he was so sweet with our daughter. Took a picture with her, and answered a bunch of her questions on how they drive the ship at night, and when does he get to sleep? 🙂 He was just so patient and kind! Tomorrow, Juneau!
  20. I cannot find any plugs near either side of the bed in our Window Suite. Except that both bedside lamps (and the one next to the sofa) have a USB outlet in the base. There is only the Gold bottle package available on board at this time. 7 bottles for $217; 10 bottles for $290; 12 bottles for $336. Good for bottles up to $45.
  21. Our second day we enjoyed breakfast in Crown Grill. There were only a few other tables occupied, so it was a nice, quiet and relaxed experience. We were able to easily make a few simple off-menu selections. Our wait staff was also the same excellent group from Sabatini's the night before. We dropped my daughter off at the kid's club after. She's in the 3-7 group. The room is not that large, and I saw something written on the sign in sheet saying "30 max". There are 108 kids onboard in her age group though! And another 178 in the 8-12 range. They did not give us a pager this time, saying they were prioritizing those for the 3-5 year olds, and suggesting we just come check on her periodically. We did take her back there in the afternoon, and that time they gave us a pager (though I did ask). My daughter LOVES the kid's club. She says the staff is very nice. The activities have been fun. She comes back with crafts each time. Yesterday she got an adorable stuffed humpback whale too! And she made a cute beaded whale bracelet. Meanwhile, my husband and I checked out the Tess Julianna lecture. I found it a bit underwhelming. A little too chit chatty, and not enough depth of the information. Although, I have been reading Michener's Alaska, so maybe its made me too familiar. We collected our daughter, and headed up to the One5 Lounge for a Cruise Critic meet and greet. Our roll call was pretty quiet, and only two groups showed up (or at least that we connected with). But the place was full of people because, by chance, they were doing the Escape Room sign ups at 11:30 there. The Escape Room is $5/pp. They recommend kids 12+. But it sounds like they let kids younger (but you have to sign a waiver). They had several slots available the morning of Ketchikan, and on a sea day (the one after Ketchikan). 8 people per slot. There were maybe 10ish slots? It was a zoo signing up though. Everyone just sort of pushed and crowded up to the front. Lots of people were booking groups of 6 or 8. We were just doing my husband and I, so we squeezed in with a family of 6. We did the Pub Lunch with another family we met. They were able to set up a table for 9 for us. There's no kids menu. The two kids present weren't interested in the food, but they brought a plate of fries for them. Food was good, though not amazing. I don't think I'd bother with that menu again. We got some pizza from Slices after. It's okay... Not as good as we remember the deck pizza from 9 years ago (our last Princess cruise). I also tried the Cali avocado toast. Also pretty underwhelming. The avocado was like a runny paste. Maybe I'm too spoiled from being a Californian and having easy access to avocados. 🙂 Dropped my daughter off at the kids club again (she loves it, and was begging to go!) Meanwhile, my husband napped and I wandered the ship, taking pictures and learning the layout. Discovered that the golf course is closed for repairs. No word on when it'll be back up. The shopping program on board is offering a new charm bracelet thing. If you show up at a bunch of designated times you get a cruise related charm. There's also a voucher for a bracelet to attach them too. Technically you're supposed to go to an initial shopping lecture to get the list/voucher for the bracelet. I missed it, but was able to sweet talk a list/voucher from a sales staff member. The lines for these can get crowded/long. It's very popular. I'm collecting them for my daughter though as a fun (and free!) souvenir. The quality of the bracelet and charms are very nice. My husband was still snoozing, so I attended afternoon tea, joining a table of others. Service was great. The pastries were yummy (especially the v scone!) But the sandwiches were just okay. Not as good as I remember. Dinner in Club Class tonight. For some reason we got seated at the very inside border, next to non Club Class tables. It was fine... But we felt a bit "shoved aside" by the location (service was still excellent). There were tons of tables available closer to the windows. Maybe because we have a kid? She's very well behaved... But maybe they were trying to avoid disrupting/annoying other guests if her behavior wasn't good? Or maybe I'm projecting. We'll see where they sit us tonight, and maybe ask for something closer to the window next time. The Club Class specials were Shrimp American with Lobster Sauce. Very tasty and light! There was also a penne with tomato sauce and shrimp. Also really good. The tomato sauce was rich and nicely spiced. We caught the comedian, Andrew Kennedy. He was funny (though nothing mind blowing). He mostly talked about race, and his experiences being half Columbian, half English.
  22. Only the Gold package (7 bottles for $217, 10 bottles for $290, and 12 bottles for $336). Good for bottles valued up to $45. They no longer offer the Silver. They're going to be introducing a new wine package if some sort, most likely with tiers, but the waiter was not sure when they would be introducing that though. He said they have not given a date.
  23. Ugh. People weren't clear about that. I specifically asked about the Grand too. Oh well... Live and learn! Next cruise we'll be Platinum as well.
  24. We're still off the coast of California (approaching the border to Oregon), and the v speed has been decent so far. I realize that may get worse the further north we go though.
  25. Francis was our waiter from Sabatini's. Our staff from there last night is the staff in the Crown Grill suite breakfast this morning. He is leaving in two days though. Going home for a bit, then transferring to the Sky Princess. Royston is one of the other waiter's we had last night/this morning. And Robert was/is the Head Waiter.
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