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Everything posted by karatemom2

  1. And we did a 12 day round trip out of Vancouver in May of 2022 shortly after this was published and nothing like this was offered on the Royal. As I said, it was Alaska themed dishes a couple of evenings as one of the menu options. Certainly not every night and not all that different from seafood offerings we have had on non Alaska cruises. Maybe you will find something different but after years of cruising to Alaska with Princess, I’ve learned where to find the best fresh seafood meals and that is on shore. No complaints about the food in the MDR, but it doesn’t quite compare to the seafood we have had in our Alaska ports. Going back again this September on the Ruby so I guess I’ll see if something dramatic has changed with the menus. We did love our cruise on the Royal that year though - our first in over two years thanks to the pandemic. My daughter got engaged on that trip and it was one for the record books - even though we all got COVID a couple days after getting home!
  2. Interesting. I wonder if this is a new policy? We bought our internet package via the app for our upcoming cruise just prior to the rate hike and just paid the half price rate. Maybe this just applies if you wait and purchase onboard? Would love to see if someone who has purchased recently has any first hand experience to share. If this is now the new policy it further demonstrates the slow erosion of this particular Elite benefit.
  3. Most spa services on Princess are ridiculously overpriced and the quality in my experience is generally just ok. I no longer get spa services on our cruises unless it’s at some kind of significant discount - like a port day special. If I do invest in one of these, it is usually a hot stone massage as I find those the best option offered onboard in terms of the quality of the service. I save it for great and affordable massages at home or even on some of the ports we visit like Cabo where you can get amazing massages by the beach for literally a fraction of the price onboard.
  4. This is the age range into which my kids fall. Neither they or most of their friends can afford a cruise. It’s everything they can do to afford their rent. The only reason my daughter and her new hubby got a cruise for their honeymoon was because Mom and Dad were footing the bill. Princess can advertise to that demographic all they like, but it may be many years before they reap any benefit. They would be smarter to stick with at least a 40 plus demographic or advertise to us Gen X and Boomers encouraging us to bring our adult kids on cruises. Many are living at home anyway.
  5. I'm wondering if it has anything to do with the cabins they may reserve or set aside for travel agents to sell? We are taking a Norwegian Fjords cruise this summer that seems to be very popular - a great itinerary. It has appeared to be virtually sold out for months with almost no cabin availability, but when I checked again this week just out of curiosity, quite a few cabins that had not been showing as available before were suddenly open. We are now within 90 days of the cruise, so I'm just wondering if by a certain time a travel agent has not sold them they revert back to Princess. Or maybe it is people who cancel at 90 days for a refund? It's a mystery to me - but ships do indeed seem to be sailing at or near capacity these days.
  6. You can't monitor other people's behaviors - everything we touch in the world has been touched by another human who may or may not have good hygiene habits. All you can do is protect yourself by washing and/or sanitizing YOUR hands before eating. We don't completely avoid the buffet, but if we go, we wash our hands before serving our food, and wash our hands again before eating, and I always carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with me not just on our cruises but everywhere I go in life. I work in health care and am well aware of the pathogens that surround us - you just have to do your best to practice your own best hygiene and self protection and that is simply all you can do. It's called living in a world with other people over whom you have no control, but with whom you have to coexist.
  7. Same here. We have been on multiple Alaska sailings and have never noted a significant difference in the menus over any of our other sailings in other areas, with the exception of maybe one or two dishes during the week that they describe as an homage to Alaska cuisine - similar to our Hawaii cruises. And given that they are generally filling the food coffers at the point of embarkation, I highly doubt any of it is "fresh" Alaska caught seafood. That is not by any means to say I'm complaining or the food is bad - but just a reality check. If you want fresh and local seafood in Alaska you will find it in the ports.
  8. They may have a couple of regional dishes that feature seafood with reference to the Alaska itinerary, but by and large the menu is the same. You will find the standard seafood menu items - salmon, sea bass, halibut, shrimp, lobster etc. on the menu as usual on different nights. Not sure they are even actually sourced from Alaska. Not that they aren’t good - generally the seafood dishes on Princess are fine. But if you want fresh, locally sourced Alaska seafood you will be better served eating in the ports at a local restaurant. There are many great options.
  9. There are packages they offer for vow renewals. Here is a link: https://www.princess.com/en-us/ships-and-experience/celebrations/cruise-gifts-services/romance-packages
  10. Princess doesn’t offer dining packages like NCL. There are some dining benefits in the Plus package which includes two casual dining meals and the Premier package which includes two specialty meals. There are usually a couple of Indian dishes offered in the MDR at lunch and dinner at sometime during the cruise. Also, Indian dishes can usually be found often in the buffet. If you mention to your server your preference for Indian food, they may be aware of special dishes available that they might bring to you.
  11. In the words of Forrest Gump, Roll Calls are like a box of chocolates - you never know what you are going to get. We have had amazing roll calls where we have made lifelong friends, nonexistent roll calls where virtually no one signs on, or roll calls that were engaging in advance but didn’t live up to expectations onboard. The best you can generally hope is you find a few kindred spirits who may become your trivia crew, drinking or gambling buddies, shared excursion adventurers, dining partners, or, at the very least people with whom you can exchange pleasantries when you run into them onboard or in port. So sorry this one didn’t work out for you, but hopefully the next one will. All roll calls are definitely not created equally, so do give it another try on your next cruise.
  12. I'm sure that Princess has evaluated the financials of the packages and there is no doubt they are making money on them, which is why they are marketing them so aggressively. Keep in mind, the mark up on the alcoholic beverages, WiFi, and other package benefits is probably quite high - so even though it seems like a savings to the consumer, just by virtue of locking people into a set extra price for these items, Princess is likely ensuring that lots of people are investing more in onboard expenses then they would have prior to the packages. Plus, Princess is getting this money upfront and far in advance in many cases, and they are collecting more on the Princess Insurance for those who buy the packages in advance due to the increased cost of the overall trip investment. This improves their financial position and strengthens the bottom line because it is money in hand gathering interest before services are even delivered while before the prepaid packages, they would not have been collecting that money until people actually cruised. While most people who buy the packages feel they are getting a savings, which is likely true for many, there are probably equally as many people who buy the packages who also "underuse" them once onboard, especially on port days. Also, the packages definitely negate some level of the Elite benefit, but many Elite passengers still buy into them for the perceived added value and convenience. So this is a whole group of people that Princess is making more money on then they might if they didn't buy the package because they are in essence paying full price for a WiFi benefit that purchased ala carte would be half price. So, Princess is definitely making money and people are buying them and seem to really like them - win/win scenario. I doubt Princess will make any other adjustments that might make the current packages less attractive by offering something at a lower cost. If anything, it's likely the cost of the current packages might increase at some future point, especially if they throw in more benefits to try to make them more attractive. In the meanwhile, we continue to cruise package free as it doesn't add up for us. But I do appreciate that those who are purchasing the packages are likely contributing to keeping the overall cruise fares lower because it offers another big revenue stream to Princess which is good for those of us who aren't interested in buying them and prefer to apply that money toward other expenses we may value more like shore excursions and experiences, or pre and post cruise land travel.
  13. It was reported earlier on this thread from someone actually on this cruise that in this case the ship had collected all passports and were holding them. We have had this experience once on our British Isles cruise where our passports were collected before our stop in Ireland and returned afterwards. Not sure the requirements around this practice for some ports of call, but in any event the ship had all of their passports in hand so it was easy enough for them to deliver them to the port authority when the passengers failed to show.
  14. They still do the tours but no longer advertise the ice caves or glacier trek as part of the experience. You still canoe across the lake and trek as near to the glacier as is possible for the close up views. We are considering it for our September cruise as it is something we have never done and it sounds fun. It’s still a well reviewed tour and a chance to see the glacier in a new way then we have ever seen it before.
  15. Thank you so much for making this observation. I had the same feeling after watching the news reports this morning. Instead of incessantly whining about being abandoned and blaming NCL for their own poor choices in terms of excursion and time management, I would have been much more moved to see them take some personal responsibility and the story be about the kind and amazing people who helped them through this and assisted them along the way to get them back to the ship. People who likely could not even fathom the level of wealth and privilege required to travel the world in luxury on a cruise. They should be grateful and perhaps remember the life and comfort to which those wonderful people are helping them to return and realize that despite this inconvenience they are truly blessed.
  16. Thank you for your review. We considered booking this cruise as it’s been a long while since we did an LA to Hawaii cruise and we really enjoyed the ones we have taken in the past. Unfortunately the timing just didn’t align with some work demands. Sounds like you had a great cruise. Agree about the beds - we noted the same thing on our recent Discovery cruise over New Year’s. We also don’t leave plates outside our cabin or enjoy seeing them cluttering the hall, but it has been reported that room service is instructing people to employ that practice. Still not something I would choose to do and I certainly sympathize when you have a neighbor leaving a lot of dishes. We had a similar experience, in addition to mounds of wet towels that were creeping over into our doorway. I nicely mentioned to our room steward that it nearly caused me to trip upon leaving our room and the problem was resolved immediately - no more towels and dishes! In regards to the service dog, it was likely a diabetic dog. Poodles are a very common breed for that type of service animal and despite their cute and cuddly appearance, do perform an important service. We have been on a number of cruises with service dogs - a couple that perhaps raised eyebrows due to their toy nature. But I have learned these toy dogs are often employed as service dogs for people with diabetes, heart, or seizure issues. If the ship allows it and the person has a medical need, I figure that it is not for me to judge. It has never detracted from my cruise experience.
  17. British Invasion is still my all time favorite Princess Show. Haven’t seen it in a long while now and would be happy to see it on an upcoming cruise. That being said, I still feel that Princess needs to elevate their production shows.
  18. You might want to take the opportunity to do your hiking in Ketchikan since the NCL Bliss docks at the Ward Cove pier there. This happens to be quite near Ward Lake where you can hike the Ward Lake loop or even venture on Perseverance Trail - the trailhead is right across from the Ward Lake campground. Both are very near to where you dock with NCL. Even though they are close by, you would probably want to arrange for a taxi to drop you off and pick you up. In Juneau, there are some hiking trails at the top of Mount Roberts if you take the Tramway, there is also a Perseverance Trail there, and then there is the Treadwell Trail that takes you through the remnants of an old mining area. Mount Roberts Tramway is walkable from the port, but for the other two you would need transportation. In Sitka, there is a nice long trail that runs along the beach through the forest that will take you to the Raptor Center. It's very beautiful and easy to access.
  19. I agree completely. I love coming back to the cabin in the evening and having it neat and tidy with curtains closed and bed turned down. It’s such a welcoming way to end our day. I do miss those chocolates! We are on the Sky again in June - also Norway, so I would love to hear about your experience when you return from your cruise.
  20. I wonder if that was just your particular room steward? We were on the Sky this past September and had turndown service daily. I’m certain if you find your steward not performing that service you can let him know that you want it. It’s still an expectation and if it’s not being offered it may just be because some stewards got in the habit of once a day service during COVID and now continue that pattern unless the passenger speaks up. On our Discovery cruise prior to that last April, our room steward did ask us on making his introduction if we wanted turndown service and we said we did. That was the first time we had ever been asked, so it did appear they may be modifying the practice based on preference. Some people may not want it and that’s fine too. But it definitely should be offered.
  21. There is no stand alone coffee package, so his options would be just to pay as he goes or for you both to purchase the Plus package. The mini fridge is empty unless you are Elite or in a Suite. If you are, you can trade your mini bar set up for 20 alternate items - beer, soda, water, etc. Not coffee though. Since you have so much OBC, you could always use it to buy the package once you board if it makes sense for you. If not, you can just use your OBC to pay for what you consume on an alacarte basis - just paying for the beverages or other items you purchase. That’s what we do - it works well for us. We also generally have significant OBC with casino cash, shareholder’s benefit, etc.
  22. It is Coke products - regular and Diet Coke, Sprite and they do have Sprite Zero now which made my son happy.
  23. Thanks so much for sharing!! This is awesome! I just went in and added my husband’s birthday which we will be celebrating onboard this summer.
  24. In Haines a must visit is the Bamboo Room and Pioneer Bar - great fish and chips. In Sitka we like to visit a place called Harry’s Soda Shop. It’s an old fashioned soda and ice cream bar - super fun and a throwback to bygone days with the best ice cream treats.
  25. We rented a boat in Sitka and had a great day fishing. Caught lots of rockfish and one ginormous halibut. It was amazing. This is not for everyone- my DH is a commercial fisherman with 40 years of experience running boats and fishing, so the vendor was comfortable renting to him without a guide. The waters around Sitka have a lot of shallow rocks so care and experience is needed. I believe there is also a boat and tackle rental in Ketchikan and you can fish off Creek Street there as well. We have fished at Ward Lake in Ketchikan too.
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