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  1. Apparently there was an oil spill on the oil boat filling Royal Princess today in Vancouver. We were told Princess is responsible for the clean up since they were purchasing the oil. We were supposed to leave Vancouver at 3:30...it’s now almost 5:00 and we’re still alongside Canada Place 🇨🇦. Now we’re hearing we maybe here awhile as the tides coming in and the ship will not clear Lions Gate Bridge until the tide goes back out. We’re waiting on an update now. Supposed to arrive in LA on Tuesday morning at 8:30....Doubt that will happen. The 12-day to Alaska might be delayed? Will update when we hear....
  2. Does anyone know if there is a seating chart available for R- Class ships Allegro dining room?
  3. Yet another email from Royal Princess that the 12-night Alaska cruise has been delayed yet again. Now 8:00 PM. Boarding is now delayed again from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.
  4. Just returned from our Alaska Cruise / Land Tour. I am posting my overall impressions ( and hoping that this is in the correct place ). if not - please let me know. Thanks to everyone here who answered our questions. it really helped us have a great trip. Background: Princess Cruise / Land Tour – August 19 – Royal Princess. I’ll review the Land Tour in a separate post Husband and I, mid-fifties. Our second cruise – first was on Royal Caribbean in the Eastern Caribbean. Pretty easy-going and manage to have a good time regardless of the circumstance. We prefer vacationing independently; cruising is not our first choice. We chose this vacation based on itinerary and time frame. Never been to Alaska or Pacific North West. I expect to have a great time on my vacations, but also expect that not everything will go as planned. Being able to roll with the punches and enjoy every moment is important. We thoroughly enjoyed Royal Princess and even with the handful of things I didn’t like I would cruise with them again – and on Royal again. Royal Princess Overall what we liked: · Ship is very beautiful. I found it lovely without being too glitzy. · Loved the Piazza concept with the open lounges. · Ship was super clean. · Staff were very friendly and kind. Service was outstanding with only one exception (Shore desk staff were NOT knowledgeable or helpful about an excursion we had to rebook). · Embarkation was EASY. Not sure what all the medallion fuss is about – but I did it all on my laptop (even though I downloaded apps). I think people forget about customs, that took a bit longer. · Ship DID NOT feel crowded. Could always find a seat in the Piazza. There were times when I asked to join people and it was never a problem. · DH logged my birthday and I had impromptu happy birthday sang to me a few times. I also received a $25 gift card for the shops. Had an excellent cake at dinner. Overall what we didn’t like: · No promenade deck – there are a couple little decks on 7, but no where to really walk outside. I might not sail on her again due to this. I love to walk off my dinner at night. We circled around the Lido deck and climbed stairs, but not the same. · Not a fan of Matt O. some of his assistants did a terrible job with trivia and shows. · Spa sales accosting you right off the elevator on deck 5. We were trying to watch an activity in the Piazza and they were being disruptive. I asked them to please quiet down. · We went to the outlet sale – it was cheesy and very down market. · Art gallery. I love art and visit galleries and museums wherever we travel. This was really awful. Did not attend any events. · There was a naturalist on board, but not a big presence – AND – there was nothing to tell you where we were to assist in wildlife spotting. I expected more from this. Cabin · Mini Suite on Baja Deck. · Quiet, very clean, good location · Mini suite was a splurge for us, but I loved the extra space and spent a lot of time just hanging on the balcony. Glacier Bay Viewing · A front view would have been nice, but I looked at the sanctuary and it was not open – all tinted glass. Not good for photography. · It was crowded, but for the most part polite. People took turns, said excuse me. There are some passengers where culturally personal space is as respected as in the US. So sometimes the folks crowding in aren’t being rude in their culture. Inside Passage · As others on this website have pointed out, the inside passage is more than just the inside of Vancouver Island. It goes all the way up the coast. We went west of that island into the open water. Would have preferred to go inside, but – itineraries on a cruise (or any vacation) can and will change. We sat at lunch with someone who just pitched an ever-loving fit about it. There was so much beautiful scenery, I’m not sure it mattered in the long run. MDR · Fixed MDR, 2nd seating. This was great, as soon as a couple was seated – the waiter started the orders. Our tablemates were great and we enjoyed their company (THIS IS RARE FOR ME – I USUALLY PREFER TO EAT WITH ONLY MY DH). · MDR food was great. We’ve traveled in France – was it comparable – of course not. But I thought it was great for a mass-produced cruise food. · I think the selections seemed limited compared to what I remembered of Royal Caribbean. But I certainly didn’t go hungry. My favorites were the salmon, turkey dinner one night, crab quiche was outstanding! · Food was delivered hot. Salads were fresh, fruit was nicely ripe. · Breakfast in the MDR was delicious and served pretty quickly. · We also ate lunch twice in the MDR – not my favorite – limited choice. Buffet · Ate breakfast twice and dinner once. · Not only was food not hot – it was ice cold on occasion. · Extremely unorganized. For the life of me - I could not figure out the best way to approach it. · Fruit was very repetitive – mostly melon. · At times - spoiled fruit in the baskets. · We ate here on days when we needed to eat early and get off the ship – (cold food problem) or on the one day when we got back too late from our excursion in Juneau to get to the MDR. · Service for coffee and drinks was excellent. We waited less than 5 minutes each meal. · Seating could get crowded, but I always offered other people to share our table. We met a lovely older couple that way who had lived a very interesting life. We met them for coffee a few times. Trident Grill, Slices and Swirls on Lido. · Trident was FANTASTIC. Hot dogs were excellent and hamburgers were great as well. · Slices pizza was very very good. · Swirls – we have great soft serve in new England, this wasn’t worth the calories. Alfredo’s · Did not like the pizza – but the eggplant rollatini was excellent. The dish with the pork and beef pockets (like ravioli) was also great. · Service was a bit spotty here. Movies under the stars · Super fun Spa Tour and Spa Services · Toured the spa and while they explained services did not feel it was overly pushy. · Used some of our OBC to have a couple’s massage. Great massage. Minor upselling. Said thanks for the offer. · I am NOT morbidly obese, but I am a broad shouldered athletic built woman. They did not have a robe that fit me. It was embarrassing and did not enhance the experience. Entertainment · Comedian was good and so was the magician. · Lounge singers were outstanding. · Amethyst trio dance band was excellent. · I’m not a big shopper or gambler – so I ignored those areas. Gift shop however had 75% for end of season. I did buy a lot of gifts there 😊 Excursions: · We originally booked a zodiac and a rainforest hike with Alaska Shore excursions. When we had our day in Ketchikan shortened, they rebooked us to a 12:00 to 4:00. Our all aboard was 4:30. I talked to them and found out they would not bring us right back to the ship, but would drop us at the thermometer in town. Overall this was cutting everything to close and we were berthed pretty far from that spot. · We then refunded that excursion and rebooked something similar with Princess. We get out to the marina to go on our zodiac – and one of the boats was taking on water and they had to send our boat to rescue them. At that point it was too late to do anything but walkaround the town. · Mendenhall Glacier through the cruise ship. We had 2.5 hours at the glacier and it was great. We hiked a few trails and had time to explore a bit. · Took a Whale watch through Dolphin Jet Tours. Great trip – saw 8 whales, seals, eagles. We chased out to where some orcas were – but they had moved. Small boat with 1400 horsepower - so we moved out! Highly recommend. They love the whales and really respect them. · Private tour with beyond Skagway. This made our trip. Went all the way to Emerald Lake in the Yukon. At our own pace – just a lot of fun. Excursion thoughts: · Early morning flightseeing apparently get canceled a lot – you might want to look into afternoons. · I used a combination of Princess, booking company and local vendor for excursions. · The booking company was recommended by my TA. She recommends this company because she has a relationship with them, but also knows they carry insurance and have adequate resources to get folks back to the ship. · I used princess for short days or when I tried to fit something extra in. · I researched Beyond Skagway and since we were in port very late, felt there was little to no risk.
  5. Hi everyone, here are the details and observations of the land tour. It was a beautiful trip. Background: Princess Cruise / Land Tour – August 19 – Royal Princess. This is a review of the Land Tour – the Cruise report is in an earlier post. We did the Connoisseur escorted tour – 2 nights at Denali, 2 nights Talkeetna and final night in Anchorage Husband and I, mid-fifties. Our first multi night group type tour. Pretty easy-going and manage to have a good time regardless of the circumstance. We prefer vacationing independently; cruising / group touring is not our first choice. We chose this vacation based on itinerary and time frame. Never been to Alaska or Pacific North West. I expect to have a great time on my vacations, but also expect that not everything will go as planned. Being able to roll with the punches and enjoy every moment is important. We thoroughly enjoyed Royal Princess and even with the handful of things I didn’t like I would cruise with them again – and on Royal again. Connoisseur Land Tour Overall what we liked: · Convenient and easy way to see the interior of Alaska · Escorted tour was more expensive – but nice to have prepaid meals and to have someone watching out for you. · Luggage transfers and room transfers handled beautifully · Narrators on all transportation – this was great. However – some folks did talk a LOT which I found tiring. Overall what we didn’t like: · Long transportation days. Very much a drive around on a bus / train type tour. · Became saturated with all the scenery – for us - I think we should have picked a different itinerary and I will discuss below. Special Circumstances · Two things happened which may be influencing my review of this tour. o 1) Upon arrival in Denali we received word from our son that our beloved dog was critically ill and we had to make the decision to euthanize her. o 2) My husband – very healthy never sick - picked up a cold on the last day of the cruise. He continued to get worse with a respiratory type virus. He was diagnosed with Pneumonia the morning after we arrived home. Day 1 – Train to Whittier · Disembarkation was organized and easy. · You send some luggage to your final destination (Anchorage), some luggage to your next night and you can carry 1 piece each with you. Luggage handling was great and always showed up. · Train Ride was long. 9 hours with a motor transfer to lodge. Because we were doing the National Parks Tundra tour the next day – I am not sure it was worth 2 days of scenery. · Meal on train was included and food was good quality and well prepared. · Seating in the dining car was very cramped. I am a larger woman, but not morbidly obese. I am active and fit. I carry my weight in my abdomen. The tables were very narrow and uncomfortable. Denali Park Lodge · We had good cell service · We were in a very nice building with its own lobby, small bar a viewing deck of mountains and river. Room was spacious and clean. However, it was a good walk to the main lobby – but they had plenty of shuttles. · Dining venues were crowded, reservations were needed or a long wait. First night we had no reservations, but tour director made them for second night. We ate at the counter service restaurant first night and it was delicious. The other restaurant we tried was salmon king and it was also very good. · Lodge had a small village of gift shops that were locally owned and fun to browse through. Denali Excursions - The main reason to go here is to go on one of the national park service tours into Denali. A few things to know: · There are two options – the Tundra Tour (8 hours) or the Natural History (4 hours) · We did the Tundra Tour. It was a beautiful day and we saw Denali completely opened up top to bottom. This is very rare to see the entire mountain. Be warned – you may drive for 8 hours and see clouds / fog. · We saw some wildlife. This is a LARGE park and not a zoo. We saw a bear, some moose, caribou, lots of birds and sheep. · Plenty of breaks - but hold off the coffee 😊 · Breaks were quick, I would have like more time to look around. · Viewing was difficult out the bus windows – they had a sash across the middle. · Polychrome Pass – this is very scary. You are driving on a narrow road with 1,200 feet drop and no guard rails. (We have driven mountain ranges in Europe – but this was much scarier) · Looking back - I would have picked either the train or the tundra tour. (Motor Coach is about half the time, but not as scenic). If I took the train – then I would have done the 4-hour Tundra – which also avoided the high pass. · Packed lunch available at the coffee shop for the tour was awful. The tour does provide snacks, we should have just bought a couple extra granola bars. · If you are on the escorted tour, you can use your meal voucher at the coffee stand and get additional snacks etc. this was a great way to get a quick breakfast and some treats for the road. Mt McKinley Lodge · Least favorite property. Parts of the lodge were run down and worn out. I was rather shocked. State of the carpets were appalling.( some were stapled ???? ) · Dining was a step below other venues. Service was inconsistent. Unless you ate at off times, long waits for the restaurants. I preferred the 20320 grill over the finer dining North Fork. · Cloudy and didn’t even get a peek at the mountain, that may have made it more interesting for us. · Extremely hilly although there are shuttles, but you waste a lot of time riding around if you take one. · Only rainy day entire trip and with DH being sick, we took this as a rest day. · It’s in the middle of nowhere. The next hamlet Talkeetna is an hour away. I could not face getting on a bus again for any reason. · There are a few low cost / free activities around the lodge, but again my husband was getting sicker - so we hung out in the room. · Did see the Aurora Symphony – which is a slide show of the Northern Lights set to music. This was boring. However, we did realize that we did not need to spend $$$ to try to see northern lights. If we ever managed it by chance fine. · Best thing here was the fireside hosted patio. It was an outdoor bar with firepits, chairs and a musician. It was wonderful to sit by the fire and have a drink and listen to music. There was a young bald eagle in a nearby tree who kept swooping around. Very cool. Anchorage · We had a bonus stop on our transfer back to the Iditarod headquarters. We took a sled dog ride on the “dirt” sled (cart on wheels) for $10 and saw sled dog puppies. This was great fun, very inexpensive. · Captain Cook Hotel was very nice, we had a room with a view of the bay. Too bad there wasn’t a casual eatery in the hotel since we were tired at this point. · 2 blocks up there was a really good pizza place called Uncle Joe’s eatery. Great pizza, good prices. · Ate dinner at Glacial Brewing Company. Called for a reservation, told me they were full, we went early at 5:30 and ate at the bar with no wait. Delicious food. · Transfer to airport went great. Security was slow in Anchorage - so plan accordingly. Overall great trip. I’d go on another Alaskan cruise, but maybe rethink the land version. If you do go to Alaska be sure to buy trip insurance with medical evacuation included. At times you are far from facilities and may need to be flown to Anchorage for care. Princess did a nice job with the escorted tour. Not our usual way to travel (we tend to center in one town or area for several days and immerse ourselves.) but it was convenient and managed well.
  6. Sitting in the Good Spirits Lounge listening to everyone discussing the extended cruise. We did not leave Vancouver till 2130 due to tides. We were told an oil company spilled crude on the ship hull and we were not allowed to leave port till it was cleaned. On Sunday at noon we were told due to late start we would not be arriving to LA until 1230 and all air needed to be changed to 4:30 or later. Anyone with ezair was taken care of by princess but others had to take care of it themselves. I was surprised and happy to see most passengers taking the changes in stride and there did not appear to be any issues. Monday at around 10 am the Capt came on and said now they were expecting to be at the pier at 2:30 PM on Tuesday, not 12:30 any longer. Now people began to show the stress of a second change as the new schedule for disembarking had some walking off as late as 4:30 PM. We were told this was all because of the late sail away from Vancouver (2130) and the new 10 knot speed limit in LA/Long Beach area for cruise ships. At 1005 am we were just off Avalon (see map) and were told it was still a 2:30 PM arrival. I feel bad for those that had to two air changes, but Princess did step up. All calls were free from the room phones and everyone got free internet. Overall, service and food were great as usual on Princess and the staff went our of their way to be helpful. I think the Captain could have just made it a 2:30 pm arrival to avoid issues with air changes twice, but he had hoped to make better time overnight Sunday to Monday but it didn't happen. Oh - Matt O. the cruise director was great as always. Just cant say enough about him.
  7. I will start with the disembarkation as it was so awesome, we arrived at the Long Beach airport by 7:45 am, giving me quite a bit of time to write this review! 10 of 10 stars on he disembarkation! We requested and were granted the early walk off group A, which was scheduled to begin around 7:15 am. We were ready to roll out of our room by 7:00 am, at which time we said goodbye and thanks to our room steward and head down to wait for our walk off group to be called, which took less than 2 mins waiting time and we were out the door. The customs line was quick, as was getting our Uber. I thought our flight was a little on the early side but ends up, we still have a three hour wait here after passing through security but it is so much better than stressing out. I highly recommend packing light and using Long Beach airport when flying out of Los Angeles, if at all possible.....so much nicer than LAX. Note: ride sharing pick up point is in front of the Berth 92 sign at San Pedro (even though we were docked at pier 91). Oh, and some guy in a large Black Lincoln SUV is trying to offer people rides as we disembarked ... no taxi Medallion or Uber / lyft placard and was pretty aggressive. I we kept refusing his ride as he kept going round and round trying to get someone to bite! He may have been harmless but it didn’t seem too safe to me and was surprised the port authority allowed this. I tried to find someone that worked at the port to notify them but then our ride had arrived and we had to go! Now, backing up to embarkation ... we arrived at the port around 10:15 by Uber and were directed though security and then to check in. The security line was about 20 minutes long and then directly to priority check in. It was a little disorganized as this was the first full Medallion cruise on the Royal and some seemingly new personnel at the port. We already had our medallions via the mail so they just needed to take our photos and hand us a boarding pass [group A] and were directed to wait in the priory lounge. Well, there was inadequate space for everyone in that area and it really wasn’t anything special except for the pastries and beverages. We waited nearly another hour before boarding began ... but then we were on our way! Yoo-hoo! I would give the port a 5 out of 10 stars and the embarkation process a score of 7 to 8 out of 10. Our stateroom: We were allowed to go directly to our rooms to drop off our luggage before heading to the MDR for lunch. We met up with our room steward, who was just finishing up the vacuuming ... otherwise our room was ready to go! This is the same room steward we’ve had on our two most recent cruises with Princess, although on another ship ... so we already knew that we liked him a lot! Great to see a familiar face! Our room was stunningly beautiful and being midship, we had one of the large balconies. The balcony flooring was without that disgusting blue matting (which I call the filth catcher) that is present on so many Princess ships! Good move, Princess! The bed / pillows were simply wonderful! They have replaced the little tv above the mini fridge area with a large flat screen tv on the wall opposite the bed ... what a great improvement that really opened up the room. Speaking of he mini fridge...it actually worked like a fridge! The tv has an on demand feature that is just great! There are plenty of drawers and an adequate number of hangers in our room. The bathroom was mall but clean and so functional. There is no more barrel chair (thankfully ...as it would have just been in the way for us) but a small indoor table for room service and such. We ordered a wedge pillow ahead of time and it was delivered to our room on day 2, as were our robes ... so one day after boarding but we were very happy with that. Stateroom gets a 10 of 10 stars in my book! The ship: The Royal is by far the most gorgeous Princess ship on which we’ve sailed....EVER! She is stunningly beautiful and everything was in tip top condition! Even the public restrooms were very nice and clean! I was very impressed with how everything sparkles and shined! We only went to the buffet area once, which was enough, but will go into that later... but it was so beautiful with all granite counters and the layout was sheer perfection! The pool areas were beautiful even though I would really miss having an indoor pool area. The Retreat pool took away any regrets I may have had of booking a ship without an indoor pool. The midship pools was also beautiful with a fountain area in the middle. The kiddies were playing in the fountain during the day and there was a nighttime themed water show every night. Nice touch! The Sanctuary was also beautiful but not very well attended from what I saw. It turned out it not to be a very warm weather sailing so there were always plenty of loungers by the pool ... sun or shade. The dining rooms were also gorgeous. All the furniture in the public areas was in great condition. The theater was beautiful but entirely too small for the number of passengers onboard. The windows were kept nice and clean throughout the ship and the carpet appeared to also be new or at least in great shape. The ship was so impressive that I give her a 10 of 10 stars! I’m going to post this and will continue in the comments section just so I don’t lose everything I’ve written so far.
  8. We are new to Princess having been loyal RCI. First time to Alaska. We think we have narrowed our ship down to the royal northbound June 2020. What is the difference between on your own land tour? We are traveling first time with a small group so trying to find options for all budgets. When I called yesterday to inquire about costs I was quoted deck 11 or above for balcony. Never been that high. When I inquired about lower floors she told me they would be obstructed. Now I’m confused. What deck is preferred to minimize movement? Any concerns that I should know about the ship and route? I’m tired of looking. Just want to book it and forget about it for a year. We are also leaving to go home from Fairbanks to Philadelphia? Any concerns with that? Also how many rooms do you need to book to get the group discount?
  9. A few notes from our recent trip aboard the Royal Princess (Inside Passage Southbound, Whittier to Vancouver) August 10-17th, 2019. Overall, we had a great experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend an Alaska cruise on the Royal Princess. Our traveling party: myself (DW) & DH (mid-50s) and two teenage daughters. Fourth family cruise but first time on Princess and first time to Alaska. Other cruises were on Royal Caribbean big ships (Independence, Liberty and Allure) to the Caribbean. Here are some things we loved about our Alaska vacation: 1. The ship itself, especially the outside viewing areas. Before our cruise, I read the parade of horribles about the Royal in Alaska, and briefly even considered cancelling our trip. So glad I didn’t. To echo others who have actually sailed on the Royal to Alaska, there were plenty of outside viewing areas: four smaller Promenade areas on Deck 7, Sports deck up top, Skywalk areas, open seating area behind the Horizon Court, the Retreat, and all over the Lido deck. Yes, it is true that there is no wrap-around promenade deck, and if that is important to you, then don’t sail on the Royal. Personally, I prefer open air, so the Royal Princess was perfect in my opinion for experiencing Glacier Bay. (And yes, the Park rangers did encourage everyone to get outside, and yes, there were lots of people outside, but the ship is huge and there was plenty of room for all. We never felt crowded.) 2. Teen programs. We’ve sailed only the larger ships because my teens are very sociable and a big part of cruising for them is meeting other teens. The bigger the ship, there more teens there will be aboard, and the greater the likelihood they will make friends. Compared to Royal Caribbean, the Princess ships have fewer built-in activities for teens (e.g., rock-climbing wall, ice skating, flow-rider, water slides) but the teen staff on the Royal Princess made up for it by offering lots of fun activities (scavenger hunts, jewelry-making, scary-movie night, caputure the flag various parties and pageants) and I think because there weren’t as many outside activities, many of the teens actually attended those activities. And having pizza and a burger/dog stand by the pool gave them a ready-supply of food at seemingly all hours. We also loved being able to find our teens using the Medallion Compass app —a great innovation. 3. Cruise director and staff, and entertainment in general. In one word: amazing! Matt O. and his staff were non-stop, with so many triviea events / game shows / parties that there was no way to attend everything. I thought the best-of-the-best was the “Dancing with the Staff” competition (a la “Dancing with the Stars”) the last night in the Piazza. I laughed so hard my muscles were sore the next morning. A.J. Jamal was the the comedian, and he rocked it, performing to packed houses on two nights. If he is on your ship, make sure not to miss him. (And, perhaps best of all, his comedy is family-friendly, so everyone can enjoy). 4. Food. We enjoyed all of the food on board. Particular highlights were afternoon tea in the Allegro Dining Room (as soon as we were seated, waiters appeared pouring tea and bearing trays of sandwiches, cakes, cookies, and hot scones with cream and jam — all excellen), the International Cafe (almond croissants in the morning and shrimp and fennel salad in the afternoon), and Alfredos (tables were always available, and the pizza was made fresh and could be customized as you like), and hot seafood chowder at the Trident Cafe during the Glacier Bay visit. MDR food was very good but not great. Horizon Court food was varied and plentiful, with smoked salmon and steamed shrimp the highlights for me. 5. Cooking demonstration and galley tour. The last sea day, there was a cooking demonstration by the Executive Chef Giovanni Sisto and Maitre D’Hotel Generoso Mazzone in the Princess Theater, followed by a galley tour. I know one can sign up for a full tour of the ship, the cost is high and the availability is limited, so I appreciated that Princess provides a complimentary walk-through of the galley, including a demonstration of seventy ways to prepare a potato. And the cooking demonstration itself was very entertaining (I mean, who couldn’t enjoy Italians talking about food?) 6. Educational talks. I attended talks by Sue Hazlett (the on-board naturalist) and by the Park Service rangers, and both were excellent. I learned quite a bit about glaciers and the natural history of Glacier Bay. And while we were in Glacier Bay, the rangers had a table set up in the Vista lounge where they answered questions and had some displays. I missed the talk by Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall (cross-country skiing) but ran into her later in the stairwell and had a nice chat. All of the lectures are available to watch on tv in the staterooms, so I watched her very inspirational talk there. If you don’t know anything about her, look her up — she is amazing! 7. Adjoining balconies. We originally booked two adjacent interior cabins but got a great upsell offer ($140 per person) to move to adjacent balcony cabins with a connecting door. In lieu of taking an excursion in Ketchikan, we jumped at the upsell and didn’t regret it. We opened the door between our balconies and created one extended balcony, which was great. With so much scenery in Alaska, we could take it in the view from our cabins. And a special highlight was waking early on the last morning to see the our ship pass under the Lions Gate Bridge on the way into Vancouver. 8. Port stops: Skagway: Bike down form White Summit Pass in Skagway. We took the Princess-sponsored bike ride excursion, which was led by Sockeye Cycle. A made a 20-minute van ride to White Pass Summit. Once there, we were outfitted with bikes, given a quick safety briefing and then the guide made sure we could pedal correctly. From there, down the mountain we went. It was quite windy and definitely an adrenaline rush. I recommend this tour only if you are comfortable on a bike, and I also recommend taking the last tour of the day (ours left at 5 PM) because traffic on the road is lighter then. We loved it. Juneau: Whale watching with Alaska Humpback Adventures, Captain Steve Olmstead. Trip was amazing. It was just our family in the boat, and Captain Steve really knows his stuff. We saw probably seven or eight different humpback whales, including two females with a baby, but no Orcas that day. I can’t recommend Captain Steve highly enough. Ketchikan: Totem Poles and salmon run. We didn’t book a tour in Ketchikan (opting to spend that money on cabin upgrades instead) but still had a great time. We walked to Saxman Village to see the totem poles (about 2 1/2 miles) then took the public bus back to town ($2). From there, we walked up along Ketchikan Creek to see the salmon run. We saw thousands of salmon (pink, I believe) making their way up the creek. There is a little rocky beach where you can stand right next to the water for a close-up view of the fish. Quite something. (Note: this port stop was cut short, we were supposed to be in port until 6, but we ended up leaving at 3:30 to catch the tide under the Lion's Gate Bridge. Poor excuse by Princess, as they should have known the tide table well in advance.) 9. DYI Pre-cruise. We flew into Anchorage on Wednesday evening and had a couple of days on our own before the cruise. We rented a car and on Thursday, drove to Willow to visit Matthew Failor and his 17th Dog Iditarod team (booked through Alaska Mushing School). We spent about three hours with Matthew and his dogs, learning all about his seven runnings of the Iditarod race. We got to ride along on a training run through the forest, and our visit was capped with spending time with the husky puppies. Completing the Iditarod is an incredible feat, and we were glad to get a inside view of the race and mushing in Alaska. On Friday, we drove out past Palmer to the Matanuska Glacier, were we spent the day on an adventure hike with Mica Guides. Great way to experience the glacier close up, and one of the only times on our vacation where we needed warm clothes. 10. Friendly atmosphere aboard the Royal Princess. Compared to Royal Caribbean, the Royal Princess certainly has fewer bells and whistles. But overall, we found the vibe friendlier. We talked with people from all over the world who were drawn to the majesty that is Alaska, and all of the staff went out of their way to make sure we were happy and well-cared for. We especially liked that there were fewer sales pitches on Princess than we have experienced on Royal Caribbean. Sure, we got lots of fliers under our door for spa treatments (which we didn’t take advantage of) but never really felt pressured to buy specialty meals or extra services. Now, a few areas where I think Princess could stand to improve: 1. Luggage handling. This was the worst part of our trip. Prior to boarding, we gave the porters seven suitcases, but only six of the ever made it to our cabins. Our younger daughter’s suitcase, containing her hiking boots and several other pairs of shoes, her raincoat and down jacket and other cool-weather clothes, and various toiletries, never made it to us. Fortunately, she was a good sport about it, but I spent much of the first few days of our cruise at guest services trying to track down the suitcase. We were eventually informed that Princess had searched the ship but never found the missing suitcase. Princess did give us $50 OBC for each day the suitcase was missing (which was all seven) and they gave us a form to file a claim for a claim for the rest of the value, but it was still a bummer that the suitcase was lost (or perhaps stolen) and that I spent so much time trying to find it. 2. Movies Under the Stars blaring during the daytime. We watched Shazam one night, and that was fun, but it bothered me that movies were blaring very loudly during the daytime when folks were sitting around the pool. (We had wonderful weather, warm and sunny, so there were lots of folks using the pool and hot tubs.) I discovered that the Retreat was the only place I could sit by the pool without being blasted by movie sounds. Also, I would have liked more variety in the movies shown — all but one were adventure / action films. It would have been nice to have an old musical or a comedy for those of us who don’t love action films. 3. Confusion about drink packages. We headed to the Horizon Court for lunch shortly after boarding and, while there, asked the wait staff where we could buy drink packages. I wanted to get the soda package for my DH and DDs, plus the coffee card for my DH. Our waiter told us that he could sell us the packages, but he didn’t seem to know about the coffee card, only about the combined soda and coffee package. Eventually we got what we wanted purchased, but it took some doing. The Coffee card isn’t well advertised, and I expect it may soon become a thing of the past. 4. Photo Gallery. Why does Princess have to print out all of the photos, why can’t they make them available to view on digital monitors and then print out only the photos that someone wants to but? Printing them all out is a huge waste of paper and the printing chemicals. Despite the lost suitcase and all the aggravation that entailed (and there was a lot of aggravation) we had a great cruise. I would gladly sail aboard the Royal Princess again. Happy travels to those who have upcoming cruises on the Royal Princess — enjoy every minute!
  10. Hello, sailing on Jan 04, 2020 and would like info on the mattresses. Good or bad? Thanks🛳🛳🛳
  11. I will be on the Royal Princess soon (first time Princess) and plan on purchasing the internet package. I'm old. I'm not into all these apps and new technology. I know the basics. How does the internet actually work on my smartphone (iPhone)? Do I just connect to the Princess internet once I'm boarded and Princess knows I have paid or do I need to add all the apps (medallion) that I keep reading about? I had planned on getting the Medallion apps but got totally confused when I realized there were multiple apps and quiet a few people were having problems getting "ocean ready", etc. I really don't want a bunch of apps. I will only use the internet for wifi calling home. Technology moves too fast for old folks......🤣 (or at least ME) Thanks for any input you can provide!
  12. Can someone tell me if the aft balconies on the new Sky, which I am thinking is the same as the Regal, are at least partially covered? I read that the Marin and Riviera (15 and 14) are totally exposed but the lower ones are partially covered. Hoping someone can answer this before my final payment is due! I do realize no one has sailed the Sky yet, but .... TIA, susan
  13. Just returned today from a 2 week back to back on Royal Princess from Vancouver to Alaska. I vowed I would never sail this ship again after having a less than good experience on her in March to Mexico. However, the pricing for this particular sailing was good and Matt O was back onboard so I decided to give it a second chance. Here are my thoughts/experiences second time around (there is a lot to cover so this will be in installments - feel free to jump in with questions!) Background: This sailing was myself, my mom, DD (12), and DS (8). We have all sailed multiple times before - kids and I are elite on Princess and mom is Platinum. We have sailed Alaska many times and this trip was simply a last minute getaway - it was not booked for the ports, itinerary, or ship (though knowing Matt O was cruise director helped seal the deal). The price was right, the timing worked, and no flights were needed so we booked about a month before sailing! Pre-Cruise: We booked two rooms because there were no rooms to accommodate 3 passengers at the late time we booked. Mom and DS were booked into one room and myself and DD in another. Mom refuses to sail unless she has a balcony so she booked a balcony guarantee. I go for the cheapest option so booked an inside guarantee. Our rooms were not assigned until around 10 days prior to sailing - mom got exactly what she booked, but I was upgraded to a balcony. Our bookings were linked so our rooms ended up being relatively close to one another - mom was A721 and I was B728, both aft. So far, off to a good start! Since this was a full medallion cruise, we downloaded the apps and filled out all the info. Mom lives in the US so was able to order her medallion to be shipped to her. Since the kids and I are in Canada, the only option we had was to pick up at the port. As DS was on mom's booking, I didn't fill out any of his info on the app. Mom's medallion arrived two days before she flew to Vancouver (she arrived a week before the cruise) but when she unboxed it she found that it had DS name on it. She called the medallion folks and they were very confused as they showed that it was her medallion and that DS should not have been sent one given that his info was not complete and that he was in Canada. They told her not to worry and that she could just collect hers at the port. This turned out to be less of an issue than I had envisioned and we did indeed collect all medallions at the port, other the one for DS which was the one that had been mailed. I think there are still some things to be worked out with this medallion concept - I like the idea, but it definitely wasn't as smooth, easy, or user friendly as it should have been! Embark: We live less than a 10 minute walk from the Port of Vancouver but decided to get a cab given the fact that we had so many bags! We left the house at 10:30am, the cab dropped us and bags at 10:40am and we proceeded upstairs to check in. I am very familiar with the port and the process here, since I worked as a pier supervisor for Princess at Canada Place for several years. If you know the process, it is simple. If you don't, it gets a little confusing with all the upstairs and downstairs involved! The first stop after dropping bags is to head upstairs to the Convention Centre where you check in at Hall C - we get priority check in being elite so I followed the signs for this. I completely missed the line (or lack of one) for those that had already filled out the info on the medallion app so not sure what was involved there. Our check in was quick and easy - even with our medallion mix up. From here, you head back downstairs to the main terminal and through security. There was already a line but it moved quickly and we were through in under 10 minutes. Next up is US CBP. This is the point where there are usually long lines and delays, but today was smooth and flowing - it would have been even faster if I had put my glasses on so I could actually read the screen for the customs declaration! By this time it was around 11:20am and the ship wasn't quite ready for boarding so we were ushered into a seating area. There was no elite area so we just filled in the rows as instructed. This was a surprise as Vancouver usually has priority boarding for elite and suite. We sat for around 10 minutes, then we were called to board by row. We were in a row about 20 from the front so it did move pretty fast. We were on the ship by 11:45am. Drink Package: This is the first time I have cruised and not pre-purchased the beverage package for myself or the soda package for the kids. With the recent increase in pricing, I couldn't justify paying almost $1,400 CAD for the beverage package and close to $300CAD each for the kids packages. I figured that we would just drink what we wanted, when we wanted it and if we spent less than $2,000CAD overall then we would be ahead! I did get 2 minibar set ups for being elite and being on for the two weeks and I was given a coffee card to use by someone that wasn't able to use it. I also purchased the 7 bottle wine package on the second night so we could have wine at dinner. I can assure you, we did not even come close to spending what we would have spent on the drink packages! Even with the kids drinking 2 or 3 mocktails a day, we didn't go over since we had so many port days when we were off the ship! I love the convenience of the drink packages and knowing that there won't be a bill at the end, but the new pricing no longer makes them economical for us.
  14. Hubby and I are leaving this Friday to catch the Royal from Vancouver to L.A. Anyone know if there's a sports bar on ship? Hoping to be able to see our beloved Sea Hawks on Sunday.
  15. Hi, We have a small group of 6 sailing on the Royal out of Los Angeles on Sept. 17th. to Alaska. We were notified less than a month before leaving that we would only be in Victoria for 2 hours, our stop was changed to a Service Call only. (jones act). No one is allowed off the ship. Originally, we were scheduled to be in Victoria for several hours with tours and were free to get off the ship. Does anyone know why this was changed. Our second question is we have received a few notices (emails) informing us that our boarding time keeps moving to the right - now 2pm and we are in the first group to board. My wife is concerned that there may be a virus on board, or there could be an maintenance issue, anyone with information that could be shared would be appreciated. We are going on the cruise -but will take extra precautions if this is an illness issue - just always interested in knowing the facts. Thanks, W&M
  16. Hi, we are going on an Alaska cruise on the Royal Princess. We are booked in rooms 501 and 503 on the Emerald Deck. How bad is the obstructed view? I found a couple pictures but was looking for personal reviews. Also, the notes say: balcony doors locked when upper is in use? What does that mean? Since we have a couple days on sea I would like to be able to use the balcony. Appreciate anyones feedback back on these rooms. Thanks so much! Karen
  17. Currently half way through our 2 week b2b Alaska cruise. As the title says, I had never expected to sail this ship again after having a less than stellar experience in March sailing to Mexico. On that sailing, the first on the west coast, the service was the worst I had ever had on any cruise and we had so many small issues that combined together to make one problem ridden cruise! What made that cruise for us (and the only positive) was cruise director Matt O and his team! They knocked it out of the water!!!! When I heard that he and Andrew The Canadian we’re back doing Alaska I decided to give Royal another chance! i plan on posting a full review once back but thought I would see if anyone had any questions I might be able to answer from the ship! What I can say at this point is that a week in, everything has been PERFECT! Matt O is as awesome as ever and his team are outstanding! My only complaint, if I had to find one, is that there is just so much going on that we can’t do it all! Weather in Alaska has been spectacular. I haven’t put a jacket on in 7 days! This is my 8th trip and it has never been this sunny, blue skies, and hot in any of my previous trips! We have done 2 excursions- puppy camp in Skagway which we do every time as the kids LOVE it and 26 glaciers in Whittier, which was amazing! Food and service has been top notch! This is my first trip without drink package for me or soda package for kids. We are ordering what we want, when we want it, and so far haven’t come close to paying what we would have paid for the packages! More on that when I review on my return! Any questions, let me know and I will do my best to answer or find out!
  18. We are currently booked next July on an Alaska cruise on Royal. We have B735 which is an Aft suite. I am a little concerned about all the posts about soot on the Royal Aft balconies. We had an Aft on Crown this year and enjoyed it very much. But don't like soot! i just saw that Star has a 10 night out of San Francisco for about the same price as the 7 night on Royal. Would u change if u were me? It looks like Star is identical to Crown and we could get the same Aft suite we like. But is there a downside to Star versus Royal? One other option wud be to shift to a Norway cruise about the same time. For those who have done Norway and Alaska - which do u prefer? Thanx!
  19. Does anyone have a picture of the current Royal Princess, International café menu/prices?
  20. Can anyone tell me what shows are on the Royal? What is good and what isn't? Is Silk playing? Thanks so much!
  21. I am a first time cruiser checking out deck plans. It looks like there little access to the outdoor Promenade Deck. Can I get on the deck from the Princess Theater? I saw an older version of the deck plans for the royal princess where you could. It looks like it’s now completely blocked off. The plans make the Promenade Deck look like four large balconies. 😞 I don’t see any public lower aft view balconies. Anyone know why princess chose to make the outer lower decks on larger ships almost inaccessible to passengers? Is the Skywalk suppose to be a substitute? Jean
  22. So, we have the sip and sail promo for our upcoming alaska cruise. Were traveling with a good size group all with the same promo so we have all decided that we need to hit up every bar at least once as an activity (hey, what can I say, were easily entertained). Does anyone have the name of each bar and how many total bars are on the Royal
  23. Hello everyone going on our first cruise on the Royal. We have only ever sailed the Grand Class vessels. We would live to know what you like and don’t like about the Royal compared to the Grand Class Ships. As always thank you everyone for all your help. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  24. This is the photo posted on website for obstructed views for Cabin E319 on Royal and Regal. It does not seem as if it is correct as there should be tenders/lifeboats in the photo somewhere. Does anyone know what the actual view is? Thanks.
  25. There is a group of us going on the Royal Princess for the first time. Can you share what you find special about the Royal Princess or something not everyone knows about (Special hidden places, etc) Thanks!
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