I always have good intentions on doing a recap of a cruise but seems once I get home and get back to "normal" life I don't find the time and then it is just too late.
This time I wrote it on my to do list and that list has been staring at me for a week since we got back so here I go.
If you know me, or have been reading my blog for a while you know I am glass half full kind of person. And this review will be like that too.
Very smooth, very easy when arriving at the pier, easy to find porters, easy to find the appropriate lines. Security was quick and relatively painless. We were there later and missed the mad rush so we were able to go right on with our Priority Boarding. Although I think if we had not been Priority we would of had to wait cause I did hear in the background them calling out a group to board. In all I would say it was a half hour from dropping off our bag to walking into our cabin.
But the cabin did look tired. The mattress was in bad shape with a very noticeable sag in the middle. Steward said he would work on getting a foam for the bed and said they were bringing on new mattresses in San Diego. For some reason Princess can't seem to provide good mattresses, if hotels can do it not sure why Princess can't. Carpets, bedding, walls, and furniture look old and tired, but not horrible.
This is a personal thing and I have to say I thought the food had improved considerably since we were on the ship for 49 days earlier in the year to South America. On that trip many items were way too salty, cold or no flavor. This trip we found the food to be quite enjoyable. When we did encounter an issue with something being cold it was quickly remedied.
We dined at the Crown Grill and the experience was lovely. We did have an issue with the soup being completely cold but it was quickly remedied. All other items were great and the wine recommendation was perfect. We tried to book into Sabatinis but had such a hard time getting the reservation line on the first two days. We even stopped by there at dinner time the first day to be told they weren't taking reservations at that time but to call the dine line. And since we couldn't get thru to the dine line we just gave up.
Overall I love the variety of food that Princess offers and all the different venues you can get a meal from. Sadly I just didn't find time for pizza, afternoon tea, room service during the day, Crab Shack or Sabatinis but hopefully next time.
|us goofing around with Mark and Lorelie|
Dining room was the highlight of our trip. Being able to be served again by Lorelie and Mark Joseph was the best. They are some of the best servers we have ever had on any Princess ship. I can see them both going far within Princess. Mark is so attentive and patient and so willing to assist people. Personally I think he would be great in the Purser's Department helping passengers. Lorelie definately should be promoted to waiter now, she is the sweetest and most caring person. Miss them both so much already.
We had been warned that the ship was in the process of running new wifi cables. And yes we did notice the guys doing this, but for some reason the wifi signals I got were never that great. It seemed slower than normal and gave up trying to connect a few times. I am just thankful I have a free internet package and don't have to pay for it.
I wish we could report more on this but this trip we did not attend a single event in the Princess Theater or Explorers. But they did have numerous Production Shows and game type shows in Explorers and we heard a lot of people speaking highly of those events.
We really did enjoy the Mariachi band that played every day in the Atrium. They were great and really got us in the mood. Also enjoyed the variety of Movies that were shown up on deck with MUTS and also in the Theater.
I have to say that the Cruise Director Billy Hygate was out and about much more on this voyage than he was the last time we sailed with him. He even said hi to us a few times. Still don't really care for his morning show, just too boring but I am sure others liked it.
I will say his staff were outstanding, always around, lots of activities, always a friendly hi or even hug from a few we knew from past sailings.
We noticed a lot more people enjoying the All Inclusive Drink Package this trip. We personally did not get it, but friends Mark and Lisa got it and they liked it. They did comment that it was inconsistent with regards to ordering two drinks and they would sometimes put the order on one account or sometimes one on each. Sometimes they had to sign a bill sometimes they didn't.
They did have a Clean Sweep Bar Bill draw but not once were we offered a card or asked if we had a card. So after two days we just decided to forget about partaking in the draw.
And finally Vines! Anthony and Red took such great care of us, welcoming us by name each time we stopped by. Great wine recommendations and great service kept us coming back. Oscar the sushi chef we can easily say was one of the best we have ever had.
San Francisco: what is not to love about this port. With an entire day and evening here we got to really explore. The new pier is amazing and with still a few hiccups to rectify still, but it will be top notch soon. Everything is close by or a short taxi away.
Santa Barbara: this is a tender port and this would probably be the only downside about this port. But once ashore it is easy to get around. Lots of sights to see, shopping, tours, restaurants and just walking is close by.
San Diego: Docked right near the heart of the city, close to public transit and many sights. Easy to get around and easy to spend a lot of money.
Ensenada: We love this port, it is nice to be in a foreign port and experience a taste of Mexico. Head ashore even if it is just for a meal or a nice walk.
Overall the ports are not what drove us to book this trip, but they were all lovely.
The main problem we encountered was there were minimal taxis. The queue was long and it appeared that many taxis were loading up at the other ship that was docked in port along with us before getting to us. We ended up walking over to the Super Shuttle stand just past the taxi stand and we were able to join others in a van going to Long Beach Airport right away.
Overall this was a lovely trip. It is a great trip for a quick get away. We much prefer getting away to more foreign ports and experiencing different cultures but for a great vacation to really rest and pamper yourself the 7 day California Coastal was great.