Sunday, May 10, 2015

Disembarkation - Vancouver and Recap of the Cruise

We are docked in Vancouver.  It is time to head home.  We decided to do self disembarkation as we only had one suitcase and we are just catching transit to head home.

We were assigned the first time of 7 am and the meeting lounge is Explorer's Lounge, but we are going to head to the Elite Lounge.

We head back to the lounge around 6:50 and right at 7 we are cleared to head ashore.  We are ushered out a door to the promenade and right to the gangway.

Cause we had already cleared Canadian Customs the day prior in Victoria we didn't have to do anything at all here. We just walked straight thru the terminal and out of the building right to the skytrain station and to the Canada Line towards the airport.  Our car was parked close to the airport and we were in it at 7:40 and home by 8:20!

I am now going to reflect on the cruise.

We originally booked this voyage as an inexpensive get away and to see so many crew that we knew.

We were not disappointed.  It was relaxing and fun and we loved seeing so many friends on board as well as in port. 

Ship in General:

  • we had been concerned that the ship was going into dry dock after this voyage and was worried that we would notice work being done.  I am happy to report we noticed nothing to show that it was going into dry dock.  There were workers on board but they were mainly working on things below deck
  • the ship is great condition and even though yes there are signs of wear and tear (many will be refurbished during dry dock, ie carpets, upholstery, etc) the ship is still beautiful
  • MUTS was a pain to watch cause so many bulbs (or panels) were burnt out (but again this is being dealt with in dry dock)
  • I love the public spaces on this ship.  The huge promenade deck, the big Skywalkers Lounge (great for sail aways), Vines and of course Explorer's Lounge (that was really missed on the Royal).  The aft pool with the views from there are another plus about this ship.  Oh and I can't forget Adagios and Sabatinis location for a quiet intimate evening, or quiet place to read during the day.


  • We booked the lowest inside guarantee and were assigned the highest outside guarantee.  We loved the cabin location on Plaza deck so close to the main atrium.  It was very very quiet with little traffic.  
  • Biggest down fall in this cabin is the docking lines (sorry don't know technical word) are right below and the winches deploying and bring up the lines make a lot of noise that actually makes the cabin vibrate.  This noise is heard upon arriving and departing for around an hour each time.  
  • Everything in the cabin worked great.  Take note the cabin only has one larger night stand as the room is a little less wider than the standard cabin, but it is longer.  This really didn't affect us too much.  
  • Our steward Qi was very very good.  Considering this was only her second voyage serving passengers she did an amazing job - even better than some stewards have been doing it for much longer.  She is a great asset to Princess.
  • I am not sure why but Princess falls short in the bed department.  I would say that 50% of the time we get a sagging/hard bed that has seen better days.  Then the linen on Princess ships seems to really be low end.  I would love to see their bedding be more like we would find in a four star hotel, or what we have found on other cruise lines.  It is not uncommon to find holes, tears and thread bear linens.  Oh and don't get me started with the moldy shower curtains that need replacing more often.


  • We normally do Anytime dining but this voyage we wanted to be served by Mark so we had to go to Traditional dining as this is where he was.  After dining with him three nights (note two nights were open seating cause we were in port and two nights we dined at a specialty restaurant) we know Traditional dining is not for us.  Way too noisy, service is long cause everyone gets served at the same time.  I much prefer the flow and staggered dining that Anytime brings.  Also was so disappointed in other passengers who felt that the time of 8 for dinner meant anytime after 8 and would show up when it suited them, which threw off the service of the entire table and the waiter had to deal with it.  Note we only had a table for two but found we would often wait long periods while our waiter had to deal with these late comers.
  • Food in general we found to be only fair and certainly not the standard we are use to.  For us we found the food often overly salty (but this is a personal thing) but it was definately saltier than what we have found on other ships in the fleet.  Sometimes it was so salty we couldn't finish it.  We did encounter this once before and ironically it was the same ship on another voyage.  Often food was warm and not hot (staff quickly remedied this).  Twice in the Crown Grill our courses were not hot and had to be returned.
  • Dishes were not presented the way they are on other ships.  For example the beet and spinach salad with heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese in Crown Grill.  Very very different than what we have had on other ships.
  • Selection was amazing and never had an issue with finding something we like.  We especially like the 50th Anniversary items.
  • We really enjoyed the lunches in the Horizon Court.  I find our experience on the Crown that they have one of the best salad bars.


  • This is really where this ship shines.  The crew on board are so friendly, kind and helpful.  They seem happy and it shows when they serve us and other passengers.  I love that they treat everyone with kindness and respect.  It doesn't matter if this is your first cruise or your 100th. We even noticed crew serving upset passengers with kindness that I know I as a person who works with the public would have a hard time doing.  But they do it, time and time again.
  • The bar staff were a highlight this voyage for us.  We got to know many and rekindled friendships with a few others.  They were outgoing, friendly and full of tips and advice and recommendations.  I tried many of their recommendations and they always checked to see if I liked it and I am happy to say yes I did.
  • We always connect with a shoppie and this time it was Henishia in the perfume shop.  What a dear and so kind and so very helpful.  But because of her I spent way more than I normally would in that shop.
  • The Captain Circle Host Fleur was so lovely and helpful and patient.  Another great asset to the company in my opinion.


  • At first when we booked this itinerary we were like - ah who cares where it goes we just need to get away.  But after we completed the trip we were - wow I loved this itinerary and would love to do it again.  We especially liked the overnight in San Francisco and the full day in Victoria.
  • We could of skipped Catalina, not because we don't want to go to Catalina, but a half day there with last tender at 1 pm meant it was hard to get off and really enjoy the island.  
  • I think Princess should offer one way cruises LA to Vancouver 7 days and then 7 day return. This would meet the Jones Act and it would be a great way for people to see this side of the world.

Embarkation and Disembarkation:

  • Both events were some of the smoothest and easiest embarkation and disembarkations we have every experienced.  
  • Note that the port authorities in San Francisco really need to get their act together to make it a more fluid operation.  Read my blog about our visits to San Francisco here.  


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