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Pics and review of Sea Princess to Alaska May 13-23 2012

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This was my second cruise and I cruised solo. I found so much great advice and info from reading reviews here on cruise critic, I wanted to pay it forward and share my experiences. It will take me a bit to get through all of it but I will be posting the trip chronologically so I will start from the beginning.

 

A little background- I'm in my 30's and cruised solo. I enjoy all kinds of activities and especially love photography. I had cancer in 2009 and had multiple surgeries, chemo and radiation to my abdomen. I was in a wheelchair for 6 months and have slowly built up my strength the last year and a half. I am going on my dream cruise to the Med in October. I booked this cruise at the last minute and got a great deal. Even with the solo supplement, it was very reasonable and easy for me since I live about a half hour from San Francisco. For me, this was a "practice" cruise to see how I would do with pain management as well as my less then stellar memory (due to the chemo). I also have wanted to go to Alaska for some time and see the beautiful scenery there. It was awesome!!! I saw bears, moose, whale, seals, a wolverine, eagles and more.

 

I will start posting detailed info and photos, but here is the very short version to start.

 

Embarkation- 7 In short, it was a mess.

Ship cleanliness- 9

Ship decor- 8.5

Customer service- 8

Food- 8

On board amenities- 8

Ports- 10!!!!

Entertainment- 9

Shore excursions- (I did two) one was a 10 and the other one was a 8.

Staff organization- 7

Anytime dining- 8.5

 

Overall- 8.5

Would I go again? Yes!!

 

I have over 1000 photos and videos to go through and choose to post here. I will post the link to my blog when I get to the end where there will be more photos. Let me know if you have questions and I will try to answer them :) It may not be right away if the answers will be later in my review. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy it. :D

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Congratulations on your recovery, and thanks for the great review. It was very helpful, because friend and I will be doing this itinerary on the Grand in Sept. 2013. We, too, live near San Francisco, and not having to fly was a big bonus for us!

 

I look forward to reading your blog and seeing your photos.

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I'm glad you had a wonderful cruise we will be going on same cruise in two weeks so we are eagerly awaiting our turn. How was the weather ? In looking at the forecast for the next 10 days it shows rain so I am curious about your cruise , who were the entertainers? You say you went on an excursion that you gave a 10 which one was it? You said you saw a lot of animals , where did you see them at? Thanks for taking the time to post and answer any questions we may have I will be waiting for your response and looking forward to viewing your photos

Becky

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I'm glad you had a wonderful cruise we will be going on same cruise in two weeks so we are eagerly awaiting our turn. How was the weather ? In looking at the forecast for the next 10 days it shows rain so I am curious about your cruise , who were the entertainers? You say you went on an excursion that you gave a 10 which one was it? You said you saw a lot of animals , where did you see them at? Thanks for taking the time to post and answer any questions we may have I will be waiting for your response and looking forward to viewing your photos

Becky

 

We were very lucky and had great weather for most of it. It rained a little in Victoria, but not that much. The forecast before the trip showed rain in most of the ports, but I guess cleared up. A lot of the time it was overcast, but not raining. I will cover the entertainers in a bit. I went to a lot of the shows nearly every night so there are many of them to tell you about. I went on the 8 hour bus tour in Skagway, which is the one I gave a 10 to. We saw animals every day whether it be on ship or in port. We went pretty early in the season so it wasn't the optimal time, but we were very lucky.

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Day 1- Embarkation day

 

I had planned on getting a ride to the Alameda Blue and Gold Ferry and taking the boat to San Francisco. That morning, my sister and brother in law asked if I wanted them to go ahead and take me to SF. Of course, I said yes. Traffic was wonderful until we hit the Embarcadero. Then it was a huge slow mess. Eventually, we parked and walked the remainder of the way to the Pier 35. They had staggered boarding on our cruise and my embarkation time was 12:30.

 

Pier 35 was a completely unorganized mess. There were two Princess ships at Pier 35 that day. There were porters to take luggage but there were no signs to let anyone know which porter to give their luggage to or where to line up. In fact, many people from both ships had their luggage end up on the wrong ship. I hope that they eventually received their luggage, but know that they did not for an extended amount of time. I hope Princess learns from this mess. Really, some signage and having someone double check the luggage tags before doing the final loading would have made a huge difference. Fortunately, I received mine but met several people who did not. One piece of advice I read on cruise critic was to pack 1-2 outfits, paperwork and medications in your carry on. Incidents like this reiterate that point.

 

They had one very long line for both ships to get into once you found a porter to give your luggage too. There was also no signage for this. Once they let people in at noon, the line actually moved fairly quickly. The lines ended at two doors, one for people on the Star and one for people on the Sea. We had to stop to fill out the health questionnaire and get in another line for the final check in. I was on board about 12:20. There was a crowd for the embarkation photo so I passed it up and walked on board. There were Princess personnel guiding everyone to the elevators.

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We were very lucky and had great weather for most of it. It rained a little in Victoria, but not that much. The forecast before the trip showed rain in most of the ports, but I guess cleared up. A lot of the time it was overcast, but not raining. I will cover the entertainers in a bit. I went to a lot of the shows nearly every night so there are many of them to tell you about. I went on the 8 hour bus tour in Skagway, which is the one I gave a 10 to. We saw animals every day whether it be on ship or in port. We went pretty early in the season so it wasn't the optimal time, but we were very lucky.

 

Thanks for responding, we have been to Alaska twice we've been to Skagway both times but this time we will be visiting Haines. We had beautiful weather when we went so that is why I was wondering what the weather was like but I am glad that you mentioned that there was forecast for rain but you didn't get it. Whether the weather is good or not doesn't really matter it's more important to just be on a cruise and relaxing.i will continue to await your review and thanks for taking the time and I am happy to hear that your health is good.

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By the way where was your cabin located? Was the ship rocky?

Becky

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I was on deck 10 (Baja) in room 202. It was in inside room all the way in the front of the ship. It was small but set up well and very comfortable. The best part about my cabin was that just steps away, there was a door to a deck area that was only accessible from deck 10. I was out on that deck a lot! It was fabulous. It was an excellent deck to take pictures from and was never too crowded. I spent a lot of time freezing my butt off on that deck. Another great tip that I learned on cruise critic was to turn my tv on to the bridge channel at night to serve as a “window” to the outside. If I’m in a totally dark room, I’ll sleep and sleep so this worked out well for me. The bathroom was small but usable and the shower was larger then the other cruise ship I have been on. I saw an outside cabin with a window and my room was a bit smaller but configured better so I actually had more livable space. There was a small refrigerator in the room that I had the steward empty. It really did keep the food and drinks that I put in there cold. I asked for an egg crate mattress topper for the bed and found it to be very comfortable. I also asked for a house coat to use during the cruise and my room steward brought one right away.

 

 

I felt some motion in my room, but I don't think it was any worse then anywhere else on the ship.

 

 

My room steward’s name was John Paul. He was in his 30’s and he is from the Phillippines. He has a wife and two kids (10 & 13). He has worked for Princess for 7 years and said he loves what he does but misses his family. He was a wonderful steward and did a wonderful job. I filled out a recommendation card for him to help him be recognized for how hard he works.

 

 

 

Here are some room pictures-

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7263533504_e4f355c808_z.jpg

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Here is the front deck on the Baja Level-

7263536860_68f23e3e44_z.jpg

The bridge of the ship was right above us-

 

7263535092_7ac7c6bf37_z.jpg

7263535186_d749790b0a_z.jpg

7263534894_1b709923a8_z.jpg

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I had a fairly early boarding time, so I was able to run around the ship taking pictures without too many people in them. Here are some-

 

Wheelhouse bar-

7263527014_6c0e3de0d0_z.jpg

 

7263537250_d0764c7be9_z.jpg

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Here is the front deck on the Baja Level-

7263536860_68f23e3e44_z.jpg

The bridge of the ship was right above us-

 

7263535092_7ac7c6bf37_z.jpg

7263535186_d749790b0a_z.jpg

7263534894_1b709923a8_z.jpg

 

Wow, that is the first time I've ever seen lounge chairs out on the forward deck. Nice :)

Did you happen to notice if the chairs were also out on Aloha also? My cabin is pretty close to the bow on my cruise

Edited by DougH

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I did not go onto the forward Aloha deck. Hopefully someone will know and can answer you :D

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Hi, so glad your health is improving. You sound like you have a really great attitude to life, and that always is a real plus in recovery. I am really enjoying reading about your cruise so far as I will be doing the same cruise in July 2012. Look forward to the link to your blog when you have caught your breath after arriving home.

 

Cheers, Christine.

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Wow, that is the first time I've ever seen lounge chairs out on the forward deck. Nice :)

Did you happen to notice if the chairs were also out on Aloha also? My cabin is pretty close to the bow on my cruise

 

On our cruise on the Sea Princess a couple of years ago, they had lounge chairs on both the Aloha and Baja forward balconies. They were stacked sometimes... I would assume because of the weather.

Edited by RickEk

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My Partner and I will be on the Sea Princess Alaska, 08/21/12 and would love to see HC cabin photos if you happened to see one. Inside Cabin is what we have booked.

 

I have been on it's sister ship the Dawn in a regular balcony in the past.

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Looking forward to your complete review. We will be going on the same ship/cruise on august 21st.

 

Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using Tapatalk 2

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My Partner and I will be on the Sea Princess Alaska, 08/21/12 and would love to see HC cabin photos if you happened to see one. Inside Cabin is what we have booked.

 

I have been on it's sister ship the Dawn in a regular balcony in the past.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by HC? Is that a catagory? My room was a catagory JJ.

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I'm not sure what you mean by HC? Is that a catagory? My room was a catagory JJ.

No, he was probably referring to a handicapped cabin; but of course I could be totally wrong.

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Thanks so much for posting your review and pictures! :) Glad you had a good cruise on the Sea and wonderful news about your recovery. :)

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Thanks for the pics and review cant wait to see more pics :-).

 

Was on the Sea Princess a few years back for 14day cruise and the crew and the ship was fantastic.

 

I only got good memories of that cruise.

 

sea ya

Eric

Hal Westerdam March2012

Coral Princess Sep2011

Ruby Princess Nov2010

Sapphire Princess Sep2010

Rccl Adventure Of The Seas April 2010

Carnival Miracle Feb2010

Rccl Oassis of the Seas Feb2010

Rccl Majesty of the Seas Nov2009

Rccl Navigator of Seas Sep2009

Hal Westerdam Nov&Dec2008

Caribbean Princess Nov2007

Sea Princess Nov&Dec 2006

Diamond Princess Apr2005

Rccl Navigator Dec2004

NCL SUN Nov2004

Visit of QM2 Oct2004

Carnival Victory Nov2003

Golden Princess Apr2003

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Wow, great images. I need to organize mine and figure out how to post them, the best are in my phone.

From what I could see of the inside cabins I really liked there layout, better use of space than our balcony cabin.

I forgot to add in my Whiner review, be aware the refrigerator does kick out a lot of heat so adjust your thermostat accordingly, no problem just be aware.

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Wow, great images. I need to organize mine and figure out how to post them, the best are in my phone.

From what I could see of the inside cabins I really liked there layout, better use of space than our balcony cabin.

I forgot to add in my Whiner review, be aware the refrigerator does kick out a lot of heat so adjust your thermostat accordingly, no problem just be aware.

 

You can host them here, but the images are really small. I'm posting mine on flikr at smaller then the original sizes and then using flikr to post here. If you use the full size images, they will be huge on here and hard for people to see. It's a pain and that's what is taking me forever :mad:

 

I didn't see a balcony, but I did see an oceanview and the layout was better in the inside cabin. Can't wait to see your pics :)

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Thanks for posting your review. We are booked on the Sea Princess in August so this way I can get acquainted with the ship. Great photos. Stay well and enjoy! I admire your positive attitude.

 

Looking forward to more pictures. Thanks again.

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Echoing others comments, thanks for posting your review and photos. You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I really enjoyed your photos.

We will be on the Sea Princess June 12th. I was on the Dawn Princess a few years ago to AK, and in the most forward cabin on the Baja deck. We had some rough seas, and were seasick the first two sea days. Glad you didn't experience seasickness, it is no fun! Again, thanks for posting!

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Once I dropped off my carry on and checked out my room, I went all over the ship to explore. They had a treasure hunt game where you went all over the ship to different areas to get a card stamped. I went to the fitness area to check it out. It was a pretty small area. There were 12 treadmills, some weight machines and an area for classes. I didn’t use the gym during my trip. Walking was plenty for me and I took the stairs most of the time. Because of the surgeries, I can’t do crunches, lift weights, bench press etc without irritating it. I wanted to enjoy everything so I didn’t push it. I went to the buffet for lunch, which was pretty good.

I had pre purchased the “kids” drink package which was $8.05 a day all in and included coke, diet coke, sprite, root beer, non-alcoholic drinks, milkshakes, hot chocolate and juice. I certainly got my money’s worth!!! The guy in the buffet was confused about the non-alcoholic drink I ordered and after a few tries, I said a coke would be fine. I ate salad, salmon, and vegetables.

 

 

 

I set up the Cruise Critic meet and greet and one of my ideas was a “treasure hunt” for the gift exchange portion. I came up with 20 questions about the ship so had to spend some time running around to get the answers before the meet and greet which would be the next day.

 

 

I wandered around the ship some more taking pictures until it was time for the muster drill. It was originally scheduled for 3:15 pm but was delayed until 3:45. My muster station was in the Wheelhouse bar. The belly was hurting a little so I sat on a bar stool in the back of the room. The room started filling up quickly and many people overflowed into the theater. A couple ladies in the 70’s came up when the seats were full. I helped one lady into the seat next to me and offered my seat to the other lady. She declined but thanked me. I guess in another part of the room, she had asked a younger person for their seat for her friend who clearly couldn’t stand long and was told no. Wow, some people are jerks.

 

 

 

At any rate, once it started, it was over fairly quickly. We brought our life vests but were not to try putting them on until the end. They told us this repeatedly and yet some people didn’t follow directions. They did look awfully silly with their vests on wrong hehe. Most people shut their mouths and paid attention, but there was one guy near me who wouldn’t shut up and a few people who went to sleep. They scanned everyone’s card on the way in so they would know who had missed the drill and would be required to make it up. I’m glad that most of the people took it seriously.

We were supposed to sail at 4pm originally. We were told at the muster drill that sail away was delayed until 6pm, but we didn’t actually leave until about 6:30. We were told this was due to the problems with having two ships in port. The Star left well before us.

 

 

I was out on the front deck for sail away with about 15 other people. I didn’t go to the sail away party on the top deck because I wanted pictures of the Golden Gate without getting knocked around. I will post them in a bit.

 

 

 

I went to dinner in the anytime dining room, Rigoletto. I had to have a buzzer for about 20 minutes because there were no tables available, even to share. I went to the bar and got a non alcoholic drink, which is important for the next part. I sat at the table and had the drink in one hand and the buzzer in the other. The buzzer went off and….I jumped and dropped the glass and broke it!! It went all over the table and I hurried to the bar for something to clean it up. The person I talked to first was very nice and told me it was ok and he would take care of it. I was ticked off at myself for being a clutz after less then 4 hours on the ship!!! We weren’t even moving yet and I can’t keep from breaking stuff!! This was the only thing I ended up breaking on the trip, so I guess that isn’t too bad. I did fall on by butt once though and twisted my ankle. I found out later the guy I went to was the shore excursion manager. He was very nice throughout the cruise and recognized me each time he saw me and laughed. Probably because I did poses and spins every time I saw him to show him I really am graceful once in a while.

 

 

 

For dinner, I had prime rib, green beans, garlic potatoes and a salad. It was very good.

 

 

 

After sailaway, I went to the welcome about show in the Princess Theater. There was a male and a female singer as well as the Sea Princess dancers. I would find out later just how hard it is to dance on a moving ship. They did a wonderful job. There was also a comedian who had been a write on the Cosby show. He was funny and I enjoyed the show.

I went to the welcome aboard dance party for a little while in the Razzmatazz and danced a few songs. This was my first glimpse of how hard it actually is to dance on a moving ship.

 

 

 

My belly was starting to hurt and I wanted to be sure to rest so I could have fun and not be in pain the next day so I went to my cabin to go to sleep shortly thereafter.

 

 

 

The shower controls threw me for a loop. There are two handles to turn and the temperatures were Celsius. I could get the water warm, but not hot. I messed with the buttons but got no where that night. I figured out later to push the button on the bottom one hard to be able to turn it to the hotter temperatures. The showers after that epiphany were much much better!

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As a first time cruiser who is doing this very same trip on the Sea Princess in July, I am really enjoying your detailed account so far. Even something so simple as letting us know about the trick to the shower can save us the very hiccups you had. I appreciate your time and am just loving your photos. After all that you have been though, I find your attitude really inspirational. Look forward to more when you are rested.

 

Cheers from Oz,

Christine.

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Echoing others comments, thanks for posting your review and photos. You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I really enjoyed your photos.

We will be on the Sea Princess June 12th. I was on the Dawn Princess a few years ago to AK, and in the most forward cabin on the Baja deck. We had some rough seas, and were seasick the first two sea days. Glad you didn't experience seasickness, it is no fun! Again, thanks for posting!

We will be on the June 12 cruise with you. I have organized a Meet and Greet for the first sea day on the 13th in Razzmatazz. Will you be joining us? So far I don't have your name on the list... Love to meet you. Dian. :)

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Congratulation on your treatment and thanks for writing about your trip.

 

I am also solo, inside, on the June, 22 cruise.

 

How do you post photos on cruise critic?

 

I am a photographer like yourself, a Nikon D80, and worked as a professional photographer for 20 years.

 

I am also organizing our Meet & Greet, 39 people signed up. Did you attend one and if so do you have any photos of the room?

 

I can be reached at trbarton743@aol.com

 

Thanks again!

 

Tom:D

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Congratulation on your treatment and thanks for writing about your trip.

 

I am also solo, inside, on the June, 22 cruise.

 

How do you post photos on cruise critic?

 

I am a photographer like yourself, a Nikon D80, and worked as a professional photographer for 20 years.

 

I am also organizing our Meet & Greet, 39 people signed up. Did you attend one and if so do you have any photos of the room?

 

I can be reached at trbarton743@aol.com

 

Thanks again!

 

Tom:D

 

If you use Flickr, they have a share button that provides BBCode links that you can cut and paste into your thread here on CC. Makes it very easy. Like so...

 

4852890533_a23b75fdf6_z.jpg

Sea Princess docked in Haines, AK by RickEk, on Flickr

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Could you tell me which nights are the formal nights. Thanks!

 

They were the second full sea day and the day we were in Victoria.

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I am also organizing our Meet & Greet, 39 people signed up. Did you attend one and if so do you have any photos of the room?

 

Tom:D

 

i organized the meet and greet and it was in the Razzmattazz. My pic in there didn't turn out but it's a fairly large room with two doors. There was a no host bar and they put out nuts for snacks. 4 of the 6 officers showed up and it was a lot of fun.

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