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coasterwiggs

Just back from May 3rd Diamond cruise to Alaska, questions?

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Embarkation and debarkation were a mess, but the cruise in between was great. Beautiful weather for five days with no rain, even in Ketchikan.

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Why were embarkation/debarkation a mess? What time did they start boarding?

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We were on that cruise too and were in our cabin at 11:45. No problems at all.

We got off at 9:30 with no problem either and took the Gray Line shuttle to Sea-Tac.

Had we carried our luggage off in Seattle we could have walked off at 8:00am.

Did you get there later???

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We are on the June 4th sailing. We're staying pre-cruise in Seattle, so can go to the pier at any time. Any suggestion as to what time is best for boarding?

 

Any reviews forthcoming???

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I'm sailing with my Mom one June 4th too and would really be interested in knowing what is a good time to arrive at the pier to avoid horrendously long lines!

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I'm sailing with my Mom one June 4th too and would really be interested in knowing what is a good time to arrive at the pier to avoid horrendously long lines!

 

Beryl, have you not checked out the roll call for this sailing? Please join us in chatting!

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Hi Coasterwiggs, have heard they might have changed the coffee and heard some people liked it. what was your opinion. I heard it was terrible and I have packed a coffee pot to take. I would really like to leave the pot at home cause I would get tired of the same pants and shirt every day (just kidding) anyway what did you think of it. Thanks.....Roy Diamond 5/14.......

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I warned my friends before the trip about the coffee. They were prepared for the worst. Happily, they said the coffee tasted like the Maxwell House variety you would brew at home. Not great, but certainly not bad.

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We arrived at 11:15. It took 15 minutes to check our luggage, and 15 minutes to go through the metal detectors. Then the problem began. We waited one hour in the Customs and Immigration line to show our passport to the U.S. Customs agent. The problem was there were 12 lines and only 3 were staffed with customs agents. Those 3 people had to check the passports/birth certificates of all the passengers. It was very warm in this line with masses of people snaking through the lines. This was not Princess's fault, these were not Princess employees. After that it took 15 minutes for Princess to check us in and give us our cruise cards. We boarded at 1:00.

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This was a disorganized mess. We opted for Express debarkation, which means you agree to carry your luggage off the ship and you can leave first. We we told the night before to assemble on deck 7 and we could depart at approximately 7:05. It was after 8:00 before Express was called. The problem was everyone with colored tags had arrived by then and lined up to get off the ship. When they called for Express passengers, everyone in the line began exiting the ship. Express passengers could not get to the gangplank because of the huge line. There were no Princess reps to manage the crowd whatsover. When we finally reached the exit it was 9:00. No one checked the passenger's tags, so everyone on the ship was exiting at the same time in the same line. Basically they just let everyone off the ship who made it to the exit, regardless of what color tag they had. I have never seen such chaos in five cruises, but we didn't let it get us down. The cruise was great.

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Thanks for your replies. Were you the first cruise to Alaska this year? It seems that the first one after repositioning is always the most disorganized. If so, maybe they will get it smoothed out soon!

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Ouch, sounds awful! Why did you have to do Customs before boarding the ship? We've never had to do that before! Hopefully things will get a lot more organized as the season progresses.

 

Perhaps it would be better to arrive a little later rather than a little earlier :D !

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We were surprised we had to do Customs before boarding. We have never done that before on previous cruises. At the cruise's end, we just showed our customs declaration form and were waved through. The embarkation process where every passport or birth certificate had to be checked was the hold up. Again, I don't feel Princess could have done anything to improve this, there just were not nearly enough Customs agents to process that many passengers. This was the first Alaska sailing this season, so maybe it will be smoother after this.

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Princess had the best food we have had yet. We have sailed Disney, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, but Princess had the best food of all. The salad greens were varied and fresh, no iceburg lettuce there. The pastries and breads were excellent. The head pastry chef got a thumbs up from us. All of the waiter's recommendations were outstanding. We ate in Sterling, Pacific Moon, Santa Fe, Pregos, and Horizon Court.

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Were the horses running on the Diamond?

 

Trying to invalidate a rumour that horse racing is to be dropped from all Princess ships.

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Were you on a pacific repositioning cruise? Or the full 7-day Alaska cruise?

I cannot understand why you had to go through customs before the cruise...that never happens! Are you both US Citizens? Just trying to figure this all out. Thanks!

I am on the Diamond on May 21st.

Deb

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The May 3 cruise left from Vancouver, went to Alaska and returned to Seattle. We are both U.S. citizens. All passengers had to go through the one hour Customs line before boarding in Vancouver. Don't know why.

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In which excursions (if any) did you participate? Please specify the port and event title please and any thoughts oropinions that you may have about the excursion. Thank you!!

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Okay, now I get it! You had to go through customs because your first port would have been Alaska. You were re-entering the U.S.A. Duh....how thick am I :) !

 

Can you remember who the Captain and the Cruise Director were??

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We went on the Misty Fjords Wilderness Explorer. It was a 4 hour cruise into the Misty Fjords National Monument. The scenery was outstanding, our pictures are great. We saw a humpback whale, bald eagle, harbour seals and dall porpoises. We really enjoyed it.

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Coasterwiggs are you going to post more pictures for us to enjoy. Thanks.....Roy Diamond 5/14

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I have to agree with the previous posters, the cruise itself was fantastic! However, the customs line to board the ship was ridiculous. To make matters worse, non-US or Canadian citizens had their own separate line with 2 customs agents, not normally an issue except that there were only about 10 people in that line, while there were hundreds in the regular customs line. Not that this was Princess' fault in any way, this was purely a US Customs issue. Once you were through Customs it took us less that 5 minutes to board the ship. The next time I sail to Alaska, I will embark in Seattle, never again in Vancouver, its the same problem everytime.

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