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Trovador

My Review of: Diamond to Alaska (May28-June4)

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Just returned from this cruise and made a post in my original roll call thread that ended up being a review of the trip, so I decided to post it here as well :lol: :

 

 

 

We're back!

 

...

 

We LOVED it. We were disspointed with the hours missed in Juneau and Victoria though, we feel they could've been handled better, but what to do.

 

This is my third cruise, the others being carnival and Norwegian to Key West, Cozumel, Cancun, etc.

 

Personal comments on this cruise:

 

Embarking: I was a bit worried becuase of what I'd read on this process being potentially chaotic, but even though there were a lot of people, it wasn't bad. We were inside the ship in less than an hour, our suitcases were already in the cabin. No problem at all. Princess transfer does help as we didn't have to handle the luggage in the port of embarkation. (9/10)

 

Disembarking: We had a flight the same day at 2:50 PM. We were placed on one of the first groups to disembark, scheduled at 7:35AM (for flights before 11:30 AM), I thought it was too early so we changed it. I tried getting in the group that disembarked at 9:35 (for flights before 2:00PM), but it was full so they placed us in the group disembarking at 9:50 (for flight after 3:30 PM). They ran 1-1.5 hours late of most scheduled times, but were very friendly in answering questions during that day and they told us we'd get to the airport with plenty of time, which we did. I did get somewhat nervous with the timeframe as they seemed very behind schedule, later on they explained that the firsts groups are usually full so they take more time to disembark. I would have appreciated if they said something to the passengers affected by the delay instead of me walking to the passenger's service desk, but other than that, it worked. (7.5/10)

 

Service: both meal and cabin service were top notch, every single time. Room service in time and always what we asked for. Waiters very friendly. Cannot ask for more. (10/10)

 

Personal Choice Dining: best idea ever. We loved not having to eat at an scheduled time every day. 6:00PM or 10:00PM, no problem, even without reservations. Longest wait was 15 minutes one day, other days we were seated immediately. There was only two of us though, not sure if it gets more complicated with more people. (10/10)

 

Ports of call: ahhh, here's my issue with Princess. The ports themselves were great, but in this particular cruise we had two events that significantly shortened our stays in two of them, basically Juneau and Victoria. We only had one hour in victoria because the wind at the time we got there (on time at 7:00 PM) was a bit high so the captain had us wait for it to go down to dock as a precaution. Of course, Princess does not control nature and I prefer being extra careful than having an accident so no problem. BUT, in the case of Juneau, we missed 7 hours of the initially scheduled ten becuase during the night a passenger got sick so they had to turn the ship around a few hours to take the passenger for medical attention. In my opinion, Princess could've done one of two things to make the process better: 1.) have a better medical emergency procedure (maybe a small helicopter on the cruise itself OR arrangements with air ambulance services in each port of call) so they don't have to turn the entire cruise around and have the financial loss to both them and the passengers with the cancelled shore excursions and such. Why did Princess turn the ship and not pursue alternatives similar to the ones I just mentioned, I don't know, which takes me to number 2.) TELL us more detail on why things happen. We got a letter saying the ship had to be turned because of the passenger's health and that we'd be refunded for shore excursions that had to be cancelled, which we did, but we were left wondering if any other alternative was considered as not to suffer the time-loss. We don't go to Alaska too often you know, so shore time is precious. (6/10 because of the very limited time we had)

 

Shore excursions: In Juneau AND Victoria all were cancelled for the reasons I mentioned. The one we wanted to do in Juneau was full for Skagway (Glacier flightseeing) so we went into town and were able to get one independently. Alaska is breathtaking, Glacier bay leaves you in awe. I'd recommend taking a cruise that goes there or definitely take a ahore excursion that takes you there. In Juneau we made the mendenhall express excursion which gave us 50 minutes in visitor center near the glacier. We went all the way to the glacier walking in the nearby trail and took some amazing pictures. Again, short on time, but had a blast. (The one we did--> 10/10)

 

Food: We were very pleased. Lots of options, high quality food and excellent service. I wish there was some type of return policy on the 8 pounds I gained though. :) (10/10)

 

Cabin: We had an inside cabin, if i Iknew then what I know now I would've made it a balcony. NOT because the inside cabin was bad! because it was in fact very good, spacious, huge bed, beautifully decorated, nice bathroom etc. But because you cannot beat being in your own private balcony seeing those marvelous landscapes. I mean, your own cabin, some wine or hot chocolate, Tracy arm, enough said. (10/10)

 

The ship: Magnificent. Very clean, huge, beautiful interior, plenty of things to do all the time, lots of pools, it's new and feels new. (10/10)

 

(9/10) Overall we had a great time and would highly recommend it. Alaska is breathtaking and Princess is a great option which we would definitely consider again.

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That's what I want to hear! Great news. We will be on our first Princess cruise this fall, on the Diamond.

 

cheers

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Thanks for the review, glad to hear all your good news. We'll be on board for the 7/16 voyage, and in an inside cabin......was really glad to hear your positive comments about the accommodations, I was a bit concerned.

 

By the way, I spent 20 years in emergency medical services, 6 of them involving air medical by helicopter. Believe me when I tell you that if you can avoid an airlift off a ship, especially in that area, traveling a few hours out of your way is a small price to pay. The winds involved can make it very tricky, and it would not have been a great experience for the patient! Granted, I would have been disappointed as well if I were on your cruise, and your point is well taken about Princess keeping the passengers well informed - or not well informed! That part would have upset me too!

 

Glad you had a great time! :D

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Thanks for your great review...our family of six are on the July 9th sailing....

 

Ive heard the weather can be miseralbe...cold and rainy....I ws told to bring coats and hats and gloves...did you find this?

Thanks!

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Trovador - we were on your cruise! Definaly I agree with what you said. I feel similar about the alternatives to thurning the ship around, but I also feel that the expense that Princess incurred for the shore excursions alone in Juneau, Iam thinking that they have probably done all they could as far as other options. I am glad they passed around the letters saying what the captain had said - I miss all of the announcements sometimes!

 

If I may answer your questions Sheila - the weather was GORGEOUS! I have been on this same cruise May/June 2005, September 2004 and AUgust 2003, and the weather was amazing every time. I have never worn my heavier coats, a wind breaker/rain type coat is the most I needed. I wore shorts for some of the days (like in Skagway and one at sea). It is for sure "hit and miss", so come prepared, but make sure you pack a pair of shorts too!!!

 

Casey

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I am mostly a lurker on these boards as we prepare for our 7/2 sailing on the Diamond. But I have to respond to your review. At no time in your review did you voice any concern for the passenger who had their entire cruise aborted because of illness. Not just a few hours. Do you really think every cruise ship should have a helicopter and pilot or pilots on every cruise or just the one you are on? What a ridiculous suggestion. I am sure the people in charge did what was best for the health of the person involved. Have you ever been airlifted from a cruise ship? I am sure it isn't fun. Maybe there was a reason why the person wasn't airlifted. But your concern was that you were not consulted on how to best serve you. How selfish are you. But I must admit that I am impressed that you did not let this persons misery affect the rest of your review.

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I am mostly a lurker on these boards as we prepare for our 7/2 sailing on the Diamond. But I have to respond to your review. At no time in your review did you voice any concern for the passenger who had their entire cruise aborted because of illness. Not just a few hours. Do you really think every cruise ship should have a helicopter and pilot or pilots on every cruise or just the one you are on? What a ridiculous suggestion. I am sure the people in charge did what was best for the health of the person involved. Have you ever been airlifted from a cruise ship? I am sure it isn't fun. Maybe there was a reason why the person wasn't airlifted. But your concern was that you were not consulted on how to best serve you. How selfish are you. But I must admit that I am impressed that you did not let this persons misery affect the rest of your review.

 

I wish nothing but the best for the person that got sick and I think it was very unfortunate that he got sick. First thing that got in my mind was "I hope he gets better" when the captain made the announcement, however, considering this is a cruise forum I figured you guys would be more interested in my review of the ship/trip instead of my personal feelings for the sick passenger.

 

Considering the size of the financial losses suffered by Princess in shore excursions alone, a small helicopter or fast emergency lifeboat are feasible alternatives that would pay themselves in the short-medium term; not to mention that a the sick passenger would get medical emergency a lot faster than turning a 5k passenger cruise traveling at 14 knots.

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If you do a search (dont know if the search function is back on now) on this thread or on the Celebrity thread, you may find an airlift medical emergency on one of the cruises - and it was handled by Coast Guard - I forgot where it ocurred - but it took like 6 or 8 hours before the weather was deemed safe enough for the airlift to occur. Meantime, the two upper deck passengers were told to leave their cabins to prepare for the airlift - as a precaution, should the helicopter crash onto the ship, there could be fire, explosion etc

Hence the 2 upper deck cabins near the heli-pad had to be vacated for the airlift ...

 

And of course those passengers who had to leave their cabins complained like hell ... for the inconvenience they had to suffer (the airlift happened almost near dawn, but the passengers were told to vacate their cabins shortly after midnight. airlift cannot be performed due to weather until the wind died down).

 

It never ceases to amaze me how people make comments without much knowledge, or even common sense about incidents like that. Keeping a helicopter on board ? together with a pilot ? do you know how much a chopper costs ? and a pilot standby ? It is not just the costs, but the safety of an airlift. The weather is a major factor whether it is safer to turn back to a port of to have airlift. You only think about the shore excursion costs, do you realize the fuel costs involved due to backtracking, could easily several times more than what is lost in the shore excursions ?

 

The comment about a fast emergency liftboat is even more absurd. A very sick passenger in a liftboat that is bouncing up and down in the ocean ... I gather you have never been in a smallcraft in a rough sea ...

 

May be people watch too much TV and think an airlift is just like lifting a finger ...

 

Though I agree, cruiselines should keep the passengers better informed on what is going on ... same comments on the above-mentioned airlift - passengers were not kept informed, thus a tons of complains - ironically, it was why they had to perform airlift ?!

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If a small helicopter on board for medevac's was a possibility don't you find it odd the no cruise line has one???

 

I'm sure captain made the choice to get the passenger to medical as quickly as possible.

 

Fine review other than your misconceptions about the ease of an alternative medical evac method.

 

Oh and also the Diamond isn't a 5,000 passenger ship.

 

Scott

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FYI,

I was on the same cruise and heard the med-evaced passenger's abdominal problems were alcohol overload induced. Not verified as fact, but colors the situation a bit differently.

 

Of course we all have sympathy for the sick person - regardless of the cause.

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I want to say thank you for the info; I will be on an early July sailing of the Diamond. I've been on a ship that was turned around for a medical emergency just as your cruise was. On that same sailing, someone was helicoptered out a few days later. Quite a trip, huh? Did I mention the passenger that took ill during a shore excursion? Anyway, don't take too much notice of the people on this board that attacked you for mentioning the turn around....and what maybe could have been done. People react differently, all based on their own life experiences.

 

Will you be posting any photos of the ship anywhere?

 

thanks again!

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That is what is so great about these boards, if we are not educated in a particular area, there are lots of folks that can give us the real scoop. Just wish if you have particular knowledge, you would share it in a nice way as to not make a poster feel supid or malicious.

 

I am very glad to hear, overall you had a great trip.

 

Carol

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Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!.

 

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, (blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah).

 

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah? blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

blah blah blah blah blah?, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah?. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah?.

 

Though I agree, cruiselines should keep the passengers better informed on what is going on ... same comments on the above-mentioned airlift - passengers were not kept informed, thus a tons of complains - ironically, it was why they had to perform airlift ?!

 

Oh yes, definitely.

 

 

"...and while we considered different options to safeguard the passenger's health' date=' we determined that turning the cruise around was the best option to give the passenger the best chance for a safe recovery..." [/quote']

 

^ Now, is this really too much to ask?.

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I want to say thank you for the info; I will be on an early July sailing of the Diamond. I've been on a ship that was turned around for a medical emergency just as your cruise was. On that same sailing, someone was helicoptered out a few days later. Quite a trip, huh? Did I mention the passenger that took ill during a shore excursion? Anyway, don't take too much notice of the people on this board that attacked you for mentioning the turn around....and what maybe could have been done. People react differently, all based on their own life experiences.

 

Will you be posting any photos of the ship anywhere?

 

thanks again!

 

Thanks stazerd. For some reason, some of these guys don't want to acknowledge that there are options available to turning a cruise around or that a bit more info on the decision would've been appreciated, but what to do.

 

I have pics on my home comp. I'll try posting some tonight. Hope you have a great trip!.

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If a small helicopter on board for medevac's was a possibility don't you find it odd the no cruise line has one???

 

I'm sure captain made the choice to get the passenger to medical as quickly as possible.

 

Fine review other than your misconceptions about the ease of an alternative medical evac method.

 

Oh and also the Diamond isn't a 5,000 passenger ship.

 

Scott

 

Sure, it's odd, but not impossible. I haven't done the numbers, which I'm sure they have and probably found not feasible. I've seen small yachts with helicopters on boards as dingies, this is a cruise ship, it is possible.

 

http://www.ibiblio.org/fred/gallery/albums/album30/afd.sized.jpg

 

http://www.stamey.nu/FLImages/IMAGE0031.jpg

 

There are in fact many alternative medical evac methods. I never said they were easy, and I never said they were wrong in turning the ship. You're probably right about the captain's choice, but why not tell us a bit more?.

 

I was including the crew, but yeah, it's closer to 4k, my bad.

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I am thankful for your review - don't let the negative posts get to you. Never quite understand why someone would go to all the trouble of being so nasty.

 

I loved your rating system, glad to know you had a good time. We are leaving on 7/2 and can't wait.

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we also were on this cruise, reason we got was passenger had burst ulcer. but he also got back on board the ship in skagway. so it must not have been that serious.

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we also were on this cruise, reason we got was passenger had burst ulcer. but he also got back on board the ship in skagway. so it must not have been that serious. I understand in a situation like this the captain has to make a hard decision, we felt they made no atempt to do something for the 3000 other pasengers on ship. there were a lot of angry and bored people roaming around the ship. and when we did get to juneau it was a free for all to get off.

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