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About XBGuy

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Diamond Bar, CA
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    Fermented Grape Juice, Motorsports. Western Civilization Art Music

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  1. I agree that most of the servers are not terribly knowledgeable. However, I have found that many of the headwaiters do have good knowledge. On the Royal Princess, last month, we found an excellent headwaiter, Franco, in the Sabatini's restaurant. He and I hit it off on our first visit. He gave me some excellent guidance on picking a Super Tuscan wine on that visit, and on our second visit he gave my wife a recommendation on a Sardinian white wine that pleased her, very much. I do not ask for help, very often, when reviewing a wine list. The reason I asked for help that first night was because the wine I originally chose was not available (a lengthy and somewhat amusing story that I won't detail, here). When informed of that, I asked for a recommendation for a similar wine. The Sabatini's menu had quite a few Super Tuscans--most of which I had no familiarity. I figured that asking for help would speed up the decision-making process. I'll also add that on that first visit Franco made sure we were aware of the Super Tuscan wine dinner that was to be offered later in the cruise. I had seen reports, here on Cruise Critic, where people had a Super Tuscan wine lunch on Royal class ships, and I was not interested in that. However, we were all over the idea of the dinner. It was amazing. I wouldn't be surprised if this caused a dust up, but we enjoyed it much more that the Chef's Table experience that we had the previous evening.
  2. We cruised to Alaska, last April, on the Ruby Princess. We booked our favorite balcony cabin--Deck 12 as far forward as possible. (We like to be the first persons in town. 😉) A few weeks before final payment we received the "Congratulations, You Have Been Upgraded" email. No, that wasn't what we considered to be an upgrade and were able to get reinstated in our original cabin. I checked and it looked like there were only six cabins booked forward from the elevators on Deck 12. Then, days before final payment, we received an upsell offer to a mini-suite. We were not interested. Still only those six cabins booked forward of the elevators on Deck 6. Final Payment day came and passed. Now that I think of it, I refared mere days prior and was able to save $900. I monitored the status of the cabins in our neighborhood pretty regularly in the next few weeks. It just appeared that nobody wanted to cruise with us in the front. Two weeks prior to the cruise there were still only a dozen, or so, cabins--balcony or inside--sold up there. We sailed completely full. All the cabins in our neighborhood were occupied. Princess knows how to send it's ship out at full capacity.
  3. I think the new wine list is far superior to the old one. Sure enough, there were some wines that I enjoyed that are no longer available. However, the new list has so many more choices. Hank, take a look at the Meursault on the Princess list. My wife ordered a bottle one evening in Crown Grill, and she really enjoyed it. I had a glass (I'd brought a California Cabernet Sauvignon to have with my Lamb Chops.) and thought it was a very good representative of Old World Chardonnay. I find it difficult to understand how a person who is looking for oak in Chardonnay cannot find one on the current wine list. I would point, immediately, to the Rombauer--arguably, the oakiest wine from California, which, probably, makes it the oakiest wine in the world. There are multiple others, though. The words "Butter," "Caramel," or "Vanilla" in the wine descriptions all indicate heavy oaking. This is not to say that these are the only indicators. In the case of California wines, unless you see either "unoaked" or "steel fermented" in the description, you can, pretty much, rely on being able to detect oak in the wine.
  4. What "nuisance emails" have you read about here? As I posted above, I have a whole single experience on a Medallion Class cruise. I did not receive any nuisance emails (or nuisance text messages) during our 12-day cruise other than the 1 or 2 hundred that I normally get--many, as I am sure you are aware, from Cruise Critic. Also, I had no reason to check emails on my cruise. I'm not that important. It seems that the world is able to get along just fine without me. In the two days after the cruise I spent quite a bit of time deleting the usual nuisance emails and catching up on multiple on-line forums in which I participate. I predict that you will be a happy camper. The cabin door opening feature worked great for us.
  5. 🤣🤣🤣 Well, I certainly did not read all 67 pages worth of whining, but, you do have a point.
  6. Are you sure about that? It seems to me that all those medallion readers--to open cabin doors, the various public kiosks, the readers in the shops--also read the cards--which are now RFID, not mag stripe. As a test why don't you hold up your RFID card to the reader for the tokens and see if it works? If you are saying that you tried that, and it didn't work, then color me embarrassed. I apologize for my presumption. We sailed on our first Medallion Class cruise last month. In addition to e-mails we started receiving robo-calls from Princess urging us to become Ocean Ready. We never received a call from a live person. I'd read here on Cruise Critic that there had been an update to the Ocean Whatever applications--all the various apps were combined into one--we downloaded it. It took about an hour of futzing, but we were able to get both of us squared away. A week, or so, later, we received our medallions. As somebody previously noted, there is no way that I was going to regain that hour in the embarkation process. We still had to have our passports checked--twice. We still had to go through the security scanners. The security agent who intercepted me as I was picking my tote off the belt pointed to the wine table where I signed for my corkage fee. Instead of seeing an agent to pick up our medallions we saw another agent who had us hold our medallions to a reader, OK, that saved us five minutes. I'm still 55 minutes in the hole. I have to say, however, the medallion worked fine for us on the cruise. I absolutely loved the opening of the cabin door as I approached feature. I am definitely going to miss that on our next cruise in January.
  7. I have recently been elevated to the Captan's Circle Elite Level. It was a very touching ceremony--something I'll remember all my remaining days. About two weeks ago I received one of those e-mails that Astro Flyer referenced. This one was regarding the initial cruises of the Discovery Princess in late 2021. Unfortunately, I had plans to rearrange my sock drawer that day, and, so, I guess I missed out.
  8. I don't have an explanation of why embarkation for your cruise went so poorly, but the ship was not arriving from Vancouver on the 29th. I was on the Royal Princess that day and we were returning from our Los Angeles-Alaska round trip cruise that departed on Sept. 17. (The cruise from Vancouver that was delayed was the one that arrived on the 17th, and, in fact it did not reach the dock in San Pedro until 2:30 pm. So, our departure was delayed until, about, 9:30 pm.) As you indicated we arrived at the dock on the 29th right on time. I can report that disembarkation went off right on schedule. Your theory about the Coral Princess being in port at the same time and that stretching Princess' resources sure seems to have merit, but, from the viewpoint of a consumer, that just should not happen. I might be the one person who is not, at all, enamored with the Piazza area on the Royal Princess. I found that most activities in the Piazza--e.g., Dance Band or Line Dancing class, even the charming violin duet who had recorded accompanying music--were too loud. Similar to your experience, we found conversation in the Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar to be futile.
  9. This is disgusting. I am not a pet person, at all, but my understanding is that a service dog will not bark or snap at people, nor will it relieve itself in an inappropriate place. I suspect that the "little to medium" dog that you encountered was not a service dog but, rather, an "emotional comfort animal." Thank you for the otherwise entertaining report. Interestingly, another Cruise Critic contributor has also posted a mostly positive report on this same cruise. We took the 10-day Sea of Cortez cruise a couple years ago and felt that the Loreto stop was the highlight. We are looking forward to doing it, again, next year.
  10. We were on a 12-day Los Angeles-Alaska round trip cruise that departed on April 23. So, technically, that was more an April cruise than a May cruise, and, as you indicate may or may not be useful for future predictions, but we needed lots of sun block on our cruise. It wasn't necessarily hot--a jacket and a hat were adequate, most days--but you definitely had to take care of unprotected skin, and sunglasses were VERY helpful. We took the same cruise in 2018, and it was much chillier and, mostly, overcast. As previous posters have indicated, be prepared for anything.
  11. Be careful what you wish for. Princess' idea of an upgrade may or may not be in line with yours. Been there and done that. If you do receive a "Congratulations, You've Been Upgraded" e-mail, and you find that you do disagree with their idea of an upgrade, you have 24 hours to call them and get reinstated back in your old cabin. 😉
  12. I can tell you that it happened on the past September 17. Like you we received the email a few weeks prior advising that the ship (Royal Princess) would be late arriving from Vancouver because of the speed limit in the marine reserve, and, as I recall, that e-mail suggested that boarding would not start until 2:00 pm. Then the ship's Vancouver departure was delayed. Instead of leaving at 4:00 pm, they did not leave until 9:30 or 10:00 pm. So, the 15th, we received another update that the ship boarding would not start until 4:30 pm. That wasn't the end of it. On the 16th we received notification that boarding would not start until 6:30 pm. A lot of people were in a tough spot. People who were spending the night of the 16th in local hotels, had to check out of their rooms. Other people who had arranged ground transportation to the port had to try to adjust their schedules. I called our driver three times in the days prior. People who arrived at the port found that, in fact, they could not get into the terminal. I met one person on the cruise who say that he spent the day in Long Beach rather that sit at the curb in San Pedro. I think they were able to check their bags. So, that is good, One person on our Roll Call reported that he planned to hang out at a local restaurant. I arrived at about 4:30 and it appeared that they had just started the boarding process for our cruise. There were some long lines snaking out of and through the terminal, but they seemed to move as quickly as I could expect. It was a somewhat warm day, and they were only letting a few people at a time enter the gangway to board. It was VERY warm in the gangway. We left San Pedro at about 9:30 pm and had a great cruise. Now, in your case, OP, I think I would just take Princess' recommendation seriously, and postpone my arrival time to early afternoon. The delay that our ship encountered in Vancouver was a complete fluke and that will not happen to your ship.
  13. Princess had a similar program. We submitted a form to the Passenger Services Desk; and it was charged to our account. As usual by the end of our cruise there was no unused OBC. I often have wondered how people go on a cruise and have leftover OBC. It's never happened to us.
  14. OP, a couple things. For those in your party that are looking for seafood, I ordered the Lobster Tails once and was not impressed. On the other hand I think the Sea Bass entree is excellent. and the Mussel Pot is Mrs. XBGuy's favorite. Also, Mrs. XBGuy does not care for any of the "Starters" on the Crown Grill menu. So, she will order the "Garlic Fries" which is listed as one of the entree side dishes. Invariably, the server will give her a double take, but, then, her fries appear on our table when my appetizer dish arrives. A side benefit is that she does not eat all the fries, and, so, I get to snag a few. I have to agree with posters who have had difficulty getting the preparation for beef or lamb dishes to their specification. However, I have the opposite problem to what has been reported. I like my beef or lamb to be rare. Invariably, it came pink. I have learned, now, that when I order and the server asks how I want it prepared, I pause for effect, look him or her in the eye and say, "Rare. Blood rare, please." To be honest, I can't say that always works, either.
  15. Cabin B101. Easily the best cabin we've ever had on a cruise. Yes, I'm sure that B102 is just as nice. 😁
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