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Everything posted by karatemom2

  1. Yes, it's always better to fly in the day before IF YOU CAN. But sometimes, like the OP, you can't for whatever reason. So here is the reality - there have been a number of cruises where we had to fly in same day due to work or family commitments. And may the odds remain ever in our favor, we never had a single problem and made every cruise. So it is quite probable that the OP will have no issue. If there is, as the OP pointed out, they are prepared to deal with it. Sometimes you just gotta roll the dice! Best of luck to you and I hope you make it and have a great cruise!
  2. We have never been charge anything for delivery of our Elite tea service. We do generously tip the crew member delivering as they generally go above an beyond to bring it in and set it up for you.
  3. I believe I have seen in the cases where they display the multilayer dessert cakes included with the Plus benefit, that they have some shown with special messages. You may be able to buy one of those cakes and request a special birthday message. Just something about which it might be worthwhile to inquire.
  4. From the Princess description: The Classic Soda Package is USD $14.99 per day plus 18% service charge (totaling $17.69 per day) for all itineraries except Australia. The package is AUD $23 per day which includes a service charge for all Australian based vessels. A tax may be added at the time of purchase for certain itineraries or ports of embarkation. You will be charged the full amount for the complete voyage at the time of purchase.
  5. Wow, I'm so sorry for those of you on the Sapphire who are experiencing this. I can understand and totally sympathize with your disappointment. I'm sure Princess will offer some level of compensation, but for many it will likely still feel inadequate to make up for what they missed. I think it might behoove some of us here who have the very great privilege and blessing of being in a position to cruise often, to please remember that is not the case for the vast majority of people. Sometimes I think this place is just an echo chamber and it might benefit all of us to remind ourselves that not everyone has the same rose colored glasses about Princess or cruising in general. Many people save up for months or years, to splurge on a cruise in Alaska. For a lot of people, this could be a once in a lifetime trip that has been a long time coming, and so yes, of course, they have EVERY RIGHT to share their disappointment here. It is Cruise CRITIC, after all. I think we need to allow people a little grace and understanding if they feel angry or cheated. Basically telling them that this is the norm for cruising, they need to go with the flow, they aren't cut out to cruise, be happy with what you are getting, is not very nice or very helpful. Just because a lot of people here get to cruise multiple times a year or return over and over again to favorite places like Alaska, does not mean it is true for everyone. Can we try to maintain a little empathy instead of just telling people to get over themselves? To those affected by this, I'm so sorry for your disappointment and I hope that Princess compensates in some satisfactory way and that you are still able to get the opportunity to enjoy as much of what Alaska has to offer as possible. Wishing you all the best!
  6. In our experience, yes. My daughter is Elite and her new husband is not, yet they allowed him to join her in all of her Elite perks on their honeymoon last year.
  7. When you are cruising in Alaska, the salmon served onboard may have been caught in Alaska, but it is not brought in from the ports fresh. It comes in large quantities at the embarkation port and is frozen. That’s not to say that when prepared and served onboard, it isn’t good, because it usually is enjoyable. But, for truly fresh Alaska seafoods, take your opportunity to dine in the ports while you are there. It is a different experience.
  8. We are Elite and since we are very light drinkers, the benefit helps us with our decision to pass on the Plus package for now. We exchange our minibar for 20 sodas and water, along with preordering the water and sodas packages which provides the greater share of our daily non alcohol drinks. As Elite passengers we can go to the daily Elite happy hour for small bites and $8 cocktails which pretty much satisfies our alcohol consumption with maybe an occasional glass of wine for dinner. Any more than that leaves me feeling unwell. Elite passengers also get half price Wi-Fi. We really only need one device that allows me to stay connected at work and with our family, so less expensive again with our Elite benefit than buying two packages. The Elite laundry service is an amazingly helpful benefit for us and allows lighter packing, especially for longer trips of 14 days or more. And since we are cruising in large part to visit the ports, we really appreciate the priority tendering service as we are generally up early and ready to get off the ship as soon as possible. The 10 percent discount is nice - it applies for shops, shore excursions, and the spa so definitely a savings we appreciate. A couple of other benefits we enjoy are the free wine tasting event and the free in room tea service delivery. We usually take advantage of each of those benefits every cruise. Everyone has different styles of cruising and different things they value. Those who get more value from the Plus package may find it dilutes the value of their Elite benefits a bit, but for us we really appreciate the savings from not needing Plus packages which we invest in amazing port experiences, a much higher priority for us.
  9. This may be the case, but I think it would be wise for the OP to confirm before making her booking decision. I know this is not the case in my daughter’s cruise history count on her total number of Princess cruises. Her honeymoon cruise last year just added to her cruise count by one, not three. And it was three separate voyages but is reflected in her loyalty history as one cruise. As I said, that was inconsequential for her, but if I was basing my booking decision on it I would want to get confirmation from Princess loyalty.
  10. If that’s the case it news to me since that wasn’t the case for us many years back when we were trying to get to Elite status. We did a B2B Alaska cruise that could also be booked as a single itinerary and the Captain’s Circle host I spoke with at the time told us we would only get credit for two cruises if we booked both individually and had two distinct reservation numbers. Perhaps that has changed but that was the way it worked for us when we were counting up to Elite status. OP, seems like there is conflicting information, so best to confirm with Princess loyalty.
  11. If you book it as B2B it will count as 2 separate cruises with two distinct reservation numbers. If Princess offers it as a single itinerary as well and you book it that way it will count as one cruise with one reservation number. My daughter and her husband booked their Med cruise last year as a 21 day single cruise itinerary, but it was also offered as three 7 day cruise itineraries as well. The cost was slightly better booking as a single itinerary and my daughter is already Elite so trip count didn’t really matter. Only you can determine what works best for you. If you are trying to achieve Elite status, it might be more beneficial to book it as two separate reservations if cost is equal. Sounds like you would achieve your Elite status by taking your second cruise leg, so you would not get benefits until your next Princess cruise after that. In terms of your shareholder’s benefit, you would get $100 OBC each leg if you book it as two trips or $250 if you book it as one. You wouldn’t be able to get the $250 if you book two separate reservations as the OBC credit is credited per reservation based on the benefits defined for that reservation.
  12. If the ship docks on time you should be able to get off by 12:30. You may be able to get a taxi but it’s a pretty long drive outside of town. It’s a beautiful place to visit, but if that’s a priority for you I would suggest renting a car. That’s how we have visited in the past. Much easier to just be able to drive yourself.
  13. If you really want to drive to San Francisco and leave your car parked there in a safer and more accessible parking area, you might consider parking at one of the long term airport parking lots and getting a taxi or Uber from there to the port. Lots of options for parking at SFO that may be more accessible for you.
  14. We have used Evergreen Taxi Service on past trips and found them very reliable. I'm sure they can assist with your questions about communication and meeting point. The taxi companies are very informed about ship arrival times, locations, etc. http://www.evergreentaxi.com/
  15. I have never seen a discount offer on specialty dining on Princess. In some instances a TA may offer a specialty meal as a perk included with your booking or if you have casino benefits your host may arrange a complimentary specialty dinner. Also people booked in suites get the benefit of a free meal in a specialty restaurant on embarkation day. But other than that or getting it included in your Premier package, the price for anyone purchasing onboard remains consistent.
  16. I will share a suggestion that worked really well for us when we had a late flight out of Vancouver. We rented a car at the port, used it to enjoy touring the city for the day, and then returned it at the airport location and took the rental car shuttle to our terminal. It worked great - we had our own transportation all day, no problem with storing our luggage which just went in the trunk, and it was way cheaper than the Princess transfers. If my memory serves me right we rented from Hertz, but Enterprise and Avis both also have offices near Canada Place.
  17. The easiest place for self hikes within in walking distance of the ship is probably in Skagway. Here is a link with some info: https://www.nps.gov/klgo/planyourvisit/hiking.htm In Ketchikan, there is some good hiking around the Ward Lake area, but you would need transportation. We generally rent a car. Same in Juneau - there are hikes at Mendenhall Glacier, Perseverance Trail, and Treadwell Mine, but all would require you to have a means of transportation to get there. One option in Juneau that is walkable from the ship is to take Mount Roberts Tramway to the top, (or you can hike up, but that is strenuous and muddy at times), and there are hiking trails at the top that you can take from the Visitor's Center area.
  18. Princess tends to have better itineraries - longer port times and docks directly in Ketchikan instead of remotely at Ward Cove so take a good look at the itinerary comparison. Generally Princess offers a superior Alaska experience. Glacier Bay as part of the itinerary is an important consideration as well. The weather may be a little colder and wetter late in the season, and you will have less daylight, but on the upside you may get a chance to glimpse the Northern Lights that late in the season. Some tours and shops may be closed, but as long as the ships are still coming, there will be plenty offered. Enjoy!
  19. It’s a great tour but I am not sure it would be the best for a 9 year old child. There are likely age minimums. It’s pretty strenuous and there are some inherent hazards. As a parent, I would not have chosen that excursion for my child at that age. We did it with them when they were in high school and college.
  20. A few ideas to consider: https://www.alaskazoo.org https://www.crowcreekgoldmine.com https://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/matsu/indepmineshp.htm https://www.alaskanative.net https://www.anchorage.net/outdoors/wildlife-viewing/
  21. We have not seen waitstaff in the theatres since prior to COVID. It used to be so nice on the older ships that have the foldout table in the armrest to order a cocktail prior to the show from one of the waiters wandering around taking and delivering orders. Just another relic of past times on Princess.
  22. Options for dinner would be Skagway Brewing Company, the Red Onion, or Fish Company near the dock.
  23. Oh my gosh. We haven’t seen Alfred and Seymour for years. They were regulars on many of our West Coast cruises for many years prior to COVID. They are very funny guys and super personable when you run into them around the ship.
  24. Pretty much any whale watching tour in Juneau will guarantee you see whales - humpback whales. Orcas are a very rare sight, much more prevalent in the Victoria and Vancouver BC areas. Safest and reliable is probably most likely guaranteed on one of the larger Allen Marine vessels that you book through the cruise line tours. Smaller private vessels like Harv and Mary offer a great personalized experience, but smaller vessels, while very safe, may not feel as comfortable for everyone.
  25. Princess has recently advertised some excursion “sales” on a few itineraries. However, what has been noted is that it appears the pricing of the excursions is raised just enough prior to the “sale” that the actual reduced price is pretty much the same as it was before. In general, the trend with Princess excursions is that they keep getting more and more expensive as the cruise gets closer. The excursion prices for our Norway cruise this summer have gone up across the board - 20 to 40 percent higher in some cases. Your best bet is to book early on any excursions you really want to do through the ship. If the price does get discounted, you can always cancel and rebook. That being said, we found the British Isles an incredibly easy place to book private tours. There are so many really good, reliable operators that cater to cruise ship passengers. Out of 9 ports we booked only two with Princess for very specific timing and desired activity reasons. In all other ports we did private tours that were way more cost effective and featured smaller groups and a more personalized experience. If you check out the British Isles ports of call board here on CC, there are many great recommendations. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/148-british-isleswestern-europe/
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