CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Princess Cruises Dawn Princess by Michael Denardo Alaska August 6, 2006

My wife and I recently experienced our sixth cruise but our first on Princess. We left Seattle on the Dawn Princess which took the inside passage to Alaska. A small ship by today's standards, it was well maintained and very clean.

I had a few complaints that I thought were a reoccurring problem. First, we paid for a balcony but couldn't use it much because of a sewer gas smell. I couldn't pin point the origin but it was consistently unpleasant all week long. More often than not the food was only warm. It didn't matter whether we had our meals in the dining room or at the buffet. Salt and peppershakers were often absent from the buffet tables; almost cold food was the norm. A waitress who was a bit too efficient pushed and rushed all of our dining room meals.

On the bright side the king crab was wonderful as was the halibut served in the buffet. The deserts were spectacular as one might hope. Our room attendant was second to none. A small, young woman from the Philippines, she busted her behind day and night to please her guests.

Our greatest disappointment was our failure to negotiate the entire length of Tract Arm. We encountered heavy ice and had to turn back shortly after entering the arm. This wasn't the fault of the cruise line but when we stopped our progress, the Naturalist, in a surprised but phony manner, announced we could go no further for safety reasons. This seemed to everyone as a lame scheme to make it appear as if they had been caught off guard and were as disappointed as everyone else that we couldn't precede further when they must have known the conditions before we entered the Arm because the sister ship, Sun Princess past us as we entered the arm and did notify our ship the passage was blocked by ice.

In all, the cruise was fun and enjoyable. We saw nearly fifty whales during the week not to mention tens of thousands of salmon that were running the streams. It was cloudy much of the time but during August, expect clouds and rain and don’t forget to dress warm. The high temp on one day was a mere 44 degrees.

Those who were taking their first cruise seemed to loved it, but those who I spoke with who have taken other cruises were somewhat critical. Would I cruise Princess again? I wouldn’t rule it out but just knowing that Carnival Cruise Lines now owns Princess Cruises, I think I’d prefer to cruise with another line if possible.

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