Although this was our first Princess cruise, we booked the trip with my parents, who has almost TWENTY Princess cruises. My husband & I have sailed for other cruise line and told my parents that we didn't know what they were bragging about all this time. After this trip, my parents do not care for ever booking a Princess cruise again. The service of our steward was wonderful, the staff on the ship is very friendly, especially the waiter and the asst. wait staff in our traditional dining. But, the ship was seriously lacking. Here are the pro's and con's - going to start with the Con's since they outnumber the Pro's.
- I like to watch TV to unwind. Poor selection of channels, too much Princess commercialization!!!
- The "Movies under the Stars" needs work. Surround sound is needed. Music was way too loud. Bass was giving me a migraine, yet I could not hear the voices of the people in the movies.
- I had heard from other Princess cruise-goers about how great the milkshakes are... I thought they had sucked royally. I have had much better milkshakes at Steak N' Shake or even McDonalds. The milkshakes were like milk (very runny, not even the slightest bit thick). My husband and I got their unlimited sodas and more package because we love milkshakes - what a disappointment and waste of money! Did they change to ice milk or something?
- The ice cream quantities was too meager. They would give you the littlest bit of ice cream on the cone. All cone and too little ice cream.
- International Cafe is where they serve espresso and desserts, its very hit-and-miss. Once in a while you will find some fabulous desserts, but most of the time, they are don't have much of anything notable.
- No good soups. No Lobster Bisque. No snow crab. The menu did not find the fab foods that you would find in other cruise lines.
- If you wanted steak and/or seafood, get prepared to pay $25/per head!!! The good seafood is in Crown Grill, but there is a $25 cover charge per person and they are booked WAY IN ADVANCE, so plan accordingly!
- Dress code is strictly enforced in traditional dining room, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the way you look at it. It became a bad thing when there was a particular young lady who would wear crop tops showing her belly piercing and other extremely trashy clothing, but if my husband wore a pair of khaki shorts, he would have to leave and go change clothes! That's when I began to have a problem with it. BE CONSISTENT!
- The ship needed better plumbing or a better septic systems! There was continuously problems with toilets not flushing, this includes public bathrooms, which I might add, were disgusting! I have seen cleaner bathrooms at 7-eleven. Come on Princess, hire a cleaning crew to maintain the bathrooms!
- Porting: there was always a line when trying to get off the ship, whether you got off as soon as they ported or if you purposely waited around a couple hours, lines that went up and down the staircases to get to the gangways.
- Another porting issue: Not sure why we ported so late at some of the locations. Some ports were at 10AM, another one was after 12PM??? Why so late?
- Inside staterooms for 4? We need some more space. It was way too cramped. I have had inside staterooms on other cruise ships and they had more room.
- LAUNDRY ROOM FACILITIES - Whoa $2.00 to wash a load, $2.00 to dry, and $1.25 for a one-load box of detergent. The laundry room facilities was cluttered and dirty. Also they had iron boards and irons there, but there was rust marks all over the irons (ruined a brand new dress shirt of my son's). I have seen much cleaner laundry facilities in the slums of a local community.
- No alcohol package. Like to drink? Better be prepared to spend the cash! Other cruise lines offer various alcohol beverage packages. Princess does not.
- Website - I hate unorganized, difficult to navigate websites, the princess so-called "cruise personalizer" is one of them! Also, it should allow you to find out the specifics on drink packages, you shouldn't have to wait until you board the ship to purchase one!
- Soda/Pop - Princess please list the types of sodas on your website. I ordered the soda package for my daughter, but wouldn't have if I had known you don't serve Coke-Zero and do not serve Dr. Pepper or any other equivalent. Only soda they have is Root Beer (not diet), Diet Coke, Coke, and Sprite. That's it.
- The alcoholic drinks. - The frozen drinks are pricey and sickening sweet!!! I like how they tell you what's in each drink on the menu; however, each of the drinks have sugar syrup added. Real Daiquiris are not made with sugar syrup. They are made with either ice, fresh fruit, with rum OR with frozen fruit and rum!! I would expect so much more with the prices of their drinks!! Tropical blend was the only one with real fruit in it and no syrup. So after having a couple different frozen drinks, we had the tropical blend drink every time thereafter.
- Kid center seemed to have good activities for children, although it was seriously lacking children that attended.
- Wait staff was great and seemed like they enjoyed their jobs. They would go out of their way to help you.
- Service was all around good. We had many apologies for the toilet-flushing issues because obviously it was out of the control of the stewards. This includes bartenders in the clubs, wait staff in anytime/buffet dining, passenger services, the DJ's or bands, etc. - all stellar.
- For Karaoke-lovers, there are plenty of opportunities to cash in! The evening activities and parties were fun and had excellent organizing! Well done.
- Liked the "themed" nights. Many cruise lines have this, but on this ship, it was very well done. Decor, the wait staff would be wearing different apparel, and when you walk in they would be all standing in a line singing songs to whatever the theme is. There was Italian night, formal nights (2), and the last night.
Overall, I would say I liked Celebrity Cruise line better.