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.
Overrated. There was no sandy beaches within the area of port, so count on taking a taxi there! But there was an abundance of shopping; however, it was seriously lacking on cute, trendy shops. It was more Gucci, Prada, Coach, etc. - really high-end shops that you would find in a very upscale community like Beverly Hills. My husband & I are both full-time college students who earn meager wages, so we did not even set foot into any of these shops. We did find two little gift shops that was by the Holland Mall - they had tons of merchandise in them. You name it, they had it (Cuban cigars, butterfly preserves, and all your typical gift shop merchandise, such as, apparel, magnets, post cards, jewelry, etc.).
Bonaire was ok. It had decent shopping within the location of the ship, it did not have any beaches within a 5-mile radius of the ship. The shoreline was filled with seaweed and huge rocks. We walked about 3 miles and found about a six-foot long patch of actual sand next to some private property. We ended up snorkeling in that area. When walking back we stopped at a bar that was right next to the port, it had affordable prices and cool things on the menu (like Octopus). It also had Dr. Pepper, which really satisfied my 12-y/o daughter. which Princess cruise ships do not have (Dr. Pepper is huge in Texas).
I stayed on the ship during this one, but my husband, father, and friend, got off the ship. They toured the different Forts throughout the island and walked around a lot. They booked an excursion with a local, NOT with Princess.
We booked an excursion WITH princess cruises for snorkeling in St. Lucia. WHAT AN UTTER DISAPPOINTMENT! I WILL NEVER EVER BOOK ANOTHER EXCURSION WITH PRINCESS AGAIN! Before giving my review, let me tell you about the my history of excursions. I have gone on other cruises and booked excisions through the cruise line and through touring vendors. This was by far the worst excursion.
I booked my shore excursion months before the cruise, giving ample opportunity for them to be organized. It took a while to get there, once arriving we were passed out equipment. I booked a child excursion for my daughter, who is 12. They had NO EQUIPMENT that fit her. This includes a flotation device, snorkel gear (mask, etc.), and flippers. After keeping my daughter & I out of the water, while the rest of the tour were already snorkeling, we had to sit and wait for them to find equipment. But, none of the gear were child-size, even though they had plenty of time to ensure they had child-size equipment in their inventory. Additionally, they couldn't find flippers my size (I have average size feet, size 8). They kept giving me flippers too big or too small. After speaking with the cruise excursions desk, they refunded me half-of the cost. Which, I guess is ok, but still upset me. If she couldn't participate, we should receive a FULL REFUND!Wow. Such disorganization. For $80 tickets per person, I would expect MUCH MORE.
St. Maarten or as many Americans refer to it as St. Martin was my favorite port out of all the five destinations. It had everything one could ask for. The guys in our party rented scooters and toured all over the islands. Us ladies took a water taxi to Downtown Phillipsburg and walked the town and did some shopping along with getting some drinks. Lots of shopping in Downtown Phillipsburg - it was $4 per person for a water taxi one-way OR $6 per person would give you all-day access to the water taxi. No problems with the water taxi, they left very often and had lots of ships available. It turned out to be a great day that we all enjoyed very much!