Just returned from our 4th Princess Cruise, and unfortunately our last. First, the positives. The staff, for the most part were friendly and helpful, especially the dining and social staff. We love to dance, and the dance venues and bands were excellent. The itinerary was very good (which is why we chose this cruise). The shows, although sometimes too short, were great. The Piazza was stylish, especially the International Cafe, which had excellent food and coffee. Now the negatives. This ship should not be used for this itinerary because none of the pool areas are covered. With the cool climate, it seemed like a large part of the ship was wasted. The food was not up to prior Princess standards. Fresh fish was terrible. Some of the public areas were not clean and it was common to see a public bathroom out of order. Embarkation was a nightmare, with long lines and little explanation as to what the problem was. Disembarkation took an hour! Also, only the driver loaded the shuttle bus to the airport. It was heartbreaking to see a 70+ man loading ALL the luggage on the bus, and of course it took too long. Tender service back from Guernsey was poorly coordinated with a very long line. In Inverness, when we got back to the ship, there was only one door open and a very long line. We had to wait out in a bone chilling rain and there were no apologies. We did not embark the first day due to a "technical" problem. The staff was not very forthcoming about this and the compensation of $75 shipboard credit was not adequate. The attitude was that another sea day gave the ship an opportunity to make more money! The captain skipped Liverpool for unknown reasons, and many were very disappointed. Finally, we were unable to tender from Edinburgh and had to sail away for another sea day. There were 3 formal nights, although all the brochures said only two. Why?? I had to inquire 4 times about an aborted internet session before I got the charge deducted from my bill. We did not use the spa. Why get a massage for $145 when I can get one for $75 at home??? Could it be that much better? The cabin steward did not seem to always understand our requests. When we commented to the front desk, apparently the supervisor rolled the poor guy on the coals, because he came up to us to apologize profusely. This made for a very embarrassing and uncomfortable situation..........All in all, I found that the old Princess standards of high customer satisfaction are just not there anymore. There is a prevailing attitude of " I'm very sorry for you inconvenience, but it's not my fault and we really can't do anything about it." Too much is blamed on the home office.Excursions comments:
GUERNSEY Interesting half day. The buses don't run that often, and it seemed that we need to wait too long for the next bus. Tender service going back was poor
CORK Highly recommend Butler tour. Very good pacing and informative
BELFAST For Titanic Fans, the new museum is a must see! We got tickets in advance and had no problem getting in promptly. Paddy Campbell's Black Cab tour, with driver Patrick, was enjoyable.
GLASGOW Here we did the Gordon Ross tour, and he was great. It was a busload of 23 people and he was interesting and very funny
INVERNESS Inverness Tours with John was excellent to Loch Ness Urquart, Cawdor, Cairn Clava
NORMANDY Overlord Tours with Guillame was a special day. The guide did not really talk much too and from the D Day sites, although he answered questions. While at the various beaches, churches and cemetery, he was very informative. It was a very emotional day , but something I just had to see, similar to the feeling of going to Pearl Harbor. A must see experience