Overall : A pleasant cruise but spoilt by the basics not being right, an indifferent and flippant Cruise Director and a ship sadly in need of more maintenance of the basics seen visually by passengers. Rating 3 1/2 out of 5 . Princess are slipping, too much attention to penny pinching and peripheral things like pillow menus, and sheet thread counts; and not enough attention to getting the basics right and basic maintenance of the things passengers see.
Embarkation: At Sydney was fast and efficient, albeit in a virtual Circus tent.
Disembarkation: In San Francisco was tediously slow. Princess kept announcing it was US Customs who were controlling the speed, BUT on alighting the cases were just lined up in this barn like shed with un-professional hand written directional signage, with not a Customs Officer to be seen, and no cases being checked at all by anyone from US Customs.
Stateroom : When one pays $ 28,000 for an AA Suite one would expect that the basics would have been checked and be spot on . On boarding NO hot water , defective air conditioning and the Stateroom over 80 f and absolutely breathless with no actual air circulation. In addition a corroded exterior handle falling off the balcony door, black oily soot (from the funnel) all over the exterior balcony and furniture, no varnish on the balcony railings and rust and corrosion stains on the balcony railings . All this for $ 28,000 but nice flowers, a pillow menu and a bowl of fruit each day which took 2 requests to stop !
It took 3 complaints and 3 days to finally get some hot water, and a similar time to get the air conditioning functioning with some degree of actual air circulation . The door handle was fixed with silicone and silver paint ! The rust stains on the railings was just washed off and painted over, no one did anything to actually address the source of the rust above which was just left to further corrode whilst at sea , and dribble rust stain down again to the cabins below.
SEA PRINCESS had missing lost welds in stainless steel railings poolside, lots of bare wood railings and steps poolside in need of re-varnishing, exterior electrical conduit in one place supported just by the cable within, with the support brackets long having totally rusted away . It appeared a vessel with quite a maintenance deficit in the things pax see deckside.
Food : Excellent throughout in quality and range both in Traviata, Rigoletto,
dining rooms and the Horizon Court buffet .
Staff : Excellent except for a Cruise Director who shirked his responsibilities and really just fobbed off complaints or suggestions (see below).
Entertainment : Generally excellent throughout. Moonlight Duo were outstanding in public areas .
A group Derringer persisted in playing at far too loud a volume both poolside and in the Wheelhouse Bar . Many passengers were not happy and complained. I raised the issue of the excessive volume with the CD especially inside in Wheelhouse Bar as most pax left as they could not conduct a conversation whilst this group played . The CD told me to ask them to tone it down, this I did as did several others to absolutely no effect . One would think the CD is in charge of the Entertainers and that it would be his job to see that volume was reasonable, not flick pass that responsibility to passengers . Princess and their CD's need to understand the average age of the pax would be over 60 and they do not want to be deafened and subjected to a battle of the bands .
Movies Under the Stars was generally just latest release young adult rubbish totally unsuited to the average age profile on the ship . Sailing through the Pacific with a 60 + age profile where were classics such as South Pacific, James Michener, Blue Hawaii, Tora Tora Tora ? Suggestions of films better matched to the age profile of the pax to the CD were dismissed with , "We have to show what Head Office sends us !" Again Princess should be matching the films better to the age profile of the passengers they are carrying , and to the areas they are sailing through for specific cruises. . Again the volume of this outdoor screen both with films and the annoying rock concerts during the day was far too loud . No one on board seems to be interested or care . The louder, more deafening and more annoying the better to them.
Port & Shore Excursions: were all of high quality and well run, albeit they continue to be grossly overpriced by Princess . The ships photographers persist in obstructing the gangways to take every posssible photo, delaying disembarkation both off gangways and especially at tender ports Princess should make these people operate well clear of gangways and landings at all ports. They are an absolute pest and annoyance .
Food & Beverage : Faultless in terms of both variety and quality with no repetition of menus over the 28 day cruise .
Ports of Call : Would much have preferred to call at New Caledonia than Suva which is an absolute dump, otherwise the ports of call were all excellent .
Other : Incorrect signage on the Promenade Deck directing joggers and walkers to proceed clockwise, whilst Princess Patter asks correctly to go anti-clockwise.
Signage on the Promenade Deck asking pax not to throw rubbish overboard, to place same in the waste bins provided . ONE small problem , there is not a single rubbish bin actually provided on the whole circuit of this deck !
On a 28 day cruise one does become a bit sick of the ships photographers continually shoving their camera in your face at every possible opportunity.
I object violently to them taking your photo without permission in the dining rooms . Princess need to get these people under control.
The nightly avalanche of promotional rubbish delivered with the Patter to Staterooms each night needs to be toned down too. From wrinkle cures, to Art Auctions, fitness gurus etc all went in the bin, what a waste of trees .
In conclusion: Having been on four Princess Cruises the average age profile is 60 + and Princess need to better match their films and music to this age group. An obsession with cost cutting is spoiling the ship for a hapence of tar, and Princess will lose pax if they do not get the basics right and stop penny pinching . 3 1/2 out of 5 for SEA PRINCESS and this cruise, not really value for money . Have started looking at other Cruise Lines who value regular cruisers more .