My extended family decided on a Christmas-time cruise this year, on Princess, out of Galveston to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize.
My sister, a doctor who was on call the week prior, missed her morning-of-the-cruise flight due to a patient complication that kept her. And, as a result, she missed the cruise. Ugh, not a great way to start.
Not surprisingly, there is no refund for missed cruises. What WAS surprising is that Princess customer service said that my sister's stateroom reverted to them. So, in spite of no refund and even though my father had paid for the room and was on board with the rest of the family, we could not use the empty stateroom. I was shocked. How could they not refund anything and yet not let her family use the room? I appealed to customer service several times. We had a family member with IBS with us, who had a migraine one day, and it would have been a godsend for him to have a quiet place to retreat to. But no, customer service (Stephanie) simply repeated the party line that the room had reverted to the Princess, and that they would keep it for an emergency. (Interesting -- do they not otherwise make provision for emergencies?) In fact, the room remained empty for the duration, except for one early day when staff were in there painting it. (I guess that modest refurbishment qualified as an emergency? We in the next door staterooms didn't love the paint smell... Seems possible it might have contributed to the migraine, in fact.)
I waited in line several times to review this situation. Stephanie offered to set me up for a call with her boss, but was inaccessible in person and didn't return phone calls, and I didn't want to ruin the whole cruise by waiting in line beyond the first two days.
In addition, one of our pieces of luggage was not delivered the first day. Kind of stressful - imagining a week without anything for one of our party. We went and found it eventually, but courtesy of another long wait in line at customer service. UGH. Between the crazy lines to board and then the lines to try to get use of my sister's room, and then the line to try to recover our luggage and then the lines to fix mistakes on excursion vouchers, the first two days were NOT good.
We were lucky that we had great weather.
I thought the food was good. We loved our two waiters. (Thanks again Rei and Carlos!) Our room steward did a great job, and was really friendly when we bumped into him from time to time. The Zumba classes were really fun. My son enjoyed some time in ShockWaves, the kids' room, and the staff there were friendly and nice. We particularly liked our Cozumel snorkeling experience -- really fun and friendly staff (Latino dancing on deck was a hoot);saw a baby shark, baby turtle, the expectable fish. Really mediocre lunches on the excursions, though. The Belize river trip excursion included an un-advertised hour and half in a bus, which I wouldn't have chosen had I known about.
I thought the entertainment was generally pathetic, with the notable exception of fiddler David Klinkenberg.
The pool area was so loud -- with bands, piped in music, TV, amplification of inane poolside games -- it was close to unbearable. I guess the presumption is that there should be no poolside conversation?! Of course I would have gone to the quiet pool, but I had my 9 yr-old with me, so couldn't.
We got on-board a week after the Princess had had an outbreak of virus. My son got sick and was vomiting for one day after we got off the ship.
In short, we had a mixed experience, but generally enjoyed the cruise EXCEPT that the decision to deny us my sister's room created a huge amount of frustration and ill-will. Needlessly, it strikes me.
I don't believe anyone in my family will be on any future Princess cruise. And we are spreading the word of our disappointing and unfair-feeling experience to anyone who asks about our holiday...