For once, embarkation was easy. We were on the ship in no time at all. This was perhaps the highlight of the voyage. I booked a cruise and I got a floating hospital.
I went to a port lecture and all I heard in the theater were wet hacking coughs in surround sound. I couldn't take it anymore and I left after 20 minutes. I ventured back for a few shows, same ubiquitous sickness, and never stuck around longer than a few minutes because of it. The public areas were all the same way. People were vomiting in the dining areas. I thought, being on vacation, that my HazMat suit could stay at work. Silly me. We later discovered our cabin steward wasn't changing our towels, replacing our glasses, or anything else they were supposed to be doing. These unsanitary conditions led to half my family get sick. One of them even got reinfected thanks to our steward's giving the appearance of a clean cabin rather than cleaning the cabin. If this is a new practice of Princess, it's no wonder there were so many sick people onboard.
16 hours before we were due to disembark, our steward took it upon themself to rearrange our personal effects to begin the turnover process. New sheets and robes showed up in our stateroom as well. Because I'd already packed my robe, I wore one of Princess' the final night. I apologize to whoever got the room next because they're wearing the robe I wore. It wouldn't surprise me if we received items used by the prior occupants as well. Our room was only properly cleaned on one night, the final night of the cruise. I think our steward drowned it in bleach because the smell was so strong it was nauseating.
We had an intruder in our stateroom. Another passenger was able to open our front door with their key card. We reported this to Passenger Services, who told us this was impossible. We wanted our locks changed. They told us nobody could possibly have broken in, so they would need to do an investigation first. Not only am I surrounded by sick people, but my stateroom isn't a safe location either. Next time we checked in, they were debating whether or not an investigation was necessary because it was impossible for anyone else to come into our stateroom. It took 16 hours for the locks to be changed. It took half a dozen additional requests for this to happen. Each time we were told it was impossible for anyone else to enter our stateroom. That's great, until you're looking at another person walking through your stateroom door. That was an entire day spent looking over our shoulders and running back to check our possessions because we did not know who else may have had unauthorized access to it.
We had maintenance issues with our stateroom. Things like a strobing fluorescent light and a broken thermostat. On prior Princess cruises, our steward would either change out the bulb or send maintenance in. Our steward turned the light off to "fix" (i.e. hide) the problem. Each time we spoke to Passenger Services, we were told, "Yes, right away." Right away roughly translates to, "Sometime in the next 8 hours, maybe." The only way to get repairs done were to communicate with Passenger Services every 4 hours. Each time it was, "Yes, right away." Except not. Average response time was 12 hours.
Generally, service was bad. We placed drink orders that never arrived. I splurged on the UKP only to find that bar staff didn't know what drink I was ordering, even when you're pointing to it on the bar menu. Mocktails were a crapshoot. You could order the same one at each bar on the ship and get an entirely different drink each time. FYI: They do not make the chocobanana with coconut milk as described on the menu, it's heavy cream. Had I not been watching the bartender make it, I would have been none the wiser. If you're lactose intolerant, this means the difference between enjoyable drink and pain.
I would expect unsanitary conditions, break-ins, and apathetic staff when I book a cheap motel room. I did not pay cheap motel room prices and I expect better from Princess. I'll be spending my time and money elsewhere the next time I cruise.