We were looking forward to cruising South America and the Falkland Islands with which was our preferred cruise line, Princess. However, this was without doubt, the worst cruise we have taken during our cruising career.
Princess used the cheapest airlines to take us to Santiago, Chile and we had a nightmare of start to our cruise.
We are Elite members, so check in was fast and friendly.
The first night on board we noticed that hardly anyone bothered to dress for dinner and this continued throughout the cruise, even on formal nights! People were turning up for dinner in Tee-shirt and Jeans!
Princess has a dress code and is mentioned daily in the Princess Patter and upon entry to the main dining rooms.
The food throughout this cruise was poor throughout.
On sea days we found the food in the Horizon Court cold. It was not held at the correct temperature. Perhaps this added to the serious outbreak of the Norovirus.
The Ships' passengers consisted mainly of South Americans and a few Argentinians as well as a few American and British. The atmosphere on board was not good because of multilingual communications and tension!
Our first port of call was Peurto Montt, Chile and we were tendered to the port. The disembarkation of passengers both inward and outward was horrendous and the poor crew had no control over passengers whatsoever! I had to write to the Staff Captain about this matter. Whilst waiting to board our tender back to the Ship, we had to stand in line for 1 - 1.5hrs to pass through one security scanner as all the coaches came back at the same time. It was a nightmare.
As I stated, we are Elite members and have taken quite a few excursions booked with Princess, but most of the booked excursions we took on this cruise were dangerous and pricey - even though we enjoyed our trips to see the penquins.
The entertainment on the Ship was poorly organsised as most of the shows featured were on the evening before port days and most of us had to be up by 5 am so we needed to get to bed early to make the most of our time in port.
The guest lecturers were boring. However, our Port of Call guest was knowledgeable, but when we spoke to him in person, we found him rather patronising.
The boutique staff on Deck 6 were rude, surly and unhelpful.
The night before we reached Montevideo, Uruguay, we were informed that due to the norovirus, we all had to leave the Ship by 9am and not come back until 1pm. We had to clear all surfaces in our staterooms so they could be thoroughly cleaned before the ship reached its disembarkation port, Beunos Aires, the next day. We found this nonsense as everyone would have re-contaminated the ship upon our return.
It was raining very heavily in Montevideo and we had cancelled our tour as we felt very let down by the Excursions and took the sightseeing bus, which was good value for money.
However, I feel that this day did not help me from contracting a chest infection. I have just completed a two week course of antibiotics to clear up this infection.
Princess took us l-5 hours too early to check in at Buenos Airies.
I wrote Princess a letter immediately upon my return and received a patronising letter on 12 March 2013. They did not address many of my issues and we were not compensated for "the cruise from hell".
I have read many reviews of this Ship and the South American cruise does not fare very well.
I think Princess's policy of CRUISE, calling themselves "The Consumate Host" and the way in which the way they react to letters of complaint is appalling and I would NOT recommend Princess to friends and whether I cruise Princess after my next booked Princess cruise on Sun Princess, is very unlikely.
Another complaint I have about Princess is that we feel they do not like the British on their fleet, but this is just my feeling and may be unjustified.