We embarked on March 16, 2013 in San Fransisco...it was a GRAND Disaster.....we stood in line for over four hours waiting to board the ship. Several explanations were given throughout the four hours such as an immigration inspection because the ship had come from South America, a coast guard inspection, a staff member attempting to smuggle contraband and the cabins were not ready. The staff princess hires at the port are poorly trained and tired. Princess seriously needs to reevaluate the use of octogenarians for the boarding process. Princess failed at keeping passengers updated as to the reason for the delay. They should have provided water and a snack for those waiting in line. It was extremely difficult for the elderly passengers.
Once on the ship it was time for the muster drill. The ship was scheduled to sail at 4PM but did not set sail until shortly after 10PM. The staff on-board for the entire cruise were wonderful. Service in all areas of the ship was excellent with the exception of the casino cage cashiers. The ones I encountered were rude, curt and down right nasty. I asked for hand sanitizer for my use once I had finished in the casino and I was told I could use the toilet. Princess dropped the ball insofar as I am concerned about being proactive in making hand sanitizer available for casino customers. The machines are touched by many throughout the day and the chance to spread germs is very high. I have commented about this in the past and Princess obviously feels this is a non issue.
Overall rating for food was just average. Not a good as the Star and Sea Princess. Many offerings were luke warm and under seasoned. It was hard to complain as the wait staff was fantastic. We did dine in the Crown Grill and our meal was over the top good!
The comedy shows were excellent as was the ventriloquist and the mentalist. The princess productions were a bit underwhelming. The highlight of the entertainment lineup was the Crew Talent Show. A few of the crew members should transfer to the entertainment and production department. The Deputy Cruise Director Bernie was a riot. I think princess needs to promote her to a cruise director immediately!
All in all it was very enjoyable and we cant wait to to embark again on another princess cruise. Princess is a very good cruise line and the staff really make the difference. The ocean was smooth as silk for the entire cruise. The captain mentioned we were near a high pressure system the entire time and this accounted for the perfect sailing conditions.
One more thing....the security staff (local rent a cop) in all of the Hawaiian Ports were awful. They were rude and made the TSA agents look like the nicest people in the world.