We have sailed around the world on Princess and this was to be a cruise to complete another section of the globe that we had not fully experienced prior to this cruise. We would be visiting 19 ports, as we traveled around South America in three different segments that made up the repositioning of the Grand Princess. The quality of the cruise was the lowest in our experiences traveling on Princess ships. Yes, we saw some very interesting sights in our travels, but the enjoyment of the cruise was dampen by the ship's atmosphere. Here are some of the examples:
1. On our first segment of 19 days we only had 3 production shows and that is counting one in the Vista Lounge. Those 3 shows were repeated on the 2nd and 3rd segment. That meant 3 production shows for 49 days.
2. Instead of Captain Circle events for the 2nd and 3rd segment, there was large and crowded "Welcome Aboard" type of parties for all aboard. That made the venues too crowded to see, standing only, and unenjoyable. We stayed only a few minutes at the second and third events and left.
3. We took the tour in 2 segments, Ft. Lauderdale to Santiago and Santiago to San Francisco. In the past we were billed at the end of the complete voyage, but now we were billed at the end of each of our segments. That makes a timing issue on paying our credit card. Not a major deal but inconvenient.
4. The Cruise director didn't appear to like the cruisers aboard the ship very much. She said she didn't have contest on the Wake Show because of passengers cheating. Other time cruisers were described as complainers, uninformed in that they couldn't appreciate the number of production shows, Counseled to not be cheap and bargain for souvenirs on shore, etc.
5. Because of the large number of Captain Circle Elite members aboard, benefits such as priority tender boarding were cancelled and we met in a room for Elite members to get tender tickets. Not a big deal but added to the atmosphere.
6. The food aboard the ship both at the Dining Rooms and Horizon Court was of less quality than we had previously experienced aboard.
7. We had a water leak in the hallway just outside our cabin that left wet carpets at our doorway. The leak was from the pool above us. There were two incidents with the first lasting over 4 days and the second lasting 2 days. We were awaken at 7:00AM one morning with loud noises coming thru the bulkheads and later had loud noises from work in the hallway until after 8:30PM on another occasion.
8. On one excursion in Punta Arenas, Chile. We went to see the Otway Penguin Colony. Our ship had arrived late in port so our morning excursion was changed to a midday excursion. When we got to the Colony there was about 200+ people from the ship excursions and only about 20 penguins. Our guide told us on the way back that the penguins had already migrate from the colony and the few remaining ones were out to see during the midday. This was a fact that was not told to us before the tour. Interestingly, the cruise video showed stock footage of the penguins from a different cruise.
9. The ship sailed from Manta, Equador with thirty-some passengers left on the dock as they were 30 some minutes late returning to the ship which was because their Princess tour to the Galapagos Island was late in returning to the ship.
10. The first segment we had the Nora Virus which happens. But on the second and third segments, there was a large amount of colds. This also happens, but the sanitary procedures aboard the ship appeared to be lax. Cleaning of tables was just a few swipes of a dry cloth and we did not see any stair railings being cleaned on the 2nd and 3rd segments.
We have decided to cancel our next cruise on Princess and wait until they Princess Policy returns to a better experience for the increasing cost that they are starting to charge.