I have only been on 3 cruises before with MSC and Star Cruises so I only have my experiences to compare with Princess. I booked an outside cabin for myself, my wife and my 16 month old son, and a Balcony cabin for my in laws who were travelling with us.
We have just come back from an 11 day canary cruise on the Crown Princess.
The food was the great during lunch and dinner, with a great deal of choice and exceptional desserts, the food in the mornings was pretty much the same everyday but that is a minor niggle that can be overlooked given the quality of fare for the rest of the day. The food was definitely better than anything I have experienced in my previous cruises.
The cabin was of a decent size although the shower cubicle was tiny which is in line with my previous experience, however the balcony cabin was smaller in comparison to the cabin I had on the MSC Splendida which had a sofa and coffee table, but that is a newer and bigger ship so it is perhaps More
a unfair comparison.
The cabin steward was both friendly and cheerful and greeted me by first name everytime he saw me with a smile on his face, he kept the cabin neat and tidy.
Waiters were also similarly friendly and couldn't be faulted, however I would advise avoiding having dinner 7-8 if you are on anytime dining as they can't cope with the sheer volume of people and the one night we did it, we didn't get our starters until nearly 1 hour after sitting down.
My only criticisms are regarding the inflexibility of the loyalty scheme, mis-billing, mis-selling and funny coloured water.
Due to the timing of my in laws holiday from China, plus the locations that they wished to travel to, I had to book this cruise and a subsequent cruise on the emerald princess back to back. Because I paid for both cruises in full instead of waiting to finish one cruise and paying a deposit while on board, I missed out on a discount on the second cruise and on board credit for the second cruise.
I understand the policy and procedures, but I am disappointed that I have nothing to reward my loyalty when surely it would be better for princess for me to buy a second cruise without having competed the first one. The future cruise consultant and the captains circle consultant weren't really that interested and their responses boiled down to - book another one.
During our cruise my wife got a copy of our bill and checked it to see how much we had spent and noticed a transaction for $27 that she didn't recognise, this is something that I wouldn't have picked up on as I generally assume that these things are done right. Apparently someone on of the shops actually charged it to our cabin by mistake, and if my wife hadn't picked up on it, we would have paid for someone else's purchase. A couple of our fellow passengers mentioned this as well, so I suggest keeping all your receipts and carefully checking your bill.
Mis-selling - my father in law is from China and he wanted a watch that would change between UK and China time easily. The sales consultant told my wife and father in law that the Citizen watch he was recommending did exactly that, and also could switch to Denmark time easily (the starting point of his next cruise). So they bought the watch for $310 and as the transaction was being finalised I was told by the consultant the same information (I had to change a nappy for my son so I wasn't present at the start of the process). However, after looking at the manual it turns out Chi and Den on the watch face stood for Chicago and Denver and not China and Denmark as explained. When I returned to the shop another sales consultant told me that there is no return policy due to links being removed and the best they could do was an exchange.
We went back later with the watch and the person who sold us the watch initially was present so we spoke to him and he claimed that he told us it was American cities and London only on the watch face, and not China and Denmark. Having pointed out that was not what he told us originally we asked to speak to his manager. After a few more attempts at excuses, met with the reply of "I want to speak with your manage" he relented and returned the item.
The worst thing though was the brownish water available for most of the cruise, I need hot water for formula milk for my son, so everyday became a game of let's find a hot water pump that doesn't dispense brownish water. I raised the issue with waiters who seemed to think it was normal, and also with passenger services who assured me that they would look into it. The problem lasted all the way to the end of the 11 day cruise without being fixed - disgusting service to go with disgusting water.
Lastly there are too many days at sea during the start of the cruise, which normally wouldn't bother me except the lack of activities and relatively poor quality of shows. We had a lot of not so funny 'comedians' and also not so funny 'comedians' who do music.
Overall I doubt I will be cruising with Princess again. Less