We booked this Cruise in January 2013 to celebrate a friends special birthday. We have sailed with Princess on five previous occasions and have been upgraded to Platinum status. Princess have, for the past year made a huge deal about this Cruise with loads on videos and emails. To be honest, we were very excited at the thought of going to this trip.
Embarkation was fine. As a Platinum guest we had priority. We were lucky enough to be amongst the first new guests on board. The looked great. Although the length of the ship does not seem any longer than other ships we have been on, Crown Princess, Sea Princess, Ruby Princess it is a lot taller. Everything smelt brand new. The Atrium is a marvel. top points to Princess for the new design. The layout of this was somewhat different from the norm, which was a pleasant surprise.
Upon embarking, as one does, we headed straight up to the Horizon Court. The Horizon Court was very light and airy with the décor being very pleasant. Instead of the usual buffet lines, the design is totally different with long self service counters with a variety of different foods. Unfortunately, a lot of the food was repeated and what appeared to be a great choice turned out not to be. The hot food was not hot. The food was very bland with many passengers making derogatory comments. The service was good.
After lunch we headed to our Cabin. The cabin was very nice. Similar in size to what one would expect. We had a balcony cabin made up with a queen bed. A nice touch was the wall mounted wide screen TV with a great selection of films and TV box sets on demand at no extra cost. The cabin steward was great., Our room was clean and tidy at all times. The guy was polite and unobtrusive. Room service was good and on time.
Princess then, in my opinion really messed up. The first night was billed as a Formal night. The customary champagne waterfall was scheduled. We arrived as billed. No fuss was made of the new ship and the captain said nothing. Only a few drinks were handed around and I didn't see any canapés. A huge opportunity to welcome everyone aboard and to make everyone feel special was missed.
We opted, with our friends for anytime dining. In the afternoon we had phoned and made a reservation. No complaints surrounding this process. The food however was unimaginative, was cold and bland. Very disappointing.
After Dinner, having explored the ship we headed for the Show. The Princess Theatre on this ship has been designed differently than the other ships. Whilst the seats are more comfortable they no longer have trays to put your drinks. Only two narrow walkways now existing from the top to the bottom. The scenery and lighting was excellent as was the sound. The Princess Dancers were fantastic although the show itself was not to my taste.
In my opinion, the real let down of this trip was the Cruise Director and his staff. We have been unfortunate enough to have had the same Cruise Director, Ron Goodman on a previous trip. The guy was never around the ship and I don't think we saw his staff more than once. The guy is totally false.
We were due to visit Guernsey, but due to poor weather we could not dock. Princess had a captive audience. Hundreds of people were milling around the central atrium most sitting bored. The ship hurriedly produced a new Princess Patter but it was clear that the Ship not only had no B plan, but didn't have a C, D or E Plan. A friend of mine approach Goodman and said to the effect, hey, do something, you have a captive audience, this is a new ship, people are bored all he said was, 'thanks for your comments' and walked off. This guy and his team are doing Princess no favours.
All in all, having taken a number of cruises before, our party of 8 all felt let down by this whole experience.