Royal Princess Cruise Review by dcstep: Cruise cut short, but still good
Overall Member Rating
Cruise cut short, but still good
We took the itinerary starting in Venice, to Athens, to Ephesus, to Istanbul, to Mykonos, to Naples, etc., ending in Barcelona.
We were very pleased with the ship and the amenities, including dining. We chose 8:15 p.m. dinner and were well served by our waitress and her assistant. We also tried the Chef's Table on night are enjoyed an exceptional menu and tour of the kitchen with the Head Chef and Maître De.
We had a deluxe balcony room. Over prior Princess ships that we'd cruised, the bathroom was more efficient and the room was about the same size. We were on the 9th deck.
This is a very busy itinerary, with few days at sea and lots of exploration time. Two or three days in a row can get a bit tiring, particularly if you chose excursion including lots of walking through ruins. We loved the destination and were very pleasantly surprised by Turkey. Greece was a bit sad because it's responded very poorly to the financial crisis. In contrast, Italy More seemed to be healthy, but I miss the Lira and the bargains that used to come with it as a currency. The Euro makes no sense when you pay more for something in the country of origin than you would pay for the same thing in the USA.
We found the crew very courteous and supportive. Our room stewardess always had a big smile and greeting and kept our room constantly refreshed. (We actually had two cabins, because two daughters joined us). Our primary waitress was very attentive. The first night she was a little slow with the water, but she recovered and made that a priority for the duration of our cruise. In the buffet area, I sat in the same area whenever I took breakfast or lunch there and got to know the waiters there so well that they'd bring me my beverage without me having to ask.
The ship is beautiful, with opulent common areas. The Allegro dining room was very fine and the special Chef's Table was opulent as well. The sushi bar was very good, but not world class (I'm comparing to the very best in Tokyo and NYC), but the price was right and convenient.
Unfortunately, between Mykonos and Naples, the ship lost primary power. The auxiliary power always maintained essential services, such as toilets. We did lose cabin lighting, elevators and some other services. Partial power was restore in a few hours and we ate at our normal time as the ship got underway, but at only 10 to 15-knots. We were a day late into Naples and it was quickly decided, during the first night, that the cruise would terminate in Naples and we would receive 100% refunds of our cabins and travel, as well as a 25% on a future cruise to be booked by the end of 2014 (it could be taken later).
Generally, Princess handled everything well. The Captain gave us very regular updates. There were huge crowds at the customer service desk for reasons that I don't understand, since we were all informed that the travel arrangements were being booked by a team of employees at Princess offices around the world. The people at the desk on the ship could really only relay requests to the corporate team. There is free Wi-Fi on board for dealing with ship matters. I think that Princess would be wise to make use of that as an alternative communications vehicle, telling passengers what travel arrangements were being made and offering a way to ask questions or make change requests. There's no reason for people to stand in line to only relay requests to corporate. We only knew our travel arrangements at 9 p.m. on the 24th, just hours before having to board a bus to Rome at 12:30 a.m. the 25th, beginning a tortured 24-hour return home.
So, I'm very pleased to have gotten 8-days of touring essentially for free. Princess needs to iron out its procedures a bit more to keep passengers better informed. I received my refund on the 27th, the last scheduled day of our original booking. The amount just showed up in my bank account with no fanfare and I'm waiting on a detailed statement from Princess. Less
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This cabin was very far forward. Next time we'll make sure that we're amidships. Dolphin deck is the 9th floor, which was convenient for me. We could walk down to the piazza on the 6th and 7th floors. Most dining is toward the stern, so this was a bit far forward.
Be careful where your room is.
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