This was our ninth voyage with Princess.
Arrived at Port Everglades at approximately 12:15pm. The Port is one gigantic traffic snarl. Once we were actually allowed to exit my cab we ventured toward security screening, which was heinously understaffed. One line for Elite and Suite passengers and three screening lines for the remainder of the ship. Proceeded to guest check in, which it looked as if it was set up for the very first time. Disorganized to say the least. Finally made it into our suite A735 (Mykonos) at 1:30pm. The suite was fine and our room steward, Mark was kind and professional. The balcony was absolutely filthy. It appears that the smokestack deposits have been building up on the deck, the deck furniture and balusters for quite some time. Pictures are attached as attachment #1.
We went to the Elite lounge. Monnika, the attendant, was very nice and extremely helpful. Unfortunately she was not able to confirm a date for the ship's tour or the Chef's Table dinner. We were not invited to tour the ship but Monnika was able to confirm our reservation for the Chef's Table. Monnika also informed us that there was an upcharge to gain access to the Enclave. We have had the Grand Suite on the Golden and the Grand Princess and owner's Suites for the balance of our nine cruises. Thermal suite access has always been an amenity afforded to suite passengers. We were shocked to learn that we had to pay an up charge for the Enclave because it was never explained in any pre-cruise literature nor by our travel agent on the centurion desk of American Express. We paid $218.00 to gain Enclave access for 5 days. It was not as clean as any of the thermal suites we have enjoyed; loads of soiled towels strewn about and spillage water pooled everywhere. It appeared to me that it was terribly undermanned. We went once and did not return for the remainder of the cruise. As far as the Sanctuary is concerned, we had no interest to partake during past cruises for $50.00 per day nor did we have any interest this time.
The elevators are inadequate. There are not enough of them and it takes forever to get a cab that is not packed full like a train in China. There is no need for complete strangers to pack themselves into the cabs because they have waited so long. It's vulgar to say the least.
We were scheduled to depart port Everglades at 4:00 therefore the lifeboat drill was held promptly at 3:30pm. Unfortunately there was an issue with the luggage being delivered the ship so the ship did not set sail until after 5:00pm.
We proceeded to our 7:00 pm reservation at Sabatinis. We were seated promptly but then left to sit with no water or dink of any sort until 7:20pm. At that point our waiter approached us and sent a busboy over with water from a pitcher. No one ever asked if we wanted sparkling or still. It took another seven minutes to place a drink order only to wait another ten minutes for drinks to be delivered. The champagne that finally arrived was warm and flat. When our waiter returned we ordered a glass of Chardonnay to replace the champagne. We ordered and our first course arrived at 7:45. We waited for the secondi of pasta and then we waited some more. By 8:47, we still did not receive our pasta course, so we left. No entree that night. Would never go back again. According to other passengers the main course served in the dining room that same evening made it to the table in one hour. I understand the Sabatini’s is supposed to have a more relaxed pace than the dining room, but to sit with only appetizers for an hour and 47 minutes is not relaxed, it’s uncomfortable.
Why arrived at a Princess Cays but could not go ashore I the morning because of an issue with the tenders. Passengers that reserved a beach cabana for the day did not make it to the island until Noon when they paid for a full day. We just gave up waiting for a tender and decided to stay on board.
We had cocktails at the Wheelhouse Bar prior to our dinner reservation at the Crown Grill. Tess and Fabian, the bartenders at the Wheelhouse were professional and engaging. We enjoyed our time at the Wheelhouse. The Crown Grill dining room is quite lovely; unfortunately some engineer/architect ruined the ambiance by placing the life boats and their heavy equipment lifts smack in the middle of the dining room windows. That is not the case on any other Princess ship we have sailed. We have always enjoyed the lovely ocean view that the booths in the Crown grill afford. We were quite dismayed to see that change. The food and service at the Crown Grill was outstanding in spite of the architectural blunder. The maître D', our server, Grace and the other staff we encountered were kind, attentive and professional. The food was divine.
We went to Horizon Court for buffet lunch. We ordered a beer and a glass of wine faro unreserved, Zoran. Zoran charged our shipboard account and then proceeded to carry on a fifteen minute conversation with another passenger. Finally another server, Asis, realized the issue and retrieved our drinks for us.
Room service menu is paired down considerably and now passengers must pay a $3.00 delivery fee to have pizza from the pizza cafe by the pool sent to their room. Perhaps I could oversee this nickel and dime charge if the izzy actually came from Alfredo's. I was annoyed but paid the fee anyway.
We were supposed to be issued express walk off cards but instead received luggage tags, when we clearly carried our luggage onto the ship, for a 9:40am disembarkation time. I went to the passenger service desk only to stand in the Elite/suite passenger line only to be ignored by the desk staff. I waited for ten minutes until they stopped taking other passengers walking up and finally addressed the mistake and handed me the correct express walk off cards.
In conclusion, I noticed the following: swimming pools are unheated and cold. Again, the scarcity of stairs and elevators is really annoying and infringes on every passengers time and personal space. The fitness center is larger with far more amenities, which is why I conclude that it had to be located so far away from the Spa, Enclave and Retreat pool. The retreat pool/ bar area is a fabulous idea but not large enough to handle the capacity of passengers wanting to enjoy this adult only common area.
I will NEVER cruise on the Royal Princess again.