We went on this cruise with friends who are platinum travelers with Princess. These friends, as well as other friends, told us what wonderful experiences they had had on Princess ships. Unfortunately, this particular cruise did not live up to expectations at all.
First, transportation provided by Princess from the airport to our pre-cruise hotel was difficult. It would have been much better for us to get our own cab rather than take hours to collect everyone on the bus and then wait in long lines at the hotel counter to get our room key. The hotel was centrally located and was nice.
The transfer from the hotel to Southampton was uneventful. The check in process at the terminal was painfully long.
The ship itself left much to be desired. We were on Riviera Deck 14 in a balcony cabin. We were supposed to have adjoining cabins and that did not happen. (The same thing happened to the couples next door to us.)
The toilets had issues from day 1--either they took a long time to flush or they did not flush at all. The steward tried to help but the condition did not improve. The tile grout in the bathroom had black mold that could be clean off when I scrubbed it. The shower turned very hot or cold when someone nearby flushed their toilet or took a shower.
The service staff members were all delightful. They were helpful and always ready to serve with a smile. This was true of all staff on the entire ship.
The food in the Coral Dining Room was only adequate. The quality and variety of food one would normally expect on a cruise was missing. Although the wait staff was terrific, the food left much to be desired. I prefer my steak and prime rib well done.....that seemed to be an impossible task for the chef even after sending it back twice.
The excursions were simply ok, and not well organized. The scenery was wonderful and we did enjoy our times in port. Most of the guides were ok....however, one in Cork took pride in telling us how much he loved to drink and how much he hated the Northern Irish. We cancelled our end of cruise transfer to the airport in favor of getting a cab--wise choice!
All things considered, I don't think I would choose Princess again.