My fiancé and I are avid cruisers. We have sailed on many ships and various cruise lines and always came back to Princess. This was my 5th and his 13th cruise on Princess. But, they really dropped the ball on this one. While there are a couple "shining stars" on the boat (Ilarion in the Sanctuary and Benji at the front desk) who provided us with excellent customer service but, this was BY FAR the worst cruise I have ever taken.
Check-in: as soon as we entered the port terminal in our taxi we encountered a traffic back-up. It took 1 hour to get from the port entrance to the drop-off area. We had preferred check-in, but still waited in a VERY disorganized line for another hour waiting to get through security. Past security there was no dedicated Preferred check-in, only chaos and a frazzled Princess employee that instructed us to "just try to find the shortest line." We were just so excited to get on the boat and start our vacation that I was willing to excuse the ineffective check-in process. But after walking up the broken escalators I was quite grumpy again.
Cabins: our mini-suite was standard Princess. Quite comfortable (we opted for the full shower which is definitely worth it) and the new larger flat screen tvs are nice. However, the balconies are un-realistically small. In fact, tiny. They squeeze two reclining (not sure how) lounge chairs, foot rests and a table on the balconies which leaves no room for actually maneuvering around outside. I really enjoy sitting on the balcony looking for dolphins and enjoying the sunsets. But, not this trip. We also sent our clothes for dry cleaning, which was not returned by 6pm the next day as promised. In fact, we did not have formal clothes as a result and were not allowed in the dining room.
Dining Room: food was ok, our waiter and assistant waiter were pleasant. Like I mentioned before, we did not have our clothes for formal night and were actually escorted out of the dining room because my fiancé wore his jeans (nicer than the overly tight and outdated formal wear worn by most of the men I might add). This was after we were already seated at our table enjoying wine. HOW EMBARASSING and what ATROCIOUS customer service. We asked to speak to the head waiter Victor after the incident and were ignored. We had to complain at the front desk for 3 days to get the maitre'd to contact us. And when he did he was a complete ass. Very pompous. What happened to good customer service and actually caring about the customer? Such a disappointment.
Customer Service: with the exception of the few employees I wrote about earlier, customer service on this ship is non-existent. The staff did not seem happy at all and a bit disorganized.
Entertainment: was ok, but very hard to get into. We had to arrive at least 45 minutes prior to any show in order to get a half way decent seat. The "cigar bar" Churchills was pretty much a closet… without a bar.
I will end this on a happier note though…. we did actually lose a few pounds from walking the stairs. The elevators were often too full or just did not stop on our floor.
All in all… a very poor experience. And, as a result we will likely never cruise Princess again.