This was a 2nd Wedding Anniversary cruise for me and my husband as well as a "family cruise" since we traveled with our parents and also a grandparent. We thought we prepared as well as possible with some perks thrown in too- 3 connecting balcony cabins, a Champagne Balcony breakfast for all the first morning at sea, liquors of choice to be waiting for us in our rooms upon boarding and a specific request of bathrobes for all. What seemed simple to plan on our end ended up being a difficult task for the ship crew to provide.
Our luggage arrived so late and the contents of one case had gotten wet, somehow. In order to receive our in-room liquor, we had to wait for a steward to deliver us a paper voucher and then call room service to request a 2nd person come retrieve the paper voucher and finally await a 3rd person to deliver to liquors verified by the said signed paper voucher. This would have been almost acceptable if the person delivering the paper voucher had been so kind as to knock on our door and let us know they'd dropped it into the plastic wall bin outside our door. We found this system to be a waste of paper and human time, not to mention frustrating for us all not to be able to enjoy cocktails at ease on our balconies.
Trying to get connected to the front desk or room service was an ordeal. I spent most of our first night on the phones, trying to get vouchers delivered to verify Champagne Balcony Breakfast was really going to be delivered to our 3 cabins the first morning at sea. I was on the phone up until a bit after 2am when I finally gave up. About 5:30 am, I started trying again. Mind you, this was something I had called in the week before sailing to order and prepay for our family as a gift. When the breakfast came, only two rooms were delivered and our food got cold because we didn't want to be rude and eat in front of our 3rd cabin guests who were still waiting for their gift breakfast. How awkward and embarrassing our gift to our parents and grandmother turned into a fiasco. It was a delicious offering, nicely presented and decently priced but the execution was a letdown.
My husband and I have only sailed on Holland America ships before so we didn't know what kind of dining to expect but it was such a disappointment that the dining alone has been enough to turn us off to Princess Cruises forever more. The lido dining choices were awful, simple foods like scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes were cold where they should have been hot, cheese selections were slices of Swiss, Cheddar and Jack, pretty pedestrian stuff. Kudos to the teams working the Pizza, Hot Dog and Burger counters because we were hardly the only people on board eating most of our meals there in order to avoid the lido buffet. The dining rooms were little better as far as food quality and the service took so long at an average of 2.5 hrs per dinner that several times our family left before enjoying a dessert, coffee and nightcap drink. Our family of 6 tried each dining room and also the Sterling Steakhouse which surprisingly at less than half of tables full still had us waiting uncomfortably between courses and there again, we all left before dessert because we were all so tired and frustrated.
What broke the camel's back for us though (besides ratty see through bathrobes that would cover anyone's backside) was when two of the ladies in our family went to the salon to have their hair shampooed & styled for Formal Night. My mother discovered during conversation the woman doing such a terrible job styling her hair was actually a tooth whitener! The charges were reversed for the stylings but our family portrait for Formal Night was spoiled by the lackluster hairdo's. Nothing beats your mother-in-law saying she didn't want to hurt your feelings by telling you how awful your hair looked. Thanks Princess Cruises.~
In leaving the ship and settling our account, Princess Cruises failed to apply my husband's Military discount and then said it was up to us to fix their error as they had closed all accounts and could not offer any further service. It should be no surprise none of our party of 6 cruise loving family who were on board last week will ever again choose a Princess cruise.
Our parents and grandmother took the tour of Hotel California and said it was worth recommending to anyone, very informative, very lovely and comfortable.
Our family of 6 took a comfortable bus tour to La Bufadora. Our tour guide Melanie was excellent, informative and attentive which we all appreciated very much. The blowhole has a small lane of stalls selling a wide range of things, that is very accurate and we could've skipped all other shopping stops in order to get everything at La Bufadora and at better prices too.
My mother and my husband's grandmother took this tour and were very disappointed. The tour was a gift to them and they had no idea what it cost so their disappointment was only the tour itself. Apparently the tequila factory isn't a tequila factory at all but a dilapidated, dirty building with a tiny hot room where 50 some people are expected to crowd in and sample tequilas for sale. As for the tile store, my mother said it was no more exciting or unique than a downtown Los Angeles flea market. This is definitely not what I wanted our ladies to experience. The stop at a restaurant for a lunch turned out to be a single "street taco" at a stall. Shame on you Princess for such a deceptive description!