Just arrived home after a 14day cruise on the Sun Princess. Only our 8th cruise but the first time we have arrived home feeling cheated and rather annoyed.
Which is a shame because it is not the vessel’s fault, more the attitudes of the operator.
Firstly the ship, as to be expected from Princess, it was clean, tidy, classy, although it does seem a crowded ship when full with quiet seating hard to find and far too much loud music and "activities”.
Staff were excellent, entertainment very good with a fantastic comedian from the North of England. Very funny guy.
And Maurizio was back!. He is a Princess gem, a real entertainer.
Food standards seem to have fallen, fewer courses and miniscule helpings (Almost had me looking for a Maccas!!) Buffet very ordinary although not as bad as the description I heard someone give it as "muck for the masses”!
No our main gripe was twofold.
We were booked on a Sydney, Qld, Sydney cruise with an addition of the first two legs of the next round NZ cruise. Total 14days. This is how it was advertised and sold in NZ and about 250 Kiwis were doing this. On our return to Sydney the port call was treated by Princess as a disembarkation and embarkation call. Those of us intransit were told we had to go through Customs and were given two times of 0920hr and 0940hrs to meet in the lounge prior to going through Customs. With the ship sailing at 1600hrs we had to be back by 1430/1500hrs latest this left very little time in Sydney. However we were berthed at that rathole known as White Bay, with no public transport and Princess not putting on any shuttle buses. The result was lot of very angry passengers, some being charged 20 to 40 dollars for a taxi into the city.
Why could the sailing not be planned for 1900hrs, we caught have still got to the BOI in time
Frankly this was not good enough. "Consumate Host”, no, sorry Princess, you dropped the ball big time here.
As we were meeting our son and daughter in law for the first time in over year, we just took off and sneaked off with the first passengers disembarking!! And met our son at 0805hrs. To hell with their instructions.
Princess have been marketing these ships from NZ this summer with round trips NZ, Syd NZ and NZ Melbourne NZ. Interesting to see if these pax get the shaft in Australia like we did.
Secondly, Port Douglas was noted as a 2300hrs dep in all the brochures and advs. We decided to do a trip up to Cape Tribulation, returning to Port Douglas 1730/1800hrs. Plenty of time. Then a couple of weeks out dep was bought forward to 1800hrs with no explanation and we had to cancel our tour. We were not happy especially when in our trip log the sector Port Douglas/Brisbane was done at a speed of 14.6knots!! Now I know speed has to be reduced in parts of the reef transit, but no where near enough to require this change of ETD.
In general I did wonder why some of the departures were so early, Airlie Beach, Brisbane and BOI could have been later, especially with tender operations taking so much time out of a visit.
We aren’t put off by Princess and in fact have an Alaska cruise planned for next year, but we will be watching them much closer from now on.