After sailing with other cruise lines in the past and having a blast, we decided to sail with Princess for the first time due to the itinery they offered over the holiday period. Biggest mistake I have ever made. I don't normally complain and have spent just as much time writing raving reviews on here about our other great cruises, but this was a disaster.
We checked our bags in at the luggage drop off at 10 am and went and did some final shopping in Auckland and then checked in to the ship at 12pm. Check in and embarkation was quick and smooth. 2 of our three bags arrived sporadically throughout the day. Cabins are much smaller than we are used to and showers are tiny so don't even think about this ship if your a bigger person. 6 pm and our bag still hadn't arrived. After several requests to our cabin steward and the ship due to leave the dock I was told "don't worry" by our steward with quite a bit of attitude. As the ship was pulling out I call the steward to ask him to find out if my bag was at least on the ship, to this again the response I got was "don't worry". At this stage I was worried and was fed up with his flippant attitude and asked him to find my bag as this was the luggage that had all of our clothing. No more than 2 minutes later there was a knock on our stateroom door where our cabin steward was standing with our missing bag which he felt the need to throw at me and walk off without saying a word. I was dumbfounded, and contacted passenger services to complain about what had happened. And we hadn't even left the heads yet.
Let's just say the service didn't get any better. The ship ran out of white wine on day 2 of a 12 day Christmas new year cruise. Most of the bars closed at 7pm and others didn't open till 5 forcing you to walk half the ship to get a drink. One afternoon I was in the Churchill lounge reading a book and felt like a drink so had to go to the casino as it was the closest bar open and asked for a glass of Pino Grigio. The girl behind the bar quite sharply responded " we don't have any" and after looking me up and down added " the only bottle of white wine we have here is $70 a bottle", as if I couldn't afford it.
As we were travelling with my partners family we decided to try Vivaldi's on night 2, the head waiter was extremely rude and denied us entry to a half empty restaurant because we were on anytime dining. Last I was led to believe anytime dining means "anytime". We did find out later that Vivaldi's is the only restaurant on board that has a policy of anytime starting at 8:15pm, however the waiter should have handled it much better.
All the staff with very few exceptions, seemed like it was an effort and a hindrance to carry out the simplest of tasks.
Christmas Day was a non event apart from Santa being in the atrium for 2 hours for the kids in the morning there was nothing special organised. Christmas lunch was had in the buffet and the only thing that even made it slightly Christmassy was sliced ham. Dinner was a bit better with sliced turkey and pudding in the dining rooms, which made a few people on the ship, including me, sick.
The choice of food was non existent throughout the cruise and felt like we ate the same things for 12 whole days and the anytime dining rooms all served the same food, which we found out later is not normally the case. The dining rooms were also extremely hot and overheard severally passengers complain. The wait staff were clumsy and frequently got orders wrong. We did, however, participate in the chefs table, which I would highly recommend as it's well worth the money.
New Year's Eve also bearley happened. The top decks were blocked off from about 8 pm so no acces to the forward smoking area was allowed and all of the outdoor bars closed at 7pm. We thought we'd try sabatinis (a $25 per head specialty Italian restaurant) for New Years. Food was good but found out later that evening that the same menu was served in the anytime dining rooms at no extra charge so I would like to know what we paid the extra for. The only thing organised was a ballon drop which went off early so we missed it. The atmosphere was less than celebratory. The only place to go was skywalkers nightclub which again was way to hot and the crew pretty much took over the club once their shifts finished. It was the first New Years ever that I bearley made the countdown before I went to bed, extremely disappointed.
The entertainment onboard is certainly left to be desired, if you could find it at all. There was nothing on the open decks and the quality of what was available was ammiature.
For the first time ever we actually considered disembarking early.
The final straw for us was on the last night. I cracked my head open getting into the pool. After having it attended to by a paramedic and being told it only required a few band aids, woke up the next morning to a blood soaked pillow. I went down to the medical centre to have it looked at before disembarking to be greeted with " oh YOUR the guy from last night" with a snide tone.
After being assessed by the nurse, who was one of the few polite people on board the doctor came in and assesed the wound. Never before have I been judged so much in my life. After a clean up and some steri strips the head of security came in. Let me tell you this guy needs a job in Guantanamo Bay. Falling short of calling me a lier, he stormed out and slammed the door. I have never been so humiliated in my life. Oh and they charged me $200 for the experience.
This was the worst holiday of my life and will never travel with Princess Ever again, and if you want to enjoy your holiday that you spend your hard earned money on, I suggest you don't either.