Our family of seven was on the round trip 15 day Hawaii cruise from Los Angeles. Embarkation was pretty much a nightmare at the San Pedro Pier. We flew in the night before to allow enough time for mishaps. No problem with flights. The problems arose at the embarkation point when we were told there were no wheelchairs available because of the elevator being broken. We had pre-ordered wheelchairs prior to embarkation because of their advanced age and mobility problems. My parents are in their advanced 80's and have a hard time walking, but this didn't seem to make much of a difference to Princess staff. We told them about the wheelchairs previously ordered, but the Princess staff said they couldn't do anything about it. Compounding the problem was the wait time which was more than 1 1/2 hours due to immigration issues from the previous Mexico cruise the Sapphire had been on. The wait was long and tedious. My parents never got their wheelchairs and we needed to help them walk from pier to the ship. As many of you know, that can be a long walk....especially with limited mobility. A bad start to our cruise, not to mention my parents were very, very unhappy!
Once on board, the ship is in good condition. Our cabins were fine and the accessible cabin that my parents were in had plenty of room. The public areas are in good shape, but cabins can use some refurbishing...worn carpets and washroom fixtures. This was our second Princess cruise and the laundry facilities were much appreciated.
The buffet area had a separate area for desserts which helped to alleviate the usual congestion in the buffet area. This fix provides a better traffic flow in the Horizon Court. International cafe, as usual was good. The desserts here were fresher than those at the buffet. Anytime dining food was good. One tip: if you don't have a reservation, be in line before 6pm. Passengers showing up after 6pm were turned away and asked to come back after 7pm. They were told there was no table availability, regardless of party size. This happened to us and we made reservations every night after that. So, "anytime dining" is NOT really "anytime dining" unless you are in line at a certain time or have a reservation.
Can't really commend the entertainment. We attended two shows and the acoustics was not very good. We attended several dance classes, both of which were packed. We were able to take the lei making class and enjoyed that very much. Princess should schedule additional hula and lei making classes as these seemed to be the most popular. Tickets are required and most of the time, the tickets ran out within 5 minutes of distribution and many passengers were left disappointed.
We had great weather on our cruise and as always, Hawaii is beautiful any time of the year.
Disembarkation was smooth. No luggage problems and this time, there were wheelchairs for my parents. However, due to the embarkation problems and lack of concern from Princess during the process, we are hesitant to sail with my parents or recommend to others who need assistance to sail with Princess in the future.