Just got back from a 4 day costal cruise (LA, Catalina, Ensenada) Boy has the cruising industry changed. 3rd trip on Princess, 9 cruises over 35 years.
I once thought Princess was the best line I had been on. I'm now rethinking that.
In Fairness Not the worst cruise I have ever been on, but that cruise line is now gone.
Embarkation with a wheelchair for my father, went smoothly.
First meal on board, Horizon Café. Marginal at best. Hometown buffet food is about the same. Service at the buffet was great. all the waiters were very attentive. but the food was dry, overcooked, either bland or mis-flavored. Everyday, even in Mexico they had some sort of Asian food intermingles with their Mexican food. (Miso Ramen, Sweet and sour fish, 5 spice fish, Thai something.) Don't get me wrong, my wife is Chinese I love Asian food. This food was awful, overspiced, anything fried was dry, In 4 days at lunch I never had "Good" food at this buffet. It was OK, but nothing special.
Anytime Dining, and Auto charge Tipping: It is clear that because wait staff is guaranteed tips, there is no real effort to wow the customer anymore. Even my last cruise 9 years ago on Princess, they still provided a dining experience, Not so on this cruise. We had a party of four, and tried all four "Anytime" restaurants. Not a single dinner was served complete. We were always missing someone's second appetizer, or the Shrimp was left off the Surf N Turf plate, or three out of four of us would get our non alcoholic drinks ( they never missed a drink they could charge for).
Complete Paranoia over brining alcohol on the cruise. My father had no problem brining his 6 inch knife, but they searched my luggage and threatened to charge me if they determined I had brought more than the 1 bottle of wine that was in my luggage. ( you are allowed 2 per cabin but they had to verify I did not carry any more on). and again in Catalina, they were more worried about alcohol than sharp items.
Entertainment: Production Show was very good. Comedians, were not my liking. Both were Black comedians who make fun of fat, or mentally handicapped, or gay, or white, or Asian, or someone in the audience. Neither worth the time. Typical Ghetto humor.
Disembarkation What a joke, The cruise is over so they don't seem to care how much trouble they cause you. Yes, I am very angry about this. We pre-ordered wheelchair assistance for my father for embarkation and disembarkation. When they delivered the groups for disembarkation they assigned us to a carry your own luggage, non-assisted group. The Service desk was helpful and changed our group told us to arrive at the assigned lounge 15 minutes early so we could have a wheelchair. This is where the lack of training and "It's not my problem" attitude comes in. Staff at the lounge says you have to go to another location. When you go to that location the staff says no, you are OK where you are, we will send a chair all they have to do is call. Go back to the original location and they refuse to call saying they will get in trouble, and their supervisor told them not too.... Now angry that my father who needs a wheelchair to get off the boat has been bounced around like a ping pong ball. I request the supervisor, a request that is twice denied. and I'm told to go to the service desk for a supervisor, again denied.
Trying to keep this story short unless someone from Princess wants to hear it. Basically the crew member said It's not my problem when we pointed out that we did exactly what the staff told us and it was not what she was told. there is no effort on the staff to do the right thing. and just help the passengers when it comes to the end of the cruise. What a way to leave a bad taste. Just in case you are thinking...I did not misunderstand, as I was not the only group misdirected by the desk and other locations about the wheelchair access. The crew's inability to take responsibility and fix the problem with the least passenger impact is enough to make me rate this cruise experience poorly.
Will I cruise again with Princess, Probably. But they need to prove themselves to me again.
Cruise staff is poorly trained at providing an excellent passenger experience.
Food Quality has decreased.
Service experience has declined. We only received our full order on 2 out of 8 sit down meals
At the end of cruise, they clearly don't want to be bothered by you, their customer, the customers that pay their wages, by taking a cruise.