I completely agree with Lizzy77's review of the March Cherry Blossom cruise. I was on board for 42 days, Sydney to Sydney. It was our seventh cruise and the longest since 30 days spent on Seabourn Sun. It's apparent that Princess doesn't regard its Australian passengers as requiring the same standards as Americans. I've previously cruised on Pacific, Sapphire and Diamond Princess and this was totally different. The staff was young,inexperienced and sometimes short-tempered,the ship looked tired and the bedlinen was a disgrace. I had my mattress replaced because it hurt my back, the bedsheets were not just worn, but had huge tears and holes in them and I can't think of a word for the scrappy pillows.
A friend had warned me to expect a very small cabin and that's what it was - though the balcony helped a lot. And she was right - knees were against the bathroom door while sitting on the toilet!
I don't go to the shows but I was shocked to pass the Vista Lounge at 10.30pm and see a cleaner vacuuming the floor. So much for night-life. I prefer movies and lectures and the Princess Theatre, holding 550, is totally inadequate for 2000-odd passengers. The theatre would fill with book-readers up to an hour ahead of shows and lectures to get a seat. And there wasn't the option of viewing the missed port lectures on television later, as on other Princess ships, since they weren't filmed on video. The facility was there but it wasn't used.
The staff was great and I too feel sorry that they depend on gratuities, especially since a lot of Australians don't agree with enforced tipping. I also declined to have my bill debited and gave cash to my own staff as I usually do. I was disappointed to hear later that they are forced to hand over that money to be shared with their group. Food on board was excellent.
Television was impossible. I saw exactly the same few tired programs as I saw in February 2008 and November 2008 on other Princesses. With 29 sea days, and especially for the elderly, this was frustrating. I sent an email to Customer Service at Princess Australia in week 5 to ask about this and received an automated response to say I may expect a reply in '15 to 21 days'. It hasn't happened.
One laundromat with two washers and dryers and ONE iron on Caribe deck is far from sufficient. I've seen enough laundry-rage to last a lifetime.
The best thing for me was the itinerary. Once we'd moved on from the familiar east to Japan and the islands of WW2 I was amazed at the history and the feelings I had from learning what had happened. They were days and experiences I will never forget.
If Dawn Princess continues to offer great itineraries I'll be tempted to take the cruises, especially now I can weigh up the pros and cons, but I still resent the overall impression I formed that Australians deserve less than our American cousins.