I have sailed with four different cruise lines and chose Princess as it coincided with our scheduling.
We were disappointed overall with the cruise. Realistically the company of course was not to blame for the rescheduling due to the Swine flu epidemic in Mexico. They were to blame for the cavalier way they treated the passengers. Cruising aimlessly and slowly in circles in inclement weather around the California coast when it would have been more apropos to journey further on to Puerto Rica was decidedly was the fault of the Cruise Line, they could at least have added enticements in the form of more entertainment.
We arrived on time at the loading pier and sat to await embarkation, we were shocked to find that there were at least three or four hundred preferred customers many who straggled in later and were allowed on first. On reaching our mini suite we found that there were no towels, the beds were separate and the harried steward reluctantly agreed to push them together to make a queen size bed. I don't fault the assigned room steward he was working alone and had what seemed to be far too many rooms to service. The towels when they finally arrived were motel six varieties as were the cheap non absorbent type bathrobes we were given upon asking. We were under the illusion that if one booked a mini suite the towels, bed linen and bathrobes would be of a higher quality that were afforded the considerably less expensive cabins. We did manage to get more absorbent and considerably better towels when we complained to the desk. The bed linen was not up to the standard of other cruise lines, HAL in particular. To our amazement one evening we found that in lieu of a bottom bed sheet there were two single sheets on the bed placed horizontally. We got to our mini suite around two pm and after an anxious seven hours our luggage finally arrived at our door at nine pm.
We went to one stage show - energetic dancers and mediocre singers, not exactly top rate entertainment.
We found the food in the Lido to be better than average for cafeteria style dining, the desserts were especially nice with a full assortment of fruit and cheeses, the freshly baked bread on the Star was delicious. The maitre d' in the Lido knew our names and was a very pleasant and cordial young man who appeared to make a point of greeting everyone. The food in the dining room we found to be easily rated a five and the service was mostly good.
We had the daily tips added to our bill as requested and were appalled to see on the room service order form the amount to be entered that we intended to tip. By the demeanor of the attendant it was obvious that we were expected to tip him.
The internet cafe was a farce. It took five minutes after logging on to reach my server. The written words would suddenly and without explaination jump to the address bar, the screen froze once with no attendant to be seen. The term usury springs to my mind - the internet cafe is a money grabbing entity unless you are one of the three or four hundred preferred customers. At times it was difficult to find a station with so many elderly preferred customers "cruising" the web for what seemed like hours.
On departure we opted to decline the bus ride to the airport that was on offer for fifty dollars and took a taxicab for forty. We had an early flight out of San Francisco and were alarmed when we realized that there would be three or four hundred preferred customers leaving ahead of us. After my husband spoke to the desk we were allowed out with the first batch of passengers. We opted to take our own luggage off the boat not wanting to risk the absolute chaos we had of lost luggage on our arrival.
We were given a rebate on our next trip with Princess; I seriously doubt that we will take advantage of it. Quite a few first time cruisers that we met jokingly remarked that they wondered if this rebate could be transferred to another cruise line.