We are a mother and daughter traveling together with over 10 cruises between us.
Here is our impression of the cruise.
We had no problem getting on the ship. It was an easy process; however, the first day on the ship we had so many Princess employees approach us to sell products (Coffee Card, Soft Drink Card, and etc.) it was absurd and a nuisance.
Our room steward was the best one that we had ever had. The rooms are standard (Balcony - Category BA) and they were fine. The food was ok. The type of food was not to our taste. I do have one complaint I had a hair in my dessert. That was pretty disgusting. We did not complain – we just left and never went back to that dining room.
Ports: I hated the way they organized the tours through Princess. They would have 5 to 6 different tours meet in the Wheelhouse bar and then they would call you in to the theater and then assign you a bus. You would sit for another about 5 to 10 minutes in the theater until you were called. This created an atmosphere of a rush to be the first in the theater. It was like the day after Thanksgiving shopping every day . On the cruises that I have been on with Royal Caribbean they would have you meet in the theater and you would be assigned a bus and watch for the number to be called. No rush or being stuck in a small room with a lot of people trying to rush the door.
We mainly stuck with the tours through Princess. We had the best guide in Berlin. They had to change the schedule because of a sporting event and instead of a bus tour of Berlin we did a walking tour. This allowed us to see scheduled landmarks but also we were able to see points of interest that were not scheduled. This was not the case for St. Petersburg. We pick the tour of Catherine’s Place and the Peterhoff Place. The tour description said there would be time to shop at the markets at both places and this did not happen. Our tour was late leaving because a couple missed the bus and we had to wait in a parking lot so a princess representative could drive them to our bus. We advised a Princess staff member that we did not see everything as promised and she told us that she wrote the tour descriptions and that the markets were not scheduled. I advised her that it needs to be address because it was incorrect because it was listed apart of the tour.
Getting off the ship was a problem for us. We had ordered a transfer from the ship to the airport. We had an 11:25 flight and they told us to meet in the Club Fusion as a platinum member. They did not take us to the airport until 9:30 and we had 50 people on the same bus and after you pick-up the luggage from the warehouse and checked it in we had no time to spare to get on the airplane. We would not recommend anybody using this service. They did not leave any room for any problems to arise. We would have been better off getting a cab. Princess reason for taking us late was because Delta did not open the desk until 8:30 and you would not want to sit in the airport. Instead we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic with a large group of people trying to get on the plane. The plane was already boarding by the time we made to the gate.
This was my second cruise with Princess. My mother just went on the Sapphire in China and loved the ship and Princess. My mother and I had agreed that we are going to stick with Royal Caribbean. We have had better overall experiences with that cruise line.