What a disappointing holiday that we had saved for all year!!!!
This cruise was recommended to us by our travel agent as a four star ship. What a joke. Our immediate encounter with the staff was terrible. Not a very good reception. The lifts were not working and we were told by a staff member to use the stairs as it would be good exercise. On arrival to our cabin we proceeded to use the safe and found that it was not working. Contact purser's desk to ask for assistance at 5.30pm. When staff did arrive they did not have the correct tools and informed us that they would be back in 5 minutes. Called purser's desk again at 7.45pm complaining we had been waiting for 2.5 hours for the maintenance man to return with his tool. We had second seating and that was at 8pm. We did not wait and had to carry all of our documents around that night and the next day. Eventually after 2 days it was rectified.
Table service at the Regency dining room was 2 star quality. Waiters were reaching in front of people to serve the person next to them. On several occasions individual orders were taken and meals were given to the wrong people. They seemed confused and unqualified to be serving on a four star ship. Most of the night was spent waiting for all food and drinks. Wines were served to the wrong people (these were purchased by different people at our table). Staff had no knowledge of food on the menu or wine list. Communication between ourselves and staff was non existent as they did not understand English.
Entertainment that was arranged by the cruise director, dancers and singers was crap. We enjoyed the bands that played in the Wheel House Bar although the dance floor was very small. A lot of shows were repeated the next night. On previous cruises the first show was at 6pm the same time the first sitting for dinner was on. This allowed more seats to be allocated to more passengers as we found that they had a show on at 8pm and 10.15pm. Most passengers then went to the 10.15 show and passengers who had second seating for dinner could not get a seat (not that the shows were worth watching).
On two occasions we tried to catch a movie but both times were interrupted with technical difficulties. We walked out very disappointed both times.
The policy of adult only pools did not work on this ship. We were not able to use any pools or spas as they were bombarded by children. 400 children were on this ship. With other cruise liners they only accept a certain amount of children in there age groups. Spoke to staff at pursers desk as we felt that this was a safety issue. We were advised that they were paying passengers and that they could do nothing. The children were out of control and not supervised. We travelled with our teenage daughters and they would not go near the pools for fear of being jumped on.
The Sanctuary was a place where adults only could swim in privacy at the bow but this incurred a fee of $10.00 per person per session. This was an absolute insult as we had already paid to use all services on the ship.
Both myself and my husband are from a nursing background and we found that precautions should have been initially in place to prevent such outbreaks from occurring as happens on other ships.
Staff should have been serving passengers food from the beginning, not letting people help themselves and spreading the virus faster. We were informed that we should not eat any food at any of the ports. The ship went to code red after four days at sea. Staff tried to blame passengers eating off the ship for the virus. Although we spoke to two ladies who were confined to there cabin before the ship had reached its first port of call. Since speaking to our travel agent we have been advised that code red is only put in place when 25% or more of passengers are ill. Even though the ship was on code red, on the final morning before disembarking at Sydney, passengers were helping themselves to all food and beverages. I questioned this with staff and we were told that "we were sort of in code red". What on earth does that mean? We then spoke to the pursers desk about this matter as it is a major health concern. It appeared that when the ship was approaching and docked in Sydney, princess staff were not concerned about the virus spreading further amongst passengers.
Our room attendant was not the friendliest and did not change sheets or make beds on numerous occasions. As in previous reviews we also found that my lingerie was folded and put on my bed with heart shaped chocolates. I find this is a invasion of privacy and crosses the boundary. He also would enter the room without any warning at times when our teenage daughters were getting changed.
We found that there is no way that this cruise is a four star. We have cruised with a 5 star ship and Sun Princess doesn't come close. I would rate it at two or worse. We wrote a four page letter addressing all of the above matters to the purser and received a letter of apology from the front desk supervisor. A copy of our four page letter was meant to be sent to customer relations, and we were advised by her to email as soon as we were home. An email was sent on the 30th December and we are yet to receive a reply addressing all of our concerns.
The ports of call were absolutely beautiful. The people were extremely friendly and it was a pleasure to visit such a precious part of the world. We will return to the South Pacific but not with Princess.
Feel free to reply with your own experiences good or bad.
Cheers Michelle & Jason