The Sun Princess Cherry Blossom cruise from Sydney called into 15 ports during its 42 day journey around Asia. The food was very good and we chose to eat at the buffet most times. There was agood variety of food most times but I did hear a passenger complain saying "not prawns again!" (It's a tough life sometimes) The itinerary was excellent calling into places I had only heard of previously. They had an educational programme called Scholarship @ Sea. We had a marine biologist who was excellent, not only knowing her topic but being able to deliver it in such a way that we could all understand with humour. At one stage she was pulling in audiences bigger than some of stage show comedians. We also had a retired US Navy LtCdr giving lectures about WW11 battles in Pacific and Coral seas and was very knowledgeable and had fine delivery of his presentations. This of course was relevant to the areas through which we were sailing.
Having said all that I must now tell about the disappointments of this cruise with Princess. 1) no cold water in our cabin tepid only 2) leaking water pipes throughout the ship and the use of buckets to collect drips 3) bad smells emanating from various parts of the ship
4) eneven floor under carpet indicatedproblems which need to be addressed as can be hazardous to passengers with mobility problems 5) Our cabin had a leaking window which was corroding around the frame. 6) Our wardrobe door fell off. 7) Ship's outer hull was showing dents and patch ups and generally showing signs of aging throughout the ship 8) Floor shows were very hit and miss; most were forgettable with one or two being very very good 9) The ship was charging high prices for shore excursions which you can do yourself for much cheaper. At one stage they were charging shuttle fees when the local council was running free pick ups. This happened on 2 occasions. 10) Gym staff were not interested in helping passengers with the use of equipment. They were more interested in selling teeth whitener and detoxing courses. This sell, sell mentality is continued through the shore excursions office; advertising ship's merchandise on inhouse tv and encouraging pax to book future cruises with Princess.Some passengers were saying that cameras, Nikon only and duty free products were over priced. We found that alcohol was cheaper at some of the ports of call than on board the ship. 11) Internet connections were slow, with no clocks in internet room and casual rate was 75c Aus per minute. 12) One last thing: there were no tea spoons in the buffet to stir tes/coffee; only long match like stirrers - penny pinching to extreme 13) Not impressed with Blue/Gold/Platinum/Black(Elite) passenger ratings with Blue being at the bottom of the list (first time passenger with Princess) Not impressed with mandatory $10 per passenger per day gratuity fee. It seems to me that the company is paying crew slave labour wages and expect the passengers to pay the rest. If it was added into and included in the published fare price it would not seem to be a rip off by the shipping company. When we were returning to Aus we found that the ship was going into dry dock for two weeks for a minor refit. Wish that had all been done prior to this cruise and I would not have had so many complaints. Would I travel with Princess Cruises again? I would carefully check all other options prior to committing myself to another of their cruises