Just got back from a Venice to Barcelona Cruise on Ruby Princess. This was our first on Princess but our fifth cruise. I will just go through the points as I do not mean this to be a rant.
Cabin - We had a Vista Suite. For the same money we had a suite twice the size on Norwegian and had champagne every night and a Butler, so that was a disappointment. However the cabin was kept well by the steward and everything was in working order. On other cruises, canapes were brought every night without fail. On Princess you had to fill out a card that had be left on the door handle if you wanted them, and there were times that the card was not given to us or times that the card was left and filled in, but either we did not receive them or the arrived after 8 PM when we had no interest in them. We were given a whole bottle of champagne and glasses for the first day which was more than the published glass of champagne.
Food - In a word - disappointing. All the food looked and tasted as if it were prepared for 3000 people, even in the specialty restaurants. Some of it was so bad I had to send it back, and I am one of those kind of people that will usually just pick at the food if it not to my liking rather than raise the fuss. Sabatini's was the strangest. They served everything as a tasting menu, which meant once you were there once, there was no reason to go back as you had had it all. We usually opted for the a la carte method and only ordered the dishes we wanted. The food was good but not great and unimaginative. We went there a few nights but one night we went for my Birthday. I was looking forward to a good bottle of wine, only to discover that they had a smaller wine list then the other food venues on the ship and it was not possible to order anything not on the list from another dining room. Then there was the strange availability rules. One night we were there and another table of 5 was eating their dinner and finished as we received our entrees. A group of four walked up with no reservation and was turned away. They had the table and the staff, why would they turn them away. We tried one night to go without a reservation and were turned away as well though there were many empty tables. The food in the main dining room was worse, as there is where I received meals I had to return because they were just awful. One meal was so salty that I had to spit it out. Another had vegetables that were so overcooked they were mush. Since we had a suite we could breakfast at Sabatini's. I ordered eggs Benedict and you could tell they had been under heat lamps for hours as the Hollandaise had cooked into a solid. Food at the Crown Grill was decent as long as you avoided the awful wine reduction sauce the put on everything. It was bland and muddy and did nothing to enhance the meat. I recommend the Black and Blue Onion soup, and if you want lobster, get it here as Sabatini's cooks it in some sauce that overpowers the subtle taste of lobster.
The ship - It had the usual amenities. The only thing it had that was special was the giant screen over the pool where they showed movies and the world cup on. The pools were small which made it hard to get in as people congregated at the edge all the way around and you had to squeeze by to get to the pool. Ended up using the even smaller pool aft as it was less crowded.
Ports - The biggest complaint amongst all the passengers was the early arrival times to all the ports and how the excursions were returning up to two hours before sailing even if it meant that sites on the tours were shortened or skipped altogether. The was a tour that was supposed to go up the Tower of Pisa and they did not due to time constraints. Yet these same people sat on the boat over an hour prior to sailing time that could have been spent in the tour. AVOID the ELITE tours. The only difference which Princess will not tell you (yes I called and asked for details and they were not able to tell me what was included in the elite tours that was not in the regular tours) was there were 25-30 people per group as opposed to 40-45 on the normal tours and you got a better lunch, but not better enough to warrant the $200 price difference.
Princess as a whole - I found that the information given by the representatives on the phone at Princess was almost always inaccurate. Information on tours, times and the cruise were never correct. I booked an extra night in Barcelona, and also booked a tour. I asked what time I could expect to be at the hotel so that I could schedule the tour. I was told no later than 9AM. Well, once on the ship we were given the excursion tickets and included was the ticket for transportation to the Hotel. It stated that we were to meet at 10AM, we did not actually get to the hotel till after 11AM. Three hours different then what I was told. Which meant we missed out on 2 hours worth of a day tour as it was my error in booking it based on the time I was told.
Needless to say I will never sail Princess again.