We just got off of the one night party cruise from Seattle to Vancouver. The weather for departure couldn't have been better. Loading was fast and smooth. We arrived at 11:15 (had to get the rental car back) and were on the ship by noon. The room was ready and our upgrade from a BD balcony guarantee to a BA was perfect - the balcony was huge. Lunch and dinner were great. The comedian was a little disappointing so we emptied our pockets into the casino - no surprize there - but we stayed up very late had fun, just like everyone else. Therein lies the problem. Since it was only a one-nighter EVERYONE made the most of it, staying up late and sleeping in until 8am when we had to be out of our rooms. THEN EVERYONE went for breakfast. The lineups for the buffet were literally out the doors and into the pool area. To make things worse, we had to have our luggage with us and couldn't carry food and luggage, so I stayed at the table and waited - over 1/2 an hour - while DH got breakfast. And then it was my turn to wait in line - still over 1/2 hour to make it into the buffet.
So MOST people missed their early call times to be off the ship. Which lead to the next nightmare - customs. I was talking to one of the princess staff while waiting in line and she said that when they started departures at 7:30 almost no one showed up but by 9am the line up was so long that they had to send people away. Normally departures are controlled by the departure time you are assigned, but there was no controlling this sleepy crowd. We were all late for breakfast and late off the ship. Someone on last week's one nighter reported the same thing. There were a lot of first time cruisers on board, and they certainly DIDN'T get a good impression at the end to what could have been a great trip.
Suggestion to Princess for future one nighters - ACCEPT the fact that on a one night party cruise, people will NOT be up early. You obviously have no control over that fact, so WORK WITH IT and make everyone's trip more pleasant. If you are going to have a one nighter: 1. plan for late risers from all aspects 2. suggest that passengers need to be fully packed up so that the rooms can be cleaned, but allow them to leave their luggage in the rooms to be picked up after breakfast and clean around them - some passengers did that and their attendants were fine with it. 3. Plan for a later embarkation of the following cruise.
I know that some early risers will read this and say it is all our own faults. Well, yes, but you can expect people to make the most of a one night cruise, and Princess can either work with human nature and make it work, or they can expect discipline and have nightmare departures.
By the way, on our last princess cruise - a 12 nighter - departure was perfect - the smoothest ever. One nighters are a whole different game.