We booked in june 2009 to sail on the Sea Princess departing from Manchester on 1Nov 2010.At the time of booking we requested a table for 2 at the second sitting in the dining room. About 4 weeks before sailing we emailed Princess Cruises regarding this request and received a reply saying as we had booked so early our request should be granted but areminder of our request would be sent to the maitre d.
On checking in at Manchester Airport at 0715hrs for a 1040 flight we were advised there would be a 4 hour delay due to late arrival of the incoming flight.We took off at 1400hrs,the flight operated by Thos.Cook was very good with good food and free bar service.We arrived in Barbados at 1900hrs and werekept on the plane with the doors closed until 1915hrs while we waited for a princess agent to come on board just to tell us uur baggage would be going direct to the ship.The transfer busses picked us up off the tarmac and took us directly to the ship ,arriving on board at about 2030hrs,a very long day!
As soon as we had found our cabin we made our way down to the restaurant and asked for our table allocation.The maitre d. told us that we were on a shared table,we then told him we had requested a table for 2 and showed him the email we had from Princess regarding this.He checked his long list of requests but found no details of our request.He was unable to offer us a table for 2 but he would try to change us for the next day,we chose to eat in the Horizon buffet for the first night.The second day we went to the dining room to see if they had been able ti change our table,the only waythis was possible was if we came into the dining room at about 7pm as late arrivals for tha first sitting.This we reluctantly accepted but it did take the gloss of our cruise enjoyment as we always like to be on second sitting.
The service and food on board were excellant both in the main dining room and in the self service restaurant.The ship itself is kept spotless but it is showing signs that a revamp is needed.Entertainment on board was very poor,too many comedians who seemed to repeat jokes told by other entertainers on previous evenings.The dancers and singers on board were quite good but they did not do enough shows for a 15 day cruise.All comedians seem to do is call and embarras guests sitting in the front row ,why is their no dcent singers on board.
The capacity of the ship is listed as 1980 but at the captains welcome party he stated there were 2035 guests on board.During peak hours it was impossible to find a table in the Horizon buffet area and on days at sea there were no beds to be had anywhere on the decks.Thanks to a previus ctitics report we found a small very quiet area at the very front of deck 10[Baja deck].This suited us fine.
We enjoyed the cruise very much ,disembarkation was well organised with our baggage being collected outside our cabin at 10pm,the next time we saw it was at Manchester Airport.
Having sampled other cruise lines and comparing like with like we prefer Celebrity Cruises to Princess and R.C.L. inmost aspects including dining and service.