Oh my! Our first experience of Princess line and definitely our last. I am well aware that there will be a flood of responses opposing my views but I wonder how many of those who thought it anything above average have ever been on a good cruise line.
The ship - too big and far too impersonal. The public area staff - disinterested bordering on surly. With the exception of the cabin steward who was excellent, the rest should seek alternative employment as they are clearly unmotivated and lacking in leadership. That is of course unless they were one of the plethora of photographers who shoved a lens into your face at every opportunity, (commission based I wonder?). The food, whilst plentiful, was woeful in quality across the board. When I cruise i expect the food to be a highlight not a constant disappointment. The premium restaurants, for which we paid extra twice, were just as bad. The chef came out to apologise after my wife complained about her starter of lukewarm disintegrating mussels to explain that every food item on the ship was frozen and defrosted using a "chamber" system. He was clearly embarrassed but they still took our $25 per person cover charge. The charming elderly couple at the next table were upset a being presented with frozen solid "twice baked souffle". To quote the lady clearly shocked and disappointed, " I thought this was supposed to be special." I could go on about the food but trust me - it was rubbish.
When getting on and off in port not once did anybody say "enjoy your day" or "welcome back" just a disinterested security guard scanning our ship cards without so much as a good afternoon. The list of minor faults is long and whilst they seem minor in isolation they add up to a picture of a cruise ship if not line, in a poor state. Never, ever again - we're sticking to quality lines like Azamara, where at least they make you feel like they care.
As for ports not listed on this site, Brest was shut! Currently building a tram system so the whole centre was literally a huge building site. Guernsey was ok but 4 hours was more than enough.