We have cruised with Princess more than any other cruise line. We have always been pleased with the cruising and the excursions. However, on this cruise we did not receive the value for which we paid for the cruise experience or the excursions.
First, this cruise should not have sailed until Princess readied the ship for the passengers. To begin the cruise, passengers were left in long lines in a thunderstorm while their luggage was soaked from the downpour. Throughout the cruise (from May 5 to May 20), the ship's crew seemed to be preparing the ship for the cruise that left Southampton on the day that we arrived (May 21). The ship was dirty when we boarded--dust and dirt were everywhere; hall carpets were dirty and torn, water was leaking from pipes in the hallways; the water temperature in the cabin alternated between cold and hot and then to being too hot for the remainder of the cruise; amenities (which usually are in the cabin on the day of sailing) appeared over the first 5-6 days of the cruise; new towels appeared on the 14th day of the cruise; warm food on the Horizon Court began on the 15th day of the cruise (heating lamps were installed the night before)--much food was wasted because it was not warm enough to eat; the Purser's staff acted indifferent to the passengers' request to resolve issues.
We booked our excursions online before the cruise. On our first excursion in Cork, we were not (as stated in the Princess online excursion description) treated to Irish coffee in a traditional Irish pub at a stop on the way to Blarney Castle and The Woolen Mill. There was no stop. Irish coffee was provided at the Woolen Mill located opposite Blarney Castle. Our tour guide said we had to pay (8 to 10 euro) to enter the Blarney Castle. Princess' online description of the shore excursion clearly states that Blarney Castle is included in the shore excursion.
Princess' online description of the train excursions in Wales, including the Welsh Rainway (Snowdonia Mountains), clearly states that the train ride will take passengers into the Snowdonia Mountains. We were wait-listed on the excursion that we booked online. The ship's excursion staff came up with an alternative--the Welsh Railway (described on the Princess website), but they changed the train to what they described as the same as the one we were waitliste). However, the actual train was a "Thomas" like train ride along a lake) and charged us $10 more than the one we were wait-listed.
Other than our disappointment in the train ride and paying more, this was a wonderful excursion. The bus ride through the Snowdonia mountains was breathtaking and the food at the Royal Hotel restaurant where we stopped was the best food we had during the cruise.
In dealing with us and other passengers who were disappointed, the Excursion staff said they did not have access to Princess' online excursion descriptions and they could not be responsible if the excursions were not as Princess described online--that we would have to talk with Princess.