Many people take cruises for many different reasons. On this occasion we decided to take a cruise to celebrate my husbands 50th birthday. Because this gift was for such a special occasion we decided to really go all out and purchased the owners suite, cabin S709.
We received a text, a phone call and an email the day before to inform us that the Golden Princess would be late arriving due to bad weather, so embarkation would be delayed until 2:00 p.m. This made little difference to us. We arrived about 2:15 p.m. and were able to board quickly. Our embarkation took about 30 minutes, until we were in our room. We were very happy with our suite and how it was appointed. It became a very comfortable home for two weeks. In fact we can say that about the ship as a vessel. The ship is beautifully decorated and flowed well. The last time we sailed with Princess we were very unhappy with the flow of the Caribbean Princess. It has too many cabins for the common/public areas not to be over filled.
After we made final payment for our booking we went to our Cruise Personalizer on the Princess website we filled in our preferences. Shorty after we arrived to our cabin we saw it made no difference. We specifically filled in our mini bar requests, but had a standard set up. When we asked our cabin steward, Joseph about it, he told us that was filled by room service department. He wrote down our requests and arranged to have them swapped out for our requested items. This was only one time out of many that our cabin steward fixed a problem from another department, such as the time the laundry lost my bathing suit for a day and a half. Only one wet bathing suit on a Hawaiian cruise is not a comfortable position to be in.
We also had an appointment discrepancy with the spa that we had pre reserved. They wanted to change our time and we were just not available at that time. We told them to cancel and perhaps we would reschedule, but then they found the time for us after all.
Later that evening we went to dinner. No matter where we ate the food was only mediocre at best. There was the exception of the Chefs Table experience. That was a very memorable meal where everything was impeccable. But the real disappointment was the service we received in the Crown Grill. We hosted the dinner with two other couples we had befriended onboard. Water glasses were left empty at times. Cocktail glasses were not taken away when empty; napkins were not folded, servers reaching over while serving. Just not the level of basic service we are accustomed to while fine dining. Again the food was only okay. Certainly not equal to Capital Grill or Ruth Chris.
The service in Sabatinis was very nice. The breakfast available to suite guests, very good as well. But the food at dinner was only okay. In fact there was small talk among the guests about the lobster risotto being terrible. I laughed when the subject came up openly during the Chefs table. I didnt start the conversation, but had the same discussion privately with my husband.
The morning we arrived in Hilo, Hawaii, my husband was not feeling well. He went and saw the doctor. We had about a 40 minute wait while he saw other patients. When we did, we were very pleased with his care. He examined and treated my husband so he could enjoy the rest of his vacation. He did tell my husband not to go on our planned excursion. He stamped our tickets and we brought them to the shore excursion desk and received a refund. This was much appreciated.
We were unimpressed with the entertainment on the ship. It wasnt that we didnt enjoy the production value or even the singing, but the dancing was terrible. The dancers were out of sync and running into each other. If the other aspects werent so good, it would have been comical.
One the first day, we went to the gift shop to purchase cigarettes. We placed and paid for our order. On the last sea day, we were awoken by a phone call from the gift shop telling us that their inventory control system was all messed up and they could not fill our order for one of our brands. So my husband requested a refund for that product. We were told we had to come down to have the refund processed. So we interrupted our day to do so. On the last day of the cruise, we received our order for they product they did have in stock, but it was the wrong brand. I went down and requested to speak to the shop manager and was presented to the assistant shop manager. I politely asked her to explain the incompetence for a simple order. She was very kind, apologized and corrected my order. We were most annoyed that we were woken up on the final sea day.
That was not necessary at all.
When were realized we couldnt get our cigarettes from the gift shop we went to the Players Club Bar, where smoking is allowed, to enjoy a cocktail and cigarette and purchase some as well. This is where the most offensive thing that has ever happened to me by a crew member in all the cruises I have gone on. After he sold us the pack of cigarettes, he continued on about how he was very pleased that starting the next day, crew members were not longer allowed to smoke in their quarters. That his roommate smokes and it annoys him. He also told us only a moron would smoke and any idiot can read on the package that it kills. Look, I know many people have issues with smoking, but I do not expected to be lectured by the hired help while on holiday. This was a big bad note and one that we really never shook off. Perhaps because when we complained to a food and beverage supervisor about the incident, the same bartender was in the bar for the remainder of the cruise. We had expected after such an incident and complaint he would have been removed to another location. But I suppose it is okay with Princess to have their crew members insult their guests.
In regards to disembarkation, we where not pleased again. On the final sea day we were giving our departure tags we were not given a preferred time. So we went to the pursers and inquired about it. We were told we didnt have a preferred time but a special place. When we arrived at this special place we were greatly disappointed to find a picked over tray of pastries and self serve coffee/tea. There were only napkins and cups and no one to bus the tables. The most amusing thing that happened was when they got on the microphone and asked people to bring sections of the paper back because they didnt have enough to go around. This is the first time I ever disembarked from a cruise without a full breakfast served to me.
I could go on and on with little things that happened that were unpleasant, but I feel that I have explained enough to cruise on another cruise line. I have enjoyed much better experiences on other competing lines and will continue to cruise where I feel I am appreciated.