There were so many disappointing aspects to this cruise, it's hard to know where to start. Nine out of ten staff and crew with whom we interacted were not interested in us, at best, to downright rude and/or uninformed. The dining room menu options were unappealing and the food itself was seldom better than just OK; beef was tough, turkey was undercooked, and the pasta dry. (And we are not fussy eaters!) Dining room service was extremely slow. One night we waited a full 35 minutes between courses. Our table for three had a bread basket with four dinner rolls, and we were never once offered more. When we were missing a silverware setting one night, the waiter responded to our request with "Yes, we're going to set up." When he did bring silverware approximately 5 minutes later, he offered no apology and didn't even respond with a "You're welcome" when we thanked him twice. The host responsible for seating guests at AnyTime Dining often did not accompany us to our table, but rather just pointed towards it and yelled out from a distance of 30-40 feet to a nearby waiter the table number we had been assigned. The head waiter stopped at our table just once and said, "Everything good, no?" and then immediately moved to the next table.
The beds were uncomfortable and the bed linens worse than what you would expect in a discount motel chain. Our beds were made with only a fitted bottom sheet and a comforter ... no top sheet. When I complained to the Customer Service Director, he acted shocked, telling me there should be a fitted sheet, a top sheet, and a comforter. Within a half hour, a supervisor appeared at our door and we soon had top sheets. I then made it a point when talking to other passengers to ask if they had top sheets. None did, so the Customer Service Director is either an accomplished actor or doesn't have a clue as to what's happening on his watch. The bed linens were not changed nightly, as could be easily ascertained by the size and location of the holes in the sheets!
As we disembarked, I tried to determine if the comforters were changed out between sailings. I seriously doubt that they are....no evidence of anything but sheets on the cabin stewards' carts, and comforters clearly visible at the foot of beds which had been stripped.
The public restrooms were not always clean, and in some the bare trickle of water was insufficient for hand washing.....right under the signs advising of proper hand-washing techniques!
Drinks were good and reasonably priced, but never delivered with a napkin. The drink stewards did not wipe down the table unless asked, even when they were clearly in need.
The food in the casual dining areas was usually quite bad and the service lacking in these areas also. When I asked one waiter for silverware one morning, he walked about 20 feet away and stood there for nearly a minute, looking around as if he hoped someone else would come by to get my silverware or as if he didn't know where the silverware was kept. Then he turned around, reached for the silverware right behind him, brought it to me, and wordlessly put it down. He did not offer juice or coffee, or tell me that someone else would be bringing it. I was offered juice and coffee about midway through my breakfast.
The door to our balcony would not stay in position unless it was locked (which of course it can't be when you're on the deck), so we got to listen to it SLAM shut and then SLAM open over and over again. I guess the same was true of neighbor's door, because we got to listen to their door, too! Not very peaceful. We asked twice for it to be fixed, but it never was.
The adult pool is a total joke. It's surrounded by high walls on all sides, so the sun never really shines in this area. It wouldn't matter anyway.....there were only 10 or 12 deck chairs at this pool! There were plenty of chairs available elsewhere, but both main pool areas had a lot of noise pollution with the big-screen movies and bands that played so loudly that conversation was impossible. The Sanctuary looked nice and we had intended to spend time there until we found out that there's a daily cover charge ($20 for the full day, $10 for a half day). When I returned home, I looked for information on Princess' website about this cover charge and didn't see it disclosed anywhere.
The cost of internet service is about 15% higher than Royal Caribbean's, and can only be used after paying an activation fee. The fee is admittedly nominal (about $4) but, coupled with the higher-than-expected per-minute charge, was enough of an irritant that we decided to look for internet cafes at the ports of call instead.
Our ship had no available cabins at the time of sailing, and our Cruise Director announced that there were just 98 children on board....some of whom were teens. Yet the "Movie Under the Stars" featured the Muppets movie about 4 or 5 times. The one movie we might have wanted to see ("War Horse") was scheduled for 5 PM on formal night. Whose dreaming up these entertainment options for a ship where probably more than 95% of the passengers are older than 50 and fewer than 1% are under age 10? I would have thought than one afternoon showing of the Muppets would have satisfied this crowd and we could have moved on to something a little more interested for the adult population.
We were given two coupon books for the three of us in our cabin. When we asked for a third, we were told there was a limit of two per cabin. Funny they don't limit the fare to two per cabin, and they expect tips from all three. (As an aside, we tipped our cabin steward but no one else....the first time ever that we have failed to pay at least the recommended gratuities. There just wasn't any service in the dining rooms that merited a tip. I doubt that it's actually the waiters' fault. With such rampant inefficiency and lack of customer service, it almost has to be attributed to a ship-wide morale issue, training, and/or staffing levels. However, I won't pay for something I didn't get and feel that those crew members who want to do a good job will migrate to ships that promote and enable good customer service.)
All the pools and hot tubs were closed until we left our first port. We heard it was because the chlorine didn't get delivered in Ft. Lauderdale. Various pools and hot tubs were closed at other times without explanation. For example, on hot afternoon, only two of the four hot tubs in the main pool area were open. Both open hot tubs were extremely crowded, so it wasn't lack of demand that caused the other two to be closed.
We sailed on the Grand Princess in 2001 and thought the service and food were excellent. This time both get one star out of ten. I don't think we'll ever try them again. Many passengers we talked to shared the opinion that Princess has gone WAY downhill!