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Sail Date: March 2010
Midday on Thursday the 25th March found us landing at Beijing Airport after two Emirates flights from the UK totalling over 17 hours. The flight from Dubai was quite an occurrence as we were seated amongst a group of itinerate Chinese ... Read More
Midday on Thursday the 25th March found us landing at Beijing Airport after two Emirates flights from the UK totalling over 17 hours. The flight from Dubai was quite an occurrence as we were seated amongst a group of itinerate Chinese workers returning home, and the whole experience could be likened to a Sunday School outing of excited children who wanted to talk with everyone and would just not sit down. The highlight of the flight being the spectacular views we had flying over the Himalayas. Arriving at our Hotel in Bangkok, the superbly located Novatel Peace, we were warmly and efficiently greeted and checked in. Waking early the following morning we were met with clear blue sky, none of the smog for which Beijing is renowned. After a super 'western' breakfast (which was replicated for the duration of our stay) we set out on our first tour, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Far better descriptions of these than I could possibly give can be found elsewhere. Sufficient to say it was a marvellous experience. What was a little surprising and somewhat unnerving at first was the number of Chinese who approached Maureen and I requesting to have their photos taking with us. We now know how Posh & Becks must feel. Another early breakfast and we were boarding our coach to the Great Wall at Badaling, Nothing can prepare you for the wonderful sight of the wall stretching up and away into the distance; and the bragging rights that I climbed on the Great Wall of China will be with me forever. We then sped off back towards Beijing to visit the Summer Palace, returning knackered to our hotel mid evening. Sunday was a rest day; however a friend, a Secretary at the Embassy took us out to see the Olympic Stadium, visit a Hutong where we were transported around on a rickshaw, sampled the fantastic metro system, and dined in a local's restaurant. A cold cloudy Monday morning saw us leaving Beijing for our 3 hour journey to join the Diamond Princess at Xingang. Despite our driver getting lost and having to enlist the help of a local taxi we arrived at the Port early but with just a half hour wait before boarding. Leaving Xingang that evening we set off towards the Yellow Sea for our two day sail to Shanghai. Unfortunately the weather did not improve, but became increasingly foggy. We now had found our way around the Diamond, met our dining companions, Kevin & Sue from Yorkshire and Jim & Gloria from Florida. Nestor our Cabin Steward was a friendly and efficient guy who just got on with things without any fuss. The trio, Phoenix Rising played our sort of music in the Wheelhouse Bar; IMHO a much superior venue than it cousin Ramblas on Ventura. Once gain we found the cosmopolitan feel and can do attitude of Princess much to ourliking. Early Thursday morning we found ourselves adrift at the Pilot boarding ground some 40 miles from Shanghai. Having been informed that the Port had been closed because of the fog, It was not until late in the afternoon that we eventually berthed. By this time Princess with its customary efficiency had arranged night time tours and a shuttle bus (40 minutes) into town. BIG mistake! We decided to stay on board and missed out on Shanghai at night. The following day we took a tour into this fascinating and very modern city, visiting amongst other things the Jin Mao Tower. Having spent an extra day in Shanghai, there was much speculation as to what would happen with the rest of our itinerary. The hope amongst the Brits was that we would not call into Okinawa. However Princess decided that we would only now be calling into Hong Kong for one day only. This on reflection was the correct decision as there were many war vets onboard to whom the Okinawa call was important. Saying this Okinawa proved disappointing with a high street resembling Blackpool and given we was to leave around 2.00 pm, not enough time to chance doing your own thing. Monday we arrived in Keelung, Taiwan a tatty port town. By this time the weather was improving a little and we set out for Taipei. The first surprise on leaving Keelung was the rich tropical vegetation and the pretty undulating countryside. Taipei is a wonderful modern city with wide boulevards and fine squares where we watched the changing of the guard at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The one place we really wanted to visit on this cruise was Hong Kong as our sons had built up our expectations. Unfortunately it rained for most of the day and the cloud level was only a few hundred feet. Despite this we took the shuttle bus from the container port where we were berthed to the Ocean Terminal. Then, flashing our pension books got a free ride on the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island with the intention of taking the open top bus tour and a cable car up to the top of Victoria Heights. At this point a friendly local we got chatting to said that we would be wasting our time and money as the bad weather was set for the day. Returning to Kowloon we went shopping in Nathan Road and replenished my Gin stock. Again the weather spoilt things as the Captain informed us that the pilot would not take the Diamond out through the channel between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island and we would therefore miss the spectacular light show. It was now Thursday of the second week and we were tendering to Nha Trang in Vietnam, the place where the American soldiers enjoyed their R&R. Hurrah! today was hot and sunny at last so we decided on a 'Caribbean' beach day. We found a quiet spot where a delightful lady said we could rent two loungers and a umbrella for only $4. Now what I hate is being pestered by beach vendors, but these lovely people managed to relieve us of $40 for a load of the usual junk, but it didn't seem to matter, we shared such a delightful day. Returning to the tender station I managed to purchase a 'genuine' Omega Seamaster watch for only $15 before returning to our ship. Another early start, unfortunately after a late night, saw us leaving the port of Phu My for our tour of Saigon. A two hour drive over dusty bumpy roads with a hangover. I don't know what I expected of Saigon but I didn't expect the French boulevard , the number of 5 star hotels, the head post office which looked as though it had been designed as a railway station, Notre Dame Church where the local wedding groups came to be photographed, irrespective of whether or not they were being married there. We lunched in an excellent restaurant, very cosmopolitan which could have been in London or New York other than the price was two thirds lower. This is probably an opportune moment to consider in a little more detail the Diamond Princess. She is very similar in size and construction to Ventura, which we last sailed on in November. However with one big difference; she has one deck less off passenger cabins so consequently carries 500 less passengers, but with the same public spaces dining areas etc. It was most noticeable when using the buffet restaurant, finding a table never presented us with a problem, likewise finding a sun bed was never something to concern us. The menus this time had quite an Oriental slant, not surprising considering our destinations, and the number of folk of Asian descent on board. Again it was noticeable that the food budget appeared higher than that of P&O. Unfortunately the ubiquitous Norovirus hit the ship, but the outbreak was well handled and quickly brought under control. As for the Entertainment, the shows are very similar to P&O so for the most part we gave them a miss. The bands that played in the lounges were a league above those found on P&O with the exception of Natural High and Caravan. The guest entertainers? well it's all down to personal taste, however, we did enjoy Linda Genteel "The Piano Princess" Liberace was quoted in 1986 as saying: "Linda plays as beautifully as she looks!" For us the thing for us that's sets Princess apart the positive attitude and friendly approach of the staff. Like P&O, Princess also host a lunch with the captain and senior officers, but only for the 40 most travelled passengers, this is still a silver service affair. It was now Monday 12th April and our last port of call, Singapore. Once again we docked in a container terminal, a massive pristine facility where one could imagine that a dirty container would be refused and put back on the ship. This terminal is so large that a system of traffic lights is in place to control the traffic. It was in Singapore where the heat and humidity really started to get to us, we aborted our walk to Raffells and ended up with Maureen buying clothes in M&S. Our last night on board was a really enjoyable affair with our table companions and other friends all getting today to round off what had been a super cruise. Embarkation in Laem Chabang Thailand was a painless event and after identifying our luggage and we were soon setting off on our 3 hour coach journey into Bangkok. Our first and only(at that time) full day in Bangkok entailed our River Kwai tour, again a very early start and a two hour drive to the JEATH museum inside Wat Chai Chumpho, this has been constructed largely in the form of an Allied Prisoner of War camp which is managed by a Thai monk. The thatched detention hut with cramped, elevated bamboo bunks contains photographic, pictorial and physical memorabilia dating from the Second World War. We then visited the immaculately maintained Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. It is located opposite Kanchanaburi's Railway Station where we caught a train taking us over the River Kwai Bridge and North to for lunch and a ride on the elephants. It was on arriving back at our hotel and checking the BBC World Service that we realised the ASH CLOUD had struck and we were not going home the next day. What followed were many days of uncertainty, as our first estimate of a return date was the 7th May. However our tour company Spectrum Cruises and there local Agents Tour East worked tirelessly in our interests. Initially to confirm that our hotel costs would be covered and then to get us home ASAP. Not wishing to sit on our hands for the next week or so the group went about organising its own excursions, and we had the delight of visiting many of the cultural, historical and nature-based sites. The most impressive being the Bang Pa In, summer palace of the kings of Thailand. By that time the riots were starting to kick off again, the Consulate was visiting us at the hotel , and some of our group had a lucky escape when one of the rocket fired grenades hit just yard from where they were imbibing. It was on the Friday morning, nine days after we had checked in, that we were informed that Emirates was running an extra flight the following morning to London Gatwick and we were booked on. We departed Suvarnabhume Airport about midday landing Gatwick late evening where Spectrum again stepped up to the plate and had representatives and a coach waiting to transport us back to Manchester England. All said a holiday in a lifetime which we would recommend to anyone. Ray & Maureen Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
This was the worst possible cruise. They acted like this was the first cruise they had ever hosted. It started in Beijing with a tour bus guide who could not speak English and who did not respond to guest requests. Registering at the ... Read More
This was the worst possible cruise. They acted like this was the first cruise they had ever hosted. It started in Beijing with a tour bus guide who could not speak English and who did not respond to guest requests. Registering at the port was poorly handled. We had to get off the bus, go into the hotel ballroom, register, get back on the bus and wander aimlessly through the port (bus driver was lost). The problems were just beginning. The food was mediocre. Fish was dry, seasoning was bland, meat was tough, desserts were nasty, etc. Service was extremely poor. Indifferent. Try getting a cup of coffee without serving yourself. Wait staff acted like passengers were a true inconvenience to them-rude, rude, rude. We were given information about the ports, but not the information you really needed. You had to watch a poorly produced video to get very meager information. Don't try attending the port information lecture-not enough room for all passengers to attend anything. They had movies in the room-yippee-if you are into sports movies-boxing, football, soccer, hockey. The in-room television service was a joke. The "internet service" worked only periodically and was slow as molasses in January. The ship docked in container ports which were so far out the passengers had to pay $10-20/passenger to take a bus into the city. Some bus rides were as short as 30 minutes but some as long as 2 1/2 hours EACH WAY. With 8-10 hours in a port, a traveller really wants to spend hours and hours on a bus just getting into the city. Getting off the ship followed the same nightmare. What should have taken a couple of hours went on forever. There were too many problems to relate. Never again on Princess. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The Captain always concluded his PAs with, “Please enjoy the magnificent Golden Princess.” Sadly we didn’t find the Golden Princess to be magnificent at all but very tired and with problems. For us, this had to be our worst ... Read More
The Captain always concluded his PAs with, “Please enjoy the magnificent Golden Princess.” Sadly we didn’t find the Golden Princess to be magnificent at all but very tired and with problems. For us, this had to be our worst cruise/ship with Princess and we are their Elite members. We booked this cruise mainly for the Asian ports of call. We did enjoy visiting the various Asian ports. As we had cruised before to Darwin and Brisbane, we thought we would stay on board to enjoy the ship all the way back to Sydney. We didn’t expect to end up spending a lot of time in the refuge of our cabin watching movies. Will give more details at the end of this review. Our major disappointment with Golden Princess was its very poor management and operation. Here are a few incidents. Nha Trang - We were on board one of the first few tenders going ashore. After the tender was filled to its full capacity with passengers, an officer started to organize loading heavy metal railings and equipment onto the tender. These blocked one of the two exits and both stair cases leading to the front/rear where most passengers were sitting. When we raised our concerns, the officer just rudely ignored us. Amazingly no other passengers also realized the dangers and voiced in. When the tender started to move, water began to pour in through the front windows. One of the 2 crew members had to climb over and through the railings/equipments to close the windows. The time he had taken and the difficulties he had clearly demonstrated how dangerous it would be in an emergency. We took some photos and put in a written complaint on our return to the ship. Next day we got to meet with the Staff Captain, the Safety & Health Officer, the Customer Service Director and one of her staff. To our utmost surprise, the Safety & Health Officer was one of the two crew members on board the tender. It was not two junior crew members acting on instructions from an officer! He was quickly shut up by the Staff Captain when he started to make weak excuses. The Staff Captain thanked us for reporting the incident and apologized on behalf of the unknown officer who rudely ignored us and made us looking like complete idiots in front of a full load of passengers. Instead of usual procedure to have ALL necessary equipment on board a tender without any passenger to set up the landing first, the safety of passengers was grossly compromised by having loose heavy metal railings and equipment on board and blocking exits. Without doubt, it was a huge operation and safety failure, not by juniors, but by two officers and one was in charge of safety himself! Bali - In the morning, at least 4 tenders and 1 local catamaran filled with passengers had a long wait (30 mins for ours) to unload because (surprise! surprise!) only one side of the pontoon could be used. The other side of the pontoon was blocked by a huge yacht - very poor organization and operation on both the ship and local authorities. To make things more chaotic, one of the tenders as it was drifting struck a reef and needed help! It was a fair walk, with no cover under the hot sun, to the terminal from the pontoon. In the afternoon, again a fair walk under the hot sun from the terminal to the pontoon. An officer came around to ask the ‘slow walkers’ to join the short line but then another officer stopped these ‘slow walkers’ from using the short line because it was for ‘wheel chairs only’! Hong Kong - Passengers were made to wait for nearly an hour after the scheduled arrival time even though the ship had already docked for two hours. There was no public announcement as to why. An officer at the gangway was telling passengers that the ship was not yet cleared hence nobody could go ashore while another officer was wasting her and others valuable time in not seeking help from her colleagues or passengers but just repeatedly telling a non-English speaking passenger that his wife needed to come down now to join the ship’s shore excursion to Macau as all the others had already gone ashore. Thanks to a passenger who volunteered to solve the language barrier, the missing passenger came then shortly afterwards, the gangway was opened. Good job, Princess! Once again as you are well known to seasoned cruisers, 2000+ passengers were held back from going ashore for the sake of the few going on your shore excursion. PROS STAFF - The Golden Princess had just finished its 4-month Asian season. We were very impressed with the excellent service provided by the unusual high % of Chinese and Japanese crew in all departments. They were very friendly, very eager to help, hard working and went really out of their ways to please. Although English is not their mother tongue, they all spoke good English. They didn’t get overly talkative but conversed politely and friendly if we engaged them. Crew members from other countries were also excellent. We had 2nd seating for dinner in the Canaletto Dining Room. Both the maître d and headwaiter, Rafael from Mexico, were the best we had ever had on board a Princess ship. They were friendly to ALL passengers. Unlike some senior serving staff who would only be friendly to passengers of certain nationality or race. Rafael came around to every table every night briefly to check on things and have a friendly little chat. Our cabin steward from India was excellent. He also quickly got to know our habits and always had our cabin serviced before we returned from breakfast or dinner. FOOD - We found the quality of food in both MDR and buffet was quite good. Not once we couldn’t find something we liked. Aside from the MDR and buffet, we also loved that we could grab some goodies from the 24-hr International Café, burger or hot dogs or fries (yum) from Trident Grill, pizza from Prego Pizzeria and soft serve ice cream from Sundaes Ice Cream Bar. BARRIER REEF PILOT – a different one to the usual one on board Princess ships, very informative and interesting talks. CONS ENTERTAINMENT – We totally agreed with other reviews that entertainers in the Theatre, apart from just a couple, were extremely poor. We didn’t participate much in other ship’s activities to avoid getting a 2nd dosage of the coughing bugs and the poor air quality and unhygienic condition of the ship because of: WATER LEAKAGE Our cabin was located in the front of Deck 8. As soon as we boarded the ship, we noticed that water was dripping down from a couple of the fire sprinklers in the corridors. One day we saw a mechanic removing a whole drum of water from one of those ‘crew only’ doors. Shortly after, one of the two entrance doors and the ramp to the Theater on Deck 7 were roped off. When we went to use the Deck 6 port side entrance, we saw water, like heavy rain, coming down from the ceiling in the area between the Cigar Bar and the stairwell. Then wall panels in between Deck 8 and 7 stairwells were taken down and the areas were roped off for over a week. Carpets were noticeably wet. A musty odor lingered in that area throughout the cruise. We used the front set of lifts to go up to Deck 14 for the open decks or the buffet. We found the carpets in between the lifts and doors to the open decks to be extremely stained and again a musty odor in the air. We never saw the water leakage near the starboard side door fixed. It was so unpleasant to walk through that area. From another review, apparently there were leaks on decks 5, 11 and 12 and Vista Lounge. SEWAGE SMELL ON DECK 7 – Amazingly the sewage smell on Deck 7 aft as reported in another review of March 2016 was not fixed. Every evening we had to walk through that area twice to/from the Canaletto Dining Room. An alternative route for us was to walk all the way on Deck 8 and take the lifts down but we would need to walk past all the service trolleys for turning down service with soiled towels and rubbish! PASSENGERS & CREW WITH RESPIRATORY SICKNESS AND DIARRHEA Shortly into the cruise and throughout the cruise, most passengers and some crew had bad coughs, cold and diarrhea. No matter where we went, we always had someone coughing and sneezing near us. Apparently many passengers had to visit the ship’s doctor. We both became sick too. UNUSUAL REPAIRS AND ON GOING MAINTENANCE - phones on a couple of decks were out of order for days - lifts in our area were out of order many times - renovation was carried out in the Lotus Spa pool area. Floor covering with dust & dirt was not hosed down - one of the pools was closed for days because the water filter was installed the wrong way - cabin steward informed us that our laundry was held up because the tagging machine was broken - shower head in our bathroom dropped off by itself - other passengers were upset because token machines in the laundromats were not working. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
25 days from Beijing to Sydney on the Golden Princess was the worst cruise we have ever done.From day one we had cold water in our bathroom complaining didn't work the only way we could get hot water was to leave the shower running ... Read More
25 days from Beijing to Sydney on the Golden Princess was the worst cruise we have ever done.From day one we had cold water in our bathroom complaining didn't work the only way we could get hot water was to leave the shower running for up to 45 minutes and the constant daily charges added to our account for drinks after paying $3000 for a drinks package was annoying to say the least.The food in the Crown Grill was excellent the food elsewhere was very average and the entertainment was nonexistent.Every day there were complaints about cold water water leakes and the food.This was the first trip we have done on the Golden Princess and definitely the last it was very disappointing and a low point in our Asian holiday.If your thinking about the Golden Princess for your next cruise you should look elsewhere this ship needs to be completely refurbished Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Entertainment was non-existent, two nights out of the whole cruise was good as for the rest forget it. The Cruise Director Tim is shameful really and should get together for the sake of Princess, passengers will drift away to another ... Read More
Entertainment was non-existent, two nights out of the whole cruise was good as for the rest forget it. The Cruise Director Tim is shameful really and should get together for the sake of Princess, passengers will drift away to another cruise line. Food in the dining room was repetitive, lacking taste, no sauces or gravies very dry. The salmon I ordered was so overcooked dry and horrible. We ordered beef tenderloins one night I believe hundreds of people didnt eat the meal it was like stewing steak, again lacking gravy or a sauce. The Curtis Stone specials were Seafood Stew, Pork Belly and Chicken and Leek pie they were just repeated night night after night. The taste of these three dishes leave a lot to be desired. I ordered the chicken and leek pie twice both times there were small chicken bones!!!. The wait staff were incredible, excellent service and do everything to please. I felt sorry for the waiters because people complained to them, it is not their fault after all, mind you the Maitre D in the Caneletto Dining Room didnt want to know he was rude and unwilling to assist when there was a major problem he was nowhere to be seen. Duty Free liquor Day 2 there was no alcohol available for passengers to purchase, at the start of the cruise there was three yes three bottles of gin for purchase one passenger purchased the three. Apparently alcohol was coming on the ship in Brisbane, great we got off in Brisbane so no Duty Free for passengers disembarking. The ports we visited were great an experience and makes one realise how lucky we are to live in Australia. We and many others were very disappointed with Golden Princess, in fact I can longer recommend Princess Cruises to others which I have always done in the past. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise for the ports and to disembark in Melbourne. The entertainment was poor with many walkouts. Activities during the day were repetitive and staff trying to sell you products. Very few lectures, information on ports was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports and to disembark in Melbourne. The entertainment was poor with many walkouts. Activities during the day were repetitive and staff trying to sell you products. Very few lectures, information on ports was very scant. The staff were great and eager to please. The tender process was poorly organised.Ship very tired, requires maintenance. Tiles off around the pool, smell outside lift on deck 7, no lounges on the promenade deck. Most lounges were uncomfortable. Happy hour from 3-4 in one lounge, too early and unmanageable not enough room for passengers to sit and chat. Menu lacked variety and at times food very tough. Library was non existent. Never cruise from Sydney to Melbourne the majority of passengers disembarked in Sydney. Princess sold cheap to anyone, the last three days were horrendous with drunks arguing with staff, swearing at passengers and making the last three days very unpleasant. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Chose this cruise for the port destinations.The cabin we selected was excellent. However that was about the limit of anything good on the ship. Food was average, our experience in the restaurant was poor. So we went up to the buffet, which ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the port destinations.The cabin we selected was excellent. However that was about the limit of anything good on the ship. Food was average, our experience in the restaurant was poor. So we went up to the buffet, which was marginally better. Some crew were fantastic others were new and needed further training. The management and officers were poor and you could tell by the poor organising of activities on board and the many errors in menu selection, program activities etc that the staff appeared tired and needed refreshing . This mainly applies to officers and management. The entertainment was very poor. The shows that were on were very low in quality and many people walked out during performances on many occasions. We have always had a pleasurable experience on Princess in the past, Diamond and Sapphire Princess, but this time they really dropped the bundle. We might as a result never choose Princess again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I totally agree with all reviews that have been left so far. We had high expectations of Princess lines...but unfortunately this cruise did not live up to these expectations. The ship itself was fine (except for the area near the Vista ... Read More
I totally agree with all reviews that have been left so far. We had high expectations of Princess lines...but unfortunately this cruise did not live up to these expectations. The ship itself was fine (except for the area near the Vista lounge which always smelt like sewerage) and our inside cabin was as we expected...small but quite adequate, with plenty of wardrobe and storage space. We did experience one sleepless night when staff were working repairing something behind our cabin wall. We had to ring the desk at 12.30am and have staff come to our cabin to investigate. We were told they could not muffle the noise, nor knew how long it would go on for. We were offered to change cabin for the night (by this time 1 am) or were offered earplugs! The food left a lot to be desired and, as mentioned in previous review, it was difficult to fill a plate from the buffet......a lot of recycled food cooked with sauces with fancy names. The entertainment and activities on board were woeful. First night show was champion harmonica players....REALLY???? It didn't get a lot better after that. Limited staff at Customer Service desk led to long lines...we waited for 40 minutes one day. A lot of people were in the line to get laundry tokens because the token machines in the laundromats were not working. We found the ship's shore excursions to be very expensive. We booked a couple, but also booked some privately. The staff we found to be pleasant and friendly in most cases. More friendly at the beginning of the cruise than towards the end of the 25 days. Summing up, having cruised 9 times in the past with P&O, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian, I would have to say that this was my least favourite cruise line and I don't expect that we will cruise with them again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
My wife and I chose this cruise mainly because of the Asian itinerary as we haven't travelled to those ports before. We also wanted to experience princess. Embarkation went fairly smoothly in Tianjin and soon we were on board and ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise mainly because of the Asian itinerary as we haven't travelled to those ports before. We also wanted to experience princess. Embarkation went fairly smoothly in Tianjin and soon we were on board and to our mini suite. First impressions of the ship were good as was our stateroom. As the cruise got going we observed new carpets being laid in the staircases. We thought the ship was a bit tired in places and could do with a bit of a paint job for eg in some places around the ship. Noticeable was a section of pool tiles missing from the Neptune pool and a person told us these same tiles were missing about 3 years back when he cruised the golden. These are not major things but need to be mentioned. A vile smell was being emitted onto our balcony e719 from downstairs which smelt like sewerage. This was annoying when trying to enjoy a drink on the balcony in the afternoon. Directly below our cabin on deck 7 the smell was even worse. What was extremely disappointing was the entertainment or lack of it. During the 25 days on this cruise we thought only 3 shows were decent. Music and things to do around the ship during the day were a non event and I think the cd has to take some of the blame for this as apparently this operation ( entertainment ) starts and stops with him. On a good note. Thought most of the food was satisfactory to good. Horizon court not much choice, bit small. Paid restaurants good to very good, but I must say the ultimate balcony dining experience was superb. The staff need to be mentioned also. Although a number of the staff were new on this cruise they were all great and did their job admirably. All in all I would rate this cruise reasonable but far from memorable. Probably wouldn't do the golden princess again, however would consider one of there newer ships in the fleet. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Embarkation poor. Disembarkation good. Ships A/C very poor cold on lower decks. 3 attempt to get a/c in the cabin and still not working.(deck 10) Beds of very poor quality and worn out. had overlay put on bed still no good finally got ... Read More
Embarkation poor. Disembarkation good. Ships A/C very poor cold on lower decks. 3 attempt to get a/c in the cabin and still not working.(deck 10) Beds of very poor quality and worn out. had overlay put on bed still no good finally got another mattress .(not new) had same problem on last Princess cruise, Entertainment very poor in 25 days only 3 performances of singers and dancers. All the usual day activities, only a couple of decent movies, Service by the crew was very good and most could not do enough for you. The high ranking officers were all Italian, the Capt like to hear his own voice at midday. Said how busy he had been with a couple of medical evacuations....( what a lot of bull. ) because the top brass were Italian we were served a lot of pasta and fish in sauces(Quite horrible) fish was very dry thought it was some cheap stuff they bought in China (cruise was a relocation from China) Meat and chicken was usually very tough and roast meat was raw. Best selection of fresh fruit of any ship I have been on. Food was plentiful but not quality. Excursions were very expensive and mostly badly organised from the ships end. tours all tended to arrive back at same time and long wait for tender, Brisbane port is a long way from the city and shuttle buses were used. once again shambles. No priority for people who had pre purchase tickets Left ship before 9am did not get to city until 11.30 queueing up. no seats were told we could wait inside but then would have lost place in queue. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This is our first Princess experience, picked for the itinerary. Very disappointed, especially the food and entertainment, it is not unusual to circle the buffet 2-3 times and unable to fill a plate. The saving grace is the serving ... Read More
This is our first Princess experience, picked for the itinerary. Very disappointed, especially the food and entertainment, it is not unusual to circle the buffet 2-3 times and unable to fill a plate. The saving grace is the serving staff, overall very obliging. The organisation for the tender port was chaotic, especially in Bali, we got an L-plater driver who had trouble parking the tender along the terminal, we were stuck in the tender for more than 30 min whilst he tried repeatedly. Needless to say, this created a domino effect of several other tenders being delayed and shore tours coming back late in the afternoon. We are elite on Celebrity, and have also travelled on Royal Caribbean, Cunard and HAL, we feel that Princess should on the minimum be comparable to RC, however, based on Golden Princess, we feel that it is far below par, it will take a lot for us to attempt another Princess. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise because of its suitability for our plans; ie we wanted to spend time in Beijing (seeing the Great Wall etc etc) and the Cruise Itinerary would see us right home (through Japan, Taipei, Bali etc) to Melbourne. That it ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its suitability for our plans; ie we wanted to spend time in Beijing (seeing the Great Wall etc etc) and the Cruise Itinerary would see us right home (through Japan, Taipei, Bali etc) to Melbourne. That it did, and while there were many nice things happening on board-some good singers and dancers, a 'second-to-none' crossing of the equator ceremony, some good food and some excellent service (breakfast room upstairs). There were some really good activities such as golf putting and lawn bowls (on a beautiful upstairs green), not-to-mention glorious 'peaceful areas' (such as The Sanctuary)and lovely small pools and spas. Yet much of this ship's operation, these days is slipshod and drastically in need of improvement. A lot of this seems to be because of cost cutting- 'cut the cost, cut the quality.'. For a start, communication in the ship needs to be improved from the top down, starting with 'Princess Patter', the ship's bulletin, which needs to be radically altered to provide necessary information for passengers rather than promote the ship's personnel. There is a dearth of good English, from the Ship's Desk, through to coffee servers etc etc, adding to unnecessary passenger frustration. Intellectually, the ship currently is a disaster, with a poor (almost non-existent) library and none of the stimulating lectures that we saw on the Noordam last year, for instance. A number of On Shore Tours took too long to get off the ship, meaning tours were rushed (and sometimes late back). Some were also far too expensive, with guides whose English and organistational skills were deficient. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Great itinerary sailing from Tianjin to Melbourne however the overall cruise experience was poor. Much of the entertainment was in the Piazza which was too small to view the action plus the noise generated made it impossible to deal ... Read More
Great itinerary sailing from Tianjin to Melbourne however the overall cruise experience was poor. Much of the entertainment was in the Piazza which was too small to view the action plus the noise generated made it impossible to deal with the pursers office. Entertainment in the Piazza that I could see was quite good. The production shows were also good and a significant improvement on a previous Princess cruise. There were a couple of good shows in the theatre but the rest were mostly average with a couple being poor. Around the ship a great pianist A J Clarke boarded in Osaka replacing a pianist was VERY ordinary. AJ was fantastic. The initial houseband was great however they disembarked in Hongkong and the replacement tried hard but were only average. During the day the staples of Bingo and Trivia were offered most days however over 28 days this became tedious. Apart from 1 day entertainment was not offered during the day other than in the Piazza and this was a real oversight. The cruise directors team did try hard and Victoria's effort with the choir was outstanding whilst Ken and Raven's efforts in particular were also great. The Cruise director Tim however did very little to make this a good cruise with his jokes being tired. The restaurant food in general was average. The buffet food was also only average. On a number of days I struggled to find anything that I fancied eating in the buffet. On an upside the service staff were cheery and their service was good. The cabin breakfast was poor with mistakes being often made between what was ordered and delivered. The fact that unlike on other ships we had cruised on Hot Chocolate was not generally available was also a downside Compared with other ships we found our balcony cabin to be small. Our Cabin Steward was however exemplary. The TV system used in the cabin was OLD with a very limited range of channels and no ability to check program details etc or to see details of daily onboard activities. We were pleasantly surprised at the drink prices other than the bottled wines where the prices were very high. The boat presented well however its lack of use of technology onboard was a lowlight particularly as it necessitated taking 30 minutes to remediate an incorrect charge which would not have occurred with better technology. One other issue was that a number of the whirlpools did not operate properly. We did not do any shore excursions particularly due to their very high price . Overall we believed that other cruise lines we have used provided a better experience Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We had great expectations of this cruise as we had not visited this part of the world before. The itinerary suited us as the ship sailed to Melbourne, our home town, so we only had to deal with one long flight. First off the ... Read More
We had great expectations of this cruise as we had not visited this part of the world before. The itinerary suited us as the ship sailed to Melbourne, our home town, so we only had to deal with one long flight. First off the positives: We had an ocean view cabin midship on deck 5. The ride was extremely smooth and the cabin was pretty well insulated against outside noise, although we could hear people coughing in the cabin next door (more about that later). The bed would have to be the most comfortable one we have ever slept in, The mattress and pillows were to die for. The staff were quite friendly and willing to help where and when they could. Now the negatives: While the bed was comfortable, the air conditioning was non existent. We were sailing through the tropics and the temperatures were quite high and the humidity was pretty high as well. We advised the front desk that the aircon was not working very well and they said they would someone to look at it, the next day we were told that the problem had been rectified, however it was no better that before we complained about it. I can only echo what other people have already said about the ship. The entertainment was terrible, the scene was set on the second night when the highlight act was a pair of harmonica players, who in their right mind would book harmonica players as a main act. Another poor act was a Chinese cultural group, these guys were obviously a local amateur community group, not what you would expect to find on a cruise liner. Other acts around the ship were mediocre to poor, one outstanding act however was a group called Playlist (I think), these guys played a wide variety of music, and played it well, something that can't be said for most of the other acts. The ship itself is in need of serious maintenance, There were many instances of leaking roofs, even the main dining room roof was leaking at one stage. The two hot tubs at the rear of the ship were out of action for at least the first 10 days of the cruise. Other hot tubs around the ship were being taken out of service at various times, as was the main pool.Others have mentioned the sewage like stench on deck 7 near the Vista Lounge, it seemed to be worse in the evenings. All of this was bad enough, but we had to deal with what I can only describe as an outbreak of influenza. I know it was influenza as my wife was hospitalised and diagnosed with Type A Influenza in the second week of the cruise. There appeared to be no measures taken by the crew to contain the outbreak, the handwashing stations in the Horizon Court were poorly monitored, at times there was no crew member in attendance. We have only cruised 4 times, but this would without a doubt be the worts cruise experience we've had. I doubt we would sail Princess again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Staff amazing, very efficient and eager to please. Balcony cabin, very clean, comfortable and steward very helpful Dining staff were great, created a fabulous dining experience, were very professional, but always smiling a shame ... Read More
Staff amazing, very efficient and eager to please. Balcony cabin, very clean, comfortable and steward very helpful Dining staff were great, created a fabulous dining experience, were very professional, but always smiling a shame there wasn't the usual decorations and celebrations. Entertainment was ordinary not up to an acceptable standard. Activities during the day were non existent, very few lectures or speakers, library with no books or any where to read. Happy hour from 3to 4 in one bar too early and didn't encourage people to mingle as only a few could fit into the bar. Unfortunately from Sydney to Melbourne the majority of passengers disembarked and Princess sold the segment off. This resulted for existing passengers and crew having to put up with some very drunk, rude obnoxious people. They had glass stubbies in the pool, played loud music around the pools and had no regard for fellow passengers and were rude to staff. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
I'd like to add a voice of agreement with the negative critique entitled "Ma ma hu hu" posted April 2015. My husband and I also were on the same cruise, and it really was a major disappointment from our past experiences ... Read More
I'd like to add a voice of agreement with the negative critique entitled "Ma ma hu hu" posted April 2015. My husband and I also were on the same cruise, and it really was a major disappointment from our past experiences with Princess. We had the same experience and opinions as stated in "Ma ma hu hu" as it relates to service, itinerary, excursions, Hong Kong Terminal and especially the Buffet Court which was truly a complete mess and disaster. We also had a similar experience in the lack of responsiveness and caring by Ship's Management. On about the 4th day of the cruise we began to detect a distinct sewage odor in a few places on board the ship. Over the next several days, the odor became increasingly strong and more offensive over a broader area of the ship. It was not limited to just inside the ship, but clearly evident on the outside decks in the open air. We brought this complaint to Front Desk management on two occasions, and they simply acknowledged that they had been made aware of it and it was being taken care of. Over the remainder of the cruise, it was never resolved and the offensive odor persisted. After we returned home, we received a call from Princess Customer Service regarding the Post-trip Evaluation Survey we had submitted. We welcomed the opportunity to talk to them further to share what we thought was constructive feedback. Instead, we were greeted with a very defensive posture and again seemingly uncaring attitude. Our biggest concern was whether this experience was isolated to trips in this particular part of the world, or whether it was trend in overall decreasing service and performance by Princess. While we haven't decided to preclude Princess as a choice for future travels, I can assure you we will ponder our future cruise choices much more closely before traveling with Princess again. Additionally, we will continue to watch Princess critiques to see if others have similar experiences and this is, in fact, a downward trend in their service. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
We've been on a fair few cruises on five different lines. One thing you realise is people love to complain about any minor niggle and to take a lot of the complaints with a grain of salt. For that reason I'll start with the ... Read More
We've been on a fair few cruises on five different lines. One thing you realise is people love to complain about any minor niggle and to take a lot of the complaints with a grain of salt. For that reason I'll start with the positives because there were several. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and painless, maybe because we had priority but I think it flowed wherever you were in the line. The Piazza café was a great alternative to a longer meal or the buffet and the staff were helpful and attentive. The Alfredo's pizzeria also on deck 5 made great pizzas and you could mix and match toppings to create one that suited you. For those people who are eligible for the elite lounge it also offers a fantastic hideaway on deck 17 in Skywalkers nightclub that was away from the crowds for a pre dinner drink or just to watch the world go by. The less impressive things are due to ship design rather than the staff. The balcony design is ridiculous. The suites on deck 9 have no weather protection or privacy. Deck ten fares a little better with limited privacy and weather protection and 11 and 12 are overlooking 9 and 10 and in return they can be seen from the decks below. That leaves deck 8 as the only option for privacy. For me the ship is just too big with not enough variation to spread the 2600 passengers. That leaves several areas feeling overcrowded when some areas are vacant. Lining up for all meals for any time dining wore thin quickly. The promenade deck acts as the running / walking track rather than on the upper decks like on many ships so it isn't the pleasant place to read and watch the sea because of an incessant procession of foot traffic. The worst thing without doubt is the food. It was bad in almost every way. From arriving cold, to steaks being like boot leather, to being massively unimaginative and bland. I recognise that serving the numbers of people on a cruise ship means you don't have a chef hovering over each meal ensuring it meets their exacting standards but I fully expect better food than the airline on the way to the ship. The menus were limited and repetitive. The food style seemed to be Asian meets U.S. but failed dismally to achieve the best of either. It was honestly like hospital food. I don't like making a fuss while I'm meant to be relaxing so I grinned and said it was fine when asked, simply because I could have sent 30% of my meals back. As I'd picked the most appealing of the limited choices, there was no better option when it was appalling. We often left the restaurant for a pizza. The second worst thing is the constant badgering by the staff (I know it isn't their fault) to sell things to you. It was only rivalled in the street markets of Vietnam. "Do you want bottled water?" "Do you want a coffee card?" "Do you want a wine package?" "Do you want a drinks package?" "Do you want an after dinner drink with a memento glass?" "Do you want a champagne breakfast?" "Do you want a wine tasting?" "Do you want a photo with dinner?" "Do you want an affogato?" On average we were asked if "we wanted fries with that" three times a day not including the obligatory photos at the gangway. I saw many people get angry with the staff who in some cases looked pained at having to continue, especially with the irritable responses. Summary: The food is abysmal (worst I've ever experienced) and they need to stop the incessant upselling. If those things were fixed I'd probably put up with the poor ship layout. No way I'd sail on her again unless they were rectified and I'm dubious about sailing on Princess full stop if their quality assurance is so poor.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
Ages m 61 f 58 Past cruises Princess 7 P&O 2 Celebrity 1 Regions: - Caribbean. Northern Europe, Mediterranean, South America and Alaska. Cabin Baja Balcony Grand Asia We took a short land tour before joining the ship from ... Read More
Ages m 61 f 58 Past cruises Princess 7 P&O 2 Celebrity 1 Regions: - Caribbean. Northern Europe, Mediterranean, South America and Alaska. Cabin Baja Balcony Grand Asia We took a short land tour before joining the ship from Beijing. The land tour was very rewarding and enjoyable. Our tour director Spike was excellent and involved everyone. Partly because Spike had set a very high bar we found the guides at Busan, Nagasaki, Shanghai, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Bangkok not up to the mark. Enjoyed the sites and culture but the info from the guides we found disappointing. Long trip in Vietnam to the tunnels and a very long day to Bangkok. At most of the ports there were delays in disembarking which truncated the sightseeing time but not the standard shopping stops times. Found the food to at best average. We tried Anytime Dining for the first time. Mostly this was a success and having good conversation at dinner. Formal nights are not what they used to be. At table on the first formal a fellow male thought that a collarless tee shit and baggies were suitable attire as did the staff I guess. At dinner towards the end of the cruise we were joined at table by 6 Australian 30 something’s. They were all on an All Inclusive drinks package. Their demeanour reflected this. During dinner the “F” and “C” words were used often. Their dining habits involved multiple first courses (3). We waited 25 mins for our second course to arrive. The image of snouts in troughs is etched in our memories.  I believe I saw them in the Crooners bar the previous night. They conformed it was them. The males were slumped over the bar. They were in drag and etched on their dresses was “Booze Cruise”  They found it humorous to make disparaging remarks about us.  What was being said at table could clearly be heard by adjacent tables. One of which had the Captain his wife and young daughter.  Judging by the Captain’s wife’s face I feel sure she at least heard what was being said.  We left the table before dessert. The following morning I made a complaint at the front desk before taking the early morning tour to Bangkok. When we returned in the late afternoon it was obvious nothing had been done to address our complaint. I asked to speak with a supervisor and I was refused. Later we received a phone call from the F&B manager. He suggested that the group may be spoken to. I suggested a far stronger course of action. He said it was company policy to speak to people first before any further action. The following day I was in conversation with a guest who was on the land tour. He was aware what had occurred at dinner. He informed me the same group were “performing” in Pop Stars at the Wheelhouse bar. He along with several other guests left. It would seem their was very effective. Since returning I have made a formal complaint to Customer Services. They suggested that many more people choose to cruise and they come from varied backgrounds. We will not be using Princess again as we feel our custom is not welcomed. Princess Cruises – Consummate Hosts – I think not!   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
My wife and I are long time cruisers. We have reached Elite status on Princess. The pre-cruise extension to Xian was booked with Princess because we expected a first class experience. The hotel in Beijing was the Great Wall .Marriott. How ... Read More
My wife and I are long time cruisers. We have reached Elite status on Princess. The pre-cruise extension to Xian was booked with Princess because we expected a first class experience. The hotel in Beijing was the Great Wall .Marriott. How about black mold in the showers! How about tour guides in Xian changing the itinerary so they could take us to a souvenir store instead of sticking to the original agenda! For what Princess charges we should have had the best and instead we had the worst. The cruise itself was just okay. The Princess menu keeps going downhill as does the food. The captain did a great job keeping us out of a hurricane, but the two ports that they used to substitute for Nagasaki and Shanghai were only fair. If those two ports in Taiwan were on the original itinerary we would never had booked the cruise. We took this cruise on the Diamond Princess in 2008 and loved it. That is why we decided to take it again. Princess cannot control typhoons but Princess can control the sub-contractor they used in Beijing, the quality of food, and the substitute ports. Shame on Princess. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
Before we went on this trip I read the reviews other people who just came off of the same trip had posted. My thoughts were you can't please everybody and maybe these people are just too picky. I was wrong they were right. I went on ... Read More
Before we went on this trip I read the reviews other people who just came off of the same trip had posted. My thoughts were you can't please everybody and maybe these people are just too picky. I was wrong they were right. I went on the nine day Yenisei river cruise prior to getting on the 17 day Beijing to Singapore cruise. The first day I got into my cabin I woke up and was shaving, my sink overflowed onto my only pair of clean trousers soaking them from top to bottom. I then went to my dresser drawer to remove a pair of clean boxers only to find out that the drawer was never cleaned from of sand from the previous guest. It took me three days to get a hold of the Internet tech. to find out why I could not log onto the Internet. I went up and scheduled three (Male) manicures and found out they charge $60 for each. When I went back up later to cancel them I found out they forgot to even book the time for them. I rented a tuxedo which is supposed to come with two shirts. I didn't receive the second shirt until I complained to 4 different supervisors and had been promised by each I would have the shirt in1hr at the most. I received it about 2 hrs. before dinner. When I did get my tuxedo package even that was missing a cuffling which I wasn't able to get until 30 minutes before I left my room for dinner. My cabin stewart did not replace my sheets until I noticed he had not replace them four days before we departed the ship and that was only because my girl friend had makeup that marked the sheets,comforter and pillow cases. I contacted three different supervisors who were absolutely incapable of understanding or handling any of these issues. After complaining about these issues they offered me free dinners and other amenities which I declined because I can pay my own way I just wanted a clean cabin. I looked at the sheets they replaced and found out that those were also dirty. Call the supervisor up again about the dirty sheets and asked why my cabin Stewart would make a bed that had sheets that were obviously dirty. He could only say he would take care of it. There were two women's bathrobes in my cabin. the destinations are of the chart great. Except, you only have 45 min. in each place to take pictures, hear you guides info and then try to find where they disappeared to !!!!! The rest of the time your waiting on wheel chaired guest and people who can't walk stairs ect...... Princess SHOULD NOT allow or make a separate trip for slow and or handicapped individuals. I could go on and on but I hope who ever reads this understands what they can expect from Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
My partner- we are both in our 40's- and my mum and dad- 60's went on this holiday. It started off with chaos trying to sort out visa's for china/ japan and then one of the destinations in japan was cancelled for ... Read More
My partner- we are both in our 40's- and my mum and dad- 60's went on this holiday. It started off with chaos trying to sort out visa's for china/ japan and then one of the destinations in japan was cancelled for embarkation problems- not a good start we arrived in beijing staying in a good hotel for a few days with our rep John who was a great guy very helpful and informative- beijing was a great experience because of him and Tour East as a company in general. On the night before we were due to board the Diamond Princess one of our party had a text from home to say that the Norwalk virus was prevalent on ship and had made national press in the uk- we were a bit concerned but John assured us he had no information that we couldn't proceed which we did- luckily early. when we arrived at the port armed security guards were blocking the entrance but john walked us into the terminal- we were the first ones there. Previous passengers were getting off and being bused away all shaking their heads at us- one lady put her hand to her neck as if to show she was cutting her throat!. We registered and went to get on board only then being told to wait as we couldn't board. All this time, coachloads of passengers were being bused into the terminal and either had to wait outside in the bitter cold or in buses -some in hotels- we waited over 4 hours with no information or anyone in any form of authority giving us a clear idea of what was going on other than the ship was being cleaned- water and crisps were provided and eventually tea and coffee- the hot water was in the toilet area of the terminus- Norwalk virus be damned! Steve and i eventually found our room- no help from crew - to find a phone message for the previous occupant that her quarantine was now up and she could leave- that made me very nervous to even be in the room. because of the Norwalk virus, certain necessary curtailments were in place- hand washing- no salt/pepper cellars- and no self service personally, i found that the buffet room serving staff were incredibly rude- i literally had a serving of butter thrown at me- i run a service business and always make sure i am overly polite to waiting/cleaning staff because of it- this was hell- we were made to feel as if we weren't entitled to anything the public rooms were very comfortable on board although alot of bars were placed around the edges of the interior- like a waiting room and walking past it sometimes felt as if it was god's waiting room! unfortunately, the bars were not adequately stocked with beers/lagers meaning on many days they ran out of stock completely- even after ports- this wasn't good entertainment- dear heaven it was dire!- so antiquated it belonged on the ark!- origami/ envelope decorating- plate painting and a talent show for passengers of a certain age - we saw a few shows, a couple of films that we'd missed on the plane and was in bed by 8pm every night- it was that bad!!! ports of call we are independent travellers and don't opt for organized trips- these were incredibly expensive!- and poor quality!- one couple went on a hot springs and botanical garden tour and ended up in a hotel sauna walking around the hotels grounds for a whopping $300!- be warned. embarkation was a fiasco and people were getting angry at the sheer incompetence of the staff- they guided you the wrong way- the tannoy system changed in mid stream it was utter chaos every time- we waited once over 3 hours to get a tender simply because they wouldn't lower another boat- on the 2 occasions a tender was used, they broke down (apparently)- princess staff always blame the port authorities but in reality it is them who are totally incapable. its basically a money making system on board- as long as your spending they are happy- the moment you don't your cast aside- steve is a sauna lover and on the first day went to locate the sauna- we knew there was one somewhere- he asked a member of staff who ignoring the free one, immediately tried to sign him up for $150 to use the spa sauna- luckily a fellow passenger intervened and showed him the way- it left a bad taste that. on the day we thankfully left the boat- we were all counting down the days- it was like we didn't exist- the staff simply ignored you- "ive had your money now go away" attitude- we did ask on board about the costing of a cruise to the Antarctic ( our honeymoon) details were supposed to have been given before we left ship but 2 weeks on i am still waiting and with all thats happened i am now in two minds our last destination was bangkok in thailand at the holiday inn we had 2 great tour reps again supplied by tour east- charlie and wanna and spent 2 great days with them being shown around- nothing was too much trouble for them. now, bearing in mind that princess cancelled a stop in japan for embarkation problems you would have thought that they would have been monitoring the foreign office websites and looking into bangkok: but not a bit of it because they sent us there- charlie and wanna on hearing there may be problems at the airport got us there really early but too late to be of any good to us and we were caught in the protests out there- it wasn't anyones fault just sheer bad luck- these two to our great appreciation recalled the buses, negotiated with the holiday inn and retrieved us after only a few hours- their only contractual obligation was to have taken us to the airport- these two are worthy in my book of a medal! so we spent a few more days in thailand managing eventually to get out overland and via an obscure airport in the north at chaing mai- one bus broke down another caught fire en route whilst we were out there it was disclosed by the acting british ambassador that the foreign office website was citing caution re bangkok as long ago as august- and that in october there had been bloodshed between the two opposing factions- princess altered its itinerary to suit its own needs but didn't alter it to safeguard our lives princess cruises now own almost every cruise company afloat with the exception of royal Caribbean carnival- use them not princess- the more i think about the total lack of care from embarkation to finishing the holiday the more angry i am becoming the only saving grace from this holiday have been the ports of call and the good companions that thailand have now brought- please be very careful and take responsibility for checking out with the foreign office each destination before you book Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Pre-cruise: We booked ahead "to save money" however the price dropped and try as we might we could get no adjustment. We were lied to by customer service (no such reduced fares existed), were transferred to non-supervisors when ... Read More
Pre-cruise: We booked ahead "to save money" however the price dropped and try as we might we could get no adjustment. We were lied to by customer service (no such reduced fares existed), were transferred to non-supervisors when we asked for them, were refused an explanation as to why other passengers requested and received the same adjustment. Entertainment - the ship's onboard singers and dancers were not good, they lacked enthusiasm and were overweight. Our experience on a much older Carnival ship this last spring, was far superior! Other entertainment, not part of the Princess staff, were from good to very good. We booked 1 night hotel through the cruise so as to get the transfers to the ship. The downside of the hotel was its location, it was 45 minutes from the center of Beijing, if you wanted to sightsee on your own this would have been a downer. We had booked 3 nights prior to that on our own in the city center so this was really not an issue. Overall the Sapphire Princess is a clean and modern ship. Our stateroom was clean and pleasant, though small because it was an inside cabin. It carries about 2600 passengers but is about the same size as ships that carry fewer - to do this the central promenade has been reduced substantially, which personally I think is unfortunate. The gym is small and the equipment either old or of an inferior quality to those found on most other ships we have taken, especially for a ship which is only 2 years old! There was a 2 hour drive to the Port of Embarkation and then passengers waited in line about 1.5 to 2 hours. Unfortunately the line was in an exposed parking lot and the temperature was about 32 degrees F. In addition one travel group of about 50 people (Vantage) tried to cut the line. This was met by great hostility adding an unpleasant taste to the start of the cruise. This problem was not Princess', the Vantage guide was entirely responsible. The food was good to above average compared with other cruises we have been on (16 other). However, the food area was unsupervised at the beginning of the trip and Norovirus affected many passengers. There were no reminders to avoid coughing on exposed food or cover or turn away when sneezing - a surprising number of passengers apparently were unaware of such practices, and even coughed directly on other passengers. There seem to be fewer activities than on other ships of comparable size. There was a fairly large internet cafe onboard. If you were a platinum member (we are) this was free otherwise it ran $.50/min and there were no package deals! Wireless internet was available but for the same charge and no discount for platinum members (6 or more cruises). I recommend that you do your internet activities in ports - every port had multiple internet cafes with prices as low as $2/hour (verses $30 on the ship). Shore excursions are overpriced as with all cruise lines. You can find comparable tours at most port for about half price or you can get together with other people and hire a cab. The tour descriptions were not always accurate - we took a tour that was supposed to give you a complete overview of Pussan South Korea, in fact it stopped a one site for 10 minutes, then visited the UN Korean War Memorial (interesting) and a cultural show (Very Good), but nothing else. As with most cruise excursions we were taken to a bargain store for 45 minutes, one whose prices were no bargain. (My wife is quite up to date on quality and bargain price for silks, and she says the store items were no bargain.) Disembarkation, though slow, went more smoothly than on some ships but the baggage pickup area in Singapore was a zoo! The dinning areas were pleasant, but probably because we choose personal choice, service was slow and error prone. (One problem with personal choice is that you don't have a set dinning staff, so they are not working for tips, they are just doing a job. With fixed seating we have noticed much better service.) Buyer beware of "Shipboard deals" - One offer was for two digital cameras priced at $444 and about $250. Flyers to all the cabins touted "no taxes and no duty". What they failed to state is that the prices were almost double what these items could be purchased for at respectable online stores such as Amazon.Com. I checked the internet prices after receiving the flyers. One cruise mate also warned us that "links of gold", a big seller, were actually gold plated and highly overpriced. This I can't verify personally, but it sounds like you better know your products before you buy from the ship, as you should anywhere. The problem is we expect the ship's "deals" to be good deals and maybe our expectations are inflated. One final comment not related to the cruise - in Singapore we stumbled on a really great dinner buffet at the Marriott Hotel on Orchard. It is not cheap, but I strongly recommend it for foodies. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
We have just returned from a 17 days cruise on Sapphire Princess. The journey started from Beijing,China with port of call at Nagasaki,Shanghai,Okinawa,Taipei,Hong Kong,Nha trang, Vung Tau, Singapore the finally Bangkok. These are ... Read More
We have just returned from a 17 days cruise on Sapphire Princess. The journey started from Beijing,China with port of call at Nagasaki,Shanghai,Okinawa,Taipei,Hong Kong,Nha trang, Vung Tau, Singapore the finally Bangkok. These are interesting ports of call otherwise we wouldn't have chosen this cruise. Having said that, the next best thing was to get off the ship. They should have renamed the ship to Murphy's Princess. According to Murphy's law, anything can go wrong and will,in this case did go wrong. We went with a party of eight and I can tell you apart from these eight I have never seen so many angry passengers in any tour/cruise. There is a huge difference between dissatisfied customers and angry customers. After my friend cruised on Sapphire from Sydney to Bangkok two years ago he called her the "Jinx Ship". The then brand new ship broke down north of Australia and was drifted around for a while resulted they had missed out quite a few ports in Malaysia. They also had virus on board which sent half of the passengers to sick bed. MY friend suffered from food poisoning too after eating some fruit salad by room services. The then brand new ship also had sewerage problem that a stench was very evident. Services in dinning rooms was so poor and food were so bad his wife vowed never to return to any Princess Lines, ever. I thought after more than two years things should be improved, and may be they have been over critical about the ship anyway hence I recommended the cruise to six other friends to join us. The following were my experience with Sapphire Princess. Please make up your own mind whether it is worthwhile it or not to cruise with this ship. 1]. The Princess neglected to inform our transfer bus/guide to call in Radisson Hotel in Tianjin to process embarkation procedures. So when we arrived at the port we were turned back by the local authority. There no representative from the ship at the port.Our bus driver was not familiar with hotels in Tianjin so after 5.5 hours after left Beijing it took another hour and half to look for the hotel and to make the round trip. We were running out of time. In the chaos and rush that follows, the wife of one of our friend fell and cut hers lips and was bleeding. There were a lot of useless people standing around but don't expect any help or sympathy from the ship's staff. A good start for a great holiday. The ship's photographer even tried to stop our bleeding and weeping lady for a "Memory Photo" at the exit of the check-in hall. How sensitive. 2]. When we filled out the Passenger Forms from Princess before we left Sydney , we chose the fixed dining at 8 so that we can catch the 1015 show after dinner. When we fronted up at the main dining room at 8 that night we were told there was no bookings for us. Naturally all other rooms are full so we settled for buffet dinner. Apparently Princess has changed our dining to "Any where Any time" without tell us. I guess for the same reason why they also has changed out cabins twice since the documentation was issued. We then made a series of bookings with various dining rooms at 8 pm for eight people. We were horrified when front up to discover there was no booking again. "Computer errors" was the excuse. I got wised up by now so I have to check with the booking people every night before we went there. 3]. I had a letter from the front desk people that something wrong with my credit card. No wonder they have because they have lost the imprint of my Visa." How can this happen ?" I asked. " Of course it can. We have more than two thousand passengers on board." O.K, calm down. 4]. Finally the bookings in dining room sorted out and we were actually sitting down when the waiter came to ask which kind of bottled water we like to order.You should see his face when we told him we like iced water from the jug. His face was so long you can hang a picture on it. The food served was of very poor quality , e.g.. I always look forward to order Halibut fish as I consider them as one of the best tasting fish in the world, and what did I get? A piece of fish has texture like wood and tasted just came from the salt mine. My main course for next night wasn't much better either, Lobster fettuccini was soggy and watery. I must admit after lots of people complained and threatened to withhold the add on tips the food and services got better. The green salads and the bread were very good right up to the last night. 5]. The first night's production show was a joke. 4 singers mimed to pre-recorded music with no lighting effects . How exciting . I had to be waken up as I dosed off soon after the first song. 6]. One of our favorite spot was the Wheelhouse Bar. This was the conversations we had with the drink attendant after we ordered 4 cans of Foster beers from the drink list. "Sorry we don't have Fosters", "Why not ? I had them for dinner at the dinning room tonight?". So we ordered the Buds instead. " Can we please also have some nuts ?" " Sorry due to health reasons we don't serve nuts with drinks any more." " But we had them last night." "New rules". OK Funny how rules can change after more complains from other passengers. We got our nuts with our beer a few nights later without asking for it but still no Foster beers. Never mind , be positive , things will improve. 7]. Now you may think this is funny but after waiting for more than an hour in the Explorer's Lounge to board the tender to go on shore to Nha Trang one of the passenger nearly come to fist fight with a member of the crew. When we entered the lounge we were given numbered tickets and were told to wait for our numbers to call. When no one was called after an hour or so an American chap went to ask a simple question as to what is going on he was shouted down so a heated argument ensued and nearly gone physical. A large group of passengers got tired of waiting and started to head for the gang way without being called won the applause from all of those patiently waiting. Mutiny at its best. I too got the hostile treatment when I went to enquire some half an hour later I got yelled at by the female crew. This time I demanded an explanation why there was no passengers movement at all for more than one and half hour and the answer was ship was being careful in loading passengers.  8]. Finally our numbers were called and we got into the tender and putting away to shore, except the engine on our tender/life boat died half way from the shore . It is no joke when you have over eighty people on board, including some very elderly people. The boat by now with no anchor and no engine , it was bobbing up and down and rocking side to side. I could see the faces of my fellow passengers were changing from pink to green then white. I knew if I don't do anything no one is going to come near us at all, as the stench would be so unbearable. I told them to look outside the boat rather than looking down at their feet which saved them from emptying their breakfast into the boat. It took half an hour before the rescue came. Bear in mind this is the boat suppose to save your life in case anything happen to the ship. I keep telling myself this is not happening. 9]. As the result of delay getting to shore some passengers missed their excursion tour bus. An elderly Chinese/Canadian couple seeked our help as they too missed their Chinese speaking tour and looking very lost and confused. We approached the only representative from the ship and ask for her opinion. In the typical rude and arrogant manner the couple was to told to return to the ship or go on one of the English speaking bus. No help from her here. What good is it for them as they don't speak English, and even if they went what happens if they got lost in town with no passport. Because we have to catch a bus ourselves we did not wait around to see what happened to the poor couple . 10]. By 5th day all the bananas has disappeared even if they don't, you wouldn't eat them anyway as the inner were all went black and so are the plums. Water melons fared a little better at least they were still edible even on the soft side. 11]. Because of the usual chaos associated with going ashore we opted to stay on ship and waited all the touring passengers departed before we catch the complimentary shuttle bus to Vung Tau. There was no one from the ship to attend us when we got ashore . There was no sign posted to say where you suppose to queue, there was no where to sit except leaning against the wall of a flour mill under a very hot sun. There was no drinking water of course. After an hour and quarter futile waiting I got fed up and started to return to the ship. By then someone has call for help for a wheelchair to cart an elderly lady back to the ship as she was in near collapse state. So much for customer care and comfort. 12]. The sewer stench on Plaza deck is now getting worse and also filling the Art Gallery area. I approached the nearest officer at the Excursion Desk and told her the stench. " I can't smell it" was the answer. My wife and I both invited her to come out from her counter and take a look. " No ! I can't smell it" . Only then a guest worker bearing a Canadian badge volunteered to take a sniff. " Gee that smells rough, I shall report it for you." So much for the "Princess Ten Points Services". 13]. The access between 5 and 6th floors was blocked off the next three day due to flooding. Not sure anything to do with the toilet smell . This ship is only 2 and half years old. 14]. One of my friend has the symptom of food poisoning after hate half of an apple from Room Service. 15]. One more day to go . By now I am actually looking forward to get off the ship so I went to the front desk and ask for the account statement. They still couldn't find my first Visa imprint but I got my final account and paid for it with Traveller Cheques and small amount of cash. I was assured by the clerk that there will be no charges against my Visa car and silly me, I believed her. 16]. Upon my return I found Princess was holding back money in my Visa account. I would have discovered this sooner had there a better Internet services on board. The services was so slow it costs around US$10.50 just to read and reply a simple email, that is if they work at all. 50 % of the computers in the library were not working most of the time. 17]. On disembarkation time was scheduled at 1030 so I thought the best time to take b'fast would be at 0830 at the only opened venue Horizon Court .. When I arrived there I found there was only some food scraps left and not even a tea bag or a tea cup in sight. Get me out of here !!!!!!! Do you still want to cruise with Princess? We are planning for a school reunion cruise next year with more than thirty people involved and guess who is not getting our business. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
I agree with "cruises two" that a cruise on the Diamond Princess is something to avoid. It was not long after departure that many of us renamed it the "Rhinestone" Princess. We started off with a virus running rampant ... Read More
I agree with "cruises two" that a cruise on the Diamond Princess is something to avoid. It was not long after departure that many of us renamed it the "Rhinestone" Princess. We started off with a virus running rampant throughout the ship. We could not serve ourselves at the buffet; waiters served the items we pointed to. Even with that inconvenience, the buffet remained the best eating place throughout the trip. Service in the restaurants was generally poor to terrible. A before-dinner drink was almost impossible to get. I ordered bourbon and water one evening, and shortly received a bottle of Perrier. I asked about the bourbon. It arrived within minutes in a tall glass without ice. I gave up at that moment and took ice from my water glass and mixed my own drink. My wife got the same treatment the next evening when she ordered a rum and coke. Food quality, despite the service, was up to Princess standards. Hot tubs were "lukewarm" tubs thanks to a purser's fear that we might burn ourselves, and those not lukewarm were closed due to repairs. But the really big crisis of a Diamond cruise is the size of the ship. We never docked where normal cruise ships dock. We had to tie up at container ship ports miles from the places we had paid to see, and then spend hours on shuttle busses, at additional cost, to catch quick glimpses of the wonders of the Far East. We never had access to duty-free shops that you find at most piers. We could never walk from the ship to any sightseeing attraction because the container ship ports have high security. My advice? Never sail on the Diamond Princess, or any ship under the command of Captain Paul Wright. Wright is wrong when it comes to providing a pleasant cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We enjoyed the ports on this cruise however the Golden Princess left a lot to be desired. The entertainment was lacking in both quality and quantity. The food and menu were less than average. The wait staff at our table were basically ... Read More
We enjoyed the ports on this cruise however the Golden Princess left a lot to be desired. The entertainment was lacking in both quality and quantity. The food and menu were less than average. The wait staff at our table were basically incompetent. The ship is tired along with the cruise director who has been in the job way too long (19 years). Basic port / shuttle information was missing, and shuttles were a bit of a joke (lots of very unhappy people). Princess Cruises need to get their act together to keep their current customers. There are many other cruise lines offering better value for money. Having said all of that we will stay with Princess - but not this particular ship or staff. We will not sail again on this ship or any cruise that has this cruise director. Had the cruise director done his job properly this would have been a much more enjoyable cruise. Yes, I am sending a list of suggestions to Princess for them to consider (or throw in the bin). Read Less
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