Let me start by saying, my husband and I are not frequent ocean cruisers. We did a lot of ocean cruising when we were younger. In the last few years, we travelled with Norwegian and Celebrity and were very pleased with those voyages. We ... Read More
Let me start by saying, my husband and I are not frequent ocean cruisers. We did a lot of ocean cruising when we were younger. In the last few years, we travelled with Norwegian and Celebrity and were very pleased with those voyages. We took a 31 day cruise of South America, December 4, 2016 to January 4, 2017. We booked a mini suite, mid ship D 701. Unfortunately, the Crown Princess has serious technical problems and the decor is worn and dated. I will outline the Pros and Cons to make it easier for you to understand why our cruise was not a stellar experience for first time cruisers with Princess.
-The most outstanding thing about this ship is their staff. In a word: Outstanding!
-Organization of routines and tours were well done with very attentive care to individuals with mobility issues.
-Educational seminars and port talks were informative, entertaining and helpful.
-Boutique Outlet shopping was a lot of fun.
-Traditional dining room meals were varied, hot and delicious, a special thank you to the staff: Alex, Noni and Anthony-they are the best!.
-International Cafe in the Piazza was excellent with dedicated over the top friendly staff: Thank you to the following people for making our vacation: Cecelia, Anna, Victoria, Iris, Jason, Faye and Reynaldo.
-Access to our billing account via kiosk was an excellent idea. We did avoid any problems at the end of the voyage by tackling the problems beforehand.
-Cabin steward, Dax, was so helpful when our suite flooded and made sure all our needs with toiletries were fulfilled, not to forget to mention a friendly, outgoing personality.
-Itinerary was appreciated, the main reason we chose Princess, and we experienced the essence of many countries we had never seen before.
-Mini suite was not what I expected. A few days in, the tap water was dark brown all night and into the morning. Unfortunately, I drank the water throughout the night (glass on night table was brown the next morning) as I get up often to do this and my husband showered the morning after and came out dirtier than before he started. We went down to the front desk to report the problem but their manner was very unsympathetic to our problem. They said they clear the pipes all the time and this will happen. Shouldn't this procedure be announced or caution signs placed on drinking their water. New Year's Eve our suite was flooded from the bathroom. My husband called to report the "emergency." No one came for the longest time and when they did they were surprised it was an "emergency." Then a plumber had to be found to turn the water off. By this time, half the suite was full of water and the laundry bag on the floor in the closet was soaked, suitcases under the bed drenched. Happy New Year! A bottle of champagne for our nightmare would have been nice touch. We just got a phone call asking if everything was all right. Technically, "yes", but "no," if you consider a noisy machine blowing it dry all day and for the next day. Also, the smell was putrid but there were only a few days left in our voyage and we were too sick to argue about changing rooms anyways.
-Needless to say I got sick on the voyage and so did my husband with the mystery flu/ cough. This necessitated visits to the doctor and medications. We bought Princess travel insurance but I have a feeling this will not go well either when we try to claim those expenses. I will write another review to share these results good or bad.
-Entertainment was not up to par especially in the Piazza where we spent most of our evenings at the International Cafe. Every night, for 31 days we listened to tango music which three couples danced to every night.This did not leave much room on the floor for others to partake with a slow dance. Also, more seating is needed in this area.
-Buffet was not hot or tasty; unrecognizable spices in the food. When we got sick, we opted for meals at the buffet so we could choose soup or salad and leave without the long social aspect of Traditional dining. As usual, the staff was outstanding but the meals were not appetizing. The buffet selection area is too confining and needs to be organized better. The intense vibration during the meal was annoying.
-The worse thing, that I could not get used to, was the constant, intense vibration all over the ship, especially my bed at night. It rattled my teeth, it was so strong. Also it did not add to our dining experience in the Buffet Restaurant. This mystery vibration that I have "never" experienced on any ship I have ever sailed on made me worrisome for the whole voyage.
-The Passenger Service's desk was not a friendly place to visit. They reluctantly solved our problems. We went there three times: bill dispute the first few days, dirty water in the suite, flooding of our suite and charging for laundry from the flooding in our suite. Don't bother with their boss, she was just as unsympathetic.
-Daily activities were juvenile. More educational seminars about future ports would have been appreciated more. TV movies in the room were repetitious and dated. News networks should incorporate more international, unbiased outlets.
-Tours arranged by Princess were very expensive and not worth it. The buses for our first 3 destinations were so cramped, we cancelled all our tours we had pre-booked on line beforehand. At future ports, we got off the ship with another couple we hooked up with, negotiated with local taxi drivers and had a very rewarding experience on each tour we took.
-Disembarkation was a nightmare!
To end, I realize a cruise this long will have issues but we will not take one this long again and we will have to think long and hard about the Princess Cruise Line ships. The problems that arose, I felt, were not dealt with satisfactorily. Read Less