Chose the cruise as part of our 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Princess staff graciously met us at LAX and settled us in a taxi for the ride to Long Beach for a pre-cruise overnight in the Long Beach Hyatt. Good comfortable ... Read More
Chose the cruise as part of our 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Princess staff graciously met us at LAX and settled us in a taxi for the ride to Long Beach for a pre-cruise overnight in the Long Beach Hyatt. Good comfortable accommodations, helpful staff and located convenient to walking around a harbor and downtown. Transport to San Pedro port and Princess embarkation were excellent. We had sailed the Ruby previously and were looking forward to repeating a pleasant voyage.
The cabin was completely ready when we arrived brightened with new carpeting.Lacking was the Lotus Spa hair conditioner previously provided as part of the amenities for Elite Level passengers. Other Elite passengers noticed the absence, as they too didn't bring their own; an example of Princess trying to save a nickel. The only other cabin problem was the lack of hot water for showers on the last 3 days of the cruise, including debarkation morning. Calls to customer service resulted in only temporary fixes.On the positive side a broken spring on the room safe door hinge was fixed withing hours after reporting it.
Were this our first Princess cruise, it likely would be our last because of irregular (one time wretched) food quality, apparent under staffing in dining rooms, and too many staff who don't acknowledge or initiate customer greetings. In anytime dining many dinners were well prepared, if overly salty. Probably the most wretched dinner I have had was a veal dish that had 2 slabs of meat with the consistency of a roofing shingle. In the same meal the dessert was a samosa consisting of tropical fruit and macadamia nuts accompanied by a mint dip. The samosa was like a greasy empanada, and the mint tasteless. The number of serving staff was deficient. Too many meals that started between 6:00-6:30 ended up taking 2+ hours, ruining evening entertainment plans. Lido deck server seemed smile less and conveyed a demeanor that suggested they would rather be elsewhere. Elsewhere, staff met the standards of our prior Princess experiences. Bar servers, especially in the Skywalkers Platinum/Elite lounge were among the best we have experiences. Passenger Services staff were thorough and followed-up on issues.
On this category of ship you aren't going to find water slides and climbing walls. But, there are on-board activities to suite most interests. Why Princess continues the pretense of a dress code for dinner is beyond me. A man dressed in cargo shorts was seated in the Michelangelo dining room on a casual dress evening. I doubt that they meet the dress code for "smart casual." .And finding one's way around can be a challenge. Ship maps in public areas contradict each other, even other maps only a few feet away. Example, locations of laundromats.
The entertainment was among the best that we have enjoyed on Princess with new stage shows presented by very talented singers, dancers, musical ensemble. In lounges, however, too many events ran over scheduled stopping time, thereby delaying the next program. We especially enjoyed the Walker Black Duo. We were less enthusiastic about Mary Simon, guitarist, who shared too much personal angst in her own compositions. We left midway in a second session. The party band Main Offenders seemed to mistake loudness for talent, perhaps to cover their singer's limitations. We enjoyed all of the comics, and the vocalist Teacake. Providing a delightful Pacific island musical ambiance were Tiki Dave & Leialoha. I was less impressed by naturalist Mark Harris, whose presentations lacked thoughtful development around their topic.Typically there were 3 sub-topics under a main topic. But, nothing tied them together to walk away with feeling, "Gee, I really learned something."
We enjoyed all the ports. A helicopter ride on Kauai with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters was a highlight. I flew with them on the Big Island in 2005. They still set the standard of excellence for helicopter excursions. It was my wife's first; she didn't want it to end. Whale watching at Maui was disappointing. The company seems to have had a fixed area to cover. All that we can say is that we saw the backs of a coupe of whales. Later in the day a companion on a snorkel excursion reported that they saw quite a bit of whale activity at the other end of the bay. On the Big Island, the excursion to the lava fields was interesting, as we got a good impression of how the island was formed. Disappointing on the Honolulu harbor excursion was food quality. Vegetables seemed under cooked, and perhaps contributed to stomach distress felt later that night. Also excursion meeting arrangements were poorly handled in Terminal 11. Our group assembled on time, but were delayed 25 minutes in being shuttled to the excursion boat.It was difficult for several people with mobility disabilities, as there were no seats. A security supervisor chewed out one of his staff who offered "his" chair to a man much in need. We stayed on the ship in Ensenada. Since we have lived and traveled extensively in Mexico, a packing day was in order. After 4 sea days over to Hawaii and 5 sea days back, and several books read, we were ready to return home with good memories and several noted above that shouldn't have occurred on Princess and hopefully will not repeat.
Debarkation through port facilities was smooth and well managed. Read Less