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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Route: 14 day voyage: Miami – St Martin – St Kitts – St Vincent – Tobago – Barbados – Martinique - Antigua – Virgin Gorda - Miami 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, but this was ... Read More
Route: 14 day voyage: Miami – St Martin – St Kitts – St Vincent – Tobago – Barbados – Martinique - Antigua – Virgin Gorda - Miami 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, but this was our first Princess ship. It was an interesting and pleasant trip; we chose this for the itinerary (5 stops were new for us) and to spend both Christmas and New Year’s in the tropics. Weather was warm (80s) and humid with plenty of rain showers and rolling seas. We were a full ship with ca 680 passengers. Most passengers appeared to be seasoned cruisers, and a good number of languages were heard. While there were a small number of children on board, there were no facilities or activities for them; that was their parents’ responsibilities. We had a suite (7th deck) that made for a most comfortable cruise. However, due to the small size of the ship, you do hear and feel the ship’s engine, especially when the speed is adjusted up or down. Also, the rocking and rolling of the Atlantic Ocean is much more pronounced on this ship, compared to any of the “regular” size ships of 2,000 – 3,000 passengers. 2. Travel to Miami and Embarking: Because we booked so early, we were among the passengers who were caught when Princess changed the port from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. We were unable to change our plane or hotel reservations, but our cruise agent worked with Princess so that we could take a bus from Fort Lauderdale airport to Miami port and reverse. A nuisance, but it worked out, and we were not alone. Check-in at Miami port worked smoothly, and we got on the ship quickly. Our suite was ready, and luggage appeared – piecemeal - in the afternoon. 3. The Ocean Princess: An attractive ship, enhanced by its smallness. Yes, it is being sold to Oceania effective in early April, and the ship may have had a slight tired look about it. However, the facility was still top notch and the crew was the same. Our suite was a delight with all the space and storage drawers/closets. Details can be seen in the cabin descriptions on the Princess website. The bathroom had a tub shower. There was a small safe and a small refrigerator. The balcony is spacious; however, we hardly used it due to rain showers, rocking and rolling, or the sun beating down on clear days. When we could sit outside, it was very pleasant. The flat screen TVs (set up for DVD movies) received the usual news, movies, music, etc. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are practically no announcements on the PA system. The Captain does a daily report from the bridge, and the Cruise Director may make a daily announcement on activities. There is no daily newspaper; you have to receive your news from BBC, Fox; financial news from CNBC or MSNBC; and sports from two ESPN channels. 4. Meals: As often on past cruises with other lines, we ran into problems in trying to get a table for two at dinner. Due to the ship being small, it had no “my time” dining. On boarding we learned that the first seating was changed from 6PM to 5:30 (nursing home hours). Next, we learned that although our cruise agent had been assured that our request for a table for two was confirmed, we were placed at a table for eight (nursing home group therapy). My wife and I both groused at the maître d, who finally backed off by telling us, “come see me at 5:30.” At that time we were shown a table for two, obviously hastily arranged, as were other tables for two around the dining room. We later received a card formally informing us that our table was permanent for the cruise. As for meals in the dining room, they were very good. There was clearly some talent in the kitchen, and we appreciated it. As we always had the same table, our wait staff did get used to our tastes. The wine list was also good, whether you wanted a bottle or a glass. We should note that no matter what ship or line you are on, including the Ocean Princess, the first night’s dinner is disorganized as diners and staff sort out who sits where and when. Panorama Buffet: We used it for lunch and a couple times when we wanted just a bite for dinner. There was quite a variety of good food, whether you wanted a meal, sandwich, or salad. The dessert area was equally varied. We did not use the two specialty restaurants (Italian, and steak), only because we are not big eaters. 5. Princess dress code: There were three formal nights; the rest were all “smart casual.” “Formal” for men meant mainly suits and sport coats; tuxedos were a minority. Casual was just that; most men did wear shirts instead of t-shirts. 6. Shore Excursions: Make your shore excursion reservations on-line! This saves you standing in line at the ship’s tour desk. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don’t need the ship’s tour office. Tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through the ship’s staff, you have support when there is a problem. Two of the eight ports were tender ports. In both ports, the waters were quite active, resulting in the tender boats bouncing around quite a bit during loading and unloading. Crew members literally had their hands full helping passengers on and off the boats. Also, tender boats are the ship’s life boats; they are not made for comfort and you have to clamber around in them for a seat. 7. Shipboard entertainment: We saw two of the individual entertainers and one of the “show” performances with singers and dancers. They were all pleasant. A reminder that the ship has a cabaret and not a theater. This means that there are no seats on tiers; they are all on one level. Your view of the stage is easily blocked by the person(s) in front of you. The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes: lectures, bingo, movies, etc, etc. The library appeared to be well stocked. There are NO art auctions. (Thank you, Princess.) The casino was small (three blackjack tables and one roulette table). The machine payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. The selection of duty-free liquor on board was not great, but adequate; you order your liquor and it is delivered to your cabin the day before disembarking. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship’s photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts. The amounts are charged to each person’s shipboard account. You have nothing more to do. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service. Your bar and wine bill automatically adds 15 percent. If you want to tip anyone for exemplary service, you can give him cash in an envelope. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your voyage, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos, etc) is punched into a computer. This was the first ship where you only sometimes signed a ticket, and you sometimes received a copy of the ticket. Unless you keep your own notes on what you charged on your account, you will not have a clear idea of your bill until departure morning. I did ask for a preliminary bill a couple days before disembarking, and it was immediately supplied without question. If you do not do this, though, and you find questionable items on your bill, you will be spending departure morning in line at the Front Desk sorting it out. 10. Disembarking in Miami: Disembarking went very smoothly, and there were no bureaucratic delays. Once we got off the ship, we picked up our luggage and cleared customs and immigration in ten minutes. (Amazing.) 11. Conclusion: This was an enjoyable and interesting trip. The hiccups were minor and did not detract from the Ocean Princess or our enjoyment of celebrating Christmas and New Year’s on board in the Caribbean. We are sorry to see this ship sold to another line, but hope that its sister, Pacific Princess, will remain on itineraries in which we might be interested. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2015
It was announced that the Ocean has been sold to Oceania for a complete overhaul. It is really in need of an update. As one reviewer noted, "It seemed tired." Apparently Princess decided to stop any updates some time ago. ... Read More
It was announced that the Ocean has been sold to Oceania for a complete overhaul. It is really in need of an update. As one reviewer noted, "It seemed tired." Apparently Princess decided to stop any updates some time ago. Sabatini's shows "Italian Restaurant" and the Internet Cafe was never incorporated into the signs. Decor is over the top 1980's (swirls on squares on weaves on stripes). The same pros and cons existed on this trip as for all Princess cruises. The staff was friendly, attentive, approachable. For price, our Rome to Miami 18 days was hard to beat (be sure to stay a week in Rome before hand at the Princess hotel). Entertainment was some of the best we've been offered on any ship. The cabin was comfortable if dated. But the old problems remain. Guests are pestered to pose and buy pics, purchase packages for wine, water, ice cream, coffee and buy ridiculously expensive excursions. We team up with other couples, rent a taxi guide and get a personal tour for 1/3 - 1/2 the cost. The food was disappointing (especially considering other cruise lines). Passengers felt that charging a fee for "good" food was insulting. Despite the fact that only one specialty restaurant was open each night, they were mostly deserted. (Our table mates had to return their meal at the Steak House.) We loved the Trivia especially the obvious ignorance of the staff who apparently have never read a science or history book. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
89 days on the Ocean Princess (22 Sep - 20 Dec, 2015) and still married! A small ship allows you to meet more people and develop deeper friendships on a long cruise. Coming across the Atlantic in December on a small ship is not as ... Read More
89 days on the Ocean Princess (22 Sep - 20 Dec, 2015) and still married! A small ship allows you to meet more people and develop deeper friendships on a long cruise. Coming across the Atlantic in December on a small ship is not as pleasant. I have determined any cruise is what you make of it. We like a large table for dinner to allow for meeting many people from different backgrounds and countries. The eight we had from Dover were totally compatible and we never tired of each other, or their stories. What a hoot!!! Other tables always wondered what we were up to as there was always laughter and fun. Staff members are there to serve you but need to be treated with respect and appreciation, and I am not talking just extra tips. They work 11 hours a day, and most of them work more, to please you and to keep their job. On a longer cruise, you should develop great relationships with many crew. Let them know you appreciate them, ask about their families and you will learn so much more. Tina Zagar, fitness instructor, has me on the way to better health and condiioning. She has changed my life. As a 69 year old golfer I wanted to improve my flexibility while on board, and it worked. Having not hit a golf ball for over three months, I am hitting the ball 25 to 30 farther off the tee, and my lower back no longer hurts. I am now signed up to continue yoga at home to maintain, or even better my strength and flexibility. Tina also gave my wife some exercises to hep with her sciatica, and it is now under control. She is a great teacher and an even better motivator. Ketut, the grill cook, Selma, a waitress, our room steward, Moises Reyes, are on our list to take home. Captain Lorentzen was very visible and always kept us informed of the good and bad news. When you are kept informed it eliminates rumors and unhappy passengers. Our only gripe is that we had several ports where we arrived on holy days or weekemds when nothing was open, and things seemed deserted. Home office provides the schedule not the Captain, and many things dictate the schedule, but leaving two days earlier or two days later would have been better. The quality of the contract entertainment was outstanding. We had singers from Broadway and West End. We had the lead from Lion King (West End), another male singer from Phantom of the Opera, and a female singer who was auditioning for Wicked in New York the week after departing our ship. These are only the ones I can quickly remember. There was a variety of muscians, comedians and what I would call "out of the ordinary" that were all good. Even if they are not what I would normally pay to see, they did expand my world. The food was the best I have had on ship, although after going through their 14 day menu 6 times I was (unfairly) getting tired of it. Cooking 5000 meals a day is quite an operation. Too bad the Ocean Princess is leaving the fleet and heading to Oceana. She is special, as is her other small Princess ship, the Pacific Princess. They allow you to get into ports not normally accessible to the larger ships. We will miss her, as we do our new found friends, both passenger and crew. God Bless you all. Thank you for a special trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Overall, my husband and I enjoyed the cruise. The staff were very friendly and helpful. There was plenty to do if you were not one to sit by the pool all day. Because of the size there were many opportunities to interact with the staff. ... Read More
Overall, my husband and I enjoyed the cruise. The staff were very friendly and helpful. There was plenty to do if you were not one to sit by the pool all day. Because of the size there were many opportunities to interact with the staff. This is one of only 2 Princess ships with a dance floor, so our biggest disappointment was that, considering the ages of most of the passengers there were not more who enjoyed ballroom dancing. Most of the ship excursions were excellent. We did take 3 excursions arranged by people on the message board. The best of these was the one to the Aquila Game Reserve 2 hours from Cape Town. It was a small disappointment that Princess did not offer an excursion to one of the major game reserves which might have started in Cape Town and returned to meet the ship in Durban 3 or 4 days later. The ship is in need of minor maintenance, but it has been sold and will be in dry-dock for major refurbishing by the new owners. It is sad to see her leave the Princess fleet. I have become one of the many passengers who would gladly sail on her again for another exciting itinerary like this. I have to single out the Head Waiters, Wait Staff, and Chefs. Since I have some food issues they were very solicitous that I not order anything which could cause a problem. Every night they brought around the next evening's menu and checked on my choices, even going so far as to produce a special serving which did not contain my problem food. We enjoyed the majority of the entertainment. The resident company were very accomplished, the "hop-on, hop-off" entertainers were very good, even though some were not to our tastes. We had a flight home about 5 hours after arrival at our last port. The Excursions desk at first book us on a direct transfer to the airport, but then decided that they could not guarantee we would arrive in time, given the number of passengers disembarking that day. They did allow us to carry our luggage and be among the first off the ship after it was cleared. There were lots of taxis available and our driver got us from the port to the Rome, Italy airport in plenty of time for our flight. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
The Ocean is a small intimate ship (670 or so passengers) whose size I love. It gives you a chance to get to know some people. With passengers decks on 6-7-8 and restaurants on 5 with the buffet on 9, you can always walk the stairs if you ... Read More
The Ocean is a small intimate ship (670 or so passengers) whose size I love. It gives you a chance to get to know some people. With passengers decks on 6-7-8 and restaurants on 5 with the buffet on 9, you can always walk the stairs if you don’t want to wait for an elevator (there’s never a long wait). Unfortunately this ship is rather worn out and has been sold to Oceania. I’m sure they will bring her back to her original glory. I do love these smaller ships. Having said that – the one area Princess should fix is their vegetarian options in the dining room – they are pretty awful. One night there was not one vegetarian option other than the everyday offering of fettucini alfredo which was good but you can’t eat it every night. One night the option was ‘lentil cakes with fried eggs’ – please!!! This is supposed to be a luxury cruise. This is advice I give for every cruise review: bring your own laundry soap (a few of those tablet kinds) and softener sheets for the dryer – you’ll save a lot of money. Second, do your research ahead of time about the cruise tours – they are outrageously expensive, rushed, and often conducted by people who know very little about what you’re seeing. Whenever possible, use local tours. Third, avoid the on-ship internet (.79 a minute and it is slow as molasses) – another outrageous expense – you can find local places with free wi-fi. Overall I really enjoyed this cruise and would recommend it to anyone but perhaps not on Princess - see my comments about each port stop below. Amsterdam: We docked a fair distance from the city (although our last cruise we docked much closer) but there is a free shuttle bus to Stoledijk train station – then to Central Station and walk to the center or Dam Square. There is also a tram from the station which is much cheaper. There are lots of canal cruises etc. available in the square - same as the cruise tours but much cheaper. Here’s a tip if you go to the Van Gogh museum – you will see long, long lines of people waiting for tickets. Don’t get in line – walk over to the Rijk museum kiosk and buy a timed ticket – less than a five minute wait for us to get in. Beware of taxi’s – they are extraordinarily expensive – much cheaper to use the tram system. You could pay for a walking tour and get a lot more out of it but do your homework first and compare what you get from the ship vs what you get from a local tour. Stockholm: A 30 minute walk from the dock. They use Krone but will take Euro’s (at a bad exchange rate). We took the tour believing we wouldn’t need to use money so didn’t change anything into Krone. City Hall was a beautiful building where the Nobel laureate dinner is held each year. We also visited the Vasa museum – a 226’ warship that sank on it’s maiden voyage – perfectly preserved. A smaller exhibit there should not be missed – it’s a ‘time line’ room showing in film a narrated description of what was going on in various parts of the world at the same time – fascinating history and we didn’t have enough time to spend there. The tour was very rushed – not time to eat or to shop. That’s why I hate those tours. They tease you. Tallin, Estonia: We docked about a mile and half from the city center and took the tour of upper old town and a panoramic drive. The Alexander Nevsky cathedral was a beautiful stop. We also went to an outlook to view the old city. It was a Sunday so the Dome Church was not open to us. Some good shopping. Our guide was fabulous and funny (Anneli Kritsmann-Lekstedt with Hansatours - - email info@hansatours.ee). She explained the current situation there and their distrust and dislike of Russia. She said they have a ‘love-hate’ relationship: Putin would ‘love’ to get Estonia back and they would ‘hate’ that. Their freedom came at a high price but they value it. Almost 54% of their earnings go to taxes, some of which is to support their elders. When Russia pulled out, the older folks who had been working for the Russian system lost any retirement savings – so the younger folks have to pick up that deficit – but they are more than willing to do that in order to be free. St Petersburg, Russia: I was told that if you don’t use the cruise ship tours, you have to get a tourist visa at a cost of about $330 each. That made us book the ship tours and I’ll describe those below. However, I subsequently heard from other travelers that you can book tours through local tour agencies and not pay the visa – so do your homework first because these tours were about $200/person per day – ouch! And as always, they are ‘hurry up and wait’ and completely rushed. Day one we did the City Drive, Hermitage Museum and St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Lots of walking so be prepared. Breath-taking beautifully buildings – ornate – covered with gold and very much in excess – no wonder they had a revolution. Our guide was very knowledgeable but also very old-school- she kept referring to the ‘glorious soviet revolution’ to the point we were starting to giggle every time she said it. Day two: Catherine and Peterhof Palaces – more gold, more excess – more beauty, yes. Our guide that day was a young woman who was somewhat flippant and very funny. She commented on the older guide (who also was on this tour for half the group) and said “As Marina would say “the ‘glorious’ soviet…..etc.” she clearly did not agree with the word ‘glorious.’ Our younger guide also commented somewhat disparagingly on Putin but we didn’t pursue it. On the ride to Peterhof you will see some soviet era building that is pretty depressing. Also a lot of new residential construction – large towers of apartments. There will be a few single family homes on the way - notable for their rareness. St. Petersburg is undoubtedly a beautiful city – the architecture is amazing. Riga, Latvia: DO NOT MISS this city- if your planned cruise doesn’t stop here – take another cruise. This city is spectacular. Small but overwhelmingly beautiful. Their art nouveau architecture is not to be missed. I can’t even begin to explain the beauty of this city. We also toured the old city. You can walk off the ship and cross over the highway into the old town – it’s very close. I have photos of these buildings that no one can believe – they are that beautiful. When Russia took over they nationalized these buildings and five to six families shared each large apartment – that meant sharing one kitchen and bath – can’t even imagine that. Klaipeda, Lithuania: Docked about a 15 minute walk to the center. We took the tour “Klaipeda, Old Town, Amber Museum and Palanga.” Klaipeda is not the capital – it’s a small harbor town – not very interesting. Palanga was a five minute stop – very disappointing. Amber Museum was interesting but don’t buy their amber jewelry – it’s cheaper on the street for the exact same things (except for their expensive stuff which you can’t find on the street). Another very rushed tour. Copenhagen, Denmark: One of my favorite cities. Docked about a 20 minute walk to the center. We had been here before touring so this time we just got ourselves on the hop-on hop-off bus (although it wasn’t even necessary unless you haven’t been there before). Small shops right at the dock if you forget something – but they are more expensive of course. Tivoli is just a big amusement park – the inspiration for DisneyWorld. Our favorite place is Nyhaven – just walk around and admire the canal, the boats, the people, the café’s = the ‘life.’ It is a wonderful way to spend a day. Dover: Beginning and end point for this cruise. Spend a few days here if you can before or after the cruise. Dover Castle is a fabulous place to tour – especially if you admire Eleanor Aquitaine – you will learn about the Plantagenets - Eleanor and Henry II – and their brood of horrible kids. Sit for a photo in the reproduction of their thrones. During WWII there was a hospital built in the tunnels there under the White Cliffs – also military meetings rooms etc. Very interesting if you’re not claustrophobic (just the getting in part – once you’re inside you don’t notice it). Also don’t miss the Roman Painted House – “Britain’s Buried Pompeii” – ok it’s not that big or impressive but it is certainly interesting and worth seeing. Discovered during an excavation for building – it is the remains of a hotel almost 2000 years old. Open April through August except on Mondays – run by volunteers so call before going : 01304 203279. You’ll also learn about the many more discoveries in ancient Dover. So overall, the ports of call were good to excellent. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We arrived home after an enjoyable cruise on the Ocean Princess. However several of the concerns I had with my cruise on the Island Princess surfaced again. These mainly concerned the poor service in the Panorama. Once again the ... Read More
We arrived home after an enjoyable cruise on the Ocean Princess. However several of the concerns I had with my cruise on the Island Princess surfaced again. These mainly concerned the poor service in the Panorama. Once again the servers wanted to charge me for chocolate milk and/or hot chocolate at breakfast (and other meals). It was only through the intercession of one of the head waiters that I received (once) chocolate milk without charge. I stopped trying after that. The same head waiter assured me that I would receive chocolate milk in the dining room, and I did. There was a lack of staff, especially in the afternoons returning from ports. We had to get our own beverages including coffee. Breakfasts were also poor and most days I had to obtain my own drinks...not really a problem except that as we poured our drinks a server suddenly appeared on the scene, said that was a “no no” (obtaining our own drinks), tried to pour the beverages and insisted on carrying them to our table. Service on the morning of debarkation was particularly poor. The staff that was available were often chatting among themselves and seemed oblivious to the passengers. The appearances of flies in both dining room and Panorama was a rather unique event, never having had that problem before. This was reported to the head waiter both orally and in a written notice to reception. The head waiter, Daniel, did talk to me about the situation and its eventual resolution. The meals seemed to be better on this ship, although the menus were the same as Island P, and thus I was able to do a comparison. The only really bad meals were the braised beef ribs which were very fatty. This was pointed out and shown to the head waiter. The roast duck was very tough. The Beef Wellington was superb. Most of the appetizers and especially the cold soups were very good. I couldn't fathom why bananas were perfect every day on the Ocean P. While on the Island P we found them badly bruised or just plain rotten virtually daily. On our first night in the dining room I requested a change in table seating. Our table was near a window and the light bothered me. Secondly, I was at a table with five elderly women and I would have liked a better distribution of males and females. I am still waiting for my request to be okayed or denied, except I am now off the ship and it doesn’t matter. I would have expected some thought would be put into the seating arrangements making up tables with couples instead of simply putting people from the 4000 cabins together without regard to who or what they were. We were not told in advance of the change in port docking for Amsterdam and this caused a fair amount of inconvenience for us as we missed appointments with others in that city. Excellent service was provided by head waiter Daniel, assistant cruise director Hannah, and port consultant Deborah. In fact all the entertainment staff were charming and friendly. The port tours in St Petersberg were terrible. Perhaps it was my fault for thinking they would be as good as ones from a previous visit to St Pete's. The canal tour wasn't a canal tour, but mostly a trip along the Neva and back so we didn’t get a circle tour, but a return trip repeating sights. We deserve a refund on that one. During our previous visit we went on a circular tour on the canals with no repeats. The subway tour was also bad going to only three stations. A previous tour featured more than half a dozen stations. That also merits a refund. Had the excursions been better described we would not have taken them. There was also confusion as to whether or not we would be allowed off the boat on our own in St Pete after the tours. The shipboard consensus was we couldn't get off the boat But I discovered on the second afternoon that several people had gotten off on their own and I tried, was successful, and wandered around the city for awhile. Unfortunately it was too late in the afternoon to do anything really good. The customs men had told me I could go ashore and wouldn’t have any problems returning. Having destination maps and overviews for the various ports placed in our cabin at the beginning of the cruise rather than daily was a big plus and helped in our final planning for port visits. Despite the poor venue and lack of good sight lines, the entertainment was a bit better than Island P (for the same shows). The Russian folk dance troop and David Copperfield were far and away the best shows we had. The International show on the final evening was also good. Once again the music for the most part was too loud, but better than Island P. I still haven't been able to figure out why loud is better. The choreography and production numbers plus other individual acts left a lot to be desired, although the energy and vitality of the six dancers under poor circumstances is to be commended. Our cabin steward placed a blue Princess tote bag in our cabin. But when there are two people carrying items to different places a second was required. On the Island P I had no trouble getting one for myself and my companion. Here the steward absolutely refused a second bag. So I had to obtain another type of bag for carrying things around. Bad policy, or stubborn steward? As on the Island P there was an “umbrella” problem. It was raining heavily when we left the ship in Dover, but protection from the elements was sadly lacking....no staff with umbrellas at all, and we and our luggage were soaked. Protection from elements should be better. To sum it up, a good cruise, good ports, mostly very good cuisine, but erratic and too often poor service. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
After having sailed on the larger (5,000 + passenger) ships, this relatively small cruise ship, at only 650 pax, was much nicer. The cabins were the same size, maybe a little nicer, than the large ship cabins, but there were no line-ups ... Read More
After having sailed on the larger (5,000 + passenger) ships, this relatively small cruise ship, at only 650 pax, was much nicer. The cabins were the same size, maybe a little nicer, than the large ship cabins, but there were no line-ups for anything! Our evening meals were served very quickly, with the staff very attentive to our every need. They genuinely cared that we enjoyed the food and did not hesitate to offer a different selectionif it appeared we were not completely satisfied with our first choice. There was no waiting at bars, and there were always many pool deck chairs available. People didn't hijack them for the day! Overall, the average age was probably around 60, but there was much jocularity and good humour abound. The entertainment was not as good as on some of the bigger boats, but was still enjoyable. Remember to verify which currency is legal tender at the various ports of call as it is most likely that currency from one area will not be accepted in another area - and the ship may, or may not exchange it. Find out before you stick your cash card in an ATM! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
. . . . But the itinerary was great!! Arrived in London for a 4 day Pre. So after 11+ hours in the air, long trip to Grovesnor House, virtually crawled up to the reception desk, just to have them tell us our pre-paid reservation had ... Read More
. . . . But the itinerary was great!! Arrived in London for a 4 day Pre. So after 11+ hours in the air, long trip to Grovesnor House, virtually crawled up to the reception desk, just to have them tell us our pre-paid reservation had been cancelled!! We paid for it and Princess cancelled it. No one told us it was changed to Rennaissance across town. We stood there stunned, as if we were trying to fake some scheduling problem or trying to muscle into a room. Not so! Not a word from Princess in advance. Embarrassing! and Angering! I guess they expected all their Pre-passengers to experience a little emotional shock and anger by finding out on their own? Well welcome to London. After that meltdown, we spent more time relocating and thankfully got a room. Transfer to the ship was fine, but: Our tour agent was supposed to have a tour of the White Cliffs in route to the ship. That never happened. Ocean Princess is a fine old lady, small, but the interiors much to my liking. More like an English Gentlemen's club than bright colors. Missed the ice cream bar on other larger ships. Liked the ship much. But it is tired. Peeling caulking in the bathroom, discoloration around the edges of the shower (mold?), water pressure barely produced a shower. Dryer clothes line would not retract and hung there, floating around until I knotted it off. But overall clean and acceptable---just not the new ship sparkle. Had to keep shutting the laundry room door near us because other passengers kept the doors open, and turned the hallway into a noisy humid warm laundry room. Porters should have been on this issue--signs say to keep the doors shut. We had issues with seating at dinner. No one told us that there were two dozen requests to sit in couples which could not be accommodated. And we are Ruby grade too. Anyway they had us at a table for 6. I do not work to the bone for a year in order to suffer through the banalities of fellow passenger's small talk. I want to focus on my lovely wife. We left and I had assumed not to return. Why wait until the time of dinner to deal with this? But they did provide us a two seat table at the late seating after the fact. The MD would not look at us again the entire cruise. Hugely funny to us. I could have lived just with the buffet after all. I will not prepay gratuities ever again. BUT____This trip is all about the destinations. We spent a few days in advance in London. DO NOT TAKE THE CABS. Use the tube. Better cheaper, but--mostly just a lot faster. A little bit a learning curve, but after a 50 minute ride to get to the V and A Museum cross town from St Pancras, the cabbies clearly take the circuitous routes to make their trips. More than that, a waste of precious time. USE THE TUBE. London: See the war rooms (not well promoted), perhaps the best thing to see in London. The actual place Churchill conducted the war from, sealed up right after the war, unmolested and uncovered in the 80's. Even sugar rations were still left about. Virtually untouched. See Churchill's quarters, the radio rooms, kitchen, rifles still in the halls within reach, to defend an invasion of the quarters. The read deal, folks. You can almost feel the presence of the officers and staff underground in the bunkers. FANTASTIC. Jersey, Dublin, unscheduled stop in Belfast--the port I wanted to see anyway!!-- Scotland, all great. Princess continues to excel in the pastry department. Food generally was fine as always. New this trip for me was a real sushi day, with lots of shushimi too. I ate enough to pay for half the trip. I feel good with Princess. Generally well organized, professional, competent. Now at platinum level, I will be back often. Especially if Princess continues with excellent itineraries. I look forward to Hawaii at the end of the year. A great way to end the year and start anew. The Dover to Dover trip. Fantastic. I may do it again one day. I will double-confirm all hotels and transfers before leaving. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Just returned from a 14-day trip to the Shetland Islands, Iceland and Norway. This cruise was hard to review, because so many things were variable. PROS: 1. Staff were great. Everyone from the captain on down couldn't have been ... Read More
Just returned from a 14-day trip to the Shetland Islands, Iceland and Norway. This cruise was hard to review, because so many things were variable. PROS: 1. Staff were great. Everyone from the captain on down couldn't have been friendlier or nicer. They went a long way to cover up some negatives that otherwise might nave been glaring (see CONS below). 2. Small ship is nice. 674 passengers (capacity is 777) meant that it never felt crowded or overwhelming. 3. Breafast in the Panorama Buffet was always nice. Plenty of choices, food was always hot and good. Great staff in there. 4. Itinerary was amazing. Shetland Islands are really worth the trip. Going all the way around Iceland gave us a very good feel for the people and the country. The two stops in Norway (Skjolden/Sognefjord and Bergen) were mostly good, though Skjolden was much nicer. 5. Obstructed-view cabin was decent size. Plenty of storage space. 6. the desserts and the breads in the Panorama Buffet were uniformly good. This was a good thing, since many nights, there wasn't much else worth eating in the buffet! 7. Princess singers and dancers were generally decent and sometimes good. they were always entertaining! CONS: 1. This ship has already been sold to Oceania, and it was obvious that Princess is doing just enough to keep it going to the end. In many places, her age is showing. The ship reminds me of an old lady that's dabbed on extra makeup, hoping to hide the years, and fooling only herself. 2. Food generally was at best average. If it weren't for breakfast, I'd say the food was poor. Lunch was usually OK in the buffet, but dinner was rarely good. I never go to formal dinners (there were 3 on this cruise), and after looking at the menus, I skipped the dining room four other nights as well. This meant that I had to eat in the buffet half of the time, which was (other than 2 of those nights) really bad for dinner. The selection was not great, and (like the dining room) if you don't like seafood, you're pretty much out of luck. Very poor choices, poorly prepared, bland, often cold food, or overly dry from sitting in the steam trays too long. It was also obvious that what they couldn't push for lunch (or dinner the night before) was often recycled into other dishes the next day. If it wasn't good today, it won't be any better tomorrow, Princess! The only really memorable dinner in the dining room, in fact, was the Italian night. The highlight of the Chef's Special Dinner menu was the sorbet: after that, it was pretty appalling. It was clear that Princess is not putting any money into this ship: just enough to keep everyone fed, but nothing interesting, adventurous or expensive. 3. Cabin cleaning. My steward was very nice, but apparently the stewards were told to only change bed linens every four or five days. My sheets were stained when I arrived, and I had those same linens for nearly a week. I think the sheets were changed twice in the 14 days. The stewards also have huge areas to cover, which means that room cleaning and "refreshing" didn't take place very often. 4. The cabin bathroom is very small and not well designed. For example, you cannot sit on the toilet normally: you have to sit at an angle, or else your knees are halfway up the wall! And of course the shower is not only very small but you cannot turn or move with encountering those clingy shower curtains. 5. The casino is a joke. Here was another evidence of Princess' early retirement of the ship. There are maybe 30 slot machines, of which 23 or so are quarter machines. The newest machine on board is at least 15 years old. Everything is packed into a very small area. There is one place where you have to sit right up to the machine, so that people can get past you to the other areas of the ship. The casino really is a wasted space: if you're not going to have a good casino, don't have one. But Princess is clearly more interested in sucking every available penny out of the passengers than in providing a modern gaming experience. These are machines that should've been retired years ago, but it's obvious Princess is just filling up the space and sending newer machines to other ships. 6. Another real weakness for Princess is the "destination expert." The lady on this ship is really bad. Her lectures are some very poorly-organized slides, with notes that were clearly googled on the internet and "cut-and-pasted" together. If I had a dollar for every time she said "I think you can go here" or "I think that's what it's called" or "I think.....", I could've paid for my cruise and then some. If she was an expert, I'm the next Emperor of China. I had done a fair bit of research before the cruise, and it was appalling to see how badly-organized this woman was. I thought I could've done a better job, and many times my ship mates agreed, as I was often asked by strangers about different places we were visiting. The comment heard often on excursions was, "I wish that lady had told us about this!" I can't say that I have ever had a destination "expert" on Princess that was much of an expert, but this one hit a new low. How she still has that job is a mystery to most of us. 7. The lounge entertainment was painfully bad. Two in particular deserve special note. The piano player in the Casino bar spent a lot of time telling us about his meth addiction (and various other addictions as well), his lifestyle, and his life in general. According to him, this is the 55th ship he has been on. I pray desperately that he will never be on another ship with me. I had to sit though his "show" because I was with friends in the casino. The "stories" are bad enough: then he starts to sing and the pain really begins. He may have once had a decent voice, but off-key singing and growling seem to be his current forte. There is also a duo (piano player and singer) that frequent the Casino Bar that should be avoided at all costs. He is a good pianist, but she can't carry a tune in a bucket. I literally avoided Deck 5 in the evenings, simply because of her caterwhauling. Boy, she was bad! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
due to an accident they say on the freeway it took us four hours vs normal three hours from London Heathrow to get to the ship, just in time for a glass of bubbly and then put on our life jackets. Room 8038 was a mini suite, nice ... Read More
due to an accident they say on the freeway it took us four hours vs normal three hours from London Heathrow to get to the ship, just in time for a glass of bubbly and then put on our life jackets. Room 8038 was a mini suite, nice location, nice depth to the room, with the usual coach and two chairs, more than enough storage/drawers, climbing over the bathtub to take a shower was ridiculous and I not that old nor that short. entertainment-magicians were great, comedians were o.k. irish singer good, (flopped in his second show) princess singers were not good, but their dancers were. captains party for everyone and then suite members was excellent, seriously they stopped in some ports where there were only 250 residents, why.... there was nothing to do or nothing to buy, a waste of our time really.... the fact that you can just wear a nice pair of levis/jeans with nice shirt and perhaps a blazer or sweater in the dining room saved on a lot of clothes, some people still did 200% on the formal nights but we found that a pair of blacks pants for the ladies with a couple of dressy tops did just as well. food- breakfast buffer was fine, lunch buffet was fine, do not order a veggie burger as it looked like "barf" my husband said when h brought it to me, we threw it out, mexican buffet vey good, chinese/sushi buffet was good, indian was so so, best pizza was the thai and he only made it one night, dining room food was so so, quality dropped, steaks were like you would order at a coney island... we were in seafood territory and so disappointed in the lack of choice, tiger shrimp looked like something one night out of a can, desserts were o.k. variety of ice cream, internet too expensive and did not work half the time so you spent 10 minutes trying to connect, best spot, follow the crew when they disembark the ship and they will lead you to free internet.their side trips were too expensive and one of them to the funicular in bergen sweden was 159.00 for two people, we thought it was a bus trip and then to the tram,but it turned out to be an all walking trip... you could do it yourself, just walk there and pay for the tram, one side trip we booked up to the hengifoss waterfall the guide never made it up, think he was too old and walked about 1/8 of the way... he was more interested in stopping on the way down in two or three places so that we could spend money, seriously nothing to buy,other buses on this tour did not make those stops...health club, too small and no one monitored the treadmills only supposed to be on them for 20 minutes some days people were on for over an hour until I gave them a dirty look. disembarkation was easy, they showed some moves at night but hey no popcorn which we were used to on other princess ships, lack of things to do on board.....everyone was very polite and accommodating, but we remember the days when we got a daily newsletter in our slot every morning to apprise us of what was happening in the u.s. Read Less
Ocean Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.2
Family 2.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.0
Enrichment 3.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.3

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