I've been on several cruise lines (Celebrity, Carnival, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean) the this was my favorite cruise line and favorite ship (been on the Emerald 3 times). But the romance is over. Something ... Read More
I've been on several cruise lines (Celebrity, Carnival, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean) the this was my favorite cruise line and favorite ship (been on the Emerald 3 times). But the romance is over. Something happened and it just wasn't up to it's usual standards. I will say that the entertainment was outstanding - possibly the best. The two major production numbers were Broadway quality but, it seems, undervalued by many of the audience. The Cruise Director and staff worked overtime because they were short by 2 staff and did their best. I don't know what happened with one leaving but the other was totally predictable by Princess as she disembarked in Honolulu to begin her vacation. As this was a two week cruise involving two 4-5 day stretches at sea, there were not enough activities. Partly due, I expect, to small staff, but also possibly due to not having available areas for events (trivia, Pictionary, etc.) since the space was being used for private functions or movies. The Explorer Lounge, frequent home to trivia and game shows, was very cold for most of the cruise and after many, many complaints they finally turned off the a/c nine days into the cruise. Some passengers actually wore their winter coats or brought blankets to the events there. Horizon food (buffet) was terribly repetitive and limited in options. Often it appeared to be left-overs from day to day. And why are the plates so hot???
Evidently, chocolate milk is like gold. My son has special needs and his routine includes chocolate milk with his pills. It was an adventure finding any. While the dining room servers brought him a glassful every night, the buffet seemed baffled about how to handle the request and some seemed to not even know what it was, offering hot chocolate (made with water) with a side of ice cubes. Sometimes they required a drink card, sometimes not. It always took awhile as they had to go to Mars to get chocolate milk. Why it isn't stocked in the buffet kitchen is a mystery to me. In any other cruise, it's offered in small self-serve cartons at the buffet. Once we complained at a passenger forum, the problem was resolved in that we no longer had to explain what we wanted but the time it took indicated it was still being kept in a secret hiding place in the bowels of the ship.
One of the things I hated about Norwegian was that I felt like I'd spent a week at the mall due to constant "selling". Sadly, Princess is now also in the business of marketing junk on board. Our mailbox was inundated with junk mail about spa deals or sales. The upper Piazza was often blocked by tables hawking cheap watches and T-shirts. Look, Princess, if you are going to sell stuff please make sure it's quality stuff. It makes you look bad when 2 out of 2 watches fail within an hour. (We didn't; expect much for a $10 watch but we just wanted ones that would last the two weeks fo the trip as ours were left behind.)
Okay, now this is big: There was a garment sale in the dining room, advertised as 70% off. Tables were piled with mens' and women's clothes. Now one would think that meant everything was 70% off. Wrong. At the checkout the cashier said that the men's polo shirt was REGULAR PRICE. "Not everything is on sale?" I asked. "No." Out in the Piazza shop the same men's polo shirt was also regular priced with an offer for a second one at a discount - cheaper to buy two out there. I find this deceitful. Shame on you, Princess.
Boarding and disembarking was quick and well organized. Tendering ran smoothly.
So my romance with Princess is over. The integrity, service and quality is slipping. Now Royal Caribbean, I guess you're my favorite now. Read Less