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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.

Service Not Too Good

Ocean Princess Cruise Review by asroc

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2015
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
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.
asroc’s Full Rating Summary
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