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Have cruised Princess before (same ship), so knew what we were in for. Have cruised this particular area (South Pacific Vanuatu and New Caledonia) 4 times. It would be very hard not to have a good time on a cruise. Great service is a given. However the problem you have when you've cruised a bit.. is you start to expect excellence. The service we received was very good - but not excellent as we've often had. One of the main reasons we choose Princess is the food. The MDR as usual served very good food. Perhaps not excellent, but still generally very good. The buffet was a mix of mostly good, but some not so good. However that's not really an issue - the variety makes up for any not so good stuff. There's also the Grill and the Pizza Restaurant which are both good. My wife had a migraine a couple of nights and ordered room-service (no charge) and was very happy with it. The inside cabins are adequate. Smaller than other ships we've sailed on; but as mentioned - we knew that boarding and they're adequate. The ship is aging and doesn't have some of the bells and whistles of newer ships.. but it's still an elegant ship. Yes, there is some signs of her age (if you're looking for them).. that's too be expected and doesn't have an impact on the experience. The embarkation and getting off at the other end are handled smoothly. Entertainment is disappointing. Perhaps it's partly to do with the very elderly demographic. We've sailed on her before out of the same port - but this X-mas cruise seemed to have a different passenger demographic and far less families and children. Walking frames everywhere. Our teen son had a good time as usual; however commented that it wasn't as good as previous cruises, the kids club nowhere near as good and there were noticeably far less kids/teens. Some of his more traveled friends commented they preferred other lines. For adults the entertainment is quite tame and generally aimed at the older folk. It ranged in quality. The shows and guest entertainers ranged from great to terrible. They were sparse, repeated and a let-down. They repeated Jo Little on 3 nights. Luckily she's a hoot and pulled it off 3 times in a row.. or otherwise there could have been some loud complaints. Babba was a good Abba tribute. Princess deserve a thumbs down for entertainment - on a 12 night cruise they should be offering better - as other lines do. The Cruise Director is ok.. but nothing special. The Juggler they had was terrible. People walked out! And then they repeated him a few nights later. Cost-cutting and Penny-pinching madness. The usual Motown and Rock & Roll dance act from the ship dancers that every cruise ship seems to have. The Casino still has a live dealer for Texas Poker (instead of the electronic version many ships now offer) which is great. Not a lot of action in the casino though as most of the ship very elderly and in bed at night. Ports: We've been to all the ports many times. Excursions booked via the ship are extremely expensive. Unless it's something particular you want to do - getting off the ship and grabbing a local taxi will get you there at a fraction of the cost. We missed Mystery Island this time. Was a pity as it's one of the best for snorkeling - but that's life.. can't blame Princess for the weather. Common theme we've heard - is people wondering why the ships insist on going to Noumea. Many people would prefer to skip that port. But maybe it's required for supplies? Luganville is a dirty, unexciting port too. However the Blue Hole about 30 mins away is great. In summary; a good cruise, but not an excellent cruise. Let down primarily by the entertainment. The fact that we've done this cruise a number of times may have meant we were a little bit blase - which obviously isn't Princess's fault. The fact that they shifted us from a table of 10 to a table of 6 (there's 3 of us) was disappointing when we had asked to be at a table of 10 and we struggled to get conversation from the other 3 (we had a ball last time with our table-mates). As mentioned, things were generally good.. but just not excellent. Given the great competition for our discretionary dollar.. ships are striving for excellence in competing for it - we will look to shop around brands for the next cruise. We expect better entertainment which we've seen on other lines. We would also prefer a more family or younger oriented line. That last part of course is not a slur against Princess - just an observation that each line attracts different demographics.

Mixed Bag. Generally good.

Dawn Princess Cruise Review by Over from NZ

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Have cruised Princess before (same ship), so knew what we were in for. Have cruised this particular area (South Pacific Vanuatu and New Caledonia) 4 times. It would be very hard not to have a good time on a cruise. Great service is a given. However the problem you have when you've cruised a bit.. is you start to expect excellence. The service we received was very good - but not excellent as we've often had.

One of the main reasons we choose Princess is the food. The MDR as usual served very good food. Perhaps not excellent, but still generally very good. The buffet was a mix of mostly good, but some not so good. However that's not really an issue - the variety makes up for any not so good stuff. There's also the Grill and the Pizza Restaurant which are both good. My wife had a migraine a couple of nights and ordered room-service (no charge) and was very happy with it. The inside cabins are adequate. Smaller than other ships we've sailed on; but as mentioned - we knew that boarding and they're adequate. The ship is aging and doesn't have some of the bells and whistles of newer ships.. but it's still an elegant ship. Yes, there is some signs of her age (if you're looking for them).. that's too be expected and doesn't have an impact on the experience. The embarkation and getting off at the other end are handled smoothly.

Entertainment is disappointing. Perhaps it's partly to do with the very elderly demographic. We've sailed on her before out of the same port - but this X-mas cruise seemed to have a different passenger demographic and far less families and children. Walking frames everywhere. Our teen son had a good time as usual; however commented that it wasn't as good as previous cruises, the kids club nowhere near as good and there were noticeably far less kids/teens. Some of his more traveled friends commented they preferred other lines. For adults the entertainment is quite tame and generally aimed at the older folk. It ranged in quality. The shows and guest entertainers ranged from great to terrible. They were sparse, repeated and a let-down. They repeated Jo Little on 3 nights. Luckily she's a hoot and pulled it off 3 times in a row.. or otherwise there could have been some loud complaints. Babba was a good Abba tribute. Princess deserve a thumbs down for entertainment - on a 12 night cruise they should be offering better - as other lines do. The Cruise Director is ok.. but nothing special. The Juggler they had was terrible. People walked out! And then they repeated him a few nights later. Cost-cutting and Penny-pinching madness. The usual Motown and Rock & Roll dance act from the ship dancers that every cruise ship seems to have. The Casino still has a live dealer for Texas Poker (instead of the electronic version many ships now offer) which is great. Not a lot of action in the casino though as most of the ship very elderly and in bed at night.

Ports: We've been to all the ports many times. Excursions booked via the ship are extremely expensive. Unless it's something particular you want to do - getting off the ship and grabbing a local taxi will get you there at a fraction of the cost. We missed Mystery Island this time. Was a pity as it's one of the best for snorkeling - but that's life.. can't blame Princess for the weather. Common theme we've heard - is people wondering why the ships insist on going to Noumea. Many people would prefer to skip that port. But maybe it's required for supplies? Luganville is a dirty, unexciting port too. However the Blue Hole about 30 mins away is great.

In summary; a good cruise, but not an excellent cruise. Let down primarily by the entertainment. The fact that we've done this cruise a number of times may have meant we were a little bit blase - which obviously isn't Princess's fault. The fact that they shifted us from a table of 10 to a table of 6 (there's 3 of us) was disappointing when we had asked to be at a table of 10 and we struggled to get conversation from the other 3 (we had a ball last time with our table-mates). As mentioned, things were generally good.. but just not excellent. Given the great competition for our discretionary dollar.. ships are striving for excellence in competing for it - we will look to shop around brands for the next cruise. We expect better entertainment which we've seen on other lines. We would also prefer a more family or younger oriented line. That last part of course is not a slur against Princess - just an observation that each line attracts different demographics.
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