We had been looking at a Buenos Aires to Santiago Chile cruise for about five years and decided on this cruise due to Princess' perceived reputation of being more upscale than other lines. We were disappointed at almost every turn.
To begin with, we embarked a day late in Buenos Aires due to the death of a passenger in route from Rio. However, when we (a party of six) arrived at the designated hour at the port, our luggage was taken, then we were bused to the Sheraton (another miserable experience) for seven hours without information, wifi, or other amenities. Eventually we were bused to a three-star hotel for the night. The following morning, we finally boarded, only to be informed the now 10-day cruise would have only three hours in Montevideo (instead of a full day) and the cruise would skip the Falkland Islands. The three hours in Montevideo were late in the day and capped with a heavy rainstorm.
The two remaining ports of call were Ushuaia, Argentina and Punta Arenas, Chile. Both were fun, but not a reason to book a cruise. Disembarkation in Valparaiso, Chile was fairly routine.
Princess Cruise Line attempted to make up for the deficiencies of the cruise with a compensation package. However to say that made up for the loss of time and experiences is an understatement.
Issues I had with the cruise include:
1. Exceptional poor treatment of the 700 passengers boarding in Buenos Aires. There is no management excuse for keeping people uninformed and without some amenities. Emergencies at sea are understandable and manageable, but the lack of responsible Princess staff on the ground is inexcusable.
2. Severe under-staffing of the ship. There were simply not enough on board activities on cruise days. In cooler cruising regions where the outdoor public areas are not really usable, planned activities are essential.
3. Deplorable lecture/workshop offerings. Given the geology and geography of the cruise route, this offered wonderful opportunities for lectures on local geology, history and geography. Another opportunity missed. Time management lectures to a mostly retired passenger group is not good planning.
4. A large portion of the staff, with some notable exceptions, were unmotivated.
5. We have come to expect good evening entertainment on cruises. With the exception on one evening, we were profoundly disappointed.
Good points of the cruise:
1. Our standard balcony cabin was nicely done and adequate.
2. The port lectures were well done and entertaining.
3. The room steward and "Anytime Dining" staff were attentive and cordial.
We have cruised ten times on six different lines. We shall be returning to other options.
The cabin was thoughtfully laid out and ample. The shower was a bit small, but manageable. Hanging space was more than adequate.
Port excursions were limited and in our experience overpriced.