We chose this cruise because we wanted to sail around the horn and prior to this experience, we have cruised Princess on 10 different cruises so we felt we would receive the same standard of service we were used to. Embarkation was unorganized and there was no advantage to being Platinum, Elite or Suite passengers...everyone was funneled into a large room and then waited in line to get from one part of the process to another. The first disappointment was during the safety presentation. We were required to stand for 45 minutes while a voice on the intercom read the entire safety program to us right down to hanging things on the balcony. This information had already been delivered to our stateroom. It was insulting to be detained for that long to repeat the 'rules' of the ship....reserving lounge chairs with towels is not relevant when we are standing holding life jackets. The ship decor is old and dated and the exterior plumbing needs rust removal and new paint. Out on the deck it was almost impossible to avoid the occasional sewage smell that seemed to permeate the air. The sewage odor was also prevalent in our cabin bathroom. But the biggest issue seemed to be the tours and tenders. It was not unusual to be held in a group tour gathering area for 2 hours while waiting to board tenders. The least amount of time we waited was one hour and 15 minutes to embark a tender for a tour that was to leave at 7:10. People were getting angry and fed up with these wait times and by the end of the cruise were asking questions of the staff...only to be yelled at to basically sit down and shut up. We were to have the pier at Ushuaia only to be told at the last minute we would be tendering instead as the pier was going to the Celebrity ship that was coming in soon. We are wondering why Princess doesn't have the clout to claim the pier that was posted in the cruise documentation?? That port was the worst wait times to get off and another 2 hours in the hot sun waiting to get back on. Subsequently we were late going through the Beagle channel and missed viewing some of the glaciers due to darkness. We had a tour in Punta del Este which was not professionally run at all...we waited on the bus on the pier for 40 minutes while our local guide waited for 4 more people...only to come on and say he was mistaken and we had all been there all along. He was not informative about the stops on the tour except when we went past where his wife works...he stopped the coach and honked so his wife could see he was working and not at the beach. The next morning I felt I needed to tell the tour desk that we didn't feel like we got a quality tour. The staff asked if we had been taken to the points on the tour, which we had, so he said in that case the tour demands had been met. He also said only one other person on our coach had complained about our particular guide so there was not much substance in our complaint. He then dismissed us rudely and said he would register the complaint but we shouldn't expect to hear anything more. He was arrogant and treated us like second class steerage. Thank goodness the room steward and dining room staff were excellent...and the gym was nice as well....the rest of the time we spend in our room, which vibrated so violently that it was difficult to sleep for the first few nights until exhaustion took over. Out of 14 days, we were able to find a table inside the Horizon food court only once, rest were outside on the deck....the ship is too crowded for the space available and breakfast and lunch were an exercise in patience. We went to a couple shows....the violinist was barely an entertainer, certainly not the classical musician advertized, and the Princess singers and dancers were less than mediocre. We were on the ship for Valentine's day but the only decoration we saw was a pink styrofoam cake outside the dining room....not the beautiful carved chocolate and fruit displays from other years. The entire cruise felt lack luster and uninspiring. We had a Transatlantic cruise from South Hampton the New York booked for Sept 2 of this year which we have now cancelled...the idea of spending 15 more days smelling sewage is not appealing. It is sad to see what Princess has allowed it's standards to sink to...and whereas the itinerary was awesome, the mismanagement of the ship trickled down to affect the ports and passengers quality of experience.
The cabin was clean, the beds very comfortable. Some of the linens were newish but the pillow cases were quite worn. The shower was incredibly small and the stall was cracked. Our room was under the outside eating area on deck 15 so everytime someone pulled a chair across the floor, we heard a loud scraping noise...all day long into the night. Our room steward was awesome and made the trip enjoyable.
Since the wait times to get off and back on the ship have been consistantly 2 hours each side, we chose not to get off the ship this port.
Due to past wait times to get off and back on the ship, we stayed on board at this port.