We choose this cruise based on the itinerary. Never having been to South America we enjoyed the ports. We chose Princess excursions and for the most part they delivered what they promised. Before boarding we were driven around Santiago and Valparaiso for an hour to our distress; only later as we arrived at the port terminal did we learn the port workers were on strike and the embarkation delayed. An hour and a half later after milling around amongst 2,000+ passengers we were able to board the ship. The lack of information at the terminal was distressing; Princess could have remidied this situation by having someone in charge to inform us of what was happening and see that lines were properly cordoned off, so we at least knew where to wait. I was told to wait in line #3 but where to go as there were no lines. What a disastrous start to our trip.
The ship is older and in great need of some TLC; dirty worn carpets, walls in need of repainting, some repair of glass doors and safes as well (ours did not open unless we used a nail file to pry it). The food was average ship fare; nothing outstanding but nothing bad, although we did have two table-mates return fish which was spoiled and smelt beyond fresh. They could do with a little more originality in choosing their menus and not so much repetition of choices: how many times do we want to see pork on the menu in so many permutations as in recycled leftovers. The dining room wait staff was badly trained or not at all as when my entire was about to be removed twice without a question as to if I was finished or not. They were either novices with no direction or poorly trained and the dining room captains were not helpful in guiding these persons but were rather pompous in their demeanor. At one breakfast we waited 45 minutes for our food, cornflakes with sliced banana and for my husband a bagel with salmon and cream cheese; then were told our order was being prepared. Really! The wait teams need to be taught how to work efficiently together. An amusing anecdote is in order: On one occasion when ordering the bagel cream cheese and salmon, my husband referred to the order as bagel lox and cream cheese and lo and behold he received a lot of cream cheese (get it? lox and cream cheese).
We ate in Sabatini’s one evening and what a disappointment the experience turned out to be with just your average fare borrowed from the dining room menus; an empty restaurant except for two other tables and perhaps the absentees knew more than we did. I could not then imagine paying 29.00 per person for such food when it was ours at the dining room or even Horizon. The coffee, well an improvement with the coffee card enabling a real cup of perked coffee instead of the dreadful instant swill that is served. However, I think since purchasing this card one should have been able to enjoy a cup of perked coffee in the dining rooms also and not just the International Cafe.