We live in Georgia. We booked this cruise for a halfway meeting point with friends from Hawaii who are also frequent cruisers, and to make a port call in Oregon, a state we have never visited before. This is our 30th cruise overall, 25th on Princess. We were successful in our first goal, disappointed in the second.
We booked our air travel through Princess EZ Air and flew without incident from Atlanta to LAX. The transfer to the ship was slow but the expedited embarkation went smoothly. Our balcony cabin was as expected and the service provided by Jojan (Joe) was excellent. There was no complimentary mini bar in our cabin (Elite status) and it took me five tries to get it delivered, two complaints to the cabin attendant, two calls to room service and finally a visit to the front desk where the desk officer called the room service supervisor directly. That did the trick.
We enjoyed the production shows, especially "On the Bayou," skipped the comedians and ventriloquist. We ate breakfast and lunch daily in the buffet, dinner most nights in the anytime dining room, three nights at a table for four by request, and two nights at a shared table. We had friendly, enjoyable companions at every meal. I must say that "any time" dining has now become first and second seating. If you want to reserve a table for any times other than 5:15 or 7:30, you're out of luck or you have to endure a long wait. The food was always good and service excellent with the following exception. We ate one night at the Bayou Cafe Steak House. The service was not better than the AT dining room and the huge steaks were of uneven quality, part tender and part tough. One of the four had to be sent back to the kitchen. I consider we wasted our money on the specialty restaurant.
Our travel agent had booked end of cruise transfers to the airport for us. Separately, I booked an end of cruise excursion in Vancouver. The first day of the cruise I went to the excursions desk, turned in my transfer tickets and asked for a credit on my cabin account. I was assured then and later by the excursions supervisor that I would see the credit on my final statement. The final statement showed not a credit, but an additional charge for two more transfers (total four transfer tickets plus two end of cruise excursion tickets). My first visit to the front desk was deflected by the answer, "You have to wait for the excursion supervisor to come to her office at 8 o'clock." We were due to get off the ship at 8:15.
Back to the desk at 8 and a different, much more responsible officer immediately made the correction (without reference to the excursion office) and we were on our way.
Sad to say, we missed our port call in Astoria, Oregon. After two days of rough weather, the captain announced at dinner that we would skip Astoria for safety's sake and to make our port call in Victoria on time. However, by that time the sea had calmed considerably. IMO, we could have stopped at Astoria for four to six hours and cut short the 18-hour port call at Victoria by six hours. I do understand that there were many more people booked on ship excursions in Victoria than in Astoria, ergo, for Princess it was as much a financial decision as a safety issue.
We had a very nice excursion in Vancouver followed by a 19-hour trip home, seven hours in the air and 12 hours waiting at multiple airports. That's nobody's fault: It's hard to get an afternoon flight from the west coast to the east coast.
We had a great time reuniting with our friends, met many nice people, recognized a few Princess officers and crew from past cruises, and enjoyed our visits in San Francisco, Victoria and Vancouver. We were disappointed at missing Astoria. We were unhappy at the mini bar, transfer tickets and steak house situations. None of those were up to usual Princess standards and I attribute them to lack of attention or carelessness by higher level management or supervision on this particular ship. We will cruise on Princess again; we hope for a better experience next time out.