My family has been using Princess over two decades and have seen the quality go up and down..... and now it is definitely on the way down again. Let me explain:
We, In the last year, took two Emerald Princess voyages (1) Southampton to Sydney and (2) Sydney to Los Angeles; we experienced sarcasm from the Passenger Service Manager, non responsive reply from other officers about issues during the cruise, and continual push backs on the ability to get our voice heard. The reception desk make it difficult to get any correspondence to the officers, and the officers are NOT available to the passengers. Many issues went unresolved due to non replies. The other issue(s) is the reception desk doesn't speak good English, and is hard to understand, and you have to explain it several times in order to get your ideas across.
The dining room food is second class. Food is served cold, portions are reduced, and the menu selection has shrunken. No longer does the "Always Available" selection include steak, hamburger has been the substituted. The Chicken is butterflied, but my credit card is thicker, and the plastic has more taste. The only crab served is at the Crab Shack, and the price has gone from $20 to $30 per person.... and the crab is soft and chewy. I complained, as I had to open the legs(shells) with a scissors, - they would not crack ! I I called on the Manager, but he did nothing. Not even a refund.
The Horizon Buffet is a shadow of it former self; there are less items from which to choose, and more salad selections. Another cheaper approach to cruising. The wait staff or clean up committee is slow on the take. The tables seem to stay dirty longer, and you have to do your own clean up, or if you want a beverage, you are better served to get it yourself, as it takes too long, and sometimes you are half way through with the meal before it arrives; worse yet, on some occasions, it never shows up at all.
As to entertainment: The days of the Bridge Instructors, Dance Hosts, or craft instructors, have been replaced by the Crew Staff, and the Singers and Dancers. They are the substitute for many afternoon and evening events, like lectures and lounge shows,. Good quality entertainers are now hard to find. Movies, movies, movies, repeat, repeat, and repeat again. It would be nice to change the format, and have something newer than the 1980's stuff. The videos ( on TV) in cabins are repeated over and over again. They must buy a "package" and show them fleet wide. The shows and movies are the same from last year.
Elite has no longer the cache that it was marketed to have. Now that the larger ships have 900 to 1100 Elite passengers per voyage, the ship management doesn't have the ability to give "special handling" of this group as promised. No special lounges for tender service - you must get in line with everybody else to get a ticket to disembark. - at 6 AM if you want to get off by 11 AM. No Elite line at reception. And the big deal is that laundry can take up to five days -- but if you pay for it, you can have it in two days; What a disservice to loyal membership !!! The system for the loyal Elite member is BROKEN.
My family will take our wallets and vote for another cruise company ( other than Carnival) on our next voyage. Princess has turned the corner, and is only $$ oriented; not as interested in "Service" as before, but it is now a PRODUCT, not an experience.
Normal. Beds OK, not much to say about an Inside cabin. Do not get the cabins with extra beds.... the wall beds take up way too much room, and are hard to walk around.