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Background This was the ninth Princess cruise since our first one in 2008 for my partner and me, meaning we are Captain’s Circle Platinum members. We started cruising with Celebrity Cruises in 2014 and became Celebrity Elite members after just four cruises because some very good offers allowed us to book Suite Class on two occasions (no wonder Princess‘ on-board future cruise reservations can be handled by one person, while at Celebrity ships a whole team is busy with that). It was the second Princess cruise for my parents accompanying us (73 and almost 89). We choose this cruise because it suited their needs (mobility issues) as routing (no tendering) and season fitted them best. Most of the negative aspects mentioned in the following text were not specific to Royal Princess but we experienced them on every Princess cruise we took so far. Embarkation and Disembarkation We arrived at 2 p. m., so about one hour after check-in had begun. Check-in was perfect – no room for improvement. Ship We didn’t expect the interior design of this newly built ship to be that outdated and so bad! Atrium and Allegro Dining Room were gorgeous, but the rest? Concerto Dining Room, where Club Class Dining was located, was a nightmarish mixture of Princess‘ old design from decades ago with some new design features thrown in adding insult to injury: Those murals! Were they results of a Princess Arts & Crafts lesson? Has the „artist“ ever heard of perspective? Why those new floor-to-ceiling blue light features? Who wants to eat bathed in a light color they normally use to prevent drug addicts finding their veins in public restrooms? The screamingly brightly lit Club6 without any atmosphere! Our advice: hire the Allegro’s designer and fire the rest! Maintenance: Many non-working lighting fixtures all over the ship. The ceiling of the Horizon Court’s outside terrace looked as the ship would be scrapped the next day: rotten wood, dislocated halogen spots, missing sprinklers (fire security???) For a newly built ship surprisingly many strong vibrations although seas were totally calm, especially when maneuvering in port. Worst thing: the elevators! This is an issue among passengers for decades and Princess and Fincantieri are still seeming to ignore it. Endless waits! As my father has mobility issues taking the stairs was no alternative solution. Why not introduce the system where you key in your desired deck and the system assigns you an elevator number? At least send some staff who manage the lines upon return from shore as the present situation is „elbows out - survival oft he fittest“. Why is that no problem on Celebrity ships? Cabin stewards Marlon (M105) and Sang (M106) did a great job cleaning our staterooms. Sang was more cheerful, but by mistake threw away two free drinks vouchers. Not that much of a problem, but although he spoke to his supervisor they were not replaced. Marlon, at times cleary stressed out by the amount of work he had to do, was not very happy to take care of a skirt we returned to him, because after sending it for pressing it came back with more wrinkles than before. But in the end, he had the skirt re-pressed and the item removed from our check. When we entered our cabin, the bedding of M105 was not Queen as ordered in advance, but we left it that way. The main lighting fixture on the ceiling as well as the ceiling lamp in the bathroom in M106 were not working which leads to the question if the cabins are not checked properly by housekeeping or technical supervisors. Staff in general Apart from the cabin stewards and the dining room staff no one would great you when you passed them by. Front desk and security staff as unfriendly as on all our Princess cruises. Sure, the before-mentioned can’t expect to be tipped at the end of the cruise, but what does Celebrity do that this is not a problem on their ships? Dining First things first: Club Class Dining is genius and almost as good as Aqua Class or Luminae Suite Restaurant on Celebrity – regarding flexibility, wait times, quietness and personal attention. NOT regarding food presentation: as on every of our Princess cruises we were served plates no Celebrity chef would have dared to let leave the kitchen: on the last night my bad quality NY strip steak was thrown on top of the grilled tomato and the watery zucchini side, sauce spilled over the edge of the plate. Salads were just thrown in a deep dish and not even mixed with the dressing. As always with Princess we got the same food we know for years without any focus on the region you cruise in. Just marking standard dishes served worldwide with a „Mediterranean Flavors“ stamp doesn’t make it any better. Not very local, too, was the Kingklip in curry sauce with red cabbage (or was it red onion confit?) – in fact, it’s a good thing this combination is not known anywhere in the world except on Princess ships. Norman Love’s chocolate creations were the highlight of every meal as were the petit fours offered along with dessert. MDR breakfast closed at 9 a. m. even on sea days, which we found too early. Strangely enough, the espresso was served in a regular coffee cup which made it cool down far too quickly. „Alfredo’s“ and „International Café“ are two free dining venues which have no counterparts on Celebrity. Kudos to Princess in this respect. Another sign of cookies cutting (literally), though: fruit tartlets at „International Café“ which before were made from pastry dough, vanilla custard and adorned with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries now consisted of a shortbread cookies, vanilla flavored whipped cream and cheap chunks of melon. „Horizon Court“: offerings between main meal times were too limited. Staff was unenthusiastic as always. Wine was far too expensive with almost every bottle over 30 $. Club Class restaurant staff: one of he best restaurant experiences we had on any Princess ship. Courteous, personal and very attentive, especially taking care of my parents. Standing out were the host, Xaviera, our waiter Peter and the assistant waiters Adonis, Rhodra and Danja. Dress Code: not enforced as always. Shorts and open sandals at dinner, leasure wear on Formal Nights. If you’re not willing to enforce it, abolish it. Platinum/Elite perks The best thing: a generous free wifi allowance. Is it really smart to treat the most loyal customers to a Captain’s Circle party lasting exactly 30 minutes (as announced in writing) and serving them exactly one cocktail which - to be frank - was an insulting undrinkable cheap imitation of the cocktails served in the bars? The Platinum/Elite cocktail lounge was located in the horrible Club6 which is normally operational from 10 p. m. as an additional bar. During the day it is the deck 6 path from the front of ship to the atrium. Not a great setting for a lounge, when hordes of people pass you by! Apart from sail away evening the lounge closed at 7 p. m., while galley staff were already standing by with their racks 15 minutes before to close and remove the buffet noisyly at 7 p. m. sharp. All that made us use this lounge only on the first two evenings. The new reduced price 6.50 drinks menu featured cocktails so unknown to passengers and staff that they provided us with their laminated cocktail recipe card. Entertainment We didn’t see any of the shows but noticed that enrichment lectures were non existent. The port lecturer basically passed on information you can find on Cruise Critics or Wikipedia, while on Celebrity they always have a historian providing insightful information on board. Music volume of singers and orchestra in the Atrium on the very last evening could make you deaf if you not already were. Ports/Itinerary Very good. Why „all aboard“ in Marseille was at 4:30 p. m. was beyond us as the next port of call, Genoa, was practically a stone's throw away. In Livorno, the shuttle (run by Port of Livorno) ran very infrequently and it took us one hour to get from the car rental parking just outside the port grounds back to the ship. Some more positive things? We liked the very generous free TV programming (unknown to Celebrity). The „Princess@Sea“ mobile website was surprisingly sophisticated and useful. The Club Class canapés were much better as the Celebrity ones they serve you in Suite Class. Unfortunately, the last days of the cruise order forms were not provided anymore by any of our two cabin stewards. Bottom line As long as you have no comparison, Princess performs ok. In case of a very good routing we would consider booking Princess Cruises again. Otherwise Celebrity offers a lot more for less money, therefore our next three cruises are booked with Celebrity which so far never disappointed us.

Princess has to do a lot Better

Royal Princess Cruise Review by JanBerlin

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2017
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Premium Club Class Mini-Suite with Balcony
Background

This was the ninth Princess cruise since our first one in 2008 for my partner and me, meaning we are Captain’s Circle Platinum members. We started cruising with Celebrity Cruises in 2014 and became Celebrity Elite members after just four cruises because some very good offers allowed us to book Suite Class on two occasions (no wonder Princess‘ on-board future cruise reservations can be handled by one person, while at Celebrity ships a whole team is busy with that). It was the second Princess cruise for my parents accompanying us (73 and almost 89). We choose this cruise because it suited their needs (mobility issues) as routing (no tendering) and season fitted them best.

Most of the negative aspects mentioned in the following text were not specific to Royal Princess but we experienced them on every Princess cruise we took so far.

Embarkation and Disembarkation

We arrived at 2 p. m., so about one hour after check-in had begun. Check-in was perfect – no room for improvement.

Ship

We didn’t expect the interior design of this newly built ship to be that outdated and so bad! Atrium and Allegro Dining Room were gorgeous, but the rest? Concerto Dining Room, where Club Class Dining was located, was a nightmarish mixture of Princess‘ old design from decades ago with some new design features thrown in adding insult to injury: Those murals! Were they results of a Princess Arts & Crafts lesson? Has the „artist“ ever heard of perspective? Why those new floor-to-ceiling blue light features? Who wants to eat bathed in a light color they normally use to prevent drug addicts finding their veins in public restrooms? The screamingly brightly lit Club6 without any atmosphere! Our advice: hire the Allegro’s designer and fire the rest!

Maintenance: Many non-working lighting fixtures all over the ship. The ceiling of the Horizon Court’s outside terrace looked as the ship would be scrapped the next day: rotten wood, dislocated halogen spots, missing sprinklers (fire security???)

For a newly built ship surprisingly many strong vibrations although seas were totally calm, especially when maneuvering in port.

Worst thing: the elevators! This is an issue among passengers for decades and Princess and Fincantieri are still seeming to ignore it. Endless waits! As my father has mobility issues taking the stairs was no alternative solution. Why not introduce the system where you key in your desired deck and the system assigns you an elevator number? At least send some staff who manage the lines upon return from shore as the present situation is „elbows out - survival oft he fittest“. Why is that no problem on Celebrity ships?

Cabin stewards

Marlon (M105) and Sang (M106) did a great job cleaning our staterooms. Sang was more cheerful, but by mistake threw away two free drinks vouchers. Not that much of a problem, but although he spoke to his supervisor they were not replaced. Marlon, at times cleary stressed out by the amount of work he had to do, was not very happy to take care of a skirt we returned to him, because after sending it for pressing it came back with more wrinkles than before. But in the end, he had the skirt re-pressed and the item removed from our check.

When we entered our cabin, the bedding of M105 was not Queen as ordered in advance, but we left it that way. The main lighting fixture on the ceiling as well as the ceiling lamp in the bathroom in M106 were not working which leads to the question if the cabins are not checked properly by housekeeping or technical supervisors.

Staff in general

Apart from the cabin stewards and the dining room staff no one would great you when you passed them by. Front desk and security staff as unfriendly as on all our Princess cruises. Sure, the before-mentioned can’t expect to be tipped at the end of the cruise, but what does Celebrity do that this is not a problem on their ships?

Dining

First things first: Club Class Dining is genius and almost as good as Aqua Class or Luminae Suite Restaurant on Celebrity – regarding flexibility, wait times, quietness and personal attention. NOT regarding food presentation: as on every of our Princess cruises we were served plates no Celebrity chef would have dared to let leave the kitchen: on the last night my bad quality NY strip steak was thrown on top of the grilled tomato and the watery zucchini side, sauce spilled over the edge of the plate. Salads were just thrown in a deep dish and not even mixed with the dressing.

As always with Princess we got the same food we know for years without any focus on the region you cruise in. Just marking standard dishes served worldwide with a „Mediterranean Flavors“ stamp doesn’t make it any better. Not very local, too, was the Kingklip in curry sauce with red cabbage (or was it red onion confit?) – in fact, it’s a good thing this combination is not known anywhere in the world except on Princess ships.

Norman Love’s chocolate creations were the highlight of every meal as were the petit fours offered along with dessert.

MDR breakfast closed at 9 a. m. even on sea days, which we found too early.

Strangely enough, the espresso was served in a regular coffee cup which made it cool down far too quickly.

„Alfredo’s“ and „International Café“ are two free dining venues which have no counterparts on Celebrity. Kudos to Princess in this respect.

Another sign of cookies cutting (literally), though: fruit tartlets at „International Café“ which before were made from pastry dough, vanilla custard and adorned with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries now consisted of a shortbread cookies, vanilla flavored whipped cream and cheap chunks of melon.

„Horizon Court“: offerings between main meal times were too limited. Staff was unenthusiastic as always.

Wine was far too expensive with almost every bottle over 30 $.

Club Class restaurant staff: one of he best restaurant experiences we had on any Princess ship. Courteous, personal and very attentive, especially taking care of my parents. Standing out were the host, Xaviera, our waiter Peter and the assistant waiters Adonis, Rhodra and Danja.

Dress Code: not enforced as always. Shorts and open sandals at dinner, leasure wear on Formal Nights. If you’re not willing to enforce it, abolish it.

Platinum/Elite perks

The best thing: a generous free wifi allowance.

Is it really smart to treat the most loyal customers to a Captain’s Circle party lasting exactly 30 minutes (as announced in writing) and serving them exactly one cocktail which - to be frank - was an insulting undrinkable cheap imitation of the cocktails served in the bars?

The Platinum/Elite cocktail lounge was located in the horrible Club6 which is normally operational from 10 p. m. as an additional bar. During the day it is the deck 6 path from the front of ship to the atrium. Not a great setting for a lounge, when hordes of people pass you by! Apart from sail away evening the lounge closed at 7 p. m., while galley staff were already standing by with their racks 15 minutes before to close and remove the buffet noisyly at 7 p. m. sharp. All that made us use this lounge only on the first two evenings. The new reduced price 6.50 drinks menu featured cocktails so unknown to passengers and staff that they provided us with their laminated cocktail recipe card.

Entertainment

We didn’t see any of the shows but noticed that enrichment lectures were non existent. The port lecturer basically passed on information you can find on Cruise Critics or Wikipedia, while on Celebrity they always have a historian providing insightful information on board.

Music volume of singers and orchestra in the Atrium on the very last evening could make you deaf if you not already were.

Ports/Itinerary

Very good. Why „all aboard“ in Marseille was at 4:30 p. m. was beyond us as the next port of call, Genoa, was practically a stone's throw away.

In Livorno, the shuttle (run by Port of Livorno) ran very infrequently and it took us one hour to get from the car rental parking just outside the port grounds back to the ship.

Some more positive things?

We liked the very generous free TV programming (unknown to Celebrity). The „Princess@Sea“ mobile website was surprisingly sophisticated and useful. The Club Class canapés were much better as the Celebrity ones they serve you in Suite Class. Unfortunately, the last days of the cruise order forms were not provided anymore by any of our two cabin stewards.

Bottom line

As long as you have no comparison, Princess performs ok. In case of a very good routing we would consider booking Princess Cruises again. Otherwise Celebrity offers a lot more for less money, therefore our next three cruises are booked with Celebrity which so far never disappointed us.
JanBerlin’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Cabin
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Premium Club Class Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin M6 M106
Great in general: lots of storage space, huge balcony. The air condition was a major source of disturbance as it was far too loud during the day and became a roar for no explainable reason on some occasions, e. g. in the middle of the night. Other than that the sound insulation was far better than on Celebrity's Meyer Wharf built ships regarding noise from other cabins/decks. I can imagine these cabin getting very rocking when the weather gets rough as it already was shaky sometimes during calm seas.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews