Decided to take hubby on a 14 day cruise to NZ for his 60th birthday and had a great time. Our room A302 [Aloha Deck] While small had everything we needed [an amazingly comfy bed, lovely balcony to have breakfast & drinks out on & PLENTY of storage for all our gear...I had packed for winter & summer as we expected NZ to be cold, but apart from 1 cold day and 1 bitterly cold night , the weather & seas couldnt have been more perfect] Ariel was our wonderful guy who looked after us , he did a wonderful job ! Negatives with regards to the room were aircon seemed to mysteriously turn off for a few hours overnight, making it quite stuffy in the rooms....heard a lot of guests complain about it[we ended up sleeping with the balcony doors open] towels in the shower need to be upgraded to AT LEAST the size of the pool towels[we just use to take clean ones up from the pool] . And a small design fault in our room where the chair didn't fit under the desk, taking up valuable floor space. Food in Horizon could sometimes be a bit hit & miss, but their was really so much that you could always find plenty. I did notice that when it was sushi day & ramen noodle/choose your own stir fry day this was very popular. Maybe sushi on the cold selection side could considered[also where was the kewpie mayonnaise...a must with sushi] Traviato dinning [we chose any time] was always delicious , we sat with a different table every night and got to realise that some people really love cruising...sat with a couple that were on their 3rd back to back & another couple that have done more than 50 cruises and have 5 more booked for this year] Our wait staff were exceptional. A few negatives , Curtis Stone where were you ? On a 14 day cruise we had a repeat of just 3 of his dishes[seafood stew with fennel...amazing, chicken & leek pot pie, just as good & pork belly...sorry pork belly just doesn't cut it without the crackling& where were the crispy potatoes advertised?] The price of wine/alcohol in general was through the roof...they were out of stock of a number of the bottle's of wine right from the start of the cruise. We ended up buying a couple of bottles of wine on our winery tour and were happy to pay the $15 corkage & have them with our dinner.Think also the wait staff should also include in their nightly talk[specials etc] If any one needs something explained please ask , I am more than happy to explain it to you. We sat on tables a number of times where people didn't know what an item was on the menu[beef wellington with truffle, madeira demi glaze...the lady next to me didn't know what any of it was , until I explained Also pork & duck rillettes was a stumper for some people ...I love cooking & eating , so was more than happy to explain when I heard anyone a little lost] , but were a bit intimidated to ask. If the wait staff included this I am sure they would get some inquiries. Its also time to can the old traditions[like the bomb Alaska parade...fake bombs with candle don't hold a match to the real thing with flames] and maybe start to invent some new princess traditions.
We went on this cruise purely to relax, so the entertainment was way down on our to do list, but I do think the number of people playing the Grand Piano was excessive and even the older ballroom dancing generation barely got up on the floor. Mosaic was an excellent bank on board the ship as were the 2 girls that played the electrical strings. The rest we gave a miss, happy to catch movie under the stars most nights [2 checkerboard man shows were great]
Shore tour were mostly good though very expensive...think I would go more research about private tours in future as I saw many tours on land advertised significantly cheaper than we paid . Though Princess did throw on complimentary shuttles at nearly every port, which I thought was very good of them.
Staff in general is AMAZING. And go out of their way to make your holiday great. Bar staff in Crooners was probably the most disappointing. Twice we went in their for a drink and both times had to wait a good length of time to be served[they seemed to delight in having lengthy conversations with their regulars] Also more staff on the main pool deck is needed. People constantly leave their wet towels just hanging on chairs and when new people come looking for a lounger they don't know whether its taken or not[especially movie time] Also on cruises with a warmer climate I'm sure the cookies and milk would go down better in the evening. Saw the staff give out plenty of cookies during the day & very few glasses of milk. At night that would be great
The specialty coffees card & soft drinks card were definitely a money saver , but could also be very hit & miss. Since when have cappuccinos been specialty coffee? Pretty standard if you ask me. We had gotten a few cappuccinos with breakfast before we realised they were coming off the card. We preferred to keep them for the iced coffee variety and special coffees. We always had a laugh when we ordered our specialty coffees and commented on how they would turn out. Because their was very little consistency with them. Some times way too much syrup in them making them impossible to drink. We found the mocktails on the beverage card to be the same. You never really knew what you were going to get. Also its time to ditch the premixes for your coctails , they really do make for a poor version of the real thing[pina colada for example]
Would I go with Princess again...definitely. Is their room for improvement, yes , without a doubt. Its time to bring cruising into the 21st century and stop living in the past and just repeating the same things over that have been done for decades.
Small but with plenty of storage & the most amazingly comfortable bed & pillows. Bigger towels needed in the bathrooms and the aircon needs to be left on at night [not cut off for a few hours each night]