Royal Princess Cruise Review by YTOcruisers
- Sail Date: February 2019
- Destination: South America
- Cabin Type: Interior
We had an inside cabin on deck 12 which while not huge worked well for us. Denys our cabin steward did a fantastic job taking care of the cabin.
We did anytime dining the first couple of nights. The food was fine but we felt that the servers for the most part did not want to engage in conversation with us - basically serve you and move onto the next table. So one night we tried the buffet in the Lido and were blown away by the variety of the food. Every night they featured a different country’s food and we found because of the variety that we tended to eat too much but really enjoyed it more than the dining room (except we over ate!).
We also had lunch a few times at a small cafe in the piazza which served salad and sandwiches which were quite tasty for a lighter meal (it is open 24 hours!).
The singing/dancing shows were ok - some better than others. There were a lot of comedians (one was supposedly the best entertainer on Princess overall in 2016 - if he was the best I’d hate to have seen the worst). Also a lot of musicians. The Royal Princess band was fantastic in backing up all the acts with little preparation.
Matt O our cruise director was without a doubt one of the best if not THE best cruise directors we have ever had. He was fun and funny. I felt sorry for him that people were rude by running to the dining room the second that the show finished not willing to stay for another 2 minutes to hear him talk. People were going to his trivia contests and not playing trivia just to be entertained by him.
The ship is quite nicely decorated and a lot of things take place in the piazza which can be awkward for seating but still an enjoyable venue.
always a nice stop - we did the Kon Tiki Harbour and beach tour ship excursion to Honeymoon Beach and had a great time. Nice beach, not too crowded and a wonderful time with the crew on the Kon Tiki - flowing rum punches, band and limboing on the return journey.
We did an island tour with Barry from Barry Taxi - very reasonably priced, well guided and taken care of by Barry.
We did a Sunbury Plantation, Orchid World and Gun Signal Hill ship tour - the highlight of which for most would have been a rum punch demonstration at Sunbury Plantation which was very generous and very funny. Orchid World was alright - nothing special.
Port of Spain
This was not a port I was looking forward to having heard many negatives about Trinidad and safety issues. We chose to do the Caroni Bird Sanctuary with the the ship’s excursion. The drive there echoed what I expected about Trinidad - looking very third world and not inviting. The bid sanctuary was meh - the only real highlight was having a snake asleep directly above our boat - UGH.
We had heard news reports of significant violence - burning vehicles and businesses several weeks before our arrival and scores of military had been sent in. No signs of the violence to be seen - not a particularly exciting port but was nice to be in Brazil.
If we thought Brazil was going to be like Fortakeza we were wrong. What a nice port Salvador was. So much more lively and vibrant. In Fortaleza the beach had barely a handful of people on it whereas Salvador’s beaches were packed. We did a city tour with Do Brazil Right - only 8 of us and a great Italian guide named Alfredo. We quite enjoyed it.
What can I say but WOW. What a great port - wish we had an overnight stop. We did a ship’s tour to the Christ statue, Brazilian steak house and Sugar Loaf Mountain. It was well organized and quite busy at the places we went to. The Christ statue was packed but quite breath taking. The Brazilian steak house was packed with cruise ship tours - the meat kept coming and coming despite putting out our red stop sign for no more meat. The service was a bit slow and there were some translation misunderstandings - I asked for orange juice and got onion rings - oh well it makes for a good story! Sugar loaf was also quite busy but great views.
We did a ship’s tour to La Rabida which is an estancia (ranch). It is family owned and only opens for cruise tours. Wonderful hospitality and food - got to milk a cow and get dragged behind a horse. Montevideo is a clean city and Uruguay is not typical of other South American countries - it has the highest literacy rate in South America and supposedly no corruption.
We left Montevideo 52 minutes late due to late loading of stores (third such delay in this cruise) and an immigration issue for 2 people. The Captain announced about an hour after departure because of our late departure we had lost our slot into a narrow channel into Buenos Aires and would have to anchor until 3am. In the end we finally arrived in BA 9 hours late at 2pm. We had booked a debark City tour and tango show with drop off at the airport thru Princess. Because of the late arrival our tour was cancelled and we were supposed to join the ship’s airport transfers. The communication about the tours was not great although we ended up figuring out when/where to meet quite by chance. We disembarked to a dark, crowded and quite chaotic terminal with no signage as to what luggage tags were where - actually they were still offloading luggage from one of two trucks when we arrived in the terminal. It was VERY hot - an elderly lady fainted. When we finally got our luggage went outside and lined up for the 2 buses that were there which filled up and left. Then we heard from one of the other passengers that apparently there had only been 6 buses for airport transfers and they were all enroute to the airport (1 1/2 hours one way in rush hour) and the ground handling staff had no idea if or when another bus would come. They apologized but said that Princess had deserted them. They suggested to take a taxi if we had a flight that evening. So we lined up for 30 minutes and finally got a taxi around 6pm, arriving at 7:20pm at the airport for a 9:45pm flight. After a wonderful cruise the disembarkation left a bad taste in our mouths and a bad impression.
Overall the Royal Princess is a lovely ship and this was a great cruise with great ports. Unfortunately all the positives were wiped out by the fiasco in a Buenos Aires.
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