Having already experienced Cunard, Celebrity, and P & O, we were doubtful that Princess could reach their high standards. But we were wrong - this Princess cruise overall was the best so far. Great ship, excellent service, wonderful entertainment programme. Food sometimes a bit off - tough steak. The Princess alcohol policy really needs review - I had small bottles of cider confiscated, and returned to me when arriving in Sydney so insufficient time to drink it all! Inconsistency of attitude when boarding with wine is poor, resulting in almost nobody drinking wine in the restaurant throughout the cruise. Many passengers resorted to concealing gin in non-original bottles - good job it is colourless - but I could not do that with dark rum, and in any case I don't see why I should have to. This Princess policy is obviously to protect their bar sales, but is totally unreasonable when their "guests" have paid thousands of dollars for a cruise! Apart from this aspect, the cruise was wonderful, and we particularly liked the mid-day reports from the excellent Captain Christopher Lye. For this ex-merchant mariner, his explanations and detail were much appreciated.
I found I disliked their coffee, have gone off wine, the price of spirits on board was unreasonable,and resorted mainly to drinking water! Better than dying of thirst while at sea, I suppose. The entertainment programme, especially the shows, trivia, enrichment lectures, good library (but books too orientated to the USA guests), all contributed. Lectures by Kay Taylor, Paul Kearney, and Peter McSweeney (spelling?) were great, although Kay's diction could do with rather more variation to avoid sending her audience to sleep!
Must mention our excellent cabin steward Ricardo - so pleasant and helpful - and our Traviata stewards Michael and Axela. I don't know whether they enjoy their work as much as it seems, but they have obviously been very well trained. Finally, I should mention the amazing efficiency of the disembarkation procedure - essential at a time when guests are naturally anxious to make their flight times. Well done, Princess!
Our queeen size bed was placed backing onto th window, with very poor clearance down the sides and preventing us from accessing the window. This cabin was otherwise fine, but it should not be allocated a queen size bed.