We chose this cruise because of its itinerary. I realize we may be somewhat jaded because we mostly travel on smaller luxury cruise lines, so I will begin with the positives.
During our cruise the company upgraded their software in an attempt to improve their Internet, door locks and security system. Their service in most of their restaurants was very good and the food in their specialty restaurant, Crown Grill, was truly excellent. The gym and spa were also very nice.
Other than that, our experience on Princess convinced us that we would never travel with them again.
My sincere apologies to those of you who repeatedly cruise on Princess. However, what we discovered is that the vast majority of people who do more than one or two cruises with Princess have never even tried any other cruise line. Those few who had, only have compared it to Carnival, RCCL or NCL. Let me tell you there is a whole different world out there.
Our current voyage began with a delay of 5+ hours. We were informed via text on the morning of our sailing that the ship had a problem with their generator and that we should not go to the docks, but that they had arranged with a local hotel to “house” us and they would shuttle us over when the ship was ready to board.
It was a disaster. Over three hundred people were in the lobby and restaurants of the hotel. People were lying on couches, on the stairs and virtually everywhere. No food was served, no information given, as apparently the cruise line representatives at the hotel knew as little as we did. When we finally were shuttled over, the check-in process was a mess. We were assigned to a line. Then the disabled passengers were assigned to the same line and moved ahead of us. Finally, we made it through the line and were given the OK to board just as the ship’s excursions for that day were returning. The line to board the ship was around the block...and, oh yes, it was raining.
The problems did not end there.
Internet - The Internet on most ships is slow. Princess internet was nearly non-existent. I couldn’t even get my email. I went to the Internet cafe which is rarely covered by staff and was told that the connection was totally down and that I would be better off in my stateroom then in their computer room. Huh? I found the only time I could get a connection was while we were in port, either using my cell phone or in some ports using the wi-fi of the port, certainly not from the ship’s wi-fi for which I had paid $159. After the new system was installed on our next to last day, the connection did get better and we got those two days for free. For the others the cost of Internet has gone up dramatically.
Ship’s staff - On the second day, the schedule said they were having a ping pong tournament. Passengers showed up, but no one from the ship’s staff did. The only time we ever saw the ship’s social director was when he introduced the evening’s entertainment. It wasn’t that he was a negative, he just didn’t exist. We also had very little contact with our cabin steward which we found to be very unusual.
Food - Other than the Crown Grill specialty restaurant, the food on Princess is so far inferior to other cruise lines, I can’t imagine where they hired their chefs. We were on Club Level, so we were able to go to a different restaurant. Same food, slightly better service and quieter...but they did not have tables to share, which is our preference. There were several days when the menu choices were so limited, we had a difficult time finding something to order. For breakfast, we did have very good service and better food in our club class dining room.
Then came the “coup de grace”. At breakfast in our special section, the waiter spilled tomato juice down the back of my wife’s new cashmere sweater. They apologized and promised to clean it and bring it to our room. Apparently, they tried to wash and machine dry it because it was shrunk and totally ruined. Who machine dries a cashmere sweater? We then got a call telling us to come to the front desk and file a claim. When we read the form in big bold print it says this is not a claim, it is just documentation of the event. When we tried to show them the form, the staff person began arguing with us.
Entertainment – very inconsistent; some good; some poor
Announcements – although they said they would not broadcast into the cabins, they did.
Lines – the lines to get off and on the ship were long and tiresome.
Overall, although we did like the itinerary, we would never cruise with Princess again.
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