We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which we enjoyed. We chose Princess because of the previous good experiences my sister and her husband had, and they joined us on this cruise. They were as disappointed with the service and food as we were. Some staff seemed irritated with requests, and sometimes were actually surly. There were instances of drawers slammed to show displeasure. (2 of our previous cruises were on Celebrity where staff attitude and morale was far superior--everyone smiled and seemed genuinely caring.) Front desk staff here were unhelpful whether it was on the phone or in person. A singsong "Sorry" was the frequent response.
Food in the main dining rooms was very good, and service was okay. Nice choices of starters and desserts. The exception was the one Afternoon Tea we tried. It was a joke. Waiters brought tea before there was milk or sugar, so it got cold. There were many waiters with trays of sandwiches, scones and cakes which they passed out and loaded onto tiny plates with no order whatsoever. They did not give you time to eat anything, just wanted to dump each item. No traditional tea tray towers with choices for each table as restaurants and Holland America do.
The food in the buffet was of low quality and did not look appetizing. It was OK for breakfast, but not dinner. We normally like to eat room service breakfast to save time, and on our past cruises the choices and food were very good. We only tried it once on Princess. The only hot food choice was a greasy fried egg sandwich in a foil pouch. We didn't want to try again. The coffee both in room service and restaurants was horrible. The waiter told us it was frozen liquid Nescafe. We ended up buying Starbucks instant packets in port and ordering hot water.
Shower (as in all in this category) was the size of a phone booth. Water pressure was fine but water temp constantly fluctuated between very hot and cool. Bathroom counter could use a good cleaning. Only two outlets on the desk and were too close together to use at the same time. NO USB ports. Balcony furniture needed a good scrubbing. Deck above was pool deck. Noise of moving chairs above every night at 10:30 (only for about 10 minutes), so don't choose this room if you go to bed early. Bed was comfortable. Plenty of open closet space, but only shelf space in cupboard, no drawers. They stored extra comforters under the bed so it was difficult to get our luggage under there. Generally roomy enough, except for shower.
We spent 2 nights in Southampton before the cruise. Stayed at the wonderful Pilgrim Inn. Highly recommend!
The town is lovely, and a great place to wander and have lunch.
We used Paddywagon tour company for our excursion to Blarney Castle and gardens, the woolen mill (quite a beautiful store with lovely woolen and linen items), and lunch stop in Kinsale. Cork was mainly a drive-through because our time in port was short. Our guide, Val, was a really talented guy! He drove the bus, acted as guide, sang Irish songs and told jokes as well. It was a really FUN day!
We did Dublin on our own. Bought tickets for the Book of Kells in advance. Also saw the Archeological museum, and went to the Evensong service at St Patrick's Cathedral.
We used Discover Scotland small bus tour to the village of Luss and Sterling Castle. Luss, on Loch Lomand was lovely. Sterling Castle was historic and an important place to see, but it probably should be seen on a guided tour (which we did not pay for) because the layout and signage was confusing.
As 2 of our party were not feeling well, we only went to Queensferry via the tender, and there is not much to see there.