When I booked the cruise, I selected the Berlin embarkation port. I did not realize that most passengers started in Copenhagen. The fact that we were on leg “c” of the cruise detracted from the overall cruise experience. (1) We were cut off from tour excursions 12 days before the cruise (not 5 as published online) because, according to Princess customer support “our cruise” window had closed, referring to the cruise that started 9 days before ours. We would have to adjust tours once we got on the ship; (2) When we got on the ship and went to the tour desk, we were told we had to wait until after we arrived in Copenhagen when “our cruise” started (a different cruise that started on Day 4 of ours); (3) We felt as though we were joining a cruise already in progress, no welcome party, incomplete information (we could only get port information through Oslo until after we picked up new passengers in Copenhagen) and leftover seating (explained later) in the dining room. The one positive is that onboarding was an absolute breeze since we were the only ones in the little tent! The staff warmly greeted us and seemed to know we were coming! On the flip side, it was a tad annoying when we were disembarking in Copenhagen (only our 2nd port) and staff was telling us to have a nice trip home. :( At least I didn't get disembarkation instructions on day 2 of the cruise like one of my family members.
I was unsatisfied with the dining situation. We requested and reserved a dining time in the Allegro Dining Room and intentionally chose a close cabin due to my mother’s mobility issues. When we arrived, we were notified that we had been moved to a different less convenient dining room. What made it even more disappointing was that the staff in our dining room were only prepared for anytime diners and kept telling us to get in line. On two nights, our table was given away and one night we had completely different wait staff. Dinner generally took two hours (how many rolls can you eat?). The food was hit or miss - some nights spectacular and other nights like bad leftovers. The dishes were almost always over salted. There was no enforcement of dress code. Why ask me to use suitcase space for formalwear if people can wear blue jeans on formal night?
I usually avoid the buffet because I'm cautious about germs onboard. The Princess staff enforced excellent hygience protocols and the food choice was impressive. However, the buffet was a nightmare of overcrowded lines and inadequate seating. Once you did secure a table, the juice and coffee service was excellent.
The balcony was lovely and our room steward kindly opened the door so we could connect with family members next door (made one big balcony).
Spent several days before and after in Berlin, a city rich in history. Climbed to the top of the Berlin Dom and Reichstag (a highlight). FYI - you need to go online and make a free reservation ahead of time. Food was fantastic (schnitzel). Also enjoyed DDR museum, Berlin Wall, Topography of Terror and Memorial for Murdered Jews of Europe (sobering).
Our HOHO bus was cancelled due to Pride parade. However, the city is very walkable and we saw the Royal Palace, toured City Hall (impressive) and climbed to the top of the Opera House. The Akershus Fortress was right by the ship and was fun to wander in as well.