Having opted for a very expensive Suite upgrade on this short 2 night cruise, I was disappointed in the unavailability of all the promised items.
I will make this quick as internet is timed, not based on data. 20 minutes of internet was required to read 1 email and run a speedtest, which failed.
Hopefully I can dispel a few outdated statements on the website about Suite "perks". The executive summary is "Save you money and get a balcony room. With the savings, buy yourself an expensive drinks package or lash out at the bar. Visit the specialty restaurants. Don't waste it on the suite."
Mini-bar - There is little choice. 1 brand of each Vodka, scotch, brandy, gin. If you don't like the brand, bad luck. You can select to swap out the drinks for another variety, as some have stated. I asked for Scotch. There was none. Settled for (flat-tasting) beer.
Room Service - Suite passengers have a "special"menu to choose from in their 24/7 room service. Rang room service and asked for the standard fare; coffee and a club sandwich. "Sorry we only have coffee and cookies because we're preparing for breakfast (in 4 hours time)". I'll just have coffee then thanks. Again, bring some snacks onboard and save your breath and money. Coffee arrived, devoid of any food after a phone call asking again for the room number. I am told the telephone system gives the room number, however....
On the positive side the Cabin was comfy and service was OK with a few "Don't bother me with that, phone room service"from the cabin steward.
Food: Nearly choked on a chicken bone in the "Curtis Stone"pot pie at the restaurant. More like a chicken and leek soup with an overdone, dry pastry top. So much was I looking forward to the Curtis Stone featured meals, I chose it against the waiters recommendation. The good news is that my Lady took the recommendation and received a badly cooked slice of non-descript, grisly meat with a few beautifully cooked shrimp on top. This was a "special" addition to the meat dish. Desserts were OK. This is the first cruise I've ever been on where the food in the buffet has exceeded that in the restaurant. I can only hope that the paid-extra-for Specialty restaurant has better fare tonight.
I am having difficulty seeing what was received as "perks". Other than the priority embarkation, which you can get through the loyalty program I would go for the cheapest cabin you're happy with and save you money to enjoy yourself. Have the buffet; food was wonderful and varied. Use the $200 each extra for the suite to get a drinks package ($87 per day) and proper coffees (room service coffee is that American style filtered, watery fare).
Beer $8.75 as at October 2019 (extra for special Oktoberfest beers.
Cocktails range from $11 to $16. Menu didn't show much choice. $3 discount in the Elite lounge for a limited range of cocktails.
Wines $13 per glass and from $46 upwards per bottle. Menu showed limited range. With 7 glasses per bottle, you know which to order to get value for money. [ or tee-total for the trip and drink up on-shore ]
I don't hold out a lot of hope that things will improve when she changes to P&O. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for the poor showing. People may resent her changing over and take it out on the passengers.
I look forward to Breakfast in 3 hours time. I hope I haven't inconvenienced the staff too much by asking for some food early.
Crown Grill - We were served one Breakfast and paid for one Dinner in Crown Grill. The food and service during both meals was 4 star. My comparison restaurant is Luke Mangan's Salt Grill aboard a number of P&O ships. I rate each of those experiences as 6 star.
Tip: There is an extra charge for the surf and turf. If you'd like to save few pennies one person might order the Rib-eye while one orders the lobster and then split the meals; 1/2 steak each and half lobster.
Disembarkation - While the whole process was more compelx and confusing than necessary, it was all sorted out with the help of a late interception by Dawn in the Captains Circle team. I saw a number of elderly people struggling to drag their suitcases down the stairs to their allocated departure lounges.
Also confusing were arrangements for breakfast on disembarkation morning.
TIP: Request breakfast in your suite if that option is available to you. If not, hope there are pastries and coffee available somewhere on the ship, as you will find all of the dining rooms closed. It is possible the buffet was open, however I did not get an opportunity to check, using my time to arrange for luggage to be taken ashore.
On booking we were offered a perk of priority disembarkation in the Platinum Lounge. In reality we were told we had to carry our own baggage off the ship at a specified time.
The takeaway for me is that on a 2 night cruise you will get 1 chance at a good breakfast, 1 lunch and 2 dinners. I have to ensure I make them count. Since youre onboard for a short time its ALL about the onboard service and experience. Pay the extra to ensure the best. Unfortunately, despite paying extra for the top-of-the-line service, Princess failed to deliver on this occasion.