For my spouse and myself a Southeast Asia Cruise has been on our Bucket List for some time. We were excited when we saw Princess offering this 21 night cruise at a reasonable price. Overall, we had a very positive experience aboard this ship but unfortunately, due to concerns regarding the possibility of the Coronavirus, the cruise was cut short.
We arrived in Singapore a few days early and really enjoyed what the city has to offer. Singapore is a city that's easy to navigate due to its highly efficient public transportation system which is inexpensive and safe. It should be noted that Singapore itself is an expensive city and accommodation costs can really put a dent in one's budget. Food costs can be lower if one eats at the Hawkers Markets which are readily available throughout the city. These markets are regulated by the government, and the health standards are of a high level which makes them safe and fun. I would highly recommend spending a few days in this city prior to a future cruise, if the budget permits.
As to the ship itself, the overall impression is that it is in dire need of a complete overhaul as it's showing its age and is in need of updating. The ship's decor is more representative of a bygone era. Fortunately the ship is due for a refit in April 2020 which will hopefully bring new life to it.
Onboard the ship our cabin category was a Mini Suite. As with the rest of the ship, it definitely was in need of updating. On the positive side, the cabin was quite spacious and had adequate storage for everything. The closet space in the cabin provided ample space for all of our clothes and accessories. Unfortunately the furniture in the cabin appeared quite old and tired. The bathroom did provide adequate space for us but its appearance was reminiscent of something from the 1950's. The bed and bedding provided by Princess was excellent which gave us a very restful sleep every night.
Overall the service provided by the ship's staff was courteous and efficient but there were some issues regarding communication onboard the ship that could have used some improvement. One example was the cancellation of the stop in Cambodia, which most passengers found out either by email from their travel agents or by word of mouth. Some passengers we spoke to still did not know that the Cambodia visit was cancelled until the day we were supposed to have arrived there. It appears Princess cancelled the Cambodia stop close to our sailing date due to previous customers negative feedback, and didn't seem to have contacted the passengers prior to our embarkation from Singapore.
On February 12, 2020, around 3:15 PM, we were advised that the second half of the cruise had been cancelled due to concerns regarding the Coronavirus. We were also advised that Princess would only assist passengers with airline tickets that had been booked through Princess' Air and Land program, leaving the rest of us to our own devices. The ship was to dock in Singapore the next day. This did not give us much time to make our own arrangements through our travel agent due to the 16 hour time difference. Compounding that for those who had not booked with Princess Air or Land program was that the Wi Fi was down for the next four hours and there appeared to be limited phone access. Ironically, we were also advised by the Captain, via a letter, that we were to be provided 24 hour Wi Fi service that evening, but when we inquired about the service we were told that it was not available on this ship. In response to these problems, Princess did provide free hotel accommodations for one night in Singapore for those passengers who were affected by the cancellation. In our circumstances, Princess also provided us with free telephone service that evening in order for us to make arrangements to get home.
We chose the "Anytime Dining" option and primarily ate at the "Pacific Moon Dining Room." We found both the service and food to be very good. On occasion, we did lunch at the "International Dining Room" and also left with a very positive impression. We also tried both the "Trident Grill" for a hamburger and "Prego" for pizza on Deck 14 which we really enjoyed.
The entertainment onboard the ship could best be described as inconsitant. The production shows in the main theatre were of a very high standard and quite entertaining. On other evenings we were entertained by three acts that included a magician, a tribute singer, and a comedian. The entertainment was somewhat limited as all three repeated their performances on two separate evenings. The music in the bars seemed to be very good although we did not spend much time in any of them. We also enjoyed the "Movie under the Stars" a few times.
We both enjoyed the excursions that we booked with Princess. The tour guides were generally very good although sometimes their level of English was a bit sketchy. It should be noted though that many of the excursions we booked did take over two hours to get to due to the long distances from the port to the location of the excursion.
Both the embarkation and disembarkation process went vey smoothly and without any problems.
Even though our cruise was cut short we enjoyed it and will definitely cruise with Princess again. Although there were some problems onboard the ship, mostly due to circumstances beyond their control, overall the service provided was very good .
Quite spacious with plenty of storage. Furniture v old and dated. Bathroom needs upgrading.