The norovirus that arrived with the ship should have been a clue that things weren't exactly the Garden of Eden. We were delayed in boarding while the ship was decontaminated in San Pedro. We were told to be at the cruise terminal ... Read More
The norovirus that arrived with the ship should have been a clue that things weren't exactly the Garden of Eden. We were delayed in boarding while the ship was decontaminated in San Pedro. We were told to be at the cruise terminal at 2 pm to board. We dutifully reported a bit prior to 2, only to find that they wanted the LAST passenger boarding group to arrive first, so that they could send you to the far reaches of the terminal to sit for 2-1/2 hours while the later arrivals boarded first. Not that walking San Pedro would have been any better - it's pretty much a slummy hole.
Once on board, we found that our cabin wasn't ready, so we went to the lounge for two glasses of bubbly. That'll be $42 on your account, please. Or you can opt for the $490 upcharge for unlimited drinks, as long as each drink is under $10. So the $21 glasses of Champagne would have been on top of the upcharge fee in any event. As long as you don't mind drinking sodas, or the garbage Korbel pawns off as "Champagne" (even though it is made thousands of miles from Champagne), you can have all of it you want. No thanks.
Once in the cabin, we realized the HVAC didn't work. So we called maintenance a few times, and finally got someone up to fix it. It turns out it was shut off at the vent, which is conveniently located over the bed, so that when the maintenance guy opened the soffit to get at it, clouds of dust and dirt spilled down onto the bed and floor. One problem solved, another created.
While waiting for someone to come and clean up the mess (and replace the bedspread, which was now covered in dirt), we decided to shower. No hot water. Another several calls to maintenance resulted in changing out the mixing valve in the shower. So we tried the shower again, only to find it was scalding hot. No cold water. We had to call down and visit the reception desk a few more times to get the maintenance guy back to turn the cold water back on. Apparently having BOTH hot and cold running water is an upcharge. Finally, by midnight, we had the room cleaned, the bedspread replaced, and the water and HVAC working. End of day 1.
Day 2 - up by 6 am on the prowl for coffee. Ah, here's a coffee station on deck 6. $2 per cup, please. Say what? Off the the lido deck buffet, where the entrance wants everyone to use the hand sanitizer. No thanks - we WASH our hands. The idea of putting rat poison on our hands and then eating with said hands is pretty repulsive. Now wer'e on to the food line, where we can't pick up a utensil - remember norovirus - so we have to have everything handled by the crew (as if they don't get norovirus, too). Some of the worst food ever, sort of like C-Rations that survived D-Day. Dinner later that day at the Bayou Café/Steakhouse was the highlight of the shipboard experience - excellent food and a professional staff.
The rest of the voyage was spent trying to avoid getting continually annoyed by the embarkation/disembarkation procedures (which involved hours of standing around in queue waiting), and the constant nagging to use the hand sanitizer. How about a hand washing station instead? We watched numerous passengers who left the restrooms without washing, using the hand sanitizer as a substitute. Yecch!
It turns out the favorite word on Princess seems to be "No." As in no, you can't take a cup of coffee back to your stateroom, no you can't take uneaten food back to put in your refrigerator, no you can't do this, no, you can't do that. Couple that with the near-constant missives from the captain and crew that litter your door mailbox daily, telling you what you must do or else. Way too hung up on authority for us.
The funniest part of the cruise was the art auction. It was a caricature of a real auction, with a very annoying auctioneer. (The gavel is normally rapped once to announce the close of bidding, not to repeatedly pound on the table to accentuate a huckster's sales pitch.)
All in all, it was evident why Princess is at the low end of the cost spectrum. You get what you pay for - sometimes. In this case, we didn't even get that. Read Less