We chose this cruise because it stopped overnight for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and also because it was scheduled to stop at one of the Channel Islands, Jersey. Unfortunately, the ship experienced mechanical problems causing it to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it stopped overnight for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and also because it was scheduled to stop at one of the Channel Islands, Jersey. Unfortunately, the ship experienced mechanical problems causing it to lose power completely at the dock in Dover just as it was scheduled to sail. After about three hours, the crew got the ship functioning on its emergency generator for essential items only, such as toilets and sinks, but it took approximately 2 more hours before power was fully restored. As a result of the problem, we did not sail until past midnight. We could not make the first port (Jersey) at all due to the delay, and the lack of power meant that there was no hot dinner the first night (just sandwiches in the buffet). It was the only time we have ever gone to bed hungry on a cruise. The cruise line reimbursed the passengers $150 each, which was, frankly, inadequate for such a severe problem and schedule deviation that was not due to weather or some other act of God. We were very disappointed to miss seeing Jersey.
The ship itself is old and showing its age. Although some things have been upgraded (carpets, some of the furniture, beds) everywhere we went we saw items visibly in need of maintenance, from torn or non-functioning curtains in public areas to broken hinges on the closet doors. This was the third Princess ship on which my spouse and I have sailed, and it was just not up to the standards of the rest of the Princess fleet. That being said, the bedding was very comfortable. Our mini-suite was spacious, the most-spacious non-suite cabin we have ever had on any cruise line.
The entertainment was very good, and we especially enjoyed the comedian, the magician and the nightly pianist/singer, Austin Raye, who was the best of his kind that we have ever seen on a cruise. The food was good but not outstanding. We did take advantage of the Ultimate Balcony Dinner experience, which was one of the best meals we had on the ship.
Both embarkation and disembarkation in Dover were a breeze, no doubt due to the small ship size. There was virtually no waiting at either end. We took only one of the ship's excursions, in Waterford, to visit Kilkenny Castle and the Waterford factory. The tour was quite good. We did not care for Dublin, which we found to be a hard city for tourists to negotiate, with attractions spread out too far apart for walking, and horrendous traffic everywhere we went. It took nearly an hour to drive in either direction via courtesy shuttle from the ship to the downtown area and back. This made our productive time in Dublin short.
In Edinburgh, we followed the advice we got on one of the boards on Cruisecritic, and disembarked overnight to stay at The Witchery Hotel, and to attend the spectacular Military Tattoo. We bought out tickets for the Tattoo on the Internet well in advance (the previous fall), and made our hotel and meal arrangements in Edinburgh on our own, all at a considerable savings over similar tickets offered by the cruise line. If you are planning to attend the Tattoo, we recommend paying extra to sit under cover in the Royal Gallery, as the weather in Edinburgh is very unpredictable, and rain is almost a daily occurrence. Note that for a fee, you can join the Friends of the Tattoo society, and the tickets will be made available to you first, before they go on sale to the general public. The Witchery Hotel is extremely convenient to the Tattoo venue (just 50 yards away and within the security enclosure), and the rooms are each unique, sumptuously decorated and spectacular (although not handicapped accessible, if this is an issue, which it was not for us). A wonderful breakfast was included as part of this memorable stay. Read Less