We have cruised several times and usually go Norwegian. We are a couple in our 40s, with 18 yo and 11 yo sons. We love NCL for the food and all the activities they have on board. We decided to try out Princess because we loved the 10 day ... Read More
We have cruised several times and usually go Norwegian. We are a couple in our 40s, with 18 yo and 11 yo sons. We love NCL for the food and all the activities they have on board. We decided to try out Princess because we loved the 10 day holiday itinerary of this cruise. I knew it was a bit of an older demographic, but honestly said to myself "how bad can it be?" We travel a lot and always are able to make the best of any situation so I thought we could do without some of the amenities that other ships offer since we would be at port most days anyways... We just got home yesterday and I can say confidently that we will NEVER go Princess again.
I have a whole list of issues with this cruise line, but to summarize:
1. Food was not good. We are used to knock-your-socks-off food with lots of dining options, specialty restaurants, etc... The buffet food was better than main dining room on most days. But the buffet was random, small and not great. For example... here is what the lineup was on one day for lunch and in this order: Black beans, indian butter chicken, steamed cauliflower, grilled zucchini, mashed potatoes, crock pot stew, creamed corn, steamed fish of some sort.... there were a few more items, but you get the idea... I wish they would have done something that made sense- a day of Indian, for example, with 3-5 Indian dishes followed by the mashed potatoes and regular American food options. Or how about a day of Chinese food, Mexican food, etc? It was like they pulled out whatever was in the fridge closest to them, warmed it up and slapped it down on the buffet line. Weirdest thing ever. And the buffet was TINY. My 11 year old lived off of grilled Hamburgers from the poolside grill for 10 days. The breakfast buffet was worse. The most watery scrambled eggs you've ever seen- reminded us of the free breakfast you would get at a Holiday Inn. No omelet station unless you found a crew member and specially requested it. Then it took 15-20 min to make (they prepared it in the back). Microwave bacon. Yuck. I ended up eating an English muffin with mystery jelly (it was never labeled on what flavor it was) and a bruised banana most days.
They also only had two specialty dining restaurants and it was impossible to book a rez once on board. I luckily booked one night of specialty in advance, but once we were on board and realized the regular dining was not very good, we wanted to book more nights of specialty but couldn't. Oh and once on board, they advertised a one-night-only Crab Shack night (Which was extra $$ but we were willing to pay just to have something GOOD) but only had enough slots for about 30 reservations so they were booked by the time we called to get a reservation. Really crappy planning, in my opinion.
2. We were bored out of our minds. No water slides, no rock climbing wall, no ropes course, etc... we knew this cruise line catered to an older crowd and that these amenities were not on the boat, to be fair. However, I expected they would have some of the normal staples at least: Pool table, mini bowling alley, miniature golf, kids arcade, etc... Nope! They had a tiny golf putting green, but it is NOT a mini golf course. And the basketball court we were looking forward to was like a quarter court. Smallest one we have ever seen! And there was no dueling piano bar or any sort of entertainment like that. The comedian they had was mediocre. The best act they had was the vocal impressionist singer they had on one night. I've never seen more people sitting around a cruise playing board games and cards. It seems that everyone was bored! And we have never done more Bingo or did more trivia- we had to just to keep ourselves from dying of boredom. Also watched more movies on this cruise than ever before in my life. I don't think we have ever watched a movie on a cruise ship, actually.
3. They had a generator problem on the ship on the cruise prior to ours, so they couldn't go full speed and canceled one of our port days. So yes- we had to spend ANOTHER day on the dang ship with the same lame food and dying of boredom. They also trimmed time off of our St Thomas port, which interfered with our plans for that day.
4. They were an hour late into one our ports and the shore excursion we booked through Princess on Grand Turk sucked. It was a true cattle call type of experience. We usually book our excursions outside of the cruise lines and this was a good reminder of why.
**The one positive thing about Princess is the service is really good. All of the staff we encountered were helpful, friendly and worked very hard. We do think in that respect, the service on Princess is a bit above the rest we have previously sailed on.
Perhaps we have been spoiled by previous cruises or perhaps we just aren't the right demographic for this cruise line, but either way... we won't be back. We talked to other people our age on the ship and it seemed to be the same consensus. I felt bad for the families with children younger than ours- they were having a hard time it seemed.
I just called and canceled the Alaska cruise we had for the 2020 summer that I booked a year ago. I am relieved! Never again! Read Less