this may be my first review on Cruise Critic, but i have cruised over 30 times and consider myself and my family seasoned cruise travelers. I will try to be as detailed as possible, and hopefully others will not make the same mistake as us, by going on Regal.
What prompted me to write this review?
Well this cruise had to be the worst cruise my family and I have ever taken.
1. we had a party of 7 adults and 4 children booked in 4 different cabins.
2. Cabins: Fiji Suite C101, 2 balconies on deck 10, and 1 inside cabin on the same deck.
What was included?
I will base my review mostly on the suite, and include some aspects that are relevant from other cabins as well.
Princess website list of included suite amenities:
given, that some of them such as spa thermal suite options are not included.
Upon arrival to the port, nobody had any idea about prior embarkation and two old men that welcome everybody with Princess badges specifically had no idea about it, on top were very rude and careless. Had to wait in line for everything with everybody, even at the check in. So something that should have taken less than 10 minutes, took over 2 hours. Keep in mind, we are traveling with 4 kids ages 13, 6, 5, 1.5 years of age.
After this horrible wait, we finally made it on-board. Normally we are escorted straight to the suite, but this time, nobody gave a rats ass. After leaving our carry-on in the room, we decided to go on the upper deck to let the kids loose, however, there is a major problem. You have to wait for an elevator for over 30 minutes, before you might get lucky and squeeze in. They only have 3 sets and total of 14 elevator for 4000 passengers.
Concierge, SPA, and rest of pre-planned reservations.
Part of the services that are included are concierge services. Well forget about that. Tried calling 2 times with wait times of at least 30 minutes, and was just transferred automatically to front desk, who were completely useless. We tried to make reservations for the "free" specialty dinning on 1 day, but couldn't get through to anybody.
During the rest of the cruise, I was only able to speak with concierge 4 times, and 3 out of 4 times were during last day at sea. they only have 1 concierge with limited hours for ALL the suites. Our concierge was very nice, when we got to speak to her, and did help us out toward the end of the cruise.
Then we walked down to the spa, and tried to make reservation for massages for my wife and myself. Well guess what? 1 hour wait in line. Staff barely speak any English. $400 for 75 minute massage and they had the audacity to tell me that they only had one spot in 2 days. We agreed, also was promised as part of the package for massage to have access to the saunas before the massage.
On the day of the appointment, we came down to the "great and luxurious" spa about 45 mins before our apt, to relax and enjoy the sauna before the massage. Greeted by rude Asian woman who can barely speak any English (Which is a trend on this cruise ship). I was given a key to go change and put on provided bath robe, but my wife was directed to the waiting area and told that they don't have any clean robes or shoes or lockers at that time. Wonderful way for a spa to welcome guests. After i changed, i join my wife at the waiting area, and questions about the sauna, to which i was told immediately that we have to pay extra. After requesting to speak to the manager and 20 minutes later, he decided to come and see us, and told us that sauna is not included and whoever promised us access was lying. so now we are sitting their waiting for a massage for 45 minutes.
Our apt. was suppose to be at 4pm. masseuses came out at 4:15 and took us to the massage room. Their they questioned us for over 10 minutes and finally we were on a table and our "75 minute" massage began. However, at exactly 5:15, they stopped and said that it is over. We were highly disappointed. After we came back up to our rooms, i called the manager, and after his research he called us back 3 hours later, and said that we did in fact were shorted our massage, and the best he can do was to discount our rate 15% for a 45 minute massage that we received. I didn't argue and decided to address this issue with front desk manager later in the cruise. Two days later, i had a few minutes to stop by at the front desk, and after a short conversation with the frond desk supervisor, was told that I am out of luck, and that whatever spa manager said, goes. This is one of largest frauds that Princess is committing, since my mother-in-law went for a couple of massages and was shorted at least 15 minutes on each one as well. Management knows about this problem, and is simply committing fraud without even hiding it.
STAY AWAY FROM THE SPA, or set a timer from the second that they begin, and leave it in front of their faces during the whole massage, because they just care about money. Also tips are automatically included, without an option to remove them, on top of your bill.
Food was average on this cruise ship at best. Buffet had almost the same thing every day. Quality in the buffet was decent. We ended up eating there 5 out 8 days.
Main dinning room has a very bad setup as well. When you make a reservation, you are still forced to wait for 20+ mins to get a table. Same time that other passengers wait who just walk in.
We ended up going to Italian rest. on board, and presentation was good, but their pasta's are horrible. Very hard, and dry. Bar service is long, and our server didn't know any drinks, nor names of requested alcohol.
Toward the end of the cruise, most of the fruits where either too green or stale.
Bar Service and Drinks
I don't drink a lot, but decided to opt-in for the unlimited package, just so i don't have to worry about anything. It costs $60 per day. However, they don't tell you is that it is far from unlimited. You can only have 15 alcoholic beverages per 24 hours, and can only order 1 drink at a time. This meant that you cannot get 2 of anything in 1 bar per order, even cheap purified bottles of water. I started drinking one of their higher end rums (Pyrat), but magically enough, that by the 2nd day, all of the bar ran out of the rum, and only had 5 dollar cheap rum. Most of the bar tenders only know 2 or 3 cocktails, and when asked to change one ingredient, just look at you as if you started talking to them in different language. Bring your own wine on-board, and enjoy it, since everything they have is not safe to consume, due to them mixing different alcohols together that have the same color.
One of the worst ones I have seen at sea. Have about 10 table games, and 50 or so slots. If you enjoy playing anything larger than 5 or 6 dollar bet, they don't have it. Sometimes they open $25 bet Black Jack table. Every Blackjack is machine continued shuffled, and due to the company not being registered in U.S. they don't have to follow certain guidelines. So I think majority of people who played lost all of their money, with odds staggered so much against the players, that it is obvious, and not even fun. Some of the dealers are decent, most of them barely speak any English, and act as if they are doing you a favor by being there.
Stop #1 - Princess private island in Bahamas. Tender stop.
One more advertised perk of a suite is to get priority tender. I guess Regal staff was not informed of this, and had no clue what that means, because when we came downstairs, they put us in queue with the rest of passengers and was forced to wait for 30 minutes. Princess uses tenders from the island, they are staffed by locals, not Princess crew.
Once we made our way to the tender, nobody helped us with stroller. Everybody was stuffed like sardines on the boat, and one of the local operator tried to force us to put all the kids on the laps. When confronted, he started swearing in front of the kids, and complaining. There were 2 Princess security officers 5 feet away, who said or did nothing to help.
On shore, nobody was able to advise anything about activities or about beach chairs and umbrellas. I found one local who was in charge of the beach, and was told that every single umbrella was reserved and they had none available. This is absolutely ridiculous. We found a couple chairs under the tree, otherwise we would be forced to go back on to the ship, since everybody would have a heat stroke.
On board, i purchased a liquor package that is suppose to be unlimited but later found out that i could only have 1 drink at a time, and max 15 alcoholic drinks per day. I can't get water and alcohol at the same time when weather is at 90 deg plus. Also water that is served everywhere including the cruise ship is purified cheap water, not is spring water, and only small bottles. 1 liter bottles are available and are excluded from "unlimited package" that cost $60 per day.
After a very uncomfortable stay at the beach on the way back, we noticed something really scary: Bar staff at preparation to leave, took all open bottles of hard liquor and poured different types of alcohol in 1 bottle. Our whole party saw this, and staff didn't ever care to hide this. They were doing this on the concrete deck without any care for poisoning people, nor contamination.
Last, I did not know that Drones are not allowed on the cruise ships, but nobody at security, or at check-in said anything even tough i was carrying it on my should the entire time. I recorded a few videos from the island, and never turned it on on the ship. When coming back from the island, security stopped me and forcefully confiscated the drone with a promise that they would bring it to my room the during the last night. This is fine, since it is their policy, but this should have been told to me during initial security screening in Ft. Lauderdale. I would have just left it in my car.
Days 2 and 3 - at sea.
During these days, there is not much to say. Ship was at capacity and since there are only two areas for people to hang out, it was packed and unbearable to even walk at. I walked in to see what kind of art hey had, and was told that I couldn't buy anything, and had to attend an auction to even have a chance to buy something. Jewelry store had a very limited selection, and packed as well. Forget about getting table for 11 people, barely found a 3 small tables across the whole buffet to sit in.
Day 4 - St. Thomas US. V. I.
We have been to the island at least 4 times. We didn't really want to do any excursions, but just go to the beach and relax. Once incident that happened made me very upset. We negotiated with a cab driver (open bus safari pickup trucks) that hey won't charge for the children, if they sit on the lap. On the way back, without saying anything at the pier, driver demanded full charge even though kids were sitting on the lap. So Don't count on them honoring your deal.
Day 5 - St Marten
Great stop, great shopping, good beach a short ferry ride from the ship. We knew the prices, and the beach, so nothing out of ordinary. If you want to purchase alcohol or tobacco, go to the large duty free store right at the main ferry dock. they have very good prices and selection. Also you know you will get more or less authentic items. Same goes for cheap things, buy them in the city. Everything in the port is marked up 1000% and no negotiations.
Day 6 and 7 - at sea.
Also nothing new to add except that forget about seeing any shows, unless you come to the theater 2 hours before show begins. They had 500 seats for 400 passengers, and nothing else. No other entertainment you can go to. Casino
Day 7 - Disembarkation.
Was rushed out from the suite by 8am. by the room Stewart. I called to the front desk the night before as well as in the morning, and was advised that my drone will not be delivered to my room, but needed to be picked up before the bridge when they scan my card out. Once we made our way down to the exit, security team that consisted of another 2 crew members, that did not speak any english, and was told that my drone will be at customs. After calling for supervisor, i was told the same thing. The security officers at that checkpoint were hiding their names, and would not identify themselves to me upon request. I believe this is a direct violation of Princess policy and unsafe for passengers, since anybody can put on security uniform and do whatever they choose.
Obviously nobody knew anything about priority disembarkation. I think Princess has the worst luggage collection and customs setup ever existed. There are 4 large rooms with every-bodies luggage. Then all 4000 passengers are directed into 1 line to go through customs. Average wait time is 2 hours. Once we exited, after 3 hours of "priority disembarkation" I was very happy to get of and finish this nightmare.
In conclusion, (if you got this far)
I would say Princess really need to get their act together, and deliver proper and honest service. At this point, it simply does not exist, and if you are paying for any amenities extra, might as well save your money, and spend it elsewhere. I don't think I will ever consider Princess for another cruise, until i see some major changes.
STAY AWAY if you want to have a good time. Read Less