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28 Princess First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

I would not recommend this cruise to anyone (single or couple) between the ages of 20 and 30 unless your ideal vacation is visiting a nursing home! This was my husband's, and my, first ever cruise and a re-book after learning ... Read More
I would not recommend this cruise to anyone (single or couple) between the ages of 20 and 30 unless your ideal vacation is visiting a nursing home! This was my husband's, and my, first ever cruise and a re-book after learning that our cruise on Carnival was being cancelled (the vacation time was already set in stone). We had pretty high expectations of what cruising would be like..... great food, good service, lounge chairs, pools, interesting destinations, and a nightlife. I can honestly say that we were mostly disappointed in all of those categories (except the pools). First the positives though! Our cabin, A739, although tiny was very clean and our room steward, Georgie, was fantastic! He greeted us every morning, and went the extra mile to track down a missing bottle of Kahlua for us at the end of our trip. The pools were numerous and never crowded (although the hot tubs were), they were downright deserted anytime after 7pm which was great when we fancied an evening in a hot tub. The mixed drinks were reasonably priced from $5 - $7 each, the soda cards were pretty cheap at $39, although the beer was outrageously priced at about $5 a bottle! Cabo San Lucas was an amazing destination, and I would recommend the snorkeling trip to the Chileno Bay to anyone looking to have a great time, or get out for the day (and away from the walker set). Now the down sides..... The Ship The Sapphire feels really old. Plain and simple. The ship is very compartmentalized, there are no large spaces indoors, and everything feels dark and enclosed. Some of the halls and public rooms had unusual odors that were rather unpleasant. The ship is dated and needs a serious over haul, the one exception to this is the two main pools, they are cute and rather charming in their own way. Our cabin was tiny..... the beds reminded me of the ones we had at a summer camp that I worked at a few years ago (all springs), and there was nowhere to sit except on the bed or the balcony. The balcony was nice, and the bathroom/storage were adequate. I have to say though that I think the shower curtain and I were in a bit of a relationship.... it was very touchy feely which I didn't exactly appreciate.... Food We were truly non-plussed in this department. We are both very adventurous eaters, we enjoy trying new things, and definitely appreciate international cuisine, but we don't classify ourselves as "snobs" or "foodies" (trust me nothing completes my world more than a great slice of pizza, same holds true for hubby with a burger). We just found the food to be lackluster. The Horizons court seemed to offer limited selections at dinner, and nothing special any other time of the day, there were always long lines, and a lack of seats. The pizza, ice cream, and grill, while good got boring as there was little to no variation offered throughout the week. The dining room's menus were incredibly lack-luster and seemed to cater to the older clientele of the boat offering some sort of pate and steak every night. The menu just felt dated, boring, and sometimes downright unappetizing. Service Our service experience was incredibly variable. Our cabin steward, and waiter in the main dining room, were friendly and efficient. The lady in charge of the shore excursions was a great resource and helped us pick out our favorite part of the trip (the Chileno Bay Snorkeling). We really didn't get much of an impression of the rest of the staff as they seemed to be non-existent where we were concerned! Getting drinks (anywhere), silverware, the attention of who we needed to speak with..... impossible. We felt invisible because we weren't old and crotchety! One evening we watched a server in the Horizon food court get water for every other table around us, and completely ignore us. We had to go get our own drinks, and were then told that they would be served to us! Yeah right! Now don't get me wrong no one was rude..... But sometimes we really did feel invisible. Nightlife/Entertainment Unfortunately grooving to 80's hits, watching 70 year olds play Wii Dance, listening to comedians tell baby boomer jokes, shuffleboard, and musical revues in a theatre where the person beside you is snoring just isn't my idea of entertainment. The MOST entertaining part of this cruise was the abundance of new movies being screened, and shown on the TV in our stateroom. Activities, entertainment, and the nightlife, were simply geared towards a different clientele and there wasn't much of interest for our age group (or what could have been of interest was flooded with people the age of our grandparents). The one plus was that the casino had several smoke free nights and some gaming lessons. Destinations/Shore Excursions We loved Cabo San Lucas! That being said...... the rest of our ports left something to be desired. The number of shore excursions available seemed sub par. Very few of the excursions available could be classified as active, and none were green tours or eco tours, which we were disappointed with. Most excursions were centered around shopping or passive sight seeing by bus or boat. Most importantly we come to the topic of fellow passengers....... I can count on on hand the number of couples that I saw in their twenties.... I think there may have been a few families on board, but I don't think I saw more than 20 kids on the entire boat. I would have to say that the average passenger age was well over 65 on our trip. Things were definitely catered to the age group, so unless you plan to travel with elderly members of your family I would stay away from this boat/itinerary like the plague if you are under 35! Not only were we disappointed at the age group, but we were shocked at just how rudely we were treated by the older passengers (some guy in a hover round actually ran over my foot trying to stuff himself in an elevator that was already full). With so few young people on board we didn't really meet very many people which was a shame. All in all this cruise taught us that not all cruises were created equal, and that we are looking forward to trying to cruise again on a different line. One thing is for certain.... we will never get on a Princess ship again until we are valid AARP members! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We are annual all inclusive land travellers and have never taken a cruise because of the large expense involved. Our financial picture has steadily improved over the years and have visited all of the affordable caribbean locations over the ... Read More
We are annual all inclusive land travellers and have never taken a cruise because of the large expense involved. Our financial picture has steadily improved over the years and have visited all of the affordable caribbean locations over the past 6 years. Our most recent was the Mexican Mayan Riviera...5 star Bahia Principe. Because of the swine flue scare, we got an amazing deal for 2 weeks in August 2009...$3000 (for 2) approx ALL IN! We have heard nothing but positive things about cruising and knew that the next islands we want to go to are on the eastern and western legs of the cruise so we decided to cruise so we could check them out. We arrived at the terminal of Ft Lauderdale and our first experience of service was excellent, not much different from the conferences we have both been on in the past. Check in was very efficient and we were able to go immediately to our room and check it out. It was nice...but not a WOW for a suite (no coffee machine and empty fridge)...imagine what an inside cabin is like... The ship is beautiful and most definitely has Wows everywhere. We went for lunch at the buffet and was somewhat surprised as it was small, little selection and nothing really special. I knew that we were going to have to pay for non-alcoholic bevs but thought they would be included with your meals but no...The bus personnel in the dining area are sales people as well, they sell you your non-alcoholic cards $29 and if you want juice, coffee...its only $50 per person per week. We only took the non-alcoholic bevs... The next morning we went to the breakfast buffet (not knowing that you can be served in the restaurant)and it was jammed packed. We couldn't find a seat (3000 people on the ship with 1000 crew)and had to sit at a table on the deck which wasn't very comfortable. I ordered coffee and when it arrived I understood why they were trying to up-sell us with the coffee...its garbage! Its syrup coffee not ground. Its the coffee you can store in the freezer frozen...fast food restaurants use it. You have to go half coffee and half hot water to kind of enjoy one cup for the day! very disappointed! The buffet was ok but fortunately we discovered that you can be served in the restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner (of course)which we did for the next 2 weeks. There is no water in your room and if you want it you can either buy a big bottle for $3.50 and fill it every day and refrigerate or use the tap which is only warm water. You mean to tell me you can't supply water???you have to be kidding me! My wife and I have worked in food service for approx 25 years and have very high standards and of course a cruise is going to deliver? The first night featured prime rib. It was excellent as was the service. We selected any time dining and chose to sit with others for dinner. It was excellent. Dessert is excellent at all times so if you are a dessert eater you will love it. We aren't, but we always had some and it was fabulous. I quickly discovered the soup is the same broth every night (2 wks) with a different name (ingredients) each night (7 dinners). Come on, get chef Ramsay in that kitchen. I know I could rotate 3 different soups through the menu. At least put some ingredients in the soup. I love soup and considering the cruise kitchen is head up by a Chef (so they say)you would think there would be some great tastes for dinner. The only other night to look forward to was the lobster and shrimp dinner. Now the ship features 2 other restaurants which you have to pay for $25/person. The Crown Grill is suppose to be an experience! They were suppose to pamper you for over and hour and a half and just stuff you with all the amazing items on their menu. The server we had (there are only 2 in the restaurant) had an attitude and was training someone else. I waited for her to take the ball and just WOW us. Giant Black Tiger Prawns was an entree as well as all the steaks and lobster. I asked if I could have the prawns as an appetizer and then have steak (rib eye med rare) and lobster as a serf and terf for main course. My wife ordered lobster only and an appetizer (can't remember). My Giant Black Tiger Prawns arrived on a bed of rice. They were lg cocktail shrimp (16-18 cnt), the lobster and shrimp night had giant black tiger prawns (which were amazing)and you are serving me this! The server said that they were Giant Black Tiger prawns...sorry...then came my steak! It was in some wine sauce which was horrible, half my plate was full of blubber/fat when I was done pulling it away from the meat. The lobster was good. My wifes potato was suppose to be twice baked...not! Don't waste your money people. Liz the shopping girl...please don't be rude, we pay you to have this job. My wife and I were in the theater for her shopping presentation which she tapes. She was preparing the audience to respond in a certain way prior to getting started. Someone in the crowd responded out of turn and she scolded the person to not do that when she is taping. Get your head out of the clouds, who really watches the show on TV anyway and isn't this our show not yours! Finally, make the prices cheaper for drinks. Waiting till 8pm just doesn't cut it ($2.99 after 8pm). This is our vacation where we are suppose to "escape completely" for triple the price! I don't think we will ever cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Let me say at the outset that I think we are just not cruise material and that this is not the fault of Grand Princess. We are not keen on bingo, line dancing, quizzes or gambling and maybe we should have done more homework on what was ... Read More
Let me say at the outset that I think we are just not cruise material and that this is not the fault of Grand Princess. We are not keen on bingo, line dancing, quizzes or gambling and maybe we should have done more homework on what was available before booking. However, it was the ports of call that attracted us (Malaga for Granada, Barcelona, Cannes, Rome, Naples, Ajaccio and Gibralter. Embarkation was dreadful - we also had been sent a text asking us not to turn up till after 2 pm though we arrived about 1.30. There was total chaos and a long line of people who had no idea what was happening and how long they would be kept waiting. At no time did anyone tell us why there was a problem or what was happening about it. We were lucky and managed to get our car parked and on board within about 1 hr 15 minutes - others waited much longer. We were not told about the Norovirus on board and someone complained during the trip that, as they were on medication and immunosuppressed the company had been very lax in not telling them, and giving them the opportunity to cancel. Having said that I could not fault the company's attempts to deal with it - sanitisation, We found the ship rather tired and somewhat shabby and general facilities disappointing - 2 clothes shops, a small general store, the usual perfume and jewellry outlets. Food was good in dining rooms but much of a muchness in Horizon Court - it all tasted rather samey and my husband, a vegetarian, was not impressed with either Horizon Court or the dining rooms. We attempted to persuade Sabatini's to construct a vegetarian menu for him but met with total resistance. What I disliked most was the constant pressure to spend money. It was impossible to find a quiet space to just watch the world go by or read without waiters constantly asking you for an order and making you feel that you should not be occupying the space if you were not buying. It was cool and windy on deck so many people wanted to be indoors but we felt uncomfortable without a drink in our hands. Ports of call: Malaga/Granada a shambles because we arrived late, got rushed to the Alhambra, guides were short-tempered and at one point it looked like even though we had tickets they were not going to let us in. Guides looked harrassed and bored. Barcelona: good guide and enjoyable tour, Rome: dirty and full of graffiti which impinged on its beauty. We couldn't get into Naples as the sea was too rough and the pilot refused to come out! Ajaccio very unexpectedly pleasant and Gibralter so awful I wonder why cruises continue to go there - why not Vigo, Lisbon or somewhere better? As I say, we are definitely not cruise material but even so I had hoped for more interesting things to do than sunbathe and play bingo (the port lecturer was particularly boring!) and, by the way, why SO MANY TV channels just playing the same endless adverts for Princess Cruises and black and white films! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
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