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28 Princess First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

My son chose this Cruise as he had sailed with NCL and Royal Carribean and had nothing but praise for those two companies and the brilliant time I was going to have. He chose it as it seemed comparable with those two companies on price ... Read More
My son chose this Cruise as he had sailed with NCL and Royal Carribean and had nothing but praise for those two companies and the brilliant time I was going to have. He chose it as it seemed comparable with those two companies on price and Marketing jargon but did not live up to the hype. The entertainment was more Butlins than West End, although the theatre was very good and the last show was ok but according to my son, with RC & NCL that happens every night. The food at best was adequate and did not live up to my expectation. In fact, the conversation around our table and talking to other guests was that the standards were not as good as similarly priced competitors. Even the waiting staff agreed that it was a common observation by guests, although according to my son, when you mention this to Princess Customer Services, they deny it all (rather unsurprisingly) My son worked as a chef in top establisments for many years and is quite capable of making the distinction. The crew were very good, the ship was lovely, the public places clean and nice to be in but the whole thing was a bit of a let down for us, as my son felt guilty at encouraging me to come along at a cost well in excess of £1000, a lot for me on my pension ! The cabin was nice enough and served its purpose. I will go Cruising again, but not on Princess, I will take my sons advise and go with NCL next time, suggest you do the same. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first cruise, selected because we wanted to see Hawaii and Pearl Harbour. We had already been to LA and seen a bit but thought we could go to the Iowa and Queen Mary, which we did... Boarding was quite laborious and ... Read More
This was our first cruise, selected because we wanted to see Hawaii and Pearl Harbour. We had already been to LA and seen a bit but thought we could go to the Iowa and Queen Mary, which we did... Boarding was quite laborious and drawn out, but apparently the norm, and anyway I'd arranged for an expensive bottle of champagne to be delivered to our stateroom outside cabin...or so I thought? We accessed our cabin, which was nice enough and surprisingly spacious, but no sign of the champagne...and when we found the cabin steward, were advised that we should have a voucher (NO)...next visit to the main desk to be told we should have a voucher (NO)..it will be in your cabin...(NO)...after 3 days of being told this, we were informed that they had tried to deliver...Yes wrong cabin....eventually we got it, not the start we expected. The passenger list was aged, with the amount of motorised wheel chairs, buggies, and general support vehicle mind blowing, with ages of 80 upwards....the result of this was an endless stream of shufflers at almost every venue, and the inevitable queues that ensued. Except when it came to various functions on board, when the speed to be at the front of the queues was spectacular...anyway I digress...our luggage turned up long after we had set sail, after many requests, and the hanging space was fine when supplied with extra hangers.... The ship generally looked in good order, fairly clean and well appointed, but as we found out, did not have enough room in the various areas to accommodate the volume of people on board, with even the biggest area, the theatre having have two shows . This theme carried on in every area of the ship, even at the outside cinema, which insisted in showing a vast amount of Nfl American football games, fine for them but not for other passengers... We had anytime dining which worked well in the main, but we found that the dress code was not adhered too with shorts and tee shirts at the tables, even on formal nights, for which we had made an event...we got a glimpse of the captain who was mainly only available for elite passengers, the first class etc. The specialty dining, " extra cost " was generally good, apart from the Crown grill urgh...again with dress code issues, Sabatinis being the best overall. The other bugbear was the card procedures on pre paid "all inclusive ", which entailed handing over your card on every drinks request, even whilst eating a meal...the dress code here was very poor and some waiting staff as miserable as sin... The bars were hit and miss except one...Crooners...they were cheerful and prompt, keeping everyone entertained, but again not enough space, with one passenger deciding to sit in shorts and bare feet up on a chairs reading a book...quite revolting really. The food was generally good, but in the breakfast areas overcrowded with again more miserable staff with the minor exception, we were always polite but clearly not respected. Entertainment was hit and miss but too short, the manager was pleasant and whizzed around the too many small venues, we saw a couple of shows which were good but too short, and this was normal, activities are sparse.. Services are a little indifferent, with some good and others poor, with the main aspects driven by sales, sales, and more sales....no opportunity was missed in selling anything and everything to the point of annoyance. The ports and disembarking was chaotic, and manic, with one port served by lifeboats to the port, which was not pleasant, we had made external arrangements for Honolulu. The final disembarkation was the worst, and had many voices of dissent, which appeared to be normal for Princess cruises....we were happy to get back on shore, safe in the knowledge that this was our first and probably our last cruise..... Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This is the first time my wife and I have ever cruised and it was primarily as a result of recommendations by friends who have all been on various cruises with different providers. Typically we book our hotels and travel independently ... Read More
This is the first time my wife and I have ever cruised and it was primarily as a result of recommendations by friends who have all been on various cruises with different providers. Typically we book our hotels and travel independently choosing hotels and activities which allow us to relax and enjoy some quite quality time in pleasant surroundings with attentive and respectful service. We were admittedly late in booking our cruise with your company as being a little bewildered with the variety of options from different companies we took a long time choosing which unfortunately limited our options. Generally upon arrival things were handled well, check in was prompt and courteous and we found our way to our cabin which, whilst smaller than we are used to, was adequate and clean. At this point I have to commend the cabin steward who was both pleasant and diligent. However what became apparent during our stay was the inadequacy of the bed, the booking clearly stated a queen size bed and literature waxed lyrical about the quality. So you can imagine our dismay to find what we actually had was two beds pushed together. Whilst this might be acceptable if they had been sprung divan bases the beds comprised two metal framed singles with inner wire supports giving a hard and prominent ridge in the middle of the bed where the two metal frames joined. We were told that whilst this was unfortunate nothing could be done to rectify this situation and that we should take this up at the end of our trip with customer services. We enjoyed the setting off and the entertainment on deck as we sailed out of the Hamble. In the evening we went to dinner, having chosen the flexible dining option, and were shown to our table with minimal delay. Unfortunately this was one of the few times we had a smooth transition into the dining room. Generally the staffs were pleasant enough but we were constantly shuttled between deck 5 and 6 each evening which admittedly got a bit wearing and confusing and on more than one occasion we were treated to a rather surly greeting at the dining room entrance before being routed to the adjacent deck which quite clearly implied an “are you too stupid to know where to go” rhetoric. Generally the food in the dining room was of good quality but generally the food was only ever tepid. Only on two occasions could the food be said to be hot, once when I had a fish pie and once when my wife had Escargots. Both my wife and I had wine with our meals and on far too many occasions they kept consistently bringing the wrong Rose wine to the table despite my wife being very clear on the name of the wine she wanted. On one occasion they bought the incorrect wine only to replace it with another glass of the wrong wine. It is accepted that this happens occasionally, but the frequency of occurrence was too high to be acceptable particularly when once they know they have brought the incorrect wine they are then at a bit of a loss what to do about it as the system appears not to allow them to replace the drink as it flags on the system as a dubious purchase too soon after the previous one, thus making it uncomfortable for both the guest and the waiter. I personally have to say that I was not a fan of the bench style seats that most of the 2 person tables utilised against a divider. Certainly they are too low and seat you at a significantly detrimental position to the table for both dining and conversation with your partner. Unfortunately the limited options on tables for two with two chairs meant having to wait long times for their availability. We had considered sharing a larger table but had quickly noticed that guest on tables for more than 2 had to wait until that table had filled before anyone took their orders. Having witnessed one couple waiting 20+ minutes for their table to fill we put up with the bench seats, which incidentally are extremely uncomfortable in a suit. Within a few days of eating in the restaurant we noticed a distinct variability in how quickly, or not, we were attended to. It soon became apparent that, policy or not, the staff were trying to synchronise the rows of two people tables so as to aim to serve certain courses at the same time to all tables and ultimately aim to have the tables finish at about the same time. Not only did this result in some evenings feeling rushed and on others being ignored and hence lengthy meals, it also meant that dishes were coming from the kitchen and sitting waiting for others to come out in what seemed to be a deliberate delay aimed at this synchronisation. Additionally staffing levels in the restaurants seemed to vary quite significantly with some evenings seeming deserted compared to others with the predictable outcome of poorer service levels. On the last formal night my wife and I were seated in the foyer area (another story) and being both dressed smartly but casual decided to see if we could go straight to an early dinner (17:45) rather than get changed into something more formal. The girl at the door point blankly refused suggesting that we should eat at the buffet if we did not want to dress formally and that normal dinner is not accessible otherwise. Dinner is arguably part of the package and to not be able to access it anywhere other than the restaurant which required formal dress on three evenings is unacceptable. Surely it should be that the normal dinner is accessible to guest in a separate area if they do not wish to dress formally? We did get changed and went back down to dinner only to be seated next to two couples, the gentleman both being dressed in slacks and casual shirts one of which was a broad check. Obviously it was quite annoying that the concept of formal dress was being applied in a haphazard way penalising some and allowing others. Dinner on the last evening was nothing short of a fiasco, we were shown to our table which had not been cleared and re-laid. Then it was partly laid and the waiters disappeared. After about 5 minutes I got up and appropriated two water glasses from another table which caught the eye of a supervisor across the room, he came and poured some water. Eventually we got a menu and managed to order. Of note was that we then had to chase to get some rolls on the table and then chase further for some butter. Our ordering caused considerable consternation from a couple two tables down who had been waiting some 20 minutes to have someone give them a menu with the lady having to get up and complain to one of the supervisors before someone attended them. The couple to my right had to refuse water 5 times each time someone would bring them glasses only to take them away when they stated they didn’t require water. They were also told that there was no white wine left which sounded absolutely preposterous but then the couple on my left confided that they hadn’t been given the red wine they ordered despite being reassured it was the same one they had been drinking all fortnight which, this not only was insulting to the couple’s intelligence but also was dishonest. The couple two tables down had to complain further when another couple got their dinner before them despite arriving in the restaurant some 30 minute later. Needless to say despite the large variance in our arrivals all 6 tables were served deserts and coffees at about the same time. On our ship days we ate in the buffet a few times, generally this was a most unsatisfactory experience. At any one time over the lunch period there only ever seemed to be one buffet section from the four available that seemed to be open. Typically lunch meant wandering around until you found a table that was unoccupied, in itself no mean achievement. If you wanted to keep your table you then had to leave something at your table while you got your lunch. Unfortunately if it was something impersonal such as a tray or drink then that did not serve to prevent other people from occupying that table when you were gone. If you had anything bulky that prevented you carrying a tray, such as my wife’s bag or my camera, then you were so far from the active buffet station that you felt that one of you had to stay to look after your valuables while the other went and got their lunch. Then very often you had to walk the length of two buffet areas to join a queue for food which inevitably involved significant jostling and pushing as too many people vied for too little space. Popular items were almost impossible to get to as people competed for that option. Once you had your food, which often took a not inconsiderable amount of time, you then had to walk it back to your table and then your partner could get their food. Invariably by the time you got your food back to the table it was cold as it was only ever lukewarm at the start and you rarely got the opportunity to eat together. If you wanted more or a desert then often while you were eating the buffet station closed and a new one opened so you had to then hunt the current open station before you could eat something else. On one occasion the buffet station closed between my wife getting her food and my subsequent attempt. Quite clearly there was an inadequate amount of facilities for the amount of people resulting in something far from a relaxed or enjoyable dining experience. It was something more akin to how you imagine a cheap package holiday buffet to be but with less seating. Breakfast was a similarly disappointing experience. The quality of some of the cooked breakfast items was poor, in particular the sausages and bacon while other cooked breakfast staples such as mushrooms and fried tomatoes seemed non-existent. In general the breakfast seemed to have been conceived on an American concept of an English breakfast rather than a universal approach. In the mornings most stations appeared to be open but seating was virtually inaccessible. On one occasion we had to sit outside in the rain (fortunately partly undercover) as this was the only place available. Another morning we had to sit outside again, which initially was quite pleasant until the maintenance staff decided to replace and varnish stair and balcony rails in the seating area at around 9:30 - 10:00 am. On a few occasions we had to go and hunt cutlery, condiments collecting what was needed on an ad-hoc basis which as you can imagine was far from enjoyable and resulted in the food becoming cold. Generally the boat felt very crowded and noisy, below decks seating was at a premium and the first few days we were often jostled out of the way by people trying to get to seats being vacated by other guests. Ultimately we learned to be more assertive but that is hardly something you want when you are on holiday. One day we went for a coffee and stood waiting for a table only to be informed by one gentleman that he had been waiting for nearly 30 minutes and there was a couple in front of him. Needless to say we gave up on the idea of a coffee that day. Invariably if you wanted to sit in the foyer area around the piano or coffee bar then there was a wait followed by a burst of running to snag a seat. Things were no better in Crooners or the wine bar. Often the problem was people just using the seats to sit and read or just relax. They could not be blamed for this as there was nowhere else for them to go to do this but it did block access to these facilities. The situation was not helped by selling opportunities organised for “the few”. On an already crowded ship it is reprehensible to close the Explorers Bar for half the day at a time just to sell a few paintings to a handful of individuals. If it had been just the one day it would still have been inexcusable but multiple days is just beyond belief and totally detrimental to the well-being and comfort of the other cruise guest. The overcrowding made itself apparent on a number of evenings. On one in particular we could not get a seat in the Wheelhouse bar nor could we find a seat in the Explorers bar or adjacent lobby area, the Foyer area around the piano was full as was Crooners and the Wine bar. Most evenings meant getting an early meal and then finding a seat before the scheduled diners came out and filled the seats. Because of the lack of seats it made it very difficult to access much of the entertainment. Moving from one area to the other often meant not getting a seat in your target venue when you got there and then finding you had lost your original seat. We tried staying put in one area but there were significant 45 minute plus breaks between much of the entertainment and invariably meant you had to sit through something you were not interested in before something you had waited for came on. We are early fifties and found much of the entertainment on board inappropriate for our age group. Bingo, Sudoku, knitting and sexy legs competitions are not really things that appeal and quite frankly suggest a lack of imagination. The abundance of quizzes in the various bar areas was also of note and clearly suggests a “what can we do cheap and for minimal staff and resource input” approach to the entertainment schedule. One person a microphone and some poor quality slides are far from quality entertainment. In general the day activities had more in common with 1960’s Butlin’s than a luxury cruise experience. Some entertainment was aimed at relaxation, the pianist, a trio and the guitarist but for the most part with all the people jostling for seats and the constant noise of people milling around, talking and using the coffee bar etc. it was like trying to relax at London Victoria station. At no time during the cruise did we get a sense of peace and quiet unless we were in our room. Part way through the cruise we discovered the Sanctuary, then we discovered it was $40 to go in. Clearly Princess are aware of the lack of a relaxing atmosphere on ship as you have spotted an opportunity to cash in on the one option that exist to get some peace and relaxation. Overall much of the entertainment was good but where it mattered, mainly in the theatre and some of the key acts, it was poor. The Gala show was dire, I would like to say that was just my opinion but the resounding lack of applause confirmed otherwise. It was a lacklustre and discontinuous parade of poor quality cameos none of which was well received. In particular the magic was badly executed and lacked imagination with clumsy presentation leaving the audience in no doubt how it was done. The magician stands out for being particularly bad both in the gala show and his separate stage performances. Before his show in the Explorers bar he approached members of the audience about whether they would be willing to partake, in itself commendable, unfortunately when people declined he seem to take it as an affront and was quite rude to them so as to belittle them and infer it was their problem not his as he was superior anyway. I recall his words when someone declined along the lines of “if you had let me finish what I was saying” which is quite curt and easily construed as rude. Generally his act was poor dropping props and messing up tricks, most of which are available in any toy shop these days. The female comedienne was excessively coarse and I am far from being prudish, her act had the air of a working man’s club and at time bordered on inappropriate, mocking of people with physical and mental issues implied or otherwise is inexcusable and not humour. Crudeness is not necessary to make a good comedy act as the male comedian proved being both funny and entertaining without unnecessary toilet humour. Nearly all the entertainment in the Princess Theatre was mediocre and of only 30 minutes duration the longest show being the Gala show which lasted the billed 53 minutes which given the poor quality was one show that would have benefited from being shorter, 53 minutes shorter. The Princess Theatre gave the clearest indication of just how overcrowded the boat was for the provided facilities and entertainments as on more than one occasion we spoke to people who had been waiting >50minutes to guarantee a seat for 30 minute show. During the gala show there were people standing in the aisles and down the sides of the theatre which talking to other guests was repeated for the second show. Yet more guests we spoke to hadn’t seen either show as they were unable to access the theatre due to the lack of space. In addition the layout of the ship and the theatre meant that at the end of each show one half of the theatre streamed out through the Wheelhouse bar. This meant that if you had been lucky enough to snag a seat to enjoy some quieter time with one of the acts you were regularly interrupted by hundreds of people traipsing through the bar all in loud animated conversation. On a few evenings we tried to watch the films shown on the large screen. Once again this proved to be a less that satisfactory experience. The first night we managed to get two loungers and settled down to watch a film. Unfortunately we had to get straight back up again as the loungers are the same ones used by bathers during the day and are still wet. Now having wet clothes we managed to acquire some towels and spread them over the wet loungers. This helped but as we discovered on subsequent evenings it doesn’t take too long for the wet to penetrate up to 4 layers of towels. The routine soon became watch film, change clothes. On one evening we were not served, due to lack of staff available in the screen pool area, for around 3 hours. This also meant that during this time no tables were cleared and plates and old glasses were left on the small tables by the loungers. As like below decks, during the day somewhere to sit/lay was at a premium. We did note that towards the end of the cruise they announced that any unattended loungers would be cleared after 15 minutes not 30 minutes as previous so this clearly wasn’t just a perceived problem. Above decks, where you sat greatly influenced the level of service you obtained. It was not the fault of the staff but clearly they were overwhelmed by request before they even got to the higher decks or to the further extremes. Scheduling of above deck entertainment was poorly thought out with a band or discotheque playing in one area and a film in the other. The net result for many of the positions around the pools was that neither was clearly discernible and just resulted in an irritating cacophony of noise. We did notice that the above decks areas seem little utilised later in the evenings something that obviously pushed people downstairs into the overcrowded lounge areas. On a number of occasions staff cleaned the windows while guest were using the deck areas resulting not only in inconvenience but large wet areas that had to be negotiated and water trickling through the floor from higher sun decks. My wife and I took advantage of all the shore excursions which were of great variability in terms of quality and organisation. We were often surprised at the poor quality of some of the coaches often having dirty seats and curtains, chipped and cracked screens, non-working air conditioning and externally rusty with large holes and corrosion. Being told that the coach has a toilet but that we shouldn't use it as it doesn't really work that well is not really how we expected a tour to start. St Petersburg was most enjoyable with a competent and knowledgeable tour guide. At times it did feel like the tour had been padded to make it last longer as we visited some places twice, once for a look and photo opportunity and then again later in the day to visit a place of interest at the same location. Places visited appeared to be expecting us and we were efficiently and courteously processed in and out of the various buildings. This was in complete contrast to some of the other tours. In Denmark we were not expected at Kronborg and had to stand around like lost children while various discussions and arguments entailed about who would be responsible for us. In Sweden the guide was most condescending, talking to the guest like they were small children and then at lunch again they were not expecting us so we had to mill around in the street while they readied the tables. Eventually they let one of the ladies in so she could use the facilities before finally allowing us all in. Once we sat down we were presented with water that was a mix of sparkling and still as they tried to rapidly fill the jugs from both taps at the same time as they clearly were not ready to receive guest. In Tallinn the guided tour primarily comprised the guide walking us somewhere before inviting us to have a look around and then moving to the next spot. They did take us to the square for coffee and pastries and on arrival the guide extolled the beauty of the square particularly in the sunshine before cramming us all in the basement of an adjacent café where even the waiting staff were getting cross about the lack of space. Poland was the worst experience, the guide had very poor command of English and given a coach full of English speakers was a bad start. He then wore a loudspeaker on his chest which was useless as he proceeded to walk in front of us all broadcasting to any oncoming strangers but not to the group. The visit then moved on to Malbork Castle where the guide informed us we would have a new guide, this did result in a slightly uncharitable cheer from the coach. When we arrived at the castle our guide disappeared and returned with the new guide before regrettably informing us she only spoke Polish. We stopped for an agreeable lunch marred mainly by how tightly packed we were into the hall. Many people had to try and eat with one hand as it was nigh impossible to eat with two given the tightness with which we were seated. When it came to dining on the tours a feature that marred all dining (and some visits) was the bringing together of all tour groups at the same time in the same place. Whilst this is understandable from a catering and logistics point of view, when it comes to rest-room facilities it became a nightmare. On one occasion only having 3 unisex cubicles for around 300 people who have just been eating and drinking suggest a distinct lack of thought to the process. Given this was a feature rather than an exception using the toilet where possible became a fixation of most people on the tours thus detracting from the experience of the visited site. Post tours the return to the ship was often greeted by the inevitable queue to get back on board. In itself not unexpected but not helped by the often bored and discourteous manner of some staff in particular the security staff. In one instance my wife’s passage was blocked by an arm thrust in front of her by one of the security team without a word being spoken or even the benefit of eye contact. When she was finally allowed to proceed it was indicated by the am being removed, a grunt and a wave of the head. At no time did the member of staff acknowledge her, speak to her or even make eye contact. This was hardly the warmest or friendliest welcome back to the boat after a long hot day. Whilst it is appreciated that security is important and there is a need to scan items a part of that process, it was disconcerting to have to scrabble inside the scanner for items that were too light to push aside the screening mats. Often there were no trays to put smaller items in so this became a necessity on more than one occasion while the security team watched impassively. Overall the experience was not a good one. Generally we were left with the impression that the boat was overcrowded. Staff seemed to become less enthusiastic as the cruise wore on, perhaps due to more people than usual? Non restaurant dining was also marred by too many people and too few places to eat. Breakfast was a crowded affair with nowhere to sit and a jostle to get your food. Restaurant dining was spoiled by tepid food, poor seating and an endeavour to synchronise tables. Entertainment was inadequate in frequency and content and all venues overcrowded. The cruise often felt like a poorly run “Costa” package holiday geared primarily to maximise profit at the expense of the guest comfort and well-being. Living on the south coast we are aware of a growing trend to cater for pensioners and a decline in standards associated with that approach to a level perceived by the purveyor as “what they can get away with” as many pensioners have lower expectations of service and quality, this cruise certainly had many of those hallmarks. Given the costs of the total package, the content and quality of the cruise fell way below expectations and represented extremely poor value for money. The excursions were also for the most part of questionable value for money and sometimes felt like you were being taken for a ride figuratively as well as literally. We did take this up with Princess on our return and received a curt reply along the lines of "couldn't care less what you think". Given the package, with everything, cost was not inconsiderable it shows the level of disrespect Princess and Carnival have for their guest. Hope this helps others thinking of cruising for the first time, we certainly will not do it again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
On the January 30th 2016 cruise this was truly the cruise from hell. First the cruise was late getting to port from dry dock and left the port 90 minutes late. At this time there were no pools or hot tubs. Some rooms had no operating ... Read More
On the January 30th 2016 cruise this was truly the cruise from hell. First the cruise was late getting to port from dry dock and left the port 90 minutes late. At this time there were no pools or hot tubs. Some rooms had no operating toilets or A/C. Some had sinks that would not drain. Some, like me, had sinks that had hot water coming out of the cold tap. Many of the casino slot machines were either not operating or having issues. The ship was not pristine, but dirty in places. On Sunday they had an issue with one of the thrusters and had to stop in the ocean for repairs. This took a couple of hours. Then at 3 am Monday we lost a propeller. This took 14 hours to fix and we missed Cozumel that morning. We finally made it to Cozumel at 7 pm and stayed until 5 pm the next day. We did not go to Roatan. We did not go to Costa Maya due to bad weather. We got the pools and hot tubs on Tuesday. On Wednesday I lost hot water in my shower, but it was back the next day. Princess gave everyone on the ship a 50% credit based on the base rate everyone paid for their rooms, but only $27 for the taxes. Nothing was refunded on the port fees, even we did not go to 2 of the ports. This was basically a cruise to nowhere. Many of the public restrooms were inoperable. Some complete floors had not A/C for much of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We tried this as our first cruise and was shocked at all the hard sell on the ship from the moment of starting the cruise till leaving the cruise Everything is geared towards you spending on board and I think 50 dollars a day for ... Read More
We tried this as our first cruise and was shocked at all the hard sell on the ship from the moment of starting the cruise till leaving the cruise Everything is geared towards you spending on board and I think 50 dollars a day for drinks is a bit much Exertions and shops on board daylight robbery More money if you wish to go to the sanctuary a quiet part off the ship and if you donusecthe spa facilities the hard sell when your treatment is over is very pushy This has without a doubt made us realise that a captive audience is what they rely on for making even more money big company making big money but even more greedier Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The boarding process was 2.5 hours in a old run down fruit and veg warehouse. No ventilation, no water , no organization. I have heard every possible excuse ect. I have been told princess has been in the cruise business for 50 years. Well, ... Read More
The boarding process was 2.5 hours in a old run down fruit and veg warehouse. No ventilation, no water , no organization. I have heard every possible excuse ect. I have been told princess has been in the cruise business for 50 years. Well, you fooled me, it looked like your first go at this. Elderly passengers in distress no help to be seen. On with the cruise. Our cabin steward did a great job. The anytime dining was poor at best. Always trying to sell me booze. How about some service? There was a tall gentleman from South Africa. Any time he was working things were seamless and perfect. His fellow contemporaries stood in the center of the dinning room and watched. He was busing tables, serving, checking in the kitchen, out on the deck checking on guests out there. He made the cruise for me. The ports were great. Time to see and do things. Regretted going back on board for bad service. At the end of the cruise i filled out the detailed survey. Its 6 weeks later and no reply. I think its indicative of a poor cruise line to attract me to go then ignore problems. My wife and i loved cruising. We will just spend our money elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our first cruise ever and we had expectations of a great time. We could not have been more disappointed and definitely will not cruise again on any cruise line after this experience. For a cruise that only had 2 ports in 12 ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever and we had expectations of a great time. We could not have been more disappointed and definitely will not cruise again on any cruise line after this experience. For a cruise that only had 2 ports in 12 days, the activities were uninteresting and repetitive. There is only so much towel folding one can take. We were also expecting a high standard of night time entertainment rather than RSL standard. Unfortunately whilst we enjoyed the basketball court (not much else of interest to do) it was out of action after 5pm as the Elite passengers would be having some sort of function in the room below. I thought we all paid the same money? It seemed the biggest form of entertainment that Princess was interested in giving its passengers was to spend money at their "sales" or to spend money at other forms of entertainment such as the Day Spa. The hot water in our shower was tepid from day 3 and the television worked only intermittently. The food was average. We went to one of the paid specialty restaurants and two of the courses were inedible. The "buffet" had a reasonable variety but was basically rehashing the same food each day and coming to the end of the cruise it was really awful. It seemed like everything left over was made into some sort of strange "dish" to get rid of it. Not to mention the fruit and vegetables were getting older by the day to the extent that limp and brown lettuce was being served up in the buffet. I eat mainly vegetarian food and there was a distinct lack of imaginative vegetarian dishes except for tired vegetables and fruit. I will say that the wait staff were mostly polite and friendly. We came on this cruise at the recommendation of a friend who also was on the cruise and who had been on Princess cruises before and had really enjoyed them, but commented this was the worst one she had been on. So disappointed and can only view this as a colossal waste of money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first ever holiday on a cruise ship, we choose Princess because it had the timing and visits we wanted. We choose a balcony room and paid full fare. I will keep this simple: A Cruise to us is nice food and entertainment ... Read More
This was our first ever holiday on a cruise ship, we choose Princess because it had the timing and visits we wanted. We choose a balcony room and paid full fare. I will keep this simple: A Cruise to us is nice food and entertainment 1: We were refused entry to the intermediate restaurants on formal nights (2) even though we dressed in the best we brought with us (Black suit and tie required) So ended up in the Buffet which was inconsistent in quality. (One night they counted 5 cherries per plate no lie) 2. The "Love Boat" theme is way past old - continues screening on one channel of captain stubbing and crew was just lame. 3. The timing of activities on the boat overlapped so after watching one show going to another event meant late arrival no seats or show ending 4. The cost of the on board photos is extreme way beyond a reasonable cost 5. On departure we were left at Rome without water in the sun and a 4 hour wait because of offloading time allocation. Good or better: 1. Staff are excellent they work there "guts" out for a pittance and 9 months servitude on contract 2: The at cost restaurants ($25) are what we should have had all along in quality The ship looks a little tired We will not be spending our money on cruising again based on this experience Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My first vacation and first cruise. I was with a group who have been on several cruises. I was told before hand that there's a lot of food and entertainment. Everything but alcohol is included and food 24x7. They had 3 dining rooms ... Read More
My first vacation and first cruise. I was with a group who have been on several cruises. I was told before hand that there's a lot of food and entertainment. Everything but alcohol is included and food 24x7. They had 3 dining rooms you had to pay $25 a night. They had two dining rooms and a buffet that was free. All the restauraunts had the same menu so you didn't have variety. They also had hot dogs hamburgers and pizza. All the meals you didn't have to pay for was not very good. Each restaurant gave only 4 to 5 entrees. All food is closed doen by 11pm. They did not have room for people to eat inside buffet so people ate in the cold on deck. They always had one side closed for next meal. I went to get a soda the guy says you have to pay $7 per person per night which is almost $50 that means I would have to drink a lot of soda. I asked for cappaccino which I expected I would I would pay that. The card cost $30 for 15. I bought both because tap water did not sound appealing. The free coffee was aweful. My group kept telling me they have never on any cruise been nickeled and dimed for so much. As far as activities and entertainment they had only a hand full of shows. They showed movies outside on deck and reran them. They had a few trivia games. The had more demonstrations and seminars than anything else. Like how to get rid of cellulite..wrinkles..jewelary.. They really needed to have more entertainment. We were bored for several hours with nothing to do I bought cards to play with. The casino has two nights inly non smoking. It should be other way around. You had to walk through smoky casino to get to certain partd of the ship. Disembarkment very chaotic. I spent $67 on two 8x10 photos. After thinking about it I decided I really didn't need 2 of myself. I asked if I could get 5x7 they said it will cost you more. I adked for a refund it was against their policy. I went to customer desk the guy said I'll tell them to give you a refund they already had the pictures back. Against our policy again. The second to last night I lost my coffee card which had 10 more on it. I'm not sure if I didn't get it back after waiter took it to punch hole or I dropped it somewhere. In the mean time I had a car accident got hurt pretty badly. My insurance company said my car is totaled. At this point I knew I had to watch what I spent. I went to customer desk asked if I could get another card. Its against their policy. I would have to buy a new one. I told them theres two days left and I still had ten coffees left. Sorry you'll have to buy a new one. I explained my stuation that I didn't get my monies worth now I have to buy a new one. I asked if they could just give me 2 and cut my losses. Its against our policy. Then later that day my group leader said to pay the $12 for shuttle back to airport. Princess sent a letter to cabin saying I only had one day to reserve shuttle. I go up they take my card and see they charged me $24. I questioned this because all my emails say $12. I must have this confused with another shuttle. I asked them to cancel and a refund. Guess what they said, No refunds its our policy. The next morning I decided tovtry again. This person tells me they could only refund and cancel within 24 hours. I went balistic saying I did and was told I couldn't. The floors between 5 and 6 smelled like dumpster and at ine port I wike to exhaust fumes. I let someone know and I was told there's no smell. If I hadn't been pumped up by people who have gone on cruises and listened to people on the boat complain that it was the wirst cruise I probably wouldn't have been disappointed. I will nevet go on this cruise line again. Oh one last thing only one elevator out of 6 went up and down at a time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Generally a poor cruising experience, thank goodness Alaska is gorgeous. First, why they got 2 stars: 1) Staff was very friendly, the person taking care of our room was great. 2) One very good meal at one of the ship's ... Read More
Generally a poor cruising experience, thank goodness Alaska is gorgeous. First, why they got 2 stars: 1) Staff was very friendly, the person taking care of our room was great. 2) One very good meal at one of the ship's premium restaurants, was well worth it, wish we could have eaten there again. Why they lost 3 stars (The reasons are too numerous to mention, so I will touch on a couple) I preface this review by saying that this was our first cruise, we may not be "cruise people" or this was just an underwhelming crummy experience. -The staff was friendly, but clearly poorly trained, not many staff could direct us around the ship, service was sub-par in most places. -The food was awful, no better than a very very very cheap Vegas buffet, and that included their sit down dining. The soft-serve machine was not working as often as it was, Burnt pizza that I would have tossed rather than serve in my own house. Fish tacos in a premade hard shell? Eggs Benedict that were closer to hard boiled eggs with caked on Hollandaise sauce that was more like a plaster were just some of the highlights. -The entertainment was mediocre at best, and it was peppered with awful shopping network marketing trying to sell overpriced colored glass and art prints (Or urging you to shop at the ports of call at stores that guess what, they own). Who goes to Alaska to buy Tanzanite anyways? -Too much boat time, too little shore time. Just Icky. Should have just flown to Juneau spent 3-4 days there, and then 3-4 days in Victoria/Vancouver. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I've taken cruises on both the Holland American Line and the Azamara Cruise Line so I know what to expect on a cruise. The Ruby Princess certainly didn't live up to its reviews! I would not recommend this ship. We had a mid-ship ... Read More
I've taken cruises on both the Holland American Line and the Azamara Cruise Line so I know what to expect on a cruise. The Ruby Princess certainly didn't live up to its reviews! I would not recommend this ship. We had a mid-ship balcony cabin but the room steward had to get permission to give me a disposable shower cap because shower caps were only given out to guests in suites. How cheap is that! Our bathroom was the tiniest imaginable and smelled of mold. The food was only mediocre. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We were on the Golden June 1 - 11 to Alaska. The suite we were in had so many things that needed fixed we spent part of every day trying to get them fixed. For example, our thermostat wouldn't work, so our room temperature was 62 ... Read More
We were on the Golden June 1 - 11 to Alaska. The suite we were in had so many things that needed fixed we spent part of every day trying to get them fixed. For example, our thermostat wouldn't work, so our room temperature was 62 degrees Fahrenheit (I only know this after figuring it from the Celsius only thermostat) in our room for three days. That may be OK for a Mexico trip, but not Alaska! The service was almost good. Maybe it will be better after the work together longer. The time in Victoria, B.C., was useless. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My parents have enjoyed several cruises in their retirement, but they have not enjoyed any cruise more than a 2013 Princess cruise to Alaska. So, they decided to take our entire family--13 people all together--on a once-in-a-lifetime ... Read More
My parents have enjoyed several cruises in their retirement, but they have not enjoyed any cruise more than a 2013 Princess cruise to Alaska. So, they decided to take our entire family--13 people all together--on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Alaska aboard Princess earlier this year. To say that it was the cruise from hell would be an understatement. The trouble started before we even got on the boat. There was a problem with my "cruise card" room key and the security staff refused to allow me to enter the ship. They made me wait for over an hour on the deck as they let other passengers aboard. When my mother and father made their way up the gangway, they too were stopped and made to wait. The incompetent security team just kept trying to make new cards for us, but nothing seemed to work. They never told us what the problem was, they never offered us a chair to sit in, and they made no effort to make up for this terrible introduction. Finally, a set of keys worked, and we were allowed to board... When I tweeted my displeasure (and paid $5 for the onboard internet access to do so) at being made to wait with no explanation, @PrincessCruises promised that someone would reach out to make up for this situation. 2 months later, I'm still waiting. Although the security staff let my father onto the ship, they paged him to the "guest services" desk shortly after we got settled in our staterooms. When he arrived at the desk, the crew accused him of being a stowaway and threatened to take him off the ship and arrest him at the next port. He'd only spent $40,000 to bring his entire family aboard, but since no one at the front desk knew anything about that, they threatened to arrest him. $40,000. 13 people. Accused him of being a stowaway. It turns out that all these problems might have stemmed from the fact that my father is James J. Surname and my oldest brother is James F. Surname. Apparently, in 20 years of operations, with 3,000 passengers aboard on any given trip, Princess had never had two family members with similar names onboard at the same time. Their reservation system couldn't distinguish between James J. and James F., even with different birthdays, different passport numbers, and different middle initials. At the first port, Ketchikan, when my brother disembarked, it deactivated my father's "cruise card." When my father tried to leave the boat, security stopped him once again. They re-issued his "cruise card," but that in turn deactivated my brother's. When he returned to the boat at the end of the day, he would also be hassled by the security team. This was not just an issue during embarkation or at the first port of call, either. Problems with the room keys would haunt us for the rest of the voyage. When my mother tried to find out if Princess would do anything to correct the situation, she was brushed off by some nitwit in the "finance" office that headquarters were closed for the Memorial Day holiday, and besides we were not losing money because of the problems Princess was creating so they would not make any offer to refund any portion of our $40,000 fare. $40,000. Accusations of being a stowaway. When we wanted our family at one table for the Captain's dinner, the maitre'd gave my mother a lot of push back, and when we arrived at the dining room, I was made to sit further away from my family than any of my other family members. Gee, thanks, sitting all by oneself is a great way to spend those precious moments on a family vacation. When I spoke to the guest services desk, I was told that something would be done, just like the Twitter tweet, but again, I'm still waiting for something to be done. When my brother's room key stopped working, and he called guest services to replace it, they made him wait for 30 minutes before I went to the desk, and then they told me that someone had been by the room to help but he wasn't there. I informed the employee that whoever had told him that was lying to him, because we had both been waiting outside the room and no one had come by. Then the staff member tried to just hand me a key for my brother's room. It is a violation of every security policy to blindly hand a passenger a key to another passenger's room, but they did. I told them I was not going back to the room, and the staff member looked at me like I was crazy until I finally just said "you're going to take him the room key, not me." At the end of the cruise, Princess lost my roommate's luggage and, two months later, still has not made any effort to reach out to her. Never mind that we drove all the way from Whittier to Denali (a 5.5 hour, 307 mile trip) only to find her bag had accidentally been sent to a Princess lodge, even though we were not staying with Princess. When a representative from Princess did reach out after our cruise to inquire as to our terrible experience, they once again stated that since I had not spent any money as a result of their incompetence, they could not make an offer to reimburse or refund me any amount. The representative did apologize for the crew's complete incompetence and hoped that I would consider Princess for my next cruise, but as I told her, it would not take much effort from any other cruise line to convince me that they could do a better job than Princess had. All they'd have to do would be to let me aboard the ship at the start of the cruise and not accuse me of being a stowaway, and we'd be golden. The representative tried to excuse away the inexcusable behavior of her crew by saying it was early in the cruise season and they crew may be inexperienced, but I've worked in hospitality and customer service for over 10 years and it would never, ever be acceptable to behave the way Princess's staff did. Unless you love being accused of being a stowaway and love having room keys that don't work, I would not bother setting foot on the Grand Princess or any other Princess ship. Did I mention that there were buckets up and down the hallway for the duration of the cruise, catching water dripping from the ceiling? Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
You know how you first felt when you found out Santa and the Easter Bunny were not real. This is how I feel at the moment after our family's first (and probably last) cruise. The adverts and brochures promise so much but the reality ... Read More
You know how you first felt when you found out Santa and the Easter Bunny were not real. This is how I feel at the moment after our family's first (and probably last) cruise. The adverts and brochures promise so much but the reality never really comes close. OK... getting off my soap box now. Let me first cover the Sweet sections of our cruise from Sydney - Melbourne - Sydney aboard the Diamond Princess. The ship (to me) is huge, with many restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges and pools etc'. The decor in the public areas is just to the right of over the top but impressive never the less. Everything was clean and tidy and I found the majority of staff to be friendly, attentive and efficient especially in our designated restaurant, the International. The food was wonderful and plentiful, with the exception of two hairs on my wifes steak on the second night out. The embarkation and disembarkation was relatively pain free. Now for the sour: Your spendings while on board are progressively put on hold using an estimate of your purchases for each day. They track your spending via the Ship Card issued on Embarkation which is in turn linked to your Credit/Debit card. When it comes time to settle the bill they then take the required sum from this account but do not un-hold the amount they have already reserved, therefore freezing that amount of money for up to a week. If you have a card with many thousands to spare this is no problem but if you think credit cards are evil and only have one with a $1,000 limit this tends to chew up your reserve very quickly. Oh yes, this is not advertised or disclosed at any time for newbie cruisers but ALL prices while on board are in US dollars and not AU dollars so you may mistakenly end up owing 20% to 25% more than you thought, and no the exchange rate via Visa or Mastercard is never favorable to the user. Every person gets a card and every card is charged $11.50US automatically per day per person as a gratuity tax. Over five days that is not too bad but what if you are on board for a Month? I only found out after the cruise that not every person is required to have a card, but they will push it on you as a security ID issue apparently if you don't want one issued and threaten you with not allowing you to board. If you want to query a charge to your account you have to line up for a considerable period, only half of the (mostly) Japanese reception staff can speak English properly, welcome to a world of frustration, confusion and finally anger. Want to get onto the internet to sort things out with the bank, sorry that is another $12.50US for 15Mins and then a little over a dollar AU per minute thereafter. And it is a satellite uplink so we are talking dial up speeds, remember those, hit enter and go and make a cup of coffee. Which reminds me you cannot get a decent cup of coffee on the ship, ever drank US coffee, there you go. Now for the one that really left a bitter taste in my mouth. My daughter stayed too long in the sun and got a bad case of sunburn. She was not feeling well so we called the medical centre on board. They send up a paramedic who after asking some questions wheeled her to the nearby lift and down to the medical centre where the Doctor spent the sum total of five minutes with her. I asked the paramedic how much a consult would cost, reply, "It all depends". I asked the receptionist how much this may cost me, "It varies from person to person". Beginning to see a pattern here. For five minutes and a tube of quarterzone gel it cost me just over $500AU or $404US. I know top flight specialist surgeons that do not charge $100AU a MINUTE. Price gouging much. Even the 30 Metre wheelchair ride cost us $35US that is more than a dollar US per metre. I would like to thank the princess line for ensuring that my family and I never set foot on another cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our first cruise holiday, and we were expecting a relaxing two weeks with good accommodation, top quality dining and some reasonable entertainment. Our first disappointment was the 'stateroom', a cabin area of small ... Read More
This was our first cruise holiday, and we were expecting a relaxing two weeks with good accommodation, top quality dining and some reasonable entertainment. Our first disappointment was the 'stateroom', a cabin area of small proportions with bedding which to say the least had seen better days. Our steward called his superior and she was horrified at the state of sheets and pillows. These were changed immediately but not a lot better than the originals. We had chosen anytime dining and as food was identical in any of the main three restaurants we decided to eat at the Michelangelo. The quality of cooking was to say the least variable, but one aspect certainly was an inability to cook fish. Scallops were overcooked and on one occasion returned to the kitchen as they were unrecognizable both by us and our very good waiters. Fillets of Lemon Sole did not taste of anything and as we live 50 metres from a fish market we do know what fish looks like and how it should taste. The meat dishes fared a little better and we did receive three good steak dishes, but on our final evening everything was overcooked and tough. A new style of Apple Strudel arrived one evening which consisted of two slices of thick pastry with tinned apple mush between. Apple Strudel should be a confection of thin pastry rolled up round a filling and baked.(see Oxford English Dictionary) Lunchtimes were buffet style and of variable quality, but at no time could one honestly say the food was good. Smoked Salmon made guest appearances, and if you enjoyed this on a daily basis you had to ask and a small dish would arrive, not exactly fine dining! The two main pools on the boat played loud 'music' and one showed films most of which were not 'A's. We would not recommend this cruise boat to anybody who was looking for quality food, quality entertainment and relaxation.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our first cruise and many of our friends said we'd love it. While we really enjoyed our time off the ship in all the ports, I really expected a better time while at sea traveling between them. The food in the traditional ... Read More
This was our first cruise and many of our friends said we'd love it. While we really enjoyed our time off the ship in all the ports, I really expected a better time while at sea traveling between them. The food in the traditional dining room was just OK (nothing special about the quality or the menu) and the buffet food was much worse. We received three bottles of red wine with sediment in the bottom and nothing was done to make it right. The entertainment was disappointing and on par with a third rate theme park. It soon became clearly evident anything extra offered on board was a money grab by Princess. The photographers were especially annoying with their in-your-face approach to taking (and selling) photos. The alcohol was pricey, spa and boutique prices were ridiculous, and we got much better value for our excursions by doing our own booking through private companies. Another passenger I spoke with suggested Celebrity Cruise Line as a better option. As of this moment, I will not be cruising with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My wife and I have cruised many times mostly on Royal. Ive heard only good things about Princess, so we booked. We had a group of 10 People. Ages 30-75. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale pre-cruise stayed at the Sheraton Ft. Lauderdale $188.00 ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised many times mostly on Royal. Ive heard only good things about Princess, so we booked. We had a group of 10 People. Ages 30-75. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale pre-cruise stayed at the Sheraton Ft. Lauderdale $188.00 with tax. The hotel was great for 1 night. We walked to coconuts for dinner which we enjoyed and returned back at the hotel to pass out at 730 pm. Took a cab to the port at 11:00am. Embark was a breeze. This was sold as a nine day only to learn days later it was sold as a 4 and a 5 day. I dont know if this matters. We did receive what I think is a good price. We were on the dolphin deck balcony mid ship. The cabin was fine except there was no privacy from above. The steward did his job and was pleasant.That was the only issue for the cabin. We chose any time dining for the first time. Will not do that again. I think you lose your CRUISE EXPERIENCE by doing anytime dining. I will choose MDR 2nd seating and if the menu is not to our liking, We will choose another venue. Again this is my own opinion. The buffet was pretty poor along with the service. The service in general was not good. Do you remember when you walk down the corridors and every employee says good morning,afternoon and good night.That didnt happen. Not saying that some of the help didnt do this, but few a far. I look for this because it is part, of the cruise experience. The design of the ship was difficult to navigate. I think I got lost daily. The ports were nice and we enjoyed them. Took the tour of Atlantis. I liked it. Princess Cay was a great day. I did take the advice on cruise critic about turks and Caicos. When you get off the ship there is a nice beach to the left, but there are a lot of vendors . Just walk further down. Debark was a little slow but I was in no hurry as I had another 5 day cruise on the liberty. Which I think was great in all aspects. Over all, I wont go on another princess cruise. But there is nothing better then cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My mother pruchased my sister and I along with her a one week cruise on the Princess Sapphire for her 70th birthday. I must say though the staff was awesome. The staff especially our room person (Carlito) took such good care of all our ... Read More
My mother pruchased my sister and I along with her a one week cruise on the Princess Sapphire for her 70th birthday. I must say though the staff was awesome. The staff especially our room person (Carlito) took such good care of all our details pertaining our room. I would give the food an 8 out of 10 due to the fact it was the same night after night. The Horizon Cafe pretty much served the same food daily and was closed during the times we were hungry. My gripe is and the reason I will never go on this cruise line again was the entertainment. There was none. There were two shows and it was done by the staff and was not worth going to. The rest of the entertainment we would read and reread though our Patter for things to do during the day and nothing was of any interest or sounded even fun. So I ended up reading a book on this cruise and that is not why we signed up for this cruise. If I wanted to read a book I would have stayed home. P.S Even the staff made comments to us that there was no entainment for peop;e to do day or in the evening. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Well-trained and consistently-trained staff. Unfailingly (apparently) happy in their work and with good people skills.  Good sense of humour (necessary to rebuff the complaints about the food). Relentless up selling of drink options. (I ... Read More
Well-trained and consistently-trained staff. Unfailingly (apparently) happy in their work and with good people skills.  Good sense of humour (necessary to rebuff the complaints about the food). Relentless up selling of drink options. (I don't WANT your "special" marguerita - I want an ordinary one!) Poor organisation in breakfast buffet, though with all waiting staff either assigned to drinks duty ("More coffee, sir" , every three minutes, even when cups still full) or to cleanup when the under-managers were on the prowl (three separate mornings when NOBODY came by our table to ask if I wanted juice or any other drink, I was reduced to pouring it for myself, which of course led to protests from the staff member who noticed!). Wouldn't it make more sense to have some staff assigned to each duty type at all times? Food in main dining room (8.15 sitting) bland and uninspiring. I was tempted to attend the culinary demonstration in order to find out how they managed to remove any flavour from what were (presumably) reasonable-quality ingredients. The highlight was the fried sushi rolls, which were inventive and imaginatively-presented. The lowlight was the food on the Italian night (for some reason scheduled on Halloween, some five days after we had left Italian waters), where great skill had been applied to the desiccation of both fish and meat main courses. The evening entertainment in the theatre varied from reasonable (Siobhan Phillips - beautiful and unusual voice), through adequate (Freddie Mercury tribute), to pathetic (the "other" David Copperfield). Some people seemed to enjpy Copperfield, to judge by the laughter (unless he had a backing tape set up), BUT I have to say to my US co-travellers that this was not "wacky British Humour" - he simply was not funny! The nightclub appeared to be patronised largely by off-duty members of the entertainments team, but was a lively place to relax with a post-prandial marguerita. Adagio was altogether more refined. We just didn't like the lack of atmosphere in wheelhouse, explorers, or crooners, but plenty of other people did. Daytime entertainment appeared to be focused on separating guests from their money (Casino, Art etc). Except, to be fair, the various musicians who played in the Piazza. Special mention should be made of the Atomic party band, who were able to turn their hands to many different styles, but were at their best when allowed to rock! Room was comfortable (inside, Riviera deck), very quiet and supplied with all necessities. I found it strange, though, that a US-dominated boat appeared to have no shoe-shine facilities, nor did our steward seem to understand what should be done to clean and shine a pair of brown leather shoes.  Only ended up taking one tour. The staff member assigning us to buses failed to notice the important words "guiados en Espanol" on our tickets, leaving the guide at Olympia to make some hurried phone calls to get us out of the English-language group from bus 11 and onto the Spanish group from bus 14. The other tour we booked was cancelled, so we instead did Ephesus on our own, as for most of the other ports. The guests were split 1500 US, 500 UK, 500 Aussie and 500 "other". Ages ranged from one year to about ninety, the median being around fifty. The US folk seemed to stick together, but the non-US mixed well (and I include the Latino Yanks in "non-US" here - it was the Anglo-Yanks who seemed to be the most stand-offish). The itinerary was great (Greek Isles, Venice to Rome), but I don't think we will be back on the Ruby in a hurry.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
we were delighted when we joined the cruise in Whittier, the send-off was with fireworks and it was great to see. The sail down to Skagway was quite nice too but it was always quite misty on the shores so we were unable to see much. ... Read More
we were delighted when we joined the cruise in Whittier, the send-off was with fireworks and it was great to see. The sail down to Skagway was quite nice too but it was always quite misty on the shores so we were unable to see much. However Glacier bay was spectacular and the ship did go very slow for pictures and stuff. The activities on board were not so great, the prices of alchohol at meals and at the bar were extortionate to say the least AND this Cruse crowd DO NOT give drinks packages like other lines do so it was put up or shut up. The meals were good to start but got very samey when you got to the 3rd and 4th days. The wine at table was quite ridiculously priced so we declined as did our other 6 diners at the table. If the price for a bottle of wine at the table was reasonable then everyone could have probably bought one, but as I said the prices were extortionate therefore Princess cruises lost out big time. People always speak with their wallets if things are too dear. We decided we would go for something different one night for dinner so booked into the steak house, we enjoyed our steaks and the pudding but we did not enjoy that a surcharge of $20 per head was added on to the bill, plus we were cotracred in to pay $12 dollars per person per day for gratuities to the staff. This is not what I would call tipping for good service, it was in fact tipping for the sake of tipping and it should be stamped out. This should be left to the individual and NOT be compulsory. The 1st port we visited was skagway which was excellent, a day later we visited Juneau which also was excellent, both were wet but warmish but that did not deter from their appeal. The next stop was to be Ketchekan, but due to a Force 11 storm brewing we were told that it had been cancelled. So we had to sit, the now, Force 12 storm out aboard the ship as it grew worse and worse. It only blew itself out as we approached Vancouver. After paying our bar bill at the end, our gratuities bill was $117.90. Still a total rip-off and should be exposed so that people can choose for themselves about tipping. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Since this was my first cruise, I was extremely happy and excited, having heard so many wonderful cruise experiences. I am sorry to say that the Star Princess did not stand up to this. The entertainment was practically non-existent. Night ... Read More
Since this was my first cruise, I was extremely happy and excited, having heard so many wonderful cruise experiences. I am sorry to say that the Star Princess did not stand up to this. The entertainment was practically non-existent. Night one: Two acrobats and a unicycle for 20 minutes. Night two: A ventriloquist for 20 minutes. Night three: Crew talent. After that we just didn't go to any shows. I had heard of glorious musicals and costumes; there was none of that. The food at the buffet was okay. Sometimes it appeared to be recycled. For instance, if one night there was apple salad and the next there was tomato salad, the third night there was an apple/tomato concoction. In the Portofino dining room the food was good, although similar to the buffet, but presented beautifully. We had anytime dining so we had varying experiences, but when the waiters realized we weren't purchasing additional drinks they were a bit stand-offish. I had a massage at the spa but afterward she told me I had lactic acid in my muscles and I needed to purchase $525 worth of products, consisting primarily of bath salts. It was high pressure and a bit incongruous to stress a client after a massage. Our room had a third mattress which was hard and uncomfortable. No one wanted to sleep on it and this caused arguments at times. We were told there was no third chair for the balcony so we used the desk chair. The view in Alaska was AMAZING, the weather was great. We had a wonderful time whale watching in Juneau. The best ever! We bought the whale watch in port at almost half the money with no problem and it was wonderful. So was climbing Mendenhall. In synopsis, Alaska was five star but the Princess was a 2. I did not feel pampered, but rather that the ship provided food and shelter to get us to port. Stories of other cruise lines convey a great deal more frills, especially in entertainment. We really had to focus on the incredible view because there wasn't much to do on the ship. Customer service was frustrating and when I had a concern about a name misspelling I had to return 5 times to get it corrected. Even getting blankets on deck was a chore. They were only in the front of the ship, at certain times, had to be signed out and in, and if no one was around you were cold. I had to ask multiple crew members to find the one who had the key for the blanket closet. Every time. To get a blanket at the back of the ship I had to walk the length of the ship and hope someone would be there. LOL when I tried to return the blanket a cruise member told me they don't really keep track, they just throw the sign-out sheet away. That was a pretty typical cruise scenario. My daughter was bitten by a bug while hiking and her foot swelled. I brought her to the doctor on board. That was $76. and he gave her1% hydrocortisone cream for $22 ($6 at home). I asked him if there are lyme ticks in Alaska and if I should do a follow-up with blood test when we get home. He said, "I don't know". Really? Why doesn't he know about Alaska when he's the doctor who treats any health issues? I hope I would have done my research. Why didn't he offer to find out and get back to me? On the day of embarkation, the staff was incredibly stressed and the dining room seemed frazzled to get the food out, with many dishes running out; one tray and no more. Staff was also stressed the morning we left in getting us fed and off on time. I think transitions are a challenge and Princess needs to provide more staff because they were all working at top speed. Please understand I am not a very fussy, spoiled person. I worked to earn the money for this cruise, and it was just okay. I am upset about this and wish I had tried a different line.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
They were terrific in luggage handling, I will give them that. The website states that small children must have a car seat to travel in Alaska.. We packed up the bulky car seat and found the only place required was the Denali park tour and ... Read More
They were terrific in luggage handling, I will give them that. The website states that small children must have a car seat to travel in Alaska.. We packed up the bulky car seat and found the only place required was the Denali park tour and the hotel provided it...why weren't we told this when we called and asked if we needed to bring that bulky piece of luggage? They did store it for, however, would have preferred not to have to lug it thru airports if it wasn't needed. The wait staff was terrific, as was the cabin stewart. Customer service desk and some land crew we snippy, sarcastic, and mocking. I heard numerous comments after a passenger asked a question and walk beyond earshot [poor behavior] .. Every tour seemed to be a canned script and the guides did not venture to far off line and ALWAYS included was a blatant [often numerous] reminders to buy more tours [and they are not inexpensive]...with a tinge of guilt thrown in... "you don't want to leave here and regret that you didn't --- whatever tour they were pushing that day. Hotels were on a par with a 2 star hotel...really nothing to write home about except that they were all in areas so that you had to eat at their restaurants [except for McKinley]... food was and average to blah, in most cases ... We did see some wonderful and amazing things, however, if this is what cruises are like... I shall not do another, and I certainly will not cruise with Princess again. I don't feel I need to go into a laundry list of the goods and bad...let's just leave it at the bad experiences and treatments outweighed the good experiences and treatment. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
My mum had dreamed since she was a little girl of going to Hawaii but could never afford it and so I saved for 3 years, in order for us to go for her 60th birthday, so that she could fulfil this dream. At £4500 for the two of us, it ... Read More
My mum had dreamed since she was a little girl of going to Hawaii but could never afford it and so I saved for 3 years, in order for us to go for her 60th birthday, so that she could fulfil this dream. At £4500 for the two of us, it was, for me, a very expensive holiday to save for, especially as I am disabled and on a low income. Many people had told us that cruising was a superb holiday and having previously been on river cruises, my mum and I thought cruising would be a better way of seeing all of the islands. We flew to Los Angeles where we boarded the Golden Princess - a ship we had been told was superb. We found our room to be very basic, with the beds so hard that I ended up at my GP on my return for painkillers due to the pain in my spine from them. Although the cleaner came in twice a day, the bedding smelt stale and sweaty and we had to request for the duvets and pillows to be changed. Even after this was done, it made no difference. The reception tried to say it was because of feather pillows, but I have feather pillows at home and they certainly did not smell like that. In less than 8 hours of being on the ship, I had chronic diarrhoea and sickness. I had had a sandwich on the ship when I got on but nothing else. I was confined to the room for 24 hours, given injections and 3 different types of medication. After leaving my room 24 hours later, I found that the cafes and buffet restaurants were serving all foods in one tray - meat, fish and vegetarian. As a vegetarian due to having a meat protein allergy, I was horrified to see the food being served this way. I was more horrified when I saw the waiting staff serving the food using just one utensil for all. I reported my concerns of food poisoning and allergy risks to the Head Chef of the International Cafe. He passed my concerns on to the restaurants. He got the waiting staff to separate the food, but even though the meat, fish and veggie stuff had all been touching in that one tray, he didn't get them to make fresh food. Instead they just put the different foods in different trays then continued to serve using the same utensils. For two weeks, I ended up just having salad as it was the only food that was kept separate with separate utensils. I was disgusted that a so-called 4 star cruise liner had such unhygenic practices when it came to food hygeine. I have never witnessed this in any other 4 star establishment. The veggie sandwiches had pine nuts on as well and so this would pose to be a risk for people with nut allergies. The entertainment was advertised as big production style shows. Having seen the Princess website and having seen shows about cruises on the Travel Channel, both my mum and I were expecting the shows to be similar to those in the West End or Vegas style shows with the glamourous show girls. Instead, we got staff karaoke. There was little participation for the passengers. It seemed the entertainment was more the staff's own entertainment. In gale force 9 winds, the pool area was flooded and so most people were desperately trying to find things to do inside the ship. Apart from a couple of games of bingo, there was little else to do. The elderly people were playing cards, board games or knitting, but for people between the ages of 20-60 there was nothing to do, day or night, on this ship. With 10 days at sea, many passengers were going stir crazy. The ship was nothing special - certainly not how we had envisioned it. In fact, it looked like it was in need of redecorating. There were not enough seats or sunbeds for everyone either. The lifts were constantly out of order as were some of the toilets in the public areas. One of the engines had problems and there was an almighty din where it was grinding and so we had to sail back slower from Ensenada. With poor food and poor entertainment, we were glad to get off the ship in Hawaii. The Hawaiian islands were truly beautiful. We took a helicopter on the Big Island over the volcano, and I would highly recommend this trip to anyone. The scenery is breathtaking. In Oahu, we swam with the dolphins and spent the afternoon at Waikiki beach. If we had the money to do so, we would have found a hotel there and flew back from there if it meant we didn't have to get back on the disappointment that was the cruise, but we were not in a financial situation to do that unfortunately. We had booked Hollywood in Hawaii in Kauai. However, 20 minutes into what should have been a 6 hour trip, the bus broke down. We were stranded at a waterfall for 3 hours until a bus came to take us back to the ship. We were disappointed as we only had 4 and half days out of a total of 18 on the Hawaiian islands and in Mexico. The ship offered us $89 refund each. The trip had cost $149 each. I complained stating that we should be entitled to a full refund but the ship refused to give us more than the $89. La Haina was absolutely stunning. A beautiful, if not the nicest of the towns. But then we had to go back onto the ship. Four more days of bad food, bad entertainment, hard uncomfortable beds that stank. The worst £4500 I have ever spent on a holiday. We were looking forward to getting off in Ensenada, Mexico, even though it was only going to be for 4 hours. The day before docking in Mexico, the ship issued warnings about muggings and drug crime in this location and recommended that we didn't get off the ship unless we went on their excursions. So what was the point of stopping in Ensenada? Most people stayed on the ship. The other thing we had check regularly was our ship tab. Many times there were charges on our tabs for things we hadn't had and we had to question the bill several times. It doesn't leave a passenger with much trust of the company when they do these things. We were glad to see Los Angeles again, and Princess had arranged for people on the later flights to have a day in Long Beach. A coach load was dropped by the aquarium but it didn't take us all long to realise that we had 8 hours in Long Beach and there was nothing to do there. The aquarium and the Queen Mary were both expensive for admittance and the local town didn't have a shopping centre safe to walk around (we saw people carrying guns). We were too far away to go to Disneyland, Hollywood or downtown LA. It was as though this whole cruise had absolutely no thought put into it. We had booked this 'holiday' 2 years ago and so we were not happy when we found that Princess had not even booked their passengers with seats together on the plane. Given my fear of flying and that i needed my medication, this was very inconvenient for me having to keep getting up to find my mum. The plane was full and fellow passengers, who were flying alone, wouldn't even have the courtesy to swap seats with us. It didn't help that on one occasion when i went to get my medication, the foreign gentleman in the seat next to mine, lifted the arm between the seats and sprawled out on my seat. I could not wake him and nor could the steward as he had been drinking heavily and was out for the count. I was stood for 4 hours although the steward did let me sit in the stewards seats for short spells. I was talking to 4 people who were from Essex who had been on the same cruise as we had been on. They had gone on the cruise as a group of 15 and all of them were separated. They said it was their 10th cruise and it was not only the worst cruise they had ever been on, but it was the worst holiday they had ever been on. All of us found it was one of the most expensive holidays we had all been on as well. They, like me, were going to complain on their return home. I have complained to Princess Cruises on returning home and we got the remainder of the $149 each we had paid for the Kauai trip that didn't happen, but this should not have been questioned in the first place. They also offered my mum and I £250 each compensation although, they haven't taken into account the medical bill of $151.89 I had as a result of possible food allergy from the way they were serving the food. They also do not seem to have taken into account that my mum and I, and all the other people on the Kauai 'trip' missed an entire day's holiday given we were taken back to the ship as they didn't have time to run the trip by the time another bus came to pick us up. Out of an 18 day holiday (2 days flying), one of the Hawaiian days was spent sorting things out with the ship's reception trying to get our money refunded. There were no trips at the dock when we were returned as all of the trips were full day ones, so we ended up staying on the ship that we so desperately wanted to get off. They also do not seem to have taken into account that i had salad for 2 and half weeks. If I were to buy that at home, it would have cost me £30 for two weeks not £4500, and so I found their offer insulting to be honest. I would suggest that if you want to go to Hawaii, stay on the islands in a hotel. Waikiki, LaHainia and Kauai (from what we were told by other people) are all beautiful and have some stunning hotels. Avoid this ship at all costs as it was not an enjoyable holiday, it was not relaxing, it was overpriced, you have to check everything, the ship is dated and uncomfortable and the food is disgusting and unhygenic. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
The first couple of days on the cruise were OK and by the time that we had reached Auckland we were feeling relaxed and reasonably happy. The shore visits that we had were excellent. The highlights were Akaroa, Dunedin and Auckland (in ... Read More
The first couple of days on the cruise were OK and by the time that we had reached Auckland we were feeling relaxed and reasonably happy. The shore visits that we had were excellent. The highlights were Akaroa, Dunedin and Auckland (in that order). The least enjoyable was Napier. The formal dining was excellent and the staff in dining rooms and bars were excellent. Our room steward was excellent. I would like to make special mention of Ramil who really went out his way to ensure that we had a good time in the Wheelhouse. Thanks mate!! Loved your magic tricks (and the pics of your HOT wife). That is where the positive comments stop. The buffet was average most days. Xmas morning there was no ham and eggs option in the formal dining room. No special arrangements made at all for xmas breakfast - the same as any other day. We could not get a seat for xmas lunch at the "traditional" lunch of Indian curries. Come on guys, we were on a predominantly Australian / New Zealand cruise. I have since heard that there were over 1000 onboard complaints made about the horrendous menu on xmas day. The Horizons room (buffet restaurant) was so incredibly hot, even at night time, as to make dining there very unpleasant. The doddering elderly caused a lot of waiting around while they struggled with everything or clogged up the premium sitting areas and monopolised the atrium musicians with their own and only their own requests. The children (quite rightly) christened the ship "SS Retirement Village". The hotel manager and the ship's captain were both rude individuals and the captain has yet to respond to our letter of complaint 12 months later. The ship's captain's cocktail party was a complete waste of time. I expected that he would use this opportunity to show a little bit of flair and be the ambassador for the company that he should be. The poor quality of the drinks meant that we very quickly exited with an even more negative impression of the man, his boat and the company that hired him. We took the hotel manager to task on his treatment of the younger travellers and his response showed that he had the personality of a dictator, even in his own home ( and by his own admission). It is no wonder that guests are treated as badly. The hotel manager's understanding of his own internal systems was very sadly lacking - could this have been his first assignment on this ship??? The average demographic on the boat meant that the ship was virtually shut down at night. The only true occasion to party - Hawaiian night, was only just starting to get going, when they shut it down. Talking to other cruisers, we found that there were many very creative complaints. None of these was surprising. The reaction of crew to these complaints was also not surprising. However, I will let them tell there own stories. By the time we left Dunedin, heading home, we were wishing we had already arrived. It will take a long time before we take another cruise and an even longer time before we even consider another Carnival cruise. The next time we will certainly be doing a lot more comprehensive research into the cruise, the ship and past passenger comments. Kevin. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
sailed from Southampton to Guernsey and Laharve France. Cost was £948 for Three days. This was our first and and did not know really what to expect apart from high standards of service and exquisite cuisine as we had been told by other ... Read More
sailed from Southampton to Guernsey and Laharve France. Cost was £948 for Three days. This was our first and and did not know really what to expect apart from high standards of service and exquisite cuisine as we had been told by other cruisers. Well what a shock we had instore! Very disappointed in the cruise as a whole! very little entertainment provided throughout the day, We were very bored especially when we could not get off the ship to go to Guernsey due to bad weather! I feel the activities team should have been more pro-active and provided some entertaiment knowing this.The Entertainment that was already scheduled was for the older generations and we are not gamblers! Therefore there was nothing for us to do but watch TV!!!!!Very poor indeed!!! Could not book into any restaurants as serial cruises had already booked all the places months in advance!!! Food in buffet was bog standard with very cheap cuts of meat and lacking in vegetables, all meals were just warm or cold!and not enough seats for everyone, we had to sit on deck near the pool to eat!!!!!!! Room was nice though, lovely and clean with fresh towels Twice daily! Beds were hard though and gave me terrible backache and the pillows stank of stale sweaty heads!!!! I used a bath towel rolled up for a pillow. Drinks on board were very expensive and gratuity of 15% is added onto every receipt!!! along with $22 per person per day gratuity!!!! This is disgusting!!! I AM A NURSE MANAGER AND NO ONE TIPS ME FOR MY service!!!!! Our first and last cruise I might add!!! never again OUr Bill was $400 for 2.5 days we boarded on Saturday at 3pm and was kicked out of our room at 8am on Tuesday we only spent $15 dollars in a shop!! the rest was about $200+ Gratuities and the cost of alcholic beverages for Two people!!!!! We were not even spoken to on departure after being robbed for Three days!!!!! they could have at least acknowledged us, they were too busy welcoming the next bunch of unsuspecting victims!!!!!!! If Ihis is cruising you can stick it!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
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