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19 Princess First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was a 2nd cruise on the same line and a very similar itinerary (no stop in San Francisco this time) but on a different ship (Island P 4 years ago). Experience was very poor and one wonders if Princess's standards can drop so ... Read More
This was a 2nd cruise on the same line and a very similar itinerary (no stop in San Francisco this time) but on a different ship (Island P 4 years ago). Experience was very poor and one wonders if Princess's standards can drop so much in that time. Here is a highlight of the things that weren't good: Well over an hour to check in and get onboard (no waiting in between the two, just standing in line all the time). And this was at delayed boarding time. Much could be done to streamline the process, if Carnival Corp. so chose to. Overworked, tired staff who were marginally surly as a result (probably up all night getting the ship ready for U.S. clearance and inspection - the ship had spent the winter in South America and had just come up for the season) especially on the first night or two. Ship and staff should have had a day's break. Managers that did their best to avoid eye contact with you. Cruise Director hardly made any announcements until last full day - presence almost undetectable insufficient dining room staffing (only 1 out of 3 open for breakfast, lunch and tea that led to long queues and long wait for some, and somewhat inept service - such as getting your jams long long after pastries arrive, long waits for the featured breakfast item - over an hour for breakfast one day) traditional dining room staff barely had enough time in between seatings to set up so second sitting was always late Our reserved/guaranteed and assigned table for 2 became a table for 6. Fortunately the other people we were seated with were very nice and we chose to keep company with them for the next 3 evenings Entertainment was pretty lame. We had come off a 16-night voyage on a container ship a week earlier and no entertainment on the CMA CGM Libra was preferable to the pathetic offerings on the Star Princess No Captains Circle events for the lowly tiers (Gold and Rubys - did see a higher tier have an invitation) - and this despite the boarding day in-cabin Captain's Welcome Back card promise for an event later on in the cruise. Not even some recoqnition or an explanation that it was a short cruise. Very overcrowded fitness all morning. Maybe these short cruises aren't full of lard bottoms. No luggage offloading services unless you had bought a cruise line tour or transfer. Some plusses Canadian entry was very low key and absolutely no formal entry process except filling the customs form early on in the cruise. Cabin (C514) was very good - though small per Princess standards. Lots of wasted space. Probably the best balcony level as it offers the most space and some modicum of privacy from cabins above without sun blockage. Food was quite good, when the kitchen could keep up. BEST QUOTE Breakfast time in the dining room usually closed at 0930 on sea days but 0900 on the port day in Victoria. Some people came that day a little late at ~0907 and were turned away and directed to the Horizon Court. His comment: "I guess we'll have to head for the troughs" Very good value because we were using it for repositioning to get home. As far a cruise vacation goes, highly NOT recommended Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Cruise ship was in poor maintenance, toilets constantly backed up, rusty and dirty balcony. Blanket had brown stains on it, the television was placed such that the remote did not work properly, the buffet was lousy, particularly the ... Read More
Cruise ship was in poor maintenance, toilets constantly backed up, rusty and dirty balcony. Blanket had brown stains on it, the television was placed such that the remote did not work properly, the buffet was lousy, particularly the breakfast selection. Two of our three destinations were cancelled, one due to engine trouble with the ship. But by far, the worst aspect of the cruise, was the customer service. Easily the worst customer staff I have ever had the misfortune of experiencing. Constantly making promises that were never met, claiming supervisors/management would be in contact with us concerning our issues. None of these things ever happened. The only compensation given for all these issues was a paltry $50.00 credit, and a credit towards a future cruise booking, which we won't be using. Apparently their idea of compensation for such a poor experience is the customer giving them more money. Company and staff refused to take ownership of any of the problems, and the story was different depending on which person you spoke to. We will be booking all of our future cruises with a different cruise line. The only positive parts of the cruise were that embarkation and disembarkation from ports of call were very easy and went quickly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We had the absolute worst vacation experience ever. We have been unable to come to a resolution with Princess. We strongly feel that the advertising, services and the product were mi-represented to us, and we are extremely unhappy with all ... Read More
We had the absolute worst vacation experience ever. We have been unable to come to a resolution with Princess. We strongly feel that the advertising, services and the product were mi-represented to us, and we are extremely unhappy with all attempts at resolution, both on-board and after disembarkation with "customer service". Stateroom 617 1) Accommodations- Princess Cruise lines claims on their website to offer "Premium accommodations and luxurious appointments" for their balcony staterooms, which was the cabin type we purchased. On top of our accommodation being very dirty (we have pictures) there was a deep persistent rattle under our bed, which shook the entire bed, to the point we could not sleep at night. We also experienced night crews working right over our room and noise in the hallways, such as loud thumping, chaise lounges being moved, machinery being run at night etc. We tried to get our room changed, and would have even paid for an upgrade, but the only available cabin was not of similar or better accommodation. There was also a septic stench at times, as the toilet next to our room kept malfunctioning. Additionally, we had a Norovirus outbreak on our ship, meaning we were confined to this cabin under quarantine, and we could not get food delivered to our room. After we disembarked we discovered this 50 year old ship has one of the highest rates of Norovirus. 2) Service Issues- We have numerous complaints documenting the poor service from the room service to the dining staff, and multiple cases of rude employees, saying shocking statements to us like, "It doesn't matter how long your food takes, you are under quarantine". Room service was took anywhere form 1-2 hours, and our order never came to us correctly, missing items, broken coffee pots, etc. Several times when we called the phone just rang and rang. Despite claims by Princess Cruise lines that standards of dining-dressing would be enforced, they never were, adding to the over all lackluster experience. The poor service has continued since we have been off the ship with our dealings with post- cruise customer relations. 3) Product claims- We felt that we have been falsely advertised to- the entertainment was far from "world class" as claimed by Princess, and most of the activities are centered around a "sales" pitch for you to buy something. The food was billed as "gourmet" yet we received microwaved breakfast sandwiches and many other simply terrible items. Additionally, we had asked for a private dining experience, yet we were seated with another couple and served at the same time by the waiter, who treated us the entire time as if we were a "4 some". This is on top of an expensive shore excursion we took that was advertised as "very active" yet was 6 hours of driving, and simply walking at a slow pace over flat ground. Additionally, numerous times on our trip we went to use amenities, hot tubs pools, stores etc, and they were closed. This entire cruise was "oversold" to us. Ultimately, we have pages and pages documenting our entire bad experience. We are seeking a refund for our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My husband and I took a cruise on Regal princess on December 6th, 2015. It was our first Princess cruise and it is the LAST one! We have been cruising for over 15 years and this is the worst cruise we have ever been on. The staff ... Read More
My husband and I took a cruise on Regal princess on December 6th, 2015. It was our first Princess cruise and it is the LAST one! We have been cruising for over 15 years and this is the worst cruise we have ever been on. The staff and customer: We came across a few that were decent, but many were rude, unprofessional, and lack language skills. Some couldn't understand or speak English well. The customer service should be called "you are on your own" service. We had miscommunication when we started booking the cruise. We were told that using the sauna and the steam room was "complimentary". After we booked the cruise, based on that information, I was told that we need to purchase a package to use the sauna and steam room. When we told them about the information given to us, their excuse was : "the agent made a mistake" and gave you the wrong information - no responsibility for giving misinformation! The head of the customer service on the ship was the worst of all; aside from being "very rude and defensive", we felt that his job was to say "no" to any request and the excuse was "it is company policy, sorry". The food: Horrible! We discovered the first day of the cruise that they use "margarine" - that was verified from the chefs and kitchen staff. When we tried to complain about that we could not eat the pastaries, muffins, cookies, etc. because of the margarine, there was a great confusion. It took several days to get to the right person - after the first week, we were offered a few things in the morning that were not made with margarine - but every morning we had to go in circles looking for the person who would get us that plate - it was totally frustrating. The food quality was very bad; and the way the food was displayed was bad: it looked like a trough! The dinner seating in the evening was a nightmare! We were told that they had "no tables" and we needed to come back later - many times! The dining waiters were rude and many of them did not understand or speak good English - it was very frustrating! There were two at each entrance of the free dining area/buffet - and every time we enter that area, there was a horrible smell coming from the bathroom - that was disgusting!! and that around the bathrooms, was dirty and there was water on the floor, etc. The Spa service and staff: The Spa, which cost us hundreds of dollars to use, was not in a proper shape or order or even clean most of the time. The dry sauna was not working and it took many people to complain to finally get someone -towards the end of the cruise-to take a look at it to say "there is nothing that could be done, it should be working the way it is: there was no "heat" to even warm one's body. The most outrageous thing we encountered at the spa is a guy who calls himself "an acupuncturist". DO NOT ever try to see this guy or get any service from him. In my opinion, he is "fake" and deceitful; his technique was to scare people during their consultation with him and convince them that they have "something seriously wrong" with them and that he could help them treat the problem if they buy his service - I believe that this guy should be reported!! The spa manager was too busy to worry about people's requests; she was unavailable most of the time. I was insulted by one of the spa staff members who was giving a free foot evaluation, of course, so that she could sell some shoe cushions that cost several hundreds of dollars at the end. That person made an ignorant comment about my feet in front of people that greatly embarrassed me, and when confronted later on, of course, she denied saying it, and her supervisor covered up for her - expected!! We feel that this cruise was the most "horrible" cruise we have been on so far, and we will "never" take a Princess cruise ever again - this company lacks integrity, and their service is way below poor. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
SATIRE: This was my first cruise and my girlfriends 4th. We booked L106 which was Suite with a front view. Let me first say that I had no expectations and that is good thing. 1. On Board Customer Service- "we can't help ... Read More
SATIRE: This was my first cruise and my girlfriends 4th. We booked L106 which was Suite with a front view. Let me first say that I had no expectations and that is good thing. 1. On Board Customer Service- "we can't help you" (meaning we don't care?) 2. Dining room service - slow and slower 3. Entertainment - boring and 3rd class 4. Activities - repeat repeat and repeat 5. Food - quality of McD including Pastry (very disappointing) 6. Employee Attitude - "I don't care--you've already paid for tips in advance" 7. Booms in the middle of the night - UNHAPPY crew members throwing things on floor above our room? These are the good things I have to say about my cruise. Here is one more example. A nice couple from Ireland, one of which was in a wheel chair booked a handicapped room. They told me Princess charged them $200 to use an ON-BOARD wheel chair AND the chair was to big for the doorway to their room. They had book a handicapped room but Princess didn't have that on record. When they complained, on board Customer service said "too bad, we can't help you". After writing via Internet to Corp. headquarters, they told me they were moved to a different room but would have to return to this room later in their cruise. Last but not least, the cost of a cruise (and it appears all cruises are this way) are the ADD ON EXPENSES YOU FIND OUT ABOUT AFTER THE SHIP SAILED. Want a coke, EXTRA. Want 3 scoops of ice cream, EXTRA. Want a better dinning experience, EXTRA. Want a cup off coffee at 6AM not in the buffet, EXTRA To be fair, there are always two sides to each story. I tried to keep an open mind. The bottom line is if you paid $500 PP or, like we did, $2500 PP, except for the room, you have add on after add on. Required fee for pre-paid tips is an insult but I knew about that in advance. It showed in most (but not all) employee attitudes. We paid for a 1st class cabin that gave us ZERO benefits for food or service. It only gave us a bigger room and a view which I would do again, maybe?? I will say our cabin attendant JOHN was GREAT!! He kept our room spotless and replaced towels as needed and supplies constantly. However, some of the other attendants were rude and never smiled. So, before you take a cruise or book on Princess, it isn't the fine print but figure the TRUE COST of and what you expect to gain from a cruise. If I didn't know better, I'd say PRINCESS WAS OWNED BY MOTEL 6. So if you want a "motel 6" experience over say a HILTON, then have at it and pay Hilton prices for a motel 6 experience. Again, just my opinion and satire. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Staff was pitiful. Food not even average. Charge for everything. Could not escape rude Children because sanctuary was closed because no one wanted to pay $40 for a lounge chair for a half day. Entertainment was hokey. Our mini suite ... Read More
Staff was pitiful. Food not even average. Charge for everything. Could not escape rude Children because sanctuary was closed because no one wanted to pay $40 for a lounge chair for a half day. Entertainment was hokey. Our mini suite vibrated day and night. Millions of jewelry stores in ports. Excursions average. Generally nothing special. Probably could have done luxury cruise for same $$$. Very disappointing Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My husband and I travelled on the Star Princess from San Francisco to Hawaii for our honeymoon (we are in our early 30s) after the sales representative told us there would be a variety of ages on board. We would NEVER recommend this trip ... Read More
My husband and I travelled on the Star Princess from San Francisco to Hawaii for our honeymoon (we are in our early 30s) after the sales representative told us there would be a variety of ages on board. We would NEVER recommend this trip to anyone of our age. Everything was catered toward an older age group: Bingo, Black and White movies, the live entertainment was music from the 1950s and 1960s. This company does not follow through with what is listed on their website: “Cruising offers something for everyone from the very young to the young at heart”. The cruise ship missed the first destination (Kauai) adding another sea day, and cancelled our Maui Molokini Snorkeling excursion. Too many disappointments. We were so bored on this ship we decided to disembark in Maui and fly back home. This was the best decision we could have made getting off this ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
While researching cruises, I noticed that many reviews that are less than positive are overcome by a litany of responses attempting to defend the line and/or ship. I'm not sure what it is about cruising culture, but people don't ... Read More
While researching cruises, I noticed that many reviews that are less than positive are overcome by a litany of responses attempting to defend the line and/or ship. I'm not sure what it is about cruising culture, but people don't like to hear bad things about their beloved cruise lines. After the experience that I had, I feel compelled to come here and share my experience. About two weeks before we left, I came across an article titled "Month-Long Poop Cruise Finally Docks, Promptly Picks Up New Victims" (http://gawker.com/month-long-poop-cruise-finally-docks-promptly-picks-up-1659472459) This would be our ship, the Crown Princess. I kind of chuckled about that, knowing that I wouldn't normally go on such a cruise, but we had a decent sized group going and it was for Thanksgiving. We also had non-refundable airline tickets. We pressed on. I had, at first, considered writing a lengthy review, but then it would go unread. With that, I'm instead opting to share some general points about my experience: 1. The staff was miserable - They were burned out, overworked and bitter. The majority of them were rude and not helpful. After spending all of their rare free time over the past six weeks battling Norovirus, it's hard to blame them, but then I paid for a different experience. None of them were from the U.S. and many had trouble with English. I do not have a positive impression about any of the staff. 2. The food was terrible - I'm being completely honest when I say that the Walnut Creek, CA Kaiser Hospital serves food an order of magnitude better than anything on this ship. The Crown Grill was decent, but everything else was just crap. I get that a lot of people with limited dining experience enjoy the food, as will those trying to stuff as many cheap calories into their faces as possible, but it's not for me. 3. Drinks were bad - If you could get a drink, it wasn't good. Most of what we got was sugary and sweet. I ordered a Sidecar as a test and, sure enough, it was water. I asked the bartender about it and he named sweet and sour as one of the ingredients. I told him that sweet and sour has no place in a Sidecar and he argued with me. They clearly don't know how to tend bar. Wine lists were anemic, at best, and indicative of the class of patrons being served. 4. Elevators were awful - 5+ minute wait for elevators only to be met by a sardine can stuffed with people. Kids made it worse toward the end by calling every elevator on every floor and pushing every button in the elevator. This effectively shut down service. 5. No room service - It was impossible to reach room service at any point during our 7 day cruise. My children were in isolation and that was their primary source of sustenance. Not good. 6. Norovirus - My children contracted Norovirus and the ship's lack of response was disgusting. There was massive contamination and I couldn't get anyone to come help. This definitely had an affect on other passengers. Out of eight people in our group, five us us became infected despite bleach wiping absolutely everything several times per day and carrying hand sanitizer in our pockets. We probably went through a quart of hand sanitizer. No one is cleaner than our family. 7. No Sleep - Forget about sleep. Between the two fire alarms and the blabber mouth captain, there was little opportunity for uninterrupted sleep. Never again. Like I said, I know that a lot of you love to cruise and think that the experience is amazing. I disagree, and that's my opinion. Apart from the bitter crew, the food stood out as just being awful. I have never been served worse food and, having been in the military, that's saying a lot. In summary, you couldn't get me on another cruise for any amount of money.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My wife and I booked the Baltic cruise in order to travel with a family member who we promised to go with a few years ago. We expected the worst and were not disappointed. There were a few thousand geriatric travelers, mostly from Britain ... Read More
My wife and I booked the Baltic cruise in order to travel with a family member who we promised to go with a few years ago. We expected the worst and were not disappointed. There were a few thousand geriatric travelers, mostly from Britain and America, which made it something akin to a floating nursing home. It was hard for me to believe that these people were my peers, people that were young during the rebellious 1960's. The furnishings of the ship were extremely tacky, the staff overly pleasant and uncomfortably obsequious (they probably detest the passengers who have nothing better to do with their money). The passengers seemed mostly the type that live in the suburbs or in gated communities, bourgeois that is. In Saint Petersburg, the few thousand tourists from the ship were herded like cattle into waiting buses, which took us to the signifcant palaces, churches and museums where we were led like sheep bumper to bumper with other tourists. As if I went to St. Pete to see a Titian or a Rembrandt or an amber room or some of the other extravagances that my peasant family had to suffer for. We were informed in detail about the Czars and Czarinas and shown the opulent palaces and expected to stare at appropriately dumbstruck at their beauty. The last 100 years of Soviet history was remarkably absent from the narratives. It was all Catherine this and Peter that, Nicholas this and Elizabeth that, to the point of asking for mercy. We went on a number of tours and on each one we spent our time with other tourists in palaces, churches and museums (as if they alone were the essential fabric of the country). The only somewhat non-painful days (no, they too were painful) we really had were the ones where we walked about cities pretty much at random and did not go on tours, but rather used public transportation. But still, we had to return to the prison of the ship in a few hours time in order to not be left behind. The towns of Gdansk and Tallinn, specifically have been restored beautifully, but it is tourists that you will be spending your time with there. In fact, all the tours had something of a Disneyland (where I've never been) quality about them (fake that is). The food was adequate and plentiful, although I wouldn't think that a reason to travel, especially since the chef made no attempt to provide the national dishes of the cities we visited. Really, I can't figure out why anybody would waste their money on a cruise or on the frivolous tours that accompany them. It was all so boring, inauthentic and aseptic. But that is probably why people do choose to cruise and tour. They want a sanitized edition and history of the countries they visit. They have no desire to walk the streets or mingle with the actual people of these "foreign" places. These people travel to see tourists. So all in all, the trip was miserable. It even ended miserably when you are treated like a suspect at the airports, all due to the foreign policies of America and the western European countries. I should mention that we did not go to a single lecture or show, rather spent our time in our tiny cabin reading. I am not condemning people that cruise, it simply isn't our thing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Just got back from a repositioning cruise (Vancouver to Seattle). Worst experience ever, and I have been on many repositioning cruises (Norwegian and Holland America). First - we had to stand in line for 3 HOURS! before we even got ... Read More
Just got back from a repositioning cruise (Vancouver to Seattle). Worst experience ever, and I have been on many repositioning cruises (Norwegian and Holland America). First - we had to stand in line for 3 HOURS! before we even got through customs. Then another wait before we were given our cruise identification, then another wait to have your card scanned and picture taken - all before we even got on the boat. Our room was okay, I have seen better. You can tell this boat is dated. We had a balcony, but while we were sitting on the balcony all you heard was thump, thump, like there was a door slamming in the wind. Very irritating! The bathroom sink had no cold water. I was looking forward to a nice sit down dinner, but waiting in line for 3plus hours with nothing to eat and drink, we went to the first eatery we found and wolfed down a hamburger and something to drink. That was my dinner, because after that I did not feel like eating anymore. Once we got on the ship the stewards were standing around pushing "mango punch" drinks at you - I thought it was some kind of compensation for having to wait so long - HA what was I thinking! The entertainment on the boat was boring. For breakfast had to stand in line AGAIN, and by the time you sat down your food was cold. One of the public bathrooms was disgusting. The elevators were so S-L-O-W, you could run up the stairs faster because you had to WAIT a long time for the elevators to come to your floor. (And I have difficulty walking stairs and I still beat the elevator.) When I received my invoice the next morning, they charged us for 4 drinks that we did not even have. So I had to go to Service desk and WAIT to be helped. I was afraid there would be a problem, but I brought all my receipts down to prove those 4 drinks @ $9.50 each were not mine! That took a while to get straightened out. We were told to be out of our rooms by 8:00am and our group was to meet at the Princess Theatre and we would be able to disembark at 8:30. Again we waited....and waited....and waited and waited some more. We were finally able to get off at 10:30, BUT you guessed it, we had to wait again at customs for almost another hour. It got to the point I was so angry I could have cried. One person said he needed to catch a plane, and the only response he got, was sorry I don't make the rules. This was my husband's first cruise and I had given him all the hype about cruising, but you won't find him on another cruise. As we left the terminal I saw another line up of people waiting to get on the Princess Cruise line - I feel sorry for them, they don't know what's coming to them. Thankfully our hotel made up for it (Hyatt @ Olive 8). When they heard about our disaster cruise, they gave us a $20.00 hotel credit and said coffee is on us. I kept telling my husband it's is not usually like this, and someone else in the line up had just got off a Norwegian cruise and they had no problems. There were 2,000 people on this ship, all who were disgusted by the whole procedure. There were people standing in line for 3 hours walking with a cane and some who had difficulty walking, let alone standing. So Princess Cruise Lines you better get your act together because you will certainly loose a lot of business. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Sailed for cruise sites in Cosumel and Roatan and Belize we embarked on Saturday 25 Jan. A couple good days in the sun, but on Monday both of my sisters became very ill.(gastrointestinal..Captain announced that night that there was in ... Read More
Sailed for cruise sites in Cosumel and Roatan and Belize we embarked on Saturday 25 Jan. A couple good days in the sun, but on Monday both of my sisters became very ill.(gastrointestinal..Captain announced that night that there was in fact, Rotovirus on the ship. Told every one to wash hands with soap and water and we noticed that procedures changed in the buffet. Visitors were required to use hand sanitizer and food was handed to the patrons by crew members. Scuttlebut on ship said that there were in excess of 90 cases, this was Monday. Once reported the girls were quarantined to their rooms, Husbands however could come and go from that room. Some quarantine! Upon being visited by the Ship Doctor or nurses, it was never made clear, a shot and the next day a bill for $130.00. Tuesday night the captain of the ship announced that we would not visit Belize but would return to port, BECAUSE OF HEAVY FOG IN THE HARBOUR. A quick google indicated that there was no fog, port was closed on previous Tuesday and Wednesday. Medical personnel told my sister that she brought the virus from the hotel, despite the fact that there was up to 24 hours of incubation for this virus, numbers did not add up. It was apparent that Princess was taking no responsibility, were very disingenuous and that we were basically out the cost for the trip. After the announcement of turning back, the cruise was basically over. Ship personnel were serious, constantly wiping up and generally very quiet. Friday morning we were told to disembark, I did not know even at that date to which hotel I would be going and only found out after I had disembarked. They delivered us to the Sheraton Hotel in Houston where were held in a holding area until rooms were ready.(6 hours) Of course we had to buy our own food which would normally have been furnished by ship. What credit did we receive for this disruption of a much anticipated vacation, one day per diem (1/7th of cruise cost) and a promise of 20% on next cruise. They said CDC ( Center for Disease Control) would visit the ship on Friday. Must of been a quick visit, the ship sailed for the Western Caribbean on Saturday with a whole new visitor roster. They too could be collateral damage for Princess Cruises to maintain their PR Status. Houston Newspaper, indicated 176 visitors and 12 crew members infected. No one can really maintain that a trip, one stop removed and 1 day short, constant stress from not really knowing, no real information about the sickness,/status, this is not a vacation Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
First of all this is actually 2 back to back 7 day cruises not 1ea 14 day cruise as is sold. This equates to being at sea for a large amount of the time because the ship has to return to Ft Lauderdale in order to disembark some passengers ... Read More
First of all this is actually 2 back to back 7 day cruises not 1ea 14 day cruise as is sold. This equates to being at sea for a large amount of the time because the ship has to return to Ft Lauderdale in order to disembark some passengers and the taking on of new passengers for which ever leg of the trip that will start anew. Alone that's a 2 day at sea trip coming and going (4 days). Now add on the days, not shown in the itinerary as "at sea". Those days would include your departure day and days between ports of call. So for example after you've experienced your first 2 at sea days you have 60 hours out there and the clock can still be running as you haven't reached your port of call yet, that's shown as an arrival day. The con to this package is that because of the travel time some ports of call end up being rather useless. Example: San Juan Puerto Rico. We arrived at about 4:30pm local time, by the time we got clearance to disembark, port officials got there, and we were allowed to leave the ship we had just over 2 hrs of day light left and all of the historical sites close at 6:00pm local time. How much of such a wonderful place can you see under those conditions? Next time I sail I'll be looking at the 10-12 day packages where the ship doesn't have to report back to their home birth every 7 days. No Smoking rules: While many of you will applaud the new onboard smoking rules for us smokers it's like being placed in a less then second class pier group. Yet I do agree with some of the rules and was able to abide by them but it came at a real cost in enjoyment. On the Grand Princes there were only 4 smoking areas available to less than Platinum card holders or Suite occupants (they have one more in a restricted lounge) and on at least 2 occasions all of them were closed, blocked off, clear on the other end of the ship and more often than not un-manned with no onboard services what so ever (drinks/food etc.). Another really annoying issue is that when reading their policy on Princes.com it states that permitted smoking areas are well marked. Sorry they are not. Like most of the information one can obtain aboard ship your best and most reliable source of information comes from follow passengers thru trial and error. When I asked a Senior Purser (Officer) about their "well marked smoking areas" he told me that they were marked, by ashtrays. The most centrally located smoking area was on deck 7 Portside of the ship also known as the Promenade deck. The ashtrays are hung on the bulkhead just outside of very heavy outward swinging doors but hidden from view by large equipment lockers. One can look up and down that deck and not see one of the 3 ashtrays located there. Oh yes, 5 percent of the passengers crammed around 3 ashtrays being pelted with heavy doors and knocked to the bulkhead. Did I mention there is no seating around these ashtrays? Additionally, and somewhat funny, there were ashtrays on some of the elevator landings which are definitely not located where you can smoke or anywhere close to one. Tell me again about the clearly marked smoking areas. If you're a smoker I'd look at other options as all of the Cruise Lines owned by Carnival have the same policies in effect. Other independent Cruise Lines have retracted these restrictive rules due to the loss of revenue. Ah, then there's the "Deluxe Anniversary Package" Cost $445.00us, paid in advance back in June of 2012. It was our 30th anniversary and I wanted to do something special for my wife, after all she did allow me to live for thirty years. I had her all pumped up with all of the niceties she was about to experience, the Champaign, the chocolate covered strawberries, flowers, the plush robes and the Breakfast in bed just to name a few. Several of these items were to already be in our cabin when we boarded. There was nothing. I asked our Steward about it and was directed to the Pursers desk. I decided to give them another day and see what happens. On the third day I went to the Pursers desk to inquire; yes it was noted on my account but obviously not incorporated into anything that was going to make it happen. The Senior Purser would look into it and I could expect things to happen by that afternoon. Well it took another day but a few items did trickle in, a second trip to the Purser 2 days later produced the robes on day 4. The breakfast was yet another issue and generally needed to be ordered 24 hrs in advance. When we booked (June of 2012) I had it scheduled for day 2 of the cruise at 8:30am but by now that time frame was long gone. Again off to the Pursers desk I went to be told that the reason I hadn't received it was that I hadn't chosen my meal from the menu. Sorry I told her, there was no menu, it was a flat package deal. This is what you get. Well the web site could be wrong, even the room Portfolio (book about onboard services) could be in error. So she convinced me to contact room services. I returned to my room, called down to RS and no there were no choices. So I had them send me up a copy of what the "menu" contained. It matched verbatim, the web site, Portfolio and what I had talked to this Jr. Purser about. When I returned to the Pursers desk, for the fourth time now, I went armed with three documents that all stated the same thing, and when I was supposed to have received it. She still wanted to argue the point. That's when a Senior Purser came out of the back office and I looked at him probably with, at the least, frustration on my face. He came over to intervene. That's when it happened. As I was explaining to him about the meal and the menu issue and showing the documentation she jumped in saying "I never told him that." She blatantly lied, right to my face. Then she stormed off. The Gentleman looked at me and there I was defending myself and position. Showing him my documentation and again asking when I would receive it. He said he'd have RS give me a call and set it up, they called, and I placed the order and would receive it in 2 days, which was ok due to ports of call. When it came I was asked for a coupon. What coupon? That's when I found out that for the meal and other onboard services included in the package I should have received three coupons for various venues such as our couples massage. The framed portrait we didn't even bother to attempt to redeem. We'd had it and I would have paid another $445.00 not to have gone through this at all. A full report was filed but no satisfaction was received what so ever. By now what could they do anyway? International crew: While the front line Porters, servers and general staff were friendly, cheerful and looking after your every wish as best they could, they were also a wealth of information about their home countries and cultures, which covered the world and made for very interesting conversation. But the second tier staff as often as not, didn't speak English at all and could make things frustrating in ways never dreamt of in any other situation. As an anniversary gift I had bought my wife an expensive gold chain with a very nice pendulant and matching ear rings to ware during formal night. As she was putting on the earrings the ship rocked and one dropped down the drain. She was so upset. I told her I'd get it back and called down to get someone to retrieve it. They sent a plumber right up. I guess by the time he got his information the situation had turned into a plugged drain. Yep, he turned on the water full blast smiling as the sink emptied as quickly as possible. I reached over his shoulder slammed off the water and tried to explain the situation. He didn't understand a word and by now my wife is in tears. The last thing you do when you drop jewelry down a drain is turn on the water. Finely I retrieved the second earring and pointed at first to the one in my hand and then pointed to the drain. He finally got the idea and luckily the lost one was still in the trap. The point here is that you may have to be resourceful when dealing with some of the crew you may encounter. Room service: what can I say? A bowl of chili served with a fork, cheese burger no cheese, Glass of milk with that Danish in the morning; expect a tiny creamer, oh but you have glasses in your room we were told. Like yes I want that 2 ounce shot of milk in a glass. NO, bring me the 2 glasses of milk I ordered on your form. Salt and pepper, what's that? They screwed up our orders 6 times in a row. The funniest was when I called to complain about 50% of an order missing; an Officer from the kitchen shows up at the cabin, yes officer, who went off chasing down a bucket of ice and we still didn't get our Irish Cream. It went right over his head. But you have that 15% gratuity and $3.00 room delivery charge. Oh, that bed; short and so hard it hurt me to lay in it. I know I didn't get a full nights sleep durring the entire cruise. I kept hearing about this "Total Escape Esperance" but never figured out what they were talking about unless it was some of the on shore excursions. Would I recommend this to others? I think not. The entire episode lacked any appearance of communication or organization from the time you booked passage to the time you disembarked the ship. Can I get a do over? Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This was a first cruise experience for my partner and I, to give some context, we have no children, earn a very good wage and holiday a couple of times a year, usually in Europe. Our friends and family had recommended cruising so we ... Read More
This was a first cruise experience for my partner and I, to give some context, we have no children, earn a very good wage and holiday a couple of times a year, usually in Europe. Our friends and family had recommended cruising so we thought we would give it a go as a quick break away. We embarked in Sydney to a room that was on first glance clean but small, however after a little closer look I noticed dried blood on the drinks tray and then we noticed dried blood all over the sheets.....it was a nice introduction to our room. We went for a walk around the ship, and found the golf driving range - 3x old squashed plastic balls and a couple of rusted Iron's, the ping pong table - in constant use by every child on the boat, the hand ball court again in constant use by all the teenagers, adult only pool area - in constant use by children, the shops were terrible, very limited in what was available ie 6 books to choose from, no magazines and lots of clothes with elastic waistbands. We were unable to find any of the specialist restaurants mentioned in the brochures and then we told that the 'Steakhouse' is a partitioned off area of the buffet that only opens at night. There are no other restaurants, so slim pickings if you are a vegetarian like me. So we settled on the deck to watch Sydney disappear with a (over-priced) cocktail in a plastic glass and listened to a very loud 80's band. We went to the formal dining restaurant on the first evening, the service was disjointed. Food appalling - prawn cocktail for me, the prawns were not Australian or NZ and looked like the type used in Fried rice - tiny, frozen and tasteless. My partner had a Spring Rolls - undercooked, tasteless and fatty. The mains were just as bad and desert was sugar with a extra serve of sugar. The food and drinks were the biggest disappointment to me, we were travelling from a country that has fantastic natural foods to a country renowned for its food and on-board everything was imported from a cheap port in Asia, powdered milk, powdered scrambled eggs, stale bread, reconstituted mashed potato. I have never eaten food as bad as on this cruise even in a hospital canteen. It was terrible. We ended up buying cheese and fruit in Port and smuggling wine on board so we could drink and eat on our balcony. New Zealand is lovely a place of great natural beauty and welcoming people, but we jumped ship and headed home after 6 days of our 14 night cruise as we could not stand the boat a single day longer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was my first cruise, and I was very disappointed with my "cruise experience". Friends and family had reported magnificent experiences on other cruises that just didn't seem to be the case for this cruise. I spent a ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and I was very disappointed with my "cruise experience". Friends and family had reported magnificent experiences on other cruises that just didn't seem to be the case for this cruise. I spent a good deal of time talking to other people on the cruise to see if this experience was "typical". Without exception, the experienced "cruisers" on this journey stated that this was the worst cruise that they had ever been on. Those with "Princess" experience said that the quality of the Princess cruises has decreased dramatically and that this would be their last Princess cruise. Problems with the cruise were evident from Day 1. Embarkation from Southampton was a two hour circus, with long lines, poorly communicated instructions and inattentive staff. We were scheduled to leave Southampton at 5:00 PM on June 7, but were detained in port for some sort of "technical problem" which was never defined. Announcements were made every few hours that the "issue" was taking longer than expected, he would update us later (which he never did) and that our safety was his primary concern. He never mentioned a bilge pump problem or that the ship had failed an inspection a day earlier. As a result of their poor maintenance, we left port exactly one day late, resulting in our being a day late for our first three ports - Guernsey, Cobh and Dublin, and missing our fourth stop in Liverpool. We also missed our scheduled stop at Edinburgh due to rough seas. Instead of finding another port or reaching Paris a day early for additional sightseeing, we meandered our way to Paris, taking two days to reach Le Havre. Humm, reduced fuel costs and keep the casino and shops open for additional revenue opportunities. Way to go Princess! What a wonderfully innovative way to take care of your passengers. The internet was completely inadequate and very very slow. The Library was not well staffed, which was inexcusable considering we were stuck at sea for all of that extra time at sea. On a cruise advertised to include nine port stops and two days at sea, we ended up with three days at sea and one day trapped in the ship at Southampton. For this, we received a totally inadequate compensation of $75. Some of the tours that we took were poorly planned and we spent too much time at minor attractions like the Falkirk Wheel, and very little time at major sites like Stirling Castle. Our bus for Stirling Castle parked at the bottom of a very steep hill and we were forced to walk up to the castle, depriving us of valuable time. Those guests who were not in good physical shape could not make the walk in the time allotted and missed seeing Stirling Castle. Our guide said that the road was closed, even though there were busses at the entrance to the Castle and buses were transversing the road while we were walking down. If it was a matter of timing, the tour should have been arranged to arrive at Stirling Castle when the busses could make the steep assent. The service in the dining rooms was often very slow and the Horizon Court was usually packed since the weather was not suitable for outside dining. If one elected to "sleep in" the only place to have breakfast was the Horizon Court since none of the three dining rooms was open for breakfast after 9:00 AM. The food was very average, some of the "entertainment" was appalling, with the singers being off key in many songs. The food was "cafeteria quality" with almost none of the fabulous food that is normally associated with cruise ships. We had bought the "Coke" drink package with "all you can drink" fountain Cokes. These beverages were almost undrinkable, despite repeated complaints to the staff. Basically, they could care less. I wrote an e-mail message to Coke because of the poor representation of their product. All in all, a very poor experience! I would not recommend Princess Cruises to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Me and my wife went on the Alaska cruise that disembarked from San Francisco. We had both never been on a cruise, so didn't have high expectations or any biases as to what to expect. To sum it up, between the Norovirus and and ... Read More
Me and my wife went on the Alaska cruise that disembarked from San Francisco. We had both never been on a cruise, so didn't have high expectations or any biases as to what to expect. To sum it up, between the Norovirus and and jail-like "balcony" experience, we were clawing to get off the ship mid-way through the cruise. If it wasn't for the Alaska ports, this would have utterly been the worst experience of our lives. I don't even know where to start. The minute we walked into this insanely tiny room (1.5 feet around the bed to wiggle by) and a toilet where your left leg is in the shower stall because there is simply no room, we realized it was going to be a bit cozy. That's fine, we can deal with that if the trip is good. We weren't here to complain, we wanted to have a good time! I went out on the balcony when the ship was preparing to leave, and realized that my hands and white T-shirt stuck to the newly varnished balcony railing. It was stuck to my hands for three days and my shirt was ruined. Can't understand why they decided to do this now of all times, but whatever, lets move on. I believe it was the second day of the cruise where the Norovirus issue was announced and that there would be preventative measures in place. These measures basically caused an hour + delays to be seated. We waited nearly an hour to receive our food. During which, I watched a cockroach scramble by the waiters jug of water. When I told him about it, he seemed unimpressed and said sorry and walked away. It took three hours in total to check in, eat, and leave. The problem here is that this was the issue everywhere, it wasn't a one night kind of thing. If you went to the buffet you had them put the food on your plate for you, which is fine, but we found hair in our food between the two of us three times throughout our experience. The wife literally ended up ordering food that was pre-packaged such as yogurts from the room service menu, 5 at a time, so she could be assured she was not eating something with person's bodily fallout in her food and/or Norovirus possibly infecting her. When browsing the ships activities, you quickly realize that the Sea Princess is severely over-booked and a small ship. Every activity in the auditorium you had to get there an hour before it started to get a seat. If you didn't, you were forced to stand and watch. A presumably 70+ age woman with air tubes had to stand and watch the show because getting there 20 minutes before it started was not sufficient for finding a seat. We did the arts and crafts option because the wife loves these type of things. We went there and waited 20 minutes in line before a girl tells us all that the 3 (yes three!) tables were full. The literally had 12 chairs available for this project for the ENTIRE SHIP. The girl was obviously annoyed, probably because she knew this was ridiculous, but she failed to tell people waiting in line for almost half an hour that they weren't going to get to do the activity this afternoon. She snapped at the lady in front of us and cut her off and told her there is nothing she can do and to come back tomorrow and that's all there is to it. Well, we came back the next day, this time an hour ahead of time and played a board game on the table until the wife could go get our materials (I had to fend off the rights to our two chairs, fending off numerous dissatisfied people who couldn't participate). An hour later she comes back with our materials (you only get 2 hours to work on your project). We rush through our projects and the deal is you come back the next day to pick up your oven-baked piece of art. We came the next day, and it wasn't ready. Fast forward a few days because they don't offer it on port days, and again, it was not available. The very last possible day we went down there at 10 am, and again, it was not available! They told us all the items would be available by 1 pm and they were finishing them up. We come back at 1 pm and our items aren't out on the table. I ask the girl where our pieces were. She says if they aren't there then they "blew up" in the oven. At least two people were looking at her like, are you serious? The apathetic girl said that many of the items blew up. My guess is some idiot over cooked the items on too high of a temperature to get them all done within time and they don't want to take responsibility for it. The quality of the food was overall terrible. Given that you had to wait 3 hours to eat at one of the restaurants, you were left with either two choices: wait three hours for food that coexists with cockroaches, or eat food prepared and served by people with hair in it from the buffet. We ultimately used room service quite frequently, also to avoid Norovirus. At least half the time they sent the wrong items. You order a turkey sandwich and they send you a Roast beef sandwhich. You order a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and they send you nachos. The TV channels were all centered around trying to get you to buy overly-priced items. I get it, they want to get you to buy the art and jewelry items, that's all fine. It came across though as though they care more about making a buck than they do the quality of the customer experience. We tried to watch the movies under the stars, but due to it being an outdoor theater, you had to battle the wind and children screaming in the pool directly below it. You literally could not hear 90% of the words. We went back to our jail cell to finish the movie. There are too many things to list for this review, but the last one I will mention is not to use their wake-up service and early departure option. On our departure day, the courtesy call came in two hours earlier than it was supposed to. We packed everything up, forced ourselves to be awake, and walked out of our cabins with bags in hand and quickly realized it was still 4 am. For whatever reason, they screwed up the time to receive the call. This happened twice. I can only assume it has to do with the change in hours when going to Alaska, but if this cruise is your specialty, shouldn't you have this figured out by now? Anyways, we went down at the proper time to leave the ship early (literally wanted to be the first ones off if possible!) and there was no one directing anyone on where to go or what to do. I asked the security officer at the exit and he said this would be the exit and to wait here if we wanted to start the line. We obliged. As more than half an hour passes, the room just gets congested and none of the workers took the initiative to put out poles, dividers, or verbally instruct people on what to do. It was a logistical failure and it boggles my mind as to how a cruise ship can be so disorganized. The people on the ship were nice. Even though we were a younger couple than the average age, everyone was for the most part pleasant. Even though children were screaming in the pools during the movie under the stars, the ship really was a good mix of people and we felt comfortable despite being younger. The onus of our experience falls directly on a cruise ship that cares more about making money than the quality of their customers experience. We will never cruise with Princess again. Many echoed our thoughts, and suggested to try other cruise liners. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
One the advice of friends, that have used the Thomas Cook Cruise consultants before, we decided to try this service out. Unfortunately it was the most disappointing and expensive mistake we've ever made. We were very clear about ... Read More
One the advice of friends, that have used the Thomas Cook Cruise consultants before, we decided to try this service out. Unfortunately it was the most disappointing and expensive mistake we've ever made. We were very clear about the cruise we wanted. Hot, lots of sunbathing, smart, up-market and luxurious, fine-dining, where everyone dressed for dinner, children free areas & pool(s) and other likeminded travelers the same age as us. What we got was more of the cheap, bottom of the range, weekend getaways for the unemployed and elderly. A cheap, nasty, cold, draughty Dover/Calais ferry full of sick, elderly, WalMart shoppers. One of the staff described the ship as a "floating hospital". The morgue can hold up to 24 for a two week trip and was used while we were on board. Hardly the sort of thing one expects on a "luxury cruise" We only had three formal nights -- where formal attire consisted of a crumpled suit, white socks and trainers for the men and stretched, lycra, sweat suits for the women. The weather was appalling at sea, storm force for the first few days, pools closed, objects strapped down, people being sick. It was terrible. Once we arrived at the islands it did warm up but it could never be described as even remotely hot and or suitable for sunbathing. We purchased an all-inclusive food package but this too was a scam. There was a lovely Italian restaurant and an excellent Steak House but both had excessive surcharges. Depending on your location, on the ship, even Tea's and coffee's all had to be paid for. So much for "all inclusive" There was even a charge for pizza's that were delivered to the room. Over and above that were the scandalous additional taxes and the constant demand for gratuities. In hindsight we should have realised this thing was all a con. When we agreed to book the fly/cruise package we were initially told everything was fine but, little problem, there were no more direct flights. Instead we were expected to fly out of Heathrow, have two changeovers and fly back to Gatwick with another two changeovers which was ridiculous. If you are selling a fly/cruise package the least one expects, is to go direct and to depart and return from the same airport. Needless to say we had to upgrade our flights. We chose to stay overnight at the airport as the flight was so early the following morning. The hotel was very good and a huge contrast to the one that was booked for us in LA. This was dirty, shabby, run down, tired, very warn and damaged;- peeling wall paper, stained carpets, chunks of grout missing around the bath to mention just a few of the problems. There was no view of the sea, as advertised, our room looked onto the roof of the hotel atrium. The service with poor, the majority of the staff displaying a couldn't care less attitude. The hotel was in the middle of nowhere, with no local facilities, no shops, nowhere to even buy a bottle of fresh water (hotel was charging over $7 for 2$ bottle). Compared to the other hotels, which cruise guests stayed in, this was a complete rip-off. We had requested a room with internet access but on arrival was told our room didn't have it. No apology, staff didn't not give a d*m and despite the high cost of the hotel room breakfast was not included. When we arrived in LA we our expectations were again dashed. We had been told that there would be someone to meet us and take us straight to the hotel. What was not said was this consisted of a very harassed, if pleasant enough lady, escorting us out a taxi rank. We had to wait over 2 hours to take a "cruise authorised" taxi which was ridiculous after just coming off a long-haul flight and not what we had been told when booking the holiday. The lady that met us gave us an instruction sheet on what to do one the day of the cruise departure. We did everything as requested however, the person that arrived, to co-ordinate everyone, completely ignored us and then had the audacity to complain that we had not come to find her! Who exactly was the customer here? She was used to dealing with old, elderly, infirm passengers, that didn't argue, did as she told them to do and were happy to be shepherded and patronised. A younger clientele will not tolerate this sort of behaviour. We were very lucky in that we'd watched all the suitcases being loaded onto the bus and had noticed that ours were not there. The cruise rep insisted, quite rudely, that they were and that we had to board the bus immediately. While my sister discussed this with her I checked with the concierge and found out that they had forgotten to load them. Housekeeping thought they'd been left behind by mistake and had moved them into a storage room. If we had got on the bus we would have had nothing with us for at least 4 days. The rep made no apology, at all, for her lack of assistance and or support but she did ask for a gratuity. Once on board we discovered more discrepancies in what existed vs. what we'd been sold. There were only a handful of tacky shops, selling tourist junk, there was nowhere to buy fresh water, which was a chargeable item and not included in our full-board package. There was nowhere to buy good, fashionable, clothes, pull on, elasticated waisted shorts may have been ideal for the over 70's but not what we were looking for. However, there was a very tiresome, never ending "sales" drive on the ship --photographs, cookery books, cooking oil, the list was endless and the sales teams were relentless. I feel very sorry for the pensioners that got sucked in and felt obliged to purchase things, they didn't want, just to get away from the sales teams. We were also told to expect lots of exciting entertainment during the day and in the evenings. Napkin folding, bridge and bingo hardly qualify as exciting entertainment. There were no facilities for anyone other than pensioners. The outdoor movie screen was predominately dedicated to American football or other sports. The hot tubs were unavailable every day because of the obese occupants and, as mentioned the pools were closed for the majority of the trip. The one area that was quiet and calm was, of course, only available if you paid extra for it. The yoga and Pilates classes were far too small, only run once a day, very early in the morning, and were vastly oversubscribed. One person, that we met, that had managed to go, told us they were dreadful. Everyone laid out on mats in between all the people using the spinning bikes and other gym equipment. All very loud, hot and sweaty. Not what one expect from Pilates or yoga. She never went back. We were also advised to book any tours as soon as possible as there were very limited, 10-12, places per tour. We booked two. The first was a dolphin day and nothing like the description we were given. There were at least 100 people, all filed into a pool, told to splash the water, kiss the dolphin, smile for the camera - next. The cost of the photos, on top of the cost of the tour was a joke. The second tour, a snorkelling one, was charged at $99.00 per person; whereas it was under $10.00 in town, and was so bad we refused to pay for it. The ships tour department were deliberately, unhelpful and difficult maintaining we had to discuss this with the tour operator, who we'd had no contact with and didn't know. As we'd booked it as part of the holiday and not via a 3rd party we maintained it was their responsibility. They finally, agreed to help, but only because there were so many people complaining I don't think they had much choice. Regarding tours, I understand that Thomas Cook and the tour teams want to sell these at fastly inflated prices but it is reprehensible that guests are not given any options. No one tells you that you can arrange these locally, for a fraction of the cost, very easily. They don't tell you that there is an excellent local bus service that runs on every island that costs only one dollar. Considering the vast majority of your clients are elderly, and quite obviously not terribly wealthy, to constantly tell them to only use taxies is ethically and morally disgusting. Other points to note are, when we arrived, we had four chairs on our terrace, which we used every day. The day we arrived, at the first port, all the chairs were removed and replaced with new ones but, only two not four. It was real inconvenience, and took a lot of time to get the other two chairs returned. As the ship constantly advertises the fact that the balconies are the ideal place for drinks and dinner with friends it was completely unacceptable for them for them to remove these without asking. The one area where praise is due is the restaurant that we went to virtually every night. The two Macedonian waiters (Dragan and his boss) looked after us extremely well and the food really was first class. Sadly this is the only thing we could recommend from the start to the end of the whole trip. This was our experience and it was so bad because it was diametrically opposite what we'd asked for. The odd, very elderly (wheelchairs and oxygen tanks), guests we spoke to seemed to be enjoying themselves and those are the people the cruise line accommodates. If you are young, fit and healthy, beware of what your told.... We hold Thomas Cook fully responsible for this disaster. We will never set foot on another Princess Cruise and will make sure as many people as possible know just what it's really like. We will also never, ever use Thomas Cook again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Let me start by saying this. If you are thinking of cruising with Princess Cruises, DO NOT! Save yourself the time and money, they ship was terrible. Princess Star was a joke, the food was terrible, and I mean terrible. The buffet was a ... Read More
Let me start by saying this. If you are thinking of cruising with Princess Cruises, DO NOT! Save yourself the time and money, they ship was terrible. Princess Star was a joke, the food was terrible, and I mean terrible. The buffet was a 1.5 out of 10 (the 1.5 is only because breakfast was decent, but that's pretty hard to mess up). The restaurants where you had to pay for the meal were just as bad as the included meals, there were never more than 8 items on the menu and I had to regularly send the food back to kitchen. Steaks were never cooked correctly even in their steakhouse, they even managed to forget to put the sauce on fettucine alfredo. The staff are friendly enough and our cabin steward was great. The drinks were $11 or above for anything alcoholic, $4 for a pop or $7 for a mocktail. The water that they provided was usually brown in color and a bottle was the same price as a pop. Even the cream for your coffee at breakfast was sour. When you poured the cream in your coffee you could see it curdle at the top. The amenities on board were a joke, the swimming pools are only a couple feet deep and no bigger than most hot tubs. There were never enough lounge chairs for guests and people were always waiting for the moment anyone else stood up so they could take yours. They had movies under the stars at night, however for 2600 people they had less than 100 seats. The casino was good enough, exactly what you would expect on a boat, nothing fancy, but they had a couple tables and some slot machines. As for entertainment, they had a magician and a comedy show. The comedian was soo bad nobody even laughed at one of his jokes (not one person). The magician was even worse (I left, but my sister and brother in law stayed). Every morning at about 5 AM, the boat would be getting close to port and would turn on the thrusters. This meant every wall panel in the room would start vibrating to the point were it was so loud we would have to get up and hold the mirrors against the walls. We were supposed to arrive in Mykanos in the evening, however the boat did not have enough fresh water on board and the captain decided to circle around to collect water for the desalinzers instead of paying for water at port. His announcement to the public was "We will be delayed in arriving to Mykanos as our navigator has decided he wants to right his name in the water with the boat". We were told this only a few hours before we were supposed to arrive in Mykanos. Shore Excursions: Generally not bad, the tour guides were a bit weird though. In Croatia, the tour guide referred to the war as an "aggression" and that there general was a national hero and he shouldn't be tried for crimes against humanity by the Hague. (This is what she spoke about for more than half of our 6 hour tour) In Athens they told us Public transit and taxis would be on strike so if we wanted to leave the terminal we had to book with the cruise line transportation. (they told us this the day before we arrive in Athens, fair enough) However, when we arrived at port in Athens there was a long line of taxis waiting there to take anyone in to the city. Princess charged us 4 times the taxi rate. I mentioned Mykanos earlier so I won't talk about that again. Our other excursion was in turkey, that was good enough, however it was supposed to be their only religious excursion, people got so frustrated that our guide wasn't talking about the religious aspects of the tour they left our tour and joined other tours. Now one of the tours we were looking forward to, Hike a volcano and go swimming in hot springs in Santorini. The Volcano was a nice start, it was more like hiking up a rocky hill and wasnt really what I was expecting (I thought we'd see a huge crater in the center or something, but nothing like that). The Hotsprings were NOT HOT!!!!! Even our tour operator told us they are "warm springs" and only 2-3 degrees warmer than the ocean. He mentioned that he didn't recommend going into them, but if we wanted to it was at our own discretion, We were 2 of the 10 that went. the other 30 people stayed on the boat. The water was not even warm, maybe 15-16 degrees Celsius. Our tour description specifically said swim in the natural Hot Springs of Santorini on the side of a Volcano. This was not the case, and one of the biggest disappointments in my view. Our disembarkment tour of Rome was good, worth it for the transfer alone and not having to wait in line at the Vatican. Although most other people on the excursion were mad because the tour guide was rarely audible even on the radio system they had us wear. All in all, it was a terrible cruise. The only good thing about the cruise was the ports we embarked at. We always wanted to bring food on board from the ports but that was against the cruise ships policy. So for the most part on board we played cards (that we bought for $8/pack on the boat) and watched tv in the state rooms. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Just returned from a 7 day Alaska cruise visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria. Also a morning scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord. Very disappointed in the ports of call except for Victoria where we only had a few hours in the ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 day Alaska cruise visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria. Also a morning scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord. Very disappointed in the ports of call except for Victoria where we only had a few hours in the evening. The cruise staff were extremely pushy trying to sell wine, art, spa treatments and encouraging people to shop at over-priced jewelry stores. The food in the Horizon Court was bland - one mealtime I put 4 different desserts on my plate and tasted a mouthful from each, all tasted the same. Other than that the menus were very unimaginative. I cannot understand how anyone raves about the food. Room service was fine, and the cabin steward did what he needed to but nothing extra - then again we didn't ask for anything extra. The robes available were grey and hard and grungy looking - and we didn't bother to use them, wish we had taken our own. Also the towels were very hard, and I don't know if that is down to hard water but they obviously don't use enough (if any) fabric softener. I ordered a cocktail one evening and it was so watered down with ice cubes that I didn't bother to have any more. The wait staff in the Savoy spent so much time sucking up to the diners that it was embarrassing...same on the one night we dined at the Pacific Moon. The afternoon tea was another disappointment - nothing like an English afternoon tea. We took the Victoria highlights and Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel...DON'T waste your money! The tour started at 7.15pm and by 8pm it was dark and we could see nothing and still had an hour of driving around the suburbs of Victoria with the driver telling us all about house prices and who played at the local golf course, and how much everything cost. The only good thing was the tea at the Empress Hotel but by the time the driver got us there it was gone 9 pm and we had less than an hour. Dreadful waste of money and a real rip-off. Don't go to the port of call shopping show - waste of time - all they do is push the shops they either own or who advertise with them and pay a kick-back. Scrambled eggs in Horizon Court were consistently excellent, and we had beautiful weather which helped. Our mini-suite on Dolphin deck was a good size for the two of us, and the balcony was excellent as it was a real sun-trap. I read somewhere that there was no need to get a balcony if you were cruising to Alaska - not true! The spa GoSmile technician was very tactless and said to us in front of a group of people at the reception desk "when are you going to get your teeth whitened?" I told her "when a dental professional tells me it's necessary for the health of my teeth". Stupid woman. I had a pedicure which was way below par compared to my usual local spa pedicure. The technician lectured me all the time, pushed products, and tried to persuade me to book further appointments. Also she cut the cuticle of my toe nail which now catches on my tights and socks, and whilst she was exfoliating my legs and feet she burst a blister that I didn't realise I had. All in all a very, very disappointing experience. Guess we are just not cruise people. Didn't bother to tip anyone anything extra as I considered the $24 per diem we were already forking out was more than enough for the service we got. Maybe it's me but I just don't understand why people want to make friends with their servers and cabin steward and barstaff...exchanging email adressess etc. Quite pathetic. Will not be cruising again with Princess and certainly not to Alaska. Think we need something a bit more upmarket if we ever consider it again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
From the disorganized check-in process to disembarkation, the Diamond Princess is a mockery of the hospitality industry. When placed on a different deck than on our reservation, customer service simply said they were fully booked and would ... Read More
From the disorganized check-in process to disembarkation, the Diamond Princess is a mockery of the hospitality industry. When placed on a different deck than on our reservation, customer service simply said they were fully booked and would get back with us and that the option we received was much better and quieter than the original booking. All statements were false. We never heard from anyone while onboard the ship. The food was horrible. It was comparable to a high school cafeteria. I lost ten pounds while on the trip. Not even a decent cup of coffee was to found onboard the ship. The staff was not well train and not able to answer the simpliest question. For example, my husband was locked in the gym by the staff. He had to call security to unlock the door. We asked to change American dollars into Canadain Dollars and was told they did not handle currency onboard. Additionally, we received the same response when a washing machine ate our change and did not work. We were charged for making a reservation to eat in any of the "anytime" dining rooms. The list goes on-and- on. However, probably the most reflective of the Princess Cruise line incompetency is the post cruise online survey. Sent on June 11th, the ending day of the cruise, I was not able to respond to it until June 16th due to extension of our travel. When I attempted to participate in the post-cruise survey, I received the pop-up window that the survey had expired. I guess Princess really does not want to know. I filed this review with Princess via email and did receive an answering machine response but was not able to understand the customer service representative message due to his mumbled verbage. Please do not waste your money crusing with Princess Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
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