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112 Princess First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Getting on the ship - We flew into Seattle early Saturday and took Princess shuttle to port. Shuttle was easy to find, lots of Princess employees to take bags and give directions. Waited about 1 hour at port before we were able to board, ... Read More
Getting on the ship - We flew into Seattle early Saturday and took Princess shuttle to port. Shuttle was easy to find, lots of Princess employees to take bags and give directions. Waited about 1 hour at port before we were able to board, so not too long. Ship Cabin - I was expecting a very small room but was happy as it was almost the size of hotel room (I had a balcony, maybe that helped.) There was enough storage to unpack everything. The shower was small but plenty big for one person to use. The bathroom was large enough for me to get ready in the bathroom while the wife showered and vice versa. Ship - The ship had a pool for families in back, 2 pools and 4 hot tubs for everyone's use mid-ship and (for a small fee) an adults only pool and hot tub up front. I had planned on using the hot tub, especially during the nights, but with children playing in the pool and tubs there wasn't a nice quiet time to use them other than before breakfast unless you paid for the adult only area. They had a bar and casino which we never used. Movies outside almost every night, recent releases like The Martian and Star Wars, so if you were willing to put up with the wind and cold it was good. Food - We mostly ate at the buffet due to our schedule. Large selection so you could always get something you wanted. Fruit was very good and fresh while the rest of the menu was ok, good but not great. We did pay extra, $29 each, to eat at the steakhouse for dinner, this was very good and well worth the extra as we had shipboard credits to use. Pizza was open for lunch until 9 or 10 at night and was good. They also had soft serve ice cream and a hamburger/hot dog grill but I didn't try those. I did pay for the all inclusive beverage package. On the days at sea it was good to have but for 4 of our 7 days we were in ports so it wound up being a loss of money for me as you need 6 or 7 drinks per day to break even. If I do this again I will stick to the soda package and pay for any alcohol I drink. Ship decks were plenty big so we could move side to side without being too crowded to view the glaciers or whales as we went back. Activities - Lots of entertainment, especially at night but being early we go to bed early and get up around 4 so I missed most of the music and bar scene. They did have a speaker give 4 sessions about the wildlife and native people of the area which was very informative and worth the hour per session. They had a photography class which was a refresher for me but could be useful depending on your knowledge of your camera. Staff - All the staff were great, courteous at all times despite my first time cruiser 'stupid' questions. The room was always kept clean and lots of staff at the buffet to take your dirty plates and get drinks for you. Excursions - We stopped at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria, pretty standard among all cruise it seems. At Juneau we took a helicopter to Mendenhall glacier and ran a dog sled. It was great and highly recommended with one caveat - $$$. At night we went whale watching and saw many whales in the inlet. Skagway was a railroad ride and visit to Liarsville. Salmon bake at Liarsville was a very good lunch with a little show and gold panning. Ketchikan was a wildlife viewing cruise, no bear sightings but eagles, deer and seals made it a good trip. Victoria was orca viewing in Juan de Fuca strait, couple of people thought it was rough but tour guides said we were lucky as it was calm. I guess if you aren't used to the water it could bother you. Summary - I enjoyed the ports and want to go to Denali sometime so I will probably cruise to Anchorage and visit these same ports to do that but I don't see myself cruising the caribbean or down to Mexico. Lots of people were in the bar watching tv or in the casino but I can do that at home so the non-port days weren't the best. I did have a good time and if I do cruise again it will be with Princess. As a first timer I don't have anything to compare to but everything was good and I would hate to switch to try to find something better and wind up being disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This extended family of 8 cruise was my mother's wish to celebrate her 80th birthday. As first time cruisers, my husband and I were already wanting to do it again before we disembarked! We can't say enough about the ... Read More
This extended family of 8 cruise was my mother's wish to celebrate her 80th birthday. As first time cruisers, my husband and I were already wanting to do it again before we disembarked! We can't say enough about the Discovery/Animal Planet Whale Watching excursion with Gastineau Guiding. Amazing! The room steward, Edgar, was so pleasant and always around even though we are not high maintenance guests. The ship was clean and the crew polite. The dining menu was a little too fancy for our 10 year old. I would have rated this a 5 except for a couple things. There was one server in the Da Vinci Dining room that was trying to hurry us out. We had anytime dining and were not able to arrive until 9pm due to a unanticipated late 8:00 return from an excursion scheduled through Princess. We were also not pleased with the kids programming at Shock Waves. We registered my 10 year old upon booking. We received a schedule of events the 1st night. We signed her in 3 different times on different days for scheduled events. Upon signing her out, none of the 3 scheduled events actually occurred. The kids were just allowed "free play". We purchased a photo package on the ship that included a flash drive. Upon returning home, 6 of the 10 photo files were corrupted. BUT, we called Princess explained our situation, the photo department contacted us right away. We emailed them the required information and got a new flash drive in the mail 3 days later! Now that is customer service done right! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my first experience on a cruise. Once on the ship I was amazed at how helpful and polite the entire staff was. Ivana and Lloyd were extremely courteous and attentive to our group. I wish I had got their lasts names to commend them ... Read More
This was my first experience on a cruise. Once on the ship I was amazed at how helpful and polite the entire staff was. Ivana and Lloyd were extremely courteous and attentive to our group. I wish I had got their lasts names to commend them personally. The entertainment from the violinist and company was amazing. I enjoyed hours of their music. The food in the Michael Angelo dining room was good. I was disappointed in the food on the buffet. The stops we made were well organized and we left each stop on time. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise and again the staff was fantastic at their jobs. Embarking and disembarking was very well organized and we made it to the airport with plenty of time. I would definitely recommend this cruise line to family and friends. I was expecting more shops, there were a handful and not much variety. The shows in the Princess theater could have been better. Weather was beautiful! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the line, even though our cruise was almost 3 hours late to set sail due to over 500 late arrivals! It ended up being a gorgeous sail away, the sun was setting across Vancouver as we left the port, those pictures are some of my favorites. The food left something to be desired in my opinion, the buffet food was almost inedible, we tried it twice and just didn't bother to go again, it tasted like cheap cafeteria food that's been sitting under heat lamps for hours. We ended up paying to eat at the steakhouse and Italian restaurant more often because the food quality was FAR superior to the buffet and dining rooms. We splurged for the gourmet coffee stamp card, we used almost all the stamps and looked forward to a delicious, fancy hot coffee to enjoy on the deck everyday. We didn't catch any on board entertainment because the BEST show was happening outside!! The views were jaw-dropping and I just couldn't tear myself away to see a cheesy cruise ship show... Maybe next time i'll try one? Movies under the stars was just too cold to endure at night, even with the blankets and hot cocoa. The ports were fantastic, we were like kids on Christmas morning every time we got to a new port, we couldn't wait to explore. We did the train ride in Skagway (WOW!!) and Zip-lining in Ketchikan.. so fun! We also did the tram ride up the mountain in Juneau and did a little hike when we got to the top. We would 100% do this cruise again (and we plan on it!) Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After a disappointing start with a later embarkation due to extra sanitation onboard and all the negative reports through the media in regards to Norovirus, we ended up having a really good time on the Golden Princess. We have not cruised ... Read More
After a disappointing start with a later embarkation due to extra sanitation onboard and all the negative reports through the media in regards to Norovirus, we ended up having a really good time on the Golden Princess. We have not cruised before so have no idea how this ship compares to others. Service around the ship was consistently attentive other than the rude boffins in the internet lounge. Points to note: * Hats off the staff for the incredible job they do making getting on and off at ports so well organised. and Hats off for putting up with the constant stupid questions and whining from the small minded minority. * Unsure why we are chrged gratuity surcharge on purchases including drinks when ship runs in AUD. Surely we can choose if we wish to pay gratuities?? * Unimpressed with the shops onboard - but I wasnt there to buy things so it didnt bother me. * Room steward was attentive * I have no idea why so many people choose to eat in the buffet as the restaurants were easy to get into and far better service and food quality. We were impressed with the selections. * we were cruising to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary so we did find it hard to socialise on board as most patrons were a lot older. * we found the shows cheesy and aimed at older patrons. We were happy sitting in a bar listening to the houseband or joining in trivia etc * we enjoyed the art auctions and found them informative. All in all we would cruise again with Princess and recommend to others. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Having read a couple of negative reviews I feel compelled to balance it, in favour or Princess who, in our opinion were impeccable. There is one recent review that frankly after reading the 6th sub heading I stopped, and it says to me ... Read More
Having read a couple of negative reviews I feel compelled to balance it, in favour or Princess who, in our opinion were impeccable. There is one recent review that frankly after reading the 6th sub heading I stopped, and it says to me nothing in this world would seem to please that person. For us - the service was second to none - the food was outstanding - the cabin was admittedly tiny, but then we expected that, and the sea wasn't 'knocking us from wall to wall' although it was unusually rough, but is that really Princess's fault!! The beds were incredibly comfy, and my pillow was perhaps the cosiest I have ever had in a 'hotel' style environment. Our only niggle is the 2 pools are too small for 3.5k guests, but then it is a boat!! Having said that we feared a mad scramble for sun beds, and there were enough to go around, and incredibly it wasn't crowded either. Theatre shows - amazing!! West end standard. Alcohol - a bit expensive, but we knew that, so were grateful we didn't over indulge. NEVER saw a drunken person once! We chose to eat 'anytime' dining, and apart from the first night which coincided as my 50th birthday too (where we ate in Coral), we ate in the Horizon buffet every night and we couldn't fault the choice, or quality of food. We didn't do the formal nights as frankly dressing up and trying to be something we're not wasn't our thing and some sites were to be best forgotten!! Guys from across the pond - a 'please' and 'thank you' in customer services goes a long way, and believe me, gets noticed when it's short coming!! I was astounded at the amount of times I heard a demand for food or drink with neither word at the beginning or end of the request. The waiters may be waiting, and most were from many different parts of the world, but they didn't need to constantly be made to feel servile. More so to witness hats being worn at dinner and many not making the least bit of effort to dress for dinner, even if it was just casual dress was disappointing to see. Princess actually ask that guests wear what they would do for a casual dinner - SO, a lot of you go to dinner in short shorts and scrappy T-Shirts do you??? So - in summary, where those choose to put down a company who I believe actually couldn't really have done much more than they did, perhaps if only the company could do a review about the customers, about trying their best to please people who in truth simply will moan at anything, then that would be a review worth reading!!! As they can't - I've done it for them. For the reasons above cruising isn't for us, based on being surrounded by people who want to eat and be lazy all day every day (the sites we witnessed proved that one!!). Perhaps there wasn't enough food guys! I am English - though you would have worked that out I'm sure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our very first cruise, and we went as part of a family vacation with family members that are seasoned cruisers. We were quite impressed with the excellent service from all the hard working staff onboard. Embarkation went smoothly, ... Read More
This was our very first cruise, and we went as part of a family vacation with family members that are seasoned cruisers. We were quite impressed with the excellent service from all the hard working staff onboard. Embarkation went smoothly, and our cabin was ready shortly after we boarded. The ship is beautifully decorated, and we especially liked the grandeur of the piazza. We found the pools to be a tad small for the size of the ship though, especially the terrace pool. On embarkation day, we had lunch at Alfredo's. Excellent thin crust pizza, and you absolutely must try the veal agnolotti! Our group was signed up for traditional dining in Allegro. While the service was excellent, DH and I found the food to be underwhelming. Dishes came out quickly, but they were rather bland in terms of taste and appearance. Not to be mean, but it felt a bit like fancy retirement home food. The buffet at Horizon Court really exceeded our expectations though, so we ended up having the vast majority of our meals on the terrace. The selection was impressive, and the everything we had was fresh and flavourful. The pastry shop had a great selection of sugarless treats, and I liked that the portions were small, so you could sample a few different treats between a few people. We tried the afternoon tea in the Concerto dining room on our last sea day, and we really enjoyed the warm scones with cream and jam, various finger sandwiches and cakes, although the tea itself was kind of meh. We didn't really partake in any of the shows, casino, or onboard entertainment. It seemed geared towards an older crowd (for reference DH and I are in our early 30s) but Movies Under the Stars was a fun way to end the night, and there was a decent selection of movies and television shows on the tv in our cabin. Overall, we this first cruise was a very positive experience. Great itinerary, even though we missed out on Princess Cays because of the weather. Excellent service, mostly excellent food. Not sure if cruising is really for us. We prefer to travel for exploration and adventure, rather than leisure, and we like to experience a place in greater depth than a few hours in port allows for, but Princess Cruises did provide a wonderful first experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Was pleasantly surprised that the complaints about the Emerald Princess were rectified for our stateroom D727 and throughout the ship. I did here people complaining about some of the most nitnoid items that I had to laugh. To the 19 ... Read More
Was pleasantly surprised that the complaints about the Emerald Princess were rectified for our stateroom D727 and throughout the ship. I did here people complaining about some of the most nitnoid items that I had to laugh. To the 19 year old chubby boy whose day was ruined because the plate in the Horizon Court buffet wasn't hot and to the 40 year old lady who pitched a fit in Cafe Caribe because the coffee was brewing and she "didn't think she should have to walk 15 feet to another station" - get over it. There are more of these types but I won't bore you with them here. And these are the people who will write Nast reviews here. Background - we travel solo extensively throughout Europe and the service on this cruise was equal or better than what we expect - so no complaints at all. 1) Karn, our steward, was very welcoming and efficient and kept the room in tip top shape. 2) all of our servers were very engaging and fun from risqué jokes to card tricks to remembers our names. 3) food was great, well presented, tasty and warm. 4) essentially while on the ship everything that was promised was delivered. Now - we are in a digital age and Princess has to catch up as their pre-cruise information sharing is horrendous. "Additional Charges Apply" is NOT an acceptable answer when I'm looking for the cost of a beer, the charge for the Crown Grill, or the charge for the thermal spa package. Knowing that prices can change is one thing but Princess should be able to come up with a price list on the website maybe 2 weeks before the cruise. Also when a booked customer sends an email requesting this information the at the minimum should get a response! Princess GREAT job on the cruise HORRIBLE job with getting information to this first time cruiser pre-cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was out first cruise. We were a family of 4 with two balcony rooms side by side on the Aloha deck. This was great for us as we were just below the pool deck, teen club and Horizons food court. The cabins were in good condition and ... Read More
This was out first cruise. We were a family of 4 with two balcony rooms side by side on the Aloha deck. This was great for us as we were just below the pool deck, teen club and Horizons food court. The cabins were in good condition and we had an excellent cabin steward. We choose anytime dinning and had no problems getting seated. We would go early most nights but did go late a couple of times. Plan on spending at least 2-3 hours for dinner, service was a little slow. Sabitinis would be open for lunch some days serving pizza. I would recommend this. The shows that we went to were good. We went to 2 comedy shows and 2 shows featuring the ships performers. There was also a The Voice competition that was entertaining. There was things going on everyday on the boat, just pay attention to the planner they leave you everyday. We did get one moving in under the stars. During sea days we would spend it on the pool deck. I liked the splash deck at the front of the boat. Less people but a little more wind. The service at the pool / Lido deck is questionable. You would have to flag a waiter down to get something. I would just go up to the bar most times, much faster and the bartender also have better personalities. The children had a good time at the teen lounge. It was a great place for them to meet the other teens on the boat. We had a good time at the ports. We only did shore excursions in Limõn and Ocho Rios. In Limōn we did went to the canal and rain forest. Seen a bunch of wildlife. Great tour. Ocho Rios we did Mystic Mountain, the bobsled ride and Dunn River Falls. I think it would have been better if it wasn't so crowded. The Regal Princess was diverted to the island and was there the same day as us. In Aruba we went to Palm beach an relaxed. Took the city bus. In Columbia we got a taxi for the day. $100 for the day. The driver would get out and walk with us telling us about the city. Well worth it. He didn't speak good english, but the children speak Spanish and would translate for us. We just stayed on the boat in Panama. Going through the canal is a pretty cool deal. You receive a certificate for a partial Panama Canal transfer. Getting on and off the boat at all location was a breeze. Overall we had a great time. Not having been on another cruise we have nothing to compare it to, but can't complain. I would do another cruise on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
In case the title didn't give it away, this was the first cruise that my wife and I had ever taken. In fact, this was the first time we'd ever even been to the Caribbean. We had done months of research leading up to this. Where ... Read More
In case the title didn't give it away, this was the first cruise that my wife and I had ever taken. In fact, this was the first time we'd ever even been to the Caribbean. We had done months of research leading up to this. Where did we want to go? What activities were important to us? Compared cruise lines, and just about every other thing you can think of we looked into it. I had actually spent years looking into this stuff as I had spent the last two years trying to convince my wife this was something we should try. Once I finally convinced her, here is what we ended up doing. Against the better advice of most people, we flew down to Fort Lauderdale the morning of our cruise. Most would suggest you not do this, and I would have to agree. We did this simply because it saved $200CAD per person on the flight ($400CAD for both of us combined), but it was a relatively stressful way to start the trip and I suggest going down the night before if you can. After receiving some advice from a travel agent friend we opted not to take the airport transfers offered by Princess. By doing so, we saved ourselves about $50CAD on arrival and on departure. The cab driver on the way down was great and got us there is plenty of time, but the port is jam packed on weekends. The cab driver ensured us we had plenty of time, but as we sat behind hundreds of cars waiting we were somewhat concerned. When my wife and I talked about it afterwards we decided that the savings were great, but again, piece of mind may have been a better choice in the long run. When we arrived at our terminal things seemed a little busy, and at first we weren't quite sure where to go. In the end, we left our bags at the bag drop and then proceeded pretty quickly through the various aspect of checking in (going through security, filling in a short form, and then actually checking in at the registration desk). When you look at the number of people your first thought is that it will take forever, but in the end the whole process took us no more than 30 minutes. After that, it was off to the ship! When we got on board we went straight for our cabin. We obviously wanted to put down our bags and get settled in, but I was really interested in seeing what it looked like. I had heard they were very small, so to be prepared. Our room (Deck 9 Dolphin, D729) was amazing! Unlike what had been described to us, it really wasn't much smaller than a typical hotel room. We had two twins pushed together to make a king sized bed, a sitting area with a love seat and table, and finally a small desk that my wife used to get ready most of the week. The bathroom was the only part that was small, so this desk was handy for her. The room was aft facing with a larger than normal balcony, so if you plan to cruise on the Regal Princess book this cabin! We ate most of our meals at the buffet, though we did eat once in the main dining hall, once at the Crown Grill steakhouse and once at the Alfredo’s Pizzeria. I found the buffet to be hit and miss for dinner, but breakfast and lunch we always spot on. For dinner they had these great daily themes to the food like Asian, Italian and Mexican. Some were spot on, but I wasn't impressed by all. That being said, Alfredo’s and the Crown Grill were phenomenal! We paid a small up charge for the Crown Grill, but it was well worth it! We also spent an hour or two each night at Vines or Bellini’s, the two bars in the Piazza. The drink selections were quite good, and the live entertainment was incredibly relaxing. Just the right touch to get you settled for a nice evening. Our days were filled with various things depending on whether or not we were in port or at sea. In the Bahamas we booked an incredible dune buggy tour through Princess. I know you can save bundles by booking elsewhere, but this particular one was well worth the price! It was approximately two hours and we drove a few miles in the dune buggies. We were treated to parts of the island that you’d never see otherwise. And when they decided to give us an extra 15 minutes at the end because we were the final tour of the day it was nice to know the ship wasn’t going to leave without us because we were on an affiliated tour. I guess the last thing to talk about are the activities on the ship. We did everything from laying around by the pool, to interactive TV style shows, as well as comedy and magic shows. I have to say, I was beyond impressed with the entertainment on the ship. The people who were brought in like the magician and comedian were excellent, but the actual Princess staff that kept us entertained by the pool were equally good. I know this is quite a detailed review, but I hope it helps to serve another first time cruiser well. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our first cruise, so it was all new to us. Having read previous reviews of this ship we did wonder if adverse comments were true. More of that later. We are an early 60s British couple recently retired, travelling with a ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so it was all new to us. Having read previous reviews of this ship we did wonder if adverse comments were true. More of that later. We are an early 60s British couple recently retired, travelling with a relative. The cruise was 16d/15n from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal, with stops in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Aruba. The ship was built in 2002 and refitted last year, with extra cabins added at the rear of Deck 7 Promenade. It is one of two built to Panamax size to suit the Canal, although larger ships can be taken when new locks and channels are commissioned later in 2016. Standard of fit out and furnishing was excellent, with much polished and varnished wood, chrome and marble. Maintenance continued throughout the voyage, and at each stop crew were on shore painting out rust and tug marks on the hull. Previous posters complained about the addition of cabins in the 2015 refit, cutting off the stern part of the Promenade Deck. This wasn't a problem for us when walking , as you could either turn around and walk a long U shape, or cross a landing to do full circuits. There were also comments about crowding in public areas, but we only found a problem in the breakfast buffet in Horizon Court at peak time. The answer was to order hot drinks, cereals and fruit from room service, then to have a cooked breakfast when the crowds had subsided. A daily news letter listed activities, talks and shows, with extra information sheets on destinations. There were also regular deliveries and reminders about "enrichment" (shopping) opportunities. It was irritating how Princess constantly tried to squeeze more money out of the passengers, through on-board shopping, wine tastings, photos and DVDs, the casino, and exorbitant behind the scenes tours at $150 each. Although we only saw a few shows they were varied and good quality. The food was varied and of good quality. Our dining option was the late sitting of fixed time, which gave time to relax and have a drink before dinner, especially after shore excursions. Although we three had asked to join a table of eight we were on our own for the first two nights. The Maitre D' then placed two other couples on the table with us after they changed their options. We like to think that he was proactive to ensure compatibility. The dress codes, including formal nights, were generally adhered to and enforced. Most passengers were American, with some Brits, Germans and Canadians, and generally older than us. Although there's a teenagers' area we only saw one young person and one toddler. Previous reviewers said that some staff were rude. Without exception, all staff were friendly, attentive and efficient. The only rude people we met were some passengers, who talked to staff as though they were inferior beings. Some vocabularies don't include "please" and "thank you". Doors to decks had stiff closers for obvious reasons, and when holding them open for passengers some didn't thank or even acknowledge me. It was irritating on shore excursions when passengers had loud conversations when guides were talking. A "sailaway" party was planned for departure, but was cancelled as we sailed away four hours late following a faulty software update on the ship's control systems. There were four sea days before the first stop at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, which gave us time to familiarise ourselves with the ship and to get over jet lag. A shore trip took us to to a coffee plantation and Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Both were worth seeing. At the next stop in Puntarenas we visited a rain forest where a modified ski lift takes passengers above the canopy. Tours started late as another cruise ship was moored at the same pier, and space was limited for coaches to reverse to the ships. The walk around Panama was interesting, when we anchored off Fuerte Amadore and were tendered ashore. At Cartagena and Aruba we decided to do our own thing. The cruise dock at the former is in a commercial port, but there's a shopping centre a short walk along the dock. Check out the emeralds, and haggling can reduce the marked price. Aruba's pier is next to the city, and there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to visit. The short time in port meant that some trips would have been rushed. Due to a late return flight to the UK we booked a disembarkation tour at Fort Lauderdale, cruising the Intercoastal Waterway before transferring to Miami airport. The coach driver and guide were confused about where to drop passengers for Virgin Atlantic, and dropped us at the furthest point. We then had a long trek through the airport with our luggage. It is worth paying to use an airport lounge, with drinks and snacks, as the catering provision in the airport is awful. Our cabin was one of only 8 mini-suites on the ship, with the same area as balcony cabins. There was some shuddering when sailing into heavier seas, and there was noise when docking due to being directly above the bow thrusters. In their wisdom Princess have put all laundromats at the stern, so the round trip from a bow cabin like ours to wash or iron was 500 metres. Given the number of sea days we paid for the all inclusive drinks package, which was value for money. If you tot up specialist coffees, bottled water for the cabin and excursions, cocktails before dinner, glasses of wine with, and liqueurs after it is worth it. Don't order bottled water from room service as you still have to pay for it. My wife lost a crown during the trip and I asked the front desk if treatment could be arranged during one of the stops. They never got back to us. We will definitely cruise again, and probably with Princess around the UK or to the Baltic, so the ships will be different. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We didn't pick this cruise for our first cruise. My family picked it and we decided to tag along. It was a nice ship, the staff were super, and I did enjoy it. But 5 days at sea were a little long for me. My sister thought it ... Read More
We didn't pick this cruise for our first cruise. My family picked it and we decided to tag along. It was a nice ship, the staff were super, and I did enjoy it. But 5 days at sea were a little long for me. My sister thought it wasn't long enough, so it is a matter of personal opinion. Overall, I had a wonderful time and would like to cruise again. The embarkation process was very easy, even for a newbie like me. We were directed to a line, which was moving very quickly to register and received e our cards. We then sat in a large room and waited for our boarding party to be called. I don't think we were sitting for 10 minutes. We had received a card saying the staterooms wouldn't be ready until after 1 and our bags could take a couple of hours. Our stateroom was ready as we approached with one suitcase sitting outside. The second arrived within 15 minutes. All in all, very easy. Disembarking was even easier. Due to the early hours of our flight, we were walking off. Scheduled for 7:45, we were actually in a taxi speeding our way to the airport by 7:30. Thank you Princess. We had the early seating in the Botticelli Dining Room. Although the selection of menu items wasn't large, I always found something I liked on it. One thing I didn't like was the temperature of the soup. It was lukewarm at best. I had steak on several occasions and always order it rare. It usually came medium rare, hence the reason I order it rare. A couple of time, we passed on the dining room because the men wanted to keep their shorts on (not allowed) and had dinner at the Horizon Court. Lots to choose from there. I walk a lot and was happy to see the walking track on the Promenade Deck. 2.5 times around for a mile. The first couple of times I used it were fine, but then the smokers came out. Why would they put the smokers area on the walking track? Poor planning on their part. Along the same vein, the casino needs a better ventilation system. I was only in it for a short period of time since the smoke was hanging. Loved the crew. Everyone was so helpful and efficient. They did sometimes seem overworked and my family (the experienced cruisers) said they usually see a lot more deck attendants and wait staff than we saw on this cruise. I hope to cruise again but not necessarily on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My parents treated me to my 1st ever cruise...a 7 day Mexican Riveria cruise from L.A. We had a mini-suite (Dolphin Deck - deck 9, and mid-ship) so it was a great location for a cabin. I was so not sure of what to expect, I expected to ... Read More
My parents treated me to my 1st ever cruise...a 7 day Mexican Riveria cruise from L.A. We had a mini-suite (Dolphin Deck - deck 9, and mid-ship) so it was a great location for a cabin. I was so not sure of what to expect, I expected to feel the motion of the ship way more than I did. Anyway, the ship was really nice, the cabin was great, big enough for 3 people, but would have been better for just 2, but anyway, the ship was nice, the food was amazing and the crew was friendly, attentive, helpful and always eager to please. Here are the negatives, at least for me: first, we went on Presidents Day weekend, AND it was also Valentines Day, so as a single, it was all families and couples - so BOO to that, nothing for a single girl to do. Second, the first 2.5 days we were at sea, that was brutal, there was nothing fun to do in the way of things I like, like there was no pool table, bowling alley, karoke bar, not even a big slide for the pool. What there was however, was a art auction (snooze), movies under the starts (played almost ALL kids movies), bingo, line dancing, knitting group meet up, etc, all stuff for old people (and I am 47), but c'mon. The casino was the only saving grace, but they allowed people to SMOKE in there ! Ew - really ? The shows were not really interesting enough to even go see, except the comedian, but he was only on for like 40 minutes. Overall, the boat was nice, the crew was great, our cabin was pretty big, but if you are a single person, this is probably not the cruise line for you. I will most likely not cruise again, or maybe go with friends and not for 7 days. ***Side Note*** for those of you who do not know, cruise ship employees work about 91 hours a WEEK! I have a friend who is a Cruise Ship Director and that is what she has told me, so if you go - please try to remember that and treat them nicely. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We'd been interested in cruising for a while and some friends recommended Princess for a quiet cruise with good food and not too many party animals! When this came up at a very good price for the 7 nights (Singapore-Ko Samui-Laem ... Read More
We'd been interested in cruising for a while and some friends recommended Princess for a quiet cruise with good food and not too many party animals! When this came up at a very good price for the 7 nights (Singapore-Ko Samui-Laem Chabang-Phu My-Singapore) I couldn't resist. Overall, I was very impressed with the Sapphire Princess and her crew. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and efficient; staff were helpful, competent and friendly; the ship was very clean; they obviously took hygiene seriously, with plenty of reminders about hand washing and insisting people used the hand clean before getting food in the buffet; our stateroom had a comfortable bed (although pillows were lumpy) and enough storage; and most of the food was very good. We liked the anytime dining option, and used it for 6 of the 7 nights. The staff in the Santa Fe seemed the most efficient, we didn't have to wait as long for a table as we did in the Pacific Moon or Savoy, and the service was better. The only real disappointment was the meal on the last night when we had overcooked mussels, and third-rate frozen deserts. To be fair, when we mentioned this to the Maitre d', he was very apologetic and offered to get us alternatives. Other than that, meals were good enough that I couldn't resist 3 courses when I'd normally just have one. We ate in Sabatini's (extra US$25pp) one night, also very good, particularly the lobster. Drinks were restaurant/bar prices, which with the poor AUD and 15% gratuities made them expensive, although it wasn't worth our while to buy the beverage package. I gather that's much the same as other cruise lines. We didn't drink a great deal, but we do like a beer before dinner and a glass of wine with it... the occasional cocktail... which ate up a fair bit of our onboard credit. Breakfast in the buffet was reasonable, with excellent omelettes. However, when we discovered the breakfast in the International Dining Room was better we realised we should have taken that option all cruise. Will know next time! Speciality coffees were very good at the International Cafe (we bought coffee cards) and the cakes/pastries were delicious. I should have asked for the recipe for the gluten-free pineapple fruit cake. Or maybe not. Still a few kilos to lose... We only came across one grumpy staff member (he was in the International cafe) all cruise. Our cabin steward, Jay, was excellent - always available when we needed him but not intrusive. The shore days were a mixed bag. We're not into organised sightseeing so didn't go on any tours. We'd prefer to stay a few days in a place, amble around and get to know it so one day was always going to be unsatisfactory for us. On the plus side, we had a pleasant walk and good Thai lunch in Ko Samui, and we found out we didn't like Pattaya without committing to a longer holiday. Vietnamese New Year restricted us in Phu My. Although it was interesting to see the market in Ba Ria (delapidated free shuttle bus to/from ship put on by the town!) not much else was open. We had a look at some of the shows on the boat (music, some apparently disconnected song-and-dance compilations, and a magician) but we weren't attracted by them enough to stay and watch. Not sure if this was sub-par or they just weren't our type of show. Next time I'd pay more attention to the enrichment activities, though, because they one I did get to (Head Chef/Maitre d' cooking demonstration and galley tour) was good. They were very polished and I learned a few things about dishes I thought I knew how to cook! The gym was well-equipped and, together with using the stairs rather than lifts, probably saved me from looking like a beach ball by the end. We did 5 work outs!!! So, we'd cruise Princess again. I'd do another cruise to Asia if I could get this good a deal, but plan on staying on the boat for shore days unless there was something I really wanted to see. What I'd really like to do now though is cruise Alaska so I can see the wildlife and that scenery :) :) Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My first cruise, just wanted a short, relaxing getaway to see if I would enjoy it. Used EZAir and Princess Transfer, which were very smooth despite my flight getting cancelled and replaced by another. I was on the ship within 90 minutes ... Read More
My first cruise, just wanted a short, relaxing getaway to see if I would enjoy it. Used EZAir and Princess Transfer, which were very smooth despite my flight getting cancelled and replaced by another. I was on the ship within 90 minutes of landing at LAX. There were plenty of helpful staff at the airport and the cruise terminal and almost no lines anywhere. In general the ship was very nice, clean, did not feel crowded (except for maybe the Piazza), and easy to navigate. There were plenty of friendly and helpful crew around. The other passengers were to my liking: friendly and not too rowdy. Entertainment was okay: a comedian whom I found hilarious and a nice dance show, but the comedy/juggling act one night (called Team Rootberry) was shockingly bad. Food was good and plentiful. I am a vegetarian and ate well for the most part, though I think my head waiter could have been more helpful with dinner choices (I've written a separate review with pictures here http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=49150111). Pizza was good, but I don't know why it's been called "the best pizza at sea" unless pizza on other cruise lines is just bad. Room service was good, though I wish they had more vegetarian choices, and the room service breakfast, while simple, was prompt and nice to be able to eat on the balcony. I didn't participate in many excursions as I just wanted to relax on the boat. The tour to La Bufadora in Ensenada was nice. I also didn't attend many enrichment activities onboard, except one health seminar that was more an advertisement for a detox program offered by the spa. I had a nice massage, but probably not worth the cost just to have it on a boat. Disembarkation was good, although less smooth than embarkation. Again, I was at the airport within 90 minutes of my disembarkation time. Princess requests that passengers not arrive at their assigned meeting place for disembarkation early, so I arrived two minutes early only to find that my group had already left. For some reason crew is scant during disembarkation and I couldn't find anyone to ask where I should go. Not a big deal but a little frustrating. Overall, a relaxing cruise with good service for a reasonable price. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our 1st cruise and overall it was very enjoyable. The voyage began in Fort Lauderdale, took us thru the Panama Canal and ended in Los Angeles. Our room was very comfortable with lots of storage. The food and the service were ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise and overall it was very enjoyable. The voyage began in Fort Lauderdale, took us thru the Panama Canal and ended in Los Angeles. Our room was very comfortable with lots of storage. The food and the service were very good. The shows were entertaining and things were very well organized when it came to getting us on and off the ship. Watching movies under the stars was fun. The staff were very professional and attentive. The aspects we least enjoyed: - the constant vibration in our room from the ship's engines (Deck 11, room B737) - the extras we had to pay (soda, bottled water, juice, classes in the gym, cover charge for specialty dining rooms). We felt "nickeled and dimed". - two nights of rough seas (very uncomfortable and unsettling) - the passengers were generally older than we are, so not too many onboard activities appealed to us (e.g. bingo, playing cards, art auctions) - the daily sales pitches (ship's newspaper and announcements) to buy their jewelry and art. - wait lines for "any time dining" - crowds at the bars for "happy hour", service was slow (drinks were excellent) - crowds at the theatre (had to line up early to get in, 30-40 minutes) - not being able to walk the skip's outdoor decks for exercise purposes. The addition of over 100 rooms in 2015 means common spaces have been reduced and the upper decks are chopped up so you can't walk uninterrupted from one end of the ship to the other. - broken equipment in the gym and no staff to report issues to. - small shower, stained shower curtains that stick to you as you turn around in the shower Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My husband and I and my daughter in her twenties cruised to Eastern Caribbean for 7 days with Emerald cruise embarked on Jan 30th 2016. We had a fantastic time. Our steward Edward was very polite and efficient. We didn't see him ... Read More
My husband and I and my daughter in her twenties cruised to Eastern Caribbean for 7 days with Emerald cruise embarked on Jan 30th 2016. We had a fantastic time. Our steward Edward was very polite and efficient. We didn't see him much, just a few times in the hallway, but our room always got cleaned in the morning and the up bed was put down for us in the evening. We were amazed how he knew that were not in the room and got everything done so well. Our waiter Narisak, who is from Thailand, was very fast and knowledgeable and considerate, took his job very seriously. Food was good, service was unbeatable. Neal, the cruise directer, was on TV everyday, and showed up on the performance in the theater each evening, he was really funny, had us laugh a lot. The beach at each port was beautiful. We didn't book any excursions, just got off ship whenever we were ready and took a taxi to tour the island ourselves. Of course, we payed much more this way. We had a good time for our first cruise, will cruise often with princess in the coming years. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was my first time on a cruise although not my first time in New Zealand. Was looking for a relaxing no-fuss holiday and this pretty much fit the bill. I'll start by noting that towards the end of the trip we were alerted to a ... Read More
This was my first time on a cruise although not my first time in New Zealand. Was looking for a relaxing no-fuss holiday and this pretty much fit the bill. I'll start by noting that towards the end of the trip we were alerted to a gastro outbreak on the ship that made the news once we disembarked. The crew were very professional, gave regular updates and did everything possible to manage the spread of the virus - most notably no more self-service in the buffet and extra cleaning. Unfortunately some passengers didn't follow directions and apparently left quarantine (rather inconsiderate of them) or failed to report they were sick. Service was great. The room steward kept everything clean and tidy, food service was generally very good with some waiters making jokes and chatting to passengers and maintaining good cleanliness. The crew manning the activities had a great attitude and seemed to enjoy what they were doing. We initially had traditional dining but found the time inconvenient (we had selected 8pm for dinner) and so switched to anytime dining. Parts of the menu changed daily so there was variety but we probably split our dinner between the dining rooms and buffet at Horizon Court depending on what was on the menu and how much time we had to eat (it takes longer to eat in the dining room than the buffet). I sometimes found the dessert in the dining room better and the food is fresher. However the buffet has enormous variety and also changes daily with different nationality themes. I also liked the Trident Grill and Pizzeria which I went to for lunch when on the ship. Food was fantastic and you can definitely eat too much. We had an interior room which was fine for us since we spent little time in it and didn't miss the balcony. Being near Horizon Court meant food/water was only a short staircase away from our rooms (very convenient). The room had a power point that accepted Australian equipment so no adapter was necessary. There are plenty of different activities for those so inclined (even on shore days) such as trivia, demonstrations, games, dance/ukelele/singing groups. On the second last day some of the groups performed. There are many more other activities and a daily newsletter lists all of them. They showed maybe 2-3 movies up on the deck every day of different genres and I enjoyed quite a few of them. There were various musical performances in the bars and atrium. Each night there were performances either by the Princess singers and dances or guest performers. The Princess productions were a bit too loud and hyper for me, I'd say Bravo is the only one that was really good and not to be missed. For the Princess cast shows, we had to get there almost 30mins before the start to get a seat. The guest performers were a bit of a hit or miss but I think a lot of it is just down to different tastes and preferences. If you're a book worm I suggest bringing your own books as I didn't find the library had much to offer (but does have lots of board games). For those wanting a slower pace there was usually space out on the open deck and lots of corners in the various bars to tuck yourself away. I found the walk around the ship on level 7 very pleasant and quite a few people did daily laps. So how you spend your time on the ship is really up to you. My friend packed her day with activities and met lots of people whereas I tended to look for solitude whether watching a movie on deck or just gazing out at the ocean and walking around (with a few activities sprinkled here and there). You will probably meet and bump into people a few times over as depending on your group size you might share a table during meals. The destination/port lecturer we had (Linda) was fantastic and if she's on your cruise I recommend going to her talks (they also put them on the TV). We stopped at Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Akaroa/Christchurch, Port Chalmers/Dunedin, Fiordland National Park (cruising). Fairly good selection of ports and luckily the weather was with us so we made it to all of them and had fairly stable cruising. We mostly did our own thing rather than organised shore excursions however the ones we did do were well organised (Hobbiton and Antarctic Centre). Christchurch CBD is still very much under construction with lots of vacant buildings. Dunedin is very small. Some of the touristy places took NZD, AUD and USD. Bring a lanyard so you can wear your cruise card around your neck and not lose it. Bring a secondary government ID (e.g. driver licence) as you need it to get back on the ship (if you don't want to take your passport on shore excursions). A lot of the public areas in NZ had free wi-fi. The ship wi-fi is expensive but worked pretty well. All in all it was a good experience for a first cruise. Good value considering transportation, accommodation and food is all included. You are somewhat restricted by time/port location but it was a worthwhile trade-off in this instance. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Positives: The Regal Princess is a beautiful ship. We had a Suite which was fabulous - lots of room, full size bathtub and shower, nice balcony, complimentary mini-bar, complimentary cover charge for Sabatini's restaurant on ... Read More
Positives: The Regal Princess is a beautiful ship. We had a Suite which was fabulous - lots of room, full size bathtub and shower, nice balcony, complimentary mini-bar, complimentary cover charge for Sabatini's restaurant on embarkation day, fresh orchids and fresh fruit delivered twice during the 7-day cruise, wonderful room steward, other perks, etc.. We were "living large" for first-timers! The many people we met were very friendly and had been on multiple cruises so they gave us the lowdown on all the questions we asked. There were very few "20 somethings" and very few families with small children - I would say 75% of the cruisers were over 60 years old. Perhaps it's because we sailed the second week of January after the school year had started (?) We were considered the young ones in our mid-fifties! Food is great - traditional dining and buffets were plentiful. Room service food (especially hot breakfast) could use some help. Don't get the $50 a day booze drink card unless you drink a lot - lesson learned for me as I thought it was a good value, but I ended up only drinking a glass of wine on four of the cruise days. I don't know why I thought I'd drink more than I normally do at home, but whatever. Entertainment is great - we saw traditional shows with orchestra, singing, some dancing and these artists are just as talented as shows we've seen in large city- based productions. On board activities - there is something for everyone to do or you can ignore all the hustle/bustle and lay on a deck chair or sit on your balcony with a book. Shore excursions - St. Thomas: We did Magen's Bay/Blackbeard's Castle tour which was fun. I wish I could have spent all day at Magen's Bay - it was so beautiful. St. Maarten: We did a snorkeling/island tour/beach stop excursion. Weather was a bust, and the snorkeling was weak/crowded, but the boat tour was fun as the captain and first mate had cocktails, music, and knew some history of the island - plus they had great personalities which made it fun. Negatives: Our prepaid airport to hotel transportation package on the night we arrived was messed up - we waited for (40) minutes after our luggage pickup and the Princess bus still wasn't there (even after the rep called them 3 times) so we hoofed it to the Taxi pick up zone and spent $20 to get us to our hotel. The other people waiting for the bus were much older than us and couldn't easily walk to the Taxi zone so I don't know how much longer they waited for the bus. Once on board my husband discussed transport issue with the Princess rep, but was told it was our problem to resolve with our travel agent. Not cool. The Princess Cays port day was a bust for us. The weather was rainy and there are a bazillion people laying right next to you, behind you and in front of you on the beach. I guess we are spoiled being San Diego area residents in that I need my "bubble of space" around me at the beach. If you like the people cluster - go for it. Next time I will skip that particular port day or find something less populated to do. Something went haywire with the ship's PA system at 4:45 am on disembarkation day so we were awakened to the full blast "ding-dong chiming sound" for about 15 minutes straight until the Captain's crew turned it off. We heard they were focused on getting the ship into Ft. Lauderdale's port at the time, so they couldn't respond to PA system failure. It woke everyone up and people were starting to worry if it was an emergency or not. I kept looking down the hallways to see all the other women with robes on asking each other what was going on. Shopping is really promoted on the ship and in the ports. If you aren't really a shopper, it can be overwhelming with the brochures, activities, and PA system announcements that you are bombarded with. Don't get me wrong though - if I had the resources to shop as a hobby - I would be right there in port with those ladies of leisure! All in all,our positive experiences outweighed the negatives. Overall it was a good experience and I think we will go on another cruise sometime in the future! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our first cruise and so we can't really compare with anything else. The cruise was SE Asia in January 2016. Depart Singapore 8/01 arrive back in Singapore 19/01. Positives The ship was great. Spacious, lots of ... Read More
This was our first cruise and so we can't really compare with anything else. The cruise was SE Asia in January 2016. Depart Singapore 8/01 arrive back in Singapore 19/01. Positives The ship was great. Spacious, lots of different bars and swimming pools, cafes, clubs and dining options. Our cabin (with balcony) was great - very clean, relatively spacious and modern. The bathroom was small but functional. Shower was excellent. I loved lying in bed with the balcony door open listening to the ocean. The TV entertainment was good - a good selection of movies, live TV and programmes. The public areas in the ship were also classy -really sparkling and clean. Carpets seemed new. Food was very good. I'm a bit critical when it comes to food and really enjoy going to good restaurants but the food on board was great - particularly bearing in mind how many people the kitchens have to serve each day. One restaurant (Horizon) was buffet style. The first day was disappointing for lunch - I was a bit concerned about what the food would be like for the rest of the cruise. But after that things really improved - for example a typical night would have maybe twenty or thirty choices and all very good. There were also nights when the chefs would cook food from a selection for you - for example one night you could select from prawns, scallops and squid (the scallops were fantastic) on another, chicken, steak or pork (in addition to the usual 20 or 30 choices). And you could have as much as you wished. The other dining option was sit down formal - again great food. I had lobster one night which was beautiful and I had it twice! Similar for scallops. You could also pay a $25 cover charge per person and opt for a speciality restaurant -eg crab shack, steak house etc. these were great - with as much as you could possibly want. Great cakes were available just about constantly, noodle bars appeared at lunchtime and there were two good pizza places and a burger grill. So, I could not fault the food. apart from: why is it not possible to serve regular non- UHT milk for coffees? Surely if you can freeze lobster, mussels, clams and steak you can freeze milk???? Some people like UHT but on a 5star cruise liner?!! Drinks I felt were reasonable in price (apart from the issue below). Beer was about US$6 plus 15%. But no particularly stand out quality options (subjective I know but for me they were all very bland). Cocktails were about $9 plus 15% and I really enjoyed these. Probably a little too much. The buy one get another for $1 happy hours were good deals. Drinks package was a little steep - I think it worked out to over US$50 per day - we didn't buy into this although it could have worked if we were both heavy drinkers. Housekeeping was faultless - immaculate morning and turn down before bed. Cabin was spotless So if you were happy to just look after yourself I think the Sapphire Princess is excellent. Negatives The service. And I suspect the management. As others have said the service on this boat was very ordinary and not becoming of a 4 or 5 star establishment. I've listed some examples below purely so as to illustrate the overall impression - none of the examples given should be weighted more than any other: 1. Scarce staff when setting up sun beds - no one rushed to help. Some sunbeds were left strapped up during the day and getting one was a challenge. (Forward on sun deck near to sanctuary if anyone's interested) 2. No one came round to ask us if we would like anything to eat or drink when on a sun bed - ever. And yet staff will harass you for photographs and you'll get bombarded to pay for extras such as paintings via flyers (see below). Even when we paid extra to be in the Sanctuary no one came round apart from to give us afternoon tea. It really felt like self service. Whilst I don't wish to be disturbed constantly, once or twice every hour would have been nice. 3. We called the "dining bookings" line to book a table for the steak restaurant one day and were put through to 4 different people - nobody seemed to know what was happening and nobody took any initiative to find out and get back to us - it seemed to be "how can I get rid of this call" not "How can I make this customer's life easier?" 4. Not sufficient waiting staff at busy times. Downstairs in the atrium, 5 o clock (international cafe?) and only two waitresses. We waited 20 minutes for our order (two coffees) and had to remind staff 3 times. 5. If you buy a bottle of wine and don't finish it then the ship will save it for you - and you can get it wherever you eat on the following nights by stating where you purchased it. Sounds great! We did this and were told that it would be kept in the Santa Fe dining room and that we just had to say this to the waiter in whichever restaurant we were in and it would be retrieved and brought to the table. The following night we went to the Sterling Steak House ($25 cover charge per person) and told the waiter where the wine was. After 10 minutes wait the waiter returned to say that the wine wasn't there. This to me was really poor, almost juvenile service. What should we do? Say "well it is!"? ("It isn't" "it is" etc etc) We waited a further 10 minutes and I was about to go down 8 decks to find it myself (by finding the waiter who took it off me) when they finally found it. But we were faced with the potential scenario of having to argue whether we'd finished the wine or not. It was very unprofessional of the waiting staff to tell us it wasn't there (and possibly the Santa Fe dining room for not finding it) Meanwhile we had to wait for the wine before we ordered. Which leads me to.... 6. There is no mechanism for receipts and the system is open to abuse. Yes they will store wine for you but they should give you a receipt for it to prove that this happened - we had a lucky escape. And no receipts are issued on board - crew could double enter purchases and you would never know. 7. My wife was spoken to very rudely by a maitre d one night. I won't name the restaurant or the person but we complained and nothing happened for nearly two days. Personally I think there should have been a quicker turn round in this. But also - and this is debatable- the maitre d telephoned our room to apologise. I'm not sure whether this is appropriate - i think management should have taken some responsibility and spoken to us. The person who has been complained about calling the room can be very confronting. But I'll leave that to everyone else's judgement. 8. In the terrace pool and the sanctuary pool there are clear signs saying "adults only". Yet we saw, on a number of occasions, kids in the pools. Not one staff member said anything apart from one Australian life guard who did the right thing and asked them to leave on one occasion. On one day a uniformed person (green seaman's outfit with stripes (an engineer?) was watching his wife and kids in the "adults only" terrace pool (back of the boat) (leam chabang day, princess cruises staff if you're reading this). (How do we know it was a family? Because the kids were calling him "daddy".) This to me is in itself minor but it suggests a deeper issue with standards and leadership. And it places staff who try to do the right thing in a difficult position. (How to tell customer kids to leave when staff kids are in the pool??) 9. On one day about 3 days in, we could not get our hot water to work in the shower. We telephoned housekeeping and never heard back from them for the remainder of the cruise! 10. General demeanour of staff was inconsistent. In the main it was positive and friendly but occasionally was brusque and cold. Someone in an earlier post mentioned nationality issues and I tend to agree - very generally speaking the most positive and friendly were from certain areas of the world and the cold and brusque from others. This i think again points to weak management and training. 11. Statement of account: we asked when a statement of account would be produced and was told by the passenger service desk that it would be delivered to our cabin on the evening of our penultimate day. By 11pm it was not there. By 8am on our final day it was (I assume it arrived over night) But get this, we were instructed to check out of the room by 8am on the last day AND the statement said that we had to query any issues BEFORE we disembarked because Princess Cruises would refuse to reimburse if we complained after we left. So essentially Princess expected us to stay awake until at least 11pm to receive our statement, then check it sometime between 11pm and 6.30am (at which point passenger services had closed for the night) and leave the ship by 8.00!! Goodness knows how this could work but it certainly wasn't very customer friendly. Other issues There was a really cynical approach to extracting cash from passengers. I felt that it was pestering - and had a negative impact on what should have been an oasis of relaxation after a day spent dealing with street vendors in SE Asian cities. Photographs in particular - everywhere we went on the boat or when leaving - someone was trying to take a photo of me for me to buy. And they were expensive (and constructed at a price point that encouraged you to buy more (e.g $49.98 for two photos but if you spend more than $50 then you get 3 free gifts; you couldn't spend a little bit more to get to $50 - it was significant). To give an idea of how much the company emphasises photos, one whole section of the starboard side was devoted to displaying photos. And in one newsletter (16th/17th Jan) the head of "photo and video" of the ship gave his views on life (the captain and other officers had a day each writing in the newsletter) and of course there were a couple of paragraphs encouraging you to buy yet more photos. I was interested in the captains views, and the chief navigator, even the executive chef - but the head of photo and video.....!?? Art galleries - I was absolutely fed up with receiving flyers and "personal invites" to art auctions. I'm on holiday. And I don't want to buy a Leica camera or a gemstone either. Bottled water - does the cruise line really have to charge $1 for a tiny bottle of water when leaving for a day ashore? They lost a lot of goodwill here. To me the boat should have been a 5 star hotel afloat. I've stayed in a lot of 5 star hotels but have never been pestered for photos or made to pay for the odd bottle of water. Gratuities: I appreciate that this is a geographical and cultural issue and is therefore controversial. It's also one that probably applies to all cruise lines but given the inconsistent service I didn't want to have $11 daily (each) added to my bill for gratuities "for my convenience". Either increase the prices to include decent wages for your staff (and let the market decide if your prices are still worth it) or let me decide who I want to tip. I tipped the housekeeping chap - he was consistently excellent and worked extremely hard. It seems that this is a real problem as an incentive - why should the rude and offensive guy in the restaurant get the same tips as the pleasant room cleaner? And why would people try to do their best for passengers when they're getting tips anyhow? The Sanctuary. This was an adults only area lounge at the front of the ship. It cost $20 per half day. I didn't mind paying this. What I did mind paying was the $3 delivery charge for food. This was again a cynical attempt at extracting extra cash. I'd already paid extra why should I have to pay again for a delivery charge for something that waiters should do as part of their job? In a hotel if I order food at the poolside I don't have to pay a delivery charge.... One minor one - "Sundaes" the ice cream parlour should be prosecuted under the trades descriptions act. It was soft serve ice cream in a cone. Chocolate, vanilla or both -no toppings. And not particularly nice. McDonald's is better. I ordered one bottle of wine during the cruise. It was a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc priced at US $27 and possibly the worst wine I have tasted since I was about 14 when I scraped a few coins together to get something cheap for a party. It smelt of sulphur, seemed to fizz on my tongue and left a metallic edge. Really dire and I was very disappointed that the cruise liner could serve this -.kind of affects the trust a bit. (And I wouldn't pay more than about $4 for this in a shop so God only knows what the mark up is) Information on days in port was weak. It came out in a newsletter about 10pm the night before docking and even then had patchy information - particularly if you wanted to do something independently. The really poor aspect was delivering clear information about how to get from the point of disembarkation to a central place where you could get a taxi or other transport. Shuttle buses were often provided but the context of this was poorly described. I formed the view that this was deliberate to get passengers to sign up to high price excursions (and at $240 for a Brunei day trip, some of these were extortionate) All of the above are relatively minor problems in themselves. But collectively - and they all occurred in a relatively short cruise of 11 days - they form an impression of a supposedly 4 or 5 star cruise. Other people we met on board complained about different issues - such as poor entertainment. This didn't bother us because we didn't go on the cruise to be entertained - we went to relax. But what appeared to be common to all was the general feeling of poor service - and "it's not my job". I think there's probably an issue with general organisational culture and management. Would I cruise again? Yes!! Overall it was a positive experience. I loved our cabin, the food and the physical aspects of the ship. Would I cruise with Princess again? From talking to other seasoned cruise people, probably not -.- I think there are better companies out there. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Our annual Christmas "escape" aboard Princess was a repeat cruise from 2014 on the (still) beautiful, if not flawed, Royal. The ship was in fine form with the usual elegant and understated Holiday decorations. The village ... Read More
Our annual Christmas "escape" aboard Princess was a repeat cruise from 2014 on the (still) beautiful, if not flawed, Royal. The ship was in fine form with the usual elegant and understated Holiday decorations. The village carolers in Dickensian attire greeted us, a foreshadowing of the excellent musical talent aboard this cruise. Embarkation was fine - a bit chaotic in the cavernous reception area but preferred check-in softened any stress from the load-in. As always, the attendants were courteous and efficient. We chose this cruise over the Emerald Princess cruise to the ABC's - favorite destinations of ours - due to our positive experience on the Royal last year. It took a little getting used to, but overall we think this ship is quite nice. Without much detail, the cruise was wonderful throughout. The entertainment, particularly the the musicians - both ship's band and guest musicians - was outstanding, the best overall of any Princes cruise and we've been on 20. Of particularly note was Ship's band leader Dave and his fine crew. Dave organized a couple of special Christmas shows and were they special indeed! Dave and the rest of the musical cast put on a great show in the Piazza. We were lucky enough to catch the rehearsal as well. The ship's band was complemented by the fine Argentinian quartet (forgot their name) featuring the lovely Pascale on vocals, the irrepressible Federico on bass, a fine drummer, and the amazing Juan on Piano (sorry about the names, guys). Also in the show was the steel drum player, an accomplished professional, Tyrone; and the excellent party band The New Deal. Classing the place up a bit was the wonderful Liberty String Quartet, featuring their amazing violinists. Dave pulled off a terrific job in getting all these fine musicians playing together for a truly memorable show. The sometimes nightly jazz shows at the Wheelhouse also featured most of these players. At one, a fantastic vocalist named Rebecca joined in for three songs, including the challenging Nature Boy, to fine results. I spent the most ink on this aspect of the cruise because they really deserve to be remembered. We enjoyed speaking with Federico, Tomas (the fine ship's guitarist) and Juan at the jazz shows - they are really great guys. We ate at the Concerto DR for 9 of the nights (anytime opened at 7:30pm here) and were served professionally and cordially by Manual and Kedek, who worked together flawlessly. A lovely greeter on one of her first cruises, Raqual, became a familiar face to us each night at the Concerto. We loved her warm, genuine spirit! The food was overall, very good. Plates arrived warm and as ordered each night. The first formal we opted for an earlier dinner at the Symphony and that experience quickly drew us back to Manual, Kedek, and Raqual -well worth the wait until 7:30! We had the Chateaubriand which was delicious and rare, the duck, a wonderful pork rib chop, turkey on Christmas, and my favorite overall dish: Sea scallops over Ratatouille which was sublime with perfectly cooked scallops over a flavorful melange of vegetables. Well done! At the chef's presentation in the theater, the British chef aboard prepared this dish so I now am on the hook to replicate. We usually eat the Grill or Sabatini's, but we were intrigued enough by the posted menus each day to dine in the MDR, and we're happy we did. One soft note was the soups - so terrific last year - bland this year. My wife observed that they removed the over salting fortunately and that probably made some of the difference. One exception to this was the appetizer of pate and mushroom bisque one night which was another highlight. We skipped the Cay this trip due to rough seas in favor of the Retreat area, also repeated this in Dominica and Grenada. Grenada this year was a quick stop in the early AM. We slept in most days preferring Room service for breakfast. The Retreat area was our preferred onboard hangout, except on sea days when we avoid the pool areas altogether (it helps to live in FL). Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
The steward was absolutely amazing. He was so polite and friendly. He was thorough and aimed to please. I was lucky my cabin was on a higher deck as there were a couple of rough days but I didn't spend much time in the cabin. My ... Read More
The steward was absolutely amazing. He was so polite and friendly. He was thorough and aimed to please. I was lucky my cabin was on a higher deck as there were a couple of rough days but I didn't spend much time in the cabin. My fave part was the Lido deck where the Movies under the stars was. That was one of my fave activities. I did participate in karaoke one night and used the gym. Both were excellent. I felt as if some of the daily activities were targeted towards an older audience so I didn't participate in them but the movies were good. I would have liked to have stopped in Wellington instead of Picton. Overall though I loved this ship with a range of restaurants and bars, but the Lido Deck restaurants and cafes were best. There was one night where the food could have been better in the Horizon Court and by the last day it was starting to wear thin, more choices would've been good. I also noticed a funny taste in the water provided from the machines. I'm not sure if that was just a personal taste thing or if others have experienced that too. As I say though, I'd happily cruise with Princess again because the service was excellent and there were good movie choices on the stateroom TV if just hanging out in there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our first cruise, so we really didn't know what to expect. After what I was told was a fairly long wait to get on board (I did not know this at the time), I went to explore the ship and have some lunch. I found a very good ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we really didn't know what to expect. After what I was told was a fairly long wait to get on board (I did not know this at the time), I went to explore the ship and have some lunch. I found a very good range of food at the Horizon Court. We had booked an inside cabin on deck 6, so after lunch we went to look at it. Small but adequate is now I would describe it. We did not intend to spend a lot of time in there, so it was not going to be a problem. The first night sleeping was not too good, the A/C was very drying on my nose, I must remember to take a fess frequent flyer spray with my next time to moisturize the nasal cavities... I have since spoken to a lot of people who had balconies who tell me that they had their doors open most of the time, as the A/c was playing up with them too!. I have actually ended up with a very bad throat infection. It started out as a dry cough, then sore throat, now a day after getting of the ship it is fully in my head nose throat and chest! Not good. I was told that a lot of people were having the same symptoms and some of the staff had it too! The ship has sailed off to New Guinea yesterday afternoon, I wonder how many will be sick while on it up there? Entertainment was excellent, the singers and dancers were so full of energy, and I also enjoyed the lady entertainer Maggie... Saw most of her shows! I did miss out on seeing the Elvis Impersonator, I was disappointed when I found out how great he had been! Champagne bay was lovely... Clear beautiful water, locals were cooking up lobsters for sale and I bought a few little things from the markets and a sweet piece of pineapple to eat. Photos with birds, snakes, turtles and lizards where some of the offerings from the locals. We were in Port Vila for 2 days so we really got to explore the area. We hired a taxi for the 2 days with the same driver. 4 people $50 each, each day. He took us to the Tanna coffee roasting factory, the secret gardens and shopping in town for duty free the first day. Second day was a trip around the whole island, we saw a lot of the destruction from the cyclone they had had in May 2015, took pictures from the top of hills and visited the hot springs, they had been hit badly with the cyclone but we still had a dip in the pool, just like a hot bath... very relaxing. Next we visited the Blue lagoon, had a swim and some of my party were swinging off the ropes and dropping into the water, we all had a fantastic time! Next was Lifu, we started to walk around, not really knowing where things were. I wanted to go tot he vanilla plantation, but the others wanted to go swimming. We went on a 2 hour tour with a local lady in her car, went past the catholic church, to the little shops (Hardware and supermarket) and to the beach. It was a very windy day, so only 1 of our party had a swim, the rest of us just walked the beach. I must say that Lifu was not my favourite island. Mystery island was next, very small island that is not inhabited. (No one lives there as they say it is haunted!) The surrounding islander people only come over to make their markets. All of the same items that I had already seen on the other islands, nothing different. Weather was drizzly rain the whole time, my husband went back to the ship before the others in my group and was stranded on a tender for 1.5 hours. No one's fault the engines were playing up, he did get some nice chocolates for his trouble though! THe last stop was Noumea, I must say that this was my favourite! We took the Tchou Tchou train around and saw a lot, it was a guided tour and was most informative. I would highly recommend to anyone!! Next we got on the "hop on hop off" bus and went to the aquarium. Very nice, although I did feel a bit sad for the sea turtles in there big tank. 2 more days at sea and then home to brisbane, Disembarkation was very smooth and quick. All in all, I really enjoyed the cruise, i just hate the fact that I am now sick with this throat infection that I am sure was caused from the A/C. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Embarkation and disembarkation were handled very efficiently. We had a mini-suite and were extremely happy with our stateroom. Beds were extremely comfortable. We ate most nights at Traditional dining....great food, the part of ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation were handled very efficiently. We had a mini-suite and were extremely happy with our stateroom. Beds were extremely comfortable. We ate most nights at Traditional dining....great food, the part of the menu that was changed daily was not repeated on any night. Horizon Food Court had so much choice, all fresh....Didn't like their toast, it was under-cooked and dry. Everything else was fab. Due to weather conditions the last port @ Dunedin was cancelled and also the scenic cruising through the Fiordland National Park was cancelled, much to our disappointment. We had also missed out porting at Gisborne. That meant we had a total of 8 sea days with only 4 port days. I found the sea days extremely boring. The day activities were really directed towards our age group. Couldn't wait to get off the ship by the end. Night entertainment was fantastic, whether it was a show or a band. The bar staff were also great in any of the bars. I selected "average" for "Value for money" as we didn't had so many sea days, and you didn't get offered a refund in any way. We were offered discounts (and good ones) for any future cruises we want to book! However, if you don't want to go on another cruise, because no matter when or where you go, you cannot control the weather!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We booked single ocean view rooms aft on deck adjacent to terrace pool. Cruise cost double however having this great location and our own space was great. The crew gets an A+. The most friendly and accommodating of any Cruiseline ... Read More
We booked single ocean view rooms aft on deck adjacent to terrace pool. Cruise cost double however having this great location and our own space was great. The crew gets an A+. The most friendly and accommodating of any Cruiseline experienced. Dining was a big disappointment. All hot food was mostly cold and soggy surprisingly in all dining rooms. Be aware that main dining room seatings are just two times. Our request for 6:00pm and a table for two was not honored. In fact we were pre assigned to a table for ten. Unlike many of our friends who have cruised before, we are not cruising to make new friends and experience "what's your major, what's your minor conversations. Call me a snob , but it is my trip, too. The Star Princess is not the newest ship, however, the decor is beautiful and the ship's interior is meticulusly maintained. Surprisingly, there were 285 out of about 2600 cruisers who were children. We never saw them except perhaps at the Horizon Court. Princess really took care of the little ones. Or, perhaps their wonderful parents have brought them up respecting adults. This little get-a-way is delightful. Cheaper than a one-way flight from Vancouver to LA. Appreciated the Princess organization culture throughout ship and especially during embarkation and disembarkation. I would love to have given the Star a "5" however, the cold and soggy food even in the specialty dining rooms is unacceptable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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