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313 Princess Southampton Cruise Reviews

Have sailed with Princess twice before, so knew what to expect. Had been on the sister ship, Diamond Princess, so the layout was very familiar I chose a balcony at the rear of the ship, as it is an nice quite place Embarkation at ... Read More
Have sailed with Princess twice before, so knew what to expect. Had been on the sister ship, Diamond Princess, so the layout was very familiar I chose a balcony at the rear of the ship, as it is an nice quite place Embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, with two items of luggage waiting when we got to the cabin, with the final item some twenty minutes later The cabin was attended throughout by Sdravko, who was most pleasant, efficient and unobtrusive. It was a pleasure. A nice touch was having a kettle. With so many from the UK on board, this was much better for making tea I think the beds have been upgraded from my last trip as they were much more comfortable than before. The same with the pillows. This is a good improvement For most of the trip, I dined in the Pacific Moon dining room, looked after by Sebastien and Luis, who did a professional job The menu was much as before. The same four Curtis Stone dishes popped up often several times during the journey. I had the pork belly on one occasion, which was ok, but not as good as before, not being crispy. Surely he can supply some new recipes after even the three years I have been using Princess? Most nights the food was good. There were occasional misses, but that's to be expected. I was happy with the food supplied The cafeteria on the 14th deck was as expected. I never tried it in the evening, but it was ok for breakfast and a light lunch. One puzzling thing though, was that on a far eastern cruise, smoked salmon was available for breakfast nearly every day. On this cruise in Northern Europe from the UK and from Alaska, it wasn't, which I found strange On the last night, I ordered a plate of "luxury" canapes to have with a bottle of Champagne. I did wonder at the low £14.99 + service cost, but assumed they must be ok. They were disappointing and I've included a photograph. The bread circles were quite dry and unbuttered. The breadstick with the prosciutto wrapped around it was soft and stale and there was none of the promised pate de foie. I tried them, but wouldn't again I didn't make any of the shows, but was impressed with the on demand movies available in the cabin. This is a great improvement on before and I enjoyed catching up with some newish releases. Moving to a flat screen TV is welcome, but left the space where the old cathode set used to be as an odd empty space. It did at least provide another power outlet.This needs remodelling Getting on and off the boat in port was very smooth, as a foot passenger, or on the one Princess tour I took. So much better than the experience with a different cruise company last October Now for the not-so-good: After a busy couple of days, my companion didn't fancy dinner the embarkation evening, so I went to the Santa Fe dining room alone and was accommodated. I ordered a bottle of Sancerre, had two small glasses, expecting to finish it on my next visit. I asked the chap who served it to put it on ice as it needed cooling further. He served me both of the glasses I had. The following evening, I didn't fancy wine, having had good beer in Bruges. I did mention that I had a bottle saved. The third night I missed dinner, but the fourth night, I asked for some more from the bottle. This was in the Pacific Moon dining room, as apparently the Santa Fe wasn't accepting "anytime dining". There was trouble locating the remains of the bottle, but the head waiter, was apologetic, offering two complimentary glasses while they searched The following evening I again asked for the remains of the bottle, but again it couldn't be found, so two more complimentary glasses were supplied. The head waiter again was very helpful, apologising that the bottle couldn't be found, promising some of the "chef's special limoncello" the following evening. I'm not keen so never did take this up. I gave up on the bottle being found, so ordered more for the remainder of the trip I was at the reception desk for a different reason and mentioned this missing bottle. They said they would contact the dining room to investigate. A short while later, a message was waiting for me from the head waiter who had been searching for the bottle. He said that the waitress'who had served me that first evening, told him I finished all the wine. I have on occasion finished a bottle of wine while dining alone, but not on this occasion, the first night. I was also disappointed as the waitress hadn't served the wine, just her assistant. That evening I was again offered complimentary glasses of wine, but I declined, as I had a bottle started. I should have taken a receipt, but haven't always in the past and haven't had a problem before. Whether the waitress was mistaken or being dishonest, I couldn't say. Later in the cruise I checked my on board account and noticed I had been charged twice for another bottle of wine. It was explained as an accounting error, caused by having to move the bottle from one dining room to another. This shouldn't happen though and it makes me wonder for those who don't check their accounts how often it happens This time I only booked one tour with Princess. Previously, I've booked all, but on this occasion, I was astonished at the prices charged. For instance, a round trip transfer from Zeebrugge to Bruges, through a different provider was around $20/person. Princess were asking $79/person. This seemed to be the same throughout the itinerary, so I booked independently. Possibly the most striking example was tickets for the ballet at the Mariinsky in St Petersburg. My tour guide purchased the tickets- good ones, for about $90/head, took us to the theatre and arranged for a port taxi to pick us up for a cost of around $30, which she said was extortionate. A total of just over $200 for the both of us. Princess were offering similar, admittedly with a glass of champagne and a tour of the theatres prior to the performance, for the grand sum of £299/person- three times the cost. I was talking to an elderly English about the tour costs and she agreed, but said she felt she had to order from Princess, just to be safe The one tour we took was in Gdansk and included a walking tour of the town and a trip to Malbork Castle. I chose this tour as it was about the longest on offer and included two lots of free time, one at each stop. There was a lunch included, that I thought we could miss, if we needed further free time The time was extremely tight on the tour, with only ten minutes given for free time in the city centre and five at the castle. The lunch, which was very good, by the way, was at a convention hotel off a motorway, so there was no reason to miss the lunch, as nothing to see. We got back to the ship just around 15:20, with all passengers due to be on board by 15:30. We weren't the last bus back If time is going to be that tight, tours of that length shouldn't be offered. The tour was interesting, but being so rushed didn't help One final issue from before boarding, was that I contacted Princess and asked if it would be possible to block casino access for our shipboard accounts. I was told that this wasn't possible, as it would block access to everything for our accounts and that I should contact the casino manager after embarkation to see what might be done. I very nearly cancelled the entire cruise after receiving this answer. I was told, by guest services on board, that you can choose from a menu of what services you don't want to access, be it casino, shops, spa etc. I think it odd the cruise consultant wasn't aware of this Overall, whatever you may think of the above, the experience was fine. I intend to use Princess again in the future, but will not be shy about exploring other lines or checking the services offered on board Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Whilst we've had good experiences on former Princess cruises, we've never been on a Crown-class ship. We selected the cruise entirely for the itinerary & we loved all the ports visited but I'm afraid we were rather ... Read More
Whilst we've had good experiences on former Princess cruises, we've never been on a Crown-class ship. We selected the cruise entirely for the itinerary & we loved all the ports visited but I'm afraid we were rather disappointed with the ship & its services (except for the dining rooms that had great waiters as always). 1. The first day tendering was horrendous, waited more than 2 hours to get on a tender boat cutting our time on shore & we didn't get to see much. But what made it worse was the constant blaming on others by the Crown staff - "we don't operate the tender boat; we have no say etc etc" Then in the evening the cruise director said "at 6 am there were no one & what can we do when 2000 people showed up all at once at 9 ? Hope you know what to do on our next tender port " Although she said it half jokingly but it left a really sour note with us !! Wouldn't they had anticipated it ? Couldn't they at least made passengers feel better by talking to us nicely ? 2. The cabin rooms: showing aging signs everywhere. Wood stains on the balcony were chipped & faded; shower curtain stained & smelly; no luggage mat to pack or unpack. 3. Went on 1 ship's excursion only & again the organization was terrible. We were told to wait at one area but it really was another. We were herded around & we paid almost $200 each for the experience! Its such poor management & unfriendly customer handling, you would think they had never done excursions before! 4. Entertainment was so-so except for the great final performance by the ship's ensemble. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
At the completion of this cruise my wife and myself have taken 4 cruises with 2 cruise lines and have 26 nights at sea with Princess. The on board part of the cruise were very good but all performance with respect to excursions and ... Read More
At the completion of this cruise my wife and myself have taken 4 cruises with 2 cruise lines and have 26 nights at sea with Princess. The on board part of the cruise were very good but all performance with respect to excursions and departing the ship in part ranged from average to totally unacceptable. With respect to our shore excursions that were 100% purchased thru Princess we found the excursions were misrepresented by the description. The worst was the GCI210A German Military Occupation in Guernsey. The German Military Hospital was a series of empty tunnels that were equivalent to walking thru a sewer system. The other stop was a small museum. This excursion cost $140.00 per person. When I talked to the excursion staff on board the Crown Princess and Princess Cruises I was blown off. Most of the other excursions did not allow sufficient time at a location to see the points of interest. When at Blarney Castle the line to get to the Blarney Stone was longer than the total time on site. Forget seeing the gardens or Woolen Mill. We also had our all day tour of Dublin cancelled while on the cruise. This really opened my eyes as we did Dublin on our own and saw more that an expensive all day excursion would have offered. Getting off the ship in port was so very poor. We meet several people at dinner that missed 3rd party all day excursions to Paris because they could not get off the ship. Based on my experiences and the being treating very poorly by Princess Cruises personnel we no longer view Princess Cruises as our preferred cruise supplier.We will only use them on an exception basis. If we book a future Princess Cruise we will not book any excursion thru Princess Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I have sailed on many ships over the last few years P&O, Cunard, Royal carribean and Fred Oslen but Sapphire Princess April 27th 2019 was my first cruise with Princess and the first time I've felt the need to write a ... Read More
I have sailed on many ships over the last few years P&O, Cunard, Royal carribean and Fred Oslen but Sapphire Princess April 27th 2019 was my first cruise with Princess and the first time I've felt the need to write a review. Bad weather initially delayed our departure from Southampton and resulted in the cancelation of our first port of call which is no fault of the ship but it marked the begging of a cruise plagued with problems. Our Inside room was suffocatingly stuffy even with the aircoditioning at full blast to a point that after 30 minutes inside we began to feel like we couldn't breath and there was not enough oxygen in the room. This it seems was a problem also suffered by others who had to frequently spend the entire night sleeping in the conservatory section of The upper deck with bedding and pillows. After complaints were made to the front desk an engineer visited the cabin and fully opend the air-conditioning vent that had been closed to less than 30%. But this revealed the reason the vent had been closed in the first place, Water was now running down the walls from a crack at the top. Leaks were not isolated to our own cabin however, throughout the cruise leaks began to appeare in the main corridor between the plaza and Club Fusion and also in the Buffet. We were forced to stay in our cabin with water running down the wall for 3 nights before another passenger disembarked the ship for personal reasons and we were finally allowed to move. On a number of occasions throughout the week unhappy passengers could bee seen transferring luggage from one cabbin to another and I found towards the end of the cruise other passengers had been moved Into the leakey room after we had gone. The ship is relatively old and its really beginning to show, the jacuzzi's looked inviting until seen from decks above where the discoloured grime made them look more like over heated fishponds. Overall the food onboard was between good and avarage but far from excilent. The worst part of dining aboard was eating from Plastic Plates, and drinking from Plastic beakers for juice and water, and even plastic cups for tea and Coffee! The 2 wash basins at the entrance to either side of the Buffet were really inadequate for the numbers of passengers and always resulted in long lines out of the doors and into the pool area. And Buffet itself is poorly layed out with multiple large round tables that could hold up to 8 people but generally only sat 2 as most European passengers don't like to share tables for dinner, this made finding a table at peak times in the Buffet a challange. Changing these round tables to multiple tables for 2 could probably double the seating capacity of the buffet. The entertainment was great but this is not exclusive to Princess Cruises as all the guest artists hired by Carnival corporation can also be seen during the year sailing on P&O and Cunard. But evening entertainment always seemed to coincide with each other and the second sitting for dinner which resulted in a number of missed shows and often a difficult decision between one show or another. However the Comedian Jeff Stevenson was Amazing. The one thing that cannot be complained about was all the crew who were friendly, kind and really made us feel like we were a part of a big family. I had been mislead to believe from reviews and recommendations that Princess cruises was to be considered a 4★ Cruise line and superior to P&O and Royal Caribbean both companies I have sailed with multiple times before this was supposed to be reflected in the price but Sapphire Princess was a disappointment. Its NOT any better in my opinion, P&Os Brittainia if far far better and cheaper by comparison and the Prices for drinks was extortionate $5.50 for a single can of Coke! Sapphire Princess is showing her age and is far from the image Princess cruise want you to see. I believe she is due to drydock later in the year for a refit before returning to Asia. I think most cruise lines (Except a few) have an ugly sister within the fleet perhaps at its best Princess is a 4★ fleet but Sapphire Princess alone is only a 2/3★ ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise due to the destinations offered and we immediately disappointed when we weren't able to stop at our first port due to a 7-hour late departure due to wind at Southampton. My question about this is why didn't ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the destinations offered and we immediately disappointed when we weren't able to stop at our first port due to a 7-hour late departure due to wind at Southampton. My question about this is why didn't the captain dock aft end first, like the other 4 cruise ships in the harbor who were all able to leave on time? The afternoon wind was well reported and a known issue. The second problem was the Horizon Buffet. We like casual dining but were quite disappointed in the quality of the food as the week progressed. Powdered eggs, frozen hashbrown patties, rubbery fried eggs from sitting under the heat lamp way too long are NOT my idea of quality food. The lack of variety was another issue. They served virtually the same menu every day of the week. Also, they frequently closed half of the buffet which caused us to have to sit out by the pool which reduced our enjoyment. We did enjoy dinner in the larger dining rooms. The food was well prepared and flavorful. All of the main dining rooms serve off of the same menu. There were a limited number of excursions available. The excursions we took went to interesting places, but most of the stops were too rushed and crowded to enjoy. When they say photo stop, plan on spending most of the time walking to and from the site, with a few brief moments to snap a shot or two if you can get them through the crowds since all of the buses seem to arrive and depart at the same time. One of our tour guides said the tour we took was designed to be 8 hours but was condensed into 4.5. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Main reason was to go along the Suez Canal and then see Petra. We saw and liked the Suez, but Petra had to be cancelled due to the flood there the day before our arrival. Practically nearly all of the other ports we had visited ... Read More
Main reason was to go along the Suez Canal and then see Petra. We saw and liked the Suez, but Petra had to be cancelled due to the flood there the day before our arrival. Practically nearly all of the other ports we had visited before, and this ship and it's itinerary (apart from the Sea or Sun Princess World Cruise) go through the Suez and gave the chance of going to Petra. Had we seen advertised before we booked, various section itineraries of this cruise we would have just taken the Rome to Dubai section, and missed out the problem and cost of the Indian Visa's, plus the trouble the Sapphire Princess had with them when we were about to arrive at Cochin. Fortunately, we had ours on a thumb-drive and were able to have Sapphire Princess customer service reprint them. A lot of people had problems there. The Sapphire Princess also charged excessively for shuttle buses that were probably put on by the ports, for which Princess would probably pay only a pittance. The shows were sub-standard and a lot of passengers were complaining about them and walking out. There was little in the way of activities, and the Cruise Director staff were very loud, would shout or scream even though they were using a microphone. The Cruise Director Manager, Paul, would 'put down' his female staff and it was 'beneath' him to talk to passengers. On the whole, this is the WORST CRUISE we have ever taken with Princess, and it will take a lot of consideration before joining Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Royal Princess Review September 10, 2018 Embarkation The taxi driver dropped us curbside at the Southampton Cruise Terminal, and our bags were immediately whisked away. Unlike many terminals, you check in first, prior to going ... Read More
Royal Princess Review September 10, 2018 Embarkation The taxi driver dropped us curbside at the Southampton Cruise Terminal, and our bags were immediately whisked away. Unlike many terminals, you check in first, prior to going through security. The lines moved quickly and we were checked in within twenty minutes of our arrival. After being checked in, you’re given a number and told to relax in the waiting room until your number is called to go through security and board the ship. My wife normally packs a small paring knife in her checked luggage for slicing up fruit in our stateroom. Security noticed the knife when the bags were being x-rayed, and we were summoned to security to locate the knife and dispose of it. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. After we disposed of the knife, we were taken directly to the gangway to board the ship, and therefore we missed the entire waiting room process. Cabin Our balcony stateroom Emerald 428 on Deck 8, is listed as having an obstructed view. I read a number of reviews of this cabin before booking it, that said it didn’t have an obstructed view. Obviously, I was a little nervous to see for myself. The balcony it actually a little larger than most because of the shape of the ship. There’s a lifeboat to the left, on the deck below which is why I assume it’s listed as having an obstructed view, but I wouldn’t consider it an obstructed view at all. We liked the layout of the room and our stateroom position midship. We also liked the 42” flat panel LED television on the wall at the foot of the bed. We were very close to the midship elevators and it was a convenient location to get to everything. Our sliding door to access the balcony was extremely difficult to open, it took both of us to slide it open. Our cabin steward Renaldo started off sensational but service rapidly declined as the cruise progressed. Ship This was our 28th cruise and our third with Princess. Although we have Diamond Status with Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society, and Elite Status with Celebrity’s Captain’s Club, now we mostly book our cruises based on itinerary and the price. One of the best thing about the Royal Princess, is the self-service Laundromats on each deck. We had been in the U.K. a week before boarding, and it was wonderful to wash and dry a couple of loads of laundry after we boarded. Although, the ship was built in 2013 and is only five years old, it feels much older in every way. The décor in general feels very outdated. It’s quite worn for such a new ship. We noticed boarding how rusted the hull is. The carpets, the furnishings, almost every aspect of the ship shows signs of excess wear and tear. Dining What really shocked us, was that a newer ship would be built to such old standards. In a world of competing mega-ships that offer dozens of dining options, the Royal Princess is like a twenty-year old ship trying to adapt itself to modern day standards. There are only three Specialty Restaurant options, Crown Grill (Steakhouse), Sabatini’s (Italian), Crab Shack (Seafood). Only Sabatini’s is housed in a purpose-built restaurant space. The Crown Grill is in a pub space, and the Crab Shack is hosted in a roped off section of the Horizon Court (Buffet) area. On this fifteen-night cruise, the Crab Shack option was only offered on two nights. The Crab Shack menu was wonderful and the food was exceptional. However, the ambience was terrible sitting amongst the buffet guests. The Sabatini’s menu offered a poor selection of Italian specialties, and the Crown Grill was by far the best of the three specialty restaurants. We celebrated my wife’s birthday at the Crown Grill and it did not disappoint, her Ribeye was incredible, and my Filet Mignon was exquisite. The main dining room menu options for dinner were some of the worst we’ve see in our thirty-four years of cruising. The food was mostly mediocre to poor, with the deserts being the highlight of most of the dinners each night. The rolls and bread were extremely hard, maybe it’s a European thing, but we prefer softer bakery items. There are three main dining rooms, The Symphony, The Concerto, and the Allegro. We had “Anytime Dining”, and which dining rooms we could eat in at which times was very confusing. Getting a table for two was extremely difficult. There were only a handful of real tables for two in each dining room, the majority of the time we were seated in areas where long tables were pulled a foot or two apart, and you were seated 18” from the person next to you. This is not what I consider a table for two. Also, the staff encouraged you to share tables, and shamed you for asking for a table for two. This is also the first cruise we’ve been on where the waiters are constantly trying to upsell something. The dining rooms were severely understaffed. Our waiter one evening had five two tops and three five tops. One waiter trying to serve 25 guests with “Anytime” dining results in a disaster. Assistant waiters were in very short supply. The food was rarely ever hot. Often, we watched our dinner sit on the waiter’s station for 10-15 minutes prior to the them delivering it to our table. On numerous occasions, my wife sent her dinner back as it was cold. This goes back to the ship trying to operate “Anytime” Dining using the old Traditional Dining model, and not like a regular restaurant where diners come and go. The Allegro Dining Room is the only dining room that served Breakfast and Lunch. Guest began lining up thirty minutes or more before this dining room opened, to get a table. Once the dining room was full, there were long lines and long waits. A second dining room should have been opened, as no one should have to wait in line to have breakfast or lunch. We have always preferred to eat breakfast and lunch in the dining room, as it is generally served hotter than the luke warm food at the buffet. Again, we were disappointed as the food almost always arrived cold. The breakfast and dinner menus in the Allegro were no more inspiring than the dinner menus. The breakfast menu was always the same, on the left with one or two special items on the right side that differed every day. Many fundamental breakfast items were missing, like waffles, French Toast, and Eggs Benedict. The Horizon Court Buffet was adequate, but it offered typical smorgasbord fare that was faintly warm and never hot. There was one Omelet station, but you had to really search for it, and very few cooking stations where chefs offered anything fresh or custom. I can understand an old ship being retrofit to accommodate “Anytime Dining” but with ships the same age like the NCL Breakaway & Getaway being outfitted with twenty-one restaurants, the Royal Princess dining options are quite archaic. Service With the exception of our stateroom steward who went above and beyond, the staff and crew were unenthusiastic. They went through the motions, but mostly they made you feel as if you were bothering them, if you made a request. This was particularly true in the dining rooms. The majority of the staff did not have a very good command of the English language. On a few occasions the staff was downright rude. One night my wife moved her fork from where it was placed, and the waiter said “What’s wrong, are you left handed or something”? Itinerary We chose this particular cruise especially for the itinerary. Following the first two ports, Rotterdam and Hamburg, the captain informed us that the next three ports were being cancelled, due to inclement weather concerns. Bergen Norway, Belfast Northern Ireland, and St John’s Newfoundland were quickly replaced with two new ports, Vigo Spain and Ponta Delgado, and the ship would cross the Atlantic on a more southernly course, arriving in New York on schedule. We docked in Vigo on a Sunday when absolutely nothing was open. Ponta Delgada was better than Vigo but still these ports paled in comparison to our original itinerary. After we sailed from Ponta Delgada, we received a notice that each guest would receive a $200 credit for the disruption to our schedule. While this was a welcome gesture, you really can’t put a price on missing destinations that you had dreamed of visiting all your life. I suppose the only positive, was the few days of warmer than expected weather. Sadly, we hadn’t packed shorts or any cooler garments, knowing this was going to be a cool weather cruise. The Ship Much of this I’ve already covered in some form. As is the case with most cruise ships, the hot tubs were far from hot. There’s no covered pool which is disappointing, and I never wrapped my head around the area they call the “Retreat”. It’s an exclusive area where you can rent an expensive cabana, but there’s no pool? The areas for walking are extremely limited and the outside deck on level seven is restricted to crew only. There’s a tiny walking/running track at the stern of the ship, that requires seven laps to equal a mile. Entertainment The entertainment onboard was poor to begin with, and the change in itinerary only complicated the already weak lineup. We have an entertainer friend that works on cruise ships year-round for a living. He tells us that Disney pays the best, with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity not too far behind. However, he says that Princess and their sister companies, Carnival and Holland America pay their entertainers 50% less. It was very obvious on this cruise. The Transatlantic Crossing Since this was our first Transatlantic voyage, we were a little nervous. On our five days crossing the Atlantic, the weather was fairly good. Only the third day Saturday, did we have rough seas, and on our last day it was cold and gloomy, with scattered rain. The morning of our final day at sea, a guest had medical complications, and the Coast Guard in Boston had to send a helicopter with airplane support to extract the guest. Disembarkation We walked off with our own luggage as we had an early flight out of JFK, and the ships transfers wouldn’t guarantee you’d arrive in time for any flight before 2:00pm. Walking off went smoothly and quickly. Getting a taxi sucked. We had 20 people in front of us, and 100 behind us, and we waited over an hour. On average one taxi pulled up every five minutes? Why there was a shortage of taxis, I have no idea. We taxied to the nearby Jay Street Metro station, and took the subway to JFK, arriving at 10:20am, in plenty of time for our 12:27pm flight. Wrap up We’ve lived in Las Vegas for twenty-one years and have seen the cost cutting that’s gone on here locally for the past two decades. Everything is all about the bottom line. The cruise industry is no different, and each cruise we take, we notice the cost cutting, less staff doing more, and the decline of service and quality. Now that tips are automatically added to your bill, I have to wonder if the staff even gets them any longer, or if they’re all just on salary now. Without the old-style tipping process, there’s really no incentive for them to give you great service? I understand why mandatory gratuities were put in place, as many guests used to stiff the crew. There’s really no good scenario either way. Some cruise lines are worse than others and it was certainly noticeable this time with Princess. Sadly, nothing stays the same. I’m not going to say explicitly that we will never sail with Princess again. Sometimes it the management or the crew of a specific ship and not necessarily the cruise line as a whole? However, Princess is not going to be high on our list for any vacation in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I chose this cruise to go to Hamburg and Belfast. Unfortunately there was a storm that cancelled Bergen, Belfast and St Johns. This is the second time we tried to go to Belfast and there was a storm in the way. Someday we will get to go ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go to Hamburg and Belfast. Unfortunately there was a storm that cancelled Bergen, Belfast and St Johns. This is the second time we tried to go to Belfast and there was a storm in the way. Someday we will get to go to the Titanic Museum. We really like the smaller ships. Very disappointed in the food after 22 cruises on Princess. Lots of people were complaining about the food. Vowing never to cruise on Princess again. They used to offer a strip steak if there was nothing you wanted on the main menu. Now it is a hamburger. Not enough variety. Wait staff was very good! We need more dishes from Curtis Stone. I only saw the Seafood Stew, Pot Pie and Pork belly. They need to work on the activities at sea. On all transatlantic previously there were 2 enrichment lecturers. There was just one on this trip. Very boring activities. Most seem to be connected with Princess making money. THEY ARE TURNING PRINCESS INTO CARNIVAL. Not a good thing. You have cut Princess down instead of making it better it is getting worse with every cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Been on many cruises and several transatlantic crossing. The ship was nicely laid out and the food was good/average. Entertainment was fair and there should have been more enrichment lectures. Our itinerary was changed because of ... Read More
Been on many cruises and several transatlantic crossing. The ship was nicely laid out and the food was good/average. Entertainment was fair and there should have been more enrichment lectures. Our itinerary was changed because of weather related issues, it happens and Princess gave OBC and future cruise credits. Princess did the right thing. Safety and customer service was handled correctly by the cruise line. Noticed that this ship seemed to go to bed by 11PM, what was open on board was quiet and very few passengers. When debarking in Brooklyn, one of my suitcases was never found at the pier or on the ship. It is to easy for anyone to walk off with somebody's luggage, there or any other pier. Princess will only reimburse $250 maximum for lost luggage, purchased travel insurance, so will get back additional $$ but still the aggravation of your personal belongings missing forever. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose cruise for Itinerary, which was good as it gave us chance to visit places in the British Isles that we have always wanted to Visit. Service in the allegro dining was good but sometimes a bit slow, as we we had late dining 20:15 ... Read More
Chose cruise for Itinerary, which was good as it gave us chance to visit places in the British Isles that we have always wanted to Visit. Service in the allegro dining was good but sometimes a bit slow, as we we had late dining 20:15 we would not get out until after 22:00 by this time the late show had already started so no seats Small theatre. .Most of the other venues would put on one show and this would be whilst we were dining Food was OK what you would expect from a good hotel, The Buffet not so good much like a cattle market. Niggles, TV and Intenet going down, Unable to get balcony door fixed for the entire cruise, Cost of Drinks getting ripped of for buying a double shot and being charged for 2 normal drinks.thus 2 service charges for one drink and less tonic. Cost of trips compared to what was being offered in the ports. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Chose this cruise for the itinerary which looked very good. We have sailed before with Princess and enjoyed it. The ship was so crowded that we missed half of the evening shows because the theatre was crammed to the point of people ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary which looked very good. We have sailed before with Princess and enjoyed it. The ship was so crowded that we missed half of the evening shows because the theatre was crammed to the point of people arguing about the saving of seats. A ship's officer had to intervene. Every night it was standing room only, and that was if you could get it in. This was also the case in the night clubs were there were game shows going on. Too crowded to get a seat. Highly recommend getting a coffee card as the regular coffee is bad. The saving grace is the fifth floor which is managed very well and has an excellent coffee bar and pizzeria. Food in the dining room was average, and not nearly as good as the last Princess cruise we were on. Service was very good throughout the ship and the staff was friendly and pleasant except for one young man at guest services who was condescending and unprofessional. Ship excursions were good, but found them expensive when compared to local tours. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise entirely due to the itinerary, with some pre-cruise reservations due to the large size of the ship and its ability to manage the daily passenger flow at the ports of call. We are veterans of many cruises and different ... Read More
We chose this cruise entirely due to the itinerary, with some pre-cruise reservations due to the large size of the ship and its ability to manage the daily passenger flow at the ports of call. We are veterans of many cruises and different cruise lines. We had previously sailed with Princess but had not done so recently. Furthermore, we had not sailed on a 4000+ passenger ship. The ship is huge with many lovely public areas and a myriad of entertainment options. It is reasonably well maintained. It was very comfortable under sail. Our cabin was perfectly satisfactory with adequate closet and storage space. Our room safe was non-operational and was never repaired despite reporting the problem but that was a truly minor issue.. Our cabin steward was excellent, as good as we have had on any cruise. The balcony was tiny but for this cruise where we expected to spend very little time on the balcony, it was fine. Dining overall was a bit of an enigma. The quality of the dining in the Allegro dining room was excellent. The variety, selections and overall food preparation was first class as was the service. Given this degree of excellence in the dining room, we were dismayed by the quality in the Horizon buffet. In a word, it was terrible. While there certainly was sufficient quantity, the quality was extremely disappointing. It was inconsistent, unappetizing and unappealing. Its real value was as an appetite suppressant to encourage dietary restraint on a cruise. The open deck choices (Trident Grill and the pizzeria) were both very good and provided a welcome relief to the disappointment that is the Horizon buffet. One thing that deserves special mention is our beverage package. Most of our group purchased the soda package prior to the cruise. These packages vary from cruise line to cruise line and we had been used to receiving cans of soda as part of the package. That is not the case with Princess. The soda package consists of fountain drinks available only from servers, usually with a significant delay. They are served in small (juice sized) plastic glasses. During much of the cruise, the quality of the syrup used or problems with carbonated water created poor quality drinks. I would avoid this package completely. It would be much better to pay by the can (you can get a can of soda if you purchase them individually). This seems very much to be an effort to maximize profit rather than to provide a quality product. I would gladly pay a bit more and actually get what I want. Entertainment was fine although the ship's main theater is extremely cramped. While other lines offer a more open and spacious theater, Princess appears to have abandoned that idea to maximize cabin space and get just as many passengers as possible on board. It is very difficult to see from the rear of the auditorium. There is nothing open or relaxing about the venue. Again, for a "new port every day" cruise itinerary, this was not a big problem for us. We simply avoided the shows, although the few we did attend were of good quality albeit in an uncomfortable venue. Dining and cabin service was excellent. It is as good or better than on most other cruise lines we have utilized. However, guest services seemed harried and disorganized. We were able to resolve questions, but it usually took several visits. This was undoubtedly due in part to the vast number of passengers on board. We pre-purchased an internet package. On board, that package was not honored. We were told to pick "the closest option to the one we had previously chosen" and to utilize that even though it meant not receiving the full value of the package we had purchased. As an amenity with out booking package, we were credited with an alternative dining venue for one meal. Without any input from us, the ship scheduled that particular meal during a time we were not available to take advantage of it. In and of itself, this really was not a major issue but it was part of the overall compendium of small frustrations and annoyances that accompanied the cruise. The ports of call were spectacular. We took a single ship's shore excursion that turned out to be quite good although very expensive. The description of the shore excursion in the ship's brochure did not match what we experience, though I suspect our actual tour was much better than what was actually sold. The ports of call are excellent. We prefer to book private excursions through non-ship vendors and have done this for years, despite the concerns voiced by the cruise companies that if a private tour returns late, you will be left by the ship. With careful planning and some pre-cruise homework, shore excursions can be vastly better done privately in both cost and experience. Our private excursions were superb and met all of our expectations. Since itinerary was the purpose of choosing this cruise, all of our expectations were met despite some of the on-board frustrations. In retrospect, this vacation would have been better managed as a land trip rather than as a cruise. The Royal Princess is simply too large to easily accommodate this particular itinerary given the fact that several of the ports require tendering. All of our group were pleased with the end result but most of us felt disappointed with a number of the on-board experiences with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We booked a family cruise on this ship and we really expected a lot. Embarkation went very smoothly, even easily than in the airport. The ship was clean enough, the cabin was checked and cleaned twice a day, but we had an animal made of ... Read More
We booked a family cruise on this ship and we really expected a lot. Embarkation went very smoothly, even easily than in the airport. The ship was clean enough, the cabin was checked and cleaned twice a day, but we had an animal made of towel, only once, my younger daughter loved it! Unfortunately, I was well disappointed by the cruise, overall: not a wide variety of food, and not suitable for young children, a real fight to get table on deck 14, no entertainment for children, at all ( my 10 and 12 year old girls were so bored!), and not much for us, either! Also, the staff not very friendly and didn’t understand English very well, so was really hard even to order some drinks for us! We didn’t go on any excursions, we thought that the entertainment on the ship will be great, but after a walk in the port with the children, it was nothing else to do, but take the girls to the only indoor pool on the ship, on deck 14. Not sure if I want to book another cruise, this was so incredibly boring, I struggled so hard to keep the girls happy and find some entertainment for us, in the night time. It was a comedy show, twice, and an illusionist entertained us one night, but that was, really, all real entertainment, apart of bingo and other guessing games! I didn’t try the gym, I didn’t bring any equipment with me, unfortunately, this would make time to fly faster! Most of the toilets were out of order, too, mainly on deck 7 and 6, and this makes things harder , specially with two young children. I didn’t put the children in kids club, I thought we would have a lot of entertainment on the ship, together, as family! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Let me begin by saying that I really enjoyed the British Isles cruise ( 12 day, summer 2018) that I just completed. This was my 3rd Princess cruise and my 5th total cruise. The amount of information that I learned from the abundance of ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that I really enjoyed the British Isles cruise ( 12 day, summer 2018) that I just completed. This was my 3rd Princess cruise and my 5th total cruise. The amount of information that I learned from the abundance of ports was fantastic. That said, the ship itself, along with the passenger service desk, disappointed. I am not a person to whom food is important, but I can say that the food was abundant and quite tasty. However, the design of the ship in general and the 2 food courts side by side proved to be quite confusing at meal time. You were never quite sure what was open - even with blockers positioned - some people were still in those areas. Could you enter or couldn't you? Was the food ready or not? Also, the various categories of food were not necessarily in the same spot each day. Cereal would be in one place one day and in a different spot the next. This forced the passengers to roam around looking - and the narrowness of the walking areas only added to the difficulty, thereby making food time a chore. I would suggest overhead signage clearly displayed: meat, vegetarian, dairy, themed meals, breads, desserts, soups. As a soup person - and a vegetarian - there was not too much in the way of soup for me. In addition, the foods were not always marked as vegetarian and I found myself having to ask. While discussing food I should speak about the beverage package. On other ships, there are beverage/juice areas all over the ship. You can get orange, apple and cranberry any time that you desire. Not on the Royal Princess. If you have not purchased the beverage package, you are only entitled to juice for breakfast- not other times of day. And there was the unfortunate experience of my daughter who was approached by a waiter who said," You have been upgraded. Promotion for you." - and then offered her an Irish coffee. The problem was that there was no real upgrade - then he simply asked for her room card to charge her. At passenger service we were told that she probably just misunderstood what he was saying - that it was her fault. I requested to speak to a higher authority who, indeed, subsequently erased the charge and said that she would speak to the individual waiter involved. I may be wrong, but I do believe that the charge should have been erased without my having to get angry. Another time, I stopped by passenger service to request an explanation of my account as there were many credits ( a nice thing to have, but you should understand them). Instead of the service person going over the account, she simply handed us a print-out. I would have thought that she would offer to review it with a full explanation. There was no line at all at the time, so there was no time pressure for this young woman. The cabin was fine, possibly a bit smaller than ones that I have had on other cruise lines. I guess my main criticism ( and one that I talk about with a perpetual smile of disbelief) is that the library is an oversized closet with essentially no room to play any games or read; yet the spa seems to take up a large percentage of the square footage on the ship. If you want to play Scrabble or any other game, you have to take it out from the library and go to another location. It really is the size of a large closet with 2 tables only - usually taken by the puzzle doers. So, if you want to remain in the vicinity of the library, you are relegated to the lounge area just outside of the library where there is piano entertainment, a singer, or the servers taking drink orders. I offer that this atmosphere does not lend itself to Scrabble or to any other activity that requires quiet. The remaining issue with the design concerns the location of the gym. There is an ample gym, but finding it might take you the 12 days of the cruise. I've left the best for last: Matt O is just the best entertainment director ever. He himself is unbelievably wonderful and the entertainment that has been secured is unparalleled. We loved everything. The shore excursions are terrific and, considering the number of people on this ship, very well-organized and well-executed. The cabin stewards were delightful and helpful. The lecture guides for the ports of call were fabulous as was the talk about the workings of the ship - from its construction to the cruise planning to all the safety measures in place. And finally, the itinerary of this cruise was a traveling tour de force. So, in summation: For me, the ship is large and not well-designed; that is offset by the wonderful itinerary and entertainment. If Princess could address the issues discussed herein, you would have a cruising experience of perfection. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Several parts of this trip were absolutely perfect - others, not so much. We booked this trip for the itinerary - 100%! We wanted to take our children around the British isle ... only having to unpack once - etc. For Families - ... Read More
Several parts of this trip were absolutely perfect - others, not so much. We booked this trip for the itinerary - 100%! We wanted to take our children around the British isle ... only having to unpack once - etc. For Families - we've been on several Disney and RCI cruises, which cater to children. (Ours are 10 & 8 at time of traveling). The kids clubs are fine - but they were never open for more than 4/5 hours at a time - in port or sea. Example - the only port that our children stayed on the ship was in Dublin. We wanted to take a tour of the Jameson Factory and Guinness. Having only 4 hours because of kids club time - we didn't have enough time. (unlike the other cruises we've been on - with ports that aren't really "kid friendly") On the opposite side - because it isn't a cruise that really caters to children, the pool was never packed and we never felt overcrowded (like the Disney cruises). The food was a disappointment - we had any time dining. So when we went into one of the dining rooms, our meal took 3 - 4 hours due to the lack of staff. (I've never experienced that before on any cruise). In the buffet area, they were constantly running out of cups for coffee or the self-service iced tea. Not over packed - but still was disappointing since I had heard that princess was amazing! I would call it applebees quality. The ship and entertainment - honestly, I can't really say anything about it. It was fine. I wouldn't call it impressive .... so if you're booking for the hoopla of a cruise ship or incredible entertainment, I would look elsewhere. If you're booking for the ports -- enjoy that part! The great thing about this ship - when we sailed it was sold out. Very rarely did we feel crowded or had to escape from people (like we have on both RCI and Disney) I'm also less than impressed with their customer service. As long as you don't have any problems.... it is probably great. But if you have any problem, assume that they will finger point and tell you what they need to.... without actually fixing or helping. (They did things like charge our credit card twice and blamed our bank, etc) With all of these complaints - we had an AMAZING vacation. Our trip wasn't amazing because of the staff, the ship, the food, or any of that. It was because of the ports! I would have loved to stay in each port longer.... but still loved the taste of each of them. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Selected this cruise for itinerary, perceived cost, and I’ve never sailed princess so I thought I give it a try. Room was fine. Entertainment was fine. Food was severely lacking. I had higher expectations reading other reviews. ... Read More
Selected this cruise for itinerary, perceived cost, and I’ve never sailed princess so I thought I give it a try. Room was fine. Entertainment was fine. Food was severely lacking. I had higher expectations reading other reviews. Variety was fine, but please season the food!!! I understand keeping buffets vanilla to appease the other 3799 passengers, but in the steak house and Italian restaurants ($30/person...) season the food. Don’t make salt a garnish!!! Celebrated an anniversary and were surprised with balloons and a note. We presented the note at dinner hoping for a glass of champagne. Nope. They brought us a second dessert after we already had our dessert on the table. Seriously?! Way to make us feel special! This was after a $15 corkage fee for wine at dinner. To cap it all off, they sang- off key- a la TGIFridays! Uggghh Pre booked a reso for the lotus spa. 2x 50 min massages. After buying a bottle of oil, 2 massages and gratuities we spent $410. When I presented the $50 off coupon they gave us, they told me it was only good for a 75 min massage. I told them I just spent $400 and they said there was nothing they could do. I got the wrong massage. Recommend get a single 75 min massage for a little more in order to get the $50 off for less than the 50 min massage. Since princess nickles and dimes it’s guests, nickle and dime them back. This ship is too big. Cattle call for dinner- especially at sea days. Cattle call for excursions. Cattle call getting back on the boat after excursions. Normally it was ok getting back on, but we did stand in the blazing sun at St. Peter Port for over an hour. Overall, the trip was just ok. Boat was nice and clean. Embarkation in Southampton was super streamlined. Nice job! Staff was mostly just ok. I don’t think I’d recommend princess. They seem to just want to charge for this and charge for that all the time. I recommend paying a little more for a more inclusive cruise. You’ll save more in the long run. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We selected this cruise for the itinerary and the size of the ship. We hadn’t cruised with Princess previously but like do the fact the ship was similar in style and size to what was e were used to (Disney Magic), in that respect we ... Read More
We selected this cruise for the itinerary and the size of the ship. We hadn’t cruised with Princess previously but like do the fact the ship was similar in style and size to what was e were used to (Disney Magic), in that respect we were not disappointed. We enjoyed the promenade deck and the classic feel. I felt the MDR food was poor quality and biased towards fish and seafood which we don’t eat. The buffet was limited in choice but breakfast was very good. The on deck pizza and burgers were also good. The quality of the shows was poor, although we enjoyed the 80s Mix Tape night. We didn’t do any ship excursions but found plenty to do in port. The scenery was amazing and we were blessed with good weather. I’d sail Princess again for the right itinerary. This was our first time sailing from Southampton, used CPS parking all incredibly smooth. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
It's the first time I've been on a ship that had an abundance of hangars in the closet. If every ship did this I wouldn't have to pack hangars. The main dining room food choices were poor and the food itself was below ... Read More
It's the first time I've been on a ship that had an abundance of hangars in the closet. If every ship did this I wouldn't have to pack hangars. The main dining room food choices were poor and the food itself was below average. For example, I had the beef stroganoff. The pasta was cooked in so much oil that the plate was oily. The gravy barley existed. Worst of all, the chef topped it with slivers of beet! By and large the buffet had a better selection and better food, however it did not have as many servers as I have seen in the past. The itinerary was excellent but the prices for shore excursions were unreasonably high. Prior to cruising to a given port I have learned to do an internet search for the visitor's and convention website for the city I intend to visit. By doing so I learn of activities going on in the city I'll be visiting and often find things to do that are both interesting and not available via pre-programed shore excursions offered by the cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this 14 day cruise because of the itinerary covering the entire west coast of Norway traveling all the way to the North Cape. Not too many cruises go that far north or cover so many ports. We have taken about 10 Princess ... Read More
We chose this 14 day cruise because of the itinerary covering the entire west coast of Norway traveling all the way to the North Cape. Not too many cruises go that far north or cover so many ports. We have taken about 10 Princess cruises and are platinum status giving a few perks such as free internet. This cruise receives mixed reviews from us. The ship on this cruise was completely full with every cabin booked. Of course that places a heavier burden on the ships facilities. We had 3 days at sea and very cool weather most of the trip which means that everyone is inside. It was difficult to find a table in the buffet and in order to get a seat at the 8:00 pm show we had to be there at 7:15 and eat at 5:30. The entertainment was very good and one of the highlights of the cruise. Princess food has gone very far downhill. Our first Princess cruise was in 2006 and the menu selections were much better than now. A number of people we spoke to agreed with that. Beef entrees were terrible. The television news offering for U.S. news was only Fox which we don't consider news. Previously Princess offered MSNBC and CNN. The library on the ship had very few books and most of those were checked out. It was very inadequate for the number of passengers. Our cabin E521 was worn and shower had some mold in the corners. It needs a thorough renovation. I think some new carpet and refurbishing of public areas had been done fairly recently but our cabin needed a complete renewal. Princess tours are too expensive and we went on our own or arranged our on tours in a couple of ports. Our female cabin steward was required to do 18 cabins and was completely overworked. Bergen was my favorite port and we were only there until 2:00 in the afternoon-very unfortunate use of time. I would not go on this ship again. Norwegian fjords are beautiful and we were lucky to have a few days of very nice weather. We have booked a Mediterranean cruise in October on the smallest Princess ship, the Pacific Princess. I hope the food is better otherwise it may be my last Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My about to turn 8 yo daughter wanted to go to Norway; so we ended up on the Princess Sapphire on a two week trip. We are a couple in our 40s and our daughter turned 8 five days after the trip ended; this was her 8th cruise and our I’ve ... Read More
My about to turn 8 yo daughter wanted to go to Norway; so we ended up on the Princess Sapphire on a two week trip. We are a couple in our 40s and our daughter turned 8 five days after the trip ended; this was her 8th cruise and our I’ve lost count, though her first on princess and our second with the first being prior to having a child. This review is about our trip but will also serve as a guide for those travelling with school age kids as there is a paucity of information and that which I found on these boards was very useful. We flew to London on a day time flight the day prior to embarkation – if the flight timing works I highly recommend that daytime flight because then we arrived, went to bed and were on the right time zone without a lost night/airplane nights sleep. We took the city bus for free to our Heathrow area hotel the Ibis London Heathrow – it is at the last stop in the free zone – I had managed to have a different stop name and we simply got off there as it was the last free stop and were trying to figure out where we needed to be and realized the hotel was 75 meters farther down the street. The hotel was clean, cheap £67.45 and slept three. It was not spacious but we needed nothing else. It also had a 24 hour restaurant in the lobby where we grabbed some dinner before passing out. We took the public bus in the free zone back to the terminal 2/3 bus station and got on a National Express bus to Southhampton -£49.75 for all three of us. After our arrival in the Southhampton bus station we walked to a nearby store and bought two bottles of wine (our “free” bring on ship allowance). We then walked back to the bus station to get a taxi to the port –note there is no Uber in Southhampton as of this writing and the taxi only took cash so we did need pounds sterling. We got to the ship about 1pm – in the port they did not want to let us check our suitcases as they insisted they were carry on (we’re light packers) – we persisted but I thought that a bit odd – I really didn’t want to lug my bag onto the ship if they were going to do it for me. Check-in was a breeze and we were on the boat in about 20 min from getting to the port. Our room was an obstructed ocean view E400. The view had virtually no obstruction (there was a great website for checking out all the views from the windows of these rooms and we had chosen well). The beds were under the window and the third (and fourth if needed) bed came down from the ceiling. This meant our beds had to remain separated. It also meant that our daughter’s bed was put away during the day – this is the first trip where she has been old enough not to nap but if she was still napping age that would have been painful. As it was, crawling into and out of bed every night under the bunk was bad enough. Also if she had been a lot younger I wouldn’t have been comfortable with her climbing the ladder to sleep on a bunk and an adult would have had to have done that. We have sailed both Disney and Holland America in the same (obstructed oceanview) room category – I know that Disney rooms are bigger and designed differently since they cater to families but the HAL room was also big enough for a couch that unfolded and became her sleeping area and our beds could be together making the room much more comfortable. There was plenty of storage and I like the closet/bathroom configuration but the furniture in our room was quite worn. Kids Club: There were only 15 kids ages 3-12 on our sailing making the kids club merge into one age group which was great for us avoiding the about the turn 8 year old from whining about being in the 3-7 year old group. Frequently she was the only kid in the club with 3 staff members! The most kids I ever saw there were 6. There were a ton of art and crafts, and stuffed animals and colored cowboy hats etc that all had to find room to come home…most of the crafts were tossed. Despite the one on one attention and constant begging to go to the kids club my daughter said she prefers the much more crowded, much less personal Disney kids club – she couldn’t verbalize why. Two annoyances were we had to be present to sign her in so she never got to walk to the kids club on her own and we always had to carry this beeper with us while she was in the club –it was grimy and never went off and seemed silly to sign out everytime – they should have just assigned us one for the length of the cruise. Hours were 9-12, 1-5 and 7-10 (with late night babysitting available for a fee) sea days and in port till 5 then 7-10 port days with one needed to notify them in advance if you were using them on a port day. We never did in a morning but some afternoons were back on board at 3ish and she went to the club without our having reserved it with no problems. General Ship stuff: Almost every staff member we met was very courteous and pleasant – room stewards, waiters (we had any time dining) etc. The one exception was the destination expert and destination team whose only expertise seemed to be on selling princess tours – I understand this to a degree but the destination expert was somewhat obnoxious about it. Food was meh certainly no one is going to starve but it just wasn’t that exciting. Frequently in the evenings there were so many scheduled games and shows and what not that I wanted to attend that I would happily skip dinner in the dining room –my husband however always wanted to go have the formal dinner which sometimes just seemed to take forever. Anytime dining worked well with us only having to get a pager and wait one night when we went right at 7 – we always sat just with ourselves. We played a lot of trivia, had a great really fun team. We got to know the cruise staff well, a couple were awesome, most were good and one was unpleasant. We especially enjoyed the ship wide scavenger hunt and the egg drop challenge as we worked on them as a family for the whole two weeks – although the scavenger hunt was a let down in the end as all teams seemed to win – we put in way too much work for everyone to win! Stavanger: We took the Princess tour to Flor og Fjaere Gardens which were absolutely gorgeous. The timing only worked to do the ships tour, coffee and tea and ice cream for our daughter was included – with a lovely man working the café. The boat to and from had free wi-fi. We found a playground by the petroleum museum which was comprised of big bouncy balls in the ground that the kids could try and walk and leap on – difficult to describe but super cool and our daughter loved it. In the afternoon we met up with an old friend of my husband’s (from when they both worked on ships!) and had a lovely afternoon – we brought two more bottles of wine on board were happy to pay the corkage fee but they never stopped or asked us for it. Skjolden: We walked off the ship and booked the llama walking that we knew about in advance http://www.skjoldenllamas.net/en/llama_tours.php. While waiting for our tour to start we got some postcards and stamps from the local store and stopped in the TI to write postcards. The TI was inside a hotel and they couldn’t lend us a pen (to write our postcards with) and we could only get on the wi-fi if we purchased something. The llama walking was a weird way to entertain the tourists. The scenery is beautiful and I liked hearing about a heritage breed of Norwegian sheep but the actual llama walking bit was odd – we have certainly done worse tours and there was nothing wrong with this I just wouldn’t do it again. In Geiranger we tendered an hour earlier than expected – another ship was at the floating dock. We had booked a public bus tour to the view points $129.68 for the three of us. We went to get a tender number about 50 min before our scheduled bus and sat and waited, and waited and waited. When we got the tender tickets it was the next tender to be called but there was a pause in the tender operations for 45 min – I’m not sure if it was due to ship tours getting off or what. Needless to say we missed our bus but the TI woman was awesome – the bus had been late so first she ran us outside to see if it was still there and then she rebooked us on a later bus (that we couldn’t have signed up for online in advance) and it was a minibus and there was no fee to change – I’m not sure if she was being nice or they were the same price. When we realized we were going to miss our tour we had run the room for our bubblebum (inflatable booster) for our daughter and were glad we had it with us as she needed it on the minibus. The views in Geiranger and surroundings are stunning and we had a lovely day. In Trondheim we had nothing booked. It was a rainy, cool, gray day – the weather we had expected in Norway. We walked off the ship to a coffee shop and used their wi-fi. We then wondered around in off and on rain showers to the cathedral. There was an outdoor mostly food market going on – I tried to buy some cheese but only certain debit cards were taken by the merchant and not the kind I had. We never got kroner and only used credit cards so I didn’t buy any cheese. We did stop at a wine shop and got two more bottles. We also discovered ginger flavored diet pepsi which was delicious. In Honningsvag we had booked a tour to the north cape with blue puffin tours $263.12 for all three of us. For some reason I thought it would be in a mini-bus but it was a full size bus tour. Our guide was Sebastian the owner of the company Monika’s husband. He is German, lived in patagoina for a number of years and recently transplanted to norther Norway. While a great guide and knowledgable not exactly what I was expecting. We saw herds of reindeer roaming, king crabs and went to the north cape. At the north cape is was about 40 degrees with 40 mph winds – my daughter got blown around a bit and then was miserable and whining. It was not intolerable to adults but certainly unpleasant. The thrill of being at the northcape was great and overcame anything else for me! We also sent a postcard home to ourselves in order to get the northernmost postmark in the world – it took 17 days to reach us Tromso: we did the Princess tour to the sled dog kennels and polar museum. The sled dogs were awesome if you’re a dog person. In a very different approach than the Alaskan dogs who aren’t socialized and aren’t friendly the family who run this kennel and sled dog teams believe their dogs should be socialized, so all summer long while it is too hot to train, the tourists get to play with the dogs. Puppies, sled dog champions, males, females they are all around to be pet and loved. Our family adored this. The polar museum was boring for us but we took advantage of the wi-fi. If I were to do it again now knowing that any tourist could go to the kennel we would have taken a taxi to and from and just spent our time there and skipped the museum. We did however get a driving tour of downtown while on the bus and that was enough to realize we didn’t need to go back to town. The ship was docked outside of town and the Princess shuttle was $16! So for our family to get back to town after our tour would have been $48 – not worth it in our opinion – I’m not sure why the shuttle was so expensive. There was a lovely botanical garden across the street from where we were docked and we did spend some time walking around the garden. There was a playground there and several families with young kids having picnic lunches. Lofoten Islands: We took the Princess tour to see the trollfjord by boat followed by a bus back to the ship. We discussed renting a car but were too nervous about getting back on time. There was also bird watching – from the boat we saw sea eagles and a lot of seagulls we did not unfortunately see any puffins – I’m not sure we were supposed to but somehow it was in our heads we were going to. There were puffins an hour boatride from the northcape but it was very rough seas with a lot of boat motion and I am quite happy we didn’t go. The weather in Lofoten was absolutely gorgeous a rare occurrence. Alesund: We had bought tickets in advance for the HOHO bus to go to both the outdoor museum and the aquarium. The city sightseeing buses electronic readers were broken and they wanted everyone with vouchers on their phone or from the internet to go get in an hour long line to get their tickets printed. I kept arguing that I didn’t need to as I had the printed voucher that clearly said 2 adults and 1 child. Eventually the guy let me on the bus (Maybe he was just tired of listening to me). We got off at the open air Sunnmoere Museum which has farmhouses from all over the country. We also saw some reconstructed Viking longboats which were cool. We walked the path to the mediaeval museum but it hadn’t opened yet. While the weather was beautiful so an outside walk was nice there wasn’t much that interested our daughter as the farmhouses were just that – houses. We got back on the HOHO bus (where they looked at our voucher and could have cared less that we didn’t have tickets) which went up to a beautiful viewpoint – it would have been nice to get off an wonder around there but we were worried about time. We got off at the aquarium which is wonderfully designed. There is a play area with the outdoor exhibits with stepping stones and running water from the Atlantic (it is on the sea and all the water comes into the aquarium from the ocean) with boards to dam up the water and watch what happened. Kids speaking all different languages were playing together damming the water seeing different effects. Between this playground and the bouncy ball one in Stravanger my daughter thinks that Norway has the best playgrounds – they certainly have some very innovative ones. I really enjoyed the rest of the aquarium as well. In retrospect I would have skipped the Sunnmoere Museum, gotten off at the viewpoint then spent the rest of the day at the aquarium. Also a taxi to and from the aquarium would have been a reasonable plan. Maybe an older kid would like the Sunnmoere Museum more but our daughter and definitely kids younger than her wouldn’t find it great. Bergen: we had a very short stop in Bergan so walked over to the Bryggen and did the Rick Steve’s walking tour around the fort and the Bryggen. We decided to play the funicular by ear based on weather and sure enough the top of the funicular was in clouds the whole morning so we decided not to go up. There is a pretty gazebo with a lake in part of town and we sat there for a bit just taking in the beauty. We bought some last ginger diet pepsi and Norwegian gummy candy and got back on the boat. Of note we didn’t pass any playgrounds on our walk. When we docked back at Southhampton we disembarked with only 10-15 minutes of utter chaos at the exit point from the ship. Southhampton had no customs/immigration to speak of and we just walked out. We had a car from Smiths for Airports waiting for us – I love coming out of a port and having a sign with my name on it! We had timed our pick up at 9 and we were out at 9:05. We went to Stonehenge where we had pre-bought 10am admission. We spent a couple of hours both out at the stones and in the museum. Then our driver took us to the airport – we arrived at the airport at 1:30 with more than enough time for our 6pm flight. Smiths cost was £145. We could have taken a 4pm flight but that would have made us feel a bit rushed at Stonehenge. We’re lucky to live where there are a lot of direct flight options. Princess had a similar disembarkation option (Stonehenge followed by airport) but it was a lot more expensive and not in a private car. We were stopped at security due to all the wine stoppers we had won playing trivia! In general we had a great time. We enjoyed our family time together and had a nice relaxing vacation. I read 10 books (after catching up on my backlog of periodicals). This boat was right for our itinerary. Would I pick Princess again? - if the itinerary was right sure. For a quick, cheap Caribbean cruise , or a cruise that was about the boat and not the ports I wouldn’t pick them – the room set up was too uncomfortable and the 3rd person fares are too high. On HAL, which I consider to be essentially the same service level we can almost always get 3rd person fares for free or $99 or the like. On “exotic” itineraries it may be as high as $599 but on Princess for this cruise my daughter was only a couple of hundred dollars less than my husband and me. Our Bubblebum (inflatable booster) was very useful on this trip for taxis and buses as one must have a shoulder belt fastened on Norwegian busses and the booster raised my daughter to a proper height. Also useful were magnetic hooks bought off amazon – we had them everywhere in our room and hung wet swimsuits, our lanyards when we walked into the room, my purse etc. Also even though it was June one needed fleece, puffer jackets, hats and gloves and good raingear – there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing. We were never cold as we layered and had the right outer gear – not everyone was as well equiped. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this British Isles cruise because it covered most of the cities we wanted to visit in the British Isles and we also wanted to visit the Canadian beaches in Normandy. The excursions we booked were great for the most part and the ... Read More
We chose this British Isles cruise because it covered most of the cities we wanted to visit in the British Isles and we also wanted to visit the Canadian beaches in Normandy. The excursions we booked were great for the most part and the tour guides were awesome. The excursion to the Giants Causeway was a highlight and our guide was so informative of the history of Ireland. We recommend seeing this amazing sight. We also took an excursion to Edinburgh which included seeing the Edinburgh castle. We were only given 90 or so minutes to wander around the museums there and so did not see the Scottish Crown Jewels or state apartments as there were long lines to get in and time did not allow for that. The tour of the Britannia was really interesting as well...recommend it. This was our first Princess cruise and have done Celebrity cruises in the past. The food on Princess did not even come close to the food on Celebrity. We were very disappointed as we rated it as only average and the buffet food was more like camp food. For the amount of money these cruises cost I would expect wonderful , great tasting cuisine all the time, which is what we found Celebrity delivered on. The biggest highlight was seeing the Canadian beaches at Normandy. It was quite emotiional. We also met some lovely people along the way. Except for the food this was a good cruise but I would definitely take a smaller ship...too many people on board. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this particular cruise because it included Bergen; a city where family ancestors lived and still do. The Ship: Embarkation was a breeze. Actually, so was disembarkation! I give those two things an A PLUS! The ship itself was ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because it included Bergen; a city where family ancestors lived and still do. The Ship: Embarkation was a breeze. Actually, so was disembarkation! I give those two things an A PLUS! The ship itself was not impressive, and we are Platinum Princess cruisers. Literally there were no surprises or anything unique about this ship. I suppose that is a draw for many Princess Lovers. One thing that has always bugged me is this "Piazza Concept." It sounds great on paper but doesn't really work because of the way sound travels. You can be listening to an excellent pianist in Crooners Lounge, for example, while simultaneously hearing a raffle with loud announcements going on at the same time in the lower level. It is cacophony. There are NO quiet public areas to get away to. None. If you want to have a few drinks with friends and some lively conversation, you will be out of luck. Even the Skywalkers Lounge is bombarded with cable sportscasts. Your best bet for quiet is your own cabin. I did sneak away to Horizon Court once between lunch and dinner, and it was moderately peaceful. Still...lots of clanging pots and pan sounds from the kitchen. Entertainment: I can only speak for the production show, which was brilliant. And having a live orchestra is a real plus. All the other lounge musicians I found to be very lackluster. Food: Horizon Court just seems to be a little more tawdry and tired than I remember. Many of the entree items were dried out from heat lamps early on during the shift. Normally the dining area would have been less crowded because people would congregate in the outside deck areas. Unfortunately there was a lot of rain and it was very cool, so we were all crammed inside searching for tables. Anytime Dining: Simply wonderful and I have zero complaints. The food was as spectacular as always and so was the service. In fact, one night the anytime dining rooms were so full, they sent us to the exclusive dining room (Santa Fe). It was a wonderful experience. Alfredos Pizzeria: Excellent across the board. The Hamburger and Pizza available on the Sports Deck was superb. Sabatini's: This gets a Grade F. Terrible on all counts and not anywhere close to being worth the surcharge. We have always dined in Sabatini's on previous cruises with good results, sans one (on the now defunct Ocean Princess, where it felt like a nursing home). But all the other times, it was really done well. Not so this time. Our server was rushed and practically rude. The server who took our drink order kept barking at us to hurry up an make up our minds. The food was not awful, but neither was it good. The dining rooms had much better food. I chose a steak, medium rare. I got a steak medium well and chewy. For dessert, I chose the standard cheesecake because I wasn't really that hungry, and I wanted to see how it would compare to the dining room version. It was the same, but less. ONE single strawberry with a tiny drizzle of strawberry glaze. Pathetic. Also, in the past, if you wanted an extra entree there was no charge. Nowadays, if you want to add something...it's an extra 10 bucks. No wines by the glass available here. It's all by the bottle, so you are forced into that extra expense; no matter that you may have a beverage package for a glass. You won't get it here. Just awful. FAIL. On all levels. Ports: These were all beautiful. We had iffy weather which you cannot blame on any cruise line. Some days were partly sunny and others were downpours all day. My favorite was Geirangerfjord, where we took a hike to a waterfall. But Princess gets a thumbs down for how they handled this tour. We took a tender to shore (never a pleasant or quick experience) and were dumped there into a chaotic port with hundreds of people, with no direction as to where we should go. In the past, there were Princess employees with signs directing people to buses and so on. NOT HERE. The parking lot contained about 14 buses. We had no clue which one was ours. Frantically racing from one to the other, we finally ran into a woman who was doing the same. Her tour was #15. Ours was #14. She had just seen the bus for our group and pointed us to it. We were the last ones on the bus. I have no idea if she ever found her group. Really disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Took this cruise out of South Hampton to Norway. First of all Norway was fantastic. The cruise however was not. Poor service at the Horizon Court Buffet, not a great selection of foods, boring breakfast, seemed to be geared for the UK ... Read More
Took this cruise out of South Hampton to Norway. First of all Norway was fantastic. The cruise however was not. Poor service at the Horizon Court Buffet, not a great selection of foods, boring breakfast, seemed to be geared for the UK customer’s foods and likes, Cruise did not feel very international, an unfriendly crew, and waiters who had no sense of urgency. Our cabin steward was outstanding and very prompt and friendly. Room was ok, but seemed a bit out of date. Entertainment was usual for a cruise ship, although some entertainment was down right poor. Very few waiters taking bar orders in the large main theater, many travelers around us complaining. They also tried to upsale you many times at bars, restaurants, and shops. Art auction mangers were very busy and in your space many times. I have taken many cruises and this was the least enjoyable. I am undecided if I would take another Princess Cruise when there are so many other Cruise lines available with better services. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
One of the reasons why we chose this particular cruise was the itinerary. We wanted to be able to visit England, Ireland, Scotland and Normandy France all included. I also liked the flexible air option which worked out very well ... Read More
One of the reasons why we chose this particular cruise was the itinerary. We wanted to be able to visit England, Ireland, Scotland and Normandy France all included. I also liked the flexible air option which worked out very well since I think it was cheaper than if I booked on my own. And since London is quite far from Heathrow and Southhampton I liked the shuttle service that Princess provides. Embarkation went extremely well. We were able to go to our cabin immediately and our luggage was there waiting for us. (that never happened on other cruise lines for us) The Princess Royal has a very good layout for approximately 3,500 people. The theater is large enough to accomodate passengers so it wasn't necessary to make a reservation for a show. On the down side - the food at dinner in the dining rooms was terrible! The Horizon buffet was the same every day - Mostly Asian food. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Wanted to see Guenesey and Orkney Isles plus Ireland. Diisappointed not to get to Guurnsey due to weather. Le Havre good to see Bayeau Tapestry, no Princess tours there.. Despite wet weather the trip was worth while, brilliant and ... Read More
Wanted to see Guenesey and Orkney Isles plus Ireland. Diisappointed not to get to Guurnsey due to weather. Le Havre good to see Bayeau Tapestry, no Princess tours there.. Despite wet weather the trip was worth while, brilliant and very interesting to see the 11th centuary tapestey 70 kms wide! Rude taxi drivers at port, wanting to take only rich Americans to Paris and charge 700 euros! The ruins of ancient village in Orkney was fascinating, very good local government guide. Too short a tome in some ports, long in others, no time to see places in Scotland, unable to see Loch Lomond due to early back to ship. Disappointed with food in dining room, limited menus and less than usual good servixe. Horizon Court offered far more choice, only problem was finding what was where, no signs to indicate whixh foods were in which area. Activiities were the same boring things, knitters, ice carving, Zumba needs osme new interesting activiites including some exercise classes during day or acquarobics Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
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