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77 Princess Southampton Cruise Reviews

Very friendly hard working staff, let down by a company who seemed not to care about the condition of the ship. There was an obvious problem with the drainage system, and there were constant aromas of sewage in various areas of the ... Read More
Very friendly hard working staff, let down by a company who seemed not to care about the condition of the ship. There was an obvious problem with the drainage system, and there were constant aromas of sewage in various areas of the ship. If you have a full ship paying Princess prices there are millions of Pounds / Dollars that can be used to get some engineers in and fix the problem. No, they prefer to bank the money and let the passengers suffer the smells and possibly risk their health. We have cruised Princess before, and the restaurants and food did not come close to previous experience. This ship is in desperate need of upgrading, and perhaps they shouldn't be charging inflated Princess prices until it is sorted. Shame on you Princess, you will not see us again. One last comment, we used CPS parking at Southampton which cost £92 for the week. The service was not cheap, but it was an exceptionally easy and quick process. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
To anyone who is considering using princess cruise lines, please read the following all the way through before making your decision. A small background about me. I am a single 29 year old RN who specializes in helping cancer patients. I ... Read More
To anyone who is considering using princess cruise lines, please read the following all the way through before making your decision. A small background about me. I am a single 29 year old RN who specializes in helping cancer patients. I only get three weeks off a year (that includes my sick time). I have never traveled anywhere or done anything because I have dedicated myself to helping others. I dont usually complain about things and tend to go with the flow. This year, I decided to celebrate my 29th birthday by finally going to see Ireland and Scotland. I was told that Princess cruise lines would be perfect for me due to more luxury, amazing food/rooms and next to no kids (I have none and did not want to have to deal with the whining, misbehaving or complaining). I was very excited and took two full weeks off (out of only three im allowed a year). I even pre-booked my shore excursions and a spa package. However, my time on board was anything but amazing. If it was not for the amazing time on land, my vacation would have been completely ruined instead of mostly ruined. If it was just one or two things, it would not have been a big deal. However, the following list is too long to be just me (which was confirmed when I talked with many of the other guests). However, this is my account and I can not speak for anyone else. My issues we as follows: 1. I thought there would be very few kids but I guess with the 4th holiday, there are quite a few. in fact, had a family with three kids on my 8hr shore excursion that ruined it for me by the constantly whining and talking and complaining and what not; could barely hear the tour guides interesting facts most of time. The cruise line really should warn people if kids are on that particular shore excursion. upon complaining, they blew me off saying sorry, nothing we could do. asked for a refund stating i didn't get what i paid for/didnt enjoy it, they said they couldnt but i could write it and maybe they could submit it for evaluation. 2. I've noticed that they treat groups way better than solo travelers. 3. They cancelled my 1st shore excursion without even telling me. I only found out when I went down to ask for my ticket. 4. I pre-booked a spa package and they seemed to have no idea what it was and gave me the run around for the first two days (despite me asking to book it on July 7th: 1st day at sea). Then when they finally got everything straightened out, that day was already booked- had to chose a different day (second to last day was all they had left). 5. On my day in at guernsey, I arrived at the port for the tender to take me back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. There was a long line, no big deal because I was told it would move quickly. It took 3 hours to get back onto the ship. No one kept us up to date and they only started giving out water at the end. By that time, I was already sunburned and very dehydrated (did not have any alcohol at all) and was becoming symptomatic. I almost had to go to onboard doctor just to get IV hydration but luckily was ok after chugging A LOT of water into the next morning (had splitting headache until about 430am local time). I understand they can not control how rough the sea is but someone should have kept us informed and started giving us water way sooner. 6. The food onboard is horrible and/or cold most of the time. The breakfast also has the same things everyday- quite disappointing. The bread on dinner table is always so hard. - I lost a total of 5 pounds in my vacation. I was 181.8lbs the morning I left for vacation and was 176.6 lbs when I got back (which considering i was on day 1 of my period and bloated, probably had lost more than that actually) 7. I pre-ordered the unlimited soda and more package because they said they have variety of coke products. However, they only have coke, diet coke and sprite- none of which I drink. it was false advertising in my opinion because it sounded like they had a good variety and they don't. So, more money wasted. -They also informed me that even though I have the unlimited soda and more, I cant have can soda, only fountain soda- which is always flat (my receipt I printed did not say only fountain, had no * or any other indications that it was fountain only. However, once on board that was when they said it was). I was also not allowed a refund of that either. 8. The bed was barely ok (lumpy), everything else was not. The tv sound kept cutting in and out despite what level I put volume on. 9. The bathroom is ridiculously small. The shower was so small that any time I moved my arms even slightly away from my body, it went out of shower. im tall and slim- so that is ridiculous. 10. The crew on the ship are mostly useless. If you ask a simple question (like if the outlets are ok for USA plugs or if I need my adapter, no one seemed to know). Most ignored me and instead chatted with their coworkers. If I interrupted, I wad given a dirty look. 11. I got so tired of complaining and only hearing "sorry but nothing we can do." I even tried calling but no success. On several occasions I was placed on hold and then hung up on and/or it timed out. its ridiculous. room service did the same thing to me. 12.The air in the room. I put it at the coldest setting and it was still quite warm. 13. There are quite a few cracked tiles on the floor of my bathroom (which I know does not interfere with function but still). 14. It is also almost impossible to get cold water in the shower. Sometimes the water is so scalding hot that I had to leave the water on for quite awhile just to cool down. I talked to another couple at shared dining who had same problem. They called and no one came. So after an hour, they called again and still no one came. Then after another hour they went down and got the plumber to come up. It shouldn't be that hard. 15. According to their online info, I should have had a bottle water in my room- there wasn't. 16. The fridge wasn't cold and there is nothing inside (no bottle water in there either). 17. when I was in the dining room and decided to eat alone, it was like they forget about me. I see couples usually get their food within about 15 minutes on average. However, mine was about 30 minutes (for same dish). -it took 1.5 hours to complete my meal in Italian restaurant (with just me). 18. I also find it quite ridiculous that as much as I paid for the cruise (single people/travelers have to pay more), I also had to pay a $25-30 cover charge for most food places. I wouldn't even eat that much worth of food. It would be more understandable to pay for meal than that! -I will admit the only decent food I did eat was in the italian restaurant. That being said, couldn't make any changes to items on menu because they are "pre-made already". The soup I ordered with mushrooms had two very thinly sliced half mushroom pieces (probably equaled about 1/10 of one mushroom. When I looked at the table next to me when theirs was brought over, it was very obvious that they both had a lot of mushrooms in their bowls). The seafood pasta had two shrimp, a bunch of clam shells but only one small clam. 19. Constantly changing water temperature while in the shower. 20. The onboard entertainment was a joke and bad. 21. There was an "unhosted singles and solo traveler" event onboard which was also a joke. Next to no one there and no actual activity other than sitting at bar with handful of people drinking. 22. They don't update onboard account very often (today july 5, last updated 2nd). 23. There was speakers in the room and bathroom for overhead announcements but could not hear anything on them. I had to go out into hallway or main area to hear it. 24. The orange juice very water down. 25. Even when I was told the egg whites are completely cooked, I cut them open to find runny egg whites every time. 26. To be able to enjoy a relaxing adult only area, I had to pay a fee. each time 27. I went to 4 different bar locations to try to get a fountain coke before morning tours and they were all closed. every time. 28. As far as the internet I bought and paid for on board. It would say I was connected. It would take my minutes. However, whenever I brought open something (internet browser, messenger or even facebook) they all said I was not connected. 29. The photo guy came into Italian restaurant on my birthday (I was wearing my birthday tiara) and offered to take pictures of every other guest but me (I was eating alone). 30. I tried to buy something. The lady walked away as I went up to the register. I waited almost 4 minutes before I gave up (so I pulled out a piece of paper, wrote "congrats! you just missed a sale") and walked away. 31. I went into vines (general store). I wondered about an item so I asked the store clerk in clear voice my question. He turned around and went over to a lady on opposite side of store who had just walked in, picked up a flyer and started asking about if she has tried it. The lady hadnt even asked for him or acknowledge that she needed help. 32. It was suppose to be smoke free in the ship. I saw people smoking in casino in non smoking part. I also could smell the smoke from cigarettes near my room more often than not. 33. When ordering room service, they wouldn't bring me soda of any kind despite having the package. 34. I went to get an ice cream cone. I finally get to front and was told I would have to get it in a bowl (they could put cone on top if I liked- guess the soft serve was too soft?). 35. They were ok with knocking on my door when they needed something (passport or turn down). However, my pamper me package didn't get delivered to my room until 7-8-15). I only had one message to let me know. 36. I was at steamers seafood for dinner (alone). The waitress brought bread to my table, I told her I was ready to order. She said ok, turned around and went to the table with a couple to wait on them first. -Also, the fish was so mushy it was not edible. I also got slightly sick from eating that food. the rest of the seafood was so bland. 37. I was told there was no avocado at all on board (wanted to make an omelette with avocado on top). Then at steamers, one of my meals had avocado in it. 38. south queensferry-I was waiting to disembark for shore excursion extra 40 minutes. No one told us why. I finally went to talk re:concerns about my tour that afternoon. Then they told us there was medical disembark and that was hold up. -my morning tour was shorted by 30 minutes. Which meant that instead of 45 minutes in the castle, I only had about 10-15 to get through entire castle, church and gardens, which ruined the experience. I tried again to complain and get a partial refund but did not receive anything for any of the ruined trips. 39. I went to a second unhosted single/solo traveler get together. I was the only person to show up. The bar was completely empty except the staff and I. They were standing around chatting and laughing. When a waiter finally came over, I asked for water. He walked the 7-10 steps back to bar. After 6 minutes waiting for my water and still not getting it, I got up and walked out. 40. A kid was running down narrow hallway, getting in peoples way and parents watched him. 41. I paid for a 50 minute massage. I figured the other 10 minutes of the hour were for changing. I showed up 15 minutes early per the spa recommendation. The massage started at 803am and she stopped at 845a. That definitely was not a full 50 minutes. I also asked not to touch my feet because im very ticklish- she did. I asked no oil in my hair- she did some. 42. They do have a laundromat on the floor (3 machines) but have to pay to use them and pay for detergent if didnt bring own. 43. In beginning of cruise, I was told I had to buy ticket to get off boat if I just wanted to explore on own. Then towards the end, someone else said that wasnt true at all. 44. The water pressure in bathroom sink is barely there/non existent. 45. The bus driver in France was constantly on his cell while driving. I even took a picture. everyone knows that isn't safe and yet princess is apparently ok with it. luckily we didn't have an accident but again- shouldn't have occurred. 46. When they did have lobster for dinner (in regular dining area), it was tasteless and not good at all. If that would have been my first time having lobster, I would never eat it again. 47. I decided to do the shore excursion to the palace of versailles, which included the gardens and lunch. However, that is grossly overstated. It was really a walk through the gardens to lunch. Then, after I had already taken a seat at lunch, I was asked to move so that a group on the tour could sit there since I came by myself. Apparently, it is ok for me to fill a seat by itself but splitting a group is unthinkable. 48. In the dining room final night of dinner, I actually saw them pre-set a table with a huge gorgeous bowl of salad, different appetizers, bread, etc. before the people even showed up. Yet it took them quite awhile to even get me seated/get me shrimp cocktail. Then, when I asked for a refill on my coke, they seemed surprised. Yet that other table had all their drinks (including specialty alcohol drinks) within 60 seconds of sitting down. 49. I called front desk to see if they have a scale so I can weigh my luggage, they said they do and can have someone up in 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, no one had come up. I called and they said someone should be up soon. Another 30 minutes go by and still no one. So, I called again and got the same line, someone should be up soon. After two hours of waiting since I first called, I called again begging to send anyone who could please just weigh my bag so I can go to sleep and get off the ship first thing. I also said that me having to wait for two hours ruined any chance of going out and trying to enjoy the last night on the ship. Again, I was told someone would be right up. It took them another 27 minutes (thats a total of 2hr 27min). From the time he knocked on my door to the time he was done weighing my one bag was about 45 seconds btw 50. The day to go back to airport. I was finally off ship. I was about to get on bus. I saw other people allowed to take their suitcase on the bus. So, I told the bus driver I want to take mine on board as well and I was denied because it was too big. The bus was less than half filled. No one sat next to me. There was plenty of room. 51. The breakfast the last morning. I saw a worker sneeze into his hands, not wash them and continued messing with food at buffet. I stopped eating. I still got sick. 52. I was told my bottle of whisky would be in my room by the time I returned from my trip in France but it wasn't. I went back to front desk, they got ahold of the person and said they would be on their way. I went back to room. After 20 minutes, I got a call saying it would be awhile before he could get back to my room. I wanted to go eat dinner (was about 730pm by this point), he said to go ahead and would leave it just inside my door. 53. Following the cruise, I went online to submit my concerns to receive a refund for being treated so badly that I ended up crying myself to sleep more than once. The website only allows 3000 characters max. After 15 submissions- it would not let me do anymore. The automatic email I received said someone would contact me within 2-3 business days. It took over a week to get a call (went to voicemail because I was at work helping my patients). I called backed and the person was unavailable. I tried the next day, still not available. Called monday, her voice mail stated she took day off. When I called main number and asked if there was anyone else that could possibly help me, I was told no, the only person who was allow to authorize a refund was her. So, I left another voicemail. Then today (a week and a half later), she called and left me a voice mail. I called back and left voicemail. Then she called back and finally spoke with me. She stated that my file was reviewed and they could only offer me a $500 credit toward future cruise. I asked her why would I want to be treated badly again? All I wanted was refund. She said she couldnt. I asked her if there was someone else I could talk to- she said my file was already reviewed and this was all they will offer to me. So please, save your money and go somewhere else. Also, please forward this to others so that they wont be treated badly. People should be made aware of what really happens. Thank you Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
After 22 cruises we've never disliked a cruise or a Cruise Line ever, until now with Princess. We are also very aware not every cruise is perfect, but this should never happen... We've never felt UNSAFE on a cruise before this ... Read More
After 22 cruises we've never disliked a cruise or a Cruise Line ever, until now with Princess. We are also very aware not every cruise is perfect, but this should never happen... We've never felt UNSAFE on a cruise before this one. I urge you to do your research on this ship and also this Cruise Line. It seems very poorly managed and the guests are not treated with care like other Cruise Lines offer. We've sailed on most all the major cruise lines and I can assure you there is a big difference when you sail on any of the other lines. Again, from time to time every cruise has it's problems but Princess didn't pay attention to the problems or the needs and safety of their guests. From engine problems to endangering us and injuring passengers on a Port Tender (this was a major issue for many guests that shouldn't have happened), leaky plumbing that stunk in the hallways and guest rooms, broken washing machines, unorganized, uninformed Excursion desk employees that caused us to miss our excursions twice, broken-down Excursion bus, rude staff, over-cooked unimaginative MDR food, and boring amateur entertainment. We spent $1000's of dollars and 2 weeks of our lives for this? Somehow, Princess thinks this is ok. No matter who's at fault you're not getting a dime back! We feel ripped-off! Our suggestion is spend your hard earned money with a Cruise Line that will give you your moneys worth, that values it's guests, maintains it's ships, educates its staff and isn't willing to risk its passengers safety... Princess, never again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Over the past few years we have been cruising our way up the Norwegian coast with various cruise lines, the itinerary deciding which cruise to take. However, this year's preferred cruise was fully booked so the next option was Crown ... Read More
Over the past few years we have been cruising our way up the Norwegian coast with various cruise lines, the itinerary deciding which cruise to take. However, this year's preferred cruise was fully booked so the next option was Crown Princess, oh what a mistake we should have taken this year out. Embarkation at Southampton was chaotic with a total lack of interest from ship's staff on boarding the ship. There were very long queues for the Michaelangelo dining room with some guests allowed to book tables but others denied. The very strange menus were basically the same day in day out with only sauces or method of cooking varying. The Horizon buffet was a free for all with vegetables presented first before you found out what meat or fish (if at all) might be available. On a number of occasions the "food" presented was inedible. Very often the coffee was Grey in colour and the Tea was putrid. Sadly none of the Horizon staff (or management) were interested in resolving any concerns. The Port and Shore excursions were average with one excursion from Gravdal being cancelled apparently "due to lack of interest" 5 days before it was due to take place which was very strange as a number of other guests had been told that that particular excursion was overbooked! Overall, not impressed at all but what did surprise me was how many other guests, many of whom had obviously cruised with Princess for many years, expressed similar concerns to ourselves. Princess Cruises, never again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
I have been cruising for 30 years and this was by far the worst cruise I ever took. The food was awful and the staff behind the purser's desk needed lessons in the treatment of paying guests. They were sarcastic and rude. They ... Read More
I have been cruising for 30 years and this was by far the worst cruise I ever took. The food was awful and the staff behind the purser's desk needed lessons in the treatment of paying guests. They were sarcastic and rude. They promised things that were never delivered. The cash exchange machines were empty half the time and we were constantly told to come back in an hour. My toilet overflowed and they had the nerve to blame me for it! All in all, it was an awful experience. The customer service staff couldn't care less about my concerns. They promised me a bottle of wine which I never received. When my toilet overflowed they couldn't find the plumber. When he finally appeared they had the nerve to blame me for their non-functioning equipment. This was rude and definitely not the way to treat a full-paying passenger. The choice and quality of the food was awful. This was not a good cruise experience. I have thirty years of cruising to base my opinions on and as far as I am concerned Princess has gone downhill very rapidly since Carnival bought them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
I chose princess for the itinerary. My first princess cruise and my last. will stick with royal caribbean in the future. i knew there would be a cash bar at our cruise critic meet & mingle for 65 cruise critic members but i ... Read More
I chose princess for the itinerary. My first princess cruise and my last. will stick with royal caribbean in the future. i knew there would be a cash bar at our cruise critic meet & mingle for 65 cruise critic members but i expected snacks as i have had with other cruise lines. our snacks consisted of a bowl of unsalted peanuts. my room was another story. phone cord was frayed down to worn wires. the lamp was bent in half and not working. The carped had spots and smears on it and the bedskirt was disgustingly stained. i pre ordered robes. i expected them to be in our room when we arrived. did not receive them until the second day. i preordered internet service and was supposed to receive 20 extra minutes. this was not the case. even though i called the princess customer service to confirm my requests for robes, internet, etc and all was confirmed. Never again Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Went with Princess to Hawaii 5 years ago and have been on Celebrity and Holland and America. I actually win this cruise, so was looking forward to it as it was going to places I wouldn't have chosen if I was booking a cruise. ... Read More
Went with Princess to Hawaii 5 years ago and have been on Celebrity and Holland and America. I actually win this cruise, so was looking forward to it as it was going to places I wouldn't have chosen if I was booking a cruise. It got off to a bad start due to IT problems and then when we finally started to set sail circa 6 hours late the ship had to cock back up to deal with A medical emergency for a crew member. We arrived in Zeebrugge on the Sunday morning, a little later than expected, however passengers were not allowed to leave the ship due to immigration, all nationalities bar British and European had to present themselves on the ship with passports and eventually British and Europeans were allowed to leave and an hour or so later all other nationalities, this however, cut short everyone's time in port. Next onto Copenhagen, no immigration problems here and a great day was enjoyed until we got back on ship and an announcement was made that instead of leaving port at 3.00 a.m. To travel to Helsingborg in Sweden, the ship would be staying put as the seas would be too rough to tender in, so the contingency was to stay put in Copenhagen for a further day. Why didn't princess have contingency plans to dock further up the Swedish coast and bus guests into Helsingborg? Instead of which we never got to visit Sweden Whilst in Copenhagen, Norwegian immigration joined the ship and all nationalities bar, British and European had to attend for interview, so they would be allowed to enter Norway. Why did this happen? Who knows, I have never known anything like this on cruises befor Booked the Crown Grill at a cost of $58, well don't bother, bad form the start when we waited ten minutes just to get acknowledged at the entrance. Service very slow, and hour and a half before we got anywhere near a main course! When mains were served the wrong steaks were given to the wrong person and as mine didn't have the jus and I didn't want it, mine had to go back. New steak arrived and I could have soled my shoes with it. Never got asked if we wanted more wine. Complained to both the Matrie D and the Head waiter and all we got was thank you for your feedback and they still charged ue in full. Complete fiasco in the casino with a punter pushing and shoving everyone on the roulette out of the way to get her bets on. Croupier and table manager did and said nothing but I did. Ended up in handbags at dawn with the Casino Manager asking this lady to move to another table but she didn't and he did nothing more. I spoke with him the following day and expressed my dissatisfaction and told him the money obviously talks and she wasn't removed due to the amount she was putting in the tables. He told me that he had watched the CCTV and that he had looked for me to apologise and that she had been spoken to, but she should have been banned from the casino in my opinion Charged for drinks in our bill, when we had a drinks package, went to the front desk and the lad couldn't raise a smile, apologise or even speak with me, he just pressed a few buttons and printed off a new copy of our bill with it removed and when I told him that a smile wouldn't go a miss he sarcastically grinned at me Great staff in the smoking lounge in the casino (Luka) and both Sydney and Grace in the Crooners bar. Food not as good, with the steak on the staple menu in the dining room been replaced with a burger, for dinner in a restaurant setting? On another Celebrity cruise in a couple of weeks and looking forwar to it, as food and overall experience much better Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Area was incredible scenery and history. Loved the itinerary The buffet dining always had the same exact menus on each side.The quality and variety of food selections was lacking. The main dining rooms also had the same food choices. ... Read More
Area was incredible scenery and history. Loved the itinerary The buffet dining always had the same exact menus on each side.The quality and variety of food selections was lacking. The main dining rooms also had the same food choices. We had anytime dining, and often had a wait time to get seated. We ate in the Crown dining room 3 times. The food in the Crown was excellent, but we were asked at least 3 times for a drink order. The staff could not locate our bottle of wine from the previous meal, even thou we told them it was stored at the Crown room. The staff seemed poorly trained in listening skills. We took a Princess tour in Invigoration. While the scenery was fantastic, the tour guide would not turn on the air conditioning. By the time the tour was concluded, everyone on the bus was well-done due to heat exhaustion. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The good---dining room food, the pastry chef( superb---best of any of our 30 plus cruises), the excursions and reception. The bad---the ship needs to be refurbished and won't be until April 2018. Lots of empty wasted space outside ... Read More
The good---dining room food, the pastry chef( superb---best of any of our 30 plus cruises), the excursions and reception. The bad---the ship needs to be refurbished and won't be until April 2018. Lots of empty wasted space outside and inside with no chairs, etc. .The "tennis court is a too small sport court that doubles as the only basketball court or whatever. The few kids on the ship thought it was theirs and tried to continually get on it while we were trying to play pickle ball. There is only a small putting green no mini golf. The 2 larger pools were taken over by the kids and us lap swimmers were splashed endlessly. There are not enough outdoor activities for a ship that size! Celebrity and RC and NCL and even Holland America is better. There were no enrichment activities. And the entertainment was the worse we have ever had on any ocean ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
After my experience with Princess Cruise line Customer Service, I have decided not to do cruises anymore. I booked this cruise to see Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. They decided to not to dock there, and the Captains, 'oh well, ... Read More
After my experience with Princess Cruise line Customer Service, I have decided not to do cruises anymore. I booked this cruise to see Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. They decided to not to dock there, and the Captains, 'oh well, we'll just have another lovely day at sea.' I took it up with Princess on board, and then after making a formal complaint after I got home, I got a call from someone who just didn't care that I'd spent so much money to fly to London, and get the cruise. Princess Customer Service is NO service. On this ship there are very little places to sit and read or play games, and their rating of "easy, moderate or strenuous " for the excursions are incorrect. I'm an unhappy Cruise passenger, and I won't return to Princess; and frankly I'm no longer inclined to Cruises. I've been on Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. I'd rather go somewhere and get a private guide, or take tours. Princess does not allow enough time in ports. The cabin was inadequate, the dining was OK, but not great. The Entertainment was sad. The service from staff, our room attendant, and waitstaff was fine, but the ship officers were not helpful. The Ports in Ireland are lacking, and the ships have so many people to run thru each main attraction, that you are shorted on what you go to see. I loved Scotland, and I plan to go back there on my own to see Kirkwall and other neolithic sites. The ships overview and information on what is available at each port is inadequate. We hired a private chauffeur to drive us to see things and were much happier than taking ship excursions. If you love sitting on a ship, then cruising is for you. If you want to experience the actual port, then I would suggest travel without cruising. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We haven't used Princess Cruises before and never will again. We have had fantastic cruises with Royal Caribbean, Fred Olsen and Celebrity and we were expecting this to be equally as good if not better. The food and dining service ... Read More
We haven't used Princess Cruises before and never will again. We have had fantastic cruises with Royal Caribbean, Fred Olsen and Celebrity and we were expecting this to be equally as good if not better. The food and dining service were abysmal, as was the entertainment, everything else was mediocre. The only upside was the lovely cabin steward, Babush, whom we had, he couldn't be faulted. Disembarkation was terrible, OK the weather was partly to blame, but if the ship had left Gibraltar when expected we should still have been back on time. The other main problem was to do with the itinerary, We arrived in Genoa on a Sunday and Marseilles on a Bank Holiday Monday and of course everything was closed on both of these days!! With all the days spent at sea I, and many others who were aboard agree, think that this could have been arranged better. I really don't expect Princess to take any notice of this review as their surveys don't seem to have any effect Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Had heard good reviews about princess cruises. We were booked on Club Class with everything that came with it, which I might add we did not receive, starting at the terminal at Southampton. Priority embarkation - we were one of that last ... Read More
Had heard good reviews about princess cruises. We were booked on Club Class with everything that came with it, which I might add we did not receive, starting at the terminal at Southampton. Priority embarkation - we were one of that last groups to embark. Priority disembarkation - We left the ship two hours after we docked. Club Class dinning - we were told we had to have breakfast and lunch in the Horizon buffet and evening meal in Botticelli when infact Club Class had their own dinning room for all three meals whilst at sea. With lunch in Horizon only on port days. The staff in the Club Class dinning room we eventually got into after 3 days and complaining at Passenger services counter, who were most unhelpful and in some cases down right rude, were wonderful. They were friendly, helpful and in my case being gluten intolerant bent over backwards to ensure I had a varied variety of gluten free meals - nothing was too much trouble. Definitely the best place on ship. I would also say the guys in Crooners bar were also the same, helpful, friendly and funny. Our stateroom - D423 - was dirty, dried soap scum on shelves and a dirty bath, toenails on the carpet from previous passengers, which stayed there for the duration of our cruise, though I must admit the bathroom was finally satisfactorily cleaned. Yes we had the 1/2 bottles of wine left but no robes and when they did eventually appear, only one - I suppose we were meant to share !!!. Most of the ladies toilets on ship that you went into smelt of sewerage with a lot of the lids hanging on by one attachment. Our balcony was very rusty and once out on the balcony the sewerage smell seemed to be stronger. The theatre we could never get a seat in as most people couldn't unless we missed evening meals to guarantee a seat. Most of the other entertainment was directed at the American market and whilst I appreciate the fact that this was an American ship, there were many other nationalities on board. Unfortunately we are back on the 27th May with a recently bereaved friend as we would not be travelling with Princess again and have actually cancelled a cruise on the Sapphire as a result of our experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
What appeared to be a good choice of varied destinations turned out to be a damp squib. Having just been refitted we were surprised that it did not look bright and new! Embarkation and cabin, when found as not shown on ship signage, was up ... Read More
What appeared to be a good choice of varied destinations turned out to be a damp squib. Having just been refitted we were surprised that it did not look bright and new! Embarkation and cabin, when found as not shown on ship signage, was up to standard. The bed and bed linen were exceptional. Layout of ship was as per usual with Princess. Dining in the main dining rooms was Anytime which we much prefer. Buffet was well attended but limited options (food allergy). We were amazed that there was no insistence on cleaning hands before going in to any of the dining areas. Main dining areas were clean and staff were efficient. Maitre d' went out of his way to track me down to provide next day menus because of food allergy. The entertainment was very poor as were the on-board activities and lectures. The Staff in general seemed lacking in experience and knowledge. When asked questions they did not know answers and did not volunteer to find out and get back to us. Apart from in Rotterdam, any shuttles to and from ports were charged at a high rate and many were per return trip, not all day. We were captive in Zeebrugge unless we paid for a taxi or shuttle - other cruise lines were offering a complimentary service. Through no fault of Princess we lost the call to Le Havre. They therefore extended the length of time in Zeebrugge but not the shuttle time originally scheduled which meant that any trips of distance could not be undertaken. Even though we were not departing until 9 am the following morning everyone had to be on board by 11.30 pm (shuttles finished at 4 pm) although this was extended to 6 pm (only found out on return at 4 pm!!!) The excursion we were able to take was very informative and well organised. After a fairly bland cruise (thank goodness we like reading and had brought sufficient reading material) we encountered major problems with the collection of our suitcases. After putting them outside our room we had to make several phone calls to customer services during the small hours (and later not so small hours) before they were eventually collected. This might be because our cabin did not appear on the signs and was hidden round the corner. Disembarkation was very smooth - in fact we had no time to enjoy the priority lounge available to platinum level and above. If we had not already booked another cruise (prior to starting this one) we might have thought twice about Princess cruises in general. Overall decent cruise destinations but everything else left a LOT to be desired. We spoke to others on the cruise and we did not find anyone who had good things to say about it. First time cruisers with Princess said they would not cruise again with them. It seems that Princess are relying on past glories. Let's hope the next cruise is up to past standards. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have been on over 30 cruises and are Platinum on Princess In November 2016 we contacted Princess and explained that my wife had recently been diagnosed with Gluten Ataxia, (a rare form of Coeliac Disease where gluten attacks her ... Read More
We have been on over 30 cruises and are Platinum on Princess In November 2016 we contacted Princess and explained that my wife had recently been diagnosed with Gluten Ataxia, (a rare form of Coeliac Disease where gluten attacks her brain) and that I was gluten intolerant. He assured us that Princess Cruises could provide us with a variety of good quality gluten free food providing we gave them the required notice which we did. Breakfast At breakfast in the dining room we were told there was only one type of gluten free bread and cereal. The rice bread did not toast very well. The cereal was corn flakes but they were sweet and tasteless.. The gluten free muffins were hard and had a horrible taste. Incidentally we also tried the gluten free scones available at afternoon tea which were hard, dry and tasteless so between the scones, bread and muffin afternoon tea was not an option available to us either. We were very upset by the attitude of a small minority of the waiters towards us. One particular waiter offered us pastries on the first morning and pressed us when we said no thank you so we told him we were gluten free. He shouted to all the other waiters, whilst pointing at us, that we were gluten free. Obviously other passengers looked at us. Quite honestly we felt embarrassed and humiliated. The requirements of other guests such as diabetics were not shouted out and they were not pointed at. After we complained about this he still came to our table every morning and said that he did not need to offer us pastries now that he knew we were gluten free so would not disturb us. We felt this was completely unnecessary and that he was being sarcastic Buffet We were advised to avoid the buffet because of the risk of cross contamination and on two occasions I saw food containing gluten in the gluten free desert section. When the ship was in port the only food available was in the buffet. We asked various chefs/staff what food was gluten free and got mixed messages, one person saying something was OK whilst another person said it contained gluten. The only safe items were jacket potatoes, some meat on the carvery but none of the sauces. We usually had the same lunch on port days. The desert section usually only had two options jelly/tapioca or crumble. Even the sous chefs, whilst they tried to be helpful, didn’t appear to understand the risk of cross contamination by other passengers with tongs and spillages. Main Dining On day one the only gluten free food available was fish. It had been overcooked. The head waiter took our order for the next day, again main dishes were limited. We were told that we could NOT choose a desert as these were specially made each day by the chef for passengers on special diets. At dinner we were seated at a table for nine which was a tight squeeze and ordering took a long time. On the first two nights my wife ordered fish but it had been kept hot and was tasteless and nothing was said even though my wife didn’t eat much of it. We complained in writing about the food. We spoke to the Maître d’ about the lack of deserts and the waiting staff at breakfast. He said he would send out an email to the We were moved to a smaller table but problems continued as some courses arrived at different times to others on the table and some items such as gluten free crab cakes were inedible. We had to complain before we were offered a desert choice. One night my wife was served a dish containing pasta which was not gluten free. Some things did improve slightly after we moved tables as we got carrot cake for desert thanks to Roberto along with chocolates and biscuits all on the same night! STEAMERS SPECIALITY DINING - we decided to go to Steamers, after speaking to Claudio the Assistant Maître d’ who escorted us to our table. After 10 minutes the chef told us he did not think he could prepare any gluten free dishes because of the danger of cross contamination in his small galley and it was arranged we could go to Freedom Dining. Once there we waited 45 minutes for our starter but 20 minutes later we were told the rest of our special pre-order had been lost. The waiter said he did not know what to do next so we left. There was almost nothing we could have in the buffet but we tried a jacket potato and some beef both of which were unacceptable, cold potato and tough beef. As a consequence we had some snacks we had brought on board plus fruit from the buffet in our cabin. To say we were upset would be putting it mildly. Most nights we were given a jelly/tapioca type desert. The one on the last night was plain tapioca with 2 berries and a strawberry slice made into a smiley face (see attached photo) which just added insult to injury. We complained to Roberto Roberto lost his temper shouting ‘I have allergies too but I never mention them’ He also said there was nothing he could do other than relay our comments to the chef Summary We were very disappointed and upset by these events which spoiled our holiday. We paid a lot of money for it and expected to be treated the same as all the other guests which did not happen. There was a diabetic on our table at dinner and his special diet was handled sensitively and with no fuss. We felt we were seen as a nuisance and quite honestly sometimes we were just very hungry. We were totally reliant on Princess for food during our holiday as it is not easy to find gluten free food immediately on arrival in other countries. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Please be patient in the reading of this comprehensive review which has taken a long while to compile due to the unwillingness of various sources to explain their actions (inactions) whilst on-board this cruise. Rather regrettably very ... Read More
Please be patient in the reading of this comprehensive review which has taken a long while to compile due to the unwillingness of various sources to explain their actions (inactions) whilst on-board this cruise. Rather regrettably very little input from Princess Cruises themselves to explain their failings has not helped and that their only offering of their ‘sincere apologies’ (5 times over in the same ‘reply) does tend to wears a bit thin! A recent ‘final twist’ should however prove to be to the added benefit of many cruise passengers when visiting certain Indian Cruise Ports in the future, saving them significant costs, time and inconvenience This was to be our 35-36th cruise (if you count the 2 sectors) and we are well used to making allowances for some operator failings and loss in our expectations. Earlier last year we had also completed a comparable 50 Night cruise on the P&O Arcadia, only our second P&O if discounting their former Ocean Village brand. We had hopes and expectations of Princess equaling or surpassing it but sadly it did not even come close. There were only 4 new ports of call for us, Phuket, Ko Samui, Bali and Busselton, all of which were to be tendered. Most of our cruises have been with Princess but our strong allegiance to the brand was to be sorely tested on this occasion. From the onset the now well-written about ‘Indian Visa Farce’, along with the multiple mis-management issues affecting most passengers, were so far-removed from the standards of customer service portrayed in the recent Royal Princess ITV cruise series. We had sailed on this ship in the Baltic for 14 N in 2014 and was brilliant. Lest we were to forget the positives of this cruise we did find the staff, away from the customer services desk area, to be excellent - in terms of their levels of service, engagement and their maintaining good eye-contact throughout the cruise! The freedom dining service within the Michelangelo Dining Room, along with that in the International Café; both located on the deck 4 as and our cabin; were also at their best. To be able to walk-around the ship on the promenade deck on this class of ship is an appealing feature for us. Sadly this is fast disappearing from current cruise ship designs In our early reading of the ‘Roll-Call’ for this cruise we had identified that there were many troubles and issues being raised in obtaining the Indian Visa, in a variety of countries – both in cost-terms and sheer frustration in form-filling, visiting VFS offices, etc. We know that Princess have delivered so much to us in the past, hence we have remained loyal to them. We can only hope that despite their unwillingness to formally accept constructive criticism from many more that, they will address these and other concerns already expressed to them. With our having been to Cochin twice before we drew those visa problems to Princess Cruises attention and sought their approval to being allowed to stay on-board ship without our having to purchase a visa – cited as being possible in some cruise passengers previously posted reviews. After 3 weeks deliberation they confirmed, that “all guests visiting India must have a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa. Visas must be obtained prior to the cruises and cannot be obtained onboard. Irrespective of any advice obtained from the various India High Commission offices, these requirements will be strictly enforced and guests will be denied boarding if they do not have the correct visas on embarkation”. “You need to check with your travel agent or the government Authorities (VFS Global) and refer to CIBT (their preferred visa agent)”. Princess went on to REPEAT that “If you arrive at the terminal in Southampton without the relevant paper work then you will be denied boarding.” Faced with the latter ‘ultimatum’, were we not to adhere to their repeated directives and been refused boarding, we would likely be considered to be in breach of our (all?) travel insurance company’s cover. Like many more who would have preferred to have been given that same option, we felt that we had no choice but to get the visa - which both VFS & CIBT were also then recommending (advising?) as also being needed. The passenger mix on-board was far different to any of our previous cruises. For the first leg it was given out as the ship being Full – 3,028 Passengers with 1,405 – UK/ Ireland, 939 – Australia/NZ, 612 - USA / Canada We had also read on the passenger ‘roll-call’ that the cruise had been ‘over-booked’, as quite a number of them had received some amazing offers to stand-down. Some were being offered stand-downs during the cruise and as late as disembarking in Melbourne instead of Sydney. On the day of embarkation there was chaos and confusion at the check-in desks at the Southampton terminal. We subsequently learned that it was caused and compounded by conflicting directives being given by Princess Management to their personnel. Again, please excuse there being more details than I would normally wish to include in a review as it may help to fill – in some of the facts surrounding the circumstances of this ‘unique’ (all for the wrong reasons) cruise experience, to fellow passenger. The situations played-out at the Cruise Terminal can be summarised:- 1) Check-in staff had only been briefed that very morning to process all passengers without the correct visa documentation and to allow them to board the ship - but were to initially ‘fine-them’ £200 / $200?pp 2) One passenger we met was advised by Princess check-in staff that ‘over half’ the passengers were expected to arrive with the wrong visa or no visa at all and that the ship would be sailing half-empty and therefore the staff are being told to accept them for boarding”. 3) The check-in staff were later instructed l to drop those charges and to allow any further such passengers to check-in and to board. (those that had been ‘fined’ were re-credited). 4) Some of those passengers with no / incorrect visa were warned that they may have to depart the ship in Dubai and fly to Phuket and later rejoin the ship - which seemed most odd! 5) Others were told that their Cruise Cards would be ‘blocked’ so as to prevent them disembarking in India, which also seemed to be at odds with those ‘Dubai’ references. 6) Even the check-in personnel were openly questioning the indecisions and inconsistencies given by their own management team (Princess?). Princess had obviously not thought-through the significant consequences of making an extremely late decision - to effectively break / ignore their own ‘binding’ Contracted Booking Conditions - which they themselves had dictated and ‘imposed’ upon all of their fare-paying passenger’s. Least of all in their minds were the affects that their unilateral decision would have upon the vast majority of their loyal passengers – all those of us that, at some considerable cost(s) and time, had fully complied with those now very questionable Princess Conditions. A passenger we spoke with frequently (first-time cruisers), had met the Captain in the bar and asked him as to why all those passengers had been allowed to board. He was advised that, ‘because there were so many without visas; ‘upwards of 230’; it was felt that we could not leave so many in the port’ – ‘It may be that the Indian authorities will fine them $300 or so?’ Princess on-board management rather shamefully, chose instead to laud all the blame on to India for their having supposedly ‘changing of their rules – again!’ That was totally unfounded, as even CIBT (Princess recommended Visa Agents) have subsequently advised that there had not been any recent changes to India’s Visa requirements. Customer Services Supervisor when asked 10 days in to the cruise for the actual affected passenger numbers said ‘we do not know’ and 2 days later their Senior Manager was ‘not at liberty to divulge’. Neither would they clarify, then or since, those passenger numbers involved or as to why they had decided to breach their own conditions. Impressions were given of a major cover-up going on? With a further circa 300 passenger change-over in Dubai, references were made to most of those as not having a visa for India either. That may account to comments upon previously published reviews, referring to there being ‘several hundred’ without ‘the correct documentation’. As ‘converts’ of Princess to the benefits of their Freedom / shared dining (now adopted by other cruise-lines) this issue inevitably would get raised by someone during the table conversation at virtually all mealtimes. On a number of occasions we were also unfortunate enough to be witness to some of the shameful behaviour by staff Passenger Services members , who were disrespectfully shouting and / or talking down to passengers. Most distressing for those passenger and very upsetting for all those around the desk area at the times, including ourselves. Other passenger comments on this have also been previously aired in reviews. Immigration officials from India had boarded in Dubai and started their processing of visa checking the next day and were completed by the following afternoon. With immigration checks being completed the day before we were to arrive in Cochin a standard open-letter from the Princess Legal Department was issued to all cabins, seen as a belated attempt to try to defuse the situation. Passengers wishing to make claims were asked to ‘please reach out to a member of our Customer Relations staff upon your return home’. It also included 3 different e-mail addresses, one for the UK, Australia/NZ and USA/ Canada. Not to be interpreted as having taken benefit from their visas, there were 70 plus with correct visas not wanting to go ashore, ourselves included, elected to remain on-board - in the company of the ‘several hundred’ or so of those without ‘correct documentation’. We were also joined by large numbers of Indian families sampling the on-board bars and dining facilities Potentially, this should allow those passengers to reclaim the visa cost from Princess for their breaching of their own conditions - or so you may have thought! The UK & USA seemed to be given the ‘short-straw’ in that their e-mail addresses included ‘customer services’ as a prefix. Those of us from the UK seeking reimbursement of their visa costs from the UK have been advised to the effect “nor am I able to reimburse you for the visas you purchased”. Do not know what the USA passengers have since been advised? The Australian / NZ passengers were however assigned an e-mail address with a ‘claims’ prefix – but currently do not know how their claims have been dealt with either. This is not helped by Princess installing ‘firewalls’ between those 3 regions – to prevent cross-reading / interrogations of information including their differential pricings, etc. What has since been determined is that Carnival Group adopt a ‘Will be denied boarding ..without the correct documentation’ conditions wording (seemingly now only when it suits them?). However their P&O Australia brand independently conveys ‘May be denied boarding’ –in line with that conveyed by the RCI & Fred Olsen cruise line brands. Got to give it to the Aussies - they get to say it as it is! (They also remove fixed gratuity charges and insist £AUD on-board currency on cruises out of Australia - another lesson for the UK?) None of the cruise-lines, nor VFS Global and CIBT (+other agents?), elect to specifically cite and / or promote the Consulate General of India’s (CGI ) directive which confirms that there is definitely no need to obtain a visa if you remain on-board any ship whilst it is in any Indian Port. Only common-sense really, when most of the crew do exactly the same when the cruise ships are in port. Why therefore should passengers be discriminated against by Princess (+ other cruise lines?) Instead Princess attempt to thwart those same Indian Statutory rights from being recognised, for their own fare-paying passengers - by adopting a form of ‘weasel words’ to try to convey otherwise? At the time of this cruise Princess had included a reference in the Cruise Personaliser; only readable via your insertion of a bespoke passenger booking reference number; that read “Irrespective of any advice obtained from the various India High Commission offices“– (this has however since been removed from their current cruise conditions – see later). Both VFS Global and CBIT have repeatedly failed to advise applicants of that same very clear CGI directive. More recently and rather selectively both of those bodies’ had no such problems in their recognising and passing-on to applicants the recent directive issued by CGI to increase the price for the Indian Tourist Visa by a further £10. Particularly for the benefit of those who also experienced this cruise I paste here a post-cruise ‘explanation’ offered-up by Princess. Not only does it differ to that conveyed in a separate e-mail from ‘them’ (Carnival), it is also at odds with the content of their own letter issued some 2 weeks in to the cruise to all those passengers registering formal complainants (presumably in an attempt to try to diffuse the situation?). Fact versus fiction you may say – “As explained during your cruise, the Indian Immigration Authorities decided that as they had allowed one couple to board without the required visa, they decided others would be permitted to do so as well, but would not be permitted to go ashore in Cochin. This meant those guests who decided to not purchase a visa prior to travel were allowed to board on immigration officials agreement, as opposed to being denied boarding as would normally be the case.” Compare that with, thirteen days in to the cruise – those passengers with no / incorrect visa had still not been notified officially of being able to stay on ship without incurring a penalty etc. for their doing so (confirmed by the Customer Services Desk). Also at that time Princess were still awaiting feed-back from the Indian Immigration authorities, as to whether those with no visas / incorrect visas would even be allowed to even stay on the ship’. A number of those we spoke to ‘without visas’ were still worried that they may have to disembark in Dubai – poor communications to them by Princess and so long after leaving Southampton! The 80-90+% of passengers that had complied fully with Princess Cruises conditions; paying sums which varied greatly between £250 to $1300 per couple (for the sake of an 8 hour stop in Cochin) had not been given any thoughts or respect they deserved by Princess. On the face of it, those passengers allowed to board without having laid out any expense (money and substantial time, etc) for an Indian visas were effectively made in to ‘winners’ - entirely due to Princess not invoking their own Conditions with them. They were not fined as some of them had expected to be. However, an e-mail between one of those passengers without a visa dated the 30.08.16; to / from the CGI (Consulate General India) Birmingham office; was presented and copies made and readily circulated as proof by them that they had personally done nothing wrong. They had merely exercised the very clear and precisely conveyed option, granted to ‘a foreigner’ to remain on board (in any Indian Port) without there being a need to obtain a visa. CGI are the very body that regulates Indian Visas (VFS Global are only their bespoke visa handling agents). That CGI e-mail statement has since been independently validated, along with the same information from their Visa Support Centre, that states:- “A transit /regular visa is not required by a foreigner who does not leave the ship while it halts at an Indian Port. In case a person desires to leave the ship during its halt at an Indian port, he/ she may be allowed to do so on a temporary landing permit not exceeding 3 days. Please refer the link http://boi.gov.in/content/temporary-landing-permit for information on the same.”……. Etc. This tended to put the blame fairly and squarely back on to Princess’s own shoulders. Seemingly the likes of both VFS + CIBT + other agents (?) were all too readily to have ‘supported’ them, however all make their living (money) out of the selling of Tourist visas. Despite this very specific information being re-presented to all of them, up to 12 weeks ago they continued to be in denial of that being an alternative option to buying a visa. Princess however still wanted to maintain that their ‘passengers will be denied boarding etc…’stance. VFS Global when pressed quoted that “You need to check with the Cruise Company as it all depends on their requirements”! Princess of course originally contended “I hope that you can understand Princess Cruises have no influence in this (VISAS)”. Had Princess decided to adhere to their own rules for this cruise, it is not difficult to work out that they would have potentially lost-out upon a 10 -15% benefit from their on-board spend, expensive excursions and their ever-increasing gratuities. Could it be the ‘$ker-ching’, factor had ruled their heads? This is the first Princess cruise that we have heard of some USA passengers exercising their right to sign-out of the daily gratuity charge. What message does that send- out I wonder? I subsequently put to Princess Cruises a number of simple but pertinent questions. In-keeping with everything else presented to them, they have declined to answer. Examples :- Would Princess expect 230+ - 500+ (subject of Princess Ratification) individual passengers to turn up for the cruise embarkation (in Southampton + Dubai) with no India Visa? Would all those passengers have independently risked contravening / breaching of Princess’s Booking & T&C’s and thereby render their own Insurance covers null and void, had they not been given professional advices that they could stay on ship? For Princess check-in staff to have been given conflicting advices by their management on allowing those with no visas to board the cruise; in direct conflict with the Princess’s own conditions; Princess management must have somehow ‘gleaned’ some time beforehand that there would be a major problem on that day concerning visas and how could they have known? By now it was getting to feel a bit like ‘Miss Marple’at this point? PRINCESS HAVING A ‘PREVIOUS HISTORY’ Princess have been asked repeatedly to confirm any of their cruise ships that have ever refused boarding, solely for their not having the correct visa documentation - at the time and since and have failed to do so. Had they done, it may well have served to quash the matter as it would likely have been verifiable from past posted cruise reviews? Princess have however seemingly ‘pulled the same trick’ on their much smaller Pacific Princess World cruise only 2 years ago – see:- http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2229888&page=19 – shelldo1 2.11.16. This only serves to convey contempt for the opinions of their loyal passengers, adding to the already loss of faith and trust that we personally now have of Princess as a leading cruise brand. Our lesson learned is to never believe what Princess Staff tell you whilst on-board, as seemingly it counts for nothing, even if you record them! It is as though no-one in the Princess organisation is willing or expected to take ‘ownership’ and / or responsibility for their own repeated serious staff-failures. Their important Information messages - about Visas, Passports, etc., instead of being conveyed on the front page of the Princess Patter, were only being presented on the Wake Show. Only a small percentage of passengers find the time to watch and on this cruise was further compounded by the frequent time-zone adjustments. 4No. ‘Serious Messages’ were conveyed by the Customer Services Director for the morning of the 24th October- two days after Cochin (had been pr-recorded hence was worded for the day at Sea after Cochin). – See https://youtu.be/EP4mFEEjlZE - 24.10.16 – Item 4of4 which conveys:- “The last ‘serious’ -I want to talk about on the Wake Show is the Visa Issue with India. As you know we have had a Lot of Passengers upset about the India Visa situation. We do know, we do understand. We have sent a letter to your cabin that the Corporate office is dealing with this and I wanted everyone to know a little bit of follow-up”. We had a huge meeting yesterday. Corporate officials flew in from Santa Clarita.” We met with the Chief Immigration and the Chief in Charge of the Ports as well to discuss all the issues that we have with them this cruise, including the onboard issues and some of the visa issues, some of the face to face issues - a lot of various problems. Ah, they know that, they understand that, it is being discussed still.” I am sorry there is no outcome that I am going to be able to give you – this year!” It is something India is slowly working on and trying to fix and at this point I can let you know to watch the near future and see what happens” Princess Cruises have been frequently requested to explain what that message was all about but have declined to do so. So why then did they choose to have put-it-out on TV if Princess (?) and their passengers would not understand it? My perception is that crew members are normally allowed ashore without themselves or Princess having to ‘buy’ a visa for them and that on this particular occasion the ‘local port authorities’ were creating difficulties for them – possibly because they had lost-out on the income from those visas? - See what you can make of the video clip! Tendering - On the same Wake Show / video, another of the CR Director’s ‘Important Messages’ concerned a decision to suspend / cancel priority tendering for Elite Passengers. This seriously questions their skill of basic maths, with 900 Elite out of 3000 passenger (30%) being determined by them as - “ So, as you know as an Elite passenger we normally have priority tendering we can do in some ports unfortunately that’s almost the whole ship so unfortunately we will not be having an Elite tendering lounge for our tendering in to Thailand”. Passports – The taking and late returning of passports was also farcical and rather irresponsibly executed on the part of Princess. They had recently decided to adopt a system whereby the cabin stewards are charged with collecting your passports at various set times, but do not give you a receipt card for them - as normal practice (still common practice on other cruise-lines?). Rather hypocritically of their system, the steward has to get a passenger’s signature each time they return the passports to the guest’s cabins- why different? An added role and responsibility for already over-worked cabin stewards you may think? – Good guess may well be it reduces staffing costs and does not cost the company? Their CS Manager subsequently explained that it is part of a ‘new Princess System’, introduced earlier in the year "in order to save paperwork”! When mentioning the unnecessary nightly junk-mail in our box to him – he rather flippantly responded with ‘that is another department sir’. I also reminded him that there are some very expensive visas inside most passenger’s passports (ours also having the even more expensive 2 Year China Visa). Their ‘new system’ however effectively places their passengers in breach of most, if not all, of the UK Holiday Insurance Company’s T&C’s. It also conveys that Princess are being rather ‘cavalier’ when it comes to the safeguarding of their guests personal and ‘intellectual property’, data etc. The need to obtain a receipt when parting with your passport has been mentioned several times on recent UK Holiday and consumer TV programmes as a ‘savvy tourist -reminder’! Yet another blinkered obsession of considering only their company interests ahead of their passengers when looking at cost-cutting! As one passenger has already posted on this site - “On the last day of the cruise the cabin steward was giving back our passports they were stacked on his Trolley for anyone to touch …………. A bit lax to say the least!” - Wood, Leeds http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/princess-cruises/emerald-princess/read-review-114479/ Re-boarding the ship in Singapore, our passports were again collected, only this time from inside the Terminal bridge link to the ship (no receipt given!). The Customer Services manager advised that they had to account for all of the passports as a Port Authority pre-requisite to leave the port and for Princess to ‘scan- them in’(?). About an hour later, the Captain came over the PA system, apologising for the delay to departure – as they were still missing 19 Passports which were “preventing the ship from leaving the port”. Some passengers were obviously rather more assertive in holding on to their passports with no receipt than we were? As Princess do not seem to want to know about this serious flaw; assuming of course that they intend to continue with it; I would advise taking your passports to the desk (on those stated collection dates) and insist that they give you a receipt for them. Another bit of cost-nibbling to watch out for is the free internet minutes available to Captains Circle members, Platinum and above. The threshold for the 500 minutes free package coming-in has recently been raised to 21+night cruise durations (from 17). The 250 minutes is still however a nice ‘loyalty reward’ to derive benefit from. Also look out for changes to their Future Cruise Deposit (FCD) forms which do not now benefit those passengers without internet access / skills. The option for passengers to be issued with a hard-copy confirmation (to your cabin) has been withdrawn so you can now only receive one by e-mail. The FCD is also no longer useable on future cruises over 45 Days duration (replaced by a supposed 3% price reduction?) – All this is in the very small ‘Specsaver-proof’ print included on the form. A widow-friend on-board had no e-mail address (then) but had been assured by the FC consultant that she would receive a hard-copy confirmation for the 2 further future cruise credits she had recorded on her form. No hard-copy was ever received. Although her credit card had been debited for 2 some three months later her TA advised her that Princess had only credited her with 1. Her companion, who had not even filled in a form for any FCC, had her credit card debited £75 for a single FCC. These are very basic errors and although since corrected, you may wish to carefully check your own Princess particulars on their web-site and upon your Credit Card statement in the future. Feeling reticent about taking out a further FCC it was late-on in the cruise that I tried to drop off our own form with the FC consultant but she was always busy. For the very first and last time, I decided to use their drop-box service. I had taken a photo of the form and only when I had not received an e-mail confirmation did I open the photo file and noticed that, whilst I had completed and signed the form, I had failed to insert our cabin number (my error). Being no hard-copy confirmations issued whilst you are still on-board ship allows them to process these forms post- cruise. However they cannot subsequently ‘manually’ rectify any missing or incorrect details, as indeed common-sense may have otherwise dictated if processed on-board? They are also adamant that this cannot be done retrospectively either. Had it been missing from a form for a cruise excursion I would imagine that someone would have had the ‘nouse’ to have obtained a cabin number? As things have panned-out since, with Princess being in denial of their staff failing or decisions, we had no plans to risk them again in the foreseeable future. Rather disappointing to experience that Princess standards had fallen so fast on this particular cruise, particularly when our recent experiences of ‘sister companies’, on bothP&O and Cunard, they have managed to have ‘upped-their-game’ and standards!. By Princess not wanting to take ownership / responsibility for their own personnel failures and management decisions I can now relate somewhat to the judges cover-up summation in the $40m 'magic pipe' case in which Princess Cruises were given a record fine for dumping waste at sea. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/02/the-40m-magic-pipe-princess-cruises-given-record-fine-for-dumping-oil-at-sea Entertainment Always subjective in terms of personal likes /dislikes and by our past experiences we have found that Princess usually manages to strike it somewhere ‘in the middle”. For the first 10 days or so the main shows were pretty good but then, apart from the odd exception eg. Jo little, they failed to impress many. This showed itself by the drastic fall-off in audience numbers, particularly for the late shows. The Princess show-team were judged by many to be below average, even resorting to miming songs on some occasions. Daytime activities were much the same, poor by any standard. If you strip-away the potential revenue- generating activities of spa treatment, therapy ‘demonstrations’, art auctions, ever-expensive bingo etc there was not much left. Carpet bowls, croquet (infrequent) and the like were all-over-the-place in terms of venue(s) and / or timings. Even the Champagne (fizzy water?-cheap) hoop-la started off on deck with 6 bottles (to be ‘hooped’). This was later replaced to 4pegs to be ‘hooped’ – best of 3 go’s - with only the one bottle prize when brought indoors (most days). Health & Safety gone mad they say – another cost-cutting scheme more-like? The first mention of Remembrance Day was in the Patter & the Wake Show for that very morning - mentioning the Service 11/11 held in the theatre - even the organisers were taken-aback as it proved to be standing room only. There was no pre-selling of poppies either and with their bringing forward the auctioning off of the Navigational Chart 3 days to that same afternoon we had expected the proceeds would have been donated to the Poppy Appeal (as P&O do). The $1,100 approx was however allocated for a Princess Charity. Has supporting the war-dead and associated charities now become yet another victim of being too ‘PC’? I trust that this additional information has served to enlighten those who experienced this cruise and that it may ultimately bring-about a change to Princess’s approach to their cost-cutting programme. Likewise, consider changes to the Indian Visa situation and to assist those when contemplating their future cruise itineraries, with Princess and / or other cruise lines. And now for the Twist - Indian Visa ‘breaking news’:- I am very surprised that this significant change has not been presented in the Main Tourist Media. From the 1st April 2017 the Indian High Commission (HCI) / Consular General of India(CGI) have included 3 ports (Cochin, Goa & Mangalore) to their on-line e-Visa system. Previously this was just for airports and effectively reduces the cost to $50 US pp - reported by initial users as being issued in circa 3 days. You can now find the instructions for an e-visa in the following web-site link - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html Their site information, responsibly and commendably, even warns of the on-line search engine risk of sending you to the wrong site link, by virtue of – “It is advised not to believe or fall in trap of any such unscrupulous elements who claim speedy/express grant of e-Visa and charge money for it” Recent access to the Princess Cruise Personaliser (only accessible after booking a cruise and then using a booking reference) for the current Majestic Princess cruise visiting Cochin in June17 has revealed that Princess have now made some very significant changes to their own Conditions - relatively ‘on the quiet’! It would seem that it had been re-compiled prior to the 1.04.17. and had already removed their previous conditions that we had cited to them as being potentially inequitable, namely:- “Irrespective of any advice obtained from the various India High Commission offices, these requirements will be strictly enforced and guests will be denied boarding if they do not have the correct visas on embarkation.” Likewise they had replaced their “Must have a multi entry Tourist Visa” with “staying onboard or going ashore require an Indian visa”. However, being compiled prior to the 1.04.17, this should be subsequently reworded as it is now negated by the introduction of the eTV for Cochin. Likewise the CGI (+HCI) statements should also now be automatically recognised / accepted (whereby the alternative option of staying on-board, without the need for a visa is an Indian statutory entitlement) Conversely, still included was an addition of “Please note that a regular Tourist visa is required; the Electronic Tourist Visa (eTV) is not valid for cruise passengers” as this would also now become redundant - by virtue of the introduction of the e-TV ie, for all cruise ship arrivals / departures for the current 3 ports of Cochin, Goa and Mangalore. However it took Princess 26 days in to April before formally ‘recognising’ this eTV change. This was done by notifying their passengers by e-mails (+ by respective Cruise Personalisers), however they can still be considered rather ambiguous and misleading by their very wording:- “Please be advised that the visa information for India has recently been updated on your voyage. Most nationalities require a visa for India if staying aboard or going ashore and it must be obtained in advance. Electronic Tourist Visas (eTVs) are now available for visitors entering India via the Cochin Seaport. We do not recommend eTVs for guests going ashore on Princess excursions or independent tours, as processing time at the port may be lengthy and we cannot be responsible if you miss your scheduled tour due to immigration delays.” Effectively, they are advising passengers; despite the much cheaper and easier to obtain eTV being valid; to obtain a full tourist visa at a cost £135- £260 pp (UK) for Princess to be able to guarantee that passengers can take, or rather make, their normally more expensive tours - preferring that their client’s should pay out a further £95-£220 more pp for their 8 hour stay? Wow! This comes across as ‘a really big-ask’ of their passengers (see later Cochin port advices). Princess still do not convey that you do not even need any Visa for any Indian Port if you were to chose instead to remain on-board ship as reaffirmed by both the official Consular General / High Commission of India confirmations That was even the case before and post 1.04.17. It has even been further reaffirmed by CGI / HCI after the 1st April by both those parties (and now endorsed by VFS since):- 1. A transit /regular visa is not required by a foreigner who does not leave the ship while it halts at an Indian Port. 2. In case a person desires to leave the ship during its halt at an Indian port, he/ she may be allowed to do so on a temporary landing permit not exceeding 3 days. Please refer the link http://boi.gov.in/content/temporary-landing-permit for information on the same. 3. Else, you may apply for an e-Visa which is valid for entry through 3 designated seaports (i.e. Cochin, Goa, Mangalore). The validity of e-Visa will be 60 days from the date of arrival in India. This is also verifiable should you wish to do so via these UK e-mail address links:- info.cgibirmingham@gmail.com - Consulate General of India Birmingham (CGI) info.london@hcilondon.in – High Commission of India London (HCI) (similar offices in other countries I suspect?) This ‘remain onboard’ entitlement applies to any Indian port (not just the 3ports accepting the eVT) and is applicable to ‘any foreigner’. VFS Global have now finally accepted this to be the case (despite there being no commission for them). This followed on from their failure to advise an applicant ‘post 1.04.17’ of the e-TV change or the remain on ship /no visa option, and their subsequent confirmation:- “However considering the fact that the Consulate General of India in Birmingham has advised you otherwise. We will raise this with the concerned authority and resolve this urgently for the benefit of our applicants and update our teams accordingly. In the meanwhile we will suggest you to please follow the instructions provided to you by the Consulate General of India, Birmingham”. With the availability of the significantly lower cost and ease in obtaining the new eVT this should now become less of an issue. Those with limited physical abilities and those of us who have been before may opt to save upon unnecessary expenditure. Although it has proved very difficult to get these points across to a number of the various parties over these last six months, it now seems that such persistence has gone some way to produce a significant change. Future cruise passengers should derive significant benefits from these changes, hopefully for many years to come. Or to put it another way - based upon 3,000 passengers; using the UK data; this could now potentially save cruiser passengers an average of £95 - £220 pp = £285 – 660K ($370 - 858K US) per ship! If only Princess were to be more transparent and clear and precise as the Indian Authorities have now proved to be! Their ambiguity only serves to confuse and disappoint. Americans who are offered the option of a 10 year full Indian visa may however wish to consider the individual longer term benefits to them. Apparently the Princess Cruise Personaliser for China is still insisting upon a double-entry visa, even though this was in fact superseded by a 2 year multiple entry visa back In January 2016 in the UK and almost doubled the price. We can only hope that Princess can somehow start to turn things around and begin to act upon genuine well intended customer feed-back? Happy Cruising. Ports of Call Tips Civitavecchia –Have visited here many times. Port shuttle coaches now drop you at a coach terminus which is further from the station for the trains in to Rome (10 Euro return) – now a 20 Min walk . At the coach terminus we noticed there were min-buses waiting with wi-fi facility for 20 Euro pp return journey in to Rome. Naples – Our having done Pompeii, Herculaneum and Amalfi coast ‘to death’ we tried one of the underground Walking Tours – particularly good if the weather turns. The one we did was Napoli Sotterranea (Naples Underground) only 10 Euro pp and took just 90 minutes to do, Others include the Catacombs. Those who did Capri by hydrofoil reported as being too rushed and very busy. Messina – Previously done the Godfather tour + Coastline & Etna (all good).A showery day so this time we opted for a leisurely walk in the town taking in the Messina Cathedral’s Musical Bell Tower at 12 noon. There were plenty of taxis at the port gates with really good value alternative tour options available. Suez Canal – A perfect sunny and mill-pond like waters transit. Narration of the points of interest over the PA was quite informative. Aqaba (Jordan) – Petra tour is a must if not done before. Whilst not cheap, those who did it independently as a group reported their experiencing more and their’s being far better value than the ship tour. The Waddi Rum experience also had good feed-back from those who did it – one for us next time around. There was no visa charge made nor was there a $25US admin fee levied (as was conveyed in the Princess Cruise Personaliser)! A free locally arranged transit port shuttle bus service was provided in to the town terminus and tourist centre where taxis and open-top Ho-Ho tourist bus connections were available Dubai – Do not rely on any references to a ‘Free Shuttle’ as this was a ‘no-show’ - despite the Wake Show announcing there was a service and the Reception Desk ‘making-up’ times when asked. Just take a taxi (cheap) to Dubai World Trade Centre from where you can either walk to the Souk and / or catch the underground to the elevated mono rail to the Burj Khalifa etc. (Pre-book the tower on –line beforehand – circa 16:00 is good (if time allows) to get the sunset as well). Make sure you use the official metered cream coloured Dubai Transport Corporation taxi cabs (pink trim have female drivers). Cochin – The presentation was for us to arrive in to the ‘new terminal’ but the day before it was changed back to the former ‘coal-yard’ berths. They had however managed to tidy it up a little in 6 years and aligned a fair number of Gazebo covered stallholders to screen-off – as we looked down from the ship! If you choose to purchase the eTV /visa and go ashore try the tuk tuk’s – far better experience than any tour. You see more, interact with the lovely locals and it is so cheap. We were told by those that took them that inside the port they were $25US but outside the gates $10US (2-seater) Phuket – Berth was changed to a deep water port and tendering in – shared with an RCI ship. The tender now dropped you some 5-6 miles distance from the town but there were no shuttle buses (free or pay) laid on. The advised 45 minute tender transfer times - turned out to be 15min out & 20 min on return. Port talk gave out false information – ‘you will get ripped off by taxis’ but, as others have commented, it seemingly just got rid of their unsold tours. Not surprisingly the 3 hour tender-wait was to prove very off-putting for some! Taxis were accommodating and cost less than made-out. Singapore – Having done 3 end-of-cruise stays here and this our second port of call we have done all the popular venues ( Sentosa Island, Ho-ho buses, gardens, even Universal Studios, etc) ‘to-death’. Visibility permitting I would recommend the top of Marina Bay Hotel for the best and varied iconic views. Costs of drink and dining-out seem to have risen sharply in 18 months – as some now liken the Singapore Sling at Raffles to ‘taking on a mortgage’! A walk from the cruise terminal to the Marina Bay Centre, to burn off some of those added-calories – took us approx 1 hour (If tempted to do, keep to the RHS pathway leaving the terminal to pick up on road crossing points). Taxi return was 10 minutes and cost us only $5 SGD ($3US). If at Peak traffic times / costs may vary as the city congestion charge is triggered on the meter. Princess made a charge of $8US pp each way for their organised shuttle bus! Laem Chebang – Princess Shuttle bus was laid on in to Pattaya at the seeming ‘standard $8US each way pp’! If doing again we would consider share / negotiate taxi from the port to see the sights en- route in to Pattaya - as some passengers opted to do. Bali – The CS Director came on the Wake Show to say that Bali was dropping the Visa charge claiming the Bali (Philippines) web site was wrong! The web-site was always correct as there never was a charge. Even their Princess Cruise Personaliser had conveyed the same, but also referred to a Princess $25 admin charge which was not levied or referred to– More proof that Princess are literally ‘all-over the place’ with their conflicting Visas advices. https://youtu.be/MJrujPZ2ZG0 - 2.11.16 Benoa / Bali - This venue was really talked-down by the port-talks advisor who gave out scares of high risk of malaria , bag snatchers, muggings etc leading to a number not wanting to risk it (my wife included). Fortunately she relented so we went ashore with friends and thoroughly enjoyed the town and taking a couple of beers on Kuta beach. Tender transfer time was only 15mins not the 40 that was given out! We shared a taxi from Benoa to Khuta Town / Beach (12-13km) – Port-controlled taxi outward was $25US. The return fare from town was only $15US . Princess shuttle-bus with a set time out and return was a staggering $49 return pp! https://www.whatsinport.com/Bali.htm Plans are afoot for the construction of a New Cruise Terminal (berth?) to take 3 ships for 2018. Freemantle – Our second visit here. First-timers, consider an ‘On Your Own option’ - Prison Tour (from $17AUD), free local shuttle bus service laid-on in to the town (walk-able) + a free circuit bus service from town out to the beaches which runs continually during the day. The Round Tower (donation box) and the Little Creatures Micro-Brewery (even do samples). There are also frequent trains in to Perth (20mins travel time) with station just 10 mins walk from ship. Busselton – This was really talked-down badly by the tours advisor; resulting in a fair number, not wanting another long tender crossing (15mins again not the 40 given out!); deciding to give it a miss. Others had suggested again that this was a likely a tactical ploy to get rid of unsold tours? Recent Cunard cruise conveys it to be “surrounded by calm waters and white-sand beaches is a family friendly town that has lots to do for everyone” ‘An absolute gem’ of a stop, noted for being home to the longest wooden jetty (pier) in the southern hemisphere, stretching almost 2 km out to sea. The locals were very warm and welcoming. A nice stroll in to the town but a free local bus was laid on for those that preferred. Display of vintage cars, Craft Stalls, historic court-house / prison cells (free access). There was even a reasonable selection of shops & supermarkets for the size of the places, with local pies + fish and chips proving to be too tempting to resist for many of us. Melbourne – This was our third-time port of call here and arranged to meet-up with relatives. Good Tourist advice provided in the Terminal Building which also serves the ferries service links to Tasmania. There is a convenient tram-link from the port in to and around the city. There is so much to see on-foot in the city that a tour, for many first-timers, may be a waste of money for agile passengers amongst us. Was a shame that we had to depart the port so early for Sydney. Sydney – A very early morning entry, mostly under a full moon with cloud. The Emerald was the largest cruise ship to have berthed here – only to be ‘trumped’ a month later by the RCI Ovation of the Seas. An announced fireworks and tug fire-sprays reception failed to live up to the hype but the iconic entry in itself did not disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
It would take us some hours to list all the issues (from a customer’s viewpoint) that need immediate addressing by Princess, as a result of our experiences during the 48 day Southampton to Sydney cruise on the Emerald Princess, but here ... Read More
It would take us some hours to list all the issues (from a customer’s viewpoint) that need immediate addressing by Princess, as a result of our experiences during the 48 day Southampton to Sydney cruise on the Emerald Princess, but here are just a few to start with, just off the top of our head: UPGRADING TO MINI SUITE: When we originally booked the cruise, we wanted a mini-suite but were told there were none available. While in UK, we were told by your Southampton office that mini-suite A329 on Dolphin deck was available and an approximate upgrade cost would be around AUD$2,500. We were told that we would have to contact Princess in Australia as that was where our booking was originally made. This was where we found out that if in UK or Europe, it was impossible to call Princess Australia as all calls were diverted by Princess to Southampton office. Not to be deterred, we then emailed Princess Australia who replied that the cost to upgrade to the mini suite would be AUD$11,640 When we told Princess what to do with their AUD$11,640 upgrade, they replied that they would do it for AUD$2,000 provided that we called them on a 13 number within 24 hours (Impossible from outside Australia and they knew we were then in UK). Well, by the time we did contact them (through the kind help of a Southampton offices staff member’s friend in Australia) Princess told us that we hadn’t replied within the 24 hours demanded by them and consequently the mini suite was no longer available to us. COST OF CRUISE DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU BUY IT ! As if this experience wasn’t bad enough, during the cruise a fellow passenger from UK asked how much the cruise had cost us. When we told them AUD$20,000 plus they gasped – they only had to pay the equivalent of AUD$16,000 for the same cruise. An American passenger present then advised us that they had paid a little over AUD$12,000 for the same cruise that we were all currently on There’s a lesson here, never buy a Princess cruise in Australia – much cheaper if you buy in UK or better still in USA ! ! ! INDIAN VISAS We were told by Princess prior to the cruise that we would be denied boarding if we had not obtained a visa for India, whether or not we planned to go ashore there. We had no intention of going ashore in India and would have been more pleased if the ship did not even call there. We then had to spend some AUD$400 to obtain the visas required by Princess but when we arrived in India, the hundreds of passengers that had not obtained their visa’s were told they didn’t need a visa if they stayed on board as we had planned to do. It turned out we were not the only passengers who had been forced by Princess to spend hundreds of dollars completely unnecessarily (and we spoke with several Americans who had been forced by Princess to similarly spend over a thousand dollars [AUD.] to get their Indian visa’s that they didn’t really need as they did not get off in India) To rub salt into the wound, all passengers were then hurriedly sent a letter from Princess’s lawyers trying to shift the blame to the Indian government (obviously to try to avoid the class action that we have been told has been started by passengers against Princess for damages and compensation caused by Princess) Not even so much as a word of apology to affected passengers from Princess for their incompetence ! LIBRARY: Shortly after embarkation we decide to visit the library on board. There was no library attendant and there were NO BOOKS other than a few in non-English languages (see pics) just bare empty bookshelves ! ON BOARD ENTERTAINMENT: There seemed to be only a few decent shows put on by Princess and these were repeated over and over during the 48 day cruise. The other entertainment provided by Princess was of poor quality and obviously the cheapest they could get. Most of the remaining entertainment was provided (at no cost to Princess) by the passengers – e.g. Fashion Parades, Choir, Talent Time etc and even those were repeated over and over. Princess even spoiled the Talent Time show by apparently pre-selecting a semi-professional screamer (singer) as the winner when there were several other contestants with more talent in their little finger and who the consensus of passengers gauged to be much better than the person selected by Princess. FORMAL DRESS CODE: Your review of this ship is misleading stating “Most men wear suits, though a number wear black ties, while most women opt for cocktail dresses rather than all-out formal evening gowns.” There were around 8 Formal nights during our 48 day cruise and on each of these nights at least 95% of men wore Black Tie and the majority of ladies wore evening gowns. It was rare to see a man in a suit or a lady wearing other than at her glamorous best. Princess advertising blurb carries on about dress on Formal nights but we were amazed to witness a few improperly dressed male passengers (open-necked golf “T” shirt, no jacket) that were allowed entry to dinner at Crown Grill on a Formal night. When we questioned the Maître D, we were told “We cater for everyone - casual dress is OK”. What about the heavily tattooed male passenger wearing a blue singlet, shorts and scuffs who was allowed entrance to Horizon’s for dinner ? DINING ROOMS: After trying both dining rooms (we had anytime dining) we dined in the dining rooms only a couple of times after finding the food pretty ordinary and the service not much better. On one occasion, my wife sent her meal back 3 times and in the end, we walked out in disgust and went up to Horizons to eat. Other passengers at our table had similar experiences HORIZON COURT: We found the food here ranged from average to excellent and much better than the dining rooms. We found the staff both behind the counters and in the dining areas very good. As a result we ate here most of the time PRINCESS GRILL: We dined here on three occasions and found the food and the service excellent on each occasion. This restaurant was without peer in the dining stakes on board the Emerald ! ROOM SERVICE: Pathetic little menu - food served is terrible – examples - sandwiches made with dry, stale bread without butter, requested 3 minute boiled eggs and received cold, harder than concrete 30minute boiled eggs, etc etc all of which is obviously designed by Princess to save money by totally discouraging passengers from using room service PRINCESS EXCURSIONS: We were disappointed by the lack of knowledge or information / misinformation / (untruths) re ports and tours etc. by staff, especially tour desk and after our experiences during the Civitavecchia and Dubai excursions, we cancelled all 11 of our remaining prepaid excursions Rome excursion 3 October 2016 (winery) 3 ¼ hours in bus – told would be 1 ½ hours – no vineyards – taken to a shed with a few bottles of wine for sale – elderly passenger unconscious after falling backwards off a stool - bus would not start to return to ship – injured passenger not transferred to working bus for repatriation back to ship and forced to wait until bus repaired – tour was to have ua back on ship by 2pm – back at ship 5.45 pm Dubai excursion 17 October 2016 – Elderly passenger about to collapse on the street - no compassion or assistance offered by guide - fellow passenger ill trying to walk back to bus in unshaded blazing heat told by guide “Come on hurry up we must get back to bus” REFIGERATOR: We arrived no board to find a warm refrigerator in our cabin. Although a man came to “fix” it, he told us that it was the best he could do. It was not even cold enough to stop butter from melting, for the entire trip SMOKING ROOM: Its one thing to restrict smoking to one room but quite another to restrict it to a tiny dirty, non-ventilated room with not even enough chairs for passengers who do smoke to sit in there (see pic) ON BOARD CLASSES – EDUCATION: Apart from those talks simply seeking to sell something at grossly inflated prices (by Princess) e.g. Diamonds, artwork, massages etc there was simply nothing ! What about some classes in Photoshop, Chess, Bridge, basket weaving etc. like other cruises ? Again, apart from blatant advertising talks by Princess, most talks and discussion groups were contributed by passengers who advised us that Princess were too stingy to pay them even a small fee or even present them with a small gift or certificate for their trouble ! UNSOLICITED JUNK MAIL: Finding unsolicited junk mail in our cabin mailbox daily and in also daily bulletin was a big turn off as was being personally accosted in public areas by Princess girls trying to sell overpriced massages etc CABIN BOYS: We had a good one. However others were not so lucky e.g. comment one from cabin boy to another cabin boy overheard by passenger while placing room service tray out for collection “They must have been hungry – why can’t they eat with the rest of the passengers ?” STAFF GENERALLY: On a positive note there were some excellent, professional and caring staff on board who went “the extra mile” in Customer Services front desk, Drink waiters, in Horizons, our cabin boy, the bar boys on 16th floor smoking area (Southampton to Singapore) and Manager Michelangelo Dining Room to mention but a few. However, there was also a really ignorant, arrogant senior staff member who had a standard reply to anything one said to him. Obviously, this person never listened to comments/questions from passengers and would simply smile and reply “I’m so glad to hear you’re having a wonderful cruise on the beautiful Emerald Princess” I’m pretty sure if I said to him “The back of the ship has fallen off and there are 400 passengers swimming for their lives” I would get the same smile and the same reply ! THE CONSUMMATE HOST ? After our experiences during a 48 day cruise from Southampton to Sydney on board the Emerald Princess, we simply could not believe the sheer, bare-faced arrogance of Princess cruises claiming over and over to be “The consummate host”. This claim repeated over and over both orally and in writing by Princess during the cruise antagonized not only us but many other passengers as well. We doubt that any Princess staff even know the meaning of the word “CONSUMMATE”? (i.e. “showing a high degree of skill and flair; complete or perfect”) Despite being in business for many years, Princess are nowhere near “complete or perfect” as they so arrogantly claim. The naked and insatiable greed and grab for every possible dollar by Princess, coupled with their sheer arrogance, is really breathtaking! SUMMARY: We have been on many cruises over the years, mostly with Princess. The first time we sailed with Princess was from Sydney to Los Angeles in 2008 and that cruise was magical – when we arrived in LA 32 days later, none of the passengers including us wanted to disembark as we had all enjoyed it so much. It convinced us to cruise with Princess in future. After our experiences with the cruise from Southampton to Sydney, we would never sail with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise to explore alternative ways to cross the Atlantic to the U.S.A. The Caribbean Princess comes a very poor second to Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in all comparisons. Space: The ship felt cramped and claustrophobic on ... Read More
We chose this cruise to explore alternative ways to cross the Atlantic to the U.S.A. The Caribbean Princess comes a very poor second to Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in all comparisons. Space: The ship felt cramped and claustrophobic on the sea days.. the restaurants have very low ceilings, consequently the noise of normal conversation becomes deafening The balcony stateroom was smaller and we could overlook the balconies of the (more expensive) suites on lower decks. Class System! Your name and 'cruise status' is displayed outside your cabin... we were 'noobies'... it being our first Princess cruise. This was also identified on our plastic ID/payment cards. We never did find out why people aspired to gain 'Elite' status... awarded through repeated cruises.. but clearly this was something to be desired and displayed as we saw passengers who'd bought lanyards on which to hang their 'Elite' ID card. It reminded us of 'The Fast Show... We are richer than you ....' Hygiene: there's lots of evidence of how easily the Norovirus can spread in confined spaces and it came as no surprise to us that Princess' ships top the league table for Norovirus outbreaks. There were hand sanitation chemical dispensers outside each eating area but staff were not encouraging passengers to use them and not challenging them when they didn't. We witnessed several incidents of unsanitary actions by supervisors. Food: This seemed to be aimed at people whose only dining experience was the 'shopping mall food court'. Examples of how food was 'dummed down' included grilling the 'Eggs Benedict' so the Hollandaise sauce would be cooked enough; coating Lemon sole in breadcrumbs and deep frying it, and underseasoning everything. Entertainment: There are few opportunities for learning new things.. we were lucky enough to meet Allen Taylor who presented a series of fascinating lectures on Astronomy. If we hadn't met him at dinner the blurb in the daily list of activities wouldn't have 'sold' his unique skills to us. His lectures were an oasis of intellectual stimulation in a desert of entertainment filled with 'musak' stage shows and old movies. The advertised book club sessions never materialised, we wonder how many other people had bought the book before the cruise? Upselling: This is aggressive and happens almost continuously... we expected photo opportunities but not, so called, 'Irish Coffee' at every meal. To have a tray, with two glasses filled with plastic cream topped with a cherry, thrust under your nose was disconcerting and then extremely irritating. The trips we took were over priced and wrongly described. In Rotterdam the Delft factory trip left so late that the advertised shopping trip commenced after the shops had closed... the guide had not been briefed about the mobility issues of some of the participants.. leaving it up to us to find the step free access at the factory. The mark-up that Princess adds to the trip costs is excessive.. the scenic train journey in Flam (Norway) could easily be booked online and cost 80% less if you arranged it yourself. Will we go on another Princess cruise... No! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Wanted to go to the North Cape. This was a trip from hell. Our luggage was delayed for 4 days and when the cruise started there were very few clothing items to buy. After two days of this we asked to be booked on a flight to go home at ... Read More
Wanted to go to the North Cape. This was a trip from hell. Our luggage was delayed for 4 days and when the cruise started there were very few clothing items to buy. After two days of this we asked to be booked on a flight to go home at the next port and they said they could not do this. DON'T KNOW WHY. We could not go on shore excursions or even to the dining room due to lack of clothes. Got very tired of the buffet and not being able to find a seat. The cabins sure need to be refurbished and given a very good cleaning. Our sheets were not changed in our 2 weeks and everything looked dirty. The balcony was not swept once. The entertainment was awful. After 3 nights it just wasn't worth the crowds for the bad shows. Worst we have seen on any cruise line. I also never saw so many misbehaved kids on a cruise. We usually don't travel in summer because of this, but had to for this cruise. Most of the food was medium to awful. Sure was not from scratch cooking. They even had veg soup from a can with some stuff added. I can open a can of this stuff at home. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
The ship should go into dry dock permanently!!! This was the worst cruise I have taken. Ship is extremely old, the carpets dirty and musty. The ship broke down at sea, communication on the status could of been better. We missed 2 ... Read More
The ship should go into dry dock permanently!!! This was the worst cruise I have taken. Ship is extremely old, the carpets dirty and musty. The ship broke down at sea, communication on the status could of been better. We missed 2 ports of call Dublin due to a mechanical problem and Orkney Islands because of weather. The cabins are very small, shower stalls good for a child not an adult. Dining room staff were not attentive, food served cold. Buffet had a better selection. Activities were few and far between. Entertainment was great. Ports of call were fabulous. I would never sail with Princess again. Service Staff at the front desk were not knowledgeable or seemed to care. Temperature in hot tub was warm, asked to have it fix 3 times and it never happened. Buffet staff were not attentive, we had to remove our own plates from the tables. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
To see the North Cape and Norway The show were very Poor They now charge 15% an all bar bills inc a bottle of wine at dinner. Tours expensive $119-$129 per person per trip Some bars were closed for the sale of art paintings i ... Read More
To see the North Cape and Norway The show were very Poor They now charge 15% an all bar bills inc a bottle of wine at dinner. Tours expensive $119-$129 per person per trip Some bars were closed for the sale of art paintings i came to see Norway not art paintings SALE The trip started at went down for dinner could not look out of the windows they needed cleaning we are talking on the 6th deck. there are no transfers to the town at any port so you have to walk a long way through the docks The shows in the evening were VERY POOR very amature you sat for 30-40 to see the show 30 min was the longest time a show was on. They have started charging 15% on all drinks eg- Coke $2 with a charge added on Every day they bobard you with offers ec Beefeter Gin duty free $30 i can by in morrisons cheaper. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
The British Isles was chosen due to the ports it offered and because a past Princess cruise through the Panama Canal was wonderful. Embarkation was easy and quick. But it went downhill from there. The Caribbean Princess is not ... Read More
The British Isles was chosen due to the ports it offered and because a past Princess cruise through the Panama Canal was wonderful. Embarkation was easy and quick. But it went downhill from there. The Caribbean Princess is not equipped to sail cooler climates. With expected rain and cooler temperatures in the British Isles, the pools and outdoor areas could not be used because of the lack of retractable roof therefore making all the common areas inside constantly noisy and crowded. There was not one quiet space to be found. The "library" was inside the internet cafe and consisted of one wall of books with 4 chairs which faced the computers desks, neither a quiet space nor comfortable. The Caribbean Princess is in need of a refurbishing with worn, outdated accommodations. It is not equipped to accommodate the number of passengers it carries. There was countless searching for a table in the buffet with mediocre food. The staff is surly and rarely, if ever, smile making passengers feel as if they were a bother to be served. The dining room menu was limited with much the same every night. Communication is poor. PA announcements were in the hall and could not be heard in the cabins. Announcements were made by heavily accented staff which made it extremely difficult to understand anything. Passengers were nickle and dimed at every turn. Passengers were charged to use the shuttle to get off the pier. Coffee and pastries (free in the buffet) cost extra if bought in the International Cafe. A constant barrage of junk was displayed in the atrium every day. The theater was not large enough to fit all the passengers making it necessary to arrive at least 30 minutes before a show to secure a seat - passengers missed the shows due to this. Shows were fair. The Spa was a far cry from serene; had to ask for a robe on 2 appointments, then given one that could have fit 2 people as well as slippers that were made for a giant. The waiting room was uncomfortable with chairs that were well worn. On board account was charged days before service was performed - unacceptable. Cancelled the 3rd appointment I had - a total waste of money. Disembarkation (9:15am) was easy and quick. If cruising the British Isles is on your list, you are advised to look at other cruise lines. Princess Cruise Lines has gone downhill. We will never again cruise Princess. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We were very excited about our first cruise which has probably turned out to be our last. There are parts of cruising my wife and I simply do not enjoy. Mainly the crowds, the limited exposure to an area - only getting a short stay at ... Read More
We were very excited about our first cruise which has probably turned out to be our last. There are parts of cruising my wife and I simply do not enjoy. Mainly the crowds, the limited exposure to an area - only getting a short stay at any given location. The experience would have been greatly enhanced if the the Princess Cruise line ran the cruises by thinking of the passengers instead of their bottom line. I am a CPA so I completely understand the line trying to get the extra dollar; for drinks, photos, gambling and various other items. We knew that going in and have no problem with it. I can even understand the somewhat low rent art sales presentation, although I think that borders a bit on the fraudulent side. What I do have a problem with is poor management. To list a few of the problem areas: 1. They cut costs on food and food preparation. In the buffet the potatoes were instant as were some of the eggs. They kept everything in warming trays longer than they should have. Real eggs should be a bit warmer than room temperature. Toast at room temperature is just not fun. Oatmeal should not be a soup. The dining room meals were not quite as bad as the buffet but they constantly kept trying to save money by cutting portions, poor quality food. They also did drink promotions were they were pushing Bailey Irish Cream then serving a lesser priced alternative. 2, Communication was very weak. As a first time cruiser I expected some sort of meeting or TV video, something, anything to explain many of the nuances of cruising that us new people need to get value from what we paid. The passengers were more than 90% English speaking but trying to communicate with someone who had problems with the language only makes it worse. I was talking to an individual at the front desk on the phone that I could not understand and asked to speak with someone who spoke I could understand and the answer was NO. The day you arrive on the boat you get a brochure called the Patter, it looked like there was no place open for breakfast. On my first call they confirmed that was correct. I called again and it turns out - no breakfast on day of embarkation but the Patter we would get that night would show when they were open for breakfast. I asked where I could get bottled water, the answer was all around the ship. I never considered the Bar areas as a place to get water so I went several days without, until I figured it out. 3. Room service was not bad for their limited menu and I do mean limited. Also our suite did not have a compete listing of items available ( a printing error in the manual). When I called to ask I was told the six items I did have listed were all there was - again the communication thing. 4. They advertise their Princess@Sea connection. This product is not ready for prime time. It is extremely slow, and most of us had to go to the Internet cafe to get help setting up. Directions just did not work. Their are a ton of other operational issues I could mention here but it is just a poor product. If you do set up texting with other passengers do not expect to get a notification or sound or vibration to let you know it is there. 5. The ships management apparently doesn't like dealing with passengers. There is no one to talk to for problem resolution except the lowest level of staff who only follow instructions and cannot deal with special circumstances. 6. On disembarkation, I called and was told it would be handled in a particular manner and made plans accordingly then discovered that information was wrong. 7. Medical - There was a flu outbreak on the ship (cannot blame the ship for that - I guess) but they kept limited hours of availability to the Medical Staff and frankly did not provide the best in terms of medical care. Some got antibiotics some did not. 8. Port Canceled - The main reason we took this trip was to visit Normandy and would not have taken if not on the itinerary. We found out two days before landing that it was canceled due to a dock strike. This was certainly frustrating but unavoidable - we thought. It turns out this strike had been going on for three weeks and they never bothered to inform there future passengers. It certainly would have made a difference to us if we had know, we could have made alternative plans to see Normandy after the cruise or gotten off where we docked (last day of cruise). It is my strongest recommendation you do not use Princess for any future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which Princess offered. Mainly the Normandy Beach excursion. I booked off ship excursions which I recommend. Food was below average. Service in the main dining rooms were very slow and not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which Princess offered. Mainly the Normandy Beach excursion. I booked off ship excursions which I recommend. Food was below average. Service in the main dining rooms were very slow and not impressive as advertised by Princess. Did enjoy the Horizon court, however finding a table was mission impossible at times. Did enjoy the Pizza and the service by the workers. Our cabin was kept clean by our very nice cabin steward and well as the service through out the ship especially in Churchill Lounge was excellent. We complained to our cabin steward about the hard as a rock bed and he made it a little more comfortable with a mattress pad. We arrived on time to all the ports except for Le Havre/France. 2 Days before we were to embark on the port, that we were looking forward to, (the only reason I booked with Princess), the captain announced that we were not going to port due to a strike. Might I add that this is not the first time this year this has happened. My issue with Princess, is that they knew this ahead of time and we should have been given some kind of warning. I would have loved the opportunity to re-schedule our cruise ,as this is a ONCE in a lifetime opportunity for us. I will never again sail with Princess because of the reasons stated above. They are guilty of Fraud as far as I am concerned. They knew ahead of time that they could not offer this shore excursion as advertised. Food was very below average. And entertainment was below average. Seemed like all they offered on the ship, and pushed, were Art Work, Jewelry sales, Pictures, and productions at Princess Theater that were also below average. There were a few sales, one that offered Caribbean cruise things and a British Isle sale that offered T-shirts made in China. Really!!! Debbie in Tennessee Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my 1st cruise my mam has done several cruises and wanted us to experience one,i was so disappointed found the security staff quite rude when getting on ship,a smile wouldn't go amiss,room was ok and kept nice by staff,i never ... Read More
This was my 1st cruise my mam has done several cruises and wanted us to experience one,i was so disappointed found the security staff quite rude when getting on ship,a smile wouldn't go amiss,room was ok and kept nice by staff,i never imagined so many older people thought it would of been a mixed age group,a lot of them were very rude,not a lot to do on there,as I'm a non drinker and not a gambler I was very bored,could never get a seat in the buffet,1 morning I stood eating my porridge,but what was annoying was people had finished there breakfast but wouldn't move to let others sit down,wasnt impressed with food,and while you are eating the staff are trying to clear your plates from under you,i got quite stressed on this cruise,trying to get a settee to sit on during the day to have a read was impossible as they had walking sticks on them but nobody was there,if you smoke please take cigarettes with you as you can only buy marlbrough lights which we don't like,you can buy 200 in shop on board but they only allow you 1 packet out of them till your cruise is over,it felt like we were at school again,this cruise is money money money,having to pay for transfers from the dock to the town your visiting,i wish I could say something nice about this cruise but sadly it was a waste of money,seen 1 good show tom jones tribute,but once again it was getting a seat again,lifts were difficult to get in with all the wheel chairs,wouldnt recommend this cruise for young people,we are 53 but just didn't fit in, Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I strongly agree with all the points that a previous contributor-'cherub flashpoint', has already noted; impolite security staff who have no ability to smile, waiting staff that hound you constantly for drinks( God help you if ... Read More
I strongly agree with all the points that a previous contributor-'cherub flashpoint', has already noted; impolite security staff who have no ability to smile, waiting staff that hound you constantly for drinks( God help you if you try to get your own tea/coffee-cups are snatched from your hands and you are told off!!!) or taking plates away from you. Started to fold a blanket after 'movies under the stars' to help the deck attendant- once again snatched from me -' I do that!!!' The tender to Corsica was a joke!!- a raffle ticket system turned into a free for all with the winners being who could get their mobility scooter to block the most passengers.The tour guide on the coach to Rome admitted she couldn't speak English very well- useful as a 'chocolate teapot' We have written a strong complaint letter to the company - no response as yet- I will never travel with them again!!! Luckily this was not our first cruise otherwise it would be our last. It will be Royal Caribbean in the future- they were friendly,fantastic variety of food, great entertainment and overall great value for money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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