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Sail Date: June 2019
We chose the British Isles cruise through Princess due to the ports. It is a very port intensive cruise but you see a lot and each port has a lot to offer. Embarkation and disembarkation out of Southampton was so easy. We took a private ... Read More
We chose the British Isles cruise through Princess due to the ports. It is a very port intensive cruise but you see a lot and each port has a lot to offer. Embarkation and disembarkation out of Southampton was so easy. We took a private taxi to the Southampton for embarkation and drop off could not have been easier. For disembarkation, we used Princess to get us to the airport. Though we had to be up early, they got us to London Heathrow in an hour and a half. Activities and Cruise director staff was wonderful. We had two sea days and there was lots of activities to keep people busy or movies in the stateroom to watch. Food in the dining room left a lot to be desired but if you do go for breakfast get the french toast, super yummy. The buffet had lots of options and the food was pretty good in the buffet. We did some shore excursions through the cruise but the majority with third party companies. Overall, the cruise was very enjoyable. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We were looking into cruising around the British Isles and Princess offered the best time of year and the most ports of call that interested me and my family. My husband and I had cruised before on two other cruise lines for a shorter ... Read More
We were looking into cruising around the British Isles and Princess offered the best time of year and the most ports of call that interested me and my family. My husband and I had cruised before on two other cruise lines for a shorter time, but had heard good reviews of Princess. We were not sorry in the least that we chose the Crown Princess for this Trip of a Lifetime!! After winning the battle with a serious health issue last year, my husband decided that he was due a very special trip this year. Being retired, this was truly a leap of faith financially for us. Our two grown children were also able to join us and the British Isles were at the top of all our "Bucket Lists", especially since my husband had been delving so deeply into his British genealogy while re-cooperating. The Crown Princess is a massive, elegant ship, well-maintained and appointed. We "splurged" on a balcony room and will never regret it - waking up at dawn and gliding by the green coast of Ireland will be one of the most beautiful memories I will ever keep. The stateroom was extremely clean and comfortable, and our stateroom attendant could not have been more pleasant and sweet. The abundance of wonderful food was amazing, and with a diabetic and a vegan in our group, all our dietary issues were easily satisfied! Unfortunately, with all the great excursions that took us off the ship, we never had time to fully enjoy ALL the fun events that the Crown Princess had to offer! (But our family did win TWICE at the nightly Trivia event that we made sure not to miss!) We also greatly enjoyed the movies and live entertainment in the theater, and also braved the chilly wind on the deck at the Movie Under the Stars one night, wrapped in cozy blankets with bags of popcorn! Every crew member who simply passed us in the hall, or served our dinner, or cleaned our staterooms greeted us with big smiles and a helping hand. We spoke with several who told us what it was like to live and work on such a huge cruise ship - and they all loved doing it! I know every cruise is different and there are no guarantees that each one sails through smooth waters in perfect weather, but that was our lucky experience! Princess took great care of us, made Britain and France accessible to us with amazing shore excursions, and played host to our family in so many unexpected ways! How wonderful it was to have the four of us together again for 12 glorious days filled with beauty and laughter! Thanks, Princess!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Ports and excursions and great reviews of service. Ports were so much fun. Got to see main cities and learned a lot about the history of Ireland and Scotland that I was not aware of. Excursion guides were very informative and friendly. ... Read More
Ports and excursions and great reviews of service. Ports were so much fun. Got to see main cities and learned a lot about the history of Ireland and Scotland that I was not aware of. Excursion guides were very informative and friendly. Most of the coaches were up to standards. Weather was great during this time of the year. Food was great even in the buffet. The specialty restaurants were excellent. Would of gone to them every night if I could. All of the entertainment was fun and worth it. Steward was excellent and attentive. All the bar tenders and bar staff knew us by names and remembered our favorite drinks. Effy staff were great. Front desk staff were attentive and helpful Internet was not the best but the ship was being updated during cruise and by the end of the cruise the internet worked faster. Medallions were introduced this cruise as well and were easy to use. Will use Princess again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise primarily to see Mid Night Sun. And we were not disappointed! We were above the Arctic Circle for 5, 24 hr Sun days/Nights! 3 days were cloudy, one day partially sunny and one day was clear blue skies. The midnight sun ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily to see Mid Night Sun. And we were not disappointed! We were above the Arctic Circle for 5, 24 hr Sun days/Nights! 3 days were cloudy, one day partially sunny and one day was clear blue skies. The midnight sun on June 22 was very surreal and Princess had a midnight party on the top deck. All the other ports of call were very scenic. The Norwegian Fjords are awesome ! We really did not take any excursions from the ports as there was much to see right there ! At Geiranger and Lofotin Islands, we took some excursions offered by local bus tours but not any offered by Princess as they were too costly. The worst part of the cruise was lack of quality food options for vegetarians. There was only one choice for main dish every night and most of the time, it was not well prepared. Vegetarians can eat many Italian dishes ( cheese ravioli, pasta primavera, quiche and Indian dishes ). I do not understand why they add meat to salads and soups! I am glad at least the deserts have no meat! The Sanctuary was hardly used by people for whom it was intended. Make that space available to all. There were only 2 formal nights as against 3 advertised. There should have been enrichment lectures on Astrology (Midnight sun) and Geology as we were in the arctic circle , going thru the fjords and oil rigs in the North Sea. We enjoyed the cruise very much because of the choice of the poarts, fantastic scenery and Mid Night Sun! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I took my elderly mother on this cruise as she felt she didn’t want to fly-cruise any more. We had arranged assistance boarding at Southampton Mayflower Terminal. This worked brilliantly. Having bypassed the queues we were through ... Read More
I took my elderly mother on this cruise as she felt she didn’t want to fly-cruise any more. We had arranged assistance boarding at Southampton Mayflower Terminal. This worked brilliantly. Having bypassed the queues we were through security and on board within 15-20 minutes of being dropped off. We found our stateroom in very good order with a stocked minibar in line with Moms ‘Elite’ status. Our bags were delivered in a timely manner and once unpacked we explored our home for two weeks. The itinerary included a number of sea days which we found plenty of activities to fill our days. For a large ship with over 2500 guests there was never not a place to find some ‘space’. There was never a shortage of loungers on either decks outside or inside. We were assigned late dinner in the International Restaurant, the booking confirmation stated 7:15pm when in fact dinner was at 8:00pm, not an issue for us but was for our Canadian table mates. We took breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Buffet restaurant mainly due to my Mom’s fussy taste. There was for the most part a good choice, some lunchtimes their meat that we had been served for dinner the previous evening would appear in the form of some kind of salad. Only on the last day of the trip did I find that I could actually order a portion of chips which would be cooked to order instead of me having to walk through the indoor pool area, around the outdoor pool to the burger bar to fetch these and then carry them back to the buffet! The service in the International Restaurant was impeccable, the menu choices were varied and they were always able to make changes to suit Moms palate! We went to the theatre most evenings, the Sapphire orchestra was superb, accompanying the varied visiting performances, all but one we really enjoyed (fiddle playing is not our thing) the cruise cast were particularly good, two male and two female lead vocalists lead very well. We didn’t attend the other evening entertainment part from the ‘Land of the midnight sun deck party’ which started about 11:15pm and lead to a countdown to midnight. This was very well attended and great fun. It was hard to believe that it was midnight with the sun still shining brightly in the sky. With regard to the ports and shore excursions, due to my moms not being able to walk too far we could only book two excursions. Stavanger was great, docked right in the port we were able to stroll around and see some of this pretty town. Flåm was was very pretty, we had booked the ‘Easy Flåm’ excursion which was fine for us. Gerainger was very pretty, we were able to go ashore by tender and explore under our own steam. Trondheim was great, our second excursion was on a 1950s tram which took us up into the suburbs in the hills, very pretty. We were met by a coach which took us to a ski jump arena where some young jumpers had been arranged to show their skills. Honningsvag again docked right in port was fine, the town was within easy walking distance. The Christmas shop was full of mass produced junk, we went further around the harbour and came across an outlet store which had a cafe and a bathroom, here I did find a beautiful hand painted Christmas ornament. Tromso we arrived on a Sunday, there was a shuttle bus into town at a cost of $20 but nothing in the town was open. The only visiting place that was in walking distance was a botanical garden but we were advised that it was very uneven under foot and it was raining, we stayed aboard. As we departed the captain advised that we had been assigned an inadequately qualified pilot which would result in us having to add four hours to our journey time and as a result a late arrival in the Lofoten Islands, departure was delayed accordingly. The issue here was that, 1 it was pouring with rain, 2, The tender was docking in the middle of nowhere, a four kilometres walk to the nearest town or a taxi ride. Our table mates went ashore and quickly messaged that Mom would really struggle. Our next stop was Alesund, having been tipped off by our table mates we booked a land train. This was great, an hour and a half for approx $20 each. Mom then returned to the ship and I was able to walk to a number of areas I had seen to take photos. Bergen was a bit of a mix up. We had no excursions booked. There was a ‘shuttle bus ‘ provided, this took us from the shop to the other side of the container port where we were docked. This meant we were a minimum of 1 km from the old port where another 4ships were docked. We had planned on going on the funicular railway which the tourist information said was within a few minutes walk of the main shopping street. This was far too far for us to walk. I had to sit mom on a park bench whilst I went to take photos. Having watched the ships lecture of the city I feel that we missed out on so much because of where the ship was docked (second occasion). Again the final sea day was great, a rest, no problem finding space to relax. On docking in Southampton we again had assistance for disembarkation, this was superb again this time at the Queen Elizabeth Terminal. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This has been a bucket list cruise for us for quite a while and it did not disappoint. While I love the Princess Small Ships, I was glad to see the Sapphire doing this since, being a larger ship, that made it a bit more economical to book. ... Read More
This has been a bucket list cruise for us for quite a while and it did not disappoint. While I love the Princess Small Ships, I was glad to see the Sapphire doing this since, being a larger ship, that made it a bit more economical to book. The scenery was fantastic - better than I envisioned. We had a mid forward balcony cabin on the Lido deck, a very convenient location since no stairs or elevator wait for the buffet, pool area or grill. Waking up in the morning seeing the mountains of a fjord off your balcony was fantastic. The size of this ship was nice. Very few lines for anything, yet enough people. We booked Princess excursions at each port. In retrospect, we might have been better off checking which ports had hop-on/hop off services and just used that for a general sightseeing tour. Having said that we were NOT disappointed with any of our shore excursions. The entertainment on board was very good. 4 production shows that were all top notch. The main dining room food was excellent. Yes, Princess is cutting back a bit on Lobster night (a single lobster tail) and I'm sure some people are put off by the *optional* $19 upgrades offered some evenings, but we just ignored them and enjoyed the standard menu. Wait staff was excellent - very attentive to our requests. We were able to have a table for 2 in Anytime Dining each night. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We booked this cruise to spend time with family and visit places we’ve never been. However, the ship was old and falling apart and caused us to miss Dublin and be late to Liverpool. We didn’t even get to stop at Guernsey at all, and ... Read More
We booked this cruise to spend time with family and visit places we’ve never been. However, the ship was old and falling apart and caused us to miss Dublin and be late to Liverpool. We didn’t even get to stop at Guernsey at all, and the captain announced it as though it was a good thing we “get to” spend another day at sea. In every case the time spent at each port was much too brief. The smell of sewage came up from our shower drain, water soaked the carpet in the halls, a toilet that didn't always flush, broken elevators, bit up by something during sleep with new red marks each morning, internet that didn't work. Four of us were crammed into the tiny cabin and it was torturous, but there was nothing we could do so we tried to make the best of it. With such an incredibly small shower, it was a wonder why so much space was taken by a thick folded metal stool double zip-tied hanging from the handrail inside. The gym was old with broken equipment. For all the technology they’re adding with touch-screens and their new “medallion,” the ship itself is still a dump. The “entertainment” was embarrassing, with the target audience being over 90 years old no longer of sound mind. I watched three shows to be nice to other family who wanted us to go with them, but each show was awful. Ship activities consisted of those you’d see at a retirement home, like bingo. Unfortunately we witnessed a Zumba class right in the middle of a main open area, and we will never be able to un-see it. We felt generally trapped without anywhere nice we could go, and it was like a prison on the sea.  The food was not good and literally inedible in some cases; fake eggs, plastic bacon, rubber cheese, food with a chemical taste, and lots of breads and sugar. Princess Cruises lied to us about some of the excursions, inclusions and packages, and when we brought it to their attention they didn’t make things right. Multiple lies to trick us into spending more money, like promising a free reservation for premium dining but then telling us after eating it’s not free, or telling us we can’t leave the ship unless we pay for one of their excursions. We purchased soda packages for the kids and yet they were often told “no” or only allowed a very small portion, so we can warn everyone the packages are not worth it. Prices charged were higher than what was listed on the menu, and it’s unfortunate you can’t trust them to be honest. This cruise was a waste of time and money. It even made us all sick, probably from the bad food and being trapped on a dirty old ship. “Come back new” is a lie - I feel wiped out and ripped off. It was a terrible, awful experience, and one that I never want to repeat as long as I live. Now I need to plan another trip to the UK without the limitations of having to get back on a ship by dinner time. If I ever take a cruise again, it won’t be with Princess. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise specifically due to the fact that it included Liverpool and a Deluxe Beatles tour that included access to inside tours of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's childhood homes. Due to a series of events, my excursion ... Read More
I chose this cruise specifically due to the fact that it included Liverpool and a Deluxe Beatles tour that included access to inside tours of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's childhood homes. Due to a series of events, my excursion was cancelled and I was told there was no room of any of the three lesser Beatles tours available. What lead to this? First, bad weather prevented us from tendering at Guernsey (which we heard from others happens quite often so I am wondering why it is included as a port). We headed on to Cobh where, as we docked, there was a problem with a generator which the captain said he had never experienced. We limped into Dublin hours late and extended that stay which made us late into Liverpool and resulted in the cancellation of my Deluxe Beatles excursion. In the mean time, our toilet had been running, so we reported it but got no one to look at it. Our toilet stopped flushing, so we reported it. After a while someone came to "fix" it and, as a result, our toilet overflowed, filling roughly 1/3 of the balcony cabin. Items we'd had on the floor were moved (including my husband's soaked shirt), the padding under the carpet was removed, a wet vacuum was used on the carpet, and large fans were placed in the room to dry the carpet. The fans had blown out the power so there was no air conditioning. We were told there was no other room to stay in for the night and that the best they could offer was to turn off the fans for the night. After my husband spent over an hour dealing with a supervisor who told us there was no other cabin available she finally found a single interior room that we could use for that night. My husband canceled his Wales excursion to help me find Beatle-related activities to do in Liverpool the next day. His excursion had been taken down to about half what it was supposed to be anyway due to the time constraints that resulted from the late arrival in Liverpool. Everyone on the cruise was given $100 onboard spending money for the troubles with the itinerary. My husband and I were each given $100 each for the trouble with the cabin, but I can't get back to Liverpool, take the tour I wanted and get back home on $100. Weather issues can happen on a cruise. Mechanical issues can happen too. But someone made the call that we should extend the stay in Dublin at the expense of the Liverpool stay. I guess they assumed that more people would want the time in Dublin than to arrive on time in Liverpool - but it would not have been my choice. We were so late into Dublin anyway that those who tried to make it to the Trinity Library to see the Book of Kells had the door shut in their faces. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my 15th cruise and my third with Princess. The quality has definitely declined since the merger. We we first ordered to surrender our passports!?! Before boarding the ship. I can’t believe Princess would send passengers into ... Read More
This was my 15th cruise and my third with Princess. The quality has definitely declined since the merger. We we first ordered to surrender our passports!?! Before boarding the ship. I can’t believe Princess would send passengers into a foreign country on the excursions after taking their passports and refusing to give them back! Princess stated that was a rule of the embarkation group who are not affiliated with the company!? They are dealing with every single customer of yours and handing over all the passports to ship personnel who refuse to return them. Some passports were misplaced (horrifying experience when trying to return back to your country)! There were only two employees to handle all the shore excusion activity when we docked at each port The boat had a mechanical failure which forced the captain to cancel a port altogether and wait for 8 hours outside Dublin for high tide. This has happened on other boats from time to time, but there we’re “projects” a crew member was attempting to fix all around the boat. The engine, the elevator(people did get stuck), numerous flooring issues taped off, room attendant carts constantly parked in hallways, etc. This went far beyond the routine “wet paint” areas you normally see. The dining staff we always in a frantic rush due to lack of enough staff. Mistakes were very common. The employees genuinely wanted to give excellent service, but were overwhelmed. The menu was disappointing. Each night came with an insert menu listing better dishes for an additional $20 per person. This cheapened the original menu items and made a family of 6 pay and additional $120 a night if the wanted to try an excellent dish! Unbelievable! Due to my past two excellent Princess experiences, I found myself making excuses for Princess to my friends and family. When we returned home and remembered all the negative experiences, we were disappointed that we chose Princess. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for 2 reasons: First because we had cruised with Princess in the past band were very satisfied with that experience, Second because of the itinerary. We were looking for a British Isles cruise and the fact that this ... Read More
We chose this cruise for 2 reasons: First because we had cruised with Princess in the past band were very satisfied with that experience, Second because of the itinerary. We were looking for a British Isles cruise and the fact that this itinerary included Guernsey(for me!) and LeHavre, France( Normandy D Day Beaches for my husband) had us sold. We started our cruise with an overnight in London, booked through Princess. We were not aware the transfer from Heathrow to the hotel was over an hour. This hotel was quite a bit away from major tourist sites in London, making it difficult to see much in 1 day. Also our hotel room was not much larger than a walk-in closet!! The transfer from the hotel to Southampton port was smooth and so was checking in to board the cruise. So we began our cruise, excited to see our destinations and begin our excursions!! Well our first stop was Guernsey and my husband had been checking the weather and saw it was not looking good(100% chance of rain, very windy) but the ship was heading there so we figured it would be okay( we brought rain gear!). Early the morning of our arrival to Guernsey , the captain announces it is not safe as we need to tender into port and the water was too rough. Of course I was disappointed but what can you do, But what happened is we cruised straight into a storm and hit very rough waters. I don't understand why the ship did not just avoid trying to go to Guernsey as I'm sure the captain has more advance access to the weather than my husband. So we weathered the storm and made it our next port of Cobh. What happened next is the ship had electrical problems and needed extra time in Cobh to have this fixed.(Was this due to cruising through the storm, I sure think so!!) This led to the ship not being able to arrive in Dublin until 4pm( had to wait for the tides to be at certain height). We were told we would stay in Dublin until 2 am (again due to the tide level). Being that this was on a Sunday most of the major tourist sites closed at 5 pm. We had booked a historical walking tour midmorning which could not be changed, As disappointing as that was, the bigger issue was 3000 passengers trying to disembark the ship at the same time. It was quite chaotic and there were no crew available to assist and take control. People were cutting in line which caused yelling(did witness) and fighting( did not witness but heard of). So our first 2 ports of call were basically lost. We then arrived at our next stop in Liverpool slightly behind scheduled time, There was poor communication from the ship to when we would arrive and we had to go to the main desk to ask. Our excursion to Wales(just beautiful!) was shortened by a little but at least we started to experience the true beauty of the UK! From then on we were back on schedule and enjoyed all our excursions. On board the Crown Princess was somewhat disappointing . As I said earlier we have cruised on Princess in the past. I felt service was slow and there was limited interaction with staff. I felt the staff were working hard but that they were short staffed. We were also disappointed with on board enrichment lectures. They were held in a lounge where bartenders were making frozen drinks( blenders are loud!) and other passengers were talking,and playing cards. It made it very difficult to hear the speakers.Other cruises the talks were held in a more private area. The casino which allowed smoking ,did not close any doors so smoke could be smelled throughout the atrium. Overall the ship was tired looking and could use some refreshing. Saying all this, my husband and I did enjoy ourselves and thankful to be able to see and experience new places in this world. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We went on this cruise with my cousins who had already booked. My father is from Scotland so I was looking forward to setting foot in the homeland so to say. Embarkation went well but the tour to Windsor Castle as part of our ... Read More
We went on this cruise with my cousins who had already booked. My father is from Scotland so I was looking forward to setting foot in the homeland so to say. Embarkation went well but the tour to Windsor Castle as part of our Disembarkation was far too rushed for the time that was allowed. Did not even get to see the village of Windsor or eat lunch as promised. Made it a very over priced transfer to the airport. Most of us in the group were not happy. The guide apologized but Princess knew well ahead of time that all tour groups into the Castle have to go through a special admission gate and the line up for this was 6 - 8 blocks long. We waited over 1 1/2 hours just to get to the security checkpoint. That left us with about 45 minutes to see what we could. None of this was spoken about when we booked the tour or as we travelled to the Castle. Princess notified us that due to a royal function some parts of the castle would not be open as advertised. Why would you even offer such a tour before hand? The cruise line would have known that it was Royal Ascot race time and the royal family would be in residence so part of the castle would not be available. We, as pre booked tour passengers, were not notified about this until 4 days before the tour. With the internet not working we had no choice but to take the tour to get to the airport. In retrospect, we should have cancelled and taken the direct connection or made them pay for a phone call to another taxi service for transport. Good thing was we at least got to see some of the castle, St. Georges Chapel and sample the wonderful ice cream they sell there. We didn't go on a tour to Versailles from Le Havre because of the length of the tour, (8 - 10 hours) but this is another situation that Princess knows about but does not communicate very well. For the most part France closes on Monday. We were in port Monday and even the town of Le Havre had very little open. Our research ahead of time showed that Versailles, which I would truly love to visit again, is always closed on Monday. I wonder when those who booked this tour found that out? Another disappointment was not being able to see Guernsey Island. The seas were so rough they didn't even take on the pilot to try to go ashore. It was the right move by the Captain as this is a tender port, however we learned after that this cruise itinerary is rarely able to dock here. Over half of the time the weather or seas are so bad they cannot tender passengers to shore. Why do they continue to make this a stop?? Very rough seas and high winds on this day at sea also meant that we got bounced around a bit. Depending on which way you were going you had to walk up or down hill as the ship was listing so badly. Next problem once they got the ballast water shuffled around so we were more upright we were told that the front thrusters had been damaged. The next day it was a diesel generator, then it was an electrical problem where the elevators stopped for a bit, kind of a domino effect of once one thing was close to being corrected something else went wrong. Yes they did give each of us $100 on our accounts to try to cover our concerns and disappointment so I guess that is a plus for them. Then there was the internet. This is not a reasonably priced or reliable function on this ship from other reviews I have read. We did purchase the 1 hour package before we sailed and were trying to be very careful how we used it. Very frustrated when something that would normally take less than 1 minute at home took over 15 minutes on the ship to download. When we checked with the IT guy downstairs he let slip something about damage due to a fire then corrected himself very quickly and referred back to the mechanical problems with the thrusters and such. After one more try to use the service we finally asked for a refund and the IT tech quickly credited our account. My cousin and I both having English and Scottish ancestry wanted to try the afternoon English tea on board. My recommendation is don't bother, wait until you go ashore on your own and find a nice bakery in town and enjoy a tea and scone there. On the ship, everything was rushed. The pastry server came around before we even had time to select our tea and didn't come back. They have a tray and you pick the item(s) you think you want, serve it and then run away to someone else. The same with the sandwiches, which for us came after the pastries. The scones we were served were dry and crumbly even with cream and jam added. Neither my cousin or I enjoyed the experience. The ship is still in the throws of reconstruction. This Medallion Class stuff was being installed as we were sailing. From other reviews it has been this way for a long time. Several of the public areas were boarded off with lots of hammering and sawing noises going on. When you pay lots of money not just for your trip but for just about everything else while on board you don't expect to have to avoid power cables and construction sites. (My husband thought he heard that it even cost to vote during the contest for the Voice of the Ocean competition finale. Don't know if this is true though as we were only outside of the theatre reading when this was going on). They probably would have been able to accomplish so much more by letting the ship stay in port or dry dock for a week, do the upgrades then set off all shinny and new. I always try to look for positives and I have mentioned a couple here. Another one was how the Captain handled the multiple problems that occurred. He tried very hard to keep everyone informed and made sure passenger and crew safety came first. Others we spoke to felt the same way. He was trying to make things better. I think all these mechanical problems indicate that Princess needs to look at getting this ship refurbished properly and not on the fly. I did get to set foot in Scotland though so that goal for this trip was accomplished. I doubt either one of us in our group will make Princess our first choice for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Overall this was a very nice cruise. Ship and cabin were lovely, dining room food and company were very good. We had weather and mechanical issues that caused several cancellations of tours. They were missed on our part, especially the ... Read More
Overall this was a very nice cruise. Ship and cabin were lovely, dining room food and company were very good. We had weather and mechanical issues that caused several cancellations of tours. They were missed on our part, especially the Lake District, but overall it didn't diminish our enjoyment of the trip too much. Weather was cool and mostly cloudy, but rain held off for the most part when we were out and about. The food court was, as expected, noisy, very crowded, with mediocre food. I never understand how people can sit in there all day. The pizza was pretty good, and the tacos, burgers, and hot dogs at Salty Dog Grill were very good. Ice cream is always a treat. We did anytime dining, with shared tables, and had a delightful dinner every night. Food was very good, company and service excellent. We also went to tea most days which was delightful. Entertainment was mediocre, and it seemed there were fewer big shows than we've had in the past. We were hoping for some big sporting events on the big screen outside (women's world cup and the Stanley Cup was on), but no dice. Couldn't find any films that interested us - some we watched on our TV, but nothing in the big venues. Ship configuration was a bit strange, had trouble on a couple of decks finding our way to certain venues - lots of dead ends. Shore excursions were all very good, at least those that didn't get cancelled. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this Cruise because I am a regular Cruiser and was running out of ships & destinations with my favourite company NCL and to a lesser extent Royal Carribean. On the surface they seemed very good and the recent tv program ... Read More
I chose this Cruise because I am a regular Cruiser and was running out of ships & destinations with my favourite company NCL and to a lesser extent Royal Carribean. On the surface they seemed very good and the recent tv program swung it in their favour. The Que tmerely to register should have been a warning, way too long, way to slow and not enough staff to manage. Pop down the road and see how easy it is with Royal Carribean who simply make the whole thing painless from the moment you park your car. Now to the truth of the matter. The food was way below standard compared to NCL and RC, some of it was even inedible. I spent 25 years as a Chef in a previous life so I can talk with some expertise. The service was great but you can't eat service. The Entertainment was dreadful, particularly in the theatre compared to some of the fantastic stuff you get all night long with NCL. Simply not even close to Norwegian Cruise Line The Casino closed at 1.30 latest every night to the huge annoyance of everyone playing, and although I spend small this is the highlight of my holiday. I purchased 2 very expensive drink packages to cover my casino use and barely touched them. I asked for a refund of one of them when I got home and it was declined, together with my other issues brushed aside. I felt completely ripped off and Princess Customer Services are totally inept and brush off your observations without any satisfactory resolution. I hate moaning and can usually live with what I get but this Cruise cost me a lot of money and left a really bad taste in the mouth. (Metaphorically and in reality) I will remember your Southern Fried Chicken long after I forget your Cruise, I think I am still trying to digest it. Seriously, if you are looking for a great Cruise with fantastic food and entertainment, go with NCL. They get it as right as Princess get it wrong and are about the same prices without silly restrictions on the amount you can drink. I spent a lot of money on this holiday and feel utterly ripped off in terms of money spent and service received. I have spent the last 12 years recommending cruises to all of my friends and anyone who will listen, and dozens of them had taken me up on it, primarily going with NCL and having the time of their lives. I have been a great Marketing agent for them all of this time, and will now turn my attention to telling people the truth about Princess. The refund of a drink package and a sincere apology and explanation would have helped, and certainly prevented this, but that was too much for them. In some small way I hope that people will read this and be warned and spend their hard earned money elsewhere. To give this advice, and cost Princess sales will in some way make this experience a little easier to swallow, unlike their Chicken ! Trust me, if you are a new Cruiser, or someone looking for a change, and do not want the stuffiness of P&O, treat your self to NCL (not the Epic though as its too big and busy and badly laid out re the staterooms) To a lesser extent I recommend Royal Carribean but Princess, what can I say, You have been warned Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first Princess cruise, we have cruised with Royal Caribbean on numerous occasions and cannot help making comparisons. Pros: The crew were lovely and very helpful, our room steward Anna was great, our room was very clean. ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise, we have cruised with Royal Caribbean on numerous occasions and cannot help making comparisons. Pros: The crew were lovely and very helpful, our room steward Anna was great, our room was very clean. The entertainment was very good, especially the Princess Singers and Dancers, as well as other entertainment. However we were expecting a famous celebrity singer or comedian on board for one night. There were plenty of seats at Horizon Court both daytime and evening, with no queueing, disembarking on days out was very quick, only light queueing coming back on board. Cons: 18% tips is far too high for drinks. Signed receipts for drinks should be given automatically without asking. Account could not be activated on TV screens. Food was disappointing, hot food was cold or tepid, and not enough choice in both Any Time Dining restaurants or Horizon. Portions in restaurants far to small with not enough vegetables. Too much carvery pork in Horizon with no other choice. Cleaning: we did not see anyone cleaning banisters, lifts, buttons, toilets at any time. This should be done on a regular basis throughout the day and evening. We did not see any salad serving spoons in Horizon being changed during mealtimes. It is all very well having sinks but numerous people did not use them before meals. We both came home with streaming colds and coughs although we always leave our balcony door open both day and night. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because of a need to see Bordeaux, France. Bordeaux was not as exciting as I thought it would be but Bilboa and St. Peter Port more than made up for my disappointment. I have sailed with Princess a total of 100+ days. ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of a need to see Bordeaux, France. Bordeaux was not as exciting as I thought it would be but Bilboa and St. Peter Port more than made up for my disappointment. I have sailed with Princess a total of 100+ days. I am an Elite member and even with my history of sailing on cruises with Princess and many other lines, Princess Ships are par excellence. This particular cruise was lovely, awesome, grand and made so much more pleasureable by the hospitality and friendliness of the crew. What was so significant is that Captain Paolo Ravera was approachable, personable, kept us up to date on the voyage and he was visible. The Captain was as friendly as Captain Stubing on the Love Boat series. The Captain and the staff especially our waiter Sopha Phanvilai and assistant waiter, Henry Fernandes, Ms Analyn, Cabin Steward and myriad staff on this particular ship demonstrate what cruising is all about. Their hospitality, friendliness and endeavoring to always try to give clients a pleasurable experience speaks volumes about this cruise line. Sapphire Princess is beginning to show its age but it is kept in impeccable condition. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. Meals were very good and it is a treat to relax and enjoy the activities and the Love Boat and all of its amenities. Princess is my stellar cruise line Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My son chose this Cruise as he had sailed with NCL and Royal Carribean and had nothing but praise for those two companies and the brilliant time I was going to have. He chose it as it seemed comparable with those two companies on price ... Read More
My son chose this Cruise as he had sailed with NCL and Royal Carribean and had nothing but praise for those two companies and the brilliant time I was going to have. He chose it as it seemed comparable with those two companies on price and Marketing jargon but did not live up to the hype. The entertainment was more Butlins than West End, although the theatre was very good and the last show was ok but according to my son, with RC & NCL that happens every night. The food at best was adequate and did not live up to my expectation. In fact, the conversation around our table and talking to other guests was that the standards were not as good as similarly priced competitors. Even the waiting staff agreed that it was a common observation by guests, although according to my son, when you mention this to Princess Customer Services, they deny it all (rather unsurprisingly) My son worked as a chef in top establisments for many years and is quite capable of making the distinction. The crew were very good, the ship was lovely, the public places clean and nice to be in but the whole thing was a bit of a let down for us, as my son felt guilty at encouraging me to come along at a cost well in excess of £1000, a lot for me on my pension ! The cabin was nice enough and served its purpose. I will go Cruising again, but not on Princess, I will take my sons advise and go with NCL next time, suggest you do the same. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My partner and I decided on Princess after seeing the recent tv series, and running out of destinations with our favourite Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean. On the surface they seemed on par, in reality they are lacking in just ... Read More
My partner and I decided on Princess after seeing the recent tv series, and running out of destinations with our favourite Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean. On the surface they seemed on par, in reality they are lacking in just about every department. If its your 1st Cruise, you will probably think it is fine, but for a seasoned Cruiser with "better" cruise lines this will leave you frustrated and disappointed. 1. The food was simply not good enough compared to NCL & RC. Very small portions in the Open Dining Restaurants, badly presented, not hot enough in stark contrast to NCL. 2. Cleanliness was lacking throughout the ship, again in comparison to NCL where you see crew members cleaning all public areas all of the time. Here they are noticeable by their absence. The ship is clean and tidy, but it is reassuring on a cruise ship to see proactive staff. 3. The entertainment was simply adequate compared to NCL and RC who pretty much put on a great show nearly every night. On this cruise the last nigh twas ok but the rest was pretty much time filling yawn. 4. The excursions are so expensive, its not worth looking at them unless you are on a really good budget, and the ports are pretty mundane apart from the town on the Bordeaux stop which is pretty and free shuttle service to get there. Guernsey was really nice.. 5. We had stateroom 327 which waw really nice apart from a completely useless air conditioning which made it impossible to get a good nights sleep. Bed comfortable and good tv service but that was all let down by the air con 6. The crew in all departments were exemplary in stark contrast to the above, but thats what you pay your money for isn't it? 7. My partner spent a lot of money on 2 drinks packages for us as he wanted to spend his late nights in the Casino which they shut every night at 1.30 latest despite their being players at the tables, rendering his drink package unnecessary. Be warned, there is no compromise with Princess cruises, when he complained and asked for 1 of the packages to be refunded they declined. When you consider what a drink actually costs to supply in contrast to what you sell it for we thought that at best a little miserable and unacceptable. I would seriously recommend you go with NCL ahead of these operators. NCL just get it right and Princess could learn an awful lot from them Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have cruised 18 times with Princess and with the exception of this last cruise, it has always been excellent. This cruise was a bargain basement boat ride. It was a costly, disorganized, irritating disaster. The Versailles tour was an ... Read More
We have cruised 18 times with Princess and with the exception of this last cruise, it has always been excellent. This cruise was a bargain basement boat ride. It was a costly, disorganized, irritating disaster. The Versailles tour was an aggravating nightmare, depriving us of the opportunity of a lifetime. Princess was responsible for a 45 minute late start. The tour category of moderate should have been strenuous. Our tour guide was preoccupied with participants, including wheelchair and walkers who needed assistance. Consequently, we got an expensive bus ride and a quick look at the palace. No time for the grounds, musical presentation or gift shop. Do not pay for the useless Dublin shuttle service. It is much less expensive and more convenient to taxi. Our balcony looked like a leftover garage sale. On the plus side; the staff was courteous and helpful. The service and food at the dining room was very good. Sabatini's was better than ever and the Crown Grill was first class. The production shows were fun, lively and entertaining . We did not "Come Back New", we came back angry. Princess WAS "Where We Belong". We hope they fix it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which we enjoyed. We chose Princess because of the previous good experiences my sister and her husband had, and they joined us on this cruise. They were as disappointed with the service and food as ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which we enjoyed. We chose Princess because of the previous good experiences my sister and her husband had, and they joined us on this cruise. They were as disappointed with the service and food as we were. Some staff seemed irritated with requests, and sometimes were actually surly. There were instances of drawers slammed to show displeasure. (2 of our previous cruises were on Celebrity where staff attitude and morale was far superior--everyone smiled and seemed genuinely caring.) Front desk staff here were unhelpful whether it was on the phone or in person. A singsong "Sorry" was the frequent response. Food in the main dining rooms was very good, and service was okay. Nice choices of starters and desserts. The exception was the one Afternoon Tea we tried. It was a joke. Waiters brought tea before there was milk or sugar, so it got cold. There were many waiters with trays of sandwiches, scones and cakes which they passed out and loaded onto tiny plates with no order whatsoever. They did not give you time to eat anything, just wanted to dump each item. No traditional tea tray towers with choices for each table as restaurants and Holland America do. The food in the buffet was of low quality and did not look appetizing. It was OK for breakfast, but not dinner. We normally like to eat room service breakfast to save time, and on our past cruises the choices and food were very good. We only tried it once on Princess. The only hot food choice was a greasy fried egg sandwich in a foil pouch. We didn't want to try again. The coffee both in room service and restaurants was horrible. The waiter told us it was frozen liquid Nescafe. We ended up buying Starbucks instant packets in port and ordering hot water. Signage and directions on the ship were terrible. Lots of "you can't get there from here" places needing to go up or down before proceeding. Ship schematics near elevators were too small and did not have "You are here" dots. After 12 days on board we were often still confused. Others commented the same thing. Security screening machines were often placed just inside the door when you came up the gangway, leaving long lines standing in the rain and no way to get items ready to scan. Staff stood with hands in pockets and most plastic tubs were out of reach for passengers. Annoying and frustrating! Security coming back on board was at times lax. Example was scanning card without verifying photo. The decor of the ship was lovely and traditional, which we enjoyed. Entertainment was disappointing. Twice we tried to see a show, but all seats were taken. The times we got in were just okay. Nothing was a wow. The Swedish male singer was horrible, but seemed quite taken with himself. We arranged all but one of our own excursions (it’s easy and safe to do and MUCH cheaper). The one excursion we did through the ship was to Mont Saint Michel from Le Havre. It was a long bus ride (3 hrs) and the tour itself was very good, but too long. Chris our guide gave good information about the abbey, but if we hadn’t left the group 30 minutes before she finished we wouldn’t have had time for lunch. The bus company that they used did not allow food or drink on the bus, and although it had a bathroom on board, it was locked. The return trip was 2.5 hrs with no stop. Because the bathroom was locked the driver did stop at a roadside disgusting toilet for those with emergency needs. Not acceptable! I can't say this was a terrible cruise because we enjoyed the ports very much. I think our expectations were too high because of our previous experience with Celebrity and Holland America and my sister's previous experience with Princess. I thought Princess was of the same caliber, but apparently not anymore. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Everything was great - itinerary, food, the ship, and service. We picked the cruise up in Le Havre, spending 3 days prior in Normandy and 5 nights in Paris. There is a free shuttle from the train station in Le Havre to the ship or take a ... Read More
Everything was great - itinerary, food, the ship, and service. We picked the cruise up in Le Havre, spending 3 days prior in Normandy and 5 nights in Paris. There is a free shuttle from the train station in Le Havre to the ship or take a taxi. We did traditional dining for most nights and had great table mates. We used anytime dining for some late excursion days. Ate at the Crown Grill specialty restaurants and enjoyed the Crab Shack night for King Crab. Service was exceptional. The Horizon Court was our go-to breakfast and service there was great including my husband’s special requests. The cruise director and staff did an excellent job. There was so much to do aboard ship we didn’t even scratch the surface. Entertainment was very good to excellent with some definite standouts. The music and dancing options were all enjoyable. We did all but one excursion from Princess. Most were excellent. The ports and overall itinerary was great. Lots of options for excursions and we did a lot of full day excursions. Would highly recommend this cruise for the British Isles unless you like bus touring. You see so many great ports and places. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Always wanted to go and see the Fjords and had heard lots of good things about Princess. Wasn’t looking for a party style cruise, more something quieter and relaxing as had lots planned for shore. I found it difficult to get information ... Read More
Always wanted to go and see the Fjords and had heard lots of good things about Princess. Wasn’t looking for a party style cruise, more something quieter and relaxing as had lots planned for shore. I found it difficult to get information on the ports of call so I hope someone else may find this useful FOOD The food in the main dining room was outstanding, great quality and fantastic selection, there really was something for everyone. Steak/ Lobster was additional surcharge of $19 each which I haven’t seen on any other cruise however it was worth the price. Buffet selection was well presented and fresh however not a massive selection of main dishes like P&O for example. No themed nights in the buffet as other cruises may have (eg Mexican night or local themed dishes). Alfredo’s pizzeria on deck 5 was lovely and was always able to get a table there. Not a huge selection of other restaurants even specialty ones- Italian or steakhouse were the only two on board. Very speedy embarkation and CPS in Southampton made this seamless CABIN We had balcony cabin C709 on the starboard side which had a huge balcony- much bigger than deck 11 or deck 8 and below (I believe). Was kept very clean and had a fridge and tea making facilities. American style plug point but took a power strip with me to make life a little easier. The hairdryer was better than the one I brought with me and there were plenty of clothes hangers and storage. TV selection was very good and our cabin steward was very helpful and friendly. Ports of call BERGEN Did the funicular tour and hike with Princess which was a great day out as the sun was shining and was very warm. It’s a beautiful town and well worth getting a little higher to see the views. Great fish market down by the port which is well worth having a look through although Norway in general is a little expensive. GEIRANGER We did the Eagle road tour and Mount Dalsnibba with Princess. The mountain was closed due to snow but our tour guide took us to the lake for a photo stop. Great tour and fantastic driving from the coach driver on the very bendy and high roads! Highlight of the trip on this unspoilt part of the world. Note- this is a Tender port although there was a moving gangway, this was being used by a bigger ship in on the same day as us. OLDEN Very small port so would recommend doing a trip or doing some research. We did Briksdalsbren glacier which was breathtaking. A beautiful walk up there and stunning views. Approx 45 min walk to the top although you can hire a troll car to take you some of the way as there are steps and the path is quite steep STAVANGER we did the pulpit Rock hike with Princess which was hard going but well worth it. Allow 2 hours of hiking up a steep path but you will be rewarded with incredible views. It was raining this day but certainly didn’t make it any less enjoyable. ENTERTAINMENT This is an area I would say Princess are lacking in. There wasn’t a large selection of things to do during the sea days and the weather isn’t like the Caribbean cruises where you can sunbathe during the day. Evening shows were not as good as some other companies although it was never difficult to find a seat in the theatre. The comedian Jeff was great although the magician production Amethyst was quite awful. There were a few enrichment lectures on which were ok although a lot of people walked out when this was ongoing. LOTUS SPA Staff were incredibly rude and would avoid this at all costs. I cancelled a massage which more than adequate notice and was lectured on the phone for several minutes Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because I love visiting the UK and could visit some new places as well as revisit others and catch more of the sights. It was port intensive with only 2 sea days. I took the NEX bus from Heathrow to Southampton, cost ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I love visiting the UK and could visit some new places as well as revisit others and catch more of the sights. It was port intensive with only 2 sea days. I took the NEX bus from Heathrow to Southampton, cost £26 and spent a few days prior to the cruise exploring Southampton and visiting the Isle of Wight. Embarkation went smoothly with no waiting, luggage promptly delivered. My passport was taken from me on embarkation, but unlike other times when my passport was taken, I was not given a photocopy to carry as ID. I had to wait in line at passenger services and then another 10 mins while the staff member hunted for my passport and copied it. Just use your drivers license he says. Yeh right, as if you bring unnecessary documentation half way round the world. My passport was given back after leaving Edinburgh. The fun started at dinner time. Four of the people sitting at my table had got on in Dublin and were almost at the end of their cruise. Their dinner was disrupted by lots of new guests arriving as well as new wait staff as staff were rotated through dining rooms. The captain was new as well. On this cruise you can get on in Dublin, Le Havre as well as Southampton where the bulk of people seemed to get on. I also met a group of 10 who got on in Southampton and were getting off in Le Havre. The “hop-on, hop-off” nature of the cruise led to perceived disorganisation and subsequent lack of enjoyment by quite a few passengers. It must work for Princess but I could see why people were unhappy although I’m not fussed who I have dinner with and which crew I interact with, people getting on and off and so on. The thing that annoyed me the most was all the tendering and wasting of time that goes with it. Even if everything is running smoothly it still takes an hour from ship to port even though the tender ride may only be 15 minutes. Guernsey was the worst. The tenders stopped running for about an hour due to rough seas so I arrived back at the wharf at around 2.20, the last tender being 3pm to find at least half the ship waiting in queues snaking around the wharf. Sometime after 4pm I got on the tender…..and it was formal night too! Forget it. The lines were also long in Kirkwall but not quite as bad and in South Queensferry, the port had put on some extra boats of its own that carried more people. The crew helping people on and off the tenders were great and I felt I was firmly held onto by the arm/hand as the tender bobbed around at times. Needless to say, on my next cruise in November there are no tenders. The ports of call and getting into town included- Guernsey – tender to pier a few minutes walk from town. Cobh – terminal is adjacent to the train station if you want to go to Cork and a few minutes walk to town. Heritage Centre adjacent to wharf has lots of souvenirs and a café with free wifi. Dublin – is a working pier so you are not allowed walk in the area. Free shuttle bus to town which drops you at Merrion Square opposite the Oscar Wilde statue. My excursion stopped here for those who wanted to stay in town before returning to the ship. Belfast – Shuttle available to town. Drops off near the City Hall US$16 return. Greenoch – terminal is about 5 mins walk to town. Lots of souvenirs and free wifi available in the terminal. Bus station and train station about 10-15 mins walk. Free bus tours around Greenoch fill fast – 3 available. Kirkwall – tender to pier, a few minutes walk to town. Invergordon – 5 minute walk to town. Souvenir shop on wharf. Edinburgh – tender to pier near Forth Bridge then X99 Lothian bus to central Edinburgh. Cost £9 return. Ticket good for the local buses as well. Drops off at St Andrews Square. Staff there to help with questions. Le Havre – shuttle bus to town centre US$20 return. As usual, the staff are cheerful, helpful and professional. I enjoyed the selections in the dining room and also the buffet has plenty of choice. The buffet didn’t have many tables for 2 or 4, mainly larger tables but they did open up both sides and Café Caribe for seating. I love the shows and talks I went to. Way too cold for Movie under the Stars and indeed rare to see people sitting outside. As always there are plenty of onboard activities and shopping. The TV system was antiquated. The Menu gave starting times for some programs but others eg. Port talk watch Ch 21. Could be watching for ages until it came on. Nothing on demand so I gave up. A few days before the end of the cruise the tech man came in and changed the TV over to the new on demand viewing which I had on my last cruise 7 months ago. Fabulous. Better late than never. The ship is in the process of updating to Ocean Medallion. The laundry was also a disappointment. There were only 2 washers and 2 dryers per laundry sitting side by side unlike the 4 washers and 4 dryers above they have on other Princess ships. I finally got my washing done just before 10pm one evening with others still waiting. I’d checked a few laundries a few times earlier, long queues. Disembarkation was another time waster. I was on a bus to Victoria Station. Despite the written and verbal instructions and crew waving people to their luggage in the terminal, two ladies living in their own bubble just got on the bus without collecting their luggage. Sometime later it occurred to the crew to look on the bus for them. So off they get to retrieve their luggage. While they are doing that a man who had time to dress in all the latest spiffy sportswear, gets off saying he has left his wallet and passport in the safe! So eventually we leave 45 mins later which stretches out to over an hour because we hit the Sat morning London traffic. That gives me less time do what I had planned. NEX doesn’t hold up paying customers and at US$59 for the transfer those people choosing not to follow instructions should just have been put on the next bus. I did enjoy the cruise- the ports, excursions, shows and dining and those comfy beds, but the peripheral things that give you the carefree experience were lacking and as this was the most expensive cruise ($ per day wise) I’d been on then I can only rate it as average. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
May 9 - Travel day. We flew Delta One overnight from Atlanta to Heathrow. We landed around 7 am and had the fast pass for immigration so we were out of immigration within 15 minutes. We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington (£25 for 2 ... Read More
May 9 - Travel day. We flew Delta One overnight from Atlanta to Heathrow. We landed around 7 am and had the fast pass for immigration so we were out of immigration within 15 minutes. We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington (£25 for 2 people since we arrived on a weekday and bought the tickets 90 days in advance), then a taxi (£8) to the Doubletree Hilton Hyde Park across from Kensington Palace. My sister arrived on Saturday morning so she only paid £11 for two people on the Heathrow Express 90 days in advance. The Doubletree Hilton Hyde Park hotel was located in a nice, walkable neighborhood with plenty of restaurants, groceries, and shopping nearby and easy access to the tube and most important to us, the hop on hop off bus picks up right outside the hotel. If we go back to London, I would definitely stay there again. May 10 - London - I was excited to see London and we met up with friends who had arrived earlier in the week and did the hop on hop off bus. We were told the total HOHO loop was 90 minutes but we were surprised at how slow traffic affected the tour and ended up not seeing as much as we planned. Have a plan for what to see in London but be ready to adjust on the fly if you are affected by weather, traffic, tube issues or protesters. May 11 - London - Day 2, we took an Uber from the hotel straight to the Tower of London around 9:30 am because the tube line near us was closed for the weekend due to maintenance and we had read to get there as early as possible. We took the Beefeater tour and it was entertaining and informative. We had lunch at the café at the Tower of London and it was delicious. The Tower of London was much more crowded when we left around 1 pm. We jumped on the hop on hop off at the Tower and once again had difficulty with traffic and seeing the sights. I wondered what the HOHO bus would be like in high season (summer). Less than 1/2 way thru the loop we were told we could not get any closer to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abby and surrounding sites because police had closed many streets due to protesters. We were disappointed but got as close as possible then walked the remainder of the way to Buckingham Palace. You could only see from the gate since you cannot tour until later in the summer. . If I go back to London, I will try the HOHO bus mid-week and see if that helps. It may be like any major city, crazy all the time. We got some decent pictures of Buckingham Palace but it started raining pretty hard so we grabbed a cab and headed to Kensington Palace which was unaffected by protesters. We toured Kensington Palace and walked around Kensington Gardens then joined our friends for dinner at the Goat pub at Kensington High Street. Food and drink were both great. May 12 - London to Southampton - Windsor Day Tours. We knew we had to get to Southampton from London and wanted to see the English countryside along the way and had read the great reviews for Windsor Day Tours. Jill was able to pick us up at our hotel in London because it was Sunday. Her tours can also originate from Heathrow. We had a photo stop at Eton College, then on to Windsor castle and the town of Windsor. Windsor Castle as wonderful; there was a slight wait for security. Buy your tickets in advance. We then had a lovely lunch at the White Lion in a tiny village called Wherwell. We saw thatched roof cottages and lovely scenery. After lunch we visited Winchester Cathedral and the town of Winchester where we grabbed our 2 bottles of carry on wine and then Jill took us on to the Room2 suites in Southampton. The cost of the tour was just a little more than the princess transfer but we wanted to see the English countryside and Windsor Castle and Jill worked with us to customize our tour. She was a great tour guide and very knowledgeable. We highly recommend Windsor Day Tours. Southampton - Room2 Suites is a new hotel that was clean, walking distance to Oxford Street restaurants and 3 minutes by car from Ocean Cruise terminal. We paid Uber £7 pounds instead of walking because we had 3 suitcases and the road across to the terminal was multi lane. May 13 – Crown Princess Embarkation - Our suggested arrival time was 1:30 for Dolphin Deck and as we weren’t sure of lines we arrived a few minutes after 1 pm. Very short wait for check in and we were in our cabin by 1:50. Our bags were already at our door – off to a great start. My sister was on Deck 10 and got her bags by 4 pm. Princess had very organized embarkation at that time of day. May 14 - Guernsey - Our plan for Guernsey was to take it easy and just wander around since we knew we had future days with all day plans. If you want to see things in Guernsey do your research and get a good map, Signage is available but not very intuitive. There is more than one museum and signage just pointed to museum without specifying. We arrived via tender around 9 am to find that most of the places to visit opened around 10 am, even the tourist center, (perhaps they open earlier In June and July later in the season?) but we could have left the ship later. We were worried about tender lines so we got up early. We wandered a bit then headed back early around 1 pm which worked in our favor. Tendering later in the afternoon was a nightmare with a 90 minute wait and was hampered by high winds. May 15 - Cork/Cobh – We had a great day with Craig @ Munster Bus Tours and we saw Cork, Kinsale & the Jameson Distillery. We had 6 people and were able to see so many things that we would never have seen on a big tour. Craig drove us around the city of Cork, we visited a local sweet shop/candy company where they were hand making candy, got great pictures at the beautiful St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral and then headed to Kinsale. Before we enjoyed a lovely lunch in coastal Kinsale, Craig took us to a small memorial garden honoring the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11. The memorial garden was an unexpected, touching spot that we never would have seen on a large tour. Craig had secured a lunch reservation for us in Kinsale. After Kinsale we toured Charles Fort. Craig was engaging and entertaining and gave us great personal insight into the area. His pride in his home country was evident and the scenery was spectacular, exactly what we imagined Ireland to be. One note about the Jameson Distillery – it was an interesting tour but we thought we would see a working distillery and instead toured their old factory and did not actually see any actual whiskey production. We did enjoy the tasting! May 16 - Dublin – A free shuttle was provided into Dublin since we docked at a different place than originally planned – this created a bit of a headache for those just going into Dublin. My sister booked a private tour that left Dublin at 11 am and she needed to meet the tour in Dublin. She was waiting for the ticket for the Dublin shuttle at 9:30 am but it took forever and she finally arrived at the meeting spot in Dublin 15 minutes late so she lost her money on the excursion. If you plan a private tour in Dublin and have to get into Dublin, I would allow at least 2 hours to get off the ship and shuttle to your meeting place. Dublin patter is attached and explains Dublin shuttle and private arrangements. We didn’t properly read the description for the Princess excursion for Powerscourt Estate and didn’t realize it was just gardens only. I thought you toured the house as well, but the house was damaged by fire years ago and was only restored as a gift shop with a small room showing a film about the history of the estate. If gardens are your thing, this is a great place to visit. There was beautiful landscaping, acres of flowers, and a Japanese garden but I was a little disappointed. We were dropped off back in Dublin and wandered around Trinity College and had a lovely pub lunch. May 17 - Belfast – This day was at the top of my bucket list and it was a wonderful day. We booked a private Antrim Coast and Giants Causeway Tour with Alister at City and Causeway tours and it didn’t disappoint. The Torr road was a fun, curvy drive and the scenery was spectacular. Northern Ireland is such a lush, green beautiful place. As with all of our private tours, we were mostly able to beat the large coaches since we only had 6 people. Our goal for this trip was to go as far inland as we could with the time we had and concentrate less on the cities and that worked out well. The Giants Causeway was surreal but very crowded. We walked down to the causeway and had planned to take the shuttle back but they closed the shuttle service so that a VIP tour could use the shuttle. I felt sorry for the folks who had mobility issues and had to walk back up the hill, it was over a mile each way. We did not pay to go to the visitor’s center. Alister took 2 couples back to the ship and then drove us 1 ½ miles to TEC Belfast to see the Game of Thrones Tour Exhibition. This was an added bonus for us since we are GOT fans and it was fantastic. If you are a GOT fan and in Belfast this summer, it is worth the money. May 18 - Glasgow – This was our second bucket list day and it was remarkable. We booked a private tour with Tom at Photowalk Scotland. Although the day was cold and rainy we got to see some lovely places including Glencoe, Stalker Castle and Kilchurn Castle. We even stopped at a beautiful small church and got amazing picture of blue bonnets in full bloom. Tom gave us the flexibility to change our plans when the rain didn’t let up for a while and took us to the castles instead of another Glen. He also was kind enough to share some sunny day pics with us since it was so rainy. Despite the weather it was one of our favorite days of the trip. May 19 - Sea Day – After 9 full days of travel, a sea day was much needed so we took it easy and just relaxed. We don’t have a lot to review on the Crown Princess but will say that it is a lovely ship. This was our 4th cruise and all ships we have been on could be improved slightly but the Crown Princess was great for what we wanted, a nice way to see the British Isles. We did not see any shows or comedians but my sister took in a few and said they were fine. May 20 - Kirkwall - This was our 2nd Princess Tour - West Mainland Sightseeing and it was OK but it reminded us why we choose private tours. The tour guide was very nice but it was her first day on the job and she neglected to tell the bus driver to even slow down for the Standing Stones of Stenness. We just rode right past it with not photo stop. We were able to tour the Ring of Brodgar and see a bit of Kirkwall as we were whizzing by the sights. For us, Guernsey and Kirkwall were just bonus days so that was Ok. Private tours at Kirkwall were limited and booked up quickly. Plan far ahead if you want a private tour in Kirkwall. May 21 – Invergordon - We booked a private tour with Invergordon tours and saw Castle Leod, Urquhart Castle, Culloden Battlefield, and Clava Cairns. The scenery was lovely. May 22 - Edinburgh - previous reviews had suggested the Princess Excursion “Edinburgh on your own” to maximize your time in the city since ship tours got tender priority. This was a great in theory but didn’t necessarily work for us. I think our Princess meeting time in the theatre was 8:15 am. Our plan was thwarted because we had to wait over 30 minutes in the Princess theatre for our total group to gather to go to the tender and then another 20 minutes on the bus in South Queensferry for four people who never showed up. The ship was in Edinburgh from 7 am to 7 pm but we didn’t get to the city until well after 10 am and got picked back up at 3:15 pm. Not nearly enough time to see such a great city. You could find your own transportation back you just needed to tell the driver. We walked straight to the Edinburgh Castle; we printed our tickets which we bought online from a kiosk. The lines were long. If you are going to the castle, buy your tickets in advance. Edinburgh was the best city we visited (compared to Dublin and London) and the only city we think we would revisit. Looking back at the patter for Edinburgh, you could get in line for a tender ticket in the Michelangelo dining room starting at 7 am. I would set an early alarm, take my chances on my own, grab the earliest tender ticket and take the X99 bus into town. It is a 45 minute ride from South Queensferry to Edinburgh. May 23 - Sea Day – we spent the day repacking. I did go to afternoon tea in the dining room which was just Ok and crowded. May 24 Le Havre - The ship docked in Le Havre on schedule and we easily got off the ship for our tour. We had 12 hours before we had to be back on the ship. We booked a private excursion with Overlord Tours to go to the D Day beaches. The cost was €980 for up to eight people. We had 6 and our group and the van was comfortable. Eight people in the van would have been tight. Our guide for the day was Thierry, we were very impressed with his passion and knowledge of the Allied landing on June 6, 1944. It was an hour and a half drive to Omaha Beach which went by quick due to Thierry’s narration. We toured the American cemetery, Omaha and Utah beaches, Pointe Du Hoc and stopped for a delicious lunch in Saint Mere Eglise where we saw the church where Paratrooper John Steele got caught on the steeple when he was trying to land in the town square to fight the Germans. Thierry was a great guide and we had no trouble understanding his English. May 25 Southampton to Heathrow – Princess Disembarkation was the easiest we ever experienced. We put our bags out the night before and found all three easily the next morning. We did leave fairly early so not sure if this was a factor. We chose private arrangements on the form and had passenger services change us to 6:55 am disembarkation for our 7:30 pickup. It was fast and efficient. We used Smiths for Airports for transfer for four back to Heathrow for £163 pounds. We were waiting on our driver by 7:05 am. Wait under the signs not on the sidewalk in the lanes. The driver must come in and confirm that you are there before bringing the car into the lanes to pick you up. We left at 7:45 am and arrived at Heathrow at 9:20 am for a 12:50 pm flight. Had business class for two of us. Checked in and through security in 20 minutes. Our fellow travelers had to wait in security for approximately an hour before clearing. The departure gate was cramped and hot but we timed it so we only had to wait for 15 minutes to board. At Heathrow you wait in the giant shopping area until your gate is called ~30 minutes before your flight. Crown Princess British Isles Notes: Crown Princess Mini Suite D618 – we had plenty of storage space and loved the extra room in the bathroom with the real tub and shower and the clothesline which we used a lot. We had planned to ask for hangers but found an adequate supply in the closet. We did take 4 pants hangers which was great when we had to hang dry our clothes. The balcony had two chairs with ottomans and a small table. We enjoyed the extra cabin space in the mini suite and the sofa; our friends often came to our room for a drink before dinner or to hang out in the evening. One note about cabin D618, we were startled early on the first tender day as the tender that lived just below our balcony was deployed and the gears were quite loud as it moved away from the ship and then was lowered down – it was fun to watch it deploy, you just need to know that if you are on Deck 9 in a mini suite, you may hear and see tender boats on tender days. PRIVATE VS SHIP TOURS – For the first time, we did a mix of private vs. ship tours and were very happy with the private tours. We are cautious travelers and only chose private tours with 5 star ratings and they all lived up to their reviews. When we had a private tour for a non-tender port, we just blended in with departing Princess tour groups, got off the ship and found our guides. We will definitely book private tours for future cruises. Private arrangements do require some extra time and planning for the tender ports. TENDERING - For tender ports, Guernsey, Kirkwall and Edinburgh allow extra time if you have private tours. There were tender delays even for the Princess tours due to high winds at Guernsey and Kirkwall. At one point during the Kirkwall day, waves were so rough that a crew member was hurt and tendering was suspended for an hour. There was a 90 minute wait to get a tender at Guernsey later in the day. LAUNDRY - Laundry was a crap shoot and as expected impossible on a sea day. If you are a super early riser or late nighter your chances are better. My sister started her laundry at 5 am and had company while she was there. Deck 9 had 2 working washers and only 1 dryer so we ended up hang drying a lot of clothes which was not a problem, it just takes extra time if you are out of clean clothes. We used the bathroom clothesline quite a bit. Deck 10 had 1 working washer and 2 working dryers. If you intend to do multiple loads buy your tokens early. You swiped your cruise card and it is $3 per wash and $3 per dry and $1.50 for detergent. I should have brought Woolite or similar as I did hand wash a bit but I managed with body wash and shampoo. I did bring tide pods and dryer sheets with me. Later in the trip, we checked and finally found an open dryer and ran our hang drying clothes down while it was free. BRITISH ISLE CLOTHING - With such long port days, I easily could have gotten away with only 1 or 2 pair of dress pants and rotated shirts. Since this was our 3rd cruise, we don’t always want a huge meal every night. We only ate randomly in the dining room and even then only 5 out of the 12 nights. We grabbed pizza, a hamburger/hotdog or ate at the buffet when we didn’t want to change for dinner after a really long tour day. Nice jeans or khakis and collared shirt or polo worked for most nights in the dining room for my husband. I should have brought more jeans/casual pants since we did have a few days of wearing jeans for 3rd or 4th time as I was trying to find an open washer/dryer in the very busy of laundry room. We only did one formal night and my husband did fine with a long sleeve collared shirt and khakis and I wore a blouse with black pants. We saw plenty of people who looked lovely in tuxedos and formal gowns but we were not wasting precious suitcase space on fancy clothes on our 16 day vacation. WEATHER – I believe Scotland is having the hottest summer on record for June but for May all previous advice was accurate, layers, layers, and more layers. We took a warm coat and a rain jacket and alternated them or wore both at the same time depending on wind and rain. We really only had one very rainy day although we expected more. Lots of partly sunny days. I was happy to have a scarf and hat most days. Long sleeve shirts were a good base layer and I wore a sweater 3 days. I expected the weather to be in the 50s and 60s but the wind made it feel much cooler. My sister bought a warm hat in Kinsale because it was colder than she expected. FOOD - we weren’t sure what to expect with Princess and British Isles food but we were happy overall. We cruise specifically by itinerary and find cruising to be the best solution for us budget wise with meals/hotel/transportation all rolled into one, especially in places where we would never drive. We had been warned to expect bland, simple food in Scotland and Ireland and were pleasantly surprised at the delicious food at every stop. We had all sorts of yummy comfort food including cottage pies, fish and chips and hearty soups with sandwiches. We did not have one bad meal in port. Crown Princess food was as expected, a few stand out dishes but mostly average. As mentioned before, we don’t cruise for the food or ship entertainment just for the travel and transportation. Formal nights were the day of Guernsey and the first sea day. We only did one formal night and my husband did fine with a long sleeve collared shirt and khakis and I wore a blouse with black pants. We saw plenty of people in tuxedos and formal gowns but we were not wasting precious suitcase space on fancy clothes. We had anytime dining and turned up between 6 pm and 7:15 pm for each night in the Dining Room – we only ate there 5 out of 12 nights and Formal nights were more crowded. If the wait was going to be more than a few minutes they gave you a pager so we grabbed a drink at the International Café while we waited. We had less wait when we went at 6:15 or 6:45 vs. 6:30. On our last dining room night the night before Le Havre, we were moved to one of the fixed dining rooms and had better service than in the Michelangelo Dining Room. TIPPING - We haven’t cruised in 5 years so this may now be the norm but Princess automatically adds 18% for alcohol. On past cruises with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean we were able to add tip and decide how much to charge. Princess also doesn’t give you a receipt, you just have to hope the bill is right and check your bill periodically. They do have a self-serve kiosk where you scan your cruise card and get a print out or use the Princess @ Sea app. PRINCESS @ Sea app: The app was good for checking your stateroom balance by day and the total spent. Each person sees what they spent and the cardholder on file sees all cardholders. The messenger part was somewhat disappointing since it didn’t notify you when you received a message which made it difficult to make arrangements if you were traveling with other people. You had to occasionally check to see if you had received a message. Hopefully this will change when the Ocean Medallion service is finally rolled out. There were Carnival employees on board working on the service but about all we saw was the TV system was updated some to support on demand programming. Not sure how ocean medallion rollout will change this. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We wanted to see Ireland and Scotland and felt this was a great way to see both. Left the USA a day early and spent the night in London. Picked up and taken to the port on Monday ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We wanted to see Ireland and Scotland and felt this was a great way to see both. Left the USA a day early and spent the night in London. Picked up and taken to the port on Monday after visiting Stonehenge. Embarkation was simple although a bit disorganized. I had "priority boarding" but was told to wait only for my wife to speak to another representative and then allowed to board! The welcome aboard was friendly and nice. We were in a balcony cabin, C206. This cabin is in the forward section of the ship on the Caribe deck. Except for the last night (when some people boarded in France), it was quiet and serene. Our last night (their first night) had the noises of their arrival and some complaining by the passengers. I think the next door rooms were empty before their arrival (at least we never saw anyone or heard anything). Cabin was nice and the room steward was wonderful in keeping the room clean and fresh. Had a problem with the bathroom sink twice (the stopper wouldn't open) but was quickly fixed both times. I'm always amazed at what some people observe. Yes, the ship is "older" and yeah, I saw a bit of rust here and there. That did not hinder my enjoyment of the cruise at all. Never smelled anything "bad" and didn't have any of the problems some other reviews reported. We found the crew to be efficient, friendly and welcoming. Almost everyone had a smile and if u asked a question, they were quick with an answer. I had no real contact with guest services, however, but with everyone we interacted with, we were treated with respect and friendliness. Our trip was in May, so we observed very few children during the cruise. Since passengers were boarding and disembarking during the cruise, we did see a few children. It was too cold to do much swimming. My wife braved the swimming pool a few time. And while the weather was nice (only rained one day during the trip!), it was cool. Temps were about 45 degrees (7 degrees c) in the morning, warming to about 65 degrees (18 degrees c) during the day. We spent time in the Serenity (adult) section of the ship both sea days and had to bundle up (but the afternoon tea was wonderful!). We pretty much had the section to ourselves both times. I would guess the average age on this particular cruise was about 65-70. We had the late dining and sat with 6 other people (that Princess grouped with us). We looked forward to the meals and to our new found friends each night. Food was plentiful and if we wanted more/less of something, they would provide it. Other than the first night, service was outstanding. First night there was some confusion with the early seating getting out late, but even then, it wasn't bad. Service was a bit slow that first night, but every other night was fine. When we wanted to leave earlier to attend a show, we simply informed our waiter and he accommodated our request. The quality of the food is "not bad." While I guess it's normal to complain about the food, I think it was good, but not really worth complaining about. Service and food in the buffet area was also decent. Service was good for us during breakfast and when we chose to eat lunch there. We had no problems with getting a drink within moments of sitting down. Staff was usually quick to clean the tables when someone left to provide for additional seating. I wasn't always pleased with the selection of food at lunch, but I could always find something I liked to eat. Breakfast was easier to choose selections and delicious. Pizza was good, I think among the best on the ocean. Hamburgers were fine and enjoyed by me (along with french fries, of course!). Each port was unique and enjoyed. We had three ship excursions. Orkney Islands, Edinburgh and Le Harve. We visited the town of Honfleur, France for our excursion in Le Harve. That trip was wonderful! We went by bus to the center of town in Edinburgh and in Orkney, we took the tour to see the prehistoric sites. At the other ports, we used other tour companies and had no problems with any of them (some were better than others, however). Only in Guernsey did we just "do our own thing" when we arrived. Well, overall this was a wonderful trip. Princess helped make it that way. We enjoyed our meals and had nothing but good service and friendliness each day. When it came time to disembark, that was also smooth. We took a bus (Princess provided) to Victoria Coach Station in London. Other than waiting around while on the bus, that trip was good also. And of course, Princess provided does not mean "free." We worked out that detail when we booked the cruise. And while not everything was "perfect," it was a nice vacation. This was our second Princess cruise. Our first was aboard the Caribbean Princess and it wasn't as nice as this ship was (although they are sister ships). Bottom line: I paid a deposit for the next cruise so I know we'll return. I wouldn't mind a return to the Crown Princess, but I would like to check-out other ships in the Princess fleet. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Have sailed with Princess twice before, so knew what to expect. Had been on the sister ship, Diamond Princess, so the layout was very familiar I chose a balcony at the rear of the ship, as it is an nice quite place Embarkation at ... Read More
Have sailed with Princess twice before, so knew what to expect. Had been on the sister ship, Diamond Princess, so the layout was very familiar I chose a balcony at the rear of the ship, as it is an nice quite place Embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, with two items of luggage waiting when we got to the cabin, with the final item some twenty minutes later The cabin was attended throughout by Sdravko, who was most pleasant, efficient and unobtrusive. It was a pleasure. A nice touch was having a kettle. With so many from the UK on board, this was much better for making tea I think the beds have been upgraded from my last trip as they were much more comfortable than before. The same with the pillows. This is a good improvement For most of the trip, I dined in the Pacific Moon dining room, looked after by Sebastien and Luis, who did a professional job The menu was much as before. The same four Curtis Stone dishes popped up often several times during the journey. I had the pork belly on one occasion, which was ok, but not as good as before, not being crispy. Surely he can supply some new recipes after even the three years I have been using Princess? Most nights the food was good. There were occasional misses, but that's to be expected. I was happy with the food supplied The cafeteria on the 14th deck was as expected. I never tried it in the evening, but it was ok for breakfast and a light lunch. One puzzling thing though, was that on a far eastern cruise, smoked salmon was available for breakfast nearly every day. On this cruise in Northern Europe from the UK and from Alaska, it wasn't, which I found strange On the last night, I ordered a plate of "luxury" canapes to have with a bottle of Champagne. I did wonder at the low £14.99 + service cost, but assumed they must be ok. They were disappointing and I've included a photograph. The bread circles were quite dry and unbuttered. The breadstick with the prosciutto wrapped around it was soft and stale and there was none of the promised pate de foie. I tried them, but wouldn't again I didn't make any of the shows, but was impressed with the on demand movies available in the cabin. This is a great improvement on before and I enjoyed catching up with some newish releases. Moving to a flat screen TV is welcome, but left the space where the old cathode set used to be as an odd empty space. It did at least provide another power outlet.This needs remodelling Getting on and off the boat in port was very smooth, as a foot passenger, or on the one Princess tour I took. So much better than the experience with a different cruise company last October Now for the not-so-good: After a busy couple of days, my companion didn't fancy dinner the embarkation evening, so I went to the Santa Fe dining room alone and was accommodated. I ordered a bottle of Sancerre, had two small glasses, expecting to finish it on my next visit. I asked the chap who served it to put it on ice as it needed cooling further. He served me both of the glasses I had. The following evening, I didn't fancy wine, having had good beer in Bruges. I did mention that I had a bottle saved. The third night I missed dinner, but the fourth night, I asked for some more from the bottle. This was in the Pacific Moon dining room, as apparently the Santa Fe wasn't accepting "anytime dining". There was trouble locating the remains of the bottle, but the head waiter, was apologetic, offering two complimentary glasses while they searched The following evening I again asked for the remains of the bottle, but again it couldn't be found, so two more complimentary glasses were supplied. The head waiter again was very helpful, apologising that the bottle couldn't be found, promising some of the "chef's special limoncello" the following evening. I'm not keen so never did take this up. I gave up on the bottle being found, so ordered more for the remainder of the trip I was at the reception desk for a different reason and mentioned this missing bottle. They said they would contact the dining room to investigate. A short while later, a message was waiting for me from the head waiter who had been searching for the bottle. He said that the waitress'who had served me that first evening, told him I finished all the wine. I have on occasion finished a bottle of wine while dining alone, but not on this occasion, the first night. I was also disappointed as the waitress hadn't served the wine, just her assistant. That evening I was again offered complimentary glasses of wine, but I declined, as I had a bottle started. I should have taken a receipt, but haven't always in the past and haven't had a problem before. Whether the waitress was mistaken or being dishonest, I couldn't say. Later in the cruise I checked my on board account and noticed I had been charged twice for another bottle of wine. It was explained as an accounting error, caused by having to move the bottle from one dining room to another. This shouldn't happen though and it makes me wonder for those who don't check their accounts how often it happens This time I only booked one tour with Princess. Previously, I've booked all, but on this occasion, I was astonished at the prices charged. For instance, a round trip transfer from Zeebrugge to Bruges, through a different provider was around $20/person. Princess were asking $79/person. This seemed to be the same throughout the itinerary, so I booked independently. Possibly the most striking example was tickets for the ballet at the Mariinsky in St Petersburg. My tour guide purchased the tickets- good ones, for about $90/head, took us to the theatre and arranged for a port taxi to pick us up for a cost of around $30, which she said was extortionate. A total of just over $200 for the both of us. Princess were offering similar, admittedly with a glass of champagne and a tour of the theatres prior to the performance, for the grand sum of £299/person- three times the cost. I was talking to an elderly English about the tour costs and she agreed, but said she felt she had to order from Princess, just to be safe The one tour we took was in Gdansk and included a walking tour of the town and a trip to Malbork Castle. I chose this tour as it was about the longest on offer and included two lots of free time, one at each stop. There was a lunch included, that I thought we could miss, if we needed further free time The time was extremely tight on the tour, with only ten minutes given for free time in the city centre and five at the castle. The lunch, which was very good, by the way, was at a convention hotel off a motorway, so there was no reason to miss the lunch, as nothing to see. We got back to the ship just around 15:20, with all passengers due to be on board by 15:30. We weren't the last bus back If time is going to be that tight, tours of that length shouldn't be offered. The tour was interesting, but being so rushed didn't help One final issue from before boarding, was that I contacted Princess and asked if it would be possible to block casino access for our shipboard accounts. I was told that this wasn't possible, as it would block access to everything for our accounts and that I should contact the casino manager after embarkation to see what might be done. I very nearly cancelled the entire cruise after receiving this answer. I was told, by guest services on board, that you can choose from a menu of what services you don't want to access, be it casino, shops, spa etc. I think it odd the cruise consultant wasn't aware of this Overall, whatever you may think of the above, the experience was fine. I intend to use Princess again in the future, but will not be shy about exploring other lines or checking the services offered on board Read Less
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