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147 Princess Southampton Cruise Reviews

Chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary. The itinerary is very good. All ports were very good, and gave a good sample of the UK. Food quality has slipped, Steaks no longer offered daily in the dining room. Cuts of meat ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary. The itinerary is very good. All ports were very good, and gave a good sample of the UK. Food quality has slipped, Steaks no longer offered daily in the dining room. Cuts of meat were lower quality than we have seen in the past. Cleanliness has slipped. Towels were not always cleaned properly, ugly stains on some. Window interiors, and window sills need cleaning. Many things are broken on the ship. Washers, dryers, token machines, Money changers. Panels were missing in hallways, and boarding areas were dirty, and needed maintenance. Daily boarding of the ship took 30 minutes to two hours. This was a deal-breaker for us. They need more X-ray machines. We have sailed many times previously with Princess. This was the worst, and will be our last with Princess. Shore excursions overpriced. Entertainment not as good or as varied as previous cruises. Musicians are almost on a break. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We were very unhappy with the food. Besides having numerous entrees that we disliked, I was not able to eat my usual healthy choices. I generally eat eggs, yogurt, and berries for breakfast. The scrambled eggs tasted like salty powder. The ... Read More
We were very unhappy with the food. Besides having numerous entrees that we disliked, I was not able to eat my usual healthy choices. I generally eat eggs, yogurt, and berries for breakfast. The scrambled eggs tasted like salty powder. The yogurt had sugar added so I couldn't eat it. I don't eat fruit because of the sugar content and berries were only offered one morning. There were no healthy salad dressings. The one soup that wasn't too salty, French onion, was only offered once. The gluten free muffins had sugar. We had two young adult daughters with us and there were no ship board activities for them, besides the night club and movies under the stars. The exercise room had only two benches. I did really enjoy the zumba classes. Our table mates were not able to sleep at night due to the urine smells. We found the ship entertainment either boring or tolerable. We did hear that the male singer/dancers were good, but we were afraid of wasting our time on marginal entertainment so we missed seeing them. We are canceling the Princess cruise we had booked for next spring. We won't be sailing with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I read a review about Princess written by an Elite cruiser, I have to say that I agree with what she said so here goes. The good Crown Princess is a lovely ship, but there is a lot of wear and tear that needs addressing. The staff ... Read More
I read a review about Princess written by an Elite cruiser, I have to say that I agree with what she said so here goes. The good Crown Princess is a lovely ship, but there is a lot of wear and tear that needs addressing. The staff were lovely The shows were the best we have seen The food will go in both good and bad, because sometimes it was good. The bad The food sometimes did not meet the standard that Princess usually serves (we have sailed with them before) Poor daily activities on sea days very limited choice Our cabin, we were upgraded and I did ask if we could be downgraded to our original cabin but no joy, it really needed a complete overhaul, nail varnish stains on the furniture, carpet needs changing, handle fell of the fridge, TV very old poor quality picture and sound. The very bad Everything you do involves money, the jewellery promotion which seemed to be a constant 2/3 times a day, the Art auctions, the back pain seminar which the next day was the foot mapping seminar selling the same item, the price of a standard bottle of wine (36 dollar plus 15 percent). But what really topped it of was the 14 dollar shuttle bus into Marseilles when there was a free port shuttle bus that other ships were using but we had not been informed of. That is the last time we travell with Princess, they have become a money grabbing company that gets it staff to try to sell you thing even while you are eating you meals. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this 14 day Cruise around the Med because of what we thought was a lovely itinerary and the chance to visit friends in beautiful Corsica. From the moment we went through the Bulk head door my Wife & I thought this is ... Read More
We chose this 14 day Cruise around the Med because of what we thought was a lovely itinerary and the chance to visit friends in beautiful Corsica. From the moment we went through the Bulk head door my Wife & I thought this is shabby. The lift doors were all marked grazed and chipped the paint work was old and shabby, Some fixtures and fittings inside the lifts didn't work We had recently come off a cruise with P&O on the Azura so we were expecting the same standards if not better, as we were told by our booking Agent, Princess Cruise liners are a step above P&O unfortunately this wasn't to be. There were 4 staff to greet us when we entered the Plaza but no one asked which cabin we had booked so we had to find the lift and find it ourselves. Our balcony cabin was exactly the same layout as the P&O Azura only dated by about 20 years. We couldn't believe how shabby this was. The bathroom shower tray was cracked slightly an a blue tinge could be seen in the sink all fittings looked well used. We had asked for a Queen bed and although clean, the sheets and pillow cases had seen better days. Our dressing gowns had also been through the mill and were extremely shabby. The balcony was splashed with paint as was our furniture, obviously someone had been in a hurry and wasn't bothered about what the outside looked like. It's hard to take any positives out of this holiday. Our toilet over flowed one night we awoke to hear water trickling only to find that when the toilet had been flushed the water still kept pouring into the pan overflowing onto the toilet floor. Thank God for towels!! On a couple of occasions we had to report to our lovely Steward that the toilet had failed to flush and he got that repaired. Our TV reception was very poor and these too need replacing, the corner cabinet that houses the fridge and water etc, needs to be addressed as we banged our heads on the corner of this several times while accessing the fridge. The Restaurant we chose for our first Cruise meal was a disaster as the Maitre D was so rude, as were some of the waiters. We had anytime dining so could choose when and where we ate, I believe the Restaurant was named the Botticelli Restaurant The food was of a very poor quality too, we put this down to the fact that it was the first night nerves etc' by the staff. But it happened the next night too so we decided to eat in another restaurant after this. If you intend to eat in the buffet areas you will struggle to find a seat especially when at sea all day. There are too many passengers and not enough seating in either of these buffet areas and once again the choice and quality of the food isn't great. My Wife had to tell one of the catering staff that some food had rolled off a bowl and was resting in the tray area at the front of the counter. He came round picked it up and placed it back in the bowl !!! My wife told him to remove it immediately and place it in the bin and this he did but gave her a dirty look. ( Not Good) The other annoying factor is you cannot get a china / pot cup to make your tea or coffee in it's all plastic in fact everything in the Buffet areas is plastic, and there's nothing worse than tasting tea from a plastic cup.. I could go on about this Cruise but to sum up we were extremely disappointed in the lack of organisation on board this ship, we were under the impression this was a training vessel as were the majority of our fellow passengers. In fact I've never with held gratuities before while cruising as I believe the staff work extremely hard, but we did on this Cruise as did a lot of other passengers. Everyone we talked to on this Cruise had very little to say about it, we were constantly hearing of complaints of various kinds. We just felt we were ripped off from start to finish even the photos were too expensive as is the Wifi. Drinks are extortionate too. They just give you the impression they're out to fleece you. We've never experienced this on any other Cruise ship. We sent a copy of our complaint to Princess Cruises and they've said they will take on board what we have pointed out but I still see the same complaints being posted which is why I've decided to share this with other people to save them the misery. Princess Cruises have offered us £200 off our next booking with them, £200 from a £3000 plus Cruise !!!! I wouldn't give them the pleasure in fact I will not be going back. First impressions count for a lot as does service and these people just don't have it. If you value your Cruise then stay away from the Crown Princess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I decided to write this review whilst lying here in my cabin on the Caribian Princess so that everything remains fresh in my mind. This is my 5th cruise but my first time with Princess. I will start with the cabin. Cabin: The cabin ... Read More
I decided to write this review whilst lying here in my cabin on the Caribian Princess so that everything remains fresh in my mind. This is my 5th cruise but my first time with Princess. I will start with the cabin. Cabin: The cabin is clean with ample space to hang and store your clothing. The beds are very comfortable and the good quality linnen is changed daily. We have a room with a balcony but the room feels a lot smaller than other balcony rooms we have had in the past also the shower is smaller than those I have experienced on other cruise ships. Entertainment: I would say entertainment on the Caribbean Princess has been very poor in comparison with other major cruise lines. The daily itinerary is made up of many unhosted events, and sales patter. When events are hosted they have been generally poorly executed. No decent lectures or classes through the cruise so far and we are on day 6. The evening shows have been mediocre which in my opinion is extremely generous. Oh and not to mention the worst comedian I've ever seen! Food: The food in the main restaurant is served in small portions but adequate for light eaters. Unfortunately on most occasions hot food is served tepid or stone cold. The buffet has been extremely repetitive with many meals being repeated over and over. Again, a lot of the buffet food is not to temperature. I would say the food on this cruise has been the worst of all the cruises I have done so far. Please cut down the peanut butter! Hygiene: I was shocked to find that nobody encourages anyone to wash their hands or use antiseptic gel when entering the food areas, in fact hand washing on this cruise has been fairly non existent. I think Princess are playing with fire on this serious matter of hygiene. Staff: Friendly and helpful as always. Surprised to see staff drinking and smoking on deck in uniforms around the ship. I think this shows a general lack of discipline. Conclusion: Although I have a lot of gripes with this cruise, because of friends we have made it is has been okay but I wouldn't choose this cruise line in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary (British Isles cruise), and because I had cruised Princess twice before- 20 and 13 years ago. I didn't realize it had deteriorated so much, but have been told things are terrible ... Read More
I chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary (British Isles cruise), and because I had cruised Princess twice before- 20 and 13 years ago. I didn't realize it had deteriorated so much, but have been told things are terrible since Carnival purchased Princess. the food is poor- particularly the "buffet", terrible. The service is not good, with few employees speaking or understanding adequate English. They don't seem to care about any complaints. The overcrowding is unbelievable! Nowhere to sit and chat, the buffet eating area taken over by people just sitting who probably have inside rooms, and so nowhere else to sit . I walked around for 15 minutes at 12:30 to find a table, my food getting ice cold. The entertainment was amateurish and silly. the tours were overcrowded, and the busses were torture chambers- some trips were 3 hours each way! No A/C on the buses. They have added two more "specialty" restaurants- meaning you pay more- leaving even less room to sit and eat at the buffet. Portions small and quality of meat was poor. Rarely had beef on the menu. Ridiculous that they chose a ship without a covered pool to cruise the North Sea. Just meant even fewer places for people to congregate. They showed movies "under the stars" with a freezing north wind blowing. More hard sell, more shops and auctions, more bars- 11 bars, I think-, no real educational information or programs. Just a cover for selling something! Never sail Princess again. This was my third and last time! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Chose for the ports and they were all excellent. One port we did not get to due to weather. We were lucky and the weather was good - mostly in upper 40's and 50's but no rain at all. The staff was excellent especially our cabin ... Read More
Chose for the ports and they were all excellent. One port we did not get to due to weather. We were lucky and the weather was good - mostly in upper 40's and 50's but no rain at all. The staff was excellent especially our cabin maid Rose. The food was terrible. Been on over 10 cruises and was amazed at how poor the choices and presentation were for both buffet and formal dining. The fruit was not fresh. The vegetables were frozen variety. At formal dining, nothing was presented well or tasted great. We are used to 5 course meals (not 3) and also beautiful presentations or gourmet-ish displays. Many other passengers who are long time cruisers agreed with us. We stopped going to formal dining and did buffets but still very bad! I'm not kidding. We are not picky eaters. We did not pay the extra $12 to $25 per person per meal to go to the other offered restaurants. The ports were wonderful. Cruised with my adult daughter who felt exactly the same. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Recently returned from back to back cruises on Princess in Europe and the UK. Our experience on the Crown Princess was fine but the same cannot be said for the Caribbean Princess. Although it has recently been renovated after dry dock and ... Read More
Recently returned from back to back cruises on Princess in Europe and the UK. Our experience on the Crown Princess was fine but the same cannot be said for the Caribbean Princess. Although it has recently been renovated after dry dock and looks nice, the changes are all cosmetic. Princess is quite obviously attempting to force passengers out of the dinner buffet and into paid dining facilities as the entire aft area of the buffet is now fee based, and the food items remaining in the one side open buffet are very limited. We also found the food in the main dining rooms to be sub-standard, although the service was excellent as usual. We normally only eat in the buffet for lunch, we still found this obvious attempt by Princess to limit passenger non-fee options at dinner to be a bit too much. As we told Princess, if you need to raise fares to remain competitive do so but please do not reduce the quality of the cruise experience or they will lose long time cruisers to other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
What a disappointment. The whole ship was dirty and neglected. The food was marginal at best. The crew were robots just going through the motions. Guest Services was slow to respond and for the most part ineffective when they did. We ... Read More
What a disappointment. The whole ship was dirty and neglected. The food was marginal at best. The crew were robots just going through the motions. Guest Services was slow to respond and for the most part ineffective when they did. We talked to hundreds of fellow passengers who felt the same. All vowing to never sail with Princess again. Most feeling that complaining would be futile. I don't think Princess has the slightest idea of how much business they have lost and the collateral damage from the word of mouth reviews of the dissatisfied. We received a free meal at one of the specialty restaurants and some flowers but that doesn't even come close to enough for a ruined vacation. We were strung along with promises of action from Princess but have heard nothing to this point, and expect nothing now that we are off the ship. Avoid this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
The repositioning cruise was chosen because it seemed to be well priced and was a nice way of returning to Australia. The ports were an annoying interlude between the sea days. No bridge Director on board yet lots of sea days. Sorry ... Read More
The repositioning cruise was chosen because it seemed to be well priced and was a nice way of returning to Australia. The ports were an annoying interlude between the sea days. No bridge Director on board yet lots of sea days. Sorry Princess now sailing on Cunard. On the previous leg the Cruise Director told the bridge Director they could take all the equipment if they wanted as they were not doing bridge anymore. Entertainment was poor. Even most of the comedians were rubbish. The dancers and singer were the same motley lot. Very little classical music or performances. Holland America have shown the way with BB Kings Blues Club and the Lincoln Centre strings. After a couple of weeks you notice the breakfast menu in the Dining Room and Buffet never changed. The food in the buffet was nearly all carbohydrates or over stewed vegetables. The salad selection never varied. Come on chefs you can do different things with the same ingredients. The Detox salesman gave a great lecture on the hidden dangers of carbohydrates. The chefs should go to the lectures. Many of the passengers are type 2 diabetics or on the cusp. But Princess turns out the very food that can kill them. It reduces their customer base? Even if they just get very sick they wont cruise any longer. The night club was a joke. 4 Frank Sinatra tunes in a row at midnight! There were no special effects. The DJ said she was only hired to play music. Couldn't operate the lights or smoke machine. W anted to shut down at midnight because there was a party in the crew bar. Endless Beatles and other 50-60 year old music. The clientele may be getting on in years but they do go out of a night. To top it off the arrogant Cruise Director kept poking fun at people who went to the night club. No wonder there few people there dancing. The Expert of ports was giving wrong information. X the unknown quantity and spirt the drip under pressure. He seemed more intent on frightening people onto the ships tours. He kept on about how the tribes were formed from ancient man rather than point out the things to see in each port. No shuttles in Dubai or Thailand. hence you were left at the mercy of taxi drivers who wanted exhorbitant Mafia like fares. Tenders ashore were a joke. From the time you queued to getting ashore took 2.5-3 hours. Lectures were given in a monotone and were merely like someone reading from a book. The history of WWII was covered in 5 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise as we wanted the convenience of sailing from Southampton and we wanted near on guaranteed sunshine. We have also sailed with Princess many times and are Platinum members. Embarkation was perfect no complaints top ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted the convenience of sailing from Southampton and we wanted near on guaranteed sunshine. We have also sailed with Princess many times and are Platinum members. Embarkation was perfect no complaints top marks. First night alarms crew called to muster station because of smoke in Engine room dealt with very well by the captain and crew couldn't have been better. Cabin mini suite was spot on clean and large, cabin steward excellent. Second sitting dining fixed in Botticelli very good waiters, brilliant table companions. Entertainment was a bit mixed fantastic Peter Howarth and The Beatles tribute act sailaway from Gran Canaria brilliant. Sam Cane and David Copperfield very good enjoyed both acts. Princess dancers although quite good male singers let it down and the magic to do show was terrible awful worst I have ever seen just our opinion of course other people seemed to enjoy it and some others felt same as us. Excellent speaker on Second world war Atlantic convoys and other war ship related talks very good we only missed one. Otherwise we chilled out in sun swimming pool was a touch cold even for me but I braved it a few times. There seemed to be plenty to do on the sea days but we tend to do our own thing read etc. Cruise directors interview and question and answer with audience with the Captain was also good Captain William Kent is great raconteur had us laughing at the Platinum and Elite cocktail party, cut backs there no nibbles and one drink only. Food in buffet was good mostly but a bit samey and international was always packed so we didn't bother. Food in main dining room was on the whole good but I was a bit limited as I don't eat meat didn't seem as much choice. Vines was good enjoyed tasting different wines and we could have gone to Elite and Platinum bar at 5pm I think on sea days cocktails $5 but we didn't. Ports of call all good Las Palmas nice port we did our own thing really nice beach lovely promenade large ice cream no more to be said. Tenerife we did a ships tour to Puerto de la cruz enjoyed it coach dropped us and we did our own thing very nice we have been to Tenerife before but to Cost Adeje area so this was something different dramatic seas and coast line loved watching surfing and para gliding beach black sand but beautiful lido recommend a trip there if you go well worth it. Lanzarote had a great time went to the national park stark and beautiful volcanoes, Camel ride was a must and great fun only down side the wine tasting was a bit disappointing one very small glass each want to try any others 2 euro's didn't bother but otherwise very good tour. Madeira we had been before but not done the toboggan. Didn't disappoint so much fun wanted to do it again. Cable car ride very good and walked around botanic gardens just a shame about the fire damage terrible for the islanders sad to see it. Love Madeira. Last port Vigo we have been several times so went to Bayonne La Real on a ships tour what a great choice. Taken to a hotel set in the old castle beautiful views of the sea from the terrace great coffee lovely tapas and cakes wine at 9.30 in the morning. We did our own thing after a quick guided tour and found a fiesta going on lots of stalls a procession with band etc then walked down the promenade looked in little shops would have liked more time really nice day recommend the tour. Your thinking why the poor rating for this cruise well all was going excellently until the last night if you have been on Princess Baked Alaska night!!! We had really gelled with our table mates 6 of us on a table for 8 but other 2 didn't turn up. Waiters good had a laugh with head waiter. He on the last night decided to put two women on our table who couldn't get a table in anytime dinning. He didn't ask just brought them over bearing in mind we are on fixed dining and our last night. Not pleased but would have been okay if one of them wasn't so drunk she didn't know where she was. Loud was not in it she pointed at my starter and nearly put her finger in it and said what is that. I politely answered her but we were all very embarrassed and angry she then proceeded to drink my glass of water because she was so drunk she didn't realize it was mine. she thought she had ordered drinks started trying to get a girl waiters attention from another station and when shed didn't respond immediately started calling her horrible names. She was so drunk it was appalling I tried to be polite but didn't want to look at her. One of our table mates left the table to complain. The headwaiter tried to brush it off. As these two woman left the table at the end of their meal the drunken one Swore at us it was terrible. We asked to talk to the Maitre D after the head waiter and another different one tried to smooth it over and said Maitre D on the phone to Los Angeles we said we will wait. Maitre D did apologize but it was too late our last night was ruined. She should never have been let into the dining room or put on our table there where many empty tables around us including one for two. How had she been allowed to get into this state in the first place awful not only for us but our waiters who did their best in a terrible situation. To top that I have complained to Princess but so far have received no response apparently they have 28 days by ABTA guidelines and answer complaints in date order. Okay a guideline is nothing if they took this complaint seriously they would have answered by now. We have been lucky enough to do a few cruises but I cannot see us going with Princess again mistakes happen but I think this is too big a mistake and to receive no response is appalling. We will be taking our custom elsewhere and feel disappointed that our loyalty is not appreciated by Princess. This was a good cruise totally ruined by a Head waiter who didn't do this job correctly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The TransAtlantic cruise was no more than average. Also, the stop at Lerwick was cancelled due to adverse sea conditions - nothing the ship could have done about that. Food was nothing special, and various national foods left a lot to ... Read More
The TransAtlantic cruise was no more than average. Also, the stop at Lerwick was cancelled due to adverse sea conditions - nothing the ship could have done about that. Food was nothing special, and various national foods left a lot to be desired! Service staff at the Horizon and International were exceptionally helpful - no criticism there. Entertainment - the so-called "comedian" should never have been booked on a cruise-ship. His idea of comedy was to make disgusting fun of the Royal Family and any other name he could think of. We, and others, walked out on him. Americans were shocked. His name - Rikky Jay. No-one I have met since the cruise, has ever heard of him. No wonder!! Princess is a company that has the Royal Family to launch its ships. Then again, that is what British "comedy" had come down to - "urine extraction". (Me being polite). Other entertainment was a bit lacking. A singer, Rob Lewis (probably good) was drowned out by the ships orchestra. The best entertainment was the night of the Crew Talent Show and American comedian George Casey. Now for the bad. Future Cruise assistant - she could do with some more training! Booked a future cruise on this ship but as a Christmas cruise in Caribbean. She told us that the price shown in the book was the total price. When we got home, I contacted Princess at Southampton to confirm that all four passengers were booked - only to be told that Future Cruise had only booked two, and that the finance department had cancelled the booking for non-payment of deposit. We were not told anything about this on the ship, and to cap it, Southampton added a "Package" that was, according to the book, included in the price, as confirmed by Future Sales - only to be told that there was some small (minute) print that says it was the price of a cruise a year previous. No apology for being given the wrong information, or notification that our booking was cancelled. Will we book with Princess in the future? Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Entertainment was poor mainly quizzes. Room was dirty and not cleaned properly items from previous guests and dust every where sheets were not changed for the fortnight we were there. Staff on reception were rude and did not get back ... Read More
Entertainment was poor mainly quizzes. Room was dirty and not cleaned properly items from previous guests and dust every where sheets were not changed for the fortnight we were there. Staff on reception were rude and did not get back to you when they said they would. Over all I was highly disappointed as expected better food in horizon food court was like school dinners and left under lights too long as was forming a skin on items, however the serve dinner in the golden crown was amazing even though you had to pay extra for it. I would advise to get the drinks package if you can as it was well worth it as the drinks price where just crazy. I would suggest taking extra money as at some of the ports you have to pay for the shuttle to and from the ship as it is not included. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Choose this cruise for our 25th wedding Anniversary and because it was going to the North Cape. The scenery was beautiful the Norwegians were lovely as always but the cruise left a lot to be desired. The staff were very rude on the ... Read More
Choose this cruise for our 25th wedding Anniversary and because it was going to the North Cape. The scenery was beautiful the Norwegians were lovely as always but the cruise left a lot to be desired. The staff were very rude on the whole except for our cabin steward and restaurant waiter. The food was often cold and there were not very good choices compared to other and often cheaper lines. You could rarely get a table in the Horizon or the international café because selfish people would not move on and nurse a coffee for hours and the staff would not ask them to move, forcing you to either get up at the crack of dawn and not budge yourself or have to keep getting a take away. Tips were automatic so staff don't bother to try hard and if you buy a drinks package the staff ignore you because they don't get tips.. Very expensive drinks , shore excursions and goods on board. It is much cheaper to sort out your own excursions. Although I except they have to maintain the ship as there is a very tight turn around there was far too much being done on one cruise at the expense of the passengers. This was our first and last Princess Cruise, we would rather go on P and O which up to now looked bad but after that cruise looks wonderful!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Cabin A437. Far too small for two adults and one child; 3rd bed is lowered by steward each evening and is immediately over the main bed. It is unsettling for the sleepers who may as well be in a small bunk bed! Balcony was in need of ... Read More
Cabin A437. Far too small for two adults and one child; 3rd bed is lowered by steward each evening and is immediately over the main bed. It is unsettling for the sleepers who may as well be in a small bunk bed! Balcony was in need of painting and repair with rust and broken lock to next cabin. Could not get balcony door to lock. You can hear the next cabin's toilets flush and TV, etc. Drinks packages: Overpriced for what you get! Especially the soda package that promises soft drinks, mocktails and hot chocolate, however, there are just 5 mocktails to choose from that are basically slush puppies in a plastic child's cup; soft drinks are limited to fountain only cola and sprite. Overcrowded: The small pools are surrounded by deck chairs which are in no way sufficient for the vast number of passengers - hence people are up very very early to unfairly reserve them :( Also, the pools were full of small children all the time (mostly unsupervised) with teenagers and adults feeling uncomfortable to enter as you feel you are in a goldfish bowl - if you have any issues about your body shape or size you won't have the confidence to enter. Many women did not go in as everyone just stared (or ogled) at them! Entertainment: Even for cruise ship standards, the live entertainment was very poor. Any entertainer worth seeing was therefore in high demand by the passengers who, just like the deckchair reservists, arrived at the venues hours before to get the limited seats. Food: As you expect from a luxury liner the food was abundant with dining rooms (fixed or anytime), specialist areas (at extra costs) and large buffets. First-time cruisers will find this a good experience but others will compare the quality and variety against other cruises they have previously been on and realize the chooses, options and quality is less than expected. Fleeced: This ship seems to have a fundamental business policy that is all about making as much money as possible from the passengers who have already paid a small fortune already. Be prepared that every talk, event, shop, dinning room waiter, etc, will do their best to offer 'specials' that when totted up could cost you a lot of money. Staff: Most of the staff and crew will bend over backwards to assist and help. Obviously this is in accordance with the Princess training and expectations. However, it needs to be considered that their pay is low, they work long hours and work for 9 months of the year without a holiday. Their pay is also linked to a daily gratuity charge to each passenger on board. But are they getting all the tips you expect them to receive. You will not see any steward, waiter, cleaner or bar tender that is British or American which seems to be unfair... could this be that they are cheaper? Not sure. Remember that the gratuity is descretionary which means you can go to the reception on board and cancel it altogether and then tip who you want; you can pay less of the gratuity; you could opt not to include tips from your children, etc. It's up to you! Alcohol: You are not allowed to take any on board other than a 70cl bottle of wine per passenger. Any bought in the duty free shop or at shore will be kept until you disembark for home. This is the policy of all the cruise companies I've been with but I feel is nothing more than a way of forcing you to buy over priced drinks from their own bars! Tip: buy your duty free from shops on shore. For example, I bought x4 bottles of x1 liter of Smirnoff red label vodka in Gibraltar for £20 with the same product costing £44 on board... still cheap at 44 quid but remarkable at £20!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Chose the cruise based on its destinations and also for its reputation of good food and comfortable beds which I have to say I wasn't impressed with. Cabins are noisy and aluminated with light from outside the cabin door which you ... Read More
Chose the cruise based on its destinations and also for its reputation of good food and comfortable beds which I have to say I wasn't impressed with. Cabins are noisy and aluminated with light from outside the cabin door which you can do little about. The beds are too soft and we both suffered bad backs and necks during our cruise. The entertainment provided on the stateroom television is excellent though and at no extra cost to watch a wide selection of the latest movies. Dining was uninspiring, not a wide selection of choice and generally very average. On occasions you would get a good selection of food. The specialty restaurants that you pay extra for though are excellent if you can afford it. The onboard Pizza that is available throughout the day is very good. Service seemed very hit or miss, sometimes felt the staff didn't have enough time or patience with you and other times they couldn't do enough. Activities onboard are poor, was sold on the idea of the putting green and golf simulator but the putting green was poor and I never saw a golf simulator. There was 1 table tennis table supplied with poor equipment that was usually occupied by children. There is supposed to be an adult only area at the back of the ship for swimming but found on occasions large groups of teenagers occupying the area. Movies under the stars though is probably the highlight of the ship, it's really good and always something on. Evening entertainment was hit and miss. Had about 2 really good nights from 14 where we saw a good show, musician or comedian but was left most nights pretty bored and would usually fall back on movies under the stars. Probably worth pointing out I'm in my early 30's and my wife is in her late twenties. The entertainment is definitely aimed at the older generation as is the ship in general I feel. There is a gym but I would say avoid unless you want to risk getting a bug. I saw that many of the crew members used the gym some of them coughing and sniffing over the equipment so not surprised I picked up a bug from here which I then spent the rest of the cruise trying to recover from. Hygiene on the ship was not of the same standard of other ships I've been on. I'm not convinced on these hand gels and believe only washing your hands properly is the way to sanatise yourself. Hand gel stands were placed near to food courts but not always used by passengers and very rarely used properly either I observed. The shore excursions provided are excellent and provide you with plenty of time to explore. However I was confined to my cabin due to illness for 2 ports so missed out of on a life long ambition on going to Florence & Pisa which was mainly the whole point of the cruise so I was pretty devastated to say the least. We were given a bottle of wine by passenger services as a small gesture for the problems we encountered which was nice but it won't make up for missing out on Florence. Worth pointing out that if you do get confined to your cabin you are supposed to get a team of cleaners to decontaminate your cabin to prevent spreading the bug. But the team that visited me just made basic errors, failed to clean the toilet or shower, didn't wipe light switches, we had to ask to get our bed linen changed not done automatically. The whole process seemed flawed and my wife was allowed to still walk around the ship but was expected to still use the shower room that hadn't been cleaned properly? So any surprises why illness gets spread around the ship? Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
First the few good points: Embarkation was very smooth and we were quickly on board without any fuss. Although we only had an interior stateroom it was spacious enough for our needs and what we expected. Some of the staff are ... Read More
First the few good points: Embarkation was very smooth and we were quickly on board without any fuss. Although we only had an interior stateroom it was spacious enough for our needs and what we expected. Some of the staff are fantastic, polite, always smiling and willing to help. The Movies Under the Stars is a nice feature but obtaining a sunbed is a nightmare which I will elaborate on later. Now the not so good points: Princess constantly tout the slogan "Come back new" but should really change it to "Come back skint" as this ship is constantly trying to get you to part with your money. Flyers everyday in your cabin selling spa treatments, painting auctions, photo studio offers etc. We should have realised what to expect when we went exploring around the ship and found the casino to be one of the biggest areas crammed full of gaming tables, fruit machines and other ways to get you to part with that dollar. A painting auction in the bar - really?? Hint: We are here to relax and enjoy ourselves not to be bombarded and pressurised into buy, buy, buy. We expected the drinks to be pricey from our experience on other ships but crikey their prices are extortionate to say the least and then they have the cheek to add a 15% service charge on top to cover tipping the staff even though you are already paying $12.95 each per day in tips. (Which coincidentally you can ask to be removed, even though they don't advertise this fact). We opted for the anytime dining option as we have used it before and allows you to eat at a time that suits you but for many nights we would walk down to the restaurant only to find a massive queue of people waiting for a table. Once we were seated at a table we found the food to be bland and of very poor quality. The speciality restaurants received rave reviews so they can produce good quality food that is edible. One day my partner's Apple Strudel arrived cold and when she told the waiter his attitude was it's meant to be like that and walked off. On arrival we had a problem with our luggage and had to jump through hoops to try and sort it out even though they promised a resolution very quickly. At the end of our 14 days they still had not sorted anything out as promised. The shore excursions are a total rip off. We booked to see the Trevi Fountain in Rome and when we arrived they were cleaning it so it was not in operation. Our tour guide admitted she knew that they would be cleaning it this morning so why not adjust the itinerary to suit and visit it later in the day? Our tour bus was meant to be a luxury coach but my seat was broken, not fastened to its anchor points and kept moving about. On our way back the air conditioning packed in on a day when temperatures were over 100 degrees with no windows or vents to open. (We did complain but never even received an apology). In Barcelona we were told it was quite a walk from the ship so we opted for the shuttle bus which you had to pay for (no surprises there). I asked how long we would be on the bus and was told 15 minutes, I timed it at just under 5 minutes!! The entertainment was abysmal, with singers, comedians and hypnotists the order of the day. Don't get me wrong some of the singers were great but I've seen better acts in a working men's club. To say they have a supposedly all singing, all dancing theatre they only put on 2 cabaret style shows the whole fortnight, which incidentally were excellent. Our cabin steward was the most miserable I've ever met, yet when we walked by other stewards they always had a smile on their faces and would always speak. Trying to get a sunbed was a task within itself unless you were prepared to get up at 6am and throw towels on 5 or 6 beds then go back to bed as some people were doing. Some were even putting towels on beds then going off the ship on a shore excursion hoping their towels would still be in place when they returned later that day. This ship is supposed to have had a revamp but it looks really tired and dated with paint and wood flaking off on the interior furniture. Our bathroom sink was chipped and the bed sheet had a hole in it the size of a 5p piece. The ports we visited were generally very good except Genoa. Why stop here? When I asked people what they thought of their day out in Genoa everyone replied with the same response ... *censored* Disembarkation was well planned but in reality the timing slots are that close together that in the luggage collection area it was chaos with many people wandering around bumping into each other trying to locate their luggage. So there you have it a honest and unbiased review of the Emerald Princess cruise liner. Overall we did enjoy ourselves but at a cost and with our experiences we have decided not to cruise with Princess again. There are better cruise liners out there to spend your hard earned money on! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Our extended family wanted to go on this cruise and we (Me and my wife) decided to go along with out 3 year old daughter. Obviously this is not a Disney or even a Carnival cruise so we did not expect the cruise to cater to children. ... Read More
Our extended family wanted to go on this cruise and we (Me and my wife) decided to go along with out 3 year old daughter. Obviously this is not a Disney or even a Carnival cruise so we did not expect the cruise to cater to children. I'll go over the issues we encountered, both good and bad. Travel from the airport to the port was long, we found the princess people easily and waited 1/2 hour for a bus. A gentleman lead us down an elevator and then promptly disappeared. He appeared again with the group and lead up to a bus. The people from he last cruise were getting off the bus as we were walking up to it. Another Princess employee started yelling at our guide saying it was the wrong bus and our guide told up to keep walking. This created a traffic jam of people getting off their bus and getting their luggage and our group trying to get by in a narrow area. Just chaos. The ride from the airport was fine, however part of the M5 was closed so the drive had to take a detour. We had a rest stop to use the bathroom and one lady disappeared. Her husband went to look for her and she as bought some fish and chips. She finally go back to the bus and one man said "I hope you brought enough for everyone". The lady was apologetic though. The driver said it would take 1 1/2 hours and it took closer to 3. The port was fine and getting on the ship was efficient. This is a tough cruise to take from Western Canada as you get pretty jet lagged upon arrival. After doing the drills and trying to get some sleep, you are up the next day on 10 stops in 12 days. The sea days came later in the cruise, although I would reverse it giving more sea days at the start of the cruise so travellers could recover from jet lag. Cabin was pretty rough. Interior, noisy and cramped. See cabin review. Now our cabin stewart, Christan was excellent. Best dude ever, got us everything we needed and was just great. So kudos to him. Our main dining room server Zosimo did not like kids at all and seemed annoyed that we would ask for fruit or a cheese plate as our daughter simply did not eat anything on the kids menu. On the flip side, other servers would come by and make napkin animals and even sing to our daughter which was awesome. Staff were seen either muttering or rolling their eyes when we came in. Many servers did not know English very well at all, so requesting anything out of the ordinary seemed to frustrate them. My wife had asked if the fried chicken was white meat and Zosimo said yes. He then proceeded to give her the worst piece of gristly dark chicken when others at the table had great pieces of white meat so he either did not understand what my wife was asking or did not care enough to inspect the food before serving it. One night we dined in another dining room and had completely different servers who were way better. Food quality was hit and miss. I would advise against the soups most were pretty bad. Seafood was good. Consistency was suspect though, when ordering Fettuccini the servers would sometimes ask to put pepper on and sometimes cheese. Actually, the pasta on the ship was really well done, very good. Every order of Caesar salad seemed to be prepared differently each time we ordered. Aside from the dining room, the buffet was pretty good. One thing I noticed is that unlike carnival, getting your own drinks is frowned upon. You must ask a server in the room to get you something which at times was tough when it was busy. I often used the drink stations to get coffee and water, however the servers were doing the same thing which made things awkward. I would usually load up a plate of food and coffee in the morning and bring it back to the room which drew some cold stares from the passengers and crew. No small milk cartons available at all, so we had to get some from the jugs by the coffee stations. Worst coffee ever on a cruise ship. Horrifically bad. Sandwiches by the paid coffee café on level 5 were awesome, pizza was very good. There was a "free pizza" lunch in one of the paid restaurants one day and it was great, our daughter asked for juice and got it for free. The next day we did the same thing at the grill "free pub lunch", ordered a juice for our daughter and were promptly charged for it. Not sure why, again consistency. At the pizza place the server immediately tried to sell us bottled water, the crew constantly shilled us. Even photos were expensive $25 a pop plus $5 for a digital copy... more costs. Dropped our daughter off a couple times at the "playplace" which was a kids babysitting area not unlike preschool. Staff was nice and we only dropped off for an hour each time so that we could hit the bar for some drink specials. Noticed that the many of the "happy hours" were during excursions or after 10:00 pm, not good for parents. Booze is expensive, one bottle of wine came to like $38 U.S. with "gratuity" yikes. Because we were 3 to a room, the cruise got triple the gratuity (12.95 per person per day including a 3 year old!) Not kid friendly. Although our daughter did get a slightly reduced rate on our excursion. Activities for children on sea days were woeful. They had an egg toss that lasted 10 minutes so we missed it. A kid party that had balloons and pirate hats was the highlight, but only lasted about an hour. Otherwise....not much. Speaking of excursions, we only booked one for Paris, otherwise we either explored the port city or found transportation to the Capitals. Most stops dropped us off in a port city and you had to travel from there to the main city. The first few stops the ship had free busses to the main city, then they started charging $8 each way for certain stops, an added expense that was not advertised. However our kid was free on the busses. Each port was interesting and fun to explore with good shopping and sights, however the weather was pretty chilly. The Paris excursion was pretty good, although they dropped 3 busses off at the same time at a gas station to use the washroom. That was not a good idea at all. The tour was very good, lunch was very good as well with wine! We had planned to go swimming on the ship, but the weather and ship having no inside pool made this impossible. It was just too cold. People shivered under blankets when watching the "movies under stars" outside. Not sure this ship was the best choice for cruising in this part of the world. Also "f" Effy. The most bombastic, shilling, horribly overpriced jewellery made by a decrepit overrated designer I've ever seen. We got papers for their stuff every day, and they even shilled it during one of their stage shows. "Zoran" was this guy who hilariously shilled the stuff everywhere, acting like a bizarre European fashion mogul. Even though I hated the shilling, his performance was masterful. Entertainment on the ship was pretty good, actually all of the main shows we went to were different and entertaining from ventriloquists to vaudeville plays to "got talent" shows. The Irish performers were standouts. Leaving the ship was much quicker and our bus driver was great as he have us a brief tour around Windsor castle on the way back to the airport. To be frank, I'm not sure this was the best way to tour Europe. This type of cruise ship is much better suited to warm environments. Princess really needs to up its game with activities when poor weather makes the pools unusable. Hidden costs were everywhere and this cruise was not cheap. They really need to make an effort to improve service as well as many servers' English comprehension was poor and 70% of the cruisers were American. Going somewhere warmer next. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This is the first time my wife and I have ever cruised and it was primarily as a result of recommendations by friends who have all been on various cruises with different providers. Typically we book our hotels and travel independently ... Read More
This is the first time my wife and I have ever cruised and it was primarily as a result of recommendations by friends who have all been on various cruises with different providers. Typically we book our hotels and travel independently choosing hotels and activities which allow us to relax and enjoy some quite quality time in pleasant surroundings with attentive and respectful service. We were admittedly late in booking our cruise with your company as being a little bewildered with the variety of options from different companies we took a long time choosing which unfortunately limited our options. Generally upon arrival things were handled well, check in was prompt and courteous and we found our way to our cabin which, whilst smaller than we are used to, was adequate and clean. At this point I have to commend the cabin steward who was both pleasant and diligent. However what became apparent during our stay was the inadequacy of the bed, the booking clearly stated a queen size bed and literature waxed lyrical about the quality. So you can imagine our dismay to find what we actually had was two beds pushed together. Whilst this might be acceptable if they had been sprung divan bases the beds comprised two metal framed singles with inner wire supports giving a hard and prominent ridge in the middle of the bed where the two metal frames joined. We were told that whilst this was unfortunate nothing could be done to rectify this situation and that we should take this up at the end of our trip with customer services. We enjoyed the setting off and the entertainment on deck as we sailed out of the Hamble. In the evening we went to dinner, having chosen the flexible dining option, and were shown to our table with minimal delay. Unfortunately this was one of the few times we had a smooth transition into the dining room. Generally the staffs were pleasant enough but we were constantly shuttled between deck 5 and 6 each evening which admittedly got a bit wearing and confusing and on more than one occasion we were treated to a rather surly greeting at the dining room entrance before being routed to the adjacent deck which quite clearly implied an “are you too stupid to know where to go” rhetoric. Generally the food in the dining room was of good quality but generally the food was only ever tepid. Only on two occasions could the food be said to be hot, once when I had a fish pie and once when my wife had Escargots. Both my wife and I had wine with our meals and on far too many occasions they kept consistently bringing the wrong Rose wine to the table despite my wife being very clear on the name of the wine she wanted. On one occasion they bought the incorrect wine only to replace it with another glass of the wrong wine. It is accepted that this happens occasionally, but the frequency of occurrence was too high to be acceptable particularly when once they know they have brought the incorrect wine they are then at a bit of a loss what to do about it as the system appears not to allow them to replace the drink as it flags on the system as a dubious purchase too soon after the previous one, thus making it uncomfortable for both the guest and the waiter. I personally have to say that I was not a fan of the bench style seats that most of the 2 person tables utilised against a divider. Certainly they are too low and seat you at a significantly detrimental position to the table for both dining and conversation with your partner. Unfortunately the limited options on tables for two with two chairs meant having to wait long times for their availability. We had considered sharing a larger table but had quickly noticed that guest on tables for more than 2 had to wait until that table had filled before anyone took their orders. Having witnessed one couple waiting 20+ minutes for their table to fill we put up with the bench seats, which incidentally are extremely uncomfortable in a suit. Within a few days of eating in the restaurant we noticed a distinct variability in how quickly, or not, we were attended to. It soon became apparent that, policy or not, the staff were trying to synchronise the rows of two people tables so as to aim to serve certain courses at the same time to all tables and ultimately aim to have the tables finish at about the same time. Not only did this result in some evenings feeling rushed and on others being ignored and hence lengthy meals, it also meant that dishes were coming from the kitchen and sitting waiting for others to come out in what seemed to be a deliberate delay aimed at this synchronisation. Additionally staffing levels in the restaurants seemed to vary quite significantly with some evenings seeming deserted compared to others with the predictable outcome of poorer service levels. On the last formal night my wife and I were seated in the foyer area (another story) and being both dressed smartly but casual decided to see if we could go straight to an early dinner (17:45) rather than get changed into something more formal. The girl at the door point blankly refused suggesting that we should eat at the buffet if we did not want to dress formally and that normal dinner is not accessible otherwise. Dinner is arguably part of the package and to not be able to access it anywhere other than the restaurant which required formal dress on three evenings is unacceptable. Surely it should be that the normal dinner is accessible to guest in a separate area if they do not wish to dress formally? We did get changed and went back down to dinner only to be seated next to two couples, the gentleman both being dressed in slacks and casual shirts one of which was a broad check. Obviously it was quite annoying that the concept of formal dress was being applied in a haphazard way penalising some and allowing others. Dinner on the last evening was nothing short of a fiasco, we were shown to our table which had not been cleared and re-laid. Then it was partly laid and the waiters disappeared. After about 5 minutes I got up and appropriated two water glasses from another table which caught the eye of a supervisor across the room, he came and poured some water. Eventually we got a menu and managed to order. Of note was that we then had to chase to get some rolls on the table and then chase further for some butter. Our ordering caused considerable consternation from a couple two tables down who had been waiting some 20 minutes to have someone give them a menu with the lady having to get up and complain to one of the supervisors before someone attended them. The couple to my right had to refuse water 5 times each time someone would bring them glasses only to take them away when they stated they didn’t require water. They were also told that there was no white wine left which sounded absolutely preposterous but then the couple on my left confided that they hadn’t been given the red wine they ordered despite being reassured it was the same one they had been drinking all fortnight which, this not only was insulting to the couple’s intelligence but also was dishonest. The couple two tables down had to complain further when another couple got their dinner before them despite arriving in the restaurant some 30 minute later. Needless to say despite the large variance in our arrivals all 6 tables were served deserts and coffees at about the same time. On our ship days we ate in the buffet a few times, generally this was a most unsatisfactory experience. At any one time over the lunch period there only ever seemed to be one buffet section from the four available that seemed to be open. Typically lunch meant wandering around until you found a table that was unoccupied, in itself no mean achievement. If you wanted to keep your table you then had to leave something at your table while you got your lunch. Unfortunately if it was something impersonal such as a tray or drink then that did not serve to prevent other people from occupying that table when you were gone. If you had anything bulky that prevented you carrying a tray, such as my wife’s bag or my camera, then you were so far from the active buffet station that you felt that one of you had to stay to look after your valuables while the other went and got their lunch. Then very often you had to walk the length of two buffet areas to join a queue for food which inevitably involved significant jostling and pushing as too many people vied for too little space. Popular items were almost impossible to get to as people competed for that option. Once you had your food, which often took a not inconsiderable amount of time, you then had to walk it back to your table and then your partner could get their food. Invariably by the time you got your food back to the table it was cold as it was only ever lukewarm at the start and you rarely got the opportunity to eat together. If you wanted more or a desert then often while you were eating the buffet station closed and a new one opened so you had to then hunt the current open station before you could eat something else. On one occasion the buffet station closed between my wife getting her food and my subsequent attempt. Quite clearly there was an inadequate amount of facilities for the amount of people resulting in something far from a relaxed or enjoyable dining experience. It was something more akin to how you imagine a cheap package holiday buffet to be but with less seating. Breakfast was a similarly disappointing experience. The quality of some of the cooked breakfast items was poor, in particular the sausages and bacon while other cooked breakfast staples such as mushrooms and fried tomatoes seemed non-existent. In general the breakfast seemed to have been conceived on an American concept of an English breakfast rather than a universal approach. In the mornings most stations appeared to be open but seating was virtually inaccessible. On one occasion we had to sit outside in the rain (fortunately partly undercover) as this was the only place available. Another morning we had to sit outside again, which initially was quite pleasant until the maintenance staff decided to replace and varnish stair and balcony rails in the seating area at around 9:30 - 10:00 am. On a few occasions we had to go and hunt cutlery, condiments collecting what was needed on an ad-hoc basis which as you can imagine was far from enjoyable and resulted in the food becoming cold. Generally the boat felt very crowded and noisy, below decks seating was at a premium and the first few days we were often jostled out of the way by people trying to get to seats being vacated by other guests. Ultimately we learned to be more assertive but that is hardly something you want when you are on holiday. One day we went for a coffee and stood waiting for a table only to be informed by one gentleman that he had been waiting for nearly 30 minutes and there was a couple in front of him. Needless to say we gave up on the idea of a coffee that day. Invariably if you wanted to sit in the foyer area around the piano or coffee bar then there was a wait followed by a burst of running to snag a seat. Things were no better in Crooners or the wine bar. Often the problem was people just using the seats to sit and read or just relax. They could not be blamed for this as there was nowhere else for them to go to do this but it did block access to these facilities. The situation was not helped by selling opportunities organised for “the few”. On an already crowded ship it is reprehensible to close the Explorers Bar for half the day at a time just to sell a few paintings to a handful of individuals. If it had been just the one day it would still have been inexcusable but multiple days is just beyond belief and totally detrimental to the well-being and comfort of the other cruise guest. The overcrowding made itself apparent on a number of evenings. On one in particular we could not get a seat in the Wheelhouse bar nor could we find a seat in the Explorers bar or adjacent lobby area, the Foyer area around the piano was full as was Crooners and the Wine bar. Most evenings meant getting an early meal and then finding a seat before the scheduled diners came out and filled the seats. Because of the lack of seats it made it very difficult to access much of the entertainment. Moving from one area to the other often meant not getting a seat in your target venue when you got there and then finding you had lost your original seat. We tried staying put in one area but there were significant 45 minute plus breaks between much of the entertainment and invariably meant you had to sit through something you were not interested in before something you had waited for came on. We are early fifties and found much of the entertainment on board inappropriate for our age group. Bingo, Sudoku, knitting and sexy legs competitions are not really things that appeal and quite frankly suggest a lack of imagination. The abundance of quizzes in the various bar areas was also of note and clearly suggests a “what can we do cheap and for minimal staff and resource input” approach to the entertainment schedule. One person a microphone and some poor quality slides are far from quality entertainment. In general the day activities had more in common with 1960’s Butlin’s than a luxury cruise experience. Some entertainment was aimed at relaxation, the pianist, a trio and the guitarist but for the most part with all the people jostling for seats and the constant noise of people milling around, talking and using the coffee bar etc. it was like trying to relax at London Victoria station. At no time during the cruise did we get a sense of peace and quiet unless we were in our room. Part way through the cruise we discovered the Sanctuary, then we discovered it was $40 to go in. Clearly Princess are aware of the lack of a relaxing atmosphere on ship as you have spotted an opportunity to cash in on the one option that exist to get some peace and relaxation. Overall much of the entertainment was good but where it mattered, mainly in the theatre and some of the key acts, it was poor. The Gala show was dire, I would like to say that was just my opinion but the resounding lack of applause confirmed otherwise. It was a lacklustre and discontinuous parade of poor quality cameos none of which was well received. In particular the magic was badly executed and lacked imagination with clumsy presentation leaving the audience in no doubt how it was done. The magician stands out for being particularly bad both in the gala show and his separate stage performances. Before his show in the Explorers bar he approached members of the audience about whether they would be willing to partake, in itself commendable, unfortunately when people declined he seem to take it as an affront and was quite rude to them so as to belittle them and infer it was their problem not his as he was superior anyway. I recall his words when someone declined along the lines of “if you had let me finish what I was saying” which is quite curt and easily construed as rude. Generally his act was poor dropping props and messing up tricks, most of which are available in any toy shop these days. The female comedienne was excessively coarse and I am far from being prudish, her act had the air of a working man’s club and at time bordered on inappropriate, mocking of people with physical and mental issues implied or otherwise is inexcusable and not humour. Crudeness is not necessary to make a good comedy act as the male comedian proved being both funny and entertaining without unnecessary toilet humour. Nearly all the entertainment in the Princess Theatre was mediocre and of only 30 minutes duration the longest show being the Gala show which lasted the billed 53 minutes which given the poor quality was one show that would have benefited from being shorter, 53 minutes shorter. The Princess Theatre gave the clearest indication of just how overcrowded the boat was for the provided facilities and entertainments as on more than one occasion we spoke to people who had been waiting >50minutes to guarantee a seat for 30 minute show. During the gala show there were people standing in the aisles and down the sides of the theatre which talking to other guests was repeated for the second show. Yet more guests we spoke to hadn’t seen either show as they were unable to access the theatre due to the lack of space. In addition the layout of the ship and the theatre meant that at the end of each show one half of the theatre streamed out through the Wheelhouse bar. This meant that if you had been lucky enough to snag a seat to enjoy some quieter time with one of the acts you were regularly interrupted by hundreds of people traipsing through the bar all in loud animated conversation. On a few evenings we tried to watch the films shown on the large screen. Once again this proved to be a less that satisfactory experience. The first night we managed to get two loungers and settled down to watch a film. Unfortunately we had to get straight back up again as the loungers are the same ones used by bathers during the day and are still wet. Now having wet clothes we managed to acquire some towels and spread them over the wet loungers. This helped but as we discovered on subsequent evenings it doesn’t take too long for the wet to penetrate up to 4 layers of towels. The routine soon became watch film, change clothes. On one evening we were not served, due to lack of staff available in the screen pool area, for around 3 hours. This also meant that during this time no tables were cleared and plates and old glasses were left on the small tables by the loungers. As like below decks, during the day somewhere to sit/lay was at a premium. We did note that towards the end of the cruise they announced that any unattended loungers would be cleared after 15 minutes not 30 minutes as previous so this clearly wasn’t just a perceived problem. Above decks, where you sat greatly influenced the level of service you obtained. It was not the fault of the staff but clearly they were overwhelmed by request before they even got to the higher decks or to the further extremes. Scheduling of above deck entertainment was poorly thought out with a band or discotheque playing in one area and a film in the other. The net result for many of the positions around the pools was that neither was clearly discernible and just resulted in an irritating cacophony of noise. We did notice that the above decks areas seem little utilised later in the evenings something that obviously pushed people downstairs into the overcrowded lounge areas. On a number of occasions staff cleaned the windows while guest were using the deck areas resulting not only in inconvenience but large wet areas that had to be negotiated and water trickling through the floor from higher sun decks. My wife and I took advantage of all the shore excursions which were of great variability in terms of quality and organisation. We were often surprised at the poor quality of some of the coaches often having dirty seats and curtains, chipped and cracked screens, non-working air conditioning and externally rusty with large holes and corrosion. Being told that the coach has a toilet but that we shouldn't use it as it doesn't really work that well is not really how we expected a tour to start. St Petersburg was most enjoyable with a competent and knowledgeable tour guide. At times it did feel like the tour had been padded to make it last longer as we visited some places twice, once for a look and photo opportunity and then again later in the day to visit a place of interest at the same location. Places visited appeared to be expecting us and we were efficiently and courteously processed in and out of the various buildings. This was in complete contrast to some of the other tours. In Denmark we were not expected at Kronborg and had to stand around like lost children while various discussions and arguments entailed about who would be responsible for us. In Sweden the guide was most condescending, talking to the guest like they were small children and then at lunch again they were not expecting us so we had to mill around in the street while they readied the tables. Eventually they let one of the ladies in so she could use the facilities before finally allowing us all in. Once we sat down we were presented with water that was a mix of sparkling and still as they tried to rapidly fill the jugs from both taps at the same time as they clearly were not ready to receive guest. In Tallinn the guided tour primarily comprised the guide walking us somewhere before inviting us to have a look around and then moving to the next spot. They did take us to the square for coffee and pastries and on arrival the guide extolled the beauty of the square particularly in the sunshine before cramming us all in the basement of an adjacent café where even the waiting staff were getting cross about the lack of space. Poland was the worst experience, the guide had very poor command of English and given a coach full of English speakers was a bad start. He then wore a loudspeaker on his chest which was useless as he proceeded to walk in front of us all broadcasting to any oncoming strangers but not to the group. The visit then moved on to Malbork Castle where the guide informed us we would have a new guide, this did result in a slightly uncharitable cheer from the coach. When we arrived at the castle our guide disappeared and returned with the new guide before regrettably informing us she only spoke Polish. We stopped for an agreeable lunch marred mainly by how tightly packed we were into the hall. Many people had to try and eat with one hand as it was nigh impossible to eat with two given the tightness with which we were seated. When it came to dining on the tours a feature that marred all dining (and some visits) was the bringing together of all tour groups at the same time in the same place. Whilst this is understandable from a catering and logistics point of view, when it comes to rest-room facilities it became a nightmare. On one occasion only having 3 unisex cubicles for around 300 people who have just been eating and drinking suggest a distinct lack of thought to the process. Given this was a feature rather than an exception using the toilet where possible became a fixation of most people on the tours thus detracting from the experience of the visited site. Post tours the return to the ship was often greeted by the inevitable queue to get back on board. In itself not unexpected but not helped by the often bored and discourteous manner of some staff in particular the security staff. In one instance my wife’s passage was blocked by an arm thrust in front of her by one of the security team without a word being spoken or even the benefit of eye contact. When she was finally allowed to proceed it was indicated by the am being removed, a grunt and a wave of the head. At no time did the member of staff acknowledge her, speak to her or even make eye contact. This was hardly the warmest or friendliest welcome back to the boat after a long hot day. Whilst it is appreciated that security is important and there is a need to scan items a part of that process, it was disconcerting to have to scrabble inside the scanner for items that were too light to push aside the screening mats. Often there were no trays to put smaller items in so this became a necessity on more than one occasion while the security team watched impassively. Overall the experience was not a good one. Generally we were left with the impression that the boat was overcrowded. Staff seemed to become less enthusiastic as the cruise wore on, perhaps due to more people than usual? Non restaurant dining was also marred by too many people and too few places to eat. Breakfast was a crowded affair with nowhere to sit and a jostle to get your food. Restaurant dining was spoiled by tepid food, poor seating and an endeavour to synchronise tables. Entertainment was inadequate in frequency and content and all venues overcrowded. The cruise often felt like a poorly run “Costa” package holiday geared primarily to maximise profit at the expense of the guest comfort and well-being. Living on the south coast we are aware of a growing trend to cater for pensioners and a decline in standards associated with that approach to a level perceived by the purveyor as “what they can get away with” as many pensioners have lower expectations of service and quality, this cruise certainly had many of those hallmarks. Given the costs of the total package, the content and quality of the cruise fell way below expectations and represented extremely poor value for money. The excursions were also for the most part of questionable value for money and sometimes felt like you were being taken for a ride figuratively as well as literally. We did take this up with Princess on our return and received a curt reply along the lines of "couldn't care less what you think". Given the package, with everything, cost was not inconsiderable it shows the level of disrespect Princess and Carnival have for their guest. Hope this helps others thinking of cruising for the first time, we certainly will not do it again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our first Princess cruise which was chosen for the itinerary and price. We thought it would be a good value and chose an obstructed view ocean view cabin. The obstruction was not a problem. The cabin was quite small with an ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise which was chosen for the itinerary and price. We thought it would be a good value and chose an obstructed view ocean view cabin. The obstruction was not a problem. The cabin was quite small with an unacceptably small shower -- barely room to bathe or shampoo ones hair. The closet and storage space eas more than adequate. The location was near the theatre which must not have any noise deadening insulation as we heard all of the shows very loudly in our cabin. It was hard to get to sleep any earlier than 11:00 pm. Check in was quick and efficient, but the wait to board was disappointingly long. Final disembarkation was organized, efficient and fast. I can't say the same about embarkation after tours. Tired and standing in the rain some days for up to 30 minutes was not an acceptable way to handle your guests. Food, in general, was very disappointing. The main dining room evening selections were unappealing and exceedingly bland tasting. The buffet food seemed better, especially the Bavarian Buffet and the fabulous Seafood Buffet. Absolutely wonderful. We also ate in the steak house speciality restaurant. The food was terrific. We didn't take in most shows (as we could hear them in our cabin) but the Beatles Celebration and th Whitney Houston Tribute were very very enjoyable. I was very disappointed in the wait staff and cabin attendant. They generally never smiled or greater you in the hall. They didn't smile or seem happy to be there. One sterling exception to this was a wonderful young woman named Inna, who was from Ukraine. Her smile lit up the room and her friendliness and helpfulness were exceptional. She knew and described the menu so as to make your mouth water. She was knowledgable in the proper manners of serving the meal, something that seemed to elude most of the others. She is a very smart and capable young woman who is a credit to her employer and, in fact, should probably be training the others. What ever she does in life she will surely be successful. We never saw the Capt. Or any of the officers around the ship. On our past cruises we were always able to meet the officers and they would be very visible and approachable and in fact join you for coffee to ask how your cruise was going. This was a disappointment. I was surprised at the number of bars onboard and the lack of open public spaces. The shops were a disappointing selection when I had OBC to spend, but instead took most of it home with me rather than purchasing anything. The constant advertising announcements were annoying. As to the condition of the ship I felt like it was well maintained for an older ship. No problems there. As I said it was our first Princess cruise and most probably our last. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We are into double figures for cruising now and our first cruise with Princess. We were looking forward to this cruise as it was something different with new locations being covered. The cruise was booked on a last minute flash sale and is ... Read More
We are into double figures for cruising now and our first cruise with Princess. We were looking forward to this cruise as it was something different with new locations being covered. The cruise was booked on a last minute flash sale and is not our main cruise holiday for this year. Southampton check in was excellent as we had been given priority due to the level of cruises we have done with sister companies in the group,40 mins we were on ship . As this was last minute we had booked an inside which is what you expect ,cleanliness was good on inspection and the room steward as per usual introduced himself. Like with many American lines no kettle was provided so if you wanted a warm drink was either a walk to the café or room service ( not a main issue ) but be aware . We have been on Azura its sister ship and was surprised in how dated the ship felt ,very dark wood used giving a dated appearance, casino was large as per usual and generally a lack of places to get a drink on an evening ,only two actual bars outside of entertainment lounges internally. We were on freedom dinning so when we decided to venture for our meal the queue was into the main atrium so the first night we sampled the self service, which on first impressions we couldn't fault ,all displayed as expected. Again finding a table was an issue. The next day we returned to the dinning room and the only way to get a table for two was to take a buzzer irrespective of time you decided to go down ,generally we had a 45 minute wait ,on the two occasions we did this we wished we hadn't, the food and menus offered in the restaurant were the poorest we have sampled on any cruise ship, the waiters were not welcoming and table etiquette needs to be resolved , cool ,greasy food were the delights we had, on one occasion I asked for melon as an alternative to a starter and two pieces of just cut of the melon arrived with a mint leaf ,not fanned or nothing ( is this 5 star standard cuisine ?) In the daytime we could not fault the pizza & burger bar and likewise the self service which we used the most as was much better than the freedom dining. The room was at typical inside, nothing to fault although during our trip the steward didn't clean used glasses leaving them until he decided to change on an evening, the sink plug broke and dust was present on the internal fans, small details but princess claim to be 5 star . The biggest gripe I would say is the cost of the drinks and special dinning , we have sailed on many and this was the expensive of them all ,as all is in $ on board we brits pay an additional premium but to be lumbered with a no option 15% tip on all drinks making two glasses of wine circa $20 £18 is very expensive ,we didn't bother with any bottles as the started at $30 plus even for the cheapest . Lager was circa $6.50 ,cocktails were same price as wine but what we sampled were disappointing. The drinks package is $49 + 15% tip per day per person ,so the choice is yours !!! Entertainment was good in the day and plenty on an evening but not many places to just get a drink after a show etc, we spent more time in our room watching the in house movies ( all latest release) than drinking. This is not our normal chosen activity but a general guide of the ship layout . Our first stop was zeebrugger (Bruge visit) ,we booked a non princess excursion which means you have to meet them outside the port gates,( a bus is provided ),so remember this if you book an indepenndant. Copenhagen was next , would recommend this as plenty to see with various famous statues ,good shopping arcades and the Tivoli gardens all in walking distance but be prepared with good walking shoes, we did 8 miles that day . We had to abort Helinsbourg in Sweden due to bad weather so having an extra sea day to Oslo ,Norway. We got the hop on hop off bus which takes you around and shows you all the sights, royal palace, statue park and opera are all good stop offs. The area around the dock is all new so plenty to do . Disembarkation at at Southampton was good again , one of the best as we were off for 9.00am in the morning. Despite the good start, we felt very disappointed in what princess offered ,not the 5 star they advertise ( well below RC) and even below P & O on food and friendliness, lets say I wouldn't rush again to book with them again, even with flash sales. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My husband and I usually cruise on Holland America but the timing didn't work this year so based on the advise of our travel agent we elected to try Princess. We were assured that we would love the cruise and Princess would not ... Read More
My husband and I usually cruise on Holland America but the timing didn't work this year so based on the advise of our travel agent we elected to try Princess. We were assured that we would love the cruise and Princess would not disappoint us. Huge mistake! We reserved a window suite as we wanted the suite benefits. However, they were sadly lacking. Yes, we had the free laundry (which was returned within 2 days) but there wasn't a dedicated suite lounge like we enjoyed on Holland and not a real dedicated person to help us with reservations, etc. Our steward (yes, one!) was assigned 20 staterooms...10 on our floor and 10 on another. We rarely saw him and our room was never touched before 3pm every day. I do not fault him as he was trying to provide good service but clearly Princess needs to adjust their stateroom per steward ratio. The food in Sabatinni's was exceptional. The MDR and lido were poor. Our biggest issue was the lack of communication and coordination between the dining crew. We usually purchase a wine package but because we dined in the Crown Grill on the first night (free) it was not offered to us because it was only being sold in the Lido and MDR. The port disembarkations were usually slow which lead to our excursions leaving late and being cut a little short. So, we are going back to Holland where we know the process and level of service. The ports were nice. The Giants Causeway and Normandy beaches were the best! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
The destinations were great and the ship itself was fine......the staff on the other hand! Our cabin steward was told everyday that we needed 4 bath towels and he never the entire 12 days provided them, we went to get off the towels ... Read More
The destinations were great and the ship itself was fine......the staff on the other hand! Our cabin steward was told everyday that we needed 4 bath towels and he never the entire 12 days provided them, we went to get off the towels ourselves. The cabin was never dusted or vacuumed. We found what I can only hope was wine splattered across the ceiling which was only cleaned after we had a fit about it. I would go on this ship again, but only with the understanding it's a sleeping bed only, all the other amenities are way over priced. $25 a day to sit in the solarium? Really???? The dining room staff was amazing and the food was actually pretty good. Drinks are a bit on the expensive side. We did not participate in shore excursions because we could book them independently cheaper. I would like to do this itinerary again, but it will be on Disney Cruise Lines!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Plane from the states was canceled, Princess who booked our flight and sold us the insurance was no help in getting a new flight. Since the flight was through Princess when we called the airline for help they referred us to Princess. ... Read More
Plane from the states was canceled, Princess who booked our flight and sold us the insurance was no help in getting a new flight. Since the flight was through Princess when we called the airline for help they referred us to Princess. Princes said you are on your own it's not our plane? We would have been better off to have made our own travel plans as having booked through Princess just hindered the process of getting a new flight. Our family ended up on a different plane and they had to join the ship at the next port. All the time we were separated no one at Princess could provide any details of where the other person was nor would they provide any assistance in getting to the ship. The standard response was you are on your own but you can file a claim after the trip. Despite the lack of help from Princess a cruise around Great Britain is well worth the time and it was a great destination. At the fixed dining the food was great, not so much at the anytime dining. Our room steward was fantastic and the shows were well done. Since the last three trips with princess had had various issues I have decided to look elsewhere for the next cruise. When things go to plan Princess seems to have things figured out but when anything out of the ordinary happens every on the Princess staff seems clueless. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
The itinerary determined our cruise. The food was moderate to poor. One evening I ordered beef wellington and it was not eatable. The entertainment was good. The cruise was crowded. The service on the cruise was sad, the workers ... Read More
The itinerary determined our cruise. The food was moderate to poor. One evening I ordered beef wellington and it was not eatable. The entertainment was good. The cruise was crowded. The service on the cruise was sad, the workers obviously did not want to be there and were not ever cheerful. It was our last attempt at cruising. We left the ship every day for pre-planned (not ship related) tours and had a great time. Coming back was dreary. Advise, spend a little more on a more upscale cruise. Our room was a typical cruise room, small, cramped but adequate. The views of the Hebrides were amazing. Scotland, and Ireland are among the most scenic places on earth. THey are steeped in history that is relavant to today's world. London has great museums, nightlife and shopping. Travel, learn, enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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