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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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the price and cabin. Having sailed with Princess before and in a rear-facing cabin which we loved. The only thing that was not as expected was the restaurant. We normally opt for Any Time dining and usually ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the price and cabin. Having sailed with Princess before and in a rear-facing cabin which we loved. The only thing that was not as expected was the restaurant. We normally opt for Any Time dining and usually eat late 8.30pm and have not had much trouble getting a table for two, but on this cruise, everybody seemed to want to eat at that time and tables for two. The system when this happens is that you are given a pager and they call you when a table becomes available. This worked very well as the bar is adjacent to the restaurant and was handy for pre-dinner drinks. I think the longest we had to wait was 15 minutes, no time at all. The shows were a bit low on the quality side and having cruised with Princess many times we have noticed that the resident dancers seem to be doing less and less. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
All was so great! Wonderful way to see the world. Food was terrific, help and service on board second to none! Entertained all the time and except for the fact that every live production thinks that louder is better all was wonderful.The ... Read More
All was so great! Wonderful way to see the world. Food was terrific, help and service on board second to none! Entertained all the time and except for the fact that every live production thinks that louder is better all was wonderful.The staff was so accommodating with moving chairs so 6 in our party could sit together, at the lounge and next time we will have to get our egg just a little closer to the mark. I think the shore excursions were good only got stuck in one elevator while on our own and we thought about that later, because if we were on one of the Princess shore excursions help would have been there sooner and no one would know what happened to us if we had not got our elevator unstuck in time for sailing. Really fantastic trip though and we would love to go again and spend a little more time in each port. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate my mothers 80th birthday and because of the the Ports of call.The best part of this ship was the bed other than that the entertainment on board,food quality,friendliness of staff,and the organization of ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate my mothers 80th birthday and because of the the Ports of call.The best part of this ship was the bed other than that the entertainment on board,food quality,friendliness of staff,and the organization of disembarking the ship at ports of call was terrible.Our room at 7am ran out of hot water to have a shower so did everyone on our deck and the cabin attendant response to us was we didn't know how to use the shower.This was day 3 of the Cruise. In the dining room the menu was very limited but if you wanted to pay a additional $20 you could get a steak etc.The wine list was way over priced and nothing we would pay over $40 a bottle for. They also forgot my mothers Birthday and apologized they got to busy but would do the next day.We told them not to bother we will do it somewhere else.The buffet was like going to a upscale cafeteria very bland food and no imagination and the worst tasting coffee ever, glad I paid extra for the coffee card.Disembarking by tender to Guernsey took 2 hours and another 1 hour to get back to the ship.Shore excursions where almost double what I paid for the same thing and in Dublin,Belfast and Le Havre if you wanted to just go to town and wonder around you had to pay from $16 to $20 per person for a shuttle to leave the port.There is a free shuttle in Dublin but they didn't tell you that we found out by asking the taxi driver we hired that was cheaper than the shuttle.We have been on many cruises and this Princess cruise has put us off cruises for awhile.Even at the end of the cruise after paying to have them take to Heathrow to go home there was no staff around to assist us to finding our coach to take us to the airport.Our Group of 7 with another 10 plus guests eventually found our ride to the airport no thanks to the Crown Princess staff.If you like boring entertainment,activities,bad service,overpriced excursions and being nickled and dimed then this is the ship for you. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my 4th Princess cruise and may be my last. The cruise started in Southampton England. It just came from transitioning over from Fort Lauderdale and a good number of guests stayed on board for the second part of the cruise. The ... Read More
This was my 4th Princess cruise and may be my last. The cruise started in Southampton England. It just came from transitioning over from Fort Lauderdale and a good number of guests stayed on board for the second part of the cruise. The ship holds approximately 3,000 guests. Day 1. Upon arrival, our room was available enabling us immediate access. The room looked like it hadn't been thoroughly cleaned for a while. There was dust on the tables, headboards and lamp bases. The rug was stained and needed a good vacuuming, it probably should be replaced. The bed was made but not to the standard we experienced on prior Princess cruises. There was no ice in ice bucket, and when our steward finally filled it after asking him to do so. He never checked it again to see if it needed to be refilled. Day 3. We decided to eat breakfast in the main dining room vs the buffet. Being a party of 6 it was difficult finding a place to eat in the buffet. People would just sit there after they finished eating, taking up space for other guests to eat. The service in the main dining room was horrendous. We never experienced such a disorganized crew. It took approximately 30 minutes to get juice and coffee. When the food finally came, it was cold, and bagel I ordered was as hard as a rock. I didn’t have the time to wait to send it back since I was going on an excursion. The ship’s procedure for returning passports they had retrieved from us when first checked in, definitely needs to be reviewed and fixed. We were first told our passports would be delivered to our room. It turned out, some were delivered to their rooms and others were not. Some people were told their passports were missing when they were at the customer service desk. Some passengers were told their passports were lost, upsetting many passengers. We never received our passports so we had to go to customer service waiting in long lines to retrieve them. Another couple we sailed with said their steward knocked on their door and said he only had one passport. He said they lost the other passport. He told them to go to the customer service to see about the missing passport. The first time they went to customer service they were told their passport would be delivered to their room later in day. After waiting a half a day for their passport, they went back to customer service again and were told their passports were at the Irish Immigration terminal and would arrive the next day. They were so upset. They went back again and customer service asked if they changed rooms. On their fourth visit to customer service, the staff member finally went in back and returned with their missing passports. All they did was make up stories to try to appease the situation. They tried to dismiss my friends saying they didn’t need the passports anyway. This is totally unacceptable. My excursion in Ireland that day started off good. Then during a stop at Trinity College, the tour guide sped to the entrance leaving behind half the guests on the coach. It was impossible trying to find her, she just disappeared. We never found her until we re-boarded the bus to return to the ship. We were pretty much on our own, which was upsetting since we paid for a guided tour which we never received. Upon returning to the ship after the excursion, the line to get back on the ship was about 600 people deep. The crew kept reversing the lines, people were bumping into each other, and they actually stopped the entry onto the ship for no apparent reason. The entire crew was disorganized and need to be retrained on how to deal with crowd control. In the past Princess never charged for hot chocolate at the buffet. This was the first time we had to pay for hot chocolate while on the cruise. I cannot drink coffee or tea so I was upset to discover this new charge. Also, if you want a coffee or tea at the International Cafe, Princess now charges their guest, where in the past they did not. This is absurd. They appear to be looking for new ways to rip off the consumer. Day 9. My excursion today was in Edinburgh. The excursion was delayed by 1/2 hour due to the disorganization of the staff. Day 10. As the cruise continued, staff had finally worked out some of the kinks with the shore excursion and the food selection had improved. By the end of the cruise it appeared everyone on the cruise was either sick or getting sick. I myself got sick on the last day of the cruise. Since the cruise transitioned from Fort Lauderdale, and there were still approximately 1,200 guests on-board, I do not think staff had adequate time to fully sanitize the ship. Additionally, guests were getting off and on at different ports along the cruise. Plus waiting in long lines at the ports in the cold did not help the situation. Our room steward did not properly put our disembarkation tags where we could find them. When we finally did, we noticed they were not for the time was asked customer service to exit the ship. We had to go back to customer service again to get the correct tags for disembarkation. Day 11. We took an excursion to Paris which was definitely not long enough; three hours each way on the bus, leaving only four hours to see Paris. It would have been great while in ports such as Paris and Edinburgh they had overnight stays. Plus they should offer face masks to their guests for the bus ride to avoid getting sick. Day 12. The night before the end of the cruise, we noticed the tag was missing off the water they offered for sale, that we never used. When we looked at our bill we noticed a charge for the water. We asked our steward about the charge and he said the bottle was opened which was an outright lie. We went to customer service and they reversed the charge. Seriously, it’s going to take a lot for me to cruise again on Princess. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Whilst we've had good experiences on former Princess cruises, we've never been on a Crown-class ship. We selected the cruise entirely for the itinerary & we loved all the ports visited but I'm afraid we were rather ... Read More
Whilst we've had good experiences on former Princess cruises, we've never been on a Crown-class ship. We selected the cruise entirely for the itinerary & we loved all the ports visited but I'm afraid we were rather disappointed with the ship & its services (except for the dining rooms that had great waiters as always). 1. The first day tendering was horrendous, waited more than 2 hours to get on a tender boat cutting our time on shore & we didn't get to see much. But what made it worse was the constant blaming on others by the Crown staff - "we don't operate the tender boat; we have no say etc etc" Then in the evening the cruise director said "at 6 am there were no one & what can we do when 2000 people showed up all at once at 9 ? Hope you know what to do on our next tender port " Although she said it half jokingly but it left a really sour note with us !! Wouldn't they had anticipated it ? Couldn't they at least made passengers feel better by talking to us nicely ? 2. The cabin rooms: showing aging signs everywhere. Wood stains on the balcony were chipped & faded; shower curtain stained & smelly; no luggage mat to pack or unpack. 3. Went on 1 ship's excursion only & again the organization was terrible. We were told to wait at one area but it really was another. We were herded around & we paid almost $200 each for the experience! Its such poor management & unfriendly customer handling, you would think they had never done excursions before! 4. Entertainment was so-so except for the great final performance by the ship's ensemble. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
At the completion of this cruise my wife and myself have taken 4 cruises with 2 cruise lines and have 26 nights at sea with Princess. The on board part of the cruise were very good but all performance with respect to excursions and ... Read More
At the completion of this cruise my wife and myself have taken 4 cruises with 2 cruise lines and have 26 nights at sea with Princess. The on board part of the cruise were very good but all performance with respect to excursions and departing the ship in part ranged from average to totally unacceptable. With respect to our shore excursions that were 100% purchased thru Princess we found the excursions were misrepresented by the description. The worst was the GCI210A German Military Occupation in Guernsey. The German Military Hospital was a series of empty tunnels that were equivalent to walking thru a sewer system. The other stop was a small museum. This excursion cost $140.00 per person. When I talked to the excursion staff on board the Crown Princess and Princess Cruises I was blown off. Most of the other excursions did not allow sufficient time at a location to see the points of interest. When at Blarney Castle the line to get to the Blarney Stone was longer than the total time on site. Forget seeing the gardens or Woolen Mill. We also had our all day tour of Dublin cancelled while on the cruise. This really opened my eyes as we did Dublin on our own and saw more that an expensive all day excursion would have offered. Getting off the ship in port was so very poor. We meet several people at dinner that missed 3rd party all day excursions to Paris because they could not get off the ship. Based on my experiences and the being treating very poorly by Princess Cruises personnel we no longer view Princess Cruises as our preferred cruise supplier.We will only use them on an exception basis. If we book a future Princess Cruise we will not book any excursion thru Princess Cruises. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose the British Isles! Great ports, short on time, but we did so much I don't know where they would have found more time. Overall experience was great. All of the ports were fun and had loads of things to do. Perhaps one ... Read More
We chose the British Isles! Great ports, short on time, but we did so much I don't know where they would have found more time. Overall experience was great. All of the ports were fun and had loads of things to do. Perhaps one change would be stay one day in Doublin and two days in Edinburgh! We chose outside tours and were thrilled with them. Saved a considerable amount of money on them, too. The tours are smaller, personalized and just more fun than those offered by Princess. We had big problems with the assistance at the Front Service Desk. A JOKE! Fortunately everything went pretty smoothly, but the one hiccup was a major deal. Unfortunately, the Service Desk agents gave a different answer for the same question. Even asking to speak with the manager didn't get much help. Promised to call back and never did. Unacceptable. Apparently getting off the ship for a few days is something no one has ever done before (hah)! Our friends got approval from Princess before making reservations. The Crown Princess did everything to make this a terrible expereince for them. On the departure date they were told to go to immigration at 6:40am. They did. They were sent to three different places and no one was there. Nice way to end the cruise. The dinners were fine. Quality a little less than it used to be. We had an outstanding waiter at dinner who made the entire trip worthwhile. Hermanie was excellent! We never saw the Captain (except at the Platinum and Above Cocktail Awards event). Saw very few of the 'suits' walking around. Usually they are a lot more present than that. The Crown Princess is getting worn. It needs updating. The public bathrooms were terrible, tile falling off the wall, etc. Carpeting in the buffet was worn out. It has always been such a beautiful ship it's a shame to see it in such a state of disrepair. But the beauty of the British Isles is worth the trip. Such a lovely area to enjoy. The peace, beauty and history are worth the trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The only thing I would change would be to tell Princess that when they travel to Europe in April and May they choose a ship with a retractable roof so people can enjoy the beautiful swimming pools and hot tubs. They should also have a non ... Read More
The only thing I would change would be to tell Princess that when they travel to Europe in April and May they choose a ship with a retractable roof so people can enjoy the beautiful swimming pools and hot tubs. They should also have a non alcoholic option for their gifts and prizes not everyone consumes alcohol. We loved the food but found there were too many seafood options and too much spinach done in variety of ways. The food in the Horizon restaurant was fabulous great variety. Another area they need to improve on is the shore excursions and how they handled the groups getting off the ship. We stood everyday in ridiculous lines to have a sticker with a number slapped on our person. They didn’t have enough people working that process. They should have the groups gather in an area and as a group is called they exit through a door where someone is waiting to provide them with a number sticker. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Enjoyed a pre-cruise day in London sightseeing. Independent transportation to the pier via Stonehenge. Great couple days. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Luggage arrived in cabin in less than 30 mins after boarding. ... Read More
Enjoyed a pre-cruise day in London sightseeing. Independent transportation to the pier via Stonehenge. Great couple days. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Luggage arrived in cabin in less than 30 mins after boarding. First time our cabin steward didn't make it a point to come and introduce himself to us. He did an adequate job. I had balcony cabin B701. Good location. I have sailed on Crown many times and prefer the Baja deck. Had 7:15 traditional dining in MDR. Since this was a port intensive cruise we were not able to dine there every night. Menu was fine. Same entrees as always with the exclusion of escargot. Enjoyed the Crown Grill one evening. It was delicious as always but price continues to go up. Enjoyed the buffet each morning. Selection was good. Disappointed the fitness center didn't allow passengers to use the treadmills until 8 am although I did understand. Difficult to use with early ports almost everyday. Love MUTS but too cold on this cruise to enjoy. However, I did ask for movie popcorn every night! You had to go hunt for it but I was able to get some. Ports were wonderful!!! My biggest surprise was the chaos getting on and off the ship at almost every port. Long queues, people upset, trouble getting gangways up, steep gangways, passengers getting on and off with luggage, etc. It was really a pain. I understand delays when it is a tender port but simply walking off should never be an issue. Overall great cruise. I would highly recommend. The layout and the size of the Crown works well for me. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
“Winter with Leaves” A May Cruise around the British Isles “Call me Ismael” - Herman Melville; we wander when we can as there is so much world, and so little time. This time, for our May 1st cruise, we packed for cool/cold ... Read More
“Winter with Leaves” A May Cruise around the British Isles “Call me Ismael” - Herman Melville; we wander when we can as there is so much world, and so little time. This time, for our May 1st cruise, we packed for cool/cold weather and guessed correctly, as the temps never got above the mid-40s to low 50. We, Gene & Susan, left Houston Hobby, with a slight delay, (they had to reboot the plane?) April 29th to DFW, and on to an over-night flight to London Heathrow, landing about midday the 30th. Heathrow to Soho at the “Sticky Wicket” We decided to cut to the chase, jet lag being what it is, and had booked Heathrow Taxis (good value) down to the Hilton at Ageas Stadium, getting there early afternoon. The hotel is actually built into a Cricket Stadium surrounded by a Golf course. If you don’t know the game of Cricket, I wouldn’t encourage you to explore it too closely, and just assume that it resembles a cross between baseball and croquet!! We did get to watch a Cricket practice out our room window with bowling to the batsman on a Cricket pitch and wickets of course. “And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” John Masefield We taxied to the Crown Princess, May 1st (about 5 miles), arriving around noon, and had a very quick and easy embarkation with priority boarding. One of the main dining rooms was open where we had a leisurely lunch, avoiding the frantic crowds at the Lido. Our cabin, a balcony on Caribe deck, was ready and we relaxed until Muster Drill. I had hosted a Cruise Critic roll call, so we followed Muster with a Sail Away Party in the Wheelhouse Lounge, as outside was a bit chill. It was well attended, as a number of CC people were there and introduced themselves. Guernsey Where getting there is half the fun!! Guernsey is a tender port so all the ship tenders were used. They loaded the usual 75 or so on tender 21 and set out for shore. Sadly, it’s steering was broke that day and it water bugged us in circles and didoes all over the ocean. It finally got back to the ship, loaded three mechanics and set out again, with the same outcome, more circles and didoes. By this time passengers were turning green from ocean motion, and were considering holding a Muster Drill. They finally wallowed back to the ship and off loaded us on to another tender which worked. Some of the people in the lines behind us missed their tour due to the delay as it caused delays to the whole process. Guernsey = Blue Bell ice cream The original Texas Blue Bell was made using only milk from the Guernsey cow. The Guernsey and the Jersey, on the next isle over, have the highest butterfat content of all the dairy cattle (took Ag in HS). There are few cattle left on the island, as it’s about 90% developed, and is considered an off-shore banking and financial center much like the Caymans. Immigration is limited to those who can prove that they have a job when they arrive, or enough money to sustain them. We joined about 6 others on an island tour with “1st call Taxies” that circled the island. Those who read or watched “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” might be somewhat disappointed at the island’s modern development as there is little wild sea coast left. There are still a number of German observation posts and gun emplacements, however. Besides driving around the island, our guide took us into a 4,000-year-old barrow from ancient people on the island and a unique chapel built of cut glass. We had an excellent lunch at a local pub, fish and chips with panko bread crumbs, picked up some wine for the cabin, and it was time to get back to the ship, but not on tender 21 I’ll tell you! Cobh/Cork Our goal today was Blarney Castle and the Irish countryside with Ecoach (Butler tours). We wound our way through Cobh & Cork out to Blarney Castle, which almost resembles a theme park as you arrive at a woolen mill which advertises the most Irish souvenirs in Ireland. Also, there were a couple of Pub/restaurants, and ticket purchase (we had skip the line) with public rest rooms. You next stroll through forest gardens and streams to the castle, and it is beautiful; set on a hilltop surrounded by battlements and some discreetly hidden gift shops. Since there was a long line to kiss the Blarney Stone, I asked the wife if I needed to get in it. She replied that the Stone ought to be kissing me?? We roamed for about an hour with the wife taking pictures and then back to the visitor’s center where I enjoyed a pint of Irelands best while the wife visited the woolen mill. My son says that drinking Guinness is like eating a loaf of bread, and he might be right. We explored the Irish Countryside, had a pub lunch in a historic port town, picked up some wine for the cabin and returned to the ship about 5. Dublin We ported two days in Dublin which is about right, as will be explained. The ship didn’t dock until 11 AM but there was no rush as we planned a leisurely day riding the HoHos and had an evening event. We taxied into the city to the Hop-On Hop-Off office where we purchased tickets and also “jump the line” entrance to the Guinness brewery. Dublin is a city of young people. It was a Saturday, and young families were everywhere pushing babies in strollers and doing what they needed to do. Our first stop was Dublin Castle where the wife got some shots of the building as it is now used as Govt. offices. The next “God help me” was Guinness!! In retrospect, you should find a local pub have a pint and salute Guinness at a distance. The Guinness Store House is a 7-story exhibit with stairs, little A/C, and 1,000 of your closest friends!! It is a very nice history of the Stout with grains and a water fall, the brewing process, and a free pint at the end. When we reached the top of the tallest building in Dublin (I could have used a Sherpa), the wife took pictures when she could get near a window, as a Fire Marshall would have a coronary with the crowds in that building. They were mostly young Irish who must consider it a pilgrimage or some such, children and all. When we finally fought our way out of the building it was getting late afternoon so we hopped the HoHo, so to speak, and got off near our evening adventure, Irish Nights at the Belvidere Hotel. It was wonderful with Irish folk music and step dancing, a good dinner and wine by the glass with cruise friends. Dublin Day II “I don’t think my heart can stand another ewe!!” Sheep Herders lament Do you ever tire of cities?? Same ole public buildings, cathedrals, and museums?? We have, so it was time to see the country side, the Emerald Isle, and it didn’t disappoint. This time with two other cruise friends Susan and I taxied into Paddywagon Tours for a trip out to Kilkenny and the Wicklow Mountains. It was a wonderful day with emerald green pastures full of sheep with Grose hedges. Our first stop was Glendough, the ruins of a monastery from the 1100s. It was wonderful to walk and see it in the crisp cold air. You could spend a day here hiking as there were three lakes in the glen and numerous trails. There were also very good facilities (hotel etc) as well. Off to Kilkenny, or almost, as our bus blew a tire. But, no problem, there was a 2nd behind us on the same route with 30 empty seats. Cruise passengers had priority. The first bus limped into Dublin about two hours later than ours. Kilkenny was the ancient capital and featured quite a nice castle, a lunch at a good restaurant, and two bottles of wine for the cabin. It was close to 2 hours back to the ship, but it was a beautiful day in the country. Belfast Northern Ireland This one was a bit difficult; less than 5 miles from Belfast our 14-passenger bus, a Mercedes, blew an engine. But once again no problem as they had a replacement there shortly, and it was on to the Giant’s Causeway, a unique headland of Columnar Basalts that cooled into hexagonal crystals. We saw the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge and had a good pub lunch before returning to Belfast. We completed the tour with a visit to the Titanic dry dock, interesting, but a barn where the cows are gone, then back to the ship after 7 in the evening. Greenock/Glasgow It was a rainy morning with a grey mist falling over Greenock on the Firth of Clyde, the port for Glasgow, as we set out with Discover Scotland tours on another wonderful adventure. The first stop, the rain was very slight, was at Loch Lomond, a beautiful lake where we walked a village and down to a dock to the calm waters and the silence of nature. Have you ever wondered about the term “Skyfall” the title from a Bond film? It means that when the waters are so calm that they mirror the sky above and this we found reflected in the Loch. This was a good start, as our next destination was Stirling Castle, one of the most famous in Scotland and most visited, where we rejoined tourism as we know it. Susan bravely shot the castle with her camera as there were heights and voids that were out of her comfort zone. We then visited the village of Callander where we lunched in a “Tea Room” favored by the locals, small, with shared Formica tables. I had a steak and haggis pie served in a pastry, as this was also a bakery for scones. Haggis, dear reader, is when you stuff a sheep’s stomach with mutton and oatmeal, and boil it until it turns to mush. The steak and gravy in the pie, (remember Marie Callender?), provided the flavor. We picked up some wine for the cabin while there, and set out for Glasgow. It is the third largest city in the UK but we didn’t spend much time there as we were due to get back to the ship. Invergordon/Inverness My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here, My heart’s in the Highlands a chasing the deer, Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe, My heart’s in the Highlands where ever I go. -Robert Burns- In Invergordon, on the Firth of Cromarty, we were picked up by Highland tours at the ship for a trip through the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Our first stop shortly after viewing the ruins of Urquhart Castle was Loch Ness where my wife wanted me to dabble my fingers in the water to tell her how cold it was while taking pictures. (She gets double indemnity if I’m eaten by a Sea Monster!!) The Highlands are beautiful but still in their winter colors of brown heather and pale brown grasses on all the hills and mountains, some of which are snow capped in the distance. The Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most photographed in Scotland, was our next stop on a crisp cold day in a land where they see the Northern Lights. While winding through the glens of Scotland, we turned into a road that said Single Trac, you guessed it, a one lane road going to the ferry on the Isle of Skye. There was some backing and pulling over in a dance with on coming traffic, not that there was much. Here I should perhaps mention that the highways of Ireland and Scotland are not wide, as most two-lanes don’t have room for a stripe in the middle. But they get you there with the occasional four-lane to take you back to a city. Scotland’s are marginally better. The ferry to the Isle of Skye is the last “Turn Table” ferry in the world. It is a motorized barge with a parking platform on top which rotates to turn the cars in the opposite direction from which they boarded, in order to offload. It is only a short distance to the Isle itself. We drove through the hills of Skye to a small village for a pub lunch (sound familiar); it was actually more of a café with an order line and shared tables. Following lunch, we saw a little more of the Isle and returned to the mainland via a modern bridge and eventually back to the ship. Our First Sea Day Thank you, Jesus, as we’re running on empty and need the rest. Rest did come with responsibility, however, as it is time for our Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle. I had sent invitations once we were on board, and had rented a mic for the event. The ship provided Skywalkers and a cash bar. It went well with probably 60 in attendance. The officers introduced themselves and spoke about their area of responsibility. We finished with the attendees getting to say who they were, where they were from and what was their favorite port. A good time was had by all. The rest was a sea day as we try to avoid the Lido for meals, and we don't do the shows, but some wine and dancing in the evenings. Edinburgh We awoke anchored off South Queensferry on the Firth of Forth, the port for Edinburgh. Our tour for the day was with Go Scotland but first we had to tender ashore. Oh My God, they were shoving us on to Tender 21, but surely, they had got it fixed. Oh no they didn’t, as the pilot used the two engines to steer and we wallowed like a sick hog under a famous railroad bridge which was trying not to get hit, and finally to shore. In every case, we were met promptly by our tour guide, and today was no exception. We begin by driving out in the country to Roslyn Chapel founded in 1446. This is beautiful with gothic design and elaborate stone carving throughout. The Knights Templar came here to fight alongside the Scots. It is said that they buried both the Arc of the Covenant and the Holly Grail under this chapel. While you are down there, you might find Jimmy Hoffa and Amelia Erhard as well!! Traveling through Edinburgh on the way to the castle, we saw many famous sites as Trinity College one of the world’s oldest. Why did they always stick castles on hill tops? Yeah, yeah, I know, as they didn’t trust their neighbors and probably had some pretty good reasons not to. We trudged up the hill from our small bus, and quite a hill it was, where we had jump-the-line tickets as there were 1,000 of our closest friends taking selfies and trying not to fall off the battlements!! The castle is still an active military base and fires a 1 O’clock gun, much to the consternation of the pigeons, and the benefit of the hundreds of tourists gathered to watch it. A fine time was had by all as Susan shutter bugged the edifice and we moved down hill (thank God) to where the tour group met for an hour and forty-five-minute walking tour. Something my walking ability told me not to do, as I got a new hip last Fall. So, I bought two bottles of wine for the cabin, and retired to a convenient pub/restaurant for lunch and relaxation. Those of you of the culinary nature would enjoy exploring “Toad in the Hole”, a shell of Yorkshire pudding layered with mashed potatoes, with three “bangers” pork & Haggis sausages, topped with caramelized onions and a brown gravy!! It was a hearty dish although hardly heart healthy, and in the States, subject to a Surgeon General’s warning!! Susan joined the walking tour, taking in historically significant sites as well as the Greyfriars Bobby statue, a haunted cemetery and Harry Potter points of interest. We regrouped, boarded the bus and circled Arthur’s Seat, a small mountain that hung over the city. We stopped by Holyrood Palace where Elizabeth stays when in Edinburgh, before returning to the tender port. As luck would have it, a commercial tender seating more than a hundred was a comfortable ride back to the ship. I did keep a wary eye out for “Sea Cow 21” as I had vowed to sacrifice my place in line, and it was long, if offered another ride with her. The Second Sea Day I really don’t recall much about this day as there was no agenda and no pressing need to have anything but three meals in the MDR as for once on a cruise, we never visited the Lido. We did attend the Capt.’s party as it was the last formal night, and did book a future cruise at a discount while on board as we are thinking a Northern Alaska visit with seeing Denali this next time with perhaps a night in a Princess lodge. Le Havre France Paris and Normandy are the two attractions here but, as I’m a Marine from a Marine family, Normandy wasn’t our war. We declined seeing Paris about 300 miles away as I felt that the French needed no help turning over cars and setting them on fire. We opted to visit a local mall, Docks Vauban, where Susan did her last gift shopping and we enjoyed a three-star grill where the French did what they do best, cook!! The Longest Day We had opted for a Princess transfer from SOHO as we had an early 12:15 flight. No one wants you off the ship more than the cruise line, so we met to disembark @ 6:30. As the traffic was interesting, we made Heathrow by around 9. After check in and airport security, I can confirm they are even more intense than our own, as I lost a can of shave gel. We had a leisurely brunch and boarded for our 91/2 hr flight to DFW, which arrived on time. After the ordeal of Customs and Security all that was left was the short hop to Houston, right? They loaded us on the small plane on time and then sat there in a sweat box for close to an hour waiting for them to get more fuel that they might run the air conditioners among other delays. Even with that amount of time my luggage missed the flight and was delivered the next day. Thus, from the ship’s cabin to home made about 21 hrs of travel. I’ve mentioned a few mechanical problems that occurred on this vacation, and have visited with God about them from time to time, but none posed a serious threat to us or our travels so let the cow chips fall where they may as it was a wonderful cruise. We hope that this has been informative and helpful for those of you traveling to this part of the world and until I write again. May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind at yer back not be yer own. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Gene & Susan Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We selected this trip to the British Isles because the itinerary looked great and the price was a good deal. We were accompanied by another couple we've cruised with many times. The embarkation went smoothly when we arrived at the ... Read More
We selected this trip to the British Isles because the itinerary looked great and the price was a good deal. We were accompanied by another couple we've cruised with many times. The embarkation went smoothly when we arrived at the port. A porter was there4 immediately to take care of our luggage so we were all set to go check in. There was no waiting line. The check-in staff was friendly and efficient. We were onboard in less than 20 minutes and able to go directly to our cabin! From the time we arrived at the port to sitting down for some lunch took 30 minutes! Impressive!! The ship is showing a bit of age, with some dings and dents along corridors, but overall is still a nice ship. The itinerary for this cruise was very port intensive and although we enjoyed all the ports and excursions we did, it was not a relaxing trip, so just be prepared for a busy trip if you intend to partake of all the many places to be seen on this trip. Many of the city centers are located a distance from the port, necessitating some type of transportation to get from the ship port to town to see or do anything. Princess did not advise us prior to the cruise that they provide a bus from the pier to city in Dublin, as well as 2 other ports. Once aboard for a couple of days, we received a flyer in our cabin, with prices of $8 each way, $16 round trip from city center and back to port. They will also provide a free bus to the port gate in Dublin, just because it is a working commercial port and the authorities do not allow guests to walk around in the port area for safety reasons. However, the free ride to the port gate then requires you to get some type of transportation to the city, so might as well sign up for an excursion or taxi to get you into town. It's quite a walk to get into the city center to see most things that guests go to Dublin to see. The ports were all wonderful and each held it's own excitement of different things to experience. Had the BEST fish and chips at a bar/restaurant across the street from Christ Church in Dublin. There was another famous...very recommended fish and chips place but it was carryout only and after walking for miles that day, we had to have a place to sit down and the bar across the street from Christ Church was perfect! I tried fish and chips in 3 other places during the trip and none compared to this place. My receipt doesn't have the name of the bar, just address 19 Fishamble Street, Christchurch, Dublin. The portion was large enough that we split just 1 order and it was plenty!! We had purchased the London Pass since our flight arrived at 5 Am and we planned on taking all that day and the next morning to see London before heading to Southampton to spend the night before boarding the ship on May 1. There are many things included in the London Pass, but I'm not sure we got our money's worth because did not use the Hop on Hop off bus to get around because they were too slow to come back around. Taxied to several places but still were just not able to see many places we had in our Passbook. We did enjoy the Churchill War rooms, which were included in the London Pass....very interesting and insightful visit. Took a 90-minute coach tour around the island of Guernsey...only 10 pounds each and was a great way to see the island without walking and still had a bit of time to see some of the port area after we returned. The residents there were so lovely and friendly! Did the typical tourist things in Dublin...Christ Church, Dublin Castle, Trinity College (the books of Kell and library close right at 5 so unable to get in to see them) Guinness Storehouse. Unless you are a fan of beer/ale, I found the $25 Euro to tour Guinness very steep to tour a distillery. They do provide you with 3 nice sized samples at the end of the tour, but since neither my husband or I drink beer, it was a bit pricey for us.....went because our other couple wanted to tour it. Went to a great dinner and celtic dancing and music at Belvedere hotel 44 Euros per person. Excellent show and we enjoyed it immensely, but heard from others on the cruise that there are many pubs that have free music and dancing, pub crawls with music and dancing, so that could be a different option for those that enjoy beer. Our final tour was from LeHavre to Normandy D Day beaches and sites. Excellent tour with 8 guests and a driver. He was very informative and animated during the tour....owner and operator of Spearhead tours. Disembarkation was bit slower than embarkation as they had passengers winding around various areas and took quite some time. Once off the ship though, claiming luggage was fairly easy....self service carts for no charge. There were porters, but they did not seem interested in helping passengers get luggage...unlike in the US! Had a private taxi back to Heathrow, 1.5 hours of relaxation. I believe the transfer for Princess is $69 per person for the bus. We paid 119 pounds for all 4 of us. It was a wonderful trip and I would highly recommend the ship and the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I have sailed on many ships over the last few years P&O, Cunard, Royal carribean and Fred Oslen but Sapphire Princess April 27th 2019 was my first cruise with Princess and the first time I've felt the need to write a ... Read More
I have sailed on many ships over the last few years P&O, Cunard, Royal carribean and Fred Oslen but Sapphire Princess April 27th 2019 was my first cruise with Princess and the first time I've felt the need to write a review. Bad weather initially delayed our departure from Southampton and resulted in the cancelation of our first port of call which is no fault of the ship but it marked the begging of a cruise plagued with problems. Our Inside room was suffocatingly stuffy even with the aircoditioning at full blast to a point that after 30 minutes inside we began to feel like we couldn't breath and there was not enough oxygen in the room. This it seems was a problem also suffered by others who had to frequently spend the entire night sleeping in the conservatory section of The upper deck with bedding and pillows. After complaints were made to the front desk an engineer visited the cabin and fully opend the air-conditioning vent that had been closed to less than 30%. But this revealed the reason the vent had been closed in the first place, Water was now running down the walls from a crack at the top. Leaks were not isolated to our own cabin however, throughout the cruise leaks began to appeare in the main corridor between the plaza and Club Fusion and also in the Buffet. We were forced to stay in our cabin with water running down the wall for 3 nights before another passenger disembarked the ship for personal reasons and we were finally allowed to move. On a number of occasions throughout the week unhappy passengers could bee seen transferring luggage from one cabbin to another and I found towards the end of the cruise other passengers had been moved Into the leakey room after we had gone. The ship is relatively old and its really beginning to show, the jacuzzi's looked inviting until seen from decks above where the discoloured grime made them look more like over heated fishponds. Overall the food onboard was between good and avarage but far from excilent. The worst part of dining aboard was eating from Plastic Plates, and drinking from Plastic beakers for juice and water, and even plastic cups for tea and Coffee! The 2 wash basins at the entrance to either side of the Buffet were really inadequate for the numbers of passengers and always resulted in long lines out of the doors and into the pool area. And Buffet itself is poorly layed out with multiple large round tables that could hold up to 8 people but generally only sat 2 as most European passengers don't like to share tables for dinner, this made finding a table at peak times in the Buffet a challange. Changing these round tables to multiple tables for 2 could probably double the seating capacity of the buffet. The entertainment was great but this is not exclusive to Princess Cruises as all the guest artists hired by Carnival corporation can also be seen during the year sailing on P&O and Cunard. But evening entertainment always seemed to coincide with each other and the second sitting for dinner which resulted in a number of missed shows and often a difficult decision between one show or another. However the Comedian Jeff Stevenson was Amazing. The one thing that cannot be complained about was all the crew who were friendly, kind and really made us feel like we were a part of a big family. I had been mislead to believe from reviews and recommendations that Princess cruises was to be considered a 4★ Cruise line and superior to P&O and Royal Caribbean both companies I have sailed with multiple times before this was supposed to be reflected in the price but Sapphire Princess was a disappointment. Its NOT any better in my opinion, P&Os Brittainia if far far better and cheaper by comparison and the Prices for drinks was extortionate $5.50 for a single can of Coke! Sapphire Princess is showing her age and is far from the image Princess cruise want you to see. I believe she is due to drydock later in the year for a refit before returning to Asia. I think most cruise lines (Except a few) have an ugly sister within the fleet perhaps at its best Princess is a 4★ fleet but Sapphire Princess alone is only a 2/3★ ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise due to the destinations offered and we immediately disappointed when we weren't able to stop at our first port due to a 7-hour late departure due to wind at Southampton. My question about this is why didn't ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the destinations offered and we immediately disappointed when we weren't able to stop at our first port due to a 7-hour late departure due to wind at Southampton. My question about this is why didn't the captain dock aft end first, like the other 4 cruise ships in the harbor who were all able to leave on time? The afternoon wind was well reported and a known issue. The second problem was the Horizon Buffet. We like casual dining but were quite disappointed in the quality of the food as the week progressed. Powdered eggs, frozen hashbrown patties, rubbery fried eggs from sitting under the heat lamp way too long are NOT my idea of quality food. The lack of variety was another issue. They served virtually the same menu every day of the week. Also, they frequently closed half of the buffet which caused us to have to sit out by the pool which reduced our enjoyment. We did enjoy dinner in the larger dining rooms. The food was well prepared and flavorful. All of the main dining rooms serve off of the same menu. There were a limited number of excursions available. The excursions we took went to interesting places, but most of the stops were too rushed and crowded to enjoy. When they say photo stop, plan on spending most of the time walking to and from the site, with a few brief moments to snap a shot or two if you can get them through the crowds since all of the buses seem to arrive and depart at the same time. One of our tour guides said the tour we took was designed to be 8 hours but was condensed into 4.5. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
On boarding the sapphire princess for the second time the CPS meet and greet car was amazing. On board within 20 minutes. The cabin was very clean we were on Deck 14 at the front this is situated behind the pizzeria. The only problem I can ... Read More
On boarding the sapphire princess for the second time the CPS meet and greet car was amazing. On board within 20 minutes. The cabin was very clean we were on Deck 14 at the front this is situated behind the pizzeria. The only problem I can say is people above on the walkway going for cigarettes with their stilettos on also cabin L302 is opposite the lift which can me noisy and a lot of traffic. Weather was bad from Southampton so we did not leave until 1:30am supposed to leave at 4:30pm this meant that you missed Copenhagen. They gave everybody a refund for missed port tax of 12.63 dollars. We also had many problems with ship accounts not working and the TV in the room would constantly stop working which they never fixed. In main the food in the Horizon self service was good, not always hot but if you think like mash potato is going to be cold then put it in a dish and ask the to heat it up. The staff are very friendly and will get you water and tea or coffee when you are sat down. Remember to order room service FREE at least once. The coffee shop on deck 5 is good as you can have FREE sandwich hot or cold, cake also. You will have to pay for tea in a tea pot there cost of $1.89 . There is a pizzeria restaurant on deck 5 which is good more choice as for deck 14 it is made by the slice as many as you wish put only 2 variety’s. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose our cruise mostly for the port destinations and because family were already booked. We were really impressed by space in our mini-suite cabin and the club-class dining exceeded our expectations. Didn't go to any ... Read More
We chose our cruise mostly for the port destinations and because family were already booked. We were really impressed by space in our mini-suite cabin and the club-class dining exceeded our expectations. Didn't go to any speciality dining venues because we had everything we needed including lobster, steak and baked alaska! Nothing was too much trouble for our waiting staff and they anticipated every need - remembering personal preferences. Wine list was good with a good selection of bottles starting at about $37. Entertainment was of a very high standard with stars from the west end. Elevator roulette is not to be missed! Scavenger hunt was frantic but great fun. The only downside was the excessive cost of princess shore excursions. Local options are invariably a better bet. Tip - always remove automatic gratuities and reward special staff individually. Embarkation and disembarking were a breeze. Would happily return onboard - in fact, cannot wait! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
No words can describe this excellent ship & our cruise to Scandinavia. Embarkation was speedy & very smooth. The ship was refurbished last year, & it's looking great. New furnishings& carpets were lovely. Inside ... Read More
No words can describe this excellent ship & our cruise to Scandinavia. Embarkation was speedy & very smooth. The ship was refurbished last year, & it's looking great. New furnishings& carpets were lovely. Inside cabin was large enough, comfortable bed, Egyptian cotton sheets on Queen sized beds were a delight!!! Food in the dining rooms was fine & with good choices. As for the entertainment, rhis is where the sapphire comes into it's own. I have never seen such superb shows both production ones & individual artistes. Standout star was Phil brown who is now in London West end in the lion King. He had the entire audience in the palm of his hands & received a standing ovation which was well deserved. The staging of all the shows both in lighting, sound & sets was incredible you would not believe you were on a ship in the middle of the ocean. As for the itineries, we went to Copenhagen, skagen & Oslo. All of these places were very interesting & luckily the weather was sunny & quite mild. The ship is not too big, about 2800 people, but it never appeared crouded. To conclude, we have been on many cruises over the years, & we can honestly state that this was easily the best, so much so, that when we disembarked we shed a few tears to leave this lovely ship!!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I am going to keep this short and to the point. The sapphire princess is a beautiful ship (slightly older and less gimmicks than other ships) but what an amazing time we had. A little background:- my wife, son and I mostly cruise ... Read More
I am going to keep this short and to the point. The sapphire princess is a beautiful ship (slightly older and less gimmicks than other ships) but what an amazing time we had. A little background:- my wife, son and I mostly cruise with Celebrity, princess and rcl. What stood out for me on this cruise was the standard of service princess cruises provide. The staff honestly couldn’t do any more - vs P&O where they need to do a lot more. We cruised on the Azura the week before this cruise and the quality is night and day. It was my first P&O cruise and a major shock to my system. Anyway, onto the Highlights:- 1. Main dinning room food was fantastic. Varied and excellent with the most excellent service. 2. The singers on the ship were 10/10. Best I have seen and they have really moved away from some of the tacky cruise shows they provided previously. 3. Never seen so many pools on a ship - great variety and always a hot tub to myself. 4. Movies under the stars - it was rather cold some nights, but I love this concept and enjoyed it immensely. Popcorn and ice cream is a great touch. 5. Alfredo’s Pizza - complementary pizza restaurant onboard - excellent. 6. Sky walkers viewing lounge - what amazing views up there. Beautiful. 7. Table service during breakfast at the buffet restaurant was always excellent. What they could do differently: 1. Keep painting. Seems never ending work but passengers appreciate a fresh looking ship so keep up the maintenance. 2. Bathrooms in cabins look little tired. Need a refresh. 3. The platinum and elite drinks reception in sky walkers is a bit rubbish. Instead of the food (served between 5-7pm) if they enhanced the range of lower price drinks from 1 to say 5 they would bet a much larger crowd and sell far more. Also, they should keep that bar open during sea days - they would make money from drinks. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted a holiday with the whole family to celebrate my wifes 61 birthday and my daughters 30 birthday looking forward to a fantastic 11 nights cruise. We were totally amazed to find that we were being charged gratuities up front ... Read More
We wanted a holiday with the whole family to celebrate my wifes 61 birthday and my daughters 30 birthday looking forward to a fantastic 11 nights cruise. We were totally amazed to find that we were being charged gratuities up front before we started our cruise at what only can be described as extortion even my 18 month old grandson was charged and the total bill between us was more than 1500 dollars in addition to this we were charged 18% gratuities on all drinks I did manage to get the upfront gratuities removed but the 18% on drinks have not been removed even after I requestid this before we disembarked the ship at the end of the cruise. The price of beer and wine was extortionate with a bottle of beer costing 7$ plus 18% gratuities and a medium glass of wine 10 -12$ plus gratuities We were forced to have 4 sea days due to weather after missing a port stop in Lanzarote we were not offered any compensation or reduction in barr expenses while on the extra see day. The food was OK but not great and we all found that food in the buffet was bland and the area felt like a cattle market. On a positive note the staff generally were great. Overall we fell as if we have been robed and it feels like every attempt was made to squeeze every last Dollar out of us even when it came to the options for paying in Dollar or Sterling we were not told the best currency to pay in and it felt as the cruise line were even trying to take advantage of the exchange rates. Our view is that these additional charges should have been advertised clearly and simply in the upfront price of the cruise, we feel we have been mis sold this holiday by the cruise line who seem not to have been totally honest about the hidden costs. In short if you are a teetotaler who likes bland food then you may find this OK but we will never book another holiday with Princes Cruises. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Superb: Service from all waitresses and waiters and cabin steward: cheerful, polite, considerate. Excellent: Food, as always. Menu, quality and presentation the best; also inside cabin (P210 absolutely fine, no need for anything higher). ... Read More
Superb: Service from all waitresses and waiters and cabin steward: cheerful, polite, considerate. Excellent: Food, as always. Menu, quality and presentation the best; also inside cabin (P210 absolutely fine, no need for anything higher). Very Good: Relaxation, on deck and the two lovely evening venues, Crooners Bar and the Wheelhouse Bar, also this time very good DJ in Skywalkers. Good: Entertainment - Princess singers and dancers, Crimson Duo, Sunshine Duo, Stephen Jaymes (but miss the very funny pianist Paul Burton), ventriloquist (very clever), but oh dear the two comedians were dire - miss the very funny Jeff Stevenson. So-so: Why do the restaurant staff give their 'recommendations'? I much prefer to give them mine (Princess Love Boat dessert the best!). Cause For Concern: Environmental Issues - paper paper everywhere - surely in 2019 the ship should be paperless. As a Lighting Engineer, I had the impression the lighting was very wasteful - all inefficient light sources from the last decade, no LED's that I saw. Poor: Drinks - I think (stand to be corrected) 'short' measures (by UK standards), glass packed with ice, sky high prices - small whiskey $8.32, small beer $7. Formal dress code poorly enforced (if at all), I found disrespectful to fellow guests. All in all enjoyable cruise, love the ship, relaxing, wonderful staff - the more junior the rank seems the better they are. But .. oh .. one final point - shouldn't a ship's captain have at least the most basic of public speaking skills? Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean thru the Gibralter strait. Sapphire Princess is a wonderful ship, one of the Grand class- which we have liked the most of the many ships we have been on. this class is set up with most of the ... Read More
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean thru the Gibralter strait. Sapphire Princess is a wonderful ship, one of the Grand class- which we have liked the most of the many ships we have been on. this class is set up with most of the entertainmenton deck seven. On Sapphire and Ruby -three beautiful well maintained dance floors. Kudos for bringing us singer Peter Howarth and the band "Atomic" both were awesome. Atomic is the best lounge band ever on a cruise ship. The stage band was excellent too. We did not enjoy the other stage shows - we have seen beatles tribute bands many times before, and unfortunately the ships stage performers were well below par. We are dancers and really appreciate the recorded ballroom music offered. The buffet was good for breakfast, dining room,not. the dining room was good for dinner, the buffet, not Most of the staff were very helpful and pleasant. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We had been looking at cruises online for a long time, and decided this was the one when we discovered I could be in Paris for my birthday ( October 22). It was beautiful in every way - from the movies under the stars, snuggling under a ... Read More
We had been looking at cruises online for a long time, and decided this was the one when we discovered I could be in Paris for my birthday ( October 22). It was beautiful in every way - from the movies under the stars, snuggling under a blanket while the crew delivered fresh popcorn, our comfortable stateroom with the most comfortable bed ever, the variety and quality of food, the excellence of the staff and 5 star accommodations, seeing European destinations we had only dreamed about - Lisbon, Gibraltar, Barcelona, two ports in France (Le Havre and Toulon), Livorno and Rome. We wondered if it would be frustrating having only a day in each port, but we loved being onboard the ship so much that we were happy to return after our adventures each day to the comfort of our stateroom and enjoy a glass of wine on our balcony to unwind. We are hooked on cruising and may have to come out of retirement to fund more trips! The Princess motto is “Come back new” and we feel like we did - refreshed and energized to learn more about the history and cultures of the beautiful places we visited. We can’t wait to go again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Entertainment quality exceeded our expectations, especially magnificent dancers, lighting & sound effects and superb backing orchestra. Excellent food and service in restaurants at night. Food in Horizon not quite so good, ... Read More
Entertainment quality exceeded our expectations, especially magnificent dancers, lighting & sound effects and superb backing orchestra. Excellent food and service in restaurants at night. Food in Horizon not quite so good, particularly no variety at breakfasts. Service overall excellent with cabin steward and restaurant staff always cheerful and helpful. Far too much emphasis on sales promotions with constant bombardment of literature about EFFY, spa, photos and casino, none of which remotely interested us. Very disappointed with company policy of not refunding missed shore excursion fees due to illness, unless doctor visited ( i have sent separate email re this). All shore excursions except Cochin and to a lesser extent Colombo were excellent & guides very knowledgeable. We (and many others we met) were aghast at the behaviour of some guests sneezing and coughing over us at meal times and especially in excursion buses when they should have stayed in staterooms. Small items that were free on other cruises were additional charges e.g. Bottled water in stateroom, non-alcoholic drinks after breakfast etc. Read Less
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