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149 Princess Southampton Cruise Reviews

Plane from the states was canceled, Princess who booked our flight and sold us the insurance was no help in getting a new flight. Since the flight was through Princess when we called the airline for help they referred us to Princess. ... Read More
Plane from the states was canceled, Princess who booked our flight and sold us the insurance was no help in getting a new flight. Since the flight was through Princess when we called the airline for help they referred us to Princess. Princes said you are on your own it's not our plane? We would have been better off to have made our own travel plans as having booked through Princess just hindered the process of getting a new flight. Our family ended up on a different plane and they had to join the ship at the next port. All the time we were separated no one at Princess could provide any details of where the other person was nor would they provide any assistance in getting to the ship. The standard response was you are on your own but you can file a claim after the trip. Despite the lack of help from Princess a cruise around Great Britain is well worth the time and it was a great destination. At the fixed dining the food was great, not so much at the anytime dining. Our room steward was fantastic and the shows were well done. Since the last three trips with princess had had various issues I have decided to look elsewhere for the next cruise. When things go to plan Princess seems to have things figured out but when anything out of the ordinary happens every on the Princess staff seems clueless. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
The itinerary determined our cruise. The food was moderate to poor. One evening I ordered beef wellington and it was not eatable. The entertainment was good. The cruise was crowded. The service on the cruise was sad, the workers ... Read More
The itinerary determined our cruise. The food was moderate to poor. One evening I ordered beef wellington and it was not eatable. The entertainment was good. The cruise was crowded. The service on the cruise was sad, the workers obviously did not want to be there and were not ever cheerful. It was our last attempt at cruising. We left the ship every day for pre-planned (not ship related) tours and had a great time. Coming back was dreary. Advise, spend a little more on a more upscale cruise. Our room was a typical cruise room, small, cramped but adequate. The views of the Hebrides were amazing. Scotland, and Ireland are among the most scenic places on earth. THey are steeped in history that is relavant to today's world. London has great museums, nightlife and shopping. Travel, learn, enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this cruise because of the ports. We had been on Caribbean Princess five years ago and it was a better experience. This cruise the ship was completely full. The weather was usually cold and rainy so people could not be outside ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports. We had been on Caribbean Princess five years ago and it was a better experience. This cruise the ship was completely full. The weather was usually cold and rainy so people could not be outside or use the pools making the ship too crowded especially on sea days and mornings. Fighting for a table or place to sit in the buffet every morning is not my idea of a good time. If you are going on a tour there isn't time to eat in the dining room. Buffet food should be served by serving staff. Even with hand sanitizer buffet seems unsanitary with all passengers serving themselves. The ship is very worn and needs refurbishing. Furniture is worn out. This is not a first class experience. Tendering was slow and very unpleasant because of the the crowding. We've been on 7 Princess cruises and I believe this is my last one. There are many ships and choices available, and I would not choose this experience again. Princess has dropped significantly in quality including the food. Choices on the buffet were often poor and entrée choices in the dining room were often poor. Internet was slow and expensive. Princess shore excursions are also too expensive. It's best to find a different provider for shore excursions when you can. Entertainment was average. Production shows were very good but other activities and entertainers were poor. Many people on the ship were very infirm and clearly ill. I began to feel I was on a hospital ship. This is not for me. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Friends invited us on this cruise, and it was lovely catching up with them. Norway is magnificent, beautiful scenery. Cruise was expensive so I was expecting great things. Unfortunately not. First drinks ordered were a fiasco, ... Read More
Friends invited us on this cruise, and it was lovely catching up with them. Norway is magnificent, beautiful scenery. Cruise was expensive so I was expecting great things. Unfortunately not. First drinks ordered were a fiasco, like dealing with dumb and dumber. Asked for a shandy and waiter didn't know what this was. So told him half beer half lemonade. Received half beer half lemon cordial. Supervisor gets involved and after fawlty towers Manuel scene I finally get my drink, this took about an hour friends had finished theirs. They even took half a beer away - God forbid I have a complimentary drink. Ship is old, bathroom floods. Menu said eggs cooked how you liked, waitress told me not possible, too many people. So either over poached or or runny. Lame shows Queues for coffee Positives - comfy beds and pillows Great steak place, we had to pay, but the only way to get a descent meal. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Disappointed with the daily activities that this ship has for the weather for the cruise to the British Isles. When you are dealing with an average of 50 degree weather, who is going to sit outside to watch a movie??? No one was in the ... Read More
Disappointed with the daily activities that this ship has for the weather for the cruise to the British Isles. When you are dealing with an average of 50 degree weather, who is going to sit outside to watch a movie??? No one was in the hot tubs or in the pool as all Princess's ships have no enclosed areas. I have traveled on 5 other ships, and everyone had a enclosed pool area where you could sit and enjoy the sun even when the temperature was 50 degrees. On this ship, you froze as you walked to the buffet area on the 15th floor as you had to walk outside to get there. Also, the fast food restaurants, were all outside in the cold so by the time you received your piece of pizza, it was already cold. There was an incident during a shore excursion where at least 250 of the passengers were left standing in the cold and rain for 2 hours waiting for the tenders to get back on the ship. There was no communication as to what was going on, how long it was going to be and no effort was made by Princess to make their passengers comfortable while we waited in the cold and rain. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Booked this cruise without hesitation after a princess cruise two years ago which was outstanding. First problem occurred with the lifeboat drill, it took forever , the muster point we were at had very little seating which meant sveral ... Read More
Booked this cruise without hesitation after a princess cruise two years ago which was outstanding. First problem occurred with the lifeboat drill, it took forever , the muster point we were at had very little seating which meant sveral people with walking difficulties having to stand for a long time. Prior to the actual drill there were numerous pointless announcements. Thereafter the cruise was OK, but just OK, long wait for everything from drinks to tables to lifts. On a positive note the cabin was great with a very comfortable bed and the ship was very clean. The service was poor a lot of the time, and many of the staff lacked the sort of customer service skills you usually experience on a cruise. Finally the excursions were a massive rip off, 99$ dollars each for a short tour of Guernsey. Will not travel with princess again, it all seemed to be about the money. Drinks package was not worth having as often once the waiters saw your sticker they lost interest and you were left waiting. We had a two hour wait for disembarkation, and drinks were only provided for the elite group. Sorry princess, feel very let down. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our second Princess cruise in 6 months (we usually cruise with Celebrity) and our first on the Emerald Princess. Although we’d lowered our expectations after our first Princess experience – this one week cruise was liberally ... Read More
This was our second Princess cruise in 6 months (we usually cruise with Celebrity) and our first on the Emerald Princess. Although we’d lowered our expectations after our first Princess experience – this one week cruise was liberally peppered with disappointments. We were excited to have booked a mini suite, and whilst my husband was happy to have a bath to use (I prefer showers), the bathroom was disappointing in that the same basic toiletries were supplied, with no extra frills. Additionally, although the ship is supposed to have had a major refit, they obviously forgot the toilet seats as ours was scratched and had dubious looking brown stains ingrained within. Needless to say, much extra paper was used in covering it on each visit! We were offered a fruit choice to be delivered to the room, but after 2 days it still hadn’t arrived and had to be re-requested. We also expected a larger balcony, and whilst the seats reclined and had footstools, there was barely enough room for two of us to sit comfortably at the same time. Our major source of disappointment with this cruise, however, stemmed from the various dining opportunities - involving both quality of food and the service provided. We knew from our previous cruise that the Horizon Court and Café Caribe buffets were both small and overcrowded with limited choices, but we didn’t expect such poor quality of food. Whilst looking appealing, we soon became familiar with the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. The cakes and muffins were beautifully decorated, but were often dry and inedible. Toast at breakfast was mass produced in advance and resembled hard and dry floor tiles (not that I’ve ever eaten a floor tile) and the French bread could have been used as a secret weapon if we were attacked by pirates. Being vegetarian, the lunchtime options were very limited (more about this later) and in the end I settled for a sandwich and chips. We, along with most passengers it seems, selected anytime dining. During our last cruise in November, after the first night, you could request a dining time for the following night from the maitre d’ and all seemed to go smoothly. On our way out of the dining room on the first night, we requested a table for the following night, and Romeo (a surly man whose name does not fit his personality) barked that we had to telephone the ‘dine line’ to book a table. As a rule abiding person, I duly telephoned the dine line at 8am the following morning, only to be told most emphatically, that tables could not be requested in advance. Even when I said that I was following instructions, we were told that we couldn’t request a table. We again mentioned it to the charming Romeo who was adamant that we should phone the dine line. We didn’t bother again. Instead, we had to queue each night, often being given a table buzzer to let us know that we could be seated. Now, whilst we are friendly people and like meeting new people on cruises, we prefer to eat at a table for two, so that we may or may not chat to people alongside. On one particular evening, we, and the couple behind who also requested a table for two, were seated at tables that were so close to each other (no more than two inches apart) that we might as well have been seated at a table for four. As it happens, they were friendly and we had a very enjoyable conversation, but still….. As mentioned earlier, I am a mainly vegetarian, (I will eaten some limited fish) and the options for dinner were extremely limited. One evening the chef ‘forgot’ to prepare a vegetarian option (although the maitre d’s equally surly assistant argued that this wasn’t so – perhaps she couldn’t read a menu!). In fact, Miss Misery, Romeo’s sidekick, liked to argue most things we said. It was only thanks to a lovely trainee manager called Maria from Peru that I managed to get a meal most nights as she took great pains to bring me forward menus and to arrange alternatives if necessary. However, the chef was either very poor at making ‘off piste’ meals, or simply couldn’t be bothered as a vegetable soup consisted of cut up vegetables floating in salty water and a mushroom pasta dish was so watery it needed its own flotation device. There was also the mystery of the magical appearing broccoli. One evening my husband Malcolm requested some broccoli with his main course (how unreasonably demanding of him). The waiter, on bringing his meal and being asked where the broccoli was, told my husband that there was none left on the ship. Anywhere. The following evening, being seated at a different location, with a different waiter serving us, Malcolm again requested broccoli. Amazingly, a large portion appeared with no difficulty at all! You may think that perhaps the ship had taken another delivery of broccoli, but as we had been at sea that day, we think it unlikely to have been helicoptered in especially for us. We leave you to draw your own conclusion to this. However, our greatest criticism must be reserved for the Afternoon Tea Incident. I love formal afternoon teas, but can rarely persuade my husband to go to them, so I was delighted when he agreed to join me and another couple we befriended, to tea on a rainy sea day afternoon. After we had been seated at a table for 8 (with four people we had never met before), Malcolm quickly nipped back to our room for something. The waiter appeared and started pouring out tea for everyone. I asked if he could pour tea for my husband too as he would be back in a minute. After shouting aggressively, ‘Who?’ and my repeating this three times, he refused to pour out the tea, saying that he would do it when my husband returned. He then proceeded to pour out the tea, wagged his finger at me and shouted ‘And don’t complain if it’s not hot!’ I was left speechless (an unusual event for me) and the others on the table (who I had never met before) said that he had been ‘unbelievably rude’ and one American lady said ‘Well, you’ve been schooled haven’t you!’ They all agreed that I had done nothing to warrant this outburst and were shocked by it. When my husband returned a couple of minutes later (his tea was still hot) I told him what had happened. At that moment the Head Waiter came along to ask if everything was alright and Malcolm told him what had happened, and pointed out the waiter to him. Malcolm asked if the head waiter would deal with him, or would he like him to. The head waiter was apologetic and said that the waiter would be dealt with by him. Later that day, the Food and Beverage Manager (Sildui) called the room to apologise for the incident and said that the waiter had been disciplined. He seemed to think that a second hand apology would suffice. It won’t. I said how embarrassed I had been by his behaviour and how it had ruined my tea experience. He didn’t seem too bothered by this and just apologised again. The following day, Luciana (the supervisor at Passenger Services) also called to apologise. She said that it was all they could do and thanked me for bringing this to their attention. When I said that I was dissatisfied with this, she said that she could do no more (no mention of a face to face meeting, or a meeting with senior staff). When we said that we will bring it to the attention of Head Office she said that was fine! Don’t they care about leaving the customer satisfied?? We will certainly be communicating with Head Office! One other thing that was apparent, and may account for the poor service, food and the fact that the staff seemed totally disinterested in the passengers, was the fact that there were no senior officers or staff in attendance on deck. We only saw the cruise director twice, on stage, when we attended shows, and his staff were only present when they were running quizzes. The captain was conspicuous by his absence. Unlike Celebrity where the officers make themselves known to passengers and can really see what is happening on the shop floor (or deck in this case). In order to get some on board credit, we have put down a deposit for a future cruise. However, we checked that it is totally refundable, as unless there are serious improvements made, and our ongoing tea issue is resolved, we will be availing ourselves of this refund. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Caribbean Princess 12 Night British Isles Cruise May 6~20, 2016 Itinerary: Southampton-Guernsey-Cobh-Dublin-Belfast-Greenock-Kirkwall-Invergordon-South Queensferry-Zeebrugge (not Le Harve)-Southampton Caribbean Princess embarked ... Read More
Caribbean Princess 12 Night British Isles Cruise May 6~20, 2016 Itinerary: Southampton-Guernsey-Cobh-Dublin-Belfast-Greenock-Kirkwall-Invergordon-South Queensferry-Zeebrugge (not Le Harve)-Southampton Caribbean Princess embarked in Southampton, which is about 80 miles from the center of London, about 65 miles from London Heathrow, and about 90 miles from London Gatwick. Fortunately, dawgs have several transportation options to the ship: Princess shuttle, taxi, bus or train. Sea Dawg left from central London and pre-booked a National Express Bus from Victoria Coach Station to Southampton Coach Station (about 15 GBP/21 USD – bus and train ticket prices are determined by date and time of travel.). There are trains from central London to Southampton (about 38 GBP/56 USD). Southampton has four cruise ship terminals spanning about two miles across the waterfront. Healthy dawgs who know the direct route to their cruise ship terminal and have minimal luggage can manage the 15-30 minute hike from the bus or train terminal. Many dawgs hire a taxi (about 9 GBP/13 USD). Caribbean Princess, a modified sister to Star, Grand, and Golden Princess, was intended for Caribbean/southern climate so it lacks a sliding roof over a pool deck for shelter in poor weather. It begs the question what were Princess top dawgs thinking when they scheduled Caribbean Princess for northern climate British Isles and Baltic cruises? For that matter, what was Sea Dawg thinking when he booked Caribbean Princess for an early season British Isle cruise? The weather on this particular cruise was predictably chilly, windy and rainy and Caribbean Princess was not designed for this climate, though I suspect by mid-summer this will not be a concern. Embarkation: Sea Dawg checked-in after 3:15 p.m. There were no lines and no waiting. Our ocean view stateroom was available upon boarding. We debated booking a balcony stateroom and our decision proved correct because the weather was too chilly, windy, cloudy, rainy, even foggy to enjoy a balcony very often. Our stateroom did not appear to have received any updating. Our bedding was at the end of its useful life. Fussy pooches know to bring their own scented bar soap, specialty hair shampoo and conditioner, and toilet tissue. The liquid stuff in the shower and the scratchy single-ply toilet tissue in our stateroom might be suitable for two star dawg kennels, but not what dawgs pay for on a “premium” cruise line ship. Welcome aboard Stingy Princess! (I’m hoping suites and Aqua class fared better.) We prefer having no minibar in the fridge. Our TV programming was mostly repeating Princess infomercials, classic movies, and news commentary channels. The daily guide Princess Patter and other brochures greeted our arrival. For a cruise line that touts its environmental consciousness, we probably discarded enough advertisements throughout our cruise to housebreak a litter of puppies. There's a Princess smart phone app and a laptop website that supposedly helps keep dawgs aware of events (if and when they are updated), announcements and accounts. Our always pleasant steward kept our stateroom immaculate. There's a mandatory muster before sail away and dawgs must bring their life jackets. Crew members scan every ship card and muts who skip will have a private muster party later. During the muster talk an alert dawg will hear “… in the event of an evacuation passengers will board their life boat or raft.” Say wha-a-at? Passengers in a raft? Can’t Stingy Princess afford to buy more lifeboats? A pointer dawg will locate the canisters beside the lifeboats that hold the rafts, ropes, and ladders/chutes. Some believe rafts are only for the crew, but others count the lifeboats and do the math. Whatever, the directions for deploying the life rafts and climbing down the hull into the inflated raft are clearly displayed for passengers or crew. Let’s pray a muster is the only time anyone needs to wear their life jacket aboard this ship. The central Piazza is the hub of activity and feature talented musicians and performers throughout the cruise. Unfortunately, seating is limited and mongrels sometimes competed for chairs. On the first day and during peak hours, the elevators were jammed and getting one proved a challenge. One Pekinese fancied worming onto a loaded elevator only have to exit for causing a weight overload. Sea Dawg appreciated that photographers were less pushy, but their photo shoot set-ups sometimes restricted passageways. Dawgs should consider the value of the high quality DVD’s cruise videographers are creating. Sea Dawg agrees with salty dawgs who growl that Princess has changed, and not for the better. Many classify Princess, Holland America, and Celebrity as “premier” cruise lines. Show dawgs for Princess may be offended, but it seems there is evidence to make a case to classify Princess down to “low premium” status. Sea Dawg is Captain’s Circle Platinum and I’ve watched this “best loyalty program at sea” devalue to almost worthlessness. Insolent Captain’s Circle host, Colin Sim, sponsored one, and only one, gathering on this 12 Night Stingy Princess cruise. (There were two gatherings on Emerald Princess’s 3 Night cruise in March, 2016!) The grub: It takes some effort for chow hounds to determine where best to eat. Horizon Court buffet posts the main dining room menu, but not their own. One night Horizon Court had fried shrimp, another fried scallops, and another Peking duck that were not available in main dining. The complimentary Horizon Court buffet offers dawgs the widest variety, all-you-can-eat, self-serve meals aboard. You might see a Rottweiler piling her platter high with bacon here. There are three complimentary main dining rooms: the "anytime" Island, early fixed/late anytime Coral and the fixed time and seating Palms. (It was nightly entertainment to watch silly dawgs prance into Palms demanding this or that table already assigned.) They publish the same menus. Patient (sometimes very patient) dawgs will be rewarded with elegant table settings and fine service. The loosely interpreted dress code is smart casual; there were two formal nights on this cruise. The menus featured prime rib, duck, an awesome seafood chowder, coq au vin, scallops, lamb, pheasant, shrimp, lobster, and steak. Most entrée portions arrived small and sides smaller, but chow hounds could request seconds. There were some ingenious "soups" (think smoothies) and incredible desserts. Sea Dawg admits he doesn't eat this well during most weeks ashore. Inexcusably, when an inattentive chef dawg sent meals that arrived with undercooked meat, undercooked rice or break-all-dente-noodles they were sent back to the galley. In the Palms main dining, Stingy Princess even watered down the A-1 Steak Sauce! The 24-hour International Cafe, where Stingy Princess does not offer complimentary coffee, is home to the best complimentary sandwiches aboard. Vines host the best wine list aboard and serves tapas and sushi. Both surround the Piazza. Sharp dawgs are keen to know that crossed Union Jacks in the Crown Grill mean complimentary “pub day” lunch: the fish and chips lunch and bangers and mash lunch are favorites. (Here Stingy Princess watered down our Heinz “thick” catsup!) Prego Pizzeria (once the “best pizza at sea”) now hands out wilting slices with limited and thin toppings. Trident Grill doled out burgers and, after 6 pm, BBQ. The complimentary Ice Cream Bar now has quite limited flavors. Not that many dawgs took notice because the chilly, windy and sometimes rainy weather kept many dawgs away from these outdoor venues. On the other paw, the complimentary afternoon tea, sandwiches and sweets in the indoor Coral was well attended. Otherwise, complimentary snack foods and candy were scarce (savvy dawgs pack their own). Between meals complimentary water, coffee, and tea might be fetched when Horizon Court is open (savvy dawgs pack drink mixes to stir into their water). Well-heeled dawgs will probably find more satisfaction dining in the cover charge Crown Grill (steaks and seafood - $25) or Sabatini’s (Italian - $25). The shows: More misses than hits. Early shows were more crowded than late shows. The entertainment on your cruise may be different than ours. The theater sound hound kept the volume uncomfortably loud. There were two outstanding headliners: Beatles Celebration and Celine Dion impersonator Tracey Shield. Afternoon “Folkloric” shows featured quality Irish singing and dancing or Scottish pipes and dancing. Some sail aways were accompanied by pipes and drums on the dock. Even the popular "Movies Under the Stars" was plagued with chilly, windy and wet weather. Only a few Siberian huskies watched under the clouds movies huddled under the blankets munching cold popcorn. In this port intensive itinerary there were not an abundance of planned onboard activities. This seems intentional to draw unwary hounds into revenue generating bingo, shops, bars, spa, art auctions and, of course, the casino. The sales were more hype than substance. The Final 3-Hour Onboard Outlet Sale had the same merchandise at the same price as the previous sales. The two main pools sprawl across mid ship. There are also two small, adults only pools. Forward is the tranquil Spa Pool near to the free gym and sauna, the pricey spa, and the underused, overpriced (and often windy) Sanctuary. Astern is the Terrace Pool next to a bar and short trot to the buffet. Pools, hot tubs, and loungers went begging most days because, as I keep writing, it was too windy, chilly, cloudy, and sometimes rainy to use them. Sea Dawg appreciates that bar waiters were respectful and not pushy. They were also efficient and quick to clear your table if you left it unguarded while you dashed to the head. Security cameras can be spotted most everywhere aboard. Security, which is more about protecting company property, employees and liability, was not very obvious. Sea Dawg stopped by Guest Services and obtained an accounting statement early the final sea day to avoid the long lines that would form there the next day. I had time to carefully inspect it and found that our statement was thankfully but disgustingly accurate. This is the moment inattentive dawgs discover they spent more aboard than on their cruise ticket. Our final statement arrived at our door 5 a.m. the last day and it was very quick and easy to verify. Like most cruise lines, Princess offers a variety of overpriced shore excursions available at all ports. Averaging about $100 per person, inattentive dawgs can spend more on Princess shore excursions than on the price of the cruise. Shore excursions are cash cows for the cruise line but, as the cruise line warns, independent sightseeing comes with risks. The extra cost of the cruise ship shore excursion purchases (1) convenience (your tour bus is usually near the ship, unless tendering) and (2) an assurance the ship will wait for your tour group to return before it sails away. Dawgs have to decide for themselves if the convenience and assurance is worth the surcharge. Sea Dawg has not found cruise line shore excursions to be consistently higher quality or safer than independently booked tours offered by reputable and established companies. Salty dawgs will tell you cruise line shore excursions often divert to an overpriced souvenir market (whose owner often paid a promotional fee). On this itinerary, Caribbean Princess usually docked within walking distance to public transportation stations, but dawgs with limited mobility may not have a choice. At each port you have four options: (1) hop on an awaiting tour bus to enjoy the expensive guided excursion you purchased from the cruise line; (2) meet a private guide at the port who you pre-booked on your own; (3) bravely venture into the unknown — hopefully with a guidebook and good map — and using whatever public transportation is available and affordable; or (4) stay aboard the less crowded ship. Sea Dawg has done all four and there were times I made the right choice and times I regretted my decision. Hopefully dawgs are aware Cruise Critic is a great source of valuable information, advice, and experience that facilitates making the right choices for your pack. Announcements pertaining to going ashore were followed by a warning not to eat or drink anything away from the ship unless it was factory sealed, canned, or bottled. This is experienced traveler precaution, but salty dawgs familiar with statistics know most Norovirus outbreaks on a ship are attributed to unsanitary conditions aboard and careless handling of uncooked, "fresh" food. There were also warnings about pick pockets and cautions against bringing valuable jewelry or large amounts of cash ashore. Though it was mid-May, the British Isles weather was not comfortable. The temperatures ashore were usually in the 40’s in the morning and about 55 degrees by mid-afternoon. Dawgs came to expect a rain shower or two each day. Though the summer tourist crowds are larger, Sea Dawg advises taking a mid-season British Isles cruise. If you prefer the cooler shoulder season, book a British Isles cruise aboard a ship designed for cruising in a northern climate. The ports: Guernsey Channel Island: This was out first port and it was a tendering port. Castle Cornet is beside the dock and is an easy self-guided tour (compared to Cruise Tour $89). We arrived on Liberation Day when the German garrison surrendered to the British. Most shops were closed for the celebration and parade. We took the 1 (one) GBP around island hop on/off public bus. It began to rain. Captain Nicolo Bommarco halted tendering to move anchorage into deeper water as the tide went out. Hundreds (no exaggeration) of dawgs lined up and waited up to two hours (again, no exaggeration) in the rain for a tender. Only when the Captain realized his sail away time would be delayed a few hours did he launch more tenders, ultimately hiring a 400 passenger ferry to get cold, soggy dawgs back aboard. Did our “Consummate Hosts” Maitre d’Hotel, Angelo Balbiani, or Hotel General Manager, Andreas Pitsch, provide towels or a hot tea for his cold and wet guests? No! In fact, there was never an apology nor even an acknowledgement that this happened or that Princess was in any way accountable. Many dawgs expressed that passenger health should be as great a concern to the Captain (and the Princess company he represents) as passenger safety. A special commendation is owed the port hosts from Guernsey who stayed with stranded passengers until all were tendered. Cobh (Cork), Ireland: Non-European Union passports were collected by our cabin steward the night before as “required by Irish Immigration Authorities”. Dawgs received a receipt and their surrendered passports would be returned a few days later. The currency is the Euro. Savvy dawgs will have researched how to obtain the most favorable currency exchange rate using their bank card. Sea Dawg booked a Paddywagon Shore Tour (an unmistakable big green bus in sight of the dock) going to Blarney Castle, Cork English Market, Kinsale and Cork churches (49 Euros/54 USD includes Blarney admission). The local bus and train stop is within sight of the dock so independent dawgs have easy and affordable access to touring options. Our day was mostly cloudy and a chilly 55 degrees high. Dublin, Ireland: Princess provided a $16 round trip shuttle from port to downtown where dawgs had access to public transportation and a hop on/off sightseeing bus. Savvy dawgs will have researched and pre-planned or pre-booked tours. The local currency is the Euro. There is a 3 Euro Dublin bus from the ferry docks that serves Dublin County, but it can be very crowded during rush hours. In Dublin tour options include the Dublin Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus, a light rail LUAS (serving Dublin), Irish Rail DART (serving coastal Ireland), Irish Cycles rentals, and Dublin Discover Boat Tours on the River Liffey. Sea Dawg booked Paddywagon Shore Tour waiting within sight of the dock for Glendalough, St. Kevin’s Monastery ruins, Wicklow Mountains and Dublin for 39 Euros (Trinity College and Book of Kells admission 11 Euros not included). Our day was too foggy to see Wicklow Mountains clearly and we managed through a chilly 53 degrees high, rainy day in Dublin. Belfast, Ireland: Again Princess provided a $16 shuttle from port to downtown. Paddywagon Shore Tours went to Giant’s Causeway and Belfast (49 Euros). The local currency in Northern Ireland is the British pound, not the Euro. Sea Dawg opted for the Titanic & City Tours narrated hop on/off bus (two separate tour loops for 10 GBP). Our day was a welcomed partly cloudy, windy, and a mild 61 degrees high. Greenock, Scotland (Gateway to Glasgow). Savvy dawgs study a map of Scotland. Glasgow and another destination on Caribbean Princess’s itinerary, Edinburgh (South Queensferry), are only 42 miles apart. Dawgs have decisions to make to avoid disappointments because some cruise ship shore excursions overlap (for example, Stirling Castle is offered from Glasgow as well as from Edinburgh). Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, is on the River Clyde, and we found its buildings darkened by pollution, grime and soot. So dawgs might consider a private tour through the lush landscape to Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle. Or while in the neighborhood, research a private tour to Inveraray Castle. In Greenock, dawgs can walk to the Greenock Train Station (go through the shopping mall) and ride to Glasgow Central on the blue ScotRail Train for 6.40 GBP/9.30 USD “with return” versus $79 Princess "Glasgow On Your Own" transfer. Ask the ticket agent for a return schedule from Glasgow Central (which has 17 platforms). There is a red, double decker, open top, Hop On Hop Off narrated tour bus in Glasgow (13 GBP all day). Our day was cloudy, windy and a chilly 51 degrees high. Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland: The town provided a free shuttle from the port to Kirkwall. Dawgs will discover Kirkwall is an easy walking tour featuring the 12th century St. Magnus Cathedral, but our walk was challenged by a windy, rainy, and quite chilly 46 degree high day. Dawgs may take a 3 hour round the island local tour bus, or ferry to Shapinsay Island for a look at Balfour Castle, or check out a tour to the prehistoric Skara Brae. Invergordon, Scotland (Gateway to Inverness): Sea Dawg took local bus 25X (a courteous local guide will point you to the local bus stop near the port gate) from Invergordon Port to Inverness City Center. Then take local bus 217 into the beautiful highlands to Urquhart Castle Car Park. There is an entrance fee for very picturesque Urquhart Castle ruins located on the banks of infamous Lock Ness. As our Scottish driver remarked, “If ya sees the monster-r-r, say hello to me mother-in-law for me.” Take local bus 219 back to Inverness City Center, then bus 25X back to Invergordon Port. Total cost: $40 versus Princess Tour $200. Our day was partly cloudy and a chilly (especially down by the lake) 54 degrees high. Dawgs may also research and book a Loch Ness boat tour (this day it would have been a cold ride), a private tour to Fort George and Cawdor Castle, or a private tour to Chateau-style Dunrobin Castle. South Queensferry, Scotland (Gateway to Edinburgh): Caribbean Princess is too tall to go under the high Firth of Forth Railroad Bridge so this is a tendering port. Dawgs are instructed to get a ticket to board the tender, but no one checked or took the ticket. There is an information booth at the dock where dawgs can get directions to the train station (4.60 GBP with return) or local bus (10 GBP with return) into Edinburgh Center. Both train and bus stop near Edinburgh Castle atop Castle Rock. Savvy dawgs pre-purchase tickets online {http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/visit/tickets-prices} into Edinburgh Castle (16.50 GBP/24 USD) and bypass the really long lines that form at the ticket counter. Start early at Edinburgh Castle then walk down the Royal Mile checking out the landmarks and shops along the way. The Royal Mile ends at Holyrood Palace (10 GBP). There’s an Edinburgh double decker, open top, Hop On Hop Off narrated tour bus (15 GBP/22 USD) but it can’t travel down the Royal Mile. Le Harve, France (gateway to Paris): Cancelled mid-cruise due to Le Harve dock workers joining a strike. Of course Princess refunded those who had purchased Le Harve shore excursions. Derided Captain Bommarco probably heard the howls all the way to the Bridge as he made this announcement. Le Harve was one of the featured ports in this itinerary and dawgs had planned excursions to Paris, chateaus, and the beaches of Normandy. Though Princess has no control over the weather or dock strikes, for many hounds already disappointed with Caribbean Princess, this development robbed them of their last bone. A broken dawg sitting near us during the announcement disclosed this was his first, and probably only, chance to visit the grave of a father he had never known who was killed on D-Day. Zeebrugge, Belgium (gateway to Bruges and Brussels): This port was a bone Princess added to the itinerary to substitute for Le Harve. Zeebrugge port is a busy freighter port with minimal cruise ship facilities. Cruise ship pedestrians are not supposed to walk to the port gate so the port authority operates a shuttle to the port entrance, if dawgs can find it. Bruges historical center is about 10 miles from Zeebrugge. Getting to Bruges is not yet so simple, but adventurous dawgs can take a train or bus from Blankenberg, about a mile from the port. There is a coastal tram service about every 15 minutes from Zeebrugge Kerk (church) bus stop (go right at dock gate) to Blankenberg train (and bus) station (3 Euros). The ticket from Blankenburg to Bruges costs 3 Euros. There is a train about every hour. The Bruges station is close to the historical center. The trip is only 15 minutes. Look for a two way shuttle from Zeebrugge to Bruges and back for cruise passengers (20 Euros round trip), but dawgs will need to check to determine if and when it is operating. In the Princess kept it a secret category: the King and Queen of Belgium were hosting the King and Queen of Jordan on an official visit to Bruges on our partly cloudy and mild day. So in addition to the pomp and circumstance, there were enormous crowds, high security, and closed streets and venues. Sea Dawg recommends taking the canal boat tour (8 Euros). Horse drawn carriage rides are also available (50 Euros per couple/family). The “Bruges Madonna” (1504) by Michelangelo (and popularized in the movie Monuments Men) is in the Church of Our Lady (admission 4 Euros); the sanctuary is undergoing renovation. Shopping dawgs will find amazing varieties of Belgian chocolates, waffles, lace and over 300 available Belgium beers … be mindful of the bringing alcohol aboard policy and customs limitations … or as a St. Bernard barked, “Why wait?” Debarkation: Sea Dawg had only carry-ons (yes, for a 12 Night cruise) so he selected express departure, by-passed luggage claims, breezed through customs and was out the terminal by 7:00 a.m. Sea Dawg had pre-booked National Express Bus from Southampton Coach Station to London Heathrow Terminal 5 (about 20 GBP/30 USD). There was no direct train from Southampton to London Heathrow. The airport security check-in took about 40 minutes, but wait times increased during the day. Things to consider packing: a waterproof and hooded jacket, long sleeved outerwear, hat, an insulated resealable drink container, bar soap, specialty shampoo and conditioner, toilet tissue, power strip extension cord, good walking map of ports, waterproof walking shoes, favorite snacks, hard candy, drink mixes, band aids, and over-the-counter remedies you often need. Princess publishes a list of items (like colas) not to pack. Take the advertised perfect vacation cruise with a good dash of sea salt. Dawgs who board with realistic expectations (i.e., British Isles weather), that not everything will go their way, who can adhere to their budget, and be flexible in their schedule will find this British Isles cruise pleasant. That's why I booked, and that's why I enjoyed this cruise and recommend it to you ... provided you book a ship designed to cruise cooler, northern climates. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We picked this cruise to get a break and some spring sunshine. After 400 plus previous nights with Princess including several cruises on Emerald, and other cruises on Royal Caribbean, Ocean Village, Cunard, Discovery, Nobel Caledonia, ... Read More
We picked this cruise to get a break and some spring sunshine. After 400 plus previous nights with Princess including several cruises on Emerald, and other cruises on Royal Caribbean, Ocean Village, Cunard, Discovery, Nobel Caledonia, and so forth, this was a bitter disappointment. Some aspects were very good - embarkation, our cabin (a minisuite) and our excellent cabin steward, friendly staff, disembarkation. Many other aspects were not good. Food - wonderful food to remember is one of the big features in Princess' advertising. Three examples to give the general flavour. On night two I picked chicken from the menu. It was as tough as old leather. I asked for salmon as a replacement - arrived with the outside barely cooked and the inside almost raw. Night four, we ate up in Horizon Court and I picked what looked to be nice beef stew. Now, I cook beef stew to be tender enough to cut with a fork. This, I couldn't even cut with a knife. Night seven, as my main course I picked the 'famous chef special' chicken and leek pie which arrived on its own, no vegetables, no nothing. On removing the top I found the innards to be half air, no leek at all, and the chicken bits were tough and grissly. By this time another chap at our table was rejecting the unsatisfactory replacement for an unsatisfactory replacement for an unsatisfactory first choice, so I gave up. My basic impression is of an inability to cook basic meat, fish, poultry properly and consistently together with poor supervision of food leaving the galleys. We complained verbally and in writing. By reply, we received a printed 'sorry' card together with six chocolate coated strawberries. All very nice, except the six strawberries were instead of and not in addition to the canapes we had ordered. There was a plus point. We didn't gain weight. Entertainment - general standard far below what we are accustomed to on Princess ships. Only two production shows for this 11 night cruise. The length has been cut from the hour plus of a few years ago to only 35 minutes. The standard of solo entertainers was variable - some good, some poor. Many daytime entertainments seemed geared more to making on-board sales than to entertain. Much was made of the ship running a 'The Voice' competition - which, basically, is getting the passengers to entertain themselves. Lotus spa - grossly overpriced Staff training - many, many times I formed the impression of staff trained to 'deliver an item' in one particular way irrespective of what the customer wants Drinks -weak and expensive. Another matter. For our previous cruise, Princess deducted the final payment from my bank account twice, making me unexpectedly overdrawn. Luckily I noticed just before a couple of direct debits were about to bounce. My bank was very nice about it and Princess said they would give (me and my wife) a meal at a speciality restaurant on my next cruise in recompense. Guess what? Yes, a meal for one.. Front desk.... Oh dear. Some staff's English was too basic for their task Other passengers' impressions. For me, the 'killer' was several experienced cruisers each who was on a Princess ship for the first time all telling me they will never cruise with Princess again. They were comparing with Thomson, Royal Caribbean, P&O, Silver Seas. My big question ......We hadn't cruised with Princess for over a year. Is our poor experience typical of current Princess, or is it unique to this particular freshly refurbished ship at this particular time? I don't have an answer. . Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our 17th cruise - the 4th with Princess, the remainder with P&O. Our previous Princess ships were the Island, the Regal and the Royal, so we knew what to expect - or so we thought! It's my fault - I should have done ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise - the 4th with Princess, the remainder with P&O. Our previous Princess ships were the Island, the Regal and the Royal, so we knew what to expect - or so we thought! It's my fault - I should have done my homework better. The Emerald Princess is smaller than the Island, yet carries almost 1000 more passengers. It really should be renamed the 'SS Sardine'. The good - our cabin was very good. Immaculate and kept so by a very friendly and efficient cabin stewardess. It was on C deck, so had a very generous balcony, only half of which was overlooked by the deck above. So far so good. The crew were (mostly) very friendly and helpful - although some were clearly quite new to the job. I say mostly friendly. The security staff retain their facial impressions of a bulldog chewing a wasp at all times of course. No change there. And if you had a query which resulted in 'computer says no' you were in for hours of fun. All very polite incompetence of course.... Clearly the Princess 'suits' don't like their staff using their own initiative. The dining staff were very good...the food mostly OK, but not as good as the Royal or Regal. The bad - Overcrowding. The Emerald Princess is seriously under-resourced for 3000 passengers. 2000? - maybe, but 3000? - no way! The Horizon Buffet is way too small, both in seating capaclty and serving areas. Unless you took breakfast at 6.30 sharp - or after 10.15 - you stood virtually no chance of finding a seat without using very sharp elbows. This is not a ship for the meek. The seating in public areas - around the Piazza for example - is woefully inadequate. If the weather was less than perfect, you constantly encountered hoardes of lost souls wandering aimlessly looking for that elusive seat, giving up and taking their tea and cakes back to the cabin to eat on their own. This overcrowding is a serious problem on this ship, which will probably backfire on Princess eventually - although there are probably several thousand new potential customers who will need to discover it all for themselves, so they'll not change anything, I suspect. Such a shame, after the excellence of the Island Princess in 2013 (before they added another 121 cabins to that ship!) The worst example was the Skywalker 'disco'. Because the trip was Southampton to Southampton, there were a lot of Brits on board, but sadly rather too many 'Ronnie Pickering/Reggie Kray wanabee' types, with their attendant partners. These folk simply took over the very small disco, the female of the species reserving their seats with little handbags, and returning to 'dance' on teetering heels with Ronnie/Reggie on the tiny dance floor. Ordinary folk who deigned to visit this enclave stood no chance.. and usually just walked around forlornly for a bit, sighed and left. The ugly - this overcrowding seriously affects the ambience of the ship. On more than one occasion, I witnessed snarling altercations over individual chairs. The Ronnie/Reggie 'ladies' usually won. The meek may inherit the Earth. They are certainly very unlikely to find anywhere - other than their own cabins - to sit down on the Emerald. That's for the chosen few. Had it not been for the overcrowding it could have been a very good cruise. As it was, it was our first and last on the Emerald Princess. Shame. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We choose Emerald Princess on a taster cruise to try the Princess line, we were bitterly disappointed. Embarkation and disembarkation was good The cabin was basic and the toilet smelt of stale urine, the shower curtain was very old. ... Read More
We choose Emerald Princess on a taster cruise to try the Princess line, we were bitterly disappointed. Embarkation and disembarkation was good The cabin was basic and the toilet smelt of stale urine, the shower curtain was very old. Our cabin steward kept the cabin clean and was very helpful. The Botticheli restaurant was ok but the food on an evening was just 3 courses, no cheese and biscuits as an extra and you had to buy any coffees. The Horizon buffet food was cold every day we visited in the hope it would get better. The breakfast was terrible, the sausages were either under cooked or burnt, the choice was minimal. The show in the theatre was only 35 minutes long. It was difficult to get a seat in any of the bars and the service was slow. We were disappointed as they advertise that you come back new !!! This wasn't the case. We will stick to P and O in the future as they give a much better service. We have sent a review to Princess but have not received a reply. We choose Princess as we thought they would be an enjoyable few days in the hope we could book a full cruise in the future. Even the shopping arcade was disappointing with a very limited supply of perfumes. There was no kettle in the cabin, you had to go and buy hot drinks, we tried this but there were no seats in the small cafe area. It is such a shame. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
First of all, we have travelled many times with Princess and I normally rate them highly. I was so disappointed to find the usual Princess standards had fallen off a cliff onboard Emerald Princess. What happened to all the crew? The ... Read More
First of all, we have travelled many times with Princess and I normally rate them highly. I was so disappointed to find the usual Princess standards had fallen off a cliff onboard Emerald Princess. What happened to all the crew? The ship was so under staffed it was annoying. It took ages to get a coffee in the Piazza... there was always a queue... it was ridiculous. The same can be said of the many bars around the ship, just not enough staff. We had the drinks package, but I don't think we got the most out of it because it took so long to get another drink etc! Embarkation was good and we were on the ship in no time. We found our balcony cabin (Baja 307) which was fine. A standard Princess cabin. It did feel old though and I think Princess needs to up it's game (excluding the new Royal Class). I've travelled on Celebrity and the newer Royal Caribbean 'Quantum' class.... both are way ahead in terms of interior design. One thing that they have got right is the beds! Wow! Wonderful! We ate in the main dining room, which was only just fine. Clearly the food quality has dropped and again, the lack of staff was visible. The second night, we ate in the Crown Grill. The food was good, but the service was far too slow. My steak was very over cooked, but I had already waited too long, so didn't complain about it. The weather was good for the first 2 days, a lovely sail away from Southampton and the following day we used the Gym in the morning followed by a good run on the Promenade Deck... it was bliss. Our day in Guernsey was let down by the weather - showers, cold and windy! However, we made the most of it and enjoyed our look around St Peter Port. The trip on the tender was not so nice and I was very glad to get off! Yes I would sail with Princess again, if the price and itinerary was right. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Cruised with Princess for the first time and doubt I would go with them again. Emerald is a large ship with plenty of things to do and places to eat, drink or just sit and relax, generally the ship was clean and tidy. The cabin was okay ... Read More
Cruised with Princess for the first time and doubt I would go with them again. Emerald is a large ship with plenty of things to do and places to eat, drink or just sit and relax, generally the ship was clean and tidy. The cabin was okay although not cleaned very well, there were stains on the cupboard doors, dust on the light switches, a broken mirror, the same crumbs on the table all week long, the carpet never vacuumed, the bathroom floor stank of urine, there is no kettle or iron in the cabin. Dining in the dining rooms, de vinci and michelangelo was poor, food was below restaurant standard, I'd give it 3 out of 10, had steak pie one night that had no steak, beef wellington with raw pastry, if they served veg at all it was tasteless and over cooked, eventually gave up on dining rooms and ate in horizon buffet where food was a little better but finding an empty table was always a challenge. Entertainment was average, nothing special and like many of the activities things only ever lasted half an hour! Service from the staff was again average and most of the time too in your face, the second you finished your food they'd swipe away the plate and constantly hover over you to sell you drinks. The ports were good though excursions very expensive so made our own arrangements, the day in La Rochelle was spoilt slightly by the very long queue and 45 minute wait for the bus back to the ship, the tenders to Guernsey were a disaster, total lack of organisation, waited over an hour to leave the ship - they tried to blame fog but visibility across to Guernsey was not a problem, the crewe and staff were amateurish and simply poorly organised. Everything on board was very expensive, there was a 15% gratuity charge added to everything you brought including drinks at the bar. They also charge ever passenger $25 per day for gratuities including the children which is an utter disgrace - be warned and have this taken off on your account immediately. Overall Princess are too sloppy, standards are too low, staff poorly trained, food below average, poor organisation, prices way too high, their strap line is 'come back new' - it should be 'come back poor', I came back but would not sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Very disappointed the entertainment was very poor nothing like the tv show the cruise only had 2 short shows with the dancers and couldn't believe that there was no show on last night just a film the food wasn't very hot and the ... Read More
Very disappointed the entertainment was very poor nothing like the tv show the cruise only had 2 short shows with the dancers and couldn't believe that there was no show on last night just a film the food wasn't very hot and the queue to get food but you had to wait most of the time to find a table even in the waiter service restaurants you had to queue to get in also the organisation to get us on and off the ship at 2 port was a nightmare we got handed a ticket and you had to wait for your number to be called we waited over a hour both to get off the ship and to get back on the ship it wasn't just me complaining a lot of people were I'm disabled and most of the ports we went to was very hilly that is not emeralds fault the cabin was very nice and i liked going on the balcony there was a lot of wardrobe space and the beds were very comfy the maid was always wanting to come in our room when we were in she even woke us up after a late night talking with friends which we was not happy about as we wanted o sleep it was my husbands first cruise and he said he doesn't want to cruise again but if he did he wouldn't go with emerald again we saved up for this cruise and we were gad to get home. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first Princess cruise, we have done many cruises on other lines. We were really looking forward to trying a new cruise line but unfortunately we were very disappointed and would not sail with Princess again. The ship was ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise, we have done many cruises on other lines. We were really looking forward to trying a new cruise line but unfortunately we were very disappointed and would not sail with Princess again. The ship was nice, the same layout as P&O Azura and Ventura which we have sailed on before. The crew were good, friendly and helpful. The food was really awful, we couldn't believe how bad it was when we first arrived and went to the Horizon Cafe on deck 15. All I could find that I could eat was bread and cheese, nothing seemed to match and the quality was poor. We hoped it was just a blip and things would improve. The food in the main dining room was even worse. There was no Sommelier, so a glass of wine was just plonked in front of us by the assistant waiter, not asked to try it or look at the bottle, not a big deal for some but something I would expect in a good restaurant. We were never asked if we would like another drink or an after dinner liqueur. Breakfast in the main dining room was just as bad, waiters walking round offering big bowls of jam and nothing to put them on, toast ordered but never arrived, watered down orange juice. The smallest towels I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Old fashioned television system where you can't view your account and you can only watch a film when it rolls round at a certain time. No kettles and before we booked we were told we could request one for the cabin but this was not true. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Very strange layout and design of the public, lounge and coangegate spaces, some with uncomfortable seats or inappropriate for whatever use. Even the theater seats are without trays, good luck with drinks or playing bingo. The most ... Read More
Very strange layout and design of the public, lounge and coangegate spaces, some with uncomfortable seats or inappropriate for whatever use. Even the theater seats are without trays, good luck with drinks or playing bingo. The most shocking flaw is the positively horrid food being served in the dining rooms. Princess heavily promotes its spectacular food and wines and then proceeds to perform poorly. It is, ultimately, insulting to anyone who can attest to what is real. Fear not, there are even more bars available, just be aware that the alcohol content of the drinks is generally sparse. The ship's library is a sick joke, so bring your own paper copies or load up the Kindle. Being one of the newest ships, a huge disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my 13th Princess cruise. The first and last on the new Royal. My biggest disappointment in the ship is the lack of an outside promenade deck. You are cut off from the sea unless you go to the top of the ship to the jogging track. ... Read More
This was my 13th Princess cruise. The first and last on the new Royal. My biggest disappointment in the ship is the lack of an outside promenade deck. You are cut off from the sea unless you go to the top of the ship to the jogging track. Also a large percentage of the passengers cannot use the stairs because of health and overweight issues. This is a problem because although the ship has around 3500 passengers the number of elevators are the same as ships with 1900 passengers. Loaded elevators stopping at every floor and waiting for elevators a lot. It seems that the same group of people have been cruising for the last 15 years and just getting older and older. Young people are not cruising. Princess seems to just be building bigger ships to cram as many on board as possible while this lasts. I got to know some of the people who work on the ship and learned more than I ever have about working for them in low level positions and am not happy about how they are treated basically as property. I had a great time on my European tours and met many nice people both passengers and crew members. I am not that picky about food and I have always enjoyed it. Some of the musicians were great. Will not be cruising this type of ship again though. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We took this cruise because of the itinerary and the thought of cruising with Princess Lines as my mother inlaw had been on Princess about 7 yrs ago and said it was a five star line. We were so looking forward to it. We have sailed with ... Read More
We took this cruise because of the itinerary and the thought of cruising with Princess Lines as my mother inlaw had been on Princess about 7 yrs ago and said it was a five star line. We were so looking forward to it. We have sailed with Celebrity about 4 times and Holland America about 4 times and we loved sailing with them.tor I must say we were so disappointed with Princess that I would write a reveiw about the cruise. One thing that I must say it has a laundry on every deck and to me thats fantastic and every ship should have one. CABIN... We had a balcony cabin on the 8th deck near the elevators E433, it had plenty of storage which was great. BUT the bed was very hard and uncomfortable. It was a good size cabin but the bathroom was small even for a ships bathroom. DINING... WE had anytime dining as we have had on other cruises and it has worked very well except on the Royal Princess. We went down about 6.15pm and we had to wait for 2 hours to be seated along with everyone else. As you can imagine people wernt happy. The food was always warm and never hot. The service was slow but the waiters were very nice. My husband myself and two of our friends decided to eat upstairs at the buffet from then on. As the days went on more and more people were eating in the buffet to the point of finding a table was very hard to get. Everyone we spoke to said the same thing that they were tired of waiting for a table in the dining room and then getting warm meals. The ship itself dosnt have a mid ships stairway which makes it hard to get about as we always had to wait for a elevavator. It was not uncommon to wait for 4 elevators to go past or stop only to be full. I thought the boat was a very manly, it should of been decorated in bright colours but it was all browns. The plaza in the middle of the ship was very nice. The staff worked hard and were very nice. I dont usually complain but if no-one says anything the problems cant be fixed I guess. I guess in their favour the ship is huge with a lot of people on board. The entertainment was good but the theatre was too small for the amount of people on board. We have decided not to sail on big ships anymore as they lack something and I cant say we will sail on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Details of the Eavesway coach company Princess line provided were useless because the service from Cumbria to Southampton was not running....not enough passengers. A 5 a.m. start 2 x taxi rides and three trains later we arrived. 2 seventy ... Read More
Details of the Eavesway coach company Princess line provided were useless because the service from Cumbria to Southampton was not running....not enough passengers. A 5 a.m. start 2 x taxi rides and three trains later we arrived. 2 seventy two year olds' do not want to lug cases on and off trains. Deluxe balcony cabin with full view was found to be the smallest deluxe cabin we have been in, the whole bathroom was no larger than a wet room and virtually impossible to dress in there. The deluxe balcony was just large enough for one passenger to use the sun bed to lie down, 2nd passenger had to sit up. No wardrobes just a clothes rail. We had paid £4,700 for this. I suffered a very small lip bleed in the night and left a half square centimeter stain on the duvet cover....no worries they turned it round three times to hide it. The large TV had a good selection...if you paid for it. The fact that the Allegro set time dining room was never more than half full speaks volumes for the food. Tasteless, colourless, same vegetables (courgettes and carrots) night after night, with the odd asparagus tip, it was dreadful. All soups were consomme and tasted like Bovril. You could if you wished dine at several a.la carte venus for 25$ each per night? if you wanted a decent meal. The Horizon Bistro which we used at lunch times was again less than good. Dry, chicken, dry turkey, dry chicken, dry turkey. Need we say more. I ended up with cornflakes every day for breakfast - what can you do to a box. Add to this the undrinkable coffee and you are glad you took a drinks package at 1,342 $. At least you could have decent coffee as and when. Although drinks in the room were not included. Bottles of wine to be paid for. They already have the obligatory 15% service charge on drinks etc. Add to this the 276 $ gratuities it is quite a costly experience. All ports were a bus ride from the designated stop apart from 2. Obviously an outrageous charge was made by the ships tour operators for anyone wanting to reach the advertised location. The first port was Guernsey, too rough for the tenders and so a credit of 2.56 $ was awarded. From various feed back given not a lot of information was forthcoming on the trips regarding history etc. Arriving in Dublin, having spent some time teaching the Americans how to say "Dun Laoghaire" because this was on the documentation as to where we were. We took a taxi to Dublin and a taxi back to Dun Loaghaire. Why? The ship was in Dublin Harbour! Disembarkation was fine apart from the thoughts of the journey ahead, back to Cumbria. This ship is a big nothingness, built to cram as many passengers in the 8 accommodation decks as humanly possible. When we read The Sanctuary we assumed it was the top bar with sea views. It turned out to be an open top area which as far as we were aware did not open during the trip. We have cruised on the Explorer and the Voyager, both were an amazing experience from a "things to do" point of view. If anything was going to make us think twice about cruising again this was it. After 26 we're done. Princess never again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We will be cautious about taking another Princess cruise. We bought a UK, Ireland and France trip on the Royal Princess and booked a mini-suite. The mini-suite is highly recommended. We enjoyed it although the SMALL balcony does not ... Read More
We will be cautious about taking another Princess cruise. We bought a UK, Ireland and France trip on the Royal Princess and booked a mini-suite. The mini-suite is highly recommended. We enjoyed it although the SMALL balcony does not permit the crew combining your balcony with a neighbors balcony- which we enjoyed on another cruise we took with friends. We initially booked our flight through Princess. We later changed to another carrier since it was over $2000 cheaper and the new flight had better times for us. Princess, it seems, is adding to the airline prices rather than taking a cut as most travel agents would. Recommend not using Princess for travel arrangements except to get to/from the ship. Also, we met several folks that used an outside tour service in various spots along the way instead of the Princess tours. They claimed to have saved money and receive better service and attention from their small group tour guide vs. Princess vendors. Everything, it seems, is an extra charge. Huge charge for Internet .... $.80/ min They have wireless Internet on the boat that gets good speed and reception but it only allows access to a princess web site. Why would they do that when you shell out $7Gs for a trip? Full trip Internet was $200 or more per person, I think. The connection was advertised as "slow". Everyone we talked to was bummed about the lack of Internet access and costs. I wanted to look up location information or an aspect of history all the time and was denied access unless I shelled out for the fee. This is a must fix issue for me. Glass of wine at dinner costs $9.00. Cocktails cost $9 and up. Wine bottles have a typical restaurant markup (You can't bring your own stuff - except wine for a $15 corkage fee) or ... for the price of $50 PER DAY PER PERSON you can get a drinks package. You do the math. Things I expected to be gratis (included in the trip price) were, annoyingly, "extra". Like if you wanted a coke. Or water. Or a latte. Drinking water is $2 to $3 for a bottle (Viking just gives you a new one each day). Any shore excursion (unless you go on your own) is quite expensive and the prices are posted. However, calculating the total cost of your trip including shore excursions is doable before you commit. Just take the time to look over all the options you want and add them up. Then add the number of drinks / day times $9 to $15/ drink (remember those soft drinks too). Also, remember the automatic 15% gratuity add on. The tour guides are local. We had some that were good and some not so good. The Glasgow guide was excellent. On our French tour to Rouen, the guide was both confused and not understandable. One woman said she was going to ask for a refund. Good luck with that! We were supposed to stop for a half day or so at Guernsey. Didn't happen. Refund offered only for tour costs - we opted for no tour at this stop since all we wanted to see was the town and the Castle which were close by so we will get no refund, I guess. On the other hand, we paid to see Guernsey and did not get to. Waves were too rough, in the captains opinion, for the tender to move people. The Captain was cautious and that was a very good thing, but ..... The charges for a short ride from the boat to the town seemed unreasonable - $90 per person for a bus ride into Edinburgh. We did not review alternatives but a hired car in London costs the same as a ride with a bus full of people through Princess Cruises. The prices for things like sundries, clothing and jewelry were high on the boat even though advertised as duty free discount items. At check-in, the port-side people confiscated my small knife (maybe a 1.25 inch blade?); however, I think the inspector just wanted it. Declared it was "illegal". I asked another security person about it and he said it was OK! So, I am out $30 on that plus the annoyance of having to find another one. Hopefully she or her boyfriend will enjoy it. This was not a good way to start the trip. When I inquired about this "theft" on board, I was informed that the shore side folks were in no way connected to the shipboard folks. The coverlets on the beds were too short. One had the choice of cold feet or uncovered shoulders. This was also a complaint of my 5'2" wife. On the good side, the beds were really comfortable. Compared with Viking (river cruise) the Princess food is just fair. We were continually dazzled by the Viking dinners. We have not yet taken a Viking ocean cruise but look forward to doing so. Viking also had a self service coffee machine that made virtually any kind of coffee drink one would want (gratis) while Princess had a barista approach for a fee. Just another annoying cost. The staff was very good in all respects - so I guess my gripe is with the policy wonks at corporate. We will be cautious taking another Princess cruise because of the death by a thousand cuts pricing policy they have and the lack of Internet, which is essential if one wants to learn about places and historical or current events while on the trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The good things ~ the ship is beautiful and they do a good job maintaining it. The staff is lovely. They are (most of them) dedicated to their passengers and go above and beyond to make sure they have everything they need. The food is ... Read More
The good things ~ the ship is beautiful and they do a good job maintaining it. The staff is lovely. They are (most of them) dedicated to their passengers and go above and beyond to make sure they have everything they need. The food is pretty good; which says a lot considering they feed over 3,500 passengers ALL DAY, plus the crew. The shows are really well done and average 30 minutes each, just right timing. Other than the first and last days, the ports are great and there is plenty of time to see a lot. The biggest negative: The British Isles cruise was 12 days and the casino was open for 3 of them. If you don't like to gamble then that's no big deal for you. The only reason I can ever talk my husband into cruising is because he knows he can gamble every night and I will amuse myself with shows, etc. (and a good bit of gambling as well.) The ship does not go far enough into international waters to allow the casino to be open. No big deal, in theory. Had Princess listed that anywhere in the information or on the web site we would have booked another itinerary. They list all their rules regarding which ship allows this, etc. and brag about how great their casino on the Royal Princess is. What they don't tell you is that you will only be allowed to gamble for three days and then a few random hours on another day. Better yet, if you ask about the lack of play time they look at you like you have a problem. We have contacted the managers of the casino, the manager of the hotel and the customer service department. The casino manager felt it harder than we did. He doesn't get paid for his days off. It's hurting him and his staff. The hotel manager ignored our complaint and home office has not bothered to return calls or emails. When you pay over $15k for a cruise, plus airfare, excursions, etc and are a platinum member of the group, you expect at least the courtesy of a return phone call. Bottom line on this: they have our money so who cares how we feel? Additionally ~ embarkation was very sloppily handled by folks who had no idea what they were doing. The first day was a port with tenders to the island. It rained and was cold and windy. We saw elderly passengers huddled on the dock waiting for tenders for over 1.5 hours. They didn't have enough tenders in the water to accommodate the passengers. Several of the buses used for the various excursions broke down and some guests didn't return from the Edinburgh Tattoo until after 3am. The last day was listed as Normandy / Paris. That's not necessarily truthful. Le Havre is a cute little city where we docked. The place had a lot of neat shops but they were all closed because they don't operate on Mondays. Paris is 2.5 hours in one direction and Normandy 2.5 hours in the opposite direction. That's 5 hours of driving time and doesn't leave a lot of time to adequately see all that you might want to. Needless to say, this entire experience has put us off cruising for a while, especially where Princess is concerned. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Where do I begin- Let's see- embarkation fine. Suite really beautiful and terrible at the same time. I'll explain.. Took the largest suite-deck 12- high up, right under the bridge in the front of the ship. My wife and I are ... Read More
Where do I begin- Let's see- embarkation fine. Suite really beautiful and terrible at the same time. I'll explain.. Took the largest suite-deck 12- high up, right under the bridge in the front of the ship. My wife and I are good sailors and love the gentle swaying/rocking movement of a ship that extreme ends of ship might be subject to. At speed, or in rough weather hydrodynamics of hull hitting water created huge BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. Not only loud BOOM but terrible shaking of entire suite-foyer-living room-large bedroom and double bathroom. Lost 4 nights sleep! Not what you want on vacation. Staff sympathetic but what could they do- ship sold out- I was told. We endured, unhappy, but we endured. Food- very inconsistent-the Crown Grill was truly excellent. Had anytime dining. Some, most food really very good if you selected carefully-though I suppose selection is really a matter of taste and so the luck of the draw. Some food not edible so poorly prepared. Food in horizon court surprisingly good. One evening asian soup night. Thought it was gimicky barely paid attention-had to select ingredients and waiter brought it over after a while. It was excellent-best soup I had on board. Also best roasted chicken. Service in dining room variable. Most choose anytime dining. Huge dining room crowded-staff seemed overwhelmed and unusually taciturn for a cruise. Maitre'ds tried very hard and were more than pleasant but more staff were needed to serve. Room steward-Salcedo-a gem, always went out of his way Disembarkation- Had very early flight out of Heathrow. Had to leave the ship by 6:30AM and be on our way. Had lots of luggage. Went four times to desk to arrange help-though reluctant -because we sere in a suite-we were told-imagine-we would have help getting all luggage and selves off. Went 4 times to desk to ensure such an important departure. On morning of nobody showed up!! When I called there was no record of my request and it could not be done. Went to desk fuming YELLED (unlike me). Finally someone helped us. Last night out huge booms and shaking of cabin- I made a fuss-big day tomorrow-they gave us a mini suite for the last night. At least we could sleep. Excursions-Wonderful-loved it all. Saw and did so much. Went on our own to Harland and Wolfe builders of Titanic, in Belfast- Like Titanic Disneyland- a great day! So trip was a mixed bag. Saw and did wonderful things-some bad experiences on ship. And-by the way- it is a huge ship and we have been on even bigger ships (18 cruises). This is the first ship that felt crowded. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our 14th cruise & 2nd with Princess, having previously sailed with them 5 years ago. We were shocked with how the standards have dropped and will not be choosing Princess again... I will begin by discussing the positives & ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise & 2nd with Princess, having previously sailed with them 5 years ago. We were shocked with how the standards have dropped and will not be choosing Princess again... I will begin by discussing the positives & then offer the lowdown on the many reasons we will not choose Princess again. POSITIVES: The itinerary was great and we thoroughly enjoyed every stop with the exception of Helsinki, which was dull and rather boring. Our biggest surprise was Gdansk in Poland, which was beautiful and the people were extremely friendly and accommodating... Would highly recommend this. Our Cabin Steward (Michael) was excellent... Did a great job & was always available and helpful. The nightclub was excellent, with a broad age range, great atmosphere and a smoking area (we both smoke). The other cruise guests were fantastic & we met some great people throughout our cruise. NEGATIVES: Although embarkation in Southampton was excellent, our greeting onto the ship was the worst we have ever had... We entered through a part of the ship usually used by crew, were not greeted at all & left to get on with it. The ship was overall drab, in desperate need of renovation and often quite grubby. The carpet and some of the seating in the self-service dining room was filthy and the service largely matched! For the 1st 10 days, staff were unhelpful and sometimes downright rude... Many passengers complained & I understand that an e-mail was sent out & the attitude (for most) changed considerably. The impression we gained was of corporate greed and a lack of care and attention for guests. There were lots of hidden extras (e.g. an additional service charge on each drink purchased) and an overall reduction of standards. The food was overall cheap, with items such as bread pudding, chocolate bread pudding, rice pudding, tapioca, brisket, sausage & mash etc. etc. Not what you would expect from a supposedly 5* service. One night in the fine dining room, they were serving burger & fries & fried chicken on another night. We took the opportunity to spend an additional $50 and eat at the specialty steak restaurant & although the service & presentation was excellent, the food was simply ok. The only reliable, good quality food was breakfast, which offered a wide variety and good taste. Bar service was particularly poor (especially on the outside decks). I spent 3 hours sunbathing one day & never saw one server in sight. Being a smoker, I did spend extensive periods in the outdoor smoking are on deck 15. During the afternoon, the bar service here was very good, but it closed late afternoon & no service was available all evening. The early morning service here was dreadful, with staff being positively rude when asked for some hot water, skimmed milk or tea bags. There was usually coffee available, but we had to consistently ask for the above items. Throughout the day, there was only one towel station available on deck 14 and tea/coffee making facilities only available in the self-service restaurant... Not good for our disabled travellers. When we travelled with Princess 5 years ago, I would definitely have given them 5 stars, but sadly, I would struggle with 3 at this point. They simply can't even begin to compete with companies such as Royal Caribbean or Celebrity... By far our worst cruise experience! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our 14th cruise & 2nd with Princess, having previously sailed with them 5 years ago. We were shocked with how the standards have dropped and will not be choosing Princess again... I will begin by discussing the positives & ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise & 2nd with Princess, having previously sailed with them 5 years ago. We were shocked with how the standards have dropped and will not be choosing Princess again... I will begin by discussing the positives & then offer the lowdown on the many reasons we will not choose Princess again. POSITIVES: The itinerary was great and we thoroughly enjoyed every stop with the exception of Helsinki, which was dull and rather boring. Our biggest surprise was Gdansk in Poland, which was beautiful and the people were extremely friendly and accommodating... Would highly recommend this. Our Cabin Steward (Michael) was excellent... Did a great job & was always available and helpful. The nightclub was excellent, with a broad age range, great atmosphere and a smoking area (we both smoke). The other cruise guests were fantastic & we met some great people throughout our cruise. NEGATIVES: Although embarkation in Southampton was excellent, our greeting onto the ship was the worst we have ever had... We entered through a part of the ship usually used by crew, were not greeted at all & left to get on with it. The ship was overall drab, in desperate need of renovation and often quite grubby. The carpet and some of the seating in the self-service dining room was filthy and the service largely matched! For the 1st 10 days, staff were unhelpful and sometimes downright rude... Many passengers complained & I understand that an e-mail was sent out & the attitude (for most) changed considerably. The impression we gained was of corporate greed and a lack of care and attention for guests. There were lots of hidden extras (e.g. an additional service charge on each drink purchased) and an overall reduction of standards. The food was overall cheap, with items such as bread pudding, chocolate bread pudding, rice pudding, tapioca, brisket, sausage & mash etc. etc. Not what you would expect from a supposedly 5* service. One night in the fine dining room, they were serving burger & fries & fried chicken on another night. We took the opportunity to spend an additional $50 and eat at the specialty steak restaurant & although the service & presentation was excellent, the food was simply ok. The only reliable, good quality food was breakfast, which offered a wide variety and good taste. Bar service was particularly poor (especially on the outside decks). I spent 3 hours sunbathing one day & never saw one server in sight. Being a smoker, I did spend extensive periods in the outdoor smoking are on deck 15. During the afternoon, the bar service here was very good, but it closed late afternoon & no service was available all evening. The early morning service here was dreadful, with staff being positively rude when asked for some hot water, skimmed milk or tea bags. There was usually coffee available, but we had to consistently ask for the above items. Throughout the day, there was only one towel station available on deck 14 and tea/coffee making facilities only available in the self-service restaurant... Not good for our disabled travellers. When we travelled with Princess 5 years ago, I would definitely have given them 5 stars, but sadly, I would struggle with 3 at this point. They simply can't even begin to compete with companies such as Royal Caribbean or Celebrity... By far our worst cruise experience! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
About 5 years ago we did a cruise with Princess to Panama. It was absolutely outstanding. Thus, we were very excited at the prospect of being the beneficiaries of the Princess experience once again. We boarded the Caribbean Princess at ... Read More
About 5 years ago we did a cruise with Princess to Panama. It was absolutely outstanding. Thus, we were very excited at the prospect of being the beneficiaries of the Princess experience once again. We boarded the Caribbean Princess at Southampton at the Queen Elizabeth terminal. Check in involved queuing but nothing too terrible. In reading this review there are a few points that should be borne in mind. First of all Princess describes itself as ‘5’ star. I would award them ‘2’ at best. Second, Princess has made a big deal of its 50th anniversary; thus we expected something a bit special to mark this. Apart from a grotty tote back with flimsy handles, they may as well not have bothered! The whole 50th Anniversary thing is a vacuous and deceptive PR stunt to attract you to book with them this year. Don’t be conned! In the past, when we have boarded, we have been welcomed either on to a deck or into the ship’s atrium. Often we have been offered a glass of sparkling wine or orange juice etc. Not so with Princess. We entered the ship on Deck 4 into a grotty crew area. No welcome, no staff about… nothing. This was our first view of this shabby ship. Similarly, when we found our cabin we were immediately struck by the drab corridors made even more unattractive by the temporary curtains installed on loading/unloading day. However, we were very impressed with the sped that our luggage was delivered to the cabin. Also, our cabin stewards was warm, welcoming and very helpful. After the obligatory lifeboat drill we sought out the Horizon Court dining room. We were absolutely shocked by just how shabby this area is. Not only were the carpets well-worn, they were dirty. In fact I have rarely seen anything quite so disgusting! If I had walked into a restaurant on land with such filthy carpets and seating, I would have walked straight out again. The food on the ship ranged from quite good to dreadful. On the first evening in the main dining room I had the shrimp bisque. I swear that this was cheap tinned tomato soup! On another occasion, we attended the dining room on a formal night and were served burger and chips! The food was basically cheap. Cuts like brisket! One memorable dish was the cup cakes with bacon bits on them!!! There was certainly a large variety of food on board. However, they also ran out of things… like water biscuits for the cheese…. or decent cheese! We were usually served that cheap plastic cheese… Many other areas of the ship were dirty or worn to an unacceptably low standard. As smokers we were treated as second-class citizens. We had a small area at the front of the ship that was grimy. In the morning we were treated to a flask of coffee but regularly battled to persuade staff to fetch some hot water for tea. My partner was told by one particularly unhelpful member of staff that if she wanted hot water she should get it herself! This brings me to the staff generally. We did come across a few very friendly and helpful staff. However, it was clear that the staff were generally pretty miserable and sullen. This was our 14th cruise and we have NEVER experienced anything like it. Indeed, for the first time ever, I refused to pay gratuities (although I made sure that our excellent cabin steward was ripped appropriately). The entertainment was variable. We saw two very good comedians and an outstanding singer (the current lead singer of the Hollies). However, we also saw the worst comedian I have ever seen. Droves of people walked out of the theatre during all three of his shows. He was embarrassingly dreadful. The singers and bands in the lounges were mediocre at best. Strangely, a real comeraderie developed over the fortnight between the many victims of Princess’s greed and lousy service. Everyday there was new story of lousy and uncaring service. One couple we met described how their cabin was so filthy on the day of departure than she spent a couple of hours cleaning it. Another woman told us how she struggled to get the machines in the laundry to work and, despite several phone calls to reception to send someone down to fix it, no help arrived. Another described the indignation of her cabin steward when she asked the woman to vacuum as it had not been done in the first 10 days. I could go on and on. During the cruise we made friends with a number of disabled people. They all complained that the shore excursions were often not accommodating of their needs. In St Petersburg they were unable to access ANY of the tours at all. There was also no disabled access to the Sanctuary (the adults only area of the ship) for people with a disability. What was very clear to all of us was the general dumbing down of the whole experience… No sail away party… no canapes in the evenings… no late night buffets featuring food or ice carving… the daily programmes were dull and unimaginative. It really was like Butlins at sea (my apologies if I am insulting Butlins). Shore excursions were of good quality but characteristically expensive. The destinations (apart from Helsinki which failed to impress) were all fascinating. My final point is that no two passengers on this ship paid the same price for the cruise. It was very interesting to note that Princess seems to make up their pricing as they go along. We did relatively well having paid about £1200 each with $645 onboard credit. However, others paid vastly more for even inside cabins (we had a balcony). We made a large number of friends on the ship. All, without exception, were bitterly disappointed that Princess seems to have taken a nose-dive in terms of quality. None of us will consider ever travelling with Princess again. Sadly, like so many American corporates, it is all about squeezing every dollar out of with increasing prices and decreasing quality. I am utterly amazed by the positive reviews of this ship on this site. My strong advice to anyone thinking about a cruise with Princess is to be very careful. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
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