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8 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
Sail Date: October 2018
This is the best Princess Cruise ship I have been on. The staff were kind, gracious and efficent, the ship was in very good condition and a pleasure to sail on. The ports of call were interesting and the shore excursions were very good. ... Read More
This is the best Princess Cruise ship I have been on. The staff were kind, gracious and efficent, the ship was in very good condition and a pleasure to sail on. The ports of call were interesting and the shore excursions were very good. The disembarkation at each port was efficiently handled and with very little stress on our part (the passengers). The staff were efficient and courteous at all times even in the face of some passengers “behaving badly”. I would like to see less marketing from the Art Auction, Efffy and the like onboard but this seems to be the norm and for some strange reason we cannot get rid of them. If we must have them I would like to see them “less in your face” but that is my only peeve in relation to this cruise. The entertainment was a bit ordinary and the further from England you got the worse the entertainment became but this was of the least importance and as I did enjoy it I did not bother to go. Would I travel on another Princess Cruise definately YES. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We just came back from an amazing cruise onboard the Princess Sapphire! The crew on board was awesome. The Cruise Director Paul and his counterpart were great. The morning show on the TV was very informative, funny and entertaining to ... Read More
We just came back from an amazing cruise onboard the Princess Sapphire! The crew on board was awesome. The Cruise Director Paul and his counterpart were great. The morning show on the TV was very informative, funny and entertaining to say the least. We had several great experiences on the ship: Pros: Employees were extremely friendly Food was very good, lots of variety Atmosphere was very relaxing Casino was enjoyable (won $1500) Rooms were clean, large and the bed was awesome. We were in a mini-suite. Port of Calls were very organized, easy on and off. never waited more than 15 minutes. Did not seem crowded at all. No lines anywhere more than 10 people. Lots of fun game shows/bingo/music and events. Cons: Embarkation from Southampton was delayed due to all the visa's needed. Showed up quite early and still had to wait almost 3 hours to get on ship plus we left and hour or so late. Cruise is geared towards the mature crowd. Probably not a good fit for the younger family looking for the big slides, characters and family entertainment. Bathrooms seem to smell quite a bit. Maintenance crew was always working on our balcony. Didn't want a bunch of people in my room while I was not there. Room key never seemed to work. Had to go to customer service about 8 times. This was a very enjoyable cruise. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am really into the whole cruising thing now. Thanks Princess. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
In late October 2018 my wife and I embarked on a 38-day Princess cruise from Southampton to Singapore via the Suez Canal, the choice of cruise was largely influenced by three of the ports of call. Highlight number one was Malta and ... Read More
In late October 2018 my wife and I embarked on a 38-day Princess cruise from Southampton to Singapore via the Suez Canal, the choice of cruise was largely influenced by three of the ports of call. Highlight number one was Malta and Valletta the capital, steeped in history and grand historic buildings this was a truly magnificent location and I would certainly like to return there one day. Highlight number two was the Suez Canal transit, while strictly not a port of call this amazing feat of engineering continually amazed with its everchanging vistas and was so unexpectedly different from what I had envisaged. Alas due to flash flooding and unfortunate death of a dozen lives we were unable to visit Petra in Jordan and the third highlight on our list, but at least we were safe and able to continue with our holiday. Sapphire Princess lived up to the usual excellent Princess standards of food and service, but it was the steam room and sauna that stood out as being properly hot with the facilities designated their own proper area and not out in the public arena, much better than on many other ships. One down side (my hair grows fast) being that I was starting to look scruffy and needing a haircut. I decided I couldn’t wait and would have to check out the salon and see if they do men’s haircuts. No problem and I was soon looking much neater and was pleasantly surprised at the price I was charged. Another great feature we have found on Princess ships is the self-service laundrettes (necessary on cruises of seven or more days) as we like to do our own laundry, maybe this is an Australasian thing? only trust this is a feature that is still being designed for and included on all new ships. Ps I have plenty of photos. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
The ports and length of cruise was why we decieded on this cruise. Wanted to see each one of the ports. Some excursions booked with the Princess and some through other companys. Lo ved our large balcony. Lots of storage space. All our ... Read More
The ports and length of cruise was why we decieded on this cruise. Wanted to see each one of the ports. Some excursions booked with the Princess and some through other companys. Lo ved our large balcony. Lots of storage space. All our bags fit under our beds. Magnets hooks were a great idea for our walls to hold our laynards. Plenty of hangers for two women. food was good, but expected a little better. Specalty Italian Resturant was nothing special. Entertainment was good. Easy on and off ship.We felt the drink package was worth the money, due to all the water, pop, coffee, and alcoholic drinks. Felt wine was better then mixed drinks. Staff was friendly, especially in the wine bar. Beds very comfortable! Was slightly disapointed we never received a towel animal. Hot tub at the back of the ship, was a great find, No one else there! loved our first cruise! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I went on the London (Southampton) to Rome 10-day portion of this 35+ day cruise. The itinerary went on through Dubai, India, to Singapore. Most of the people I met were on for the full cruise. This was my 10th cruise, 9th with ... Read More
I went on the London (Southampton) to Rome 10-day portion of this 35+ day cruise. The itinerary went on through Dubai, India, to Singapore. Most of the people I met were on for the full cruise. This was my 10th cruise, 9th with Princess, but my first time seeing Europe by cruise. I am 60 years old, live in the Midwest US, and a solo traveler. The ports were the determining factor in choosing this sailing. Realizing that I could have a few days in London on the front end, and make stops at LeHavre (to see Mont St. Michel) and Gibraltar (to see the Barbary Apes) made it an easy decision. Then I also decided as long as I was doing this, I would stay in Rome two days as well at the end. Obviously I am a Princess fan or I would not be a repeat customer. I had a fabulous time on this trip. The ports were one thrill after another. Although I can be very anxious leading up to a vacation, once the vacation is underway, I like to relax and am not looking for things to pick apart or criticize. I made my air arrangements through Princess to fly non-stop to London Heathrow and also arranged a pre-cruise package at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel. The hotel stay was the only disappointing part of the trip. This is an expensive property and based on what I was paying, I expected superlative service, which I did not receive. My room also had several problems that were not remedied. I felt maybe it was because I was a female traveling alone, but it could also have been that I was there the same time as the NFL London football game. The Tennessee Titans staff and cheerleaders were staying there, and I simply wasn't important enough to receive any type of adequate service. I was out exploring London all day during my 3 days there, so I wasn't at the hotel during the times the Princess desk was open, to make a complaint. I did complain to the front desk and I also gave a negative review in the Marriott satisfaction survey. Both resulted in nothing but excuses, double-talk, and an acknowledgement that "my expectations hadn't been met", but not even so much as an apology for that. My flight to London was fine. I was very surprised at how long it took to clear immigration and passport control. Arriving on a Thursday morning, in the latter part of October, I didn't expect it to be so crowded. I had tried to research online what an expected wait time would be and it seemed to be 20-30 minutes, but I was in line for well over an hour. I did note that about one-third of the available desks for the immigration/passport control workers did not have anyone working at them. I'm sure it would be much worse if arriving on a weekend day or during the summer tourist season, so keep that in mind if you're flying in same day for a cruise out of London. The cruise line can't do anything to help you expedite getting through that line. Having Global Entry status would be the way to speed it up. Princess sent a driver with a Mercedes sedan to pick me up, which was a very nice touch. Other than the problematic hotel room and the inhospitable attitude of the JW Marriott employees, my 3 days in London were great. On the 4th day, we left on a coach for the approximate 2 hour drive to Southampton around 10:00 or 10:30. As a result, we were in Southampton, I think around 12:15 and was on the ship very quickly. The line to check in was very short, but there were a lot of people that had already been through check-in and not yet allowed on the ship. I was able to board immediately, I guess as a perk of being a platinum Princess member. The safety briefing was fine. We were not required to bring life jacket to the briefing, which was nice. They had reworked the old "Love Boat" theme song to lyrics, which was goofy. I had a mini suite on Deck 9. It was a nice cabin on the port side, with nice balcony. The new Princess bed is marvelous. Cabin attendant was fine, he was personable and did a good job. It seemed like he was always in the hall somewhere and he would inquire as to where I was going- I think so as to have an idea of approximately how long I would be out of the cabin. The cabin was always tidied up when I returned. I have seen other comments about how Sapphire does not seem crowded and I agree with that. Other than the shows and the daily trivia sessions in Explorer Lounge, it always felt spacious, easy to find a table or a seat, even in the Piazza. I love walking around the Promenade Deck for several miles. There were never many people doing that. I also make it a habit to use the stairs instead of elevators during a cruise and the stairs were not crowded either. The International Café and the Horizon Court buffet were never as crowded as I have experienced on other Princess cruises. I thought the ship was in very good condition after its dry dock earlier this year. Then again, I am not going to walk around the ship with a magnifying glass searching for peeling paint or rust spots. I did not participate in a lot of ship activities. This was a port-intensive cruise and after being out most of the day, I was happy to do my walk, get something to eat, or sit on deck or in a lounge and read. I did enjoy Movies under the Stars and liked the selection of movies. I wasn't interested in the production shows; I would have liked to see the comedian, but I arrived too late and it was standing room only. I did not eat any meals in the dining room. I tried the Crab Shack, and otherwise ate at the buffet, the pizzeria, International Café or the burger stand. I also had room service continental breakfast on a couple of mornings when I had early tours. I did 3 Princess shore excursions, 1 independent excursion, (arranged through Cruise Critic Roll Call), skipped going ashore in one port, and walked around on my own in one port. The first stop was LeHavre, and I did Princess excursion to Mont St Michel, which is a monastery and walled town dating back to 900's. I have wanted to see it for a long time, but the last time I was in France, I ran out of time. It's a long way from the port to Mont St. Michel - about 3 hours each way, but it was worth it to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. The guide spoke very good English and was very informative. Almost every tour I did on this trip uses earphones with a small radio type device that you can hang around your neck. This was very helpful as you did not need to stay right next to the guide to hear what was being said. Outside the monastery, the walled city is mostly restaurants and souvenir shops. There was time to walk about, do a bit of shopping and have lunch. In Lisbon, I did an excursion arranged on the Cruise Critic roll call with Spain Day Tours. I didn't know much about Lisbon and was feeling kind of "meh" about the excursion. Well, I was wrong. The guide was my favorite of the cruise and the trip was fabulous. we went to the villages of Cascais and Sintra. Sintra has the Pena Palace which was formerly the summer residence of the Portuguese royal family. It was spectacular and very interesting- again, thanks to the very well educated and informative guide. Back in Lisbon, we also stopped at the beautiful Jeronimos Cathedral - very worth a visit and the Monument to the Discoverers. A great great day out and she made sure we were back to the ship in plenty of time (there were multiple people on the tour afraid we would miss sailing) In Gibraltar, I did not do a tour. I knew what I wanted to do - ride the cable car to the top of the rock and see the Barbary Apes. Hint: if you want to do this, buy your cable car ticket in advance online. Gibraltar has a website with a lot of information about what you can see there and you can buy the cable car ticket. I decided to walk to the cable car as it was about 1.5 miles from the port, but I got hopelessly lost - after 45 minutes I wound up back near the ship and had to start over. Didn't see any cabs. Finally found it and then I was so very happy to have booked in advance. The line to buy tickets was immense. Probably 3 blocks long easily. Even with the advance ticket, it still took 60-90 minutes to work through the line to where you were actually on the cable car. It's a 6 minute ride to the top of the rock. The Barbary Apes are the only wild monkeys living in Europe and legend has it that if they ever leave, then Gibraltar will no longer be a part of the United Kingdom. The government cares for them and feeds them. They are extremely habituated to tourists and will try to snatch plastic bags from you in the hopes of getting a snack. One did make an unsuccessful grab for my bag. They are too cute for words. There is a snack bar/gift shop up at the top and the monkeys are forever trying to get in. I sat there for about 30 minutes having a soda and a monkey got in 3 or 4 times, once successfully, as he leapt on a table , grabbed someone's sandwich, knocked over their drinks before being chased out. Barcelona was rainy and chilly. I had a Princess tour to Montserrat, which is a monastic retreat and home of the Black Madonna. Montserrat is in the mountains and the temperature was in the upper 30's - not what I expected on a Mediterranean cruise. It was a half day tour and we did not have a lot of time at Montserrat, even though the guide gave us 30 additional minutes. The line for the Black Madonna was so long that I didn't think I could see it and anything else, so chose to skip that and explore the rest. On this tour, the coach was full of sick people. The coughing and sneezing was intense. I know there is not much a cruise line can do about this, but it was very annoying. Because I was in an enclosed space with so many people that were sick, I wound up getting sick. The next stop was Toulon. I had originally booked an all-day excursion, but it was raining again, and I was already starting to feel a cold coming on, so I cancelled it and stayed on the ship for a day. The next stop was Livorno for Florence and Pisa. My Florence tour had been changed to where we were not going to be able to see the David statue, so I changed to a half day tour of Pisa instead. It was a very enjoyable tour, another really good guide. The leaning tower is so iconic, it is a jaw dropping moment to walk around a corner into the Square of Miracles and see it there. I kind of wished I had booked the tour to climb the tower. Maybe next time. It was amusing to see so many people trying to pose so that their pictures look like they are leaning against or propping up the tower. It was also a very nice sunny day. We docked in Rome on Halloween. I had booked the Rome Airport Hilton as I had a 6:00 am flight two days later. It was a very nice hotel with very courteous and helpful staff. I did a walking tour of the Vatican (breathtaking and overwhelming) and a walking tour of the Capuchin bone chapel and the Priscilla catacombs. The next day I went to the Colosseum and walked around in rain all day. I flew home via Amsterdam. Here's another hint - if you are connecting through Amsterdam, make sure you have a couple of hours between flights. Fortunately I did. I had no idea that even while just changing flights in Amsterdam, you need to go through a long passport control line. All in all, it was an amazing trip. I think the biggest surprise was how very crowded everything (off the ship) was. London, Rome, and every port - very very crowded. Buses and subways in London and Rome jammed. Every museum, or church, or monument - jammed, with the Vatican being the most crowded of all. I did not expect this in late October and would never go to Europe in the summer high season! But Princess did their usual fabulous job and this itinerary was excellent. I highly enjoyed it and am looking forward now to a Scandinavian itinerary in a couple of years. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Main reason was to go along the Suez Canal and then see Petra. We saw and liked the Suez, but Petra had to be cancelled due to the flood there the day before our arrival. Practically nearly all of the other ports we had visited ... Read More
Main reason was to go along the Suez Canal and then see Petra. We saw and liked the Suez, but Petra had to be cancelled due to the flood there the day before our arrival. Practically nearly all of the other ports we had visited before, and this ship and it's itinerary (apart from the Sea or Sun Princess World Cruise) go through the Suez and gave the chance of going to Petra. Had we seen advertised before we booked, various section itineraries of this cruise we would have just taken the Rome to Dubai section, and missed out the problem and cost of the Indian Visa's, plus the trouble the Sapphire Princess had with them when we were about to arrive at Cochin. Fortunately, we had ours on a thumb-drive and were able to have Sapphire Princess customer service reprint them. A lot of people had problems there. The Sapphire Princess also charged excessively for shuttle buses that were probably put on by the ports, for which Princess would probably pay only a pittance. The shows were sub-standard and a lot of passengers were complaining about them and walking out. There was little in the way of activities, and the Cruise Director staff were very loud, would shout or scream even though they were using a microphone. The Cruise Director Manager, Paul, would 'put down' his female staff and it was 'beneath' him to talk to passengers. On the whole, this is the WORST CRUISE we have ever taken with Princess, and it will take a lot of consideration before joining Princess again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Overall a great cruise with nothing negative to comment on. Great itinerary, excellent ships staff, good food good entertainment, what more could one want. Sailing down the Solent in daylight was a great experience, a good selection of ... Read More
Overall a great cruise with nothing negative to comment on. Great itinerary, excellent ships staff, good food good entertainment, what more could one want. Sailing down the Solent in daylight was a great experience, a good selection of continental ports, the weather could have been better but did not impinge on our enjoyment.visiting the many classical sights through the Mediterranean including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the monastery at Montserrat in Spain, the walking tour of Rouen, Marseille, the ultimate tour of Rome including the Vatican, Collisseum, the Sistine Chapel, the buried city of Pompeii, Valletta in Malta, the Parthenon in Athens, the acropolis of Linda’s in Rhodes, and transiting the Suez Canal. A bit of a disappointment at Aqaba where due to flash flooding Petra was closed but relief that we were not there the previous day and caught in the chaos. Dubai as usual was an eye opener including visiting the Q.E. 2. First visit to India, Sri Lanka and repeat visit to Kuala Lumpur with final and reluctant disembarkation at Singapore. No issues with the food or service, theatre entertainment dropped off after Dubai and the greatest disappointment of losing our electric jug on the last day.Just hope it returns for our cruises next year. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
I chose this cruise as an alternative to visiting the Pacific again. I stayed in Southampton prior to the cruise taking the NEX bus down from Heathrow T3 for £19. Very easy to do and it took less than 2h. Embarkation was running ... Read More
I chose this cruise as an alternative to visiting the Pacific again. I stayed in Southampton prior to the cruise taking the NEX bus down from Heathrow T3 for £19. Very easy to do and it took less than 2h. Embarkation was running smoothly until they had a problem with the gangway and they didn’t board passengers for at least half an hour. Of course, people kept piling into the terminal. They kept announcing for people to sit down but there weren’t any seats left! Eventually they began boarding in priority order…elite first. As I had a non-EU passport, it was taken off me and returned after we left Lisbon on Day 11. A photocopy was sent to my cabin to carry with me while ashore. I was really pleased with my cabin when I saw the big TV, great for viewing and I also had tea and coffee making facilities which I was not expecting. My kind of room. The sun was shining as the 2746 of us (almost 2000 UK, over 600 Elite and over 800 Platinum members and 55 Aussies) as we headed out past the Isle of Wight. We got a great view of the USS Truman aircraft carrier anchored off the coast. It was a little rough going across the Bay of Biscay and we made our scheduled stop in Vigo. Hurricane Leslie had blown up a storm near Madeira so we did not stop there. Instead the ship sailed full speed to Lanzarote and we had an extra afternoon and evening there rather than just staying at sea. The ports of Tenerife, Gran Canara and Lisbon followed. I got up early (about 7.30am) to see the landmarks of Lisbon from the water as we sailed up the river. It had been raining but the sun came out and it looked great. Port information lectures were given by Debbie Shields who was excellent. She mixed history with relevant information for sightseeing and visuals to assist. She was available for questions and the lectures were put on the TV. I attended the lectures but also referred back to some of the info on TV. I also attended some of the lectures given by Jevan Morris that focussed on Lord Nelson. Very interesting. I’m not into games, trivia and shopping so although plentiful I didn’t attend any of those activities. Ann Widdecombe, the former UK politician gave an interview with the CD. I had never heard of her but was told she was good so I wandered down to the theatre about 15 mins before the talk which was at 3pm. I’ve never seen so many packed in and around the theatre. You physically couldn’t get in. Apparently the first thing she asked the CD is why Princess didn’t have a bigger theatre. I ask the same question. With 2 shows at night (8pm and 10.15pm), 2746 passengers, 879 theatre seats, more than a third miss out every day. I went to the 10.15pm show as you could never get in to the 8pm show. I always enjoy the shows whether it be the Princess entertainers or guest entertainers. Some I’ve seen before but I go again as they are great entertainment. I wish there was a more equitable system or a larger theatre so everyone could get to see what they have paid for. I had dinner each night in the Vivaldi dining room with a few regulars and a few that joined the table just for that evening. I had room service breakfast each day served by the same young lady and ate at the buffet or grabbed a piece of pizza for lunch. I was delighted to eat those old English favourites like my mum and gran used to make and I hadn’t eaten for years……bread and butter pudding, various rice puddings, tapioca and even Yorkshire pudding. Cheerful, friendly and professional service by the wait staff. The night we stayed in Lanzarote I was awoken around 2am by the PA system bellowing out for the medical response to team to head to some cabin on the Dolphin deck. It gave me a fright until I came to my senses and realised where I was. Wouldn’t have been at all surprised if there were a few more medical incidents following that. Surely doctors and the rest of the medical staff have pagers to use a night rather than wake up nearly 4000 people. I chose half day shore excursions. Very good with excellent and knowledgeable guides. This gave me a couple of hours to have a wander round when we got back. Its great being able to use your phone to check your account, order breakfast, buy excursions, future cruise deposits. In a few places the internet was hard to connect to. I had 4h complimentary which was plenty to check e-mails and news headlines from home each day without looking for places in port. Overall, an excellent cruise and well worth the 24h flight in economy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Chose this mini-cruise as was due to visit Guernsey & Cherbourg. Also booked an independent tour in Guernsey. The night prior the tour company informed us the ship would not be porting in Guernsey and issued us with full refund. ... Read More
Chose this mini-cruise as was due to visit Guernsey & Cherbourg. Also booked an independent tour in Guernsey. The night prior the tour company informed us the ship would not be porting in Guernsey and issued us with full refund. Nothing from Princess, even tho booked direct, checked website and cruise personaliser all evening, nothing. Arrived at Southampton, very smooth check-in handed stateroom keys and still nothing said, so I asked and, after consulting notes on her desk, the agent confirmed we would not be going to Guernsey due the weather but would visit Brest instead. No other passengers were being informed of the change either (I was listening to others checking in) so the first most people became aware of the change was on arrival in their stateroom where a letter had been left on the bed. Not good enough Princess, especially as your T&C's permit a refund if changes are made by you prior to departure. Anyway, that aside, we booked a mini-suite which was a lovely large cabin with separate seating area, 3 seater sofa, plus good size bathroom. It also had a large balcony, however was on Dolphin Deck which protrudes further outside the ship than the decks above, so every deck above could look down at you which we hated. (See photos) Also the deck furniture appears to suffer the elements more as was quite scruffy. We also had very very noisy neighbours on both sides, groups of girlies celebrating 30th birthdays but who constantly decided to group-sing, shout and scream, bang on friend's cabin doors, slam their own cabin door constantly, and on one side of us they constantly smoked on the balcony. We also saw the same group walking right around the prom deck all with lit cigarettes in hand. We like to have breakfast in the room. We have taken 20 cruises including Cunard and RCI and have always been able to have a decent selection of hot items for a room-service breakfast. Not so on this cruise, the only hot item was an egg bacon and cheese muffin, you could not even order it without cheese as was a pre-sealed microwaveable packed piece of rubbish. You could not even have toast just pastries. So we tried the Horizon Court for breakfast, well the queues were so long that they stretched out the door either end so we gave up. And so we come to the ports, we arrived at the re-scheduled port of Brest on a Sunday. It is completely closed on a Sunday, There were no excursions available either on or off the ship, so the only people walking deserted streets were our fellow cruise passengers, most of whom gave up and returned to the ship shortly after leaving it. Then we arrived at the originally scheduled port of Cherbourg, on a Monday. It too was closed. Shops there open from Tuesdays to Saturdays. The only stores open were the clothes boutiques in the small Les Eleis shopping mall plus the Carrefour supermarket there. Great scheduling Princess! So, this was a taster cruise for us as we had booked a 10 day Caribbean trip in 2019 and wanted to see what Princess would deliver. Sadly, it fell way short of our expectation and so we have now cancelled the other trip. However, one mention must go to the onboard staff, they were excellent, very friendly and a joy to meet. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, which did not disappoint until the last three ports were cancelled due to weather.The ports were:First half of cruise: Guernsey, Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Greenock, Orkney, Invergorden, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, which did not disappoint until the last three ports were cancelled due to weather.The ports were:First half of cruise: Guernsey, Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Greenock, Orkney, Invergorden, Edinburgh, LeHavre, Second half of cruise: Rotterdam, Hamburg..cancelled: Bergen Norway, Belfast and Newfoundland because of extreme weather conditions.Better safe than sorry is the phrase to remember when on the high seas! We flew from the West Coast of the U.S via princess EZAir on Delta Airlines and landed mid morning at Heathrow. Absolutely NO problems w/the flight. I reserved a driver from BA Transfers on line before leaving home. Very easy to set up and the price seemed reasonable for the service..who wants to schlep bags after such a long, LONG flight in a strange city? NOT US. The driver was on time w/a sign w/our name and took us directly to our hotel. He loaded and unloaded our bags. We stayed 3 days in London at the Grosvenor Hotel near Victoria Station. We both LOVED everything about this hotel. I wrote a complete review on TripAdvisor with my Cruise Critic name: Monterey Girll. I reserved tickets for a Buckingham Palace and Gardens Tour for our first day in London before leaving home. It was less than a mile from the Grosvenor. The tour was actually kind of disappointing. Or maybe I was expecting too much. Either way, I was glad we went but I won't go again. There is a kind of outdoor pavilion where you can buy food after the palace tour. Food was just OK. The next day we bought OYSTER cards for travel on the Tube. Kind of like a credit card that you can refill as needed or get any remaining money back before you leave town.It saves you money and time. We went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. You get off and walk a bit in a tunnel and wa-la, there is an entrance to the museum. Very handy on a cold, wet day. Wandered around the clothing, jewelry and silver exhibits. Had a quick bite there in a kind of cafeteria which was OK. Later saw a lovely dining room in the museum where they were serving lunch. I should have done more homework on where to eat in the museum before we left home.Would definitely like to go back someday and explore more of the museum and eat in that lovely dining room. From there we walked to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and surrounding area.I know it was designed and built for kids but honesty, I was underwhelmed. It looked like a giant cement circular slip and slide. No statuary or bubbling fountains. Again, I was glad we went but I won't go again. We had breakfast every day at our hotel. (See my TripAdvisor review of the Grosvenor Hotel) We had dinner one night at a pub across the street called Shakespeare.My fish and chips were perfect. Husband had a kind of French dip sandwich and fries that he also liked., plus a pint. Next night we walked about a block to another pub called Bag O'Nails, which to be honest , the name was what attracted us. I think it must be run by the same people as Shakespeare. Same menu but this place is not nearly as large.OK food. FINALLY, after over a year of planning, we were leaving on our much anticipated cruise!! Booked another driver from BA Transfers who took us from London to Southampton with no problems. Lots of luggage handlers at the pier to take our bags which was much appreciated. Embarkation was very smooth and well organized. I think we were walking on to the ship in about 20 minutes or less.I also think our room was cleaned and ready..just waited a very short time for our FOUR bags to arrive. (Don't judge!!) Of course everyone is always directed to the buffet on embarkation day.The buffet area was very large and well run. Usually these buffet places are packed and chaotic the first day. We were able to find a place to sit and eat and had drinks served within minutes. If we were not off the ship, we had lunch either here or outside at the hamburger grill near the pool. The buffet area was immaculate and the dining area adjacent was also kept very clean.IMO, there was always something good to eat for lunch and the desserts were excellent. On two occasions we also ate dinner at the buffet. Just didn't feel like getting dressed up for FOUR formal nights. One formal for each cruise would have been plenty. Or simply do away w/formal nights altogether.. Our evening meals were honestly just OK. I understand that when serving thousands of people that you can't get too creative about what is served.The portions seemed smaller, or should I say *more like normal* than cruises in the past, which everyone I talked to agreed it was a good idea. We felt everything was quite bland. Many of the cuts of meat were more fat and gristle than meat. It took an incredibly long time to get served our meals in the dining room, especially on the second half of the cruise. 45 minutes wait for our appetizer every night ? 20 minutes for after dinner coffee, etc to even be offered? I absolutely do not blame our servers who were hustling nonstop. We blame it on the regular dining rooms being very understaffed.We wondered if wait staff is being diverted to these money making specialty restaurants at the regular dining room 's expense? Speaking of which..we ate dinner one night at the crown Grill. Totally worth the cover charge, in our opinion. The service and food were beyond reproach. The only gripe I had about the Crown Grill is about the guy who came to our table to pitch the wine and food pairing event. He was everywhere! He even came to our table in the regular dining room and the bar we were seated at . We felt like we were in Mexico where the condo salesmen hound you everywhere you go. I know it was his job to do so but enough is enough! We also ate lunch one day at the sushi bar for a fun change of pace. They have a $20.00 special which provided plenty of food for the two of us to share., There are also several little things you can order for free if you buy a drink. I had FREE steamed edame beans added to our lunch special. Delish. It took so long to get thru our meals..sometimes 2 1/2 hours, we never made any of the shows.We had "anytime dining" and were always seated by 5:30 at a table for 4 or 6. Still don't know what the hold up was but we always missed the early show. We were off the ship in every port so we were just too tired to make the late show. Likewise, never on board for the enrichment programs and activities. I did go to the library and found NO books in English. Very disappointed. A lovely room with pretty much nothing in it. Next time I will bring my own books. We tried to download some books while in port but the connection was either nonexistent or just too darn slow to make it worthwhile . Lesson learned there. We did enjoy listening to the various musical entertainment in the public rooms. Never actually saw a movie on the Big Screen outdoors but again, enjoyed listening to music broadcasts out there while we were having burgers and fries for lunch.BTW, the outdoor movies are shown in your cabin the next day. The movie selection on the TV was actually quite decent. Our favorite bar was Crooners and our favorite server was Glady, who worked there most evenings. Given the northerly itinerary, I was surprised not to find an indoor pool. Until our cruise was diverted south, it was just too cold to use the outdoor pools. Some people braved the cold and wind and sometimes rain, but not me! I joined the "Enclave" in the spa area which was a mistake. I have used and enjoyed the Persian Gardens on other ships and thought this would be pretty much the same.I blame myself for not paying for a one day pass to see if I liked it before paying for the second half of the cruise. There was a largish kind of hot tub pool w/various water features, heated tile lounges, misting showers, two heated waterbed type loungers and a couple steam rooms and I think a hot sauna. Trouble is this was all in a windowless area where the walls and ceiling are painted black. I was usually in there alone which was just plain creepy.The dressing room was bright and clean w/loads of windows. Go figure. We both had haircuts on board. Mine was fantastic and I was very happy with the service and the results. Husband not thrilled with what he thought was a butcher job. I thought he looked great. Guess it's a matter of opinion and the luck of the draw when it comes to hair stylists. Neither of us used the gym , although my husband walked the track every morning. It was usually cold everywhere we went with few exceptions. Bring layers to include at least a warm jacket, hat and scarf. Gloves would also be good.We took privately arranged tours in almost every port. I have made these arrangements for small groups of fellow Cruise Critic members in the past but not this cruise. This time I left the work to others and was very satisfied with the prices, our guides and their tours. We were NEVER late coming back to the ship but we had to wait to leave port a couple hours once for a very late ship sponsored excursion. Please don't be afraid to join a private excursion you see on the Cruise Critic site. And join as soon as you see one you think you would like even if the cruise is months and months off. These private excursions fill up fast. If you snooze, you loose! They are always, ALWAYS cheaper and less crowded and more personal. My only advice would be not to go real far away when the ship will be leaving port early . As a rule of thumb, we always planned TO BE BACK ON BOARD at least 2 hours before the all aboard time to allow for unseen delays and we have always gotten back in plenty of time. Just remember that these private tour companies would not be in business long if they were late and their clients missed the ship! Their livelihood depends on us cruise passengers and our good reviews. If you want any info about any of the ports and private tours we used, please feel free to email me. I am happy to share the names of the companies and guides we used. We would definitely go on this cruise itinerary again.We pretty much got good value for our money. We loved every port and wish we could have visited all that were scheduled. Maybe another time if the weather cooperates. I probably would NOT cruise on the Royal Princess for this itinerary again. This ship seems better suited to warmer climates. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have been on 8 cruises so far-Princess, Carnival, Holland America, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, length of cruise and the way the days at sea were distributed between the port days. It ... Read More
We have been on 8 cruises so far-Princess, Carnival, Holland America, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, length of cruise and the way the days at sea were distributed between the port days. It worked out very well. We love the overall design of the ship. Many nice areas to sit, listen to music, have a drink, or be alone (on our balcony). The crew was IMPECCABLE from start to finish! Everyone greeted you with a smile, even if just passing in the hall. The bar areas (our favorites were Crooners, Explorers, and Outrigger) lacked in seating, but the drinks were good, bar menu consistent, and staff made the entire experience. The food was adequate. Seated dining is Savoy was a bit disappointing because of wait times for our food, and our lack of interest in the menu. Tables for two are a joke-it feels like you are sitting in your neighbors lap. The Horizons buffet was decent for lunch/dinner. Breakfast was a bit tiring. And it could be crowded at times. But the staff was right on top of getting drinks for guests and cleaning tables. The entertainment was sub par. We never actually made it through an entire singing/dancing show. The piano/violin duo were good. The rest of the music was medium. The DJ in Skywalk was fun! There was a good comedian and a ventriloquist as guest entertainers—they were fun to watch. Our shore excursions were good-staff helpful, guides knowledgeable, bus drivers kept us safe. My only criticism is that we had to pay extra in the ports of Barcelona (5 euros) and Lisbon (16 euros) if we wanted to take the bus into the city center. Not worth it at all-and we ended up only doing our excursion in Lisbon even though we were in port for an extended period of time. Very disappointing. It felt like Princess was nickel and diming the passengers. And we are physically fit-but the ship was so remote we couldn’t walk into the city center. Overall, we had a great time. We would sail on Princess again, but it is not our favorite. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Planned cruise months in advance and I must say a complete waste of money. Buffet staff was great, food was great, room attendant excellent but that was it. Entertainment was a joke, it was brutal. The onboard entertainers were the worse ... Read More
Planned cruise months in advance and I must say a complete waste of money. Buffet staff was great, food was great, room attendant excellent but that was it. Entertainment was a joke, it was brutal. The onboard entertainers were the worse talent I have ever seen. They tried to sing Opera and it was a nightmare.The best act was a singer from New Zealand. They change the itenary so we miss Norway, belfast and new Foundland Canada, reason due to storm Helen. When you look at map and the new ports they took Vigo Spain and Azores their claim was ludicrous, if it was so bad why were we still in Northern Atlantic.They gave us a $200 credit, who cares. What was worse was ESPN went down sept 18 and I was told 5 different stories by the staff at guest services and I challenge them until a supervisor got involved. Resolution I had to purchase a internet plan to stream an event. I told the manager I needed 6mbps to stream and he said the current speed was 15mbps. I bought the $99 plan for 200 minutes, which you have to go to logout.com to log off, go figure. The data speed was actually 1.6mbps a total sham. I called the internet cafe and the story was it is satellite internet, they are 400 users on , every excuse that I was not buying. The event stream was a disaster. Pure dishonesty and I outright expose their internet as a racket. Ship boutiques worse I have seen. The selection was so poor, I was irritated to my core. One staffer said it best, the Royal Princess was for older people as 80% off the cruisers probably was over 70. First and last, I will be going back to Norwegian. Worse $4000 spent and a lesson learnt. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Royal Princess Review September 10, 2018 Embarkation The taxi driver dropped us curbside at the Southampton Cruise Terminal, and our bags were immediately whisked away. Unlike many terminals, you check in first, prior to going ... Read More
Royal Princess Review September 10, 2018 Embarkation The taxi driver dropped us curbside at the Southampton Cruise Terminal, and our bags were immediately whisked away. Unlike many terminals, you check in first, prior to going through security. The lines moved quickly and we were checked in within twenty minutes of our arrival. After being checked in, you’re given a number and told to relax in the waiting room until your number is called to go through security and board the ship. My wife normally packs a small paring knife in her checked luggage for slicing up fruit in our stateroom. Security noticed the knife when the bags were being x-rayed, and we were summoned to security to locate the knife and dispose of it. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. After we disposed of the knife, we were taken directly to the gangway to board the ship, and therefore we missed the entire waiting room process. Cabin Our balcony stateroom Emerald 428 on Deck 8, is listed as having an obstructed view. I read a number of reviews of this cabin before booking it, that said it didn’t have an obstructed view. Obviously, I was a little nervous to see for myself. The balcony it actually a little larger than most because of the shape of the ship. There’s a lifeboat to the left, on the deck below which is why I assume it’s listed as having an obstructed view, but I wouldn’t consider it an obstructed view at all. We liked the layout of the room and our stateroom position midship. We also liked the 42” flat panel LED television on the wall at the foot of the bed. We were very close to the midship elevators and it was a convenient location to get to everything. Our sliding door to access the balcony was extremely difficult to open, it took both of us to slide it open. Our cabin steward Renaldo started off sensational but service rapidly declined as the cruise progressed. Ship This was our 28th cruise and our third with Princess. Although we have Diamond Status with Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society, and Elite Status with Celebrity’s Captain’s Club, now we mostly book our cruises based on itinerary and the price. One of the best thing about the Royal Princess, is the self-service Laundromats on each deck. We had been in the U.K. a week before boarding, and it was wonderful to wash and dry a couple of loads of laundry after we boarded. Although, the ship was built in 2013 and is only five years old, it feels much older in every way. The décor in general feels very outdated. It’s quite worn for such a new ship. We noticed boarding how rusted the hull is. The carpets, the furnishings, almost every aspect of the ship shows signs of excess wear and tear. Dining What really shocked us, was that a newer ship would be built to such old standards. In a world of competing mega-ships that offer dozens of dining options, the Royal Princess is like a twenty-year old ship trying to adapt itself to modern day standards. There are only three Specialty Restaurant options, Crown Grill (Steakhouse), Sabatini’s (Italian), Crab Shack (Seafood). Only Sabatini’s is housed in a purpose-built restaurant space. The Crown Grill is in a pub space, and the Crab Shack is hosted in a roped off section of the Horizon Court (Buffet) area. On this fifteen-night cruise, the Crab Shack option was only offered on two nights. The Crab Shack menu was wonderful and the food was exceptional. However, the ambience was terrible sitting amongst the buffet guests. The Sabatini’s menu offered a poor selection of Italian specialties, and the Crown Grill was by far the best of the three specialty restaurants. We celebrated my wife’s birthday at the Crown Grill and it did not disappoint, her Ribeye was incredible, and my Filet Mignon was exquisite. The main dining room menu options for dinner were some of the worst we’ve see in our thirty-four years of cruising. The food was mostly mediocre to poor, with the deserts being the highlight of most of the dinners each night. The rolls and bread were extremely hard, maybe it’s a European thing, but we prefer softer bakery items. There are three main dining rooms, The Symphony, The Concerto, and the Allegro. We had “Anytime Dining”, and which dining rooms we could eat in at which times was very confusing. Getting a table for two was extremely difficult. There were only a handful of real tables for two in each dining room, the majority of the time we were seated in areas where long tables were pulled a foot or two apart, and you were seated 18” from the person next to you. This is not what I consider a table for two. Also, the staff encouraged you to share tables, and shamed you for asking for a table for two. This is also the first cruise we’ve been on where the waiters are constantly trying to upsell something. The dining rooms were severely understaffed. Our waiter one evening had five two tops and three five tops. One waiter trying to serve 25 guests with “Anytime” dining results in a disaster. Assistant waiters were in very short supply. The food was rarely ever hot. Often, we watched our dinner sit on the waiter’s station for 10-15 minutes prior to the them delivering it to our table. On numerous occasions, my wife sent her dinner back as it was cold. This goes back to the ship trying to operate “Anytime” Dining using the old Traditional Dining model, and not like a regular restaurant where diners come and go. The Allegro Dining Room is the only dining room that served Breakfast and Lunch. Guest began lining up thirty minutes or more before this dining room opened, to get a table. Once the dining room was full, there were long lines and long waits. A second dining room should have been opened, as no one should have to wait in line to have breakfast or lunch. We have always preferred to eat breakfast and lunch in the dining room, as it is generally served hotter than the luke warm food at the buffet. Again, we were disappointed as the food almost always arrived cold. The breakfast and dinner menus in the Allegro were no more inspiring than the dinner menus. The breakfast menu was always the same, on the left with one or two special items on the right side that differed every day. Many fundamental breakfast items were missing, like waffles, French Toast, and Eggs Benedict. The Horizon Court Buffet was adequate, but it offered typical smorgasbord fare that was faintly warm and never hot. There was one Omelet station, but you had to really search for it, and very few cooking stations where chefs offered anything fresh or custom. I can understand an old ship being retrofit to accommodate “Anytime Dining” but with ships the same age like the NCL Breakaway & Getaway being outfitted with twenty-one restaurants, the Royal Princess dining options are quite archaic. Service With the exception of our stateroom steward who went above and beyond, the staff and crew were unenthusiastic. They went through the motions, but mostly they made you feel as if you were bothering them, if you made a request. This was particularly true in the dining rooms. The majority of the staff did not have a very good command of the English language. On a few occasions the staff was downright rude. One night my wife moved her fork from where it was placed, and the waiter said “What’s wrong, are you left handed or something”? Itinerary We chose this particular cruise especially for the itinerary. Following the first two ports, Rotterdam and Hamburg, the captain informed us that the next three ports were being cancelled, due to inclement weather concerns. Bergen Norway, Belfast Northern Ireland, and St John’s Newfoundland were quickly replaced with two new ports, Vigo Spain and Ponta Delgado, and the ship would cross the Atlantic on a more southernly course, arriving in New York on schedule. We docked in Vigo on a Sunday when absolutely nothing was open. Ponta Delgada was better than Vigo but still these ports paled in comparison to our original itinerary. After we sailed from Ponta Delgada, we received a notice that each guest would receive a $200 credit for the disruption to our schedule. While this was a welcome gesture, you really can’t put a price on missing destinations that you had dreamed of visiting all your life. I suppose the only positive, was the few days of warmer than expected weather. Sadly, we hadn’t packed shorts or any cooler garments, knowing this was going to be a cool weather cruise. The Ship Much of this I’ve already covered in some form. As is the case with most cruise ships, the hot tubs were far from hot. There’s no covered pool which is disappointing, and I never wrapped my head around the area they call the “Retreat”. It’s an exclusive area where you can rent an expensive cabana, but there’s no pool? The areas for walking are extremely limited and the outside deck on level seven is restricted to crew only. There’s a tiny walking/running track at the stern of the ship, that requires seven laps to equal a mile. Entertainment The entertainment onboard was poor to begin with, and the change in itinerary only complicated the already weak lineup. We have an entertainer friend that works on cruise ships year-round for a living. He tells us that Disney pays the best, with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity not too far behind. However, he says that Princess and their sister companies, Carnival and Holland America pay their entertainers 50% less. It was very obvious on this cruise. The Transatlantic Crossing Since this was our first Transatlantic voyage, we were a little nervous. On our five days crossing the Atlantic, the weather was fairly good. Only the third day Saturday, did we have rough seas, and on our last day it was cold and gloomy, with scattered rain. The morning of our final day at sea, a guest had medical complications, and the Coast Guard in Boston had to send a helicopter with airplane support to extract the guest. Disembarkation We walked off with our own luggage as we had an early flight out of JFK, and the ships transfers wouldn’t guarantee you’d arrive in time for any flight before 2:00pm. Walking off went smoothly and quickly. Getting a taxi sucked. We had 20 people in front of us, and 100 behind us, and we waited over an hour. On average one taxi pulled up every five minutes? Why there was a shortage of taxis, I have no idea. We taxied to the nearby Jay Street Metro station, and took the subway to JFK, arriving at 10:20am, in plenty of time for our 12:27pm flight. Wrap up We’ve lived in Las Vegas for twenty-one years and have seen the cost cutting that’s gone on here locally for the past two decades. Everything is all about the bottom line. The cruise industry is no different, and each cruise we take, we notice the cost cutting, less staff doing more, and the decline of service and quality. Now that tips are automatically added to your bill, I have to wonder if the staff even gets them any longer, or if they’re all just on salary now. Without the old-style tipping process, there’s really no incentive for them to give you great service? I understand why mandatory gratuities were put in place, as many guests used to stiff the crew. There’s really no good scenario either way. Some cruise lines are worse than others and it was certainly noticeable this time with Princess. Sadly, nothing stays the same. I’m not going to say explicitly that we will never sail with Princess again. Sometimes it the management or the crew of a specific ship and not necessarily the cruise line as a whole? However, Princess is not going to be high on our list for any vacation in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise to go to Hamburg and Belfast. Unfortunately there was a storm that cancelled Bergen, Belfast and St Johns. This is the second time we tried to go to Belfast and there was a storm in the way. Someday we will get to go ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go to Hamburg and Belfast. Unfortunately there was a storm that cancelled Bergen, Belfast and St Johns. This is the second time we tried to go to Belfast and there was a storm in the way. Someday we will get to go to the Titanic Museum. We really like the smaller ships. Very disappointed in the food after 22 cruises on Princess. Lots of people were complaining about the food. Vowing never to cruise on Princess again. They used to offer a strip steak if there was nothing you wanted on the main menu. Now it is a hamburger. Not enough variety. Wait staff was very good! We need more dishes from Curtis Stone. I only saw the Seafood Stew, Pot Pie and Pork belly. They need to work on the activities at sea. On all transatlantic previously there were 2 enrichment lecturers. There was just one on this trip. Very boring activities. Most seem to be connected with Princess making money. THEY ARE TURNING PRINCESS INTO CARNIVAL. Not a good thing. You have cut Princess down instead of making it better it is getting worse with every cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Been on many cruises and several transatlantic crossing. The ship was nicely laid out and the food was good/average. Entertainment was fair and there should have been more enrichment lectures. Our itinerary was changed because of ... Read More
Been on many cruises and several transatlantic crossing. The ship was nicely laid out and the food was good/average. Entertainment was fair and there should have been more enrichment lectures. Our itinerary was changed because of weather related issues, it happens and Princess gave OBC and future cruise credits. Princess did the right thing. Safety and customer service was handled correctly by the cruise line. Noticed that this ship seemed to go to bed by 11PM, what was open on board was quiet and very few passengers. When debarking in Brooklyn, one of my suitcases was never found at the pier or on the ship. It is to easy for anyone to walk off with somebody's luggage, there or any other pier. Princess will only reimburse $250 maximum for lost luggage, purchased travel insurance, so will get back additional $$ but still the aggravation of your personal belongings missing forever. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
All in all, we really enjoyed it, but Princess would do well to take a few statistics classes. When we checked in at Southampton, woo, hoo, we’re platinum, you know. This is our eighth Princess Cruise (and could be our last if the ... Read More
All in all, we really enjoyed it, but Princess would do well to take a few statistics classes. When we checked in at Southampton, woo, hoo, we’re platinum, you know. This is our eighth Princess Cruise (and could be our last if the keep playing those godawful reworded 70s Love Boat theme-song safety messages - thank GOD they stopped after the first day) so roll on the bennies! Let’s skid sideways through the special quickie check in lanes and get this party started!! The line for elite/suite/platinum/not-sure-what-else looked like Disneyworld suddenly decided to throw a half price sale. The Princess person guiding people in apologetically said they had a rush of elite guests. Um...maybe. Or the boat is loaded with them. I’m no idjit. Where’s the steerage lanes? Waaaay down ther...I waddled with increasing speed towards the line that could’ve had tumbleweeds blowing through it. Then I started doing my “come hither” dance at my other half. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done. Splaying limbs, expressions of a Maori warrior communicating half the British armed forces are bivouacked over yonder hill, I’m certain I’m adorable in all my middle aged glory. So my beloved and a few other canny people moved to the unimportant people line, which ended in the same place. I figured, even if they sent ten premiums through for every one pauper, hell, we’d still be in our stateroom hours ahead. We joined the remarkably short queue of commoners. As did several people from the premium lanes when they heard what we were doing - and those bods were halfway through the line already. Ducking under the rope that separated their highnesses from the likes of us, they now had mere feet to get to the head of the line rather than wrapping around like the Haunted Mansion awaited them. The young woman in the Princess uniform at the front was trying to send more premiums than commoners through, but as we inched forward, the guy behind us cried, “We’re platinums!” I couldn’t help myself, I could see this young lady pulling him from the line ahead of us and hell, it was my idea in the first place, I was the Moses who lead this line of premiums into the General Area. Which, as I write that, sounds really snotty. Yes, we did jump the premium line, but honestly, it was set up in such a way that anyone could. You just had to think about it. So I snorted and said “so are we!” Well, that rattled her some...elite passengers from all directions, so she didn’t stop to think we’d walked through the almost empty third-class lane. “Oh, of course. Please, step this way,” much, I’m sure, to the annoyance of the next up in the elite lane. This, in turn, got us earlier tickets to get through the security checkpoint. I kinda feel bad but really, it was there for anyone to do. Next comment: The other thing Princess would do well to change about this cruise is the ice cream. Last cruise, the ice cream bar by the pool had sugar free which they happily dispensed at no charge along with the sugary soft serve 12 hours a day. I skip dessert at night...no hardship, sugar free mango cheesecake didn’t sound appealing, but a bowl of ice cream sure did. I’m thankfully not diabetic but after my bariatric surgery I find I can only tolerate small amounts of sugar. So we get poolside, only to be informed if I’d like sugar free, they’d be happy to help me at the gelato bar** on deck five. Okay. Couple issues with this. 1. The Royal Princess is one of the largest ships in Princess’ fleet. And Princess doesn’t really redesign their ships, they more accordion them - they stuff extra decks in. I try to limit my elevator usage to one per day. The pool is on 16. Gelato is on 5. Bed is on 11... 2. The gelato bar** is always followed by asterisks. Just like the Crown Grill**, Sabatini’s Italian Resturante**and the snooty tooty Lotus Spa**. Yep. You guessed it. “May I have your cruise card for a moment, please?” Cha-CHING! Smarmy smile, as that automatically incurred a 17.5% tip on toppa the cost. Thank you, madame. We can afford the charge, of course, it’s the idea of the thing. But I’m especially cheesed off for the child diabetics on these cruises who can’t just sneak an ice cream like any other kid can. Instead, they have to choose to either mess with their blood sugar or have their folio rat them out - they can’t even pay cash outta their allowance. What fun is that? So for my sugar intolerance, I get an extra $50 charge (yes, fifty bucks. Don’t judge me. I don’t judge YOUR dessert consumption and two scoops are nearly $3 each. Over 15 days, that’s what? One a day? Like YOU have ONE dessert a day? Please.) This will get too long if I add everything that happened, so if you’re a glutton for punishment, I kept a semi-regular log at examiningmisadventures.com. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary and to have an opportunity to visit Berlin, Germany (via Hamburg port of call) and St. John, Newfoundland/Labrador, Canada. We had been to Rotterdam/Amsterdam, Bergen and ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary and to have an opportunity to visit Berlin, Germany (via Hamburg port of call) and St. John, Newfoundland/Labrador, Canada. We had been to Rotterdam/Amsterdam, Bergen and Belfast in our earlier travels. While we were quite disappointed in not visiting St. John again on this voyage (our scheduled itinerary in our earlier cruise with Princess also cancelled Corner Brook, Newfoundland due to bad weather at that time), Captain Draper made the right decision to change the itinerary after Hamburg/Berlin last Sept 13 because of an intense temperate low pressure system forecast in the North Atlantic for the ensuing days endangering the safety of guests and crew with high winds and heavy seas caused by Hurricanes Florence and Helene. Before this cruise, visiting Santiago De Compostela in Spain was one in our travel bucket list. While in Vigo, Spain, we took the opportunity to take excursion to Santiago De Compostela, the 3rd most visited pilgrimage shrine in the Roman Catholic institutions after Jerusalem and Rome. To be able to visit this place, a popular pilgrimage site since the 15th century was a blessing for my wife and me. As well, prior to this cruise, we had been endeavouring to take a cruise with Azores Islands as a destination. To have an opportunity to visit the historical and beautiful Ponta Delgada in the island of Sao Miguel, the most visited of the 9 Azores Islands, 900 miles west of Lisbon, was an extra bonus for us. The 9-hour shore excursion we took was wortth the penny we paid for this tour. So itinerary-wise, because of this change in itinerary dictated by the safety of guests and crew mentioned, enabled us to have three itineraries in one voyage! This cruise was our 4th sailing with Royal Princess. So we were also looking forward to have a relaxing, enjoyable and memorable cruise with the ship's public areas, cabin (our stateroom with a balcony was our home away from home on this voyage), dining, entertainment, activities, destination lectures, enrichment classes, and above all the friendliness, tactfulness and helpfulness of staff we dealt with, which we were not disappointed. On a cruise, one can be active or lazy. Given our age (78 and 72) and years of cruising experience, apart from getting off the ship in every port of call, we opted not to participate in many activities we used to do. Yet, we found the relaxation we needed even by keeping ourselves together most of the time in our stateroom, balcony and entertainment venues/programs. Withi this cruise, not only we celebrated our 49th anniversary quietly on the ship, but we also visited historical, beautiful and fascinating places, and enjoyed the dining, entertainment, actiivites, service and amenities of Royal Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
To start with the is our 2nd cruise with Royal Princess, 16 with total with Princess. We chose this cruise based on great pricing on this one as it was in the storm season. Food was exceptional and the Captain Tony Draper was an ... Read More
To start with the is our 2nd cruise with Royal Princess, 16 with total with Princess. We chose this cruise based on great pricing on this one as it was in the storm season. Food was exceptional and the Captain Tony Draper was an outstanding communicator with a very strong customer orientation. Leaving Hamburg Germany the captain announce that the weather was not going to be great therefore we had to drop the original three ports Bergen, Belfast and St John to avoided a big storm and head south to Vigo Spain and Porta Delgada. Now for the ship. Excellent onboard entertainment and the ship was in great condition. The pizza at Alfredo's on the sixth deckr was the best we ever had. They will customize your pizza, have a great menu and, best of all, there is no extra charge. Ports were nice and we took Amsterdam excursion .Very good. The production shows were outstanding. Princess offers great itineraries and opportunities to chill out, relax and reconnect. While there are lots of things to do onboard with a packed list of activity choices, it is not an adventure cruise line where you do rock-climbing, water-sliding and zip-lining. The Royal Princess is a beautiful relatively new ship (4 yrs) and accommodates over 3560 passengers. Great for seniors, couples, viewing the world, gourmet dining and just plain relaxing. Has for our cabin we were in inside B405 this first time being that the weather would be cold on the sea days. Cabin was OK but never again because due to missing all the port calls and departure. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Loved all of the ports! Princess organizes a variety of tours and are very organized with port tours. Being Ballroom dancers, we were so happy to see 3 lovely wood dance floors on the ship. We danced every night of this 14 day cruise ... Read More
Loved all of the ports! Princess organizes a variety of tours and are very organized with port tours. Being Ballroom dancers, we were so happy to see 3 lovely wood dance floors on the ship. We danced every night of this 14 day cruise because of the wonderful groups that played music to dance too. We certainly got our money's worth on this cruise...great ports to visit and lots of dancing. Booked another cruise on this same ship for July...14 days touring Norway and Iceland! We had a balcony cabin, as usual, and it was lovely with plenty of room for 14 days worth of clothing, etc. Our room steward kept our ice bucket filled daily and kept our cabin in tiptop shape during the entire cruise. Although my husband and I like traveling alone, we traveled with 7 others from Florida this time. We are all retirees and most of the time we did not tour together. We did eat as a group and our waiter was very attentive and helpful at all meals we attended. Very few children on this cruise and we hardly ever saw them. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We really wanted to see St Petersburg, this cruise fell on a significant birthday, and the price was right, so the Sapphire Princess won. This was a great cruise. The Itinerary was good. Due to poor weather at one port, they changed ... Read More
We really wanted to see St Petersburg, this cruise fell on a significant birthday, and the price was right, so the Sapphire Princess won. This was a great cruise. The Itinerary was good. Due to poor weather at one port, they changed ports - they kept us informed and the port, Wermunde Germany, was a great jumping off spot for nearby towns - it was an unexpected jewel of a stop. The ship, the ship. Loved the room, loved the staff. Food in the dining room was a little disappointing for a few of the meals, but hey, the price, ship and staff were great. I was being fed and pampered so we can handle the odd meal disappointment. This ship had a lot of activities. The onboard entertainment was some of the best I have experienced (the Princess singers and dancers were great, but their shows were OK - normally I would have said they were great but we were on a Holland America Cruise earlier in the year - another significant birthday, and the shows were out of this world - first time in 15 cruises I was part of a standing ovation for a cruise line singers and dancers show). The house band on this cruise was exceptional. There is a jewel of a pizza cafe on the 5th floor that we absolutely loved. Overall it was a very positive experience. I would highly recommend this ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the destinations and enjoyed it very much. The ports and excursions we took met our expectations. We took a couple of excursions and they were enjoyable and well organized. We enjoyed the smaller ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the destinations and enjoyed it very much. The ports and excursions we took met our expectations. We took a couple of excursions and they were enjoyable and well organized. We enjoyed the smaller destination cities. Ghent was our favorite. The ship was clean and staff very friendly and helpful. The food was better than average.We found several specialty areas on the ship that were very relaxing and enjoyable to spend our time relating. Our cabin was very clean and the staff was very accommodating to my numerous allergies. We did not do many of the entertainment activities but so enjoyed a piano/violin duo that played in a common area several times of day. We are just not in to magicians or canned entertainment. We felt that overall it was worth the money. There was a variety of age and demographics that we appreciated, enjoying many interesting dinner conversations.Would take this line and ship again to another destination. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise as we understood Princess to be 5star. And we were right in our opinion. All staff were without exception polite and attentive from boarding to disembarkation and all points in between. We chose Anytime Dining and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we understood Princess to be 5star. And we were right in our opinion. All staff were without exception polite and attentive from boarding to disembarkation and all points in between. We chose Anytime Dining and also took the Silver Wine package purchased on board ( the standard alcohol package didn't appeal to us). The choice and standard of food and service was spot on across all three rooms plus we also ate in the Club class Sante Fe one night due to Pacific Moon being busy but at all times we got a table for 4 when we booked or just turned up. Bar service very good ( slightly expensive with 15%added to all drinks) but felt right for standard and speed of service! Cabins E207/209 obstructed view but perfectly liveable with shed load of storage and hanging space. Large TV with ample choice of movies and programmes. Aircon worked and well kept room with large comfy bed. Stewardess very friendly and efficient ( if you use your door card displaying 'privacy/ make up room' correctly, no issues). Entertainment and shows on board some of the best we've seen ( veteran cruisers), plus Eddie Eagle meet and greet and Jeff Stevens comedian brilliant. Entertainment director and crew energetic and great fun, really made even the most boring quiz fun!! We didn't care about winning!! Overall great cruise, quiet itinary which we wanted, no pushy sales unless you wanted them, definitely use again Scores below reflect that we didn't use the enrichment facilities (?), the gym/Spa or ship tours. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Food The sapphire has one main dining restaurant, The International Restaurant for traditional dining and three anytime dining restaurants. The Pacific Moon, The Vivaldi, and The Savoy. There is also The Santa Fe for Club Class. Horizon ... Read More
Food The sapphire has one main dining restaurant, The International Restaurant for traditional dining and three anytime dining restaurants. The Pacific Moon, The Vivaldi, and The Savoy. There is also The Santa Fe for Club Class. Horizon court is the buffet restaurant and the ship has other eateries such as trident grill, prego pizzeria and international cafe, which are fast food style places. There is an ice cream bar and a sit down Alfredo’s Pizzeira too.i can’t fault the food anywhere on board ship. Can feed myself 24/7 with quality, tasty food. Cabins We had an inside cabin and my fiancé expected to feel claustrophobic. This didn’t happen. We were happy with a steward, William who we didn’t see much of, but he cleaned twice a day, leaving little chocolates on our pillows in the evening. It was a warm cosy feel with the lamps on. We had on demand movies to watch after our evening round he ship too. Bed was so comfy and didn’t take long to drift off. Good wardrobe area to store plenty and tea and coffee were available in the cabins too. Amenities Gym and studio were over looking the sea. There was a free sauna and steam room in the changing rooms and a thermal suite to use for a hefty charge. This was near he adults only pool and jacuzzis. This area was called The Sanctuary and wasn’t really used. Just the gym really. There was a small library and on deck games. Entertainment Plenty of entertainment going on in bars and the main piazza(music, champagne waterfall, sail home party) It was the real hub of the ship and never quiet. Bars, restaurants, shops and events always happening here. I thought the production shows were just okay. Maybe just not my cup of tea. The comedian and the soprano were good. Ports of call. Exactly what we wanted. Zeebrugge, Copenhagen, Skagen and Oslo. Enough time in each port and then two days at sea. Ship as a whole The ship gets a 5/5. For those of you that see negative reviews on here, ignore them. I genuinely don’t get what hey are after. It was a high standard from start to finish. The ship is not worn which some reviews suggest(someone even complained a free gift she was given. Thing some people go on holiday to complain. It’s crazy). Concentrate on the positive reviews as they clearly aren’t looking for faults. Everyone we spoke to onboard didn’t have a bad word to say about the ship and it’s staff. And we would happily set sail on her again if the itinerary suited us. The only downfall we had is that we couldn’t stop longer! Read Less
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