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318 Princess Southampton Cruise Reviews

Hi went on Emerald Princess 26/04/2016 from Southampton getting onboard brilliant cabin excellent new beds are fantastic entertainment acceptable condition of ship even after refit average then lets break down the actual living on ship ... Read More
Hi went on Emerald Princess 26/04/2016 from Southampton getting onboard brilliant cabin excellent new beds are fantastic entertainment acceptable condition of ship even after refit average then lets break down the actual living on ship buffet restaurant is the best place to eat although food could have been hotter choice and standard good the sit down dining is terrible we ate twice in the di vinci restaurant waiters want to take your order the exit you as quick as possible not allowing both diners to finish their meal then straight away next course then when completed start to clear table while you sit there absolutely disgusting Drinks the prices are terrible I had a single whiskey with 15% tip worked out to £6.82 a good cruise to cure you if you are an alcoholic we brought the soda package all right for first drink when they see pre paid tend to give you a wide berth maybe they get commission on sales There are lots of staff from different countries some very difficult to communicate with due to their lack of English onboard were 99% English Always trying to sell you something upmarket prices average service the best way you can sum up Princess Cruises 3 star hotel in Benidorm As stated we brought soda package you could have pump soda but not itns of coke you had to pay for these Cinema on deck very good good choice of films Embarkation is a joke shut several lifts down causing chaos took my luggage down the stairs otherwise would have missed embarkation slot Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Emerald Princess had just undergone a major refit, so we were interested to see what had changed. Sabatini's had become “Share” (now 29 USD extra) and part of the Wheelhouse had become the “Salty Dog Gastropub” (also an extra) ... Read More
Emerald Princess had just undergone a major refit, so we were interested to see what had changed. Sabatini's had become “Share” (now 29 USD extra) and part of the Wheelhouse had become the “Salty Dog Gastropub” (also an extra) but we were not tempted to try them. Nor the updated gym. We did, however, love the comfortable new luxury mattresses. The addition of 100 communicating doors might be fine for families but if you are allocated a four berth cabin having requested two single beds it is like being in a tiny dormitory. GENERAL The ship was 100% full with 3,100 passengers, mostly from the UK, making it more like P&O or Saga. With the Caribbean on their doorstep, there was not the usual mix of 50% Americans and other nationalities. As always, the service was universally excellent and everybody was made to feel very welcome. PORTS Having stayed on the various islands several times, this was more of a reminiscence trip than an adventure but it was interesting to see how the destinations had developed. After 3 days at sea, it was good to go ashore at Las Palmas when we reached Gran Canaria. Tenerife is more interesting and we discovered that the Tourist Office runs a shuttle bus to Puerto de la Cruz (19 euros return), which is easier than using the local bus. Lanzarote was rather deadly and even the Arrecife Tourist Office on the dock remained closed. Had we realised it was a May day holiday, we would have explored the geology of the island instead. Madeira is still a delightful place and we enjoyed visiting the market then the botanical gardens via the cable cars. We had visited Santiago de Compostela recently, from La Coruna, so decided to look around Vigo instead. We obtained four self-guided walking tours but gave up after plodding around the Old Town, which is not very exciting. LECTURES With several days at sea, we attended lectures in the theatre and some excellent Spanish classes. Rod Repton gave some entertaining talks about his experiences in the police force but the port talks were mediocre and delivered in a condescending manner. Slide shows of places Ken had visited during his 17 years in the job were of no practical use to the many passengers who prefer to “do their own thing”, so we were pleased that we had browsed the Internet before embarking. ENTERTAINMENT Theatre entertainment in the evening was of variable quality, starting with a really poor comedian but ending with the lead singer of the Hollies, who was great. There were two female singers, who seemed well received and a couple of other acts that were quite entertaining, including Mike McClean, who was really funny. The resident singers and dances only performed on two nights and the second show was new to us. Unfortunately, the production team had made it look more like a video arcade, so the artists were poorly lit and the audience were dazzled by flashing lights. They also still fail to understand that the band should not drown the singers and that nobody enjoys having spot lights shone in their face. There was no show for second sitting diners on the last night and the timing of Princess’s version of The Voice was not smart with a 7.30 pm start. FOOD AND DINING We had opted for second sitting dining at 8.15 pm and enjoyed each evening with two other couples. We also chose the Boticelli dining room for breakfast, lunch and even afternoon tea whenever possible. We noticed that steak had been down-graded to beef-burger on the alternative evening menu but there was generally a good choice for each course. The food was of a consistently high standard and the waiters were cheerful, friendly and efficient. Our only criticism was that breakfast was rather leisurely and frustratingly slow at times. The Managers appeared to recognise this but helped by re-laying tables rather than organising their staff. SUMMARY Sailing from Southampton is very easy and this is a good cruise if you can get it at a competitive price. The destinations are not wildly exciting but it made a timely Spring break. Princess remains our preferred cruise line and with over 500 Elite level passengers on board others seem to like it too. Having re-read my earlier review from May 2014 (“Rock ‘n Roll from Southampton”), it seems that little had changed but at least the weather was calmer this time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
26 April 2016, Southampton to the Canaries. The Imbarcation and disimparcation was very orderly and efficient, Onbord I noticed that the East European staff are not as friendly as staff from other nationalities, the food in the dining ... Read More
26 April 2016, Southampton to the Canaries. The Imbarcation and disimparcation was very orderly and efficient, Onbord I noticed that the East European staff are not as friendly as staff from other nationalities, the food in the dining room and buffet was extreamily good and the dining room waiters where very friendly and efficient, at peak time the buffet areas was very congested as there wasn't enough tables, the theatre performances where poor in comparison to other cruise companies only lasted 30 minutes and lacked variety, there were no activities around the pool areas, there was too much time dedicated to art auctions and wine tasting, overall too much time was dedicated to try and get more money from you. A big disappointment regarding the gratuity system, on top of the 15% per day per person charged, each time you make a bar or dining room purchase you will be charged another 15% gratuity, the good thing is that if you go to the front desk you can opt out from paying the 15% daily gratuity, almost all I spoke to had opted out, I feel that this extra 15% gratuity charge is not fair and is creating a negative effect on the staff because the majority of people are opting out from it, the staff are not receiving a top up on their very low wages. A small effort was made to remove towels from the unoccupied deck chairs, on my previous Golden Princess cruise to Hawai this didn't happen and by 9 am all deck chairs had towels on it and not been anoccupid until after lunch. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
The embarkation was the best we have had. The evening meal got off to a poor start. Steak pie in a pot was on the menu, and that was all you got - no potatoes, no vegetables. Was told there were vegetables in the pot. The pastry was cut ... Read More
The embarkation was the best we have had. The evening meal got off to a poor start. Steak pie in a pot was on the menu, and that was all you got - no potatoes, no vegetables. Was told there were vegetables in the pot. The pastry was cut open - no vegetables to be seen. Had to ask for some. Breakfast next morning, waited over an hour to get it. Breakfast next day, waited over an hour again. Thought it was time to complain. Maitre de said , come and see him personally next morning. Shouldn't have been necessary. The meals, without going into a lot of detail, were no where near the standard on previous cruises on Princess Line. We felt there were signs of penny pinching. The shows in the Theatre were also third rate. The dancers, out of 12 nights were on twice. There were some good individual performances, but overall the entertainment was of a low standard. We have been on cruises before, so we are experienced in comparing one against another. The food lacked variety, however, we did enjoy some of the meals. Drinks on board are exorbitant, probably the most expensive of most cruise lines. There was a veterans meeting on board for former servicemen. It was arranged in a restaurant at lunchtime with live music in th background. The organiser arrived and we had to move to a quieter area. Just a lack of foresight and planning. There were far too many instances like this throughout. Maybe small things to some, but we paid good money for better service. There was a lot of complaints about similar things when we spoke to other passengers. It could well be our last cruise on the Princess Line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Embarkation was excellent. We were soon aboard and no huge queue for security. Cabin was as expected. Steward, Conrado, was excellent and kept it spotless. Requests were soon carried out. Muster drill was dragged out and exhausting for ... Read More
Embarkation was excellent. We were soon aboard and no huge queue for security. Cabin was as expected. Steward, Conrado, was excellent and kept it spotless. Requests were soon carried out. Muster drill was dragged out and exhausting for those who had had long journeys and couldn't find a seat. Weather was mixed and seas a bit choppy round the islands. We were fixed dinner, early seating. Our table for 6 was great and we had a great time with the other folk there. The waitress and waiter were very good. Nothing too much trouble. However they had far too much to do as they now have to provide the drinks as no more wine waiters. Food on a whole was ok but lacked the wow it used to have. No longer steak to choose from on the always available menu. However the chocolate journeys on the dessert menu were wonderful. The entertainment was very very disappointing. Only 2 shows of 35 minx with the singers and dancers. The comedian was dire and folk walked out. There was no alternative act on in one of the lounges as there used to be. Far far too many silly game shows one of which was obscene. We walked out of that. It was very difficult to get seats in the lounges in the evening. After a fruitless search one evening we ended up in Skywalkers to find there was not even a bar open there until 10.00 pm. Princess is missing out as there were a good number of people sitting there. The coffee bar was always packed too. The ports were fine but in Tenerife and Lanzarote most places were closed due to Sunday and Bank Holiday. We took the ship's excursion to Santiago. That was very good. Overall all Princess seems to be interested in us getting you to part with your money. Expensive drinks and too many pay extra eating places. Most were never busy. Staffing seems to be cut all over and there was often long waits for drinks. The cruise director did very little but his staff worked hard. Overall this was the poorest Pricess cruise we had been on and it did not make us rush to book again. We will certainly be looking and comparing with others in the future. Disembarkation was not good. The Platinum/Elite lounge was far too small for the number of passengers trying yo get in. We were travelling by coach and our cinch company were assigned times over an hour after the other company travelling to the same destinations. It meant we did not get home until 10.00pm. Not good enough. Wake up Princess and give us the type of cruise what we are used to getting. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This cruise was selected because 1we enjoy the canaries 2 we had travelled on princess previously and had be very satisfied. the transport (eavesway) were two hours plus late in picking us up. not a good start. wehad to be rushed ... Read More
This cruise was selected because 1we enjoy the canaries 2 we had travelled on princess previously and had be very satisfied. the transport (eavesway) were two hours plus late in picking us up. not a good start. wehad to be rushed through embarkation(not princess line fault). once on board as usual we found that the cabin was excellent, clean and comfortable. the staff were attentive and friendly. diningroom staff that I was served by were excellent and help to make dining a pleasure. Entertainment I felt was mediocre.princess own troupe, on the night I went to see them on stage for only 35 mins. the first 3 days were spent at sea,and as another passenger said to me"it was like being at butlins". it was noisey. obviously the ports of call suited me and hopefully they did others. it is taken that these liners are a commercial organisations, but it was a little upsetting that whilst having a drink you touted for one of the franchise restaurants. THE CREW COULD NOT HAVE BETTERED AND PRINCESS LINES SHOULD BE PROUD OF THEM. disembarkation was well organised and went smoothly in my case. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
the embarkation process at Southampton was excellent, after checking in at the desk we only sat in the waiting lounge for 5 minutes maximum, everyone of the staff we spoke with at Southampton was friendly and kind. We boarded the ship but ... Read More
the embarkation process at Southampton was excellent, after checking in at the desk we only sat in the waiting lounge for 5 minutes maximum, everyone of the staff we spoke with at Southampton was friendly and kind. We boarded the ship but no one to direct you to your cabin which seemed a shame as loads of people not knowing which way to go. we found our cabin and it was excellent. unfortunately the food in the main dinning room was not up to the usual standards we have come to expect, but the waiters were very good but no wine waiters, the drinks are served by the assistant waiter and if you want a second drink with your meal it comes just as you finish your meal. Entertainment was most nights a guest act and the shows only last 35 minutes, the on-board entertainment dancers and singers only did two shows all week, there was only three waiting staff taking drinks orders in the theatre, so if you want a drink while watching the show best take one with you. also the service in the other lounges was very slow, in the international plaza it took us 20 minutes before a waiter came and took our order and after no drinks arriving after another 20 minutes I went to find out what had happened only to be told be with you in 5 minutes, we finally had a drink after 50 minutes of waiting. the ports of call were all very good, we did our own thing in each port, there was free shuttle buses in France to take you the 20 minute drive in to town. the shuttle bus and tender ticketing system was not very well organised we heard people talking about not getting into town until four and half hours after docking. the disembarkation back in Southampton was again excellent but you had to have your case outside your cabin door by 10 pm at the latest on the last night , most other cruises we have been on this has normally been midnight. this was our second cruise with Princess. have also cruised with P & O, saga, Celebrity, Fred Olsen and Thomson. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first cruise with the Princess line and sadly will be our last. We had booked a balcony cabin and were thrilled when Princess emailed us a few weeks before sailing saying we'd been upgraded to a mini suite. The ... Read More
This was our first cruise with the Princess line and sadly will be our last. We had booked a balcony cabin and were thrilled when Princess emailed us a few weeks before sailing saying we'd been upgraded to a mini suite. The embarkation at Southampton was fairly quick and easy, despite the large queues. We went straight to our cabin which was very pleasant, with a nice sitting area with large sofa, coffee table and two tvs. The balcony was a nice size too but overlooked by people on decks above. The bed was lovely and comfortable and good light from the bedside table lamps. Our cabin steward was very helpful and asked if we'd like a glass of champagne......we did. We also requested robes but these wouldn't be available until the next day as the laundry was busy! At about 2pm we ventured out to find lunch in the Horizon buffet. This is where is all started going downhill. What a terrible layout this area is, far to small and confining for such a large ship. Also the food on offer was very limited and definitely not very appealing. A lot of the plates and bowls were either nearly empty or empty. The food areas looked very messy and as I said the whole area looked unappealing. The salad bar was in two different sections. The salads such as tuna or potato salad were usually just the two on offer. Plus a large section of chopped salad veg, a really lazy selection by the chefs onboard. We found it difficult to find anything we wanted to eat. No smoked salmon but plenty of sliced processed cheese and tasteless bread rolls. The butter dish ran out very early and only margarine was available. We, along with other passengers requested butter only to be told it had run out, therefore would not be refilled, this happened on more than one occasion. Unbelievable. Quite a lot of passengers were moaning and complaining about the lack of food in the Horizon, we weren't alone. We returned one day at approx 2.15pm from a Princess tour ashore and headed to the buffet only to find hardly any food available in the two sections still open. My husband asked to speak to someone in charge and after some time a chef appeared. My husband enquired in a calm way why the serving plates were all empty, the chef walked away without a word. After this we headed to the customer services desk and asked to speak to someone in charge of catering. The man we spoke to was very pleasant and tried to help and went away for a few minutes. He came back saying no one could speak to us but to fill in a complaints form. We weren't happy with this but took the form and duly filled it in and returned it. After that we waited to be contacted but we never heard a thing. We called at customer services again and spoke to the same man and he was very surprised we hadn't heard anything. We never did get to speak to anyone and have deducted from this that our complaint wasn't thought worthy of a response. We know of at least one other passenger who complained in the same way but don't know if he got the same couldn't care less response from management. We tried the Horizon Court a few times after that and ate mainly salads. Nearly forgot...the milk for the coffee, tea and cereals tasted awful. I think it was either sterilised or just the long life stuff, absolutely vile in tea or coffee. Apart from this the rest of the cruise was underwhelming. The cocktails were weak, the entertainment definitely average. We chose select anytime dining for the evenings and opted to share with any number of people. This was ok and we met a few nice people. The food was okish a bit hit and miss. A few meals were sent back (not by us but others on our tables) as the food was luke warm or cold. The puddings were limited and samey. The service though was excellent. The waiting staff did a great job, and we didn't have to wait too long for each course to arrive. They were consistently helpful and friendly even when rushed off their feet. We tried the pizza on the pool deck but found this ver, very thin and the base was hard. The pool area was always busy despite the cool weather. The loud music playing put us off staying there for long. We took three ship's tours ashore and so glad we did as this was the most enjoyable part of the cruise. Weather was better than expected too, with temps in the high 50s low 60s and only a little rain in Sintra. The tours were very well organised and the tour guides excellent. All in all we can't say we had a great time onboard the Emerald as it just lacked that 'cruise' feel. It felt more like a cross channel ferry at times and the Horizon buffet was more like a works canteen, (unfair to some works canteens I'm sure!) The management in not replying to our valid complaint shows a certain distain for us the paying customer. We will show the same distain by steering clear of Princess from now on. We have 4 more cruises booked for this year, the next one on the Celebrity Eclipse, (now that's a food court!) The others on Royal Caribbean, a first for us. Praying they are up to Cunard and Celebrity standards. To sum it all up. Thank you Princess for the upgrade, much appreciated. A big no thank you for the terrible food and lack of service in the Horizon. A big no thank you for the lack of customer service when we complained. We were so looking forward to this cruise with our friends but ended up feeling as if we hadn't been on a real cruise. Our friends felt exactly the same. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
The ship was overcrowded by 140 with 3700 passengers of which over 2400 were from USA. The rest of the passengers were made up from approx 400-500 Canadian, approx 130-140 British with the remainder made up of Australian, New Zealand, ... Read More
The ship was overcrowded by 140 with 3700 passengers of which over 2400 were from USA. The rest of the passengers were made up from approx 400-500 Canadian, approx 130-140 British with the remainder made up of Australian, New Zealand, South African, Irish and Philippines. Getting there: We drove from home to Southampton - 180 miles and parked at the Ocean Terminal. Port Information: Our American Port Guide should've been fired! If anyone actually believed her, they would still be in Glasgow waiting for a tram to Greenock! Glasgow Trams closed in 1962. She was clueless in her presentations for example when did Windsor Castle look anything like Corfe Castle in Dorset? and 'Tower of London Bridge' and 'Whitehall Street' in London? We Brits and the more educated and well-travelled passengers cringed at her profound statements and her crucified pronunciation of British and Irish names. Some complained why no local guides were used. Dining: Catering on the first night was a disaster as 2400 stampeded their way into the main restaurants, you'd think they hadn't eaten in ages!!! Catering on all remaining nights was eat where you could because 3700 mouths all got hungry at the same time. We ended up in the Horizon and overheard some sarcastic and offensive comments about the way we Brits use our cutlery at meal times. Formal night to us means a dinner jacket and black tie or a high quality suit. Our 2400 extras thought it must just mean a clean shirt as they'd been wearing the old one for some days and we noticed it!! Port & Shore Excursions: Guernsey: Weather conditions prevented us from tendering at Guernsey, I knew by the weather reports that we would never get there. To our American guests it was the end of their world. Cobh: We took the train to Cork and did a Hop On Hop Off tour of the city between showers! Then back to Cobh. Dublin: We were being collected by friends who drove up to the ship and off we went for a pub lunch south of the city. Belfast: We did the shore excursion to Giant's Causeway, I last saw it over 30 years ago and feel that the 'Interpretation Centre' has ruined the approach to that wonderful coast. Greenock, I tried hard to escape the Americans, but they followed me to the station to travel to Glasgow - You push the yellow button on the train to open the doors, admiring it will do nothing!!! I made my own way around Glasgow, after all, my father was from there. Orkney: At Kirkwall, we did our next shore excursion around Orkney, sadly our guides thick heavy Orcadian accent was hard on my ears. Invergordon: We escaped on a train to Inverness and did a bit of shopping there. South Queensferry: We did the same to Edinburgh. Lunch and a bit more shopping. Le Havre: Did a shore excursion to Rouen . Entertainment: Evening theatre entertainment was variable - Princess Singers and Dancers were at their best, but the Tom Jones 'soundalike' and the Irish 'singer' need to find alternative employment. The Beatles Experience was excellent. Disembarkation: We left a bit earlier and in less than 10 minutes we were driving out of Southampton home. The ship: Royal Princess hasn't changed since I sailed on its maiden voyage in 2013 and I wouldn't expect it to. This time it was overcrowded and poorly managed and the passengers either had little or no understanding of European cruising and it showed. Such behaviour may be acceptable on the other side of the Atlantic but not here. It was a good cruise, but it would've been better had it not been for the imbalance. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We picked this cruise and ship because of the itinary. The cruise and ports we stopped at were wonderful and got to see so much in the 12 days we were on board. Loved that part and the service on the ship but my complaint was the ship!!! ... Read More
We picked this cruise and ship because of the itinary. The cruise and ports we stopped at were wonderful and got to see so much in the 12 days we were on board. Loved that part and the service on the ship but my complaint was the ship!!! We had a nice deluxe balcony cabin at center ship very near the center stairwell and elevators. My husband likes to do the stairs not ride in elevators but on this ship they close off the stair and you have no access to them for the entire voyage. If you want to do the stairs you have to walk to the front or back of ship as no access at center. Second annoying feature was the promanard deck did not go all the way around the ship so you couldn't walk around it. Only way to walk around whole ship was to go to top to the pool deck and navigate around chairs etc up there to get to front and back of ship on your walk. Third annoying feature was our dinning room had no direct access from the center of the ship. We had to go down to deck 6 then walk to back of ship and go down via stairs or elevator to 5th deck for access to our dinning room. Very frustrating!!!! The layout of the new Princess ships was stupid, to say the least but the staff were wonderful so helped make up for it!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We have had a few princess cruises, and must admit that I was disappointed with the ship as far as the different size of the bars and especially the putting green. We had always had such fun on the deck after dinner, and enjoyed it with ... Read More
We have had a few princess cruises, and must admit that I was disappointed with the ship as far as the different size of the bars and especially the putting green. We had always had such fun on the deck after dinner, and enjoyed it with friends. But on this ship it was non exsistant. Far too small. The wheel house bar, by far our favourite one on princess, was half the size . It is such a popular bar for many, which meant that many had to turn away and go to another one. As always the crew were exceptional. Nothing was too much trouble for them. I think she has gone in for a well, not before time, refit. On the whole a thoroughly enjoyable cruise. Although I wont be cruising in August! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We had book a mini suite a year in advance as we wanted a "slightly bigger" and it was only slightly bigger. Balcony no bigger. I would have thought the mini suite besides size would have had a higher level of quality but the ... Read More
We had book a mini suite a year in advance as we wanted a "slightly bigger" and it was only slightly bigger. Balcony no bigger. I would have thought the mini suite besides size would have had a higher level of quality but the towels were like sandpaper. The Royal is a lovely ship, lots of lounges & well appointed. Loved having self serve laundry on each floor. Our Cabin Steward & the Beverage Steward @ Vines were excellent as they were attentive & met our needs but I can't say the same for the remaining staff. They seemed indifferent & not personable. Is it because "gratuities" are just a given so why go out of your way. We had to wait quite awhile in some of the lounges for service or refills so when we found Gerry at Vines we kept going back. We had a 6:00 pm dinner seating and found the service overall slow. I found our Waiter did his best but not sure why it took almost 2 hours for dinner with a lot of waiting between courses. Our Wine Steward was atrocious. He should not be working with the public as not friendly (we tried to warm him up) and was snippy when we asked for more wine telling us "to wait a minute". We had to ask our waiter to follow up or for a refill. Other than the beef medallions (a menu staple), one night prime rib & lobster the menu overall was not palatable. We have been on 3 other cruise lines & Celebrity & Royal Caribbean were better. The big negative was the initial embarkation process. We arrived by independent shuttle at 1:30pm & our tickets & luggage processed right away but we had to wait in a holding area for an hour & 45 minutes to board. No refreshments nothing. Never seen that before. We had no time to eat or anything as we had to attend the mandatory safety drill. The embarkation process was also horrible in St Peter's Port as we had to wait for 30-45 minutes in the pouring rain & then no provisions were made for the elderly or feeble to navigate an inclined slippery gangway into the tender. Again when we arrived back from a cruise sponsored tour in Belfast along with several other bus tours in early afternoon there was only one walkway open to board and again we waited an hour to get on while others were trying to disembark to catch afternoon excursions. Fiasco! NO GAMBLING, or it was sporadically opened, apparently we were not far enough into international waters & it was missed. Should have highlighted that before hand. A little disappointed the cruise line sent the survey via email before we ere even finished the cruise & gave us only 2 weeks to complete which did not allow for an extended vacation so they could not benefit from this feedback. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Cruise date 1.8. 15 - Baltic First thing is - Don't Book Early! We heard so many people who'd booked well in advance and had paid way over what others ( including us) had paid even after taking off things like onboard ... Read More
Cruise date 1.8. 15 - Baltic First thing is - Don't Book Early! We heard so many people who'd booked well in advance and had paid way over what others ( including us) had paid even after taking off things like onboard credit they still paid much more. Ship boards at 12 noon but no room access until 4 pm - indoors communal areas is mostly in the dining halls ( deck 15) or the bars Don't forget you can take one bottle of wine or champagne per passenger with you - drinks can be expensive and they don't charge you corkage for these 2 bottles either. Room service has no charge if you choose from the set menu. How much do things cost on board: Drinks have 15% added Approx drinks cost Cocktail $9 Beer $ 4.50 Cola $ 2,50 Bottle wine $39 Speciality coffee about $3 - I'd work out how much you want to spend on drinks before you buy a package Ordinary tea, coffee water and lemonade ( still ) are free on the cafeterias during meal times. There were 2x 1 hour sessions of buy one get one free cocktails ( happy hours) - one at 3-4 in the Fusion bar and the other 11-12 pm in skywalkers bar One big point is that they don't like to give a receipt for bar orders and you also don't sign for them - they just use your cruise card - which would make it very difficult to argue over any bill discrepancy! Food was good - looked really nice and a lot of variety but lacked a little in taste I thought. Same menus in the main dinning rooms and anytime dinning was nice to meet lots of people - but sometime had queues. Tipping - I'm English and its not a thing we did until about 10 years ago unless something was really exceptional - so we had the tips taken off our bill at reception ( about $160 each person ) and instead asked for envelopes to put money in as we saw fit - it seems that the staff need tips to make a living wage - the ship should be paying them minimum wage - they make enough money out of us and I don't think we should be encouraging the practice. Disembarkation: Out of room by 8am ( no room service) Breakfast served until 9.30 Excursions - if you don't want to do the cruise excursions ( which are quite expensive and a lot of people were complaining about the quality if them and the lack of interest by the ship in their complaints) people got a pre-printed response and advised to take it up once off the ship. ~ This is how to get around by your self ~ Brugge - docks in Zebbrugger go out of the port and walk left until you see the church on the opposite side of the road - a little shop on your side sells the tram/ bus tickets for about €3 - take the tram to Blankenberg( this is a nice little town - shops ( including lovely chocolate) and a beach at the end of the Main Street, which hires deck chairs etc. To go on to Brugge take the train to Brugge the station is close to the tram stop - NB - if you dock on a Sunday the trains are only once an hour and the same coming back so leave enough time. Brugge takes euros Copenhagen If the cruise stops at the further away dock - we used the Hop on Hop off tour bus from the dock - to get back to the ship on this go to the Red line stop 6 ( the mermaid ) then on to the ocean quay shuttle all to the boat €31 for bus and boat €25 for just bus - hop on hop off Or €16 for cruise shuttle service Does not take euros - machine on ship will change money for you at a price Btw - we took the canal boat tour from the hop on hop off tour ( an extra € 6 ) and enjoyed it - worth the extra if the weathers good. Stockholm - Sweden Best view of the little islands at sunrise The Hop on hop off your bus for €25 or Day pass public transport to use on both the ferry and buses for about £11 ( in kronor) will also take credit cards and can be bought at the port shop. If using public transport - a 5 min walk just outside port terminal - follow the blue line on the pavement to bus stop and catch the 76 to slottsbracken if you want to go to the old town ( you need number 76 towards ropsten to come back to the ship). Helsinki Finland €20 return shuttle from the ship ( long queues on to shuttle bus but nice handicraft ship with wifi on dock - the bus drop off and pick up is in the middle of town. St Petersburg Recommend the Hermitage museum & sightseeing by yourself for 3 hours - in the small row of street sellers outside the domed church we bought 2 medium sized Russian Dollies for £15 for the 2- they will haggle over the price. Don't go to the Ballet - it's in a small, old theatre just for the cruise, refreshments are poor and they even allowed babies in! Swan Lake - never heard of the ballet company ( to be fair they were quite good) but the venue was awful and the ( elegant casual) dress code obviously meant anything from a dickie bow to jeans and a tee-shirt. Definitely not worth the money. It looks like only our cruise ship went to it - so was organised just for us, and it showed ! The advertised 'champaign' wasn't even very good sparkling wine and some people didn't have any. We heard the Underground tour was good We used the ships tours for Russia because they said that you need a visa ( which can be expensive) for Russia unless you do it through the cruise excursions. One couple we spoke to said the 'scare mongering' about needing a visa in Russia was all a sham - they booked a tour separately and had no problem with passport control as they were going to be in Russia for less than 72 hours and were signed up for a tour and had a ticket ! We spoke to one couple who pre- booked a tour by the ship and were charged €30 more for it each on their bill - the ship told them they'd increased the price after they'd booked ...it was just tough ...they'd have to pay it ! Ships attitude to complaints in general was very poor - we heard of lots of dissatisfaction about that. Tallinn - Estonia you can hire Bikes outside on the quay when you get off the shop but the Town has lots of cobble stones and a little hilly. Short walk into town ( 10 mins) - just follow everybody to the left. Market place just off the dock - we found had the best prices. ( but not as cheap as Poland) Poland Gdansk has a huge market with the cheapest prices - Amber, Xmas decorations, clothes, bags etc You walk outside the quay in Gydnia go to your left and catch the 119 bus ( return ticket costs €2 ) to the Gdynia Glowna train station in Trains cost About £2 return to Gdansk (exchange rate was about 5.5 PKP to the £ Stirling) approx every 20 mins ? platform 1 Coming back : Get off train at Gdansk Glowny station go back to where you got off the bus and cross the road. You then need to take the little road further down on your left and go through Gala rybna market - cross the road at the back of the market to the bus stop- you need the stop that says 'Dworczec ..Halo 06' and catch bus 119 back to the ship ( takes about 10 mins) Return taxi to Gdansk ( pre-arranged) cost €80 return with + €20 waiting time by the taxi for the day (shared taxi ) One couple we spoke to said they had booked a tour with Tickets And-tours ( or a website that sounds like this) Wich was a USA site - the tour of St Petersburg cost £199 for 2 days and they said it was really good. Again - they didn't need to sort out a visa for themselves. ( visa not needed if under 72 hrs stay and doing a tour! ) ( This is for any For Non-Brits who plan to spend some time in London befor or after the cruise) Southampton is NOT London ( although some of the shops info would lead you to believe it is) - it's about 70 miles away ! One Amercan guy we spoke to said he'd paid £230 to take a taxi from London to Southampton to catch the ship. Taxi to train station then train to London - use underground system ( you can get a day pass) or hop on hop off bus when there or we suggest visiting Winchester Cathedral or Highclere Castle ( where Downton Abbey was filmed and Lord Carnarvon - of Egyptian artefacts fame lived) if you want to go somewhere closer to Southampton - about 35 miles away. Check though to see if it is open! The art auction - didn't see much by way of the advertised 'champagne but did see one elderly lady being "helped" to bid for something by the staff there. She's said she 'might be interested' in something and the staff were more than helpful to tell her when to raise her number. We didn't go back again . We got the impression that it was all about getting you to spend more money and half of the daily activities were about doing just that - customer satisfaction is low priority with this company I think - even though the crew staff work so hard I know this might all seem a bit negative but overall it was a good cruise - movies under the stars was a great thing to do, the guest speaker on all things astronomical ( Alan Fitzsimmons) was great), staff were mostly very helpful and we had great weather which was a plus. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Before I start it’s maybe good to know that this was my first cruise ever. So I don’t know if my expectations are maybe too high. For me I compare this 5* ship with an at least 4* hotel. I travelled together with my brother who was ... Read More
Before I start it’s maybe good to know that this was my first cruise ever. So I don’t know if my expectations are maybe too high. For me I compare this 5* ship with an at least 4* hotel. I travelled together with my brother who was cruising years ago with Costa. The embarkation was very smoothly. On-board they told us that the rooms were not ready yet, but if we wanted to lunch we may use the buffet restaurant. This, I found very kind of them. For me the interior of ship was good enough, although it certainly can use some refreshments. On the eye it was clean. I found the ship itself very stable and sailed very comfortable. I was very afraid to become sea sick (as I become already sick from a canal boat), but thankfully no sick at all. The tour which we made was very wonderful. We were blessed with very good weather. All ports were very nice. And at all ports there was good transportation options for to go to the main city (hop on/off bus, shuttle bus etc.). Everywhere we met very nice and interesting people. We only booked for St. Petersburg a 2 days excursion, what was very nice and good. As most of the excursions by Princess cruises are very expensive, I found the price of those two very reasonable. The service on board was very poor. Staff was not always well willing and the security staff was very unfriendly and even sometimes rude. Customer service is a laugh, they don’t solve any problems. When you lay on the sundeck it takes a while before a waiter is coming. Even sometimes (after waiting for over more than an hour) you go by yourself. Used glasses/plates etc. stay laying there. In the buffet restaurants it also take a while before somebody came for to pick up the orders for drinks and to take the plates from the table. The buffet restaurants on the ship looks indeed like a canteen (incl. plastic plates). The diversity of food was very simple, cheap and not prepared well. Although in the evening it was much better than in afternoon. Even the canteen at my work offered much better meals than on the Caribbean Princess (they also have to prepare meals for over more than 3000 people). For us the breakfast buffet was very disappointing. If you like sausages and eggs, you will be satisfied. Positive aspect to mention: they bake the bread daily fresh and the croissants are excellent! For us it was also frustrating that you always have to walk with your food, as there was most of the time no free seats in the horizon court, from one to the other buffet. This because the assortments on both buffets was not the same. We had traditional dinning (2nd seat), the food was not always prepared well and taste was very flat. We missed the love of the Cook (finesse in the dishes). All food on board was ok but certainly not excellent (and this we expect on a 5* ship) The only menu which was excellent, was the 50th anniversary menu. Entertainment on board was to us good enough (some performing’s are wonderful and some not), but this is very personal. Pools and Fitness area are very good and in good/clean conditions. The prices of the internet on board is way too high and should be even offered for free (as extra service on a 5* ship). We had the whole time the feeling that Princess more care about making as much as possible profit from the guest on board than about giving services. To find out if my expectations are indeed too high, my next trips will be 1x by a 4* ship and 1x again on a 5* ship. My next trip will be with my 2 teens daughters, so any suggestion are welcome. For me I will definitely not going anymore with Princess cruises as they don’t care about good quality and good services. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I take up to three cruises a year with a variety of lines based mostly on their itinerary. I decided to visit the British Isles this summer. Three cruise lines offered the this voyage for a variety of days. I chose Princess because it ... Read More
I take up to three cruises a year with a variety of lines based mostly on their itinerary. I decided to visit the British Isles this summer. Three cruise lines offered the this voyage for a variety of days. I chose Princess because it offered the most stops with the fewest at sea days. I had cabin E424 that was billed as having an obstructed view -- it did not. This guaranteed room was a great value. It was centrally located and had a slightly larger balcony. The room is well designed and doesn't feel cramped. There is ample room for two weeks worth of clothing. I booked shore excursions through Princess for each port. Yes, I realize they are pricey and I might do better independently, but they were fun and informative. Booking through the ship was especially useful when due to high winds Royal Princess skipped Dublin. The excursion was immediately credited along with the port charges for that stop. I booked the Lotus thermal baths for the trip and was glad of it. This neck of the world is cool and there is no indoor pool on this ship. It was relaxing to take a hot soak when returning from visiting castles and mid-evil cities. The outdoor pools are heated, but you're coming out of them to maybe 60 degrees on a good day. The shows were hit or miss. I think I'm beyond the almost college productions put on by the production crew. How many times will I hear the best if Broadway tunes? The local Celtic entertainers were a treat as well as the illusionist. Food in Sabatinis the Italian restaurant was Devine. The fare in the anytime restaurant was not memorable. The buffet offered quantity of mediocre quality. The best offerings here were the nightly international dishes. The ship is beautiful and open. It makes good use of the central hallway space. That is where the action is. I participated in a 5K walk for breast cancer. Princess matches the money raised for this worthy cause. Now, for the big downside: There was a stomach virus plaguing this ship. Boarding was delayed by up to 6 hours so that the ship could be sanitized. No compensation was made by Princess for this delay. By the time 4,000 people were aboard and the drill done, it was 7:30 pm. Dinner for everyone only began at 8pm. Needless to say, It was slow going this first meal. Shops and the casino never opened. We all lost day 1. Next on the list was the captain's welcome back "party". It was held in the theatre. No drinks were offered during the entertainment and welcome speeches. A coupon was given for one free drink in any bar. There was no dancing. Someone needs to explain party to them. Now, back to the stomach virus. Mid-way through this cruise we had to pack all of our belongings while the rooms were sanitized. In order to enter the buffet, you had to first wash your hands, then use hand sanitizer. Staff told us that this virus had been on the ship for a month. No mention of this nor the protocols came from Princess. If you are a casino player be advised -- the casino only opens four brief times in 12 days due to the ship's close proximity to shore. Disembarkation met with delays when the ramp from the ship moved and couldn't be adjusted. No port engineer was on hand to correct the problem. No information was offered as to why we were delayed 30 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The Royal Princess is a beautiful ship, but to big for our taste. Upon arrival in Southampton we were greeted with the information that boarding would be delayed while the ship was sanitized due to norovirus on the previous cruise. We were ... Read More
The Royal Princess is a beautiful ship, but to big for our taste. Upon arrival in Southampton we were greeted with the information that boarding would be delayed while the ship was sanitized due to norovirus on the previous cruise. We were bused to a nearby mall to kill time until boarding could start. When we got to the mall, we found about 1500 people waiting on the first of many lines that day to get back to the ship, which they could still not board yet. When we returned to the ship later, we found a line about the length of the ship waiting on the dock to check in and board. This was the 2nd line of the day and took about an hour to get into the boarding building, before getting on line number 3 to first get your boarding documents. This was a terrible way to start a cruise. Once on board, the luggage was very slow in arriving to the stateroom. We had organized a cruise critic meet & greet for our first sea day, which Princess provided space on the Horizon Terrace for, but refused to provide any beverages or snacks for, even though the M&G was after sailing from our first port and many people were thirsty and hungry. We worked our way around that by bringing food for the people out of the buffet and setting it up on tables and chairs. We had arranged private tours in most ports with other CC people who we had met on the roll call and that worked out very well and was considerably less costly than Princess tours, but we have found that to be the case on most cruise lines. The highlight tour was an all day tour of parts of Scotland, ending up in Edinburgh at the Royal Military Tattoo. This should be a must for everyone's bucket list if able while the Tattoo is on. Food overall was good but we enjoyed the Symphony dining room better than the main dining room. Alfredo's for Pizza was a great lunch some days. Our cabin was a mini suite which was quite adequate in size. We did not use the balcony much as it was cool and windy most of the time. The various ports were interesting but we did skip Dublin and spent an extra day in Liverpool. The ship was constantly being sanitized where ever you turned. THe tables in the buffet were wiped down and left wet with sanitizer to dry after each use. There was a steward at each doorway and you washed your hands before entering any dining room or the buffet area, even if you were walking thru to get to another area. While this is a good procedure for health reasons, we were made to feel that the norovirus was our fault. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The British Isles are beautiful! They are the reason for the cruise undoubtedly. Being out and about is the point--not staying on board. The embarkation was the worst. We arrived at Heathrow about 7 a.m. and made it through customs ... Read More
The British Isles are beautiful! They are the reason for the cruise undoubtedly. Being out and about is the point--not staying on board. The embarkation was the worst. We arrived at Heathrow about 7 a.m. and made it through customs and to Southampton with no problem. When we arrived, we were told that due to a norovirus outbreak on the previous cruise boarding would be delayed. We were shipped to a nearby mall with not much information but with a number for return. We stayed there for a while then went outside to see what the lines looked like. Buses were taking the crew back, but we had to wait 5 hours or so. We finally were able to get in line about 2:00 and waited for a bus till 3:00. There were buses of fellow travelers arriving at the mall as we left. Long, long lines of people waiting for their number to come up to get a bus to the terminal. We were in line outside of the port until 3:00. It was warm but not too bad for those of us without disabilities or breathing issues. I felt sorry for those whose health posed as issue. Some were let inside. Also let inside were travelers just arriving by cab. That didn't sit well with those of us standing outside and who had been waiting for several hours to get in. Finally, about 4:00 we made it to the line for check-in. Tempers were short for passengers and workers. There were some visa issues with some passengers and some computer issues. Rather than turning over those passengers with visa problems to someone to handle the issues, we all had to stand in line and just hope it was resolved quickly. Most weren't. I have never seen the pushing to check in that I saw there. Some workers were down right rude. Finally, by 5:30 we were on board. The ship did not leave until 8:30 or so. We all thought that Princess would provide a free drink or a slight credit for all the problems, but that didn't happen. The captain never once seemed happy about the trip any time he talked to us. I know it is his responsibility to keep us all safe, but you could tell he was feeling the responsibility heavily. For 12 days, he just gave us the bad news that there was still some problem on the ship with the virus. There was another sanitization after 5 days. We were kindly asked to wash and sanitize before entering the buffet, but some rude passengers refused leaving the rest of us who complied to wonder if they were spreading germs. The rooms are fairly large which we liked, and there is lots of hanging space in the closets, but there is no drawer space. We just had shelves in the closet. The piazza space in the middle of the ship makes it difficult to get places in a timely manner. You have to go from 5 up to 7 and across or vice versa. TV shows consisted of unlimited old Love Boat reruns an a few movies and Animal Planet and several news channels. The house band, while good, played so loudly over the singers in the shows and in the piazza that it was almost impossible to hear the singer. Music still seemed to be geared for the most part to those over 70. It would be nice to hear some newer pop music in the shows and elsewhere. The stage shows were definitely not so great. There didn't seem to be much to do on board if you didn't go on an excursion. Luckily the cruise was port intensive. The art auctions were fun and well managed. Bingo was just one day. The food was ok in the dining room and buffet. I do like their burgers and pizza. One night there was a pig head on the buffet. That ruined my dinner. Be advised that to do the ports and to get back on ship some days you need to be able to walk a good deal. For many of the ports if you are just going into town, a fair distance of walking is required. And the gang planks had more angle on them than I've seen before. Thank goodness for the Princess staff--they handled those wheel chairs and those with limited mobility beautifully up the gang plank that once or twice had a 45 degree angle. Disembarkation was quick and easy. We shared a shuttle (really a smallish car) back to London. It was inexpensive and fun to hear from two other couples about their view of the trip. The weather was gorgeous; the ports were interesting and beautiful; the fellow passengers were interesting and fun. I just wish the captain had had a better time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We choose the cruise for the ports of call. The ship was fantastic, the food was very good and the service staff was excellent. The information flow was horrible. This was our first cruise in over 25 years and it appeared that the staff ... Read More
We choose the cruise for the ports of call. The ship was fantastic, the food was very good and the service staff was excellent. The information flow was horrible. This was our first cruise in over 25 years and it appeared that the staff assumed that everyone aboard was a veteran cruiser. We attended the first nights event that was suppose to give us an overview of the days to come and it did give us some information but nothing about how to figure out where to go or how to get to the needed locations. The itinerary was also very misleading. When you arrive at the destinations listed, it will cost you extra money just to get to the locations. It's another way to milk money out of the passenger. After landing in the various ports, we figured out that buses, taxis, etc. would be waiting for customers and cruise critic did give us some of that information. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Having been on 13 cruises with princess this was somewhat disappointing. Although the ship (Royal) is one of the best I've been on and the service was excellent there were some overt and subtle things that bothered me. The food ... Read More
Having been on 13 cruises with princess this was somewhat disappointing. Although the ship (Royal) is one of the best I've been on and the service was excellent there were some overt and subtle things that bothered me. The food was tasteless. Dining on a princess ship has always been an excellent experience for me but on this trip ... eh! Even the specialty restaurants were not terrific. Sabatinis, over the years, has gone from a 12 course dining experience to 3 courses. Worth the money? The steakhouse did not present anything special other than good service. Excursions were over the top expensive and often involved long bus rides. We arranged our own over the internet that worked out very well Lounge entertainment was OK, nothing special In stateroom entertainment system is awesome!! but most don't go on a cruise to watch TV but quite frankly on this cruise that weather was wet and cold so it worked out well. It was our experience that this itinerary appealed to a much older demographic than we are used to on Princess ships Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We really enjoyed the magnificent Fjords because of the beauty of the destinations. Our pleasant task was to find a cruise that fit into our schedule around a wedding and visit to the U.K. This 7 day on the Caribbean Princess fit ... Read More
We really enjoyed the magnificent Fjords because of the beauty of the destinations. Our pleasant task was to find a cruise that fit into our schedule around a wedding and visit to the U.K. This 7 day on the Caribbean Princess fit perfectly. Our embarkation went easily and once on board, we found the layout of the ship (although a little smaller) similar to the Crown, Ruby and Emerald Princess We enjoyed the cruise. The staff, for the most part, was attentive and pleasant, and the ships front desk team was amazing despite what appeared to be an unending line of passengers with problems. The food was good, and service was just fine in the MDR. The Crown Grill was, as always, spectacular. Our cabin was sufficient and always clean The reasons we have rated the cruise as 'average' follows: This ship is rated for almost 3100 passengers but the TOTAL passenger count was almost 3400. A British passenger told me over dinner that Princess heavily discounts the rooms in the final weeks before sailing. The result? A VERY crowded ship that made it almost impossible to find a seat at the International Cafe, or any of the lounges at virtually any time in the day or night. For most of the cruise there was a strange odor mid-ship in the piazza area. A fellow passenger told me on day 5 or 6 that there was a 'plumbing' problem on the prior voyage, and the last of these difficulties were probably responsible. Finally, I long for the days of shampoo and conditioner being offered separately in the staterooms. The cost-saving scheme of providing the two combined in a pump bottle in the shower may work for some, but we cannot use conditioner. The staff suggested we BUY our shampoo at the store. All in all the Caribbean Princess is a nice ship, and, if not 'overbooked' we are sure it would be more enjoyable. The Fjord post were beautiful, pristine places we completely enjoyed visiting. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I sailed on the July 8, 2015 Royal Princess doing the British Isles (including Paris). Generally speaking, this was a good cruise as Princess usually is. However, I can tell you that having a cabin directly mid-ship is mildly irritating. ... Read More
I sailed on the July 8, 2015 Royal Princess doing the British Isles (including Paris). Generally speaking, this was a good cruise as Princess usually is. However, I can tell you that having a cabin directly mid-ship is mildly irritating. There is no central stairwell for midship cabins other than for the life boat drill. The mid-ship stairwell is used for crew and is closed off to guests otherwise. Given that some major public spaces are directly off the midship elevators, the wait can be annoying. Also, problematic is that the signature terrace pool is missing on the ship (but was added back on to the Regal Princess). This ship is of a size where more people than on the other Princess ships are packed together. Architects did not do a very good plan of traffic flow from one part of the ship to another. There is no 'promenade' on the Promenade deck. I prefer other Princess ships that have the complete wrap around down on this deck. The jogging track has been jammed up on deck 17 for probably about 1/3 of the size of the typical promenade. With these draw backs noted, the ship had the look and feel of most of the other Princess ships. I went to one show while on board. It was non-descript. There was a situation about a performer who was to be on board. This was brought to my attention through a pre-cruise e-mail received from Princess. His name was David Copperfield - but not the magician we know in the US. In the Daily Patter there was mention of a performer by the name of David Cats who would be performing. I went to the front desk and wanted to know if this David Cats was also known as David Copperfield, and if not, was David Copperfield performing. I was told that no one by the name of David Copperfield would be performing. I had the front desk clerk report this e-mail communication to the cruise director. I got a phone call from the cruise director who was not aware of any David Copperfield performing during this cruise and that if I had this e-mail, she would appreciate my sending it to her. Well, low and behold 3 days later, the Princess Patter indicated that David Copperfield would be performing that evening. It is clear that the cruise director did not have all of the facts as to who the entertainment would be. As for the MDR, we had anytime seating. This is really a misnomer. Reservations are encouraged for anytime dining. Even with that being said, we were provided with pagers - sort of like going to TGIF on a Friday night, or being on a Carnival cruise, for that matter. The answer to this predicament was to go to each dining room and get a pager from each location. The first pager to go off became our winning ticket. Generally speaking, service in the MDR was painfully slow. Once in the MDR, we learned that the food was better than on other Princess ships. As for the specialty restaurants (Sabatini's and the Crown Grill) the meals were excellent. In terms of bars, this is the first time that I looked away from the Wheelhouse bar and opted for Crooners in the atrium. With my first drink in the Wheelhouse bar, I noticed that the shot glass was only filled to about 3/4 full. That was with me looking right at the bar tender. I will make sure to keep my eyes out for this situation on any other Princess cruises I may take. Crooner's, in the atrium, had afternoon happy hour from 3 to 4 daily with buy one, get one for $1.00. A pretty good deal. In terms of shore excurions, nothing was very close and required quite a bit of driving to get to the sights, with the exception of Liverpool. Shore excurions were more than I am used to paying and wonder if this isn't because of the price of gas in Europe. In Paris, we did 'The best of Paris'. It took a 3 hour bus ride in each direction to see the sights. Lunch was not served in a charming Parisian restaurant as described, but rather in a German brew pub. In Edinburgh, we did a Castle and City drive. This was on a most Popular and World Heritage Site, so I knew this would be enjoyable, and less expensive as well because of the trip only being 4.5 hours. In Loch Ness, we did the Urquhart and Cawdor Castles. Although a full day tour, it was enjoyable. In Glasgow, we did the Easy Scottish Lochs. The views on this trip were incredible. And once again, only a half day trip. In Belfast, we saw the Giant's Causeway. This is essentially the remnants from lava which cooled over the nearby waters. Interesting and strange. This was also known as a Most Popular and World Heritage Site trip. In Liverpool, we took the 'In the Steps of the Beatles'. Don't overlook this excusrion. It was much more than I thought it would be. In Dublin, we did the Highlights trip. This was probably my least favorite tour. In Cork, we did the Blarney Castle. If your bus can get there early in the morning, the lines should not be too long and you should be able to kiss the stone at the top of the castle, if you are so inclined. Otherwise, taking pictures of those kissing the stone can be a life time memory. A note to the claustrophobic, the circular stairwell has very narrow steps and a winding rope used as a hand rail. A tight squeeze for many. In Guernsey, we went to a miniature castle made out of broken china and shells. Unique. Then, we were off to the Sausmarez Manor. This Manor had a lot of history right up through world war 2. With respect to ports with tenders: beware. We must have been waiting in a line to re-board the ship via tender for 40 to 50 minutes while preparing to leave Guernsey. As indicated elsewhere in this review, the staff / architects have not designed this ship for easy passenger movement and flow. I think that this ship should not visit ports requiring tender service. It is too big to handle so many passengers in an expeditious manner. On this sailing, the tenders were used in Edinburgh and in Guernsey. And with one more observation regarding shore excursion, it appears that many excursions were arranged to come back to the ship at the same time. This left extensive lines getting back onto the ship. This was poor planning in my thinking. The flip side to this argument is that the travel times to get from the port to the 'attraction' is extensive. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I sailed on the July 8, 2015 British Isles cruise. My mother-in-law is in a wheelchair, and getting her around was very difficult. Room keeping carts left in the hallways were a big problem. The embarkation and disembarkation port was ... Read More
I sailed on the July 8, 2015 British Isles cruise. My mother-in-law is in a wheelchair, and getting her around was very difficult. Room keeping carts left in the hallways were a big problem. The embarkation and disembarkation port was not convenient to London (a 2 hour trip by taxi). The crew were very nice and did a great job. The food was good. I enjoyed all the excursions we went on. There where problems with the excursions my mother-in-law went on with us. They did not keep our group together, and at least once did not have a bus equipped with a lift for a wheelchair. A lot of the entertainment targeted the 60+ passengers. Overall, the trip was good, not great. In my opinion the amenities, ship, food, entertainment did not warrant the higher price compared to Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our third Princess cruise and have also cruised many times with Celebrity. The cruise itinerary was excellent but we were disappointed with the Royal compared to other Princess ships like Diamond and the Celebrity ships we have ... Read More
This was our third Princess cruise and have also cruised many times with Celebrity. The cruise itinerary was excellent but we were disappointed with the Royal compared to other Princess ships like Diamond and the Celebrity ships we have been on. Considering that Royal is a relatively new ship [ 5 years old ] we felt let down because - [1] Vibration throughout the ship was excessive. At night, especially if going through some seas, rattled everything in the cabin from the ceiling joins to the bedside lamps. In the day, in the piazza bar staff were warning us about sitting in the middle seats due to vibration [ when the ship was stationery! ] [2] The Princess Theatre lacked in design and did not even have anywhere in the seats to put a drink. We thought is was extremely poorly designed compared to other ships we have been on. [3] Common areas seemed to be limited and therefore crowded at all times, compared to Celebrity ships of similar sizes [4] They had a cigar bar called “Churchill’s” which was very poorly decorated, and was really just a place for cigarette smokers to smoke inside the ship. The cigarette smell in the neighbouring casino was excessive, even during the day when the casino was basically empty. [5] Oh! and they broke my polycarbonate suitcase in SIX places on disembarkment! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We booked this cruise purely for the 2 day stop in St Petersburg and I have to say it was amazing and I would thoroughly recommend booking a 2 day tour with ALL TOURS who are in St Petersburg. They are extremely professional and sort out ... Read More
We booked this cruise purely for the 2 day stop in St Petersburg and I have to say it was amazing and I would thoroughly recommend booking a 2 day tour with ALL TOURS who are in St Petersburg. They are extremely professional and sort out the visas, meet you at the ship and provide an unforgettable experience of this beautiful city. The tour was HALF the price charged by Princess for a 2 day tour which did not include nearly so much. You can find their website and contact them direct - you will not regret it, especially if you are lucky enough to have Alexandra as your guide. The other ports were Copenhagen ( very nice), Nynashamn for Stockholm ( a shuttle disaster with only one minibus!),Tallin ( lovely but too short a stay - only 4 hours), Helsinki, (nice but freezing) and Gothenburg. God knows why Princess choose Gothenburg, a souless container port with nothihng much to see and again only a 4 hour stay. It would have been better to have had longer in Tallinn and skip Gothenburg altogether - a view which was shared by every passenger I spoke to. As for Royal Princess: It is a very peculiar layout with everything centered around the Piazza and nothing much else. There is nowhere much to walk around the ship apart fron around this central area. The theatre is badly designed and people had to stand up every time someone joined the row! There is no central staircase, so those poor souls with midship cabins could not use the stairs, and had to rely solely on the lifts - or else walk a long way to the stairs at the front and back of the ship. Said lifts were very small too! Although we had booked Any Time dining, and booked a table for 2 every morning, when we turned up at 8pm, we were asked every time if we would share a table - despite there being lots of tables for 2. The balconies are very small, as are the cabins compared to older Princess ships. The shows were pretty dire, apart from a Russian Folk Group in St Petersburg and an Abba tribute band - though the men in it were pretty ancient! As is usual with Princess, their shore excursions were very expensive. Food in the Concerto dining room was very good - and service usually cheerful and efficient, but the food in the Horizon Bistro wasn't great. Great pastry shop though, and the International Cafe also was better than the buffet. The weather on this cruise was very cold and so we didn't use the upper decks much, but a few brave souls were wrapped in blankets watching Movies Under The Stars. A pretty ship, but not well thought out. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our 9th Princess cruise and we chose it for the same reason many of our fellow passengers did - St Petersburg. Over the years we have watched the changes in the way Princess operates and I fee that they have gone one step too far ... Read More
This was our 9th Princess cruise and we chose it for the same reason many of our fellow passengers did - St Petersburg. Over the years we have watched the changes in the way Princess operates and I fee that they have gone one step too far on these new ships. Cabin - we had M509 and it was a good sized balcony just back of mid ships. It was perfectly adaquate for our needs and the cabin steward was excellent although I did miss the enjoyment of not knowing which animal towel we would get each day. Food - the food was generally of good standard but in the main dining rooms the only way to get a hot meal seemed to be by having a table for 2. Ana Maria from Russia who seated us in the Symphony was amazing. I called her a swan as she was always calm and serene on top but her legs paddled like mad to get people to their tables as quickly as possible. Sabotinis was really good food at $25 per head extra charge as was the crown grill $25. Normally you have to book days in advance but they never seemed full. The Piazza area was usually crowded as they put a lot of entertainment and dance classes on here so people took up seats even if they weren't eating from the cafe. Alfredos pizzas were good and they were accommodating with the variations to the standard menu. Horizon bar, the food was good and varied but trying to get a seat was a joke at times. Public areas and ship layout - they were small and crowded. The library was a joke. The Promenade deck you couldn't walk round the ship. There was no forward looking lounge above / below the bridge unless you paid to go in the Sanctury. The cabanas (chargeable) were empty as was the front pool. Where were the crew...... ? I know we used to complain about always being asked if you want a drink every 2 minutes but now the cut in staff means you struggle to find a waiter at all. We fetched our own from bars and were charged 15% extra on each bill for gratuities. The Spa was good and Mary was excellent and sorting out my stress points but watch out as you get charged extra for treatments on sea days than you do port days. Entertainment was not up to the standards I have experienced on other ships. Factor in your spending money that they charge for shuttles from dock to local town unless the port supply the buses ($8 per person each way) Remember you can have the automatic charge of $11 per person per day gratuities removed from your bill. The excursions are to be avoided. We were charged €16 for a taxi around Tallin to see a combination of all the sites visited in the exclusions on offer and spent 2 hours at the Seaplane museum which was amazing and not even mentioned. Gone are the times when you could find a navigation map on the wall near passenger services to follow your progress. The TV info was basic and not always correct. We didn't reach the promised high of 54*c (thank goodness). Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
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