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Sail Date: August 2019
I had Balcony Cabin (BB). One of the smallest cabin in the cruise line industry. The bathroom need complete make over and small. They brag about their new mattress. When they where new they where good but now my mattress was lumpy and had ... Read More
I had Balcony Cabin (BB). One of the smallest cabin in the cruise line industry. The bathroom need complete make over and small. They brag about their new mattress. When they where new they where good but now my mattress was lumpy and had valleys. Dinning where to begin. Dinner menu has another menu insert with added charges for food. The food was 2nd grade quality. Prime Rib was shredded compact meat. Shrimp Cocktail had 5 shrimp about 2 inches long. I thought this was a joke. The wine glasses are the smallest in the industry. Along with barely half pour at $10 plus 18% . The bottle of wine they use is about $8 in a wine store. My partner purchased a bottle for dinner to be saved for the next day only to have the waiter constantly pouring more wine. They want you to order another bottle quickly. I purchased a bottle of Evian water and rarely the waiter refilled my glass. The ships public rooms where well appointed except the main show room seating was horrible by today standards. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Princess Cruises is an American company and so I blame myself in part for not spotting the warning signs, even though I have visited the USA many times. Unlike the UK, where the price you see is the price you pay, every purchase made in ... Read More
Princess Cruises is an American company and so I blame myself in part for not spotting the warning signs, even though I have visited the USA many times. Unlike the UK, where the price you see is the price you pay, every purchase made in the USA will cost far more than its advertised price with all kinds of extras added - most significantly, tips. Which is why my extras bill following my 14-night cruise was approaching $2000, of which a significant proportion was "gratuities" On board the Sapphire Princess there are many examples of US influence, of which more later - but the first clue was when, as we stepped off the gangplank and entered the ship, we were approached by smiling Princess staff (as happens of other ships, of course) by the difference was that these staff were not there to guide us to our stateroom or even to point out the location of the lifts - that we had to sort out for ourselves. No, these staff were there to sell us extras - in this case drinks packages. By purchasing such a package we would be able to reduce the price of a bottle of wine to as "little" as $31 a bottle. And this selling of overpriced extras continued throughout the cruise. Of course, one can refuse them and that was the option I normally took. My partner also elected not to take any of the personal care extras such as the spa which, she assured me, was about three times UK prices (and doubtless would have required the payment of a gratuity). I have become used to the fact that drinks on ships are not cheap these days (when I started cruising they were UK prices or less) but the drinks prices on Princess were obscene. The glass of wine that would have cost Princess less than a dollar at wholesale duty-free prices was on offer to customers for $10 or more. And that's not all - every drink served attracted a non-optional "gratuity" of $14.50. So the bottle of beer that would have cost no more than $4 in a UK pub cost over $21 - of which probably $20 was clear profit to Princess. This rampant profiteering was actually counter-productive since those at my dinner table (and the other tables I could see) simply refrained from buying drinks and drank the free water supplied. Normally I would have at least one drink with dinner, as would have my companion. Had the drinks been half the price and the gratuity absent, Princess would still have made plenty of money on our dinner drinks; as it is they made next to nothing. The gratuity scam continued to the end of the voyage when a gratuity payment of $14.50 per person, per day, was added to my stateroom account. So that's over $400 just for tips - even though tips had already been added to many of the services. So I was paying tips on tips! So how was the cruise otherwise? Well, not bad - as it should have been for the money. My stateroom, with its balcony, was comfortable enough, although once again there were some issues related to the American ownership. I have never been on a cruise where the staterooms have sufficient electrical socket outlets and on a modern ship there is no reason why they should be supplied. After all, travellers will have such things as mobile 'phones, laptops, camcorders, curlers, hair-dryers and other things that need power. The Sapphire Princess provided 4 outlets and these were of US specifications, which had more disadvantages than that of simply being of the niggardly US voltage of 110V. US sockets are much smaller than UK sockets and thus, when an adaptor is used to convert the US outlet to the UK plug type, there is room for only one plug in each double US socket. So only two sockets can be used at any time. Of course, the obligatory bottle of mineral water was supplied at a high price ($2.36) should one not want to drink the warm tap-water. The on-board entertainment was good enough, although I have been on cruises where there is a greater variety. My major criticism of the entertainment was its timing. Passengers who had booked the second sitting for dinner, as had I, we simply unable to take advantage of many of the events as they started too early - 2030 or 2100 - when dinner rarely finished prior to 2200. I have never had this problem on other lines. But those intending to book with Princess would be well-advised to book an early dinner sitting. Of course, it would have been possible for us to have gone to the self-service restaurant - but when one has established a good relationship with one's fellow diners one wishes to maintain it. Overall the facilities were good and there were generally enough of them for all, although lounger-space around the pools was in short supply and some guests had taken to "reserving" a lounger with personal items - although this was supposedly forbidden. The "Movie under the stars" facility was impressive with its huge screen although it was a shame that nothing but the titles and ratings of the movies was given in the "Princess Patter" information sheets. So what is one to make of a movie entitled "Bohemian Rhapsody" if one has never seen its details anywhere. There was an in-cabin TV which gave some details of what was going on - but details of the movies were absent, although there was ample space to have shown such details in "Princess Patter" or on the TV. So would I cruise with Princess again? In a word, no, unless they do something about their prices. I can afford to pay them but I resent being ripped off - and, frankly, this is what Princess are doing. In conversation with our fellow travellers we found several who had been on multiple Princess cruises and were intending to pay a deposit for another one (on yes - the continuous on-board selling included forward bookings) but for me once was enough. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose the 12-Night British Isles cruise for the itinerary. The itinerary was FANTASTIC. The ship and dining services - not so much. Can be an excellent cruise if your ship expectations aren't too high. We found the only way to ... Read More
We chose the 12-Night British Isles cruise for the itinerary. The itinerary was FANTASTIC. The ship and dining services - not so much. Can be an excellent cruise if your ship expectations aren't too high. We found the only way to get good dining was to visit the Specialty Dining Rooms, the International Cafe, the Salty Dog on the Pool deck or the Pizza service - and those were better than expected. The selections and quality of selections in the main dining rooms and Horizons Buffet were way below our our previous cruising experiences across any line. We read in advance that the ship was refurbished in April of 2018 - a year and a half ago. We thought the ship looked dated, the stateroom furniture worn and in need of replacement and in general the hallway walls, trim and carpet were tired-looking. Tendering for over 3,000 passengers in popular ports creates long waiting lines (over an hour each time), and when you add the time to tender you to and from shore, you've lost just about three hours of your in-port time. We see a definite decrease in value and general "cruise experience" of a Princess Cruise from our previous cruises with Princess and especially compared to comparable cruise lines in this price/star-rating range. In closing, the new Medallion-Class ships offer faster-than-expected Medallion-Net (on-board and internet networking services) and an electronic "Medallion" instead of a "key-Card." The Medallion experience in general and related apps can enhance a cruise experience for tech-savvy and even non-tech savvy guest by making crew recognition, stateroom access and room charging processes faster and easier than it ever was with cards. The two Princess excursions we took to the Royal Tattoo in Edinburgh Castle in Scotland and the Normandy Excursion in France (to Omaha and Gold beaches and the US cemetery) were very organized, informative and we thought well-worth the cost. We would definately do these again with Princess. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We traveled on the Crown Princess British Aisles Cruise mainly due to it's itinerary. It was our introduction to the British Aisles and my wife and I traveled with our next door neighbors. Let me preface this review in stating that we ... Read More
We traveled on the Crown Princess British Aisles Cruise mainly due to it's itinerary. It was our introduction to the British Aisles and my wife and I traveled with our next door neighbors. Let me preface this review in stating that we are Royal Caribbean regulars and are making most of our comparisons based on that. We arrived two days earlier at Heathrow and our United flight arrived 1/2 hour early around 9 pm, I was worried that our 'Shared Arrival Transfer London Airport to Hotel' booked via Trip-Advisor wouldn't be there but he was (they keep on-top of arrival info, so make sure your Flight info is updated before you fly). Even though it was a shared transport we were his only fare arriving at 9:30 pm and with little traffic at that time we checked in to the Park Plaza Victoria (which is a great hotel near Buckingham Palace) by 10:30pm. We planned to try to cram in as many highlights of London in one day as we could but realistically settled on doing the Tower of London at 9 am (it took 2-hours minimum), Westminster Abbey at noon and The Staterooms at Buckingham Palace. We purchased a Oyster card for Tube travel and began at 9 am opening at the Tower (by the time we were leaving lines to see the crown Jewels were over a hour wait so make a bee-line there first) make sure you purchase your tickets from: https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/#gs.zywwgy before you arrive otherwise the lines for tickets will take some time. Of the three we thought the Abbey was the highlight. We pre-purchased reserved seats (reserved for an extra 3-pounds each) for 10 am on National Express bus from Victoria Coach station (.6 minute walk from the Park Plaza Victoria) to Southampton Coach Station for $13.50 each one way. Note that as we were getting on our bus the Princess Bus Transportation was loading right next to us. When we arrived in Southampton at noon we immediately got a taxi to the cruise ship for 8 pounds. Embarkation using the Medallions was quick and we were on board by 1:30pm. This is a port intensive cruise with only two at sea days so we chose anytime dining because of the late sale-away times. We didn't want to be tied to a set dinner time. With the ship off a refresh dry dock in 2018 I was surprised by the state of disrepair we noticed around the ship. Vinyl applique sheets peeling off elevator surfaces, numerous dents on hallway walls, Tile baseboards held in place by caulk in numerous public bathrooms, two drawer fronts came off when opening in our stateroom. All small items but they all add up to create a sense that quality workmanship & maintenance are not a high priority Didn’t think much of the common areas in the ship, it had a closed in small feel with very few views of the ocean. The main Piazza area was only three stories high and had very little room to watch entertainment. Typical shops jewelry, watches, overpriced souvenirs, lacking any sundries shopping that you might have forgotten to pack. Photo services lacked any creativity, probably due to lack of any open spaces to take them. Entertainment was hit or miss, enjoyed the comedians, magician (card tricks), band that played every night, Thought the stage shows were lacking, they don’t come close to the quality found on Royal Caribbean ships, we watched for the first 10-15 minutes and gave up. Food in the main dining room was good nothing outstanding. Many of the meals were very small portioned, my cocoa pork loin while probably the best tasting dish on the cruise was five bite sized pieces. Shrimp cocktail has the smallest shrimp I’ve ever seen, formal night lobster tails were small and dry. Every night we’d get recommendations of 1-2 dishes to avoid from wait staff , that’s never happened before (clue get rid of dishes that don’t work). Wait staff for the most part were amazing in all venues. The Horizon Court buffet was also good, nothing outstanding, hard to find seats during breakfast especially on sea days. Over easy eggs on the egg station were either over hard or often cold, scrambled eggs had an odd taste leaving the only way to get a good egg dish was thru the omelet station. Free coffee only available in dining rooms were brewed weak. No free coffee or tea at the International Café (free coffee and always available on Royal Caribbean ships similar venues). International café had a great selection of salads snacks, pressed sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, cookies, deserts and a Gelato station charging 3-scoops for $3.50. Best Pizza I’ve had on a cruise, Salta Dog Grille, on Lido Deck poolside, burgers and dogs were good, offered signature Ernesto Burger for $5 or the Ernesto w/Beer for $8 (no brainer since a bottle of beer was $6.75). We booked the Princess transfer to Heathrow which was the lest expensive and most worry free way of departing. We disembarked at 9:15 am buss departed the port at 10:15 and arrived at Heathrow at 11:30am for a 3:30pm flight. Our travel companions had a 1:30pm flight and disembarked the ship at 6:15am. Overall my main reason for booking this cruise was for the ports. While I was hoping for more (we all do), what I received was a decent cruise on a aging ship. Princess needs to pull a page from Royal Caribbean’s playbook and treat every ship like it’s our best ship, staying on top of maintenance, providing the best in entertainment, amaze us with great food venues. If Royal had offered the same itinerary, I would have cruise with them hands down. Again I was hoping for more, I wanted to be wowed, I could have been a convert to Princess. Maybe all princess ships aren’t the same but I don’t want to waste another vacation hoping for more. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
The British Isles itinerary looked appealing but did not live up to expectations. The ship was OK but the food was lacking in choices and most proteins were dry and tough. The water in the cabin was expensive and Princess has no ... Read More
The British Isles itinerary looked appealing but did not live up to expectations. The ship was OK but the food was lacking in choices and most proteins were dry and tough. The water in the cabin was expensive and Princess has no multi-bottle packages available. You're better off buying water at one of the ports. Everything was nickel-dimes to death and the tours were very expensive so we booked a couple from an outside source. The stops were uninteresting and unappealing. They had shuttle buses to the town centers but charged $16 each for the short trip. Also, the cabin had a queen bed but you could only get out from one side due to the large nightstand. The photos were $25 each which is another example of their gouging. The cruise was reasonably priced but, when you add all the excursions, it becomes bloated. All in all, this will probably be our second and last Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this itinerary primarily for the itinerary. We were in a mini-suite on the 9th deck - the Dolphin deck. This was a "Medallion" cruise which uses a small electronic device similar to a keyless car key for all ... Read More
We chose this itinerary primarily for the itinerary. We were in a mini-suite on the 9th deck - the Dolphin deck. This was a "Medallion" cruise which uses a small electronic device similar to a keyless car key for all transactions including opening the door of your cabin as you approach - nice if you're carrying something. Embarkation was a little tedious because our pre-ordered medallions did not arrive before we left and were not available to the second day of our cruise. Cabin was a little care-worn but not offensive - like staying in a Holiday Inn Express vs a 4 star hotel. The bed was comfortable enough although visible concavity on both sides reflective of prolonged use. Bath was adequate with motel level toiletries. Shower - tub combo was essentially a shower as the drain could not be closed - not an issue for us. Closet space was adequate. Electrical outlets were few in number reflecting the age of this ship. The trick is to use the outlets for one of the two TV's in this suite. Our cabin steward was superb in keeping our room clean. Any-time dining requires a strategy to keep from waiting - make a reservation if you want dining for two! On balance food in main dining was good - sometimes excellent but with some misses. No problem changing your order if you didn't care for the dish. Using the buffet particularly for breakfast also requires a strategy which a peak times makes finding a table problematic. Find your table first and then get your breakfast. The ports of call and the size of the ship places you either at anchorage or some distance from the named destination - not unusual for any large ship. In Guernsey, the water taxi on return to the ship required a 40 MINUTE wait - UNACCEPTABLE! In Dublin the dock was at an industrial area with no foot traffic allowed and no taxis available. The only option for getting to town was to use the ship shuttle at $16 a person additional unless you were on a ship-sponsored excursion. Based on our prior cruising experience, we did private hires and guides at most ports which were competitive with or even cheaper than ship excursions. We are not prone toward attending the ship-sponsored events including art auctions or clothing sales and the pressure to do so was minimal. Evening entertainment in theater required 30 minute prior arrival time to gain a seat for a 45 minute show so skipped a few but those attended were good. As far as food quality goes, breakfast buffet offered lots of choices including several healthy alternative including remarkably good fresh fruit. Lunch rarely taken onboard while in port. Dining room menu was varied with good options. Preparation and taste had wide variability but wait staff were happy to exchange the course if you desired. Wait staff mostly attentive but clearly rushed. Most all of the negatives were related to having to move 3000 people around efficiently and comfortably - successful some of the time but tedious at other times. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I chose this cruise because of the Great Britain itinerary and because our local travel agent created a package with Iceland before and a few days in London afterwards. We were a group of 6 seniors. All in all, it was OK but I was ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the Great Britain itinerary and because our local travel agent created a package with Iceland before and a few days in London afterwards. We were a group of 6 seniors. All in all, it was OK but I was particularly impressed by this, my first Princess Cruise. I have sailed on other lines in which everything was not just good, they were perfect. After 8-12 days on those ships I had no complaints and could not say enough good things about the ship and crew. On this Princess cruise I can say most everything was pretty good, but not much was outstanding. Specifically, I did not appreciate being nickled and dimed for 12 days. The first thing I saw on entering my stateroom were two bottles of water and the charges of $5 plus for the large one and $3 plus for the small one. On other cruise lines, there has been unlimited bottled water in the staterooms, bottles when leaving the ship on excursions. bottles during the excursions, and bottles when you return. None of that here. Other cruise lines have offered unlimited soft drinks, beer, and wine during meals. On this cruise, everything was extra. I could get coffee at a meal, but there was a charge for cappuccino. A fellow cruiser was told there would be a charge for cranberry juice. The other thing I noticed were minor deficiencies with the ship. There was a ring in the toilet bowl. The stopper in our bathroom sink did not work. The wood railing on our balcony was worn. None of these are major items. But, I could not help but compare these to other cruise lines on which we have sailed (river and ocean) in which everything on the ship was in pristine condition. The entertainment was pretty mediocre. We have been on ships of similar size where the stage shows were spectacular productions. Not so here. For example, there was a magician whose show was very low key with just a stool and a briefcase for props. I remember a magician on another cruise who had elaborate props, was much flashier, including a camera with screens that allowed the audience to see clearly his close-up card tricks. Even though I was sitting only a few rows back in the lounge, I couldnʻt really see the cards very clearly. Those in the back would have to take his word that the trick worked. In one case, a trick did not work. He was OK, but I have seen better magicians on Americaʻs Got Talent. There were two comedians who were very funny. On the positive side, the food was good, the stateroom was sized about the same as on other ships, the bed was comfortable, and the service was OK (although they did have some trouble quickly clearing tables in the Horizon Grill buffet.) The selection of ports was good. We were pleasantly surprised by Guernsey and Orkney of which we did not know much before arriving at each. All of our excursions were booked privately, so I canʻt comment on the quality of the shipʻs offerings. Some others with whom we traveled had been on several previous Princess cruises, were very satisfied with them, and said this one just didnʻt seem to be of the same quality. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
It was a good trip as we got to see parts of Norway landscape and mountains as the ship travel thru the fjords. We visited a few of small villages where we took excursions that gave us some wonderful views of the valley. The only issue ... Read More
It was a good trip as we got to see parts of Norway landscape and mountains as the ship travel thru the fjords. We visited a few of small villages where we took excursions that gave us some wonderful views of the valley. The only issue a I had was the length of stay in Bergen as it was really not enough time to see the city as there were many things to look and see in this wonderful city. The cruise itself was average as the boat did sort of showed it aged but Princess did a good job of renovating it. Dining was fine as the menu selection was close to the local food. The sea was not too rough as most of the time it was smooth sailing. The entertainment was fine but was not too exciting as I would have expected. The comedian Juggler I think was the best of all of the shows. We liked the music playing in the piazza as we sat with out latte and relax. The movies under the stars was good - except it was kindof chilly which is expected. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We are frequent cruisers & chose this cruise for the itinerary, which did not disappoint. We hired private tour guides in four ports and were glad we did: great tours , excellent values for group of six. Coordinated with some folks ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers & chose this cruise for the itinerary, which did not disappoint. We hired private tour guides in four ports and were glad we did: great tours , excellent values for group of six. Coordinated with some folks on cruise critic roll call boards. Although the ship has been refreshed, the entertainment was Not very good except for a duo in a lounge after dinner. Both the variety and the quality of the food Pales in comparison to Celebrity or Norwegian.. We booked only one Princess excursion but it was one we were anxious to do as Giverny is my happy place. Imagine our surprise when we only had 45 minutes at Giverny after a 90 bus ride. Other guests were irate too. We them spent two hours at an outdoor venue for a just OK lunch followed by two hours at Rouen. This was a ridiculous imbalance of time and should be changed. Do not plan to use the laundromat. We bought tokens but never found a time with machines available. Bring what you can wash in your sink. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Tracking passengers with a medallion, not cool at all. You have to have this device on you to get in your room, and do anything else on the ship. Including getting on and off in ports. I work for a company that makes these devices for ... Read More
Tracking passengers with a medallion, not cool at all. You have to have this device on you to get in your room, and do anything else on the ship. Including getting on and off in ports. I work for a company that makes these devices for Amazon I know exactly what they are for. The buffet lines were awkward. The cruise wasn't bad,we have been on many. There were just more things I didn't like than I liked with Princess. The crusie director was almost invisible. Other cruise lines we have been on, they (cruise directors) have been much more involved with guests. Food was good, and they had lots of vegan options for those who eat that way. Entertainment was so so, again we have seen better much on other lines. We met a lot of very nice people on the ship. Almost always fun to talk with and learn from their point of view. Itinerary was very good, It would be a great trip for anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I am writing this review related to my trip on the Crown Princess with Princess Cruises between July 1st-July 12th of 2019, which sailed from Southampton, England to the British Aisles. I went with my whole family and spent two weeks at ... Read More
I am writing this review related to my trip on the Crown Princess with Princess Cruises between July 1st-July 12th of 2019, which sailed from Southampton, England to the British Aisles. I went with my whole family and spent two weeks at sea. The experience was very mixed, including both good and bad aspects, and I would like to share some thoughts below for those who are considering this cruise: Great aspects: -The best part of the experience was visiting the countries. We visited London, Dublin, Cobh, Belfast, Kirkwall, Glasgow, Invergordon, Edinburgh, and Normandy. The countries are absolutely beautiful, with great historical sites to visit and amazing historical sites. Our favorite was driving to Mont St. Michel and visiting different castles. -The cruise staff for the most part is very nice. We were particularly impressed with the staff in the dining rooms and the Lido Deck (particularly Bernardo in the Botticelli dining room and Donacio in the Lido’s Deck). The staff at the Lotus Spa was also great, especially Neahm from Ireland. -The evening shows and the music overall in the ship was great. The Vivace String Duo – who play the violin every night – is beautiful. The DJ at the 18th floor nightclub was great as well. -The Crown Grill Steak House is wonderful. We had out last meal there. You have pay additionally to dine there, but it was well worth it. The Crab Shack was worth doing as well. -The beds in the cabins were comfortable. The bathrooms are tiny though. The cleaning service of the room was good as well. Bad aspects: -You are always running in this cruise. Many times you do not feel you are on vacation. Most of the best sites are far from the ports, requiring taking tenders and multiple buses to get to the best locations. Excursions can get very expensive as well. In some locations like Guernsey, the wait to deboard was very lengthy. The cruise was not very good about providing information in advance of how to best manage the available transportation options. There is a great deal of information that we had to find out on our own. -The Crown Princess is a very daunting ship. It is huge and had 4,000 people on board. It was very difficult to find most places in the ship. The elevators were also very slow. -The Tree House option for little kids was very deficient. I have a 6-year-old. They advertise this cruise as kids-friendly, but we did not find that to be the case. They have this fairly large playground for kids between the ages of 3 and 6, but you need to leave your child with the cruise care takers. The cruise care takers were very rigid and formed very quickly a negative opinion of our child. Every time we tried leaving him under their care, they were not very happy and indicated he was too hyperactive. We did not feel welcomed there. When we asked the cruise caretakers to let our child run and play more, they said that they prefer to have kids sit down and do arts and crafts. The sad part is that I wish they would have had an open playground that all kids could use under parental supervision, which was not the case. My child loves running and playing and he could not do this in the ship. This was very important since it was very cold outside for most of the cruise, which impeded my son from playing in the outdoors areas of the cruise or using the pool. -The food in the cruise was very average. Our favorite was the Lido’s Deck. We did not particularly like the food in our assigned dining room, the Botticelli. -The Laundromats were a disaster. The cruise advertises that it has laundromat services, but then there are washers and dryers in every floor that are broken. It is very complicated to find token machines as well. I had to dry my clothing three times in the same dryer. It is a clear strategy from Princess to encourage you to purchase their very expensive laundry services. -We have all spent the week after the cruise sick with a respiratory virus and fever. My husband became ill in the ship and the rest of us became ill towards the end of the cruise. Even though the cruise takes measures to avoid the spread of diseases, it is very easy to come back ill. Overall, we enjoyed our trip, but we want to make sure future travelers are aware of these negative aspects. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I saved up to take my retired parents on their first cruise. The itinerary was good, the stateroom was beautiful and spacious but the dining was slow, on average it took 2 1/2 hours to serve a soup or salad, salmon or meat and veg ... Read More
I saved up to take my retired parents on their first cruise. The itinerary was good, the stateroom was beautiful and spacious but the dining was slow, on average it took 2 1/2 hours to serve a soup or salad, salmon or meat and veg and a cold pudding. We chose anytime dining which seemed to make the service slower. We tried going early /half time /later and always had to wait a long time for a table so we missed a lot of the entertainment too. The food was edible, like a bar meal or canteen catering but it wasn't delicious. However, the food on the last night was delicious and much different to the other nights which saddened me. The service overall was hit and miss. I would say that the staff were all overstretched. The guy cleaning the cabins had 19 to take care of and easily worked a 12 hour shift, there were hardly any waiters in the dining room which contributed to slow service - about 8 waiters per restaurant, the entertainment who were excellent, also had a triple shift - singing for over 3 hours throughout the night, which is a lot for a band. The ports and shore excursions were enjoyable. We visited Bruge, Copenhagen and Oslo. We couldn't dock at Skagen due to high winds. We had a lovely holiday but it certainly didn't have the cruise wow factor we expected for that price point. I feel quite cheated and I don't feel my parents got the real cruise experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for 2 reasons: First because we had cruised with Princess in the past band were very satisfied with that experience, Second because of the itinerary. We were looking for a British Isles cruise and the fact that this ... Read More
We chose this cruise for 2 reasons: First because we had cruised with Princess in the past band were very satisfied with that experience, Second because of the itinerary. We were looking for a British Isles cruise and the fact that this itinerary included Guernsey(for me!) and LeHavre, France( Normandy D Day Beaches for my husband) had us sold. We started our cruise with an overnight in London, booked through Princess. We were not aware the transfer from Heathrow to the hotel was over an hour. This hotel was quite a bit away from major tourist sites in London, making it difficult to see much in 1 day. Also our hotel room was not much larger than a walk-in closet!! The transfer from the hotel to Southampton port was smooth and so was checking in to board the cruise. So we began our cruise, excited to see our destinations and begin our excursions!! Well our first stop was Guernsey and my husband had been checking the weather and saw it was not looking good(100% chance of rain, very windy) but the ship was heading there so we figured it would be okay( we brought rain gear!). Early the morning of our arrival to Guernsey , the captain announces it is not safe as we need to tender into port and the water was too rough. Of course I was disappointed but what can you do, But what happened is we cruised straight into a storm and hit very rough waters. I don't understand why the ship did not just avoid trying to go to Guernsey as I'm sure the captain has more advance access to the weather than my husband. So we weathered the storm and made it our next port of Cobh. What happened next is the ship had electrical problems and needed extra time in Cobh to have this fixed.(Was this due to cruising through the storm, I sure think so!!) This led to the ship not being able to arrive in Dublin until 4pm( had to wait for the tides to be at certain height). We were told we would stay in Dublin until 2 am (again due to the tide level). Being that this was on a Sunday most of the major tourist sites closed at 5 pm. We had booked a historical walking tour midmorning which could not be changed, As disappointing as that was, the bigger issue was 3000 passengers trying to disembark the ship at the same time. It was quite chaotic and there were no crew available to assist and take control. People were cutting in line which caused yelling(did witness) and fighting( did not witness but heard of). So our first 2 ports of call were basically lost. We then arrived at our next stop in Liverpool slightly behind scheduled time, There was poor communication from the ship to when we would arrive and we had to go to the main desk to ask. Our excursion to Wales(just beautiful!) was shortened by a little but at least we started to experience the true beauty of the UK! From then on we were back on schedule and enjoyed all our excursions. On board the Crown Princess was somewhat disappointing . As I said earlier we have cruised on Princess in the past. I felt service was slow and there was limited interaction with staff. I felt the staff were working hard but that they were short staffed. We were also disappointed with on board enrichment lectures. They were held in a lounge where bartenders were making frozen drinks( blenders are loud!) and other passengers were talking,and playing cards. It made it very difficult to hear the speakers.Other cruises the talks were held in a more private area. The casino which allowed smoking ,did not close any doors so smoke could be smelled throughout the atrium. Overall the ship was tired looking and could use some refreshing. Saying all this, my husband and I did enjoy ourselves and thankful to be able to see and experience new places in this world. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We went on this cruise with my cousins who had already booked. My father is from Scotland so I was looking forward to setting foot in the homeland so to say. Embarkation went well but the tour to Windsor Castle as part of our ... Read More
We went on this cruise with my cousins who had already booked. My father is from Scotland so I was looking forward to setting foot in the homeland so to say. Embarkation went well but the tour to Windsor Castle as part of our Disembarkation was far too rushed for the time that was allowed. Did not even get to see the village of Windsor or eat lunch as promised. Made it a very over priced transfer to the airport. Most of us in the group were not happy. The guide apologized but Princess knew well ahead of time that all tour groups into the Castle have to go through a special admission gate and the line up for this was 6 - 8 blocks long. We waited over 1 1/2 hours just to get to the security checkpoint. That left us with about 45 minutes to see what we could. None of this was spoken about when we booked the tour or as we travelled to the Castle. Princess notified us that due to a royal function some parts of the castle would not be open as advertised. Why would you even offer such a tour before hand? The cruise line would have known that it was Royal Ascot race time and the royal family would be in residence so part of the castle would not be available. We, as pre booked tour passengers, were not notified about this until 4 days before the tour. With the internet not working we had no choice but to take the tour to get to the airport. In retrospect, we should have cancelled and taken the direct connection or made them pay for a phone call to another taxi service for transport. Good thing was we at least got to see some of the castle, St. Georges Chapel and sample the wonderful ice cream they sell there. We didn't go on a tour to Versailles from Le Havre because of the length of the tour, (8 - 10 hours) but this is another situation that Princess knows about but does not communicate very well. For the most part France closes on Monday. We were in port Monday and even the town of Le Havre had very little open. Our research ahead of time showed that Versailles, which I would truly love to visit again, is always closed on Monday. I wonder when those who booked this tour found that out? Another disappointment was not being able to see Guernsey Island. The seas were so rough they didn't even take on the pilot to try to go ashore. It was the right move by the Captain as this is a tender port, however we learned after that this cruise itinerary is rarely able to dock here. Over half of the time the weather or seas are so bad they cannot tender passengers to shore. Why do they continue to make this a stop?? Very rough seas and high winds on this day at sea also meant that we got bounced around a bit. Depending on which way you were going you had to walk up or down hill as the ship was listing so badly. Next problem once they got the ballast water shuffled around so we were more upright we were told that the front thrusters had been damaged. The next day it was a diesel generator, then it was an electrical problem where the elevators stopped for a bit, kind of a domino effect of once one thing was close to being corrected something else went wrong. Yes they did give each of us $100 on our accounts to try to cover our concerns and disappointment so I guess that is a plus for them. Then there was the internet. This is not a reasonably priced or reliable function on this ship from other reviews I have read. We did purchase the 1 hour package before we sailed and were trying to be very careful how we used it. Very frustrated when something that would normally take less than 1 minute at home took over 15 minutes on the ship to download. When we checked with the IT guy downstairs he let slip something about damage due to a fire then corrected himself very quickly and referred back to the mechanical problems with the thrusters and such. After one more try to use the service we finally asked for a refund and the IT tech quickly credited our account. My cousin and I both having English and Scottish ancestry wanted to try the afternoon English tea on board. My recommendation is don't bother, wait until you go ashore on your own and find a nice bakery in town and enjoy a tea and scone there. On the ship, everything was rushed. The pastry server came around before we even had time to select our tea and didn't come back. They have a tray and you pick the item(s) you think you want, serve it and then run away to someone else. The same with the sandwiches, which for us came after the pastries. The scones we were served were dry and crumbly even with cream and jam added. Neither my cousin or I enjoyed the experience. The ship is still in the throws of reconstruction. This Medallion Class stuff was being installed as we were sailing. From other reviews it has been this way for a long time. Several of the public areas were boarded off with lots of hammering and sawing noises going on. When you pay lots of money not just for your trip but for just about everything else while on board you don't expect to have to avoid power cables and construction sites. (My husband thought he heard that it even cost to vote during the contest for the Voice of the Ocean competition finale. Don't know if this is true though as we were only outside of the theatre reading when this was going on). They probably would have been able to accomplish so much more by letting the ship stay in port or dry dock for a week, do the upgrades then set off all shinny and new. I always try to look for positives and I have mentioned a couple here. Another one was how the Captain handled the multiple problems that occurred. He tried very hard to keep everyone informed and made sure passenger and crew safety came first. Others we spoke to felt the same way. He was trying to make things better. I think all these mechanical problems indicate that Princess needs to look at getting this ship refurbished properly and not on the fly. I did get to set foot in Scotland though so that goal for this trip was accomplished. I doubt either one of us in our group will make Princess our first choice for our next cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first Princess cruise, we have cruised with Royal Caribbean on numerous occasions and cannot help making comparisons. Pros: The crew were lovely and very helpful, our room steward Anna was great, our room was very clean. ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise, we have cruised with Royal Caribbean on numerous occasions and cannot help making comparisons. Pros: The crew were lovely and very helpful, our room steward Anna was great, our room was very clean. The entertainment was very good, especially the Princess Singers and Dancers, as well as other entertainment. However we were expecting a famous celebrity singer or comedian on board for one night. There were plenty of seats at Horizon Court both daytime and evening, with no queueing, disembarking on days out was very quick, only light queueing coming back on board. Cons: 18% tips is far too high for drinks. Signed receipts for drinks should be given automatically without asking. Account could not be activated on TV screens. Food was disappointing, hot food was cold or tepid, and not enough choice in both Any Time Dining restaurants or Horizon. Portions in restaurants far to small with not enough vegetables. Too much carvery pork in Horizon with no other choice. Cleaning: we did not see anyone cleaning banisters, lifts, buttons, toilets at any time. This should be done on a regular basis throughout the day and evening. We did not see any salad serving spoons in Horizon being changed during mealtimes. It is all very well having sinks but numerous people did not use them before meals. We both came home with streaming colds and coughs although we always leave our balcony door open both day and night. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which we enjoyed. We chose Princess because of the previous good experiences my sister and her husband had, and they joined us on this cruise. They were as disappointed with the service and food as ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which we enjoyed. We chose Princess because of the previous good experiences my sister and her husband had, and they joined us on this cruise. They were as disappointed with the service and food as we were. Some staff seemed irritated with requests, and sometimes were actually surly. There were instances of drawers slammed to show displeasure. (2 of our previous cruises were on Celebrity where staff attitude and morale was far superior--everyone smiled and seemed genuinely caring.) Front desk staff here were unhelpful whether it was on the phone or in person. A singsong "Sorry" was the frequent response. Food in the main dining rooms was very good, and service was okay. Nice choices of starters and desserts. The exception was the one Afternoon Tea we tried. It was a joke. Waiters brought tea before there was milk or sugar, so it got cold. There were many waiters with trays of sandwiches, scones and cakes which they passed out and loaded onto tiny plates with no order whatsoever. They did not give you time to eat anything, just wanted to dump each item. No traditional tea tray towers with choices for each table as restaurants and Holland America do. The food in the buffet was of low quality and did not look appetizing. It was OK for breakfast, but not dinner. We normally like to eat room service breakfast to save time, and on our past cruises the choices and food were very good. We only tried it once on Princess. The only hot food choice was a greasy fried egg sandwich in a foil pouch. We didn't want to try again. The coffee both in room service and restaurants was horrible. The waiter told us it was frozen liquid Nescafe. We ended up buying Starbucks instant packets in port and ordering hot water. Signage and directions on the ship were terrible. Lots of "you can't get there from here" places needing to go up or down before proceeding. Ship schematics near elevators were too small and did not have "You are here" dots. After 12 days on board we were often still confused. Others commented the same thing. Security screening machines were often placed just inside the door when you came up the gangway, leaving long lines standing in the rain and no way to get items ready to scan. Staff stood with hands in pockets and most plastic tubs were out of reach for passengers. Annoying and frustrating! Security coming back on board was at times lax. Example was scanning card without verifying photo. The decor of the ship was lovely and traditional, which we enjoyed. Entertainment was disappointing. Twice we tried to see a show, but all seats were taken. The times we got in were just okay. Nothing was a wow. The Swedish male singer was horrible, but seemed quite taken with himself. We arranged all but one of our own excursions (it’s easy and safe to do and MUCH cheaper). The one excursion we did through the ship was to Mont Saint Michel from Le Havre. It was a long bus ride (3 hrs) and the tour itself was very good, but too long. Chris our guide gave good information about the abbey, but if we hadn’t left the group 30 minutes before she finished we wouldn’t have had time for lunch. The bus company that they used did not allow food or drink on the bus, and although it had a bathroom on board, it was locked. The return trip was 2.5 hrs with no stop. Because the bathroom was locked the driver did stop at a roadside disgusting toilet for those with emergency needs. Not acceptable! I can't say this was a terrible cruise because we enjoyed the ports very much. I think our expectations were too high because of our previous experience with Celebrity and Holland America and my sister's previous experience with Princess. I thought Princess was of the same caliber, but apparently not anymore. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because I love visiting the UK and could visit some new places as well as revisit others and catch more of the sights. It was port intensive with only 2 sea days. I took the NEX bus from Heathrow to Southampton, cost ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I love visiting the UK and could visit some new places as well as revisit others and catch more of the sights. It was port intensive with only 2 sea days. I took the NEX bus from Heathrow to Southampton, cost £26 and spent a few days prior to the cruise exploring Southampton and visiting the Isle of Wight. Embarkation went smoothly with no waiting, luggage promptly delivered. My passport was taken from me on embarkation, but unlike other times when my passport was taken, I was not given a photocopy to carry as ID. I had to wait in line at passenger services and then another 10 mins while the staff member hunted for my passport and copied it. Just use your drivers license he says. Yeh right, as if you bring unnecessary documentation half way round the world. My passport was given back after leaving Edinburgh. The fun started at dinner time. Four of the people sitting at my table had got on in Dublin and were almost at the end of their cruise. Their dinner was disrupted by lots of new guests arriving as well as new wait staff as staff were rotated through dining rooms. The captain was new as well. On this cruise you can get on in Dublin, Le Havre as well as Southampton where the bulk of people seemed to get on. I also met a group of 10 who got on in Southampton and were getting off in Le Havre. The “hop-on, hop-off” nature of the cruise led to perceived disorganisation and subsequent lack of enjoyment by quite a few passengers. It must work for Princess but I could see why people were unhappy although I’m not fussed who I have dinner with and which crew I interact with, people getting on and off and so on. The thing that annoyed me the most was all the tendering and wasting of time that goes with it. Even if everything is running smoothly it still takes an hour from ship to port even though the tender ride may only be 15 minutes. Guernsey was the worst. The tenders stopped running for about an hour due to rough seas so I arrived back at the wharf at around 2.20, the last tender being 3pm to find at least half the ship waiting in queues snaking around the wharf. Sometime after 4pm I got on the tender…..and it was formal night too! Forget it. The lines were also long in Kirkwall but not quite as bad and in South Queensferry, the port had put on some extra boats of its own that carried more people. The crew helping people on and off the tenders were great and I felt I was firmly held onto by the arm/hand as the tender bobbed around at times. Needless to say, on my next cruise in November there are no tenders. The ports of call and getting into town included- Guernsey – tender to pier a few minutes walk from town. Cobh – terminal is adjacent to the train station if you want to go to Cork and a few minutes walk to town. Heritage Centre adjacent to wharf has lots of souvenirs and a café with free wifi. Dublin – is a working pier so you are not allowed walk in the area. Free shuttle bus to town which drops you at Merrion Square opposite the Oscar Wilde statue. My excursion stopped here for those who wanted to stay in town before returning to the ship. Belfast – Shuttle available to town. Drops off near the City Hall US$16 return. Greenoch – terminal is about 5 mins walk to town. Lots of souvenirs and free wifi available in the terminal. Bus station and train station about 10-15 mins walk. Free bus tours around Greenoch fill fast – 3 available. Kirkwall – tender to pier, a few minutes walk to town. Invergordon – 5 minute walk to town. Souvenir shop on wharf. Edinburgh – tender to pier near Forth Bridge then X99 Lothian bus to central Edinburgh. Cost £9 return. Ticket good for the local buses as well. Drops off at St Andrews Square. Staff there to help with questions. Le Havre – shuttle bus to town centre US$20 return. As usual, the staff are cheerful, helpful and professional. I enjoyed the selections in the dining room and also the buffet has plenty of choice. The buffet didn’t have many tables for 2 or 4, mainly larger tables but they did open up both sides and Café Caribe for seating. I love the shows and talks I went to. Way too cold for Movie under the Stars and indeed rare to see people sitting outside. As always there are plenty of onboard activities and shopping. The TV system was antiquated. The Menu gave starting times for some programs but others eg. Port talk watch Ch 21. Could be watching for ages until it came on. Nothing on demand so I gave up. A few days before the end of the cruise the tech man came in and changed the TV over to the new on demand viewing which I had on my last cruise 7 months ago. Fabulous. Better late than never. The ship is in the process of updating to Ocean Medallion. The laundry was also a disappointment. There were only 2 washers and 2 dryers per laundry sitting side by side unlike the 4 washers and 4 dryers above they have on other Princess ships. I finally got my washing done just before 10pm one evening with others still waiting. I’d checked a few laundries a few times earlier, long queues. Disembarkation was another time waster. I was on a bus to Victoria Station. Despite the written and verbal instructions and crew waving people to their luggage in the terminal, two ladies living in their own bubble just got on the bus without collecting their luggage. Sometime later it occurred to the crew to look on the bus for them. So off they get to retrieve their luggage. While they are doing that a man who had time to dress in all the latest spiffy sportswear, gets off saying he has left his wallet and passport in the safe! So eventually we leave 45 mins later which stretches out to over an hour because we hit the Sat morning London traffic. That gives me less time do what I had planned. NEX doesn’t hold up paying customers and at US$59 for the transfer those people choosing not to follow instructions should just have been put on the next bus. I did enjoy the cruise- the ports, excursions, shows and dining and those comfy beds, but the peripheral things that give you the carefree experience were lacking and as this was the most expensive cruise ($ per day wise) I’d been on then I can only rate it as average. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Have sailed with Princess twice before, so knew what to expect. Had been on the sister ship, Diamond Princess, so the layout was very familiar I chose a balcony at the rear of the ship, as it is an nice quite place Embarkation at ... Read More
Have sailed with Princess twice before, so knew what to expect. Had been on the sister ship, Diamond Princess, so the layout was very familiar I chose a balcony at the rear of the ship, as it is an nice quite place Embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, with two items of luggage waiting when we got to the cabin, with the final item some twenty minutes later The cabin was attended throughout by Sdravko, who was most pleasant, efficient and unobtrusive. It was a pleasure. A nice touch was having a kettle. With so many from the UK on board, this was much better for making tea I think the beds have been upgraded from my last trip as they were much more comfortable than before. The same with the pillows. This is a good improvement For most of the trip, I dined in the Pacific Moon dining room, looked after by Sebastien and Luis, who did a professional job The menu was much as before. The same four Curtis Stone dishes popped up often several times during the journey. I had the pork belly on one occasion, which was ok, but not as good as before, not being crispy. Surely he can supply some new recipes after even the three years I have been using Princess? Most nights the food was good. There were occasional misses, but that's to be expected. I was happy with the food supplied The cafeteria on the 14th deck was as expected. I never tried it in the evening, but it was ok for breakfast and a light lunch. One puzzling thing though, was that on a far eastern cruise, smoked salmon was available for breakfast nearly every day. On this cruise in Northern Europe from the UK and from Alaska, it wasn't, which I found strange On the last night, I ordered a plate of "luxury" canapes to have with a bottle of Champagne. I did wonder at the low £14.99 + service cost, but assumed they must be ok. They were disappointing and I've included a photograph. The bread circles were quite dry and unbuttered. The breadstick with the prosciutto wrapped around it was soft and stale and there was none of the promised pate de foie. I tried them, but wouldn't again I didn't make any of the shows, but was impressed with the on demand movies available in the cabin. This is a great improvement on before and I enjoyed catching up with some newish releases. Moving to a flat screen TV is welcome, but left the space where the old cathode set used to be as an odd empty space. It did at least provide another power outlet.This needs remodelling Getting on and off the boat in port was very smooth, as a foot passenger, or on the one Princess tour I took. So much better than the experience with a different cruise company last October Now for the not-so-good: After a busy couple of days, my companion didn't fancy dinner the embarkation evening, so I went to the Santa Fe dining room alone and was accommodated. I ordered a bottle of Sancerre, had two small glasses, expecting to finish it on my next visit. I asked the chap who served it to put it on ice as it needed cooling further. He served me both of the glasses I had. The following evening, I didn't fancy wine, having had good beer in Bruges. I did mention that I had a bottle saved. The third night I missed dinner, but the fourth night, I asked for some more from the bottle. This was in the Pacific Moon dining room, as apparently the Santa Fe wasn't accepting "anytime dining". There was trouble locating the remains of the bottle, but the head waiter, was apologetic, offering two complimentary glasses while they searched The following evening I again asked for the remains of the bottle, but again it couldn't be found, so two more complimentary glasses were supplied. The head waiter again was very helpful, apologising that the bottle couldn't be found, promising some of the "chef's special limoncello" the following evening. I'm not keen so never did take this up. I gave up on the bottle being found, so ordered more for the remainder of the trip I was at the reception desk for a different reason and mentioned this missing bottle. They said they would contact the dining room to investigate. A short while later, a message was waiting for me from the head waiter who had been searching for the bottle. He said that the waitress'who had served me that first evening, told him I finished all the wine. I have on occasion finished a bottle of wine while dining alone, but not on this occasion, the first night. I was also disappointed as the waitress hadn't served the wine, just her assistant. That evening I was again offered complimentary glasses of wine, but I declined, as I had a bottle started. I should have taken a receipt, but haven't always in the past and haven't had a problem before. Whether the waitress was mistaken or being dishonest, I couldn't say. Later in the cruise I checked my on board account and noticed I had been charged twice for another bottle of wine. It was explained as an accounting error, caused by having to move the bottle from one dining room to another. This shouldn't happen though and it makes me wonder for those who don't check their accounts how often it happens This time I only booked one tour with Princess. Previously, I've booked all, but on this occasion, I was astonished at the prices charged. For instance, a round trip transfer from Zeebrugge to Bruges, through a different provider was around $20/person. Princess were asking $79/person. This seemed to be the same throughout the itinerary, so I booked independently. Possibly the most striking example was tickets for the ballet at the Mariinsky in St Petersburg. My tour guide purchased the tickets- good ones, for about $90/head, took us to the theatre and arranged for a port taxi to pick us up for a cost of around $30, which she said was extortionate. A total of just over $200 for the both of us. Princess were offering similar, admittedly with a glass of champagne and a tour of the theatres prior to the performance, for the grand sum of £299/person- three times the cost. I was talking to an elderly English about the tour costs and she agreed, but said she felt she had to order from Princess, just to be safe The one tour we took was in Gdansk and included a walking tour of the town and a trip to Malbork Castle. I chose this tour as it was about the longest on offer and included two lots of free time, one at each stop. There was a lunch included, that I thought we could miss, if we needed further free time The time was extremely tight on the tour, with only ten minutes given for free time in the city centre and five at the castle. The lunch, which was very good, by the way, was at a convention hotel off a motorway, so there was no reason to miss the lunch, as nothing to see. We got back to the ship just around 15:20, with all passengers due to be on board by 15:30. We weren't the last bus back If time is going to be that tight, tours of that length shouldn't be offered. The tour was interesting, but being so rushed didn't help One final issue from before boarding, was that I contacted Princess and asked if it would be possible to block casino access for our shipboard accounts. I was told that this wasn't possible, as it would block access to everything for our accounts and that I should contact the casino manager after embarkation to see what might be done. I very nearly cancelled the entire cruise after receiving this answer. I was told, by guest services on board, that you can choose from a menu of what services you don't want to access, be it casino, shops, spa etc. I think it odd the cruise consultant wasn't aware of this Overall, whatever you may think of the above, the experience was fine. I intend to use Princess again in the future, but will not be shy about exploring other lines or checking the services offered on board Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Whilst we've had good experiences on former Princess cruises, we've never been on a Crown-class ship. We selected the cruise entirely for the itinerary & we loved all the ports visited but I'm afraid we were rather ... Read More
Whilst we've had good experiences on former Princess cruises, we've never been on a Crown-class ship. We selected the cruise entirely for the itinerary & we loved all the ports visited but I'm afraid we were rather disappointed with the ship & its services (except for the dining rooms that had great waiters as always). 1. The first day tendering was horrendous, waited more than 2 hours to get on a tender boat cutting our time on shore & we didn't get to see much. But what made it worse was the constant blaming on others by the Crown staff - "we don't operate the tender boat; we have no say etc etc" Then in the evening the cruise director said "at 6 am there were no one & what can we do when 2000 people showed up all at once at 9 ? Hope you know what to do on our next tender port " Although she said it half jokingly but it left a really sour note with us !! Wouldn't they had anticipated it ? Couldn't they at least made passengers feel better by talking to us nicely ? 2. The cabin rooms: showing aging signs everywhere. Wood stains on the balcony were chipped & faded; shower curtain stained & smelly; no luggage mat to pack or unpack. 3. Went on 1 ship's excursion only & again the organization was terrible. We were told to wait at one area but it really was another. We were herded around & we paid almost $200 each for the experience! Its such poor management & unfriendly customer handling, you would think they had never done excursions before! 4. Entertainment was so-so except for the great final performance by the ship's ensemble. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
At the completion of this cruise my wife and myself have taken 4 cruises with 2 cruise lines and have 26 nights at sea with Princess. The on board part of the cruise were very good but all performance with respect to excursions and ... Read More
At the completion of this cruise my wife and myself have taken 4 cruises with 2 cruise lines and have 26 nights at sea with Princess. The on board part of the cruise were very good but all performance with respect to excursions and departing the ship in part ranged from average to totally unacceptable. With respect to our shore excursions that were 100% purchased thru Princess we found the excursions were misrepresented by the description. The worst was the GCI210A German Military Occupation in Guernsey. The German Military Hospital was a series of empty tunnels that were equivalent to walking thru a sewer system. The other stop was a small museum. This excursion cost $140.00 per person. When I talked to the excursion staff on board the Crown Princess and Princess Cruises I was blown off. Most of the other excursions did not allow sufficient time at a location to see the points of interest. When at Blarney Castle the line to get to the Blarney Stone was longer than the total time on site. Forget seeing the gardens or Woolen Mill. We also had our all day tour of Dublin cancelled while on the cruise. This really opened my eyes as we did Dublin on our own and saw more that an expensive all day excursion would have offered. Getting off the ship in port was so very poor. We meet several people at dinner that missed 3rd party all day excursions to Paris because they could not get off the ship. Based on my experiences and the being treating very poorly by Princess Cruises personnel we no longer view Princess Cruises as our preferred cruise supplier.We will only use them on an exception basis. If we book a future Princess Cruise we will not book any excursion thru Princess Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I have sailed on many ships over the last few years P&O, Cunard, Royal carribean and Fred Oslen but Sapphire Princess April 27th 2019 was my first cruise with Princess and the first time I've felt the need to write a ... Read More
I have sailed on many ships over the last few years P&O, Cunard, Royal carribean and Fred Oslen but Sapphire Princess April 27th 2019 was my first cruise with Princess and the first time I've felt the need to write a review. Bad weather initially delayed our departure from Southampton and resulted in the cancelation of our first port of call which is no fault of the ship but it marked the begging of a cruise plagued with problems. Our Inside room was suffocatingly stuffy even with the aircoditioning at full blast to a point that after 30 minutes inside we began to feel like we couldn't breath and there was not enough oxygen in the room. This it seems was a problem also suffered by others who had to frequently spend the entire night sleeping in the conservatory section of The upper deck with bedding and pillows. After complaints were made to the front desk an engineer visited the cabin and fully opend the air-conditioning vent that had been closed to less than 30%. But this revealed the reason the vent had been closed in the first place, Water was now running down the walls from a crack at the top. Leaks were not isolated to our own cabin however, throughout the cruise leaks began to appeare in the main corridor between the plaza and Club Fusion and also in the Buffet. We were forced to stay in our cabin with water running down the wall for 3 nights before another passenger disembarked the ship for personal reasons and we were finally allowed to move. On a number of occasions throughout the week unhappy passengers could bee seen transferring luggage from one cabbin to another and I found towards the end of the cruise other passengers had been moved Into the leakey room after we had gone. The ship is relatively old and its really beginning to show, the jacuzzi's looked inviting until seen from decks above where the discoloured grime made them look more like over heated fishponds. Overall the food onboard was between good and avarage but far from excilent. The worst part of dining aboard was eating from Plastic Plates, and drinking from Plastic beakers for juice and water, and even plastic cups for tea and Coffee! The 2 wash basins at the entrance to either side of the Buffet were really inadequate for the numbers of passengers and always resulted in long lines out of the doors and into the pool area. And Buffet itself is poorly layed out with multiple large round tables that could hold up to 8 people but generally only sat 2 as most European passengers don't like to share tables for dinner, this made finding a table at peak times in the Buffet a challange. Changing these round tables to multiple tables for 2 could probably double the seating capacity of the buffet. The entertainment was great but this is not exclusive to Princess Cruises as all the guest artists hired by Carnival corporation can also be seen during the year sailing on P&O and Cunard. But evening entertainment always seemed to coincide with each other and the second sitting for dinner which resulted in a number of missed shows and often a difficult decision between one show or another. However the Comedian Jeff Stevenson was Amazing. The one thing that cannot be complained about was all the crew who were friendly, kind and really made us feel like we were a part of a big family. I had been mislead to believe from reviews and recommendations that Princess cruises was to be considered a 4★ Cruise line and superior to P&O and Royal Caribbean both companies I have sailed with multiple times before this was supposed to be reflected in the price but Sapphire Princess was a disappointment. Its NOT any better in my opinion, P&Os Brittainia if far far better and cheaper by comparison and the Prices for drinks was extortionate $5.50 for a single can of Coke! Sapphire Princess is showing her age and is far from the image Princess cruise want you to see. I believe she is due to drydock later in the year for a refit before returning to Asia. I think most cruise lines (Except a few) have an ugly sister within the fleet perhaps at its best Princess is a 4★ fleet but Sapphire Princess alone is only a 2/3★ ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise due to the destinations offered and we immediately disappointed when we weren't able to stop at our first port due to a 7-hour late departure due to wind at Southampton. My question about this is why didn't ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the destinations offered and we immediately disappointed when we weren't able to stop at our first port due to a 7-hour late departure due to wind at Southampton. My question about this is why didn't the captain dock aft end first, like the other 4 cruise ships in the harbor who were all able to leave on time? The afternoon wind was well reported and a known issue. The second problem was the Horizon Buffet. We like casual dining but were quite disappointed in the quality of the food as the week progressed. Powdered eggs, frozen hashbrown patties, rubbery fried eggs from sitting under the heat lamp way too long are NOT my idea of quality food. The lack of variety was another issue. They served virtually the same menu every day of the week. Also, they frequently closed half of the buffet which caused us to have to sit out by the pool which reduced our enjoyment. We did enjoy dinner in the larger dining rooms. The food was well prepared and flavorful. All of the main dining rooms serve off of the same menu. There were a limited number of excursions available. The excursions we took went to interesting places, but most of the stops were too rushed and crowded to enjoy. When they say photo stop, plan on spending most of the time walking to and from the site, with a few brief moments to snap a shot or two if you can get them through the crowds since all of the buses seem to arrive and depart at the same time. One of our tour guides said the tour we took was designed to be 8 hours but was condensed into 4.5. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: 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
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
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