Princess originally offered this 5-port transatlantic voyage at $2k each for midship balcony cabins. Upon eliminating 2 ports and substituting 1 port, the balcony price reduced to $1,500. We were told the skipped ports were ... Read More
Princess originally offered this 5-port transatlantic voyage at $2k each for midship balcony cabins. Upon eliminating 2 ports and substituting 1 port, the balcony price reduced to $1,500. We were told the skipped ports were because the ship was operating on only one engine instead of two, and could achieve only 18 knots instead of the normal 20-something.Onboard we learned that some people received phone calls offering $399 for balcony cabins. I telephoned Princess weekly, asking for the lowest price, but my $1,500 was never reduced. Princess engages in oddly discriminatory and capricious pricing.
Onboard activities are thin: same old trivia; "the wake show" up-selling liquor & up-selling costly onboard restaurants; bad movies suitable for teenage boys, Princess Players trying to update their offerings but failing; huge casino and bingo push, art auctions and sales, fakey raffles for overpriced jewelry, hard sell for onboard "boutique" and jewelry stores; "specials" for overpriced liquor drinks; constant daily "blowout sales" of crappy t-shirts and poor quality clothing and junk jewelry; just awful offerings. No port history/culture lectures at all, few documentary in-person presentations, with gawdawful screen projector slides, no innovative activities at all. Every square inch of the Caribbean Princess is a profit center, to be exploited in addition to the fare for the voyage.
Renovated Caribbean Princess:
Princess touts a multi-million-dollar so-called renovation of the Caribbean Princess. Reality: the Horizon cafeteria on Deck 15 was renamed Marketplace Fresh with no menu changes; the cafeteria seating area has new window coverings and white walls, and the floor covering was changed. Hand washing stations were added to each end at the cafeteria entrances, but the soap dispensers did not work.
If any cabins were renovated, it's a well-kept secret. My midship Aloha Deck cabin had the same old carpet, furniture, and accessories as my previous three Caribbean voyages, other than the new mattress which was quite a good improvement.
Paint throughout the ship has breakthrough rust, varnished railings on my balcony were peeled and worn down to bare wood, the blue plastic balcony floor pad was splattered with white paint and indistinguishable stains, the tiny shower shelf was missing the bar that keeps things from falling, the shampoo/conditioner on-wall shower dispenser plungers did not work well and the products were positively abysmal. Bar soap is now a wafer thin round which came packaged in paper, much smaller than is easily handled.
Planned maintenance was ongoing. Hot tubs were shut down one by one for installation of new parts, service people were repairing various components on outside decks, and it was clear that Princess was undergoing maintenance at sea that appropriately should be undertaken between voyages, all at inconvenience to customers.
The cabin felt like an inexpensive hotel; not luxurious, not furnished with upscale thoughtfulness; it was just plain old and tired and depressing. The television had a screen too small to be viewed nicely from the only place to watch, the bed. And it didn't work well; much of the time the audio worked but not the video, and the remote worked with difficulty even after two attempts by maintenance to fix it. No replacement was offered.
Bruges, Belgium canal cruise excursion was wonderful. Lisbon's trip to Sintra and Cascais produced a 4 hour bus ride with 35 minutes in Sintra and 1 hour in Cascais. Clearly not worth the pain. LeHavre's trip to Honfleur, France was unremarkable, as the small town is primarily dozens and dozens of restaurants at the river, with a semi-interesting old wooden church and a couple blocks of "old town" viewed by walking down the street but not actually going into or experiencing anything along the way. Worth skipping. We entertained ourselves in Bermuda. Overall, excursions were a huge disapppointment, as it seems Princess is offering reduced experiences for greater cost. The bottom line is worshipped by Princess.
They are uniformly well trained, unctuous, and courteous. It is, however, interesting to note that employees in the public areas of the ship are expressionless, unengaged, and trained to be unflappable in the face of unhappy passengers. I found that stultifying. Room stewards were more happy with their jobs, perhaps because they have much less face time with customers, and because they can nearly always accommodate requests by customers.
The front desk employees have but a thin veneer of knowledge, being wholly unable to appropriately respond to a gigantic flap that ensued when "transfers" to the airport and hotels in Ft Lauderdale at the end of the cruise proved to be a significant ordeal. I paid Princess in advance for a transfer from the ship to the Ft. Lauderdale airport to make my Princess E-ZAir flight. The front desk invalidated my transfer, telling me they could not get me to my flight on time. They told me to arrive at the onboard transfer location at the appointed time, even without a transfer ticket, to be led off the ship with the group, and to get a taxi on my own and hope for the best. The front desk woman advised me Princess of course would not try to change my flight, as this would be "very expensive". Wow.
The transatlantic crossing was uneventful during October, no storms. I'd like to see Princess return to its old upscale status, but it appears they are headed to the basement. I am wholly disappointed. Read Less