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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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The main reason we selected this cruise was for the itinerary which was only offered by Princess twice in 2018 and is rarely offered by other cruise lines. We sailed from Southampton to Stavanger, through amazing fjords, and all the way ... Read More
The main reason we selected this cruise was for the itinerary which was only offered by Princess twice in 2018 and is rarely offered by other cruise lines. We sailed from Southampton to Stavanger, through amazing fjords, and all the way to the northernmost point in Europe at the North Cape. There were 10 different ports of call all of which provided amazingly beautiful scenery, wildlife including herds of reindeer, and unique cities and villages. The ship itself was lovely having just been refurbished in the Spring of 2018. The entertainment in the evening was mediocre until the end of the cruise when two fabulous headliners presented outstanding shows. There were 2800 passengers from 38 different countries onboard, and the ship did a wonderful job of providing activities and meals for such a diversity of guests. And the embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly in spite of having to process so many people. We loved this cruise and would go back to these phenomenally beautiful ports in a heartbeat. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This ship should be based on the U.K. more often, it is perfect for the UK with an enclosed conservatory with swimming pools. I have read a few reviews of this ship and this cruise - we travelled as a party of 6 - my parents and our ... Read More
This ship should be based on the U.K. more often, it is perfect for the UK with an enclosed conservatory with swimming pools. I have read a few reviews of this ship and this cruise - we travelled as a party of 6 - my parents and our daughters aged 11 and 8. Many reviews comment on how it would be unsuitable for children - not true. Our girls loved it, the shows, the food and the swimming pools. You don’t have to be over 50 to enjoy breathtaking scenery! Embarkation - smooth and wohkitnissue A’s is usual with Princess. We had dining at 6pm in Santa Fe, the waiter service was fantastic, many comment on rude staff or not being able to speak English. We found the opposite - indeed we found passengers to be the rude ones whilst staff had to deal with ignorance. The cabin was a balcony and as expected with two uppers. Yes it is difficult to move around but part of the fun - we loved it! We did have to get to shows early, frustrating but it tended to be older guests that saved multiple seats and not following requests from staff to not reserve seats. We love Princess because it is not RCI and in your face. The ports of call we fantastic - our girls loved the ice bar in Honningsvag and seeing real reindeer! They also loved the cable car to the top of the mountain in Bergen. The one stop they Princess need to resolve is Tromso - porting on a Sunday when everything is closed does not show the port in its best light. The highlight of the cruise was Honningsvag and the North cape - I long to visit again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We had an ocean view cabin with an obstructed view. This wasn't too much of an issue because the roof of the lifeboat, just outside our stateroom, only came up to the bottom of the window leaving plenty to see. The quality of our ... Read More
We had an ocean view cabin with an obstructed view. This wasn't too much of an issue because the roof of the lifeboat, just outside our stateroom, only came up to the bottom of the window leaving plenty to see. The quality of our stateroom was average (and average these days is pretty good) but there was only one American style plug socket wit a low voltage. Not much use for my wife's hair dryer. The Stateroom service from our steward was excellent as was the service from nearly all of the staff that we encountered. We had fixed dining and opted for a table of eight. The food was excellent as was the variety of dishes on the menu. The entertainment on this trip wasn't anything to write home about. In fact we were a little disappointed with what was on offer some evenings. The journeys up the Fjords proved to be the holiday highlights rather than the ports visited. Two of the four ports visited had very little to offer and could be done in a couple of hours. Bergan was the only really interesting port but our stop here was the shortest of all the ports. As expected we found norway to be very expensive for almost everything so not much shopping or dining ashore was done. I am glad I did this trip and would recommend it to anyone who appreciates dramatic scenery. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
An absolutely wonderful cruise on the beautiful Sapphire Princess. The ship is in good shape after its recent dry dock. New beds are very comfortable. Food and service were great in both dining rooms and Horizon Court. Paul Burton was ... Read More
An absolutely wonderful cruise on the beautiful Sapphire Princess. The ship is in good shape after its recent dry dock. New beds are very comfortable. Food and service were great in both dining rooms and Horizon Court. Paul Burton was simply marvelous in Crooners. Shows in the main theatre were weak. Not up to current Princess standards. Jeff, our waiter in Sabatinis was one of the best waiters we have ever had on land or sea. This was the second time we have done this itinerary. The first time was out of Dover, which made it possible to have more time in Bergen. The longer run to Southampton cut the visit to Bergen by several hours. For those interested the most traveled were 3rd 552 days, 2nd 574 days and 1st 677 days. There were 187 Elite and 437 Platinum. There were hundreds of children onboard with it being the first week of British school vacation. I understand there were to be far more kids on the next cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This ship leeft Dover for Norway and Iceland. We've never been to Iceland and this ship sailed around the entire island. We stopped four times, on the East Coast, on the North Coast, on the Northwest and in Reykjavik. The first ... Read More
This ship leeft Dover for Norway and Iceland. We've never been to Iceland and this ship sailed around the entire island. We stopped four times, on the East Coast, on the North Coast, on the Northwest and in Reykjavik. The first three stops were very small towns, fewer than 10,000 people, with limited scenic spots and opportunities. They were interesting, but limited. Reykjavik is the capital, with over half the population. and museums, shops and activities to match. We chose the tour to the Blue Lagoon, and didn't get to do anything else, since we had limited time. A major disappointment. Norway was beautiful, and the cruising into and out of the fjords justified the balcony even in chilly weather. There was no enrichment program on the history or geology of these two interesting countries, just Princess's excursions. Service in the Main Dining Room was flawless, with fixed seating. There were three formal nites, largely ignored by most passengers. I wore a sports coat. Food ranged from ordinary to very good - never great. Buffet was less elegant, but also had good service. Entertainment was limited, and largely mediocre. Too chilly to swim or sunbathe most of the trip. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I’ve been on 13 cruises in the past four years and I’m hooked. Enjoyed Emerald Princess at Christmas three years ago (although apart from Crab Shack and Chefs Table the food was pretty poor). I was too busy to write a review however ... Read More
I’ve been on 13 cruises in the past four years and I’m hooked. Enjoyed Emerald Princess at Christmas three years ago (although apart from Crab Shack and Chefs Table the food was pretty poor). I was too busy to write a review however and eventually forgot. So summer 18 I decided to give Sapphire Princess a try: Room Good - super bed, good TV and good movies/ programmes. Awful smell from shower/ loo Staff Truly excellent. But a seasoned couple with 40cruises under their belt told me that in the past few years Carnival (who own Princess) have made cabin staff go from making up ten rooms twice daily to eighteen rooms in the same time. The couple felt guilty and upset for the staff about this. I too, had wondered why the staff had had to work for longer and longer every day. Now I understand. Excursions These same old time passengers - and others - advised that I should use Cruise Excursions which operate in each port of call, rather than Carnival’s Princess. This is because the Carnival ship’s charges are extortionate in comparison to Cruise Excursions, so more and more passengers are arranging excursions with Cruise Excursions before they leave to go on these cruise.ps. Entertainment Excellent - very good - only 45 minutes per evening unfortunately which is too little. Fitness I was lazy on this cruise so don’t know. : ( Food I have never written a review before now, but the food and corporate greed are the reasons I am writing this one. The food was truly awful. It was cheap canteen standard and so many passengers muttered about it - but said they never wrote reviews - that I decided someone had to do it or the food would just get worse. I stuck with salads but sent two dinners back which I’ve never done. The PR manager handled it excellently however - and, to be fair, this aspect iof Carnivals service is very good. I met one passenger who had sued Carnival - he didn’t say why - but he won. An example of cost cutting verging on the dishonest was when I asked for fresh orange juice. Instead I was given the reconstituted stuff they use on board and charged $4. So I went to the bar where it was made and asked again for fresh juice. The waiter genuinely seemed to believe it was fresh but I had had a look. I saw that Carnival had put reconstituted juice in a jug marked fresh juice and then charged me for it.... Rather than cause a fuss I pai but my goodwill was running out. The next day I did get fresh juice from fresh oranges but this time the fee was $4. 95.... I again paid but it was the last straw. One reason was that these incidents reminded me of Easter 18 - I was on another Carnival ship - P n O Ventura. As a solo passenger I pay hundreds of pounds more for a room - up to double the cost. I got the usual two chocolates in my room that first night. The next night I got only one. The manager explained that since I was the only person in the room I would only get one chocolate... For some reason a few other solo passengers got two ... Is this discrimination I ask? Seriously when another solo passenger and I complained, he reinstated the two chocolate policy for the duration of the cruise but said he would reintroduce it when we left. That is plain mean. Enrichment This is just another means of selling. Summary : Corporate Penny Pinching This is a lovely ship and, to a man, the staff is superb. But it is being ruined by corporate greed. Everywhere standards are being driven down by skinflint penny pinching. Carnival I am not saying that your board made the above decisions personally. But your policy of ruthlessly driving down costs by every nickel and dime - while posting profits in the billions - is responsible for such practices. With service such as that above however, your gravy train may seriously derail. At Christmas 18 I am going to India with Voyages to Antiquity. I hear they are decent people. I am looking forward to it. Meanwhile I’ve still got the cruising bug but this time around I shall keep you posted and would appreciate others helping. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had not sailed with Princess in a long time so we were return cruisers. We were impressed with the service- lots of little extras that really added up. I have severe food allergies so I was apprehensive about dining. The chefs on ... Read More
We had not sailed with Princess in a long time so we were return cruisers. We were impressed with the service- lots of little extras that really added up. I have severe food allergies so I was apprehensive about dining. The chefs on Princess Sapphire did an amazing job of accommodating my allergies. I had prefilled the form so they had a list of what I needed to avoid. The headwaiter introduced himself and brought me the menus for the following night so I could pre-order my meals. He assigned a sous chef to make them each evening to avoid any allergens. The pizza place was also able to make fresh pizza for me allergen free.- Awesome! We had a suite- an excellent choice as the balcony was perfect for the fjord cruising. The suite was well appointed with plenty of storage and was very comfortable. The fitness room was neat and had top of the line equipment. All of the equipment faced out over the front of the boat for an incredible view while working out. We enjoyed all of our land tours- I think a RIB boat adventure is a must in the fjords- it is an experience unlike any other. One note- if you are on this itinerary, souvenir shops are few and far between. If you want a souvenir, be sure to get it as soon as you see it. Cons: The coffee was really weak and the New Grounds coffee shop (extra charge) could not make coffee either. Suites need a keurig int he rooms. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this 14 day cruise because of the itinerary covering the entire west coast of Norway traveling all the way to the North Cape. Not too many cruises go that far north or cover so many ports. We have taken about 10 Princess ... Read More
We chose this 14 day cruise because of the itinerary covering the entire west coast of Norway traveling all the way to the North Cape. Not too many cruises go that far north or cover so many ports. We have taken about 10 Princess cruises and are platinum status giving a few perks such as free internet. This cruise receives mixed reviews from us. The ship on this cruise was completely full with every cabin booked. Of course that places a heavier burden on the ships facilities. We had 3 days at sea and very cool weather most of the trip which means that everyone is inside. It was difficult to find a table in the buffet and in order to get a seat at the 8:00 pm show we had to be there at 7:15 and eat at 5:30. The entertainment was very good and one of the highlights of the cruise. Princess food has gone very far downhill. Our first Princess cruise was in 2006 and the menu selections were much better than now. A number of people we spoke to agreed with that. Beef entrees were terrible. The television news offering for U.S. news was only Fox which we don't consider news. Previously Princess offered MSNBC and CNN. The library on the ship had very few books and most of those were checked out. It was very inadequate for the number of passengers. Our cabin E521 was worn and shower had some mold in the corners. It needs a thorough renovation. I think some new carpet and refurbishing of public areas had been done fairly recently but our cabin needed a complete renewal. Princess tours are too expensive and we went on our own or arranged our on tours in a couple of ports. Our female cabin steward was required to do 18 cabins and was completely overworked. Bergen was my favorite port and we were only there until 2:00 in the afternoon-very unfortunate use of time. I would not go on this ship again. Norwegian fjords are beautiful and we were lucky to have a few days of very nice weather. We have booked a Mediterranean cruise in October on the smallest Princess ship, the Pacific Princess. I hope the food is better otherwise it may be my last Princess cruise. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My about to turn 8 yo daughter wanted to go to Norway; so we ended up on the Princess Sapphire on a two week trip. We are a couple in our 40s and our daughter turned 8 five days after the trip ended; this was her 8th cruise and our I’ve ... Read More
My about to turn 8 yo daughter wanted to go to Norway; so we ended up on the Princess Sapphire on a two week trip. We are a couple in our 40s and our daughter turned 8 five days after the trip ended; this was her 8th cruise and our I’ve lost count, though her first on princess and our second with the first being prior to having a child. This review is about our trip but will also serve as a guide for those travelling with school age kids as there is a paucity of information and that which I found on these boards was very useful. We flew to London on a day time flight the day prior to embarkation – if the flight timing works I highly recommend that daytime flight because then we arrived, went to bed and were on the right time zone without a lost night/airplane nights sleep. We took the city bus for free to our Heathrow area hotel the Ibis London Heathrow – it is at the last stop in the free zone – I had managed to have a different stop name and we simply got off there as it was the last free stop and were trying to figure out where we needed to be and realized the hotel was 75 meters farther down the street. The hotel was clean, cheap £67.45 and slept three. It was not spacious but we needed nothing else. It also had a 24 hour restaurant in the lobby where we grabbed some dinner before passing out. We took the public bus in the free zone back to the terminal 2/3 bus station and got on a National Express bus to Southhampton -£49.75 for all three of us. After our arrival in the Southhampton bus station we walked to a nearby store and bought two bottles of wine (our “free” bring on ship allowance). We then walked back to the bus station to get a taxi to the port –note there is no Uber in Southhampton as of this writing and the taxi only took cash so we did need pounds sterling. We got to the ship about 1pm – in the port they did not want to let us check our suitcases as they insisted they were carry on (we’re light packers) – we persisted but I thought that a bit odd – I really didn’t want to lug my bag onto the ship if they were going to do it for me. Check-in was a breeze and we were on the boat in about 20 min from getting to the port. Our room was an obstructed ocean view E400. The view had virtually no obstruction (there was a great website for checking out all the views from the windows of these rooms and we had chosen well). The beds were under the window and the third (and fourth if needed) bed came down from the ceiling. This meant our beds had to remain separated. It also meant that our daughter’s bed was put away during the day – this is the first trip where she has been old enough not to nap but if she was still napping age that would have been painful. As it was, crawling into and out of bed every night under the bunk was bad enough. Also if she had been a lot younger I wouldn’t have been comfortable with her climbing the ladder to sleep on a bunk and an adult would have had to have done that. We have sailed both Disney and Holland America in the same (obstructed oceanview) room category – I know that Disney rooms are bigger and designed differently since they cater to families but the HAL room was also big enough for a couch that unfolded and became her sleeping area and our beds could be together making the room much more comfortable. There was plenty of storage and I like the closet/bathroom configuration but the furniture in our room was quite worn. Kids Club: There were only 15 kids ages 3-12 on our sailing making the kids club merge into one age group which was great for us avoiding the about the turn 8 year old from whining about being in the 3-7 year old group. Frequently she was the only kid in the club with 3 staff members! The most kids I ever saw there were 6. There were a ton of art and crafts, and stuffed animals and colored cowboy hats etc that all had to find room to come home…most of the crafts were tossed. Despite the one on one attention and constant begging to go to the kids club my daughter said she prefers the much more crowded, much less personal Disney kids club – she couldn’t verbalize why. Two annoyances were we had to be present to sign her in so she never got to walk to the kids club on her own and we always had to carry this beeper with us while she was in the club –it was grimy and never went off and seemed silly to sign out everytime – they should have just assigned us one for the length of the cruise. Hours were 9-12, 1-5 and 7-10 (with late night babysitting available for a fee) sea days and in port till 5 then 7-10 port days with one needed to notify them in advance if you were using them on a port day. We never did in a morning but some afternoons were back on board at 3ish and she went to the club without our having reserved it with no problems. General Ship stuff: Almost every staff member we met was very courteous and pleasant – room stewards, waiters (we had any time dining) etc. The one exception was the destination expert and destination team whose only expertise seemed to be on selling princess tours – I understand this to a degree but the destination expert was somewhat obnoxious about it. Food was meh certainly no one is going to starve but it just wasn’t that exciting. Frequently in the evenings there were so many scheduled games and shows and what not that I wanted to attend that I would happily skip dinner in the dining room –my husband however always wanted to go have the formal dinner which sometimes just seemed to take forever. Anytime dining worked well with us only having to get a pager and wait one night when we went right at 7 – we always sat just with ourselves. We played a lot of trivia, had a great really fun team. We got to know the cruise staff well, a couple were awesome, most were good and one was unpleasant. We especially enjoyed the ship wide scavenger hunt and the egg drop challenge as we worked on them as a family for the whole two weeks – although the scavenger hunt was a let down in the end as all teams seemed to win – we put in way too much work for everyone to win! Stavanger: We took the Princess tour to Flor og Fjaere Gardens which were absolutely gorgeous. The timing only worked to do the ships tour, coffee and tea and ice cream for our daughter was included – with a lovely man working the café. The boat to and from had free wi-fi. We found a playground by the petroleum museum which was comprised of big bouncy balls in the ground that the kids could try and walk and leap on – difficult to describe but super cool and our daughter loved it. In the afternoon we met up with an old friend of my husband’s (from when they both worked on ships!) and had a lovely afternoon – we brought two more bottles of wine on board were happy to pay the corkage fee but they never stopped or asked us for it. Skjolden: We walked off the ship and booked the llama walking that we knew about in advance http://www.skjoldenllamas.net/en/llama_tours.php. While waiting for our tour to start we got some postcards and stamps from the local store and stopped in the TI to write postcards. The TI was inside a hotel and they couldn’t lend us a pen (to write our postcards with) and we could only get on the wi-fi if we purchased something. The llama walking was a weird way to entertain the tourists. The scenery is beautiful and I liked hearing about a heritage breed of Norwegian sheep but the actual llama walking bit was odd – we have certainly done worse tours and there was nothing wrong with this I just wouldn’t do it again. In Geiranger we tendered an hour earlier than expected – another ship was at the floating dock. We had booked a public bus tour to the view points $129.68 for the three of us. We went to get a tender number about 50 min before our scheduled bus and sat and waited, and waited and waited. When we got the tender tickets it was the next tender to be called but there was a pause in the tender operations for 45 min – I’m not sure if it was due to ship tours getting off or what. Needless to say we missed our bus but the TI woman was awesome – the bus had been late so first she ran us outside to see if it was still there and then she rebooked us on a later bus (that we couldn’t have signed up for online in advance) and it was a minibus and there was no fee to change – I’m not sure if she was being nice or they were the same price. When we realized we were going to miss our tour we had run the room for our bubblebum (inflatable booster) for our daughter and were glad we had it with us as she needed it on the minibus. The views in Geiranger and surroundings are stunning and we had a lovely day. In Trondheim we had nothing booked. It was a rainy, cool, gray day – the weather we had expected in Norway. We walked off the ship to a coffee shop and used their wi-fi. We then wondered around in off and on rain showers to the cathedral. There was an outdoor mostly food market going on – I tried to buy some cheese but only certain debit cards were taken by the merchant and not the kind I had. We never got kroner and only used credit cards so I didn’t buy any cheese. We did stop at a wine shop and got two more bottles. We also discovered ginger flavored diet pepsi which was delicious. In Honningsvag we had booked a tour to the north cape with blue puffin tours $263.12 for all three of us. For some reason I thought it would be in a mini-bus but it was a full size bus tour. Our guide was Sebastian the owner of the company Monika’s husband. He is German, lived in patagoina for a number of years and recently transplanted to norther Norway. While a great guide and knowledgable not exactly what I was expecting. We saw herds of reindeer roaming, king crabs and went to the north cape. At the north cape is was about 40 degrees with 40 mph winds – my daughter got blown around a bit and then was miserable and whining. It was not intolerable to adults but certainly unpleasant. The thrill of being at the northcape was great and overcame anything else for me! We also sent a postcard home to ourselves in order to get the northernmost postmark in the world – it took 17 days to reach us Tromso: we did the Princess tour to the sled dog kennels and polar museum. The sled dogs were awesome if you’re a dog person. In a very different approach than the Alaskan dogs who aren’t socialized and aren’t friendly the family who run this kennel and sled dog teams believe their dogs should be socialized, so all summer long while it is too hot to train, the tourists get to play with the dogs. Puppies, sled dog champions, males, females they are all around to be pet and loved. Our family adored this. The polar museum was boring for us but we took advantage of the wi-fi. If I were to do it again now knowing that any tourist could go to the kennel we would have taken a taxi to and from and just spent our time there and skipped the museum. We did however get a driving tour of downtown while on the bus and that was enough to realize we didn’t need to go back to town. The ship was docked outside of town and the Princess shuttle was $16! So for our family to get back to town after our tour would have been $48 – not worth it in our opinion – I’m not sure why the shuttle was so expensive. There was a lovely botanical garden across the street from where we were docked and we did spend some time walking around the garden. There was a playground there and several families with young kids having picnic lunches. Lofoten Islands: We took the Princess tour to see the trollfjord by boat followed by a bus back to the ship. We discussed renting a car but were too nervous about getting back on time. There was also bird watching – from the boat we saw sea eagles and a lot of seagulls we did not unfortunately see any puffins – I’m not sure we were supposed to but somehow it was in our heads we were going to. There were puffins an hour boatride from the northcape but it was very rough seas with a lot of boat motion and I am quite happy we didn’t go. The weather in Lofoten was absolutely gorgeous a rare occurrence. Alesund: We had bought tickets in advance for the HOHO bus to go to both the outdoor museum and the aquarium. The city sightseeing buses electronic readers were broken and they wanted everyone with vouchers on their phone or from the internet to go get in an hour long line to get their tickets printed. I kept arguing that I didn’t need to as I had the printed voucher that clearly said 2 adults and 1 child. Eventually the guy let me on the bus (Maybe he was just tired of listening to me). We got off at the open air Sunnmoere Museum which has farmhouses from all over the country. We also saw some reconstructed Viking longboats which were cool. We walked the path to the mediaeval museum but it hadn’t opened yet. While the weather was beautiful so an outside walk was nice there wasn’t much that interested our daughter as the farmhouses were just that – houses. We got back on the HOHO bus (where they looked at our voucher and could have cared less that we didn’t have tickets) which went up to a beautiful viewpoint – it would have been nice to get off an wonder around there but we were worried about time. We got off at the aquarium which is wonderfully designed. There is a play area with the outdoor exhibits with stepping stones and running water from the Atlantic (it is on the sea and all the water comes into the aquarium from the ocean) with boards to dam up the water and watch what happened. Kids speaking all different languages were playing together damming the water seeing different effects. Between this playground and the bouncy ball one in Stravanger my daughter thinks that Norway has the best playgrounds – they certainly have some very innovative ones. I really enjoyed the rest of the aquarium as well. In retrospect I would have skipped the Sunnmoere Museum, gotten off at the viewpoint then spent the rest of the day at the aquarium. Also a taxi to and from the aquarium would have been a reasonable plan. Maybe an older kid would like the Sunnmoere Museum more but our daughter and definitely kids younger than her wouldn’t find it great. Bergen: we had a very short stop in Bergan so walked over to the Bryggen and did the Rick Steve’s walking tour around the fort and the Bryggen. We decided to play the funicular by ear based on weather and sure enough the top of the funicular was in clouds the whole morning so we decided not to go up. There is a pretty gazebo with a lake in part of town and we sat there for a bit just taking in the beauty. We bought some last ginger diet pepsi and Norwegian gummy candy and got back on the boat. Of note we didn’t pass any playgrounds on our walk. When we docked back at Southhampton we disembarked with only 10-15 minutes of utter chaos at the exit point from the ship. Southhampton had no customs/immigration to speak of and we just walked out. We had a car from Smiths for Airports waiting for us – I love coming out of a port and having a sign with my name on it! We had timed our pick up at 9 and we were out at 9:05. We went to Stonehenge where we had pre-bought 10am admission. We spent a couple of hours both out at the stones and in the museum. Then our driver took us to the airport – we arrived at the airport at 1:30 with more than enough time for our 6pm flight. Smiths cost was £145. We could have taken a 4pm flight but that would have made us feel a bit rushed at Stonehenge. We’re lucky to live where there are a lot of direct flight options. Princess had a similar disembarkation option (Stonehenge followed by airport) but it was a lot more expensive and not in a private car. We were stopped at security due to all the wine stoppers we had won playing trivia! In general we had a great time. We enjoyed our family time together and had a nice relaxing vacation. I read 10 books (after catching up on my backlog of periodicals). This boat was right for our itinerary. Would I pick Princess again? - if the itinerary was right sure. For a quick, cheap Caribbean cruise , or a cruise that was about the boat and not the ports I wouldn’t pick them – the room set up was too uncomfortable and the 3rd person fares are too high. On HAL, which I consider to be essentially the same service level we can almost always get 3rd person fares for free or $99 or the like. On “exotic” itineraries it may be as high as $599 but on Princess for this cruise my daughter was only a couple of hundred dollars less than my husband and me. Our Bubblebum (inflatable booster) was very useful on this trip for taxis and buses as one must have a shoulder belt fastened on Norwegian busses and the booster raised my daughter to a proper height. Also useful were magnetic hooks bought off amazon – we had them everywhere in our room and hung wet swimsuits, our lanyards when we walked into the room, my purse etc. Also even though it was June one needed fleece, puffer jackets, hats and gloves and good raingear – there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing. We were never cold as we layered and had the right outer gear – not everyone was as well equiped. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
So sad to be back at work after an amazing vacation, so I'm reliving it here on this thread, with the excuse that others on upcoming cruises may benefit from recounting our experience For background, we're active 40-somethings ... Read More
So sad to be back at work after an amazing vacation, so I'm reliving it here on this thread, with the excuse that others on upcoming cruises may benefit from recounting our experience For background, we're active 40-somethings with no kids, and this was our 6th cruise. Overall, the bed was very comfortable, ship was clean and staff ever friendly (except the one gruff "casual" photographer who kept ordering people around), food delicious. We went to most of the shows (note we had to get our seats by 7:15 for the 8pm show!); the comedian and ventriloquist were good, and 50% of the ship's singers were good. We did laundry several times, and were pleased to never have to wait for a washer or dryer - that was a first! Here's what we did in each port: London: we arrived on Thursday morning so we'd have 2 full days to enjoy our favorite city and adjust to the time zone. Our American flight was on-time and smooth, and we enjoyed a 1-bedroom Airbnb flat right in the middle of Soho. We hit our favorite stores and restaurants, and saw both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! Southampton: we took the train from Waterloo to Southampton on Saturday morning, then a 5min taxi to the port from the station (train was 40 GBP each and taxi was about 10 GBP). Checkin began shortly after we arrived, and proceeded fairly quickly and smoothly. The dining rooms were closed "for a private event" so we were forced to eat lunch in the buffet. They were encouraging passengers to use the actual sinks to properly wash their hands, not the hand sanitizer dispensers. Sea day: the first day we were at sea, and we enjoyed exploring the ship and playing trivia Stavanger: we got off as soon as we docked and explored the adorable little old town (note it was hilly and cobbled). We found an ATM to get NOK for the next day's cash-only tour, then made our way to our 10am reservation with Rodne for the pulpit rock/fjord cruise. As the poster above said, the boat was docked at a different place than shown on the map, but it was obvious and easy to find. The ticket said to arrive 30min early, but the boat was almost full an hour before sailing time! People were kind of fighting over seats, but we stood and walked around the whole time taking pictures anyway. It was windy and overcast but we still enjoyed the pretty views. Skjolden: this port was so, so beautiful! We took a dozen pictures just walking into the tiny town from the ship. We had prebooked "Tour F" to the stave church and mountain views with Turid; her booth was easy to find but rather chaotic - people were just crowded all around the window, it seemed overwhelming with no apparent order. Even though Turid repeated "we only take cash" in every single email she sent to me before we left, there were still a bunch of people upset that she wouldn't take their credit cards on the day of the tour. Anyway, we finally got our ticket, got on the comfortable air-conditioned mini-bus, and had a lovely tour up to the Nordic ski center (which still had natural snow and Olympians training on it!), then to the Urnes stave church (which she timed perfectly between the large bus groups so we had it to ourselves). When we returned, the mini-bus dropped us back directly at the ship rather than in the town. Geiranger: sail in/out of this port was BREATHTAKING!! So many waterfalls and beautiful views around every corner. We probably took 50% of our photos this day. Tendering opened much earlier than stated in the Patter; once the ship docked, we waited near the tender ticket distribution point until the announcement about tickets, then got Group 1 and were off the ship in no time. We had prebooked a 3-hour Twizy e-car to drive up the mountain; it was a short walk from the tender port, they allowed us to check in more than an hour earlier than our reservation, and gave us a quick tutorial on the car. Then we squeezed ourselves into this tiny car and headed up the mountain! So many beautiful views everywhere, but you're not supposed to stop on the way up so you have enough charge to make it to the top. We took a bunch more pics at the top, then took our time driving back down so we could take all our pics. We actually had the car for closer to 4 hours, but they didn't say anything or charge us extra. After we returned the car, we walked up the side of the waterfall and enjoyed the sights and sounds of a waterfall that you can see from the top of the 5000 ft mountain all the way down to the fjord! The town also had a few lovely restaurants and some booths selling souvenirs, chocolate, etc. Trondheim: This was one of 2 rainy days, but luckily we didn't have much planned. We walked to the cathedral and fort but didn't care to pay the entry fees (the fort especially was expensive), but we did discover free wifi in the church's cafe, and a free armory/WW2 museum in the back corner of the fort. I looked at the Art Nouveau sites I had read about in advance of the trip, but nothing was particularly exciting (it's nothing like Helsinki or Prague). They had a very large market setup in the streets, so we enjoyed sampling cheeses and sausages, then made our way back to the ship. Sea day: Formal Night Honningsvag: seas were a bit rough in and out of the Cape, enough that we were amused watching the crowds 'flow' from one side to the other as they tried to walk down the halls of the rocking ship. It was so cold and windy - I don't know how hard the wind was gusting, but the poster above is accurate in saying it was blowing people over. It blew me off the steps at one point; my husband caught me just before I hit the rocks! We had prebooked a rental car, which was easy to find from the dock. We drove straight to the North Cape since it was relatively clear, got our picture and explored the visitor center, then drove around to a few of the other little villages on the island. Other than the visitor center, there was not much shopping or restaurants on the island. The landscape is bleak - no trees, lots of crumbling rocks everywhere - very unusual. We saw a lot of reindeer roaming the slopes. The ship had a 'midnight sun dance party' this night, but it was so cold and rainy we only stayed 10 minutes (certainly not until midnight). Tromso: A really beautiful day for a cable car ride! We took the $16pp shuttle to town, then walked over the long, steep bridge to the cable car. We waited in line 30-40min, but several buses arrived just after us and the line must've been at least an hour long behind us! The ride was short, and at the top there's a nice viewing platform but it was more enjoyable to stroll around the many paths on the mountain and get away from the crowds. Late that night, we went to the deck for our obligatory midnight sun photos. Too bad the ship staff didn't move the party to this beautiful clear night instead! Gravdal (Leknes): we messed up our rental car arrangements and did NOT get a car from Avis or Europcar (which delivered straight to the port), and instead had to pay for the $10pp shuttle into Gravdal to pick up our car from Sixt. We drove all the way to A, then took our time coming back, enjoying the beautiful little towns of Reine and Nusfjord (yes they charge a fee but it was only like 8 NOK; I think it was reasonable). NOTE: always check what time the last shuttle runs! The shuttle stopped running an hour before all-aboard, so we missed it, then discovered the taxi office was closed, and we were panicking trying to get back to the tender dock on time! Luckily we saw another Princess passenger grabbing the only taxi around, and we jumped on with them and made it just in time - I think we were on the next-to-last tender back. Way too close for comfort! Sea day: for some reason, this sea day seemed particularly boring. It seemed like there were restless crowds in all the public spaces and not much at all to do. Also, the dinner menu was very limited; fewer options were offered. Not sure what that was all about. Alesund: we had originally thought we'd hike in this port, but by now our legs were very tired and sore (we were averaging 5 miles/day of walking). It was a beautiful day, so we just walked around the harbor, and I enjoyed the Art Nouveau (much more to see than Trondheim, and the little Jugendstil museum was decent). I caught the public bus out to the Open Air Museum. It was so peaceful and lovely, like a forested park with old farm buildings here and there. Somewhere I had read there were viking exhibits here, but the only thing was a reconstructed viking ship. I followed the path with the sign reading "to the medieval museum" and checked that out too (included on the same ticket); it was interesting but not worth the walk if you're tired or limited. Bergen: the timing in this port (7am-2pm) was really unfortunate; we would've loved many more hours in this port, but the captain said even leaving at 2pm we had to travel at top speed to get back to London. By now we were 'over' taking rides to viewpoints, so we skipped the funicular. Even though it had been forecast to be another beautiful clear day, it was overcast and a little rainy, so I'm not sure how much visibility there was anyway. We took the mandatory silly bus ride (literally less than 3 minutes, it took longer to load and unload than the ride itself), then walked into town. It was nice to be there really early in the morning and see Bryggen without hordes of people! We got some cool photos of the old wooden buildings. We walked over to the fortress, but it wasn't very interesting, especially since the old Rosencrantz Tower was covered in scaffolding. Once the shops and market opened, we enjoyed shopping for our last few Norwegian souvenirs. The 3rd formal night was this night (I can't remember when the 2nd formal night was lol). Sea day: much needed downtime and packing time. Was not nearly as boring as the last sea day. London: we were so sad to leave the ship! We enjoyed one last elegant breakfast in the dining room, then had a very easy disembarkation, short taxi to the train station and back into London. This time our Airbnb was in Hampstead Heath, a more distant, leafy area of London we wanted to explore. Temps were in the 80s, which would feel cool to us EXCEPT we had no a/c, so sleeping at night on the hot 2nd floor was difficult. We enjoyed exploring the Heath (so many exquisitely happy pups!), and found all the air-conditioned shops and restaurants in the area We tubed down to Picadilly to get some last souvenirs, but the crowds were so overwhelming we quickly retreated. When it was time to head back home 2 days later, we taxi'd to Heathrow for our sad but smooth British Airways flight back. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this particular cruise because it included Bergen; a city where family ancestors lived and still do. The Ship: Embarkation was a breeze. Actually, so was disembarkation! I give those two things an A PLUS! The ship itself was ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because it included Bergen; a city where family ancestors lived and still do. The Ship: Embarkation was a breeze. Actually, so was disembarkation! I give those two things an A PLUS! The ship itself was not impressive, and we are Platinum Princess cruisers. Literally there were no surprises or anything unique about this ship. I suppose that is a draw for many Princess Lovers. One thing that has always bugged me is this "Piazza Concept." It sounds great on paper but doesn't really work because of the way sound travels. You can be listening to an excellent pianist in Crooners Lounge, for example, while simultaneously hearing a raffle with loud announcements going on at the same time in the lower level. It is cacophony. There are NO quiet public areas to get away to. None. If you want to have a few drinks with friends and some lively conversation, you will be out of luck. Even the Skywalkers Lounge is bombarded with cable sportscasts. Your best bet for quiet is your own cabin. I did sneak away to Horizon Court once between lunch and dinner, and it was moderately peaceful. Still...lots of clanging pots and pan sounds from the kitchen. Entertainment: I can only speak for the production show, which was brilliant. And having a live orchestra is a real plus. All the other lounge musicians I found to be very lackluster. Food: Horizon Court just seems to be a little more tawdry and tired than I remember. Many of the entree items were dried out from heat lamps early on during the shift. Normally the dining area would have been less crowded because people would congregate in the outside deck areas. Unfortunately there was a lot of rain and it was very cool, so we were all crammed inside searching for tables. Anytime Dining: Simply wonderful and I have zero complaints. The food was as spectacular as always and so was the service. In fact, one night the anytime dining rooms were so full, they sent us to the exclusive dining room (Santa Fe). It was a wonderful experience. Alfredos Pizzeria: Excellent across the board. The Hamburger and Pizza available on the Sports Deck was superb. Sabatini's: This gets a Grade F. Terrible on all counts and not anywhere close to being worth the surcharge. We have always dined in Sabatini's on previous cruises with good results, sans one (on the now defunct Ocean Princess, where it felt like a nursing home). But all the other times, it was really done well. Not so this time. Our server was rushed and practically rude. The server who took our drink order kept barking at us to hurry up an make up our minds. The food was not awful, but neither was it good. The dining rooms had much better food. I chose a steak, medium rare. I got a steak medium well and chewy. For dessert, I chose the standard cheesecake because I wasn't really that hungry, and I wanted to see how it would compare to the dining room version. It was the same, but less. ONE single strawberry with a tiny drizzle of strawberry glaze. Pathetic. Also, in the past, if you wanted an extra entree there was no charge. Nowadays, if you want to add something...it's an extra 10 bucks. No wines by the glass available here. It's all by the bottle, so you are forced into that extra expense; no matter that you may have a beverage package for a glass. You won't get it here. Just awful. FAIL. On all levels. Ports: These were all beautiful. We had iffy weather which you cannot blame on any cruise line. Some days were partly sunny and others were downpours all day. My favorite was Geirangerfjord, where we took a hike to a waterfall. But Princess gets a thumbs down for how they handled this tour. We took a tender to shore (never a pleasant or quick experience) and were dumped there into a chaotic port with hundreds of people, with no direction as to where we should go. In the past, there were Princess employees with signs directing people to buses and so on. NOT HERE. The parking lot contained about 14 buses. We had no clue which one was ours. Frantically racing from one to the other, we finally ran into a woman who was doing the same. Her tour was #15. Ours was #14. She had just seen the bus for our group and pointed us to it. We were the last ones on the bus. I have no idea if she ever found her group. Really disappointing. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Took this cruise out of South Hampton to Norway. First of all Norway was fantastic. The cruise however was not. Poor service at the Horizon Court Buffet, not a great selection of foods, boring breakfast, seemed to be geared for the UK ... Read More
Took this cruise out of South Hampton to Norway. First of all Norway was fantastic. The cruise however was not. Poor service at the Horizon Court Buffet, not a great selection of foods, boring breakfast, seemed to be geared for the UK customer’s foods and likes, Cruise did not feel very international, an unfriendly crew, and waiters who had no sense of urgency. Our cabin steward was outstanding and very prompt and friendly. Room was ok, but seemed a bit out of date. Entertainment was usual for a cruise ship, although some entertainment was down right poor. Very few waiters taking bar orders in the large main theater, many travelers around us complaining. They also tried to upsale you many times at bars, restaurants, and shops. Art auction mangers were very busy and in your space many times. I have taken many cruises and this was the least enjoyable. I am undecided if I would take another Princess Cruise when there are so many other Cruise lines available with better services. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
CROWN PRINCESS 26TH SEPTEMBER TO 2ND OCTOBER 2017 OBSERVATIONS State Room There were no instructions as to what channels were on the TV. Eventually after asking a crew member I was told channel 22 would give you the menu. It would ... Read More
CROWN PRINCESS 26TH SEPTEMBER TO 2ND OCTOBER 2017 OBSERVATIONS State Room There were no instructions as to what channels were on the TV. Eventually after asking a crew member I was told channel 22 would give you the menu. It would have been helpful if this had been on a card by the TV with a list of regular channel numbers. When announcements are made the sound is muted on the TV but to hear it you have to open the cabin door. Eventually on the last day I found that if you had the Bridge Web Cam on, the announcement could be heard from the TV. A simple guide to the TV would be helpful. Da Vinci Dining Room The service, staff and cuisine were excellent and as good and even better as anywhere I have dined. Botticelli Dining Room The service at breakfast was disappointing; there was no milk or butter on the tables. This is understandable as it needs to be as fresh as possible. However on being seated it should be put on the table strait away. On ordering breakfast grills some items requested were not on the plate. There seems to be a problem on plates coming from the kitchen eight at a time. The waiters have to look at each individual plate and check with the order to see which one to take to the table. Why are the plate covers not marked with a small sticker to assist them? The waiters are doing a good job and are very polite and apologetic but there seems to be a lack of a laid down procedure in delivering the food. The most annoying problem that seems to happen in dining rooms everywhere is clearing away dirty plates once you have finished your breakfast grill. Try eating your toast from the small plate with the bigger plate in the way. Is it not possible to have a person just allocated to going round removing these plates? This is common practice in the Horizon Court self service. Having breakfast here is not relaxing. Horizon Court There does not seem to be enough tables for two persons, you get two people on a four table and they spread out, you even get one selfish person taking up a larger table. What I found was that we find a table and sit down, then my wife goes and gets what she wants and I go when she sits down. This results in us not eating the same course together. Is there no way to mark the table once you have found one with a reserved numbered notice, then you can chose your meal and eat it together. The staff are excellent and get you drinks and clear the tables quickly. The food is not laid out logically and you have to look around for it. One example was the Mexican Night where it was spread out in different areas. Another is the vegetables do not follow the roasts and you have to back track against the flow of other diners. I understand why you use plastic plates for safety reasons because food is taken to the pool area but hot food goes cold on cold plates. Has no one invented a plastic plate the keeps food warm? Disembarkation Times On receiving the form we decided on our time to depart based on the time to vacate the room and assumptions on breakfast opening time and a possible wait for a table. It was not until we received our confirmation of time that we saw that breakfast was available earlier and that Club Class passengers were using another restaurant. This resulted in us taking breakfast early and having a two hour wait to get off the ship. If this information was available when we had to make the choice we would have left earlier. Being told we would be docking at a different Dock was not a problem. What was the problem was my car was with a parking agency and there was no mention that car parking people would be informed. I asked at customer services to be told all would be ok. I suggested that this should be included on the sheet in future especially for first time cruisers. The lady said she would pass it on to her supervisor, I bet it was not, is there any way you can confirm it was please? Summary As this was my first time on a cruise, I did not find it stress free at certain times. My wife has been before but said it did not seem as good this time. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise because it visited the fjords and other ports in Norway up to the North Cape. Embarkation was the smoothest and fastest we have ever experienced and same was true for disembarkation. The ship looked fine to us, yes it ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it visited the fjords and other ports in Norway up to the North Cape. Embarkation was the smoothest and fastest we have ever experienced and same was true for disembarkation. The ship looked fine to us, yes it needs some updating but not a big deal. We were in one of the few mini-suites that had a roof, aft on Emerald deck (E721). The cabin was great! I worried about vibration, excessive movement, or noise from Club Fusion below --- none of my fears materialized. The Main Dining experience was excellent. Our Server and Assistant were friendly, jovial and quick to discern if we did not like our selection and to offer something different. This is the first cruise where we looked forward to the delicious meals each night. The buffet was OK but what made it special was the smiling friendly service. Immediately upon sitting down, we were asked if we wanted something to drink. Unlike other cruise lines that make you go to the drink station yourself. The Int'l cafe on Deck 5 was a favorite option if the buffet was crowded. Room Service was great for breakfast or lunch. Service throughout the ship was stellar and we were always greeted with a friendly smile and hello when we passed a crew member. This was a port intensive itinerary, only 4 sea days out of 14, so we did not take part in the daily entertainment. The evening entertainment could use improvement and more variety. The ports were absolutely great. We visited the main fjords, other small towns up the coast of Norway to the North Cape. It was beautiful and fun. We did the ports on our own or with local tour companies rather than Princess. In most cases the prices were much less than Princess charged. It pays to do research about the ports before this cruise. We downloaded maps and our own info. Princess does not really give you a lot of detail about the port since they seem to want you to do their tours. The town maps they provided were not useful or clear. We probably would not go again (once in a lifetime thing) but definitely would recommend this cruise to others. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
because of the itinerary.We chose this particular itinery because it was going through all the Fjords and also stopping in the Lofoten Islands the home of my Grandparents. My family of 11 ( 3 daughters, 3 Granddaughters, 1 Grandson and his ... Read More
because of the itinerary.We chose this particular itinery because it was going through all the Fjords and also stopping in the Lofoten Islands the home of my Grandparents. My family of 11 ( 3 daughters, 3 Granddaughters, 1 Grandson and his soon to be wife, 1 Great granddaughter and my son in law. We cruise as a family often and have had as many as 16 on a trip. Early in the planning I called Princess to ensure we had a table for 11 in the dinning room arranged. They confirmed that for me but upon arriving we were devided amongst 4 tables. I spoke to the Maitre'D who said is was not possible to have such a large table. He could accommodate 8 only. After 4 or 5 days on the cruise, we walked into the dinning room and found a table set up for a party of 12. The head waiter said he could do it for us now but we would not keep our waiter. Welcome to Princess. Each family cruise we ensure our boarding family picture is unique. This time we were all in possession of Viking helmets for photo. we arrived at the photo position and were informed they could only take a picture of 5 at a time. Welcome to Princess. to ensure all the family was on the tender together for visit to Lofoten, I asked a ship's officer how to arrange that. He said just get all the family to the tender, show them your suite card and they will let you all go. Only the 3 of us in the suite were given priority the rest had to wait. Got the wrong answer I guess. Welcome to princess. Tried a number of times to get into see a show but even when we arrived 35-40 minutes early the theatre was full. on other cruise lines there is a section set aside for suites so you don't have to wait and seats are available. Not on Princess. My departure flight home was early so Princess said their shuttle would not get me to the airport on time. I pre hired a taxi for appeox $350.00. when I arrived at the airport my Grandson was already there, he had caught the first shuttle. On disembarking we had to carry our own luggage off because of the time to meet our cab. We arrived at the gangway and asked a ship's officer there if we could get some help with our bags. She pointed to men in yellow vests and said they will help you. My daughter went and asked them for help and they said we don't do that we just push wheelchairs. Welcome to Princess. Our experience in "Horizon and Caribe" were nothing short of awful. It was a constant battle to find a place to sit. The constant selling no matter where you were was annoying. They always wanted your card for something yet again. The qaulity of entertainment was poor and often consisted of lounge music and the constant attempt to sell you a drink. The coffee served was just awful. You could buy a good cup but nothing in Horizon,Caribe or the dinning room was recognizable. We are now trying to print the official photos purchsed for our scrap books. We must have a release signed but that is not what we were told when we purchesed the package and the $30.00 flash drives. We have only what they printed and nothing more. Welcome to princess. The number of times I needed to go to the Customer service desk, I was treated well but often the answers given were wrong. The shore exscursions were very expensive and could be bought at about 80% less ashore. The itinery was outstanding and just what we wanted. Excellent. I had my 4 year old Great granddaughter with us and the "Kids club" was outstanding. She had a blast. You ask if I would make this trip again, probably not as I've seen it now but I will NEVER sail on Princess again. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The only reason we booked this Cruise to Norway was the perfect date for shoot term finish. We had stress free travel down to Southampton, which we loved, but the Mini Suite does not look any different to the Balconies we experience on ... Read More
The only reason we booked this Cruise to Norway was the perfect date for shoot term finish. We had stress free travel down to Southampton, which we loved, but the Mini Suite does not look any different to the Balconies we experience on other cruise liners. There are no advantages to booking the mini suite it's exactly the same and one receives no benefits with faster check in, check out, unless your in a "Suite" ! Not a mini suite! Lol Families with iPads, iPhones, kids tablets, curling tongs, hairdryer be warned, you will need to take a double or triple adapter as the mini suites only have 1 small plug, yes 1 PLUG and its in the corridor, so sitting on the hall floor to dry hair and curl it, whilst trying to charge up tablets, iPads etc takes some time! It was uncomfortable actually. Having a bath in the mini suite has advantages but the small room does not need two TV's and even if on an all inc drinks package the water left in the droom is chargeable. Also we were not aware of the $14.50 per person per day gratitity and although we know we pay these on other liners, we usually have discounted rate for 7 year olds, not with Princess adults and children alike are charged the same rate, If you were in a suite and. It a mini suite I believe it's around $15.50 pppn There were so many rude inconsiderate people on this ship, something we've never experienced before. People seem to think they were entitled to just push pass, no pleasantries or general good manners, The buffet food is no way as good as other liners, however the evening dining restaurants are simply superb, providing they don't give away your table! Even though tables next to the windows are free every night, because the waiter cannot give away the table you have to sit where you are allocated. If given da Vinci dining on arrival, be expected to share your family table with at least 6-8 diners even though you've booked a timed seating. It's not on shoving families onto sharing tables with strangers, Ask for Botteleili dining it's best restaurant in terms of friendly staff waiters and all food in all,restaurants is the same, but not having extremely stressed out waiters serving you like they did in Bottechelli is worth asking for Michaelengelo first. There is no free Wifi, they give you access to wifi but the charges to use it per minute are extortionate. One can ask customer services to reduce or remove tips if you feel you did not receive the experience /service you expected, The staff are superb very friendly and very helpful which was great. The 3 piece classical band playing every day in the Pizzeria atrium is not very good, would be nice to have some livelier music. There are lots of great bars including the casino bar which helps us smokers on board, trips are so expensive, we looked at one of the cheapest ones and for 2 adults and 1 child it was over $300 so we did not do any. Pre booking prior to arrival with independent tour operators is a lesson we'll learn for future trips. Our next cruises will not include Princess, even though they give passengers the best ever pillows in the cabins! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We have been cruising for a dozen or so years now and on various cruise lines. We chose this cruise for several reasons. It was a Princess cruise which we had not yet done and it allowed us to spend a few days in London before the ... Read More
We have been cruising for a dozen or so years now and on various cruise lines. We chose this cruise for several reasons. It was a Princess cruise which we had not yet done and it allowed us to spend a few days in London before the cruise. The big attraction was it having a chance to visit Norway and the Norwegian Fjords. While the scenery was amazing and had no issues with the cruise itinerary or the ports we visited the ship experience was a huge disappointment. I describe it to friends this way. I believe the company has tried to cut costs by reducing staffing levels so low it now seriously affects the entire experience. While the service we did receive from individual staff members was good the quantity and quality of service was poor at best. The crew appeared to be working very hard, looked very tired, frustrated, were constantly rushing around and on a few occasions we witnessed arguments, some very loud and vocal. There were line-ups everywhere. I even took pictures of the line-ups at the buffets because I couldn’t believe how long they were. This, I believe, was due partly to the fact that they kept most of the buffet restaurants closed except for a very brief period at the peak of meal times. The food in trays was often empty or only a few morsels left to be picked over, until someone ran by and literally threw more into it. Many, many times the food labels did not match what was in the trays. This being more evidence to the lack of quality control we witnessed throughout this ship. Every single day beverage stations in the buffet area had “please use other station” signs on them. There were constantly dirty dishes piled up all over the place finding a clean table a challenge with guests often removing the dished themselves. Between finding a seat or a beverage we did a lot of unnecessary, and frustrating, walking around at meal time. The closing of the other buffet sections made it very, very, difficult to find a place to sit (other than as a cost saving device, I can think of no other reason to do such a stupid thing especially when people are lined up out the doors). We had purchased a premium coffee package to enjoy on the trip. Once/if we could finally catch a server to order one, the wait was incredibly long. Most times we had completely finished our meals and had to stay and wait for the coffee to finally show up. On several occasions, we simply chose to leave and not wait. At night, they featured their “Movies under the stars”. Here again, there was plenty of evidence of a complete lack of quality control. One day there had been a light rain in the very early evening. When we got to the movie, all the chairs were soaking wet. No one had come by to flip them over to drain them or wipe them down. (Something we saw done on every other cruise line we have travelled with.) On two nights, the volume was so low it was difficult to hear. Had any crew member been assigned to check on the movie venue, they would have notice that immediately or at least we could have mentioned it to them. All in all, this cruise line was a disappointment! As mentioned earlier I believe there has been a significant cut in staffing levels to appoint that they can no longer supply a minimum level of expected service. We have sailed many times in the past and on several different cruise lines, this by far was the worse. I can see by reading other reviews we are not alone in our evaluation of this ship. How sad. No more Princess sailing for us! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Wanted to experience the Fjords so chose this cruise as they were offering balcony cabins at the same price as outside and 3rd person for half price. Getting on board was fine, a little crushed in the waiting area. Cabin was ready and ... Read More
Wanted to experience the Fjords so chose this cruise as they were offering balcony cabins at the same price as outside and 3rd person for half price. Getting on board was fine, a little crushed in the waiting area. Cabin was ready and was a decent size for a balcony cabin, the biggest we've had was on Carnival. This time we had a bed that came down from the ceiling. The cabin steward (Mervin) was very good and went quietly about his business. When booking we were encouraged to,upgrade and ended up with a cabin on deck 14 under the lido deck which I did worry would be noisy. The customer services assured me it wouldn't be but it was noisier than other cabins we have had, especially when they were wheeling trollies around the deck. We ate in Botticelli restaurant at 8pm and the food was beautiful. I felt the choice was a bit limited though. The service by Ralph was very very good. I would suggest that you don't let your child sit watching videos on an iPad in a formal dining room and spoil it for the surrounding tables! The breakfast buffet was very good and in fact the food in general in the main eating area was good especially the afternoon tea in the Caribe. Indoor seating was very hard to find and people were slow to clear their tables. There was always a plentiful supply of tea, coffee and water and the ice creams were free -P&O please note! I would say the food was better than P&O in general. Good hint the port side carpet has a red bit that the starboard side doesn't so when finding your room coming out of the lifts this helps. The casino was enjoyable but felt the minimum bets on the card tables was high. Also I felt the spa prices were silly money. The entertainment was very good, especially Mercury Rising. We never failed to find a seat. Unfortunately, we had a medical emergency on board so,ended up missing our scheduled stop in Stavanger. While this is unavoidable I do think the Captains comment about enjoying the white cliffs of Dover was a little poor as the only compensation for missing a day and the company should have done something as a gesture of goodwill for the remaining passengers. I also felt the prices of the shore excursions was high, we went on the glacier hike at approx £90 each. It basically amounted to a coach ride and free cake. It was a very strenuous hike. Norway in general is extortionate. There is nothing to do in Olden or Skjolden except a walk,or buy an excursion. I found non formal nights dress code was very casual compared to other lines. Also the main currency on an English based cruise was dollars which did disadvantage the pound in today's climate. I would travel with Princess again. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Being new to cruising, I went with Princess last year so decided to go with them again because we had such a great time last year. Another lovely ship, great destination and great all round service. We did miss one port of call, very ... Read More
Being new to cruising, I went with Princess last year so decided to go with them again because we had such a great time last year. Another lovely ship, great destination and great all round service. We did miss one port of call, very disappointing to have missed Stavanger - but we had a medical emergency during the night and the Captain made the very hard decision to turn the ship around and return to Dover to ensure the passenger received the best possible attention. The ship, the staff and whole package was extremely good value, my only compliant is the cost of excursions, but if you do some pre-cruise research, you can find the same trips at much better prices. You have to be careful on timings!! Don't get left behind! The ship is showing signs of old age, but the crew do work tirelesly at keeping her to a good standard. All the staff we came across were extremely helpful and friendly. The entertainment was first class. Food was excellent, never had a day where I didn't enjoy the food. I am pleased I choose Princess again, and will more than likely go again next year. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
7 day cruise to Norway from Southampton, getting on and off the ship was very good, I also enjoyed the evening shows Magic to Do, the Disco Show, the variety show, Jo Little the comedian, and others too, all most entertaining! My cabin ... Read More
7 day cruise to Norway from Southampton, getting on and off the ship was very good, I also enjoyed the evening shows Magic to Do, the Disco Show, the variety show, Jo Little the comedian, and others too, all most entertaining! My cabin steward was excellent too. Though my cabin was very small, I was the only occupant, so it was fine. I would imagine 2 people staying in the cabin might be VERY uncomfortable! I did enjoy the ports too in Norway very much. This ship holds over 3000 passengers, and during the week of the cruise, most of them wandered around aimlessly in groups unsure of where they were going, seemingly always blocking entrances and exits to everywhere on the ship. I did learn out of the over 3000 passengers onboard, only about 700 were Americans. I discovered rude people with no consideration for others come from all over the world apparently. The ship is HUGE and it is a bit of a challenge figuring out where everything is. I ate dinner every night in the Botticelli Dining room. The menu was very limited, with one page remaining the same, and another page with different items, mostly all unhealthy choices with butter or cream, and rather bland and tasteless at the same time, too. My dining companions were all in agreement on how bland most everything was. There were NO healthy options on the menu, and also oddly, no choice of sides (potato, rice, vegetables, etc.) I wonder if this was to encourage people to pay extra for the specialty dining options. Also, after a waiter took my order one night, someone sat down in the empty seat next to me at the table. When the waiter brought over my food, he placed it in front of the passenger who sat down at the empty seat. Not sure what that was about. The dinner buffet on the Horizon deck was actually so much better-each night was a different theme, (Italian, Asian, Indian, etc) with SO much more variety to chose from, and so much tastier too!. I only know this because almost each night BEFORE dining in the dining room, I'd sample some of the buffet items about an hour before, first on deck well aware that the dining room dinners were VERY unsatisfying. Some of the dessert choices though were not bad, and did find some satisfying desserts. One more issue I feel needs to be mentioned here. One evening was the Captain's get together in the Piazza on one of the formal nights. A waiter came around with small bites to eat. I only spotted ONE waiter among the hundreds of passengers gathering in this area. After I sampled something from his tray, I approached him for more, he rudely told me "no" as others had not had any yet. Was the cost of these items coming out of his pocket? I don't think so. I feel that gathering should have been more prepared with more servers, and his behavior was totally unacceptable AND inappropriate. Probably just the ship cutting costs wherever it can, and overcharging for EVERYTHING on the ship that is NOT included. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My husband and I wanted to go to Norway, and the price was affordable for us. The staff was very nice, and courteous. The ship was awful. If I could rate this cruise a 2 1/2, I would. We missed one port due to someone getting ill, but ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to go to Norway, and the price was affordable for us. The staff was very nice, and courteous. The ship was awful. If I could rate this cruise a 2 1/2, I would. We missed one port due to someone getting ill, but that could happen to anyone. Our carpet had stains, the toilet plugged up 3 times, the food bland...In fact the food seemed redundant. At times, the chicken was tough and dry. We may choose another cruise with Princess again in the future, however we are going to explore other options. Embarking was a breeze, disembarking was painless. The cruise was very smooth, and we were informed via Captain, as needed. One of the tender's exhaust fumes was disgusting, not sure if that is why my allergies were ignited or not. I would not go on this ship again, unless issues were addressed. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Our first ever cruise with Princess - unfortunately it will probably be the last as a result of our overall impression of this ship and the company. Prior to departure, rumours were circulating on social media that the Crown Princess had ... Read More
Our first ever cruise with Princess - unfortunately it will probably be the last as a result of our overall impression of this ship and the company. Prior to departure, rumours were circulating on social media that the Crown Princess had been over-booked and that some passengers were being offered financial inducements to cancel at the last minute. We were not approached by Princess (or our TA), but it was a foretaste of what was to come - a seriously over-crowded sailing on a large ship, where queues and long waits were an everyday occurrence (and irritation). In the interests of balance there were some good points worthy of note before I come on to the bad points:- GOOD POINTS:- - Comfortable cabin: a good bed, slept well with no disturbance from outside. The aircon in the cabin worked well (though we had to leave on the lowest setting to keep cool enough, as we did not have a balcony). - Cabin steward was a very nice young lady who clearly worked hard and took a close interest in making sure we had everything we needed. - The ports we visited were very good / excellent. Even the weather was reasonable considering the high northerly latitudes reached - only one truly wet day (in Tromso). - The specialty dining options we tried (Crown Grill steakhouse and Sabatini Italian) were a very high standard with delicious food and a much more up-market, relaxed atmosphere than the congested main dining rooms. Unfortunately eating here makes a serious dent in your on-board account ($29 surcharge per person per meal). - The sailing was generally smooth or with only moderate motion (though often quite a lot of vibration) and we did not encounter sea-sickness at any point. BAD POINTS:- - "Anytime Dining" arrangements / organisation very restrictive and inflexible. We pre-booked the Anytime Dining option as our personal preference is to eat on our own not with a group of strangers every night. We'd assumed this would be similar to NCL's "Freestyle Dining" concept, but the problem Princess had was operating both Anytime and Traditional Dining models in parallel - it simply doesn't work when the ship is at full occupancy. Anytime diners were treated as second class citizens and either denied access to the dining rooms at certain times, forced to wait 30-40 minutes, or obliged to share with others (as per Traditional Dining). The only ways round this were to book a table at 08:00 am sharp every morning, or pay extra to eat in one of the specialty restaurants. - Breakfast and lunch options very limited. The only table service option for breakfast or lunch was the Botticelli restaurant (which inexplicably stopped operation at 09:00 - unreasonably early for those looking to catch up on some sleep while on holiday). The other two dining rooms (Da Vinci and Michelangelo) remained closed outside of dinner operating hours. The alternative was the hopelessly overcrowded buffet set-up (Horizon Court / Cafe Caribe) which was straight out of a school / works canteen, with plastic (!) plates and glasses and cheap-looking, lukewarm food. Seating was in high demand and people were forced to share whether they wanted to or not (unless you fancied sitting outside in the cold!) Really unacceptable. - Shore excursion cancellation (Flåm). Most spaces on official shore excursions were sold out on-line months in advance including the one we'd booked on the famous Flåm railway. Luckily we thought, we had a confirmed booking for the first such tour of the day. This entailed a very early start and a considerable wait in the Explorer's lounge while we were repeatedly told to wait while the ship completed docking procedures. We were assured there was no reason to worry as "...Princess had paid for the train and it would not leave without us...". After about an hour, a terse announcement came out over the ships' PA that our excursion was CANCELLED. As all subsequent trains were either fully booked (or would not make it back to the ship in time), we were left with a day in Flåm with virtually nothing to do. The shorex staff and the people at the front desk had no idea how to deal with this and simply refused to take our complaint seriously - they could not care less that this advertised highlight of the trip had been cancelled apparently due to an unexpectedly long passage into the fjord approaching Flåm. The tour was of course refunded but Princess stubbornly refused to offer any OBC or recompense of any kind. Tells me all I need to know about their customer service ethos. - Decor and general ambience. So many of the ship's public areas are dark and frankly rather oppressive - an excess of dark wood paneling, subdued lighting and small windows with heavy curtains which limited the opportunities to see the fabulous scenery, especially at mealtimes. It all looked rather dated to our tastes. We eventually discovered that the Adagio Bar and the Skywalkers lounge up top at the back of the ship were good places to curl up with a book or watch the view, but there is no drinks / snack service here during the day. We were even turfed out of these areas on one afternoon due to someone's unannounced "private party". - Poor at-sea activities and "enrichment" options. We were shocked by how bad the entertainment and activities were during our 4 sea days. The main options were bingo / trivia competitions, and sales promotions for art and back / foot pain treatments. None of which interested us remotely. We were hoodwinked into paying $10 each for a "wine-tasting" session which consisted of six small glasses of inferior, nondescript wine (the sort you can buy at Tesco in the UK for a fiver). This was accompanied by an embarrassingly poor commentary by members of staff who clearly knew very little about these wines or wine in general apart from what was written on their script. There was only one guest speaker in two weeks of cruising - Pete Best (the "fifth Beatle", who was interesting enough), no sign at all of Peter Shilton or the Midsommer Festival mentioned in the original pre-departure blurb from Princess. - Overly "Americanised" service / atmosphere. Despite Southampton being the start and finish of the trip it felt that we were cruising out of a US port. Staff had clearly been trained up for the US market: attempts made to remove dinner plates while we were having a short break from eating ("...you still working on that?"), coffee repeatedly offered at the same time as dessert, port info sheets bearing contact details of the US embassy in Norway (but not equivalent info for UK, Australian, Japanese guests) etc etc. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Our second cruise to Norway but this was slightly longer than previously and visited ports we hadn't seen before. Embarkation was quick and efficient and disembarkation was a breeze. Never on any previous cruise have I ... Read More
Our second cruise to Norway but this was slightly longer than previously and visited ports we hadn't seen before. Embarkation was quick and efficient and disembarkation was a breeze. Never on any previous cruise have I experienced such a painless disembarkation. In the past there have almost been fights breaking out it was such a shambles. Not so on this occasion. Brilliant. Lofoten Islands were amazing. We chose a private excursion and our trip was fantastic. Sjkolden was a big surprise. So beautiful and the weather was glorious. Good weather although cold sometimes but , hey , we were in the Artic Circle. 24 hours of daylight and sunsets (that never actually set) were amazing. Starters and puddings in the "any time dining" were "samey" but the main course always delivered. Good choice in the buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Good entertainment. Very professional. We did have to be in the theatre very early to get a seat though. Staff were exceptional. Friendly and efficient. All in all a really good cruise. Read Less
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