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92 Princess Quebec City Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary. Secondarily, we had prior experience with the Princess brand and felt that we could expect a certain standard. In this aspect, we were thoroughly disappointed. Our embarkation was ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary. Secondarily, we had prior experience with the Princess brand and felt that we could expect a certain standard. In this aspect, we were thoroughly disappointed. Our embarkation was delayed half a day due to required extra sanitation because so many passengers on the prior cruise had suffered gastrointestinal illnesses. The Caribbean Princess was refurbished this year. Despite this, our stateroom had maintenance issues. The carpeting was stained. The wooden trim was broken and missing above the doorway. The TV worked only when it felt like it. The lighting above the desk and the only available electric outlets went on the fritz halfway into the cruise. The "Medallion" which is your room key and access to anything on board, failed FOUR times and needed replacing. The stop at Bar Harbor, Maine required use of tenders to transport passengers between the ship and the pier. Due to heavy swell and good-sized waves, there was a considerable delay of approximately two hours in getting passengers into tenders for the 20 minute trip to shore. However, for the passengers of Tender #19, it was a nightmarish crossing as the engine failed and the tender was rocked violently whilst taking on water from the chop. Several passengers were drenched. Buffet dining areas were understaffed and lacked adequate seating for passengers. The end result is that a passenger could go through the buffet line for food and then be entirely unable to find somewhere to sit and eat, resulting in a seven to ten minute search for a table. When a table was finally located, your food was stone cold. Adding insult to injury, it was virtually impossible to find a waiter willing to deliver beverages. In on disastrous incident, we got up from the table to hunt down a waiter and order a Coke, only to be delivered the wrong item some 20 minutes later. This level of apathy and disservice is a direct result of the Princess policy to automatically charge passengers $15.50 per person per day for tips. There is absolutely zero incentive for any employee to give anything other than mediocre service on this ship. Never again. We'll take our business elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports and they were amazing. The Princess staff is mostly awesome. Sadly, we were disappointed in a lot of other aspects on this cruise. Does Princess ever have easy embarkation? We’ve always had issues ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports and they were amazing. The Princess staff is mostly awesome. Sadly, we were disappointed in a lot of other aspects on this cruise. Does Princess ever have easy embarkation? We’ve always had issues and this cruise was no exception. We were not allowed to board until 7PM and really missed the whole evening because of that. We also had no place to wait with our luggage for an extra 7 hours. Apparently the ship needed to be “sanitized”, but the passengers were really left hanging around with no place to go. It was handled poorly. Princess needs a course in communication skills, I think. We liked the ship! There was an issue with norovirus and the staff were constantly sanitizing but I question how well. In Skywalkers the waiter was swabbing down the table tops but that is where it ended. The curved underside of the tables were sticky with past residue. Gross. We didn’t get sick. We washed our hands a lot. Our dining room waiters were fabulous and worked hard. Their great service and attentiveness made it a bit uncomfortable to complain about the quality of the food which was NOT good. We haven’t cruised withPrincess for 2 years and noticed a very big food quality shift. The beef was tough. The scallops were inedible. The lobster was shrivelled and dry. Rubbery prawns. The salad lettuce was tired, wilted and soggy. The desserts were good in the dining room, though. The buffet food was better. Sadly, the service was not good. There were long waits for tables and the staff couldn’t keep up with the clearing tasks or getting beverages in a timely manner. Chaos, especially at breakfast and lunch. Part of the fun of cruising is the variety and quality of the food. We were saddened and disappointed with how far Princess has slid in this regard. There were no talks or seminars on the ports. There was no naturalist or historian. There was nothing that I could find except the excursion desk. The day we went there the staff person was quite unhelpful. The “250 free minutes” of internet time was useless in my cabin. Logging out was next to impossible despite following all the instructions. Eventually, I gave up rather than be intimidated once again by the internet staff. The passengers were a fun bunch, though. We commiserated about the bad food, the long tender waits, the lack of communication. I guess it is what you make of it but I doubt I’ll cruise with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because of the ports that were offered. The fjords of the Saguenay river are spectacular and offer the opportunity to see whales right from the ship where the Saguenay river meets the St. Lawrence. Unfortunately the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports that were offered. The fjords of the Saguenay river are spectacular and offer the opportunity to see whales right from the ship where the Saguenay river meets the St. Lawrence. Unfortunately the ship travelled up the river at night so we missed most of the fjords and did not see any whales, but all ports provided us with opportunities to see some beautiful scenery. We had been looking forward to the fine dining onboard and were so disappointed by the food in the dining room. We heard complaints from other passengers all week. The buffet food was fine, but we expected much better in the dining room and often felt rushed. Also caution that the dining room now offers a menu for an additional cost. I heard someone order a lobster tail and decided to have the same, and was not told that it would cost me $19. And for that I received a shrivelled up piece of lobster that was so overcooked that it curled in the tail and was dry and tough. The lobster on lobster night was much better and there was no upcharge. The desserts were also disappointing. The cheesecake used to be a delicious option, but the one that was served was dry and bland. First time I didn't gain a few pounds on a cruise! The swimming pools are not heated and so the water was too cold to swim. Not sure why they bother with water at all if the pools are not useable. I would have swam each day, even in cooler weather, if the water had been warm. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this because we were traveling with friends who didn't want to fly far. LOVE the new Medallion. It makes everything so easy-opens your stateroom door, makes purchases easy, easy off and on the ship. Makes embarkation and ... Read More
Chose this because we were traveling with friends who didn't want to fly far. LOVE the new Medallion. It makes everything so easy-opens your stateroom door, makes purchases easy, easy off and on the ship. Makes embarkation and debarkation so much faster.The updating on the CP was well do-everything seems fresh. Our cabin was larger than we expected with lots of storage but small shower. The food was a little above average although not fantastic. The Buffett breakfasts and lunches were very good-huge assortment and kept hot and cold as needed. The Crown Grill is awesome-looks just like a New York steakhouse and the food is amazing. Well worth the $29 upcharge. Sabatini's italian is also very good. The entertainment on this ship was better than almost any we have ever seen on the 15 cruises we have taken. The production show sets were absolutely incredible and the singers and dancers were great. We also had a singer, a piano player and a comic, all of whom were wonderful. Now for the not so good. Most of the ports are boring! We enjoyed Quebec very much but Saguenay was much ado about nothing, Chalottetown just OK. Loved Peggy's Cove but you're only there for an hour. Sydney is a total waste of time. Enjoyed Halifax. Our best excursion was going out on a lobster boat in Bar Harbor. We have been to Boston many times so we didn't do much there but some might enjoy it. Overall, we found this cruise little dull. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We just returned for Canada and New England cruise on the Caribbean Princess yesterday. We sailed on this same ship 5 years ago and don’t recall any problems, but even this it was refurbished 4.2017 it’s just old and not kept up ... Read More
We just returned for Canada and New England cruise on the Caribbean Princess yesterday. We sailed on this same ship 5 years ago and don’t recall any problems, but even this it was refurbished 4.2017 it’s just old and not kept up well. The good: We booked this cruise for the itinerary which we really enjoyed. We booked a Club Class Mini Suite due to booking so late and not many choices. The cabin size and location was fine and very nice sized tho it’s a bit weird having 2 really large screen TV’s nearly back to back but not an issue. Balcony was nice tho we didn’t use it too much, it had a table, 2 chairs and 2 footstools. The MedallionNet WiFi was excellent, never had an issue and very reasonably priced, loved it. We really enjoyed the club class dining room, yes it is on the side of the MDR but much less hectic and quieter, excellent crew from our fav Josmy at the door to servers who were outstanding, friendly and always smiling - thank you Oxsana, Tim, Ucecil and Rollin. The not so good: This ship is just old, outdated and tired. Yes, the carpet, sofa and some bedding in the cabins have been updated but even after such a short time it’s not taken care of. The furniture and ‘headboard’ is OLD, nicked and beat up. Large outdated canvas pic in cabin had tears in it and the walls looked like they had been washed but left splotchy wall paper. The only thing that could help it is to be replaced. All thru the ship we noticed lack of upkeep, and found it odd that we were told to please use the toilets in your cabins rather than the public ones??? Sorry but the Love Boat theme drove us nuts, maybe we just have no sense of humor. The Muster drill was ridiculous, many of us lined up in hallways and many paid no attention to the safety part of the drill, talking, laughing, disregarding the instructions and crew didn’t enforce it. Food: Seems like Princess is cheating out on the dining, no longer steaks on the Everyday Menu, now replaces with a hamburger....really? There’s a fairly extensive extra menu with meals at extra charge, yes, in the MDR. I get the speciality restaurants if you choose to pay but a daily extra cost menu? No surf and turf night(s) tho one night lobster was offered, very tiny lobster tails. Our final night was surf & turf, a small filet with 2 large prawns, one of the servers commented the prawns were larger than the lobster a few nights prior. Food in MDR was tasty enough but not one meal delicious. The Lido buffet, what a joke, crowded and many selections but not much flavor and not tasty, lots of cheap food which appeals to the masses. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t starve but the quality was horrible. Interesting note: prior to our last night I read on CC that the departure for the ship on 9.24 was going to be delayed and no one could check in before 3 pm due to extra sanitizing after gastrointestinal issues. Hmmmmm never heard about it before reading it here. All in all, we will not be doing another Princess cruise, especially on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I consider myself a seasoned traveler with 6 million air miles, hundreds of hotel says and 15 cruises on 5 cruise lines. I have never written a review before because things happen on any trip and you just have to deal with it. This year my ... Read More
I consider myself a seasoned traveler with 6 million air miles, hundreds of hotel says and 15 cruises on 5 cruise lines. I have never written a review before because things happen on any trip and you just have to deal with it. This year my wife and I celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary and our 70th birthdays. We were looking for something special - a trip that would provide us with a great memory of these events. A lot of choices- family, friends or something just for us. Another couple asked us to consider a Canadian-US cruise on the Caribbean Princess. I looked over the agenda and a few things caught my eye - an excursion on Prince Edwards Island with a known Canadian photographer and a stop in Boston. We had previously taken a photo trip to the Grand Canyon which was exceptional. Even though we had already taken a cruise that docked at 4 of the ports, the opportunity to have a limited group photo excursion with a known photographer coupled with a few spa treatments and a visit to Boston seemed like the experience we were looking for. The Booking On past cruises we have stayed in every accommodation from a Penthouse Suite to a porthole cabin. We contacted AmEx Travel who worked with Princess. We were advised Princess had a class of service called "Mini Suite" with suite benefits -smaller than a regular suite with all of the suite benefits (special dining, special seats at events, priority embark and debark, access to the exclusive lounge, etc.) When we attempted to book the Mini Suites were full so AmEx/Princess recommended that we book a full suite and wait for a Mini. We eventually booked the Mini, 2 spa treatments, and 4 excursions and the 10 day high speed internet. We preordered "Medallions" which are digital passkeys that identify and track your exact location on board the ship. The Preparation In order to prepare, we researched the photographer and contacted Princess regarding the excursion. We were advised to bring our camera equipment, including tripods, extra batteries, extra Sd cards, etc, along with adequate shoes for rough terrain. Three days before the cruise, we spent $500 on new camera equipment - light tripods, extra batteries, Sd cards, etc.). We also bought new hiking boots. In order to accommodate the camera equipment and airline luggage weight limits we had to remove a number of convenient items taken on past cruises. Arrival In spite of being provided a "special registration desk", unlike other cruise lines, Princess did not have any type of expedited security line so the concept of "priority boarding" was lost in the process. When we finally reached the priority registration desk we were given a new set of medallions and told the ones we had were unnecessary. At the registration desk I attempted to change the credit card on file but was advised that that would have to be done at Customer Relations. The CR computers were "occupied" with the passenger changeover but I was finally able to make that cc change two days later. The MiniSuite The Mini Suite (D414) is dated with the exception of two 42 inch TV's that dominate the small room. They actually touch each other - kind of like a sports bar. There is no chance to use them on separate channels because the sound overlaps. The Medallion Class ships have high speed access and boast about their live TV news and sports including CNN/Fox News/ESPN/ESPN2. On game day I found out that the Princess ESPN and ESPN2 was the Canadian/European version with no US college football. On live ESPN we could only watch womens international weightlifting and European soccer, a far cry from US Football.. While Princess boasts that its wi-fi can stream, it cannot stream to the TV's in the room, only to your computer or cell phone. Unless you want to spend your vacation watching the news which you are trying to get away from or you enjoy womens international weightlifting, the live TV has little merit. The rooms are dated. There is only one small electrical outlet in a mini-suite and it is impossible to use a multiple plug device because the light switch is part of the outlet and any oversize plug-in turns on the light. We were able to locate an open outlet behind the large TV's and with a little dexterity you can find an open plug. Otherwise, if you need more than 2 plug ins you are out of luck. Princess also represents that each room has a hair dryer - unfortunately they are wall mount - probably 15 years out of date with very low heat output. The "Club Class" Mini-suit is not really a suite for two passengers - it seems to be more for a three or four passengers accommodation-maybe a family with two kids who want no privacy. The furniture is old and sparse and the couch is a very uncomfortable sit. The TV's are imposing and awkward for the space. There is no divider between the sleeping area and the couch so using the TV's while your spouse is trying to rest does not work. The bathroom door opens into the closet so you have to speak out before you open the door lest you hit your partner in the back. Our stateroom attendant was excellent and kept the room very clean, but it still felt very dated, like an old hotel. The Wi-Fi The Caribbean Princess is equipped with a high capacity wi-fi system that should allow you to live stream content. To do so you have to download the app, connect to the ship internet and place your device on airplane mode and pay the $150 fee.. It seems simple but everyone in our party had issues for the first several days. There is a help station - unfortunately they advised that our problem involved Apple Messenger and told us to turn it off which resulted in a total absence of e-mails for 22-24 hours. We contacted Apple - reinstatement of Messenger on the Apple server normally takes a day after shutdown. Also, if you fail to immediately put you device on airplane mode when you reboard the ship, the phone can connect to the ships general network which results in a high cellular data bill. AT&T informed me of a $120 data overage a few hours after the ship left port. That mistake cost over $200 - a learning experience. High speed access was costly but if you figure it out you can stream to your cell phone. Watching a college football game on your I Phone doesn't compare to viewing it on one of the 42 inch TV's - which don't allow streaming. The many Disappointments Immediately after entering our Mini Suite, Narag Angelito Biloro, our Stateroom Steward appeared with ship information and our excursion tickets, etc., Narag turned out to be an exceptional asset during the cruise- we always felt good returning to our stateroom because it was well kept by him. He was a wealth of information. When I asked him about the Suite benefits and access to the Private Lounge - he informed us that the Mini-Suites do not have suite benefits but only Club benefits - contrary to what we had been told at the time of booking. He understood the confusion and got us in contact with the person to talk to. Several hours later with two attempted Princess calls to AmEx, Princess allowed us the access to the private lounge.(Which turned out to be nothing) We were specifically told that we were not allowed any other Suite benefits - only Club benefits which were a half bottle of wine, priority embark and debark, Club Class Dining and priority reservations at the specialty restaurants. Next I reviewed the excursion tickets. There was a letter included which stated that the photographic excursion "YYG260A Picture Perfect with Photographer Winston Maund has been cancelled due to operational reasons". I immediately called the front desk to better understand the situation. The front desk responded that the "operational issue" was an "overbooking" and that we had been cut from the excursion. That did not seem fair or reasonable - when we signed up for the excursion we were told we were the first two individuals to book. I went down to discuss the issue at the front desk. That took an hour. The front desk said they would check into it. On the next call I was told that there were "operational issues" that caused the cancellation of the trip and no one on the ship would be participating. I inquired about the date the operation decision was made and was told that the excursion was cancelled THE WEEK BEFORE we left for the cruise. On other cruise lines there have been changes or modification in excursions but we always received immediate notice of pre cruise changes by e-mail. When I inquired about why we were not notified the answer "It is easier for us to handle it on the ship". To me that was not customer focused - particularly considering the 12 pounds of camera equipment we carted to Canada. I asked again for clarification on the operations issue and was given no response. Princess offered to place us on another excursion at our cost. The day before we reached the port I went down to the excursion desk and was told that all excursions were closed. I was later told that Princess was trying to get together enough passengers from other cruise ships to overcome the " operational" issue. The final comment I received was the excursion was "new" and they were trying to work the kinks out. You think they would have worked the kinks out before taking our reservation and money. We also had a Boston excursion booked through Princess - in spite of the fact that there had been a major 10K scheduled in Boston for months, Princess notified us the day before the excursion the Boston itinerary would be substantially modified to include only an aircraft carrier visit because of the race so we cancelled and used an independent operator. Excursions With the exception of the LULU Lobster Boat ride in Bar Harbor, the remaining Princess excursions were unremarkable. The three independent excursions we booked were better and more informative than the Princess excursions, often at less cost. The Food As any cruiser knows, the food on cruise ships is always exceptional - except on Princess. Our group of 4 ate at both specialty restaurants - extremely disappointing experiences - one guest even sent his fish back as inedible. My specialty restaurant steak was perfectly cooked but was like chewing leather. We ate twice in the "Club Class Dining" (about the only benefit you get for paying hundreds more for a "Club Class" Mini-Suite) but the food in the Palm Dining Room was better. Treats like the Lobster Dinner were basically tasteless. Prime Rib night was also a disaster - my prime rib had more fat on it than meat. I would never have served that piece of meat to anyone. The veal marsala in the Palm was much better that the veal marsala in the specialty restaurant. I thought it might just be me- but there was uniform consensus within our group that the food was lower grade than on any other cruise. The steaks (both in the specialty restaurant and the Palm Dinning) were tough with a lot of waste. More like a cheap chain restaurant than a cruise delicacy. Room service breakfast was great. A very limited selection but the bacon, egg and cheese English muffin was fine. There were three things good about dining - Phillipo the Head Waiter, Rigoberto, the Waiter and their assistant waiter (unfortunately I misplaced his name). There were attentive and provided outstanding service- remembering preferences, supplying my spouse with gluten free bread, knowing the menu and making reasonable recommendations. The problem is that the food itself was just not that good. Everyone in our group agreed on one thing - don't waste your money on the specialty restaurants - they are not worth it. Since we pre-booked the specialty restaurants the "Club Class" priority seating benefit had no value The Private Suite Lounge There is no actual private lounge for suite guests, just a lounge that is closed to non-suite guests for two hours in the evening. Drinks are charged to you room and the appetizers are below average. Other cruise lines have a separate lounge for suite guests - after we got on the ship we were told that did not exist on the Caribbean Princess. The Spa In 49 years my wife has never turned down a spa treatment - and who would - they are rejuvenating and relaxing experiences. We prebooked 2 spa sessions for her. Although the spa treatment by Isabel was OK, the after spa upsell of products and additional services was obnoxious. In stead of returning refreshed, my wife retuned upset because Isabel just kept pressing her to buy products and add additional treatments. Upselling is a part of business but when a customer says they are not interested the conversation should end. My wife is no wall flower and it would take a lot of upsell to upset her. She attributed the incident to a language barrier but "not interested" should be understood in any language. Both women in our group cancelled their second spa treatment. I was so disturbed I contacted the spa and asked them to take off the $32.00 "Auto Gratuity" - they apologized and said that no gratuity would appear on the final statement. The morning of departure the gratuity was still on the bill and I was informed that I would have to go to the desk (where there was a 30 minute wait) to have it removed. By that time I was exhausted with Princess so we simply left. The workout area is well done with adequate equipment but use is limited to 8am-8pm. If you are an early riser that exercises before breakfast or plan to exercise at the end of the day - forget it. And the thought of exercising while watching sports is limited to ESPN Canada/Europe - back to womens international weigh lifting. The Shows and Entertainment The shows and entertainment were average to good for a cruise. The stage productions were OK but you need to get there at least 30 minutes early or you will be sitting in the front few rows. Although we were about 25 minutes early for the extravaganza that included 'pyrotechnics" we ended up in row one- if that happens leave! Although the cruise line alleges to have a keen focus on passenger safety- the smoke machine will overcome you in 20 minutes. The smoke is so bad that you can't see the show. When we left, our eyes burned from the substance that they use to create the smoke effect - it is almost like a fine mist/dust. We had to use eye drops when we got back to our cabin but it took two days before the eye irritation and redness dissipated. On the good side one male singer from Vegas, a piano player and the two comedians were exceptional. After being on larger ships the stage shows were average. Princess Medical/Response We have been on two cruises where there was an outbreak of flu or a norovirus. That happens when you put 3-6 thousand people in one place. In each case the Captain made an announcement about increased health risk and the need to take special precautions, advised the passengers that the crew would be taking additional actions to respond (wiping down common areas, etc.). Those cruise lines gave you a feeling that the cruise line cared. Half way thru our 10 day Princess cruise we noticed that the crew began taking precautions - wiping down the entire theater between performances, etc. I asked if there was a particular concern and was told that there was a "flu virus" affecting many passengers and the ship was on a "Phase 2" alert. (I have no idea if that information was accurate or if there is a Phase 2 alert). I was particularly concerned because at the end of the cruise we were going to visit elderly relatives and I did not want to carry a virus to them. The day before the cruise ended my wife became ill with what appeared to be a cold. I contacted the Princess sick bay and talked with the nurse. She said that there had been a number of sick passengers but she was more focused on telling me that my call would be considered an "emergency" and that there would be a $195 initial charge to see my wife plus any testing for "the virus" would be extra. She would not provide any additional information on my general health question (Is there a virus on the ship and if so what type?) without a visit to the infirmary and payment of the $195 emergency fee. The morning of departure I called again and received a reply call from the ship Doctor. I explained to him that we were going to visit elderly relatives and I inquired if we may have been exposed to a virus on the ship. He was vague and basically said that there are sick persons on every cruise. He refused to discuss particulars or provide any information but invited us to come down and pay the $195 emergency fee for a consult plus additional fees for a test to determine if my wife actually had a cold or a virus. The attitude was appalling. We departed the ship, believing that a land side American doctor might be a better choice. Within 18 hours of departure, one of the individuals in our 4 person group became violently ill and spent two days sick in a hotel in New York - the Doctors are in the process of diagnosing the virus.. Several years ago a family member was on a cruise and broke her foot on an excursion. The Cruise company was unbelievably helpful in providing medical assistance and accommodating her for the remainder of the trip. The standard of care was exceptional. The Princess response to my inquiry was startling, to say the least. I got the impression that Princess wanted to keep information regarding health concerns suppressed and that the medical center had not meet its financial goals on the cruise. Rather than simply giving me an answer (honest or not) the individuals were focused on getting the emergency fee and were not focused on responsible care of the passengers. Those that listened to the conversation were equally applaud. Disembarkation One of the Mini-Suite "Club" class benefits was "Priority Debark" which on every other cruise we have been on means priority getting off the ship early The night before we arrived at our final port we were provided with luggage tags that allowed us to depart 55 minutes after our traveling companions that had no "Priority Debark" status. I contacted the front desk and was advised that the "Priority" disembarkation for Club Class Mini-Suites consists of a preferred waiting area and was not related to the time for leaving the ship. After another trip to the front desk I was able to get the same disembarkation time as our non-priority friends. Summary The Caribbean Princess is an older ship and shows it. Every cruise line has a personality and it takes some time to get used to Princess if you have cruised on quality cruise lines. Princess did not meet any of our general expectations and failed miserably to respond to concerns that were raised. In our opinion, the added expenses of a "Club Class Mini-Suite" has little value - the priority boarding and disembarkation did not provide any real priority, and the "Club Class" dining was equivalent to any time dining on most cruise lines. With the exception of the Luu Lobster boat tour at Bar Harbor, the Princess excursions were unremarkable. The specialty restaurant food is not worth the additional price and some of the special night food (Lobster night - Prime Rib night) was genuinely disappointing. The lack of communication regarding cancelled excursions (both before and during the cruise) and the lack of communication regarding passenger health issues (or the conflicting individual reports from crew members on both subjects) does not give one a comfortable feeling. The Spa treatments are average but the upselling pressure when your trying to enjoy the cruise is not. The hours of the workout center are limited. The above not only reflects my feeling and the feeling of the four members of our group, but was reflected in several conversations with a number of passengers that have cruised on other cruise lines. I'm sure there are individuals who appreciate the Caribbean Princess personality, particularly those that have not cruised often, but in our case the Caribbean Princess failed miserably to meet expectations compared to other cruises. This was a very poor return on our expenditure (particularly the Club Class Mini Suite) and a complete failure for a celebration. If you want a quality experience, look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
First, we chose this cruise for its itinerary. We really liked the ports and were excited to board. We haven't been on Princess in quite some time but thought it worth a shot. I'll make the rest as short as possible: On ... Read More
First, we chose this cruise for its itinerary. We really liked the ports and were excited to board. We haven't been on Princess in quite some time but thought it worth a shot. I'll make the rest as short as possible: On board (deck) activities were often advertised but never took place. The buffet area is very small for the size of the ship usually resulting in no available seating. The buffet food was cold, stale, and tasteless. Nothing was prepared fresh you have to take what has been sitting out for hours. Food in the dining room suffered the same. We had overcooked boiled steaks, cold soups, onion soup with no onion! We even tried the Grill where the lamb and the steak had the same seasoning and was uneatable. We gave up and ate pizza and burgers at the outdoor venues. The service was mediocre with most not seeming to care about the deficiencies. The best service was provided by three bartenders and a couple of servers at the Mix Bar on deck 15. When leaving the ship for excursions, etc. there always seemed to be a great deal of confusion. (organized chaos) When returning there was no greeting just a crew member saying this way. Overall i have to say that for the money we received little value. We have a vacation tentatively booked with Princess for next summer but are now exploring other options. Also, there was an outbreak of norovirus on our cruise and the one following. If cruise lines think it's due to a lack of washing one's hands maybe they need to review the way food is prepared and put out on the buffet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this particular Nova Scotia cruise because of the itinerary and a particular excursion with a well known photographer which was ultimately cancelled and we were not told until the last minute. So on my 70th birthday we did not ... Read More
We chose this particular Nova Scotia cruise because of the itinerary and a particular excursion with a well known photographer which was ultimately cancelled and we were not told until the last minute. So on my 70th birthday we did not have an excursion. The ship knew a week ahead. The Spa had a hard upset after a mediocre massage. Specialty dinning was a joke on my birthday, the food quality was poor. We have cruised many times on other lines and have never felt like this. Our supposed club level mini sweet was nothing special and we had to pled for access to the special lounge that was supposed to be part of the package at this level. The stateroom did not have enough outlets to plug in devices, the internet was intermittent and the ship was debuting a new medallion service that was troublesome. Overall this was a bust cruise and I would not recommend this ship to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The itinerary and the dates of travel worked for our busy schedules. We especially liked the itinerary only having 2 sea days and we wanted to finish in NYC. Boarding in Quebec was efficient and we really enjoyed having the overnight ... Read More
The itinerary and the dates of travel worked for our busy schedules. We especially liked the itinerary only having 2 sea days and we wanted to finish in NYC. Boarding in Quebec was efficient and we really enjoyed having the overnight in port. The stateroom was as we expected, very clean and comfortable. Our very pleasant and attentive cabin attendant introduced himself to us immediately and made us very welcome. Everything in regard to our stateroom and service was fabulous. We had traditional dinning, 2nd seating hoping that we would not feel rushed unfortunately we still felt that we had to order and eat quickly each time. Soups on the menu were lacking flavour and it was quite obvious that the cream of tomato soup one night was the same used for the minestrone another night with a few beans and bits of pasta added. There was a definite lack of finesse in plating, little or no garnish and the same potatoes on many of the plates but with a different name. We had one night at Sabatini’s with the up-charge of 25.00 per person here I would rate the food a 10 out of 10 but the ambience a 2. It was loud and cafeteria like having no tablecloths or carpeting, the waiter station directly behind my chair with the rattling of dishes and at numerous times very distracting not at all conducive to an romantic dinner to celebrate a special occasion. There were people walking past on the deck and at one point a crew member obviously doing some maintenance work hanging in front of the window with a paint brush. As in the main dinning room I felt rushed and hurried through my meal. Entertainment on board was very good from the orchestra to the company of singers and dancers and the guest performers. I guess my overall comment was that it was an “OK” cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We sailed as a company group; which we do annually with Princess. Unfortunately, our mini-suite wreaked of cigarette smoke form the casino and cigar room for 7 of our 10 days aboard the ship. They had no empty cabins where we could be ... Read More
We sailed as a company group; which we do annually with Princess. Unfortunately, our mini-suite wreaked of cigarette smoke form the casino and cigar room for 7 of our 10 days aboard the ship. They had no empty cabins where we could be permanently moved so we had to endure the respiratory affects of the smoke each night. They were able to let us sleep for 2 nights in an inside cabin but were unable to move in as it was to be soon occupied. Our cabin steward was amazing and gracious. The ship was clean and the entertainment was good. We were on a Fall Color cruise from Quebec to New York and enjoyed ourselves while not in our room. We choose the 5:15 assigned seated dining. Our waiters were friendly and fun. WE have sailed many times with Princess and our problems were an exception to our normal experinces Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We picked this cruise because of the timing and location - early August in an area that is not too hot at that time of year. We stayed at a hotel in Quebec City the night before the cruise began - that gave us a little more time to see ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of the timing and location - early August in an area that is not too hot at that time of year. We stayed at a hotel in Quebec City the night before the cruise began - that gave us a little more time to see this charming city. Embarkation was a breeze - we dropped off our luggage, had essentially no paper work because of the Ocean Medallions used by Princess on this cruise, then walked on the ship. After a quick bite and a look at our room, we went off the ship for a walking tour of the Old City in Quebec. Some positives: (1) the food in the buffet was better than I expected (and better than most other cruise lines); (2) the smaller restaurants provided a nice change of pace- they were either free or a nominal price; (3) the internet is excellent - much better than other cruise lines; (4) the room is tiny (as are most cabins on other lines), but there were many places to store things; (5) the room steward was excellent; (6) good variety of equipment in the fitness center. Some negatives: (1) the main theater is much too small - we missed several shows even though we arrived 30 minutes before the scheduled start; (2) the medallions are nice for embarkation, but why are they not used to pay for drinks at dinner? we were overcharged one night in the Main Dining Room - eventually it was resolved. (3) The material presented on each port in the daily sheets is helpful, but we would really like to see some live talks - on the history and special features of the next day's stop. For example, the day before we get to Boston, there could be a talk about the city. In general, there are not enough enrichment lectures. (4) I would like to see someone reminding people, as they enter a restaurant, to wash their hands (5) Disembarkation was not great - we were scheduled to leave the ship at 7:55 AM but we were not called until 8:40 - 45 minutes late. Not sure what the problem was. (6) The waiters in the Main Dining Room could use more help - many cruise lines have an assistant waiter. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Let me start by saying that the actual ship is very nice and we had a nice trip. PROS: The cruise directors, Andrew & Andy, were really fun. The entertainment was very good. We enjoyed the various trivia games, there was a great ... Read More
Let me start by saying that the actual ship is very nice and we had a nice trip. PROS: The cruise directors, Andrew & Andy, were really fun. The entertainment was very good. We enjoyed the various trivia games, there was a great magician, awesome juggler, and very interesting high-tech lights\video\music act. The food was great in both formal dining room and buffet. They have great video screen at the pool that plays recent movies (that you can also view later in your cabin). There are fun "touch screens" on every floor where you can locate the people you are travelling with, see deck plans, the entertainment schedule, AND there is fun "explorer puzzle game" for the kids to play. There are 3 regular sized pools (one is private one for adults only near the spa), and one very small "kid's area pool", so there are different options. I think they make good use of the space and boat doesn't feel too large (or too small). Also, very "non pressure" from the staff. I've been on some cruises where they are always trying to sell you things, but this ship wasn't like that. Stops on our cruise were awesome. In particular I loved Quebec City, & Prince Edward Island. Halifax is nice, but a bit more of a bustling city. Sidney Nova Scotia is cute town but a "young port" so tour options (e.g. if want to go to the Alexander Graham Bell museum) are limited if you don't book ahead. You can't even really even find a taxi. - - - CONS: There are limited shore excursions and most of the good ones they sold out months before the cruise. (Not sure why they can't see the high demand and arrange for additional tours). It ended working out OK for us though because we found that for most ports you can find alternative tours outside of the port for cheaper than Princess charges. The EXCEPTION though is the port of Sydney, Nova Scotia. If you don't book something ahead won't be able to find trips on short. The "app" (where you can order drinks and see entertainment schedule seems to be a bit of a work in progress (didn't work very well for me). I could see upcoming events schedule but never could do anything else with it. There was mystery "high seas heist" ongoing game that we participated in, which was semi-fun but sloppily run and slightly confusing. There is "kids club" for area but for some reason it is closed from Noon-to-2PM so it didn't work out well for my wife and I when we wanted to do some of the things like the art auction on the boat, or trivia. Also, the staff in the area are not that friendly, and per my kids (so take with grain of salt) they had strictly regimented task for them to follow. (e.g. they couldn't just draw, read, play video games or Foosball when there was an activity like "t-shirt painting" going on. You have to do what group is doing while in kids club, at least if you are in the 7-to-11 year old section). Perhaps not the cruise line's fault but found the "exit port" in Brooklyn NY to be run horribly. A lot of confusion, and they routed people into different lines... allowed people to cut in the lines... and ultimately you could just walk out of the port if you wanted to (there was no security check or anything) so all the confusion wasn't really necessary if they were better organized. Lastly, bad ratings to our cabin (E514), mostly because it is located directly above the lounge where loud music is played most nights. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We wanted to try Princess, as it's supposed to be a little more upscale. We also liked the choice of ports. The first thing we noticed is that the passengers are a little older and more moneyed then other cruises we've been ... Read More
We wanted to try Princess, as it's supposed to be a little more upscale. We also liked the choice of ports. The first thing we noticed is that the passengers are a little older and more moneyed then other cruises we've been on. The average age was at least 60. Many, many of the passengers were repeat passengers in the elite category. Obviously, Princess has a loyal following. I'll break down my experiences by area. Rooms and guest services - We were very, very happy with the performance of our room steward. He was super attentive and friendly. The rooms were very clean and nicely sized. The beds are very comfortable. While the on-demand movie selection was extensive, the live tv choices were just ok. Our interactions with the front desk personnel were excellent. Entertainment - The shows were outstanding. Great job by the performers. The theater is undersized, coupled with the high quality of entertainment, meant getting to the theater very early to ensure a seat. Get there early; the shows are worth it! The other entertainers were also good (The comedian was good day 1, but so so his second show.) We also enjoyed their own inhouse entertainment - the impromptu dance contest, the Voice of the Ocean and the meet the officers shtick. All in all - kudos to the entertainment department - great job! Food - Mixed reviews. For the most part, the main dining room was very good. However, I noticed that when we ate late, while the main courses were very good, the appetizers were somewhat dried out and stale. Breakfast in the MDR's was also very good. I was very, very pleasantly surprised by the food on Lido. The selection was excellent and the quality was very good, especially considering this was a buffet. I was also very happy with the international cafe, their 24 hour food spot. It always had a nice choice of pastries and parfaits, sandwiches and croissants, and salads. The attendant was excellent. They also have a coffee bar where you can get a cappuccino or coffee; however, beware that these coffees are extra cost. We also had dinner at the steak house and Sabatini's. Both restaurants had great service and great food. However, disappointingly, the steak house apps were also dried out (again, we ate late). All in all, we were extremely happy with the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise since I have always wanted to go to Quebec City and we thoroughly enjoyed that French-speaking port. We had good weather--in fact in was hot in Quebec City. Our second favorite port was Portland, Maine, an attractive ... Read More
We chose this cruise since I have always wanted to go to Quebec City and we thoroughly enjoyed that French-speaking port. We had good weather--in fact in was hot in Quebec City. Our second favorite port was Portland, Maine, an attractive and charming town. We had been to Boston and Halifax before, but enjoyed both of them again. The trip was rather port-intensive and I would have liked more sea days, which are relaxing since you don't have to get up early for an excursion. We went on an excursion in almost every port. On the sea days I missed having any enrichment lectures on board. The ship itself is very attractive and we enjoyed the variety of food, especially in the buffet, where they had gluten-free and dairy-free choices and also left out cereal for a snack or to take to your room. The dancers and singers in the production company were excellent. The party band was also excellent. The sailaway activities seemed somewhat limited until halfway through the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We are frequent Princess Cruisers and booked this ship and itinerary with a few friends, this one beginning in Quebec City, ending in New York. The plan originally was for my husband and I to rent a car and drive to Quebec City, but Air ... Read More
We are frequent Princess Cruisers and booked this ship and itinerary with a few friends, this one beginning in Quebec City, ending in New York. The plan originally was for my husband and I to rent a car and drive to Quebec City, but Air Canada had $99 fares, too good to pass on. My brother generously offered to pick us up at 4:30 in the morning for the ride to Boston’s Logan airport. I don’t know if I could have done the same AND have been so cheerful at that hour. Pre-Cruise, Quebec City: We booked two nights pre-cruise at the iconic Hotel Chateau Frontenac. Imagine our joy when the desk clerk at check-in announced that we’d been upgraded to Gold Class, with access to the VIP lounge with free breakfast and more. The trade off was a room on the scaffolding side of the building being renovated, not a problem if you don’t mind workmen appearing outside your window and loud sandblasting starting at 9 a.m. The only time it was a bother was the last morning when we were re-packing the bags and spent a significant amount of time in the room. Otherwise, this beautiful and magnificent hotel lives up to its expectations, and you can feel the history within its walls. The room was luxurious and classy, though a little dark due to construction apparatus blocking a good amount of natural light. The hotel’s location, however, couldn’t be better for seeing Quebec. In all its glorious state overlooking the city, restaurants, shops and attractions are located just a short walk away, and if that’s not enough, an invigorating hike or the funicular down the steep hill to the Old Town is not far away. A stay at a classic, historic hotel calls for an activity of equal class, so four of us signed up for the Frontenac’s High Tea, complete with singer, piano accompaniment, a variety of teas to choose from and delicious finger food served in fine china by a friendly waiter. It was all so Downton Abbey-ish, except with a French flair instead of British. Even my husband, who has never shown any love for tea, seemed to be getting a big kick out of the whole experience! While we were in town, we took a 2-hour guided walking tour with a local guide for a good overview of the city, starting at the Frontenac, and downhill past Citadel, Place Royale, and ending in the lower Old City. The day was not the best, as it was hot, humid and rained heavily nearly the entire trek down the hill. Fortunately, we came prepared with rain gear and enjoyed the tour and the exercise nonetheless. Still, we were tired, wet and not willing to make the steep uphill climb back to the hotel, so we boarded the funicular and were whisked up the hill back to the Frontenac in just minutes. I definitely would love to return and spend more time here. From the Frontenac we had a beautiful view of the Caribbean Princess on the St. Lawrence river below, awaiting our arrival. Embarkation: It was time to board the ship, which had been docked for two days in the Port of Quebec. We checked out of the Chateau Frontenac, and after a fairly long wait for a taxi to accommodate the four of us, we were finally on our way to the ship. Traffic was backed up all the way down the hill, but it was a nice way to people-watch along the way. Besides, our driver, a kind and patient woman, seemed amused by the lively and comical commentary coming from her customers eager to get started on their cruise. Princess had recently rolled out their new Medallion Class cruising on the Caribbean Princess, featuring an actual round medallion (replacing the old key card) and a bazillion electronic ways to enhance the cruise experience. Our medallions arrived by FedEx about 2 weeks before the cruise, encased in enough paper and cardboard to destroy a forest. A small padded envelope would have been sufficient. After some frustrating trial and error, maneuvering the disk into the lanyard holder, downloading the Ocean READY app, and syncing the medallion with our passport info and photos, as instructed, we were finally ready to rock and roll. Embarkation and getting through security was a breeze - you still need your passport, because the security agents don't give a hoot about your medallion. Wearing our new fashionable bling - and carrying a backup copy of our boarding passes just in case - we stopped briefly to check in with a crew member and were on board in no time at all. Ship and First Impression: We are no strangers to Princess, and they have always been our favorite ships, so we pretty much knew what to expect when we boarded. Still, we last cruised Caribbean Princess in 2005 and would have to dig through photos to remember specific details before the recent makeover, but we were really impressed with how bright and shiny the public spaces appeared when we boarded. The ship is beautiful! The Piazza has been spiffed up and looking better than ever, and my favorite part of any Princess ship of this class is the full Promenade Deck, which did not disappoint. Since cabins were ready to receive guests, we headed right for ours to unload our stuff and headed out to explore the ship. Balcony Cabin L251: This is a standard balcony cabin located forward of the pools on Lido Deck 15, and we would definitely book it again. 10 flights of stairs going down to dinner and shows became part of our daily workout; going up 10 flights was something else, and I did this just once after Muster, while my husband waited with the masses for an elevator. We really appreciated the cabin location, super convenient to the main pools, buffet fare, ice cream/specialty coffee station, and the fitness center and spa just a deck above. Best of all was the short walk to the bar and our favorite bartender, Rocky, located just around the corner. Because it was located forward of the elevators, as well, there was very little traffic and it was quiet most of the time. But the real bonus is a door all the way forward that opens to a viewing deck that sits over the bridge, available from sunrise to sunset, as the hubby and I found out one evening when we were quietly escorted off by a security guard after hours. However, at times when it was fine and legal to be up there, the view was fabulous for arrivals and departures, and, in fact, the view coming into New York at sunrise was absolutely amazing and drew quite a crowd at 5:30 am. The standard balcony cabins on this ship are fairly roomy. There was no sofa, which I did miss from the deluxe balconies or standard balcony cabins on the NCL ships I’m used to. There were two chairs - and for us, that meant one for sitting and one for resting feet upon - and a desk that we found useful for storing gadgets, papers, and all the other stuff accumulated over the course of a cruise. Night tables with drawer space on either side of the bed was also helpful for storage. The closet area came with a ton of hangers and plenty of space for hanging clothing, but the shelf space was a little skimpy. The large screen TV was a big improvement, with a large amount of cruise related programs and a fair number of free movies to choose from. Other than that, there were just a couple of news stations and old TV show episodes, including The Love Boat, of course! The bed - because everyone asks - was super comfy, with Princess still having the best beds at sea in my mind. The balcony was adequate, with a small table and two chairs with reclining backs. Free WiFi Minutes - Now you see them, Now you don’t! With platinum status, we each had 250 free minutes of WIFI. Sadly, they disappeared in a flash after not logging off correctly. Just shutting the browser won’t disconnect it, and I should have remembered that fact from past cruises. On port days or when we were within cell service I used my International Day Pass from AT&T to keep in touch, post to social media, browse, text and check emails. On the two sea days, I swore that I would disconnect, but my willpower evaporated on the last day of the cruise, and I caved and bought the unlimited day plan. Princess Medallion Class Cruising - the Jury is Still Out. The Ocean Medallion, Ocean apps and WIFi speed were great - when they worked together, which was nearly never. In a nutshell, we found them a little awkward and confusing. Why on earth does Ocean Medallion require so many apps - SIX of them to be precise? Two of the apps, Ocean PLAY and Ocean CASINO, we had no use for. We already waste too much time and money in the REAL casino. A third one, Ocean VIEW, has Princess-related videos, which didn’t pique our curiosity, either. Ocean COMPASS was useful for connecting with friends, but that only works when the friends accept on their end. The other feature of COMPASS is the ability to order food and drink wherever you are on the ship and have it delivered. A friendly crew member showed me how to do this the first day, and it worked, even though the bar was 50 feet away and I could have just gone to get it myself. In the end, though, it was just as easy and much more social to belly up to the bar and order one. That left the final app, Ocean NOW, which was handy for checking the daily schedule, when we could get WiFi to cooperate. I consider myself to be techno capable and know my way around an iPhone, but this all seemed like a bit much - a lot of trouble for a little bit of benefit. Princess did have an Ocean Medallion session in the theatre on the first day, but going to school was not part of my vacation plan. At one point over the first couple of days, my husband did seek help from the wizard at the Medallion desk, but even he was unable to figure it out. [Editorial Note: A recent report from Princess indicates that they will soon be consolidating apps, hopefully making the functions of Medallion Class a little easier to access!] If there is one positive thing about the entire Ocean Medallion program, it would be the medallion itself and the way it magically unlocks the cabin door when it senses you’re nearby. This came in handy on more than a few occasions when I had two hands juggling food and drink, and used my elbow to press down on the handle to push the door open. The medallion also works the same way when you order drinks at the bar. Your face pops up on the bartender's screen, and they know it’s you. Occasionally, they asked us to scan the medallion or asked for a room number when it was busy. On one level, it’s kinda neat, but on another I do wonder about guest safety, security and privacy with this “GPS’ feature - and how many drinks get billed to the wrong room. Lido Deck/Pools: Given our cabin's close proximity to everything on Lido Deck, we frequently found ourselves out by the pool - either in it or lounging around it. The pools on this ship are a decent size, and on this Canada/Northern New England cruise they were pleasantly uncrowded, though the hot tubs (not terribly hot, by the way) and pools did get busier in the afternoon on nice days. Word of warning: Due to dense fog, the ship’s foghorn blasted every few minutes during most of the last day of our cruise and was particularly deafening at the pool with the movie screen, at least to my sensitive ears. The adult pool, aft, was a heavenly oasis throughout the cruise, the water was warm, and the lounge chairs (only 20 of them) have comfy cushions, making it a great place to read or relax. Fitness Center: If you’re an early bird and like a treadmill workout, forget it. Even though the center opens at 6:00 am, the treadmills aren’t available until 8:00 am on this ship, apparently a result of complaints from occupants of the cabins directly below it. This was a huge disappointment for us - if we don’t work out first thing, then chances are we won’t, though we did return a couple of afternoons when we - or the gym - wasn’t busy. There are just two recumbent bikes and two uprights, which, as you can imagine, are always occupied. Early one morning my husband went to the gym and watched while a woman spent an hour on a bike, selfishly ignoring the line of people waiting to use it. There should be a 30-minute limit at peak times or when people are waiting, but we saw no signs posting that fact. The Spa - Couples Massage. We are not spa people. The last time we visited the spa on a cruise ship - or anywhere - for something other than a haircut or a facial was in 2002, our first cruise on the Grand Princess, our 25th anniversary. For some reason, my husband of 42 years thought it would be fun to pre-book a couples full-body massage on this Canada/New England cruise and booked it for the afternoon of a port day after returning from a morning tour. I was less than excited and had no inkling of what to expect, and the whole idea sounded a little weird. But what the heck. We marched down to the spa, donned our robes in our respective changing rooms, and met up in the treatment room. The two young women who worked on us were pleasant, with his masseuse being the chattier of the two, and mine seeming to be new but still capable of a good massage. It didn't take long to realize what I'd been missing all these years. She no doubt had some serious knots to work out, and it wasn't long before I was totally relaxed and my guy was peacefully snoring in the bed opposite me. I did have to ask her to back off the ankle because it's sensitive after a fracture a few years back. In the end, they did attempt to sell us some magical ointments and explain what else we would require to help us live through the next millennium, but there was no high pressure to buy anything. Strange story: While he was at the Spa, my husband made an appointment for a head shave. He went to the spa at his appointed time expecting the return of his chrome dome and was told that the guy who does hair was "MIA" and they didn't know when he'd be back. What? Huh? Did he jump ship? Plus, they told him they don't shave heads - they only do buzz cuts. Not sure why they failed to mention this when they made the appointment. Pretty weird. So no head shave. Bar Service: On every cruise, the first place we visit on any ship is the bar by the pool. Because our cabin was just steps away from cool liquid refreshment, the bar at Neptune's Pool became our "stop" on the way, and bartender "Rocky" became our new best friend. He saw us coming from a mile away, called us by name (presumably with the help of Medallion ID, of course), and was ready to serve with his best "Isaac" imitation. Other than Rocky and the Neptune Bar, I can’t remember when bar service has been so lacking on a Princess ship. I don’t know if they were short handed or if they were focusing on searching for the folks ordering from the Ocean Medallion apps, but we were hard pressed to find someone to take a drink order in many places - the theatre, in the atrium, poolside, and, most notably, Vines, the wine bar. We stopped by to chat with friends as they were sipping wine before dinner, and no one was in sight to see if we wanted anything. BUT - watch how fast they come if you try walking off with their premium Vine's stemware to enjoy elsewhere on the ship. When we finally did get service, the same missing waiter magically appeared from nowhere to chase me down in order to switch out the good wine glass for a cheaper travel version. Entertainment and Dining: We skipped more shows and performances on this cruise than usual, either because we had seen the shows before, we were busy wading through a 3-course dinner in the dining room, or we were just plain tired. We are early-to-rise, early-to-bed people at home, and old habits die hard, even on vacation. Still, we did stay awake long enough to catch some very good acts: Les Grands Hurleurs (Folklore Performance): Wow! Feet on fire! This energetic French-Canadian trio of talented musicians - guitar, bass and a foot-tapping fiddler - will make you want to dance in the aisles - or even your seat, and we absolutely loved them! Comedian, Richie Minervini: I can tell when a comedian is funny by how many tears of laughter I need to dry, and I needed half a box of tissues for this guy. He's got quite a TV and comedy club history according to his website, though I didn't recognize him and never watched the shows he was famous for ("King of Queens" or "Rosie"). In any event, he was hilarious, and his jokes hit their mark. Static - I actually left my husband behind in the cabin one night and went out dancing to this lively, high-energy dance band. The two lead singers do an awesome job taking turns mingling with the crowd and encouraging everyone to get out on the dance floor and boogie to pop, oldies and disco. Bravo - This was the only production extravaganza we experienced on this cruise. The Princess singers, dancers and orchestra came together to perform pop music with a side order of light opera. We had seen this show on a previous Princess cruise, and the vocals, costumes and choreography were as phenomenal as I remembered. It was definitely worth the re-run! The Casino - My husband is fond of slots and we had a nice discount on this cruise with a "Casino" offer from Princess, a promotion probably reserved for the biggest "losers", which was the case, again, on this cruise, flushing a lot of cash into the sea. If anything good came from that, we received another "Casino" discount to apply to the next cruise! Sabatini's Italian Trattoria. We had not planned on trying any of the added-fee specialty restaurants on this cruise, but made a spur-of-the-moment reservation at Sabatini's, and we were not disappointed. We live in an Italian/American neighborhood in our home town and have the best Italian food around, so I was a little skeptical whether cruise ship Italian could compete. Turned out it was just as good as anything back home. Service was impeccable, the food expertly prepared and delicious. Of special mention is a trio of pastas my husband ordered as an appetizer - absolutely amazing. Then, while dining on our Italian dinner, we watched as waiter after waiter brought out a quartet of delectable desserts to other tables. When the dessert menu arrived, we didn't hesitate and each ordered our own. While we were waiting for them to arrive to the table, little did we know that singing waiters were going to surprise us with a cake for our anniversary. There was no way we could do double dessert, so we had them wrap the cake and deliver it to our cabin, which was a good move, because it would have been a darned shame if we didn't have room in our bellies for these slanted glass goblets containing tiramisu, berries and chocolate sauce, panna cotta and one of the cruise line's famous Chocolate Journey creations. Positively sinful! AnyTime Dining. Sabatini's was, of course, the culinary highlight of the cruise, and Anytime Dining in our venue of choice, Island Dining Room, had some good offerings, as well. My prime rib was delicious, though I did hear several people complain it was tough. The always-available fettuccini alfredo was even better than I remember, and the French onion soup was amazing, as always. The best entree on the menu was the beef medallion, very tender and delicious. Service, on the other hand, was inconsistent, with long lags between courses, and accompaniments like butter and sour cream for a baked potato were slow in coming. One noticeable change was the steak option missing from the "anytime" menu, now replaced by a burger. On a positive note, because we were willing to share a table, we had no wait to be seated without a reservation. In fact, the only time I made a reservation was for our group of 8 on the final night of the cruise so we could enjoy a bon voyage meal. World Fresh Marketplace (a.k.a.Buffet). With the exception of room service a couple of mornings, we had breakfast here most often. However, while everyone else naturally gravitated to the first stack of plates and nearby food stations, we headed on through to Planks BBQ and adjacent Steamers, both open daily in the mornings. It was far less crowded and much quieter, though by the end of the cruise, others had discovered our secret. In fact, Steamers is also where the omelet station is located, which made me wonder how many people weren't even aware of its existence. Most of the same breakfast options were available here, and if they didn't have it, the nearby main buffet did. We found the food generally good, with a wide selection of items to choose from - both at breakfast and lunch. We also stopped by here a couple of nights to grab a snack for the room. International Cafe: This is my favorite snack venue on the ship, with complimentary salads, sandwiches, quiche and desserts. The adjacent coffee bar serves up some delicious specialty coffees for a fee. Slice Pizzeria. Caribbean Princess does not have their famous sit-down Alfredo's pizza restaurant, so this pool-side pizzeria was the next best thing, and served up fresh and tasty pies. The best part? It was just steps away from our cabin, so we could easily grab a slice whenever we craved it which, I confess, was too often. To our delight, they have added deep dish focaccia and sliced stromboli to the menu, which were delicious. The Salty Dog. I don't think we tried the burgers at this poolside grill, but the hot dogs were good. Plus, maybe I was inspired by the "poutine" (fries covered in gravy and cheese curds) I tried in Quebec City, but suddenly I wanted to smother my fries in toppings, so I ordered them covered in cheese and bacon. Now, the ports ... Quebec City: Montmorency Falls and Ile d’Orleans. This was a cruise-sponsored tour which I wouldn’t do again and would only recommend to those who would be satisfied with a very brief glimpse of Montmorency Falls. The first stop was Lac-Beauport, a small lake beach resort where we got off the bus, looked at the lake, and got back on the bus. It seemed to be a lake like any other, and was nothing special. My one interesting take away of this tour, though, was the display of interesting art posters by local artists, one of which could possibly be a distant relative of mine. My dad came from Quebec, and, who knows, maybe "Pierre" is a distant cousin! The next stop was the L’En-Tailleur Sugar Shack, a place popular with the tourists but everyone should visit at least once, as Quebec prides itself on their maple sugar products. It was an interesting display of how maple syrup is made, complete with really good warm complimentary apple pie and coffee. Be sure to douse it with with the provided maple syrup - it’s delicious! The last stop on the tour was Montmorency Falls, and for those who wanted to snap a photo or two from the rear of the gift shop, I’m sure it was fine. But I am a photo nut and like to be up close and personal with my subject and make the moment last. By the time the bus unloaded, I had barely enough time to race to the falls, snap a few photos, and race back. There are other fun things to do at the falls - trails, cable car ride, zip lining, and probably more. If you’re in Quebec City on a cruise and want to spend quality time at the Falls, just take an Uber or taxi from the ship. The guides love to point out the fact that Montmorency Falls are taller than Niagara Falls. This may be true, and while the Falls were impressive, they just don't have the same breadth and scope as Niagara Falls and lack the WOW factor you get from Niagara. Saguenay/Fjord National Park - Cape Breton, NS: We pre-booked an independent small-group tour of the Fjord and surrounding areas through a local guide, an excellent tour which got off to a rather rocky start. My husband was a bit under the weather, so I ventured out alone on this 24-passenger minibus tour. Even though I prepaid, I still had to stop at the office shack on the pier, wait in line, and get a ticket which is assigned a bus number. I went to my assigned bus, which strangely had no seat for me, so back to the shack I trekked. After some confusion, I finally had a seat on another mini-bus. We finally drove off, and I happily had the seat all to myself. I am happy to say that the tour got much better after this, and I would highly recommend it. Our guide, Louise, was a real sweet French lady who spoke enough English to get her stories across with knowledge, humor and enthusiasm. Stops included a site with an assortment of interesting Nativity carvings, a stroll across a beautiful covered bridge and an hour-long visit to the lovely town of L’Anse St. Jean to have a bite to eat or just take in the scenery. But the highlight was the nature trail in Saguenay Fjord National Park, where we hiked to three separate overlooks to see the magnificent Saguenay fjord that our ship traversed to reach the port of Quebec City. The views were stunning and one of the top 10 best views in all of Canada, we were told. Charlottetown, PEI: Lighthouses of Prince Edward Island Scenic Drive. This was a ship tour, and it was very good. We saw three of the 50 lighthouses on the island. Our guide was a friendly local man who told us all about the history and culture of P.E.I. and its lighthouses. The first lighthouse, Brighton Beach, was viewed from the shore road sidewalk, but the other two, Prim Point and Wood Islands we were able to view and access from the grounds. In fact, for the third and final lighthouse (Wood Islands) my husband and I succeeded in climbing the narrow steep stairway to the top, a very proud accomplishment for us. On the ride back to the ship, our guide, who had a genuine appreciation of the local music and arts, entertained us with his harmonicas. It was a very beautiful and relaxing tour. Having never been here before, we were pleasantly surprised by the lush and beautiful landscapes of Prince Edward Island. Sydney: I organized a private 6-hour mini-Cabot Trail tour for my husband and me, plus 6 of our friends. Since Sydney turned out to be a tender port, we weren’t certain about the logistics of meeting the tour on time, but the tour office was very communicative from the get-go, arranging to meet as soon as we were able to leave the ship. We all met onboard at the Island Dining Room to collect our tender tickets and were on the first tender over to meet our tour. Our driver/guide was happily waiting for us with her roomy 12-passenger van right at the dock when we stepped off the tender, and we were on our way by 7:30 a.m, well before the ship's excursion. She showed us around a portion of the 185-mile trail loop, covering as much ground as possible, stopping for snacks and the best scenic photo ops along the way. We all loved this tour - we were able to be on the road well before the cruise ship busses, cover more ground (specifically the prettier west side of the trail, as recommended by the guide), and experience more of beautiful Cape Breton, all at a significantly lower price than the cruise line tour. Portland: My husband has a couple of friends/colleagues in Maine, and we used this day in port to meet them for lunch. They suggested DiMillo's on the Water, a floating restaurant just a short walk from the ship. Our friends recommended I try their famous lobster stew, and it was delicious. After lunch, our friends were kind enough to drive us around town and show us the sights. Halifax: I had been here before, having seen the Maritime Museum, and once again with my husband last October when we did a tour of Peggy's Cove and other attractions. We had no plans on this visit, but needed to find a pharmacy, so took a walk up the hill to check out the city streets and the historic cemetery. On the way back, we walked along the Boardwalk and grabbed a lobster roll for lunch, and headed back to the ship. Boston: We live an hour away, have been there a million times, so we used this port as an extra sea day, enjoying the aft pool and deck without the crowds, catching up on my reading, and watching the planes take off and land at Logan Airport. Brooklyn, New York: The cruise ended in New York, and even though I have plenty of previous photos of Lady Liberty and the New York skyline, I never get tired of the view. It was particularly beautiful watching the sun rise over the city, and I got some great shots from our balcony, the upper decks and that awesome view spot with limited access way forward on Deck 15. Disembarkation: The cruise was over and it was time to take our leave, which is always a little bittersweet, especially when it's been a particularly good cruise. Unfortunately, disembarkation was very disorganized and took unusually long because they were late getting the luggage off the ship. For the first time I can remember, some passengers disembarked before their luggage did. Final Thoughts: The ship is gorgeous and the destinations were beautiful, particularly Prince Edward Island and the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. The scenery and ocean views on the excursions just blew us away. Weather was a mixed bag of rain, clouds, sun and lots of fog, the most fog I've experienced on any cruise. In fact, on our final day at sea from Boston to New York, the fog was thick and the ship's horn sounded every couple of minutes most of the day. We took advantage of the Future Cruise program and used credits for another cruise from NYC in November 2020 on the new Sky Princess, a 10-day sailing to Fort Lauderdale. Hopefully, the techies at Princess will have worked out the kinks in Medallion Class cruising. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our first and last Princess cruise. We have been on over 25 cruises on various lines and never encountered such terrible customer service before. Their team is incompetent and excels in" customer service non service". ... Read More
This was our first and last Princess cruise. We have been on over 25 cruises on various lines and never encountered such terrible customer service before. Their team is incompetent and excels in" customer service non service". Anything we asked about was oh, that's not us you have to call .... or we'll take care of that when (in reality, if) we get to it. For example, it took us over a day to get our TV fixed and that only happened after we asked about it twice and got management involved. My husband's luggage was not delivered for over 5 hours and no one cared in the least. The reception team in the Coral Dining room was cold and always had a excuse why we could not dine there. I am glad the Island dining staff was competent or we would never have gotten a dinner table. That said, our room steward was wonderful as were the dining room waiters and bar staff at Crooners, The food was good. The ship is older and the bathrooms dated, but the plus side is the veranda cabins were bigger than we have had on newer ships. However, the staff at the service desk and elsewhere in the ship was deplorable and a constant hassle. They also double charged us for an excursion and would not correct it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My family choose this cruise because it was my parents wedding anniversary and the whole family wanted to explore an area we had never been. We were all left pretty disappointed with the entire experience. Some of the destinations were ... Read More
My family choose this cruise because it was my parents wedding anniversary and the whole family wanted to explore an area we had never been. We were all left pretty disappointed with the entire experience. Some of the destinations were better than others (good-Quebec City, Portland, Halifax....not so good-Saguenay and one was awful - Sydney, NS) but my primary criticism was largely with the ship and their inability to make the experience more kid-friendly. This ship has a recently renovated kid splash area which seemed very nice from the photos. However, on our initial tour of the ship I noticed that there were some major design flaws, principaly the splash area was all painted concrete, The area is intended for kids to move around to different stations but there is no traction at all on the concrete and the coating of paint made it especially slippery. My 3yr old and 5 yr old both slipped twice within the first 3 minutes of using it and lost interest shortly thereafter. Throughout the cruise I never saw more than 1-2 children in the area at a time and most of the time it was completely vacant. My primary criticism was with the family-friendly pools. This cruise was through an area of Canada-New England where the temperatures ranged from 55 degrees at night to 75 degrees during the day. While the pools were heated the first day, Princess absolutely refused to heat the pools following that first day and the deck attendants always had a different story as to why. Initially we were told they couldn't be heated, then we were told the adult-only pools were the only ones heated, and then that they didn't feel it was necessary. The water temperature in my estimation was almost always in the mid 60's, too cold for my 3 yr old and cold enough that my 5 yr old would only go in sparingly. In general, the pools were not used often by other guests and the temperature was a frequent complaint we had heard throughout the ship. With many of the excursions not particularly kid-friendly and the size of the room, the size you would expect on a cruise, this really inhibited our ability to entertain the kids during the day. We did utilize the kid's activity programs at night and I will commend Princess and their staff for the Discovery Camps. The staff was great and their 7-10pm evening activities were very well organized Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The Canada/New England colors were breathtaking. This was perfect timing and we really loved the trees. The ship missed two ports due to weather and we were very disappointed, especially Bar Harbor. However, we were compensated with ... Read More
The Canada/New England colors were breathtaking. This was perfect timing and we really loved the trees. The ship missed two ports due to weather and we were very disappointed, especially Bar Harbor. However, we were compensated with $25...SERIOUSLY! The Quality of evening dining room food was poor. Three nights the meat was too tough to eat and no I don’t have dentures. Nightly entertainment was fair, but to get a seat you had to be in theater an hour in advance. This was a very crowded ship and difficult to walk anywhere. Most horrible bed ever slept on. Asked for egg crate and it was shorter than the mattress. I know Princess is upgrading beds, but these should be burned immediately. Their process for getting on and off the ship for excursions was extremely slow and there appeared to be a lack of organization many times. We will not go on the Royal again Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Great itinerary, Unfortunately, bad weather kept us from stopping at 2 ports. It appears as if there is NO heating on board. Cabins and public areas were below 70 (and sometimes even in the 50'S). Complaints to the staff elicited ... Read More
Great itinerary, Unfortunately, bad weather kept us from stopping at 2 ports. It appears as if there is NO heating on board. Cabins and public areas were below 70 (and sometimes even in the 50'S). Complaints to the staff elicited sympathy but no relief. Stop In NY was shorter than others. A pity, since there was more to do and the ship was docked in Brooklyn! The piazza was nice and there was continuous entertainment there in the evenings. Enjoyed the buffet more than the main dining room. Better selection, but as with most buffets, everything was not hot enough. However, the same problem existed in the main dining area. Unfortunate, considering the weather and the temperature in the ship, HOT soup would have been quite enjoyable! Except for our Cabin Steward, the level of service was up to Princess's usual high level. Our cabin was smaller than other Princess ships we have cruised on. We were told that there were several classes of balcony cabins nad ours was among the smaller (although it was located midship). Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Looking for a way to see parts of Canada we had not seen and perhaps to get a glimpse of color, we chose the last cruise of the season from Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale. Given the dates, we were not surprised that the weather caused us to ... Read More
Looking for a way to see parts of Canada we had not seen and perhaps to get a glimpse of color, we chose the last cruise of the season from Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale. Given the dates, we were not surprised that the weather caused us to miss two ports of call. We made up for it by relaxing on board...the second reason we chose the cruise. The Royal Princess is the largest calss in the fleet, and it WAS big and carried a lot of people. Still, we had quiet in our cabin and the luxury to mingle with people if we wanted. Our balcony cabin was small but fine for two of us. Our steward went out of his way to clean it around our schedule, not his. The food was excellent, and we enjoyed anytime dining with its opportunity to meet other people at dinner. The wait staff there and in the buffet areas were ESPECIALLY good and very helpful. My wife was in a wheelchair for the cruise, and the staff watched out for her and was there to help when we needed it. Kuos too the staff at the Lotus Spa. I had an excellent Massuse (I can't spell!), and my wife received excellent care from the accupunturist. The front desk staff worked magic with bookings and were always cheerful, even when obviously tired at the end of long days. We missed our frist excursion by oversleeping; we had had a 14 hour day getting to Quebec NOTE: if you are traveling a long way, arrive a day before the cruise!!!! The photo excusion I took to at St. John was excellent, providing some good opportunities for photos and providing a tantalizing glimpse of the city as well. Instead of excusions in Halifax, I walked to the Maritime Museum, managing to find a small gallery on the way and getting an idea of the architecture as well. My only personal complaint was that we spent way too much time in Boston and not nearly enough time in New York City. I knew Boston, but I had had destinations in mind for New York. Because the ship docked in Brooklyn, I did not have enough time to visit Manhattan locations such as athe Museum of Modern Art..an excursion that was mysteriously dropped between my inital booking and getting on baord. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
It was advertised as a Fall cruise to see the colorful foliage and experience the European ambiance of eastern Canada. It was scheduled way to late in the year. The color was long gone from the trees and it was awful weather, very cold, ... Read More
It was advertised as a Fall cruise to see the colorful foliage and experience the European ambiance of eastern Canada. It was scheduled way to late in the year. The color was long gone from the trees and it was awful weather, very cold, snowy, windy, rainy. Missed two ports because off the weather. Way too cold for shore excursions. We know Princess has no control over the weather but, they have 100% control in scheduling cruises. Even more disappointing was the poor service in the MDR, not good entertainment, and a lack of stuff to do on the many sea days. We were confirmed for 6:00 PM traditional dining. Without notice, that was changed to 5:15....many unhappy passengers. Good thing we got earlier dining because it usually took two hours to get serviced. Appears the MDR staffing has been cut way back. The head waiter did not even bother to check with our table until the second week....only then because one of our party asked him why. Had to leave the MDR before desert several times to get a good seats in the theatre If you did not get there by 7:15 PM, there were no seats left. Theatre was way too small for the scheduled show times. We did not care for the production shows, not very entertaining, and most of the guest entertainers were not very good. There were no enrichment activities. Some people really liked him but, I found the Cruise Director's demeaner and behavior to be very irritating. Moving on to a different cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The Royal Princess was a very nice ship. The upper deck, with the huge video screen, was great and the movies and live football games were well chosen. The staff could not have been more helpful, especially our Stateroom Steward, ... Read More
The Royal Princess was a very nice ship. The upper deck, with the huge video screen, was great and the movies and live football games were well chosen. The staff could not have been more helpful, especially our Stateroom Steward, Shanal. Our interior Stateroom was very clean, very efficiently designed, and very nice in general. The ports were very nice even though the weather could have been better. Most of the excursion arrangements were planned well, although disembarking with many of the 3200 guests at the same time takes some getting used to. The food was great and there was plenty of it. There were many dining choices to consider ..... from buffets to sit-down restaurants, to pizza, to burgers, to sushi. The food service staff was absolutely great too. The entertainment was very, very good. The talent ranged widely from singing to comedy to dancing to magic It was a very enjoyable and informative 11 days! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
It's been 45 years since I have seen the leaves changing colors which provoked me to take this cruise. I did fulfill this item on my bucket list. The staff on this ship is amazing. They are polite, respectful and knowledgeable. ... Read More
It's been 45 years since I have seen the leaves changing colors which provoked me to take this cruise. I did fulfill this item on my bucket list. The staff on this ship is amazing. They are polite, respectful and knowledgeable. For the most part, the food was excellent. My only complaint as a diabetic, is that the sugar free desserts are not good. There are many decent recipes for desserts. The baker obviously was either not privy to them or could care less. Our cabin steward Luca was a gem. The entertainment was enjoyable. Embarkation and disembarkation was very organized. Food in the Horizon court was excellent. We went to the anytime seating dining room, but the service was not great and the menu choices were also not great. It appears that they are taking away some of the better choices. The International Cafe is my go to. They people that work there are very efficient and hard workers. What Princess needs to do is put coffee dispensers in different parts of the ship so that you don't have to go up to deck 16 for a single cup of regular coffee. It is unfair that the International cafe is punching cards for regular coffee as they are for specialty coffees. They need to re-evaluate this because their clientele is geared more toward elderly and it is difficult for these people to get to the opposite side of the ship. All in all, our cruising experience on this ship was excellent. Speak to Kirk, the Future cruise planner. He is excellent and a super nice person. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was a cruise we have been trying to coordinate, or something like it, for years. It was specifically for the Fall Colors down the St. Lawrence, and the New England Coast leaving Quebec City to Brooklyn, N.Y.. The weather was what ... Read More
This was a cruise we have been trying to coordinate, or something like it, for years. It was specifically for the Fall Colors down the St. Lawrence, and the New England Coast leaving Quebec City to Brooklyn, N.Y.. The weather was what we kind of expected. We had, at various times, sun, fog, heavy rain, drizzle, strong wind, calm, dark clouds and one hot day (by the standards of the rest of the trip). Several shore excursions (some from Princess and others from off the ship) were cancelled at various times throughout the cruise due to weather. This is our second Princess Cruise, and this is the second time that Princess has missed with some important items, and hit others right on the nose. At least the Royal Princess was not under the finishing of refitting, and did not smell of tar and chemicals as did the Caribbean Princess the year or so before. So, the good stuff. This is an amazing itinerary, and my favorite parts were Acadia National Park at Bar Harbor, and Saguenay Fjord in Quebec. On both days we had weather, meaning our view from the top of Cadillac Mountain was about 20 yards in the wet, driving, windy fog (rest of the trip up was amazing) and we had sun, cloud, rain and amazing views on both the drive and the boat at the Fjord. Quebec City: The extra day in Quebec City after boarding a new scheduling idea, but it worked for us, and the walking tour of Old Quebec City we took was amazing. I believe it was not a Princess excursion. Amazing city, and a fit beginning. The Color there was mid-way to peak, but the city, architecture and vistas both from the high point of the City and the ship were wonderful. Cape Breton Island: We rented a car in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and went to the Fortress of Louisbourg. A wonderful place, great history and a miserable weather day, but worth it. We cancelled some other driving on Cape Breton Island as the low clouds and rain made vista pictures about impossible, and there was fog on the Bras d'Or as we crossed at one narrow point. Boston (overnight): We met up with friends in Boston and had an amazing tour of Plimoth, Lexington and Concord, and dinner at the Longfellow Wayside Inn in Sudbury. Worth it, and amazing, but the colonial libations were much too strong, so at least I wasn't driving. The second day we did a "Freedom Trail" walking tour arranged by our fellow travelers, and it was extremely interesting, and the guide was very humorous. This was not an excursion off the ship, but I believe there were some to this description. The brilliant fall color had not reached Boston yet, but there were those 2 amazing trees among the fall green forest on Boston Common. Newport: The Breakers at Newport was spectacular, and an interesting study in life and history for that period. Even on a very nice day (which this was not) it is definitely worth it. We had intended to walk the Cliff Walk, but the weather did not allow, and the trolley system back to the main port area for the City of Newport worked well. I guess all the drivers are tour guide wannabees, and it was an interesting "bus ride" back. Meals: On the ship, Sabatini's was a must. Meal, service and details were wonderful. We had seen Sabatini's on the Caribbean Princess the year before, and it was also fabulous. Some of the offerings in the Horizon (Lido) were exceptional, like the made to order omelettes, the pastry area, and a number of the entrees. Service was also exceptional, and the staff always friendly and helpful. Ship: The ship itself was beautiful, and generally easy to navigate. I would estimate the average age of our 3,500 or so fellow guests to be in the mid-50's, but there were some young couples, a couple of families with children, and some mid-30-50 singles (at least not traveling in groups or pairs for the majority of the time we saw them.) All the staff were very pleasant, and eager to be of service (with some exceptions noted below). Our Cabin was Forward, High, Port side, just behind and above the bridge. It was under other cabins, not the Lido, so it was very pleasant from a noise standpoint. Our Steward, Cheryl, was excellent, helped us with all our requests, was thoughtful of what we needed when we were there, and always had things done when we returned. And now, the not so good stuff: Ship, Crowds and Lines: This was the largest ship we had ever been on, and it showed. We will do what we can to avoid something this big in the future. We did "anytime dining," and also had a meal at Sabatini's (already discussed) and one at the Crown Grill. On one or two occasions we ate dinner at the Horizon, and scrounged in the International Cafe or the Pool side places. Generally, the food at the Crown was good, but not worth an extra charge, although the servers were nice, and service excellent. But the meat for a high-end steak house was no better than what was available at the Horizon, and not as good as the one steak I ate at the Concerto DR. There was a noticeable lack of regional dishes on the MDR menus. In Portland, Bar Harbor and Nova Scotia, there was no lobster, although there was a crab dish out of Halifax and a Salmon dish on the Sea day into Sydney (we were at Sabatini's, though so cannot describe it). There was no description regarding regionality and no offering of regional (Quebec, Maine, New England) sides or vegetable dishes. The only lobster we heard about on the menus at all was the Horizon on the last night from Newport to NYC (we were in one of the Main Dinning Rooms, and there was none on that menu. Since we saw some regional foods and historical preparations while in Portland, Me. and Boston (Sudbury), this lack on the ship was disappointing. It was a positive that there were more places for "specialty" coffees on the ship, except for the upselling involved. The wine tasting was not available (apparently sold out well before cruising). I assume that is also related to the number of people on the ship. Lines were ever present, and they were an issue. For "anytime dining" before 7:30 a reservation was needed, but not recommended by the staff or "Patter." First night out of Quebec City were arrived about the time they opened, put the 4 of us were put on hold with a buzzer until about 7:30. Only one DR was open at 5:30 for Any Time. On the first night, after a 1.5 hour wait, the dinner service took almost 2 hours, with no specific issues in our 4 place orders. So it is now 9:30 as we leave the dining room. Entertainment: Unless one wanted to spend an 1/2 to 1 hour sitting in the Princess Theatre (the sitting time got longer as the Cruise progressed and people learned of the lack of seats at the actual show times), in advance of showtimes (both), the entertainment in the Princess Theatre was closed out. Yes, there were people sitting and saving spaces, but that was the only way to get your group in, and staff were not policing it. We finally gave up trying, as this was a waste of time, with no apparent solution proposed by the staff of the ship. Thus, on the final night, when the Theatre was for some, not clearly explained, reason, closed, and everything moved to the performance area in the back of the ship (Vista Lounge), we were not impacted, but hundreds were, and the complaints throughout the ship were noticeable. There was a noticeable lack of dance music in workable venues. There was usually something in the Piazza, but it was classic rock, and the area full with little room to maneuver, or it was fine classical music. Crooners had good music, but a lack of places to dance. Vista was always a show of some kind with no music. The Club 6 didn't start until 10, and requests were not taken, although for the most post the music was good, and there was room to dance if the dancers knew the music. The Wheelhouse was always incredibly crowded with people going either to the Crown Steakhouse or the Vista Lounge, and music was generally good quality, but not dance music. (Not Ballroom, Latin, or Swing). We have rated the Entertainment as poor, for these reasons, although the entertainers were excellent. The way we gained access to them, or the way the ship planned was horrible. And a place to dance with music to dance to is important to us. We did not spend any time in the Casino, Art Gallery or Auctions, not in the Spa. Unless you had a suite on the Marina Deck that gave you access to the roof deck above the bridge, there was a total lack of outside view space forward (unless you wanted to sit in the cabin and watch the bridge cam). The Promenade Deck on this ship is NOT. There are limited outside accesses, but most were blocked, and there is no deck access to passengers through the lifeboats, which are suspended right above the deck. External access to the upper decks (Sun, Sports and Sky) is better, but again, not really accessible in the weather we had as they are not covered. Add to that, the Sun Deck is taken by the "Sanctuary" at the Bow 1/3d of the ship (which we saw was never in use, but we did not spend much time up in an area where access was limited to others who paid for it). Coming out of Halifax, we were told that at Portland, we would have to clear U. S. INS. The ship posted a "recommended process," which we followed. We were supposed to be part of the 2nd group, and the majority of the 3rd through 6th groups were already moving into line, when we did for our recommended time. The result, we got in the line to be processed in the "Vista Lounge" about 5 minutes ahead of our schedule. Instead of moving rearward, we were directed forward through the entire ship (we had entered at the Piazza), through the Theatre Lobby, and then back toward the stern. As we came back to the Piazza (30 or so minutes later), some people were just starting, and had to go all the way back to the Vista and down the stairs to get in line and then move all the way forward, and then all the way back. Once past the Wheelhouse Bar ship staff started directing a number of lines, but since there we people moving the other direction this was nonsense. Once inside the Vista Lounge Doors, again, without much reason, were were now separated into 4 lines, but there were only 2 INS agents, so the lines had to recombine. Each of the INS agents looked at the passports (U.S.) they were shown, and said "Welcome Home" very pleasantly. (Total time for each U.S. passenger from the INS people was about 2 seconds.) We then had to continue in lines through the stage front of the Lounge and then forward to the other doors where multiple staff were handing out entrance cards and putting a sticker on the Cruise Cards confirming we had done the INS thing. Surely, there as to be a better way for the Ship to handle this. This was a miserable, cold and rainy day. We were later informed that the Non-U.S. passengers had endured a similar excruciating line, but over 1/2 of it was outside on the deck they were moving through, in the weather with no warning in advance that they would need weather gear and warm coats. I did not hear how long they took, no one seemed to think that Princess or INS (whoever made this the process) was doing it well. To me, this was a wasted 1.75 hours of poorly coordinated nonsense. NOTE, when we had to do something similar in Ireland the previous Spring, passports were collected the night before, and processed and returned with Irish Stamps as we docked at Cobh. This fiasco may have been forced on Princess by U.S. INS, but Princess did a horrible job coordinating it. We were not yet cleared into Portland, so why not make the schedule mandatory, instead of "recommended?" I was later jealous of those who did none of this, and waited until the last call warning where they cleared the whole process in leaving their rooms, getting welcomed and the sticker and entry card, and back to their rooms in under 15 minutes so they could go to the rainy, foggy, miserable wet dock area at Portland. I was not smart enough to think of that when I saw the enormity of the line when we joined it. Tendering had similar line issues at Bar Harbor and Newport. We had a Ship excursion at Bar Harbor, so we were processed as part of a huge excursion group (10 to 12 tour coaches). However, it took at least 4 tenders from when we arrived at the lounge ahead of the time on the excursion ticket, to get this tour off the ship. At Newport, we followed the ship's instructions, but once in the waiting area, it took nearly an hour to get to a tender (even though we knew there were at least 4 running from two tender access locations). We were thanked frequently, but never a real explanation of the reasons. We were about to be loaded (there were 4 of us, when 10 Elite Passengers showed up at the last second, and were boarded ahead of us, and the numbers called for us were modified lower, keeping us in the waiting area until the next tender. (I know that Elite members have this priority, but it should not apply if they decide to show up at the last second.) The Booking and "upgrade" process: Both of our couples booked together through the same travel agent, and the same categories at the same time. We did have "or better" cabin bookings. They were moved aft, low to a higher category, and we, as noted were still bow, high in the correct minimum category. We tried to solve this division in advance but were told we had to do it on the ship. Once we saw the lines awaiting for what we assumed was something similar at embarcation, we decided it wasn't important. Our room and area were great, but it made it very hard to coordinate with each other. The text messaging system available on the ship has issues. Unless you kept your device tuned to it constantly (thereby killing any device battery life), there was no immediate notification you had a message waiting. The result, messages were seen hours after they were intended, since having direct internet access (and thus text messaging) was unreasonably expensive, especially considering an 11 day cruise, there was no alternative, except when we did have land based service in port. Sometimes the messages had significant delays in delivery time. That certainly wasn't helpful. Yes the phones worked, but who spends all their free time in a cabin? We didn't, and we liked our cabins (even widely separated). The t.v. video system was so screwed up, there was a credit issued to every passenger the night before Brooklyn. But that was a Note in the delivery system, and there was a lot of confusion viewed. To us the note was clear, nothing needed to be done, and the credit appeared on the final statement. But the system was really screwed up. There was never a daily "Patter" screen showing the details of the day (you could get that online but not on the t.v.) For the 1st 5 days, there was no map, ship status, bridge cam or weather. Over the next couple of days, those each came back up. We did not try the movie library. The only videos we could initially find were related to how to book excursions, buy stuff in the shops, plan future cruises, etc., nothing really useful to answer "what's in Halifax, or how to get around on public transportation. Eventually, the morning we were in the fiasco at Portland, the system started fully working. The "Captain's Circle" event was a huge, impersonal, glorified, future cruise sales pitch. First, they announced that our category (Gold) had over 1,000 passengers on the ship, and the Ruby, with whom we shared this "gathering" numbered about 500, or a quarter of the total ship in those two categories. There were over 700 of us in the Theatre between the two groups, there was no ability to discuss with crew or planners, no reference points, no pins, and nothing else for the time spent beyond a free drink coupon. However, And, they did not open the doors until late before the meeting, so hundreds of people were crammed into the Elevator lobbies and stairwells on 6 and 7 forward, and there was a significant amount of claustrophobia displayed with NO staff in attendance to assist until the doors opened. I mentioned above that I felt all the crew were wonderful with some exceptions. Those were the Captain's Circle Representative and the Future Cruise Representative. The first was put out that I was asking about the "pins" that Princess had advertised would be distributed, and curtly advised me they didn't have any, and wouldn't until Brooklyn, and did not seem to catch that we were leaving (as was almost everyone else) there. Eventually she also could not advise what other planned Gold events there were. Their hours were limited, and unworkable. The Future Cruise Consultant also had limited hours, and when I showed up, and his office was empty, he told me there were others in line, which was not clear until he so advised. He suggested I come back another day, but did acknowledge I had arrived during the hours so he would see me as his last appointment. Three others appeared before his hours ended, and two were curtly advised they would have to come back another time. When I did finally meet with him, he had none of the information we were looking for without a search (thorough) of his office space. He said I could find it online, and that it was available through Princess.com without internet charge. I asked him about the categories that worked (the 3 for Free promotion was being heavily pushed throughout the shows, entertainment, videos and the Captains Circle gathering), he asked me why I didn't just look at the Atlas. So I asked him for one, and his first response was, why didn't I have one, then in looking at my account, I guess he realized it was not an automatic perk at my level. I had specific questions about the promotions, what was an add on to other promotions and what was not, and he did answer. When I finished, there were 2 others there, and he told them to come back another time. This didn't feel very friendly and welcoming and made me wonder in both cases if these crew were suddenly assigned to this duty, and given minimal training to do it. The End Result We had a wonderful cruise, based on the itinerary, and that fact it was what we wanted. For us, this ship was too big, and the logistics of doing things on the ship were poorly managed by Princess and its staff. Our inability to find good dancing may mean we were spoiled by several cruises with other lines where that was readily available. Would we go again, on this itinerary, yes, but not on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
From the time we landed in Quebec to the time we took off from New York, this became the anniversary cruise I had only hoped for. The cabin was roomy and the bathroom was bigger than expected. And on our anniversary we had a card, ... Read More
From the time we landed in Quebec to the time we took off from New York, this became the anniversary cruise I had only hoped for. The cabin was roomy and the bathroom was bigger than expected. And on our anniversary we had a card, ballons , sign and a complimentary dinner. The Crown Grill is the top of the line for a steak and the sides were just as good. But as wonderful as the Crown Grill is my favorite restaurant on board is Sabatini's. We went twice, had our anniversary dinner there. Another surprise was the desserts. I fell in love with the coconut cream pie and key lime pie and discovereded they were suger free. In fact all the sugar free desserts are the same quality as the regular desserts. And just as good. Employees on the ship couldn't have been nicer whether you saw them while they were working or you saw them in port. Many of them would remember you and say hello and ask how your day is going. The ports were exactly as expected, with a few being better than expected. We will be going back to Quebec and the excursions were well worth the money and in fact, because we missed a few of the ship's excursions we booked private which we thought would be better and were disappointed. Entertainment was a pleasure to see and a great time to relax and meet other people. Dancing and music made us feel young again, and you were spoiled for choice in picking a place to listen to music. And there was always something going on. Trivia was the best. No matter what Princess cruise we take we will be staying on the Lido deck, and hopefully in our same cabin L202 Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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