1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Princess Cruises
  4. Princess Cruises Cruise Reviews
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was a bucket list trip around South America. Boarding was total disorganized and took over 4 1/2 hours. No one in the terminal had any answers as to why the delays. The ship is old and outdated. stains in carpeting, ratty mats and ... Read More
This was a bucket list trip around South America. Boarding was total disorganized and took over 4 1/2 hours. No one in the terminal had any answers as to why the delays. The ship is old and outdated. stains in carpeting, ratty mats and flooring in the gym, no nets on basketball courts, broken machines in the casino. When I spoke to a supervisor about the condition of the ship I was told" Sir, you have to understand that the ship will be going into dry dock so we're not bothering now with those things." Could not believe a crew member would say that to a recently boarded passenger. Got sick first night. Went to medical center second day but could not be seen then due to emergency. went next day and received a bill for $600. Due to critically ill patient we had to turn around and as a result of the delays we missed two of 5 ports- Montevideo and Falkland Islands. Cabin next door to us flooded and at 5:30 AM we had to move ourselves into another cabin. No help from crew as they were "busy" cleaning up. Two small fires during cruise- one in engine room and one in incinerator room. Food was very mediocre in buffet and dining room. The food in Sabatini's was very good. So many problems that the line finally offered passengers a credit on the cruise and on a future cruise. That was well received but as for this cruise, we spent 11 of 14 days at sea on a somewhat run down ship. Very disappointing and a waste of a lot of money. Front desk staff were great as was Cruise Director, trying to be helpful. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
As part of my wife’s and my 50th wedding anniversary celebration, we planned a “bucket list” cruise around South America. We planned and reserved the trip in September 2015, while aboard an Alaskan cruise on the Pacific ... Read More
As part of my wife’s and my 50th wedding anniversary celebration, we planned a “bucket list” cruise around South America. We planned and reserved the trip in September 2015, while aboard an Alaskan cruise on the Pacific Princess. We sailed on a 14-day cruise on the Crown Princess leaving out of Rio de Janeiro on 04 January 2017, ending up in Valparaiso / Santiago, Chile. The first half of our cruise was like the “cruise from hell”! The second half turned out very nice. Some of the problems we encountered were particular to us, while some affected everyone on the cruise. Some were not the fault of Princess, while some I totally attribute to Princess. Some were due to weather and some due to an unexpected medical emergency. However, others were due to what I consider poor maintenance on the Crown Princess; some due to poor attitude of some, but not all of, the Princess staff; and some due to what I consider poor planning and execution by Princess Management. Problems started before we boarded the ship. The Embarkation process in Rio was a disaster. It was not a process at all, but rather total chaos! There was no organization and the subcontractor hired by Princess to manage the embarkation was untrained, unknowledgeable on what was going on or supposed to be going on, and totally rude to some passengers, notably handicapped ones. There was a very noticeable total lack of Princess staff present until very late in the boarding experience. Once a Princess staff member did come out and try to make announcements, they were audible only in about the northern 1/3 of the building. There were far too few chairs for the number of folks there (about 1/3 had to stand the entire time) and the air-conditioning was woefully inadequate. There was no water or cold drinks available except for purchase from one vendor which had a 30-minute line to check out. Priority boarding was non-existent. Platinum, Elite and Suite passengers were given “boarding numbers” just like everyone else, (seemingly at random) based upon when they arrived. Everyone should have boarded by 5 PM and sailed at 6 PM. We, along with two other couples traveling with us arrived at 1:30 PM. We finally boarded around 5:45 PM and our traveling companions did not get aboard until around 7:15 PM, and they were by no means the last to board. We sailed about 3 hours late, missing our scheduled dinner assignment and unable to see Rio de Janeiro’s harbor sights in daylight. It was the worst embarkation, by far, we have experienced in some 16 cruises in numerous North American and European ports, and with six different cruise lines. A couple next to us in the Rio embarkation warehouse said it was the worst embarkation they had experienced in 35 years of cruising! During our first day at sea, an announcement was made asking for any blood donors with AB+ or O- blood and a donor card to please report for the ship’s medical center since a passenger had a medical emergency and was in need of a transfusion. He was stabilized, but needed to be transported to a hospital onshore for further treatment. The ship diverted course and sailed back to the Brazilian mainland and the patient was transferred to a smaller vessel near shore and thence to a hospital. Unfortunately we learned the next morning he had undergone an emergency procedure there, but had not survived. This necessary diversion caused us to be another 8-10 hours late. After another day of cruising we had entered the Rio de la Plata river / estuary between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, where we dropped anchor! The Captain explained that 24-36 hours of very strong Northwest winds had caused an unusually low tide in the estuary and there was insufficient draft for us to proceed to Buenos Aires. We stayed at anchor for maybe 6-10 hours while the winds abated and the tides returned sufficient water for the required draft of the Crown Princess. The next morning we were docked at Buenos Aires, albeit a full day late. We awoke to find that out of some 8 or so planned shore excursions in Buenos Aires, the one we had signed up for was the only excursion cancelled. The reason given was equipment or technical issues. The same exact tours, but with German and Spanish speaking guides, proceeded as planned. It was too late to schedule another tour. We and one of the other couples traveling with us took a taxi into the Plaza de Mayo. From there we walked 2 blocks and took a “Hop-On-Hop-Off” bus tour of Buenos Aires. After several hours on the bus, and consulting the guide, we got off the bus and walked 3 blocks to the Recoleta Cemetery to see Evita’s grave. This had been one of the major stops on the Princess shore excursion that was cancelled. While walking the three blocks through a very nice park, we were “scammed” and I had my pocket picked and lost my new iPhone! Someone threw some foul-smelling stuff on all our backs and while we were distracted, thinking a flock of birds had pooped on us, their accomplice, seeming to help point out the stuff on our backs, picked my pocket. Apparently it is a favorite ploy of gangs in the city. The guide in Recoleta saw our soiled pants and shirts and said “Oh, you have been scammed”. He said we were not the first that day. When I reported it to two nearby policemen, they simply said that’s the way the gangs operate. Guest Services said when we reported it back aboard ship that we were not the only Crown Princess passengers to fall for the same scam that day. We told the staff member working there that future passengers should be warned about this scam. Indeed, the excursion speaker did then warn of exactly this type of scam before we arrived in Santiago. We went to our stateroom, took off our clothes, showered and left quickly for our scheduled early dinner seating. We planned to wash our soiled clothes the next morning in the self-laundry on our deck. The next morning we “learned” that because we are a day late, we had lost our docking spot in Montevideo and thus would not dock there during the day but only a short time in the evening to take on supplies and food. All shore excursions in Montevideo are thus cancelled. We are also told that we “must take on fuel” and because we have lost our docking slot in Montevideo, we again sat at anchor for 6-8 hours in the Rio de la Plata while a small tanker and pump barge tied up alongside and loaded bunker fuel. Also when we awoke that morning we found some of the carpet in our stateroom wet. We learned that the toilet in the adjacent stateroom had overflowed and somehow seeped through the bulkhead and into our stateroom. We also found that all the laundries were closed for “water rationing”? We complained to the head steward who was on the hall overseeing carpet clean-up, asking when the laundries would be open because we had the fouled clothes for our Buenos Aires scam. He offered to take our clothes and have them cleaned complementary with the crew’s laundry. We thanked him and then went to eat breakfast. We had to stay out of our cabin most of the day while the carpets were vacuumed, shampooed, and dried (or at least partially dried). We had a very noisy blower in the room for two days. It seems strange to me that a ship capable of extended cruising and making trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific crossings of 7-10 straight days at sea should have to refuel only 4 days after leaving the beginning of the cruise in Rio de Janeiro! I am guessing that since this ship for the remainder of the season cruises alternatively between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso that they have attractive bunker fuel contracts in both areas. However, with only one stop per season in Rio, I suspect that Princess had to purchase fuel at a more expensive “spot market price”, and thus Princess management chose to sail from Rio with only partially full bunker tanks. Then after unexpected weather and unforeseen medical situations, we must sit anchored in the muddy Rio de la Plata and refuel for 6-8 hours. In retrospect I think this may also be the reason for the “water rationing” since I doubt if that the reverse osmosis water-makers could properly handle the very muddy water being taken in from the Plata while we sat at anchor. I had noticed water from our tap the night before being somewhat cloudy or brown! We finally docked at Montevideo just at dusk and passengers are allowed ashore for about 3 hours and told to “enjoy the nearby shops, bars, and restaurants” since no tours weree offered. My wife and I disembarked and got just to the end of the pier before a major thunderstorm unleashed torrential rains. We quickly re-boarded, being some of the lucky ones to get only slightly wet instead of thoroughly drenched. People who did stay ashore later complained that all the shops and many restaurants and bars were shuttered for the night (or the rain?). We just got to “set foot” in Montevideo and Uruguay, and had no excursions or tours! The next morning we were informed that we would totally bypass the Falkland Islands in order to get back on schedule for the remainder of the cruise. All shore excursions in the Falklands, including the one we had booked to go and see the penguins, were of course cancelled. Seeing the penguins had been one of the anticipated highlights of our cruise! We went to the Shore Excursion Desk to see if there were any options to change, or add, excursions in Ushuaia to see penguins there. We were told they were all already full with “very long waiting lists”! People were really getting upset by now. After waiting in line for quite a while at the Shore Excursion Desk, two men cut in from the side and went directly up to the desk. Several people behind us yelled at them to “wait their turn and get in line like everyone else!” When we then approached the staff member (we were next in line before the men attempted to cut), my wife told the staff member working there that in addition to helping with shore excursions, he should also help maintain order and ensure that folks kept in line and did not cut. He, almost indigently, told her that he had been there several days and nobody had ever cut before! He also said that we should not anticipate on getting on any excursions to see penguins as they were all much too full. As new Captain’s Circle Platinum members, my wife and I were disappointed in the lack of attention that was paid to the “claimed Platinum Benefits”. First there was absolutely no priority or preferred boarding in Rio for us as Platinum members. There was a “Happy Hour” for Platinum, Elite and Suite passengers held in the Skywalker’s Lounge every night. We received no notice of this initially. We only learned about it after 3-4 days at sea from a fellow Platinum passenger. My wife called the Guest Services desk and inquired about these functions and about an invitation. She was told we should have received an invitation in our stateroom (which we didn’t). My wife requested one and was told it would be sent to our room shortly. Late the next day after still not receiving one, I finally went to the Guest Services desk and asked for one. After a lengthy “verification” that we were indeed Platinum, I was given a copy. We did utilize the special disembarkation lounge for Platinum, Elite and Suite guests in the Explorer’s Lounge and that was nice. There were also a number of smaller instances which all pointed to the age of the Crown Princess and what I consider poor condition and maintenance. There were numerous plumbing problems. In addition to the overflowing toilet next door, our toilet overflowed once but thankfully was contained on the tile bathroom floor. Over the remainder of the cruise, we heard of several other “overflowing toilet issues”. The tub in our mini-suite was VERY slow draining for the entire voyage. Initially there was no Wi-Fi service in our stateroom. I called and complained and was told that the “router would be tweaked and it should be better”. It was never consistently available. Occasionally I could get a weak Wi-Fi signal in one or two spots in our stateroom, but if my phone or iPad shifted more than a few inches, I lost the signal. I resolved myself to going to the ship’s common areas to text, and send and receive email. One day we were both in our stateroom, my wife in the bathroom and I on the couch reading. There was a loud thump or bang. I thought my wife had fallen and she thought I had fallen. Instead a large fabric-coated wooden panel had fallen off the wall beside the bed between us and bounced over the lamp and onto the floor. It probably weighed 20 pounds. I informed our steward and it was promptly reattached. I know we experienced some rough seas both in the Atlantic as we approached Cape Horn and also in the Pacific as we came out of the Strait of Magellan and the ship rolled and pitched. However, all the attached wooden furniture (desk, cabinets, etc.,) in our stateroom (D515) creaked and popped so loudly that on several nights my wife could only get to sleep after putting in earplugs and taking some melatonin. As a football fan I was also disappointed in the choices of Princess as to how games were presented on television. We watched all the pre-game hype and interviews for the NCAA championship game on our stateroom TV. Just as the game was about to begin, however, the screen went blank and then a message was displayed that “this presentation is blacked out on this station”! The first weekend of the NFL playoffs, games were shown on the large poolside screen and on the TV’s in Gatsby’s Casino, but not in the staterooms. The next weekend of the NFL Division Playoffs the same arrangement was initially started. There was so much interest in the Dallas – Green Bay game that Gatsby’s was standing room only. The Blackjack Dealers could not even get chairs around their tables and no one came to the tables to play in spite of the dealers trying to set up. Finally the head man or Pit Boss came out and told the dealers to just give up and wait until after the game. At the end of the Dallas – Green Bay game, they made an announcement that the next game between the Steelers and the Patriots would instead be shown on the stateroom TV’s! I’m not sure of Princess’s arrangements with satellite television but when the business in the casino suffered, they certainly found a way quickly to broadcast the games in the staterooms! Why didn’t they do it earlier for the NFL and for the NCAA game? Although there was clearly a bad attitude among some of the Crown Princess staff, especially the staff manning the Shore Excursion and Guest Services desks and some of the shops, not all were of this same attitude. Our stateroom steward was very attentive and efficient and very promptly attended to every issue raised with him. The Botticelli formal dining room wait staff and the staff at Vines Wine Bar deserve special praise. They were excellent. We were also somewhat disappointed in the overall quality of the entertainment. The specialty venue musicians were all very good and the comedian in the Explorer’s Lounge was very good. The Princess Production crews (singers and dancers) were very talented, but the production shows themselves seemed “dated” and unimaginative. Nathan Foley, whom we had seen win Princess’ Entertainer of the Year on the Caribbean Princess last year, was great as usual. The audience response to all shows, however, even including Foley’s, seemed to lack the enthusiasm we have experienced on other recent cruises. The food in the main dining rooms (Botticelli and da Vinci) where we ate and the Horizon Court buffet were adequate. The food in the International Café, which we frequented for lunch, was very good. Our two meals in Crown Grill and Sabatini’s specialty restaurants were probably the best dining experiences and meals we have had on any cruise. The second half of the cruise was much better; making all ports and having no shore excursions cancelled. Cruising around Cape Horn and the glaciers around Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan were spectacular. Ushuaia was beautiful and fun to visit. Our Wildlife Watching excursion there was excellent. Punta Arenas was interesting also. Disembarkation went very smoothly in Valparaiso. One last personal problem did arise related to disembarkation, however. We had dutifully placed all our large bags outside our stateroom the night before so that they could be transported to a lower deck for offloading into the passenger terminal. We kept only our small carry-on bags and one set of clothes to wear ashore and on the full-day tour of Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, and a wine tasting and lunch en route to our hotel in Santiago. I had saved the hiking pants that had been taken and cleaned by the chief steward for us after they were severely soiled in our earlier scamming incident. I had checked that all of the odorous substance had come out of the trouser legs and that they had not been stained. Much to my chagrin, however, I discovered as I put on the trousers that last morning, that in the washing, drying or ironing that the entire zipper pull was missing! Luckily I had also left out a pullover golf shirt with an extra-long shirttail that I could constantly pull down to cover my open zipper! I did fill out a Damage Report at the Guest Services desk, but it was still an uncomfortable, embarrassing day until I could get to the hotel in Santiago and get another pair of pants from my suitcase! I have yet to hear from Princess or receive any reimbursement for the ruined pants. I know this was not the experience or quality cruise that I, nor other passengers, nor Princess was expecting. Obviously Princess realized this since they offered each passenger ½ of that they had paid for the cruise in a “Future Cruise Credit” and another ½ of that they had paid for the cruise as a credit in their “Onboard Spending Account”. I am grateful for that, but still do not think that this particular cruise and ship was anywhere near the quality on prior Princess cruises. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We choose this cruise for the itinerary. Couldn't wait to go to Buenos Aires, the Falklands and see penguins. Wow how awesome of a cruise would that be! NOT!! I'll start at embarkation out of Rio De Janeiro. At port there were no signs ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary. Couldn't wait to go to Buenos Aires, the Falklands and see penguins. Wow how awesome of a cruise would that be! NOT!! I'll start at embarkation out of Rio De Janeiro. At port there were no signs where to drop off luggage and check in. It was total confusion with everyone not just me. When we finally got to the ck in part you are in a big warehouse with no air conditioning, unless you have the local currency there is no water. There were already hundreds of people sitting standing waiting on the ck in to begin. We were there for quit a while in the heat before the line started moving. Ok, this is the worst embarkation I ever experienced. We had to be bused to the ship. Found out later the ship docked in the wrong spot. We were told later that there was a report of a rock in the way where it would normally dock. Imagine that.. The ship itself is a bit dated. Our cabin smelled musty, had to have the steward spray freshener in room. It evaporated the next day and smelled bad again. We had a set dinning time and loved our waiter. The food was again mediocre. We did eat at the Grill and it was fabulous. Entertainment was just so so, they did have a comedian that was pretty funny. This was my 18th cruise and have been on other cruise lines and have experienced different degrees of entertainment shows. This was by far my least favorite as far as entertainment goes. And I am not hard to please. A passenger had a medical emergency and had to be transferred to a hospital. Due to having to actually stop the ship and wait for boat transfer we didn't not get to Buenos Aires on the scheduled day. We got there the next day only to pick up more passengers, we were not allowed to get of ship. Next port was Montevideo which we didn't get in till 7:00pm only to pick up fuel and more supplies. We were only there a few hours and you could get off only if you wanted to walk in the pouring rain. Due to all the people wanted to get back on board and dry off they were clogging up the gangway. There was a announcement no one else was allowed of ship. Ugg. Because of all the delays we were skipping the Falklands all together. NO Penguins. Cape Horn was just a drive by. That was cool to see the glaciers. We did stop at Ushuaia and Punta Arenas. Due to all the missed ports, the cruise line decided to give everyone a disruption refund. It was 50% off this cruise and 50% off of a future cruise with Princess. I'm sure this is not the normal for this itinerary, hopefully if you go you will have a much better experience. I would do this itinerary again. I still want to go to the Falklands and see the Penguins. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Choose Princess as embarking in Rio. Spent 4 great days there before cruise. Embarkation was the start of the nightmare. Arrived at our assigned time of 4 PM to find a huge room full of people who had been there all day. Did not appear ... Read More
Choose Princess as embarking in Rio. Spent 4 great days there before cruise. Embarkation was the start of the nightmare. Arrived at our assigned time of 4 PM to find a huge room full of people who had been there all day. Did not appear to be Princess staff on hand to help except for one really rude guy with a mike who kept shouting at people. Late leaving. Sadly one of the passengers became ill the next day and had to be evacuated. Had to turn around and go to a port in Brazil. Not sure why there isn't a helicopter pad on this boat. Now we have lost a day. Then we can't get into Buenos Aries because the water is too shallow after some north wind issue. Arrived during the night. People frantically trying to rebook shore excursions. We just did our own thing. Next port is Montevideo where we need to refuel and replenish supplies. Can't get in because we're a day late and there's no room. Had booked a bike tour on our own. Brought a boat out to refuel us. Got in around 8 PM to load supplies. Could get off for a few hours, but everything is closed and they're having a huge thunderstorm. Now we find out there is no stop in the Falkland Islands as again we're late and NCL is there and has booked everything up. We had booked our own tour (same as the ship) but half the price. Not seeing the penguins was the final straw for a lot of the passengers. Everyone was cranky and the staff were very subdued. At this point compensation offers started. And we were informed that Punta Arenas might also be removed. Last place to see any penguins! We did the Cape Horn scenic cruising, as well as a little side trip to see some lovely glaciers. Got into Ushuaia and Punta Arenas as well. Just hired a local to drive us around. Disembarking at Valparaiso was very smooth. The food in the dining room was very disappointing. If the Chef Curtis Stone truly provided these recipes he might want to check what they're doing with them. The International Food Court had much better food. The buffet was a typical buffet. Ate at the Salty Dog and it lived up to it's name. Heard the steak house was good, but the Italian not so much. Enjoyed the entertainment in the bars. Went to one show, did not enjoy it. Others did, so maybe just not our thing. Service ranged from mediocre to spectacular. Cabin was fine. Needs an update to provide a small sitting area. Because we received some compensation we will book another Princess cruise. Hopefully things will be better, My final point is that if missing ports is a common occurrence on South American cruises they need to let you know that before you book. That way you're making an informed decision. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
An old saying says, "You only get one chance to make a first impression." Princess's first impression in Rio De Janeiro was a disaster. We flew into Rio on flights arranged by Princess. We purchased a transfer to the ship. ... Read More
An old saying says, "You only get one chance to make a first impression." Princess's first impression in Rio De Janeiro was a disaster. We flew into Rio on flights arranged by Princess. We purchased a transfer to the ship. The airport greeting was fine, but when we arrived at the terminal, the bus dropped us off on the street outside the terminal. We were reunited with our luggage and needed to negotiate the area to the baggage drop off. There were no signs and little Princess presence. A porter did transport our luggage to the drop off point. We followed to be sure that our luggage got to where it belonged. It did. We were then pointed toward the terminal building. Again no signs and little sign of assistance. Anyone with mobility issues would have been in trouble. After a short walk in 95 degree heat to the terminal, we joined 2000 fellow travelers in the non-air-conditioned terminal building. Again no signage. There were a number of people with Princess labels on them that were supposed to help. They had no information and really could not help at all. We did manage to find seats. When boarding started, someone yelled instructions. No one could hear them so everything was in confusion. Finally, after an hour or more, a Princess Officer took control of the situation and used a microphone. Things improved after that. We boarded the ship after about 4 hours. We got on board early. Some passengers did not get boarded until 7:00 PM. Once on board, we found our cabin, had dinner and started the rather normal process of getting used to ship board life. Our room steward and our dinner staff were friendly, and provided us with quality service. After a rocky start, the Cruise continued with a series of problems. There was a medical emergency on the ship. The culmination of the medical emergency was a detour to a Brazilian port so the patient could be taken ashore. The Captain did his best to take care of the seriously ill passenger. Due to the detour, it was announced that we would arrive in Buenos Aires 12 hours late. For some reason (never addressed) the ships speed decreased by about 1/3. Then, a storm at night caused the water level to drop in the Rio De Plata. We, therefore, had to anchor in the River and actually did not get into Buenos Aires until after 1:00AM. We were able to stay in Buenos Aires for the next day, but that put a day behind. The ship needed to stop at Montevideo for fuel and supplies, but no berth was available so we anchored off shore, fueled the ship, and then sailed into Montevideo about 8:00 PM to load on supplies. We were allowed off the ship for a few hours, but a rain storm spoiled that opportunity. The next itinerary problem was we could not go to the Falkland Islands because there was no room in port. So the Falkland stop was scrapped. From that point on, we were on schedule and did visit the other ports as scheduled. The ship continued to have problems. It was announced that one of the electric motors had burned out (not a problem, we had back-up), 2 announcements that fire emergencies had been contained, and we kept arriving late. If you have made it this far, please be aware that Princess did recognize that this trip was not going as they or the passengers wanted. Princess announced they were giving passengers on board spending money and a credit on future cruises. Although compensation did not take care of all the problems, it did make us feel better about the experience. Now, to the normal review items. The Crown Princess is getting older. It seemed clean and upkeep was mostly done. There did appear to be some deferred maintenance, but it did not affect our enjoyment. Our balcony cabin was comfortable. The balcony was extra large. 4 people could be on the balcony at one time which was very nice when the weather was good. We requested traditional dining at 5:30. Our waiter and assistant waiter were awesome. They served us quickly and efficiently. The food was nicely prepared. After fourteen days the menus seemed to be limited. I was especially impressed with the beef which was served on this cruise. Much better than sometimes. When we requested special handling of a dish, the waiter was able to accommodate. We were at a large table, which we requested. We enjoyed our dining companions. The other meals were usually eaten in the Horizon Court. We tried breakfast one day in a dining room and found the service to be slow and confused. The menu at the Horizon Court became boring. There was little variety and many of the dishes were not prepared as we liked. Scrambled eggs in the morning seemed to be under cooked most of the time. Made to order omelets were available each day. A nice touch was that they were delivered to my table by a waiter. Horizon staff was attentive, brought drinks, and cleaned tables. It did seem that the area was better staffed early in the Cruise. Service seemed to drop as the Cruise progressed. The ships activities and entertainment was normal. Some of the shows were excellent and some were very average. At least two times, comedians told jokes that had already been told by another comedian. Trivia seemed to be the number one activity. I enjoyed and was pleased that a "Service Club Meeting" was hosted. It was nice to get together with people in service clubs from all over the world. The ports we managed to make it to were interesting and enjoyable. Ushuaia is a neat town and has a beautiful setting. The Tierra Del Fuego National Park was a great choice. Punta Arenas was a nice stop, but having to be tendered into the dock was slow and a hassle. Once on land, Punta Arenas was a pleasant stop. Valparaiso, Chile, is a great debarkation port. It is a two hour drive to the Santiago airport, but flight schedules make a day exploring Valparaiso a great way to end the cruise. We were disappointed in Rio. In order to fly into Rio and board the ship, we had to obtain Brazilian Visas. They cost us $300 a piece. If you can find an itinerary that skips Brazil, I would recommend it. In summary, this cruise had some issues, but many of the problems were out of the control of Princess. Medical emergencies and weather issues are not Princess problems. Communication and port problems are Princess issues. It may be that some of the port problems are not Princess problems, but if Princess can not get local authorities to improve facilities and procedures, they may need to skip those ports. On board we had a pleasant vacation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Along with our good friends, we planned this trip for almost a year. Our extended vacation would start by spending four days, including New Years Eve on Copacabana Beach prior to boarding the cruise. This cruise did not start well. ... Read More
Along with our good friends, we planned this trip for almost a year. Our extended vacation would start by spending four days, including New Years Eve on Copacabana Beach prior to boarding the cruise. This cruise did not start well. The embarkation process in Rio de Janeiro was an organizational disaster that reaffirms our perception that Princess, while a cruise industry leader in many categories, lacks competence in the basic tasks of embarking and disembarking guests. The delay in Rio de Janeiro may well have been exacerbated by ANVISA authorities arriving late for work and delaying the disembarkation of the arriving passengers but the flawed embarkation process falls solely on the shoulders of Princess. The disorganization started with the written communication from Princess announcing a “Progressive Check-in Schedule”. This ill-conceived idea failed to recognize that hotel guests have check-out times and they should not be expected to sit waiting with their luggage in the hot sun of Rio. The check-out for our accommodation was 11:00 AM so, on the advice of our travel agent, we headed to the departure terminal considerably earlier than the time dictated for our Riviera deck. We supposedly have preferential boarding based on our platinum status…supposedly. Upon arrival it was apparent that another boarding procedure was now in place and departure staff were handing out stickers with letters and numbers presumably based on a guest’s status (although that was never made clear). Once inside the departure area it was total pandemonium with no leadership from Princess staff, no signs and no indication of where to enter or how to navigate a poorly designed queue. This is yet another example of Princess Cruise Line’s lack of respect for their customers and, in particular, their returning guests. First time cruisers were being boarded prior to platinum, elite and suite customers and the number and letter “system” was being ignored by both departure staff (a contractor) and cruisers alike. Asked by us what was supposed to happen and what we should do….the supervisor indicated that he and his co-worker were trying to figure that out! Obviously it was a little late in the game to try to formulate a plan. It must be noted that no Princess staff were offering direction or assistance to the guests or to the ground contractor’s staff. Princess staff were only at the final station where they were collecting passports. Princess can blame ANVISA and the ground contractor but the ultimate responsibility to embark and disembark passengers is theirs and they do not do it well. That said, Princess and other cruise companies would do well to bypass Rio (and Brazil) until they do a better job in welcoming tourists. You cannot have a cruise terminal that lacks in basic air conditioning, available food and beverage and, most important, competent and reliable staff and officials. An employee of mine was planning a cruise trip out of Rio with herself and five friends and promptly changed destinations when she heard about the onerous visa procedures to enter Brazil and our frustrations at the terminal. We were not overly disappointed with the Crown Princess but do share the opinions of many guests that she is due for a significant re-fit and a re-thinking about the available public spaces when the ship is at full capacity. It was difficult to find places to sit and relax and would often have to retreat to our room. We tend to avoid the buffet for most meals but, when we had the need to go there; it was a challenge to find seating. Perhaps they should consider keeping tables free for diners at peak times rather than permitting many tables to be occupied with passengers playing a variety of table games. Princess (and not just the Crown) has gone way overboard hawking merchandise. We do enjoy browsing the stores but do not appreciate the public areas being filled with tables that constrict traffic flows. We, along with many other passengers, were disappointed with the itinerary changes, the much abbreviated port call in Montevideo and the missed stop in The Falkland Islands. At the same time we do appreciate that it was a medical emergency that precipitated these cruise complications and we do not fault the Captain and crew for the actions that were taken on behalf of that passenger. In fact we do have considerable respect for the ship’s Captain in the way he kept the passengers fully informed throughout this ordeal. He was highly professional and you could feel his empathy for patient and the entire compliment of passengers in every announcement. Certainly the financial impact on Princess Cruise Lines was extensive both in terms of operational costs and then the size of the compensation package offered to the entire compliment of passengers. As much as the Captain is to be commended for his communications to the passengers, the same cannot be said of the excursion staff. Our tour in Buenos Aires was cancelled for “operational” reasons but we did not discover this until returning to our stateroom just prior to dinner. A ship’s announcement should have been made so that we could look at alternate tours prior to them being sold out. Although we did manage to book a replacement tour, it should be standard practise to hold spots on an alternative itinerary for guests already booked on a cancelled tour. We would have been extremely disappointed if we had been unable to book this alternate tour because it had been sold-out before we even had knowledge of ours being cancelled. The excursion staff, other than the female officer in charge, were totally rude and unhelpful. The one positive to come out of this was that our guide was outstanding and perhaps the best we have ever had. The four of us on this trip find ourselves torn when it comes to the Princess brand. On the one hand we have earned a platinum loyalty (and near Elite) status that is hard to turn away from but the flip side of that is our continued frustration with incompetent embarkation, disembarkation and a sub-standard internet service. Their internet speed is only marginally better than dial-up. Last September we sailed on the Celebrity Infinity so as to do a comparison with Princess and we experienced great staff, comparable food, an efficient and organized embarkation/disembarkation process and an internet that actually was high speed. It is difficult to recommend the Princess brand to family or friends when we know other companies can do it better. Obviously the technology to deliver proper high speed internet exists since Celebrity has it on their ships….the question is why Princess does not when it is part of Carnival Corporation who should be an industry leader. We also see in Princess a company where a blind eye is turned about rules being broken. Customers ignore their boarding priority and the staff permit it to happen. The dress code (particularly on formal nights) is not enforced and one of the differences on Celebrity that we did not appreciate was the much more casual attire at dinner. We enjoy the tradition of formal nights and smart casual and do not think shorts are appropriate in the dining rooms at dinner. The majority of guests on formal night are properly attired and it is an insult to them when Princess staff do not enforce the stated policy and permit jeans and sport shirts rather than turning them away. As noted, there was a compensation package offered to all guests that did seem to appease the majority of the very disgruntled passengers on board. This package did replace an earlier offer that left many guests fuming and clearly Princess’s head office recognized that they were about to lose many customers forever were it not revised. Again, full credit should go to the Captain for his willingness to directly engage with the passengers (many angry and rude) on this issue. Our previous experience with the Captain of the Grand Princess was completely opposite when he literally disappeared after some operational difficulties during a Pacific coastal cruise. Compared to other reviews, we must have gotten lucky when it came to our dealings with the front-line staff who most immediately impact our on-board experience and we were thoroughly pleased with our outstanding evening dining room servers….Gaby and Carolina (both from Peru). They were upbeat, happy, and knowledgeable about the menu and knew our names and preferences from the outset. They brought a smile to our sometimes frustrated faces every night and always kept us laughing. They are head and shoulders above any other food servers we have ever had…on any ship/on any cruise line. Every Princess waiter and assistant should spend time with this incredible team to learn how to deliver such a delightful customer experience. These two over-deliver night after night. We saw the same professionalism and friendly greeting from Kathrizz in Crooner’s Lounge and, like Gaby and Carolina; she greeted us by name every night and remembered our preferences as well. We can tell that she has a great rapport with many of the customers in that lounge. We have cruised with Princess for many years and, like others, are seeing that brand decline in quality. The on board entertainment (other than the singer/pianist in Crooner’s and a couple of comedians) is sliding badly and the Princess Theatre was always packed as it lacks the capacity to support the number of passengers when the ship is full. Carnival Corporation would do well to look at the demographics of their Princess cliental and recognize that they are not the twenty-something’s on board a Carnival Party ship. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
There will be plenty of people who will post unhappy reviews about this January 4 - 18 Crown Princess cruise, but we will not be among them. Was this a wonderful cruise? No. Was this the “cruise from hell”? No. But ... Read More
There will be plenty of people who will post unhappy reviews about this January 4 - 18 Crown Princess cruise, but we will not be among them. Was this a wonderful cruise? No. Was this the “cruise from hell”? No. But virtually all the problems encountered on this cruise were things that were beyond Princess' control. Details follow: 1) Embarkation in Rio. This proved to be something of a nightmare for many people because of the long delay. The line of dominoes that caused this started with the Brazilian officials. In a Meet & Greet of our Cruise Critic group with two of the ship's officers, we learned that disembarkation from the incoming cruise was due to start at 7:15 in the morning. But the Brazilian officials didn't even show up until 8:15, so already a problem had started. Another CC poster has noted that there had been some flu cases on the ship and the Brazilian authorities would not let anybody off the ship until the most recent cases (10-12 passengers) had been examined, tested, and cleared. As a result, the first passenger disembarked at 9:15, two hours late. Additionally, all non-Brazilian passengers were required to do a face-to-face disembarkation with Brazilian immigration authorities instead of the usual group exiting process. This slowed down the entire disembarkation process with the result that the last passenger disembarked at 1:15 p.m., three hours later than planned. Embarking passengers had been scheduled to start boarding at 1:00, so the entire embarkation process had slowed to something comparable to slogging through mud. Early in the morning Princess had sent out an e-mail advisory asking embarking passengers to delay their arrival at the terminal, but many passengers didn't check their e-mail or proceeded to arrive as planned. The result was a hot terminal full of people who could not board. Many took that in stride, but many others managed to show the uglier side of their character. The embarkation turned chaotic; Princess could have managed this better, but many uncooperative passengers made the process difficult for all. With an original departure time of 6:00 p.m., the last passenger boarded at 6:15; the Crown departed at 7:00, one hour late. 2) Medical Emergency. In the middle of the first sea day, there was a medical emergency on board. The Captain broadcast an appeal for blood donors; to their credit 60 passengers in possession of valid blood donor cards volunteered to donate blood. In the meantime, the ship was turned around, heading back north toward Rio with an anticipated helicopter rendezvous with the Brazilian Coast Guard about 2.5 hours north of where we had been. During that time, the helicopter transfer was supplanted by a water transfer near another Brazilian port, but this still cost the Crown a total of 6 hours of time. Added to the delay in Rio, we were now 7 hours behind schedule. 3) Arrival in Buenos Aires. With two strikes against the Crown already, it turned out that the Gods of Fate were just getting warmed up. On the 127-mile-long Rio de Plata channel to Buenos Aires, we noted that the water was very muddy. Looking at the wake aft, it was almost as if the propellers were churning up silt from the very bottom of the channel itself. While we were working our way south from Rio, a major storm had affected the ocean and Rio de Plata area around Buenos Aires, with northerly winds and coincidental low tides lowering the water level to the point that the Crown (and many other ships) was unable to enter the port. Already 7 hours late, now the Crown was forced to anchor off the coast until the water returned to a level that made port entry possible. Instead of making port at the scheduled 8:00 a.m on Saturday, January 7, we now docked in the wee hours of Sunday, January 8. Schedule-wise, this was when we should have been arriving in Montevideo; the Crown was now fully one day behind schedule. 4) Embarkation in Buenos Aires. Having embarked in Rio, this did not directly affect us, but with approximately 700-800 passengers beginning their Crown Princess adventure here, you can imagine what they must have gone through, having checked out of their hotels on the 7th, and arriving at the terminal only to learn that the Crown would not be able to dock until the morning of the 8th. It must have been a wild scene as those passengers scrambled for overnight accommodations, etc. I will have to leave it to those so affected to provide a narrative of their experience. Personally, our planned Buenos Aires tour did not occur as the tour company was somehow unaware that the Crown had been delayed. Luckily, we found another delightful couple in similar straits, so the four of us set off and enjoyed our own tour of Buenos Aires. It turned out to be a fun day for all of us. 5. Montevideo. With the Crown having missed its reserved berthing spot on January 8, the ship now found itself unable to dock on the morning of the 9th, as all Montevideo berths were occupied by ships that had previously reserved for that date. At the same time, it was not possible to bypass Montevideo, as that is a fueling and stores stop for the Crown. Without fuel and provisions, it would not have been possible to continue on the voyage. As a result, the Crown was forced to sail past Montevideo and anchor in the estuary until such time as a berth opened in early evening. During this time of waiting, arrangements were made for a barge to come alongside and replenish the Crown’s fuel supply. Still, needing stores, the Crown continued to wait until it was finally able to dock in Montevideo around 7:30 in the evening. While provisions were being brought on, passengers were allowed to go ashore from 8:00 – midnight to see what they could of Montevideo. Happily, the tour company we had made arrangements with accommodated us with a night tour that proved to be very interesting and gave us some sense of the city. Unhappily, however, not long after many passengers got off the ship, a thunderstorm moved over the city with lightning and soaking rains. Many passengers who went ashore to simply walk around the city were totally drenched within a ½ hour of leaving the ship and had to return aboard. Why there was no advice from the Captain or crew about the impending weather seems to be something of a mystery. Certainly the ship’s weather radar must have shown the approaching storm; passengers should have been so advised. In any case, the Crown had now gotten underway in the wee hours of January 10, fully 30 hours, or about 760 miles, behind schedule. 6. Falkland Islands. With the above-noted deficit, something in the itinerary had to give, and that proved to be the Falkland Islands. This proved to be distressing to many passengers, particularly to one woman whose son had been killed in the Falkland War of 1982. Her son was buried there and she had never had the opportunity to visit his grave. This trip was to be that time for her. In a public “coffee and conversation” event in the ship’s piazza, Captain Justin Lawes acknowledged how emotional it was for him to have to delete the Falkland stop from the itinerary, knowing of this passenger’s pilgrimage to her son’s grave. As it turns out, even had we attempted to make the Falkland stop, the weather would have prevented us from doing so. On average, the Falkland stop happens about 70% of the time, as tendering is necessary in that port and wave/weather conditions are often not favorable. In his public conversation event, Captain Lawes retold the story of his “worst” experience as a Captain when he had to leave 800 passengers stranded in Stanley (Falkland) because of a weather change during the day and a resulting inability to tender passengers back to the ship. 7. Rest of the trip. The rest of the trip was uneventful, with the exception of two very minor fire incidents, both of which were quickly handled by the crew and without any inconvenience or danger to the passengers. As a way of adding something to the cruise after the earlier inconveniences and disappointments, the Crown did make an unscheduled visit to Chile’s Amalia Glacier, a glacier that originates in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. This was a nice and appreciated plus. 8. Princess Makes it Right. As a gesture of good will, Princess went overboard (no pun intended) by providing a 100% credit to all passengers for the inconveniences encountered and ports missed on this cruise. The credit came in the form of a 50% on-board refundable credit and a 50% credit on a future cruise. Personally, we feel that this was very generous of Princess, particularly, as noted above, that most of the problems encountered on this cruise were things beyond Princess’ control. We thank Princess for this thoughtful gesture. We look forward to another Princess cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Sailing around Cape Horn in South America in January sounded like fun: got a good rate for a balcony cabin, so off I went on CROWN PRINCESS. Medical emergency made us 1 day behind on the itinerary and weather was also an issue between ... Read More
Sailing around Cape Horn in South America in January sounded like fun: got a good rate for a balcony cabin, so off I went on CROWN PRINCESS. Medical emergency made us 1 day behind on the itinerary and weather was also an issue between high winds lowering the river level to get into Buenos Aires to berths non available for 1 day delay. Not Princess' fault - no one's fault. Still, the CROWN crew changed things up so there were things to do on board and were very open, with many announcements about what was happening. This was ON BOARD; the brochures (of ALL cruise lines) gloss over the strong possibilities of missing some ports for one reason or another. Views of the Cape, glaciers, sunsets, rugged mountains, quaint towns, etc. were majestic and stunning. Not to be missed - this is what you cruise here to see. Thoroughly enjoyed the excursions: Tango Show etc. in Buenos Aires- Food was surprisingly good and entertainment was superb. Also the train ride in Ushuaia and the gorgeous estancia in Punta Arenas. Final excursion surrounding & including Santiago was a good use of the 14 hours before plane left. Sorry to have missed the Falklands and the penguins but I'll do it next time. Yeah, I'll do this one again. This is a cruise where it might not all be as precise as a Caribbean cruise, but way more interesting. Just have to be flexible and enjoy what you can do instead of complain about what you can't. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
My husband and I flew all the way from Istanbul Turkey to take this cruise. There was another couple with us. The first dissapointment started at Rio port, where we had to get in line and wait for 5 hours pulling our luggages moving very ... Read More
My husband and I flew all the way from Istanbul Turkey to take this cruise. There was another couple with us. The first dissapointment started at Rio port, where we had to get in line and wait for 5 hours pulling our luggages moving very slowly under the sun. The rooms were nice, we booked one of the best with a sea view. Our room service was good. After two days of sailing the first stop was Buenas Aires, Argentina. We were warned about pickpockets so all we took with us was 100dollars each person and one credit card per couple. The city was very nice, but when three men attacked us in the middle of an avenue while we were at a pedestrian crossing all turned into a nightmare. One men grabbed me by the neck, two attacked my husband one sitting on him while the other teared off his watch, which was an expensive watch, I was saved by my friend from worse. We both fell on the road, many bruises but luckily no broken bones. The police appeared with an audacious attitude, we were scared of them also. None spoke a word of engish anyway. We were so scared that all four of us immediately returned to the ship cancelling our evening plans for tango and an Argentinian steak. We stayed on board for the rest of the stay at BA then sailed to Falkland islands, hoping to stop at port Stanley. That was cancelled due to bad weather condtions, Sailed another two days to Ushuaia, Bad weather conditions again, so that port was also cancelled. At Punto Arenas we finally got off the ship. We returned in the afternoon to the ship thinking there was not too much to see. We found it was a very wise decision because again due to bad weather, almost half the ship crew and passengers were left at the port for an unknown time until the port was open again. The operation was cleared at 3:00 am. You will not believe this but we also had a sick passenger who had to be picked up with a helicopter with a midnight operation with fire team at alert, so another night without sleep. Food was not bad but not very good either. However the service was above average, especially at the dining room we had excellent service. They gave us a credit of 100 dollars to be spent at the ship as courtesy also half of the cruse cost off for the next trip however we dont know if it will be worth to think about it or not. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2016
First time on Princess. 16 previous cruises all over the world. Preferred line is Celebrity. i'm 66. Wife 60. Embarkation in Rio. A total disaster. Took over three hours to board the ship and we were early for our embarkation time. All ... Read More
First time on Princess. 16 previous cruises all over the world. Preferred line is Celebrity. i'm 66. Wife 60. Embarkation in Rio. A total disaster. Took over three hours to board the ship and we were early for our embarkation time. All of the cruisers agreed this was unusual and by far the worst embarkation they have ever experienced. Absolute chaos with no order. The Brazilian authorities had control over this port and they could have cared less. Yet I blame Princess. They knew what would happen and they didn't do anything about it. I suspect the authorities wanted extra money (bribes?) to ensure a decent embarkation and Princess would not pay it. The ship. Is getting dated. Public rooms are undercapacitied. IE Centrum. Restaurants. Show Lounge. Gym. Gym could have been way better but this would have been at the expense of the chic chic spa services. Come on. This made planning essential. You had to get to the show lounge really early to get a good seat and we ate very late to avoid the over crowding. Centrum is pathetic for a ship this size. Ship feels claustrophobic which is exacerbated by the location of of one of the restaurants a mid ship on deck 6. The buffet was barely serviceable. On the positive side, you will find something to eat and the food in the dining rooms was pretty good (both fish and meat which is a rarity). Very good production shows and in general the entertainment was very good. Got to watch the NFL playoff games on the jumbtron and this was great when the weather was warm enough. Room. We were upgraded to the top deck, 14 and this was a giant back rub. Walk right out the door and you are at the pool! Problem. For most of the cruise, the sea days were too cold to sit out at the pool. Solarium as an alternative was so so. Impeccable deck service. Room was nice with the best storage space on the seas. Great internet and TV which was necessary due to the cold weather south of Buenos Aires. Minus. One of the worst showers at sea. No foolin. Ports. This is where things got bad. Buenos Aires was fine and we had a great time. WE did not make Port Stanley in the Falklands or Ushuaia. The seas were way too rough and I suspect this is an on going problem. Puenta Arenas was an unmitigated disaster. WE chose not to participate in any organized activities but rather went ashore to use an internet coffee house. At that it took us 45 minutes to get on shore do to the rudimentary port facilities and fairly rough seas. Just a simple jetty with no breakwater. This is unacceptable. They closed the port at about 4 and 1700 passengers and 80 ships company were stranded ashore in rudimentary port facilities. Last tender back was at about 2 in the morning. The people taking the speed boat to Magdelane island to see the penguins were barfing right and left and then stuck at the dock! There was always an announcement about this disaster or that and we had to evacuate our room at 4:30 in the morning due to a medical emergency. It got so bad that they actually refunded 1/2 the cruise fare in credits and a big thank you to Princess. Disembarkation. Was fine. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise