This was our 11th cruise since April 2004, which ironically was on the Caribbean Princess. We have been on 3 Princess cruises and again, ironically, all on Caribbean Princess. My sister-in-law and I turn 50 years of age this year, so our ... Read More
This was our 11th cruise since April 2004, which ironically was on the Caribbean Princess. We have been on 3 Princess cruises and again, ironically, all on Caribbean Princess. My sister-in-law and I turn 50 years of age this year, so our spouses and we went to see Ireland and Scotland. We mostly cruise on Holland America and somewhat on Celebrity X, but Princess had the best itinerary of the British Isles. Setting up the cruise was easy to do on line including air flights (great deals on business class), transfers, and insurance protection. My brother was vigilant in checking for deals and he got us better deals like 3-4 times!
Transfer from Heathrow Airport to Southampton went very smoothly, taking about 2 hours. Transfer from ship to airport did not go smoothly as one passenger arrived 50 minutes late, but we still go to airport in time.
The ship is clean and in fairly good shape. It can be a little tricky trying to get to the Plaza region or getting to the gym, as things are segmented on the ship. But once you figure it out, it isn’t hard to remember. The windows at Palm Dining are fairly dirty on the outside so we never got a clear view while eating.
Staying healthy is a challenge on this ship. Though Princess web page states there is a jogging track, really you can’t run. The promenade deck opens 8am for runners, and the treadmills open 8am! We were off the ship usually 7:30am so it made it impossible to run. The track above is very short and doesn’t loop all the way around. I don’t like they elliptical riders (I don’t think anyone really did) and there are a limited number of exercise bikes.
Entertainment was not good, I must say. I study voice as a hobby, but it doesn’t take a singer to know when performers are pitchy or have irritating singing styles. I saved a lot of money this trip because we didn’t stay out ong or even go to many performances: ergo less alcohol consumption. I never saw the Cruise Director, which is a first for me. One of the DJ’s for karaoke was rough around the edges so I opted out of singing. There were a couple of good performances though, such as a balancing/acrobatic act as well as a few small bands.
Service: Good nice staff member was probably 80%. The other 20% were apathetic, unhappy, or frankly unkind. I sensed some discrimination on this trip, which was very disappointing. It seemed a good number of times some staff members avoided giving us service.
The best thing in the cruise ship for me was the Palm Dining Room because Tonya and Joemar took great care of us, were fun, and made sure we enjoyed our food/drinks. The food has improved since the first cruise in 2004 and was very, very good. Michael, the head waiter, also stopped by every night and engaged us in dialogue.
We loved our destinations: Guernsey, Cork, Dublin, Liverpool, Belfast, Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, and Normandie. We pre-arranged our excursions with different companies, in particular to have smaller or private tours. Also it saves a lot of money. My brother did all the planning and read reviews to be sure all the tours made it back to the ship in plenty of time. It was a challenge using a tender in Guernsey and in Edinburgh because they were slow. It took 1 hour 20min from the time we waited for the tender to the time we stepped out of the train in Edinburgh. It took 50min from Edinburgh back to ship, as we waited in the rain what seemed like hours for the tender to pick us up. That is why I wish we had more time in Edinburgh because we lost 2 hours round trip. Each destination was awesome, as we had hoped, so we are very please about that.
So I did write on my comments to Princess Cruises about the things mentioned above, but in more detail. I sense some staff members need some cultural sensitivity training. As far as the workers who are burned out and unhappy, you are going to find them on every cruise. Read Less