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312 Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

We did 3 day rv rental before cruise that was the best part of the vacation. the 4 day land tour is more like 2 days as the 2 travel days you just want to rest when you get to your destination. the princess land resorts were adequate ... Read More
We did 3 day rv rental before cruise that was the best part of the vacation. the 4 day land tour is more like 2 days as the 2 travel days you just want to rest when you get to your destination. the princess land resorts were adequate with food being much worse than on the ships and not a value. last night at resort I had the signature $50 salmon dinner and it was a huge disappointment - that was the last hope I had for a good meal and was dashed. The star princess while older is pretty well maintained. Food was adequate but being our first princess cruise was disappointing enough that I was unsure if I would come back to princess for the food. We found a deal a few months later on the Regal princess that has spectacular food so it seems to be food preparation is not standard across the fleet. to be fair the food was ok just not the step up I had expected and not as good as on the Regal. The alaska ports were nice and the time spent at the glacier the capt and crew did a great job. 2 things I wish Princess would add that we had on other cruise lines is the meal menu available on the interactive tv so it can be viewed without traveling across the ship to see what is for dinner, being able to order excursions on the tv so and entire ship is not trying to get excursions from 3 people at the desk, Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We really wanted to do the Alaska Inside Passage Cruise. We booked Princess as they seem to fit our needs the best. We booked a mini-suite, as we preferred a certain side. If you are considering an Alaska cruise, a balcony is a must, as ... Read More
We really wanted to do the Alaska Inside Passage Cruise. We booked Princess as they seem to fit our needs the best. We booked a mini-suite, as we preferred a certain side. If you are considering an Alaska cruise, a balcony is a must, as with the Alaska Cruise, you miss pool-lounging time around the pool, due to cold temperatures. We enjoyed whale-watching from our balcony. With the exception of the excellent food and service at Sabbattinis, we found the anytime dining a bit underwhelming. We often chose the buffet so we could pick and choose our needs. The buffet at breakfast was my favorite. In reading reviews leading up to our cruise, Princess shows were not highly regarded, however, we thought they were most excellent. They do a rendition of the Voice which was very fun. For the most part, staff was also a bit stuffy. Our steward was fine, but some diner staff and customer service staff missed the mark, as it appeared they would rather be doing something else. This included a little 'exchange' with a customer service deskperson about adding an addition water pkg to our room. When we requested to see a Supervisor because his unwillingness to offer a solution, he accused us of making him feel like a cockroach. All in all we really enjoyed the Cruise. The beauty of Alaska added to that. This was our first cruise and perhaps it's a lesson in expectations. We look forward to cruising again, perhaps on a warm weather cruise that offers more things to do on the ship. There were times at sea where I was a bit bored. I also wish the gym opened earlier - 7am is late for me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
speedy boarding ship was clean did not seem crowded. Mini suite was comfortable well looked after by Raymond our steward. Shows were ok saw Bernie Flint comedy/singing act for 3rd time he gets better with time. Did not use any shore ... Read More
speedy boarding ship was clean did not seem crowded. Mini suite was comfortable well looked after by Raymond our steward. Shows were ok saw Bernie Flint comedy/singing act for 3rd time he gets better with time. Did not use any shore excursions that were organised by cruise company so cant comment on them Most of the staff were pleasant only problem was when we came to dine in the Da Vinci restaurant which is anytime dinning except the time you want. We asked for a table for two but the Hostess that was in control pressurised you into sharing with others. On the second night we had same problem with her but this time held out for a table for two she was not pleasant this time. We had a 20 minute wait which was fine. For the Rest of the cruise we used Michelangelo restaurant and this Hostess was most welcoming she did ask if we would share but accepted we wanted a table for 2 we had between a 10 minute and a 25 minute wait most nights which is fine/ We spoke to a number of other people who had same problem at Da Vinci one couple said they were seated at a large table where the other dinners had finished their starter and were unable to get into the conversations going on at the table as other guests were well into various subjects. would not use Princess Cruises again have booked next cruise with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Wanted to try the Regal Princess, we had been on the Royal last year and had a wonderful experience. Embarkation was a breeze and we were quickly onboard and up to the Sanctuary to reserve our chairs for the length of the cruise. We did ... Read More
Wanted to try the Regal Princess, we had been on the Royal last year and had a wonderful experience. Embarkation was a breeze and we were quickly onboard and up to the Sanctuary to reserve our chairs for the length of the cruise. We did however experience some difficulties aboard the ship that we usually do not encounter with Princess. I had purchased the alcohol beverage plan for the first time which I believe ran about $375. The first night prior to dining, I found out the plan allows for drinks made with only one ounce of liquor. The bartender's remark was you can have a number of drinks but at only one ounce per drink. We finally found at the Crooners Bar with a smile and a tip, you could get a real cocktail. So next time, I think I would pass on the drink package. We had reservations at the Crowne Grill which was excellent on the Royal. We waited when we got to the Maitre' D's station and eventually they sat us by a pathway to the kitchen. Our steaks came out grey and under done. The comment from the waiter was that they really didn't have high temperature steak ovens but used electric grills due to the fire hazard on the ship and that was why our steaks looked bad. That seemed strange as our steaks on the Royal were perfect. It was my wife's birthday during the cruise so I told her to go to Facets jewelry store onboard and pick out a necklace that she would like. I waited for her in a seating area off the atrium when the store manager came and got me saying my wife had picked out a necklace. I paid for the necklace and they kept it so they could get a longer chain for it when we docked in St. Maarten the next day. Later that evening around 11:30 PM the phone rang in our cabin. We had been asleep for hours so I did not answer the phone. However, in the morning I listened to the voicemail and it was the necklace salesman from Facets. He was in somewhat of a panic and stated that Facets could not sell me the necklace for the price I paid for it and it would cost almost $300 more if I wanted it or I could bring back my receipt and they would refund me. Of course I took the refund as I believe it to be a sleazy business practice to renege on a sale. Needless to say when in St. Maarten that day, we went to Diamonds International and purchased a necklace with 2 more carats of diamonds for a way better price than the ships store. My final comment about the ship was that nuero virus broke out on the ship mid-week as it had done on the Royal last year. The crew did an excellent job of containing the outbreak and it was limited to a small amount of people. It was the first time the crew on the Regal had experienced an outbreak and they did a great job. But as you know if you cruise all the time as we do that these viruses start and are spread by bad hygene habits from the onboard guests. I frequently saw people touching food at the buffet and putting things on their plates and then putting them back on the buffet. Its too bad this has to happen on such a beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We boarded well at Fort Lauderdale with little queues even though we had an email from princess delaying our boarding times. Check in staff are always lovely and got us in the mood for a great cruise. We had balcony d123, rooms are ... Read More
We boarded well at Fort Lauderdale with little queues even though we had an email from princess delaying our boarding times. Check in staff are always lovely and got us in the mood for a great cruise. We had balcony d123, rooms are small but plenty of storage. We never really sat on our balcony as it was too small with two of you on there. The steward was brilliant as always and the bathrooms were actually a good size. The only bug bear for me was the smelly shower curtain. The boat looks great but for a new boat it doesn't feel like it flows very well. The actual space in the public areas is limited and congested as its all around the atrium. I never felt we really had somewhere else to hang out apart from the wheelhouse which was also part of the crown grill and corridor! There were plenty of places to sun bath upstairs. We paid for a cabana in the sanctuary as a treat and wow it was amazing. A must if you can. The shows were good, I missed some Musical theatre but that's just my personal tastes. The food onboard was noticeably average, having been used to celebrity it really was worlds apart. I struggled some nights in the main dining room and we refused to pay in the crown grill as the service and food was not worth the extra. If you like the gym, and I do, this ship is not for you. It's basically in a corridor with acces to the back of the ship so you have people walking through. A good number of machines but it's really not big enough for the boat of this size. Overall the ship is nice and fresh but not my favoured design, it's all cabins and less public space. Food really could be better but we had a great time as always. At least the average age was late 50's and not 80's I've had on other princess cruises. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Overall, we enjoyed the last minute 4 night cruise to Turks and Caicos, but there were some hiccups. Embarkation was flawless. Arrived at the pier at 1:30 and on the ship at 1:45. Disembarkation was a disaster... more later We chose ... Read More
Overall, we enjoyed the last minute 4 night cruise to Turks and Caicos, but there were some hiccups. Embarkation was flawless. Arrived at the pier at 1:30 and on the ship at 1:45. Disembarkation was a disaster... more later We chose anytime dining and regretted it every evening. Tables for two were hard to come by and the quickest quoted wait time was 20 minutes. We experimented every evening with a different walk-up time but the wait was a given, and an annoyance. Trying to book the "limited number of reservations" available by phone was hopeless. We ate in the up-charge steak restaurant one evening and enjoyed it. Food and service were great. As penthouse suite guests we were eligible to eat breakfast at the steak house and did so twice. Service and food were fine. Both times the place was deserted. All other meals were at the buffet and the food was acceptable but predictable. Very run of the mill dishes and, surprisingly, notably inferior to the NCL cruise we did in September. Princess does not do buffet stations like other cruise lines (Mexican, Chinese, etc) so everyone wandered through the buffet line grazing. And, inexplicably, half way through the cruise they switched the entrance and exit paths so that one entered at the deserts and exited at salads and breads. Downright silly. Buffet attendant service was efficient and friendly Cabin attendant service was first rate: prompt and efficient. Front office service was the best we've ever seen. The young lady was a joy to deal with. Bar service was a mixed bag. The bartenders were always fast and knowledgeable but at the "busy times" (pool area at afternoon for example) there weren't enough of them. One guy serving a bar with walk ups as well as several waiters just can't handle the traffic. It was the same experience at the International Cafe coffee and pastry bar in the Piazza. Sometimes service was perfect, other times you simply waited for her to catch up. There were quite a few positives, of course. Every employee we met was smiling and cheerful. The ship has just undergone a refurbishment so virtually everywhere was shiny and new. The entertainment was good with the comedian being top notch and hilarious. (Entertainment is always subjective so I don't place much weight on reviews) The real problem with the trip was disembarkation. We were the second "walk off" group with a scheduled 7:30 disembark. We actually walked off the ship at 20 minutes to ten. We were at a different pier than normal (true), slow to get the ship docked (maybe true), problems with the gangways (huh ?), problems with Customs (doubtful) and the list goes on. It was a terrible way to end the cruise. I realize that some of these issues were flukes, and I would sail Princess again, but the polished, slightly upscale image they want to project was absent. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We decided to book a quick getaway cruise for Valentine's with no kids. We prefer Holland America but needed a shorter trip and Princess had a great deal on this trip so we decided to try them again. We sailed Island Princess three ... Read More
We decided to book a quick getaway cruise for Valentine's with no kids. We prefer Holland America but needed a shorter trip and Princess had a great deal on this trip so we decided to try them again. We sailed Island Princess three years ago and really enjoyed it but really prefer smaller ships. The embarkation process was great. We got in and waited in a short line and then basically walked right onto the ship. We booked an interior room and it was very clean and nice. Our steward was excellent - friendly and efficient - made sure we had everything we needed. The bed was very comfortable and the room had enough space with no frills for just the two of us. We appreciated the lighting and mirrors that gave a much larger and open feel to a small space that was well designed. This ship admittedly has something for everyone, it's just BIG. There were tons of activties all the time which some folks really enjoy. We prefer a more relaxed environment, low key with well appointed spaces for quiet relaxation. A sold out ship of 3000+ passengers made for a crowded experience, lots of lines, crowded dining areas, long waits for service, and a lot of noise. We were disappointed that there were no covered pool areas to get out of the sun completely. The open air pools were all packed and the wind was extreme so it wasn't a nice experience. We opted for 3 days in the Sancutuary which was lovely The service was excellent and afternoon tea was a real treat. The scones and fresh cookies were some of the best treats we experienced. Dining in the main restaurant left a lot to be desired... we realized this the first day at lunch and went straight for specialty restaurant reservations. The buffet was small and again packed with people and really unpleasant with no servers and everyone handling food. The pizzeria offered good options for lunch and we grabbed pizza a couple times. The burger joint looked great but everything bordered on being burnt and was incredibly dry. So we really stuck to eating at night We dined at Share two nights and Crown Grill two nights. We were really excited to hear about Chef Stone's new conept with Share. The food choices were interesting and the flavors were great but it wasn't what I would call 5 star... I would give it 4 stars. The duck was recommended as the specialty and it was very dry. The beef cheek was rich and greasy. The best entrée we tried was the mushroom ragu, a vegetarian dish. The service was fantastic, the staff was friendly and we really enjoyed our waiter who took care of us both nights. The atmosphere was off though... kitchen table type settings with small fragile chairs. The side wall tables with the couch seating was much more substantial and comfortable - we asked to be seated in those sections. The lights were bright - blindingly bright. The concept just didn't work for us at a $39 surcharge. We thought it was very overpriced for what it was. Crown Grill offered an amazing atmosphere, beautiful rich, dark woods, traditional chop house dining. The atmosphere was 5 star all the way but again the taste was 3 maybe 4 stars on some things. The steaks were well prepared but needed basic salt and pepper seasoning. The sides were overcooked - asparagus was wilted, spinach was lifeless - the best thing was the baked potato. We had ribeyes, filet, and my husband had the lamb one night. The lamb again was dry and tough even though he ordered it medium rare. If you go here order the ribeye medium rare and you will get a nice steak that you will enjoy. The filet even cooked med rare is lacking... I have to say though the most pleasant surprise here was dessert, the lemon meringue pie was a slice of heaven. I wish I could have it every day. It was delicate and sweet and tart and wonderful, truly delightful. Disembarkation was a disaster! In all fairness though when we sailed in our parking spot had been taken and they could only open one gangway for ALL those people on the spot we were given. The entire process ran well over an hour behind and was frustrating - the lines were FOREVER! Overall we enjoyed the Emerald Princess but would probably only sail on this ship again if it was a short get away. It was just way more than we like... If you like fast paced, on the go ships with lots of activites then you will love this ship. If you are like us and truly enjoy a more intimate small ship experience this is not the ship for you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our first time with a Princess cruise and quite frankly we were underwhelmed on the service that we "believed" would be present on a Princess ship. I went expecting to be wowed at every turn, and it turned out to be ... Read More
This was our first time with a Princess cruise and quite frankly we were underwhelmed on the service that we "believed" would be present on a Princess ship. I went expecting to be wowed at every turn, and it turned out to be just a "cruise" with nothing special (am I getting jaded??). he price value was just not evident. As my 27 YO son would say.. it was meh.. Embarkation - easy and quick, at this point it was shaping up to be a great cruise. We arrived around 11:30, had our luggage whisked away by the porter and we were walking onto the ship less than 45 minutes later (spent 10 minutes waiting for our number to be called). The lines flowed well the staff was ready to check us in and we felt that we were welcome cruisers. Getting onto the ship there were loads of elevators, and each one had a crew member manning them getting you to your floor. We arrived on the 14th deck around 1 PM, and the rooms were ready. The ship fold out map was a cute touch, we used this a lot. Balcony Cabin - mid-ship, port side on deck 14 (14620), it is a smallish cabin. The cabin door was the narrowest we have seen on a modern cruise ship. Bed was ready to go in the Queen configuration, and it was a comfortable. We had requested some water for a CPAP machine, and it was brought later by the room steward. The bathroom had a shower, toilet and sink, it was sufficient for 1 person. There was sufficient storage in the cabin for hanging things (tons of hangers). The balcony had 2 chairs and a small side table. All it all it was sufficient for the two of us, it would be hard for more than 2 guests in this cabin (felt sorry for the neighbors 2 cabins down with 4 in their cabin). Cabin was quiet, ‘tho we did hear some scraping of chairs from the dining room upstairs, but nothing that we would consider excessive. Muster: Quick and easy, sat in the lounge, listened to the spiel, and back to the 15th deck for sail away. This was well put together, and was without problems. Sail-away: Head up to Deck 15, and watch the ship sail away, a fun activity. Check the price of the “Sail-away” drinks before you accept them from the crew. Two drinks in cheap plastic Princess cup, cost us almost $30. Exploring the ship: Found this ship quite confusing to find ourselves around. There were few options to move from the Stern to the Bow, one seemed to have to go up and down or more decks to get from one end to the other. The stores were on 3 separate decks and this was confusing. When we get on a new ship we always wander around the entire ship on our cruises, and try to hit every deck and venue. On this ship we felt we were lost most times,. We tended to stay in the International Cafe area, on our Balcony or on Deck 15. We did find a quiet area on the stern of deck 16, where we spent an evenings watching the stars. Entertainment: We think we passed the Princess Theater once, but we never found it again, as it was not in the normal path of travel, and we missed any activities that were at this venue. There was always some kind of entertainment in the Atrium the Main deck area, but I found it very loud for the size of area they were playing in. There was always an activity going on in this area. Food: Food was blah in most venues. Evening - we had anytime dining, but seemed to be able to eat at the same time each evening in the Da Vinci Dining room. We had a different table each night, and the dining room crew was helpful and attentive. My wife is celiac and she was able to get a GF meal that was similar to mine. She didn't like getting chocolate mousse for desert every evening and would have preferred more options. We arrived around 5:30 each evening and found few crowds waiting for dinner. Each night when we left the dining room around 7, and the lines-up were huge (~100 guests waiting). Food in the Dining room was very good, it was well cooked, and hot food was hot and cold food was cold. The cold soups each night were a delight. Specialty Dining – BOOK WHEN YOU GET ON BOARD! We tried to get into the specialty dining areas (morning of Day 2), but they were all booked up on the first afternoon, and any remaining reservations were after 9 PM. We did get into the Crab Shack dinner on the 2nd evening (9:30 reservation) and had a great Crab and shrimp dinner. It is funny to see that they just used the Cafe Caribe to host the Crab Shack venue, and put some brown butcher paper on the tables. Buffet - we ate at the Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe for our lunches and 2 breakfasts. This is where Princess completely lost my support on their perceived famous service. There was very limited wait staff and the tables seemed to be always piled with dirty dishes. We never were asked if we wanted something to drink (serve your self). Lines to eat were always long, and when you did get in one line, the lone crew member would try to direct you to the other food line, were they said the lines were shorter. Breakfast - scrambled eggs looked like curdled yellow custard, and had little taste. Bread or toast was hard as a rock and cold. Sausages and Bacon seemed OK. There was some fruit, but it was always seemed to be the same 3 items, pineapple, honeydew, and cantaloupe. Items were frequently out of stock, and no-one behind the counter would get you more. Lunch – there just seemed to be limited choices. I am more used to getting a larger salad selection, fresh fruits, etc. It just seemed to be limited. Room Service – small food selection for breakfast via room service, one could get an egg and cheese bun or cereal. I will admit that it arrived exactly at the time requested (1 minute early) and the coffee was hot and the juice cold. This was the ONLY time that we had coffee on the ship that we didn't have to pay extra for. Clubs and entertainment - we visited several of the bars and found that most of them were dual purpose, and were not only a bar, but an eating establishment as well (extra charge). Entertainment was good in the places we went to. Shopping: While there are not a large number of shops, they all seemed to carry the normal cruise ship fare (overpriced watches, and Jewellery, mass produced paintings). The Princess logo's material was priced reasonably. The Jewellery and Photo shops used a lot of high pressure sales, and they all wanted you to take the extras. Spa: Go directly to the Spa, on day 1, to book your treatments. Phoning the Spa to make reservations was an exercise in frustration. The DW was happy with the treatment she received, and said it was reasonably priced. Ship in General: This is a larger ship, but not well laid out. Moving from one point to another was not as easy one would have assumed it should have been. The men's bathrooms on the 4th, 5th and 6th deck needed work. Tiles on all of them were falling off the walls, and the on deck 5 just stunk. Tours and Ports – San Diego - we took a small harbor tour and then visited the USS Midway. Both were interesting, the boat ride was nothing special, it took you around the harbor, you learned where all the fancy restaurants were and which Navy boats were in port. Enjoyed the Air Craft Carrier, that was well worth the $20 admission. Hint: Use the iPad on deck 6 to book your cruise excursions, quick and easy. Ensenada – we took the $3.00 bus (return fare) into the town, and walked around for an hour. This is a very depressed area, and there were beggars everywhere (from young kids to old timers). While we did not feel uncomfortable, we spent limited time in town we did some quick shopping, and headed back to the ship. There are some very interesting local shops on the main street. The people in the stores were a delight, and all spoke English. Tried to buy some silver coins at the bank,and alas no-one in the bank spoke English, and I speak almost no Spanish. Seemed we were one day after a huge party, beer bottles broken glass were everywhere on the ground, and there was lots of confetti everywhere. Other points - There was an emergency call on the last night of the cruise (around midnight) with the captain calling (on the hall speakers) for security on deck 10. This was followed quickly by a second announcement calling for coded individuals, and seemed quite urgent. The captain did do an all ships announcement at 1 AM stating that they had an emergency in one of the engine rooms (suspected fire) that had been successfully dealt with. Kind of unnerving, but at that same time comforting that they didn't hide anything. I did want to be impressed by the Princess service, it just was not there. There is nothing to make this ship standout from other cruise lines. Other than the Princess badges, you would never know you were on a Princess cruise. For the money paid for the cruise, it was not a value added activity. Dis-embarkation - What can one say... everyone wants to be off the boat first. While it was a long line to get off the ship, and customs was closing down the line frequently, we still were timed to be off the ship at 9:10, and we were off the ship at 9:15 at the taxi stop by 9:30. For the price we paid, we were expecting a lot more. Saddened that others paid ½ to a 1/3 of what we paid, we did not get the value we were expecting. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
The short summary is this was a bland cruise. There was nothing wrong, but wasn't exceptional either, The exceptions were Sabatini's restaurant which was outstanding, and our cabin steward, Grace, who was very pleasant, and ... Read More
The short summary is this was a bland cruise. There was nothing wrong, but wasn't exceptional either, The exceptions were Sabatini's restaurant which was outstanding, and our cabin steward, Grace, who was very pleasant, and accommodating to our every request. We were looking for a relatively short, 7 night cruise, for just a get away and unwind vacation after the 2015 holidays. Regal Princess is a new Large ship (3,600 guests) in her maiden season in the Caribbean. That makes her +/- 30% larger than the ships we've cruised on in the past. We have to hand it to Princess, they have the embarkation and disembarkation process nailed. We arrived at the port about an hour before our scheduled boarding time, and were processed through and aboard with no delays. Disembarkation was the same. We were scheduled to arrive at the disembarkation location at 7:20 am, We arrived at 7:15 am, proceeded directly to the exit and were through deboarding, baggage claim, customs, and into our car in the parking lot by 7:40 am. Really a smooth process. We booked open seating for dining. However, we never took advantage of opportunity to eat in the dining room. We took all of our meals with the exception of my birthday dinner (more about that follows) at the buffets on the Lido deck. The buffets were very good with a nice selection of dishes to choose from at every meal. However, we found the arrangement of the services somewhat complicated and cumbersome. It's a big area, and items seemed to be scattered around in a manner that made it necessary to explore the entire buffet to complete a meal. Items could have been placed nearer to related items for the types of cuisine. The salad bar is one example. Some Greens and dressings were located in one area, and other toppings, and dressings were distributed between 2 or 3 other areas. Ethnic dishes were also oddly distributed and intermingled. The servers were very good, and very attentive. However, the coffee in their carafes was never hot enough. Even in Sabatini's the first cup of coffee was only lukewarm. We finally took to sitting as near as we could to the Coffee Machines on the Lido Deck, and pouring our own coffee. Sabatini's was the high point of our cruise. The meal and the service were outstanding. We had the 3 Lobster entree which was amazing, Our waiter Jack was very cordial and pleasant. and so was our Maitre D. The dessert was fantastic, and we had to have the birthday cake which we didn't eat until the next day wrapped for take out. We were on the cruise for the relaxation and therefore not particularly interested in the shore excursions. Which is a good thing since we didn't find any excursions that were oriented our interests or abilities. It seemed to us that most of the activities were directed towards the younger and more agile guests. We did go ashore at St Thomas, and St Maarten and were disappointed that most of the stores were all the same as at any other port, and there were very few if any local products or crafts. The only port activity we did book, was for a Clam Shell on the beach at Princess Cay. We waited awhile before going down to the tenders to avoid the rush of going ashore, and ended up receiving the last unit at the far end of the beach. The only time we felt crowded or even very aware of the size of the passenger list was in the evening getting seating in the theater for the entertainments. Speaking of the Entertainment, We thoroughly enjoyed Christopher James, the comic magician. The other shows, and singers were not particularly suited to our taste. Our conclusion is that we prefer the atmosphere, and amenities of the smaller ships we have cruised on previously. We will very likely cruise with Princess again in the future but on one of the smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My wife and I have cruised many times, with Princess being our favorite line. This cruise was actually very enjoyable for us. We truly enjoyed the ship and the ports of call. The only problem was that our beautiful wrap-around deck was ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised many times, with Princess being our favorite line. This cruise was actually very enjoyable for us. We truly enjoyed the ship and the ports of call. The only problem was that our beautiful wrap-around deck was only 6 feet from a smoking area (see cabin review below). We understand that smokers need a place to smoke. My only complaint is that we should have been told this in advance. When I brought it to the attention of Princess (after the cruise) they said that if I had gone into Q&A it would have been in there (so it was my fault according to them). I had checked out the deck plans in advance and there is no mention of the area below the deck of this cabin being a smoking area. Don't let this stop you from cruising on this ship or with Princess. Just beware of what is around your cabin. In our case, it turned our Owner's suite into a non-deck cabin ad we feel we way overpaid for the cruise. To their credit, Princess has given us $900 of cruise and on-board credits and we are thankful for that. The food on this ship was fantastic. We did the specialty restaurants, dining room and buffet. All were great. The entertainment was very good and we thought better than most Princess cruises we have taken. The staff was very nice...except our cabin steward who had a habit of knocking on our door at 10:00 at night to deliver items. When we did not answer, he would call our room...I guess not answering the door was not a clear enough sign. Other advice - self service debarkation was very convenient. Much faster than having the cruise line take your bags the night before. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We had a two week South American cruise on the Star Princess. Inclement weather made this cruise difficult. 3 ports were aborted due to rough seas. No one can control the weather, but it is a very long way to travel from the UK to not ... Read More
We had a two week South American cruise on the Star Princess. Inclement weather made this cruise difficult. 3 ports were aborted due to rough seas. No one can control the weather, but it is a very long way to travel from the UK to not make the ports on the itinerary. Special mention should go to the Captain Stefano Raneiro, who had to make some tough decisions, for the safety of the crew and passengers. The entertainment was not as good, as on previous cruisers I have taken with Princess. The food in the Capri dining room was wonderful, as were the staff. Embarkation in Rio de Janeiro was a complete fiasco. Standing in line for up to 4 hours, just to check in, with no seating, and very little organisation. For first time cruisers it would have definitely put them off. The debarkation, however worked like clockwork! Our cabin was fabulous. We always have a balcony. The cost of the airfare is prohibitive, unless you get to see the ports. So maybe Princess needs to compensate consumers for flights as well as the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was supposed to be a review of our Christmas Cruise to Cozumel, Rotan and Belize. As it turned out it will be a review of our 7 day cruise to Cozumel. DW and I (late 40’s) took DS (18) and DD (16). DW and I had a very nice ... Read More
This was supposed to be a review of our Christmas Cruise to Cozumel, Rotan and Belize. As it turned out it will be a review of our 7 day cruise to Cozumel. DW and I (late 40’s) took DS (18) and DD (16). DW and I had a very nice entry level balcony cabin on deck 14 and the kids were in a nearby inside on deck 12 (there is no deck 13). While we are all veteran cruisers, this was our first Princess cruise, with most of our previous cruises on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. In the review, we’ll draw a lot of comparisons with RCCL’s Voyager class as that is where most of our recent cruising history has been and the prices and age on Voyager/Freedom Class and the Princess Grand class ships have are relatively comparable. We drove up from our home on the TexMex border a day ahead of time, having received very well communicated notice of delayed embarkation due to Noro clean-up in our e-mails, text and voicemail. We were fine with the revised schedule as we had a late check-out in a very nice suite at the Clearlake Hampton and had 3D-IMAX tickets to see BB-8 and light sabers the night before. We drove up exactly when we were supposed to show up for the revised embarkation and were promptly diverted to the now infamous holding lot at Bayport. They kept us there for about an hour, which would not have been so bad except: There was no communication as to when we would be permitted to drive up, park and board. We could see buses, taxis and shuttles all proceeding directly to the terminal. They filled the holding lot left to right, every other row. We ended up on the right. Then when they ran out of room, the filled the rows in between. When it came time to empty the lot, they emptied it from left to right row by row. So even though we arrived roughly in the middle of the local Texas drivers, we ended up being last. After dropping Wife, kids and bags, I went to park, thinking I would see wife and kids in a couple of minutes. Well, the credit card machine for the lot went on the fritz and, even though I had prepaid, ended up on a line for another 45 minutes or so to get in to the parking lot. The actual check-in went fine. Almost no wait as there were still many held up in the parking lot. Only one gangway, pretty slow deal to get on board once we were told we could. So even though we were told our late check-in time would be 1:30 and that’s when we showed up, we ended up not boarding until almost 4:30. We were told our rooms were ready, but we restrained ourselves from visiting the rooms and headed to the buffet as I had a sneaking suspicion as to what would happen next: The First of many bad news announcements from Captain Knick (CK) came at about 5pm: Late departure, late boat drill, late dining (all delivered in a wonderfully British Baritone). As soon as this announcement came out, the buffet got swamped. We had finished by then and went to check out the rooms. Now here’s where the first really good thing happened: most of our bags were already waiting for us – and the rest showed up by the time we finished unpacking the ones that were there. We really like the princess cabin set-up of a sort of walk-in closet en-route to the bathroom. Much easier to unpack and more privacy on the bed when the cabin door was opened. True the cabin itself feels smaller than a comparable cabin on a Voyager class ship, but on the whole we liked the set-up. Bathroom a bit dated compared to what we’re used to. R-Deck Balcony was more private that we expected, but we did not like looking down on to other people’s balconies – but it was preferable to having them look down on us. Only downside to the cabin was it was under the Café’ Caribe. We expected some galley noise at certain times of the day – but there was a perpetual BOOM, Boom, boom, bm - that repeated itself at 2 to 5 minute intervals, 24/7. Fortunately this noise was only audible on the Balcony and within a couple days we tuned it out. The ship’s layout lacked the WOW factor we are used to, but carpets and trimmings all were in great shape. Did not see anything broken or worn as others have reported. We’ve “been there and done that” with the rock walls and water slides and appreciated that the pool decks were actually pool decks and the pools reserved for adults were actually reserved for adults. Princess was the first to slap a big screen on the Funnel – we’ve never been fans of the big screen copies on CCL and RCCL (I actually had “Just say NO to big screens on lido decks” in my Cruise Critic signature for a couple of years) – but Princess did it so much better and it was just one pool of 4 devoted to this so it ended up being one of favorite parts of the ship. There are a couple of other things that Princess does better than anyone else we’ve sailed: Pizza and Bar service. They are so much better than what we’ve experience that I don’t even think it’s a matter of opinion as empirical fact. As the bar packages have been rolled out, it sure seems like the other guys have tried to limit consumption by cutting back on servers. Not so on Princess: a server was always there, just about everywhere, but especially at the Terrance Pool and the Casino (where they were woefully lacking on our last RCCL cruise). On the rare occasions we elected to walk to the bar for a drink, we were served promptly and courteously. We also really liked that we never had to sign for any drinks especially since there’s always a spot for the not-so-optional “extra gratuity.” At one point I even asked the server to please bring me a receipt so I could give him an extra tip (I did not bring my cash in the pool) and I he told me he could not do that. With respect to the Pizza – DW and I grew up on New York pizza and the Princess product is closer to that than anything we’ve experienced on any other line. We enjoyed dinner in the MDR every night. Food was very good 6 of 7 nights. 1st formal night’s (50th anniversary) menu had very limited selection and the “available every day selections” are not that great. Our waiter was an “old pro” who did most everything right. Our assistant waiter was young and enthusiastic, lacking the street smarts to avoid overtly pitching extra fee coffees and shot glasses at every turn. One thing we did not like was that bar service duties fell to the assistant waiters rather than a dedicated bar person; But, if I had to choose between a third service person to get me drinks in the MDR or better service at the pool and the casino, I’d choose the later – and this is how Princess is set up. The Grand Class ships lack the Wow of the 2 and 3 story dining venues we’re used to, but we had a very nice table 4 for by the window, fixed late seating. There are some things that disappointed us: Show room entertainment was satisfactory, but no WOW. Obviously no Ice show which has been one of our favorite things on RCCL. But I think the biggest thing that was missing was a “Good Start” to the cruise. I realized we had a botched departure, but we’re used to a parade or a party after the boat drill. We missed the single welcome aboard show as it was during our delayed, late seating dinner so we never really felt – well - welcomed aboard. I think we were waiting for that event where we could say “That botched embarkation is behind us and now we’re on a Cruise for Christmas!” Instead we just kind of skulked out of Houston in stark contrast to the “Bon Voyage” scenes we could see on the ship’s “The Love Boat Channel” every 40 minutes or so. This cruise had a chance for a reset with us in Cozumel, but something went awry with our dock assignment. We were supposed to be bow in on a pier by ourselves, but somehow NCL ended up with that on what is “Carnival Corp Dock” so we ended up later than our promised late arrival as we had to spin and then wait for Triumph to tie up next to us and then – inexplicably - most of the Trimuph pax were off before us - so it was even later before we got through the crowds to the cabs to Chuckanabb. We were there last year where DS and I tried scuba for the first time. This time DD wanted go with us and the instructor/Guide at booth #3 is so great that we were very happy to repeat this choice. But with the late arrival and anticipated traffic back in to port, the day was way too short – we were hoping to see the included sea lion show which we missed last time – but we did not have time. And then the wheels really fell off of our planned itinerary: The captain announced we would leave even later than our promised late departure, waiting for one missing passenger “In the Spirit of Christmas.” I rather doubt that was the reason: we’re speculating that Carnival pulled rank and pimped our pilot. Whatever the reason, we ended up leaving an hour and a half later than the hour we had planned, and had to spin again to head to Rotan. These couple of hours became the reason we were not able to dock, getting to an anchorage almost 4 hrs later than promised to a dock. Tender service was extremely limited – unless you were on a princess excursion or waiting on line for a tender ticket when the tendering was announced – you did not get ashore. The Captain actually came on and essentially said "where the tenderes come in there's not much there and time will be very limitied, so, unless you're looking for a very brief experience of rural Honduras, stay on board." After the last tender/life boat came back, it took forever to get the stowed and pull, so we were late leaving Rotan and arriving in Belize. Again, too late to get to port before the sunrise winds, 3 other ships got in on time and maintained their itinerary. So we ended up with at a day at anchor where we could not get off the ship plus three at sea to get back to Houston. You’d think we’d be able to stop back at Cozumel, Progresso, Costa Maya, Cancun, or even Grand Cayman with three full days… But Nooo! Houston is the one port we are going to be early to because of the track record of closures due to fog. So the cruise ended prematurely with the shops and casinos closed by 8pm on the night before arrival and we were tied up in Houston for the last night (so much for DW and I's tradition of walking the promenade the last night at sea). We went to the MUTs Sound of music sign along before the Verizon LTE kicked in and we lost our kinds to their Iphones. DW and I really enjoyed our Balcony and the Terrance pool and the casino for 4 days straight. One of the days was Christmas, so we had stockings with the kids by the little tree we brought with us (it fit very nicely by the TV and we were able to hang stockings under the TV with a Yule log station turned on). The Christmas decorations were nice, but RCCL does this better. The Captain came on the speaker Christmas Eve to announce Santa was sighted on the Radar and would be landing on board soon. We were sure he was going to say “high winds would keep Santa from landing as scheduled” as every other time he chimed in, it was to announce something similar. But it appears Santa used the same pilot as NCL, Carnival and RCCL – all of whom made it in to our scheduled ports when we did not. Only other thing we did of note was the Princess version of the Rasual (another cruise ritual for DW &I). We were warned before we started that if we left the door open to the steam chamber (which did not close right) we might set off the Alarm. After mudding up, DW and I got in to the steam room as fast as we could – but the alarm still went off. The alarm stayed on so long that, eventually I threw my robe on over the mud to find someone. The first woman I ran in to said “it will turn itself off” and eventually it did. But that was 15 minutes of blaring alarms in a tiled room. Then, after the alarm finally went off, our attendant started banging on the outside door telling us that the bridge had noticed an alarm and that we needed to keep the steam room door closed. Of course the only way we could acknowledge her was to open the steam room door – and the whole thing started over again. I did not think it would be possible for me to characterize an hour in a private spa with my mud covered wife as unenjoyable – but Princes managed to accomplish this. And - good lord – 15 minutes for the bridge to respond to a fire alarm?? So we were on a Princess Cruise with our kids at Christmas – that in and of itself was wonderful. We had a nice time with each other and enjoyed CB and her crew. Nice meals and decorations without the work. But this cruise did not provide very many opportunities to make memories. The debark was also very slow considering we were there so early. This was only the 2nd time we were able to get off the ship, but we’d have to say there is something different about how CB does their unloading (at ports of call and debark) that is slower than other ships – even those with more passengers (such as Oasis). On our drive home, I asked DW what here favorite parts of the cruise were. Her response was “Spending time as a family in the dining rooms and spending time with my Husband on our Balcony and at the casino.” I told her I felt the same way. She said “Good ‘cause that’s pretty much all we did!” Unfortunately, we’d have to rate our CB Christmas cruise at or near the bottom of the 23 wonderful cruises we have taken. Not saying we’ll never sail Princes again, but we’ll look at every other option first. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Stayed at Hampton Inn which keeps are car, for a price that's not too bad and All Star Shuttle to ship. 4th cruise on Princess so we have come to expect high standards. We didn't get it on this trip but a lot of people were worse ... Read More
Stayed at Hampton Inn which keeps are car, for a price that's not too bad and All Star Shuttle to ship. 4th cruise on Princess so we have come to expect high standards. We didn't get it on this trip but a lot of people were worse off then us. We didn't have problems with hot and cold water in our cabin but some didn't get it till the end of the cruise. We had no problem getting on or off the ship , our cabin was nice and the steward was nice as was all the help on board. The problems we encountered were more inconveniences then anything. We didn't understand that after dry dock the water problems although even before we left port on a delay because for a broken water pipe. We, along with a lot of other cruisers walk the deck to "try" and work off our meals, unfortunately they were painting, REALLY?, after dry dock? what's the purpose of dry dock? The smell made it impossible to walk. They did a nice job on the theatre, to bad other then the dancers the entertainment was sub par, I mean C- we were glad only had a short cruise and saw them twice to make sure they didn't just have an off night. Princess Cay is really nice but if you like the beach wear shoes and if you get a cabana prepare to walk a lot to get anywhere. The main pools where open and there were plenty of chairs. Some smaller pools were closed for whatever. We didn't like Sabatini's being gone but if they feel more money will be made on over priced babbles that's up to them. My biggest hassle was we paid for the soda package but they didn't have the tumblers to go with it so you keep getting small glasses of soda, had to stand in line to order it and walking around without it was not good. On the fourth day out the help disappeared. There was one bartender with 4 deep waiting, the towel booth was empty it was just strange, although it didn't last long it was just another straw on the camels back. The food in the dining rooms and on deck was fantastic and always fresh which went a long way to calming us except for the fact we couldn't walk it off. LOL We went to Turks at a slow speed and the ship wallowed the whole way, fortunately/ unfortunately a person got sick on the way back so we sped up and keep a nice trim, you could tell the difference. we went to a private beach on Turks, we were taken by truck turned butt buster , which wouldn't have been bad if the diesel exhaust didn't blow over us. The beach itself was a waste, little to no shade. snorkeling bad, no privacy no water pressure to shower off sand that got everywhere. But it did have Wi-Fi if you stayed in building where the bathrooms were.Stay by the boat it has a great beach. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We are a retired couple in our mid-fifties, early sixties that cruise often. This was our 20th cruise on Princess and our 48th cruise overall. We live in the Bay Area, much like a great majority of the others on this particular sailing. ... Read More
We are a retired couple in our mid-fifties, early sixties that cruise often. This was our 20th cruise on Princess and our 48th cruise overall. We live in the Bay Area, much like a great majority of the others on this particular sailing. EMBARKATION: Travel across the Bay Bridge to the pier in San Francisco was quick and easy in the late morning. Upon embarkation, we got in line inside the terminal and waited only a short period of time to get through the security line. We took a couple of bottles of wine onboard, thus we were asked to join the short line to have these checked at another small table within the security area. This was also accomplished quickly and were in the preferred check in line in no time at all. Check in was also quick and efficient with the clerk being knowledgeable and friendly. After we were checked in, we were directed to the boarding area. The entire security and check in process only took about 20 minutes total followed by elite passenger embarkation that started just prior to noon. We only took carry on luggage so unpacked quickly as soon as we boarded. We booked a cabin on the very aft of the port side on the Caribe deck and most everything looked to be ok. Our room steward greeted us shortly after we boarded and asked if there was anything else we needed. We headed down to the embarkation lunch in the main dining room. Oftentimes, the embarkation lunch in the main dining room is discouraged but we were greeted by a friendly host that seated us at a shared table for six without question. We toured the ship a bit after lunch and soon it was time for the muster drill. Our station was in the Vista Lounge and noticed that all check in machines were functioning properly (unlike our drill on our last Princess cruise). The presentation started and ended on time so we were quickly back in our cabin to return our life jackets and start the cruise. Because it started pouring outside, the sail away party was held in the centrum / piazza area by the cruise activities staff. We did not attend but noticed the hallways were very quiet throughout the remainder of the day. The sail away was delayed by a little over an hour and the captain came over the PA to notify us of the delay as well the sea conditions as we were leaving the Port of SF. We were warned that it would be rough sailing out and that was no lie. The halls were empty and there was a lot of creaks and knocks throughout the rather empty hallways. That night (and a few others) were so rough that it almost knocked us out of bed throughout the night and being in the very aft of the ship, lots of shaking of the cabin. I got many bruises from running into the handrail in the hallways so often. While there were not a lot of white caps during this cruise, the swells must have caused this type of movement which I liken to bouncing around in the ocean. Someone mentioned that the stability of the ship was affected when they removed Skywalkers but don't know if that is the case. I can only honestly say that is the least stable ship on which I have sailed. I've sailed on this itinerary many times before and in December before and this was worse than all the other times, possibly some of which was due to my cabin choice. SHIP INFORMATION: I think the Grand is one of the older Princess ships in the fleet. Whereas we've sailed on several other ships, this would be my least favorite of all. The ship itself had some of what I would consider major design flaws, including the ventilation system, location of the casino, a lack of a central staircase leading to the passenger decks and did not feel very stable in the open ocean compared to other ships on which I have sailed in much rougher sea conditions. The whole ship creaked, knocked and shook quite a bit as already mentioned. There were also some obvious maintenance issues and just an overall old and tired feeling in some of the public areas and at the very least, in our stateroom. The balcony edges, as well as the pipes and braces used to hold the pipes to the structure were broken, dented and/or rusted. There was a lot of paint dripped down onto the blue matting they use on the balcony with a lot of debris stuck within the small openings. This, in addition to the rust and railing dents, made the balcony way less appealing as it just felt filthy. It did appear that the above balconies were washed and ours caught the debris. The carpet near the balcony door was not secured so lifted up at the edges, the door itself would stick terribly on the tracks so it was nearly impossible to close the door all the way and our shower temperature control was broken. The latter two problems were fixed immediately upon reporting them and a follow up message was left on the phone to make sure they were fixed to our satisfaction, which they were. This was most appreciated!! Of note, the dial broke again on the last morning of the cruise so no hot water for our shower, whereas before it was fixed the first time, it was either burning hot or scalding hot. Our mini-fridge was not in working condition at first and had no cooler dial but seemed to work a bit better later during the cruise. Our room steward filled an additional ice bucket for us every day to keep our mini bar items chilled. He did this without our request so again, this was most appreciated. Everything else was ok in our stateroom except for the sheets that were stained by the feet, that we hadn't noticed until later in the cruise. They weren't our stains, so this should never ever happen. One of the robes we also requested was quite stained, again, not our stains. They were laundered so not fresh stains but these should have never made it up to the passenger decks as such. The towels that were provided were fresh and clean each and every day. There were several areas onboard that needed maintenance, such as the carpeting on the aft stairwell, the couches in the Wheelhouse Bar as well as some at the One5 and the ones outside the Explorers Lounge, some seats in the theater and the hot tubs throughout the ship. As mentioned, there were pipes that were supposed to be braced up against the structure of the ship but those had all broken free due to rust and painted over and rusted right through the coats of paint. So much rust down the length of the ship as far as the eye could see. Some of the interior areas of the ship were extremely drafty and cold, including some parts of the main dining room and in the casino. Numerous passengers complained but they couldn't turn the air conditioning down or the whole ship would be affected. The smoke from the casino oftentimes poured out into the surrounding areas such as by the purser's desk and at one of the entrances to the casino. One passenger was heard complaining as he booked a window suite and was plagued by the smell of smoke in his room. Unfortunately, they could do nothing for him as the ship was full. Lesson learned as I could also smell a strong odor of smoke while at the front desk tending to my paperwork. The dining areas, including the Crown Grill, the MDRs, the International Café, Vines, Alfredos, the buffet and outdoor grill / pizza bar were all in good condition and looked well maintained. I especially loved the area in which they tucked the library. The Internet Café was ok, but many of the stations had no computers -- so looks as though half of the stations were empty and there were oftentimes lines waiting to use one of the available PCs. The internet was slow but not the worst -- it did kick me off once and logged me onto some other account when I logged back in. I reported it but the staff member said he had not heard of this before. Not wanting to even risk using someone else's minutes, I logged completely out of that PC and logged onto another one under my own log in. I loved the area in the shade just above the back pool. It was furnished with comfy outdoor furniture -- great place to sit and read a book or just relax. It was very underutilized in my opinion. The wine cellars is tucked into a nice little corner and beautifully appointed but also underutilized. SERVICE: Now, this is where this ship excelled -- the staff and crew. We had amongst the best service ever and always with a smile. Our room steward was fabulous, seemed to anticipate our every need. He would drop everything to let us into our room if we were carrying plates or coffee back to our room. He should have never be put in the position of having stained sheets / robes for the passenger cabins, so do not fault him for this. He was never intrusive and just did an overall excellent job....one of the best we've had. He also reported those problems mentioned above to his supervisor and maintenance ... which were remedied quickly. Bar service in both the Wheelhouse Bar, Crooners, the casino and the One5 were exceptional. We were never left thirsty wherever we went. The service at the pub lunch in the Crown Grill, in the Main Dining Rooms, Alfredos, the International Café, the Trident Grill and the buffet was never anything but perfect. I was so impressed by their new service at the buffet, especially in the morning hours. They bring your egg order to your table to you (piping hot by the way) instead of you waiting in the food service area to reduce congestion. It really is one of the best improvements that could have been made on Princess. There were always plenty of waiters to make sure your coffee was filled and that you got juice with your breakfast. In the evening, the chef would do most everything possible to make sure he would provide something to your liking. The only question I would have is why there were no turkey products available throughout the ship during the morning hours. Sometimes, they would offer me a special order of turkey sausage in the buffet but couldn't do it in the main dining room. They only had pork sausage and bacon available and this wasn't so on the Star Princess last month. Also, service was fabulous in Alfredos but would have liked to have a Caesar salad option available as well. The International Café staff was great and seemed to go above and beyond to make sure their patrons were happy and satisfied. The coffee bar oftentimes had long lines but somebody would come by to see if brewed coffee was requested to alleviate having to stand in line. The maitre'D in the main dining room was also fabulous, as were the waiters and waitresses. Room service was always quick and our order was always accurate. Very friendly room service staff onboard. The front desk, photography and boutique staff was knowledgeable, friendly and efficient....just excellent all the way around. We started referring to the entire staff as the staff of 'yes' as we rarely heard the word 'no'. Even the pool attendants were friendly and attentive and were always busy cleaning something. ACIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT: The cruise director and activities staff were energetic and talented. They organized a very fun deck party as well as entertainment in the Piazza. We missed some of the shows as they conflicted with our dinner schedule but did see the comedians and enjoyed those shows immensely. We have noticed they no longer schedule any hypnotist shows and always enjoyed those. We wish they would bring those back. For trivia lovers, this would be your trip -- seemed like they were held several times per day. They did get a little too intense for us as the groups were a bit too intense and competitive, so we stopped going after a few times. Bingo and line dancing classes were also offered but we didn't attend those either but they both looked very popular. There were also drawings and contests throughout the cruise adding to the fun. If there were lectures offered, we missed those. What is nice, is there is an app that can be used to check on the activities for the day as well as an area to check your bill from your own device without using any internet minutes. NICE touch, Princess. The bands throughout the ship, the piano player at Crooners and guitar player/singer offered a variety of music throughout the ship. We particularly liked the band that oftentimes played at the Wheelhouse bar. They did a great variety of music just for listening or for dancing. The wine tasting was fun although they no longer provide one of those cute little shot glasses with it. This was certainly not a deal breaker for us. The captain's club event was nice but the drinks they served were just ok. The white wine they served had actually turned a bit. I didn't think it was drinkable. The red wine was ok. DINING: Beyond the excellent service, the food was anywhere from ok to excellent. Options for those that don't eat red meat were not as plentiful as on other cruises we've sailed on but did manage to find something somewhere onboard; sometimes better than other times. The pizza up on the pool deck was very good, maybe even better than that in Alfredos. The Trident Grill now has cooked chicken available rather than having you wait 10-15 minutes for this option. Additional items such as ribs, onion rings, chicken wings, etc are available after 6 PM for a casual style dinner. The items at the International Café are also very good for a small snack and we never found it hard to find a seat to enjoy it. PORTS OF CALL: Since we only took one tour from Princess, this is the only one in which I will go in depth. We took the Cuyutlan Turtle Sanctuary and Salt Museum tour. This was definitely one of the best tours we've ever taken so well worth our time and money while visiting Manzanillo. Our bus was air conditioned and quite comfortable with a tour guide that spoke English well. The turtle sanctuary was of course, the highlight and we were lucky enough to each release our own recently hatched turtle into the ocean. The salt museum was interesting to us, not so much by others. We finished the day with a fabulous lunch in a local restaurant, complete with frosty beers. An excellent day all the way around. We had time to tour the pier area which is now located down by the sailfish statue instead of by the container port so this was a plus. We took a tour off the ship in Puerto Vallarta which was just ok but was then highlighted with a stop at the Tequila distillery in the Mismaloya area that was fantastic. We stopped for a bucket of beers inside the terminal area ... they were ice cold and so appreciated and had very friendly service there. We only got off to go to the little shops in the pier area in Mazatlán to pick up some hydrocortisone cream to stop the itch from some bug bites I got in either Puerto Vallarta or Manzanillo and then headed back onboard. There were 4 ships in town that day so extremely crowded and chaotic. We stayed onboard while in Cabo and enjoyed what we thought would be the solitude of an empty ship. There were a lot of people that had the very same idea so not exactly quiet but was very enjoyable, nonetheless. While sailing from Cabo back towards San Francisco, we were on the balcony to get some great shots of the sunset. The captain came over the PA to announce our position and that we might see some whales. No sooner did he say that did a whale completely breech right off the aft port side of the ship. It then continued the show by slapping it's tail in the water at least 2 dozen times. It looked to be having quite a lot of fun providing us with quite the show. That was probably the best whale watching tour we've been on ... and all just off the side of the ship. DISEMBARKATION: One of the most organized disembarkations that I've experienced. Our ride was available a bit earlier than thought but were given an earlier walk off disembarkation that morning and were disembarked within minutes of our scheduled time. Well done, Princess! SUMMARY: Overall, the cruise was pretty good and we met some very nice people onboard and had some of the best service ever. Although this was my first cruise on the Grand, this ship is my least favorite in the Princess fleet and will most likely cancel one of two future cruises I have booked on her. If the service weren't so great, I would probably cancel both. I usually try to sail in the first couple of weeks in December as our schedule is flexible and pricing is good. I do hope that Princess swaps out one of her newer ships to be home based in San Francisco in the very near future and hope to get such a great staff and staff onboard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I haven't written many reviews but I read many before we go on our cruises so I thought it was time I contributed. This was our 8th cruise (2nd on Princess) and I can say that for the most part everything met our expectations. Our ... Read More
I haven't written many reviews but I read many before we go on our cruises so I thought it was time I contributed. This was our 8th cruise (2nd on Princess) and I can say that for the most part everything met our expectations. Our anniversary falls in December so we generally cruise at that time of the year. We were also only on the ship for 10 days. We chose this itinerary for the ports of call. Embarkation - Very nice. This was our first time out of Port Everglades and I was impressed on how quickly we got through the line and on board. We stayed at the Quality Inn in Fort Lauderdale because they had airport AND cruiseport shuttles included with the price of the room. While the hotel was just OK (it met our needs), the breakfast was very nice and we were able to relax before taking the 1145 shuttle to the port. We arrived at the port at 1215 and were on board at 1250! It was very efficient. Ship - This was by far the nicest and largest ship we have been on. The decor was stunningly beautiful. We were on the 16th floor and never really had any problems getting from place to place or waiting for the elevator. The only time the elevator was an issue was after the muster drill and after excursions off the ship. We did not use the pool, adult area, hot tubs or fitness area because our rooms balcony was the best (more on that later). We did enjoy the football games and a couple of movies under the stars. Dining - We always choose the late dining option because we don't want to feel rushed for dinner after coming back from our shore excursions. We requested a table for two but the arrangement was really several "two person" tables in a row. We have had some great experiences in the past on other cruise lines and at first I thought we were going to have problems. On the first night, we were showed to our table and left there. No menus, no drinks, no nothing for 15 mins. The couple next to us had menus and so did the table behind us. I kept trying to catch the eye of the Matre D but he just ignored me. When we were about to leave and not come back for the rest of the cruise, the waitstaff finally showed up. I'm glad we stayed because the couple next to us turn out to be a wonderful retired couple that we struck up a friendship with. For the remainder of the cruise, the service in the MDR was nice and most times the food was average to good. There were some consistency issues (one night the steak was cooked perfectly, the next, it was shoe leather). We ate in the Horizon court mostly at breakfast and it was fine. The coffee was horrendous which is probably why they have a coffee bar on the ship but I don't want to have to pay extra for a fresh brewed cup of coffee. We stuck to tea. Alfredo's is excellent. We ate there several times for lunch. The pizza at Alfredo's is 1000 times better than the pizza by the pool. Did not go to the specialty restaurants. I feel like I already paid enough for the cruise that includes meals. Why should I have to pay extra? Just an excuse to nickle and dime you to death. Room Steward - Cannot say enough good things about John our room steward. He was always efficient and courteous. Whenever we saw him in the hallways, he said good morning (or evening depending on the time of day) and had a ready smile. Our room was always clean and fresh. Excursions - Did not book any excursions from the boat. Too expensive. We did independent tours and enjoyed our time on shore. Entertainment - Other than the football games and a few movies, the entertainment was very sub par IMHO. The "Colors of the World" was so so, we walked out of Beatlemanics, and never went to the 'Spectaclar' show. The only show worth seeing was Hawley Magic. Even the comedian was not good. Other entertainment options were also not very good during the day. Other than trivia, there were no offerings that made you want to go (knitting club any one). The best musical offering was the string quartet. The steal drum guy just seemed out of place outside of the Crowne Grill. Disembarkation - We have never had such an easy time getting off a ship. We choose to self-disembark to leave quicker. We left our room at 1000 and walked straight off the ship right to the customs officer and passed right through to a cab. We were literally off the ship in 20 mins. Even the customs area was not busy. I think Princess does a good job of controlling the flow of people off the ship. Impressions - We will cruise with Princess again. The boat was nice and most of the crew members were VERY nice. The Guest Services desk left a lot to be desired but otherwise they were friendly and helpful. We have limited options on cruise port availability and Princess goes out of the ones we can get to easily. They also have nice itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Started off in Brisbane Australia, embarkation was quick & easy, once on board we made our way to our stateroom c703, we entered the room for the first time & first impression was one of disappointment, our stateroom was more like ... Read More
Started off in Brisbane Australia, embarkation was quick & easy, once on board we made our way to our stateroom c703, we entered the room for the first time & first impression was one of disappointment, our stateroom was more like a statecloset, it was small with little room, the bathroom was very very tiny, bugger all wardrobe space. If someone was at the wardrobe then you had a very hard time getting in or out of the bathroom & stateroom main door. One of the lamps that was attached to the wall above the bed was broken & was reported to our cabin steward on arrival & was still broken on the conclusion of the cruise, the mattresses on the bed was passed it's use by date as it was very saggy in the middle & after the third night sleep we woke with a sore back every morning after, there was run marks on the walls & stains all over the carpet. We went to see a show in the vista lounge & after asking the wait staff for a coffee as we don't drink alcohol we were promptly told that they dont do coffee & when we asked why we were just told that we couldn't get one. We went to the Ragilleto restaurant the first night for dinner only to leave hungry due to very small meals so we made our way to the buffet to top up our still rumbling tummies, when we walked into the buffet we were amazed at the selection of different foods on offer & the great quality, so we ate there every night there after, the buffet was great. The ships entertainment & shows were good, the ships staff were good, except for the wait staff in the vista lounge, not very helpful. Overall with the exception of what was mentioned at the start of this review the cruise was good & we would consider Princess Cruises again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
While I agree that the Coral Princess had the best production show cast I have seen on a cruise ship I was quite disappointed with the Coral Princess. I wonder if it had something to do with the Captain leaving the ship before the end of ... Read More
While I agree that the Coral Princess had the best production show cast I have seen on a cruise ship I was quite disappointed with the Coral Princess. I wonder if it had something to do with the Captain leaving the ship before the end of the cruise. What is it that caused my disappointment? Let's start with the water in the bathroom. All too often you either had cool water or hot water but rarely both. It certainly was not only our cabin. This complaint was a recurring theme in conversations with other passengers. One lady I spoke with had nothing but steaming hot water for 3 straight days in her room. She had to shower in another location because the water was too hot for a shower. As long as I am on the subject of water there was hardly a hallway that did not have evidence of a leak. Carpets were wet everywhere. Fans were blowing up and down hallways trying to dry out the carpets. In addition to the hallways passengers were experiencing leaks in thier rooms. Bottom line was that the plumbing had exceeded its life expectancy and was just being patched awaiting drydock in January, 2016. Then there was the dining room. In days gone by, there was the Maitre 'D; Head Waiters over sections of the dining room; Table Waiters having a section of tables; and, two Assistant Waiters assigned to each section under the Table Waiters. A while ago Princess, in an effort to cut costs, reduced the Assistant Waiters to one per section. I also think they added at least one table to each section thereby further reducing the staff in each dining room. In our section the only Assistant Waiter left the ship after two days and was never really replaced. Someone on occasion came to help our Table Waiter but those times were few. The result of the staffing problem was inordinate delays at dinner. The Waiter failed to get the dinner order of one person at our table on one night. On another night he forgot to get the items that were ordered for one person at our table. Why didn't we say something to the Head Waiter you might ask. I did early on in the cruise and the Head Waiter did absolutely nothing! In case those of you on this cruise of the Coral Princess didn't notice, there was no butter on the table. Apparently in another short-sighted Princess cost cutting move, the butter dishes are no longer allowed to remain on the table. The Head Waiter (yes, the Head Waiter who is already over tasked with the reduction in personnel) is required to personally place a pat of butter on each bread dish and then take away the butter dish. At our table this required the repeated request for butter and the resultant back and forth waste of motion and time of the Head Waiter. Turning to debarkation. eZCheck was offered and we signed up for it. I fully understand that acceptance by the company that runs eZCheck is discretionary with them. However, communication with the passenger is the responsibility of ship's personnel. I was told that if I did not receiving debarkation information by 9:00 pm the night before debarkation I was to contact Passenger Services. I did as I was told and so did a hundred or more passengers. The best that I could tell was that no one received eZCheck and the problem was exacerbated by the fact that we were not notified by Princess personnel. We did not have luggage tags or any information concerning debarkation. This resulted in all of "us" either converging on Passenger Services at approximately the same time or calling Passenger Services. The three (yes only three) people at the passenger Service counter were totally overwhelmed. They did the best they could but there was no superior officer present to assist, direct, or call out more staff. The aggravation was palpable. Phones rang continually and went unanswered because the meager staff present was attempting to assist those who waited in line for an hour or more. It was a very unpleasant way to ean a cruise. Did I hate the cruise? Absolutely not! After 40 overall cruises and 26 on Princess, I was very disappointed in what I see as a diminishment of the excellence service and the overall diminution of what was a really, really good product. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Having sailed transatlantic several times, we thought it was time to sail the Pacific. Princess offered the itinerary and dates which fit our schedule. We had been on the Ruby before in the Caribbean and felt it would suit our needs for ... Read More
Having sailed transatlantic several times, we thought it was time to sail the Pacific. Princess offered the itinerary and dates which fit our schedule. We had been on the Ruby before in the Caribbean and felt it would suit our needs for this cruise. However on this cruise, with many sea days, inadequacies did show up. We had a standard balcony cabin - R503. It was excellent primarily because it was on the starboard side. We enjoyed sunny afternoons and sunsets. However, if occasional noise from the pool deck above bothers you, go for a different floor. Entertainment in the theater was a mixed bag. Princess has introduced some beautifully staged shows made ugly by the incredibly loud sound. The band plays so loud and the singers scream making many in the audience cringe or leave. We had anytime dining which could be a problem. Since there are few reservations to be had, if you wish to eat at either 5:30 or 7:30 you will have no problem. Of course if you want to go to a show - usually at 8 and 10 - you'll have to figure it out. Thanksgiving dinner was a disaster for many. The buffet was so overcrowded there were lines out to the swimming pool. Service in the dining room was speeded up to such a degree that the enjoyment of the dinner was more like eating at a fast food restaurant. It was speed service and speed eating. Crazy. Many folks parked themselves in the Piazza at the international cafe to sit all day and knit, read or play cards. This utilization of space made it difficult for anyone else to find a table if you just wanted to sit and have a cup of coffee or eat lunch. The piazza is too small for the number of people wanted to use it. There were several activities geared to the Hawaiian theme - ukelele and hula lessons and instructions on making leis. However one must sign up quickly as there is limited space. Also, be aware that there is a cost to lei making - not indicated in the Princess Patter. Did we have a good time? Yes!! Would we do it again? No. We live in Florida - and the Caribbean islands - with the exception of Honolulu - are as interesting and beautiful...and easier for us to access. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Princess has always been a name to trust for service. Not on this cruise. The bar staff, in all locations, seemed bored, disengaged and lacking knowledge to do their job. The anytime dining was very poorly done. This might be because ... Read More
Princess has always been a name to trust for service. Not on this cruise. The bar staff, in all locations, seemed bored, disengaged and lacking knowledge to do their job. The anytime dining was very poorly done. This might be because there are over 3,500 people on a ship with one and a half dedicated dining rooms. One evening it took almost 2 hrs to eat! There is only one intimate bar setting and it was a DJ venue. At least the bar worked well. There are no walls for an intimate late evening piano bar. Everything is open to the Piazza- which is very pretty, but too exposed for some things. We had to sit on the floor to see the entertainment in one of the main rooms! Because the dining situation was so screwed up I think everyone had to go to the same show. The only saving grace here was that the entertainment was terrific. The overall ship is beautiful. The balcony rooms are small and so is the balcony. Unless you are in a suite, the towels are like the ones you would use to dry your car awful! The food was just okay. The dessert presentations were beautiful. Don't get me wrong-it wasn't all bad; the cruise director and staff were wonderful; our steward was great. The ship is very clean. Kudos to the cleaning staff. The entertainment ws super. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I found most of the staff to be great and the food ranged between acceptable and good depending on the day. I was not impressed to find two extra beds attached to the walls in our already tight interior stateroom (this was not mentioned ... Read More
I found most of the staff to be great and the food ranged between acceptable and good depending on the day. I was not impressed to find two extra beds attached to the walls in our already tight interior stateroom (this was not mentioned anywhere during booking or thereafter). As a young couple, we found the entertainment to be lacking as it catered to the older crowd. This ship's passengers were predominantly retired, 70+ passengers. I guess that is the norm with cruising, but on a 7-day cruise we hoped for a better mix of passengers. I was pleased with the decor on the ship, it is quite nice. I don't mind the odd leak here and there as long as it isn't posing a threat (or in my stateroom!) Ensenada, Mexico did not have much to offer. I would recommend foregoing the mandatory daily tip (you can opt out) and tipping the staff yourself. For example, if you eat mostly in the buffet, you're not getting as much service as the folks in the dining room. With that being said, the food in the dining room was great but each meal was a 2-hour experience so we mostly avoided it. They add 15% extra tip on top of all bar tabs also, so where is the $11.50 USD per day really going? I'd rather have more say in who deserves it (90% of the staff were fantastic, especially our cabin steward). Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The Ruby at one time was beautiful, and the staff wonderful. This time the staff all needs a vacation. The Ruby needs dry dock. The plumbing is the major issue. Many toilets are not up to american standards. especially the smells on ... Read More
The Ruby at one time was beautiful, and the staff wonderful. This time the staff all needs a vacation. The Ruby needs dry dock. The plumbing is the major issue. Many toilets are not up to american standards. especially the smells on deck 8,9,10 aft! our neighbors were lucky enough to move, we had no luck since we were in a suite. The food was fair, the specialty dining was so rude. Specialty restaurants are becoming a joke. we made a standing reservation each night at the Crown Grill. Never have i been told to go to the dining room, they could not provide me with plain fish or chicken, REALLY, Crown Grill. The Ruby doesn't serve lunch in any restaurant during port days. You are on your own for the buffet on international cafe. which by the way is the best food on the ship! We have sailed this Mexico run for 30 times and never have we been told, sorry we are closed today! The Breakfast at Sabatinis was wonderful, staff and food, exceptional friendly, then off to the SPA. Best part of the ship. Now to say during Halloween we expect DRUNKS..but we found the crowd to be OBNOXIOUS! stay out of the hallway and party in your rooms, have fun, but not to the extent we cant get thru the hallways. Some travelers enjoy the cruise just the way we are, quiet ,relaxing and having a great time at the BAR not in the halls. The art auction was great, David we will miss you and your sense of humor. Princess is missing a great guy! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my second cruise with the first one being on the Carnival Conquest in 2005. I booked this cruise for the romance that this particular ship was supposed to have. I left feeling a little disappointed. The Good: -The itinerary ... Read More
This was my second cruise with the first one being on the Carnival Conquest in 2005. I booked this cruise for the romance that this particular ship was supposed to have. I left feeling a little disappointed. The Good: -The itinerary was great although we lost Cabo due to Hurricane Patricia. -The excursions were great and they had a great selection for each port. -The main dinning rooms food was excellent and there was always a different selection to choose from each night and a beautiful variety, along with the items available overnight. -The ship has a great selection of things to do each day while on the ship. -Our room steward was Outstanding! -Most of the staff are Excellent! -Very few kids. Please don't take it that I don't like kids, I have 3 (they were not with me on this cruise). I was just wanting a more adult cruise and that is what it was. -We met a lot of Fantastic people on this cruise that we hope will end up to be long term friend! The Bad(ish): -The ship is tired and needs a remodel. All the walls and furniture are beat up. -The steak house (for and extra fee) was not worth it at all. The waiter kept disappearing for long periods of time and the steak was super dry even at Medium Rare. -We had numerous issues with the Spa! The first time you have a service you fill out a form which is used each time you come back. I had a pedicure and she had a fail and we also paid for the Thermal Suite at the same time. The second time we returned for a 75 minute massage, we had 4 different people ask us who we were and spent 15 minutes looking for the paperwork. Then gave us a 45 minute massage and wrapped things up 10 minutes prior to the 75 minutes. Charged us full price. Took 2 days to fix this because the manager seams to only work at night. Then we went back a 3rd time (not including the daily use of the thermal suite) for another massage. Each time you use the spa after the first, they are supposed to give you a percent off (10% for first, 20% second, and 30% for third and additional times). Nope, no discounts. had to ask them to review our account. She got her discount but I didn't. They said that my pedicure didn't count and neither did the thermal suite. I still haven't gotten this fixed. -The entertainment was very lacking. -After a Carnival cruise, I expected more from Princess. We paid more for less. I know that Princess is owned by Carnival, but this cruise felt like a carnival cruise without the higher-end feel that you always hear about! Its the same size as the Conquest but with a lot less. Overall it was't a bad cruise, but there was a level of expectation that just wan't there. We did enjoy it, because I absolutely love cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I've been on Princess before and loved it, but this cruise was not like that. I had reserved a wheel chair for embarkation and they didn't have one for me. Our cabin steward never referred to us by our name, we were lucky to get ... Read More
I've been on Princess before and loved it, but this cruise was not like that. I had reserved a wheel chair for embarkation and they didn't have one for me. Our cabin steward never referred to us by our name, we were lucky to get a hello out of him. We encountered a few rude employees which shocked me. When we got on the ship we were the first to sign up or the ship tour and we were told we would be on it and it would be the last sea day & someone would call us the day before to give us details. Well the day before we got a call telling us it was cancelled, I was so upset because that was all I wanted to do on the ship, we went to the purses desk to ask why and was told not enough people signed up for it only two other people signed up for it, there policy is 12 people have to sign up, I would think it's easier to move 4 people around the ship than 12 and your still getting $600. I called Princess when we got home and they said that the policy is no more than 12 people so they should have done the tour. Our fitted sheet had a hole and for four days our steward didn't notice it. Trying to get into the main dinning room was a joke we ate one night in the dinning room and the buffet the rest of the cruise, we didn't pay over $1,700 to eat in the buffet. We never got to Cabo because of hurricane Patricia which I understand it's an act of Mother Nature so we had two days at sea coming home with not much to do at night. The comedian Ocsar Carlos was great and he only did 3 shows one night, why didn't they have him perform the last two days. We were not impressed with the food or ship, we will never do Princess again Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We spent the night before the cruise at the Hampton Inn North Airport/Cruise port, which was very convenient. They kept our baggage the next morning while we went on a Segway Tour on the Riverfront in Fort Lauderdale. This was one of the ... Read More
We spent the night before the cruise at the Hampton Inn North Airport/Cruise port, which was very convenient. They kept our baggage the next morning while we went on a Segway Tour on the Riverfront in Fort Lauderdale. This was one of the highlights of our whole vacation! We had no idea that the beautiful Riverfront walk existed, and enjoyed two hours zipping along on our segways past lovely mansions and across the big bridge near the ships. We had time to kill because the Emerald was coming back from Europe to sail the Easter Caribbean, and there was to be a coast guard drill as well as other delays, preventing boarding until after 2pm. Some people had come early and sat waiting for several hours. Once onboard all of our luggage showed up very quickly, but we noticed that our balcony cabin air conditioning was barely working, if at all. We had repairmen come to our room each day for five days to try to bring the air conditioning back to life. We finally gave up. It worked a wee bit, but made showering and dressing a terribly hot mess. We were told that many cabins were complaining of the same issue, and that the ship was supposed to go into dry dock sometime to repair the air conditioning systems. This unfortunately did nothing to help us. I was also told by a crew member that it is best never to plan a Caribbean cruise on a ship just back from colder climes because air conditioning problems always arise. Remember that! Best to wait a few weeks for them to get the systems working again. No one needs them in Alaska or colder parts of Europe and problems aren't noticed. So the week was unfortunately quite uncomfortable in the cabin, even with drapes drawn all day. We couldn't sleep with the covers on. Dinner food in the main dining room was very good each night that we were there. The food there has actually IMPROVED since our last Princess cruise in 2011, and staff was very attentive. Excellent steaks last evening. Kudos to Princess there. We also found the buffet to be quite satisfactory as well, without too many lines and decent waiter service as well. Lunch was better than breakfast, however, and late afternoon snacks there were plentiful. Sabatinis left a lot to be desired with the lobster main course. The lobster was plain and had little taste, with no butter for dipping. We really did not enjoy Sabatinis this time, compared to our last two cruises on the Crown where the food was excellent. Thumbs down there. We had ultimate balcony dining one evening, which had the best lobster of the cruise by far--a very large tail with excellent flavor, along with a filet mignon. We had an extremely attentive waiter who kept peeking in our door, just to see where we were with each course so he could come in and pour more wine or whatever. He could not have been better, although we felt maybe a little too pampered if that is possible...we felt kind of strange having this sweet waiter waiting on only us that evening. Only thing that was bad was the champagne they gave us--horrid! The champagne was even better at the champagne waterfall. But that didn't spoil our dinner. The weather, however, was extremely hot and humid that night, and that took a little of the joy out of it for us. But we would definitely recommend the ultimate balcony dinner for those who are looking for something very pampering with superb lobster, when your weather is expected to be comfortable. They brought a table, linens, all the silverware, flowers, and took pictures, from which we could pick one free one. Plus a cocktail and four courses! We do not recommend the crab shack dinner that you have to make reservations for. The king crab was completely tasteless, as if it had been sitting in a warmer for hours. That was a big disappointment, as we love king crab. Not a hit with us at all. Others had been turned away because it was booked, but tables sat empty. One irritating issue that we had to deal with was an erroneous charge for a $50 wine tasting which we had canceled our reservation for the day before, and we even showed up at the room beforehand to reconfirm our cancellation. We were not there for it at all. It took from the beginning to the end of the cruise for that charge to be removed, with us checking on it each day, having being rudely dealt with by a woman at the purser's desk who said that the dining department had to remove it and she couldn't do anything about it. That is not taking ownership for an erroneous charge and should have been dealt with much faster, with a better, more appropriate response. Thumbs way down for that one. Even though it wasn't a huge amount of money, the way Princess treated us about it wasn't very nice. The ports were wonderful, as always. Went to Orient Beach on St. Martin (Club O, the best part of the beach!) for a wonderful beach day without having to deal with people hawking their wares because they are banned on that part of the beach. Club O is the naturist resort, clothing optional, and we love it. It is not like you imagine at all. Almost everyone is over 50, all shapes and sizes, and people aren't there to gawk and are very friendly. Plus the beach there is superb. No photography allowed there though! We went to Megans Bay at St. Thomas which was okay. Like Orient, we have been there before. Had some good Bushwackers from the bar--those are highly recommended on St. Thomas. But the water in the bay seems not as nice as it is at a beach that is more open. Megans seems more like a lake with mountains on each side. But makes for lovely pictures. Next time we will try Sapphire or Lindquist beaches. St. John's beaches are great, but the traveling to and from really chews up time, so we didn't do that this time. At Grand Turk our one and only Princess excursion (catamaran snorkeling) was cancelled, but we didn't find that out until we walked out to the meeting area in the cruise center. They hadn't notified us by phone or anything beforehand. It was too late to plan a different snorkling excursion at that point and that was kind of depressing. We ended up finding a cab to take us out to Bohio beach which turned out to be wonderful, and the driver gave us a tour of the nicer homes on Grand Turk and told us all about life there, which was above and beyond his fee--great guy. I even rode a horse on the beach, which was owned by a local boy there with his brother, trying to pick up some money for rides. The horse was a descendant of the Spanish horses that came there in the 1600's--very small but very tough little guy. Water at the beach was really nice that day, free from the seaweed that plagued the cruise port and made the water unswimmable. Seaweed is a problem at Grand Turk cruise port right now. My Spa message was very nice, but we were overcharged...was supposed to be charged the port rate that I reserved online, not the sea day rate. Had to argue about that and it kind of ruined the experience, but they did correct it the next evening. Spa showers were great--I used them a couple of times because it was so hot in our room, and the spa showers have a removable handset and can be set to all kinds of settings. I'd go after using the spa pool or the sauna and steam bath in the women's dressing/showing room. Those things are all free and everyone should make use of them. The pools on Princess ships are great--they are the main reason we go on Princess because they are numerous (4), fresh water, and 3 are adults only! If you have kids, this may not be a good fit for you. Our kids are grown and we love the adults only pools in both the spa area in front and the deep pool at the aft. We'd bring drinks from our room in plastic glasses to the pools. We also watched the Steelers game on the big screen on the deck, and one movie. We felt that Princess could have more and better entertainment, especially more comedians. The two that we saw only had one show each. The impressionist was very good, doing both talking and singing impressions that were funny and on target. He is a young guy who will be on America's Got Talent next season! The dancers were good and came out for the disco deck party which was a fun touch. So it was a mix of very good, okay, and a few things that kind of stunk, like the air conditioning. The worst thing was coming home and coming down with Norovirus the next day!!! AWFUL! It is a three day torment and caused us to rethink whether we ever want to cruise again. There were no special things done by the cruise line to prevent the virus, and our commode always stank and even leaked. This was the worst part of the cruise, unfortunately. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The Good: The food and the entertainment were all excellent. A nice variety of meals and every venue we dined at was equally good. Even the buffet was excellent. The entertainment was varied and top-notch, including two comedians and ... Read More
The Good: The food and the entertainment were all excellent. A nice variety of meals and every venue we dined at was equally good. Even the buffet was excellent. The entertainment was varied and top-notch, including two comedians and two different singers (these were the headliners). The cruise staff also gave two very good performances. The cruise director is to be commended for the good choice of entertainment. The Bad: The embarkation could be handled much better. After standing in line to check in, we had to stand in line again to have our pictures taken for the ship's passenger pass. On other cruises, the ship's pass is given when you check in. Debarkation was okay. The ship definitely needs to be refurbished. We noticed wear in the carpeting in several areas, but the worst thing was leakage in the two hallways, far aft on Emerald Deck. There was "water" leakage from the ceiling in both of these areas. We were told it was the cooling system but it smelled suspiciously like urine. We only took one ship's excursion in Panama (we made private arrangements in other ports) and we disappointed. The excursion was to see both the working and new locks. The tour started out great, spending about 1 hour watching ships traverse the canal (including the Coral Princess). Then we went to visit the new locks. We spent nearly two hours here (at least one hour too long) - I suspect because they wanted to "waste time" until the Coral Princess was docked in Colon. The UGLY: Our waiter (in the Bordeaux Dining Room) attempted to sell us a "complimentary" Princess 50th anniversary glass in a very deceptive way - telling us it was free and then saying it would cost only $5 with a shot of something in it. Very distasteful! The other embarrassing situation occurred when a lounge waiter occurred asked us to take our card game to the card room. This occurred in the Martini Bar, where there were several other tables available and we were not disrupting anything. We felt like school children being scolded in front of other passengers! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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