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296 Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

We looked forward to our first Princess cruise, especially as the Royal Princess was christened only 6 months before our departure. The Royal is a beautiful ship. The crew is friendly and, for the most part, when they understand English ... Read More
We looked forward to our first Princess cruise, especially as the Royal Princess was christened only 6 months before our departure. The Royal is a beautiful ship. The crew is friendly and, for the most part, when they understand English they are competent. Crew members go out of their way to be helpful even if what you ask isn't in their job description (as in, when deck personnel couldn't be found, an officer located a stack of towels at the pool). Now for the not-so-good news. The food and entertainment were mediocre at best. The restaurants and buffets offered many choices, but the quality of the food was only average. Entertainment: meh. Food: feh. The drinks, reasonably priced, had minimal alcohol, and the choice of liquors was poor. This brand-new ship has decks that are slippery when wet. Slippery when wet! That means that even if you don't have rain, you'll find a lack of sure footing every day when the decks are washed down. Who builds a ship that embarks in 2014 with slippery deck material?! (We saw a little boy fall--and he wasn't even one of the many elderly on board.) The Sanctuary, an adults-only private sundeck, requires a hefty extra fee. Upgrading to a specialty restaurant also will cost you $25/person to walk in. Whoa, Nelly. You've already paid for the cruise. In truth, the Sanctuary is a bit nicer than the all-adult Retreat, but is it necessary for Princess lines to add an elite, VIP area for those willing to shell out about $100/day more? We could have afforded the Sanctuary, but the principle is offensive and elitist. The Enclave, part of the spa, also has an extra charge. This dark area of the ship is small and can be noisy. You'll find about 8 warm tiled lounges and a small pool, fragranced showers, and sauna and steam rooms. The pool and sauna areas are co-ed. The spa offers the usual: bamboo massages, salt scrubs, etc. Perhaps the best deal is the $99 "20-20-20" offer, in which you choose three 20-minute options. The casino allows smoking. Enough said. So much more to say about our disappointment with the Royal Princess, but let's leave it at this: why would anyone want to spend a week on a ship that has only average food and below-average entertainment? Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our fourth Princess Cruise in three years, and 14th cruise overall. For this experience, we were somewhat disappointed. Our mini suite was a good sized, but the furnishings were in need of replacing. For example, the sofa was ... Read More
This was our fourth Princess Cruise in three years, and 14th cruise overall. For this experience, we were somewhat disappointed. Our mini suite was a good sized, but the furnishings were in need of replacing. For example, the sofa was dirty and cushions fairly beat up. Our room steward (Ramon), while seemingly pleasant, provided basic cleaning but nothing special. On embarkation day, I asked for robes, which he delivered that evening. Upon our arrival, the chairs and the hand railing on our balcony were filthy, and called Ramon's attention to it. He nicely explained that embarkation day was a difficult turnover day to get everthing done, but he would tend to it. However, the next day after he cleaned but never touched the railing or the chairs, I cleaned them all myself. But on day 4 of our cruise, Ramon entered our locked cabin while we were inside with the "do not disturb" sign in the door (ugh) and said he was there to clean the balcony. In fact, on a couple of occasions Ramon walked unannounced into our cabin while we were there when our "do not disturb" sign was on our door. Separately, mid cruise during an at-sea day, my husband lost his on board cruise ID card which you use for all purchases. He went to the customer service desk, and they issued him a new card. When he questioned what if someone found his old card, the attendant told him it would not work because the actual card had been deactivated in their computer system. My husband then questioned about the services on board where crew members simply jot down your folio number, rather than swipe the card. The crew member curtly stated that no one on board does that, and that all crew swipes through the card reader. At that point the crew member got an attitude as if my husband was bothering them. For the next few days, my husband and I chuckled with each other about how many times we both used our ship ID card when each crew member just jotted down our folio number without swiping it. Additionally, we daily checked our on board account. On the last night of our cruise, a CHARGE (not ours) for Sabatini's (specialty dining) for $25 showed up on my husband's account, Apparently whomever snagged my husband's lost card decided to use it and have a special dinner "on us"; and yes PRINCESS CRUISE LINES it was charged to us by your crew jotting down the folio number and not swiping the card as we had feared. Luckily, my husband caught it and promptly went to the customer service desk and disputed the charge, which they credited back to us. Perhaps your processes need to be revisited????? For me, itt's not that passengers have issues while on board (that's assumed), it's how the cruise line deals with the customers that is our complaint. And the customer service desk crew on board the Coral Princess FAILED both on process and tone, to the point that we will select a different cruise line for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Sailed from Port Everglades on the 8th December for my wife's 60th birthday present. We had a Mini Suite R609, many issues and problems we did not expect as a suite passenger. 1st ever time on Princess as a passenger. (1) no water ... Read More
Sailed from Port Everglades on the 8th December for my wife's 60th birthday present. We had a Mini Suite R609, many issues and problems we did not expect as a suite passenger. 1st ever time on Princess as a passenger. (1) no water in the room unless you paid for it everyday, I haven't been on a cruise before where this took place, as a passenger in a suite you expect to be given some perks. This alone would put me off going on this ship again. Felt like I was being nickel and dimed for basic things like water. (2) Power cut out in the room the 1st night and it took 5 calls to passenger services to get anyone to come and look at the problem. (3) toilet block at 5am on the 2nd evening again it took them almost 1 and a half hours to come and look at the problem with people not understanding the English good enough to understand the problem. (4) tap handle broke in the WC within the 1st hour we used the bathroom, again it took 2 days for anyone to do anything about it. (5) 1st night in the anytime dinning was a total shambles, they told us the place was full and we had to go to the other dining room, when we went to that one they had no idea about how to fit us in for anytime dinning, the senior manager of the restaurant then cam to our aid after 10 minutes and seated us. The waiter was like a comedian and just throwing plates down in front of us with no decor or interest at all. I ordered a good bottle do red wine and the waiter split it the 1st time he poured onto the table cloth and left it there to dry in.The food in anytime dinning is terrible, worst I have ever experienced on any cruise line ever. There are major safety issues on this ship, no stairs on certain floors so if there is a fire or evacuation you have to go across the ship to use stairs and nothing was available at the floor we were on , only lifts which you cannot use in emergency situations. (6) the internet is a total joke, I tried to send 1 email and after 2 days it still never sent and cost me over $40.00 in internet costs. Everyone was complaining about the slowness and total non functioning of this internet on this ship, you would think that for the newest ship on the seas this would be sorted. When I spoke to the IT guys they said it's the satellite, being in IT myself this was total rubbish, there is just not enough servers on the sip to do any level of internet activity at all. 100s were complaining and I asked and got a 100% rebate on my account for this shambles of a system. (7) the patio doors in our suite creaked every night making sleeping difficult. Princess needs to really buck up their logistics and customer focus, because as a suite passenger I felt nothing extra. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean blow Royal Princess out of the water as far as passenger detail and quality of food is concerned. Good points are the entertainment was fantastic on this ship. We made our cruise vacation a good time but felt we would never go on anther Princess cruise again. Even passengers who had 21 previous Princess cruises told us the Royal Princess was very very poor in comparison to other Princess ships.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My (DH) and I were first time cruisers on the Princess Cruise Line, but sailed on Royal Caribbean twice, Celebrity, Holland America and Carnival (Europe) lines. Our sail date was Dec. 15, 2013, seven day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on ... Read More
My (DH) and I were first time cruisers on the Princess Cruise Line, but sailed on Royal Caribbean twice, Celebrity, Holland America and Carnival (Europe) lines. Our sail date was Dec. 15, 2013, seven day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Royal Princess. We booked a Mini-Suite through an Internet Travel Agency and selected our Mini-Suite on Deck 11, which is called the Baja Deck and the Mini-Suite was located midship-aft on the portside. I changed from a Mini-Suite starboard midship side due to the fact that all of the midship rooms located by the “Seawalk” have zero privacy. Pre-Cruise We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel in Fort Lauderdale associated with the Marriott chain, but it had no visible signs of the Marriott Brand and our taxi driver was unaware when I asked him to take us to the Marriott Renaissance. We were disappointed with our “deluxe” corner room and the view of a rooftop parking lot. The room was old, shower curtain’s bottom perimeter was filthy and overall the hotel is outdated. The best part about the hotel is its location being directly across from Port Everglades. We walked to Outback for dinner, which is across from the Embassy Suites and prior to dinner we tried to take a free “Trolley/Shuttle” to the Mall, but the driver said that due to a Boat Parade the Trolley/Shuttle could no longer cross the bridge (hmm). The free Trolley/Shuttle is located on the side entrance across the side street from the Renaissance, but the “free” service normally ends at 6pm. Embarkation We signed up for the Renaissance’s Port Van Shuttle to Pier 2, which is where the Royal Princess was docked starboard side and portside facing the water. The shuttle cost $6 per person, which in relation to the distance being across the street is pricey, but due to Pier 2 being full of traffic, a taxi meter would have cost more. The Renaissance’s Shuttle had multiple stops, RC Allure being first because it was the fastest and the Royal Princess being the last because it was the slowest. We arrived around 11:45am and a Princess Port Attendant told me that we could not board with priority, despite having booked a Mini-Suite. We waited in a very long line that was being halted until at least 1pm. Since I took care of our accommodations, my DH was not aware that Mini-Suites had priority. After 20 minutes, I asked another Port Attendant and they apologized and immediately allowed us to surpass the line and board. We finally boarded, dropped off our carry-on bags in our Mini-Suite and ate in the Horizon Court for lunch by 12:30pm. All luggage arrived shortly thereafter and our Muster Station E was in the Live Theater. Mini-Suite Nice size and arrangement of the room. The bathroom had a tub, no metal case around the toilet paper and access to the roll was not a problem. However, we were HIGHLY disappointed with the small size of the balcony, I love sitting on the balcony for breakfast and at night, but the lack of space did not allow for us to sit forward, we could only sit at an angle. Our room was high enough to not have an obstructed view with the lifeboats, but I agree they should be recessed because looking over the rail; no water is seen only orange life and tender boats. My only other complaint about the room is the creaking all night of the walls and ceiling and how thin the walls are as we heard our neighbor in the cabin to our right moaning all night. The Captain was sailing at a very high speed while sailing toward St. Thomas and that night was the worst creaking and kept us up, along with the ship rocking. We had to remove the hangers as they banged together all night. We moved the table from in front of the sofa to have an unobstructed access to our balcony. We would recommend rooms without a sofa, as two chairs and a small table would have been sufficient allowing for expansion of the small balcony. Elevators Horrible, too small and way too slow. The capacity stated 18 people, but barely eight of us fit and if we had a scooter on the elevator, then only four people could fit. Passengers were rude when you crammed your way onto an elevator that finally stopped on your floor and/or finally stopped without bursting at the seams with people. Time Change The shipped moved time forward by one hour Tuesday 2am or as described in the Patter Daily Newsletter as Monday night. I thought it was unnecessary and made me really tired the entire cruise, along with throwing my medication schedule off. Time changed back Friday night (2am Saturday). Crew Drill There is a required biweekly Crew Drill that took place our week on the 4th day (St. Thomas), which started at 9:45am. The Captain announced the morning of for the entire ship and some decks and staterooms were heavily impacted. The sirens/alarms/horns were extremely loud and repetitive. Thank God we had an excursion, but for those who planned to sleep in, so such luck. Please note that the required Crew Drill will take place again during the cruise week after Christmas and every other week then on. Testing Our water was being “tested” and turned a brownish color and was unappealing. When I’m on vacation I would appreciate all test be done the morning of embarkation while the ship is in transition. Ports The weather was GORGEOUS in all ports including Fort Lauderdale. Sunshine, warm to hot and no rain. Part of our first night sailing, a little rain fell and MUTS was emptied. Otherwise, warm and sunny days, which is just what we needed being from the Northeast. Since we had been to all Ports in the past, except Princess Cay, we only booked an Excursion to St. John through the ship. We ran late and did not complete all activities, but a fractional on-board credit was granted upon request. We took a noon tender to Princess Cay and found chaises and dragged them under a palm tree. We took the Port Boat Taxi over to Phillipsburg in St. Martin for an all-day pass of $7 per person and we shopped, connected to wifi and sat at a bar and on the beach. Casino Too small, too much smoke and not generous. There were two non-smoking nights (formal nights), but the smell still lingered and on the right side of the Casino, the entryway is facing a cigar bar. I feel sorry for the workers who have to endure the smell and be exposed to cigarette smoke toxins. I really don’t understand the “Smoking Section” of a Casino or any other place. A Smoking Section still makes the whole Casino fill with smoke. There were only a few smokers, but they ruined the entire Casino with their toxic smoke. There also seemed to be more people in the Casino on non-smoking nights and I had to avoid many slot machines and a roulette table due to their proximity to the “Smoking Section.” Another pain was having to utilize your stateroom card to “Cash-Out” on any slot machine and the constant request from the table dealers to swipe your card prior to playing. I often decline as I was having bad luck whenever they swiped by card. Spa I tried to book a hot stone for multiple days and at the same time, but they were booked. Again, another example of the ship not being able to accommodate the capacity. Dinner/Food We were assigned a table for two as requested, but that was all that was granted. I waited forty-five minutes to speak with “Rouland” the head Maître d' about our request for a table by a window and traditional dining at 6pm, but to no avail. We arrived at 5:30 in the Concerto Dining Room and asked that our request be honored. After a nasty verbal dialogue, we were accommodated with a window, but still no late dining. We were celebrating my birthday during this cruise and I requested a yellow cake, but they brought me chocolate. My DH also had to call about our stateroom door being decorated, which we were told they had no such request (untrue) because I saw the word “birthday” written on the Maître d's dining list and the birthday was clearly noted under My Princess tab on their website. Finally, after we returned from dinner after 8pm, our door was decorated. However, it was Too Late, as the day was over. The Head waiter Peter from Bulgaria rarely spoke and I made a request from our very helpful and kind waitresses Katarina and Zoryana that he speak to us as he spoke to all other guests around us. The food was hit or miss for me, but my DH enjoyed most meals. I don’t eat pork or beef and never had a problem finding other choices on other cruise ships, but on this ship, it was very slim pickings, especially for breakfast in the Horizon Court, which only had turkey sausages one morning, along with many food items being cold (eggs, pancakes…) I caught the waffles being placed hot off the grill. There may have been other venues that served none pork/beef breakfast meats, but I should not have had to search for such a common item, or order a special dietary menu prior to sailing. We usually went directly to the Horizon Court after dinner so that I could find something to eat, which I did and my husband thought the food tasted better than most meals served in the Dining Room. I did enjoy three out of four meals served in the dining room, but I really enjoyed all meals I selected in the Horizon Court. The Court is the best designed on any ship in our opinion. I must highly recommend the hazelnut ice cream on the dining room menu, as it’s the best tasting I’ve ever had in the entire world! The ship’s lido deck only served ice cream for free, but my DH can only eat non-dairy products and enjoys the yogurt served on other cruise lines. We both missed that option and a strawberry flavor. For a charge, there is Gelato, but I’m not a fan. Room service was great for lunch, but they could never bring me COLD milk for breakfast with my cereal, so I stopped ordering breakfast. I thought the pizza on the lido deck was fair, a bit too greasy for me and the fries were good from the grill. Frozen Drinks were not authentic and others drinks were comparable. This is the only cruise where I lost weight after sailing. Entertainment We went to two shows: Colors of the World and the Motown Show, both were good. We had to get to the theater extra early to find a seat and to also find a non-obstructed seat because some rows are not tiered. Latin night was ok and the Club 6 was ok. I loved the Band Steel when they played Caribbean Music by the pools. Pools were small and always full. My DH tried the shooting range and enjoyed the experience. Football was shown on Monday night only on the MUTS screen and not in your stateroom. I enjoyed the free On-Demand movies in our Mini-Suite and having two televisions came in handy. I enjoyed the water fountain dancing music and light show (Bellagio don’t worry), but the deck became flooded during most shows making the floor slippery. My DH and I had to help a lady get up who fell really hard because the deck was so slippery when wet. The Seawalk is in a bad location and should have been placed on a lower deck (closer to the water) in the front or back of the ship, along with being slippery most of the time. We must note that most shows for any event are not timed appropriately to effectively coincide with dining times. Disembarkation We were in the first group, with the ship handling our luggage, to disembark. We were delayed by 35 minutes and knew there would be a delay as our ship was still sailing close to 6am. The Customs’ line took another 40 minutes, but no problems with Customs, taxis or at the airport. Conclusion Would I cruise again with Princess? No. I would reconsider ONLY if Princess COMPLETELY redesigned this flawed and future ships, honor my request in advance of sailing, served more variety of breakfast meats and most importantly, take note from Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Management on how to schedule and manage venues, elevators, dining , embarkation, excursions, balconies, pier drop-off and 3800 plus passengers effectively.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Fellow passengers: We are aged 45 and 50 and were expecting an average age of 50 on the ship. I'd say the average was more like 70. Cabin: Deck 11 aft balcony cabin was very nice. Plenty of room, clean, bed comfortable. All in all ... Read More
Fellow passengers: We are aged 45 and 50 and were expecting an average age of 50 on the ship. I'd say the average was more like 70. Cabin: Deck 11 aft balcony cabin was very nice. Plenty of room, clean, bed comfortable. All in all very pleasant. Our cabin steward seemed stretched to get everything done, but he kept our room in good order. Food: Some hits and some misses. We had the anytime dining plan. Music in the Vivaldi dining room was loud and over-done. We did not return there. Music in the Savoy was also loud. Santa Fe and Pacific moon atmosphere led to a more relaxed dinner, but they were more crowded. Our last night in the Santa Fe dining room, we waited a long time for just about everything and left without having the coffee we ordered. Wait staff frequently confused who ordered what in all of the dining rooms. Best meal was the lobster and shrimp. Worst was a peppercorn steak; it was nearly impossible to cut, even with a steak knife. Tables are very close together, so an intimate dinner is just about impossible in the anytime dining venues. Our most relaxed meal was at the pizza restaurant on deck 5 - it can be crowded but we went early and the pizza was delicious. Breakfast was best in the international dining room. The english muffin paninis at the International Cafe were surprisingly good, but they charge for coffee there. We ordered a burger at both the pool deck and the international restaurant. Terrible - avoid burgers (meat seems like a soy or pink slime mix?) Pool Deck: Go early to find a lounger out of the wind. Liked the Move Under the Stars feature. Drinks: We tried three or four cocktails during the cruise. They were OK. What's missing is a decent beer. They have nothing that approaches a craft beer on board. Entertainment: We watched the opening number of one of the song/dance shows & did not stay. Pretty bad. Comedy act was hilarious. Magic/illusion show was OK. Musical performers in the Piazza were often very good. Spa: AWFUL. I booked a top to toe facial & massage the first day on board. Ship noise was very loud in the massage room, so that was not relaxing. Therapist spent 15 of the 75 minutes trying to upsell me to a more expensive massage and then wanted me to sign up for consultations to services for removing wrinkles and fat. I have been through timeshare presentations that were more relaxing. During the massage, another employee came into the room (?????). At the end of all this, I went to the changing room to take a shower, and there were maintenance workers trying to fix a sink (NO signage up to warn of maintenance workers in changing room). When I asked if there was someplace else to take a shower (because the sink area was open to the shower area), the female attendant insisted that I should just use the showers even with the maintenance workers in there. No thank you. This is the only time I've ever been less relaxed after a massage than I was before it started. Excursions booked throughout the cruise were good. Ensenada is not much of a town, but we had an excellent tour guide, Roger, for wine tasting tour. Cabo beach excursion was good. Puerto Yelapa tour was also good. Good: Room, excursions, pool deck. OK: entertainment Bad: restaurant service, burgers, spa. Overall, I would cruise Pincess again if it was a bargain. I'd know to avoid the spa, and I might try regular dining plan rather than anytime. Ideally, though, I'd look for a cruise line with peppier passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Embarkation was slow; took an hour standing in line. The ship itself has a strange, chopped up design. Takes some time to discover which decks you can walk through from bow to stern. We got a midship balcony cabin port side on the Aloha ... Read More
Embarkation was slow; took an hour standing in line. The ship itself has a strange, chopped up design. Takes some time to discover which decks you can walk through from bow to stern. We got a midship balcony cabin port side on the Aloha Deck, which had an outstanding view! The cabin itself was smaller than other cruise ships we've been on. Our cabin steward was slow in responding. We did enjoy the Sanctuary Cabana on deck 17 forward. It was $200.00 a person extra for an all week reserved lounge chair. Go directly there after boarding the ship, as these reserved chairs sell out quickly! We ate dinner in the Palm Dining Room, which required walking down a flight of stairs to get there. Food Service was slow at the first, until the Dining Room Manager was told and corrected the situation. Quality of the served food was adequate, not great. We had yet another norovirus attack. The Crew handled the incident by serving all food with latex gloves. Still felt like we were cruising on a plague ship! We made all the ports but had to return early to Houston because of fog in the Port of Houston. As stated by others, entertainment was marginal. Waiting line for treadmills, as the other treadmills were not open until 8:00 am. Those were closed as they are situated above occupied cabins! Deck bars shutdown at 9:30, too early! Been too spoiled by past cruises with other cruise lines. Probably will not book another Princess cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was my 5th cruise (1st with princess ) . Me :25 husband :27 daughter :14months Maybe my expectations were set too high after thinking that we would be sailing on a ship a level up from P&O. Most of the staff were friendly enough ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise (1st with princess ) . Me :25 husband :27 daughter :14months Maybe my expectations were set too high after thinking that we would be sailing on a ship a level up from P&O. Most of the staff were friendly enough with some exceptions (the children's area staff came across rude and uninviting, and when complaining /enquiring the service desk staff made us feel very little and stupid at our enquiries ). GOOD: food :we mainly ate in the "horizons buffet" this was just convenient for us with our daughter as it was quicker and easy for us ,we ate once at rigoletto but with our fellow dinners being around 40years +older we thought we would give it a miss the rest of the cruise. The food and service was good but I found the buffet offered similar equal quality offerings. Staff: the staff at the casino, vista lounge & bar near the main pool were lovely (stince, Marvin ,Roberto ,Edgar to name a few ) BAD : Noise : DO NOT book your cabin anywhere near the vista lounge above or below if you value a good nights sleep. I complained several times after being kept awake until midnight and they didn't want to do anything about it. "We will get them to check noise levels" ," sorry we can't cancel the show" " this is an entertainment venue" "there won't be more products on so you should be right" That was what we got in reply to simply asking them to turn it down (not cancel it ) , the bass is so loud and your can hear word for word every lyric to a song. In apologies after a very sleepless night (and a visit to reception ) we had 5 chocolates and a sorry note in our room - simply not good enough !! SMELL: the ship started to get very stinky with sewerage , this has happened on a ship I've been on before but it wasn't as smelly as sea princess. Activities/entertainment/music : everything was more suited for someone 55+ , activities were bean bag toss , indoor bowls !scrap booking , (we still took part but that was because there wasn't anything else to do ) Overall I don't think I would sail with princess again , p&o although the ships aren't as nice offers a lot more for various age groups and seems to have more variety in ages of passengers. I didn't feel valued on this cruise and felt as though we attended activities just to get out of sitting around doing nothing. All in all when you pay full price for a child under 3 and get attitude from the staff in the children's room when you take them for a play isn't on. We still had a great cruise but next time it won't be princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
When we decided to take a cruise around Cape Horn, we knew we were going for the itinerary. There were three lines leaving Buenos Aires in the time-frame that we had (Celebrity, HA, and Princess). We chose the Princess because of the ... Read More
When we decided to take a cruise around Cape Horn, we knew we were going for the itinerary. There were three lines leaving Buenos Aires in the time-frame that we had (Celebrity, HA, and Princess). We chose the Princess because of the chance to go to the Falkland Islands. However, we also expected a certain level of entertainment, dining and an overall experience in line with the Princess brand. Never again. 1) The lack of exercise facilities. One of the things my wife and I look forward to when cruising is the running track. There's something about running on the high seas, with the challenge of the wind, the fresh air, etc. It's fantastic. According to Princess' website (even still today), they offer running trackS. Needless to say, there was not one. We had two options: Deck 15, which involved us hurdling over passengers and deck chairs, or Deck 7, which went 3/4 around the ship, until you meet 4 sets of stairs. Both options do not qualify as running tracks. On past cruises, there would be a dedicated area, size did not matter, with a proper running surface, that had no obstacles and just room to run. 2) Cleanliness. This should be #1, but I believe both go hand-in-hand. Princess does not take illness seriously, until it happens. There are Purell boxes available only at the buffet, the International Cafe and the pizza/hamburger restaurants. However, you will not find them when leaving any bathroom, the gym, entering the sit-down restaurants, or the casino. I witnessed a number of people not wash their hands in the bathroom, and as disgusting as that is, at least a Purell station would give them a chance to make amends. Personally, I got sick with the norovirus, after taking incredible care throughout the trip. While some might disagree, I put the blame on Princess for not doing enough to encourage cleanliness amongst other guests. I was aware of how quickly an illness can spread on a ship and I took the utmost care, but you never know what could trigger it, and I think Princess does not take it seriously. With that being said, upon getting sick, Princess did ensure I was quarantined. However, what to do with my wife? I think if one wants to stop the spread of an illness, making my wife sleep in the same cabin as I is not the best step. Why not have a cabin available in this case? Let the companions of sick guests stay there until the illness has run its course. She was not quarantined and she could have potentially spread the illness throughout the ship. Not smart, Princess. 3) Entertainment: sub par. The non-singers were good: Comedian Cary Long and Hector the Magician were both pretty good. Gaucho Del Plato seemed like a continuous Saturday Night Live skit, but he was still entertaining. However, the Princess Pop Stars gave the paid musical entertainment a run for their money. The Princess singers were okay, but the dancers - continuously out of sync and should spend more time practicing than in the gym. Elvy Rose was awful. Crooner, Jamie Cuadra...much to be desired. It also begs to question the decision making at Princess when both Rose and Cuadra sing similar sets. I understand being in Latin America and I appreciate the music and culture, but it was a Latin American overload for the last week. Too much. The theatre was 2/3 empty. In terms of the on-board activities, a number of the games were fun. The "Movies Under the Stars" is a great idea, but is anyone really going to sit outside in freezing weather to watch a movie? Why not broadcast elsewhere in the ship or in the staterooms? 4) Food: Two different experiences. The dining room food and service was excellent. The Maitre D, Neville, should have his own show in the Princess Theatre as he is both funny and charming. However, the buffet food leaves much to be desired. The bread was stale, the fish selection wasn't consistent, they would constantly run out (and not replenish) items. I expected much better from Princess and honestly, a Carnival cruise put this buffet to shame. 5) Tendering: Horrible. If you know you will be tendering in a port, why not run more tenders? At Stanley, the most popular port, there were two tenders going back and forth. The lineup was over an hour. Not acceptable. 6) Embarkation/Disembarkation: Surprisingly smooth and simple. I was impressed with that. 7) Staff: For the most part, they were very kind and helpful. Our waiters (Roy and Boris) were fantastic. Our cabin steward (Antonio) was also quite good. Having used the services of the nurse, I forger her name, she was excellent. Those reporting to the cruise director were also great. However, the other staff, at the guest services department, were subpar and useless.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Just got back from a 4 day costal cruise (LA, Catalina, Ensenada) Boy has the cruising industry changed. 3rd trip on Princess, 9 cruises over 35 years. I once thought Princess was the best line I had been on. I'm now rethinking ... Read More
Just got back from a 4 day costal cruise (LA, Catalina, Ensenada) Boy has the cruising industry changed. 3rd trip on Princess, 9 cruises over 35 years. I once thought Princess was the best line I had been on. I'm now rethinking that. In Fairness Not the worst cruise I have ever been on, but that cruise line is now gone. Embarkation with a wheelchair for my father, went smoothly. First meal on board, Horizon Café. Marginal at best. Hometown buffet food is about the same. Service at the buffet was great. all the waiters were very attentive. but the food was dry, overcooked, either bland or mis-flavored. Everyday, even in Mexico they had some sort of Asian food intermingles with their Mexican food. (Miso Ramen, Sweet and sour fish, 5 spice fish, Thai something.) Don't get me wrong, my wife is Chinese I love Asian food. This food was awful, overspiced, anything fried was dry, In 4 days at lunch I never had "Good" food at this buffet. It was OK, but nothing special. Anytime Dining, and Auto charge Tipping: It is clear that because wait staff is guaranteed tips, there is no real effort to wow the customer anymore. Even my last cruise 9 years ago on Princess, they still provided a dining experience, Not so on this cruise. We had a party of four, and tried all four "Anytime" restaurants. Not a single dinner was served complete. We were always missing someone's second appetizer, or the Shrimp was left off the Surf N Turf plate, or three out of four of us would get our non alcoholic drinks ( they never missed a drink they could charge for). Complete Paranoia over brining alcohol on the cruise. My father had no problem brining his 6 inch knife, but they searched my luggage and threatened to charge me if they determined I had brought more than the 1 bottle of wine that was in my luggage. ( you are allowed 2 per cabin but they had to verify I did not carry any more on). and again in Catalina, they were more worried about alcohol than sharp items. Entertainment: Production Show was very good. Comedians, were not my liking. Both were Black comedians who make fun of fat, or mentally handicapped, or gay, or white, or Asian, or someone in the audience. Neither worth the time. Typical Ghetto humor. Disembarkation What a joke, The cruise is over so they don't seem to care how much trouble they cause you. Yes, I am very angry about this. We pre-ordered wheelchair assistance for my father for embarkation and disembarkation. When they delivered the groups for disembarkation they assigned us to a carry your own luggage, non-assisted group. The Service desk was helpful and changed our group told us to arrive at the assigned lounge 15 minutes early so we could have a wheelchair. This is where the lack of training and "It's not my problem" attitude comes in. Staff at the lounge says you have to go to another location. When you go to that location the staff says no, you are OK where you are, we will send a chair all they have to do is call. Go back to the original location and they refuse to call saying they will get in trouble, and their supervisor told them not too.... Now angry that my father who needs a wheelchair to get off the boat has been bounced around like a ping pong ball. I request the supervisor, a request that is twice denied. and I'm told to go to the service desk for a supervisor, again denied. Trying to keep this story short unless someone from Princess wants to hear it. Basically the crew member said It's not my problem when we pointed out that we did exactly what the staff told us and it was not what she was told. there is no effort on the staff to do the right thing. and just help the passengers when it comes to the end of the cruise. What a way to leave a bad taste. Just in case you are thinking...I did not misunderstand, as I was not the only group misdirected by the desk and other locations about the wheelchair access. The crew's inability to take responsibility and fix the problem with the least passenger impact is enough to make me rate this cruise experience poorly. Will I cruise again with Princess, Probably. But they need to prove themselves to me again. Short Summary: Cruise staff is poorly trained at providing an excellent passenger experience. Food Quality has decreased. Service experience has declined. We only received our full order on 2 out of 8 sit down meals At the end of cruise, they clearly don't want to be bothered by you, their customer, the customers that pay their wages, by taking a cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This cruise got off to a rocky start with a delayed boarding due to Norovirus being on board the 2 cruises previous to ours. But it was worth the wait of a delayed 4 hour board because it seemed to clean up the nasty bug. After 3 days we ... Read More
This cruise got off to a rocky start with a delayed boarding due to Norovirus being on board the 2 cruises previous to ours. But it was worth the wait of a delayed 4 hour board because it seemed to clean up the nasty bug. After 3 days we were release from our Code Red. Our cabin was great as we splurge and purchased a mini-suite this time. (D407) Excellent room with plenty of space and storage area. Never used all of it. Having a tub/shower combo is great. Extra seating area makes a lot of difference when you want to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the crowds. We definitely enjoyed it. Not sure if I like the completely open balcony or not though. Our room steward, Sandie, was excellent. He always asked it everything was ok. Never wanted for anything and room was always kept clean and refreshed. He even left me a little gift the last evening we where on board. Such a special extra touch is always nice. Morning room service (which is one of our highlights on all our cruises) was good the first day but from then on it got slower and slower. On the 3rd morning it never showed up so we just went for breakfast. Got a message later in the morning that our breakfast order was ready and they would bring it as soon as we called. Oh well..... As far as the ship goes, we have had better cruises. Entertainment in the Princess Theater was good and so was the comedian. Tried to catch more then one of his shows but it you didn't get there early there was no seating available. There was no sail away party and only one deck party that we know of which was held at 9:30 at night. They did have a live band but all they did was play for entertainment in between movies. Most of the afternoon entertainment was held in the Piazza which has limited viewing area and if you needed to use the stairs sometimes it made it difficult. This cruised seemed to rely on the 'Movies Under the Stars' to much. Weather was not real great on sea days and pools were a little chilly. We love a morning swim and didn't get to do that the first 2 mornings. Had we realized it was Spring Break for some of California, not sure we would have booked this cruise. Most of the hot tubs were taken over by kids during the day and evening. Staff on board were just kind of there I guess. Did get a lot of 'hello's and smiles though. Crooners bar had the most friendly staff and seems to go over and above to take care of you. Food was very lacking as far as taste and variety on this cruise. Have had better in the Horizon Court. Two different days we tried to eat lunch there and found nothing to our liking so had either the grill outside or pizza. Both were very good. Dined in the MDR twice and sat with some very nice people. Food was ok but not great and service seemed kind of rushed. We did realize that having only 2 port days (which we thought we would enjoy more sea days) is not enough. Maybe it was because there wasn't a hole lot to do on the ship. Do enjoy PV and Cabo but have noticed that the prices for meals in Cabo have gone way up. Was the main topic on board the ship after we set sail. Still have a lot of fun during our port days and weather was great. Will we sail back to the Mexican Rivera? Not sure. Will we sail with Princess again? Most definitely. Was this one of our better cruises? No. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My wife and I decided to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a seven day Alaskan cruise on the Island Princess departing Whittier, Alaska on June 25th. After reading several CC reviews we made the decision to book our own port ... Read More
My wife and I decided to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a seven day Alaskan cruise on the Island Princess departing Whittier, Alaska on June 25th. After reading several CC reviews we made the decision to book our own port transfers from Anchorage to Whittier directly with the Alaska Railroad. Checking our luggage to the ship was easy with porters at the train station, so the next time we saw our luggage in was in our state room after boarding. The check in process was extremely easy, from the time we showed them our boarding information to boarding the ships was only about 10 minutes. After getting on the ship we found our way to the room and the luggage showed up shortly after our arrival. The weather conditions were cold and rainy, but when Whittier is one of the rainiest ports on the cruise what can you expect. We ate breakfast and lunch most days at the Horizon Court because it convenience and the food quality was good. My wife is a soup and salad person and I like the taste of a good Asian curry or stir fry if it’s available. One of the breakfast items we has which was outstanding was the mini quiche that are prepared and ready for the early risers. The wait staff in the Horizon Court, in most cases, were friendly, unless you wanted something out of the ordinary. We chose to purchase the All You Can Drink Pass (~$49 /day/person) that allowed us to drink anything we wanted under $10. On average a coffee was $2.75-$3.00, a beer was $4.00-5.00 and a Martini was $8.50 - 9.00, so depending on what you drink it may or may not make sense to purchase the pass. Prior to departing, I pre-booked a couples massage which was changed by the SPA to a time that wasn't convenient and when we tried to reschedule the receptionist became very rude. My wife inquired about getting her hair blow dried for our anniversary and the receptionist asked "Do you want it washed?" which totally caught us off guard. After this incident, we cancelled our spa reservations and chose to save our money and do something else, which we found later that day. One of the employees in the Sanctuary approached us while having lunch to let us know about a special they were running for our day in Glacier Bay. They were offering a package that included specialty drinks, lunch, photos, and a reserved chase lounge or cabana for only $60 per person which was probably one of the best activities we did on the ship. Princess normally gets $20 for a half day and $40 for the full day. The staff in the Sanctuary was outstanding. Marvin and Milos two of the staff members made our day, a very special occasion. In Skagway we purchased the Glacier and Whale Watching Excursion which was a little overpriced, but definitely an adventure. My only word of advice is take lots of Bug Spray, lots a mesquites and flies to contend with. In Juno we did the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching Excursion which was great, although the time at the glacier was like going to any national park with lots of tourist and not having enough time. The highlight of the excursions was in Ketchikan where we did the crab fest and adventure which included about 1 hour of unlimited crab consumption, beverages and cheese cake at the end of meal. During the excursion Emily our excursion narrator, pulled of the nearly impossible by getting a Bald Eagle to swoop in from a nearby tree and retrieve a fish that was floating on top of the water very near the boat. What an awesome experience. Our evenings were quite busy with great entertainment and activities on the ship. We chose to eat dinner two of the night in the Bayou Café which cooked one of the best steaks we’ve every had. The 8 ounce tenderloin and 22 ounce porterhouse were outstanding. Very tender, well seasoned and never over cooked. The vegetables that come with the meal are a little to be desired, but the focal point was the steak. In preparation from our trip I purchased the Anniversary Package which included champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, champagne glasses and free 8X10 photo which was pre-order and delivered without incident when we call for it during the 3rd day of our trip. The issue came when my son and daughter in law ordered us a bottle of wine, cheese tray and $50 ship board credit, He ordered the package when we departed and it was supposed to be delivered on our actual anniversary day as a surprise. The day after our anniversary he inquired about the package which was never delivered. Upon inquiring with the Customer Service Desk on 3 different occasions we were told that it wasn't on the ship and did not exist. After exhausting our efforts with the customer service desk, we called a supervisor who confirmed the package had been ordered on the 29th and would be delivered ASAP. After several hours of waiting and follow-up phone calls, the package still never arrived. Prior to leaving our room for dinner our last night on the ship, I made one last phone call to the supervisor who said the wine and cheese would be delivered to the restaurant for dinner. It arrived when we arrived, but it came with no apologies from the staff and the $50 credit that was purchased with the package has never shown up. Prior to our departure our travel agent advised us to take advantage of the future cruise deposit opportunities and any special deals that Princess may be offering during the cruise which were outstanding, but after our experience with Customer Service we chose not to do anything relative to a future cruise. This is our 4th cruise and 2nd with Princess and as Captain Circle Members would have expected an additional level of follow-up and focus from the staff. The ship while showing a little bit of its age is still in great shape and the cabin while small was clean and well maintained. I know that Princess believes is Outstanding Customer Service which was not part of our experience on this cruise and will most likely affect any decisions we make on cruising in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My husband and I sailed on the Caribbean Princess to the Eastern Caribbean for our honeymoon. I have sailed on 2 other cruise lines and my husband was a first timer. We chose Princess because of their reputation as being the very best in ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Caribbean Princess to the Eastern Caribbean for our honeymoon. I have sailed on 2 other cruise lines and my husband was a first timer. We chose Princess because of their reputation as being the very best in all categories. For most of our honeymoon we had a great experience. Unfortunately, it was soured on the last day at sea due to sewage water leak in our cabin and how passenger services handled the incident. I have never had such awful customer service! The entire cruise there were issues with the toilets on the ship. For the most part, 2/3 of the general toilets on the ship were "out of order" and would not flush. Our personal cabin had this issue on the second to last day of the cruise. We called passenger services to let them know and they said they were having a 'suction issue' and would send someone up to take care of it. Being told the issue was taken care of, we left the ship to tender to the Princess Cays island. After waiting for an hour to leave the ship, we were told we also needed photo I.D., so we ran back up to our cabin. When we reached our cabin, we found the toilet was overflowing and sewage water had filled the front half of the room. All of our luggage, shoes, and clothes that were in the closet were wet and discolored. The carpet was completely saturated. We immediately called passenger services and told them the toilet was currently flooding our cabin and they put us on hold for 15 minutes!.. Without so much as a word. We began moving all of our contaminated things to the dry areas and continued to wait for assistance... we never got any. We decided to leave to the island and deal with it when we came back, hoping that our calls for assistance would send someone to our cabin to fix the problem. We returned to the ship ~3 hours later to find the floors still completely saturated and our belongings in the contaminated heap where we had left them. You could see the floors had been vacuumed but not cleaned. We found our own personal beach towels had been used to mop up the sewage water and were thrown in a garbage bag sitting on the wet floor. There were no messages for us, no help, nothing. We again called Passenger Services for assistance. This time they sent someone up to talk to us. They tried to tell us the water overflow was from the clean line to the toilet, not the dirty. I picked up a swim suit top from the wet pile of clothes and showed them the disgusting, discoloration. I asked how that would come from clean water. No answer. They ended up laundering our clothes and bags for us. They said they "sanitized" our shoes, but we found out from our steward that all they did was put them in the clothes dryer. There was still dirt on our athletic shoes. We asked to be moved to another cabin while the carpets were cleaned and dried. We were told "no". Princess's solution: lay down beach towels on the carpet that was soaked with sewage water. We asked if there was anywhere we could shower. We were told "no", and passenger services couldn't understand why putting down towels on the carpet wasn't good enough. We went down to the Passenger Services desk to speak with the manager, Andre. He was the rudest of the all and offered the least assistance. He said he didn't want to speak with us at the counter and asked us to follow him somewhere where we could talk. I was expecting to walk into his office. Instead, he lead us into a public walkway outside the Crown Grill dining room. Here he continued to tell us that the best they could do was put down towels and try to dry out the carpet. He told us to go to dinner and he would figure out how he could better accommodate us, and he would leave a message on our cabin phone about how we would proceed from there. We went to dinner and walked for a while. When we returned to our cabin at ~8p.m. we found our laundered clothes on the bed. The carpet was still dirty and wet with a fresh layer of beach towels on top. No message from Andre. We went back down to the Passenger Services desk to speak with him. We were told he left at 7 and would not return. We disembarked the next morning without ever hearing from anyone! As far as our steward knew, the carpets had never been cleaned. He was the one that kept replacing the towels trying to dry out the carpet. No one else payed any attention the raw sewage water that had soaked half of our cabin and belongings. Needless to say I was and still am absolutely shocked! Good luck to the next person that stays in cabin E321 on the Princess Caribbean. You are walking on and placing your belongings on sewage soaked carpet! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was our 15th cruise and our second on the Golden Princess. We sailed her out of Fort Lauderdale in 2002 and then took a 10 year break. We sailed with my son and his family in 2012 on another cruise line. We both wanted to see Alaska ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise and our second on the Golden Princess. We sailed her out of Fort Lauderdale in 2002 and then took a 10 year break. We sailed with my son and his family in 2012 on another cruise line. We both wanted to see Alaska so we thought that this would be a good way to see it, and it was. We sailed on the July 19th sailing out and back from Seattle. Pre Cruise We flew into Seattle a day early and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express SeaTac. They picked us up at the airport and took us right to the hotel. Very nice room, nothing special but it was fine and just what we wanted. A very nice breakfast was provided in the lobby and was included in the room price. The hotel had a service to the pier that was $12 pp, same price as Seattle Express. I would definitely recommend Seattle Express. They came right to the hotel and were looking for us by name. Their shuttles are much roomier than a standard van, which is what the hotel was using. Embarkation Everything you’ve read about the port of Seattle is true. No porters at the curb, so we had to drag our bags halfway into the terminal to drop them off at a conveyer belt. Then back to the entrance to stand in line for the escalator to the second floor. Once there we waited in line again to have our carry on bags examined (I bought a 12 pack of diet Pepsi in Seattle and had no problem carrying it on). Then a brief health questionnaire and another line to get your cruise cards. This line is broken into two lines, which doesn’t make the wait any shorter but it does cut down on the distance you have to walk. At the window the clerk got our cruise cards and noted that we were platinum. She said that we did not have to wait in that last line. I don’t know if she was serious or not because nobody up to that point had inquired as to our level. I’m not one to demand special treatment, but if Princess has a policy of boarding loyal customers early they should take steps to follow it. The clerk did direct us to a shorter line to actually board the ship. It took about 70 minutes from the time we got off of the bus until we set foot on the ship. Not too bad considering the number of people that had to be processed. By 3 PM there were no lines, but that’s cutting it too close for me. Some reviewers have complained about being pestered to buy one of the drink packages, but we did not find that to be the case. Crew were scattered about at tables to make them available, but we did not feel put upon to buy one. The Ship I’ve read lots of comments about the poor condition of the ship, but I really don’t know what they’re talking about. Yes there were a few minor bumps in the walls from years of loading and unloading bags into the cabins, and the silver backing on the mirror in our bathroom was peeling in the corners, but other than that I thought the ship was in excellent repair. I did not see a speck of dust anywhere. I have seen some very dusty ships on other cruise lines, especially in those hard to reach areas. Even the Laundromat was spotless. Speaking of the Laundromat, the one on deck 12 had four washers, four dryers, and three ironing stations (irons and boards). The machines cost $2 each to run. Soap, color safe bleach, and dryer sheets were available for $1.25 each in a machine. It’s probably best to bring your own from home. There is a change machine available but you would be advised to bring your own quarters from home also. Cabin We were in Cabin A230 on the port side forward on deck twelve. This is a balcony cabin and I highly recommend a balcony for an Alaska cruise if you can possibly afford it. There is always something worth looking at on this cruise. Our balcony was covered, which I prefer. The balconies on decks 10 and 11 are all open and viewable from the balconies on deck 12. We were forward enough that we had cabins above us rather than pool decking and so we were not bothered by any noise from above. There was plenty of closet space. I always bring a hanging shoe holder, but it really wasn’t necessary this time. I also bring a night light which I place in the bathroom so I won’t have to turn on the light when using it at night. And yes, your luggage will fit under the bed, even those big bags that you checked on the plane. Our cabin steward, Ronald, was excellent. On Glacier day one of us was in our cabin the entire day except for 30-40 minutes when we popped upstairs for lunch. He somehow managed to tidy up our room while we were out! On our last cruise in 2012 we were bothered by our upwind neighbor smoking almost constantly on his balcony. I was happy to hear that Princess outlawed balcony smoking, but I was skeptical about how rigorously it would be enforced. While we were dockside in Skagway the wind was blowing from the bow back toward us. Somebody was smoking upwind, perhaps two doors down. Suddenly Ronald’s head popped out of the balcony next to us! He looked at me and said, “Smoke?” I shook my head yes and he immediately looked onto the balcony next door. I don’t know if he found the smoker or not, but he was not ignoring him either. I must say that, with the exception of the casino, smoking was not much of an issue for us on this cruise. Service and food I first cruised in 1988. At that time envelopes were distributed on the last full day of the cruise to be filled with tips for the dining room and cabin staff. We have now gone about as far away from that as we can go in this department. Tips are simply charged to your room tab and distributed by the cruise line to the staff without any involvement from the passengers. They might as well just add it to the fare, except that this would put them at an apparent price disadvantage in comparison to the other lines. I understand that this is being done in response to passengers deliberately stiffing the staff, cultural differences, and anytime dining, but I resent that it makes it more difficult for me to express my appreciation to the staff, who work long and hard to make my vacation enjoyable. On our last cruise they charged our accounts, but they at least gave us vouchers to pass out to the staff that they could (presumably) deposit in the ship’s onboard bank. The food was OK. Of course dinners were made to look fancy, but the actual food did not impress us. No cherries jubilee, no mousse, no baked potatoes. I love Caesar salad and I was looking forward to it being “always available” at dinner. It was obviously prepared way ahead of time and resembled leftovers in its appearance and texture. I was actually warned away from one of the “always available” meat dishes by the waiter. The desserts were always excellent though. Speaking of waiters, they were efficient in their jobs, but having a different waiter at every dinner meant that there was no rapport ever established and they never learned your preferences. We did enjoy the flexibility of anytime dining but we had mixed feelings about it because of this. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Court. Breakfast was fine. They had an omelet station that operated every day that we ate there (We had room service breakfast a few times). You place your order and give them your name. They give you a piece of paper and your omelet can be picked up by one of the waiters or you can go back and get it yourself. This operated even on disembarkation day, which was a pleasant surprise. Sometimes that can be bare bones, but not here! We could always find something to eat there for lunch, but we were disappointed in the selections available. We had intended to eat at Sabatini’s and the Crown Grill, but we never got around to it. We did have the pub lunch at the Crown Grill and thoroughly enjoyed the Fish and Chips. Some other reviewers have stated that the pub lunch was available only on sea days, but on our cruise it was offered on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday. There was a culinary demonstration and galley tour offered on Friday. The culinary demonstration took place in the Princess Theater and was conducted by the Executive Chef and the Maître d'hôtel and was actually quite entertaining. After that we were escorted to the galley on deck 5. Tip; the theater is emptied from the side exits so you might want to sit there if you want to be among the first out. Best viewing of the demonstration is front center a few rows back from the stage. We entered the Bernini dining room through the starboard side doors, which are not normally used. Entering from that side puts you one step above the floor that leads to the galley. One poor gentleman was on a mobility scooter and was unable to negotiate this step and so could not complete the galley tour. In my opinion, Princess should have stationed a waiter there to escort such folks to the other set of doors (The stores were also having their "final" sales day there, so the dining room resembled a Turkish Bazaar). A detail perhaps, but one that should be attended to by a cruise line that aspires to be a step above. Entertainment. This was pretty much a disappointment for us. We attended the first production show, “Stardust” in the Princess theater. The singing and dancing itself was fine, but the music was mostly from the 40’s and 50’s, and I don’t mean that in a good way. They made a point of the fact that one of the numbers (New York, New York I think) was from the 70’s, but it was made famous by Frank Sinatra, which made it sound like something from the 40’s. And it wasn’t just me. We ran into an 80 year old woman later in the week and she didn’t care for it either! It only lasted for 30 minutes. It took longer than that to fill and empty the theater! I know that sounds odd, “the show was bad and too short!”, but those are two separate complaints. We also attended “Let’s Groove with Sol Play” in the Explorers lounge. Just about the time we started to get our groove on, it ended. I think it lasted about 45 minutes. We did watch one of the movies under the stars. Of course it was chilly out there, but we did enjoy that. The string quartet from Poland was also enjoyable, and Billy Reid on the piano was a must see. Unfortunately he left the ship at the end of our week. Ports The ports were the highlight of the sailing of course. We had great weather all week. It was sunny and clear for the most part. We got off of the ship in all of the Alaskan ports but the only excursion we did was “To the Klondike Summit” in Skagway. The motor coach parallels the White Horse rail trip, but it is able to stop at several points along the way. The scenery was nice but the narration provided by the driver was the highlight of the tour. The story of what the miners went through was fascinating and I plan to read more about them now that I’m home. If we go again some day I will definitely spring for some kind of whale watching trip. We did see whales, but mostly through binoculars. Of course Glacier Bay was the highlight of the trip. Very cold there but a once in a lifetime sight to behold! We didn’t bother to get off of the ship in Vancouver. Disembarkation Our airline changed our departure time from Seattle to 11:30 AM a week before our sailing, so we took advantage of express departure where you are required to carry your entire complement of luggage off of the ship in exchange for an early departure time. Since we had already carried our luggage through two airports, a hotel, and a cruise terminal, this didn’t seem like too much of an imposition. It also eases the burden on the ship’s crew of course, but that was OK with us. Four columns of people funneling into one column at the exit of the ship was the usual mass of human confusion, but we were off of the ship soon enough. We met Seattle Express at the appointed location and were whisked back to the airport in plenty of time to catch our flight home. Impressions We put down a deposit on a future cruise while onboard, but we don’t know that we will ever use it (it will be refunded in two years if we don’t). Maybe it was Princess or maybe we’re just done with cruising as a vacation, but we were ready to come home. We are booked on another cruise line for a Caribbean trip in January. We are looking forward to that trip so we can compare it to our Princess cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Every guest had access to our balcony from a large observation deck that obstructed our view. Very disappointing especially going through the glaciers. We were never notified about this in advance. We saved a lot of money to have a suite. ... Read More
Every guest had access to our balcony from a large observation deck that obstructed our view. Very disappointing especially going through the glaciers. We were never notified about this in advance. We saved a lot of money to have a suite. People on the observation could look into our bedroom and living area. The only privacy we had was to keep our curtains shut. When we complained we were offered a smaller room, the next day, or a bottle of wine. If we were on our balcony we could touch the people on the observation deck. They also took our cushions, from the sofa, to be refurbished because it was our rooms turn. We spent a whole day looking at a sofa with missing cushions. The Casino smoke radiated to many areas of the ship where vendors were selling jewelry & clothing. Crew members were fooling around. They were in public areas and disturbed guests especially in the Adagio Lounge, during the string quartet performances. There were also crew members conduction business in Sabitini's during breakfast. We could hear their whole conversation. The Crown Grill (Specialty Restaurant) disturbed guests, who paid extra, with loud singing (Happy Birthday). The meal was delicious. Our head server was cold and impersonal. The ass. server was wonderful. There were fifteen members in our party and the Crown Princess made special reservations for thirteen to eat at Sabitini's, another specialty restaurant. We were excluded because we had a suite and received a picture frame instead. They told us that if we returned the frame, and a voucher for a photo, we could eat with the rest of our group. Really!!!!! We took the frame and voucher down to guest services and offered to return it. Food was adequate at best. Beware, if you are thinking about a suite to ask about the privacy & safety. We only chose Princess because our friends would only go on Princess. We did an Alaskan Cruise with Celebrity and had a perfect suite with a butler....Same price. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
The service staff is very well trained, helpful and pleasant. The food is good and everything is clean, but the ship is showing it's age. There is a lack of amenities and almost no on-board activities, probably due to a lackadaisical ... Read More
The service staff is very well trained, helpful and pleasant. The food is good and everything is clean, but the ship is showing it's age. There is a lack of amenities and almost no on-board activities, probably due to a lackadaisical CD who was no where to be found. The entertainment was dismal with the two poorest quality production shows we have seen on our 70 plus cruises. There is not ample seating in the theatre and many passengers sat on the steps or stood, but many walked out on the productions shows and that cleared some seats. The comedian was excellent and the magician was adequate. This apparently lazy or disinterested CD needs to revamp his entire operation as these entertainment/activity failures scar the more positive aspects of this ship. The dancers were NEVER in sync and seemed not to care. The dining rooms are almost claustrophobic with VERY LOW ceilings. The DR is seldom open for lunch. The pizza counter serves good, hot pizza but the hamburgers served in the pool area are less than 3 ounces each. The buffet is antiquated old style and is cramped, hard to maneuver and limited but the food is good and the area is kept clean and neat. Room Service was very good with more menu selections that one normally sees. The High Tea was well executed with many wonderful food selections. The rooms are very small; our mini-suite was nice with lots of storage but much smaller than that found on almost every other cruise line. The beds were comfortable. The corridors are narrow and almost impossible for a mobility scooter to traverse because of all the service carts. The best thing about this ship is the quality of the staff (entertainers not included). The cost is very low and one does get what one pays for. However, if you are used to newer ships, you will find this one unappealing. The main issue here is the entertainment, or lack thereof, and the seemingly non-existent CD. who relied on showing movies and made no attempt to interact with passengers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This cruise fit in with our timeline and thought it would be fun be on a cruise over Halloween. We were quite excited to be travelling on the ship Princess Kate christened and on such a new ship. We enjoyed many of the facilities on the ... Read More
This cruise fit in with our timeline and thought it would be fun be on a cruise over Halloween. We were quite excited to be travelling on the ship Princess Kate christened and on such a new ship. We enjoyed many of the facilities on the ship, but were very disappointed with our mini-suite. I knew enough not to book under the glass walkway, but what no one said was that the walkway was lit up with blue lights underneath all night!! Bright blue lights shining into the cabin all night - couldn't see the stars from the balcony because of the bright lights and we were not even right underneath the walkway. The cabin itself seemed very tiny - long and skinny - like a closet. The balcony was so tiny I had to stack the patio furniture inside the room in order to lay out in the sun. The meals were lovely with great service. Our cabin attendant seemed overworked and was hard to contact. Embarking and disembarking went smoothly. Getting to the ship was an experience in itself. We stayed the night before in Manhattan and taxi after taxi refused to take us to the cruise pier (something about bridge construction) even though they legally have to take a fare. Our hotel doorman finally threatened a driver into taking us and we spent the entire drive being berated for making him drive to the cruise pier. We finally got out blocks from the ship and walked in. We enjoyed the ports and organized our own excursions. We especially enjoyed the history and beaches of Antigua.We love singing and the passenger chorus was great fun as was the filming each day. Lots to do in the evening. Halloween was fun. We dressed up like Medieval Lord and Lady and just had fun. All the staff dressed up too and some of the passengers. Godfrey Tours in St Thomas was great again - for the third time. His tour is fun, predictable, time for shopping, lovely historical and view stops as well as beach time. All in all a relaxing cruise on a shiny new ship with lots of things to do. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Boarding onto the Sapphire Princess in Singapore was very quick and trouble free, and we were into our stateroom within 25mins after filling out the required immigration documents. Our cabin was very comfortable, clean, and easy to move ... Read More
Boarding onto the Sapphire Princess in Singapore was very quick and trouble free, and we were into our stateroom within 25mins after filling out the required immigration documents. Our cabin was very comfortable, clean, and easy to move around in. The Sapphire Princess is much larger than our favourite Dawn Princess, and it took us more than a couple of days to get our bearings on this much larger ship. What we really liked was how easy it was to exit the theatre after one of their production shows, with no cramped aisles. The staff on board the Sapphire Princess were generally cheerful and helpful, however some of the staff on many occasions let their side down very badly, they were tardy and appeared either overworked or totally uninterested. We purchased an Unlimited Soft drinks & Mock tails package for $8.05 day which was great value overall, however the drinks staff were more interested to serve those patrons who were spending a small fortune on alcoholic beverages instead. On many occasions we ordered our drinks multiple times only to give up, and go to the bars direct for service. The tendering and excursion services were quick and very well organized, and they catered very well for patrons with mobility and balance issues. All the meals we ate were very tasty, and with plenty of choices on offer, however we did find the menu in the main dining room was generally not suited to our palette. The ship ran out of supply of many popular alcoholic drinks, and favourite food items well before the end of the cruise, and it appeared that this was a strategic move as the ship was going into dry dock on 11th March for renovations. The casino and the ship generally was totally geared up to service all the wealthy Chinese patrons on-board, and very little consideration was given to non-smokers at all. Smoking was permitted most of the time throughout the casino, and one side of the promenade deck. Smoking was only banned on two formal occasions, and I believe this was in response to multiple objections from the numerous dissatisfied patrons throughout the 15 day cruise. The production shows were of a high quality, with a major exception, and the theatre was full most performances, however we did see two production shows repeated, as our cruise overlapped with a previous cruise, of which we were unaware of, at the time of booking. The artist billed as the man with the Michael Buble voice, was not entertaining at all, as he spent most of his show dedicating it to, and singing to the Chinese patrons in the theatre, we decided to leave along with many others and were very entertained at the comedian show being performed by Ivor Richards in the next bar. The on board pianist played the piano and sang very well, however she didn't engage who audience or encourage requests from her audience at all, patrons tendered to move on after listening to a song or two. Most of the cruise entertainment staff on board spoke and had a very bad understanding of English, and were generally very hard to understand at most of the programs they hosted. The pool areas on board were very welcoming and busy, and provided a cooling dip from the relentless heat throughout the day. The Ice cream and Pizza bars were always close by and handy if you got peckish watching a movie under the stars, or just wanted a cool treat throughout the day or evening. The photo services on the Sapphire Princess was a well oiled machine, with patrons having their photos snapped here there, and everywhere! Princess do need to consider that patrons shouldn't have to take out a second mortgage to pay for all the photos on offer. My suggestion would be to charge full retail up to the first 8 photos purchased, then to offer all others on a sliding scale at a discounted rate. We personally spent just under $200 dollars on our eight favourite snaps, and then sent close to 30 other photos to the shredding machine. We may have reconsidered that very wasteful action, had they been priced more affordably, beyond our chosen favourites. The internet service on board the Sapphire was slower than a joke, and there was no Wi-Fi services at all inside the cabin. I felt very sorry for the internet supervisor, who was constantly being abused by the numerous unhappy uses of this snails-pace service. I don't criticize Princess for having slow communications, but I do criticize them for charging a fortune for such a sub standard service being provided. Overall we did enjoy this holiday, and didn't let the low-lights detract from the many good experiences we had throughout this 15 days cruise. Princess do need to consider Non-smokers on all of their ships, and if they are to call themselves the consummate host, they do need to consider all patrons on board, and not just a majority or minority group. Disembarkation off the Sapphire Princess into Singapore was well organized and reasonably quick from our experience. Overall I rate this holiday at 6 out of 10 and will be going back to Thailand to experience once again its beauty, its people, and its cheap and relaxing massages. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our fifth cruise with Princess and so far had been our favorite line overall. The ship itself is lovely and has the same set up as it's sister ships. The service, however, we found lacking. Our cabin steward, Lamberto was ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Princess and so far had been our favorite line overall. The ship itself is lovely and has the same set up as it's sister ships. The service, however, we found lacking. Our cabin steward, Lamberto was amazing and there were a few bartenders who actually seemed to have a personality, but overall, the crew did not appear to enjoy their jobs. The food was terrible!! Now we are NOT picky people, but other than one night, we were very disappointed with the food in the dining room. The food in Horizon court was fine for buffet food. We had "anytime" dining for the first time which we will NEVER do again. Unless you made a reservation, there was a line every night. And the point of anytime dining was supposed to be that we could go ANYTIME. We had a mini-suite which was very nice with a tub and a larger than normal bathroom. The disembarkation was unbelievably horrible. We have never seen such a confusing process. We had airline connections, but "walk offs" were allowed to disembark first. Our waiting area was in the back of the ship, but we had to "follow" our leader to the front to disembark. It reminded us of our very first cruise twenty five years ago when there really was no organization. Worst disembarkation since then. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My fiancee and I booked the Princess Caribbean for 5 day cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel departing on March 2, 2015. We have both cruised before - just not with Princess. We arrived about 2pm and boarding was quick and easy. We were in ... Read More
My fiancee and I booked the Princess Caribbean for 5 day cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel departing on March 2, 2015. We have both cruised before - just not with Princess. We arrived about 2pm and boarding was quick and easy. We were in our balcony stateroom by 2:30ish. We were famished so we asked crew staff which restaurants were serving a lunch. We did not want to eat at the buffet. We were given two locations but when arriving at each the restaurants were not open. By this time it's almost 3pm and our only option was the Horizon Court buffet. When we arrived it looked awful. Most items were old or not available . The service was also terrible. We could not get a glass of water. Now after 3pm - we were running late to get to muster drill so we blew off lunch. Muster drill was lengthy and it was after 4pm when we were able to get back to our stateroom. For dinner we headed to Island Grill. We were seated promptly with another party. We ordered from the menu and patiently waited for our meals. It took longer than expected and when the meal arrived we were also disappointed. The "beef Medallions" were terrible. Some type of mystery meat. We ate some of the meal because we were so hungry. At this point, we thought we had made a terrible mistake by choosing Princess. We talked to some of the other passengers and they reported better food and service in another dining room. So on Tuesday morning we made our way to Coral Dining room for sit down breakfast. It was great. Things began to improve from there as we had better food in every venue through the end of our cruise. The only other complaint would be the service in the Special dining venues (Sabatini's and Crown Grill). We ate in each restaurant and the food was better than other venues. Having paid an additional fee to dine in these better restaurants, we expected a better experience. We brought our own bottle of wine and wanted to have a relaxing meal together. But in both restaurants we felt very rushed. The servers want to know our entire order before we could be served drinks or appetizers!! When I asked if we could take our time and have an appetizer and a bit of wine before deciding on main course - the server was a bit rude. Based on our reservation time - we dined later so there was no line of guests waiting for tables. Unfortunately, we felt rushed in the regular dining room as well as the specialty restaurants. Now for the positives, the bartender at Cruisers lounge was exceptional. Try her version of sangria. Most excellent. Our cabin steward was also very responsive and helpful. The Vines wine bar has a good selection of wines - better than other restaurants on the ship. We paid extra to attend a very upscale wine tasting and it was excellent. Worth the $25 fee. The ship is in good condition but does show it's age. I'm not sure I would choose this ship again but would certainly take another cruise with Princess. The Costa Maya destination was tricky. You have to leave the cruise terminal shopping area to see the better part of this area. Try the day beach club - Tropicante. In Cozumel definitely take the Bar Hop tour. The east side of the island is less touristy and is beautiful. A must see! We also loved the disco/lounge and went dancing almost every night. DJ was great, It's a beautiful view at night from the top of the ship. Being new to Princess and only having cruised once before - we learned a lot from the other passengers and met great people. Despite the initial impression (which was really bad) Princess overcame it and we will consider Princess for future trips. Thanks to other cruise critic members. I learned so much from reading your reviews and roll call comments. Hopefully others will find these comments helpful too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was a 17-day repositioning cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Venice. It was also the last cruise before six weeks of extensive refitting, which explains some of the problems. This cruise attracted primarily Americans. There were ... Read More
This was a 17-day repositioning cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Venice. It was also the last cruise before six weeks of extensive refitting, which explains some of the problems. This cruise attracted primarily Americans. There were some Canadians, a few Brits, and a sprinkling of other nationalities, but we did miss the international contingent we found in cruises to South America and Australia/New Zealand. I suspect this will be true of most such repositioning cruises. We do our own shore excursions or join ones organized by Cruise Critic members. In Madeira we did a van tour with 6 other Cruise Critic members. In Barcelona, a Fat Tires bicycle tour (recommended). In Rome we took the bus to Tarquinia to visit the Etruscan necropolis and wander around. It’s a lovely town and connections by bus/train are easy. Just get to the train station (by foot or bus from the cruise terminal). If you’ve not been to Rome you’ll probably want to go there, but if you have been there Tarquinia is a fine option. In Naples, we were going to catch the ferry to Ischia but the weather was inclement so we settled for walking around the city. As several previous reviews noted, there was an annoying sewage odor at times. For us, it lasted for the first half of the cruise. Not overpowering — but also not pleasant. I presume that will be fixed in dry dock. Unfortunately, the renovation will add about 100 cabins, eliminate a major lounge, and cut off the back part of the promenade deck. Princess is apparently doing this because Venice is restricting larger cruise ships and the Island Princess is just under the limits. The added cabins will make the ship less pleasant, I think. The ship’s itinerary could have been better. It was a repositioning cruise. However, we got to Madeira and Barcelona at about noon, making for abbreviated visits in those lovely ports. Surely the ship could have steamed slightly faster to give more time in port. Our first trip as elite members (in possession of the much-desired benefit of free laundry) didn’t turn out so well. The ship lost a lot of our laundry. Never showed up. Apparently we’ll be reimbursed. Then there is the matter of sniffles. I think cruise ships are like kindergarten — remember when your kids began to go to school and were sick for a semester, passing the various minor infections on to you? Cruise ships seem to be the same. A large percentage of the passengers were sniffling and sneezing, myself included. Norovirus is relatively rare on ships, even if it does get a lot of publicity which it shows up. Colds are much more common, and can last a week or so. On both this and our previous cruise, we could hear the neighbor hacking away through the wall. There isn’t much cruise lines can do about this — but my advice is to pack every cold remedy you find helpful. You may need it. And the on-board store charged $3.49 for a SINGLE antihistamine tablet! Be prepared. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We booked this cruise for my birthday AND because it didn't require a flight. This was our second voyage with Princess...the first being in 2010 on the Diamond for an Australia/NZ cruise. We drove from Colorado to San Pedro. ... Read More
We booked this cruise for my birthday AND because it didn't require a flight. This was our second voyage with Princess...the first being in 2010 on the Diamond for an Australia/NZ cruise. We drove from Colorado to San Pedro. Laughable amount of freeway changes just to get to the pier!!! Oh, and the traffic? Horrendous, even on a Saturday morning! Stressful, but embarkation was a breeze! Had to park in the farther lot, as the main lot was full. Not too long of a hike, at least. :) $16 a day for parking worked out to $112 for the week...certainly cheaper than any decent hotel with "free parking" IMO. :) (I hear they were offering CA resident rates on balcony cabins for as low as $399 pp!!! I didn't ask. Some woman in the hot tub piped up with this information. Kind of made me angry and felt cheated as we had paid $719 pp for the same balcony!!! Word to the wise for passengers; if no one asks what you paid, then don't mention it!!! You may be proud of your great deal, but the person who paid more is going to feel like a chump on their vacation. It's just plain RUDE IMO.) Rant finished. :) The ship looked great upon first impression, but our cabin was kind of beat up. Lots of poorly done wall touch ups from who knows what, but it was very clean at least! Florian, our steward was the BEST! It's 5 years since our last cruise, so I was a little taken aback by the tiny (I really mean TINY) bathroom and shower! NCL has much larger bathrooms in their cabins, as does Celebrity, but it's a ship, right? The shower was in the corner, and had no room to turn around! A fixed head shower-head is ridiculous in this sort of situation...a European, hand-held type of shower-head would be much more practical! Why is it that cruise lines encourage folks to eat, eat, eat, but build cabins with tiny showers and provide 36" long towels??? Mixed message being sent, I think! My fix for this? Grab towels from the pool area OR shower in the gym. (I am not super-sized by any means! As a size 16, I am considered average in the US. Not sure what many of the super-sized folks I saw did) This cruise visited mostly California, with a stop in Ensenada. The ports (San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Ensenada) were all nice. We had to tender into Santa Barbara, which is tricky when the average age of passengers is 65! ;) Lots of walkers, scooters, etc. We opted for Hop on Hop off bus tours in most cities. Met a friend in Santa Barbara for lunch. Very laid back trip. We opted to NOT go into Ensenada. Have been before, didn't need to go again. Also, it was Spring Break for many and there were oodles of kids on board! I was prepared for screaming, running, whining; but they were very well behaved AND hardly ever seen by us! Granted, we stayed clear of the two main mid-ship pools. Speaking of pools and relaxation...we took advantage of the Spa offer for their Thermal Spa package. $109 pp for the week to enjoy the heated loungers, steam room, sauna, aromatherapy steam room, fun jungle shower, and spa pool/hot tubs. As it's Princess' 50th Anniversary, they gave us a discount. (package is regularly $129 pp). They only sell 40 packages per cruise, so it's never too crowded. :) So relaxing!!! The steam room in the Thermal Spa never worked properly though, so they gave us a $50 credit. :) There are steam, sauna, and showers in the locker rooms for ALL to use if you don't want to pay. My DH is a smoker, so we spent time on the aft deck pool as there was smoking on 16 aft. This pool was much warmer than any other...around 88 degrees! Some complained, but I LOVED it! Was able to do my water aerobics there, or in the Spa pool daily! We opted for Anytime Dining when we signed up for the cruise, but switched to late seating in Botticelli the first night when we saw the horrendous line for Anytime! I hear it never got better. Some were waiting more than 40 minutes a night for a table. Our server was just okay IMO. She had only 4 more weeks on her contract, so I think she may have had other things on her mind. ;) No excuse, but a reality. Food in the MDR was uninspired, salty, and just okay. Presentation was nice, but not enough variety. We ate twice in Crown Grill and both times it was fantastic!!! Well worth the $25 per person. Ask for Alona, if you go! She is the best server EVER!!! Also tried the fish and chips Pub lunch and it was super yummy! Who'da thought we'd like "mushy peas"? Do not miss a glass of wine and some sushi or tapas at Vines. Also, the salads, donuts, sandwiches, etc by the coffee place had great eats...much better than at the buffet...and they are open 24 hours! (just food, not coffee) The shows were good. It's time to retire them though! I hear there are new shows in the works. Young, energetic performers all! Popped in for the juggler, comedian, etc. and found them to be entertaining in a super cheesy way. :) It was an enjoyable trip, but we were ready to go home by the end of the cruise. Disembarkation was also a breeze! We carried our own bags off and to our car. Were off the ship before 9am and on the freeway out of town. Much better trip OUT of California than coming to port! No real traffic to speak of. The Crown Princess is showing her age, but is still a nice ship with many amenities of note. The California Coastal cruise is a great way to visit the State without having to brave the freeways. I like Princess, but think it's time to return to Celebrity, or even Carnival, for better food, larger cabins, and a more active nightlife. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
For our honeymoon we decided to get a glimpse of another part of the world with the comfort of a cruise. Princess had both the itinerary and timing right. The ship came directly from 10 days in dry-dock but not a word was mentioned ... Read More
For our honeymoon we decided to get a glimpse of another part of the world with the comfort of a cruise. Princess had both the itinerary and timing right. The ship came directly from 10 days in dry-dock but not a word was mentioned about any improvements. It did however look to be in very good condition. From talking to the crew we understood that during dry dock the casino had been completely replaced and expanded. This had in turn demanded the office space of the shore ex manager - a fact she mentioned during several port lectures. Activities aboard were plenty but after 3 days at sea we felt that is was very repetitive. Other guests told us that they had been doing the exact same pop choir practice on 3 different cruises with Princess. As a consequence we're a bit wary to travel with Princess next time. The Enrichment@Sea lectures were outstanding. Housekeeping did a brilliant job but waiters were hit and mostly miss. Some of them were very busy selling wine tasting, wine packages, special restaurants etc. As a result we had one dinner where we waited 20 minutes while our waiter tried to explain the fine details on how you can't split a 12-bottle gold wine package between two cabins. At other times our dinner was kept in sync with other couples that we didn't even share a table with. Which brings us directly to dining (we had Any Time). After 2 days the Horizon Court became very crowded as many of the Asian guests gave up on the dining rooms. This made it easy to get a table - even without sharing. Sapphire Princess have 5 dining rooms but they all serve exactly the same. The menu changes daily and while you can be sure to find "Jus" with most dishes, words like "Local", "Season", and "Organic" aren't in the vocabulary. If you order wine be sure to order mineral water as well. The water is safe for drinking but it will do no good for your taste buds. With port visits in both Bangkok and Saigon we decided to use the expensive "Best of" tours in both cities. Due to the size of the ship we berthed 2-3 hours away from both cities. The Bangkok tour was 11 hours for just 2 sights. With 22 buses doing the same tour it was the worst cattle herding ever. Avoid! Saigon was a completely different story - great guide, great itinerary, and they shuffled the buses around making each site less crowded. The laundrette was a cultural experience. There are no instructions and no info on temperatures used. You need to be American or ask one to avoid costly mistakes. Luckily we did. To disembark we needed to pick up our passports. That ended as a complete meltdown. We stood in line for 90 minutes with no information, and no refreshments. Just a very long queue. Other guests had to stand for 2.5 hours! This was all due to bad organization on the crew's behalf and not a single officer stepped up to handle the situation. Which brings us to the conclusion. Cruising is great. You see so many happy couples and the eloquent travelers add to the atmosphere. Cruising on a large ship provides for smooth sailing but when all included restaurants serve the same, the berthing takes place hours away from the places you want to visit, and the number of guests completely flood the sites, it makes for a less than satisfactory experience. There will be a next time, but it will be on a smaller ship. One final note. For the Jewish, the Passover wasn't allowed to take place in a part of one of the 5 restaurants. The cruise director assigned some tables in the cafeteria opposite the shellfish restaurant. It doesn't get much less Kosher. For the Christians - well, we didn't get a single decoration or activity for Easter. No eggs, no bunnies, no menu, and no prayers. Are all Princess ships this heathen? Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My husband and I went on the Royal Princess for our honeymoon. We did the 10 day Caribbean cruise that went to St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. I've been travelling on cruise ships since I was ... Read More
My husband and I went on the Royal Princess for our honeymoon. We did the 10 day Caribbean cruise that went to St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. I've been travelling on cruise ships since I was seven years old - and have more than a few under my belt from all different cruise lines. My husband and I were so excited for the ships itinerary but we were on the fence about the ship. Check In @ Ft. Lauderdale: My check-in experience was horrible. We arrived to the port where the preferred check-in line for security was was longer than the regular. We decided even though we are platinum members just to check in through the regular line. Once we were through security staff then ushered us into the preferred check-in line to get our cruise cards. I was told by my travel agent (who is also my mother) to ask if there were any upgrades to cabins since princess did not upgrade us - even knowing it was our honeymoon. We were not impressed. The check-in attendant got mad at me and says that they never upgrade before getting on the ship (which I know is a lie - it's happened before). I was all upset and flustered before getting on the ship which was not the way I wanted to start my honeymoon. Cabin: We got to our cabin which was on deck 10 - caribe. The room was what I expected for an inside cabin. We had some balloons taped up saying congratulations. Nothing saying happy honeymoon or anything. Our cabin steward Pol was fantastic! Always cleaned up our room when we were away and always made sure we had extra towels etc! We were placed in an inside cabin mid ship which is what we wanted - but got one with the pull down bunk beds as well - took up a lot of room. Dining: We ate dinner in the Concerto dining room at 5:30pm. Our waiters Mervin and Alvin were fantastic! They got to know us and already had all our preferred drinks waiting for us at the table each night. If we didn't like something - they were right there to bring us a menu to order something else! The food from the Concerto was quite nice - the only downside would be the Caribbean theme of the menu. Alfredo's on deck 6 - was fantastic! The pizza was great - thin crust - and just seemed healthy! We went there twice and loved our meal each time. Horizon Court- The food in horizon court was disappointing. The breakfast was the same each day - and had nothing special. The eggs were terrible. Lunch was about the same as breakfast - the same tired food each day. They advertised a sushi theme one day and it was some unidentifiable sushi that I've never had at a Japanese restaurant before! Entertainment: My husband and I only got out to one show that the performers put on. Something about "what the world needs now" it was very catered to people ages 56+. Being a younger person I did not know any of the songs and did not enjoy myself. Dancing was very limited as well. The two comedians on board were fantastic! Had me laughing. The magician David Cats - was mediocre. Boring show - with old illusions and tricks. Nothing special. On board activities: My husband and I took part in every on board activity we could - karaoke, pool games, trivia - you name it we were there! We found that the activities on these ships were very limited. Nothing - I repeat NOTHING was fun. The ship caters to people 65 +. Even people in their 50's were complaining to us about how boring the ship was - they should have known how we felt in our 20's!. The cruise staff was fantastic - they worked with the age group that they got. I would like to extend a shout out to Tansy, David, Patrick, Melissa and Vicky! We got to know them very well! Disembarkation: The disembarkation process was fantastic! Quick and easy. We were brown2 and got off the ship right away as we had a transfer to catch. No complaints there! Ports & Shore excursions: My husband and I absolutely loved the ports! We had an excursion booked through the ship at every port. We would have loved for more adventurous options - but we made due with what we had. One complaint I would have about all the ports is there needs to be more time! After we were finished excursions it felt like there was not enough time to go enjoy the port. We had to be back on the ship right away! Time went by too fast and port time should have been extended! All in all - my husband and I made the most of our trip. We definitely enjoyed the ports - and definitely hated the two sea days to our first port. Princess really needs to step up and re-think their activities. With other cruise ships competing - princess will never win in my books. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
After having cruised on Princess' newest ship-the Regal in January I was disappointed in the Emerald Princess. I know it is older but that shouldn't affect the hospitality aspect of our vacation. Most of the employees were cold ... Read More
After having cruised on Princess' newest ship-the Regal in January I was disappointed in the Emerald Princess. I know it is older but that shouldn't affect the hospitality aspect of our vacation. Most of the employees were cold and indifferent throughout the entire 7 days. They hardly ever smiled and for the most part lacked in customer service. Yes, there were a few who were great but for the most part the rest were below par. Our fine dining waiter seemed distracted every night with a scowl on his face-we felt like we were bothering him being there and instead of looking forward to the dinner we sorta dreaded going. The head waiter never stopped by to ask how things were as on the Regal. Our steward was just adequate-not friendly except when we first met her. This was my husband's first experience to cruise and I was so hoping it would be as awesome as my previous one in January-but alas, not so! Will not cruise on this ship again and will probably try another cruise line altogether in the future. I will say Customer Services is excellent but that is a given as they are highly trained to be professional. Excursions were ok except when we were waiting to leave for one the ship attendant calling out numbers became agitated when things didn't go his way (i.e. elderly people who couldn't hear that well and didn't know what to do, he would call out numbers in an exasperated voice which was very disturbing to us as well as people sitting around us-not a pleasant way to start an expensive excursion). Food in buffet was not very good, sometimes couldn't find anything appealing and walked out. Bland, not hot enough. Chairs in buffet area are worn and shabby looking. Disembarkation was good. In summary, not what I had hoped for. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We embarked Copenhagen and did Scandinavia and Russia. The Ship: The ship is in great condition as you'd expect given its young age. Room size was adequate, we had a balcony stateroom which had space for a bed and a couple of ... Read More
We embarked Copenhagen and did Scandinavia and Russia. The Ship: The ship is in great condition as you'd expect given its young age. Room size was adequate, we had a balcony stateroom which had space for a bed and a couple of chairs (no settee). Bathroom had a shower (no bath) and was small, not a problem for us as we aren't large people - so comfortable enough. Surprisingly dressing gowns need to be requested and aren't there automatically, but do arrive quickly upon request. My biggest gripe about the ship is the layout, I really can't understand how this was ever approved. We were on there for 11 nights and by the end we still hadn't worked out how o get around easily, there were numerous occasions where we'd just hit a dead end on some stairs or corridor, then have to walk somewhere else to find a way up to the next level. We did a lot of walking due to the unhelpful layout which did get a bit tiresome, not just physically, but also mentally as you had to really think about your route from A to B. On a plus side, the outdoor pools are heated, and were never crowded. Cabin staff were very good, though we didn't get any towel animals. Food: Plenty of variety, all good quality, I'm sure you'll be happy. Only gripes about the food are the following: no grapefruit for about 9 of the 11 cruise nights, any time you ordered a mixed fruit dish it would inevitably be a bowl of different types of melon (was there a fruit shortage? - did they get a really good deal on a whole lot of melon??? I now hate melon!). At the informal dining (Horizons Court) you can't help yourself to orange juice in the mornings. You have to wait for a waiter to pour you some into a tiny glass. I didn't feel like I had the access to the level of orange juice that I required - ever other cruise I've been on has just let people help themselves. Btw... orange juice was all that was on offer juice-wise. Horizons Court itself is a bit like the rest of the ship, very spread out, and it takes a while to walk past all the serving stations in order to understand your options for food. Other than that it was very good. Formal dining was good, the waiters weren't too over the top so didn't feel uncomfortable. We did anytime dining, and most of the time were able to dine any time, occasionally we had to wait if we wanted our own table, but not for very long. Waiter's were hit or average, some extremely good, one was a bit sarcastic, e.g. asking if I'd like pepper on my dessert. It also seemed odd to me that some of them would hand you the menu, leave you to choose what you want, but when they come back, you had to listen to them list everything on the menu and any specials - why not do this when they first give me the menu? By the time they return I know what I want and don't feel like a lecture, as I've just read the entire menu and am unlikely to change my mind - plus no point telling me about certain dishes when I really don't like that type of food. The breakfast in cabin options were very disappointing. Non-alcoholic drink options were limited, if you like tea and coffee you'll be very happy as a lot of variety. If you like juice, smoothies, coconut water, etc, then expect to be disappointed. Casino: I normally play a fair bit of poker when I cruise, but they have no poker dealer in the casino, instead you play against the other players by use of an individual electronic screen at the poker table. I didn't bother playing as I do a lot of online poker at home but when I'm playing in a physical casino I expect a dealer to be there to dictate the proceedings and keep everyone in line. Also, it was only ever cash games, no tournaments. Entertainment Plenty of recent releases to watch. The shows were very good - other lines were just some good dancers doing some good karaoke, but on this ship they obviously spent the money - the sets and actor\singing quality were brilliant. Comedians were good too. On board activities: Pretty dull, in fact worst I've ever know of the three cruises I've been on. Most were just talks followed by someone trying to sell you something you don't want and don't need at an inflated price. I'm glad this trip had a lot of port calls! I went to the art auction but left in disgust at the way they rigged the entire thing to disadvantage the bidders - essentially, they remove your annonominity (sorry for spelling!!) by getting you to indicate what you're interested in, they then check every ones bidding number to know who is sitting where, and when something comes up that you showed an interest in, a sales person will run (literally) over and sit next to you and cajole you into bidding. They also give the impression that every item is selling (by talking very quickly and incoherently) even when no one bids on it (why do we have to applaud a non-sale?). They also get you to pre-bid if they can, which basically is a way of them setting too high a reserve price, and then selling slightly below the reserve price when some silly person puts in an offer before the auction starts. This is not a good deal you are getting - it means they have a culture of setting too high a reserve as evidenced by a willingness to sell 10% below. Shopping They have got a fair few shops on board, and whenever they can will put you off buying on-land, either by telling you a story about how someone got stung for $10k on their credit card (yer right!), or by how any expensive item you buy on land is worthless without a certificate of authenticity (what a gimmick!). I don't know if it was a coincidence, but we always seemed to arrive at the best shopping places on the one day of the week when most of the shops were closed - make of that what you will. Ports Most Scandinavian ports were fairly quiet, clean, and not much going on. St Petersburg was as good as you'd hope, though clearing immigration was a nightmare, a riot all most broke out after the port police started advising people to push in front of people who had already being queuing for an hour. Princess' attitude was that it wasn't their responsibility. Overall: I enjoyed this cruise, I usually use my reviews to point out the best and worst aspects, so although I've written a few negative things, don't let it put you off too much, a lot went right, and we mostly had a good time. Still prefer Celebrity though! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
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