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158 Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

Having read a number of online reviews prior to the cruise, I soon realised that this ship is NOT the best Princess has to offer. The food quality onboard was poor, which led to disappointing meals - with the exception of the ... Read More
Having read a number of online reviews prior to the cruise, I soon realised that this ship is NOT the best Princess has to offer. The food quality onboard was poor, which led to disappointing meals - with the exception of the supplementary restaurant Sabatini’s. The selection on many days in the Horizon Court left a lot to be desired, the quality of food seemed much lower than normal in both the Horizon Court and main dining rooms onboard, and we never experienced one hot dinner. On numerous occasions we spotted insects and flies around the ship, mainly in the public restrooms and on one occasion in the Horizon Court Buffet. The crew’s attitude, with a few exceptions, were the most miserable and unhelpful we’ve ever experienced. Most of the crew onboard were extremely rude and overall seemed highly demotivated. The entertainment was quite frankly atrocious. The singers and dancers performed ONE show in seven nights and even then, half the dancers looked as though they didn't have a clue what they were doing. As an avid theatregoer, I found this extremely disappointing considering I have seen countless outstanding Broadway quality shows on other cruise lines. The itinerary was the only thing that saved the cruise for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Two words to describe it, below expectations. Our cabin steward was very efficient with what he could be in control of but we never got bathrobes! He can't supply what he does not have. It took two days to get pre-bought water two ... Read More
Two words to describe it, below expectations. Our cabin steward was very efficient with what he could be in control of but we never got bathrobes! He can't supply what he does not have. It took two days to get pre-bought water two days for soda cups and nvere did get coffee card cups. We had as per norm deluxe balconey and we saw spring breakers from inside cabins walking all around the ship even at the late shows in the theater in bathrobes. It was noticed that some of them had interior cabins. We had to share one pool towel a day between the two of us and at times had to shower with two day old wet bath shower that we had to share. Three massages and never had a towel after. One massage was given a with stringy old faded cabin robe not one from the spa. The service in the sanctuary was none existant also. The only time we had contact with staff would be at 330 for tea and one day I received tea at that time but my pastry came 45 minutes later. The sanctuary was not even a third full so I don't know why it was so poor. There were no towels available around the pools either just crates of dirty wet ones. Main dinning room service was hit and miss also. Some nights like the old days and others three plus hours to eat again the dinning rooms were not full and we never had a wait for a table. Nights with out movies under the stars and no show in the Princess theater. We got on Princess cays at 1145 after waiting 45 mins. for a shuttle and got the last clam shell available There were 3 couples behind us that had pre bought also and were told maybe they could get a refund back on the ship. What shows and acts that were run were excellent. Dress code were not enforced cut off shorts tank tops scruffy hats at dinner and all over the ship at night. If the dress code is not enforceable then eliminate them as it would cut down immensly on luggage cost. All in all disappointing We are a year or two from elite status but if the next cruise is like this I would consider giving up those percs for a different cruise line. I gave Princess a critic on board and when we returned home and have not heard a word in three weeks. All the staff was friendly although they did seemed stressed and over worked. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I have just been on the sapphire princess March 2016, Before boarding the ship you will need to check in my only advise on this cruise is that if you hold a British passport then you DO NOT NEED a visa for; Singapore, Bangkok and only a ... Read More
I have just been on the sapphire princess March 2016, Before boarding the ship you will need to check in my only advise on this cruise is that if you hold a British passport then you DO NOT NEED a visa for; Singapore, Bangkok and only a landing card for Vietnam which the ship will provide also no visa needed for Hong Kong. If you are visiting China then you will need to get a multi entree visa at a cost of up to £200 per person. Our room was tired large stains on the carpet, the bedding had stains on and when requesting robes they both had very large yellow stains on. Pillows were very old and lumpy with blood spots inside . Even tho the balcony was large was very rusty and grubby. Cups in the room have no handles, more over there was only two Chinese tea bigs to make a cup of tea. Towels were stained had to go and get them myself. The shower is very small not designed for disabled people in any way. The food in the horizon court area is very small and did not have much choice, most of the time it was hot. Trying to find a seat is very hard but do ask to share with someone at least you will have somewhere to sit and you will never know they may be nice. Staff are very friendly and helpful. They will get you water, coffee and tea all is free with free apple and orange juice in the morning. Also you can get these things anytime. One of the biggest problems is most of them at reception do not seem to understand English very much and you end up with a lot of misunderstanding over things so I would suggest that you try in as few words as possible one item at a time what you are asking for. When I tried to ask to take off my credit card and put dollars down they insisted that it was princess policy that I MUST put my account in to credit of $600. This I found very wrong as they can block your card at any moment, with a lot of rudeness on there part they left me feeling BLACKMAILED into handing the money over to them. This is what I did next was to make an appointment with the accounts manager who saw my point of view and resolved the mater for me. Remember on PRINCESS SHIPS YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY GRATUITIES just go to the front desk before you sail and get them removed and sign a bit of paper to say this. Then you can give to the person who has made your holiday. Room service on all PRINCESS SHIPS are free try the beef sandwich and chips. They always are very happy when they arrive with it. Why not have a nice continental breakfast and pastries for free on your balcony or lunch lots to choice from. The only thing on this ship is that you can only have chocolate cake or a sweet mushroom and pear dish. But when I put a comment on paper had a call and all of a sudden there was cake or any type of desert I wanted. Getting served in any bar on the ship is very difficult unless you are waving your arms around. The onboard coffee shop and snacks are free for food but not for tea and coffee. The bar by the coffee shop on deck 5 is the worse place to try and get a drink. I have been passed by every time that I went there. I would not use the ship excursions as they are expensive and you always end up in a jewellery factory I would suggest that you use cruiseexcursions.com it is up to 85% cheaper also we did a tour of Vietnam and it was just me and my wife. The ship itself is shabby in places like the pool were the big movie screen is, has tiles missing and paint coming off , lots of scum on the wall of the pool there and in the adult only pool at the front of the ship on deck 15. There as a lot of patching up around the lights with filler and steps. The entertainment on the ship has a lot to be desired if you love smashing bells, bingo, quiz, but if you love to eat and drink until you pop then this is perfect for you. The shows are only 44 minute long so by the time you are sat down it is time to leave. Could not find any talks on board the ship about any port. Watching a movie on deck at 9:45 pm is very good with free ice cream and popcorn. They give you nice covers on seats and blankets if it gets chilly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Cold food...hot rooms.could never cool down our stateroom cabin...gray dingy sandpaper towels....most crew seemed as if they didn't care...didn't speak the language...didn't know what to do...Horizon Food was just not ... Read More
Cold food...hot rooms.could never cool down our stateroom cabin...gray dingy sandpaper towels....most crew seemed as if they didn't care...didn't speak the language...didn't know what to do...Horizon Food was just not good...the international cafe was good but not always hot...the dining room Concerto table 212 was hit and miss...water assistant waiter was hard to find...robes were not 100% cotton and were a total mess...hard to get an elevator...the $150.00 extra Enclave did not have heated tile beds like all the other cruise ships...the night before disembarking the room steward never turned down the bed...no chocolates...no goodbye...had to finally ask for clean towels....unheard of...wheelhouse bar did not even give us a drink menu when we wanted to order the Norman Love Chocolate drinks....no one wanted to help or even think that there was a problem...gastro-intestinal virus was on the ship(Noro)and we were notified that they were going to step up measures with the cleaning on board...why didn't they do this at first and always....I firmly believe that with Pre Paid tips Princess has been very successful in erradicating good service...care...and quality...bravo.....there is no pizazz on ship...no finesse in the food...nothing that said that wow.....will not be going on the Regal again....most sincerely Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
** OVERALL RATING (FAIR) – two stars based on a 5 star rating. We would not take a cruise on this ship again. There are too many other choices, and better to spend a little extra for a quality ship and quality experience. ** ... Read More
** OVERALL RATING (FAIR) – two stars based on a 5 star rating. We would not take a cruise on this ship again. There are too many other choices, and better to spend a little extra for a quality ship and quality experience. ** EMBARKATION (FAIR) - The check in and boarding went smoothly, with prompt delivery of our bags. However, we planned to immediately disembark to join friends ashore for lunch, scheduled for months, but unable to do so. We were never informed of this until having boarded the ship! ** MINI SUITE (FAIR TO GOOD) - The mini suite was reasonably sized, however was dusty upon arrival to the cabin. My wife cleaned the tables! The bathtub area had black mold in the tiles behind the piping. The very strong chemicals used on the sheets and bath towels caused significant irritation to the skin, resulting in hives, a first on many cruise lines. This required a visit to the Medical Centre for obtain hydrocortisone cream, and a special visit by the housekeeper to provide non-chemically treated sheets and towels. The Doctor explained that other passengers were having the same issue. The cruise had decided to chemically over treat the sheets and towels in reaction to the illnesses suffered onboard by previous passengers! *** SUITE ATTENDANT (GOOD) - The suite attendants were attentive and responsive to our requests. ** SHIP LAYOUT & MAINTENANCE (FAIR) - Compared to many of our other sailings, the ship is old and tired, showing significant wear and usage. The layout, especially having to walk level 7 to access both sides of level 6 is crazy. The token machine for the laundry on level 9 required tokens was broken on both sides on both the port and starboard side, so we had to go to level 8 to get tokens. The lifts, when they were operating, were very slow to arrive, and to open and close; and the buzzer for lifts operated independently on many floors! *** SERVICE: (GOOD) –The service levels were mixed. The maître de, is highly regarded by staff, and our attendants in the Canaletto restaurant (Lambert and Charon) and Sabatini were excellent. However, the attitudes of personnel around the ship varied from very poor to very good, perhaps due to the heavy working hours (16 hours days with 3-hour breaks, and rare disembarkation in ports!, difficult to imagine with 9 month contracts). * ENTERTAINMENT (POOR) - The entertainment, when compared to other cruise lines, was seriously lacking, with some nights entirely absent anything worthwhile considering, and the ‘productions’ very amateurish, disappointing, with a short 45 minutes showing. The highlight of the entertainment for us was the Starwave band (Very Good). * FOOD (POOR TO FAIR) – The restaurant food was served warm, rarely hot, lacking taste, quality, and variety. The highlight of food quality and service was ‘Sabatini’. The steak house was poor, where the rib eye was tough. Coffee was tasteless and never hot (be sure to bring your own). Fortunately, we had our own instant coffee, and we would get the hot water from the outside outrigger bar. We enjoyed the experience of the crab shack, serving Alaskan crab, however since the crab had been frozen, it was flaky, and lacking in taste. ** OUTSIDE POOL DECKS (FAIR) – The location of the pools, and the deck chairs, is difficult to understand, since they are impractical. As an example, the many deck chairs on the outside decks. Absent any cover from the sun, were all unoccupied, resulting in passenger heavily congregating around the many small pool areas. We chose to pay the extra money for the Sanctuary, ($40pp per day or $20pp half day), an adult only area, located at the front on the 16th floor, We generally arrived around 1pm, However, one day, we ordered food from the menu for delivery, but after one hour, it had not yet arrived, so we cancelled the order. The location is private, quiet and comfortable. ** SHOPPING ONBOARD (FAIR) - The shopping is below average, with mid to low-end items offered for sale, and no high quality items. The pricing after discounts was no better than sales days in our location. The liquor is never sold for cabin use, only the last night of the cruise!!). ** INTERNET (FAIR) - We signed up for 600 minutes of Internet. A large portion minutes of usage was devoted to trying to login to sites, and to the very slow Internet connection responsiveness. Then, the connection with the satellite was lost so the Internet was unavailable. When contacting the purser office for n update, there was no apology, only that they were aware of it and were working on the problem! *** PORTS OF CALL (GOOD) – This rating is generous since the tender in Bali was poorly managed with insufficient tender boats causing significant delays in 90F+ temperatures. We are classified as “Independents” since we choose to be free to do our own thing. This is very much discouraged by Princess Cruise lines, who went so far as to warn against “hijackings” and published “lack of taxis in ports” which was simply untrue. GRATUITIES - We prefer to hand cash gratuities directly to those who contributed to our voyage, and we tip well. We completed the form to remove the daily hotel gratuities charged to our account, but is took several days and a follow up request the Reception Supervisor the make this happen. We visited the Reception desk to request proposed tips to staff (provided by other cruise lines), but there was none. When enquiring how the daily charge of $13.95 is distributed among staff, they were unable to respond. Be aware that any form of room service has a 15% automatic gratuity, which is NOT SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED under room service menu. Since we ordered many wines and waters for the room, we were surprised that gratuity was added. Upon enquiring with Peter in room service, he informed us that this was covered in the contact signed upon boarding! Upon discussing with the Purser office, we were informed that this was assumed covered in the Cabin booklet, although not specifically mentioned. Once again, we had no problem with gratuities, but we prefer to give them ourselves, or at least to not have hidden gratuities. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was my 22nd cruise and approximately the 8th for my wife. This was my 5th Princess cruise and my wife's third. We are active 30 somethings and we like to do a lot of activities on cruise ships and ashore. We went into this ... Read More
This was my 22nd cruise and approximately the 8th for my wife. This was my 5th Princess cruise and my wife's third. We are active 30 somethings and we like to do a lot of activities on cruise ships and ashore. We went into this cruise knowing that it wouldn't have the same level of activities as Royal or Carnival, but even with lowered expectations, we were disappointed. We arrived the day before sailing and spent a great day at Disneyland. I would highly recommend Disney to anyone with or without kids. We stayed at the Super 8 near Disneyland (about a 10 minute walk to the front gates). If you are looking for a reasonably priced hotel that is clean, safe, provides breakfast, and is close to Disney then this is a good option. We were informed a few days before sailing that embarkation would be delayed due to norovirus on the ship and a full cleaning that would take place in the morning/afternoon of embarkation. We were told not to arrive until 3pm. We arrived at 3:30pm and did not get on the ship until 6pm. What surprised us was that despite the delay due to "cleaning" our room was the dirtiest I've ever seen. We always wipe down the room with Clorox wipes when we first get there, but we found hairs, sand, and gunk build up where the soap goes in the bathroom. I complained at the desk and was put on a "list". I explained that I wanted to have a supervisor speak with me regarding the lack of cleanliness on a ship with norovirus. Fast forward to the end of the week when I went to the front desk at 5:30pm on the last night. I was told that someone was going to speak with me. This was obviously (I'll keep this PG) hooey. No one was going to come find me that night. I was given a $50 OBC, but I thought this was too little too late. I was ignored all week. A couple other cabin notes: There is not much space in the shower if you have your own bottles. You might want to bring a shower caddy of some sort if you have a lot of stuff. One day AFTER our room was cleaned, we were left with no hand towels. We had the same bar of soap until it was so thin that it broke on Day 6. AFTER the room was cleaned we were left with no bar of soap. Our cabin steward must have been getting bonuses for not using a lot of soap bars. It became obvious to us during the week that this ship, and probably Princess in general, is catering to an older crowd. Someone had a review a few weeks ago that was titled "700 Kids". I might well have titled this one "3000 Seniors", not that there is anything wrong with that. I can't recall a cruise with fewer kids - there were probably about 20 if I had to guess. The ship has minimal facilities for anyone looking to be active, and the ones they have are largely not cared for. I'll give you a couple examples. Firstly, the basketball court is small and one of the two balls was deflated and coming apart. Your shot ended with a splat of the ball on the ground. One of the nets was ripped and hanging on by a thread from Day 1 - Day 5. I figured they didn't have another onboard, but they replaced it with a new one on Day 6. So obviously they didn't care to do it sooner. Where there was once a miniature golf course, they have ripped it out and replaced 3/4 of it with green turf. The other 1/4 of the space is just a four hole putting green. Why? They had one there and got rid of it! They also got rid of the golf simulator and replaced it with a photo studio (although they couldn't be bothered to change the deck plan maps on the ship). The most high octane activities you will do on this ship are chip wiffle golf balls into the pool and throw rings in the Piazza. Good times indeed. Other problems with this ship that show no one seems to care about: Every clock on this ship shows a different time. They may be off by a few minutes, or maybe an hour. Also, try calling Passenger Services from a public phone. One day I started on Deck 14 and tried every phone in the elevator landing all the way through Deck 8 before I gave up and just walked to the desk (which had no line). A couple phones dialed an extension (not sure if it was the right one), while the others had no response when you pushed the button. Dialing zero did nothing either. We had issues with the main dining room as well, although I don't fault our waiters. My wife has a specific diet where she basically eats fruits and veggies with no sauces or oils. I emailed Princess months before and received a reply to speak to the head waiter when we dined. I printed this email and highlighted the key points. We spoke with Gabriel the first night, and he took the email, but also insisted upon writing an order in his notebook. This resulted in confusion, as he should have just provided the very specific list of items my wife eats to the chef. The order ended up being messed up 3 of 7 nights. This could have been so much more efficient and I did everything in my power to make it go smoothly. We do this on every cruise, and while there are sometimes issues the first night, the other cruise lines we've sailed seemed to do better than Princess. At the buffet, the food was good, but their setup is terrible. They have three different sections, but the one in the back was never open and sometimes only one was open. Even after we were allowed to serve ourselves (after the threat of more norovirus was dispelled), lines were the norm. We were also not allowed to get our own drinks the first few days. My wife asked for a water and a guy busing tables stopped what he was doing and got her water without changing gloves. No wonder norovirus is regularly transmitted on this ship. The food and service was excellent at the International Cafe in the Piazza. We found the entertainment to be adequate, but not as good as Royal Caribbean, especially on their larger ships. The production shows were good, and we really liked the magician who performed in one of the productions shows and then did a superb show in a smaller lounge the next night. The social staff also did a great job with the many trivia sessions onboard. Comedian Dean Gaines was terrible. The funniest part of his act was when he started coughing and asked for water and it took Princess five minutes to bring him a comically large bottle. Carlos Oscar was very funny. The Piazza act Acrobatrix was not very good. The ports were the main reason we took this cruise, and they did not disappoint. In San Francisco, we rented bikes and rode around town and over the Golden Gate Bridge. In Santa Barbara, we rented a car and drove to Solvang, an old Dutch town. We stopped at the world's largest fig tree on the way to Enterprise, and it is definitely worth a look. In San Diego we went to the world famous zoo, which was excellent. We did a little shopping in Ensenada. My wife will be disappointed if I don't say that Ensenada sucks, but we understand that they are just checking the box of going to an international port. Overall, we had a great time, but we will not sail Princess again anytime soon unless it is for a specific itinerary that we cannot find on another line. Princess is clearly not interested in younger, more active cruisers, so we will bring most of our business to Royal and Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
“Land Ho!” came the cry from the veranda of our mini suite on Dolphin deck on board the Princess Star. Normally you would think that would be your words after a 5 day ocean crossing Vancouver BC to Hilo, Hawaii. You'd be wrong. ... Read More
“Land Ho!” came the cry from the veranda of our mini suite on Dolphin deck on board the Princess Star. Normally you would think that would be your words after a 5 day ocean crossing Vancouver BC to Hilo, Hawaii. You'd be wrong. Land Ho was announced upon seeing the harbor of Vancouver on the last day of the cruise. If we had the money to spare we would have possibly chosen to fly back from Lahania rather than endue another five sea days of watching the Noro Virus run rampant on the ship. But alas, let me continue with the beginning. Embarkation went smoothly and once in our stateroom our room steward greeted us and seemed to be quite pleasant. We were pleased with our mini suite, it was our first cabin with a tub, that would later turn out to be an excellent option. Our closet was well stocked with many quality hangers, something we appreciate. The shower area was very adequate for a man of my 6” 2” stature. The bathroom lacked a ceiling fan which would have been appreciated, although lingering steam was not a problem. Actually we were quite pleased with our room and its daily maintenance and our only reservation would be the lack of any personalization with our cabin steward. Being of an honest nature I admit hes reluctance to be friendly was fine with me. One of the first things we did after the room inspection was to head up from deck 9 to the Horizon Court to check out the buffet area. We were disappointed, it was very crowded, the selection was very limited and compared to other ships we've been on, was quite small. As the cruise progressed there was very little change in the variety of food provided. We tried our luck in the casino and Princess made their cut at every turn. 15% rate on most every hand at the automated Texas hold 'em card table. Poker players gathered round several times a day and seemed more than happy to contribute their cut to the house. When the staff was asked if they could have a tournament in addition to the $1-$2 ring game, the reply was that there was not enough of a profit for the cruise line for such a game. The slots were a disappointment for many. Overall, the excitement level in the casino was near zero. We dined each evening at Amalfis' first seating. Our servers did an excellent job every night, I wish I could recall our main guys name, we nicknamed him Little Marco, he was always at our beckoned call and responded to every request. The boss man, Andrew, was especially pleasant to one of our friends who required a special diet. No complaints in the dining room. We're early risers so we enjoyed awakening each morning to channel 21 and the Wake Show starring Neil & Chris each morning. Loved some of those shout outs. As the ship neared the first port of Hilo we began to notice some empty seats at Amalfi's dinner seating. Over the next few days half of our table of 8 had experienced what many others on board had, yes...the dreaded Noro Virus. The Captain routinely broadcast dire warnings over the PA system, emergency measures he announced were being implemented immediately! Employees were told to clean the hand rails, something we noticed, had previously been lacking. When considering mentioning any details about the ports of call I would like to say that it goes pretty much without saying, what to do on any given island, is so much up to each individual, that our adventures would be of little importance to anyone. Who cares about what we did, or didn't do. Needless to say that renting a Jaguar in Honolulu and heading for the North Shore was quite a pleasant experience. Some previous reviews mentioned how the ship seemed to lack an expressed theme while out to sea. I would have to agree saying there was little or no visible Hawaiian decorations. However, on May 5th they were not shy about celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Shortly after booking our cruise we read various reviews that indicated that the Star, & Princess lines in general, had a reputation for recent outbreaks of the virus, so we were prepared in advance and brought with us, two spray containers of Lysol, which turned out to be a great idea, due to a 12 hour window that our travel agent gave us to decide whether we wanted the cruise or not, there was not much time to do a lot of research. For good or bad we felt that partaking in some of the various events on board was dangerous and we remained quite healthy the entire cruise. The buffet food court was now stationed by an army of soldiers, dispensing each item with the care and procession of expert surgeons. Servers attending the tables were also required to use cleaning chemicals after clearing tables and then right back to taking requests from passengers without changing their gloves. Some did not wear gloves. For the remainder of the voyage all doors to the public restrooms were propped open and needless to say, some observations are better off not mentioned here. We spoke to one passenger who when told to fill out a questionnaire about what they had done, and where they had been the past three days prior to their illness, they noticed the sheet had previous blood stains on it. Her husband then mentioned that earlier in the day, he was in the International Cafe, and observed a worked cleaning a vent area above the hot soup container, filled with soup. Near the end of the voyage the captain announced that there had been a major reduction in the number of currently ill passengers. One of our table mates said that earlier in the day, she had attempted to call medical, and was told that they were swamped with phone calls. Our routine for the last 5 sea days of our voyage was spent mostly in our stateroom watching the comedy shows on Fox News. In all fairness, there were people who mingled often, and participated in activities, and had a great time, I'm sure. Our reduced involvement was strictly by choice and we look forward to our next cruise experience soon, it just won't be on Princess and because of the weather it won't be in May across the Pacific. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We wanted a cruise both to and from Vancouver, so in spite of a previously forgettable experience on the Star, we decided to give it another chance. Embarkation was about normal except for me being demoted from Platinum to being a ... Read More
We wanted a cruise both to and from Vancouver, so in spite of a previously forgettable experience on the Star, we decided to give it another chance. Embarkation was about normal except for me being demoted from Platinum to being a first-time cruiser (Blue) ...but that is a whole other story. Our luggage arrived to our cabin on Baja deck surprisingly quickly. Then the usual sailaway party accompanied by hundreds of deck stewards selling colourful drinks which must give newcomers the mistaken impression that this service continues for the duration of the cruise. Forget it. Hoof it to the nearest bar and serve yourself. We found it to be much faster and more comfortable to use the stairs than to wait endlessly for elevators that arrived full or not at all due to being out of service. Also, hot tubs and pools were roped off frequently with no explanation. A comment to a deck attendant that the hot tub was warm only brought a smile and a shrug. The Star is a tired ship badly in need of refit. Rust and corrosion are clearly visible in many places. Check out the port side bar on Deck 5 if you can see through the filthy, paint-smeared windows and you will see layers of blistered paint, rust and a terrible attempt at touch-up by someone who picked the wrong colour. There are soft spots on the decks and corrosion is visible at the edges of the carpeting. Many deck chairs are broken and many more are dirty. There were at least two stacks of new chairs wrapped in plastic but mysteriously unavailable. Unfortunately we had plumbing problems in our cabin -- the water was either tepid or cold ... and 4 different plumbers tried to fix the problem. The only day that we actually had hot water was disembarkation day in Vancouver! The theatre entertainment was quite good as were some of the bar and Piazza shows. This does not include the unfortunate chamber music trio that was paying shortly after we embarked. There is something about that dirge-y sound of a string trio or quartet that seems unfitting for an ocean voyage. Maybe, however, the strains of "Nearer my God to Thee" would have been a comfort to the poor souls stricken with the dreaded norovirus a few days into the cruise. The crew did their best with cleaning and damage control but this ship had a previous outbreak not so long ago. Tenders broke down in Maui (how are the lifeboats?) leading to a huge line-up and over an hour wait for the 5 sea days heading back to Vancouver. On a positive note, the Captain could be seen frequently on his daily walkabout and we can only hope that he had his notebook with him. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was my seventh cruise - and my second Alaskan cruise. Thankfully, we had BEAUTIFUL weather and were able to greatly enjoy Alaska, which is always wonderful. Otherwise, I would have been extremely disappointed with this trip. ... Read More
This was my seventh cruise - and my second Alaskan cruise. Thankfully, we had BEAUTIFUL weather and were able to greatly enjoy Alaska, which is always wonderful. Otherwise, I would have been extremely disappointed with this trip. First, we went on the cruise with my in-laws, who were celebrating their 50th anniversary. My husband was celebrating his birthday. I notified Princess of these events in advance, and while they decorated my in-laws' door with a sign and balloons, they ignored my husband's birthday. I know they got the message, because they gave him a coupon for a free photography sitting for his birthday, on the date I had given them, which was not his actual birthday (it was a couple of days before the cruise). In addition, we made reservations at The Crab Shack and notified them at the time of my in-laws' anniversary and my husband's birthday. Once again, they acknowledged my in-laws but completely ignored my husband. Even after notifying the attendants at The Crab Shack and our room steward, there was no attempt at reconciling the oversight. So the only way they observed my husband's birthday was by trying to sell him something. There was a significantly greater amount of upselling on this cruise than I had experienced in the past. My husband said he couldn't work out at the gym without someone trying to sell him something. The Sanctuary – which is a glorified lounge – costs money to use. I never saw anyone in there. My mother-in-law and I attended the "blink and you'll miss it" galley tour after attending the required, painfully long and bad "cooking show" beforehand (they don't tell you about the show when they promote the galley tour). Despite admitting that they use California olive oil in the show, THREE TIMES they tried to sell us olive oil from Italy on the galley tour, which lasted about two minutes and during which we couldn't even see or hear our tour guide. We were sheep ambling blindly through one corner of a cruise ship kitchen. One note: on display during the galley tour were beautifully sculpted fruits and cheeses that I never saw anywhere on the ship otherwise. The gym is nicely equipped and comfortable, despite the constant upselling. It has a beautiful view. My husband enjoyed the steam room in the men's locker room, and preferred showering there because the showers are larger than in the cabin. The steam and sauna rooms in the ladies' locker room were not working during the entire trip, so I did not get to enjoy them despite looking forward to them; I love a steam room. My in-laws requested their beds made up as twins because my father-in-law is a restless sleeper, but the bed was made up as a queen. They asked to have it changed and it wasn't, so they just went with it. Also, both cabins requested robes, which were not provided; we had to ask for them twice. When they came, they were very small. My husband is 6'5" and my father-in-law is 6'3" and the robes wouldn't close in the front. Okay - they are both larger than average, so we just shrugged that one off. However, my mother-in-law and I could not get the robes to close across our chests. I am large up top, but my mother-in-law is not. I ended up using our robes as auxiliary pillows (more on that below). The beds on the ship are VERY comfortable, but the pillows are way too soft. My head sunk down so much that there was basically no support at all. I ended up bunching up the two robes (mentioned above) and putting them under the pillow to give myself some more support. Another cabin issue was that the cabinet in which the refrigerator is kept gets very hot and the refrigerator can't cool properly; in fact, it barely cools at all unless you keep the cabinet door open, which we did. One night I was standing on our balcony admiring the scenery when water started pouring down on my head from the balcony above. The room steward above was pouring water over the balcony railing to clean it. Even after I yelled up to him to stop because we were down there he continued pouring water THREE more times, one time absolutely soaking me and my expensive DSLR camera. Thankfully I was able to snatch it and dry it in time before any damage occurred. Room service was abominable. Even during non-peak hours we were put on endless hold, only to be hung up on. It would take multiple attempts (on average, about four) to reach someone. When we did finally get a live person, they usually were unable to answer questions such as "What is the 'soup of the day?'" and would put us on hold again for up to five minutes. The room service menu is also extremely limited, and heads up: if you get the soda beverage package, it does not include room service. They will charge you almost two dollars for a soda. One time we ordered orange juice and got an orange Fanta soda instead. The slip they left us clearly said "juice". Speaking of the beverage package... If you're willing to drink iced tea instead of soda, skip the beverage package. The buffets and seemingly the dining rooms do not have soda dispensers in a convenient location, so if you want a soda with your meal the attendants have to leave the area and go get the soda from one of the bars. (Tea, coffee, milk, etc. are all conveniently located and are self-serve or served in the buffet areas, and also included in room service.) Three times it took me over 20 minutes to get my beverage; by that time I was done eating. If you get the beverage package they will give you a plastic Princess cup with a screw-on lid and straw (my in-laws didn't get theirs until the second day). This is nice because you can just walk up to a bar or sit down at a table and the presence of the cup (usually) signals to the attendant that you bought the package and they will go ahead and fill your beverage order without your having to show your cruise card. Be forewarned, however, that a few attendants will make you show your card anyway. My cup cracked on the second day of the cruise and it took me all day to find out where to replace it, as nobody seemed to know (in case you need to know, you can replace it at The International Cafe). The bartender replaced just the cup and lid, but not the straw, which was also cracked. She seemed so miffed at having to replace the cup that I just put up with the cracked straw for the rest of the trip. Onboard activities were about average from my limited experience. I generally don't participate much because they just aren't my cup of tea. That is not the cruise's fault. My mother-in-law enjoyed them more, but said the show on the first formal night was not good at all. I only sat in the theater seats once, but they were very narrow – more than a plane, and even more than a typical concert or theater seat. With one person on each side of me I could not keep my arms at my side and had to fold my arms across my chest or lap. My mother-in-law advised to arrive at the theater 30 to 45 minutes in advance to get a seat. While the boat itself is well maintained and clean, it looks and feels older than it actually is. My husband thought it was designed and built in the early 90s and was greatly surprised to find out it is only eight years old. I would have been surprised, too, had I not read prior to the trip when it was built. The decor is just tired style-wise and looks "grandma-y". Princess really needs to redecorate and get the decor up to par. So, all of that is a bit quibbly; I get that. But I have to say that one of the two worst parts of the experience was the food. Despite being significantly less active than normal, and feeling well, I lost three pounds on this cruise because the food was - at the very best - downright mediocre. It was slightly better in the dining rooms, but only marginally. The buffet food was clearly cooked in a hurry and with a minimum of care. After the third day I found myself walking around in the buffet with an empty plate in my hand, finding absolutely NOTHING appetizing. If I did put food on my plate, it was usually either so undercooked and soupy, overcooked and dry, or so salty or just weird tasting that after one bite I was done. I spent most of the cruise a little hungry because I couldn't find food that didn't require being choked down, despite not being a picky eater at all. Just a few specific examples include: - Chocolate souffle that was so bland and dry that none of the four of us could even tell it was chocolate; it was like eating a weird, tasteless bread. After a few bites we all decided it was nowhere NEAR being "worth the calories" and put our spoons down. - Ham and cheese croissant from The International Cafe that was so cold and hard that I had to use a knife to cut it, and then tear at it when I bit into it. I ended up dismantling it and eating just the ham and cheese. Croissants are not good when they're served chilled. - Individual quiche that was served chilled. I don't mean that it was room temperature. I mean it was actually chilled. In case you were wondering, quiche is also not good chilled. - The fish and chips that are so celebrated were downright soggy. My in-laws ate there one day, and I ate there another day, and we all had the same feedback. The chips were also served cold and soggy. - Desserts like custards and cobblers that were soupy. - The crab legs at The Crab Shack tasted "off" (VERY off). I am at a loss for words to describe the taste, but I did not enjoy them. The rest of the meal was delicious. It was not worth the money we spent on it (which we shouldn’t have had to spend…more on that later). Now to be fair, there were a few good food moments. The pizza is very good, assuming you like thin crust pizza. Each day they offer three flavors (always cheese and pepperoni, plus a "flavor of the day"). The coffee was always smooth and delicious. One night there was a chocolate torte style cake with a melt-in-your-mouth creamy topping that I thought was amazing, even though my husband thought it was just okay. My husband and mother-in-law both had the hazelnut crusted salmon - which is available every evening in the dining rooms - and said it was a "must have". Also, the variety of food is quite impressive. Portions tend to be smallish, but it’s a cruise; you can always get more. Alaska itself was wonderful and I greatly enjoyed the breathtaking scenery and going into the ports. We flew on a helicopter and did a glacier walk in Juneau, and in Skagway I had one of the most wonderful experiences of my life on a photography excursion. While I was doing that, my husband and in-laws did the train excursion. Unfortunately, the stop in Victoria BC is too late and too short to be of much interest. Forget seeing Butchart Gardens, which is probably Victoria's greatest claim to fame; they close at 5pm and the boat doesn't disembark until 7pm. We walked around downtown a bit and walked over to China Town. Most of the shops were closed with lights out, unfortunately. At that time of evening on a Saturday night the restaurants were packed and there was almost no casual dining (we were wearing jeans and tshirts), so we couldn't eat in town. We went back to the ship hungry, and since it was the last night of the cruise the only place available on the ship to get food was The International Cafe, with their cold quiche and croissants. Pass. My second and final major complaint was that my onboard account was wildly inaccurate; we had very few charges, but most of them were wrong. For example, we were charged for water that we never bought or consumed and were not credited for the specialty dining cover charges that were included in our promotion. Princess states that we did not follow the instructions on the voucher that specified that Princess would make the arrangements for our reservation; they therefore refuse to reverse the charges to our credit cards for the specialty restaurant cover charge. I still have the voucher and there is clearly no information on it explaining how it works. We had no way of knowing how it worked, and we certainly never got a notification from Princess of when and where we were supposed to have our meal. In addition, when we mentioned it to the meal attendants they just smiled and nodded, so there was another opportunity to inform us that Princess missed. This is a significant concern for me, because it implies a certain level of dishonesty that makes me very uncomfortable, especially for such a large, high commitment purchase. (Princess did offer a $50 shipboard credit for a future cruise, but I will not be sailing with Princess again.) All in all I had a wonderful trip, but only because Alaska is so beautiful and was exactly the locale I and my family wanted to visit. However, I would rate the actual cruise ship experience only as "acceptable", and marginally so; my gripes and concerns are mostly minor – albeit many – to the point of not being able to recommend Princess as a cruise operator. Other cruise lines I have used before are Norwegian, Celebrity, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean, all of which were wonderful. I will gladly sail with any of them again, but not with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We booked the 1 night Coastal Cruise from Vancouver to Seattle, I am a Travel Agent specializing in standard cruise lines, and was very excited for my first Princess cruise given that I sell these and other cruise lines several times a ... Read More
We booked the 1 night Coastal Cruise from Vancouver to Seattle, I am a Travel Agent specializing in standard cruise lines, and was very excited for my first Princess cruise given that I sell these and other cruise lines several times a day. Unfortunately my experience wasn't so great. I booked cabin A727 for my boyfriend and myself and A731 for my Mom and best friend. The day of departure I got an email from my Agency stating there was delays with port authority and we should arrive to the pier as early as possible between 10:30 am and 12:30pm. Since our hotel was only 3 blocks away arriving early was no problem for us. We walked into the cruise terminal at 10:30am sharp where we were so rushed by what seemed to be annoyed staff that we missed the place to drop off our bags and were stuck carrying them though the nightmare they call customs. Apparently on this day there were 3-4 other cruises embarking that day so the check in at security and customs were very backed up. We got into a large warehouse setting and waiting in the first check in line for about 50 minutes, this warehouse was hot, crowded and not well controlled. Then onto the second line, security, where it wasn't so crowded, went by in about 20 minutes. And finally, to customs, where we were hearded into a large crowded seating area with no further instructions other than, sit and wait. We honestly didn't even know what we were waiting for until we got to the counter. Very weird. After boarding the ship we went to our cabins to finally drop off our bags and headed up to deck 15 Horizon Court for the buffet, which for the 1st 15 minutes we couldn't find any entrances to, all the signs had arrows pointing to the exits! I would normally assume I was just having a slow moment, but there were so many others wandering around looking for the entrances too! After we finally got into the buffet the line went very slowly but luckily the food tasted alright, My favorite for the fried shrimp, poached salmon and espresso desert. We spent most of our day out on the top deck enjoying the bars by the pool and the great weather, that evening we noticed a steal of a deal and purchased some very cheap duty free alcohol and went to try our luck at the casino, unfortunately since this was a 1 night cruise we never made it into international waters, which meant the casino was closed. Later that evening we got our bathing suites on and headed up to the top deck to discover all but one hot tub was closed and the pools were roped off, we tried asking if they would reopen but staff seemed they didn't even know they were closed. We then headed to dinner, which really put me over the edge, this was THE WORST dining experience I've ever had, on or off the cruise. I'm not normally one to complain but this had me so baffled. When we first arrived we were seated by our waitress and the menus were shoved into our faces (literally) we brushed it off assuming it was an accident and then shortly after had a photographer come by to take our picture. We got back into our menus and the waiter came by to ask us for our drink order, while taking the first of 4 orders the other waitress came up, and angrily snatched the order book from his hands and shouted something in his face, then barked at us to repeat our drink order. Afterwards, i had asked if we could order our starters and she shortly responded "You need to wait for your waiter." and quickly walked away. Our waiter arrived and I asked to order the starter and he stated that he will take our order when we know the rest of our entree and dessert. Never had that happen but didn't think much of it. Once we were finally ready I knew that 3 of us wanted the same entree, when I told the waiter this he said "I told you I would take your order ONE AT A TIME" i couldn't believe we were being spoken to this way, since i was under the impression princess prides themselves on service, or so I tell my guests when i book them. Shortly into the second persons order the same waitress from before comes and interrupts to again shout in his face. At this point our patience was wearing thin but we continued to wait. Finally! The food we ordered arrives, our "gormet princess burgers" were gray, flavorless and came without condiments, we asked for some ketchup and were given about a tablespoon, my mother then asked for a side of mayo (since the burger was so dry) and they brought out a large bowl full. The burger came with bacon wrapped shrimp, the bacon seemed slightly warmed up but still completely raw and we tasted the shrimp, it was so under cooked i didn't feel safe eating it. My boyfriend got the pan seared chicken, he tried one bite and said it tasted spoiled. It was then that we got up and left. We were followed out by the management who I'm sure was able to read our faces because he asked us what was wrong with our meal, after explaining to him just as I explained to you, he responded with "yes, that waitress can be a bit mouthy" What?! Never going on a princess cruise ever again. Simply for this reason. The only reason they didn't get 1/5 rating from me was because the accomodations were amazing. The rooms were bigger than any RCC Balconies i've booked in the past. Large closet space and beds were comfy. While we were out most of the night, we came back to our room and saw there was a message on the phone, this message was to notify us that we were reported smoking in our room and we would be fined $250! Not okay for 2 major reasons, we are not smokers, and we were not in our room the majority of the day. We then spend the better part of an hour waiting in line at ship services to get some answers. We were told that the deck supervisor reported us, when I advised this was a mistake we aren't smokers, she asked if we were lying because the deck supervisor is never wrong. Again, just blown away, after some time arguing back and forth they "made an exception" and removed the fine, but just another cherry on top. All in all, i will never book another princess cruise for myself again, and I'm sad to say I will be hesitant booking my clients on Princess either. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
> Bad choice of meals first 4-5 nights - (looks like cost savings as food quality increased drastically from that point forward. > When we pulled into BC Port the ship was late and the excursion's were coming back late with ... Read More
> Bad choice of meals first 4-5 nights - (looks like cost savings as food quality increased drastically from that point forward. > When we pulled into BC Port the ship was late and the excursion's were coming back late with folks not able to see anything in the dark. > Front desk was very short with my wife and I when we asked about our account. > Going home we paid extra to have our bags taken directly to our last stop airport, we wanted to go to bed early and had to wait for the bag tags to be brought to our room however there was a problem with that. > TV's in the room, you had to constantly press the buttons and hoped that the channels would change. > Queen bed was in bad shape as it sunk in the middle - THAT WAS NO FUN! The overall value did not seem to equal to what we had paid to see Alaska! Try another Cruse Line! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We have taken approx. ten cruises to Europe and Mexico, Panama Canal, etc. My husband thought it would be interesting to go to Russia, Berlin, and the Baltic countries. I had no idea it would be so so cold, I was happy I brought a ... Read More
We have taken approx. ten cruises to Europe and Mexico, Panama Canal, etc. My husband thought it would be interesting to go to Russia, Berlin, and the Baltic countries. I had no idea it would be so so cold, I was happy I brought a couple of sweaters and a wind breaker. Most of the countries were very cold, rain, etc. When we arrived in Russia, it was raining so hard, with a lot of hail and wind. Usually the Princess has nice boutiques but not on this trip. I bought only one suit to be warm. The Regal Princess was absolutely beautiful but was extremely large. Since most of the entertainment centered around the middle of the ship, we had to continually walk from one end of the ship to another. There must have been approximately 300 Chinese on the ship, we continually were pushed out of the way for them to get by. They were rude. When I was on shore, a woman from another ship stated she noticed so many Chinese on our ship, and they were pushing her so much as they walked, they put a whole in her raincoat from their umbrellas; when they arrived next to our ship, they noticed, they all had clothes lines outside. Then I caught a bug on ship and was confined to my cabin, for two days. The ship was beautiful but too large, if you met someone nice, you would never encounter them again. Anyway, the one thing we loved was the Hermitage Museum in Russia. It was so beautiful, it was Catherine the Greats Palace with all famous paintings. Very nice. Berlin was beautiful and interesting. It was nice to see all this once, but I would not like to go there again or on such a large ship. It held about 5,000 people with the crew included and it was cold in June! Princess rep called me she said a lot of people had complained about the Chinese people pushing and rude to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We are into double figures for cruising now and our first cruise with Princess. We were looking forward to this cruise as it was something different with new locations being covered. The cruise was booked on a last minute flash sale and is ... Read More
We are into double figures for cruising now and our first cruise with Princess. We were looking forward to this cruise as it was something different with new locations being covered. The cruise was booked on a last minute flash sale and is not our main cruise holiday for this year. Southampton check in was excellent as we had been given priority due to the level of cruises we have done with sister companies in the group,40 mins we were on ship . As this was last minute we had booked an inside which is what you expect ,cleanliness was good on inspection and the room steward as per usual introduced himself. Like with many American lines no kettle was provided so if you wanted a warm drink was either a walk to the café or room service ( not a main issue ) but be aware . We have been on Azura its sister ship and was surprised in how dated the ship felt ,very dark wood used giving a dated appearance, casino was large as per usual and generally a lack of places to get a drink on an evening ,only two actual bars outside of entertainment lounges internally. We were on freedom dinning so when we decided to venture for our meal the queue was into the main atrium so the first night we sampled the self service, which on first impressions we couldn't fault ,all displayed as expected. Again finding a table was an issue. The next day we returned to the dinning room and the only way to get a table for two was to take a buzzer irrespective of time you decided to go down ,generally we had a 45 minute wait ,on the two occasions we did this we wished we hadn't, the food and menus offered in the restaurant were the poorest we have sampled on any cruise ship, the waiters were not welcoming and table etiquette needs to be resolved , cool ,greasy food were the delights we had, on one occasion I asked for melon as an alternative to a starter and two pieces of just cut of the melon arrived with a mint leaf ,not fanned or nothing ( is this 5 star standard cuisine ?) In the daytime we could not fault the pizza & burger bar and likewise the self service which we used the most as was much better than the freedom dining. The room was at typical inside, nothing to fault although during our trip the steward didn't clean used glasses leaving them until he decided to change on an evening, the sink plug broke and dust was present on the internal fans, small details but princess claim to be 5 star . The biggest gripe I would say is the cost of the drinks and special dinning , we have sailed on many and this was the expensive of them all ,as all is in $ on board we brits pay an additional premium but to be lumbered with a no option 15% tip on all drinks making two glasses of wine circa $20 £18 is very expensive ,we didn't bother with any bottles as the started at $30 plus even for the cheapest . Lager was circa $6.50 ,cocktails were same price as wine but what we sampled were disappointing. The drinks package is $49 + 15% tip per day per person ,so the choice is yours !!! Entertainment was good in the day and plenty on an evening but not many places to just get a drink after a show etc, we spent more time in our room watching the in house movies ( all latest release) than drinking. This is not our normal chosen activity but a general guide of the ship layout . Our first stop was zeebrugger (Bruge visit) ,we booked a non princess excursion which means you have to meet them outside the port gates,( a bus is provided ),so remember this if you book an indepenndant. Copenhagen was next , would recommend this as plenty to see with various famous statues ,good shopping arcades and the Tivoli gardens all in walking distance but be prepared with good walking shoes, we did 8 miles that day . We had to abort Helinsbourg in Sweden due to bad weather so having an extra sea day to Oslo ,Norway. We got the hop on hop off bus which takes you around and shows you all the sights, royal palace, statue park and opera are all good stop offs. The area around the dock is all new so plenty to do . Disembarkation at at Southampton was good again , one of the best as we were off for 9.00am in the morning. Despite the good start, we felt very disappointed in what princess offered ,not the 5 star they advertise ( well below RC) and even below P & O on food and friendliness, lets say I wouldn't rush again to book with them again, even with flash sales. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
First the few good points: Embarkation was very smooth and we were quickly on board without any fuss. Although we only had an interior stateroom it was spacious enough for our needs and what we expected. Some of the staff are ... Read More
First the few good points: Embarkation was very smooth and we were quickly on board without any fuss. Although we only had an interior stateroom it was spacious enough for our needs and what we expected. Some of the staff are fantastic, polite, always smiling and willing to help. The Movies Under the Stars is a nice feature but obtaining a sunbed is a nightmare which I will elaborate on later. Now the not so good points: Princess constantly tout the slogan "Come back new" but should really change it to "Come back skint" as this ship is constantly trying to get you to part with your money. Flyers everyday in your cabin selling spa treatments, painting auctions, photo studio offers etc. We should have realised what to expect when we went exploring around the ship and found the casino to be one of the biggest areas crammed full of gaming tables, fruit machines and other ways to get you to part with that dollar. A painting auction in the bar - really?? Hint: We are here to relax and enjoy ourselves not to be bombarded and pressurised into buy, buy, buy. We expected the drinks to be pricey from our experience on other ships but crikey their prices are extortionate to say the least and then they have the cheek to add a 15% service charge on top to cover tipping the staff even though you are already paying $12.95 each per day in tips. (Which coincidentally you can ask to be removed, even though they don't advertise this fact). We opted for the anytime dining option as we have used it before and allows you to eat at a time that suits you but for many nights we would walk down to the restaurant only to find a massive queue of people waiting for a table. Once we were seated at a table we found the food to be bland and of very poor quality. The speciality restaurants received rave reviews so they can produce good quality food that is edible. One day my partner's Apple Strudel arrived cold and when she told the waiter his attitude was it's meant to be like that and walked off. On arrival we had a problem with our luggage and had to jump through hoops to try and sort it out even though they promised a resolution very quickly. At the end of our 14 days they still had not sorted anything out as promised. The shore excursions are a total rip off. We booked to see the Trevi Fountain in Rome and when we arrived they were cleaning it so it was not in operation. Our tour guide admitted she knew that they would be cleaning it this morning so why not adjust the itinerary to suit and visit it later in the day? Our tour bus was meant to be a luxury coach but my seat was broken, not fastened to its anchor points and kept moving about. On our way back the air conditioning packed in on a day when temperatures were over 100 degrees with no windows or vents to open. (We did complain but never even received an apology). In Barcelona we were told it was quite a walk from the ship so we opted for the shuttle bus which you had to pay for (no surprises there). I asked how long we would be on the bus and was told 15 minutes, I timed it at just under 5 minutes!! The entertainment was abysmal, with singers, comedians and hypnotists the order of the day. Don't get me wrong some of the singers were great but I've seen better acts in a working men's club. To say they have a supposedly all singing, all dancing theatre they only put on 2 cabaret style shows the whole fortnight, which incidentally were excellent. Our cabin steward was the most miserable I've ever met, yet when we walked by other stewards they always had a smile on their faces and would always speak. Trying to get a sunbed was a task within itself unless you were prepared to get up at 6am and throw towels on 5 or 6 beds then go back to bed as some people were doing. Some were even putting towels on beds then going off the ship on a shore excursion hoping their towels would still be in place when they returned later that day. This ship is supposed to have had a revamp but it looks really tired and dated with paint and wood flaking off on the interior furniture. Our bathroom sink was chipped and the bed sheet had a hole in it the size of a 5p piece. The ports we visited were generally very good except Genoa. Why stop here? When I asked people what they thought of their day out in Genoa everyone replied with the same response ... *censored* Disembarkation was well planned but in reality the timing slots are that close together that in the luggage collection area it was chaos with many people wandering around bumping into each other trying to locate their luggage. So there you have it a honest and unbiased review of the Emerald Princess cruise liner. Overall we did enjoy ourselves but at a cost and with our experiences we have decided not to cruise with Princess again. There are better cruise liners out there to spend your hard earned money on! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Princess Cruises has built the most dysfunctional and perhaps the poorest-designed ship I have ever sailed on- a complete disappointment. I was lost the entire two weeks we cruised the Med. First of all, there is very limited outdoor ... Read More
Princess Cruises has built the most dysfunctional and perhaps the poorest-designed ship I have ever sailed on- a complete disappointment. I was lost the entire two weeks we cruised the Med. First of all, there is very limited outdoor space- and what space there is always had blaring music or movies 24/7. Most of the views from these decks also have glass partitions so there is no way to clearly see the shore or any vista. The best deck for sun, quiet space and views is the smokers' deck on 17- which, by the way, is located next to the children's play area. There's no circulation around the decks-- remember when ships had promenade decks?; a lack of stairways, or stairs that lead nowhere, and most importantly no center stairway. Most of my travel time was waiting for an elevator. The spa is on deck 5- tucked into the bowels of the ship, while the gym is on 17--- none of it makes sense. This ship feels like something built by a committee of men who've never cruised before. Adding to the design flaws was Princess' indifference to returning guests. I sailed with a Ruby member and there was no recognition- reception or otherwise- to acknowledge the line's loyal customers. Top that off with a surly hotel staff (my partner's key was de-magnetized 7 times) who wanted to lecture a guest before offering assistance, and you've really created "Faulty Towers" at sea. Our itin. was changed two weeks from the sailing date- no Turkish ports this year- but the replacements were mixed. Loved Kotur and was happy to return 2x, but the late addition of Messina, Sicily was a disaster: dirty, dangerous and nothing that compared to Greece or Montenegro. We arrived at 1 pm- just when Southern Italy takes a siesta- and had nothing to do until everything re-opened at 4 pm. We wandered the hard-scrabble streets of this port city scratching our heads and asking "why"? I guess we could have taken the $200 cab ride to Taurima. Whatever. I thought Princess was learning something in the refurb of Diamond, which was our best cruise ever for 10 days in Japan in 2014, but the Royal is a complete disaster and a menace to the reputation of the brand. Princess- I think I'm taking some time away from you in 2017. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I choose this particular cruise line based on reviews. My destination was to Alaska, regardless of which boat to take. However, after having sailed on Norwegian and Carnival, I opted to go with Princess based on the grander scale everyone ... Read More
I choose this particular cruise line based on reviews. My destination was to Alaska, regardless of which boat to take. However, after having sailed on Norwegian and Carnival, I opted to go with Princess based on the grander scale everyone was raving about. Unfortunately, I more than likely won't be choosing Princess again. More than once from several employees we received rude and obnoxious treatment from the staff. I gave the bartender at the International Cafe the benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe he had a bad day. When his behavior occurred on more than one occasion. That's when I decided never again, will I go on a Princess cruise. He even made a comment to another employee I guess she can't see the menu up on the wall and she needs a menu. I am 39 years old and yes I can't see very well. I asked for a menu because I literally could not see and left my glasses in the room. Plus it seemed like Princess was basically all about getting more money from you. We were scammed into purchasing these coupon books, to go on a scavenger hunt and get free so called items. We purchased three, $75.00 and one store owner had the audacity to say it was one per state room. I was like no we purchased 3 booklets. Then when we did not purchase more merchandise, we were looked at like cheap-skates. The food, was bland and not always available. Breads, and pastries were stale and old, to the point of hardened. Sorry Princess, but this is a thumbs down! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I chose this particular cruise because of the convenience of specific dates and destinations. My wife and I were extremely disappointed in the amenities due to the fact we purchased a full suite. The standard for this type of room was set ... Read More
I chose this particular cruise because of the convenience of specific dates and destinations. My wife and I were extremely disappointed in the amenities due to the fact we purchased a full suite. The standard for this type of room was set for us when we went on an Alaskan cruise 2 years ago on Celebrity. Celebrity by far as much higher standards on the complete experience for "suite" level passengers. The entertainment, food, service, and organization on Celebrity is far superior. One example of the entertainment was at shore in Halifax. The entertainment schedule stated "Scottish dancers with bagpipes". The actual entertainers were local middle school students from Halifax. It was basically a middle school dance recital. Not quite what anyone had in mind. There were approximately 300 passengers in attendance and after 10 minutes most of the people started filing out. I was so embarrassed for those poor kids. I stayed through to the bitter end and applauded as loud as I could. Also since we paid for a full suite we expected special invites for on board tours of the galley, the bridge, and dinners with senior staff. We did not get one special invite. On Celebrity we had special invites every day that made us feel very special, as we should have for the price paid. I don't believe the on board staff are any different on Princess than the Celebrity staff. But the difference is their training. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We decided on this cruise because of the itinerary. The ports we stopped at were welcoming and beautiful. I wish the same could be said about our overall experience on the boat. The main problem was bad customer service throughout the ... Read More
We decided on this cruise because of the itinerary. The ports we stopped at were welcoming and beautiful. I wish the same could be said about our overall experience on the boat. The main problem was bad customer service throughout the entire staff. I work in customer service and understand how rude people can be but the staff seemed irritated and over us the moment we set foot on the ship. We thought maybe it was a cruise with a lot of trainees on it but we asked around and this wasn't the case. My husband and I were looking to just enjoy ourselves and reconnect with each other. We have cruised a lot but not as much as some of our fellow cruisers. We have also gone on over four different cruise lines. So we have equal status on many lines. The fellow passengers we cruised with were older/retirement age and were completely loyal only to Princess. They seemed to be immune to the lack of customer service. I know no cruise line is perfect but our experience with Princess this time made us feel like we wasted our money and vacation time cruising with them. My husband purchased a drink package for me which turned ou to be a big mistake. I thought the gesture was nice except I couldn't get service most of the time. I mean whether we were laying out at the pool or anywhere for that sake the lack of service was the same. I had to go get 95% of my drinks. I was at the bar so much the bartender questioned me as to why I came up so much. I told him and he just gave me a 2nd drink for later. Please understand yes there were beverage staff walking around but they were talking to each other or ignoring passengers not serving us. Also the quality of the drinks were bad. The bartenders were horrible at making drinks and I'm talking about the drinks they advertised on the boat. I was asked several times about how the drink of the day was made. We would visit different dining rooms and they all had different beverage choices. So if I had a drink in one dining room I couldn't get the same drink in a different one. Oh the food was average but the specialty dining was above average. The service was also better in the specialty dining restaurants. I'm really sorry but cruising isn't cheap. I'm very disappointed in how unwelcoming the staff was. The entertainment was lacking big time. I've definitely seen better. I really feel like the cruise was for an older crowd. The onboard activities were lacking also. The fitness center was great and overall the boat was beautiful. Oh most of the public bathrooms were broken or dirty. That was a disappointing discovery. I just went back to my stateroom to use the bathroom. I walked into some really disgusting bathrooms day1-4. The public bathrooms being dirty was surprising. I mean with all the illnesses going around I'd think they would take better care of public areas. I wish I could be more positive about my experience but I'm only being truthful. We will probably not take a chance on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
After 15 cruises on 7 different lines I have, unfortunately, discovered a line I will never cruise with again. It's hard to know where to begin. Embarkation went relatively smoothly and we were on board by 1PM. Went to the buffet on ... Read More
After 15 cruises on 7 different lines I have, unfortunately, discovered a line I will never cruise with again. It's hard to know where to begin. Embarkation went relatively smoothly and we were on board by 1PM. Went to the buffet on deck 16 and saw what appeared to be a wonderful piece of beef that I couldn't wait to try. I was amazed that a piece of meat that had to be at least 20 pounds had been cooked well done all the way to the bone. No medium rare and certainly no rare. On top of that it had no flavor and it was extremely dry. While I hoped this was a fluke and the food would improve, it turned out to be a preview of the next 10 days. While the "fresh fish" was delicious and moist on the first day, it was dry and smelled and tasted fishy the rest of the cruise. It seems that virtually all of the food is prepared with little seasoning and cooked until unrecognizable. The Main Dining Room was no exception. While I could get some beef dinners cooked to order most of the selections were bland, over cooked and rarely served hot enough. Desserts were uninspired and many times couldn't be cut with a fork. To add insult to injury we didn't even get the traditional steak and lobster dinner on the last night, we were offered Roast Tom Turkey or Meatloaf in the Main Dining Room. I can have those meals at home and they are definitely not what I am looking for in a fine dining experience on a cruise ship. While the ship is beautifully appointed and well maintained it has a definite lack of entertainment. I really do like string quartet music, but not necessarily twice a day for 10 days. The reggae and Caribbean music was a welcome relief to the Lawrence Welk/Ed Sullivan type of shows and music that abounded on this ship. The comedian that was on the ship the longest was using schtick and jokes from the 50's that wasn't that funny back then. There was a comedian that was hilarious but he left the ship on day 4 for the Holidays. This ship has an event billed as Mardi Gras and we were looking forward to this. Instead we received another disappointment, Who holds Mardi Gras at four in the afternoon??? The on board amenities were literally non-existent, A very plain jane 8 hole putting green that appeared to be an after thought, and a laser shooting range that was out of service the entire cruise appeared to be the only activities,other than exercise classes, that the ship had to offer. On a brighter note the staff throughout the ship was excellent. They were friendly, professional, helpful and always cheerful. The staff was the only redeeming quality this ship had going for it. If you are looking for a cruise in the future my recommendation is to look at any other cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I had previously traveled Sea Princess and we had an enjoyable time. However, we had a number of issues with this cruise that we didn't feel were adequately dealt with. Family Friendly - The biggest issue was the lack of family ... Read More
I had previously traveled Sea Princess and we had an enjoyable time. However, we had a number of issues with this cruise that we didn't feel were adequately dealt with. Family Friendly - The biggest issue was the lack of family friendly activities, entertainment and the poor experience with the Kids Club staff. We were advised on the first night, that due to a high number of children on board, there may not always be availability on the kids club. We had to book in advance a number of times. On many occasions, the kids club were not available at all as they had scheduled alternate activities (where parents would need to attend as they were unsupervised). When we did have our children in kids club, we were paged repeatedly for minor things so we had to come collect our children. We weren't able to fully enjoy the other activities as a result. This wouldn't have been so bad if there were family friendly areas or entertainment for our children. They rarely had any children programming on television, and no other place to take them where they'd have fun. The swimming pool was quite dangerous due to the rockiness of the boat and children were generally unwelcome in the calmer pool. Activities & Entertainment - Activities on board ranged from good to pretty ordinary, the shows were pretty good (the singers and dancers were lovely and we really loved the Mentalist). However many of the "enrichment" activities involved spending more money and there was a lot of push to get you to gamble (eg play bingo, go to the casino). I remember some dancing activities the last time I sailed with Sea Princess which seemed to be lacking this cruise. The Zumba teacher was AWFUL (no sense of rhythm at all, songs were bad) and very rude, she yelled at another staff member during the first session over the sound of the music. She also yelled at a child in front of everyone during Trivia because he said an answer out loud. Food - Food was mostly good especially in the Horizon court & traditional dining areas. However, the chips (french fries) were generally over cooked and bland and the coffee left a lot to be desired (and this was the specialty coffee we paid extra for). The drinks were okay, but pricey, and they didn't make a very nice vodka lime and soda. Service - service was generally good however on the deck 5 atrium, there was a bar that was always very very slow to serve. I would often stand for quite a while, while others who arrived after me were served before me - making me feel like I wasn't there at all. When I finally got served, coffees and drinks took 10 mins to make. Facilities - the gym was a little small - it would have been nice if they had some fitness classes on throughout the day. The pool was fine, but as mentioned, it wasn't that safe for children. Occasionally it appeared something was dripping from the roof on the lower levels of the ship, I think this ship needs an upgrade and some maintenance done. Ports - we travelled to Papua New Guinea which wasn't on the list above - some of the locations were really average. Most of the stops didn't have any shore excursions. At one particular stop, the locals were very unfriendly, and the area seemed generally unsafe. Doini Island was lovely however, and Rabaul was fascinating. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
As part of my wife’s and my 50th wedding anniversary celebration, we planned a “bucket list” cruise around South America. We planned and reserved the trip in September 2015, while aboard an Alaskan cruise on the Pacific Princess. We ... Read More
As part of my wife’s and my 50th wedding anniversary celebration, we planned a “bucket list” cruise around South America. We planned and reserved the trip in September 2015, while aboard an Alaskan cruise on the Pacific Princess. We sailed on a 14-day cruise on the Crown Princess leaving out of Rio de Janeiro on 04 January 2017, ending up in Valparaiso / Santiago, Chile. The first half of our cruise was like the “cruise from hell”! The second half turned out very nice. Some of the problems we encountered were particular to us, while some affected everyone on the cruise. Some were not the fault of Princess, while some I totally attribute to Princess. Some were due to weather and some due to an unexpected medical emergency. However, others were due to what I consider poor maintenance on the Crown Princess; some due to poor attitude of some, but not all of, the Princess staff; and some due to what I consider poor planning and execution by Princess Management. Problems started before we boarded the ship. The Embarkation process in Rio was a disaster. It was not a process at all, but rather total chaos! There was no organization and the subcontractor hired by Princess to manage the embarkation was untrained, unknowledgeable on what was going on or supposed to be going on, and totally rude to some passengers, notably handicapped ones. There was a very noticeable total lack of Princess staff present until very late in the boarding experience. Once a Princess staff member did come out and try to make announcements, they were audible only in about the northern 1/3 of the building. There were far too few chairs for the number of folks there (about 1/3 had to stand the entire time) and the air-conditioning was woefully inadequate. There was no water or cold drinks available except for purchase from one vendor which had a 30-minute line to check out. Priority boarding was non-existent. Platinum, Elite and Suite passengers were given “boarding numbers” just like everyone else, (seemingly at random) based upon when they arrived. Everyone should have boarded by 5 PM and sailed at 6 PM. We, along with two other couples traveling with us arrived at 1:30 PM. We finally boarded around 5:45 PM and our traveling companions did not get aboard until around 7:15 PM, and they were by no means the last to board. We sailed about 3 hours late, missing our scheduled dinner assignment and unable to see Rio de Janeiro’s harbor sights in daylight. It was the worst embarkation, by far, we have experienced in some 16 cruises in numerous North American and European ports, and with six different cruise lines. A couple next to us in the Rio embarkation warehouse said it was the worst embarkation they had experienced in 35 years of cruising! During our first day at sea, an announcement was made asking for any blood donors with AB+ or O- blood and a donor card to please report for the ship’s medical center since a passenger had a medical emergency and was in need of a transfusion. He was stabilized, but needed to be transported to a hospital onshore for further treatment. The ship diverted course and sailed back to the Brazilian mainland and the patient was transferred to a smaller vessel near shore and thence to a hospital. Unfortunately we learned the next morning he had undergone an emergency procedure there, but had not survived. This necessary diversion caused us to be another 8-10 hours late. After another day of cruising we had entered the Rio de la Plata river / estuary between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, where we dropped anchor! The Captain explained that 24-36 hours of very strong Northwest winds had caused an unusually low tide in the estuary and there was insufficient draft for us to proceed to Buenos Aires. We stayed at anchor for maybe 6-10 hours while the winds abated and the tides returned sufficient water for the required draft of the Crown Princess. The next morning we were docked at Buenos Aires, albeit a full day late. We awoke to find that out of some 8 or so planned shore excursions in Buenos Aires, the one we had signed up for was the only excursion cancelled. The reason given was equipment or technical issues. The same exact tours, but with German and Spanish speaking guides, proceeded as planned. It was too late to schedule another tour. We and one of the other couples traveling with us took a taxi into the Plaza de Mayo. From there we walked 2 blocks and took a “Hop-On-Hop-Off” bus tour of Buenos Aires. After several hours on the bus, and consulting the guide, we got off the bus and walked 3 blocks to the Recoleta Cemetery to see Evita’s grave. This had been one of the major stops on the Princess shore excursion that was cancelled. While walking the three blocks through a very nice park, we were “scammed” and I had my pocket picked and lost my new iPhone! Someone threw some foul-smelling stuff on all our backs and while we were distracted, thinking a flock of birds had pooped on us, their accomplice, seeming to help point out the stuff on our backs, picked my pocket. Apparently it is a favorite ploy of gangs in the city. The guide in Recoleta saw our soiled pants and shirts and said “Oh, you have been scammed”. He said we were not the first that day. When I reported it to two nearby policemen, they simply said that’s the way the gangs operate. Guest Services said when we reported it back aboard ship that we were not the only Crown Princess passengers to fall for the same scam that day. We told the staff member working there that future passengers should be warned about this scam. Indeed, the excursion speaker did then warn of exactly this type of scam before we arrived in Santiago. We went to our stateroom, took off our clothes, showered and left quickly for our scheduled early dinner seating. We planned to wash our soiled clothes the next morning in the self-laundry on our deck. The next morning we “learned” that because we are a day late, we had lost our docking spot in Montevideo and thus would not dock there during the day but only a short time in the evening to take on supplies and food. All shore excursions in Montevideo are thus cancelled. We are also told that we “must take on fuel” and because we have lost our docking slot in Montevideo, we again sat at anchor for 6-8 hours in the Rio de la Plata while a small tanker and pump barge tied up alongside and loaded bunker fuel. Also when we awoke that morning we found some of the carpet in our stateroom wet. We learned that the toilet in the adjacent stateroom had overflowed and somehow seeped through the bulkhead and into our stateroom. We also found that all the laundries were closed for “water rationing”? We complained to the head steward who was on the hall overseeing carpet clean-up, asking when the laundries would be open because we had the fouled clothes for our Buenos Aires scam. He offered to take our clothes and have them cleaned complementary with the crew’s laundry. We thanked him and then went to eat breakfast. We had to stay out of our cabin most of the day while the carpets were vacuumed, shampooed, and dried (or at least partially dried). We had a very noisy blower in the room for two days. It seems strange to me that a ship capable of extended cruising and making trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific crossings of 7-10 straight days at sea should have to refuel only 4 days after leaving the beginning of the cruise in Rio de Janeiro! I am guessing that since this ship for the remainder of the season cruises alternatively between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso that they have attractive bunker fuel contracts in both areas. However, with only one stop per season in Rio, I suspect that Princess had to purchase fuel at a more expensive “spot market price”, and thus Princess management chose to sail from Rio with only partially full bunker tanks. Then after unexpected weather and unforeseen medical situations, we must sit anchored in the muddy Rio de la Plata and refuel for 6-8 hours. In retrospect I think this may also be the reason for the “water rationing” since I doubt if that the reverse osmosis water-makers could properly handle the very muddy water being taken in from the Plata while we sat at anchor. I had noticed water from our tap the night before being somewhat cloudy or brown! We finally docked at Montevideo just at dusk and passengers are allowed ashore for about 3 hours and told to “enjoy the nearby shops, bars, and restaurants” since no tours weree offered. My wife and I disembarked and got just to the end of the pier before a major thunderstorm unleashed torrential rains. We quickly re-boarded, being some of the lucky ones to get only slightly wet instead of thoroughly drenched. People who did stay ashore later complained that all the shops and many restaurants and bars were shuttered for the night (or the rain?). We just got to “set foot” in Montevideo and Uruguay, and had no excursions or tours! The next morning we were informed that we would totally bypass the Falkland Islands in order to get back on schedule for the remainder of the cruise. All shore excursions in the Falklands, including the one we had booked to go and see the penguins, were of course cancelled. Seeing the penguins had been one of the anticipated highlights of our cruise! We went to the Shore Excursion Desk to see if there were any options to change, or add, excursions in Ushuaia to see penguins there. We were told they were all already full with “very long waiting lists”! People were really getting upset by now. After waiting in line for quite a while at the Shore Excursion Desk, two men cut in from the side and went directly up to the desk. Several people behind us yelled at them to “wait their turn and get in line like everyone else!” When we then approached the staff member (we were next in line before the men attempted to cut), my wife told the staff member working there that in addition to helping with shore excursions, he should also help maintain order and ensure that folks kept in line and did not cut. He, almost indigently, told her that he had been there several days and nobody had ever cut before! He also said that we should not anticipate on getting on any excursions to see penguins as they were all much too full. As new Captain’s Circle Platinum members, my wife and I were disappointed in the lack of attention that was paid to the “claimed Platinum Benefits”. First there was absolutely no priority or preferred boarding in Rio for us as Platinum members. There was a “Happy Hour” for Platinum, Elite and Suite passengers held in the Skywalker’s Lounge every night. We received no notice of this initially. We only learned about it after 3-4 days at sea from a fellow Platinum passenger. My wife called the Guest Services desk and inquired about these functions and about an invitation. She was told we should have received an invitation in our stateroom (which we didn’t). My wife requested one and was told it would be sent to our room shortly. Late the next day after still not receiving one, I finally went to the Guest Services desk and asked for one. After a lengthy “verification” that we were indeed Platinum, I was given a copy. We did utilize the special disembarkation lounge for Platinum, Elite and Suite guests in the Explorer’s Lounge and that was nice. There were also a number of smaller instances which all pointed to the age of the Crown Princess and what I consider poor condition and maintenance. There were numerous plumbing problems. In addition to the overflowing toilet next door, our toilet overflowed once but thankfully was contained on the tile bathroom floor. Over the remainder of the cruise, we heard of several other “overflowing toilet issues”. The tub in our mini-suite was VERY slow draining for the entire voyage. Initially there was no Wi-Fi service in our stateroom. I called and complained and was told that the “router would be tweaked and it should be better”. It was never consistently available. Occasionally I could get a weak Wi-Fi signal in one or two spots in our stateroom, but if my phone or iPad shifted more than a few inches, I lost the signal. I resolved myself to going to the ship’s common areas to text, and send and receive email. One day we were both in our stateroom, my wife in the bathroom and I on the couch reading. There was a loud thump or bang. I thought my wife had fallen and she thought I had fallen. Instead a large fabric-coated wooden panel had fallen off the wall beside the bed between us and bounced over the lamp and onto the floor. It probably weighed 20 pounds. I informed our steward and it was promptly reattached. I know we experienced some rough seas both in the Atlantic as we approached Cape Horn and also in the Pacific as we came out of the Strait of Magellan and the ship rolled and pitched. However, all the attached wooden furniture (desk, cabinets, etc.,) in our stateroom (D515) creaked and popped so loudly that on several nights my wife could only get to sleep after putting in earplugs and taking some melatonin. As a football fan I was also disappointed in the choices of Princess as to how games were presented on television. We watched all the pre-game hype and interviews for the NCAA championship game on our stateroom TV. Just as the game was about to begin, however, the screen went blank and then a message was displayed that “this presentation is blacked out on this station”! The first weekend of the NFL playoffs, games were shown on the large poolside screen and on the TV’s in Gatsby’s Casino, but not in the staterooms. The next weekend of the NFL Division Playoffs the same arrangement was initially started. There was so much interest in the Dallas – Green Bay game that Gatsby’s was standing room only. The Blackjack Dealers could not even get chairs around their tables and no one came to the tables to play in spite of the dealers trying to set up. Finally the head man or Pit Boss came out and told the dealers to just give up and wait until after the game. At the end of the Dallas – Green Bay game, they made an announcement that the next game between the Steelers and the Patriots would instead be shown on the stateroom TV’s! I’m not sure of Princess’s arrangements with satellite television but when the business in the casino suffered, they certainly found a way quickly to broadcast the games in the staterooms! Why didn’t they do it earlier for the NFL and for the NCAA game? Although there was clearly a bad attitude among some of the Crown Princess staff, especially the staff manning the Shore Excursion and Guest Services desks and some of the shops, not all were of this same attitude. Our stateroom steward was very attentive and efficient and very promptly attended to every issue raised with him. The Botticelli formal dining room wait staff and the staff at Vines Wine Bar deserve special praise. They were excellent. We were also somewhat disappointed in the overall quality of the entertainment. The specialty venue musicians were all very good and the comedian in the Explorer’s Lounge was very good. The Princess Production crews (singers and dancers) were very talented, but the production shows themselves seemed “dated” and unimaginative. Nathan Foley, whom we had seen win Princess’ Entertainer of the Year on the Caribbean Princess last year, was great as usual. The audience response to all shows, however, even including Foley’s, seemed to lack the enthusiasm we have experienced on other recent cruises. The food in the main dining rooms (Botticelli and da Vinci) where we ate and the Horizon Court buffet were adequate. The food in the International Café, which we frequented for lunch, was very good. Our two meals in Crown Grill and Sabatini’s specialty restaurants were probably the best dining experiences and meals we have had on any cruise. The second half of the cruise was much better; making all ports and having no shore excursions cancelled. Cruising around Cape Horn and the glaciers around Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan were spectacular. Ushuaia was beautiful and fun to visit. Our Wildlife Watching excursion there was excellent. Punta Arenas was interesting also. Disembarkation went very smoothly in Valparaiso. One last personal problem did arise related to disembarkation, however. We had dutifully placed all our large bags outside our stateroom the night before so that they could be transported to a lower deck for offloading into the passenger terminal. We kept only our small carry-on bags and one set of clothes to wear ashore and on the full-day tour of Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, and a wine tasting and lunch en route to our hotel in Santiago. I had saved the hiking pants that had been taken and cleaned by the chief steward for us after they were severely soiled in our earlier scamming incident. I had checked that all of the odorous substance had come out of the trouser legs and that they had not been stained. Much to my chagrin, however, I discovered as I put on the trousers that last morning, that in the washing, drying or ironing that the entire zipper pull was missing! Luckily I had also left out a pullover golf shirt with an extra-long shirttail that I could constantly pull down to cover my open zipper! I did fill out a Damage Report at the Guest Services desk, but it was still an uncomfortable, embarrassing day until I could get to the hotel in Santiago and get another pair of pants from my suitcase! I have yet to hear from Princess or receive any reimbursement for the ruined pants. I know this was not the experience or quality cruise that I, nor other passengers, nor Princess was expecting. Obviously Princess realized this since they offered each passenger ½ of that they had paid for the cruise in a “Future Cruise Credit” and another ½ of that they had paid for the cruise as a credit in their “Onboard Spending Account”. I am grateful for that, but still do not think that this particular cruise and ship was anywhere near the quality on prior Princess cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We had successfully sailed with Princess three times before and when I found that Princess had a cruise from Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal around my preferred date, we booked it without really checking alternative cruise lines. ... Read More
We had successfully sailed with Princess three times before and when I found that Princess had a cruise from Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal around my preferred date, we booked it without really checking alternative cruise lines. Well the cruise was not a disaster by any means, it was at times a frustrating experience and no way near the quality experience we enjoyed on previous cruises with Princess. The irritation started with the embarkation experience when our small bus could not get near the unloading area and continued with the slow, long line to actually board the ship once we checked in at the port desk. The next frustration was the confusion and mob scene at the Bordeaux restaurant (anytime dining). After 3 nights, I finally asked dining staff to explain their procedures. There is a new club class that gets priority with its own line, and a line for passengers who have reserved and then a third line for walk-ins (us). We mostly chose to arrive about 7:40 pm after the 7:30 reservations were seated. Waits were never long, but the confusion was constant. There were always several empty tables which we assume were reserved for the non-existent club class passengers. I have a hearing problem and after sharing a table for 8 a couple of times, started asking for a table of 6, 4 or 2. Most nights that request seemed hard to accommodate as they were currently sitting tables for 8. Due to the addition of an extra 220 beds in a 2015 renovation with no additional public space, public spaces were often overcrowded, The large Princess Theater could not accommodate everyone in 2 shows, so most nights there were 3 shows with the popular 7:30 time being filled by 7:05. For some reason, the late show at 9:45 was not offered on a few occasions requiring us to miss the sunset at 5:45 or sit in the theater for 40 minutes before the 7:30 show. The additional cabins have resulted in the promenade deck being blocked off at the aft of the ship, making it necessary to cut through the ship (2 sets of heavy doors) to complete a lap. We feel that there was a morale problem on the Island Princess. While there were many exceptions, there was generally a lack of smiles from staff and little effort to go any extra distance. Deck staff in particular seemed to be worn down. This while there were daily walk abouts by supervisors in white coats and clipboards. Near the end of the voyage, we witnessed an agitated dining room manager chew out two staff for 20 minutes in the public dining room while other staff attempted to avert their eyes. We got really tired of all the onboard sales promotions and the so called "Enrichment Articles" on watches, diamonds, art, etc. The photographers were aggressive and one gentleman generally would not take my "no thank you" as a clue to move on. Of course he never recognized us as passengers who did not want to be photographed. On the morning we were in port at Cartagena, the buffet was really crowded. We were offered $2.00 bottled water twice and one aggressive sales pitch for a $25 champagne tasting, before we could find staff to bring juice and coffee. We did find the food to be good to excellent. The nightly entertainment was top notch. Our room steward was great - efficient and friendly. Our cabin was spacious and well laid out. (We were at the bow with no balcony so the balcony area added an extra sitting area within the cabin.) This cruise brought us up to platinum level in the Princess loyalty program but I doubt if we will take another Princess cruise after this disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We picked a cruise to Hawaii and it was the most disappointing cruise we have ever taken. Our cabin had a very loud banging noise under the floor of the cabin. It took 9 days to get moved to another cabin. We didn't get any sleep ... Read More
We picked a cruise to Hawaii and it was the most disappointing cruise we have ever taken. Our cabin had a very loud banging noise under the floor of the cabin. It took 9 days to get moved to another cabin. We didn't get any sleep for 2 nights and there were several cabins with the same issue. Food in dining room was very good but the Horizon buffet was poor. Cold eggs, bagels you could use as hockey pucks, cold toast, and French toast you needed a steak knife to cut. Very disappointed with this ship. The pool was empty until we arrived in Hilo and then it was filled. 5daysmlater when we could use it on a sea day, it was empty again. Went to the enclosed pool but really wanted to lay in the sun. We have sailed 8 times with Princess and have another one scheduled, but we will never go on the Star again. Crown Grill was excellent as usual. We were in a mini suite and the balcony needed maintenance work. We were on the Tegal in April, 2016 and going on the Royal next. Loved all the other cruises, but this one was not worth the money. Embarkation was excellent as well disembarking. Entertainment was just ok. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have been with Princess for now 12 cruises, and in the past there were more activities that did not require money to have fun. The shows were cut down to 25 minutes, Anytime dining has screwed things up and cannot make some of the shows ... Read More
We have been with Princess for now 12 cruises, and in the past there were more activities that did not require money to have fun. The shows were cut down to 25 minutes, Anytime dining has screwed things up and cannot make some of the shows and the ChampagneFountain, is all about taking photo's. The Lotus Salon hustles people and hair care is expensive and since formal nights have changed into the Night of the Beverly Hillbillies, don't really enjoy formal night-all about the money, and not the event it was even 10 years ago. Also take an inventory of all your belongings, some of my hair clips could be found after the1st day, and searched forever, made a report to the Purser on the 3rd day and stated so in Princess questionnaire. Watch your valuables and know where everything is. Misplacing items can put a damper on your trip. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise because we thought it would be a value and we wanted to do a Western Caribbean cruise. Summary: Pros: Buffet was Above Average very good food selection Room square footage was good value compared to others ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we thought it would be a value and we wanted to do a Western Caribbean cruise. Summary: Pros: Buffet was Above Average very good food selection Room square footage was good value compared to others Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth Casino is sizeable and nice for a ship casino Self Serve Laundromats are very convenient for washing some clothes Cons: Restaurant food was very average (go on Celebrity Cruises if you want better food) This includes the specialty restaurants - very average Food selection was poor in main dining area (not good) Gym was small and unimpressive Main Theater was the smallest I've seen (even though this is a huge ship) and is generic **Entertainment was the WORST I've seen on a cruise before, hardly any big shows and not enough quality small shows to make up for it ***Don't go on this cruise if you are looking for good entertainment **Be aware there is flaw in the design of the ship. The stairway in the center of the ship does not go up past the 10th floor so if you are staying above that even if you need to go up 1 level you need to wait for an elevator. This mainly applies to mid-ship and I believe forward ship. This caused quite a ruckus after the mandatory drill when it took us 30 min to get back to our room due to poor crowd management and the elevator/stairs situation. Staff is not really that friendly some of them are a little cold. Service was better on every other ship I have been on. Room Service basically did not exist due to the fact that no one would answer the phone. My wife waited on line 30 minutes once and could not get through. The buffets close at 10pm and no snacks are available there...that is way too early in my opinion. Ports summary: Montego Bay Jamaica - 15-20 min cab ride to a safe beach. Everything far away here Grand Cayman - seems ok, once again beaches very far did not get to go due to fact ship was leaving too early Cozumel - 10 min cab to beach, beaches are rocky here sand is not fine, affordable resort areas with pool $3 per person Paradise Beach is recommended due to value and the pool is beautiful tile. The drink packages were $400 per person by the time they add 15% gratuity The photo packages were also more expensive than other ships I've been on Overall this is not a cruise I can Recommend. I believe the consumer can find greater value elsewhere (check out celebrity cruises. You will pay more up front but less on the back end if you get a good deal. They frequently include free drink packages and prepaid gratuities) The room will be more but the food and service will be steps above what you will get on Princess.) Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
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