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312 Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

Very classic Cruise style. More for the elderly than young. Very romantic, Food only good at specialty restaurants and main dining room. avoid the buffet unless your a fatty and DO NOT ORDER Room service. Dined at least once in all ... Read More
Very classic Cruise style. More for the elderly than young. Very romantic, Food only good at specialty restaurants and main dining room. avoid the buffet unless your a fatty and DO NOT ORDER Room service. Dined at least once in all restaurants, the best is chops grill, alfredos pizza was also excellent, the rest not so much. The Santuarry was fully booked from the first day we got on wich i thought was not cool specially because i was looking forward to that and i had a mini suite and paid a lot in food and beverage. The gala night is very well crafted and the Champagne fountain is a great touch too. The ship is magnificent and overall well taking care of, staff goes from great to fine, many do go out of their way to serve you and are friendly. No unlimited internet package so if your a person that needs internet you are gana pay a very high price. i thought that was unaceptable and like many other thing i felt they do nickle and dime you alot in averything they can think of. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, as it hit six ports in ten days - five of which we'd never before visited. We typically cruise with Royal Caribbean, but they unfortunately tend to hit the same old ports. This was our first ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, as it hit six ports in ten days - five of which we'd never before visited. We typically cruise with Royal Caribbean, but they unfortunately tend to hit the same old ports. This was our first cruise with Princess, and likely our last. My first disappointment with this cruise was the ship itself. Don't know if it being Italian made impacted this, or whether the design team is just inexperienced. Regardless, we found the ship to be poorly designed, which made it difficult to reach destinations without going up and then back down again. Not to mention that stairwells are very narrow, where it was difficult to pass someone going the opposite direction. Also, don't ever select an "obstructed" balcony stateroom of any kind. There are a bunch of these on the ship due to the poorly designed placement of the life rafts. Royal Caribbean designs there ships in a way in which rafts are tucked up underneath stateroom balconies, so that ocean views are not impacted. Not so with Princess. They're smack dab in front of your view. Even non-obstructed balcony staterooms feature obstructed views (in my opinion) when viewing down to water. On Royal Caribbean, you see water against hull when looking straight down. Service wise, I would rate Princess as one half star higher than Carnival (I'd say 4 stars), and at least one star lower than Royal Caribbean at 5 stars. Ship staff is permitted to eat in the guest buffet, which I and other guests viewed as tacky. Also, it made this area more crowded. Another tacky and very "Motel 6ish" thing I noticed was that they section off a portion of the buffet dining area at night (with fish netting no less) and turn it into a premium dining room, wherein you are required to pay a fee to dine. I believe they called it "The Crab Shack." You'd never see something like this done on Royal Caribbean. Then there's the food. I would put Princess on par with Carnival - at most 3 stars. Royal Caribbean is 5 stars here in the dining room, and 4 stars in the buffet, IMO. Princess has no clue how to prepare steak. Beef Wellington was inedible, and their Tenderloin was tough and small. Most of the other food we ate in their dining room was bland and unappetizing. Sometimes found ourselves leaving dinner hungry, and going to buffet in an attempt to find something that we could actually stomach, to be quite honest. I enjoyed the ports on this cruise, but would have a difficult time pulling the trigger on cruising again with Princess, based upon this experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Well the ship its self is magnificent....in all her glory!! What's changed: well last year I would say the average age on board was 45....this tie more Ike 65!!! Princess...a few years you'll be out of business!!! We ... Read More
Well the ship its self is magnificent....in all her glory!! What's changed: well last year I would say the average age on board was 45....this tie more Ike 65!!! Princess...a few years you'll be out of business!!! We decided to t for the inside cabin rather than the balcony..cabin great size and di the job grand. A few povinte on this however: on boarding at 3pm we were swiftly allocated our cabin cards and checked in prompt, however when we got to our cabin it seems a few things were not up "to standard" no toilet roll bed not right and clearly not vacuumed since the previous occupants left!! Food, well you can never really complain, however the Buffett seemed rather scarce this time with only half open with a full ship....well it caused a bit of confusion Decided this time round to purchase the "all inclusive" drinks package... whilst sitting at the bar my husband produced my card to get me a drink and was accused of card sharing... well that didn't go down well as the bar man made a scene in front of fell ow passengers causing great embarrassment to both of us.. ohh and he doesn't drink alcohol!! Anyway, royal you need a deep clean as the standards are slipping dramatically. Such a shame as our 1st cruise onboard was faultless. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Crew not very friendly almost seemed like you were a bother. Not all but a majority. Shouldn't take 2 1/2 to 3 hours to eat. I don't mean waiting to be seated and eating I mean from time we sat at table till end. Some ... Read More
Crew not very friendly almost seemed like you were a bother. Not all but a majority. Shouldn't take 2 1/2 to 3 hours to eat. I don't mean waiting to be seated and eating I mean from time we sat at table till end. Some bartenders never made eye contact or spoke. Had a better experience on the Caribbean Princess . Will not sail on this ship again. On a positive note the food was good. Didn't like design either, only a couple decks could you walk around ship. We did have a very nice experience with our Balcony Dinner..The server (wish I remember name , he was one of the Better crew member) was very professional, friendly and funny! The food was Great 4 courses and everyone delicious, so much food !! Plus a cocktale of your choice, champagne and flowers, also a picture all for 100.00 A must do. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Anytime we went to make a reservation for dinner, they only would have 5pm or 8pm. Never anything else. Food was just average. You actually had a better choice at the buffet. In order to get a lounge chair in the shade, you must get ... Read More
Anytime we went to make a reservation for dinner, they only would have 5pm or 8pm. Never anything else. Food was just average. You actually had a better choice at the buffet. In order to get a lounge chair in the shade, you must get up by 7am and then still have to have the chair by the kids pool. If those table and chairs by the windows were gone, you could have space for more chairs in the shade. I would say that embarkation and debarkation were run very smoothly. Some cruise lines are doing away with formal night. It might be a good idea for you to look in to. I see no reason if I wanted to come in dressed for example in a nice Tommy Bahama shirt and slacks, I should be turned away. Azamara has not formal night and RCCL Quantum ships have not formal nights. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We decided to take a Holiday cruise since most of our family was not going to be in town. The Cruise Ship was nice it seems that Princess is really luxurious and classy. There were a lot of people being a Holiday, but it was still a nice ... Read More
We decided to take a Holiday cruise since most of our family was not going to be in town. The Cruise Ship was nice it seems that Princess is really luxurious and classy. There were a lot of people being a Holiday, but it was still a nice trip. The food during the lunches at the Buffet were OK, but it seemed like they were serving a lot of the same dishes. At night time there were more options at the Buffet. The dinner dining rooms where also having a lot of the same dishes so we went to the Crown Grill which was excellent. There was some good shows, but not that many so I felt like they should of had more entertainment. Also there wasn't that many daily activities so we played Bingo or went to the Casino. Over all it was not a bad trip, but they need to get the bathrooms more clean the toilets self flush so it was quite unpleasant. Also a lot of the toilets were backed up. The staff mostly were nice and greeting you, but some would not give you the time of day or even glance to say hello, I was a bit upset about that. We will be going again because compared to Carnival I think that Princess is better and more classy, plus less kids on the ship that is when it's not a Holiday Cruise. Also our room attendant Andrew was excellent he was a really nice guy, and always asked us if we needed anything he was always there with a smile, and a joke. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Never have been to Hawaii before. We felt that a cruise gave us the better price rather than flying there. After 9 days cruising on the open ocean it would have been nicer to have one over-night stay at one of the islands to get the ... Read More
Never have been to Hawaii before. We felt that a cruise gave us the better price rather than flying there. After 9 days cruising on the open ocean it would have been nicer to have one over-night stay at one of the islands to get the chance to have more time to experience them better. The onshore excursions were grossly over-priced. Ended up booking a tour externally and saved nearly 50% off the cruise prices, There shouldn't be such a price difference. The dining experience was excellent. The food and service was superb!! Princess needs to review its photography program as many passengers have cruised before and are not interested in purchasing photo opts all the time. And the prices are far too expensive. $20.00 for an 8"x10" portrait. Should be max $10.00. More people would then purchase them. A suggestion also would be to have a Movie screen somewhere inside the boat if the weather does not co-operate. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Chose this cruise because it went to Hawaii and back without flying. The cruise ship left San Francisco late and we missed going under the Golden Gate Bridge in daylight. The ship needed major repairs and updates. The cabin did as well. We ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it went to Hawaii and back without flying. The cruise ship left San Francisco late and we missed going under the Golden Gate Bridge in daylight. The ship needed major repairs and updates. The cabin did as well. We have been on the Royal Princess twice and were very impressed. The Grand Princess is showing it's age including it's lack of Technology. Movies Under the Stars screen was poor and TV in the cabin did not have movies on demand as they do on the Royal. The dining was very good both in the dining room and at all the dining venues aboard. The Entertainment was very good as usual as we really enjoyed the comedians. The service overall was good but our trip was cut short due to an issue with a tender door after we left Maui. While Princess did a good job of arranging for us to fly home the communication was poor. They never anticipated passenger questions and therefore left you asking many questions such as were we would be staying until our flight home. Once the line at passenger services was long enough the question was answered by an announcement. This is just one example of not anticipating the passengers questions. I really believe more training needs to be done so that the staff better understands how to handle these unusual situations better. The ports were great and the excursions were very good. Maui was a mess due to some unexplained issue with security both tendering over to shore and coming back. I really feel that this was the start of the problems with the tender door that cut the trip short as we left Maui late. We will go on another cruise with Princess as we still believe they are a great cruise line but never again on a ship as old as the Grand Princess. I must say that Princess did step up when the tender door problem arouse but better communication is needed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Things that met or exceeded my expectations. 1. The piazza, beautiful space with something going on all the time. 2. The retreat pool, it's a good size pool with plenty of space to lounge around and with no kids 3. The food on board. ... Read More
Things that met or exceeded my expectations. 1. The piazza, beautiful space with something going on all the time. 2. The retreat pool, it's a good size pool with plenty of space to lounge around and with no kids 3. The food on board. The dinning room was just a short wait for anytime and the food and service on par with past experience. The pizza is very good. Vines is always a great pre dinner stop with a great selection of wine. Things the failed to meet my expectations. 1. Crooners entertainment. The piano guy played the same very old tunes everynight. 2. Churchills, while the bar service was excellent the room is tiny and full of cigarette smokers who complained about our cigar smoke. The room is called Churchills for a reason. 3. The balcony, tiny, tiny, tiny. 4. Service, overall below my expectations with very few smiles and genuine care. 5. Port day in Grand Turk, we witnessed the local cruise center security staff making homophobic comments about a couple who walked by holding hands. The comments were hateful and disturbing. I did report this to Princess. Overall, we had a good time on the Royal Princess. I would sail on her again but I do favor the Grand style ships better. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Our experience with Princess was a mixed bag of goods! We took an 8 day cruise from Los Angeles to Mexico. The ship itself was nice. We had a balcony room on the top floor in the back. It was a bit rockier than the front as well as ... Read More
Our experience with Princess was a mixed bag of goods! We took an 8 day cruise from Los Angeles to Mexico. The ship itself was nice. We had a balcony room on the top floor in the back. It was a bit rockier than the front as well as noisier because we were right under a restaraunt. If I were to book again, I would get a room in the middle of the ship around the 9th or 10th deck where it is quieter and smoother and also closer to the ocean waves sound. We thought that the entertainment was great! Talented music, magic, and variety shows, hilarious comedians, and wonderful night life dancing. We thought that the last show, "The Voice of the Oceans", a take off of "The Voice" reality singing show was absolutely fun for everyone as the audience participated in choosing the winner. During the day, there was a wide variety of things to do. Because we love sports competitions, we entered ping pong, golf, and other competitions like Trivia. The highlight of our trip was definitely the excursion we took in Puerto Vallarta which was a Jungle Adventure. Our day was filled with one exciting event after another. About 20 of us took a speed boat for an hour to a place where tanks picked us up and drove through rugged terrain. We then got off and rode mules and hiked to the top of a mountain. Then, there were several fun ziplines, one where you could literally hang by your feet and zipline upside down. We then scaled down a few mountains into rivers and waterfalls. We ended the day with 2 water slides that literally took your breath away! A day filled with fun packed adventure. I would highly recommend this excursion if you're physically fit and adventurous! However, there was one area that shocked us and left a bad taste in our mouth for Princess line. Horrible food servers and bartenders!! We had cruised with Carnival before and had so enjoyed the servers on that cruise. They were very gracious, friendly, and bent over backwards to please. On Princess we had the exact opposite experience. One night we literally had a waiter bang our food down on the table after we asked if he could serve us what the people next to us were having. Apparently their waiter had made it special and it wasn't on the menu. Our waiter felt it was incredulous of us to ask him to do that. From that point on, he would bark rudely when he spoke to us and had actual anger problems when we asked for anything. This is unacceptable if you are looking for a good dining experience. The bar tenders and bistro servers seemed annoyed and not friendly when you would ask for a drink. In my opinion, this one area of bad service colored our view of Princess and I'm not sure we would choose this cruise line again. So, if you like adventure, and a lot of fun activities on board, but don't mind being treated rudely from the wait staff, Princess would be perfect for you! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was a gift from a friend. I was fine with the dinning, movies, shows, Art auction, food carvings...etc. However, our interior cabin had bunks above our queen bed on each side. They were folded into the wall and every time we got ... Read More
This was a gift from a friend. I was fine with the dinning, movies, shows, Art auction, food carvings...etc. However, our interior cabin had bunks above our queen bed on each side. They were folded into the wall and every time we got out of bed we hit our head or shoulder. The shore excursions were pre paid and planned. The first was a trip to the wildlife park and it was not told to us that we had to go up stairs, on a swinging bridge and on rocky sidewalks , as I have a bad knee and this made the tour very uncomfortable to say the least. The second was a trip to the zoo and the lady who was our guide ....well let me say we nearly needed roller skates to keep up with her. We would rather have been given the hour in the zoo to ourselves to look at what we wanted and take our photos at leisure. The third was a scooter ride with a guide. This was all about the money!! the guide had us stop so a gal could take our photo and then had us wait long enough at a diner on the beach( very very small beach) to get the photos for a fee! At the end of the tour the tour guide spend 15 minutes talking about how poor he and the others were and how much they needed our tips and that they did not get paid a salary on the tips....Wow and we had to argue with him to get us back to the ship on time for departure as he wanted us all to go to his friends shops and liquor store to buy things. I would not take this cruise again. I would not get a room without a window. I felt that $13 per day per person was too much to pay for tips. That added 26 per day to my friends tab for this cruise. This is unreasonable, as shore days we were not on board and we did not use the formal dining room we used the buffett. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We booked this cruise with Princess for our 50th wedding anniversary We chose Caribbean Princess because it is a 5-star rated ship and we wanted this curse to be something truly special. The Waldorf Astoria in New York city is rated a ... Read More
We booked this cruise with Princess for our 50th wedding anniversary We chose Caribbean Princess because it is a 5-star rated ship and we wanted this curse to be something truly special. The Waldorf Astoria in New York city is rated a 5-star hotel, although trip advisor and Forbes both rate it as a 4-star. Being a 5- star anything is a responsibility to live up to. You are expected to offer service, luxuries, cleanliness, and amenities far above the average. This ship was average at best. Embarkation at Fort Lauderdale was extremely smooth and efficient. Once in our room, a balcony state room, we noticed that the carpet was extremely faded and stained and that there were no amenities whatsoever in the bathroom such as tissue etc. I do not blame the staff for the state room because they are extremely understaffed. Where there used to be a room steward and an assistant, the assistant has been eliminated therefore the room steward has to do all the work himself. On all the cruises we have been on previously you always saw staff cleaning polishing and maintaining the ships overall appearance, in the eight days we were on this ship never once did we see any of this, and the lack of upkeep was visible. Dining in the dining room was a huge disappointment. We asked for a table for two since this was our anniversary we wanted to be alone, together. There was all of 4 inches between us and the next table for two. This happened on three occasions. The people that were next to us were very nice but they wanted some privacy too. Some of the food was good and some was an extreme disappointment. Just because you can cover it up with gravy doesn't make it any less a piece of fat and gristle. I do not for the life of me understand how anyone who calls himself a chef could put that on someone's plate. We ate up at horizons for the remainder of the cruise at least up there you could see what the meat looked like before you took any. We were both very impressed with the quality of entertainment that was provided it was outstanding. The atrium is quite small on this ship and there are not very many boutiques. The casino is also very small. It seems that the largest area is the art display. The islands were a lot of fun Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, are best known for their scuba diving. If you choose to go downtown shopping remember that the exchange rate is 1.77. Therefore if an item costs $100 it would only be $56.50 American. Now trying to find someone that will use the exchange rate is another story. The really great part about the cruise is that the ship is in port from 8 AM till 10 PM which gives you plenty of time to do most anything you want. As far as service is concerned for the most part the older staff was just fine but many of the younger staff desperately needed training in manners and etiquette. I know that it sounds like we are just complaining. I did enjoy myself because I was with a beautiful woman to whom I have been married to for 50 years how could I not enjoy that, but when you make reservations at the Waldorf you do not expect to find yourself in Motel 6. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We enjoyed our trip to the southern carribean. Princess Caribbean ship was nice- older ship style but modernized. We paid extra for larger balcony room. Storage and closet space was good. Showers very small and I am not a very large ... Read More
We enjoyed our trip to the southern carribean. Princess Caribbean ship was nice- older ship style but modernized. We paid extra for larger balcony room. Storage and closet space was good. Showers very small and I am not a very large person. The bathroom smelled like a portable pottie. Unsure why- our Stewart cleaned everyday. We chose anytime dining which was nice and food was mostly good. We did not do the speciality dining- it was of course extra. We bought the alcohol package which was expensive and drinks were just adequate. Service personnel were just doing their job and mostly did not go out of their way to be helpful. Enjoyed the recent release movies in the room and at the moonlight screen, Comedy shows were fun. Excursions were nice. Self laundry was much appreciated but of course costed extra. We feel we spent too much money for this average cruise- paying extra for ice cream shakes, beverages, Internet, water, excursions, tips, gambling. We spent as much on these as we did for the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our first time on the Island Princess and I think it can best be described as "cozy". While there were many things that I liked about this smaller Princess ship, its lack of space also presented some challenges. The ... Read More
This was our first time on the Island Princess and I think it can best be described as "cozy". While there were many things that I liked about this smaller Princess ship, its lack of space also presented some challenges. The decorations were lovely and the overall "vibe" was one that I really appreciated. However, there was no dedicated "disco", the workout room was almost non-existent and had no windows (which really made it less appealing), and the lack of space in the atrium kept that from being a central meeting space as it is on other ships. There are only two dining rooms; one for traditional dining and one for anytime dining. The lines for anytime dining were unbelievably long on most nights. Whether that was a result of poor planning or lack of space, I do not know. Finally, during one of her recent renovations, the back end of deck 7 was converted to cabin space so those of us who like to walk/jog off those extra souffles and champagne cocktails can no longer run the circumference of the ship. You have to run a "U" shape back and forth. All of the themed trivia's were music related, which I thought was interesting. My hubby and I won 4 bottles of champagne so we weren't complaining. LOL! We tried the Bayou Steakhouse and we would not go back. It was okay, but not worth the cover charge. The food in the main dining room was better in my opinion. Trust me, I'm from Texas and I know good steak! We are not opposed to paying a cover charge. We routinely dine at the Crown Grill on the ships where it is offered, the Bayou just wasn't very good (and the lobster was hopelessly overcooked, yuck). That said, the staff and crew were among the friendliest I've encountered. The entertainment was great, and every day at sea is a great day in my book. There wasn't anything that would put me off recommending this cruise to others. If you are going to do a transit, do the full transit. It is worth it! This is a nice little ship, just know what to watch out for. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Having been on other bigger Princess boats, this one was too small and not laid out as well. Scheduling for dinner and theater shows was conflicting and problematic. People had to wait in long lines for the 5:15 any time dining, to seat ... Read More
Having been on other bigger Princess boats, this one was too small and not laid out as well. Scheduling for dinner and theater shows was conflicting and problematic. People had to wait in long lines for the 5:15 any time dining, to seat one hour in advance for the 8:15 theater show. People didn't want to wait for the 10:00 theater show which was too late for most. Both venues suffered where enough people complained and the 10:00 theater time was moved to 6:30 which helped. The Island Princess has recently been reconfigured and new cabins have been added near the back of the vessel. This forced most of the entertainment mid ship and forward. If your cabin is aft, you have a long way to walk to get to anything. Dancing and entertainment at bar lounges was limited to the Wheel House and Explorers lounge. Bigger ships have more entertainment options. I've never used Sabatini's, but every time we walked by it, there were more cooks in the kitchen than patrons. Is the food that much better than elsewhere on the ship to justify the added cost. From a business standpoint, would the space be better used in other ways? Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Our first time cruising during Holidays! This is THE WAY TO GO for us from now on! Piazza was beautifully decorated - Violinists, jazz groups, entertained and delighted everyone. Thank goodness still doing the Champagne Waterfall. ... Read More
Our first time cruising during Holidays! This is THE WAY TO GO for us from now on! Piazza was beautifully decorated - Violinists, jazz groups, entertained and delighted everyone. Thank goodness still doing the Champagne Waterfall. Although, never saw Captain at any of the invited events and that is a real First! I'm wondering if he was ill or just not that congenial. Anytime Dining was an uneven experience - but after several evenings some Crew clued us into the over 90 minute dinner time (20 minutes to first course - up to 40-45 min main course).... Anytime dining is great for the passengers but plays havoc with the kitchen to cook and serve timely.) Also, we did not get seated at larger tables as requested on a few occasions but realized its mostly families seated together because of all the Holidays. Love Anytime and will continue to do it....we were lucky to be seated at many tables of Brits, Canadians, etc. I called them 'The Allies Table'..... it was so much fun and met several will see again. Was disappointed in quality and preparation of several dinners in the Island dining room. Used to be so delicious but I can see where they are attempting to redesign the ingredients and prep of many dishes to achieve a faster, less expensive plate - Anytime dining may be causing them to cook too early and sit in oven too short/long. Hope Princess gets this sorted out.... lots of grumbling at the table about some beloved national dishes (tough Duck L'Orange, oddly flavored Baked Alaska). Have already made deposit for the 2017 Christmas Cruise to Hawaii - See you there! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Been on many cruises this was our 1st Christmas and new year which I must say the crew were 1st class making both a special time (ordered wine for Christmas dinner they lost order... then fo new year 5$ increase on each bottle of wine ) ... Read More
Been on many cruises this was our 1st Christmas and new year which I must say the crew were 1st class making both a special time (ordered wine for Christmas dinner they lost order... then fo new year 5$ increase on each bottle of wine ) not good .. food on board was usual princess quality very good .. staff as per princess were courteous and mostly always cheerful?..... but entertainment was rubbish worst cruise entertainment ever been on .. cruise director and his side kick were brilliant .. others were scuffle look as if they had just fell out of bed .. The shops were well below average some shelves in dutyfree actually empty bought some perfume had to take back "stale" ?old stock the other shops had old stock (was on this ship in may and they were far better. Passengers mostly Australian and were 60%proberly adhered to formal wear others thought shorts and trainers were acceptable and were not approached by crew re entering dining rooms . I have never seen this before . I do know that "casual wear "is more acceptable in Australia and the states but if the liner requests formal wear surely they should try to contain this in the appropriate areas .. so unfortunately princess as as my choice of being my favourite cruise not so We did 4 excursions although very expensive did enjoy.. If you wanted to spend money on eggy jewellery or art canvases this was the cruise for u as both were pushed down our throats several times a day . Nevertheless we had a great Christmas and new year this we thank princess for. Another niggle we flew from U.K. And booked this in U.K.and found local Australians payed a lot less for same cabin as ours Come on princess get this sorted Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I would rate the cruise as average when compared to other cruise lines we have been on. When comparing with other cruises It is probably easier to identifying the negatives rather than the positives. Embarkation and debarkation was ... Read More
I would rate the cruise as average when compared to other cruise lines we have been on. When comparing with other cruises It is probably easier to identifying the negatives rather than the positives. Embarkation and debarkation was handled quite efficiently and no complaints here. The itinerary was quite good however the ports used were generally commercial ports or tendering was required. Docking at commercial ports meant that the cities visited were 1hr or 2 hrs from the port.. When tendering ashore was involved there were lengthy delays in the process of getting a tender ticket and waiting in a restaurant/lounge area of the ship for your group number to be called. I understand that on occasions, the ship because of its size, can only anchor offshore in some ports of call. Dining was good and the service exceptional. Wine and beer prices were quite reasonable. Buffet was good but please get rid of the plastic tea/coffee cups and plates. Entertainment was generally average however the venue had reasonable crowds each night we attended. Activities were almost the same every day/night and we would class them as average. The ports of call generally were interesting.The only shore excursions we undertook were booked offshore prior to the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this itinerary because it left from Melbourne and we really wanted to see the sounds and explore more of New Zealand. I will start with the positives first, some of the staff were immensely helpful and friendly, embarkation and ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because it left from Melbourne and we really wanted to see the sounds and explore more of New Zealand. I will start with the positives first, some of the staff were immensely helpful and friendly, embarkation and disembarkation were half an hour each (which in my book is great!) we found our oceanview stateroom was big enough and loved the wardrobe, plenty of drawers and room for the cases under the bed. I loved the amount of pools on board and found the terrace on back of boat to be the warmest at 25'degrees and generally uninhabited as was the lovely alfresco area we ate most of our meals at which you can find at the back of the boat outside Horizon Court, say hello to Joe he is gorgeous. We both loved movies under the stars and appreciated the movies and Tv channels in the room. Neither of us care much for shows but we loved the piano entertainer AJ Clarke and the classical trio that played in the piazza. We enjoyed all ports except Akaroa due to gale force winds. Now for some negatives.....our room flooded as mentioned below, we didn't complain the first time as our cabin steward was very attentive and we dismissed it as an accident, the second time we went to guest services, whilst he organised a room for the night while they rectified the room, he seemed to be more concerned that this was the first time we had complained???then 4 days after the event he sent us canapés for our inconvenience. We both felt it could have been dealt with a little better. Besides the pizza and hamburgers ( which we thought were better than Royal Caribbean) we both thought the food in the dining room and buffet was a little limited. Our Wellington port tender, yes I said tender as Wellington is a working port we had to be shuttled to town by buses, this took roughly an hour and a half to get to town, I am glad we had not organised a private tour! The staff was the most disappointing thing, right from the start it didn't bode well, there was no greeting to the boat whatsoever, which we both found unusual and a lot of the staff in the cafe were rude and some of the bar staff were not necessarily rude but not exactly friendly. Whilst we had problems we still enjoyed our cruise and our experiences are based on comparison to cruising with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was a family & friends cruise...first time for friends. We were disappointed in the Princess experience on this ship. We are Platinum level and have enjoyed Princess ships in past. However, as another reviewer pointed out, the ... Read More
This was a family & friends cruise...first time for friends. We were disappointed in the Princess experience on this ship. We are Platinum level and have enjoyed Princess ships in past. However, as another reviewer pointed out, the number of elevators vs. passengers was poor planning. The elderly did not always have the option to walk the stairs, and elevator waits were approximately 5-10min and then jammed pack with people getting aggressive to squeeze in just to get a lift. Food quality was disappointing on this ship. Dining room dinners were bland and meals unworthy of praise. Servers appeared not to be able to spend time with their table, due to the high numbers of passengers vs. servers & room. Horizon court was bland or average food. Desserts were presented well, just not flavorful. And the design of the Horizon court was not planned well. Again, the number of passengers versus the narrow spaces in between the food selections was crowded. People pushing and getting aggressive as the space was too tight. Round service areas in the buffets for larger numbers is more conducive to high density traffic...not "line" food service. Traffic circles! However, Sabatini's wine dinner was outstanding. Those chefs need to be directing the dining room food courses on the ship. All of their food was wonderful! Excursions for the most part were enjoyable. The segway tour was a lot of fun, but the return to the ship promised a stop at the beach for a swim and eats. Our driver gave us 20min total. We ordered a snack at the restaurant on the beach and the driver told us we had to leave or he would be late. He added, NO wet clothes in my van or on my seats. Don't know where the "swim" time was suppose to come into play. We had to get our food to go which was cold when we reached the ship. Horseback ride was fun with the horses, but again, the excursion stated snacks. We thought for the price a snack would be provided or choices. We reached the beach to find a shack and a woman cooking chicken....for a price. Disappointing! This should have been noted in the description of the excursion as "chicken for small fee on excursion". Overall, we were disappointed. Passenger to space ratio poorly designed. This experience has us questioning whether to continue our trips with Princess or branch out. We had always had great experiences with Princess in the past and hope reviews are taken into consideration for future ships and trips. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We are not new to cruising. We have been on 4 Royal Caribbean Cruises and a Disney Magic. We joined friends on this cruise. The Atrium was absolutely stunning no ship compared. Now to our Stateroom, Emerald 202. I personally chose the ... Read More
We are not new to cruising. We have been on 4 Royal Caribbean Cruises and a Disney Magic. We joined friends on this cruise. The Atrium was absolutely stunning no ship compared. Now to our Stateroom, Emerald 202. I personally chose the deluxe balcony un-obstructed view because it was advertised as having 305 sq.ft. I was so disappointed in the cabin size. It felt like the smallest cabin we had every been on with the smallest balcony. Our friends said it had a larger bathroom but I would have rather had a smaller bathroom with a larger stateroom and larger balcony. My suggestions were as follows for future designs in cruise ships. NO coffee pots in the room and is so needed. Had to go to the 16 floor to get morning coffee. 1. The toilet paper holder was on the left side in back of the toilet. You therefore, grabbed the Kleenex box next to your hand. Someone did not think that one out. 2. Washing your hands on deck 16 before dining is a fabulous idea, the bad design of the sink was germy and disgusting. They put in a vessel sink that allowed splashing on the wall and the floors the mat you stood on was always soaking wet. Try removing the vessel sink and installing a farmer type rectangle sink that is high and wide and deep, you would control the splashing from happening. Also instead of reaching for a paper towel, install the new power dryer for your hands above the sink. Please send me a free cruise for that suggestion and I will give you a great review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Anytime dining was great but even though the two main dining rooms were gorgeous and the staff was excellent, the selection was terrible. We chose the dining rooms twice and were very disappointed in the staff entertaining us and the food was very unimpressive and not tasty. We chose one drink package before we left. That was the dumbest thing we ever did. $400. for what??? My husband maybe used $100 out of it. Please offer more drink packages. It was a total bait and switch. I thought the ship was very clean exception of the sinks by Deck 16. Our cabin stewardess was fantastic and even though we paid a gratuity upfront, we opted to enhance her tip. We also took advantage of the oven baked pizza restaurant and enjoyed meeting Maria from the Ukraine. She was so professional and fabulous. We were so impressed with her we opted to choose this restaurant again (the night before we departed), I asked for Maria again and gave her an additional tip. When you are impressed you want to let them know how well they have done. 1. We did not go on our first shore excursion in the Dominican Republic and we were happy we chose that because others told us it was terribly impoverished and we would have not enjoyed it. 2. St. Thomas 5 hour catamaran was fantastic, entertaining, wonderful picnic lunch. Bad beach with rocks and seaweed in the ocean. Not my kind of beach. 3. St. Martin. Excursion stood in direct sun for 45 minutes because the bus was not available yet. Had to walk one mile to the bus. Nice bus, great MC on the bus, great driver on the bus but so pathetically impoverished neighborhood on the way to the French side made us feel so sad for the people on that Island. Got off the bus and the lady said "you have one hour to shop and tour on your own" Right NO WRONG, we did not want to get lost, we did not speak French so we waited around to get on the fairly that took us past the rich and famous yachts. Very sad to see people so poor and so rich. Glad we live in the states. The tour folks were entertaining but we had bad taste seeing too completely different ways of living on one Island. It just is not a fair world. There were people with canes an elderly standing in that sun with 2 trollies total that took folks to the bus. Princess needs to address this with the shore excursion folks. If could mean the matter of life or death to someone in that sun. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was my 4th Princess Cruise (also been on Avalon, Azamara, Oceania, HAL, Voyages to Antiquity). My 1st Princess cruise was in June 2012, did a 12-night British Isles aboard the Caribbean Princess in an obstructed OV (felt ship itself ... Read More
This was my 4th Princess Cruise (also been on Avalon, Azamara, Oceania, HAL, Voyages to Antiquity). My 1st Princess cruise was in June 2012, did a 12-night British Isles aboard the Caribbean Princess in an obstructed OV (felt ship itself was too big for British Isles itinerary but overall a very nice experience); 2nd was in Dec 2012, a 15-night Hawai'i cruise (L.A. round-trip) aboard the Golden Princess (inside cabin). I will never forget this cruise because of the great Hawai'i cultural facilitators who taught us how to play the ukulele and hula dance, and highlight for me was performing in the Farewell evening Passenger Talent Show with 70 other ukulele playing passengers; 3rd time was in Nov 2013 on a 15-night Panama Canal Full Transit cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to L.A aboard the Island Princess, excellent all around experience in an inside cabin. This review is for February 2017, we sailed aboard the Emerald Princess for 12-nights from Auckland to Sydney: The itinerary was impeccable, the food was very good, but over-all it really felt like Princess cut back on the little things that used to make Princess a cut above the rest. For example, this was my 4th "wine-tasting" event ($13 per person), and for the first time, it did not include the "complimentary shot glass" at the end with the dessert wine - This s very minor, but the biggest thing that our cruise was missing on board was a live, full time, port expert lecturer. This time, the only way to get any port information was to watch the tv in the cabin, which re-ran old episodes of a previous port lecturer, which would have been fine, except that the taped lectures were in reverse order of our Auckland to Sydney ports. We relied heavily on the kind locals at each port to give us port information and maps (as the Princess Patter cartoon maps emphasized shopping). Only when we were cruising in Milford Sound did they finally bring on board a "NZ park ranger" to talk over the public address system. Unfortunately, the PA system was very hard to hear and it didn't help that 2 very rude ladies from Spain insisted on screaming in my ear as they talked to each other the whole time, so I could not hear a word of the Park Ranger. When I asked them "por favor, I cannot hear" they spoke even louder to each other, ignoring others around us trying to hear the park ranger. Another disappointment was the Specialty Dining at the Crown Grill. We decided to forego the extra expense when their menu clearly emphasized "only one item per course per person" which was a change from 2012 when we 4 were allowed to try multiple dishes per course, and thus we were able to try almost everything on the menu as we shared our plates. Also, this was the smallest inside room I've every experienced - D123 (Deck 9, Forward). There was only one straight-backed chair that came with the vanity/desk, and no other chair/sofa in the room, so we had to use our lower twin beds for seating. Luckily we are not "room service" people, so we did not need the extra seating, but it did feel very cramped. The room steward parked his cart near our cabin but that did not bother us, especially as he was very attentive and quick in his duties. The closet space and bathroom space was adequate for 3 of us (as we are light packers). The service of all staff we encountered: servers, hosts, maitre-d's, room stewards, passenger service officers, casino staff, International Cafe servers, are all beyond reproach. While Princess corporate management may have cut back on little extra touches and niceties for the passengers, the front line staff is consistently excellent in professionalism, manner, and attention to detail and prompt service. I most highly commend our maitre'd, Carlos from Spain, for his kind attention to my daughter who has a "peanut and all tree-nuts" food allergy. He reassured her food safety for lunch and dinner every day by nightly presenting her with the next day's menus so that she could pre-select her meals, and the cook-staff ensured her food was not contaminated. Regarding the talent on-board, the Princess cast only presented 3 times in 12-nights, and the various talents brought on board for a show or two were average. While there was no crew or passenger talent show, we did enjoy the cooking demonstration presented by Executive Chef Giuseppe Pollara with Matre D'Hotel, Luigi Pascale. All ports in NZ & AU are fabulous and very easy for us to do on our own. In Akaroa, we booked with Princess the "Swim with the Hector Dolphins" excursion for $199 US. The local outfit was beyond reproach and told us before suiting up: "on this morning's excursion, no Hector Dolphins were spotted, and very unlikely you will be able to swim with them this afternoon", and they gave up the option of a lesser non-swimming excursion (with little prospect of seeing the Hector Dolphins) or a FULL REFUND. They were very kind and honest to let us have the option in advance. (ps: you can book direct with BLACK CAT CRUISES in Akaroa Harbour for a little bit of savings versus booking through Princess, the ship docks right in Akaroa Harbour). We are getting ready for our next Princess cruise, 29-nights aboard the Pacific Princess sailing Nov. 23, 2017 from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale. Bon Voyage, and happy and safe sailing to all. ps: the only reason I rated the Embarkation in Auckland as "Terrible" is because they had all non-VIP wait outside the port building in the blistering sun & heat until 1pm embark time (in all my other experiences we were always sheltered indoors). I did not mind as this gave me 2 hours to explore Auckland waterfront while my husband found shelter in a cafe, but there were some elderly people who had to sit hodge-podge anywhere they could find outside the Princesss port building as they were not allowed inside, and there was very little shade to be found outside. Passengers with privileges were allowed to embark at 11am. There was quite a bit of confusion all around, and when 1pm embarkation began for the common-folk, the queue was very disorganized, a bit helter-skelter, until we got up the escalator to the check-in counter. Everyone was very polite through-out, just disorganized. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary and a long history with Princess. This ship really needs to be dry docked for R&R (remove and replace) things like, beds, toilets, carpets, railings and a few modern updates. Our Caribe ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary and a long history with Princess. This ship really needs to be dry docked for R&R (remove and replace) things like, beds, toilets, carpets, railings and a few modern updates. Our Caribe balcony needed cleaning, new carpets and the balcony table, chairs, rails and windows never were cleaned unless we asked the steward to do it daily. What is it about the rude waiters and assistant waiters in the dining rooms? They think nothing about interrupting conversations to push pastries, alcoholic drink cards, speciality dining, photos and other stuff. Most dining requests get lost in translation? For example, I ask for a large glass of tomato juice and I receive two small glasses. It's not like there aren't large glasses already on the table. I have witnessed people requesting decaf coffee being served from the same pot filling caffeinated coffee cups. A request for a slice of tomato for a delivered sandwich and it arrives with the center missing; so primarily it's just a ring of tomato skin. A request for Cheese, comes back shreaded and not sliced. It's almost like you have to have a picture of the food item you want, prepared like you want, to get it the way you want. Kinda like having the menus dfrom Japan. I've noticed trends that the quality of items in the dining room has declined overall with items you order when received are not what you expected. An example, you order a fillet mignon and get some other cut of beef, hidden under a Béarnaise sauce. I have argued with more section waiters about the false claims on the cuts of meat than I care to remember. Only to be told that, "This is all we have" is insulting when you can get the correct cut of beef in a specialty dining room for 29 dollars more per meal. You might order a fancy dish like bouillabaisse and find that it is missing the saffron or even the fish. When you inquire about the difference, you're told that, "this is chef's interpretation of the dish." I wonder if I pay the onboard stateroom charges with my interpretation of money, would they be as pacified as they expect us to be. After nine days on a 19 day cruise, we continually received over cooked fish on the initial order and pre-orders. Of course we send it back and tell them we do not want dry fish, and the plate is returned much better but seldom perfect. When I asked the section waiter what does it take to have fish prepared so that is not over cooked and moist on the initial request we were told that we needed to sign a waiver for under cooked food. Never in my 14 cruses with Princess have I had to sign any such thing, no would any reasonable cruiser think that moist is raw. The Entertainment was about average for Princess; however we noticed that the entertainment was centered on English speaking patrons, while European and South American patrons were clueless when it came to jokes and stories. Half of the princess theatre was empty during a comedian/juggler or a comedian/magic act. Service was overall O.K.; there are always bright spots at your favorite bar (that is why it's your favorite). We found that Vines, Crooners and most likely your room steward were the highlights. I noticed that if we ordered a drink from anywhere else than your favorite bar, it was watered down. In those times, order beer or wine from splits. Also they stopped giving you receipts, you have to ask for them. Many people find errors on their stateroom accounts, it is good to have records. Princess should just forget about going to Brazil until they clean up their act, it is too crime ridden, dirty and difficult to get in and out of. Would I choose Princess again, yes. The industry has been declining over the years hiding the additional expense with add-on charges for just about everything. They are not different from their competitors in that regard, so when you compare them they are all pretty close to being the same with subtle differences. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My husband and I are active travelers and enjoy being outdoors. We have been on Princess Cruises in several countries, and our cruise experiences have all been so outstanding that we were excited about booking this Mexican Riviera cruise ... Read More
My husband and I are active travelers and enjoy being outdoors. We have been on Princess Cruises in several countries, and our cruise experiences have all been so outstanding that we were excited about booking this Mexican Riviera cruise during our Spring Break. My husband's brother joined us on this cruise (in his own cabin) as a mini family reunion. As I am a teacher, our travels usually occur during school breaks. We had not been to this part of Mexico before and were looking forward to exploring it. CATALINA ISLAND: Because the cruise departs from San Pedro, CA, we decided to visit Catalina Island before the cruise. Transportation from LAX was a breeze with the LAX Flyaway to Long Beach for a very reasonable price, excellent schedule and quick service. We then caught the Catalina Express ferry to Avalon, where we stayed for two nights at the Avalon Hotel. What a friendly, charming little inn in a central location! For three days we hiked, biked, and toured the island, most of which is a nature preserve. If you go, check out the excellent happy hour at the Lobster Trap restaurant. It was a relaxing way to start the vacation. Then we took the ferry back to San Pedro. PRE-CRUISE HOTEL: We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel for the night before the cruise. The location is perfect, as it is close enough to the ferry dock and the cruise terminal to walk. We walked from the ferry dock at night, and the route is well-lit and felt safe, with people out walking their dogs or strolling. It took 15-20 minutes with wheeled luggage. The hotel also offers a shuttle for $5.00 per person, but we love walking. There are several eateries in the area, and our favorite was Happy Diner a block away. Make sure to try their Huevos Rancheros and Breakfast Burritos for breakfast! CRUISE DAY: On cruise day, we walked from the hotel to the cruise terminal, stopping along the way to purchase our two allowed bottles of wine. As we entered the parking area and approach to the terminal, a free shuttle bus picked us up and saved us a few steps. Embarkation was a breeze, as there were not many people checking in at the time. Also, we were allowed to bring our own luggage on board. In the past, we had to leave the luggage and have it brought to the room, later than I would have liked. We were able to unpack and settle into our cabin before the sailaway! It was very interesting sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine and sailing through a working shipping port, one of the busiest in the world. OUR CABIN: The cabin was nice, like other Princess balcony cabins we'd had before. There's lots of room for everything you need for a week on the ship. The bed was extremely comfy! There are only two outlets at the desk, so we brought a plug in outlet cube that gave us 4 all together, enough for charging all our devices. The bathroom has large bottles of body wash and shampoo. Bring your own conditioner, or your hair will become very dry. We also had a small bar of soap and a tube of lotion. ROCK AND ROLL: One thing we noticed on this cruise that we had never dealt with before was loud creaking and popping sounds when the ship was underway at the beginning and ending days (sea days) of the cruise. The seas were not rough at all, but you could feel the movement of the ship. We checked everywhere in the room for anything that might have been loose or hitting something else, but the sounds came from the walls. The loud noises really affected the quality of our sleep, as the ship usually sails all night. We talked to our steward about it and he said that it's always like that. It was not like that on any of the other 7 Princess ships we have sailed on, and those were in rougher seas at times. DINING: We tried several of the dining options on the Ruby Princess. For breakfast, we usually went to the buffet, but on this ship we noticed that there was not much variety from day to day. It was the same basic items daily, and they were prepared adequately, but not very interesting or imaginative. The fresh fruit was nice. Dinner in the buffet was a different story, with lots of variety and choices, and of course the salad bar. It was ALWAYS hard to find a table to eat at in the buffet. Room service was consistent, with a limited variety of items. The anytime dining room dinners were excellent, especially the prime rib and the filet mignon with shrimp, but both nights we were there the service was very slow. One night it took us 90 minutes from start to finish, so we missed a show. The real stars of the ship were the Trident Grill, where we had perfectly cooked cheeseburgers, and the Pizzaria, which serves delicious fresh hot slices. The Grill also served barbequed ribs one night. ENTERTAINMENT: We enjoyed the lounge musicians, but avoided the Piazza, which was always jammed with people. The production shows were ok but not stellar, and the comedian was hilarious! It was often hard to find seating in all the venues, even the Princess Theater. The best show we saw onboard was the Folkloric Show in Puerto Vallarta. It was EXCELLENT. ACTIVITIES: As first-time Mexico cruisers, we had not anticipated the number of children who would be aboard. The pools and hot tubs were filled with people at all times. We never got a chance to play ping-pong, mini-golf, or basketball because those areas were constantly full of people. "Hiking" around the ship for exercise, a favorite pastime of ours, became frustrating because of the groups of kids running around yelling or loitering in the halls and stairways. Empty elevators often had all the buttons pressed to stop at each floor. With 3 sea days, had I known in advance, I would have avoided booking this particular itinerary. SERVICE: The service on our previous Princess Cruises has been most excellent. This cruise felt somewhat different. We did not receive our famous emblem tote bag because they were out. We had to ask for robes. We had to get up and get our own drinks and silverware in the buffet. On Princess Cruises, usually the staff is so gracious and accommodating. On this cruise, we sometimes felt as though the staff was overworked and too busy to serve us. The one shining exception was our waiter in the bar, who remembered our names and drink orders although we did not go there often. PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: This itinerary started with two sea days, then we went to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas, followed by another sea day, then arrival back at Los Angeles. Puerto Vallarta was a beautiful port. You walk directly off the ship into a large plaza area surrounded with shops and restaurants. I wish we could have had more time to explore the town, but we were on a Princess tour for almost the entire day. We went on the Vallarta Adventures tour featuring horseback riding to Quimixto Waterfall, snorkeling, and lunch and kayaking on Pizota Beach. We loved our guide, Hugo! The ride to Quimixto on the Apex inflatable boats was fast and fun! The walk through the village and horseback ride to the waterfall was exciting for a first timer, and we had time to have a snack and a swim in the pool. Then a horseback return (downhill!) to the village and back on the boats to the snorkeling spot. The snorkeling was not great at this time of year, murky water, and not many fish. The lunch at Pizota Beach was the standard delicious barbeque: chicken, fish and beef with sides and open bar. We had about 90 minutes at the beach and although kayaking was supposed to be part of the tour, there were none offered, just two standup paddle boards. After the tour, we tucked into the local market for some souvenirs as it is located right next to the dock. This tour was a 4 out of 5; we enjoyed it except for the snorkeling/no kayaks and it was a bit pricey. In Mazatlan, when you leave the ship, you have to take a free shuttle through the shipping area to the terminal, so factor that extra time in. We booked a 5 hour tour to the Verde-Camacho Turtle Sanctuary directly on the internet with Turtle Tours Mazatlan. They were very easy to deal with and communicated with us regularly before the tour. They picked us up at the dock and took us on a mini-tour through the city before taking us to their sanctuary about 20 minutes out of town. We loved being in a small group of 8 people, and Misael and Eduardo were very knowledgeable and graciously answered our many questions about the area, the sanctuary, and the lifestyle. We toured the turtle hatchery and facility, then were served fresh fruit. After that, Eduardo took our party of 3 on an ATV tour of the sanctuary to view the beach and wetlands, along with its many inhabitants! It was extremely beautiful and unspoiled. We saw birds galore, and the tracks of the resident crocodile. Unfortunately due to the low water levels related to this year's weather, we were not able to take the kayaks through the mangrove wetlands as we had hoped. Following that, we were served a delicious meal of tortillas, beans, scrambled eggs, and homemade salsa with chips. Then it was off on a guided walk through the dryland forest of the preserve, where we saw the many native plants of the area. When we returned from our trek, we were surprised by a plate of ceviche, so fresh and delicious. I had no idea on booking this tour that it would be not only a wildlife adventure, but also a foodie tasting tour as well. Normally we would have been allowed to help release the baby turtles into the ocean, but nature did not allow it on this trip. Hopefully we will be able to visit again in the future. We gave this tour a 6 out of 5 stars, it was an outstanding experience. We recommend it highly, especially since the reasonable cost of the tour directly benefits the sanctuary's work preserving sea turtles and educating children about ecology. After the turtle tour, we had 3.5 hours before the ship departed, so we decided to climb to the El Faro lighthouse at the top of Cerro del Creston (Creston Hill). It's super close to the dock, and the turtle tour guys were nice enough to drop us off at the base of the hill. (Thanks Misael and Eduardo!) In fact, they offered to come back for us to give us a ride to the ship. So awesome. Anyway, the walk to the lighthouse starts near a wastewater treatment plant, but the smell is not too bad. The trail is rough and rocky at first, but with an easy slope. Further up the hill there are paved stairs. It's easy but bring water, as it gets hot in the sun. The views along the way are beautiful! At the top you are rewarded with a 360 degree view! There is a little shop where you can buy a cold drink. Listen for the barking of the seals from a little island offshore. It took us only about 25 minutes each way, with lots of stopping for pictures. The walk back to the ship took about 20 minutes, but we could have easily hailed a pulmonia cab for just a few bucks. If you love hiking, El Faro lighthouse is a must do. If you missed opportunities for shopping as we did, the cruise terminal has souvenirs and clothing and there is a nearby arts and crafts center with many vendors. In Cabo San Lucas, the ship docked from 7am to 1:15pm, not much time to explore. The ship is anchored in the middle of the bay and tenders transport passengers to shore. We booked the Sea of Cortez Zodiac Raft and Snorkel Tour through the ship, which was a 3.5 hour tour. We cruised on small inflatable boats past Lovers Beach, stopped at El Arco for photos, saw the sea lion colony, and we even saw a whale! We then sped (fun!) to the first stop, Santa Maria Bay. We jumped in and were surprised that the water felt so cold. They fed the fish there, so we were surrounded by hundreds of colorful fish! The guide snorkeled with us, and showed us cool things like a shark and a puffer fish. Then we climbed the ladder back into the boat and motored on to Chileno Bay. Not everyone went back in because they were a bit cold, but I'm glad we did because it was different. On the way back, we zoomed along and surfed the turquoise waves at Medano Beach. One of the funniest things we've seen is the smart sea lions who swim up and perch on the transoms of the fishing boats as they enter the harbor for a fish snack. We gave this tour a 4 out of 5 because the water was uncomfortably cold, but at another time of the year it might be warmer. The tour guides were very friendly, one even took my camera down to take a picture of the shark for me! After the tour, we only had a little time to walk along the waterfront, which is vast and lined with restaurants and shops. The handicraft market near the tender port has a lot of local items. There was a man giving visitors chunks of fish to feed a huge sea lion at the boat ramp. Bring money for the public bathroom, you have to pay a dollar to use it! All in all, a Princess Cruise is one of our favorite ways to travel. We love the convenience of unpacking just once and having your hotel, restaurants, and transportation all in one, so that we can focus our attention on the places we are visiting. We love getting off the ship at every port and exploring just as much as we can without worrying about all the details of travel that can take so much attention. We're not big fans of sea days, and we usually try to choose cruises that have as few as possible. This cruise had three sea days, and it seemed as though there were SO many people (especially unsupervised children) in the public areas almost all the time, to the point that we could not enjoy the amenities of the ship. We will definitely travel with Princess again, but we'll avoid the Mexican Riviera during school holidays. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We wanted to see the Panama Canal and Princess was one of the few lines that was suitable for us given our tight calendar limitations. We have taken numerous cruises on all the other major lines, but this was our first on Princess. We ... Read More
We wanted to see the Panama Canal and Princess was one of the few lines that was suitable for us given our tight calendar limitations. We have taken numerous cruises on all the other major lines, but this was our first on Princess. We booked a suite, as we usually do and frankly were disappointed by the mediocre service. NO separate embarkation line, no concierge, no butler, no dedicated lounge. Our room at the very back of the suite was cramped, with a tiny balcony, no walk in closet and close to the waterline. The vibration from the engines was very noticeable, and disruptive to restful sleep when the ship was at cruising speed. Our stateroom attendant was rarely seen and not very helpful although he did keep the room clean. The ship has limited specialty restaurants, which is disappointing on a 10 day cruise, although the staff at all the restaurants were truly friendly, helpful, thoroughly professional, and delightful. The itinerary was OK, but not great. What can one accomplish in 4 hour stop over in Aruba when the ship docks at 7am Sunday morning and the limited shops that open do not do so until 10am at the earliest. The Panama Canal experience is quite spectacular and worthwhile! I enjoyed the other stops and especially the Cayman Island dive. In summary, maybe we have been spoiled by our previous cruises, but I would not recommend Princess Cruises for suite category cruisers who have sailed on other lines. FInally avoid, suites PR 726 or PR 727. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
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