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293 Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

Background Information: We selected this cruise based on price, departure date, and itinerary. We were traveling for our honeymoon, and this was our first cruise. Ship Info: The ship was not as clean as I expected it to be (especially ... Read More
Background Information: We selected this cruise based on price, departure date, and itinerary. We were traveling for our honeymoon, and this was our first cruise. Ship Info: The ship was not as clean as I expected it to be (especially the windows). However, our stateroom was very clean and our cabin attendant was excellent. BIGGEST COMPLAINT: The boat rocked...ALOT...this was not normal we were told by other passengers who had cruised many times before. The waters were not rough at all, yet people were stumbling all over the place because the boat moved so much. My husband and I spent our first "at sea" day lying in the room sick ordering room service because we couldn't stand up. The roomer onboard was that there was some sort of problem with the stabilizers. Best advice if you go...don't use the gym (I think running on the treadmills while all this was going on did us in)...and get a room as low and in the middle of the ship as you can get. Activities: Lots of activities on board but more geared toward an older crowd (we are in our early 30s). The comedian on board was decent. Princess pop star was fun to watch. The shows in the theater were far from Broadway but entertaining none the less. MUTS was great...but bring warm clothes...the adult movies are in the evening and it gets chilly. Thermal suite is not worth the money for the week pass, because you won't use it on the port days if you have excursions planned...and most of the people I saw in there just walked in and didn't pay (they don't really monitor whether the people in there paid or not). Service: Dining room service was hit or miss (we had the anytime plan so we didn't have the same server each night). Our first night the server was beyond fantastic, most of the nights were so-so, and we had one night where the guy was just terrible. Shore Excursions: Best of St. Martin was nice...but not alot of time to shop in Margot, Meagans Bay in St. Thomas was FANTASTIC, Chukka Buggy Tour in Grand Turk was ok...but get the early tour...we did the late one and got eaten alive by mosquitos (the tour takes you into some wooded areas)...I counted 28 on one arm alone. Embarkation: Excellent, quick, and very organized. Stateroom: More room than I expected. Should have asked for a sheet in addition to the one blanket they give you...husband complained about that...he got warm at night. Disembarkation: Excellent, well organized, very efficient. Pros: Price, Ports of Call, Lots of seafood on the menu (we love seafood), Crown Grill (worth the extra $25 per person), & MUTS Cons: Too much movement on ship, too many kids in adult areas, not enough choices on the buffets, food choices for lunch were not great, sushi was beyond bad, too many announcements in the mornings (not great for people who like to sleep in on vaca), too many "extra charges" for things, spa was very expensive, elevators were REALLY slow. Overall we had an ok time...I think that maybe cruising just isn't for us. It just felt like we didn't get the kind of rest we would have liked, and there were always crowds and lines everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
My husband and I were enjoying our second cruise, a babymoon actually on the Ruby Princess. It was by far the most beautifully decorated ship I have been on and this compares to Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Carnival ships. We had ... Read More
My husband and I were enjoying our second cruise, a babymoon actually on the Ruby Princess. It was by far the most beautifully decorated ship I have been on and this compares to Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Carnival ships. We had previously taken a honeymoon cruise on the Royal Caribbean to Eastern Caribbean and enjoyed our experience tremendously. We were expecting more "Love" from the brand new Ruby "Love Boat" that Princess was famous for. First of all, we booked a mini suite category. We felt that this line, in comparison to other cruises, seemed to charge for all the amenities we typically receive for free on other ships. We had to pay for ice cream at the pool, appetizers before dinner in the lobby, pizza delivery from room service and $12 for a cheese board/fruit platter from room service! The excursions were overpriced compared to other cruise lines. "Anytime dining" is not a good idea if you want to eat anytime other than 6pm or 8pm. When we would show up at 7pm, we received a pager and then had to wait for a table for 15-40 minutes. You can call ahead in the morning to make a reservation, but we found out they only take about 20% of the restaurant as a reservation and only before 4pm. If you make a reservation, you get a table right away. You will have a different waiter staff each night, which made it difficult to receive any special attention or friendly "get to know" atmosphere we enjoy on other ships. Next time we would do the late seating. I highly recommend the specialty Italian restaurant. It is worth the $20 supplement. The food in the dining room for dinner was just OK. Not as good as Royal or Holland. Menu is a little boring and tasteless. Our room was beautiful, although smaller than the mini suite on Royal Caribbean. Room service menu was not very good and we felt that suite passengers should be offered a different menu to choose from, other than free sandwiches. The room attendant was friendly and probably the best cruise staff we met on board as far as attention and helpfulness. Our room was decorated nicely outside for our anniversary and my birthday. We also enjoyed receiving special cards to give to the head waiter at the restaurant to notify that it was a special occasion. They brought us a special dessert each time we notified. Tendering on two ports (Princess Cay and Grand Cayman) was not a great experience at all. We had long lines to wait in on the return to ship from port and watched as other cruise lines were handing out water and snacks to their passengers. Also, we felt that we had to get on the ship much earlier in each port than necessary. We would have enjoyed staying longer in each port, rather than on board by 4pm. The activities on board were not much to be desired. We were comparing to all the fun activities on the Royal Caribbean, with rock climbing and ice skating. The Ruby should have more focus on the education programs and add another cooking demonstration, which was the best demo I have seen on any ship. I highly recommend it and the cookbook for purchase is reasonable $28 and you can have it personally signed by the Exec. Chef. The shows at night were fair. The second evening show, Broadway Review, was the best. All the others we were not that impressed. They had a guest singer from Vegas that was excellent, but he is not normally on the ship. Compared to Royal, it was a 4 and Royal entertainment an 8 out of 10. So, in conclusion, bring back the LOVE. Please stop charging for ice cream! Where was someone like Issac at the pool? The pool drink attendants need to smile and enjoy their job. What is better than serving drinks under the sun! Make it a more personal experience for the guests, especially if you are paying suite pricing. Ruby needs to hire a different Cruise Director. By the end of the trip, we had to turn her off our TV screen. Best things on board: Movies Under the Stars (need less sports and more movies) Cooking Demonstration and Ship Kitchen Tour Decoration of the ship, live musicians playing in the lobby upon check in. Ports of call were excellent, but you'll need to book excursions. Least favorite things: Lots of little charges everywhere. Cost of fruit drinks without alcohol. Entertainment and getting turned away because all the seats were filled! Bingo prices. Art Auction not as great as Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
My wife and I took our 5th and longest cruise this time, choosing Princess per itinerary and length.3 previous on NCL and 1 on Carnival and this our 1st on Princess.I am 51 and my wife 47.Went alone this time w/ high expectations as our ... Read More
My wife and I took our 5th and longest cruise this time, choosing Princess per itinerary and length.3 previous on NCL and 1 on Carnival and this our 1st on Princess.I am 51 and my wife 47.Went alone this time w/ high expectations as our cruise planner recommended Princess highly. Flew into Miami 2 days prior to embarkation and took Super Shuttle to Ft.Lauderdale to the tune of $66 for a 24 mile ride.Stayed at the Courtyard by Marriot.What a beautiful hotel w/ great location and fantastic views.Only complaint that there is no shuttle to airport/cruise port but caught the local bus for $2.50 and walked into the port area.We aren't cheap but a cab is $10-15 for a 1.5 mile ride. Embarkation: arrived at port at 1200 noon to a huge line.Met a great Canadian couple who had been there since 10:45 and were told ship would not start boarding until at least 2pm as there had been an Noro-virus outbreak and the ship was being "sanitized".No brainer there, sanitize away.Once line started moving it went very fast and we were on the ship in our cabin in about 30 min. Cabin: KK on deck 10, inside forward C-244.Nice decor.Large storage area made so by the smallest bathroom we have ever had.The shower can't possibly get any smaller.Living/bed area was about the same as other ships.Very firm mattress and had egg crate placed on 2nd day per other post's on C.C..Our cabin stewart was very cordial and efficient. Ship:as per other reviews the theater is way too small for # of passengers (our cruise was sold out 3100+)and getting there 30 min prior to shows was a must to get a seat.The Explorers Lounge where other acts took place had the same limitations and was considerably smaller than the theater.Grand Atrium was beautiful/elegant w/ often a 4 person string quartet playing classical music.The ship is large and poorly laid out.It seemed as if it was cut up and difficult to get around.We heard this complaint over/over during our cruise.The MUTS idea is a big hit w/ us and we really enjoyed the movies day and night.There seemed to be ample lounge chairs available even w/ the ever present "saving" going on.But frankly we had no problems finding 2 chairs pretty much when and where we wanted.There are 2 main pool areas mid ships and 1 small pool at the stern.These didn't seem to get used a whole lot.No pool slides but I doubt there were more than 20 children on board anyway and very few young couples either.My wife enjoyed the gym but was quite upset they didn't open earlier due to being built over cabins below.Shops were about the same as on other ships.Live band at pool side was good.Overall ship seemed in good shape and was clean though already showing signs of wear in carpeting etc. Food:had high expectations and were disappointed.3 main dining rooms, 1 traditional seating and 2 either/or anytime/traditional.No wait EVER w/ our anytime option.But all 3 dining rooms had the same menu each night so there was no variety to speak of unless going to buffet or one of the 2 upscale dining options.The morning buffet style breakfasts were chaos.There is no flow to these area's and though there are 4 area's they are all relatively small.We did not have breakfast/lunch in any main dining rooms.The variety at lunch/dinner in the buffet area's were good though.And the pizza was very good as was the grill at poolside.We ate one night in Crown Grill at $25 pp.The meal was good but not overly so as it should have been.Quite frankly we both felt the overall food is superior on NCL and we did in fact meet several devoted Princess cruiser's who felt as if this particular cruise was just off a bit.One couple had even been on Emerald 1 year prior and felt there was a big difference this time. Crew: in general the entire crew were fantastic.Cruise director was funny and energetic as were his asst's.Almost every crewman we met seemed happy and energetic. Shows:the comedy shows were very funny and the 2 shown in the theater we were able to get into were also well done.We both felt though that the shows in general are better and more contemporary on NCL.We do not do art auctions,bingo,etc. Drinks: they just seem to get more and more expensive each cruise we go on.On NCL when you buy the souvenir glass you get $2 off each drink you buy when you have that glass in hand, not on Princess.$6.95 + gratuity for regular drinks and 4 for the price of 5 buckets of beer that were just plain too rich for our pocketbooks.The cruise lines should note that in this current economy lowering the price even just a little would probably dramatically increase consumption.We did not spend much on board on drinks and chose to drink more when ashore where prices were more reasonable.We are not rich and simply have to budget somewhere in order to cruise each year. Excursions: only did 1 in Greneda.Way over priced for what we got, but had a good time and we know better but time there was very limited. Ports.Princess Cays: nice area but seemed extraordinarily crowded w/ just our 1 ship.Was a windy day and water seemed quite cool/cold.Good food at BBQ.Little else to do and were not allowed out of the general area.St Thomas: took cab to Coki beach and while small and crowded, had decent snorkeling/swimming.Drank a couple buckets of cold Presidente and enjoyed the sun.Dominica:took a 3-4 hr bus tour of interior to waterfalls etc and had a great time.Cynthia our tour guide was exceptional and only cost $50 at the pier. the took $5 cab ride to black sand beach to finish off the day.Would come back.Greneda:too short a time (see excursion above).Bonaire: took water taxi to Klein Bonaire to snorkle.What an incredible place, the best snorkeling we have ever had including in Hawaii.Did a little shopping prior to leaving.Aruba: what a total disappointment.1st time there and with all the hype about the place was shocked when got a few streets away from port area.Up by the resorts it is pretty nice and up past to the lighthouse but the other side and end of island are rugged and barren.Just flat expected more beaches and beauty. Debarkation: pretty well organized, no real complaints except that the cabs in Ft.Lauderdale are flat overpriced.$15.00 for a 2 mile 10 min ride is outrageous.And then they want a gratuity on top. Overall: our expectations were not met and we were disappointed.But wanted to branch out and try another line.Will probably go back to NCL next time as they seem to be more our style.We met many wonderful people (hi to Sandy and Leroy from Toronto) and still had a great time as weather was good and afterall, it's hard not to have a good time in the Caribbean in winter. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Second time cruiser. My first cruise was 8 months ago on RCL in the Easter Caribbean. We are late 20s newlyweds who took this cruise with good friends (they are new to cruising). First of all, let me say this ship really is beautiful. ... Read More
Second time cruiser. My first cruise was 8 months ago on RCL in the Easter Caribbean. We are late 20s newlyweds who took this cruise with good friends (they are new to cruising). First of all, let me say this ship really is beautiful. The decorations are nice and the Piazza is very pretty. The onboarding process was downright impressive. We were through the front door, security, and check in within 15 minutes. It was a far cry from the long wait we had with RCL. Our room was a bit of a let down, although this is partly our fault. We booked a balcony guarantee room. Initially I didn't expect much because of the guarantee. We wanted to get away from the cold and we wanted a balcony - done deal. We got our assignment well in advance of the cruise. I read on the boards here before about the tiered balconies and was pleased to see we were on the top level of balconies. Hooray for privacy! Unfortunately, when we got on the ship we realized we were right below the pool. At 6:30 every morning we awoke to the sound of lounge chairs slamming around. During the afternoon and late evening we heard MUTS when our balcony door was open. Then we heard the chairs being put away at night. To top it off, our friends were on the Caribe desk - and we realized we lost the balcony lotto. The balconies on the top decks are private - but smaller!! Our friends had the same category stateroom, but had a balcony 2x the size of ours. Also, the pool deck hung over our balcony, so we never really felt out in the open like you do on the balconies on the lower levels. Unless you really care about people above you being able to see you - book a balcony on one of the lower levels. The privacy wasn't worth it. Speaking of MUTS, this is one of Ruby's most redeeming qualities. How wonderful it was to be out in the open on a comfy chair. We enjoyed the popcorn, milk, and cookies. We were a little annoyed when about 15 minutes before the movie ended, it looked as though a tour bus pulled up and dropped off a load of loud drunken buffet dwellers. We were still enjoying the 7 o'clock movie and people were swarming around marking their chairs for the next screening. It was as if we weren't there at all! I saw several people around us just get up and leave well before the movie was over due to all the noise. The food was exactly as I have read on all the other Ruby reviews - a real snooze fest. The buffet wasn't bad and it wasn't good. The selections for anytime dining were either boring or odd. Most nights I had a hard time finding either an appetizer or entree that looked appealing. We ate at the Grill on the first formal night. We are huge foodies - we love to go out to eat and we're not afraid to spend a lot of money on a great meal. That being said, the Grill was just OK to us. We overheard a man behind us tell the waiter he had just consumed the best steak in his life. We joked that he may frequent Applebees and Outback, because the food was similar. If you do go to the Grill, get the chocolate lava cake dessert. It was absolutely delicious and made up for my average dinner. Sabitini's was upsetting to say the least. Our waiter was a real know-it-all. He showed us a menu with an antipasta selection, salad selection, pasta, and entree. Then the waiter told us we could only pick an entree and the rest would be served to us family style. Other than the pasta course, the food was not good at all. I have never been to a place that soaks their crab cakes in lemon juice for 3 days before serving...they were absolutely horrible. I wanted our $40 back. It wasn't worth the money. Now the children...they were everywhere. I'm not sure if this particular cruise is appealing to parents with small children but they were absolutely everywhere. And unlike RCL, the two large pools are open to everyone. On RCL, one large pool was adults only and was a little slice of heaven. The only place on Ruby to get away from kids is the terrace pool on the back of the boat - which is beautiful and a fabulous view - but the area is VERY small. There aren't many chairs out there. I had to get up at 6:30 AM on our 2nd at sea day to get a chair out there. Once in a while an adult would bring their child out to the terrace pool and the staff wouldn't tell them to leave! The other all adult pool is part of the spa - and is $20 a person for the day. Paying to use a pool is absolutely ridiculous. I rarely saw children with the staff or participating in children's programs. On our other cruise, most children were gone all day. Because of this (I'm assuming here) I think Princess may not have the best children's programs like other lines do. The staff in the anytime dining rooms were always great. Full of personality, quick, and very accommodating. The bartenders and pool servers often were less than impressive. We went to the nightclub on the first night and the bartender was completely rude to us when we ordered waters. After we finished our water, he picked up the glasses and walked away as if to say "get away from my bar so I can make money." I noticed that anyone with a refillable soda cup would have to wait longer at the bar for service. I guess if the staff isn't getting a tip, they don't want to waste their time on you! Overall, it was nice to get away. The ports are beautiful - we had gorgeous weather every single day. I expected more out of this cruise for two reasons: 1) the ship is the newest in Princess' fleet 2) I was always under the impression that Princess was one of the luxury cruise lines (within certain patron age limits, of course). I was ready to write Princess off completely until we met another couple the last night who have cruised over 30 times (they were under 35 years old!). They told us that they always cruise with Princess and were extremely let down by this cruise. They had been on a Hawaiian cruise just two weeks before and had a wonderful time. They had the same complaints as us - the food and the children. On their several other cruises they never experienced such disappointing food with Princess. They also said they never had to deal with children everywhere - in the pools, taking up lounge chairs, running around the decks, and splashing around in the hot tubs. I will give Princess another try but definitely in another location. If and when we return to the Caribbean, I think the best experience is with RCL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Well after years of looking forward to my first cruise I finally got to go. We left Texas early in the morning and flew to LGA in NYC, and we booked a limo service to pick us up in a town car and that was the greatest start to it all.  We ... Read More
Well after years of looking forward to my first cruise I finally got to go. We left Texas early in the morning and flew to LGA in NYC, and we booked a limo service to pick us up in a town car and that was the greatest start to it all.  We arrived at the terminal at about 1 and got our luggage checked in very easily and each station getting on the ship was timely and easy, but then again I was cruising with a very seasoned Princess Cruiser (14 trips so far). The weather was iffy at best with clouds and overcast, but the line can't control that. Once on the ship we went to the cabin and downloaded our carry-ons and got settled in before we toured the ship. Overall the ship was clean and in good order, and things looked very hopeful. On embarkation the rains started and the Verrazano Bridge was cast in clouds but again not a thing anyone could do. Our first day at sea was sunny and warm so we proceeded to the deck for what it was all about for us, LAYIN OUT IN THE SUN. This is when we had our first of what was to be many issues. We met our steward and asked for extra towels since we needed 2 towel each to shower, he agreed with us and we thought it was taken care of but we should have known he didn't know enough english to understand us. We had to keep asking throughout the cruise for towels and we finally just took them from the cart in the passage so we could have them. That was the first issue but we adapted. Well day 2 and the rains and rough seas reappeared but again that was up to a higher being. On night 2 we had or first formal night and we dressed to the 9's, I in my dress blues with all my shiney medals in order and my lovely lady in her new Pink dress and what a sight she was. Well we chose the any-time dining so we had to wait for a table and were given a pager but not a big deal, we just roamed and took pictures till our seating was ready. Well we finally went in and were seated and the waiter gave everyone at the table a menu (SO HE THOUGHT) and left for about 15 minutes. When he returned he started to take orders but before he could my lady informed him that not everyone was given a menu, yes, me in all my glory with medals and shining gold on that blue uniform was OVERLOOKED and I stood out so much people were stopping me to say thank you for my service. But oh well I was invisible to the staff. Well they corrected the issue and I had until they circled the table taking orders to decide what I wanted and the selection wasn't what my lady had told me it would be and we were both disappointed. Well, we move on to Grand Turk, our first stop and the weather seemed to be holding off and we planned for our first excursion a snorkling trip. Well we had decided on the later morning trip to allow us to leisure our way off the first stop. Well as we approached our meetup point the weather had turned for the worse and they cancelled all the excursions, but again not the fault of the line. We were refunded the fee and all was good. Spent the day on the beach looking at the ship and decided to get back to the ship before the rains came again. Good move on our part beat the rush. Day 4 and into San Juan, which we could take or leave for our taste, 2 other ships in port and streets smaller than and road stripe so we stayed on the ship to get some sun. Day 5 into ST THOMAS, the port of excitement for us. And wow, I got to try on more jewelery than she did, of course we were looking for my wedding ring. We then took a taxi on our own to Megan's Bay and if you go that is a must see. Well back to the ship before 3:30 for a 4pm departure so all in all a great stop. Well back on the ship and that night was a special occasion for me they were honoring my retirement at dinner that evening and they left a letter in our cabin for us to give to the Matradee wish we did and he looked at it and had us seated without taking the letter. This seemed strange so I showed our waiter and he had no idea what to do so I asked him to show the head waiter or the matradee and after a few minutes he returned and said it was taken care of. Well here come INVISIBLE INCIDENT #2, the photographer came to the table to take pictures and the night was "individual pictures" so she started with my lady and worked the way around the table opposite me, to finally get the the gentleman next to me saying "last but not least" about him and my lady went off saying "WHAT IS HE INVISIBLE?" and the lady said oh I'm sorry and took the picture. Well dinner menu was sparse again but made do, and in the end ordered a desert and just as they delivered it I was also given a personal chocolate cake for my retirement celebration, They could have told me before I started eating my desert I ordered, but had it boxed and sent back to the cabin for later. OK that was enough that night to the Casino, and now that is a dangerous place to be now that you can use your cruise card to play the machines and tables. Just like the alcohol you can run up a charge and never know just how bad if you mix the two. But that is a personal choice not the line again. OK, back to the cabin, the beds as most know are hard at best for most but when you are used to a soft bed it is almost impossible to sleep on them, we had asked for a matress pad to help soften it and were told none were available. I'll get back to this on the last night. Well a day at sea again and out  to the Pool for some sun all in all a good day, OK, here is another issue, in the buffets we always had an issue with silverware and drinks it took over 10 minutes each time to get either or both and refills were NONE EXISTENT. We began to order 4 Lemonades with no ice so that we would have enough to hope to get through the meal. Cups and ice were easy to get at the stations at each end anyway so again another adaptation. Again goes back to what I was told that they wait on you to make sure you are happy, so far not luck there. Into Bermuda, for day 7 and this is such a beautiful place but not near enough time to see even a portion of it, Just going to have to take a dedicated cruise on NCL for 7 days there for that. Well day 8 at sea and last formal night and the rented tux was great and for a change the dinner was an enjoyable experience for all. Now back to the cabin to pack up for the debarkation the next morning. Well after packing the bags and placing them in the passageway we notice of all things a rolled up matress pad in the hallway. And we think to ourselves I thought they didn't have any of those. We know they did because our bed had one on it to connect the 2 twin beds to make the queen so there has to be a storage place on the ship full of them should one get wet, dirty, or damaged, again WHY WERE WE TOLD THERE WASN'T ANY ON THE SHIP. Again not enough english comprehension is our thought. So over all we both decided to do the only thing we could do to complain at this point and have the Gratuties backed out of our charges and low and behold we had to stand in line at the Purser's desk because we were not the only ones. This we believe is a key factor in the level of service because not everyone is told they can do this and the service staff will get the rewards regardless. We are going on a RCL cruise in May 2010 for Wedding/Honeymoon and next will be Celebrity for that adventure. If Princess makes changes then we may return but since Carnival owns them now we doubt that, just hope they don't fall to that level. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
My wife and I cruised French Polynesia (aka Tahiti) on the Pacific Princess from 9 to 19 October 2009 for our 30th Anniversary. We loved Tahiti but did not enjoy the ship as much as other ships we'd been on (9 total cruises). But ... Read More
My wife and I cruised French Polynesia (aka Tahiti) on the Pacific Princess from 9 to 19 October 2009 for our 30th Anniversary. We loved Tahiti but did not enjoy the ship as much as other ships we'd been on (9 total cruises). But due to shallow waters and cost of getting to Tahiti, small ships are all that cruise there. We flew Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti, to catch the ship. The ATN counter at LAX international terminal opened 3 hours prior to the flight and everything went smoothly. Food on ATN in coach is somewhat poor, especially the dinner - breakfast was OK. I recommend you eat prior to boarding - note the restaurants at LAX international terminal are before the security lines, there is only a coffee shop once you pass thru security. We arrived in Tahiti at 4:30 AM - the bank at the airport is open 24/7, it's the best place to exchange dollars to French pacific francs. I recommend you bring enough cash for what you want to exchange - my ATM card did not work at any banks I tried in Tahiti. Also, the Pacific Princess did not have an ATM machine. Most merchants took credit cards - visa & master card - the street vendors took only cash. Some islands, like Bora Bora and Moorea, took dollars, but don't always count on it. We stayed overnight at the Intercontinental Hotel in Papeete in an overwater bungalow - very nice room worth the exorbitant cost. Going to Tahiti is expensive so you might as well enjoy it. I highly recommend planning 1-day stops in LA and Tahiti before getting on ATN and the ship. We ran into several couples on the ship that had to divert to Tokyo or Hawaii to make connections to Tahiti and either missed the ship in Papeete (so flew to Huahine to board) or did not have their luggage. We stayed overnight in LA & Papeete and had no problems. Boarding on the Pacific Princess at 11:30 AM on 9 October was fast, we never saw much of a line the first day. Passengers arrived up to 5 PM on 10 October when we sailed. Although we felt the ship was small and dated, with not too much to do, we both thought the crew were very friendly and helpful. Having cruised on the RCCL "mega ships" before, the Pacific Princess seemed tiny. It's OK for Tahiti where you have a lot of stops, but I'd think an overwater cruise would be very boring. Also the ship pitched and rolled a lot, even in gentle seas, so plan ahead if you are prone to sea sickness. We stayed in a mini-suite, the cabin was roomy. Only complaint was they "upgraded" us to a wheelchair accessible room (#8044) which had a large shower in the bathroom instead of a tub - it took up way too much space plus the water flow was poor. We tried to get back to our reserved mini-suite (#8002) but were told the ship was full and room assignments were made at Princess HQ, not by the ship. Food onboard was adequate, not that tasty, but plentiful. Dinners had gourmet titles that often tasted strange. Best meal was the lobster on the second of two formal nights. Buffet was open 24/7 so you could usually find something there, like pizza, if still hungry. Best food was the fresh pineapple but they ran out halfway thru the cruise (in Tahiti?) until near the end. Room service menu is very limited, only a few sandwiches. We did the continental breakfast on our balcony, which included some basic egg dishes, a few times to watch the ship sail into ports. We ate at Steakhouse ($15 per) and had great filet mignons, worth the cost as you can't get good beef in the main restaurant. One tip - we chose late dining at 8:15 - this was too late as dinner was slow so we didn't finish until after 10 PM. Early dining at 6:15 is better choice although you may miss some island viewing. The one pool was pitiful, barely a large tub. So we bought passes to the spa deck in front of the gym/spa. Although slightly expensive, it was worth it! Had a large jacuzzi and was limited to 16 people the entire cruise, but you have to buy the passes at spa within first day or 2. We spent most of our deck time there as it's also the best view out the front. Gym had old equipment - we were told it was due to be replaced this winter. Exercise classes were great - the instructor, Arlene, was fantastic. But limited in size so sign up the first day. My wife enjoyed some of the spa treatments as well. Shows in lounge (no theater on Pacific) were OK, singers/dancers not great, but we enjoyed the comedy acts. Not very crowded as most people tended to go to their rooms after dinner, mostly due to the tropical sun & heat of the day. IMPORTANT! Take a lot of sun tan lotion, SPF 50 or higher - we went thru 2 bottles. We saw many red bodies in the beginning as the sunshine is brutal near the equator. We had great weather which was a mixed blessing as some days we hoped there would be clouds to keep sun off. Also take bug spray if you go inland as flies and mosquitoes abound away from the shoreline. Islands were fantastic and got better at each stop. Main island, Tahiti, is very crowded so we just took a ½ day trip sightseeing. We used Carl Emery for our tour, he speaks English and is very knowledgeable about the island - check out his website. Papeete is OK to shop before ship sails but I recommend you just browse and check prices, then look for better deals during the cruise. You are back in Papeete at end of the cruise so you can always make the last purchases there. First stop, Huahine, is OK. Pretty at first, but paled in comparison to later islands. We took bus to the small town and walked to the beach. I recommend you bring your own mask & snorkel and take them with you onshore wherever you go as there are always places to swim. Sea day to sail to Rangiroa, which is on east side of Polynesia. Rangiroa has best scuba diving, also good snorkeling & glass bottom boating. We did a drift dive along a gorgeous reef, most colorful fish I've seen! Saw one gray shark and many small barracuda. Sea day to sail back to Raiatea. Raiatea was only place we docked besides Papeete, rest was tenders which were pretty efficient. We did the pearl farm/snorkel and enjoyed it, the pearl farm is interesting and you snorkel right off the overwater farm so you can see their oyster beds plus the reef. Wife bought some Tahitian dark pearls there since they are authentic although pearl prices are pretty consistent throughout Polynesia. We also hiked up the 1,000 ft hill behind the ship to get a great view of Tahaa & Bora Bora - take water if you do as it's a hot hike. Good Polynesian dance show on ship that evening and a dessert/fruit buffet. Bora Bora was fantastic. We stayed 2 days and enjoyed both. Scuba dove the first day, reef was good but not as colorful as Rangiroa, but saw several 9 ft lemon sharks and many 4-5 ft black tip sharks. They are fed by local scuba divers so are docile and looking for hand outs (but I kept my hands in). Good shopping in Bora Bora - finally found some T-shirts and other tourist junk. Tahitians don't go in for tourist junk like they do in Caribbean so you have to hunt to find what you want. Also they are very friendly and not pushy. Second day we went wave runnering (aka jet ski) thru the local tour vendors by the pier. Went totally around Bora Bora in 2 hours, saw all the fancy resorts as well as the mountain from all sides - expensive but worth it. Had lunch at Bloody Mary's restaurant about 2 miles from the pier - apparently a well-known tourist stop, especially for Americans. Last island was the best, Moorea. Very beautiful, amazing mountains, not too crowded. We did a catamaran/snorkel trip, it was OK. Heard scuba diving was good also. But best tour was the whale watching as they found a pod of whales and were allowed to snorkel with them... so take your mask & snorkel if you do it. Good shopping there also. Only 3 hours from there to Papeete, we were docked by 8 PM on 18 October. As most of us had late flights on ATN the next evening, we did not have to leave the ship until 6 PM on 19 October. You have all-day in Papeete to finish shopping and take any last excursions. Princess was very gracious to let us stay on the ship using all facilities as the new passengers were arriving. We had to leave our cabin by 8 AM but gym/spa has good changing room with lockers and showers, so we swam & sunbathed most of the day. I recommend taking Princess transfer to airport as otherwise they want you off the ship by 3:30 PM. The lines to check-in, immigration, and security for ATN were slow but we got thru in 1 hour total. They provide carts for your luggage. Once inside terminal, the waiting room is great - comfortable couches and a small restaurant. I recommend you keep 2,000 francs (about $25) for last-minute snacks & drinks there. ATN flight back was OK - poor dinner and better breakfast. Tight seating in coach. I recommend going first or business if you can afford it - we will if we do it again. Once back in LA, it was nice to hear announcements only in English as everything on ATN and ship was repeated in French, Tahitian, sometimes Spanish, and English. To summarize, Tahiti was fantastic - expensive but a once-in-a-life trip for most. Ship was not great but it was OK. Crew was great and tried hard to please, given the small older ship. I think we're spoiled by the larger RCCL ships like Voyager & Independence but their destinations are limited. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Nice ship, excellent dining room staff and food! The food was wonderful. Crown Grill is excellent (cost you extra but it is worth it -- 5 star dining service and food!!) All the food from the dining room and buffet is excellent too. If ... Read More
Nice ship, excellent dining room staff and food! The food was wonderful. Crown Grill is excellent (cost you extra but it is worth it -- 5 star dining service and food!!) All the food from the dining room and buffet is excellent too. If you are a smoker -- this is probably not the cruise ship for you!! Very, very limited smoking -- and you can hardly even find an ashtray in the casino! You cannot sit at any bar and smoke-- neither pool side, or casino, or inside. Wish I had known that before I booked this trip! You can smoke on Port Side on level 7 and Port side on level 15 by the small pool-- not the big pool where the movie screen is and you can smoke on level 16 port side next to the bar in a very, very tiny space with 3 ashtrays. Smokers were having a real hard time trying to cram into very little spaces in segrated areas with hardly any ashtrays. They might as well make it a non-smoking cruise ship other than in your room -- that's about what it amounted to. Wed night in the casino was "Non smoking night". We have traditionally been on NCL and loved it! We wanted to go to St. Maarten so picked Princess this time. Everyone kept asking "what do you think of Princess" -- we just listened -- alot of people had been on Royal Caribbean & liked that better,etc. The people who had only been on Princess said they liked it. I said I think it's just what you are used to --personally I still like NCL and I've been on Carnival (which I hated), been on Royal Carribean which I really liked and now tried Princess -- which I prob won't go on again. Why not Princess? Like I said -- the food was probably the best I've had! They do not make people sanitize their hands getting back on the ship. You do it going into the buffet, but not in the dining room. The ice cream lady did not wear gloves. They are not as bacteria conscious as NCL. The bar staff on our departure date on the pool side -- almost didn't have a clue as to what they were doing. Couldn't get a drink for 20 minutes and that was after the rush hour when we finally ordered one. 1 bartender & the waiter just stood and roamed around waiting for 15-20 minutes not knowing what to do. As my friend said -- they just don't have it together and look like they don't know what they are doing. Our room steward Mike was a Godsend!! He was absolutely wonderful!! I wanted to take him home!! He's so fast -- I bet he could clean my whole house in one day! I will say their prices were very reasonable on the ship for anything you buy. That was nice. The entertainment was good. I wish the captain would have spoke to us more often and explained what islands we were passing by or given us a morning report from him. The cruise director was about the only one we heard from telling us when we could depart, etc We really had no idea what we were passing or seeing as they didn't tell us. I will say every crew member was very friendly. If you passed anybody in the hall or on ship -- officer or staff they always said hello to you and spoke to you -- that was nice! Overall, we had a great time and really got to relax and enjoy our vacation. I'm sure you will too. Comdoc 2 Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
My husband and I are loyal RCCL passengers but decided to try another line for our anniversary, booking the Emerald Princess. While we did relax and enjoy ourselves, this cruise only solidified our loyalty to Royal Caribbean. THE ... Read More
My husband and I are loyal RCCL passengers but decided to try another line for our anniversary, booking the Emerald Princess. While we did relax and enjoy ourselves, this cruise only solidified our loyalty to Royal Caribbean. THE GOOD: Embarkation was smooth and efficient. From the time we exited our car (we drove, stayed the night at Embassy Suites in Boca), we were in our stateroom in less than a half-hour. Luggage was delivered about four hours later. The ship itself was, in a word, gorgeous. Tasteful colors, immaculate and well-appointed. Our stateroom was a bit smaller than those on other ships because Princess chose to take the sitting area and use the space for expanding the balcony, which we loved and preferred. Four adults could comfortably occupy the space. Also, we had more closet and storage areas. Besides the two large pools mid-ship the Emerald Princess also featured an adult-only area (in addition to the Sanctuary) aft, called the Terrace Pool. The area itself as well as the pool were smallish, and passengers were eating breakfast in deck chairs at seven in the morning to ensure a seat later. Nevertheless, we had no difficulty finding space regardless of the time of day. Hands down the very best and most consistent experiences we had were at the International Cafe and the Crown Grill. The food and service in these areas were the shining stars of our vacation. Had we known the Grill would be so exceptional (we visited on night five), we would have gone every night, regardless of the upcharge. Tim, the cruise director, and his staff were superb--probably the best team I've seen on any ship. They were upbeat, happy people and their attitudes were contagious. The activities offered on days at sea were the very best. Regardless of your preferences, they had something for everyone. THE BAD: Overall, service was severely lacking. The deck waiters were in absolutely no hurry to serve passengers. Likewise in the upstairs buffets, Cafe Caribe and Horizons Court, which was worse because only coffee and water were self-serve. I rarely had juice available for breakfast. The juices and milk were kept in pitchers at small service areas dotted around the dining room, which meant the juices were diluted from the ice and the milk was room temperature. While the service was more consistent in the dining room, our waiter knew very little about the menu and was unable to advise us in dining choices. He was unable to anticipate needs and any special request (two appetizers instead of a salad course) threw him off his game. Not only were the waiters and bar staff less than willing to speed their paces, we heard them openly gossiping about passengers and each other. They were rude to one another and also to passengers. This was also true of the ship's photographers, who were hostile to any passenger who chose to use their own cameras in lieu of the ship's services and were openly critical of the passengers' equipment. (At $20 per photo, can you blame us?) Now for the ship's boutiques. Prices were over the top, and the cruise line assumes the passengers to be complete morons. My husband was eyeing a watch and noted the price was $150, which was supposed to be 10% off USRP. Five days later, the sign on the display indicated the price to be 40% off USRP but guess what price we were quoted? You got it--$150. When we asked if the price were correct, the sales clerk confirmed it. Overpricing was also noted in the spa. Services were 30% to 40% more expensive than on other lines. The gym was very well equipped, though you should bring your own water bottle because no fountain or cooler was present. Menu choices were more expansive on this ship than others, but frankly my palate isn't sophisticated enough to eat pate' or mackeral for breakfast. Apparently, neither was anyone else's as most of these choices dried out under the warming lights. Given that our waiter knew nothing of the menu in the dining room, I was unwilling to sample the unfamiliar delicacies there. (I have a sensitive tummy.) The omelet station in Horizon Court is marked by a small sign displayed among other items atop the hot bar. Finally, Princess has a way of nickle-and-diming its passengers to death. The Sanctuary, an adult-only area costs about $150 to use for the week. Royal Caribbean offers the same service at no cost. The ice cream next to the pool area is not complimentary, and if you want juice or coffee mid-morning or afternoon, you pay for it at the bar--no machines in the buffet as noted with other cruise lines. Popcorn for Movies Under The Stars is at cost, not free. Your gratuities are automatically charged at a set rate (again, more than the recommended amount for other lines) to your shipboard account, which was dismaying considering the service we received. THE UGLY: I suppose the entire attitude of the staff belongs here; we found that pleasant, helpful employees were the exception, not the rule. The entire ship seemed to have an air of discontent. When most of the employees in a business are unhappy, one should consider the impact management has on the attitude. Also, we felt that people in key positions (such as our waiter) had been poorly trained. Sadly, the service we received in the Crown Grill is the level of service we've enjoyed in every area of our Royal Caribbean ships. The absolute worst was on our return to Port Everglades. As we pulled into the waterway, my husband noted we were not returning to the same pier as embarkation. We had chose early disembarkation, which meant we carried our own luggage off the ship and to our car. I went to the purser, who confirmed that we were docking at pier 21. The distance was about two miles by street. I asked if a shuttle would be provided to return us to pier 2 and he suggested we take a cab. (Nevermind that the cabs wouldn't show up until eight-thirty and we would be off the ship by seven-fifteen.) We moved on the dining room that served as a holding area for other passengers carrying their own luggage. Being the good citizens we are, my husband and I informed others about the change in piers. As you can imagine, it became a bit heated--particularly when the ship's employee denied the change in pier until I told him that I had already confirmed it with the purser. Mysteriously, Customs and Immigration were an hour delayed arriving at our ship, which coincided with the arrival of complimentary shuttles that would transport us to our cars. Had we not spotted the change, Princess was prepared to let us disembark without notifying us. Once off the ship, we were no longer their problem. Don't get me wrong--we enjoyed ourselves on this vacation. We do not regret going. But we will never choose Princess again. They've been reading too much of their own press. Not a lot of love on the Love Boat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We sailed on the Crown 2 years ago, which is almost identical to the Caribbean Princess, so we were able to find our way around easily. The ship was beautiful, well maintained and our cabin was spacious enough, with plenty of storage ... Read More
We sailed on the Crown 2 years ago, which is almost identical to the Caribbean Princess, so we were able to find our way around easily. The ship was beautiful, well maintained and our cabin was spacious enough, with plenty of storage space. The bed was comfortable, and the room was quiet. Edmond took care of our room, did a great job, and was always friendly and greeted us with a smile. He was about the only staff member we encountered with a smile and a welcoming attitude. It was an extremely somber atmosphere in the buffet dining rooms, as the wait staff never smiled! We are not big complainers or hard to please, so we didn't let it bother us. I do however, after owning my own business, believe in excellent customer service with a genuine smile goes a long way! Embarkation was horrible! We waited in the hot sun for hours! we arrived about noon and were not onboard until about 3:00. There were people with diabilities, and the elderly in the heat for hours. We heard a rumor that the ship had to due a search of the entire ship for someone who was on a back to back cruise. I don't know, but nothing was ever said by Princess, no appologies! We were looking forward to the food and entertainment. The dining room menus offered mostly fish, and not being a fan of any seafood except for shrimp and lobster, it never looked very exciting! I think Princess has cut back too far on their menu, and is trying to force people to go to their other dining rooms that require an extra fee. I have been on other ships, where there were so many courses offered and a great variety. About the only alternatives, were medallions of beef or fettuccine every night. We ended up only eating in the dining room twice because of the menu and the first night because of the great seafood buffet sail-away. So, we ate at the buffet and I have to say they offered a very good variety of food, and it was completely different every lunch and dinner. The food after awhile did begin to taste the same and the deserts were never very good. The only desert I really enjoyed, was the floating Island with warm vanilla sauce. I am glad that they now offer complimentary lemon -ade. You do need to ask to get this though. It was The World Series, and we are big Yankee fans, so we did not go to the first few night's entertainment. We chose to watch the games on the big screen under the stars. With all the cheering and large screen, it felt like you were at the game. This did not last long for us though, as there is so much smoking around you, we had to go to our room to watch the rest. When we did go and watch the singers and dancers that are part of the ships entertainment crew, we were very unimpressed! The night we went the singing was not good, nor the dancing. I did not go to the other performances and maybe they were better, but the one night was so bad, I didn't feel they could have been that much better. The Crown had excellent singers and dancers when we went on it 2 years ago. I was very disappointed, as I owned a dance studio for over 20 years and love watching the top entertainment usually found on cruises! The magician/comedian, was excellent and we watched a couple of his shows and were very entertained! The other comedian was not that great. The ship was completely full, and we never had a hard time finding chairs, or quiet areas. It was however smoky everywhere, even though the ship has designated areas, they do not enforce this. The buffet was extremely crazy, hectic and set up wrong, as stated many times in these reviews. We made the most of our cruise and had a great time. We don't feel like we had great food or great entertainment and don't feel at all pampered! I know the economy is bad, and I appreciate the great fares, but think Princess cut back too far. We will try a different cruise line next time, and will think twice before booking with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Let me start off to say, It was a cruise and any cruise is better than being at work. The ship is beautiful, and our mini suite was nice and spacious. We stayed the night before at the Renaissance Hotel and it was very nice at a great ... Read More
Let me start off to say, It was a cruise and any cruise is better than being at work. The ship is beautiful, and our mini suite was nice and spacious. We stayed the night before at the Renaissance Hotel and it was very nice at a great price. We arrived at the Pier and we saw the Oasis of the Seas and it looked massive, not even a ship but more like a hotel floating on the water. I will start with the positive, the itinerary was excellent, so was the ship tours we did. We had perfect weather and the sailing was smooth to each port. I like trivia and games so there was some of this each day, but there could be more. I loved the balcony dinner was great and our best meal on board the ship. Going on the tours was very smooth and no problems. We had a wonderful room steward he was always there was to make you happy. The back of the ship's pool on the aft is the best place to be, and Herman was always there to chat and bring you a great cold drink when needed. Crooner's has the best martini's and variety. Have the "From Russia with Love" in the James Bond Series "always shaken never stirred" International cafe was a great place to have coffee and a light snack or lunch. There was a non smoking night at the Casino which was very nice. We loved our balcony it was covered and it was great to walk out every morning. Let me start to say, this is my first Princess cruise and I have been on over 40 with other lines. All cruise lines are there to make you happy and I would rather be on any cruise than be at work. The food in the dining room was not too good, all soups were creamed even the chicken and rice. The food was bland and lack of flavor. The meats were tough and the pasta was mainly one style. The service is the dining room was good. Once thing I can say is your food was always served hot and I really like that. No wine steward in the dining room to assist you I thought this was odd. The buffets, the breakfast was different, they premade fried eggs all plated instead of the usual make to order and sometimes they sat there for a while before anyone would take them. The breads were good and variety. I really enjoyed the abundance of lox that was there each morning. It was hard to get a seat for the buffet and no assistance from the waitstaff to help. I noticed the waitstaff did go up to people who snapped there fingers for assistance to serve them coffee or juice. I couldnt do that out of respect for the server but I also was never offered a cup of coffee either. The lunch buffet was good most of the time. We loved the Mexican buffet on the last sea day. The buffets also lacked flavors and spice as well. We did have high hopes at the Crown Grill, while our appetizer was great as well as soup and salad, our porterhouse steak was not too good. It didnt seem to have the flavor and I don't mean the huge garlic butter they place on the steak as flavoring. It almost taste like the steak was cooked half way earlier and then the final cooking when ordered. It did not have the "hot off the grill flavor" So we were very disappointed and only ate a small portion of our steaks. Our server was not too informative about the menu or suggestions as we heard others make suggestions and the porterhouse was not recommended by the other servers. This had to be one of the hottest ships I have ever sailed. This is were they must be cutting back on the air conditioning to the point that condensation was dripping from the ceilings. I complained but nothing really changed. I know I read this in other reviews and it is so so true. Very uncomfortable to sleep in. A reminder, I pre paid for some items such as the champagne breakfast but didn't use it because of the menu, and was told it was not refundable on the last day so make sure you use it or you lose it (money). The casino is so smokey, and really just too much since there is not too much air circulation there. I didnt care for the payout system. Will I cruise Princess again? I don't know, I was looking so forward to this cruise since I heard so much about it. There was not too much to do at night unless you like ballroom dancing and the music was more orchestra than bands. I did enjoy the comedian. The 8:30 shows were always packed never to get in. I would havet to wait for the 10:30 show. I was not too happy with Muts. Mostly sports, and concerts like Tina Turner it was just such a let down. Why all the football when they could watch it at the bars that was showing the same thing. Dan is great, he is so funny. I didnt see too much of Lisa other than the Bingo. Getting off the ship was easy, and they want you off EARLY. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We chose this itinerary for it's potental to demonstrate the capricious beauty of Mother Nature, and she did not disappoint. We sailed through gale force winds, high seas, rain and fog, but nothing could dampen our appreciation of the ... Read More
We chose this itinerary for it's potental to demonstrate the capricious beauty of Mother Nature, and she did not disappoint. We sailed through gale force winds, high seas, rain and fog, but nothing could dampen our appreciation of the wonders of nature on this itinerary. The Chilean Fjords are windswept, desolate, and breathtakingly awesome to view. Due to limited times in ports because of rough weather, the high point of our journey for scenic cruising was really the morning we slid by the five glaciers in the Beagle Channel on the way in to Ushuaia. What little we could see due to the low lying clouds was spectacular. Though the logistics of the cruise did have problems, which I will mention later in this review, the beauty of one of the most desolate places on our planet more than made up for any inconveniences. This was our second voyage on Princess. The Star Princess is a lovely ship, and though large, there are many places for you to enjoy so you never really feel too crowded, unless you are trying to tender ashore. More on this below. The good: Dining: We chose Anytime Dining and ate primarily in the Portofino Dining Room. The head waiters Wolfgang and Lazlo(?) were excellent at getting us seated at great tables, or helping us find tables for two. They always remembered us, which was kind of nice. Our favorite waiters were Valentina and Godfredo and Jorge from Brazil, who was a great singer by the way! The food was very well prepared, and we never had to wait for a table. We ate one night at the Crown Grill and had a fantastic meal and a nice table over by the window where we could look out at a gorgeous sunset. Stateroom: We were far aft on the Baja deck and definitely felt the high seas back there, but we loved our location. The shower was larger than the one we had on the Island Princess, and we really liked our stateroom layout and found the room clean and up to date. Our stateroom attendant, Rhoderic, was excellent. He went above and beyond the call of duty and we considered him one of the best attendants we have ever had on any cruise line. Shore Excursions: We took a Princess excursion in Uruguay to an estancia and had the best time ever. We had to book a Princess excursion in Puerto Madryn because the weather made the scheduled trip to the Falklands out of the question and we had no plans for this new stop. We went to the Peninsula Valdez and thought it was a really great excursion. Lots of wildlife to see, including Rheas, Guanacos, Elephant Seals, Penguins, and Sea Lions. We even saw a little fox by a visitor's center. The Not So Good: LINES: The tendering operations were by far the worst we have ever encountered on any cruise. On the day we were to tender to Puerto Montt, the line for tender tickets for people going ashore independently snaked twice around the atrium. As usual, there were some people who wanted to jump ahead in line, and this caused a near riot at one point. We only got to spend a few hours in port, and because there was only one, yes one, dock space for a single tender at a time, the lines to get back to the ship were horrendous. People were standing out in the rain for ages. It wasn't pretty. Then, in Ushuaia, same thing. One tender at a time to pick up and drop off passengers. With 2600 passengers, (with most wanting to go on shore), it was a recipe for disaster. Passengers were throwing up in the tenders while bobbing around waiting for their turn to disembark at the dock. At the end of the day, Princess enlisted a catamaran to move passengers from the dock (where we stood in freezing rain waiting for single tenders to load up) to the ship. We were out of the rain, but had to wait to unload at the ship since it was, you guessed it, one at a time. It was a real mess and unacceptable. The Star could really use some improvement in this area. Horizon Court: The food was OK, but not much variety. For a ship of this size, we thought the buffet was small and uninspired. Breakfast was OK, but no omelet station for example, and very little variety. Every morning, same thing: an offering of fried eggs, scrambled eggs, and little pre made omelets, sausage, bacon, etc. We purchased a soda card since the only drink offerings at the Horizon Court were water, ice tea, coffee and tea. You have to ask for lemonade....At breakfast there is juice, which was nice...we are usually pretty easy to please, but we were underwhelmed with the buffet on this ship. On several sea days, they had special lunch buffets, which kind of livened things up a bit. Nothing to write home about that's for sure. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We booked this cruise to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. We had taken a cruise on RCL for our honeymoon and thought a cruise for our 10 year anniversary was a great way to celebrate our marriage. We chose this cruise because of ... Read More
We booked this cruise to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. We had taken a cruise on RCL for our honeymoon and thought a cruise for our 10 year anniversary was a great way to celebrate our marriage. We chose this cruise because of the number of ports of call along with an expectation that Princess was equal or better than RCL. While we had a very good time, we just thought that our experience with RCL was better. It simply could be the wedding blise that is overshadowing our judgement, but after speaking to a number of people who had similar experences with the two cruise line, we feel that in our heart, we are correct with our assessment. While the staff was cordial and for the most part nice, they didn't seem to go the extra mile that we had expected. And while the food was good, it certainly wasn't four or five star as we again expected. Nothing had flavor. From the breakfast buffet to the various menues offered for dinner to the desserts, it was pretty presentation but bland. Our best meal was at a local restuarant in St. Lucia wherein the chef offered us an amazing array of local cuisines. We loved it so much that we asked to speak with him directly so that we could share our compliments directly to him. We think he was both pleased and shocked to hear that we thought his meal was the best one that we had the entire trip. The entertainment was average at best. The stage shows were the kind of performances you would see at your local diner theater. Again, not at a level that you would think on what is suppose to be considered a luxury cruise line. Overall, the service again was adequate, but far from stellar. Just to get them to help with a simple request was greeted very matter of fact. As an example, it says a lot when you have to constantly have to ask for refills on waters during a meal only to be greeted with bothered look like we were inconveniencing them. On a positive, the ship was very clean, and while there were over 3,000 people on the ship, there were very few occasions where the crowd would overwhelm the space. Things seemed to flow very well and for the most part it was easy to get around the ship as long as you knew the cut through. We are not big Casino fans, however there were a few times where we found ourselves having to walk through the Casino in order to get to another part of the ship. The other thing we loved was our mini-suite with a balcony. We used it most morings and evenings as the ship came into port as well as when it pulled back out to see. Also, on most nights we left our doorwall open to get the fresh ocean breeze and to hear the sound of the crashing waves as the ship made its way to the next port of call. While there were several excursions to choose from, we found them to be overpriced and that you could experience many of the same offerings for a reduced price if you booked things on your own. As an example, beach break in Tortola, we paid $29/person for a day at the beach with round trip transporation only to find out that many of our fellow passengers were able to have the same exact beach experience but paid $12 for a round trip taxi fare. The only diffence being is that we got a bottle of water and a cookie with our excursion. Safe to say it was one of the most expensive bottles of water and cookie we ever purchased. While we plan on making cruising a more regular part of our vacation travels, we will think twice about booking our next cruise with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Cruise date-Feb.28 thru March 7th Feb.27th-fort Lauderdale On this cruise with me was my DH and his sister and husband. Between us we have been on many cruises on many different lines. We went to Lauderdale a day early and stayed at ... Read More
Cruise date-Feb.28 thru March 7th Feb.27th-fort Lauderdale On this cruise with me was my DH and his sister and husband. Between us we have been on many cruises on many different lines. We went to Lauderdale a day early and stayed at Embassy Suites on 17th St. 9th floor east side so we could see cruise ships from balconies. This was a good hotel in a great location. We walked to Publix and the total wine store to get 12pk. of water and wine ect.. to take on board with us. Seems Princess lets you take almost anything but beer. Hotel offered free happy hour from 5:30-7:30 and it's not watered down drinks and draft beer either it's whatever you want. For Dinner we took another 5 min. walk on opposite side of hotel then the publix was to Outback steak house. What a good day we had! Day 1 Woke up early and watched all the cruise ships coming in. Took advantage of hotels free breakfast which was pretty good. Checked out at 10:30 decided to take a taxi instead of shuttle hotel offers because it was cheaper. Shuttle was $7.pp and it was only $10. for the 4 of us by taxi. We were on the ship and to our rooms around noon. Jimmy our cabin steward came right away to meet us. We had a mini suite on Dolphin deck and the room was great but the balcony had no roof coverage at all and we did not like that, so if you want coverage go up two decks to the reg. balcony rooms. For you beer drinkers, my DH learned that room service does not offer the 5 for the price of 4 buckets of beer in Budweiser it's only at the pool bar's which is no big deal just go up to deck 15 and bring it back to your room and don't forget to make sure you have a bottle opener. Checked out ship before dinner and have to tell you it's one of the most difficult layed out ship any of us have been on. We had set dinning in the Botticelli room, even though we only make it there about 4-5 nights we like the set time and we still make sure we tip our waiters. Went to the very small theater to see comedian which was very good but can't believe Princess made such a small theater for this size ship. Day 2-Princess Cays We like to eat breakfast in the dining room instead of buffet as much as possible. Tendered over to Princess cays which is always a good day for drinks and BBQ lunch while you lay in the sun on the beach. The Temp. was only high 60's but the sun was great and to cold in the water so no snorkeling. The Production show in theater tonight with the emerald singers & dancers was not very good and personal opinion worst I have seen even compared to past princess Cruise's. This was very disappointing because I really look forward to all the shows. Day 3- Sea Day Today we did your usual sea day stuff of trying to figure out the ship some more and hanging out at the pool which our favorite spot was the aft pool on deck 15. Tonight was formal night and we decided to not bring our formal clothes this cruise so on the first day on ship we made reservation for spec. restaurants for both formal night's. Tonight was Sabatinis, and although it was very good and Lot's of fun DH and I think Portofino's on RCCL is much better. The Comedy show in theater tonight was very good. CASINO INFO. Before you play any slot machine's make sure you ask someone about having to put your ship card in machine each time you play or if you win you won't get your money, so ask for explanation before you put money in. Day 4-St. Maarten We booked a short excursion on line months ago but were put on a waiting list and so we never got the excursion but since we have been here before we just shopped and went back on ship to enjoy some warm sunny weather by the pool before everyone else had to be back on. For you smokers here's some info, In the gift shop on board a carton of cigs. are $24.95 but you can not take them with you, you place an order for them and they will deliver them to your cabin on the last night of the cruise, but you can buy cigs. by the pack at any bar on-board at $4. a pk. So of course we bought a carton in St. Maarten for $17. and it's not a problem to bring back on with you. Tonight they did the pool deck party which is a good time if you've never done before, but we went to see a movie under the stars which was alot of fun. Day 5-St.Thomas This is always one of our favorite ports. Since we docked at Crown Bay we took a taxi to havensight and went up to paradise point. The ship sells this as an excursion but just do it on your own. This is always a must do for the views and picture takers. If you dock at havensight then you can just walk there, it's $21.pp for round trip ride up to point. Formal night tonight so we went to Crown Grill,Had great time and good food. Day 6- Grand Turks Was really looking forward to snorkeling here but cloudy and windy and again as with all week water to cold, Maybe next time. Production show by emerald singers and dancers in theater again tonight was disappointing, Princess is falling by the wayside with their shows in my own opinion of course, but at least they had good comedians. Day 7-Sea day Was a very cool windy day so spent most of it inside. Went to dinning room for breakfast and a must have is the french toast, even though it was not one of their specials today I asked and they made it for me, but it is on the menu for tom. morning but I knew I wouldn't make it down so I just asked. Packed before dinner, went to the farewell show which was good. Home- Our plane from FLL was not until 2:30 so we did not leave our room till 8 and got off picked up our bags and got taxi to airport and there around 10:00. This was coldest cruise we've been on but can't control that, and princess staff was very nice, so all and all this was not a bad cruise but not sure if we will do another princess again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Embarkation was simple enough and our room was ready by the time we got on around 1PM. We carried on most of our bags except for one so we could change, have a drink, then explore the ship. The Ruby was a beautiful boat, the design and ... Read More
Embarkation was simple enough and our room was ready by the time we got on around 1PM. We carried on most of our bags except for one so we could change, have a drink, then explore the ship. The Ruby was a beautiful boat, the design and finish was excellent. For a boat that is about 2 years old though, it is showing a lot of wear and tear. The main thing I noticed was the hallways were banged up and often dented. Probably from baggage, but still very surprising to see that. Food: The food was ok. As others have mentioned, the buffet is poorly designed and the layout leads to people walking all over the place. The food on some days was very good, but on others was poor. It was hit or miss. Same with the food in the dining rooms. Some days our meals were good, on other says the selection wasn't very good and the food was just ok. We did try Sabatini's one night and that was definitely one of our favorites! Employees: Again a mixed review here. Some employees really went out of their way to help you, others couldn't give a darn. Our room steward was nice, but we've had better on Carnival and Norwegian. Waiters at DaVinci and Michelangelo were the same. Some were very pleasant, others would make things very difficult, especially when asking nicely for a substitution. The bartenders were all very nice, especially the ones in the casino. Entertainment: This is where we felt that Princess really catered to the older crowd and that was the majority of the people on board. There was a good number of people over 65 years old and many people on walkers, scooters, etc... Not a bad thing, we met some wonderful people, but we were really hoping to meet and connect with more people our age. So, the bands and lounges were often geared towards the older crowd so we didn't enjoy it too much and found ourselves in the casino a lot. The comedians were great, the magician had a bunch of tired routines, the movies under the stars were good, the nightclubs were often empty, and the poolside bands were just ok. Actually, one day the singer didn't really know the words to any of the songs, she would just sing intelligible words. How do you not know the words to Red Red Wine? Ports: Enjoyed all the ports, even Barbados in the rain. Did zip lining in St. Lucia and spent the days in other ports on the beaches. Cabin was nice, well laid out. One thing that somebody else mentioned is the boat is loud! We were on the deck 10 specifically chosen so there was no public rooms above or below us. Even then, we could hear the music from the Lido and the theater in our room. Don't know why it would echo through all those decks but it did. Very weird. The cabin was nice, amenities were good. I personally would have put less closet space (who needs that much room for clothes for 10 days?) and made the bathroom/shower bigger. Probably the smallest shower of all other ships we've been on. So again, not a horrible cruise, but I would definitely not cruise Princess again until I'm over 50 years old. I feel they are really not trying hard enough and enjoy Norwegian, Carnival, and RCL more in terms of fun and service. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
When looking for a spring break cruise, as a teacher, I tried to find a ship with some "adult-only" amenities and thought the itinerary might be less 'kid-friendly' than the Western Caribbean ports. Don't get me ... Read More
When looking for a spring break cruise, as a teacher, I tried to find a ship with some "adult-only" amenities and thought the itinerary might be less 'kid-friendly' than the Western Caribbean ports. Don't get me wrong, I love kids, just not while on a break from them! My review isn't about the kids, it's about the ship and the cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation was really smooth. Before we got on the ship, we breezed through the duty-free liquor shop. The people there tipped us that they were hardly checking the bags and it was easy to take liquor on board, so we got a bottle of rum and had no problem. We paid ten dollars at the store, but later found that the cruiseline itself offers bottles of liquor at fifteen dollars a bottle for consumption in the staterooms. That was nice! You are allowed to take on wine and champagne for your room. I heard they charge a cork fee if you want to drink it in the dining room, but we didn't inquire about it. They also allowed soda and water bottles to be brought on. The cruise itself was wonderful. We sailed the first five days, seeing St. Thomas/St. John, Antigua, Tortola, St. Lucia and Barbados, with the last day of the cruise being the only one at sea. That was enticing, as we wanted to see the islands, not spend a lot of time on the ship. The stops were all from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, which was really nice. The tours we took from the cruiseline were smooth, organized and interesting. I liked that they were either early in the morning or for the afternoon so you could spend some of the day doing your own thing if you wanted. We did take the all day land and sea cruise in St. Lucia and it was well worth it, despite the morning rain. The Pitons are far from the port, so it was a good way to see island. I have cruised three times on Costa and once on Royal Caribbean. This was my first Princess cruise, and probably my last, unless some great deal rolls around that is too good to pass up. It's confusing and disappointing, because I have read very few reviews that weren't favorable about Princess. The Caribbean Princess itself is attractive and clean. We got a double upgrade to a balcony and our room was nice. We liked how the bathroom was situated near the closet, giving a sense of privacy while changing. Our cabin steward was awesome. Our waiter was ok. The staff itself was helpful and attentive. So what was wrong with the cruise? The food was not the best, pretty bad at times, compared to my other experiences. Breakfast is over at 9:00 in the dining rooms and we were usually on the run to get to the island in the morning anyway, so we ate at the buffet. It was basically the same food every day. One day they had eggs Benedict in place of the "Egg McMuffin" style sandwich, and the omelet changed daily, but other than that, it was exactly the same every day. Lunch didn't change much from day to day either. But there were some interesting selections, such as mozzarella and tomato on crostini, and veggies on bagels. The International Cafe had some light choices as well. The pastries were always good there, with very good sugarless mousses and light cakes. For dinner, we elected to choose the late formal seating, thinking we would avoid families with young children and have a more intimate atmosphere. It worked, but so many people chose the anytime dining plan that the dining room was practically empty, which was a little strange. We ordered wine with every meal, and often had to wait for our glass to be filled, for if it was a white wine or champagne, they kept it in a cooling bucket away from the table and weren't very attentive the first couple of days until we brought it to their attention. The food was mediocre; certainly not the gourmet status I have enjoyed on other cruise lines. I found everything to be pretty bland. They had a lot of choices, which was nice, but there just wasn't a lot of taste! The Sea Bass and Barramundi (sp? Sea Perch) tasted the same. The salmon, which was offered every night as an alternative, was overcooked and a little dry. I am a fan of Macaroni Grill's Simple Salmon, and the salmon on the cruise didn't compare. On the last night, I had strip steak. I asked for it to be done medium, thinking it would be pink but probably tender, just in case. It was inedible...thinly sliced, and it was pink just like I asked, but it was tough! The waiters were busy getting ready for the Baked Alaska Parade, so I couldn't hail anyone to take it back and substitute it for something else. My husband had alreay finished his meal, the meat was cold, I had finished my glass of wine, and we decided to leave. We waited to sign for the wine, but the waiter never came, even after the parade! We literally left our plates and everything on the table and went to the buffet where I had a few mussels, which were small and steamed, no butter sauce, spice or anything; kind of what you would get an an all you can eat mussel buffet at a bar for happy hour. We did have some good Moroccan food at the buffet one day for a snack before dinner, and the second formal night dinner of a small lobster tail and two large prawns was good. We didn't dine at the specialty restaurants, which cost an additional $25 per person. A couple of our dinner mates ate at both, and said the Italian restaurant was good, while the Crown Grill steak house was boring. The lady described the steak as being covered in jerk seasoning and tough. She also said our escargot was bathed in steak sauce. It was described as a garlic butter sauce, seemed like olive oil and weak pesto to me. The Princess dancers and singers reminded me of our high school show choir. We only went to one of those. On the past cruises I've been on, the shows were close to what you would see in Vegas: splashy, colorful, and professional. There were two comedians, and one was very good, the other brought some chuckles but took a while to get funny. Several people walked out of the show before he got on a roll. There was also a hypnotist, who did an adult rated comedy act which was hilarious according to our dinner mates. We missed that one, but went to a relaxation session given by the same guy and it was really good. There is a huge movie screen at mid-ship. We didn't relax watching any movies, but it looked really nice. They put padding on the lounge chairs at night, and it was never really crowded. They showed movies for everyone, a Cirque du Soleil special, and a few concerts after 10:00. The casino had smoking and non-smoking every other day, which was a nice surprise. There were plenty of photo ops, and it was fun to watch families pose together. There were formal and casual opportunities and the photography was good. The pools are small, as I have read in other reviews. There were two family pools, an adult pool and a spa pool, which was also for adults only. There were two hot tubs by each family pool, one of each was supposed to be for adults only, but there were kids in it every time we walked by, often with their parents. The spa pool, also for adults, was quiet, except for the 12 year old girl doing handstands and somersaults one day. Had I wanted to go into the pool I would have asked someone to ask her parents to take her to the kids pool, but when a pool is designated for adults only, guests shouldn't have to ask the attendants to do their jobs and keep the kids out. The pool for adults on the other side of the ship seemed to have just adults in it, but it is situated under the night club (pretty shaded, no sun...) and one deck down from a shallow kiddie pool for little kids with slides and toys! Really?? Needless to say, the adult pool wasn't very relaxing, unless you don't mind screaming tots. On the day at sea, it was disappointing to go out at 10:30 only to find people had 'reserved' chairs with towels and bottles of lotion and books even when the signs all say you can't reserve chairs. I walked around for about a half hour until I decided that half the empty chairs weren't being used and found one for myself. I was there for about an hour and a half, watching disappointed people walk around "saved" chairs looking for a place to relax and finally told some people that no one had even come to the row in front of me, so they also decided to have a sit. On Royal Caribbean, the pool attendants kept an eye on chairs, and if they didn't see anyone in them for an extended period of time, they removed the towels so others could use them. Aside from that, the calypso band played quite often and provided a tropical background that with a frozen CocoLoco, could pretty much wipe away the angst of scoping out a place to lay in the sun. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Flights from Gatwick to Montego Bay with Thomas Cook were excellent. Plenty of leg room and staff were very good. Meals were usual standard, and we saw a recommendation to bring a sandwich in case you got hungry. Embarkation went very ... Read More
Flights from Gatwick to Montego Bay with Thomas Cook were excellent. Plenty of leg room and staff were very good. Meals were usual standard, and we saw a recommendation to bring a sandwich in case you got hungry. Embarkation went very smoothly as we just went through 'customs' at airport, where just checked documentation, and on to a waiting bus. Customs again at port, but went through quickly to the ship and were soon reunited with our luggage in our cabin. Cabin was adequate with a balcony, but with doors open, had quite a nasty smell of sewage. Learnt to keep them closed!! Sewage smell also in corridor and on top deck of ship throughout the cruise. Heard this was something that was ongoing for years. Hoped that with refit it had been elevated. Having cruised with Celebrity we had high expectations, as had been told that Princess was even better. Very disappointed with the shows as had expected West End quality and more like East End Working Mens Clubs. Comedians were dire! Our children's school productions were better. Also disappointed with the food. It was good, but the selection was lacking in the main dining room and the service was very disappointing. However the selection of food in Horizon was good and catered for most people. We too were overlooked on many occasions as the staff seemed to avoid making eye contact with customers. In the bar we sat for over 30 minutes waiting to be served and eventually had to go to the bar ourselves and fetch a drink. We would not have minded if the bar had been busy, but it was almost empty with more waiters wandering around than customers. However, room service was excellent, and we made the most of this by ordering breakfast and afternoon tea on most days so we could sit on our balcony and just enjoy the peace and tranquility. Islands that we visited were lovely. On the whole we did our own thing and had a fantastic time, but on the occasions we went with the ship's tours, they too were excellent. On the whole I wish the Americans would stop knocking the ship because it was geared towards the Brits. It certainly was not up to the standard we would expect, and I am sure it was more down to cost cutting. The reason the shows were empty was because they were repeated and were bad enough the first time round, so why should people put themselves through it for a second time. I would certainly rethink going with Princess again. If that is what an American line thinks is suitable for the British, they can think again. We too want better quality of entertainment, service and food selection and much less use of the tannoy system and football blaring out on MUTS during the afternoon. We want to relax and be spoilt - very much in the same way as the Americans. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Our first day on board started with immediate problems. This was the 4th Princess Cruise for my husband and myself but the first cruise for my children and granchildren. My son, his wife and thier twins were put into a room for 3 when my ... Read More
Our first day on board started with immediate problems. This was the 4th Princess Cruise for my husband and myself but the first cruise for my children and granchildren. My son, his wife and thier twins were put into a room for 3 when my husband and I booked and paid for a room for 4. The names on the booking manifest clearly showed 4 cruisers for a room for 4. When questioned, the purser told us that this was the way it was to be. They had no more rooms to offer despite the mistake. My children and grand kids stayed in a room designed for 3 with a roll away bed for my grandson with Cerebral Palsy. The room was a liability and a fire trap. There was no room to get out of beds but rather to crawl over each other!!!! When I spoke to Princess upon my arrival home, I was essentially told that a room with a roll away constitutes a room for 4! This is rubbish and I know it it is not correct. My daughter was taken ill last minute and was unable to come on the cruise, It was too late to get a refund. I boarded the ship and told them that I was requesting the use of her room for our disposal since we had paid for it. I was given a key. An hour later, the key was de programed and the room taken from us. The purser told us that the room belonged to Princess even tho I had paid for it. They were going to upgrade another passenger on MY DIME. This is reprehensible!! I have sailed 4 times with Princess and this was by far the worst. Our room stewart forgot bath mats and gave me a robe that was clearly stained with what looked like blood. We never saw him to make requests and had to leave notes. Our waiters got our food orders wrong. On disembarcation day in port, the hot water was turned off and no one could shower. The poolside music was not Caribbean and did not fit the theme of the cruise. They allowed the constant breaking of the ships rules. People were putting their towels on chaises to reserve and then walked off to return later. No reserving was to be allowed. We sailed into Roatan into a port that Carnival/Princess built and operated. Any money spent at this port goes into the coffers of Carnival/Princess. When they could not or would not sail out that evening due some breeze issues or so say they, we were forced to spend the night there, making us bypass Cozumel. Cozumel was to be the highlight of our trip. Upon my return home, I relayed this issue and told Princess that they consciously set this situation up to fail. This was NOT the first time this had happened. I made a point of telling them that tendering in was the resolve. I was told that tendering was not/is not an option due to some farce of a safety issue. The tendering would be far safer then the scenario of a squeezing a large ship into a bottle. My complaints were all listed in a letter to Princess upon my return home. I received a call over 4 weeks later from a young CSR who responded to my complaints in a rather well scripted manner. This scenario was the result of a well versed young lady prompted and practiced to feed me a line of Princess rhetoric. I truly did NOT expect this from Princess. I honestly thought that there would be some kind of restitution while not big, just something. I now have my travel agent working on trying to get this sorted out. Until and unless Princess does right by us, there will be no future cruises with Princess. I have sailed on Royal Caribbean and honestly.....they should have been the line that I was building credits with all along! Very Disappointing! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Review from the Wedding Couple (to our surprise, the only one for the week)... Back home in Texas from the most amazing week. Special thanks go out to Rich and Bonnie as they gave us the in-person CC connection. Wedding reception ... Read More
Review from the Wedding Couple (to our surprise, the only one for the week)... Back home in Texas from the most amazing week. Special thanks go out to Rich and Bonnie as they gave us the in-person CC connection. Wedding reception conflicted with the CC event . I voted for Bonnie in the Princess Pop Star competition. Saw them several times...super nice couple. Thanks to Hugh and VWLady for acknowledging T and I in their review. We had a beautiful wedding and the best time. Princess service and staff made the week memorable for us. Received special attention from Isabel and Fiametta on the Purser staff helping us with the wedding. Captain Nico married us and was very personable and very Italian . Everyone was great. Special nod to Javi the talented florist and Jonathan our great photographer. They made the wedding extra memorable. The first pour of the Champaign glass pyramid was an unexpected surprise. Super cool. On to the cruise... Nothing was very negative but the food needed the most improvement. Royal Caribbean has Princess trumped in this area. We also found the ship to feel a bit dated especially after reading about the recent renovation. Deck design also fractured with three individual dining rooms and very little indoor open space. Guess we're spoiled by the 100yard interior promenade of the other line. The people were the best part for Princess and saved the line as a possibility for next cruise. (Please return to Galveston) Alaska was incredible. Texans can appreciate going from 18 out of 25 days over 100 to never seeing 65. What a season switch in the middle of August. Bring your layers...you'll need all of them. We planned no excursions in advance, so open to anything at the stops. Juneau was constant light rain. The expected Jewelry and T-shirt shops dominated. Only a few souvies on the first stop and got most family/friend/coworker requests knocked out early. Walked through the Red Dog Saloon but nothing for us. Got a tip from the Princess Golf Simulator guy, Tim, to try Tracy's Crab Shack. (Inside tip, ask the cruise staff what to see and eat when in port). Tracy's Shack was more of a trailer by the Celebrity pier. Ordered trailer-side, and sat on picnic tables. The food blue ribbon for the week goes to the giant king crab leg which was claimed to be purchased from the Deadliest Catch boats. Diameter as large as a soda can, and enough for two. I could've had it as my meal every night. Afternoon tried a tour booth purchase of a city and Mendenhall glacier bus tour. Surprisingly okay for $27 each. Saw several bald eagles, awesome bay view of Juneau from the Douglas side, and an hour at the Mendenhall viewing area (wild porcupine from 6 feet, and a medium size bear fishing for salmon on the river). Wildlife! Skagway. Weather was 10 degrees warmer so only 2 layers this day. Shower lightly up on the mountain. Early to town to gather info on another last minute excursion. Train to White Summit Pass overwhelming favorite despite the $115 price pp. Glad we splurged. Relaxing, low effort, activity for group and scenery was great. Afternoon walk around town for more souvenirs. The Russian store had some intrigue for imported items. Ketchikan was my sleep in day as we hit port at 7am through Noon. Sounds like I didn't miss much. Victoria was very nice. The largest modern city we would stop (other than Seattle). Could have spent the full day exploring. Odd that we only had an evening, and competed with packing time. Cab to downtown and short walk to Chinatown with only a few Asian stores and restaurants. Back to downtown for Guiness Pizza and 1510 Brew at the Irish pub. Cab back to boat. Was this really Canada? Customs barely looked at our passports. Disembarkation was much better than expected. We made it off before our luggage and porters were plentiful. Special mention Southwest Airlines. We chose them for the free bag thing which saved our group of 6 at least $400. Worth it even with the no-plane-change stop in New Mexico. Very uneventful and easy travels compared to the other silver plane that dominates Dallas skies. On the outbound trip they had T walk down the isle with a handmade peanut bag, stirrer stick, toilet paper crown. Said practice for the wedding. Capped it off with a gift bottle of Champaign when we arrived. Very cool. Will try to post some pictures and video clips (or at least a link) if I can figure out how to upload. Cheers to all. A great time and glad I joined the Roll Call. T and G Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We (DW and DH, Cabin E732) were travelling in the company of DH's mother (travelling separately in Mini-Suite D601) for this cruise from Singapore to Sydney. For some time prior to this trip we have considered Royal Caribbean to be a ... Read More
We (DW and DH, Cabin E732) were travelling in the company of DH's mother (travelling separately in Mini-Suite D601) for this cruise from Singapore to Sydney. For some time prior to this trip we have considered Royal Caribbean to be a more dynamic and passenger-sensitive cruiseline than Princess, in spite of Royal's limited presence in Australian waters. We have travelled on Royal's Rhapsody, Legend, Radiance and Mariner ships and therefore feel sufficiently-qualified to compare Royal against our Princess experiences (Pacific, Emerald, Dawn, Sun and now Diamond). We had two nights' accommodation in Singapore at the Roxy Grand Mercure, well-positioned just off the East Coast Parkway. We hired a car in Singapore to do some out-of-town visiting (Kranji War Cemetery and some other locations), as well as making our own way around town. Avis provided our vehicle (a very comfortable Volvo S60) and also had E-Tags available for purchase, which greatly simplified our travel-arrangements on Singapore's toll-roads. Check-in for the Diamond Cruise had been switched at late notice from the Singapore Cruise Terminal to a building in Republic Road. There was no reason circulated in the advices from Princess, and some CCs mentioned in the pre-cruise Roll Call that this was near the end of the Singapore Marathon Finish Line (being held on the same morning), so already some alarm-bells were starting to ring. We had booked a taxi-transfer from Singapore Limousine Cab for transfer from the Roxy to Republic Road - the transfer was very efficiently carried-out and our driver made his way through every obstruction all the way to Princess's reps standing outside the check-in building. We deposited our luggage and went to the first floor of the check-in building. I should say at this point that DH's mother needed wheelchair assistance which had been booked by our TA. One of the reps quickly fetched a wheelchair and accompanied us to the check-in location upstairs. After check-in, we sat....and sat.....and sat......after about two hours, a lady wearing a Princess Cruises polo-shirt advised that "shortly" we would be boarding buses for transfer to the Diamond. More time passed without advices from anyone. The hall was very, very full by now. Then, an Australian passenger stood in the front of the hall and yelled that everyone should come and board the buses now according to their boarding-pass numbers and that he would personally "headbutt" anyone who tried to jump the queue. So, what happened? Just about everyone charged for the exit-doors of the hall. DH's mother, in the front-row of the hall-seats was swamped by hoards of passengers. DH asked the Singaporean reps who was in charge, nobody knew who was supposed to be supervising this process. DH found a ship's Communications Officer on the premises and this Officer very kindly retrieved DH's mother from the crowd and pushed her to an elevator, then assisted her on to a transfer-coach. The place was completely out of control. The arrangements that Princess used at this location were shameful and amateurish in the extreme. There was no clear supervision or control in place at all. The venue had no public-address facilities whatsoever, and the logic in staging the check-in at the middle of one of Singapore's biggest events of the year was beyond belief. Was there no other suitable venue in Singapore? Why was the Cruise Terminal abandoned? We were never told. We did hear other anecdotal tales of passengers whose taxi-drivers dropped them some distance from Republic Road, not wanting to take-on the Marathon obstructions, therefore apparently leaving those passengers to drag their luggage through the heat and humidity to the check-in location. Having eventually arrived aboard the Diamond, we were very pleased with our BB balcony-cabin (E732, situated on the rear of the ship). The rear cabins have a very generous 'overhang' which makes for a very good shelter from the elements (sun or rain). DH's mother settled in well to her mini-suite on the starboard side. We were very happy to renew acquaintances with our steward Hector, whom we had known on Emerald Princess in the Caribbean in 2008. Diamond departed from Singapore some hours late, but it was time that was easily made-up enroute to our first ports in Vietnam some days later. Our route went through a Force 7 Monsoon between Singapore, Vietnam and Bali and made for interesting sea-days, we quite enjoy stormy days on the water. Our evening meals were in the International Dining Room, food was very good indeed and our wait-staff were superb. Our Head Waiter (Jun) was easily the best Head Waiter we have encountered on any cruiseship. A real professional's professional. The very personable Maitre D (Rui Pereira) was always visible in all the ship's dining-areas, a most charming man who also obviously manages his responsibilities very professionally. Unfortunately, one International Dining Room breakfast experience on a sea-day between Singapore and Vietnam stood-out. On this morning, we were seated at a table for 8 (all seats taken). Our orders were taken, and 50 minutes later none of us had received our meals. After a complaint to the Head Waiter on duty, all our meals arrived within a few minutes. In plain terms, our orders had not been relayed to the kitchen and our entire table had been forgotten-about. We only walked around the immediate dockside areas for the Vietnamese ports of Phu My and Nha Trang. We did not go to any of the towns in the regions. For Diamond's stop at Bali, the ship anchored at Benoa Harbour with disembarkation by tender. For those with independent arrangements, we were told to collect tender-tickets from the Deck 7 Explorer's Lounge. We arrived at the Lounge at 630AM and it wasn't until about 730AM that others started to arrive. By 8AM, there were no spare seats in the Lounge. At about 810AM, someone decided to stand next to the tender-ticket desk in the Lounge, which in turn prompted a rush for the desk by most people there. As a result, the desk was surrounded on all sides by people to quite a depth. Some minutes later one of the Assistant Cruise Directors arrived and said that he didn't know who had arrived first, so he was going to start handing out tickets from left to right to whoever was nearest. Luckily for us, this meant DH was one of the first to receive tickets. But you can imagine the distress that this caused elderly and not-so-mobile passengers. The process was very, very poor and simply not good enough. The incident was material for talk on the ship for the remainder of the cruise. There has to be a better way, whether someone is rostered to sit at the Lounge from 6AM to distribute tickets or whatever. The way that it is being currently done is disgraceful, we cannot believe that there is not a better way to do this disembarkation process. After arriving ashore, we hired a Balinese and his air-conditioned vehicle to take around to some places that we particularly wanted to revisit, having previously been to Bali in 2000 and 2001. Last tender from Shore to the ship had been advertised for 430PM (we arrived aboard at about 330PM); at 650PM, we were still watching passengers and gear being brought from ashore. We hired a car in Darwin from Europcar to do some private sightseeing as DH had lived in Darwin as a boy during the 1960s and early 1970s. Some spectacular electrical-storms lit the Darwin sky at dusk as Diamond sailed away into the Arafura Sea enroute to the Barrier Reef. This is a very special part of Australia and the waters around it have an awesome aspect of their own. Sailing around the high tip of Australia at Cape York was a great memory, and the commentary from the Ships PIlot through the Barrier Reef was exceptional. Tender-disembarkation at Port Douglas was less of a nightmare than Bali had been. We again hired a car (Thrifty, on this occasion) to do some private exploring. In the seven hours we had available to us, we managed to get to Mossman, Mareeba, Atherton, Kuranda and Cairns. 350 kilometres for $107, plus petrol before returning the vehicle. Coach-transfers to Cairns for a do-your-own-thing experience were $39 per person. That night was DW's 40th birthday. We did the Chef's Table experience, which was probably the highlight of our travel-experience on this trip. An absolutely superb evening which started with pre-dinner champagne and delicious nibblies in the galley whilst the kitchen-work went on around us, thence to the Santa Fe Dining Room for an 11-course gastronomic experience that was of 6-star quality. We were personally waited-on by the Maitre D and Executive Chef Reggie. They stayed with us for the duration of the meal, not just for a short few moments early in the piece. The staff made a special fuss of DW, presenting her with a gigantic birthday cake. Ever felt like the Michelin Man? We did, that night! We would recommend this experience to anyone. $75 a head, but to us it was worth far, far more than that amount. Airlie Beach, our next timetabled port, was abandoned due to rough weather (tender-port). We had no firm arrangements for this port, so were not much inconvenienced by the bypassing of Airlie Beach. Instead, Diamond made a gentle progress through the Whitsunday Islands with expert and interesting commentary from the Reef Pilot on the area. Docking at Sydney's Circular Quay was bang on the dot of 6AM on the morning of 22 December. We were pleased to see that evening that Sydney's Channel 10 showed footage of the Diamond sailing up the Harbour to the Quay. Embarkation was very smoothly done from our perspective. Captains Circle Hostess Dawn kept the Platinum/Elite Disembarkation Lounge well-informed of the process. Some days prior to Sydney, DW got sick ('Upper Respiratory Tract Infection'). We sought help from the ship's medical staff as soon as DW's symptoms became apparent. We had been concerned for some time prior to DW becoming ill from the number of passengers who cough quite strongly in public areas (especially the buffet) without covering their mouths, also those passengers who refuse to clean their hands when entering the buffet. So, we were extremely angry but not surprised that the very poor hygiene of others was now claiming our health. Some days out of Singapore, DH saw an Australian push past the Filipino female employee manning the buffet's entrance, refusing to wash his hands. DH challenged the man, who said that "washing did nothing to protect anyone and the Filipino girl didn't know what she was talking about, anyhow". How do you deal with an attitude like that from a passenger, apparently shared by many others? We have seen horrific hygiene-habits on other ships and Lines, but this is the first time that it has directly impacted us (in spite of all precautions by us), this is why we are now mentioning it here. Other, more hair-raising, stories were told to us by various staff throughout the ship. Passengers who habitually blow their noses with the dining-linen (how sickening is that?). Spitting by passengers on the carpet, shamelessly. So, how does a cruiseline police or try to control such dreadful behaviour by its passengers? We saw little evidence of any public signage encouraging passengers to be mindful of hygiene in the public rooms, if not at least the food-areas. Even a discreet information-leaflet placed in passengers' cabins on commencement of the cruise might be useful. By the last three days of the cruise, people were coughing and hacking everywhere publicly. It appeared to us that a significant proportion of passengers now had something wrong with them. We did write a note regarding this matter of poor hygiene by passengers and submitted it at the Pursers' Desk with a request for a response, but no response was ever received by us. Cruise Critic events aboard the Diamond were very well-patronised. A good turnout of senior crew-members attended the Meet & Greet. The lunches that were held in the Pacific Moon Dining Room were very enjoyable. Much gratitude from us to Tanya, Violet and Gai for their brilliant record-keeping of who was where and delivery of notices for the CC events. We were very glad to meet up with Cruise Critic 'Midland Tourist' from Canada - we had sailed with them the previous month on Sun Princess for a Sydney - New Zealand - Sydney cruise. We came away from this cruise with the definite view that Princess is a jaded product. We don't believe that the ship's crew themselves are responsible for the embarkation debacle at Singapore, and maybe not for the extremely poor disembarkation by tenders at Bali. These things are usually determined at a corporate level, with the operators (i.e. the Captain and crew) being told to "make it happen" within the parameters of the local environment. We also believe this to be true of signage and policy for on-board hygiene concerns. Are Princess worried about hurting peoples' feelings by publishing some leaflets reminding of some basic courtesies? Or better to pretend that some problems don't exist? We want to emphasise that we have scored the 'Dining' option of our experience as a 5 - this is in recognition of the fantastic food and service that we received for our evening meals in the International Dining Room. Our other experiences (especially buffet) would have most likely scored a 2. We want to mention the daily Wake Show each morning. The interaction between Cruise Director Warren and Assistant CD Elaine was brilliant. They should put these shows onto DVDs and sell them. Diamond's Captain Bob Oliver provided informative and interesting announcements throughout the cruise (not just the midday updates), and the ship's crew from all divisions appeared to be very disciplined. There are passengers who stay loyal to a cruiseline purely for the level of benefits that they have accrued. We have Platinum level membership with Princess but would be hesitant about again sailing with Princess ships unless no other passage were available for the region we wished to travel in. There is that 'something' which is lacking with Princess Cruises these days, but appears to us to be at a Santa Clarita corporate level. We have tried to substantiate these concerns in this review, and also in our e-mailed post-cruise survey for Princess. A ship can only operate in the way that company policy dictates it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
After seeing the service and food quality decline on Carnival over the last few years, we asked our travel agent for a recommendation. She suggested that Princess was the one that seemed to be keeping up their standards. Too bad it ... Read More
After seeing the service and food quality decline on Carnival over the last few years, we asked our travel agent for a recommendation. She suggested that Princess was the one that seemed to be keeping up their standards. Too bad it wasn't true. Some good and some bad experiences on this ship. GOOD: Airport transfers and embarkation process were smooth and fast. Cabin and cabin steward service were both wonderful. We were automatically upgraded to a nicer cabin that the one we booked which proved wonderful during rough seas on the last night of the cruise. BAD: TERRIBLE service and variety of foods in the buffet area. Disembarkation was also a nightmare running about 2 hours late while sitting in a crowded lounge area. Also, I still can't believe the cruise lines haven't figured out that non-smokers gamble too. PUT IN A SMOKE FREE CASINO -- one of the empty lounges could easily be converted to this use. MARGINAL: Not too many entertainment options. Way too focused on getting you to shop at Diamonds International and the other shops where the cruiselines get a kickback. It kind of felt like one of those annoying time-share freebies after a while. Will I cruise again? Yes, definitely. Will I cruise with Princess again based on this cruise? Probably not. My bottom line is that Princess seemed like Carnival except you replaced the young crowd with a lot of retirees. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
While we thouroughly enjoyed our two weeks on board there were a number of areas that we felt Princess needed to improve on, we have detailed these below for the benefit of people weighing up taking this cruise. Just to paint the picture ... Read More
While we thouroughly enjoyed our two weeks on board there were a number of areas that we felt Princess needed to improve on, we have detailed these below for the benefit of people weighing up taking this cruise. Just to paint the picture we (a couple aged 29 and 32) are experienced travellers although this was only our second cruise, the previous one was with RCI. We visited 10 ports over the 14 days however I will only mention the ports where we booked tours. Embarkation - chaos, althought to be fair to Princess this was more the fault of the port authorities/customs. Once we cleared this area we were promptly issued with our cards and were on board promptly. The que outside was approximately one hour long when we qued however this fluctuated throught the afternoon - the only water station was at the top of the que which made no sense at all. Ship - while we had ready may comments about the ship being in poor condition we found no evidence of this. The staff were slow to clean the pool area and there were often tables with food etc left for too long but the interior was fine - no threadbare sheets or frayed carpets as others had mentioned. Cabin - Aloha deck, port side at the front of the ship. Well proportioned with plenty of storage space. Good size balcony. Bit more motion than other parts of this hip but nothing unbearable. Shower had good pressure and wasnt too small. Staff - in general we found the staff to be quite indifferent, our room attendant was pleasant but we got the impression that she was just going through the motions and was never really interested in our replies. Found personal items in our cabin from previous occupant and the glass door and balcony glass remained smudged until we cleaned it ourselves. We found that unlike our previous cruise many of the staff passed you without saying hello/good morning even where we initiated the contact - this was especially the case with the senior staff many of whom we felt had a poor attitude (chewing gum, sunglasses on indoors etc). We found some of the bar staff expecially poor and the barman at Explorers was particullarly bad, once he realised we were ordering cocktails he constantly ignored us at the bar and served drinks that required less preperation. he dining room staff were far better but I will review this under 'dining'. We also found the attitude of the captain (Philip Pickford) to be very poor, this opinion was shared by our table mates who were Platinum members. There was a staff entrance close to our cabin which he frequented and he never greeted any passengers instead walking around with his head down, he made little or no announcements updating passengers on weather or sea conditions. Most passengers lost all faith in him after a fire on the ship (caused by a passenger smoking in a interior room) when he did not put the passengers involved off the ship. Food - while the food was plentyful the quality on RCI was definetly better. The buffet lacked variety and there were very few themed days and after two weeks it became very repetitive. The food in the dining room was over complicated in our opinion and we thought in general it was a litte dissapointing and certainly lacked the wow factor. As 1000's have said before the pizza and burgers by the pool were very good as was the food at the International Cafe. Entertainment - this was also dissapointing. The Princess singers/dancers were dreadful and their attempt at Irish dancing was embarassing (not to mention the singers rendition of Danny Boy in tweed jacket abd green polo neck) as they were clearly not trained so they just jumped up and down to irish music. The comdeians were dreadful bar one guy who was from Canada who was funny for about half his show. The hypnotist was good fun but his show was repeated numerous times over the course of the two weeks and the format remained the exact same. Dining Room - we ate at the late sitting in the Palm dining room. The first week we were seated with another couple from the US who were great fun, the waiting staff were pleasant however we always felt rushed and we were always finished dinner by 2115 having only been seated at 2015 - in many cases our main course was waiting beside our table when we were still eating our starters and frequently people at the table were eating different courses. For the second week we moved table and again had great table mates - the dining experience here was far more relaxed and we were often still drinking tea/coffee at 2215 while chatting with table mates. As I have already nentioned the food in the dining room was over complicated and not as good as we expected. Facilities - we availed of the gym which is well equiped and the quiter adult pools at the rear of the ship. MUTS in our opinion is not a feature we would look for again - its too loud and disturbs too many people. In most cases there was very few if anybody watching what was showing and on most nights it was sports and not movies. Excursions - Bonaire: booked Woodwind snorkelling directly, great trip and saw numerous turtles. Dominica: booked tour with Bumpping Tours to Tito Gorge and waterfall plus suplhur pools - again excellent. St Lucia: took the cable car to the viewing platform and booked the Screaming Eagle Power trip which was brilliant but not for the faint hearted. St Lucia: zip lining through Princess, amazing fun and a great rush. Antigua: Stingray tour through Princess - good fun but a it commercial, still something that should be done if you havent seen stingrays before. General Comments - we had read about problems with passengers from San Juan and this was evident again especially during the first week when there were 1600 on board (500 the following week). There was nothing that bothered us too much but towards the end of the week there were a number of things I witnessed that grated with me - examples such as not holding the door open for elderly passengers in wheel chairs, charging into lifts before others had exited etc. As I said it did not effect us too much but other passengers complained frequently. We did enjoy our cruise but when booking our next one we will be looking to book a RCI cruise, I would also avoid sailing out of San Jaun during the holiday peroid again. Just a tip regarding the airport in San Juan - its a nightmare on cruise days so make sure not to book a early flight (I would suggest after 3pm if possible) or else arrange to stay an additiona night in SJ and avoid the stress. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I thought getting on the cruise was a little confusing. No one really told us where to go, they just gave us a number. We got there early, 11am and there weren't that many people yet. Slowly the room started to fill up. There were ... Read More
I thought getting on the cruise was a little confusing. No one really told us where to go, they just gave us a number. We got there early, 11am and there weren't that many people yet. Slowly the room started to fill up. There were seats, so at least we were able to sit down. We got a group 1 number so after the elite and gold members boarded, we were able to get on. We were super excited as not that many people got on before us. We ran to our room right away and called the dining line in the hopes to get on the chef's table list. The room we got was on the Lido deck, room 238. We wanted to be on the floor with the pools, buffet, where things were happening. It was a cozy room, comfy for 2 people and our 2 huge suitcases. Having a balcony is a must. It's nice just being able to sit outside, it also made the room appear larger. My complaints would be the shower, it's tiny. I'm 5'2 and 100 pounds, I can't imagine a taller, larger person trying to take a shower in there without getting stuck. My boyfriend is 5'8 and 155 pounds and he thought the shower was small. I also wish they changed the shower curtain. The white curtain was gray on the bottom which kind of grossed me out. Shower itself and bathroom was clean. The two double beds pushed together was comfy. My problem was with the goose down pillows. I kept getting stabbed in the face with feathers that would poke out. Perhaps thicker pillowcases would help this problem. The fridge stayed cold, I read some people had problems, but ours was fine. I would say do not leave chocolate on the top of the ref, it gets hot and even though the ref is in the cabinet, the wood gets hot. It melted my chocolate! I brought my own blowdryer, didn't like the one in the room.       Enough about the room...Food, food is important. I love to eat good food. Living in Chicago, I've gotten spoiled on huge portions and good food. We paid extra and tried the Crown Grill one night. An extra $25 a person. We both ordered a ribeye and also got lobster tails, a side of mashed potatoes and cream of corn. We also got appetizers and soup. Appetizer, I can't recall what I got, so it must have been okay. Soup, I got the shrimp bisque, didn't care for it at all. Ribeye, I ordered medium and my boyfriend ordered medium rare. My steak came out as medium rare and his came out rare. I sent mine back, I couldn't eat it. My boyfriend sucked it up and ate his. Flavor was good. Lobster tails, you get 2 and they are pretty small, but they are good! Sides, I highly recommend the cream of corn, it's incredible! They put parmesan cheese on top. We also ate at Sabatini's one night. Wow, it's a lot of food and it's good! It's an extra $20 a person. You got cold apps, hot apps, option soup and salad which we said no to. Then you get a pasta dish, your main course and then dessert. Cold apps, you get cheese, olives, arugula and prosciutto. Hot appetizer you get fried romano cheese with sun dried tomato which I loved...calamari and fried zucchini which was also very good. Pasta dish, cheese and mushroom ravioli with a truffle sauce which was incredible and a fettucini. For my main course, I selected the seabass which was pan fried and topped with bread crumbs. It laid on a bed of asparagus with a lemon cream sauce. Wow, fantastic! Food in the dining rooms were pretty good, buffet was all right. Pizza, I did not like at all. Burgers at the grill was okay, nothing great. My boyfriend did purchase the all you can drink soda for $40 and we shared. He'd just grab me a soda when he'd get a soda. No one said anything. Beers, well my boyfriend drank quite a bit and it adds up. He bought a few buckets. 5 or was it 6 beers for $20 or so. 1 beer was about 6 bucks.       Spa, we got a couples Swedish massage in one of the cabanas. Was nice and relaxing. We did that on one of the sea days. I felt relaxed. My only complaint would be that they tried to push products on us and made us feel bad for not buying them.       Activities and shows. Umm, not really for us. We are a couple in our early 30's. This cruise we were on was filled with a lot of older people. We felt out of place. Not a lot of people our age. The nightclub was filled with seniors and they would play oldies music. The only shows we went to were the comedy shows. We enjoyed the comedian from Canada a lot, his name I believe was Scott? He was funny! The other comedian was Al Katz. He was also very entertaining. We didn't care for the impressionist, I forgot his name. He was practically begging for applause. The comedian/magician Joe was not funny at all. He didn't even really do any magic. He also kept looking at his watch to see if it was time to get off the stage. What we did to pass the time was either gamble at the casino or play cards. Good thing we packed cards. We also did movie under the stars one night to watch Red. That was nice. The reason why we took this cruise is it was recommended for couples, didn't really seem romantic to us at all. Not many activities for people our age. We were so glad that this cruise had 6 ports, we had a lot of fun exploring different islands. I think if we cruise again, we will try Royal Caribbean. Hoping for a better mix of people and more activities. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We've traveled on Princess many times but have never experiences such great and awful service in a single cruise. High points: Chef's Table: Fantastic and feel honored to have been selected. The food ... Read More
We've traveled on Princess many times but have never experiences such great and awful service in a single cruise. High points: Chef's Table: Fantastic and feel honored to have been selected. The food and wine just kept coming with the Maitre D' and Chef being such wonderful hosts. Being recognized by a bartender who was on the Diamond during last year's trip to Alaska on the Diamond - Excellent memory and great service. Production shows - Best I've seen on any ship, great vocalists and dancers. A peticular deck waitress that helped me make fresh (Not cold) popcorn for my wife during MUTS. She did comment that making another batch of popcorn would make her shift end 30 minutes late, but insisted on helping me even after I told her to not bother. That's excellent service from a great employee - it's not her fault the Ruby shuts down the popcorn machine 10 minutes after the start of the late movie - a poor decision by her boss. Low points: As mentioned in other reviews, the Deck Staff is just awful. It's clear many do not want to be there due to the complete lack of warmth and few smiles. In a particular incident, My Wife and I sat at barstools patiently for several minutes with cruise card in hand waiting to be served. Neither bartender acknowledged us, we still figured one would help us after finished with other passengers. To our amazement, (Now with an empty bar) both proceeded to start cleaning up the bar area while completely ignoring us. Eventually I went downstairs to another bar and reported this to the deck supervisor. He immediately apologized saying he saw us upstairs and assumed we were being served. Then mentioned they cannot always pick great employees and that this was apparently a bad apple of the bunch. While our first trip to the Crown Grill was excellent, It cannot be said of our second visit. After 1 hour and 45 minutes we were still waiting for our steaks. Finally my 75 yr. old Mom became too tired and left leaving with only a dinner salad and bread as the night's meal. Another couple celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary was in the same situation. They were still waiting after almost 2 hours and purchasing a very nice bottle of wine from the sommelier, which was now empty without a meal to enjoy. When this was brought up to a manager, he offered to waive the $25 fee, but gave both tables a hard time when asked for consideration on the wine. Finally after waiting another 20 minutes for a higher level manager did they agree to provide us a bottle the next evening. This points to an issue we noticed many times: staff level employees are not empowered to make even the smallest decisions or corrections in favor of a passenger - everything is a big deal and requires one or more supervisiors. An example: My wife ordered a bloody Mary she didn't care for - at any restaurant we've visited, it would be changed out for her drink of choice by any bartender - no questions asked. On the Ruby it took 2 different supervisors to make that decision, that's ridicules and very poor customer service. My overall impression: long term Princess employees have pride in their jobs and enjoy working with the public. The newer ones in many cases come from countries not heavily recruited by cruise lines in the past. The percentage of employees from India and the Caribbean have gone down, being replaced by Eastern Europeans (Previous Soviet Bloc countries) who's culture is simply different - to a degree lacking friendliness and warmth we consider to be essential to good customer service. Does this mean we'll never cruise Princess again? Certainly not, but it points to some disturbing trends Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My wife and I celebrated our honeymoon on this sailing, and I celebrated my 100th day at sea. This was my 15th cruise (4th with Princess) and my wife's 4th (2nd with Princess). Overall things were great, but there were a few issues I ... Read More
My wife and I celebrated our honeymoon on this sailing, and I celebrated my 100th day at sea. This was my 15th cruise (4th with Princess) and my wife's 4th (2nd with Princess). Overall things were great, but there were a few issues I will point out as reasons I won't look to sail Princess again soon. We drove from our wedding in Helena, MT to Seattle the day before the cruise. This was an interesting 9 hour drive - not much of the road was straight! Fortunately, we had a friend in Seattle who we could leave our car with, saving us about $200 in parking fees at the port. We stayed at the Homewood Suites Convention Center/Pike Street. This was one of the nicest Homewood Suites properties I've ever seen, and had a great location. Parking was $30 a night, but fortunately, Seattle has some on street parking in this area which is free from 6pm on Saturday up until Monday morning, so we were able to avoid that charge as well. One warning: There was broken car window glass on the sidewalk in one area under a bridge, so try to park in an area where there are condos/apartments so people will be around. On Sunday morning we walked about a mile to the Pike Street Market. This is definitely a recommended stop for anyone who has time in Seattle. A friend who had lived in the area said it was an option to check out, but she wasn't sure about how active it would be on Sunday morning. I can assure you that it is as busy as it could have been! Everything was open and the place was flooded with people. It was a fun place to walk around, see the shops, watch the street performers, and pick up a few gifts. We spent so much time there that we didn't make it to the ship until about 3pm! I think I was a kid the last time I made it onto a ship this close to sailing, but I guess the one benefit is that you will go from the curb to the ship in about 10 minutes. Everything went according to plan, and the port folks did a great job. The one thing I will say is that three different people said we wouldn't be able to get our larger luggage through the x-ray belt, but this is not true. We convinced each one to let us pass and we were not even questioned about it by the security personnel. The bags went through with no problem, allowing us to immediately unpack and not worry about when we would get our belongings. The ship is in pretty good shape considering it is due for a dry dock soon. You'll notice a chip or scuff here or there and some worn carpet, but otherwise, she is doing pretty well. We are very active people, so we seek out the areas where one can be active. I was shocked to see that this ship has no basketball hoops - probably the first time I've not seen one. They do have a paddleball court which was in use every time I went past it. The miniature golf course was in horrible condition. The turf was worn so much that it was almost impossible to play. Plus, they had removed most of the rocks and fake bushes and stuff that give the course character (having seen these courses on three previous sailings). The ship's gym was adequate and perhaps the most crowded I've seen at sea. It seemed to be at, not over capacity at times. There was one occasion when all treadmills were in use. One major complaint about the ship was the jogging track. I went to jog on the first sea day at about 5pm and was shocked to see a sign on the JOGGING TRACK which said "No jogging between 8am and 8pm". Seriously? No jogging on the jogging track pretty much the whole day unless you get up really early or run after dinner? This is inexcusable. I believe it had to do with the spa rooms below, but how can you design a ship that way and then basically tell people the jogging track is unusable. I was told I could jog on the Promenade Deck, but on the day I went to jog there it too had a sign at the stairs saying "This deck is closed after sunset". The only problem I had with this was it was about 6pm, and sunset wasn't for almost three more hours. Thanks for making fitness a priority Princess! One other complaint has to do with the buffet set up. They have two identical areas on either side of the ship on the Lido Deck. Oftentimes, one or the other was closed. These spaces are very small and flow and crowding were constantly an issue. We ate dinner there one night and both sides were open. We got our first serving at about 6:30pm and when we went back for seconds at 6:45pm, the line was closed and we had to go across to the other side. Correct me if I'm wrong, but 6:45pm is pretty much prime time for dinner. How can they close half the service in the middle of dinner? Just a bad set up overall. I'll also say that I think the tables along the window by the buffet are family owned for generations and handed down. I didn't once see an available table by the window. This is true of any cruise ship, so just an observation. We almost always sail in an inside cabin because we spend so little time in there and it is actually better for sleeping, which is our main function in the cabin. We found this room to be perfectly fine. If any complaint could be made, I'd say while the orientation of the closet does serve as a divider between the bathroom and the bed, it also makes it hard to get around when one person is going in/out of the bathroom and the other is at the closet. But we've come to accept the size limitations of cruise ship cabins, so it wasn't much of an issue. Dining on the ship was ok, but seems to have taken a step or two back since my first Princess cruise a few years ago. I noticed little things such as quality and availability of dried apricots. They were only available at night (not at breakfast as I'd seen them before) and they were overly dried out. This is just one example of a change from years past. At other times my wife had trouble finding common items at the buffet such as apple sauce or watermelon. Desserts were pretty good overall and the food in the main dining room was mostly a hit. We did enjoy the food during the cruise by and large. We found service on this cruise to be excellent overall. Our stateroom steward, Carolina, was excellent and a very hard worker. Service in the dining room was very good as well. On a few nights we asked for expedited service as we were trying to catch a show, and we were in and out on those nights in about an hour. The activities on the ship were adequate, but not extraordinary. My wife did enjoy the very popular Zumba offering, which was free and happened four times, I believe. I was disappointed at the amount of competitive games on the ship. Several times on the Patter it will state "Shuffleboard Tournament - Coordinate with your fellow passengers". In my opinion it is the job of the social staff on the ship to organize a tournament, not for the passengers. They also did a Ryder Cup Tournament. In my past Princess cruises, this involved miniature golf one day, chipping into the pool on the next, and a long drive on the final day. Points were awarded for play and there was a champion for the entire tournament. On this sailing, Ryder Cup involved going to the aforementioned miniature golf course and getting six shots at hitting a ball into the cup which was about eight feet away. If you failed you got a second round to try again. Everyone got a gold medal. While this was nice of the organizer, I don't do the activities to get a gold medal - I want to have a good spirited competition with fellow passengers. I can hit six balls eight feet anytime I want. Again, we are active people, so we enjoy the competitions. Anyone who has sailed on Royal Caribbean can relate. Entertainment offerings on the ship were ok. We enjoyed the comedian/magician and comedian/singer. The stage shows were as good or better than ones we've seen on previous sailings, although I wouldn't call them memorable. The naturalist was ok, although I wish he had spoken more during our trip down Tracy Arm. I found it ironic that he was silent most of the time and said a couple times that he wanted us to just enjoy the peace and quiet of the area. Then, Princess sends around an overzealous photographer with a costumed penguin and eagle to take photos on deck. Many of the passengers had to say no two or three times before the photographer would move on. I was also surprised that the few times I heard announcements from the bridge, it was one of the officers and not the captain himself. Furthermore, I don't recall one announcement from the bridge mentioning whale sightings or other wildlife observations. I've been on Caribbean cruises where the captain has made such announcements. Surely, I thought, the captain of a ship sailing in Alaska would make several of such statements, but there were none to my knowledge despite several reported sightings by passengers. Please see my port/shore excursion reviews for further information in those areas. Disembarkation was pretty much as easy as embarkation. We did the self walk off, and I think we were clear of customs about 10 minutes after the announcement was made in our lounge that we could vacate the ship. Overall we really enjoyed this cruise, but for the reasons stated above, we will sail on Royal Caribbean and Carnival in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We took a Panama Canal cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary with 2 other couples. We had been on Princess before in Alaska and were happy enough with it. I was disappointed this trip on the Island Princess. The food at dinner ... Read More
We took a Panama Canal cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary with 2 other couples. We had been on Princess before in Alaska and were happy enough with it. I was disappointed this trip on the Island Princess. The food at dinner ranged from merely good to mediocre, with the exception of surf & turf night. Our waitstaff was good, very friendly, but slow. They seemed to be stretched too thin and not properly staffed. We originally were assigned "Anytime Dining". Due to one in our group being diabetic, we were able to get a reserved table, as long as we got there before 6:00. That was fine; we're used to eating at the early seating. Somehow one night, our reserved table got "grabbed" by Anytime Diners who just took it over. The staff had already gotten us another table by the time we got there (early), but we didn't have our same waiters, which was somewhat disappointing. I talked to several Anytime Diners who were SERIOUSLY mad, which is putting it mildly. I was told more than once that they had waited for over an hour the previous evening, which in my mind, is unacceptable. It's a good thing there weren't many children on the ship, or it would have been chaos. But there were a lot of elderly people, who couldn't or shouldn't have to stand in line for an hour plus. The wait staff on the Lido Deck in the Horizon Court at breakfast seemed surly. I paid close attention one morning at breakfast and didn't see one attendant even SMILE at either passengers or co-workers. We were rarely asked if we needed anything, more coffee, etc. and had to flag down someone to get us what we needed. They serve juice in glasses the size of shot glasses and act put out if you ask for another. Milk and lemonade are hidden somewhere in the galley behind closed doors and were doled out sparingly. I was told one night by room service that the only time you can get orange juice is at breakfast. They said they use some kind of a mix and they don't make anymore until the next morning's breakfast. Room service did deliver quickly though, and was very handy for continental breakfast and their version of an Egg McMuffin on a couple of our very early port arrivals. The only Princess excursion we took was the ferry through the rest of the Canal that the ship didn't go through. It was great and very informative. We used Trip Advisor to find other, local, tours and attractions at a much lower price. The bartenders were very friendly, as was the front desk crew. Our cabin steward, Christian, was a sweetheart and very responsive to our needs and requests. All in all, it was a very good trip, but disappointing in some ways. It was obvious Princess is cutting back in many areas, especially food. We had one lovely dinner in the Bayou Cafe & Steakhouse, which was of the quality I've come to expect on cruises even when we're not paying the $20 per person surcharge. I've had better food and service on 2 previous Carnival Cruises, not to mention Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. I'm very glad we went on this cruise, it was overall very enjoyable and I can now cross the Panama Canal off my "Bucket List". Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
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