1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Princess Cruises
  4. Princess Cruises Cruise Reviews
Cruise Ratings
Sail Date: July 2014
My husband and I were looking forward to cruising with Princess. We understood it to have a 5 star rating. Previously we have cruised with Carnival and Norwegian. We paid extra to choose our cabin but discovered that we were not in the ... Read More
My husband and I were looking forward to cruising with Princess. We understood it to have a 5 star rating. Previously we have cruised with Carnival and Norwegian. We paid extra to choose our cabin but discovered that we were not in the cabin we selected. We were moved to the forward most room next to a warehouse/storage area where large carts were banged around all night. The noise was terrible and continued throughout the night. Customer service was a joke. The long line of disgruntled passengers was near constant each time we approached the desk to try to resolve our room issue. Apparently we were not the only ones unhappy with the cruise line or the accommodations. The cruise line denied any responsibility and claimed to be completely full so moving to another room was not an option. The food was alright although the wait times were long for the buffet and dining rooms. The ship appeared to be rather old and not well maintained. The entertainment was lack luster. The ship advertised a particular show but instead replaced it with a rather boring mentalist. The cruise director did nothing to encourage passengers to participate in any activities, unlike Carnival where you always know what is going on and when/where to go if you want to participate. The sea days were long and boring with little to fill the time. We were fortunate that we met another couple on board to play board games with. I left several items on board the ship and contacted customer service to report them missing when I returned home. I received a canned letter stating the items were not found, even though one of the fellow passengers emailed me that they had found the missing item and turned it into guest services for me to claim. Obviously, the guest services staff kept it for themselves. Overall, the experience with Princess was a big disappointment. We will never cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We stayed at Townplace Suites Fort Lauderadale West prior to our cruise. Nice hotel with full kitchen. Would stay there again. We boarded around 1pm and got right through with only a few people ahead of us. Fast and friendly service at ... Read More
We stayed at Townplace Suites Fort Lauderadale West prior to our cruise. Nice hotel with full kitchen. Would stay there again. We boarded around 1pm and got right through with only a few people ahead of us. Fast and friendly service at Port Everglades Cruise Port. We boarded Royal Princess for our 5th Princess cruise. (We've previously cruised one time each with RCI & Carnival). We were "wowed" by Royal. We 1st stopped off at our interior cabin on the Lido deck. We were greeted by our fantastic cabin steward Rommei then entered our beautiful cabin. Comfy and cozy with awesome bedding. We then headed for the Lido deck. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best, cloudy and light rain. Loved the sail away anyway with the ship's horn playing the theme from the Love Boat series. Grabbed a couple sail away drinks and enjoyed it even in a drizzling rain. Then we headed for the Piazza atrium. Larger than other Princess ships, the Piazza has 3 floors with plenty of seating on each floor overlooking the Piazza where there was much entertainment throughout the days and evenings. Lots of music and dancing took place here and lots of fun people watching. There were bars/lounges, shops, and eating establishments (24 hr International Cafe and Alfredo's Pizza) surrounding the Piazza. This was one of our favorite areas on the ship. Our 1st stop was at Princess Cays. Beautiful private beach with plenty of lounge chairs. We got off an hour or so after 1st tender and had no problem getting great loungers in the 1st row. Didn't swim as the water was too cool for us but there were plenty of people swimming. The seas were rough that afternoon which made tendering back to the ship a challenge. They stopped the tenders at one point because they had to wait for the waters to calm down to let people the people who had already tendered get off and onto the ship. The tender ride back was like an amusement park ride, swaying back and forth, several people didn't fare too well but many of us enjoyed the thrill of the massive rocking of the tender. Next port was St. Thomas. Weather was drizzle rain and we had a kyack, snorkel, hike excursion booked through the ship. Was a lot of fun despite the less than perfect weather. They were running late but knowing Princess would wait on us since we booked through them was comforting. Next port was St. Maarten. We took a privte tour, hired off ship. It was an all day island tour with stops along the way suggested by our driver. We also asked him to stop at other places which he was more than happy to do. One stop was Orient Beach where one way was the nude beach, the other clothing. We shopped at the clothing side a bit, took a quick look from the beginning side of the nude beach (with a few laughs), and went on to several others stops before we asked for our final stop in the main part of shopping near our port. We were with our driver 6 1/2 hrs for only $36 a piece (there were 8 of us). There is a large sign at the port that has the prices of tours. This was the last selection listed on the board and defiantly the best value. Our driver was super friendly and very knowledgable about the island. We toured both sides, Dutch and French, with stops at both. Back on the ship we enjoyed the Lido deck with live music twice a day, ice sculpting, pool games, and great movies as we soaked up the sun. Had great entertainment with our favorite The Beatlemaniacs. They were one of our favorite cruise memories from this cruise. They played one night in the theater and one night in the Piazza. People including myself and husband had a most enjoyable time feeling like we were actually at a Beatles concert. They sang all the classics and changed costumes to fit many of the songs. They played again at 10:30pm one night in the Piazza, with people singing and lots of fun dancing. Best of all ship entertainment I have experienced. Also great entertainment was the comedian Troy Thirdgood. This guy was hilarious with good clean shows. He also participated in the game show Liar's Club which was also a hoot. Other game shows such as the marriage show was fantastic. We dined everywhere on the ship, all being great quality food and service. Melchor in the Symphony anytime dining room was fantastic. Funny and friendly as well as knowledgeable about the food selections. Donuts in the morning in the International Cafe were a treat! New dessert station was also great, just wish they had an ice cream machine in there to top off desserts. Large eating area and never had a problem finding a seat, most often eating on the aft deck. One other things i loved were the free in room movies. Many series including Love Boat, Mike and Molly, as well as drama, family, sections, and many many movies. You could stop your movie and and come back later to resume. Always nice to start my day and unwind at night. Hope this happens on all Princess ships. Disembarkation was as easy as embarking. We did the walk off at 7:25am, and it was well organized and went quickly ans smoothly. Royal is beautiful, classy but comfortable, with excellent crew. Would sail on her again, wish I could have her on all the iteneraries of my choosing. Fantastic 5 stars from beginning to end. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
I seriously don't know how you could have a bad time on this ship. I think the big problem is that this new ship is drawing so much attention from experienced cruise goers that you get a lot of very critical reviews. This is only my ... Read More
I seriously don't know how you could have a bad time on this ship. I think the big problem is that this new ship is drawing so much attention from experienced cruise goers that you get a lot of very critical reviews. This is only my second cruise, although I've traveled extensively across the states and Europe. Pros: Food was soooo good! - we ate at Sabatini's, Alfredos, and the various buffet options including the pizza and grill on the Lido Deck. Sabatini's was nice, but I don't think the food warranted the price. The service was the same as you receive in the dining halls. Alfredos was a nice change of pace and fun to have a view of the atrium while we ate. We loved the buffet. I was picking up stuff I hardly knew what it was and it was delicious. The desserts at every venue seemed about the same. I lot of cheese cakes and mouses. Don't get me wrong, they were great, but maybe a little boring. Our room was just right for us! Of course it's small (you're on a ship!), but was just perfect for two people. We had a standard balcony room. The balcony was a bit small, but bigger than people were making it out to be. It's perfectly comfortable having 2 people out there. The beds were perfect firmness for us, although there's a hump in the middle where the two single beds were pushed together. The on-demand movies and tv were a nice surprise! The live-tv options though are limited to sports, news, and princess' own productions. The bathroom was extremely functional and came well stocked. The Attrium was a beautiful sight. It blows my mind that this is on a cruise ship! We loved the big movie screen and getting served free ice cream, popcorn, and milk and cookies! Cons: Our shore excursions were a bit of a mess. We reserved all of our excursions the day they became available online. The first day on the ship we got a letter saying one was canceled. We rebooked that and got a new ticket, only to have that one cancel too. The excursions themselves were ok. It's just so weird to get off a luxury cruise ship and onto the back of a sketch flat bed truck to get bussed off to your excursion. The same goes for Port Everglades. That place is no better than a below average bus stop. Pre-paid tipping just seems like a poor system. I get charged 11.50 per day per person and yet gratuities are always added to any purchase and tipping cash still seems to be the norm. I guess I just don't get why Princess markets this as being a convenient service for the passenger? Anytime Dining seemed a bit pointless. We called for an 8:30 reservation. After showing up at 8:15 we were given a pager and told to wait. We got seated at 8:40 in another dining room upstairs. It was 9:00 before we had our menus, water, and finally some bread. The service there was honestly pretty bad and the food not much different than buffet. I'm glad we only went to one formal night.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
My husband and I planned a 15 day Cruise to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary, we were told that the Grand Princess was totally reburbished in 2011.....so not true.....From the time we walked aboard it was disappointing. The state ... Read More
My husband and I planned a 15 day Cruise to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary, we were told that the Grand Princess was totally reburbished in 2011.....so not true.....From the time we walked aboard it was disappointing. The state rooms were very tiny, the beds were so old and worn out, I had to ask for a memory foam topping to go over the mattress and still didn't do anything,the food was terrible, it didn't matter where you ate, it was the same menu just about every night in dining room, buffet was a joke, No taste to food, nickle & dimed you too death, you even had to pay for an ice cream sundae, but they gave you a cone for free, it's the same ice cream, that was a joke.... The entertainment??????There was none, it was terrrible, play bingo for 30.00 bucks...at home I go all the time it cost you 1.00 a card, .50 for the special games, crazy....toliets were over flowing, pipes were breaking, water coming down the walls rugs were soaked...they were pulling up rugs, painting, varnishing, sanding while we were sailing, so you were brezthing all that crap. No TV to speak of, they were playing the same movies over and over again, we spent all this money for our anniversary for that........ Then we had our brother and his wife traveling with us, my sister-in-law lost her glasses, we just left dinner in the main dining room, so we went back to see if she dropped them under the table, we spoke to our waitress Christina and the head waiter, we told them if they found them to please let her know, she couldn't see without them. Now neither one of them knew what they looked like, she went 2 weeks without glasses, every day went to pursers desk to see if theywere turned in....3 days before cruise ended...Christina made a comment to my sister-in-law that she could bet that they would turn up at her table by the time she goes home because her table is a lucky table, the day before we left, she brings them too her and says she went into the laudrey room and found them in there...NOW MY QUESTION IS THIS....How did she know what her glasses looked like ? I think she found them the same night under the table and was keeping them until the last night to get a reward or a larger tip because she knew she really needed them.....who does something like that and what kind of people does princess hire...very sad.We would never cruise with princess again, what a miserable trip that was. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
I will bullet point the important factors here, but first let me tell you who we are so you have a point of reference. Highly educated, upper middle class married couple in our late 30's. Well traveled but only our 4th cruise; high ... Read More
I will bullet point the important factors here, but first let me tell you who we are so you have a point of reference. Highly educated, upper middle class married couple in our late 30's. Well traveled but only our 4th cruise; high expectations but overall very easy going and not pretentious. In other words, we don't sweat the small stuff and we make the best of things that go wrong. We're pretty easy to please in general. We traveled with another couple who were cruising for the first time. *Embarkation: Crowded of course but well managed. The line moved steadily considering 3200 people were boarding. Our room was ready as soon as we got on which was nice. Having to lug your bags around for the first hour or 2 that you're on board is a real drag. *The ship: Stunning. I felt like I was in an elaborate Vegas hotel. The Piazza reminded me of the Venetian or Bellagio. Great layout. The ship was very clean and beautiful. We spent both sea days at The Sanctuary which was a lovely and worthwhile retreat from the crowds on sea days. Very seaworthy and pretty stable despite some rough waters. *Room: Interior state room smack dab in the center of ship. Great location for stability. I felt very little movement in our room even when the seas were angry and other parts of the ship had considerably more "motion." Our room steward James was outstanding. Unfortunately, whoever did our turn-down service at night (it wasn't James) was obviously a heavy smoker and our room would reek of cigarette smoke for at least 2 hours after it was turned down every night which was a real bummer. I suppose we could have requested someone else, but that seemed like a lot of trouble. Room was a decent size for a standard interior and the bed was initially very hard but extremely comfortable after the egg crate mattress we requested was put on. *Food: Outstanding. Everything, everywhere was delicious. The buffet, the dining room, the international cafe, the pizza, the waffle station, the Trident Grill...everything. We have only had better food on Celebrity, but Princess came VERY close. We had planned to eat at Sabatini's, but everything was so good, we decided there was no need. Plus we really enjoyed our waiter, Ariel in the Dining room. Our expectations were exceeded in this department. *Entertainment: Solid. The house band Volume was great. We sought them out multiple times and they played all over the place throughout the day and night. The singers and dancers in the theater were also very good. The first show was boring in my opinion; catered to a very old crowd. The other shows they did were great! Once Upon a Dream had an Alice in Wonderland feel to it and Broadway Ballroom had great music and fantastic dancing. The comedians were OK; they had a comedian/magician, Christopher James who was fantastic! Great pool side entertainment and fun variety acts in the piazza including a man who could balance just about anything on his head or nose. It was unbelievable! *Service: Absolutely wonderful. Smiles and helpfulness from everyone all the time. Anyone who walks away saying anything less is just grumpy and impossible to please. *Ports: Lovely. Even though the weather didn't cooperate completely, these are great ports for a relaxing, beautiful, beachy vacation. We have been on other vacations that were much busier and while we love sightseeing, learning about history, outdoor sports, and the like, we wanted nothing but relaxation on this trip and these ports delivered just that. *Debarkation: Quick and painless. We did express debarkation because we like to take our own bags and get off the ship first. CAVEAT: There is a SERIOUS lack of hand sanitizer on this ship. It is no wonder that the Ruby has been riddled with Norovirus so often in the past. Every other cruise we have ever taken (even cheapo Carnival) has hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE; the lounges, the theater, and of course everywhere you eat. The Ruby ONLY had hand sanitizer at the buffet, the pizza place, and the trident grill. NO sanitizer at other eateries like the International Cafe, Vines, or even the dining rooms. It truly blew my mind. After knowing the history of Norovirus on this ship I came to the conclusion that Princess knows it is a problem, but has decided it is cheaper to let the outbreaks continue than to cover the ship in hand sanitizer. Shame on you Princess. There was no outbreak on our voyage, but I felt extremely lucky that no one in our group of 4 got sick. I also carried hand sanitizer around with me and I felt it was really a burden I shouldn't have to bear on vacation. It was a big disappointment to see how irresponsible Princess was in this regard. *Summary: In general, I feel every other cruise line I have been on was "the best" at something, but seriously lacked in other areas. Princess, however, was strong all around, making it my new favorite (despite the serious hand sanitizer problem). I appreciated the mix of ages and felt the line did a good job catering to the needs and desires of adults ranging from late 20's to the elderly. Not very many children on this line and no crazy "young adults"(18-25 year olds getting drunk and being obnoxious). The clientele was perfect. Well behaved adults looking to have a lot of fun. You can be as active or as relaxed as you want on this ship. There is a perfect balance. I will be writing to Princess to share my displeasure about the lack of sanitizer and the need to catch up with the rest of the cruise industry in this regard. Hopefully they will remedy the problem before my next cruise; I will definitely be back. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
PRE-CRUISE HOTEL - Arrived in Hollywood Feb. 9 and stayed at Westin Diplomat, an excellent pre-cruise hotel right on the beach. BOOKING - We booked 2 consecutive 7 day southern cruises with the same itinerary (Aruba-Curacao-Princess ... Read More
PRE-CRUISE HOTEL - Arrived in Hollywood Feb. 9 and stayed at Westin Diplomat, an excellent pre-cruise hotel right on the beach. BOOKING - We booked 2 consecutive 7 day southern cruises with the same itinerary (Aruba-Curacao-Princess Cays) although reversed the 2nd week on the non-refundable labor day special of $524pp per week for inside mid-ship cabin on Baja deck 11 cabin B508. As a platnium member, we appreciate Princess style cruising, but would not have sailed the Grand had it not been refreshed. EMBARKATION - We arrived between 1-2pm both weeks and were in within 10 minutes. STATEROOMS - 2 big issues here. 1) Room circulation was very poor causing the cabin to get VERY hot at night when they routinely turned the air condtioning off between 1-4am. 2) We like mid-ship, but we also like to use the stairs and there are no stairs mid-ship, only forward & aft. Obviously, Princess can do nothing about #2 as that is the ships design, however #1 is something that needs fixed as other passengers complained about it as well. 3) NOTE: Staterooms not part of refresh SERVICE Our room steward was efficient and pleasant and we gave him an extra cash tip at the end. We used anytime dining, but found the team of Reynaldo-waiter & Adlwin-Jr. Waiter to be fantastic and so requested them when we were in the dining room (about 1/2 the time). DINING We generally eat a healthy breakfast - fruits, fish, yogurt, oatmeal and while these were not great, they were generally good enough to get us a health start at HORIZON COURT. Horizon lunch is your typical cheap buffet food you would find in the states... just okay with occasionally a good item or two. Very disappointed with the 3 nights we ate in the Horizon for dinner. Pizza on Lido was diappointing compared to other Princess cruises where it has been MUCH better. Hot dogs from the grill were good. ALFREDO's was a big hit and the pizza there was very good. INTERNATIONAL CAFE items were good as well. We do not like the change to SABATINIS as it seems less italian now and has lost its niche in serving up small portions of everything. The CROWN GRILL is a real winner both in terms of food quality & service and we ate there 3x to prove it. Finally, the main dining room food was generally good. I personally like seafood and found most of the dishes well prepared. ENTERTAINMENT We typically go to the comedy shows and the 3 comedians over 14 days were very good. We did not go to the comedian hypnotist as that is a joke. ACTIVITES Love the fresh water pools and this is one of the reasons we keep sailing Princess. I play bridge for 2-3 hours on sea days and it is very well organized. Enough activities to keep the most active people going, but personally we enjoy relaxing more. SPA Drawbacks of an older ship is no room for showers in the locker rooms. DISEMBARKATION Very well done. Curacao - plahyed golf twice and walked around on our own downtown - very nice! Princess Cays - First week this was aborted due to weather giving us a 4th sea day (no complaints here!). Second week was okay. It was nice to have some different food at the BBQ. Note - some of the swimming areas are very rocky - wear boat shoes! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We cruised on Feb 12-19th, taking along a couple that we were friends with, who had never travelled on Princess (they always travelled on Disney). They enjoyed the cruise as much as we did, and seem to concur on most of our opinions. ... Read More
We cruised on Feb 12-19th, taking along a couple that we were friends with, who had never travelled on Princess (they always travelled on Disney). They enjoyed the cruise as much as we did, and seem to concur on most of our opinions. The food was impeccable. I hate the term "foodie", but it best describes my wife and I, and we both find Princess food to be above other cruiselines. Almost ever dish (soup, appetizer, entree, dessert) was something that I would have ordered again. Even the buffet seemed much fresher and flavorful than other cruiselines, although the selection seemed sparser (I prefer good food, as opposed to a larger selection selection of bad food). The only disappointment was the cornflake-crusted french -toast at breakfast on the last day, as it was both soggy and tough. Princess is also following the other cruiselines in cutting back on the lobster-tail meal; instead of two tails, you know get one tail along with some shrimp. The fish-and-chips lunch (at the Wheelhouse?) was very, very good, and PACKED on the second day. We had anytime dining, and found the servers to be as friendly and attentive as they were for the traditional dining; no lapse in service. There were occasional waits for a table, but nothing extreme. The wine-tasting was average - you didn't really learn anything, but it was fun. The art auctions are a hoax, just as they are on Celebrity (and probably others). They auctioned off a Wyland glass sculpture, and declared its value at $3000, and started the bidding at about $1950, not including the auction fee of 15%. That made the total about $2250, and my wife and I had seen an identical piece at Key West for only $1800. I don't really mind the high price, but I do mind when they repeatedly say that you are getting the art at a steal. The entertainment was good, as always. The stage shows were good, except that the sound mix was muffled for the first two nights, and sounded terrible. The staging wsa impressive, and the themes were good. The featured magician was okay, but nothing special (during his sleight of hand, you could see the cards behind his open hands). The juggler was just okay, and a bit cheesy. For some reason, Bert-with-an-E was somewhat hokey when he played the intimate bars/lounges, but he came off much better when he played the Princess Theater. One comedian was very, very good (Phil Tag?), but the other (Eric Rivera?) was terrible. He simply wasn't funny, and managed only polite laughs. At one point, he called an audience member a "sweet OLD man", and the audience groaned and mumbled their disapproval at him. He grimaced when he walked off the stage at the end. Our cabin steward was good, but we hardly ever saw him (unlike previous cruises), I think this is another area where princess is cutting back, and employing fewer stewards. We had room service for breakfast, and it was always prompt and excellent. The egg/cheese/Canadian-bacon/English-muffin was surprisingly good. We did order a fruit basket every day, but it didn't arrive on two different days. Disembarking for ports was quick and easy. The food at Princess Cays is always tasteless; I don't know why. The hamburgers and brats literally have no taste. We were accidentally charged for an excursion that we were listed as "waitlist", and never got to. The problem was corrected, but ti took about 15 minutes of checking. I had teeth-whitening done ($150), and that went fairly well. The technican tried to sell me a "maintenance kit" for $250-$450 dollars, and also specifically mentioned that the tip was "NOT included" in the whitening charge. My wife had her haircut in the salon, and they did a very, very good job, for only about $60 or so. The photos on the ship weren't as good as Celebrity photos. The cruise director was enjoyable, but nothing remarkable. However, she and the assistant cruise director were always out talking to guests - it was a nice touch. Grand Turk is small, and nothing to write home about. Margaritaville seemed to be where the action was, and it appeared that they had a huge pool? We went on a Catamaran excursion, which is always fun. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Our wedding trip to Alaska on Golden Princess - Princess Cruise Lines - The Good, The Bad, Nothing ugly (except the color of our companion sailors shower). It is hard for us to think back to our decision about getting married by the ... Read More
Our wedding trip to Alaska on Golden Princess - Princess Cruise Lines - The Good, The Bad, Nothing ugly (except the color of our companion sailors shower). It is hard for us to think back to our decision about getting married by the Captain on a Cruise - and since there are only a handful of Cruise Lines - Princess being one of them - that will allow this to happen - we never really looked at any other cruises. Research told us that we could be married by the Captain - and that was enough for us to decide to book this trip - and although we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves - we didn't get married on the ship after all. Since I've never written a review for anything before I decided to break this into a few parts - What we expected, what we got, what we think was missing/misleading, and what we decided was exceptional. What we expected: A beautiful, 7-day all inclusive cruise from Seattle, with stops in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria, BC aboard a beautiful, Grand class ship with all of the luxuries of a 5-star hotel, entertainment, food and beverages, ample time to stop in each port, and excursions that were "hand-picked" by the Princess Cruise Lines for the best value. What we got: Did our expectations get met? For the most part, but there were a few things that our Personal Cruise Consultant (PCC) promised and didn't/couldn't deliver, or that we weren't told about, or that we tried to research and missed that surprised and/or disappointed us. I'll start with what we asked for - but didn't get: We chose Princess because we could get married by the Captain - False - our PCC said Of Course you can get married on board - and we were even OK with the prices (although somewhat steep) because it was a once in a lifetime occasion (not really, 2nd and 3rd marriages for us). After booking, paying the full fare for the four of us (we took my wife's daughter and her husband with us) - we found out that we would never enter International Waters - so the Captain could not marry us officially (we could still have the $2000+ ceremony it just wouldn't be legal/official). We got around this by deciding to get married in the Court House in Ketchikan - that was SOOO simple - the Clerk of the Court (Misty) answered on the 2nd ring (no machines here), transferred us to the person who handles the ceremony (Debbie) and for $75 we had an appointment set and the license done. Next came flowers - PCC says just order them on the ship - Great idea - you just can't remove the flowers from the ship. This is where Passenger Services came to the rescue. We asked about a bouquet and a boutonniere - 6 roses + 1 rose. They quickly sent an email to the shore in Ketchikan, and within an hour had made arrangements for the flowers to be brought on board for us to pick up on our way off the ship. They called when they arrived, and when I went down to pick them up - the on-ship florist (Jason) had rushed them off to make them "more acceptable". When we received them - there were actually a dozen perfect red roses and the boutonniere - beautifully arranged and lightly spritzed with water to keep them fresh. Outstanding and Unexpected service. Security had been notified and we were able to walk off the ship with only a momentary stop at the gate. Apparently this was a huge deal also because many of the crew said Congratulations to us because they saw my wife with her flowers - this made us both feel very special on our wedding day. Now for the trip itself - Exceeding Expectations. Our plane arrived early at Sea-Tac and we used Seattle Town Car (http://www.waseattletowncar.com) to transfer and for 4 of us and our luggage it was $55. They were a few minutes late getting to us - but that was OK. He took us directly to Pier 91 ("accidentally" slipping to the front of the line) - and dropped us right at the curb-side service for our bags. (Note to self - bring tape or a stapler to attach your Luggage Tags). The line was long and snakey - but the Princess "line managers" keep everyone moving, filling in the empty spaces - downstairs - then we went up the escalator and did it all again for security. Still - 2600 passengers getting on moved pretty quickly - and the registration process was easy. Never felt rushed by the counter person either - she spent a couple of minutes explaining the ship - and the congratulations came from her for the first time. Our luggage beat us to the cabin which was nice and unexpected, so we unpacked quickly. The cabin's only downfall was that the varnish on the balcony railing had just been repainted so it was wet. A sign warned us but we of course didn't believe the sign and had to check for ourselves. We left a couple of shirt fuzzies and a hair or two adhered to the railing. It was wet until day 5 of the cruise (yes - we kept checking). We were in stateroom E-204 - our family in E-202. Herberto our cabin steward was living under the bed (we think) - he introduced himself and we had a request immediately - that we open the door connecting our two balconies. He obliged within minutes and we now had two rooms at our disposal. He was overly attentive - but subtly so - getting us ice and wine glasses (he saw that we had brought wine on board with us). He remembered that we had requested an extra towel (for my wife's long hair) and brought it each day. We asked that he leave our balcony slider open also since we enjoy cool air - and he did that also, and he always greeted us in the hallway by name, changing it to Mrs. after we were married. Our welcome aboard party put the Holland America ship to shame - they were next to us in port and when they pulled out we heard nothing... but when we pulled out of port there was a cheer and we knew the party had begun. I commented on how boring they were over there. The first night was a bit "swelly" on the ocean - so we got our sea legs quickly. Weather was great - mid-60's in every port with only a few drops of rain in the early AM. Because our balcony was covered and at the front of the ship - we could sit outside and enjoy all of the scenery as we floated by. They are located just above the Promenade deck so people can look in if they choose - many who walked by did. Even though the rooms are the cheapest balcony rooms on the ship - there are only 8 of them so we felt special. Add to that the nearly double size of balcony (2 full panels, a beam and the door wide instead of a single panel and a door - or less) - we could comfortably seat the four of us on the balcony, table in the middle with room to spare. Our only issue was with the door between the balconies - because it is either locked - or open - it swings during the normal course of moving the ship banging like tommyknockers on the outside of the ship. We remedied this with a folded up napkin jammed in the door closure. We personally could have done without the "daily sales pitches" - boutiques, jewelery, $20 watch sets and gold by the inch that took over the "shopping deck" as we called it. We didn't come on a cruise to buy jewelry or perfume - we came to enjoy what Alaska has to offer. That being said - Juneau was commercialized to the hilt - in fact we were told by our tour driver that the area we had docked on, and the shops lining the street on the left side didn't even exist until the cruise industry started moving in - giving credence to the fact that many of the shops are owned by the cruise lines themselves. We were told that many of the shops open for the 16 weeks of the "season", then pack up and move - employees and all - to the Caribbean for that season. Seeing the same shops in every port (International Jewelers, Del Sol, Effy, etc.) only added to the commercialization of the towns and to us added no real value. In Juneau - we took two tours - both were enjoyable and recommended. The gold panning tour (JNU-350) was to a REAL river - and besides the gold that is seeded in your first pan - we found several other flakes of gold in the river bed itself. We all wished we had more time there - and Randy was a wealth of useful history and information about the city. Our other tour was of the Rainforest Gardens and Mendenhall Glacier (JNU-330) - an amazing sight for all to see. The Garden trip reminded us of a scene from Jurassic Park with winding canopy covered roads - all that was missing was the dinosaurs. There was some fascinating history taught also and our driver provided us even more information about Juneau. Recommend both tours. Other reviews talked about the problems getting on and off the ship - we never experienced any issues - waiting only minutes to embark or disembark the ship in each port. Maybe we were just lucky. Skagway we found out is actually a National Park - wholly subsidized by the town of Skagway. (http://www.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/75skagway/75skagway.htm) Since it is a working city and a historical place I asked if it had a government - and it does. According to our tour guide (from the Adventure Park and Zipline tour SGY-400) they are worse than any other governing body because they have to stay in guidelines laid out by the Natl. Park Service - the Chamber of Commerce is the Government and there is a lot of in-fighting. There are only 3 liquor licenses available in the town so they are a hefty price and hard to obtain. Needless to say those three stores are quite busy. (By contrast - Ketchikan has 20 liquor stores and 30 churches). There was a strange lack of eateries in the town - and if you can get a permit to open somewhere that sells hot dogs and ice cream you would do very well. I highly recommend the Zipline tour here - the guides were highly trained - safety conscious and well traveled. The company that operates this tour is the largest of it's kind in the world - also in Panama, Costa Rica, Tibet and other countries. They were fun to learn from - and made our experience great. Our other tour to Gold Panning, Sled Dogs and 40 Degree Below (SGY-365) was a bunch of hooey with the best part being a 45 minute slide show and interactive Dog Sled presentation. We met some of the Iditerod dogs and learned about how they are treated - fascinating stuff - and not at all what we expected. See that part if you can - but the rest is just a show - gold panning with 1 pan of dirt (additional pans are $10), and we got to go in a freezer at -40F - there was a chair made from cookie sheets of ice and a frozen banana that the Mushers use to hammer in nails (that is really frozen solid). Not worth the $80 each - and our tour bus driver had nothing to say. (Note: we did this because a member of our party does not have a passport - required for many of the tours in Skagway) Cruising through Glacier Bay was absolutely breath-taking. Seeing and hearing the glaciers calfing up close was a part of this trip that we were all truly looking forward to - and we got our monies worth. Cudos to the Captain for being able to maneuver a 941 foot ship so gracefully within the confines of the glacier walls, taking us to what seemed to be touching distance from the walls of ice. Also the on-board Naturalist and National Park Service rangers who narrated the trip into and out of the Bay were very knowledgeable and added to the experience. In Ketchikan we were married - and that for us was a highlight of the trip. We got to put a face to the name Debbie and she was fantastic. We had to go through security at the Court House, but only because there was a Grand Jury meeting that day. She said that she Loves weddings - and the District Attorney Congratulated us also - commenting that weddings are the best thing that happen in a Court House along with adoptions. After that experience - we walked to Creek Street and saw seals playing in the stream. We also saw the start of the Married Man Trail which seems to go nowhere in particular according to the map - but since Creek Street was lined with brothels in its younger days - maybe it started nowhere and ended in the town - or was the trail around the brothels - either way it was very pretty. We also saw how Princess takes care of its cruisers when a tour bus nearly ran over a gentleman in a wheelchair. He was trapped between the curb and the side of the bus (which was on the curb) when about 20 people started banging on the side of the bus and another man jumped in front of the bus to stop it from moving. In seconds - the representative from the tour company, a Princess rep. and the Police were there making sure he was OK. Fortunately he, his wife and his chair were, but the bus driver was reprimanded on the spot and another person took over her driving position. Since we had been with him on an earlier tour we stayed to make sure all was good and were confident that he and his wife were being taken care of by the Princess personnel. Victoria was nice - we actually didn't wait in the long lines for taxis or buses to take us downtown - instead we just wandered to the Fisherman's Wharf - marveled at the "off shore" housing - actually floating homes in a pier. It was quite an interesting sight. Then we wandered back. The touristy shop at the pier was filled with touristy stuff - we just walked through and out the other side. Disembarking was smooth... we wish we had known the procedure before deciding how we were going to plan our time though. We got the "disembarking information" sheet on Day 2 of the cruise. I understand the need to plan - but we had no idea that saying we wanted to be in the last group to get off with independent arrangements meant that we had be out of our room by 8 AM - then sit around and wait until 9:45 until we could leave the ship. In the future - we will know. What we thought was missing - or misleading: First - All-inclusive doesn't mean all-inclusive - it means that basic necessities are included. If you choose to have soda - it's not included (soda card is $36 when you add the obligatory gratuity). If you want REAL coffee (not syrup as we were told at the International Cafe) - it's not included (Coffee Card is $27 w/gratuity). If you want wine by the glass - it's reasonable - but add on an extra $1 for gratuity, and the tax and it makes it more expensive. Everything you consume that you pay for has a gratuity added automatically. Don't Tip more unless you find the service extraordinary. Current gratuity is $11.50/person/day and $12/per/day for Suites. If you break it down for all of your services, room service, food, cleaning etc - it is a fair price - just don't think that includes Wine service at Vines - or a Martini at the Martini Bar - they add on additional gratuity there. If you want to go the the Exclusive Ships Tour - it's $150 each - and it is a lottery that you have to enter. They take 12 people only on the tour and it is luck of the draw. We had 60 people signed up for the lottery and if the four of us had signed up - 1, 2, 3 or all 4 of us might have had the chance to go. We decided not to try. The Lotus Spa is expensive - and the Sanctuary has an hourly - or Daily fee. We knew about the Spa - but not the charge for the Sanctuary. Internet access is $60 for 120 minutes. Wait til you are in port then look for free Wi-Fi at the shore side shops. McDonalds in Juneau is 4 miles away so it isn't practical - but we had both Sprint and T-mobile access there. Skagway had no internet or solid phone service (roaming for both) and Ketchikan was the same - but the McDonalds in Ketchikan is just under the tunnel - it is free. Talk to the waiters in the restaurant - they will tell you about special stuff - like French Onion Soup in the dining room available every night. Also - we learned that you can order as much of anything you would like - the waiters are happy to oblige. Not a night went by that I didn't enjoy Fettuccine Alfredo and Ceasar Salad both from the appetizer menu, and two main courses were usually ordered also (Lobster and Prawns with Beef Wellington on formal night 2). I suggest the you order the Prime Rib End Cut for the best tasting meat in the formal dining rooms. Save room for dessert. We decided that the evening buffet is basically the same food as in the dining rooms (almost) but served in bulk and with less care to the quality. Ice Cream at Scoops is free - but only cones are available. If you want a milk shake - add $2.50 to your bill. The "American" food - Hot Dogs and Hamburgers filled the bill a couple of times on the trip - and the Pizza was quite outstanding. We asked if a whole pizza could be made and the chef was happy to oblige. Between the Hamburgers and the Pizza is a bar - I re-iterate that drinks are not included - except water, coffee (the syrupy one), Hot and Iced Tea. Take advantage of the Continental Breakfast each and every day. The staff is accommodating and delivery was within 10 minutes of the request time every day. If you want a chocolate croissant - just ask for it, green tea - just ask - fresh fruit on the ship was really fresh - another unexpected treat. As for the breakfast buffet - they have some pretty good stuff - the french toast and eggs Benedict were favorites - the scrambled eggs were very good considering they are making about 75 eggs at a time. Bacon is a staple also - and was often the target of some people who apparently forgot they were not the only ones on the ship (I think that 50 pieces at a time is a little excessive - I can only eat about 15 or so). On the night before disembarking we decided to use room service (included). Although they were busy they were very gracious, and our food had the care given to it that was in line with the breakfast delivery. It was hot and delivered quickly. One more thing - if you have a cell phone - remember to put it in Airplane Mode - the ship has a wireless system onboard and you will be linked automatically as International - that meant that an average text message would cost me $0.40 - and phone service was $2.95 per minute plus the ship charges. Wait until you are in port if you want to save those fees. Overall this was an exceptional cruise. We learned the hard way what we need to know next time. Get the BE/BF Balcony room if possible - they are cheaper and had bigger balconies. Put a towel over the glass in front if you don't want looky-loos. We actually made a sign that said the scenery is the other direction - it seemed to help. Oh - the ugly shower - it seems that E-202 didn't get the new pretty shower insert in the lovely cream color - theirs was a green color - but it matched the old flooring in the bathroom! Be prepared for the "extra" charges - Coffee Card, Soda Card, additional gratuities above the $11.50 each per day. Ask lots of questions - and ask multiple people. You may get different answers (like the flowers) but ultimately you will get the right one. Share the cards and enjoy the benefits. I know - that is why they are priced so high in the first place... but seriously Coke is $.03/8oz and coffee is $.05/8oz - sell a reusable cup for each and let it be filled eternally for $8.00 - put a different sticker on it so it doesn't get passed from cruise to cruise. We would definitely sail with Princess Cruises again - especially since we know what we are doing on the ship. Thanks to Princess for a memorable vacation and honeymoon. (Apologies for the long dissertation - I hope it wasn't boring) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Hi, my husband and I are both in our low 30's and upper 20's respectively and are teachers. My husbands school/afterschool schedule keeps him so busy, we rarely get to vacation together so this was a first since our honeymoon.I ... Read More
Hi, my husband and I are both in our low 30's and upper 20's respectively and are teachers. My husbands school/afterschool schedule keeps him so busy, we rarely get to vacation together so this was a first since our honeymoon.I had originally planned to just copy and paste my travel journal into this space, but then as I was re-reading it I decided that you all dont REALLY want to read about when I sat on the promenade, when and what I ate, and how many times I actually napped... Besides, that document was six pages long!! Yikes, I guess I was a little long winded about my naps... :)I first sailed with Princess on October 31, 2010 on the Ruby--Eastern Caribbean. Although we missed Grand Turk due to Hurricane Tomas (thats another story for another day) I came home INSISTING that Jim (DH) and I had to go on a cruise together. And so, as it is my role/duty/obligation as the wife and woman in his life, the pestering began.... Once booked I was ecstatic and begin reading up on the excursions and booked us on the Pirate Ship Encounter for Grand Cayman, a hike for Roatan, Coba Ruins for Cozumel and snorkelling for Princess Cays. Each week as we got closer to the cruise Jim decided he didnt want to do the Pirate Ship, all the excursions (save my hike) and quietly (ha) kept my disappointment to myself! ;)Okay... back to the stuff that matters... Due to the SKYROCKETING airfare prices and poor selection in times offered through sites such as expedia etc, we booked our airfare through Princess. I was pleasantly surprised that their fares were equivalent, if not a hair cheaper, than what was offered through online sources. Jim, the constant worry wart, was thrilled that princess would get us to the next port if something were to happen to our flight.Upon arrival at Fort Lauderdale on Saturday morning we were greeted by uniformed Princess reps who were there to direct us to the bus which would take us to the ship. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard decided to do an inspection on the ship which "apparently" held up our ability to get on the bus... As the delay continued for over an hour the reps became more and more irritable....When we were finally transferred to the cruise port, we waited in line outside for no more than five minutes and inside we waited for no more than two minutes before being issued our cards and directed towards the gangways. I keep reminding myself I need to be brief...Ship:The ship was beautiful, much like the Ruby, our room was great and our luggage arrived about an hour or two after we boarded. (2-3 pm) We did have a minor issue with our safe not working (after our things were in it) but both times when we called the front desk someone was there to fix it and after the second attempt, all was well.People:We met up with other cruise critic folks (desiro, shawley23, mysticfalcon, and vtlibrarian to name a few) at the Outrigger for sail away and had a marvelous time. In fact, several of us kept running into eachother on the ship and ended up spending quite a bit of time together which was great. Excursions: We ended up taking a cab to 7 mile beach (thanks to Adam, DH of desiro, for the suggestion) first thing in the morning. It cost each of us $5 US and we were able to do as we pleased. After about two hours we started to walk back to the ship...i do not recommend this to ANYONE.... again, another story for another day.We missed Roatan due to high winds so I missed my hike...At Cozumel we had cancelled our Coba Ruins excursion and were waitlisted for Playa Maya Beach Break with Lunch... At the last minute my husband checked with the shore excursion desk and switched us to the Pasion Island Beach with Lunch. Apparently this is the beach where the Corona commercials are filmed... either way it was a fabulous day. Soft sandy beaches, ergonomic lounges perfectly situated underneath some palm trees, and all the food and drink one could want. After the excursion we enjoyed some more drinks with a few other couples from the cruise at Fat Tuesdays... got ourselves some really remarkable balloon hats and headed back to the ship.At Princess Cay, we were able to hang out with a Belgian couple from our section at dinner; Kirby and I on the beach and Sijn and Jim in the water. Dining:Our waiter had to be the fastest most efficient man on the boat. He literally ran from the galley with our food, hardly allowing the junior waiter to do anything but pour water and wine. The food was wonderful, as always, I am quite impressed with the quality and quantity those galleys are able to turn out on a daily basis. Most days Jim and I ate our breakfast in the Piazza, breakfast sandwiches and yogurt from the international cafe. However, we did get buffet breakfast once or twice and enjoyed that out at the Terrace Pool. The Pub lunch at the Wheelhouse Bar was good as was the lunch offered in the dining room.Disembarkation:We were held up with disembarkation, I am guessing it was to keep the customs lines from getting more ridiculous than they already were... but after an additionally half hour or so in the Casino, we were allowed to disembark.Okay so I hope this isnt ridiculously long and I hope I havent forgotten to talk about anything major... but please feel free to leave questions! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We booked in December to go on a Caribbean cruise with sea princess in January. We have cruised before with M.S.C, Celebrity and years ago with a cheaper tour operator around the Med. I would consider us to be very well travelled and ... Read More
We booked in December to go on a Caribbean cruise with sea princess in January. We have cruised before with M.S.C, Celebrity and years ago with a cheaper tour operator around the Med. I would consider us to be very well travelled and have spent time in Europe, Africa and an extensive time in the far east as well as the Caribbean. I was looking forward to the cruise as we had had a hectic time at home and were ready for a break. We flew with first choice and I was disappointed to see that it was this plane as we had had 2 horrendous flights with them in the past. The flight was excellent and cannot fault the crew or service. We arrived in Barbados to a swift transfer to the pier. We boarded swiftly and was soon in our cabin.It was an inside cabin all that I could get when we booked. I was on first examination a little disappointed I find that after that journey anyway it does not take long to be disappointed. The cruise just went better and better. Highlights for us were: Chefs table: please don't miss out on this for $75 each it is amazing value with the finest of food wines and service and a real insight into the working of the food preparation and feeling like you have been waited on like royalty. Movies under the stars: we loved this as something different. Wine: we spent a lot on wine on the ship our bar bill was of magnificent proportions but we were allowed and did bring wine on from every port. Coffee: word if warning if you like coffee bring a jar of your own as we did the coffee on board is awful. We wish there were tea and coffee making facilities in the room and lots of others felt this way too. The photos on ship are a really steep price if they lowered the price of these they would sell much more. We enjoyed any time ding and played Russian roulette with our dining companions sometimes a hoot and others losing the will to live but the latter less so. We are not keen on Tabago or Grenada and Jamacia means running the gauntlet through the throngs of tour sellers and the like. Aruba for diamond I was lucky that my husband treat me to a superb diamond ring here. On returning to the UK I have had it valued at double the price. Best cruise and in fact in the running for the best holiday ever. Would we cruise Princess again that would be a no hesitation yes. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
We arrived in FLL airport on November 14th at 1130AM, and were at the port by 12PM. Easy and smooth embarkation. We were given orange "number 1" cards and grabbed a seat near the entryway to paradise (in reality, an oversized ... Read More
We arrived in FLL airport on November 14th at 1130AM, and were at the port by 12PM. Easy and smooth embarkation. We were given orange "number 1" cards and grabbed a seat near the entryway to paradise (in reality, an oversized cubicle wall that would give Dilbert heart failure, which separated us from the convention style desks marked with deck designations). After a 40 minute wait, our "number 1" cards were called and we cavorted through the cubicle. After a quick processing and interrogation by Helga the Terrible (check in)we were in our cabin by 1 PM. In all seriousness, the embarkation staff were wonderful. We called the dine line immediately at 1 PM to get a spot at the Holy Grail of all princess cruises, the Chef's Table. A nice fellow named Icky (yes, that was the name he gave me) took our information and lack of allergy needs, and told us we would hear from his office about whether we would be attending the event. I felt like we were aspiring Hollywood actors, and Icky the agent had just told us "Don't call us, we'll call you." Since I had called by 1 PM, I thought we had the part. That'll teach me to be so smug, but later on that one. Oh yes, I also had Icky book us at the Crown Grill and Sabatini's, per the advice of my well travelled CC peers. Apparently, those shows were hard up for even bad actors, as we got in at both without issue. Armed with special knowledge from the CC boards, my DW and I marched to the Pursurs desk to ask which dining room was open for lunch. We were told that they were all closed. Hand to the side of my face, I confided in the Princess Rep that we had special knowledge that one DR was indeed open, all she had to do was tell us which one, and we wouldn't let the secret out. She again said none were open. Fine then. I collected myself and decided to investigate this one on my own, DW shaking her head sadly behind me. The first DR we came upon was the DaVinci, and low and behold, staff was in there and pax were seated at tables! I marched in triumpant and asked to be seated. "Sorry sir, we are closed," was the reply. How could this be, my inside info was wrong! "Sir, we closed at 2:30, it is now 2:45." Yes, I was so secure in my knowledge that I forgot to think "lunch" had an expiration time. I guess that's when "dinner" starts. Oh well, off to the buffet and a shrimp fest that would make Red Lobster blush. The next heavy lifting activity was the Muster Drill. I was confident in the knowledge that I could handle a life jacket, and quite certain the proper direction to abandon ship was down, so I wanted to skip this one. I had read on CC that the crew hadn't gotten the card scanning thing down at the muster stations, so I could get away with it. My DW, however, pointed out that the Muster flyer said this was REQUIRED BY LAW, so my logic was a bit flawed. Of course, I took a stand on this one, as all husbands must......You know what, they DO scan cards now. I realized this as we entered our muster stations during the drill. Did you know that a human female can speak the words "I told you so" with just a glance? Sailaway was breathtaking. We found the CC secret spot above the bridge. Just as we arrived at the first door from the Lido deck to this spot, DW said "I don't think we are meant to go through here." I confidently opened it and looked down a short, dismal hallway to another nondescript door. She KNEW we shouldn't go through that one. I did anyway and we were there! Best view on all sides, high above the ship, spectacular. And for the first time on this cruise, I was actually right! I tried to bask even slightly in my glory, because it might be my only chance. We passed the Allure of the Seas on the way out, and that ship is huge. I managed to get some great camera shots of the Allure, setting sun, and planes taking off from FLL above. Ah, the sights and sounds of sailaway, and the anticipation of a great week at sea. I won't forget it, at least not until we take our next cruise. Dinner that evening was to be our first taste of specialty dining, the Crown Grill. We had reservations at 6 PM and arrived 10 minutes early, so we opened the front door and walked right in. Ooops. The place looked deserted, with maybe one chef in the back and no one at the podium up front. That prompted me to keep walking in further. I realized after a bit that I was now alone, as DW had stayed cautiously by the front door, perhaps sensing impending danger or outright doom. From out of the elegant, dimly lit atmosphere, or shadows, came a huge fellow with a Russian accent, who told me they were closed, sir. As a brave American who weathered the might of the cold war, I naturally retreated, gathered my DW, and waited outside. Fashionably early at the Crown Grill is not a good thing, tovarish. When we entered properly after 6, our maitre d', whose name escapes me but whose size never will, cheerfully showed us to our table. He didn't look as imposing when armed with a smile, better lighting and the fact that they were now actually open. Our server was a dynamo named Nestor. He exuded friendliness and let us know right away we could have whatever dining experience we wished, whether slow and savory or fast, like "Speedy Gonzalez". This caused me to picture Nestor as a rodent in white peasant garb and a big sombrero for the rest of the night. He probably still wonders why I had to suppress a giggle every time he walked by. Other than the long ears and whiskers, he was a truly fine server. We ordered cobinations of different appetizers and entres, and he never said no. We even ordered six extra lobster tails (which I guessed would get us a Speedy kick right out the door) and he said "right away." Nestor was top notch, as was the food at the Crown. I had the scallops and foe gras appetizer (that's leeeever, i theeenk), and loved it. DW had the filet, and it was cooked to perfection. The lobster tails were incredible...we cut them with a fork! Dessert had to be sent to the room for later. After dinner, we explored the ship a bit. I confirmed that the Ruby is exactly like the Crown (we sailed the Crown last November), with some minor exceptions, such as the location of the excursions desk. I then decided that it was my time to start divesting the Ruby of its money by way of the casino. Since I am an expert blackjack player, this was to be an easy process. Unfortunately, someone before me had taught the Ruby's dealers how to play, and play well. So well that I was not going to be anything but broke if I kept this up. Exit stage left. We played cards with my in-laws later that evening, and I watched the lights of passing ships out on the balcony. A very peaceful end to the first day onboard. Yes, I said peaceful and in-laws in the same paragraph, we actually do get along very well. Day two was a stop at Princess Cays. We planned to tender over later, let the crwods beat us, in effect. I ventured out at 8 AM for my daily walk. Since I had lost a bit of weight (truth be told, the Michelin Man had nothing on me until recently, when I could finally be considered in the "normal" body mass range), I was determined to complete my very own "cruise marathon", or 26.2 miles of walking during the cruise. I had heard on CC that the Promenade deck of the Ruby was a 1/3 mile walk on level ground, so three laps were a mile. This was almost true. I noticed that tape had been placed on the outer edge of the deck, marking every 10 meters. As I walked along, I looked down carefully at the markings to figure out the length of a lap. Suddenly, my foot, followed by my body, bumped into a set of steps which had no business being on a flat deck. Apparently, the forward section of the Promenade deck is actually the Emerald deck, separated by about 20 steps up, then down. My marathon would now be a mara and stair climber thon. The deck ended up being 610 meters, slightly more than 1/3 mile, for those of you who could use this info. I thought I might be the only person up this early. However, about a dozen people had joined me on my walk. It was interesting. I speed walked, which meant I passed other walkers. Some folks ran, which meant they passed me. Other runners and walkers were going the other way. Even worse, the deck became a one lane road at the stern. The whole scene resembled a demented Autobahn full of drunk or Sunday drivers in the wrong lanes. "Excuse me" turned to "on your right" and quickly became "ouch!" Note to self: get up earlier tomorrow. By the time I returned to the room, DW was ready to eat, and didn't even comment on the musty smell accompanying her to breakfast. We tried the Horizon Court buffet, and it was a winner. We ate breakfast there every day. An omelette station was hidden next to the scrambled eggs, and the sky was the limit. They even offered Egg Beaters. I'd like to think the veggie/egg beaters omelette balanced the bacon very well, but I could be kidding myself. The tender to Princess Cays was a breeze. We sat in the Michaelangelo dining room for about 5 minutes, then off we went. Princess Cays (PC, for short, although some of the bathing suits I saw were anything but PC) was fantastic. Nice sandy beaches, but the water was surprisingly cold for the tropics. The cookout was delicious. Plenty to choose from, even for dieters like me. I had a salad and grilled chicken, and it was delicious. Very fresh fruit was served near the picnic area. After a quick tender back to the Ruby, we ate dinner at the DaVinci DR. We had assigned dining at 5:30 PM, which was a newer concept. I had read complaints on CC about anytime diners being put out by this, since DaVinci was previously anytime only. I can understand this. When we walked in, we were asked if we had a table and were shown in right away. Others waited in line outside, as they had anytime dining. I can see why this would ruin the anytime experience, and I would not opt for anytime until they fix this. We met out servers, Lorentz and Suppon. Both were fabulous, and catered to anything we asked. Iceberg lettuce wedge as a salad? No problem. Balsamic dressing? Sure. More than one appetizer? Absolutely. Can you make my food spicy? Huh? What? But you are from the U.S.! We aren't used to that one. They passed the baton to Filipe, our head waiter. Within a few minutes, he had the chefs dice up some jalapeno peppers, which I sprinkled on my food. Tasty, but not hot enough. Felipe promised to call in the troops and be ready for me the next night with the big guns, the Indian and Thai chefs. I'm not so sure I like this. Day three began earlier, at 6:45 AM. As I tried to go out the doors to the Promenade, I noticed they were taped off. They apparently clean the decks until 7. Great. I could just see myself slipping on a wet deck and becoming either a railing ornament or a fishing lure. No need to worry though, they dry the decks too. The walk was easier today, since I had beaten the walker's rush hour. The winds at the bow were brutal. I felt like the guy sitting in an easy chair in front of the stereo in that older commercial, with everything blowing off of me as I walked forward. After I turned the corner at the bow, the tail wind doubled my speed and practically threw me down the steps. Exercise, meet the X games. Since today was a sea day, it would be total relaxation. DW spent a good portion of the day laying out at the pool, while I was layed out flat by the dealers in the casino. At 2 PM, we went up the Skywalkers for our CC role call "meet and greet" event. We were a bit nervous, since I had only "met" any of these people on the CC bulletin boards, and I really hadn't posted much to our role call. Everyone on there semmed to have cruised together before or been friends since birth, as inside jokes or perhaps cult codes were often passed back and forth on the roll call. Not to worry, they were just really nice people who had a lot more cruise experience than we did. Conversation flowed and I understood it all, including the jokes. Not one cup of kool aid was passed either. Just as the atmosphere started to get festive, the wedding party shows up. Ummmmm, we do intend to renew ours vows eventually, but no one told us to dress up and we just can't afford to rent these people! But they wouldn't leave. Apparently, Princess had double booked the room, and the wedding party had security with them, so they won. We were sent off before anyone could even schedule another room or suggest another day to meet. Great people on our roll call, luckily none of them named Jones. Just before dinner, we received notice that, to the great regret of Princess, the roles of leading man and lady would be given to ten other passengers. We missed the Chef's Table for tomorrow night. No white coats, free books, free flowing wine, stellar food, or behind the scenes looks at the kitchen. We tried to beg our way in with the maitre d', Generoso who despite his name, could not be generous. He did try, and even went to our table personally to apologize. Fine, I will exact payment in the form of spicy food. Formal night dinner started with a visit from our head waiter. Felipe was grinning ear to ear, mumbling something about Thai spice powder. I was presented with a shrimp dish in a tomato based sauce, with lots of suspicious looking little seeds. Felipe couldn't tell me what it was, just that it was HOT. It was indeed delicious, but still not spicy enough. Wednesday began bright and early, after the cleaning crews quit for the day. It was amazing to walk the decks and watch as we approached the island of St. Martin, entered the harbor and docked. Thw whole docking process on such a huge ship amazes me, as I grew up around smaller boats. Same concept, just on a massive scale. St. Martin is a split island. We had docked on the Dutch side. I understand the French side is rich in culture, french cooking and fine architecture. It was also a $38 cab ride, so we stuck with the Dutch side. Lots of nice shops, a McDonald's (so there is grest food on the Dutch side too!), and an adorable little town hall. We passed a bar called the "Blue B*tch" (add an "i" for the *). It made for a good picture, but I wasn't going in there. The casino on the island had relatives dealing on the Ruby, so they knew me. Bad idea there. Dinner that night was a shrimp and scallop concoction that was spicy, just not quite there yet. Felipe left unhappy, but determined. I mentioned habanero or ghost peppers, but they had none on board and had no pepper dealers in the islands. The fine cast of the Chef's Table walked right by us, white coats on display, on their way to the kitchen and culinary nirvanna. May your Dramamine patches fall off in rough seas, grrrrrrrr. Thursday was St. Thomas, where my in-law's family jeweler was to meet us at the dock and drive us to his shop and then to lunch. Now, if you are wondering why my in-laws have a jeweler, I'm right there with you. This did not bode well for me. The island is great for shopping, with two cruise docks about five miles apart, both full of every shop you can imagine. DW did well. The blackjack dealers on the ship were kinder to me than this island was. I did get some spicy Chinese food out of the deal, though. Friday brought a new island, Grand Turk. We debarked (pulled the skin off of a tree?) quickly, since we had a snorkelling excursion planned. Reef and Ray, oh my. It sounded fabulous. At the reef, I had to be the first off the boat. That was when I felt the current pulling at me. DW joined me and we both swam around, marvelling at the sea life on the reef. Then I met the reef up close and personal. I felt my flipper hit something, then turned around and was up to my neck in coral. My left forearm and right leg were on fire. I managed to warn DW in time and extricate myself, but the damage was done. My arm was red and swollen, with little bumps on it like I was in a cold climate. I thought, "this is pretty cool" and kept swimming around. Apparently, the strong current had tossed me into a higher reef that was just at the water's surface. When we were called back to the boat, the current slammed DW into the ladder as well. I was sitting on the boat bench a bit later, when another passenger said, "hey, your leg is bleeding!" I looked down and my leg was bloody from the calf down due to two cuts from the coral. Cool again. Good thing there weren't any sharks in the area. Well, the crew had me fill out a thorough incident report, and seemed really worried. I suppose other might try to take advantage of such a situation, but accidents happen. The "ray" stop consisted of one sting ray held by the crew and shown to passengers. I think they took it there by leash in its own tank. One of them slipped up and called it Fido. The trip could have been better without that nasty current, but c'est la vie. I wouldn't take this excursion again, but would instead follow the advice of other CC members and book ahead via the web. After the bloody snorkel and ray, Grand Turk got better. The dock there is obviously brand new, as are the shops. Ron Jons Surf Shop is there, so T shirts had to be purchased. I had to get a shirt from Margaritaville as well, since it was this very song that got me tossed out of the Princess Pop Stars competition. Yes, I found my lost shaker of salt. Since we had a reservation at the Crown tomorrow, tonight was Felipe's last shot at me. He did well, as his last dish had me sweating just enough to declare it spicy to my tastes. Not the hottest I've ever eaten, but don't tell him that! Felipe was by far the crew member who went out of his way for us (well, me) most. He took me on as a personal challenge, and succeeded in his mission with what he had on hand. Bravo Felipe! Saturday was a sea day, which gave me one final shot at redemption in the casino. While DW fried her body at the pool, this lilly white boy sat in the casino for a few hours, bound and determined to go broke or at least take back what I had given them for 6 days. After a hard (and fun) fight, I managed to end up slightly ahead for the cruise, which is a win for me. After a nice tip to the dealer, I walked out with a big smile, never to return (for this cruise). Dinner that night was at the Crown, where Speedy worked his magic yet again. Great food at the Crown. Service at the DR's is top notch, and they go the extra mile for you, but the best food and food quality is at the Crown, hands down. It helps to be served by a fast mouse, too. Sunday came too quickly. The first thing I noticed was an attitude change in the crew. These nice, wonderful friendly people were getting moody. It must have been that time of the....week? My guess is that turnaround day is so hectic that it brings out the worst in people, and they don't have to see me tomorrow, so why bother so much? Understandable, logical, but fun to observe. Debarkation was hectic for us, as the purser's desk made a bit of an error. This can easily happen, but it sure seemed like they wanted us to miss our flight and stay with them. I'd be fine with that, but my relatives only offered to babysit for ONE week. They sent us to the wrong room to debark, so we ended up leaving the ship an hour later. We did make our flight, so they failed in their attempt to keep us. However, it was frustrating. All in all, this was a dream vacation for us. Princess was the right choice and did a fine job, with just a few understandable exceptions. Did any of the issues really matter in the big picture? Not at all. Can Princess make up for it by sending a chef, some wine, a couple of white coats and a cookbook to our house right away? Yes. So, if Princess thinks I will ever cruise with them again, they would be correct. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
But once they fixed the engine the vacation was great. Excellent food, didn't bother going to the dining room since they always featured the specials in the buffet too, loved the prime rib, beef wellington and all the ethnic food ... Read More
But once they fixed the engine the vacation was great. Excellent food, didn't bother going to the dining room since they always featured the specials in the buffet too, loved the prime rib, beef wellington and all the ethnic food themes. Excellent breakfasts, lunches were broken up by a good pub lunch in the wheelhouse pub on a sea day, pizza that I'm still craving terribly, and pretty decent cheeseburgers and grilled chicken sandwiches at the grill. Also loved going to the international cafe for lighter fare like chicken salad, sandwiches soups, greek salad and some of the best chocolate deserts I've had. My husband got a soda card, but I was pretty happy with iced tea, lemonade, and orange juice for breakfast. I liked the ethnic themes for food at night. Really made it varied. Fresh fruit and vegetables were always available. Thought I would be going to the movies under the stars at night alot but ended up watching a lot of the movies on the big screen during the day, often in the pool. Liked watching Mama mia while I kind of did water aerobics in the pool. being a bit geeky my husband and I enjoyed watch Star Trek one late afternoon as well. Watched lots of movies in the cabin too. Really liked the romance channel and the old movies. Didn't care too much for the shows, although they had talented dancers and singers, liked those better on Carnival. What we did really enjoy though were the comics. Very definately recommend those particularly the Michael guy who does comedy/magic. He was hilarious. Show just got funnier and funnier as it went on. Not for kids though. Don't know why parents would bring little ones when it clearly stated pg 13. I also enjoyed the parties at various locations where they would teach you group dances and have various contests. I especially liked the aloha party around the pool, that was fun. highly recommend you try one of these. Enjoyed how deep the neptune pool was while I watched movies on the big screen and loved the swim against the current pool adult only pool in the lotus spa. Spent some of our compensation money we got for that one bad night on massages. Too pricey, but I liked the sampler ones. St. John was definately worth taking a ferry over to. It was pretty easy to get to. Just took a taxi to red hook in St. Thomas, got on the ferry for twenty minutes, it comes every hour, then took a jitney once we were there to trunk bay. Very beautiful, nice snorkelling and decent snack food. Love St. John, so beautiful, want to go back there for a week sometime for sure. Its really easy to get to on your own, I felt sorry for the people on tours who only had like fourty minutes over there. We stayed three hours, just have to watch your times and get there early in the morning before the crowds. St. Martin was okay, orient beach had nice powdery sand, but didn't hold a candle to St. John. Some interesting shopping if you went back a street or two on the dutch side from front street. Don't try and walk back to the cruise dock. I about killed my husband getting me to, its way further than it looks. I thought I would have heat exhaustion. Turks and Caicos was okay. Wish you could get to Providenciales since it has the great beaches. This beach was rocky and kind of slimy on the bottem, although pretty and the water was clear. Might enjoy it more with a float. Nice bar, very good bartenders but otherwise not much there. I like how organized Princess is on most things, even fixing the engine. Much better at food, disenbarkation and getting on the ship than carnival or Royal carribean. Not too good of shows, but absolutely loved the comics. Had a great trip in spite of rocky start. Staff were very sweet but sometimes had to get up to get wait staff attention at buffets. Except at dinners when they were very attentive. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
Background first. Married 25 years, this was our anniversary cruise. Both of us have cruised Carnival before and DD and I did Alaska in 2003 on Star Princess, so I knew a little about Princess but DH did not. We stayed in FLL one night, ... Read More
Background first. Married 25 years, this was our anniversary cruise. Both of us have cruised Carnival before and DD and I did Alaska in 2003 on Star Princess, so I knew a little about Princess but DH did not. We stayed in FLL one night, pre-cruise, at the Dania Beach Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites. Nice hotel, very clean. Great staff. Free parking in their well lit lot. We caught the shuttle from the hotel to the port in the morning. The round trip shuttle is $41 per couple, paid in cash. The shuttle company did not take credit cards. The shuttle driver loaded our bags into the trailer and off we went. There were quite a few Celebrity hotel guests on the shuttle and we dropped them off then stopped at the Princess port. Arrived at the port around 11:30 and got in line. We were in group #8. Once they opened the ship for boarding, we were moving quite nicely. We were in our cabin no later than 12:15. Dropped our bags and checked out the dining room menu. No one tried to chase us away from the DR, in fact we were invited in. We chose to check out the buffet and other options instead. Grabbed some pizza and burgers and a table on the Lido deck and watched the rest of our fellow passengers embark. Wandered around the ship for a little while, got our coffee card then headed back to our cabin and met our steward, Chutipol. Chuti for short. He was fantastic. He had our names memorized by the next morning and kept our room neat and clean. Our luggage was in our room by 3 and I put everything away while a typically nasty Florida summer afternoon thunderstorm raged outside. The weather cleared by the time we had our muster drill, which was quick. The audio kept cutting in and out on usat the muster meeting place, which became annoying, but it was over and done with and time for our sailway meet and greet. We met shipee and Pennrod and bocaraton at the Outriggers Bar on deck 16...Hi all !!! The Celebrity ship pulled out ahead of us then off we went! We did dinner in the dining room on the first night, no lines or waiting in the Michelangelo DR but there was a wait in the DaVinci DR, and the prime rib was very good. The cream of mushroom soup was also very good, and it showed up in the buffet later in the week. Bonus for me!! For dessert, DH got the sugar puff clouds in vanilla sauce....oh they were good. I got the flourless chocolate cake, then dipped it in his leftover vanilla sauce....yummy! Monday was Princess Cay. We stayed on the ship, hitting all 4 pools, until around 2 then decided to head over to the island to check it out. We've been to Half Moon Cay (Carnival's private island) and I can honestly say I prefer HMC to Princess Cay by a large margin. I did like the sidewalk/walkway that Princess Cay had over walking thru the sand at HMC, but that was about all I preferred. The beach was not nearly as nice as HMC, and it just seemed more crowded. We also encountered some less than friendly workers here. Maybe it was because it was hot and muggy and almost time to go back to the ship, but one lady was really snippy about showing our cruise card to leave the Princess side and go to the vendors outside the gate. The funny part was the fact that she didn't even ask to see the cards when we came back in to the area. Oh well....not everyone is on vacation! We ate dinner in the buffet tonight as the DR menu didn't really grab our attention. There were alot of sunburned cruisers on the ship that night. Tuesday was our first day at sea and first formal night. We just bummed around the ship and went to the adult pools as the kids had taken over the main pools. There were about 800 kids on board but they seemed fairly well behaved, nothing like the kids I've seen running amok on Carnival. So kudos to those parents and the kids too!!! Dinner was in the dining room and it was great. We did have to wait about 45 minutes for a table for 2, but we were there right at 7, which seemed to be a popular time. I had a smoked duck appetizer that was very good. And the grilled beef tenderloin. DH had the cornish hen. Service seemed a little slow in the DR tonight, not as quick as the first night. But they may have been busier as it was the at sea day and the first formal night. Nothing to complain about, really. Wednesday was Ocho Rios day. I had heard alot about OR, from the CC boards and from co-workers who had been there. The island itself was beautiful from the harbor, so lush and green. We didn't book an excursion here, just walked into town to do some shopping and sightseeing. From the time we left the port gate area (docked at the James Bond pier) to the time we got to the shopping areas, it was one vendor after another asking us to buy what they were selling. And we were offered just about everything. We repeated a polite "No thank you" and kept walking. No real harassment, but if I tell you no thank you the first time, don't ask me the same thing again and again. And the "respect" thing got real old, real fast. I never felt truly uncomfortable but never felt more relaxed like I did in Grand Cayman. 'Nuff said. Dinner tonight was in the buffet - Bavarian night. I'm Pennsylvania Dutch and grew up eating alot of German food. It was very good. Roast suckling pig, spaetzle, sauerkraut, wienerschnitzel, red cabbage, different sausages, potatoes, and apple fritters. YUMMY!!! Thursday was Grand Cayman. We booked a Fat Fish jetski excursion to stingray city and were looking forward to this trip as we had heard so much about it. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint us in the least. Ray, our driver, picked us up on time, and gave us a mini tour of the island on our way to the jet ski landing. Once we got there, Steve and Lee gave us some quick instructions and off we went. We had some slower folks on the trip with us, but Lee kept going back and making sure they would catch up to the rest of us. We got to the sandbar and each of us fed a stingray and held a stingray. I really felt kind of sorry for the folks who had booked a trip on one of the big boats as there was one guide and 40 people crowded around him. There were 7 jetskis on our trip, with a total of 12 people max. Lee made sure each of us got to feed a stingray and hold them and take plenty of pics. After we got done on the sandbar, we went over to the reef and snorkeled for about 30 minutes or so then headed back to the landing. DH had a blast running the jetski. The water can get a little choppy and it was a bouncy ride but it was alot of fun. Of all the excursions I've taken in the different cruise ports I've been to, this is my second favorite.( Horseback riding in the mountains in the Yukon is still #1). I can't recommend Fat Fish enough. Great customer service, great guides, clean, well maintained equipment, convenient pick up and drop off service right at the downtown area, I could go on. Again, fantastic excursion. We got back on the ship and got ready for the Captains Circle party. Our invite was for 5:15. We should have skipped the party, if you want to call it that. Weak (that's an understatement) drinks and "eh" appetizers. After the party, we walked around the ship and checked out everyone else in their formal attire. We saw alot less people dressed up tonight. Had dinner in the DR as it was lobster night. Instead of waiting for a table for 2, we sat with 2 other couples. The lobster was good, as was the rockfish that DH had. Dessert was carrot cake (very good) and cheesecake (another very good choice). And it was another early night tonight, as our excursion and all that walking around town really wore us out. Friday was Cozumel. The weather was overcast all day. We did the Princess Palancar Reef snorkeling excursion. Met our crew on the pier and boarded our catamaran for our cruise to the reef. It took us about 45 minutes to get there. We only had about 30 or so people on the excursion so it never felt crowded. Got a quick snorkeling lecture and off we went. The reefs here were absolutely beautiful. We saw turtles and lots of fish and coral and rays. And a drop off that was kinda scary. It was hard to believe we had spent over an hour in the water. Then it was off to Playa Mia for our lunch and beach time, then back to the ship via the catamaran. The lunch was actually pretty good, a sandwich, potato wedges and fruit slices. It was open bar on the catamaran after we were done snorkeling and at Playa Mia. No one in our group got crazy but we all had alot of fun. Once we got back on the ship we took quick showers then did some shopping right at the pier then got back onboard. We docked at the International Pier, which was 3 miles from downtown Cozumel. Our excursion was a 5.5 hour trip, so we didn't have alot of time to spend to go downtown so we picked up a few souveniers and headed back on board. We went down to the DR and found another less than impressive menu so we went back to the buffet. Saturday was our last sea day so we just kicked back and relaxed. Got our bags packed up and ready to go then did dinner in the buffet again. Sunday - Our disembarkation group was Purple 1, and we met in the casino at 9:20. We had to be out of our cabins by 8 so we hung out around the pool area on the Lido deck then went down to the casino then headed out when we were called. No problems, found our luggage, went through customs, called our shuttle and were back at the hotel where we left our car by 11. Overall, the food was good. We actually ate at the buffet more than the DR as alot of the DR menu selections were not to our tastes. We never had problems in the DR, just preferred the buffet. We never made it to the DR for breakfast or lunch. We didn't see any of the shows or participate in the bingo games or scavenger hunts or anything like that. We wanted to just relax on our balcony and enjoy the peace and quiet. We never went to MUTS, as the weather was just too hot and muggy to sit outside and watch a movie but plenty of other folks did. We did watch some movies in our cabin. Our cabin was perfect for the 2 of us, and the balcony was more than adequate. There were times we had a slight case of Caribe balcony envy but we got over that pretty quickly. For the most part, our fellow cruisers were polite and considerate, but there was an occasional line jumper at the buffet. Oh well, he needed that piece of cake more than I did, so I guess I'll have a cookie. I'm not going to let a few inconsiderate folks tick me off and ruin my vacation. The ship was beautifully decorated and fairly well laid out. Our cabin was forward and the food was aft, so we burned a few extra calories heading to the buffet or the international cafe. And we did try to do the stairs whenever possible. I did go to the gym a couple of times. In the morning it was very busy, but by mid-afternoon, just about all the treadmills were open and the ellipticals were available as well. I'm very glad I did not book a Lido deck cabin in the areas between the elevators / stairs and the pool. Heavy foot traffic to get to the pools and lots of noise. And the port side of the lido deck near the bar was the smoking area. There were alot of times you could smell the cigarette smoke when you came up the stairwell, so I'm pretty sure the cabins were affected as well. And the hallways were usually warm too from the doors being open constantly. I would not recommend this area to anyone unless they didn't mind the smoke. One thing I do wish Princess would do would be to publish the times the DR was open in the Patters. The times are different, depending on whether it's a sea day or port day, and we never could find out where the times were posted. We looked in the cabin portfolio and the Patters and found nothing. I also wish Princess would post the menus in the elevator / stairwell areas. I think they did when we were on the Star Princess in 2003, but I could be mistaken. There were too many times we would go from the forward Baja deck (11) to deck 6 aft only to read the menu and decide we didn't really like anything they were offering. I will be adding this to my cruise review survey that I received in my email inbasket before I arrived home. We never encountered a rude or indifferent staff member (except for that one lady on Princess Cay) and were greeted with smiles throughout the ship. Great service all around. We will definitely return for another cruise on Princess in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
My wife and I booked for a 7 night St Valentine's cruise out of Fort Lauderdale. It was everything we hoped for and more. The staff on the Crown were engaging and I took the time to smile and say hello to just about any crew member I ... Read More
My wife and I booked for a 7 night St Valentine's cruise out of Fort Lauderdale. It was everything we hoped for and more. The staff on the Crown were engaging and I took the time to smile and say hello to just about any crew member I came across. The old say about honey versus vinegar certainly was true in this case. Getting on and off the cruise ship was a breeze. The only problem was at the end of the cruise when I did not want to leave the Crown. I was so relaxed. Meals were average to excellent. Trying to please over 3000 people is a no-win situation, but I think Princess does as good a job as any other cruise line. I read that some people were not impressed with the Horizon Court, no carving stations, no personal omelettes, etc. Not true. You could ask for an omelette and they made in the kitchen. There were roasts that could be cut to your desire, you just had to look. As far as peanut butter was concern, just ask and they brought it to you in a bowl. The only thing they didn't have for me in Horizon Court was black strap molasses for my pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. I barely shed a tear as I poured syrup on my stack. Anytime dining was great, no problem making a reservation each day for that evening and the meals were delicious. My idea of surf and turf was a nicely done, rare, strip-loin and lobster tails. Soups were good, main courses were numerous and we often skipped deserts because our lily had been thoroughly gilded during the meal. We tried the Crown Grill one evening and for $50, we had a meal that might run you anywhere from $100 to $200 on shore. Again, I had my surf and turf with Maine lobster this time. Yummy! Only problem, we walked by the open kitchen just as a chef was dispatching said lobster with a large butcher knife between it's eyes, apparently a more humane method than boiling alive. Our activities on the ship could be as numerous and we could be as busy as the proverbial cat on a marble floor or the one handed paper hanger. We could also be a fast as a snail going uphill on a cold day in February. We would read the Princess Patter and say; "Pitter, patter, let's get at 'er" Loved the Movies under the stars, with real heavenly stars. It was at this activity that I experienced my only bad meal; air popped popcorn. Like eating cardboard. I could have gone to Horizon Court, made a nice snack tray and brought it out to our comfy loungers to watch the show. Next time! Ports of calls were as followed, Grand Cayman - Took public transit to 7 Mile Beach, $5 for two one way. Altogether lovely. Roatan - Showers chased us off the beach and onto the ship. The island looks nice so a return visit may be in order. Cozumel - rough surf kept us from snorkeling but we did enjoy the visit. Seems to have matured since our last visit in 1997. Princess Cay - great beach day. The southern part of the beach was quieter and the snorkeling was surprisingly decent. Lots of fish around the man-made beach and harbour. A few tips to cut down on the cost. I'll probably be banned from Princess for this. Bring your own booze onto the ship. You are allowed two bottles of wine, however, I put some Chivas and vodka in my checked luggage and it made it through to my room. I also had some small bottles of booze and some mix to make a drink for alongside the pool. As long as you are not walking the decks with your own rum bottle, you are not harassed. I took a nice drink to the dining room every night without any problem. I brought a 12 pack of soda onto the ship, got ice from the cabin steward and did not buy any soda on the ship. I also brought some nuts, cashews and peanuts, onto the boat because they do not serve then on board. At the end of the cruise, our cabin bill was less than $250 and that was with auto tips, a night at the Crown Grill and a large helping of the best gelato I've had in a long time. Allin all, a great time. Thanks to the people at Princess and to all of those naysayers out there writing negative blogs, chill-ax! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
We've been on several Princess cruises, this was our second trip to Alaska, but have not gone this far north. The extra days to go to Whittier and Glacier Bay was a better Alaska experience. I say that because you just aren't ... Read More
We've been on several Princess cruises, this was our second trip to Alaska, but have not gone this far north. The extra days to go to Whittier and Glacier Bay was a better Alaska experience. I say that because you just aren't seeing the typical tourist town. You are seeing miles and miles of wilderness, we were so lucky to see a lot of sea life. This was our first time with a balcony. It was wonderful having the balcony, we had our ocean breezes and star gazing on demand. Getting away from the crowds and being able to enjoy fresh air and sunshine was great, even if you didn't feel like getting dressed. The six days crossing the Bering Sea was a very relaxing time and we loved being on the water. We both felt that the cruise directors office did a poor job of preparing the cruisers on what to expect on each port of call. We had days of talks on Japan, almost the entire 6 day crossing. Then on the day before Russia there was a very dry, read from script, talk of Russia. Albeit, history is fantastic for the most part, however, when you have a few short hours to see a port, speaking to that port and what it has to offer would have been a valuable asset. Instead we get a boring, monotone history lesson on what the Czars did and why. I wanted to know about the port, what it had to offer, what was significant, what should be avoided, like being in a bus all day because of traffic. Also, there should have been a seminar to cover all of the tours offered. It would have been great to know that the City Tour and the Historic Tour of Russia were almost exactly the same tour. Also, if we would have been informed that the traffic is so horrible in Russia, maybe it would be a good idea to take maybe one tour and do a walking tour for the rest of the day. There was no shopping talks, like we had on a previous Princess cruise to Hawaii. I don't know what I expected, fishing villages in So. Korea and China? It would have been great for someone to say, "Hey, these are big cities with everything to offer, shuttle buses, shopping, walking tours, and oh, here are the tours we are offering, pros and cons, if you are looking to see a Temple, these tours are fantastic, if you are looking to see the country side, these tours are great, etc. Since this was the first time to Asia it was a real shock to see that there are no western toilets! On the tour papers, in small print on the back, it stated you had to supply your own toilet paper and hand cleanser. No mention that you had to squat over a porcelain urinal. I never saw a local carrying a satchel with their toilet supplies, do we want to know that they have no need for toilet paper or hand cleanser? The air pollution in Russia and China was absolutely terrible. There should have been a warning by the ship if you had breathing problems or sensitive to air quality you should take notice and take precautions accordingly. After several days of terrible air, I got really sick when I got home. I guess the worst thing I have to say about this 22 day cruise was the ship did a very poor job of describing ports of call and preparing us with what was offered. Also, in the evening after So. Korea, the ocean was full of squid boats, with bright lights, some getting pretty close to our ship. Our neighbor was practically in hysterics thinking we were being invaded by North Korea or China. Putting a note in the Princess Patter to make sure you notice the fishing boats at night would have been a comfort and a bit of trivia for the cruisers. The diamond Princess is huge, good and bad. Good that there is a lot to do. Bad that there isn't really a quiet place to hang out and read. The library is tiny, the writing area outside of the library is out in the walkway area, not quiet at all. I was hard pressed to find a quiet place with like minded people. So, I spent a lot of time in our room, enjoying the ocean and fresh air, in peace. The staff was again great. One funny thing, A year and a half ago, in December, we went on a 15 day cruise to Hawaii, we met one of the photographers, we call Gorgy. He was fun and we had some banter back and forth, bought a few pictures. Then the next May we took a 10 day from San Francisco to Alaska, the same photographer was on ship. He remembered us and that was neat. Again, fun banter back and forth. So, this cruise, 22 days from Alaska to Asia, we were happy to run into Gorgy again! What are the chances? He was helpful in pointing us to local restaurants and things to see. Also, one evening I wasn't feeling well at dinner and had to leave the table. The waiter sent to our room a green apple, which he said would help and it did. The next evening, everyone, from the Hostess to the waiter, bus boy and Maitarde asked how I was feeling. At first I was a little embarrassed, but then I realized they were really concerned that I was not well. When I first got home, I was ill from the bad air for about 5 days, not sure what it was actually, just chest congestion and feeling like crap! Then when I was asked if I liked the cruise I was like, "Never want to go back there again." No toilets in Asia, Russia was dirty and traffic was horrible. Now, if we did take this cruise again. I would not take any tours with the ship. I'd take the shuttle in So. Korea and walk around the town, which I did a little in the morning but had to go back to the ship for a tour at noon. I would not take a tour in Russia. The ship is practically parked down town. I would walk around and see what there was to see. We had a great time in Japan. Muroran was awesome. I think Bolta was the bomb! I wish I had of bought more figurines. They are hilarious. China tours were so tight on time there was no time to shop, on any of the ports actually. No shopping unless you went on your own. Russia had some tables set up near the buses, Japan had tables set up, So. Korea did too, but if you don't buy post cards and such before your tours you may not have time to get anything. I ended up taking the addresses with me and writing cards on the bus. Oh yeah, it took one month for the Russia post cards to reach the USA west coast. So, it boils down to this. No shopping on any tours after Alaska. After Japan the air pollution is awful. People in Pusan, So. Korea and Muroran Japan were very nice. No toilets, like you are used to, in Asia. The Great Wall was a once in a life time event. Seeing the Water Cube and Bird's Nest, T Square, and the forbidden city are have to's. We saw the city stuff by cab. Also, one more thing they didn't tell us. The hotel room in Beijing electricity only comes on when you slide your room key into a slot on the wall next to the light switches. If you have two room keys you can go out and leave the AC on to cool the room. Oh yeah, don't be shocked by the gas mask in a can in your closet, next to the ironing board and slippers. If the tour guide on your bus wants to sell you a stamp with your name and your Chinese name, it's pricey at $20.00, buy one on the great wall for half as much. Mine was wrong and there was no getting another one. There are souvenir tables at the great wall and the prices are not bad, this maybe your only chance to get little tokens and post cards. That's it... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
Background- My husband and I are in our early 50's and love to go cruising more that any other type of vacation on earth! Our trip to New England was so very exciting, especially Newport, RI and Bar Harbor, ME. We have been to St ... Read More
Background- My husband and I are in our early 50's and love to go cruising more that any other type of vacation on earth! Our trip to New England was so very exciting, especially Newport, RI and Bar Harbor, ME. We have been to St John's, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia before so those ports were for more quiet time. Embarkation- We flew into LGA from CLE and arrived at 10:00 A.M. By 10:25 A.M. we were in a Taxi headed for the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Price for the taxi was 30.00 + tip, which I thought was a great price. We breezed right through security and check in and were on board by 11:30 A.M. We headed for our room to check it out and make any arrangements that needed to be made, like signing up for consideration for the Chef's Table one night during the cruise!!!! If any of you have not done this......NOW IS THE TIME to experience this wonderful evening with Chef Antonio Cereda. He prepares all new menu items for the 12 of you from appetizers to dessert along with many fine French champagnes and wines. You start your evening with a wonderful tour of the kitchen during rush hour and see the dynamics of the fine dining kitchen at sea!!!!! Appetizers are served with Champagne in the galley before heading to the VIP Chef's Table in the Dining Room for the rest of your multi-course extravaganza! Call 6219/ dining reservations to put yourselves on this list for this once in a life time treat. Accommodations- We like the Balcony Cabins on the Lido Deck Forward for a short cruise of 7 days or so. The hallways are quiet and there are only 25-30 outside cabins and 13 or so inside cabins. The Balcony Room is a good size, but we wish the shower/ bathroom were a little bit bigger!!!!! There are many drawers and plenty of hanging closet to fit all of your clothes for the 7 day cruise. One thing that I noticed was all the lightening was over head and it was hard to see well in the mirror for close up work.......like makeup!!!!! HA! I know next time I will bring my suction-cup 10x mirror and stick it on the window or mirror for better viewing for detail work. When I came home my eyebrows looked like electrical wires above my eyes!!!! Oh well, nobody really cared!!!! Ship- We have never been on this ship and it looked quite beautiful and elegant! We know it was in for remodeling and total revamp earlier this year!!!! They made some wonderful additions :The Vines Bar and International Cafe, Coffee Station, Casino smaller, new elegant inside large window cabins on the Fiesta deck right down from the Princess Theater port side, I think and the MUTS.If I am missing anything.....please let me know!!!! OH, new internet and library too. Navigating around the ship is a little confusing, but after day 2 we got it down!!!! Thanks to all of you who added your 2 cents that I read before I left. Dining- We chose Anytime dining. We ate in the Coral dining room 3 times, first night and found no wait at 7:45. The 2ND time was Formal night after Halifax and the last night of the cruise.....all times at 7:45 and no waiting!!!! Food was great, but I LOVE food, especially sea food and my husband loves any type of meat so we were happy!!!! Lobster and Crab were served on their traditional nights during formal dinners, even at Cafe Carib!!! I was in heaven that night and ate it in my casual clothes!!! Other times ( breakfast,lunch and some dinners ) we ate at the Horizon Court Buffet and Cafe Carib, when it was open. When both are open, go and see what they each have. Many times there are different food items at each place!!!!!!! Do not forget in the morning to get those delicious Belgian Waffles at the Ice Cream place on the Lido Deck, you can smell them a mile away.......that is how my NOSE found them!!! My husband still laughs at me running to find that wonderful smell of waffles. We were going to go to the Crown Grill ( I think that is what it was called), but that night was the Chef's Table and we were not going to miss that!!!!! Read about it on embarkation notes. We had 2 lovely CC members that joined us for this Chef's event and they were from England and they were some of the nicest people we had met...Kim and Shaun. Of course we met many new friends that night...we were together for 3.5 hours!!! But many passengers that I talked to loved both of the speciality restaurants!!!!!! Many had rave reviews!!!! Service- It was great and I have no complaints. I am in the service industry and I appreciate anything that anyone does for the both of us.....even if it takes a little time. There were 3,300 pax on this trip and at times the buffets were busy, but I found no one starving at any of my tables!!!!! Anna Maria from Romania was my favorite, she looks like Celine Dion (sp)she is in the Horizon in the morning and the Coral for dinner, she is a hoot!!!! Entertainment- We only had enough energy to see the comedian one night and it was packed. He was Phil Tag and was a riot.....a must see, but get there early it fills up fast. Casinos- My husband did o.k., but I just went to deposit my $$$$ and left!!!! MUTS- Didn't watch one movie, it was a little chilly but there were many pax.'s out there any time of the day......enjoying the big screen. Afternoon tea- In the dining room was lovely, but did not participate. Also in the afternoon they came around with cookies and milk...............I guess so you could make it until dinner!!!!! Bars- We didn't go to many of the bars on board, we were just happy to go to our rooms and drink our wine and relax on the balcony......even if we did have our coats on!!!!!!! Cruise Staff- Dan, the CD was wonderful and funny as well as Sam, his side kick.They were on T.V. every morning to share the drinks and the events of the day, very helpful. All of the staff were always willing to assist you with a smile! I have been up since 4 a.m. and my fingers are getting tired, so I will review the ports, etc on another day...... If you have any ?????? just e-mail me at s31ship@oh.rr.com Talk to you later....... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise line because it touted it's high tech Medallion and Medallion related apps (downloaded) from home, all of which malfunctioned. Ocean Compass and Ocean Now required us to sign in repetitively, and frequently told ... Read More
We chose this cruise line because it touted it's high tech Medallion and Medallion related apps (downloaded) from home, all of which malfunctioned. Ocean Compass and Ocean Now required us to sign in repetitively, and frequently told us we had disembarked, were not onboard... we were seated by the main pool on Deck 15. IT staff onboard could not resolve the issue..we were finally told it was the make of our phone....and that upper management knew. They knew and did not inform passengers pre-cruise. Very poor. Entertainment mediocre at best. Food fair unless you wanted to go to non-fare included restaraunts. Anytime dining means 7:30-9:30 PM . Oppressive smell of sewage emanating from the Spa on Deck 16. Do not recommend snorkeling excursion at St. John's...passengers poorly monitored for safety. We have been on several cruise lines, including Disney. This was the worse cruise we have ever taken. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our fourth cruise on princess 2nd time on the Emerald. Th is was a 14 day cruise. Starting in Rome. 10 ports ending in Barcelona. I recommend this cruise or any cruise going to th is region of the world, we previously did a family ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on princess 2nd time on the Emerald. Th is was a 14 day cruise. Starting in Rome. 10 ports ending in Barcelona. I recommend this cruise or any cruise going to th is region of the world, we previously did a family land tour of northern Italy so this would be all new territory. We were picked up at our hotel in the Spanish steps area to the Ship. I think it was about Two hours. This trip was my wife and I first time cruising just the two of us. Getting on the ship was very organized and quick dropped off our bags waited about 2 minutes to get to the check in desk received our cards and off to the ship. We had a balcony 14 deck near the front of the ship, same type size room we had when we did Alaskan cruise Two years earlier. Plenty of room for two and our four bags . One thing to know if you never cruised before we bring a heavy 6 foot extension cord with multiple plug ins. The bed was great room clean and our room Stewart was very good always seemed to know when we would leave room always kept clean . There are two dining rooms we ate Da Vinci, and Michelangelo. We ate breakfast almost every day at Da Vinci. . And Dinner at Michelangelo had the best Materdi Carlos the magnificent And our lovely waiter Franco from Mexico. We had anytime dinning but our table was always saved for us we started with just my wife and I and as we made friends we had a table for 6.the food was good some excellent some ok mostly very very good. Franco always new what we’re drinking and never waited long to receive them. I would not recommend the buffet much. We ate there two times . Excursion We did two from the ship. We did Pompeii from Salerno all I can say was the tour guide from the princess ship was horrible he made up stuff and not one time did he take us to a shady area when it was near 100 degrees. My suggestion make all your excursions before you leave home online with reputable companies. We did a excursion in Kotor Montenegro was booked before we left home. We did this from a group of 6 Aussies we met from roll call. We did a speedboat. Blue cave , submarine caves tour with swimming at the blue caves,a very fun 3 hour tour, we then did The Godfather tour booked from princess , this was a very fun day. Great tour guide if your a fan of The Godfather movies you will enjoy this. Our next paid excursion was also not from princess with family we met from roll call. We did Pompeii again from Naples. This was a fantastic tour our guide his name was Sasha was so knowledgeable his father was also a tour guide I told him what the tour guide from the princess ship told us and he said what load of garbage i showed him the pictures I took from the first tour and what the guide told us about that. He was blown away with the crap the first guide told us. Every time there was shade he took us to the shady spots and explained what was the real history, all ”other ports we did either the hop on bus or just walked the towns. We had some of the best food on land ever.seafood was more then fantastic. One thing if your going to book your excursion from princess do it before you get on the ship most of the good excursions sold out very fast. I do recommend using non princess excursion. We made a lot of new friends in this ship. After dinner we would go to crooners bar see the piano player. We did trivia one night. And we watched a few movies on the deck with greasy popcorn. If you drink much including alcohol coffee and water get the drink package we got ours free with our balcony booking so it was worth it. Drinks are not cheap if you buy your own . Bottle water $2.50. Latte $2.50 each . We had a later time to get off the ship in Barcelona our transportation was supposed to pick us up at 10 but after 3 phone calls they finally got there by11.00 there is no place to sit and almost no shade at the Barcelona terminal. Then they took us to the wrong hotel , this was not booked through princess . One thing I would recommend transfers book from princess. If you smoke they have a cigar smoke room or you can smoke on the 16 th deck ... Feel free to ask my anything you would like to know. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Not to bore my fellow cruisers , imagine : plastic cups , plates and glasses , a daily programme of bingo, quizzes and kids programmes , food you would normally never want to pay good money for and environment where most of the ... Read More
Not to bore my fellow cruisers , imagine : plastic cups , plates and glasses , a daily programme of bingo, quizzes and kids programmes , food you would normally never want to pay good money for and environment where most of the passengers are crowded into a central area to watch their so called" best " entertainment! "Saphire Princess" is your kind of ship . We hoped for refinement , culture and excellence.. what we got was far far from what we hoped.. such a waste of money . Lack of Security presence in public areas was alarming , there was definitely some under age drinking going on and young children seemed to be everywhere on the ship!! Most ships have family zones but parents were doing as they please . We were late arriving at ports , so little time on shore , one port was missed altogether and Princess CHARGE FOR SHUTTLE SERVICE .. Never been charged with any other company.!! Appalling !! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Our 6/16/2019 - 6/23/2019 Alaskan cruise on the Star Princess was one of the most horrible cruising experiences we had encountered.  We wanted to celebrate our anniversary and my son’s honeymoon on your Princess Cruise and booked three ... Read More
Our 6/16/2019 - 6/23/2019 Alaskan cruise on the Star Princess was one of the most horrible cruising experiences we had encountered.  We wanted to celebrate our anniversary and my son’s honeymoon on your Princess Cruise and booked three cabins.  We booked an Alaskan cruise specifically to see the glaciers and to visit BC Canada.   First of all, we were up and on the deck at 5am (per the itinerary) so that we could see the glaciers while passing through Tracy Arm.  After about a half an hour to an hour later we were told that we would not be able to pass through Tracy Arm and that we were going to Endicott instead.  Then we were told that if we looked through binoculars we could see the tip of a glacier.  Really?!? Needless to say we did not get to see any glaciers on this cruise. During the cruise, our toilets backed up twice.  According to some other cruise passengers they also had the same problem.  The next day the same problem occurred and a maintenance worker was sent to our cabin and again had to flush the main line.  My son’s and daughter’s cabins experienced the same toilet issues as did the other passengers along our corridor. Also, during the cruise there was a leak in the ceiling of my daughter’s cabin which occurred around 4:30 am which caused them to wake up to a wet bed and blankets.  Given the multiple situations we had with the toilets we were understandably concerned that it might have been associated with the sewer line issue but was assured that it was not a sewer line leak but was a ventilation leak.   Because my husband and I were celebrating our anniversary we received two gift certificates in our mail slot outside our cabin door.  One was for $25 to spend in the princess shops and one was for $50 towards a spa treatment on port days.  We used the $25 gift certificate at the Princess Vines Novelties gift shop.  At the end of our cruise we noticed that the gift certificate was not credited to our stateroom so I called the customer service desk and told them the problem.  They told me that they did not have any record of any gift certificate but that they do show the charges made at the Vines Novelties shop.  They asked me if I had the gift certificate and I informed them that the salesclerk said that he needed to submit it so that our stateroom could be credited and that he had the gift certificate.  They told me that because they do not reflect anything in their system they are unable to credit it.  Princess did not honor the gift certificate they gave us! As if all of the above was not enough to make this a terrible cruise, as we approached BC Canada we were informed that we would not be porting in BC Canada and would just anchor in place! Really?!? So during this Alaskan cruise with Princess we were not able to see any glaciers (Albeit if we looked through a pair of binoculars we may be able to see the tip of one); the toilets backed up twice; there was a ceiling leak in my daughter’s room; we were provided a gift certificate which was ultimately not honored; and we were not able to port in BC Canada!  Basically, the two main ports (attractions) associated with this cruise which were also the two main reasons for choosing this cruise were not provided for along with the other substantial frustrations mentioned above. I contacted Princess Cruise lines on 6/28/2019 regarding this horrible experience. They informed me that they will research the matter and a customer service representative would contact me soon. It has been almost a month and we when we finally heard back from a customer service representative from Princess Cruise line we were pretty much told that port cancellations are covered as acceptable in our contract and I guess the toilet back ups and ceiling leaks are as well. This is indicative of the type of service you can expect from Princess Cruises! My family loves cruises but we will be choosing a different cruise line for our future cruises! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Wow what a disappointment! I read the reviews before booking and dismissed the negative ones thinking they were exaggerating. They weren’t. This was the worst cruise of the five I’ve taken. Biggest disappointment was the customer ... Read More
Wow what a disappointment! I read the reviews before booking and dismissed the negative ones thinking they were exaggerating. They weren’t. This was the worst cruise of the five I’ve taken. Biggest disappointment was the customer service and appearance of the ship in general. I finally figured out why the staff doesn’t seem to care: there’s a mandatory daily gratuity charged per person so they have no incentive to treat you like “royalty”. $13.50 per person per day - I don’t remember being told about this. So staff is being tipped regardless of service and it shows. This cruise was severely understaffed. The wait at the bar for a simple Diet Coke was maddening. Not one time at the pool did a waiter come around asking for drink orders. Always always had to go get it myself at the bar. Didn’t even have soda in the buffet, had to leave to go to the bar to fill my cup. I bought the soda pass which meant I had to carry around that big cup all the time to have it refilled. I was “upgraded” without being asked to an oceanview. The view was of a lifeboat. It’s laughable. I would rather have kept my interior stateroom. Buffet was unremarkable at best - never once thought wow this is delicious. It was just food. Tables were always dirty - again understaffed and couldn’t keep up with all the people eating there. Tried the dining room once and again not impressed. I really expected this cruise to be like the ones in the past where I just felt pampered and everyone was nice and friendly and happy. Not this crew. I felt like I was imposing more often than not. Our safe in the room quit working after a few days. We just laughed and thought well of course it doesn’t work. They claim this ship was refurbished. What the hell did it look like BEFORE?? It’s so dated that I felt like I’d been had. Harry Potter trivia was an event we attended - it was like a twelve year old’s mom threw together some questions and had us all sit around guessing the answers on paper and boom it was over. Twenty questions and that’s it. Pencil and paper. I mean come ON Princess. It was just pitiful. I heard other people talking and the same thing was being said. Not as good as other cruise lines. I will never again sail with Princess and will go back to Royal Caribbean where they know how to treat their customers and keep the ship clean and the food amazing. Princess is substandard and even smelled of raw sewage towards the end of the cruise. I was glad when it was over actually which is a sad testimony given the money spent. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
It has taken me a few months to write my review for our cruise. I think this was our 4th or 5th cruise with Princess. The embarkation process was very crowded but the staff at the desk were excellent. The ports of call, except for Rio, ... Read More
It has taken me a few months to write my review for our cruise. I think this was our 4th or 5th cruise with Princess. The embarkation process was very crowded but the staff at the desk were excellent. The ports of call, except for Rio, all seemed about the same. Not much of interest. The food was very disappointing, so much so that we quit going to the dining room and just tried to find the best on the buffet line. The entertainment was disappointing, except for the small groups in bars, etc. Our cabin steward was excellent. The dining staff was excellent. The ship on numerous occasions was either late getting into port or late leaving port. On our last port of call, Buenos Aires, it creating a headache. The ship was late leaving the port before, so we were denied entry to the port by 3 hours. We had booked a day long tour in Buenos Aires - well obviously that didn't happen. We didn't get off the ship until around 3pm. We had many conversations with front desk and the tour desk regarding our tour. No problem with getting the credit, but the tour including our transfer to the airport. We were assured by several people at the front desk and the tour desk that we would still have a transfer. When we were let off the ship we went by bus the a metal building for our luggage. There was no air conditioning and no order to the luggage. You had to try to go from one one of the huge building to the other to find your luggage. We waited in that hot building for almost 2 hours before our luggage arrived. We got in the long line for the airport transfer. After being in line for almost an hour, someone from Princess came over and said we would not have a transfer, there were other people in line that experiences the same issue. We then had to go to another long line (had we known we would have been in that line to begin with) for a taxi. We waited another hour to get a taxi. Thankfully, we had a 9:30pm flight. Even with that late of flight, we barely made it, that was due to a short line for security. The service by Princess was inexcusable. We have sailed around 23 times over the years. I have to say this has soured by taste for cruising. I'm sure we will cruse again, but we will try river cruising next. We will never take a Princess Cruise again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Beverage package a joke. You paid for unlimited sodas, juices etc. And 15 alcohol drinks and they only give you one at a time! Couldn't even get 2 to take to your room! Had to keep walking back. Much to their surprise if you did use ... Read More
Beverage package a joke. You paid for unlimited sodas, juices etc. And 15 alcohol drinks and they only give you one at a time! Couldn't even get 2 to take to your room! Had to keep walking back. Much to their surprise if you did use all 15, then they could have sold more to you! Felt like a teenager being watched. Get up early for an excursion to meet in theater just for them to make a big announcement it was cancelled! We could have slept longer. Need better system to notify guests! The hot tubs were not hot. Our stewardess was wonderful and very attentive to what we needed. The process of getting on the ship was smooth. Leaving was easy, but we were anxious to leave! Advice if you want to visit an island, book an all inclusive resort and explore at your own pace. Having "MAMA" ship control your much needed time off for a working person not relaxing at all. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Supposedly a 21 day cruise…….. My wife and I have just returned from our cruise together with another couple that we invited to come along. When we planned this trip it was supposed to be a gift from me to my wife and from her ... Read More
Supposedly a 21 day cruise…….. My wife and I have just returned from our cruise together with another couple that we invited to come along. When we planned this trip it was supposed to be a gift from me to my wife and from her to me as a 55th anniversary present and our mutual 75th Birthday present. It turned out to be anything but pleasant. Princess has lost all consideration from us for any future trips as their status in our eyes have dropped by at least 50%. This is not only our viewpoint but also from many people we have talked to during the cruise. After our last email to Princess they did some good as they cleaned up a few things that were wrong including a new shower head and the leak under our bathroom console which they did not admit to, but my wife’s make up bags were completely soaked and her make up was damaged. We found most of the staff throughout the ship not pleasant as they normally are with the exception of our room stewart and our waiters. To get someone at the main desk we either had to line up for an hour since they never answered any calls, and if they did they were very unfriendly and hard to understand their English and one that identified herself as May was very rude. When we booked this cruise it was advertised as a 21 day cruise. Well it wasn’t. It was a 10 day and 11 day cruise which meant that after the first cruise was completed we all had to leave the ship in Singapore and re-board even though we didn’t want to go through the hastle in Singapore for Immigration and Customs. As well as that all our records were deleted from their files on the ship after the first segment which they called it and we had to start again such as in the Doctors office. The second segment they wanted to charge another $ 200.00 fee for checking us out which we had already paid on the first segment. The casino cashed out and cleared our points from our cards etc. etc. etc. The menu’s in the restaurants were the same as the first leg of the cruise and just repeated. Even some of the entertainment was repeated. So Princess’s sales pitch was not factually and they deceived people including us. The noise from over our cabins was never fixed. We were told that the sound insulation was very poor and there was nothing they could do to fix it. I told them that does a lot for my sleeping of which I got very little over the entire trip. Adding to this was the fact that I had a bad cough which once awake did not help me go back to sleep. They gave us a $ 250.00 on board credit but this was no appeasement whatsoever for the lack of sleep we had on this long 21 day journey. The second segment we were upgraded from Ruby status to Platinum status because of our mileage. No one explained to us what was included. We finally found out and tried to use our free internet which apparently was included but it was so slow as Princess already had over a hundred contractors on board for refurbishing this ship which was old in many respects. So your paying customers ended up having to suffer because of contractors Princess hired to refurbish this old ship. Some passengers could not even get their flight boarding passes because the system was over loaded. Our last excursion was also changed since apparently to many ships were in the harbour at Ko Samui Thailand and we ended up in Cambodia which was the dirtiest place that we ever seen. One of our friends told the Captain that if he ever stopped there again he might have a mutiny on his hands. Not much fun at all. You would have thought that a large liner like Princess could have foreseen such a change in the first place much earlier and stuck to its planned voyage. Our friends were extremely sick on board and saw the Doctor as well. They were stuck in the immigration line at San Francisco airport in Custom and Immigration line for 3 hours only to miss their flight home. United rebooked them but they had to pay an extra $1,000.00 for this re-booking. Whether this was charged to them still has to be verified. They did not offer them accommodation but as sick as both of them were they had to stay at the airport. I was under the impression the since Princess booked their flight this was Princess’s liability. And all of us carried the Princess Platinum insurance policy. Great help that turned out to be. We also want to send our medical bills in for repayment. Both our rooms had substantial medical costs. We were given a form of the policy and no other form to fill out or policy number etc.for Canadians. As far as we are concerned we will not book any future trips with Princess and we will let everyone we know about our experience in this cruise. We loved Princess but that love affair is over. I am a member of Trip Advisor and will post this letter on their website. We have been contacted by Princess customer service with a lot of apologies for what we went through. They were gracious enough to offer us $ 250.00 Credit towards our next cruise. What does that do n for the lack of sleep and besides I was very emphatic that we would no longer book anything on Princess. I think there are plenty of cruise lines out there that would appreciate our business in future. The Doctor aboard this ship also told one of the passengers that this is not a hospital ship and that they were to old to cruise. One year older than I am. WOW. To all Princess customers be aware, cautious. It is obvious Princess is not trying to solve any of these issues with sincerity. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I am not an experienced cruise customer. Only 1 other cruise and that was over 2 years ago. However, several friends wanted to take the cruise, so we booked a mini-suite. Embarkation went very smoothly. Disembarkation was very slow with ... Read More
I am not an experienced cruise customer. Only 1 other cruise and that was over 2 years ago. However, several friends wanted to take the cruise, so we booked a mini-suite. Embarkation went very smoothly. Disembarkation was very slow with no explanation given for the 1 hour delay. The cabin was ok. Sufficient room and storage. A little worn. Bathroom tiles worn and stained. Grout was failing. Cabin steward was very good. Food was slightly disappointing.. Entrees ranged from marginal to adequate to excellent. Specialty dining was very good. Many parts of the ship were well worn. A prime example was the widespread rust throughout the exterior. Entertainment was adequate. A good mix of different styles. Activities were somewhat limited unless you happened to be a trivia buff. On the other hand, virtually all the staff were exceptional. Polite, efficient, courteous, and helpful. Not so much with the ship's officers, however. They were aloof and at times dismissive. But I will never cruise with Princess again. The fare for the 2 of us was just under $10,000 and it included a $300 credit for our cabin which was clearly noted on the booking documentation that was sent to us. However, the credit did not appear on our account. Princess refused to honor the credit telling us that we had the responsibility to resolve the issue with our travel agent. Are you kidding me? We spend almost $10,000 and they can't fix the problem between them and the agent? The customer service desk did send a message to the main office, which failed to help, but then never contacted us with a response. Gotta be a better cruise company out there. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise