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341 Princess Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Reviews

Venice to Rome 12 nights (23NOV to 5Dec2017) back-to-back Rome to Fort Lauderdale 17 nights (5Dec-22Dec2017). To enjoy a long cruise, you must prepare how you wish to spend the many sea days (here included 8 transatlantic sea days). ... Read More
Venice to Rome 12 nights (23NOV to 5Dec2017) back-to-back Rome to Fort Lauderdale 17 nights (5Dec-22Dec2017). To enjoy a long cruise, you must prepare how you wish to spend the many sea days (here included 8 transatlantic sea days). While there was a multitude of activities that I did not do, I participated many activities offered by the fabulous team under the direction of Sammie Baker, our Cruise Director. I was never bored as I had brought my own crochet projects, attended every performance of the Cast Dancers and Singers, and my favourite guest performer, Diane Cousins, took dance lessons by Sarah and Dillon, did arts & crafts with Brendan (Cast Dancer from New Zealand), watched the Culinary Competition and Galley Tour, watched the Virtual Bridge Tour Presentation, and most worthwhile, attended the nine Astronomy Enrichment Lectures presented by Dr. Rhodri Evans. I loved the majority of my breakfasts and lunches in the Deck 9 Buffet, unfortunately my dinners in the Club Restaurant were inconsistent and I did have several sub-par dinners. Service was generally good. We took a few very good shore excursions, but we mainly explored on our own, and took taxis and public transportation. We were in Naples twice, and we're very surprised that Princess did not offer an excursion to Caserta Palace, which is a must see heritage site rivalling Versailles (and only 35 km north of Naples). One minor complaint: I did not enjoy my foot mud bath and massage because she spent the whole 45 minutes trying to up sell products so it was not relaxing at all. Deck 3 Cabin 3015 mid-ship. Had abundant closets and shelves for two women. Love seat sofa very convenient. Vanity desk with chair. Mini-fridge. Twin beds felt narrower than normal. Porthole was not obstructed (OV is porthole). We were very happy to be on Deck 3, in winter (Dec) in Mediterranean had 4 days of rough seas (Captain ordered porthole closed). Those in higher decks felt the waves more. We missed 3 Mediterranean ports due to storms. Once we sailed out of the Mediterranean, got to Tenerife, and into the transatlantic crossing, it was very smooth sailing, and every day was sunny and warm towards Fort Lauderdale. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Princess has so many satisfied passengers. We have cruised about 20 times, and always found cruisers who raved about Princess. So we decided to check it out for ourselves. This was a B2B Med/TA cruise.We weren't worried about the ... Read More
Princess has so many satisfied passengers. We have cruised about 20 times, and always found cruisers who raved about Princess. So we decided to check it out for ourselves. This was a B2B Med/TA cruise.We weren't worried about the smallness of the ship-we are perfectly happy amusing ourselves. We were excited about the ports, new and old, and looking forward to the 8 sea days at the end. Embarkation was easy. The ship was in Venice for two days. When we water taxi'ed out to it, no one else was in line. We got checked in and onboard quickly. Our cabin, a mini suite, was quite nice.We were hungry and decided to get burgers at the BBQ Grill on the pool deck. The burgers were awful. The meat was gristly and greasy and the buns stale. It was Thanksgiving so at dinner we ordered the turkey. Again, the meat disappointed. it was more like a Swanson tv dinner than a roast turkey. The veggies and dessert were good though. The next day when Mr S ordered the jerk chicken and the meat was dry and tasteless we began wondering if we were going to become vegetarians for the rest of the trip. This unevenness in the quality of the food continued for 29 days. Soups on the buffet were uniformly excellent, but the set up made it very hard to serve yourself. We were kind of stunned, in fact, at the self service on the buffet. Many items were hard to reach or involved hot serving utensils, and it was hard to get anyone to help. Just not enough staff. it is a small ship so a small buffet with less choices than we are used to. In the dining room and the buffet food temperature was an issue. We were very fortunate with our table mates in the dining room. this made the forced early dining time of 5:30 more bearable. Why is any ship still not allowing anytime dining? Hard to figure. By the way I would not waste my money booking Club Class on this ship. The cruisers who elected that were seated in a group of tables at the entrance to the dining room, meaning they were scrutinized by everyone and their brother as people paraded in to dinner. Some of their food was prepared at a little induction cooktop that was just after the maitre'd station. Not very appetizing. I would have thought they would have placed the Club Class area in a quiet corner, not adjacent to the thundering herds. Trivia was more lame then usual, as the cruise director staff apparently was made to use an out of date source book for the questions. Not sure why cruise ships can't get this right, but Princess' trivia was worse than usual. An exception were the trivias conducted by Robbie, who was the stand out star of the Cruise Director's staff. We don't go to the shows but we do listen to the music. Midway through the cruise the good duo was transferred to another ship and a lesser duo with a very limited repertoire brought on board. The cruise director seemed to enjoy concocting entertainments that revolved around her. We were not amused and steered clear. Numerous cruisers including us had issues-most minor-with things on the ship, and the surprise was how these things were handled. We were treated very disrespectfully and often blamed. One group of experiences Princess cruisers was given the bum's rush out of the dining room due to an impending muster drill. Being passengers in transit they were not required to participate, but the maitre'd, told them to "Just get out". This whole experience was a mess and I dearly hope there never needs to be a real evacuation of the ship. The crew is clearly unprepared. We had an issue with our prepaid drink package. Basically, they refused to honor the terms of it, said they did not have to honor what was on the internet, said that they had changed it after we bought it, etc. We never got this resolved as I became tired of dealing with it. We also made a steakhouse reservation for my birthday which they lost. When we showed up there were many empty tables, and they finally, begrudgingly, seated us, but not after blaming us and accusing us of having made the reservation for the wrong day. It was really quite extraordinary. We met so many great people on the cruise, many of whom were very frequent Princess cruisers, we don't know how to explain the way so many people were treated so poorly except to conclude that there is a major middle management problem on the ship. Lower echelon staff were generally good to great. Some of them confided they were going to try to transfer to different ships. The ship had recently gone thru a refurbishment and much of the public furniture was new and very nice. Our mini suite had new things also, and we liked it a lot. Exceptions were the balcony furniture which was kind of ratty, and the products in the bathroom. I ended up buying products in the spa at the half off sale. The paper products in the bathroom were also rough and low end. We had to skip several ports due to bad weather. The captain did do a nice thing for the first port we skipped, which was Kotor (Montenegro). they stayed in Dubrovnik an extra day and offered a bus tour of Kotor. We appreciated that a lot. For those who do not like the motion of the ocean I would not recommend this small ship. We had several days of rough seas, and some of the passengers really suffered. We were ok with it but glad when we escaped into smooth seas and warm temps on the crossing. A big pet peeve for me was the laundry. I hated the laundromat, very tight and confined and filled with hostile people arguing over the dryers. I was surprised that there was no option of a bag of laundry for $20 or so like most cruises have. I will never again spend my vacation worrying about laundry. Princess, you have many fans, but you also have problems on the Pacific. Fix it, it is too nice a ship and your loyal fans too great a group to have to put up with the disrespectful treatment dished out on this cruise. In the meantime, we are going back to Holland America for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We love this small ship and usually like to leave home during the holiday season. We had a bit of weather and missed the port in Cadiz. We have done this crossing many times at this time of year and I feel 8 straight sea days is too much, ... Read More
We love this small ship and usually like to leave home during the holiday season. We had a bit of weather and missed the port in Cadiz. We have done this crossing many times at this time of year and I feel 8 straight sea days is too much, The other cruises stopped some where else like Morocco, Azores, Tunisia or the Caribbean to break up the crossing. It was nice to have Sammy as the cruise director. We had a Club Class cabin, which I have to say really did not do much for us. We had a special dining area, but could not bring friends and the food was the same except for a special dish made by the head waiter. A couple were really good, but most just OK, one was disgusting. The other Club Class benefit is you get more pillows and two half bottles of wine and priority boarding. We are Elite so really did not do much for us. The are trying to copy Celebrity "Aqua Class" but missed the mark.We got to go to a couple of special "Wine lunches" where the Chef made a lunch with wine pairings. The food was excellent and it was a great event, don't think that they are common, but if you get a chance ever DO IT. So we know the chef can cook, but their is only so much you can do with the ingredients Princess provides and we have seen the quality go down over the years. This ship will always be our favorite, very intimate and relaxed. Easy to make friends. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The small ship experience provides a close relationship with staff. You get to know them and it is a family. I am not sure I would repeat the small ship, missed the international cafe!! The entertainment is close and personal, providing ... Read More
The small ship experience provides a close relationship with staff. You get to know them and it is a family. I am not sure I would repeat the small ship, missed the international cafe!! The entertainment is close and personal, providing an enjoyable experience, very different than the larger ships.The pool area has nice double loungers and thick cushions. The ship is beautiful and reminds me of the old school ships; wood everywhere. We had three rough days before ever hitting the Atlantic. It was like a ghost town on the ship. The staff was out and about ensuring that passengers were all doing ok. One dining room with two sittings. Lotus Spa - great bamboo massages. Has a steam room - use it. We were on the 7th deck - mid-ship little forward. Has closet with doors and drawers behind doors.....all encased in wood. Typical cruise ship bath. Had a loveseat in the room which was nice. It is a pull out for a third passenger. We found a regular outlet under the TV, nice find in addition to the one on the desk area. As we walked from our room aft....we hit a nasty musty smell. So glad we were not in those rooms. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Pacific Princess ,1st time on this small ship , but have enjoyed cruises on Oceania and Azamara . Ship has nice ambience and a warm and welcoming staff , some features are showing their age ,with some recent renovations . She has a loyal ... Read More
Pacific Princess ,1st time on this small ship , but have enjoyed cruises on Oceania and Azamara . Ship has nice ambience and a warm and welcoming staff , some features are showing their age ,with some recent renovations . She has a loyal following among staff and guests. Very good itinerary , sailing from Venice ( overnight) Croatia , Kotor , Greek Islands , Naples , Rome , 2 ports in Sicily , Barcelona , and Canary Islands make for a very interesting cruise . Very good production shows , guest entertainers along with guest lecturers help past the time . A relatively small ship . an easy walk fore to aft , never a line for anything , she has a loyal following among guests and staff . On this size ship , we were always encountering officers , staff and entertainment staff , a more intimate setting for such a long voyage . Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We have taken the Grand Med/Transatlantic crossing 4 times before and enjoyed it so much decided to try again on the Royal. The ship is too big and the public rooms, i.e. theater, lounges are too small to accommodate the number of ... Read More
We have taken the Grand Med/Transatlantic crossing 4 times before and enjoyed it so much decided to try again on the Royal. The ship is too big and the public rooms, i.e. theater, lounges are too small to accommodate the number of cruiser. It was almost impossible to see most of the after dinner shows, as it was standing room only. The ship needs to be refurbished. The older ships with Vista lounge, Explorers Lounge, Wheelhouse bar lounge, Club Fusion are so much better. Princess Live and Club 6 are an after thought... just to fill in the spaces. The atrium was OK for music, but disappointed in the only line dancing classes being at 1pm... just when we are having lunch --- so much better in the 9 - 10 am timing. Dining rooms were OK, but food was so repetitive it became boring. Horizon Court buffet much improved in its set up and food there was good. We will cruise again with Princess but definitely not on the Royal or Regal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I am an energetic solo world traveler who has cruised since 1980. I’ve cruised 44 times on Princess, of a total of 55 cruises. Princess has changed drastically since my first cruise with them in 1980, but they offer a large number of ... Read More
I am an energetic solo world traveler who has cruised since 1980. I’ve cruised 44 times on Princess, of a total of 55 cruises. Princess has changed drastically since my first cruise with them in 1980, but they offer a large number of ports for the money. The main reasons I cruise with Princess anymore are number and variety of ports and the actual ride on a ship. This cruise was a 25 night back-to-back combination of two cruises in the Mediterranean and Adriatic regions coupled with a westbound transatlantic crossing. I flew to Rome to embark the cruise, arriving a day early to enjoy a full-day private VIP tour of all the “must see” sights of Rome. It was worth every dollar, and gave me many unforgettable memories. The airport and cruise port for Rome, as well as Rome itself, are hours apart, so plan extra time and get there a day early to avoid stress and rushing. You might as well see this legendary part of the world properly if you are cruising from Rome. I stayed at Portrait Roma in Rome, a luxury boutique property of the family Ferragamo. Worth the cost, with flawless professional service, location, amenities, and a heavenly bed. I wish they had a cruise line! They could certainly teach Princess some valuable lessons in customer service and appreciation. My Italian travel agent had arranged for a private limo to take me from the hotel to the ship, and it was a smooth, professional journey. The cruise line offers bus transfers from Rome and the airport to the ship. The “Royal Princess” is a very large ship with the usual amenities on board. It is not a “glitz barge” like Carnival’s ships, nor a floating theme-park loaded with outdoor activities like RCI. The central atrium and piazza are very lovely and attractive. There are traditional dining rooms, small cafes, lots of bars, lounges, a large theater, a live TV studio, wedding chapel, boutiques, casino, open decks with pools and hot tubs, jogging track, fitness center, a very large spa, a large lido buffet restaurant, art gallery, passenger services center, a shop for gifts and flowers, specialty coffee, a delightful small international café for some of the best food on the ship, a medical center, small children’s play areas, a tiny library, photo gallery, and most anything else found on today’s large cruise ships. Most of the cabins have balconies, and there are no “ocean view with window” cabins on this ship. There is also no promenade deck, sorely missed by many. The ship is white, and used to look elegant until somebody at Princess added a jagged, weird blue paint job on the bow. It looks like a shark had bitten into the bow. Being fairly new still, the ship is holding up as well as can be expected with very heavy use, but some of the furniture looks very tired, as do the carpets, and there is a lot of dull brown color everywhere. Some of the décor is very dated. There are a few confusing regions of the ship as far as getting to the dining rooms. Ventilation was badly lacking on this long cruise – the corridors were always hot and stuffy and humid and sometimes smelled of stack exhaust and toilets. A strong tobacco odor from the smokers in the casino would filter throughout the ship at varying strengths, and the same from a cigar lounge room. Repeated pleas for years to Princess to put doors on the casino have fallen on deaf ears, obviously. Perhaps they are not aware of lung cancer from second-hand smoke. Most of the ship inside and out is nonsmoking, but the areas allowing smoking are polluting the rest of the ship. There are elevators, but they are far too small and few for the demand, and run very slowly. A central staircase was added last year, which helps with the foot traffic. Laundromats are available on most decks, a bit pricey but convenient – tokens are charged to the room account and for sale in the laundry rooms, along with laundry products. Bring your own dryer sheets and detergent and save money. I brought magnetic hooks and plastic hangers with me for quick-dry garments, and hung clothes in my cabin , thus saving money by avoiding dryer use. You can hang things on a tiny clothesline in the shower, but it is moldy. Walls are metal in cabins, and those magnetic hooks are terrific. They are allowed in checked baggage. Demand exceeded supply for the Laundromats most of the trip. Traffic flow was congested everywhere on my cruise – steward service carts blocked the narrow corridors most of the day and into the evening, and there were a lot of mobility-challenged guests using scooters, walkers, and wheel chairs. Ongoing maintenance was very evident throughout the cruise, with a lot of sanding and painting and fixing all over the ship. The fumes from the strong marine-grade paint sometimes made use of the balcony impossible, and clouds of sanded varnish also caused problems. A lot of soot came out of the stack and was blown around on the open decks. Activities on the cruise made me question what Princess considers an “activity”. The median age on this cruise was probably 70+, if not higher. Is a “Mr. Sexy Legs” contest appropriate or valued by this age group? Perhaps the very young cruise director and staff aren’t in tune with what mature adults enjoy doing. This sort of contest might be good on a party animal ship of Carnival, but hardly on the more sedate Princess line. Approximately 35% of the advertised “activities” each day in the “Princess Patter” bulletin involved “seminars”, sales and obvious infomercials for services and products for sale on the ship. I don’t consider these to be activities. Some activities, like making paper boats out of “scrap heaps” might entertain pre-teens at a day camp. There were various kinds of dance lessons, but the noise level of the constantly over-amplified music in the piazza drowned out the instructor and hurt everyone’s ears. Repeated requests by a lot of the guests to turn down the music all over the ship were ignored. It seemed impossible, unless paying for space in the adults-only Sanctuary, to find a quiet place on this noise-saturated ship. Even empty venues had music blasting, and that music sounded like it was selected by crazed teens. There were various get-togethers for special interest groups – I enjoyed one for “aviators”, as I’m a licensed pilot. Groups met for rosary, Bible study, bridge, board games, knitting. The fitness crowd enjoyed the fitness center, which was overcrowded most of the time and had some voyeuristic guys taking up space. Foodies were in heaven, despite the poor quality food, and they seemed to eat 24/7. Shoppers could shop, but the merchandise in the boutiques never seemed to change, with little variety, and some of the merchandise was very expensive. There was a handy tiny section of medical items and sundries everybody seems to forget when they leave home. “Junk food” was there, as well. Musical entertainment was heard throughout the ship night and day, but of amateur quality other than the fabulous Belarus classical female string quartet. Service on this cruise was of mixed quality. My stateroom steward was the best I’ve ever had in 55 cruises. Very courteous, professional, caring, good sense of humor, spoke very good English (he was from Serbia), and always very glad to be of service. He never forgot anything and the cabin looked perfect with his twice a day attention. My dining room waiter from Thailand was also very good – a quiet gentleman with a heavy accent, but very kind and caring with professional quality service from long experience. The staff in the clothing boutique and perfume shop were also wonderful, and were friends from prior cruises – very welcoming and fun to visit with. I speak enough Spanish to order food, and most of the staff at the delightful International Café were Spanish-speakers. We had a great time with them helping me learn more words, and they were happy to speak their native language. My food was definitely served by them with love! Another happy group were the room service stewards and stewardesses. They were always very polite and cheerful, even at dawn, and delivered what I asked for in an attractive way and right on time. Unfortunately, the guest services agents do not get good reviews when it came to service. They did not speak enough English to properly understand guests’ problems and resolve them. They had sad, rather frozen expressions as they struggled to understand English. They were great, however, with Spanish, French, Portuguese, and the Balkan and Asian languages – this made the non-English speaking guests very happy. Perhaps it was the lack of good communication which made many of these young people seem defensive and even somewhat hostile at times. Nothing really got resolved without days, if not weeks, of repeated interactions, talking to supervisors with their empty platitudes, and a great deal of frustration and wasted time on my part. The spa staff were also very unenthusiastic and robotic, except for one mature lady I’d met on another cruise, and who was as lovely and cheerful as I remembered from a prior cruise. I did not book any shore excursions through the cruise line and thus cannot comment on them. I heard complaints about bad guides, careless driving, and days far too long without food or comfort stops from some of the guests, however. I enjoyed all of the ports, with each having something unique and marvelous to enjoy. Some ports were repeats for me, which allowed a chance to see what I had missed the first time. If I had seen it all before, I stayed on the ship and enjoyed the sense of being on a private yacht. Great itinerary, but a lot of back to back port days and very few sea days until the much-anticipated transatlantic westbound crossing. I love ocean sailing and never have enough sea days. My :"deluxe balcony" cabin was adequate as far as space for one person. The balcony was a bit smaller than usual, but still had room for two chairs and a small table. Divider walls gave complete privacy, and there was a roof (the deck above) over the entire balcony, very welcome for shade and rain protection. The furniture had not been cleaned when I boarded, however, and was sticky with salt residue. The balcony door could barely open when I got to the cabin, and it took a week to get somebody to fix it. A pile of metal shavings and other debris remained outside the door the entire cruise. I had the two twin beds combined to make a king bed. Despite the advertising about some sleep doctor creating a fabulous sleep experience, the mattress was worn out, with hollows, and far too soft to offer adequate support. Two feather and two foam pillows were on the bed, but both were very tired and the feathers were noisy. The linens have improved since last year, but I saw holes, some darned and others not, and old stains on some of the bed linens. There is a nice duvet instead of a blanket, and a fabric runner at the end of the bed, and two small throw pillows against the sleeping pillows. These pillows were not very sanitary in my opinion, and I removed them. There is good storage space beneath the bed, but only if you have the right size suitcase – mine was far too big to slide under the bed, and I had to put my two huge cases in the closet space. There was a small love-seat size sleeper sofa in the cabin but it was greasy with body soil. The bottom cushions were so broken down that they hung over the edge of the seat, and when I tried to sit on the sofa, I slid off and fell to the floor. This piece of furniture looked like something a student would leave at the curb for the dumpster crews at the end of a college semester, and it was never properly repaired or replaced. Somebody stuffed mattress pad material under the cushions, but it did nothing for comfort or solidity or safety. Guest services seemed totally incapable of understanding why I was upset about paying for a deluxe cabin which included the use of a piece of furniture that was unsafe, dirty, and never fixed. Total waste of money on my part to have this piece of junk in the cabin. The furniture was OK – two small nightstands with two drawers each, adequate lighting, vanity/desk with a mirror, and a cabinet containing a useful small mini-fridge. Shelf space on top of the fridge cabinet. Large flat-screen TV opposite the bed, but very hard to see from elsewhere in the room. Tired, spotted, stained mixed-brown carpeting. Steward offered to shampoo it for me, but from past experience the carpet stays wet for a week and smells like wet dog, and caused an allergy reaction when I had it shampooed on another cruise, so I declined the extra cleaning. Not much color in the cabin, just neutral vanilla type colors with a lot of brown, and light colored furniture which looked like thrift shop items. Nail polish on desk, dents and chips in the wood, stains. The desk chair was plastic, and sticky to sit on. There were some modern-art pictures on the walls. Adequate open closet near the bathroom, shelf space taken by three life jackets. Plenty of good wood hangers, and the steward can get more hangers if you need them. There was a small shelved cabinet next to the closet, containing a safe, but very small shelves. There was one drawer in the fridge cabinet, above the fridge space, but it was taken up by a hair dryer, and also very warm from the heat venting from the fridge below. Room key card goes in a slot to activate the power for lights, TV, etc. The climate control system in the room worked well most of the time, except when it was very hot outside. It was hard to get really cold water in the sink, something to do with the water purification system being affected by the ocean water temperature, or so I was told. Bathroom was the small, typical plastic modular cube. Hand-held shower, fabric shower curtain with some mold at the bottom. Dispensers of shampoo/conditioner and shower gel in the shower. Typical (and for once well-behaved) vacuum toilet. Large square sink with good space around it and three small glass shelves above the sink area. Large mirror with good lighting. Fairly good ventilation in the bathroom. The shower handles were broken at embarkation, and remained so until the second to last day of the cruise. It took weeks to get a qualified plumber to fix them. The cabin was very quiet at night as far as sound coming through the walls, but the door let in corridor noise. Loud passengers returning in high spirits to their cabins late at night definitely woke me up a few times. Crew who were cheerful could be heard shouting to each other day and night, and the room service people were almost too cheerful, as you could hear them loudly greeting guests when they delivered orders to rooms early in the morning. “Good” noise, perhaps, but noise nevertheless. The balcony wall was all glass, with great views. Sheer curtains and drapes kept out the light when necessary. Unfortunately, upon entering the cabin, I noted the sheers curtains lacked hooks and were hanging off the track badly. I always wipe things down with sanitizer cleaning wipes when I cruise, and it was obvious that deep cleaning had not been done in the cabin for a long time – the wipes were brown with dirt and dust. I opted for traditional dining on this cruise, the earliest possible time, and with a table for one. I need this for medical reasons, and enjoyed having a quiet corner table next to a huge window. There is traditional dining, anytime dining, specialty dining, lido buffet dining, room service dining, café dining of various types, bars, snack bars, gelato and ice cream bars, a seafood café. Nobody goes hungry on this ship. You can get food literally 24/7. The café food was very good most of the time for deserts and salads and quiche and sandwiches. They did have some very odd puddings and squishy type deserts, however. I did not experiment with the other dining venues, other than getting some hot protein food from the lido buffet in the morning. Unfortunately, the hot items were usually cool or cold, stale, and dry. Fruit flies infested the trays of pastries. It was hard to find a decent small spoon for cereal or deserts anywhere on the ship without a dedicated search – the spoons were all huge tablespoons or serving spoons. Silverware was often sticky or worn down to the base metal. Plates were often wet. I had lunch from room service or the International Café, and ate breakfast and lunch in my cabin. The lido buffet area was very crowded and noisy. Food items were often either not labeled, or labeled improperly, with no nut warnings noted. The food in the Concerto dining room, where I had my seating, had a few decent appetizers and entrees, but the food was typical of a small-town diner or truck stop. Those who don’t like “exotic” or “fancy” cruise food were comforted by the likes of fried pork belly, spaghetti, fried chicken, ice cream and other home-cooking comfort-type foods. There were some extremely odd appetizers, soups, salads and entrees obviously crafted from leftovers. Lots of things with fruit and nuts. What meat I saw looked like burnt leather. The fish was undercooked and greasy. Items listed as “prawns” were instead small to medium regular shrimp. Everything from French toast to dinner items seemed to be soaked in grease. Pastries were reduced in size from last year, and dry and stale. The menu repeated about every 10 days in the dining room. I asked where the cooks were from, and was told India. Nothing wrong with that – and I love Indian food. However, Indian cooking technique doesn’t translate well with American or some international foods, and I remember having Greek spanikopita which were identical to Indian fried samosas. Everything was saturated with so much pepper and salt it burned my throat and tongue. Waiters offered even more pepper, and never remembered that I did not use it. Béarnaise sauce was served cold at one meal, and an unpleasant argumentative head waiter got right in my face and insisted it had to be cold “because of the butter”. I was forced to tell him to be quiet, go away and never talk to me again, which he ignored. This completely ruined several dinners. A chicken pot pie was served with the chicken half-raw and totally inedible, and there was no crust except on the top, which a waiter removed. What should have been a really good three-bean, cheese and polenta mini-casserole dish was ruined by partially cooked beans, which in turn partially ruined my GI tract for a day. I was made ill several times by the poor quality and bad preparation of the food. The lettuce on this trip was not edible, and covered with rust much of the time. Some of the soups were good, other than being full of too much seasoning. What was deemed almost sinful by many loyal Princess cruisers was the dreadfully prepared fettuccini Alfredo. The first time I had this “signature Princess dish”, the noodles were hard and there was no sauce. When the waiter brought the requested sauce, it was a small dish of lukewarm water with nonfat milk stirred in. A second dish was just as bad. The second time I ordered this dish the noodles were slightly softer, but only a teaspoon of sauce was beneath the noodles. It was the same watery, disgusting mess. The last time I tried the noodles, the sauce was a bit thicker, but had no flavor and I did not eat the item. Even the maitre’d was horrified. The deserts were the same every night – ice cream, cheese cake, a few bizarre combinations of fruit, nuts, and some unidentifiable things. The “Loveboat Dream” chocolate mousse desert mercifully remained delicious and unspoiled, thankfully. Some of the sugarless items were OK but tasted artificial. There were elaborate chocolate “creations” at times, but so full of nuts they were not edible by many guests. The same boring, tired old Baked Alaska parade took place with great noise and dreadful timing when guests were trying to get their meal finished and go to the shows. The baked Alaska itself was a melted, soggy mess. I’ve seen better food served at a day camp for kids or a charity soup kitchen. Food was rarely hot or cold when it should have been, and vegetables were served raw or barely cooked, no matter what they were. Mashed potatoes seemed made from a dry mix, and were the consistency of watery paste. Same dry, stale basket of rolls and bread sticks nightly. There was a food item from all the food groups available each night, with basics like salmon, chicken, baked potatoes for those who wished them. Food was just poorly prepared, bizarre, unimaginative cuisine night after night. There were vegetarian options, but some were extremely weird. The nightly pasta offerings were OK, but the same watery red sauce prevailed, and the pasta wasn’t always cooked long enough. One of my favorite pasta dishes was served missing the tiny bits of broccoli and kalamata olives and capers which added the right flavor. This puzzled the maitre’d when I showed him the menu listing the ingredients versus what appeared in my dish. I don’t know where they got the cooks for this trip, or who supervised the preparation and recipes, but it was a total disaster, and I lost five pounds in a month from lack of decent food. Passengers were seen shopping for nonperishable food at the shore-side markets and bringing big bags of food back with them. I ate all my emergency travel foods on this trip, like protein bars and crackers and cheese. There was pizza available on the ship, but it looked dried out and burned. A lot of attention seemed focused on giving Americans hamburgers and fries, as if that is all Americans eat. Wrong! I don’t cook at all, and when I cruise, I like to have food I don’t get at home, have others fix my meals, and serve me. I just wish the food had been decent for the long 25 day cruise. The food was often so bad it was a health hazard. The dining rooms were visually attractive, with many different table sizes. There was background music, but it was often too loud and made conversation difficult. Flowers were on each table. The table linens were nice but often had visible holes or darned tears in them. The silverware felt very sticky at times, and sometimes was so worn it was just gray base metal. On some nights, a special dish was prepared by the maitre’d, and often the overuse of garlic was nauseatingly obvious – the entire dining room was full of a very strong garlic odor which seemed to last forever. I would like to see a very early dining seating available at 5:00 PM, but the earliest was 5:30 PM. People lined up quite early to get into the dining room, and were greeted by a nice hostess at the door. Some nights the Purell machine worked, and others it did not – and it was not always used by the diners. Menus definitely need a fresh cover, as they were very soiled and tired. Entertainment on this cruise definitely offered something for everyone. There were movies on an enormous screen outdoors, but they were not always current or age-relevant. Cabin TV offered music, news, movies, recorded broadcasts of on-board lectures, port information, lectures, etc. Movies were offered in the two-level Princess theater. The usual cruise-type production shows seem not to have changed in several years. Seeing them once was more than enough, considering the average quality of the performers. There is far too much use of blinding spotlights aimed into the audience, strobe lighting, fake smoke, etc. and the lighting did not properly highlight the entertainers – sometimes they were in the dark. The sound level was at a dangerous high, totally unnecessary with the good acoustics in the theater. There were verbal altercations and some pushing and shoving because people reserved seats, stood blocking views for others, or there just weren’t enough seats. I saw very elderly people pushed out of the way, and somebody pushed me, just to get to seats, and old folks sitting on the floor or stairs. I’ve never been on such a loud, rude, noise-polluted ship in 37 years of cruising. Just because the passenger contingent was “senior” on this cruise does not mean everybody was deaf! I don’t care for comedians and magicians, and did not attend these performances. The featured vocalists were not that great, often singing off-key. The pianist who often played in the piazza was terrible – sounded like a child just playing with the piano keys, and no real melody. The computerized piano had a dreadful tinny, fake sound as well. There was a young man singing and playing a guitar around the ship, and his choice of music, plus his style, would have been better suited to some small-town roadhouse on a lonely Saturday night after he failed to qualify for some “new voice talent” show. The best group on the ship were the four lovely women from Belarus who played as a string quartet, offering both classical and popular music. They did very well in their own few performances in a proper venue, but sadly were disrespected enough by Princess to be located most of the time in a seating area of one of the big bar lounges. Between the noisy talkers at the bar and the open restaurant behind it, and the thick stream of people going from the theater and elsewhere in the ship close to where the quartet were sitting, the delicate sound of the string instruments was nearly impossible to hear. These women were true professionals, however, and played serenely on no matter what rude behavior was swirling around them. Whatever else went on late into the night in other forms of entertainment, I did not participate in it, preferring the quiet of my cabin and a good book. Live music was available in the piazza for those who enjoyed various types of dancing, and I would have enjoyed that if I had someone to dance with. Princess should consider having gentlemen hosts as other lines do so solo travelers wishing to dance aren’t stuck sitting alone on the sidelines. For those with the durability to party on into the wee hours, there was a DJ at the disco, and some nights the casino stayed open all night. I don’t know if the fashion show event qualifies as entertainment, but have repeated it here - the boutiques on the ship recruited passengers as models, and produced two very entertaining and fun fashion shows in the piazza, complete with a blue carpet runway and stage lighting. It was great fun as a participant, and the large passenger audience loved it. I do wish Princess had retained their famous “Pop Choir”, which used to be a beloved highlight of the transatlantic crossing. Two themed “festivals” took place on this long cruise – an Oktoberfest and a Venetian Carnival, with colorful decorations, food, dances. Depending on one’s personal idea of what constitutes entertainment, there was something going on nearly 24 hours a day, all listed in the daily “Princess Patter” bulletin. Disembarkation is one of the few strong points with Princess. It is organized by departure time after guests fill out a form indicating what they need. Bags are color-coded and departure times have matching colors. There are meeting places throughout the ship for guests to gather in a timely and comfortable manner while waiting for clearance to leave. Elite and Suite guests have their own private departure lounge. In all my cruising with Princess, departures have actually run ahead of scheduled times in the bulletin. Guests must vacate their cabins by 8 AM, and simply planning ahead for the departure morning avoids stress and gets the huge passenger crowd off the ship safely and in good time. Princess offers city tours, booked as a shore excursion, for those with late flights. and also has transfer service from the ship to various airports. On this cruise, however, my color group somehow was allowed off the ship before the matching baggage was delivered to the baggage shed, and there were three groups within the main color group. This produced absolute total chaos, with almost no room to walk between the piles of luggage once they were delivered. Unhelpful staff shouted at people to get back and wait for the bags, there were surly porters, and lots of very big passengers shoving and pushing smaller people like me in an effort to get their bags. I was repeatedly shoved, pushed, and stepped on (making me thankful to be wearing steel-toed heavy hiking boots). In conclusion, while I really enjoyed all the ports and the transatlantic crossing, the hot, dry, gorgeous Mediterranean sunshine and very calm seas, as well as being at sea (I’m a small-boat sailor), there were too many unfortunate and often preventable negatives which made this one of the most unpleasant Princess cruises I have ever taken. Sanitation and hygiene are critical. Safe, good food is critical. Respect for the guest and ability to communicate are critical. Proper cabin maintenance is critical, especially when that costly space is your home for 25 days and nights. In all these areas, there were a lot of deficiencies which lowered the quality of the cruise to a floating Motel 6. I wondered at times if I were on a Carnival cruise – was this ship perhaps a new Carnival ship called the “Carnival Princess”? The crew were robotic zombies at times, and could have cared less about the guests. There was little, if any, sense of authority when it came to unruly passenger situations being addressed, controlled and stopped. What good does the captain do if he is just a disembodied voice from the bridge now and again, and ignores complaints filtering to him from guest services about people being yelled at by crew, physically assaulted by fellow passengers, being sickened by lousy food, not getting badly needed repairs in cabins done. The captain needs to do more than just show up at cocktail parties and host champagne waterfalls. This once-loyal Princess cruiser will definitely be looking at other options with cruise lines who appreciate my business and treat me with respect, and who offer a clean, safe, well-maintained product for my hard-earned money. I urge all prospective Princess cruisers to read the reviews before wasting their money. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The quality of Princess cruises has gone downhill. Problems started when we were advised a week before embarkation that the captain had directed progressive check-in and passengers on our deck would have to wait about three hours ... Read More
The quality of Princess cruises has gone downhill. Problems started when we were advised a week before embarkation that the captain had directed progressive check-in and passengers on our deck would have to wait about three hours before we could check-in. Despite repeated unanswered e-mails to Customer Relations and unanswered messages left with our cruise coordinator we were unable to find out what facilities would be provided for the wait. It turned out to be an empty warehouse with hard plastic chairs. A second issue was the decline in formal dining. They have cut the staff to the point where service has suffered and seating was brusque and arbitrary. Food was mediocre at best, but luckily the buffet was excellent. The layout of the ship was convenient, but virtually every corner was bombarded with irritating background music. There were no quiet corners outside the stateroom. Excursions were terrible, usually little more than long, boring bus rides. Guides were mostly inarticulate and took off at a fast clip as soon as they got off the bus, leaving the groups strung out beyond earshot. I doubt that anyone from Princess has checked out the excursions first hand and there were no post-excursion critiques. Finally, when we first started cruises with Princess we would often see senior members of the crew walking through public areas talking to passengers. On the last two cruises we haven't seen them and it seems that the rest of the crew knows not to worry about supervision. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Itinerary and timing were the prime reasons for this trip. Food: Lacked variety; lacked care or attention to detail. Examples: smoked salmon was served in the mornings with salt-cured capers—not the vinegar-preserved variety that ... Read More
Itinerary and timing were the prime reasons for this trip. Food: Lacked variety; lacked care or attention to detail. Examples: smoked salmon was served in the mornings with salt-cured capers—not the vinegar-preserved variety that complements the fish. French onion soup lacked herbs and depth of flavor—not even a pinch of thyme or a drop of white wine—the Soup was more akin to brown water with onions. Fresh fruit was anything but fresh: peaches had brown flesh; plums had pockets marks as though birds had pecked holes in them. They served mangoes, but they were canned and mealy. The fresh strawberries served were soft/mushy—even those decorating the desserts. The specialty restaurant Sabatini’s was especially disappointing with tough over cooked meat and arrogant surly waiters. All chicken and turkey had been brined far too long, leaving an intense salty taste. Attempts at an Oktoberfest buffet resulted in candied red cabbage and bacon-fat greasy potato salad. Quality control across the board was ABSENT in the savory department. The pastry chef, however, was the exception. Desserts were for the most part tasty, well made, and attractively presented. Service was poor. Only a handful of attendants cared about service. Enrichment lecturer was a retired pilot who recounted stories of past air mishaps. Worthless prizes awarded to winners of trivia, games, etc. This was probably Princess’ last chance at my business. We certainly expected more. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Hadn't done the Med and this was a good itinerary. Very port intensive so less time at sea. Did a private ride from Rome to port and went aboard immediately - smooth & easy. I had booked a balcony but, lucky me, got upgraded ... Read More
Hadn't done the Med and this was a good itinerary. Very port intensive so less time at sea. Did a private ride from Rome to port and went aboard immediately - smooth & easy. I had booked a balcony but, lucky me, got upgraded to a mini-suite. obviously a last minute thing, as the system never did completely get caught up: no notices about lounges, bar not set up (took 2 days), excursion tickets missing, etc. All this was easily fixed, but I am used to no snafus. Cabin very nice. Food is usually superb, but this time it was down a notch. Items I'd had many times were not to Princess' usual standards. Too often it seems that the food doesn't change. Promote new things so we'll know it's just not the same old thing. Let Chefs have some creativity on board. It's like "one size fits all" is the motto - shake it up. Usually they promote the $25 wine tasting and I do it. Never heard about it, so I didn't go this time. Bartenders continue to be the first line of customer service and they all seem to have remarkable memories for people and drinks. (The new Medallion may think it will accomplish this, but the current staff keeps up with what you order and are so gracious about it.) People I'd seen on the ROYAL in April came up to me and welcomed me back. THAT is good customer service. Was hoping that there would be some new shows, but outside the Freddie Mercury tribute, I'd seen them all before. The Piazza is the best thing - great shows, musicians, dancing, people watching with plenty off room to participate, to relax or to watch. Problem with the excursions was the group size. 40 is a big group when you're in a small charming city without any amplification. Guides were good and usually very positive and proud of their cities. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We know Princess, as we just entered Platinum Status (6th -15 th Cruise). Service is quite good. We liked many of the ports of call. Food was, ironically, better in the Horizon Buffet. We tried the Main Dining room and were twice ... Read More
We know Princess, as we just entered Platinum Status (6th -15 th Cruise). Service is quite good. We liked many of the ports of call. Food was, ironically, better in the Horizon Buffet. We tried the Main Dining room and were twice disappointed in menu options and in size of portions. Sometimes we awoke hungry after midnight, weird. Escargots Bourgogne was a memorable dish. Some of the fish entrees were over cooked, with little or no sauce. Beware. The Crown Grill was a good dinner choice, with great appetizer and dessert choices. Our service staff was fantastic. I was surprised our bed had no top sheet. When I asked our steward, he found something to suffice. Tours are iffy. Toulets in Europe are not easy to find. Clean ones are nearly extinct. Princess needs to ensure we won’t be compromised. They say they want to keep infections away from ship, then start with clean bathrooms off ship. You can’t have it both ways!!! We very much enjoyed Luca, our guide for the Naples/Amalfi Coast Tour. He is knowledgeable & truly authentic. Our guide, Isabelle, in Aix en Provence was fantastic, too. Crew was great with embarkation and disembarkation. It was fast. They really have their act together. Value for the money has gone down. Ships are nickel and diming us way more than they used to. It is tiresome and leaves a bad taste. Some of us, therefore, plot and scheme how to manage to stay on budget. It’s sad, though, when vacation time is at such a premium. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Travel into Rome day early..... stayed at Airport Hilton.... 4 of us to port by private van. 105 euros. Checked in at noon, and went directly to our rooms, mini suite. Too easy. We chose this trip for the itinerary, traveling with ... Read More
Travel into Rome day early..... stayed at Airport Hilton.... 4 of us to port by private van. 105 euros. Checked in at noon, and went directly to our rooms, mini suite. Too easy. We chose this trip for the itinerary, traveling with friends. Not disappointed at all.... excellent! We did some organized tours, some not.... easy to walk... First time on Royal. Yes everything is bigger, but replicated much of the same 'Princess' motif as can be seen in previous generation of ship....didn't 'wow' us. Bathroom design is dated, size of balconies very very small, dining room menu/food ok... nothing to shout home about. Flow of Buffet - people/food stations improved....Specialty restaurants good. Entertainment ok. Princess Live can be fun.... check it out. Disembarkation in Barcelona fast... I give the trip 4+ stars for itinerary, 3 for the ship experience. With all the new large modern design ships out there, the Royal doesn't jump out as all that 'new.' I guess works for loyal Princess cruisers, but there is a lot of other to choose from.... and this is coming from an Elite....we are equal opportunity cruisers and sail everyone.... Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Pros: The itinerary on this cruise (a combined Med and Transatlantic voyage) was outstanding. We found many inexpensive things to do on shore without having to book excursions through the ship. Food was, as always, a standout, ... Read More
Pros: The itinerary on this cruise (a combined Med and Transatlantic voyage) was outstanding. We found many inexpensive things to do on shore without having to book excursions through the ship. Food was, as always, a standout, although we continue to wish that Princess would offer one unique "spa" or "healthy" menu item for all courses each night as some competitors do. It can get exhausting trying to adjust the dishes or ordering from the standard menu that offers broiled salmon. We continue to love Sabitini's, although we're no longer fans of the Crown Grill. It's true that the ship "ran out of wine," which is difficult to comprehend. We were allowed to bring wine on board, though, and could bring it into the dining rooms without surcharge, and we loved that. We don't tend to participate in a lot of the entertainment activities, but we heard that people were really enjoying the shows. The enrichment lecturer (a pilot) was outstanding. Really, really great. Also, the piano player/singer in Crooner's was great and the music (women's string quartet) in the atrium was lovely. Our room steward lived up to Princess standards, as they always do, and the Captain was absolutely lovely. The personal trainer I worked with (as I must on a 24 day cruise) was named Jonathan. He was amazing. Overall, Princess offers one of the best fitness centers at sea on the Royal-class ships. Cons: The atrium area is very crowded during sea days. Perhaps they might consider doing fewer games/group dance programs in that area -- moving them to another part of the ship -- so their is a quieter place for folks to gather. That seemed to be why most people were there... It's true that Princess seems to be cutting back in an attempt to maintain their prices, which haven't moved much in a decade. The crew/passenger ratio appears way down and as a result the crew is overworked and the passengers are increasingly difficult to please/rude. We found this to be very disturbing. We also wish Princess and other lines would increase their prices to include gratuities. This issue of whether people "pay" the daily gratuity or not is increasingly gnarly. When passengers don't pay, everyone suffers. If gratuities are included, then passengers can simply supplement with those they want to reward specifically. (We do both.) In Conclusion: This was a lovely sailing and we'd do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I will start out with my usual piece: In my opinion you cannot have a bad cruise. The voyage is what you make of it. We followed Princess' boarding guidelines and were on the ship in less than 10 minutes! The ship is beautiful ... Read More
I will start out with my usual piece: In my opinion you cannot have a bad cruise. The voyage is what you make of it. We followed Princess' boarding guidelines and were on the ship in less than 10 minutes! The ship is beautiful and the Piazza is much bigger than the other Princess ships. There was live music all over the ship which is a welcome treat after some lines have gone to canned DJ stuff. Even the production shows had live music! Even though it was a sold out cruise, the ship never felt crowded. The only lines we found were for dining around 7pm. But, if you opted to share a table you got right in! The 10 day Med itinerary is port intensive so you get on the ship, have dinner, enjoy a show, go to bed and get up early to spend as much time in port as possible. You get back to the ship just before sailing and repeat the process the next day. The 2 sea days were awesome! We had 2 coffee cards and had pre-ordered 2 of the bottled water packages. Both are great deals. Every morning, we would take our water bottle, our other stuff and go down to the International Cafe for a latte and a pastry, get off the ship and hit the town! We had the extended balcony cabin which means it's a regular balcony with a sofa. It's about the same size as the regular balcony on some other lines. There is plenty of storage space and suitcases fit under the bed. I like the sliding balcony door, which was very smooth, as we could leave it open a bit at night. We did have some neighbors who kept slamming both their balcony and cabin doors. A friendly note on their door was all that was needed to stop it. The crew was awesome as usual. They seemed to be having a good time and they were engaging with everyone. If you take the time to greet the crew and talk to them you'll get so much more out your trip! The laundry room on each deck was packed on sea days. We took the advice of others who have been there-done that and did our laundry after the show on the last sea day. At 11pm, no one was in there! The Horizon Court (buffet) had a great selection and was huge so you didn't wait in line to get through it. We ate at Sabatini's one night and it was just OK. The dining room was better. We also tried Alfredos one night. It was good, but with a limited menu. I see what Princess is trying to do with Alfredos: Copy an Italian pizzeria in the main plaza of town. It kind of works. The pizza up on the Lido deck was better. We had anytime dining and always opted to share a table. We met some great people and had a great time meeting new folks and talking about different things each night. The ports were amazing. We didn't do any Princess excursions, but we did rent a car in Messina and Dubrovnik to go exploring. We joined a small private tour in Kotor and did the hop on-hop off bus in Naples. We checked out Ajaccio for a couple of hours then went back to the ship to change into bathing suits. We got a baguette, some cheese, some salami and hit the beach that was within walking distance of the ship. It was awesome! Luca, the port expert did an awesome job talking about each upcoming port. He gave us great information about the DIY things to do. He never tried to sell the Princess shore excursions. Likewise, the maps in the port guides were very good. No one was steering you to "their" shops or restaurants. While the ship was beautiful, she has a few quirky things: The way the lifeboat mechanism is designed, they hang over the side a bit so when you look down from your balcony, you see lifeboat, not ocean. Also the design prevents a wrap around promenade deck. The bathrooms are bigger with bigger sinks and showers! But the sink is too big in my opinion. It could be smaller to provide more counter space. Plus, the faucet is in one corner of the sink. It was almost impossible to wash your hands without getting water all over the counter. The spout needs to be about 2-3 inches longer. Overall, this was a great cruise and I would do it again! The next one will some different ports though. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We love transAtlantic cruises. This is our third. Free gratuities for a 25 day cruise was a great incentive. The Royal Princess is a wonderful and beautiful Ship. Plenty of room for everyone. The Piazza type atrium is fantastic for ... Read More
We love transAtlantic cruises. This is our third. Free gratuities for a 25 day cruise was a great incentive. The Royal Princess is a wonderful and beautiful Ship. Plenty of room for everyone. The Piazza type atrium is fantastic for meeting friends, people watching, coffee, and activities. Being a fairly new ship, even the inside cabins have plenty of room. The itinerary was busy, but the seven days crossing gave us plenty of time to recover. On to our next adventure, Sydney to LA by way of New Zealand, South Pacific, and Hawaii. No long flight back to the U.S. Being an Elite passenger gives us the nice perk of free laundry, which is very important on a long cruise along with the generous internet benefit. I would highly recommend Princess to anyone. It always has been very good for over 35 years. The more we travel, the more we learn about how to make our trip more enjoyable and economical. Passengers with more experience and travel savvy are always willing to share, and for this reason I have now joined Cruise Critic. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I chose this 23 day cruise, Sept 25-Oct 18, 2017, from Dover to Venice (it was 2 cruises BTB that we booked as one cruise) as much for the ship as for the itinerary. I have cruised on most of the ships in the Princess fleet, this was my ... Read More
I chose this 23 day cruise, Sept 25-Oct 18, 2017, from Dover to Venice (it was 2 cruises BTB that we booked as one cruise) as much for the ship as for the itinerary. I have cruised on most of the ships in the Princess fleet, this was my 3rd time on this particular ship, and she is my #1 favorite. I love the small ship experience, as it is a much more intimate way to cruise than it is on the larger Princess ships. Making new cruise friends is so much easier, as is getting to know the crew. Because I had sailed on the Pacific Princess less than a year ago. I recognized some of the crew members, and they recognized me immediately as having been on her fairly recently. My cabin-mate had not cruised on small ship before and wasn't sure how she would like it, but by the end of our 23 days, she decided she loved it too. Getting around in the ship is a breeze ... one can walk from one end to the other in 2-3 minutes. Getting an elevator is generally quick, and they are often completely empty when the doors open. Disembarking in ports is generally quick, and tendering doesn't usually take long in either direction, Cabins have been recently updated and redecorated, with new headboards, sofas, drapes, mattresses and bed linens. While the closets are smaller, there is a decent amount of other storage, and the two of us had no difficulty having enough space for all of our belongings. All of our excursions were booked thru Princess, and we really enjoyed them. Other updating in public areas include new carpeting, new lounges on the pool deck, as well as seating groupings with chairs and sofas in the pool area. We ate all of our dinners in the dining room, and found our wait staff to be excellent. Menus were varied, lots of great desserts, and we never had a problem finding something we could enjoy. Breakfasts and lunches were in the buffet. On nice days we took advantage of the outdoor seating on the deck aft of the buffet. it's a very pleasant area with nice new tables and chairs. On sunny days, the buffet staff rolled out the awnings, which provided shade for much of the outdoor dining area. Although we didn't get involved in most of the daytime shipboard activity offerings, we did go to most of the shows. The Princess singers and dancers were wonderful, and they put on several exciting, high energy shows. Among them, Simon Breen (singer and dancer), and McKenzie (dancer) are both excellent, and were my favorites. We especially enjoyed Austin Ray, pianist/singer, who performed most evenings in the Casino Lounge, and was very entertaining. Stevie B (singer of Rock and Roll numbers) did several shows in the Cabaret Lounge and he was great every time. They also had a couple of very funny standup comics. The evening of the day we were in Venice overnight, the Venice Chamber Orchestra was brought onboard, and they were beyond excellent. I have cruised with Princess almost exclusively for the past 13 years (only one brief venture on another CCL line, and I couldn't wait to get back to Princess). Because I have cruised so much with Princess, I was invited to the MTP luncheon on the first leg, and it was an elegant experience. There was a Cocktail party scheduled for the MTPs on the 2nd leg that I was invited to, but it had to be cancelled at the last moment. In lieu of it, those who had been invited to it were sent champagne and delicious canapé's that afternoon, by the ship's Captain and the Captain's Circle host, a very nice gesture that was much appreciated. Each time I have been on this ship, I have always found the service to be uniformly excellent. The staff and crew of this ship seems to love being there and it shows in their attitudes and how hard they work to assure that the passengers are happy.. Would I cruise on this ship again .... without a doubt! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Embarcation and Disembarcation were flawless. The meals were only average, and we discovered that there was a 'club plan' that offered 'suite' guest a separate menu, even though they might be sitting at the next table. ... Read More
Embarcation and Disembarcation were flawless. The meals were only average, and we discovered that there was a 'club plan' that offered 'suite' guest a separate menu, even though they might be sitting at the next table. The entertainment hit a high spot with the performance of "Branden & James" on our cruise. The rest of the entertainment seemed dated--most of the songs were from the 50s or earlier. We would have loved something a little more recent..."Mamma Mia", or "Phantom", or something similar. The room service was good, although our room steward seemed to 'forget' to leave a breakfast menu every night. We called a couple of times, then took a few off his cart--problem solved! The ports were wonderful, with the exception of Korcula. While pleasant enough, it was small, and very redundant to other similar ports. In Naples, we rode down the Amalfi coast, and in Catania, we climbed Mt. Etna, taking the lift and 4x4 as high as you could go. Corfu was wonderful--we made it to the Achillion Palace, and the Old Fortress--it was as nice a port as you could ask for. In Rhodes, make sure to see the Acropolis in Lindos. In Chios, do yourself a favor and go see the old ruins in Anavatos. The ship is small, by Princess standards. This was nice, in that, it made it easy to transverse, and impossible to get lost. Nice size ship, and I would take it again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This is our 10th Princess cruise; 15th cruise. We had a suite aft of the ship which means speedy check-in and embarkation, concierge lounge, special area of the dining room. All was fine. The cabin and steward were great and attentive; ... Read More
This is our 10th Princess cruise; 15th cruise. We had a suite aft of the ship which means speedy check-in and embarkation, concierge lounge, special area of the dining room. All was fine. The cabin and steward were great and attentive; I swear there was fresh ice every hour. No complaints at all. The food was average; fair selection, but not overly appealing. If you choose the buffet, you have to literally circle all sides and areas of both Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro to see all the options. Really. The Club Class dining (for suites) was otherwise pleasant; good service with friendly staff that's the same every night. There was some massive screw-up with wine delivery in Rome; by the last day of the cruise they were out of 36 (!!) different wines. The only place with any selection beyond "house cab" was Sabatini's. One passenger was retelling her story, "... and I'd ordered a bottle of Prosecco ahead of time to be in my cabin; when it wasn't there I asked, and they told me they couldn't get any. Well, hell, we were in ROME. Where do they think they might pick some up?!" The excursions and ports were mostly fine/great; the Ultimate Naples tour to Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii was out of this world. I mean it. Messina and Mt Etna and the wines were fantastic. Dubrovnik (Game of Thrones tour) and Kotor (countryside drive w/amazing stop for feta, grappa, wine and music (Waves at St. Blaine)) were lovely; we plan to visit both again. Toulon and Ajaccio were lovely. One excursion exception was in Ajaccio (Corsica) where we visited an "essential oils" factory. Pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo about "Active Principles" along with dispensing medical advice. It was strange. Most people wandered outside for this and just enjoyed the French countryside. The return to the ship at the port of Corfu was a total BLEEP-show. 5000 people from two ships jammed into the cruise terminal building to be run through TWO dodgy-looking X-Ray machines and magnetometers. The Costa ship couldn't leave on time, because their passengers and we were still stuck inside this worse-than-sardines, steaming-hot homage to Security Theater. (I'm in the business; I'm qualified to make that assessment.) I'd say Princess should vote with their, er, ship, and skip Corfu until the port can support the level of quality service expected from Princess. Crooners, once my favorite, mostly quiet get-away on Princess ships, is now twice the size, complete with a two-for-one happy hour. It's totally jammed when open, closed to get ready for happy hour, and well, just not my place anymore. We did not watch any shows, nor swim in the pools. We will cruise Princess again, but need a break. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We loved the Royal Princess even though it was a different layout from previous Princess ships we've been on. It was full with 3000+ passengers but never seemed crowded. We did anytime dining, didn't make reservations but never ... Read More
We loved the Royal Princess even though it was a different layout from previous Princess ships we've been on. It was full with 3000+ passengers but never seemed crowded. We did anytime dining, didn't make reservations but never had to wait to be seated. The staff on this ship seem genuinely happy! The service was excellent all around with the exception of the spa. Our room steward was so efficient and unobtrusive. We ate at the Crown Grill one night and the service and food was excellent. The filet mignon was cooked perfectly and the molten lava chocolate dessert was to die for! The dining room food was also very good but sometimes I couldn't find something I really liked but that is just a personal preference. Regarding the entertainment, after several Princess cruises, some of the same old activities get stale. Each and every port was amazing. We took private excursions mostly shared with fellow cruise critic members: Naples: Used See Amalfi Coast for our tour (Pompeii, Sorrento, Positano) and our guide Ciro (gino) was outstanding. He had us laughing all day and took us to an amazing restaurant on the Amalfi Coast in Positano. Sicily: used Journeys around Sicily and our guide Salvo/owner was excellent. Sicily was beautiful. Went to Mt Etna and then Taorimina (sp?) Dubrovnik Croatia: Used Dubrovnik Explore Boat Trip. Although we did like this tour, the boat was not what we expected. It was very hard for me to get in and out of the boat since I have RA. The ladder to climb back into the boat was too small and nothing really to grab onto if you went swimming so I was disappointed I was not able to swim. They also promised snorkeling equipment but all there was only masks. Loved the guide though. Kotor: Used Milo tours and he was fantastic! Took us to places no cruise ship bus could go. LOVED it. Kotor is beautiful Corfu: Used Corfu taxi tours and it was good. Not our favorite but very nice. Corsica: Used "Authentic Tour" Went to Piana and it was stunning scenery. The guide seemed very rushed though because he had another tour scheduled for the afternoon. I highly recommend this ship and these ports. Best cruise we've taken yet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise because of the ports and we like cruising with Princess. We liked the ship. There was only one negative about the Royal. We usually like to read and relax at some time during the day and have always done so on deck 7 ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports and we like cruising with Princess. We liked the ship. There was only one negative about the Royal. We usually like to read and relax at some time during the day and have always done so on deck 7 of previous ships where there is comfortable seating and having windows to look out of. On the Royal, they had the area for seating but all the windows were blocked with the bottoms of the tenders. It wasn't very pretty to sit and relax and look out at the sea. It was great as far as stability was concerned. I usually wear sea bands while we cruise but found that I didn't need them the entire time. The food was okay, nothing exceptional. The entertainment was good and I was glad to see that the singers and dancers performed on stage 3 times. Our cabin was alright. We had a fantastic cabin steward who took great care of us. The rest of the service on board was really good also. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The ship is fairly new and looks to be in great shape. The staff were fairly attentive. Entertainment was mixed. Music and dance were pretty good, but the comic and magician were so so. We liked the live music in the common areas of the ... Read More
The ship is fairly new and looks to be in great shape. The staff were fairly attentive. Entertainment was mixed. Music and dance were pretty good, but the comic and magician were so so. We liked the live music in the common areas of the ship. The food was good at Sabatini's restaurant and also at Alfredo's. The pizza by the pool was also great. Embark / dis-embark was really fast. Tenders worked out well. Here are a few of my beefs: - The food in the main dining room was kind of cold and service was particularly slow some evenings . Girlfriend got food poisoning one evening - likely from the seafood. - Even in port, the 16th floor dining area (buffet) had an constant eerie vibration. I didn't notice this elsewhere on the ship - The excursions were just ok. In Croatia we couldn't hear the guide and noticed other tours had remote communication devices, which we really could have benefited from. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our 9th cruise with Princess and we have never complained about anything but there's always a first time. Food wasn't very good in taste or variety. Ship was often dirty. It always needed vacuuming and dusting. Light ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise with Princess and we have never complained about anything but there's always a first time. Food wasn't very good in taste or variety. Ship was often dirty. It always needed vacuuming and dusting. Light fixtures had 1/2" of dust on them, even in the dining rooms. Our cabin steward was awful. Room was dirty. Bed linens had holes in them. Often we didn't have ice. Last nigh on the ship I had to call and ask for disembarkation information and luggage tags by calling the Pursers Office. I was told to go down and pick them up. Waited 1/2 hour in line for something that should have been delivered to my room. I wasn't happy. We had massages and Tip To Toe special and although the treatments were wonderful, the sales pitch at the end made it almost not worth it. We did, however enjoy the entertainment, especially the guest entertainers. Enjoyed the 4 tours we booked, very much. Loved the ship. We thought it was beautiful. Loved the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My wife and I decided to do another Mediterranean cruise and she liked the itinerary and time that this cruise sailed. We arrived I Rome three days early to do some sightseeing and to more importantly, acclimatize ourselves to European ... Read More
My wife and I decided to do another Mediterranean cruise and she liked the itinerary and time that this cruise sailed. We arrived I Rome three days early to do some sightseeing and to more importantly, acclimatize ourselves to European time. I highly recommend this, especially of you have never visited the eternal city. Our hotel for this trip was the Crowne Plaza San Pietro. My wife picked this hotel over a more central hotel because it had a pool for relaxing after a long day of sightseeing. It was located about a mile and a half from the Vatican but really wasn't walkable. The roads near the hotel had poor pedestrian sidewalks, but fortunately the hotel had a shuttle to the Vatican for €1.50. For a full review of the hotel see my log on Tripadvisor. We took the train from St. Peters station(after taking the public bus from the hotel to the station) and were quickly shuttled to Civitavecchia for €4.70 each. Much more economical than taking a ship transfer or private motor coach. Once at the Civitavecchia station there is a bus that will transfer you to the port for €2. But be aware that it doesn’t run between noon and 2:30. A cab from the station is €20 for four and it takes you right to the ship. If you are a just two, find another couple to share the ride. The convenience is well worth the extra money. Embarkation went very smoothly when we arrived at 1 pm and our cabin was all ready for us. The Royal Princess is the largest ship we have cruised on, we have been fortunate to have taken 18 previous cruises prior but nothing this big. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t feel over crowded at any time. For a ship this big it only had two pools available but not a lot of our fellow passengers used them so it was never crowded. That might be different on other sailings depending on location and passenger makeup. My wife really liked the buffet organization. She found it flowed much better than on other ships. I can’t comment on that as I try to avoid the buffet. The design of this ship prevents having a wrap around promenade deck. This is something that I missed. There is a small track around the funnels on the 17th deck but it just isn’t a real substitute for a proper promenade. We were upgraded to cabin E711. It is a deluxe balcony on the Starboard side and is located on the 8th deck, one above the promenade near the rear of the ship. The balcony had an unobstructed view that the cabins a little farther toward the bow didn’t have as the life boats are hung in front of those balconies. The cabin was quiet and near the aft elevators which made it quite convenient. The cabin had a small pull out sofa that was quite useless and uncomfortable to sit on. The rest of the cabin was quite serviceable. The staff was definitely up to Princess standards and the food more than met our expectations. I had nothing to complain about from the dining room. The shows were decent but not overwhelming. There was the Broadway type shows and a couple of performances each by a magician and a ventriloquist. The unexpected highlight for my wife was a talk by Bernie Kopel. He played Doc on the original Love Boat TV show. Afterwards he posed for photos with the passengers, which gave my wife quite the thrill. Our ten day cruise had seven ports of call. Unfortunately there were a few tender ports and one that needed a water taxi which made it a defacto tender, which always cuts into time on shore. The only port I really was disappointed with was Corfu. It wasn’t the city as we had been to the island before and knew what we wanted to see on this resort island. It was the incredibly stupid and inane way they bottled us up when we were trying to get back to the ship. It was over an hour standing in the sun lined up to have some woman swipe your ship card to open some turnstile. Absolute stupidity. I don’t remember having to go through this inconvenience when I was here five years ago. If I come back to the island on board a cruise ship, I will seriously consider not bothering to get off the ship. Which is a shame as the town of Corfu is a very nice place for a drink at an open air café. Our cruise ended in Barcelona and if you are able to, spend a few days after the cruise in the city. We weren’t able to do it this time due to obligations at home, but it is well worth it to see this eclectic cosmopolitan city. As usual Princess gave us a good vacation that just made us want to plan the next one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I choose this cruise because it had several of the port cities I have especially wanted to see -- Dubrovnik, Rome, Barcelona, Toulon/Provence -- so booked the 10 day portion only of the cruise. Princess is our favorite cruise line and we ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it had several of the port cities I have especially wanted to see -- Dubrovnik, Rome, Barcelona, Toulon/Provence -- so booked the 10 day portion only of the cruise. Princess is our favorite cruise line and we have sailed almost twenty times with them, they just seem to have the best value for cruises. Only a couple of minor issues but we overcame them. Will the food was actually quite good from the Horizon on this cruise, service was spotty at best. Not sure why I have to keep flagging down staff to get a cup of coffee in the mornings when he's been past the table next to mine 3 times and not offered to our table. Same with some service in the Piazza. But you know what, that's not a big deal, I just remember better service on many previous sailings. Excellent cabin steward though and he made up for these minor infractions. Disembarkation was a bit of a mess as we got no communication or documentation for disembarkation. We've sailed so many times and we were doing a walk off so it didn't matter but if this was our first cruise with a plane to catch on the same day we might have run into serious issues. Regardless we will continue to sail with Princess and continue to recommend them every chance we get. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
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