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Sail Date: November 2014
We were on the Nov.16th to 23rd cruise. Wife and I are platinum so we had preferred boarding, which was very easy 1/2 hour at the most, was on and in cabin by 12:30. Muster was 3:00 and very quick and then was sail away. That was very ... Read More
We were on the Nov.16th to 23rd cruise. Wife and I are platinum so we had preferred boarding, which was very easy 1/2 hour at the most, was on and in cabin by 12:30. Muster was 3:00 and very quick and then was sail away. That was very good and the weather for the first 6 days was very good. Rain on the 7th day coming back to Ft Lauderdale. The ship is in my words HUGE and it is a very nice ship. I wanted to go on it because of the newness, and all the talk about the balconys being small I could not see it. They have 41 sq. ft and the Crown Princess only has 40 sq. ft. All the talk about elevators I also didnt have to wait, so saw no problem with them. Over all the ship is a beautiful.I will not go on this one again because of its size, I like the closeness with the crew and this is so big you dont get to see most of the crew as much as I have on other Princess cruises. Entertainment was good, they are not top of the line but not bad at all. The only problem we had was on our dinner in the Crown Grill my wife steak came out so rare she had to send it back. She had ordered medium well and it came out all red inside, the second time was almost as bad so it went back for a third time and still came back rare. We told them forget it and I finished mine and we went on our way. Would not go there again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
Pacific Princess Alaska Review – 13-20 May 2014 We booked the Pacific Princess about 6 months in advance, to celebrate of my wife’s birthday. We were intrigued by the concept of a small ship since our days at the rock-climbing walls ... Read More
Pacific Princess Alaska Review – 13-20 May 2014 We booked the Pacific Princess about 6 months in advance, to celebrate of my wife’s birthday. We were intrigued by the concept of a small ship since our days at the rock-climbing walls and zip-lining are sadly behind us and we don’t really desire a huge activity schedule. Reading out on the balcony is more our speed. We have taken 20 + cruises on several different lines, including one other cruise on Princess. We are both customer service providers and are interested in how well cruise staff is trained to respond to travelers. We booked a full suite, which was excellent. The ship just came out of drydock and we were a bit concerned that the smell of paint, carpet glue, etc., might bother us. We found none of this. Previous reviews indicated that the ship badly needed freshening. The only thing I noted was that the pillows on the lobby sofas looked like they were smashed down and lost some stuffing. There were no faded or torn upholstery, peeled wallpaper or other marks visible. We arrived around 11 AM and there were only three porters available at Canada Place. One was tied up with a large group, so it took about 10 minutes to take our baggage. Check in was very efficient and took less than five minutes. We were told that boarding would start around noon and by 12:10 we were on the ship. We heard about the Sanctuary in reviews of other Princess ships and went to the spa to see what it entailed. On this ship there were around 20 chaise lounges surrounding a thalassotherapy pool. The pool had no water, but we were told that it would be filled by the next morning. They charged $99 for the week. Later we found that they charged $99 for the previous 12 day cruise, so we felt a little cheated. As suite guests, they waived the cover charge for the Steakhouse on the first night. The steaks were good, but the vegetables (mushrooms, creamed spinach, asparagus) were excellent. I like to go to a coffee shop (both on and off ships) and have a mint mocha cappuccino. It always amazed me that no ship carried mint syrup but, to our surprise, the Pacific Princess had the alcoholic version. Since I brought my own flask of the non-alcoholic syrup, I was pretty set anyway. They also carried Vitality brand lemonade, our favorite. Then we went to Sabatini’s for breakfast and had a great breakfast. I have always enjoyed a couple of canned figs, when available, for breakfast while on the cruise. Can't get them at home. I asked our waiter, Sandro if he could get them. He said that they didn’t have it but would try to search them out. By the time my wife’s juice arrived, he had the figs in front of me. Nice customer service, Sandro! The food in the main dining room was slightly above average and fairly good (but not spectacular). The TV had the usual channels but the quality of reception, although not HD, was exceptionally good. Never saw a better picture on the ship. Only on one night (the second inside passage day) did the satellite drop out for a few hours. The first day at sea (Inside Passage) was foggy and there was nothing to see. Kind of put a crimp in our plans to sit out in the Sanctuary or our balcony and read. Instead we hung out in the beautiful library, the lobby and the room to read. The sun peeked through about 2 PM but there was still a chill in the air. The next few days (Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and Ketchikan) – sunny with temps in the high 60’s and low-mid 70’s on our thermometer. Rather unusual for the first cruise in May. On our last Alaska cruise, the temp never got above 55 degrees. The lowest it got was the low 60’s during inside passage cruising. We had no rain for the entire week. The first inside passage day had a light misty morning. We don’t do much in the way of excursions (already been there, done that in Alaska) so we usually take a long walk around town. We found nothing really special in Juneau and Skagway. Ketchikan had Creek Street, which has some lovely shops along with the usual trinkets. The small size of the ship lends you to see the same passengers over and over again. You can also find many quiet places to stay by yourself or with your significant other. The ride was a little bumpier than we saw on larger ships, but no one appeared seasick. Overall, the ship had a rather dowdy décor, with a crew that gave great customer service. It appeals to folks (like us) who just want to spend time on our own. It was perfect for us.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
My wife and I sailed on the Royal Princess for our 1 year anniversary and had the time of our lives. Love this ship. We were lucky to get a cabin upgrade to a large balcony mini-suite. The large balcony was great and big enough to hold 4 ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Royal Princess for our 1 year anniversary and had the time of our lives. Love this ship. We were lucky to get a cabin upgrade to a large balcony mini-suite. The large balcony was great and big enough to hold 4 people. Embarkation took about an hour (very fast compared to other ships). The piazza was very impressive with complementary snacks served at the international cafe. The service was excellent - top notch ( special thanks to Ricco from Aloha floor, Luis & Suthep from Allegro, and Natalie & Olenka from Horizon). The food was delicious on all restaurants with lobster and steak dinners on formal nights. The lotus spa was out of this world. We decided to get the $179/person to have access to enclave and relaxation room for the entire 7 day stay. We'll worth the money. Trust me on this one. Also, the gym was well designed with brand new equipment and multiple health and fitness seminars/ classes. The shows at night were great, specially the illusionist show on levitation. One negative thing about the shows on the ship was the British humor was a bit too much for us, but nothing to complain about. The only thing negative about the ship was the photo service ($25 per photo is too excessive). If they could lower each photo to $5, more people would buy it and they wouldn't have to throw all photos to waste. Luckily for us, we brought our own professional camera but still ended buying 3 photos. Other than that, this ship gave us the royal treatment. We hope to cruise again on the Royal Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Just came back from a birthday cruise with my husband...WHERE to begin....First of all, I am probably one of Princess cruises' biggest fans and "PR" people (cruising not only with Princess but also SITMAR way before cruising ... Read More
Just came back from a birthday cruise with my husband...WHERE to begin....First of all, I am probably one of Princess cruises' biggest fans and "PR" people (cruising not only with Princess but also SITMAR way before cruising was a popular way to vacation) and in all of my travels with this line I have never really felt the need to complain about any ship/service/port, etc. Having said that, here are my thoughts on the Ruby Princess 5 day cruise (I would hope that these complaints would only apply to these shorter cruises and things would be "Princess normal" on the regular sailings). LIKES: 1. Great embarkation procedures -- as an elite passenger we waited to (priority) board in a separate area. The cruise rep made passengers sit in the order in which they came into the room (as opposed to "the mad rush to the door" we recently experienced on the Royal Princess) and we were permitted to board in the order in which we had arrived. Kudos to Princess for finally "getting it right" on this aspect -- hopefully it will trickle down to all the ships' embarkation procedures. Our Princess hostess was fantastic -- friendly, cheerful, entertaining and very professional. Nice way to start a cruise! 2. Delicious food -- the food on every other Princess ship has been very good, but the food on the Ruby was excellent! No matter where/what we ate....it was all delicious! We had anytime dining and were lucky enough to catch the same waiter both nights we ate in the dining room (Mandol and his assistant Victoria) and they made our dining experience pleasurable. We also dined in both Sabatini's and the Crown Grill and enjoyed both meals. 3. Wait staff/bar staff/cabin steward -- The staff on this cruise was outstanding -- some of the friendliest men and women I have ever met on any cruise I've been on! I sailed many times with the Commodore of the Ruby way back when he was a staff captain on Sitmar's Fair Sky (later Sky Princess) and his warm, gentle, friendly personality seems to have had an effect on the staff on his ship. Kudos to all working on board -- they were the best crew I have sailed with in many years! CONS: 1. The Sanctuary -- The Sanctuary is now $30 per day per person. REALLY? (No one told us about the increased cost and while we would have still booked at whatever price, it would have been nice to know in advance what I was paying, especially since we didn't pay that much on the Royal in December.) Also, they charge you on embarkation day (Royal, as well as the other ships on which we booked the Sanctuary for the entire week didn't open until first day out). In my opinion this was a wasted day since most people don't carry their swim gear with them and have to wait for their luggage to be delivered to their cabin (or are out "exploring the ship"). On this particular cruise there were only 20 people who reserved for the entire week; on day 2 when my husband went to the Sanctuary ahead of me he sat down "one seat over" from our seats and the original "owner" of the seat made a huge scene and the crew member chided my husband for not remembering his seat. Again...REALLY??? For what we are being charged and for the small amount of "guests," it would seem to me that SHE (the person who escorted my husband to our seats) should have known exactly where to seat him. Also, we didn't see the Sanctuary manager the entire cruise and the staff was not attentive in the least (no towel to take to the pool; had to chase them down for iced tea/water; no cool towels or mists, no one standing at the reception desk greeting passengers as they came into the Sanctuary). This was really an annoyance to me -- Princess is known for its attentiveness to its passengers, especially in specialty areas such as the Sanctuary, and in my opinion both the "missing in action" manager and his staff need extensive training if they are to stay in this location. The Sanctuary is located on deck up from the Spa and on other cruises the pool near the spa was reserved for Spa and Sanctuary guests only so that the environment was one of relaxation - not so on this cruise; the entire pool area was loud (which carried into the Sanctuary), crowded and, on certain days, filled with older teenagers. Again, I am not a complainer, but I have experienced and expect a certain environment (which I paid for) and was disappointed by what was actually experienced. As I stated earlier, it is my hope that these problems would all be rectified once the Ruby was back on a "normal" sailing schedule. 2. Passengers -- there was a wide variety of passengers on this cruise (still spring break in some parts of the US) and it was extremely obvious that many people were having "one too many" cocktails. I have never seen so many drunken people staggering around the public areas nor have I ever seen the maître d' permit passengers wearing flip flops/shorts/wrinkled tee shirts into the dining room at dinner time, let alone seating in the middle of the dining room clearly intoxicated women. Where has happened to the Princess standards? The same concerns hold for the one "formal" night - and I use that term loosely. I have NEVER seen such a casual formal night -- especially in a specialty restaurant. We dined in Sabatini's on formal night (excellent food, wonderful waiter) but we were quite surprised to see so many people dining in shorts, jeans, etc. (Again, I am hoping that everything reverts to normal after the short sailings have concluded.) 3. Passenger services -- I guess the staff here has never heard of the phrase "the customer/passenger" is always right... We had a problem with the safe in our room. We boarded at 11:15 a.m. and, once I could get someone to answer the phone (3 separate calls, wait times of 2 or 3 minutes before hanging up) I was told that someone would be sent up in "10 minutes" -- we waited 45 minutes and decided to leave for a quick lunch at the buffet (excellent food selections and everything was delicious!). Got back to the room a little after 2:30 and the safe had not been fixed. Called again; no answer. Went to muster drill, came back and called one more time only to be told that they were "busy" and would get to us shortly. Finally an extremely personable officer showed up, made a call to have the prior combination removed, and we were back in business! It took all of five minutes. Not sure what was happening at the front desk but they need to be instructed to answer the phone when it rings. Please do not think I am a "snob" or a "cranky old lady" because of my complaints. I am 57 years old, have sailed on many ships over the course of the past 30 years and I just think that cruising (and the passengers who enjoy the cruise experience) should be awarded the respect it is deserving of. Princess has always had high standards which were well known in the industry and to its loyal passengers. I hope that this is not a precursor of things to come with this line. I personally have always held it "above the rest" in terms of passenger service and it's "classiness" -- I will be highly disappointed if it falls into the same category as Carnival but that is what I felt on this past cruise. Will I cruise on Princess again -- ABSOLUTELY! Will I do a five day (or less) sailing again on Princess -- absolutely NOT. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Sailed from Port Everglades on the 8th December for my wife's 60th birthday present. We had a Mini Suite R609, many issues and problems we did not expect as a suite passenger. 1st ever time on Princess as a passenger. (1) no water ... Read More
Sailed from Port Everglades on the 8th December for my wife's 60th birthday present. We had a Mini Suite R609, many issues and problems we did not expect as a suite passenger. 1st ever time on Princess as a passenger. (1) no water in the room unless you paid for it everyday, I haven't been on a cruise before where this took place, as a passenger in a suite you expect to be given some perks. This alone would put me off going on this ship again. Felt like I was being nickel and dimed for basic things like water. (2) Power cut out in the room the 1st night and it took 5 calls to passenger services to get anyone to come and look at the problem. (3) toilet block at 5am on the 2nd evening again it took them almost 1 and a half hours to come and look at the problem with people not understanding the English good enough to understand the problem. (4) tap handle broke in the WC within the 1st hour we used the bathroom, again it took 2 days for anyone to do anything about it. (5) 1st night in the anytime dinning was a total shambles, they told us the place was full and we had to go to the other dining room, when we went to that one they had no idea about how to fit us in for anytime dinning, the senior manager of the restaurant then cam to our aid after 10 minutes and seated us. The waiter was like a comedian and just throwing plates down in front of us with no decor or interest at all. I ordered a good bottle do red wine and the waiter split it the 1st time he poured onto the table cloth and left it there to dry in.The food in anytime dinning is terrible, worst I have ever experienced on any cruise line ever. There are major safety issues on this ship, no stairs on certain floors so if there is a fire or evacuation you have to go across the ship to use stairs and nothing was available at the floor we were on , only lifts which you cannot use in emergency situations. (6) the internet is a total joke, I tried to send 1 email and after 2 days it still never sent and cost me over $40.00 in internet costs. Everyone was complaining about the slowness and total non functioning of this internet on this ship, you would think that for the newest ship on the seas this would be sorted. When I spoke to the IT guys they said it's the satellite, being in IT myself this was total rubbish, there is just not enough servers on the sip to do any level of internet activity at all. 100s were complaining and I asked and got a 100% rebate on my account for this shambles of a system. (7) the patio doors in our suite creaked every night making sleeping difficult. Princess needs to really buck up their logistics and customer focus, because as a suite passenger I felt nothing extra. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean blow Royal Princess out of the water as far as passenger detail and quality of food is concerned. Good points are the entertainment was fantastic on this ship. We made our cruise vacation a good time but felt we would never go on anther Princess cruise again. Even passengers who had 21 previous Princess cruises told us the Royal Princess was very very poor in comparison to other Princess ships.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My (DH) and I were first time cruisers on the Princess Cruise Line, but sailed on Royal Caribbean twice, Celebrity, Holland America and Carnival (Europe) lines. Our sail date was Dec. 15, 2013, seven day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on ... Read More
My (DH) and I were first time cruisers on the Princess Cruise Line, but sailed on Royal Caribbean twice, Celebrity, Holland America and Carnival (Europe) lines. Our sail date was Dec. 15, 2013, seven day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Royal Princess. We booked a Mini-Suite through an Internet Travel Agency and selected our Mini-Suite on Deck 11, which is called the Baja Deck and the Mini-Suite was located midship-aft on the portside. I changed from a Mini-Suite starboard midship side due to the fact that all of the midship rooms located by the “Seawalk” have zero privacy. Pre-Cruise We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel in Fort Lauderdale associated with the Marriott chain, but it had no visible signs of the Marriott Brand and our taxi driver was unaware when I asked him to take us to the Marriott Renaissance. We were disappointed with our “deluxe” corner room and the view of a rooftop parking lot. The room was old, shower curtain’s bottom perimeter was filthy and overall the hotel is outdated. The best part about the hotel is its location being directly across from Port Everglades. We walked to Outback for dinner, which is across from the Embassy Suites and prior to dinner we tried to take a free “Trolley/Shuttle” to the Mall, but the driver said that due to a Boat Parade the Trolley/Shuttle could no longer cross the bridge (hmm). The free Trolley/Shuttle is located on the side entrance across the side street from the Renaissance, but the “free” service normally ends at 6pm. Embarkation We signed up for the Renaissance’s Port Van Shuttle to Pier 2, which is where the Royal Princess was docked starboard side and portside facing the water. The shuttle cost $6 per person, which in relation to the distance being across the street is pricey, but due to Pier 2 being full of traffic, a taxi meter would have cost more. The Renaissance’s Shuttle had multiple stops, RC Allure being first because it was the fastest and the Royal Princess being the last because it was the slowest. We arrived around 11:45am and a Princess Port Attendant told me that we could not board with priority, despite having booked a Mini-Suite. We waited in a very long line that was being halted until at least 1pm. Since I took care of our accommodations, my DH was not aware that Mini-Suites had priority. After 20 minutes, I asked another Port Attendant and they apologized and immediately allowed us to surpass the line and board. We finally boarded, dropped off our carry-on bags in our Mini-Suite and ate in the Horizon Court for lunch by 12:30pm. All luggage arrived shortly thereafter and our Muster Station E was in the Live Theater. Mini-Suite Nice size and arrangement of the room. The bathroom had a tub, no metal case around the toilet paper and access to the roll was not a problem. However, we were HIGHLY disappointed with the small size of the balcony, I love sitting on the balcony for breakfast and at night, but the lack of space did not allow for us to sit forward, we could only sit at an angle. Our room was high enough to not have an obstructed view with the lifeboats, but I agree they should be recessed because looking over the rail; no water is seen only orange life and tender boats. My only other complaint about the room is the creaking all night of the walls and ceiling and how thin the walls are as we heard our neighbor in the cabin to our right moaning all night. The Captain was sailing at a very high speed while sailing toward St. Thomas and that night was the worst creaking and kept us up, along with the ship rocking. We had to remove the hangers as they banged together all night. We moved the table from in front of the sofa to have an unobstructed access to our balcony. We would recommend rooms without a sofa, as two chairs and a small table would have been sufficient allowing for expansion of the small balcony. Elevators Horrible, too small and way too slow. The capacity stated 18 people, but barely eight of us fit and if we had a scooter on the elevator, then only four people could fit. Passengers were rude when you crammed your way onto an elevator that finally stopped on your floor and/or finally stopped without bursting at the seams with people. Time Change The shipped moved time forward by one hour Tuesday 2am or as described in the Patter Daily Newsletter as Monday night. I thought it was unnecessary and made me really tired the entire cruise, along with throwing my medication schedule off. Time changed back Friday night (2am Saturday). Crew Drill There is a required biweekly Crew Drill that took place our week on the 4th day (St. Thomas), which started at 9:45am. The Captain announced the morning of for the entire ship and some decks and staterooms were heavily impacted. The sirens/alarms/horns were extremely loud and repetitive. Thank God we had an excursion, but for those who planned to sleep in, so such luck. Please note that the required Crew Drill will take place again during the cruise week after Christmas and every other week then on. Testing Our water was being “tested” and turned a brownish color and was unappealing. When I’m on vacation I would appreciate all test be done the morning of embarkation while the ship is in transition. Ports The weather was GORGEOUS in all ports including Fort Lauderdale. Sunshine, warm to hot and no rain. Part of our first night sailing, a little rain fell and MUTS was emptied. Otherwise, warm and sunny days, which is just what we needed being from the Northeast. Since we had been to all Ports in the past, except Princess Cay, we only booked an Excursion to St. John through the ship. We ran late and did not complete all activities, but a fractional on-board credit was granted upon request. We took a noon tender to Princess Cay and found chaises and dragged them under a palm tree. We took the Port Boat Taxi over to Phillipsburg in St. Martin for an all-day pass of $7 per person and we shopped, connected to wifi and sat at a bar and on the beach. Casino Too small, too much smoke and not generous. There were two non-smoking nights (formal nights), but the smell still lingered and on the right side of the Casino, the entryway is facing a cigar bar. I feel sorry for the workers who have to endure the smell and be exposed to cigarette smoke toxins. I really don’t understand the “Smoking Section” of a Casino or any other place. A Smoking Section still makes the whole Casino fill with smoke. There were only a few smokers, but they ruined the entire Casino with their toxic smoke. There also seemed to be more people in the Casino on non-smoking nights and I had to avoid many slot machines and a roulette table due to their proximity to the “Smoking Section.” Another pain was having to utilize your stateroom card to “Cash-Out” on any slot machine and the constant request from the table dealers to swipe your card prior to playing. I often decline as I was having bad luck whenever they swiped by card. Spa I tried to book a hot stone for multiple days and at the same time, but they were booked. Again, another example of the ship not being able to accommodate the capacity. Dinner/Food We were assigned a table for two as requested, but that was all that was granted. I waited forty-five minutes to speak with “Rouland” the head Maître d' about our request for a table by a window and traditional dining at 6pm, but to no avail. We arrived at 5:30 in the Concerto Dining Room and asked that our request be honored. After a nasty verbal dialogue, we were accommodated with a window, but still no late dining. We were celebrating my birthday during this cruise and I requested a yellow cake, but they brought me chocolate. My DH also had to call about our stateroom door being decorated, which we were told they had no such request (untrue) because I saw the word “birthday” written on the Maître d's dining list and the birthday was clearly noted under My Princess tab on their website. Finally, after we returned from dinner after 8pm, our door was decorated. However, it was Too Late, as the day was over. The Head waiter Peter from Bulgaria rarely spoke and I made a request from our very helpful and kind waitresses Katarina and Zoryana that he speak to us as he spoke to all other guests around us. The food was hit or miss for me, but my DH enjoyed most meals. I don’t eat pork or beef and never had a problem finding other choices on other cruise ships, but on this ship, it was very slim pickings, especially for breakfast in the Horizon Court, which only had turkey sausages one morning, along with many food items being cold (eggs, pancakes…) I caught the waffles being placed hot off the grill. There may have been other venues that served none pork/beef breakfast meats, but I should not have had to search for such a common item, or order a special dietary menu prior to sailing. We usually went directly to the Horizon Court after dinner so that I could find something to eat, which I did and my husband thought the food tasted better than most meals served in the Dining Room. I did enjoy three out of four meals served in the dining room, but I really enjoyed all meals I selected in the Horizon Court. The Court is the best designed on any ship in our opinion. I must highly recommend the hazelnut ice cream on the dining room menu, as it’s the best tasting I’ve ever had in the entire world! The ship’s lido deck only served ice cream for free, but my DH can only eat non-dairy products and enjoys the yogurt served on other cruise lines. We both missed that option and a strawberry flavor. For a charge, there is Gelato, but I’m not a fan. Room service was great for lunch, but they could never bring me COLD milk for breakfast with my cereal, so I stopped ordering breakfast. I thought the pizza on the lido deck was fair, a bit too greasy for me and the fries were good from the grill. Frozen Drinks were not authentic and others drinks were comparable. This is the only cruise where I lost weight after sailing. Entertainment We went to two shows: Colors of the World and the Motown Show, both were good. We had to get to the theater extra early to find a seat and to also find a non-obstructed seat because some rows are not tiered. Latin night was ok and the Club 6 was ok. I loved the Band Steel when they played Caribbean Music by the pools. Pools were small and always full. My DH tried the shooting range and enjoyed the experience. Football was shown on Monday night only on the MUTS screen and not in your stateroom. I enjoyed the free On-Demand movies in our Mini-Suite and having two televisions came in handy. I enjoyed the water fountain dancing music and light show (Bellagio don’t worry), but the deck became flooded during most shows making the floor slippery. My DH and I had to help a lady get up who fell really hard because the deck was so slippery when wet. The Seawalk is in a bad location and should have been placed on a lower deck (closer to the water) in the front or back of the ship, along with being slippery most of the time. We must note that most shows for any event are not timed appropriately to effectively coincide with dining times. Disembarkation We were in the first group, with the ship handling our luggage, to disembark. We were delayed by 35 minutes and knew there would be a delay as our ship was still sailing close to 6am. The Customs’ line took another 40 minutes, but no problems with Customs, taxis or at the airport. Conclusion Would I cruise again with Princess? No. I would reconsider ONLY if Princess COMPLETELY redesigned this flawed and future ships, honor my request in advance of sailing, served more variety of breakfast meats and most importantly, take note from Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Management on how to schedule and manage venues, elevators, dining , embarkation, excursions, balconies, pier drop-off and 3800 plus passengers effectively.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We looked forward to our first Princess cruise, especially as the Royal Princess was christened only 6 months before our departure. The Royal is a beautiful ship. The crew is friendly and, for the most part, when they understand English ... Read More
We looked forward to our first Princess cruise, especially as the Royal Princess was christened only 6 months before our departure. The Royal is a beautiful ship. The crew is friendly and, for the most part, when they understand English they are competent. Crew members go out of their way to be helpful even if what you ask isn't in their job description (as in, when deck personnel couldn't be found, an officer located a stack of towels at the pool). Now for the not-so-good news. The food and entertainment were mediocre at best. The restaurants and buffets offered many choices, but the quality of the food was only average. Entertainment: meh. Food: feh. The drinks, reasonably priced, had minimal alcohol, and the choice of liquors was poor. This brand-new ship has decks that are slippery when wet. Slippery when wet! That means that even if you don't have rain, you'll find a lack of sure footing every day when the decks are washed down. Who builds a ship that embarks in 2014 with slippery deck material?! (We saw a little boy fall--and he wasn't even one of the many elderly on board.) The Sanctuary, an adults-only private sundeck, requires a hefty extra fee. Upgrading to a specialty restaurant also will cost you $25/person to walk in. Whoa, Nelly. You've already paid for the cruise. In truth, the Sanctuary is a bit nicer than the all-adult Retreat, but is it necessary for Princess lines to add an elite, VIP area for those willing to shell out about $100/day more? We could have afforded the Sanctuary, but the principle is offensive and elitist. The Enclave, part of the spa, also has an extra charge. This dark area of the ship is small and can be noisy. You'll find about 8 warm tiled lounges and a small pool, fragranced showers, and sauna and steam rooms. The pool and sauna areas are co-ed. The spa offers the usual: bamboo massages, salt scrubs, etc. Perhaps the best deal is the $99 "20-20-20" offer, in which you choose three 20-minute options. The casino allows smoking. Enough said. So much more to say about our disappointment with the Royal Princess, but let's leave it at this: why would anyone want to spend a week on a ship that has only average food and below-average entertainment? Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My husband and I just returned from the Thanksgiving cruise on the Royal. It was our fourth cruise on Princess and ninth cruise overall. We’re in our early 30s and traveled with my husband’s dad who is in his 60s. We stayed the night ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the Thanksgiving cruise on the Royal. It was our fourth cruise on Princess and ninth cruise overall. We’re in our early 30s and traveled with my husband’s dad who is in his 60s. We stayed the night before the cruise at the Hyatt Place. We’ve stayed there three times now and it works great—free breakfast and right next door is a grocery store where we buy soda and wine to bring on board. We all three had the best time on this cruise. I’d read many of the reviews of the ship in advance and was a little worried—but I have to say I really can’t figure out why anyone wouldn’t enjoy this ship. We have another cruise booked next month on the Caribbean Princess, and I’m worried it will be a letdown after being on Royal! There are several improvements from other Princess ships that we loved. The buffet is designed so that a line never forms because there are multiple stations. Drink service in the buffet area is much improved, and we never once had trouble finding a table. Alfredo’s is a wonderful addition. We loved having on-demand movies and TV shows in the state room. I read lots of complaints about the lack of promenade deck, but there is a deck on level 7 (it just doesn’t go all the way around). This deck turned out to be one of my favorite places, because they had nice cushioned chairs there and it was always quiet. A great place to read. The Seawalk is incredible and the fountain shows are very nice—not quite the Bellagio but nice :) And the fountain area is not a waste of space—during the day they place sun loungers there and at night it’s cleared and used for a dance floor or stage. All of the things we’ve enjoyed about Princess in the past were there too—great entertainment and activities, excellent service and food, the International Café, the best pizza at Prego’s, and Movies Under the Stars. There were a few negatives as with any cruise. It’s true that the lack of a central staircase causes the midship elevators to be jammed. My best advice is don’t take those elevators! We never waited more than a minute or two, because we always used the aft or forward ones. It helps to have a forward or aft stateroom. As we anticipated, the stateroom balcony was small but there was still enough room to sit and enjoy a champagne breakfast. With Princess, staterooms are very small—my father-in-law had a deluxe balcony which is the size of a normal room on other cruise lines. If larger staterooms are very important to you, spring for a mini-suite or try Holland America which has bigger rooms. I agree with others that Princess Live is definitely a downgrade from the Explorer’s Lounge. The spa facilities were gorgeous (I bought the week pass to the Enclave) but the spa management had some issues—the electronic locker keys NEVER worked and they were always out of towels and water. If you buy an Enclave pass, go first thing in the morning—I was literally the only one there for the first half hour and no more than five people were ever there the first 90 minutes. The stops on this cruise were great; we’d been to all three before. Try Bernard’s Tours in St. Maarten and the Princess champagne sail and snorkel to St. John in St. Thomas. Both were great fun. I’ve posted some pictures from the cruise at www.goingplaceswithcamille.wordpress.com if you’d like to see them. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
EMBARKATION.... was a breeze! We took 2 friends aboard on the Bon Voyage Package and got on the ship before anyone else. It included a tour of the ship and lunch. We were finishing our lunch before most of the others were onboard the ... Read More
EMBARKATION.... was a breeze! We took 2 friends aboard on the Bon Voyage Package and got on the ship before anyone else. It included a tour of the ship and lunch. We were finishing our lunch before most of the others were onboard the ship! LOTUS SPA....I visited the spa the first day at sea for a Thai Poultice massage. But an odd thing happened, the person who started my massage was not the person who finished my massage! Ariana started my massage and Martha finished!! I was not told about this either and when the massage was over, someone else was standing there! Just a little strange. This has never happened to me before!! But the massage was good. I did NOT like the hard sell of products after the massage either! It took away from the blissful feeling! How many times do you have to say NO! I booked a second hot stone massage for another day and also got the same hard sell for products again! Whatever..... I also had a haircut and style from a delightful girl from South Africa. RJ gave me a wonderful cut that I'm so very pleased with! FOOD.... The food on the ship was ok. Better than Carnival by far, but just ok. I got all the pizza I ever wanted. The Horizon Court had good salad bar. The lettuce could have been drier. The desserts were good there also. The service was here was prompt, my iced tea glass never went empty. We went to The Crown Grill one night and the food was devine! The waiters seemed to speak better english here and the service was quick and very courteous. Next time I will eat here every night!! CANCELLED PORTS OF CALL....of course I realize that you can not control Mother Nature! I commend Captain Perrin for getting us safely back to shore. He and his crew did a perfect job of keeping us up to date on the foul weather conditions in store for us. However, I am as guilty as most. I never dreamed it would have gotten THAT BAD! But it did, right at dinner time! We had the good presence of mind to get back to our room and scratch our dinner plans for that night. My husband and I could stand to miss a meal anyway! No biggie! Safety was more important. Glad we did. The next day I heard about windows breaking on the ship and ladies breaking their legs in the storm. So due to this freaky weather, we missed out on Ketchikan and Victoria. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Arrived at Pier 93 in San Pedro at approximately 10:30 am. Plenty of parking at cruise terminal. Cost for parking was $12 per day. Easy walk with luggage to the cruise terminal. Was met by numerous porters wanting to take our luggage. I am ... Read More
Arrived at Pier 93 in San Pedro at approximately 10:30 am. Plenty of parking at cruise terminal. Cost for parking was $12 per day. Easy walk with luggage to the cruise terminal. Was met by numerous porters wanting to take our luggage. I am a little uncomfortable using porters. I would prefer to handle my own luggage. When I arrived at entrance to the terminal, I was told by a Princess cruise representative that I couldn't proceed until I had used a porter to check in my luggage. So had to turn around and go find a porter. No big deal. Check in was fast and efficient. The only problem we had was, there was confusion as to what line to put us in. On the Golden Princess there are two Deluxe Ocean View Staterooms located on Deck 15. Our room is located right next to a row of suites. The code for our room which was S704 listed it as a suite. So we were put into a line with other suite passengers. Again no big deal as there were no long lines. The check in rep had to go to another area to find our stateroom keys which took some time to locate. After check in. We were directed to the waiting area to await boarding that was supposed to start at noon. Boarding didn't start until approximately 12:45 pm. The waiting area was comfortable. The only problem I had with this area is the fact that the gangway is located right in the middle between the check in area and the waiting area. So when the ship boarding process began you had people making there way from there seats to get in line with there group. but you have people entering the waiting area and getting mixed up with the passengers heading to the gangway. caused a lot of confusion. Once on board we headed straight for our cabin to drop off our carry on's and to call the Dine line and made or reservations to eat at the Crown Grill. Once this was done we headed to get some lunch at one of the Main Dining Rooms. We asked a rep on board which MDR was open. We were told that none were open for lunch that we had to go to the Horizon buffet. Having eaten in the MDR in the past, I questioned the rep about this. and she finally told us which MDR was open. Lunch was wonderful and not very crowded. Hmmm I wonder why. We loved our room. The bed was comfortable and the floor to ceiling windows were fantastic. The room had crown molding and pictures on the wall. The air conditioning worked great. The bathroom was typical with the small shower. But the sink and counter had upgraded features like tile work and fixtures. The only issues we had were as follows: Overhead speaker in room didn't work so P/A announcements were heard from speakers outside of room. remote for the TV didn't work very well. Our room steward (Frenchy) was pleasant and informative and kept our room clean. However, we never got the robes that we requested and he kept all 3 of his cleaning carts right outside of our room. Which would get banged around every so often and he would have long conversations right outside our door with his assistant. Also our room was directly in line with the elevator hallway so we got a little bit of noise from people waiting on the elevators. This wasn't to bad because there are so few people in this area of the ship. Surprisingly the make up of passengers on this cruise was mostly older. If I were to guess I would say 85% were age 50 and above. There were only maybe a dozen kids on board. We dined in the Canaletto Main Dining Room We had originally requested a table of 6. I have a hard time hearing so anything bigger than a 6 person table can be a little hard on me to carry on a conversation. We were put at a 8 person table. Luckily we had wonderful table mates and wonderful servers. Natalia (Head server) and Marina (Asst server) Did a wonderful job and kept us well feed and entertained. We ate at the Crown Grill, one of two Specialty restaurants on board. The food was great and the service was fantastic. Well worth the $25 cover charge per person. The Entertainment on the ship was only so so. This time around we managed to see the show The British Invasion. Kind of a college production. The singing and dancing was just ok. We say comedian Phil Tag. He was entertaining and well worth watching and we also attended the Culinary arts show hosted by Maitre d Giuseppe Gelmini with Executive Chef John Convery. Both were very entertaining and put on a great class. One disappointment I had was there was no Wine Sommelier on board and I never saw the Maitre d during the entire cruise with the exception of the culinary arts class. In the past the Maitre d would make it a habit to at least introduce himself to each table and welcome everybody. Also dining at the Chefs table wasn't offered on this cruise. Another issue was formal night. There was supposed to be one formal night on a 4 day cruise. Many passengers had brought formal wear on board only to find out later that there was no formal night. Santa Barbra was wonderful. The beaches were pristine and the weather was gorgeous. Had to take tenders ashore. that went nice and smooth. Ensenada, I could have done without. It was dirty and I don't like dealing with beggars and the children trying to sell Chiclets. In my opinion there should have been more excursions offered besides going on a city tour and going to wineries or two the blow hole. Bought a few cheap gifts and enjoyed some good chips and salsa and beer at Papa's and Beers. Disembarkation was horrible. received info notice two days before which was a sea day. didn't read notice until the night before. My mistake. On the day the notice was distributed you were supposed to contact passenger service to arrange your luggage to be picked up outside your stateroom the night before. If you didn't it was assumed you were a walk off passenger. Well I would have to say that probably 75% of the passengers were walk off. We were the very last group to be let off the ship. Our meet time was 11:45 am. We had to be out of our stateroom by 8 am. We had to carry all of our luggage and not leave it unattended for 3 hours and 45 min. Also the ship had to do crew emergency drills that also slowed down the disembarkation process. We didn't leave the ship until shortly after noon. No wonder our embarkation process at the beginning of the cruise took so long. Princess you can do a lot better. As a result of our late disembarkation. we got charged for another day of parking. Read Less
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