34 Princess Sea Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

We booked this cruise for our 35th anniversary, because it left and arrived back into Brisbane. The cruise was meant to be 14 days, but due to the weather it was reduced to 11 days. It could have been reduced to 12 days, but I think it was ... Read More
We booked this cruise for our 35th anniversary, because it left and arrived back into Brisbane. The cruise was meant to be 14 days, but due to the weather it was reduced to 11 days. It could have been reduced to 12 days, but I think it was easier for the company to completely cull the South Island, rather than have to go to the South for 1 day. The ship came into dock earlier, and the staff got the night off. Normally the turnarounds are on the same day. We were told check in would be early on our departure day, so we chose to stay close overnight beforehand. We could have gotten a lift in, but the early start was too early for our friends. So our early check-in was a total debacle ... apparently a computer malfunction, so the ship didn't end up leaving until 4.30pm. We had checked out of our accommodation for our early departure, so had to find somewhere to have breakfast (along with the other 1800+ passengers), then morning tea, and so on, just waiting around for boarding. Great start we were thinking! About the ship: The cabins were small but comfortable. We had an ocean view with a balcony. The room attendant was delightful. The bed was soft but comfortable, as were the pillows. The dining options were OK. The meal portions in the main dining room were a good size, not too large, and there was variety. The quality wasn't amazing, but it was fine, in most venues. We went to one or two shows, and they were enjoyable. We also went dancing on one night, and the band was very good. The gym was great, and thank god for the gym, it was our savior! However, there is a real push to sell the expensive Elemis detox program. This program is available online for a fraction of the cost, and there was no science behind the program that we were shown. If we could all take 2 herbal pills each day, and have them clean out our systems and eliminate everything that makes our bodies work inefficiently, I think it would be a miracle cure! In the end the science says that a good healthy diet, with exercise, and eating nutritious whole foods is the answer to good health ... makes sense to me! The demographics for this style of cruising, didn't really fit with us. We felt like we were in the middle of a shipboard conference for the aged and/or overweight. This may sound harsh, as there were some young people, and healthy looking fit people as well, but they were definitely in the minority. We had never been on a large ship cruising, and we wanted to see if it was something for us into the future. We have been to the Antarctica on a small ship and had a great time, but based on this experience, large ship cruising is definitely not our thing. Being active, I think active/adventure type cruising would be more suitable for us. On a final note, we also found that, although it sounds like you have a reasonable amount of time on shore days, the time disappears very quickly, and you don't get to achieve as much as you would like. We hired cars in 3 of the 4 stops, so we could be independent, and whilst we did get out and about, there is time lost getting to the pick up point, doing the paperwork, dropping the car back, getting back to the ship etc, and we calculated that if we had flown to NZ and hired a car for 2 weeks, travelled around NZ independently, staying in nice B&B's, eating great food, and getting in some active pursuits, the cost would have been around the same, we would have been in control of our itinerary ... and we would have had a 14 (not 11) day adventure! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Excellent cruise. The service and entertainment were above average. The shows and games shows were exceptionally well done. Plenty of things to do on board. . The ship was not too small but not too big. Captain, cruise director ... Read More
Excellent cruise. The service and entertainment were above average. The shows and games shows were exceptionally well done. Plenty of things to do on board. . The ship was not too small but not too big. Captain, cruise director and crew were the best. Had a lovely time. .Due to a hurricane we got a couple of extra days on board. The captain and cruise director kept us informed about what was happening and made the stay very relaxing. Our cabin was smaller than expected but the bed was beautiful. We went on this cruise to relax and enjoy the ship. It provided that and more. Plenty of different areas to sit and relax. Love the movie under the stars. Food was good and plenty of variety. We have traveled Holland America mostly before but I think I will be considering Princess from now on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Outrageous wine prices $44-$60 a bottle profit is on thing but this is a corporate money grab shame on you Princess cruises. Beer one price $8.75 a stubby a glass of wine $11-$15 all other drinks $10.75-$15.75 per glass make sure you ... Read More
Outrageous wine prices $44-$60 a bottle profit is on thing but this is a corporate money grab shame on you Princess cruises. Beer one price $8.75 a stubby a glass of wine $11-$15 all other drinks $10.75-$15.75 per glass make sure you bring plenty of spending money. The meals are great and restaurant service is 5 star,if you are bringing children, single cone ice creams are $5 each, they were free on the Diamond Princess when last cruised. We will be looking for alternative options for our next cruise, do to the excessively drinks cost, these prices are out of control, unfortunately we missed two island stops and a straits cruise,due to bad weather, we are very disappointed, I think the itinerary is more suited for late March onwards do to monsoonal weather conditions, I would not recommend this trip for this time of the year to anyone. We had room service delivered to our cabin which was just perfect. If you enjoy a wine and you are thinking of travelling with Princess cruises, do yourself a favour, and bring your wine with you, and pay the $15 corkage fee, you won’t regret it. The tender service was fluid no real hold ups, the cruise tours are expensive, you usually can do a better deal at dock side. We renewed our vows whilst on board, you will need to pre book, it was an experience of a life time, the captain renewed our vows and signed the certificate, the library was turned into a chapel with all the trimmings, it was truly delightful, I f you want the extra photo package allow $399 extra, also the portraits 20x allow $2100 extra and if you want a truly very professional video allow an extra $1699 Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have sailed with Princess for 9 voyages, 8 of which were on Sea Princess. Every cruise has been filled with friendly outgoing staff, from the Head Waiters right thru to the Cabin Stewards. We were on the ship straight away and this ... Read More
We have sailed with Princess for 9 voyages, 8 of which were on Sea Princess. Every cruise has been filled with friendly outgoing staff, from the Head Waiters right thru to the Cabin Stewards. We were on the ship straight away and this time our luggage was there about 5 minutes after we arrived. We have had a balcony on every cruise but 1 and would have to recommend these cabins, they are spacious with fridge and a great balcony for some private moments. The entertainment is first class with something for every one's taste. We always go with the traditional dinning, because it allows us to get to know our servers and fellow passangers at our table. Well worth considering. In all the times we have cruised with Princess we have never had one complaint about the service we receive. The staff- even though they have to deal with some INTERESTING clients-always come through with dignity and respect ( much more than I would have). We do not do many of the excursions, but have heard a lot of positive comments. We do not travel with children, but think they must be well looked after because, when we do see them on the ship, they seem to be having a great time. We have only cruised on one other line, and they do not compare to Princess. We wil continue cruising-but only with Princess- for many years to come. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
What an amazing trip. The weather was perfect until Auckland. We missed 2 ports. Hilo due to the volcano eruption and Bay of Islands due to bad weather. Disappointing but could not be helped. We did some awesome shore excursions. The best ... Read More
What an amazing trip. The weather was perfect until Auckland. We missed 2 ports. Hilo due to the volcano eruption and Bay of Islands due to bad weather. Disappointing but could not be helped. We did some awesome shore excursions. The best was to visit a motu in Morea and then to swim with sting rays and sharks. The best thing to do if you get the opportunity. The device all over the ship was excellent as was the food. Good to see they have installed hand washing station in Horizon Court but need to police it more as some of the passengers could not be bothered to eah thier hands or us the sanitizer before entering. Easy to see why the sickness spread through the ship. Take a jumper to the Princess Theatre as the air conditioning was freezing at times. The entertainment was a little ordinary at times but did have some excellent guest entertainers.The trip was great value for for money. We enjoyed it so much we have booked again for the 2020 trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
As experienced Princess customers we looked forward to our Australian Cruise on the Sea Princess. On the positive side crewmembers were friendly, efficient and attentive to the passengers. However, The Sea Princess is a poorly designed ... Read More
As experienced Princess customers we looked forward to our Australian Cruise on the Sea Princess. On the positive side crewmembers were friendly, efficient and attentive to the passengers. However, The Sea Princess is a poorly designed vessel. Unlike other Princess ships the buffet dining venue is all the way forward at the topmost part of the ship making it more subject to ship motion, not the ideal situation when trying to eat. The lack of an elevator midship’s causes extensive walking to either the bow or the stern in order to get from the lower to the uppermost decks. Not the most considerate design considering the aging populace presently cruising. Again, unlike other Princess vessels, when configured for a double bed, the inside cabins are so poorly designed as to leave less than 6 inches between the bottom corner of one side of the bed and the closet which makes for tricky navigation if one wants to use the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to crawl over your bed partner. Also, unlike other Princess vessels, the free soft serve ice cream and pizza stations normally found on the Lido deck have been replaced by an ice cream for purchase concession (no more free ice cream on demand) while the pizza by the slice station has been replaced with a sit down “Café” pizza facility midship’s. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes half an hour to get seated at this “café” and then an additional half hour to get a pizza. Although the pizza itself remains free it is presented on a menu wherein many other choices are presented for a fee. In general, we found the food on this ship quite unremarkable although there are an increasing number of “specialty” restaurants costing additional fees. In fact, they have converted half the buffet dining venue to a specialty for fee restaurant. We certainly hope that this is not a portend of things to come on Princess ships. If so it is a clear message that the cruising experience is giving way to increasing the opportunities to extract as much money from passengers as possible by reducing amenities as well as the quality of “free” dining and increasing the incessant opportunities to purchase jewelry and artwork. You probably guessed we did not enjoy this cruising experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Sea Princess New Zealand Cruise 4-18 Jan 2018 CABIN A620 Norovirus Sea Princess motto should be changed from "Come back new" to "Come back poor and barely alive". Having had twelve cruises with several cruise ... Read More
Sea Princess New Zealand Cruise 4-18 Jan 2018 CABIN A620 Norovirus Sea Princess motto should be changed from "Come back new" to "Come back poor and barely alive". Having had twelve cruises with several cruise lines we are fairly aware of what to expect when cruising. We saw news headlines stating that the Sea Princess had had approximately 200 passengers ill with the norovirus but measures were being undertaken to disinfect/sanitise the ship while returning to Brisbane and while in port prior to departure for the cruise we were booked on. Considering how infectious and dangerous this virus is my wife and I boarded the ship with some confidence that the crew had undertaken a rigorous cleaning of the ship. We also disinfected our cabin with Glenn 20 as an added precaution. All went well until late on day four when I came down with the Norvovirus. Obviously somebody had not been as rigorous as they should have been when cleaning the ship. During the next four days I was very ill, visiting ships doctor on several occasions, had two cannula's inserted for various reasons, high temperature and anti vomiting medication. All of these visits amounted to over $1000 in medical fees and included a $3.88 charge for an adult nappy when I asked for one to protect the new mattress that Princess were boasting about and had just installed as part of the recent refit the ship had undergone. Part of the treatment for norovirus is isolation of the passengers, but during the entire time I had the virus my wife still shared toiled facilities, shower and hand basin, but.. she was still allowed to roam the ship, go ashore, eat in all restaurants attend the theatre etc. This to me indicated how little the ships senior officers understood the word "isolation" and the contempt they showed to fellow passengers on the ship, some of whom were recovering from chemotherapy, aged and young children. You would think after only a week or so since the first outbreak they would have made wiser decisions. While I could go on about the lack of concern from senior staff who were quick to ignore the illness we had it on good authority that I was not the only case, but when staff were questioned their silence said it all. Once partly recovered with three ports remaining I was well enough to make the following observations on this cruise. a. If you are coming for romantic dinners in the more upper class restaurants ie. Traviata, Rigoletto forget it. Tables for two are practically non existent, and your choice is "Shared dining" or "shared dining". Initially shared dining was satisfactory but as the cruise progressed table numbers went from 6 to 12. Very hard to eat when the person next to you has their elbow in your soup. Food very average b. If you needed Senior staff (if there were any) were very scarce. I also noted while you are not spending money on excursions you receive notes asking why not but if you are on your death bed with an illness no one comes near, not even a note to ask if you are feeling better. As all novovirus have to be reported ignorance is not an excuse. c. Starboard side of ship deck 7 near where smokers hang out, be prepared for foulest sewer smell you can get. Some nights this stench actually made it up to deck 11 and we had to close our door. d. Food served at salmonella bar, oops! Horizon Court Buffet very average except for vegetable soup, which was served under several different names throughout the cruise. We also noted cold meats, cheeses and salads were placed in serving areas at least one to two hours before service began (good luck eating that). e. New mattresses, while comfortable, were hot to sleep on. Luckily we had a balcony so opening the door, when the sewer stench was blowing the other way, solved this problem. Those passengers with inside cabins that we talked to were not so lucky complaining about hot mattresses. Pillows smelt of sweat on a few occasions and on two days the sheets had some not pretty stains on them. f. Shows on the Sea Princess that I was able to watch were very disappointing except for one. I think there were no shows for the first two nights because cast were rehearsing, surely this should have been done before the cruise started. Last night no show so if my maths are right that is 22% of nights no shows. Theatre very small so unless you arrived 45 minutes before start of show no seats were available. You could go view show on a large screen but this just gave the crew more opportunity to load you up with very expensive drinks. All in all this is one cruise line that cares little for its paying passengers and is very much overpriced for what you get. The services, food, entertainment are average at best and the ship, while it looks good on the surface is showing its age, rust is not removed it is painted over unlike other cruise ships we have been on where great care to ongoing maintenance is taken. My closing comment is if you choose to cruise with Princess don't say you were not warned. This cruise nearly put us of cruising for life. We will be sailing with more reputable lines that we are familiar with in the future. Recommend this line if you need to lose weight, I lost over 3 kilos when I had the virus. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise to get a taste of New Zealand & because we had been advised the Sea Princess was a beautiful ship. After sailing with P&O & MSC prior to this cruise however, we were a little disappointed with our ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get a taste of New Zealand & because we had been advised the Sea Princess was a beautiful ship. After sailing with P&O & MSC prior to this cruise however, we were a little disappointed with our experience on the Sea Princess. Aside from the outbreak of the norovirus, which we fortunately didn't catch, the restaurant menu was very disappointing. It hardly seemed to change whereas other cruises we've been on had theme nights of food on the menu. The food was quite plain & inedible at times. We decided to eat in the buffet mostly, but even though there was lots to choose from, it was always the same. Our outside cabin was quite small. Here again on P&O and MSC we always had a couch in our cabin, but only one tub chair on the Sea Princess (for 2 people) and just as well we're not large people because there wasn't any room to spare either side of the bed. A point of caution, be careful to choose a cabin of 55 sq ft, not a 47 sq ft cabin. Our steward did a great job of getting around our bed to make it each morning. Still don't know how he did it. The ship also lacked shops so not much to browse. The staff on the ship were very good so no complaints there. The entertainment in the theatre was excellent. There was no one monitoring the library, so considering the outbreak of the norovirus, it was concerning to see the turnover of books without any cleansing the book covers. Also one of the cabin boys advised us they're not allowed to wear gloves when cleaning the cabins because passengers would question why they need to wear gloves. My query is, why are they NOT wearing gloves when there's an outbreak of the norovirus. Also, why were they not wearing protective clothing when entering each cabin, for their own protection, as well as the passengers. I wear gloves when cleaning my house. The cruise line needs to review their health & hygiene policies. This cruise has definitely ended our cruising days. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This is a cruise review i thought we would never have to write-- we had a really, really disappointing cruise. Embarkation seemed to go smoothly enough but then one of the keys wasn't even processed appropriately at check in so ... Read More
This is a cruise review i thought we would never have to write-- we had a really, really disappointing cruise. Embarkation seemed to go smoothly enough but then one of the keys wasn't even processed appropriately at check in so while it let us into the room it would not work to pay for anything onboard that you could swipe. The time we waited in line at passenger services we were told we would have to come back later as they could not rekey it at that time. We just worked around and used one card to pay for everything along the way as a result. Our cabin was ok and our cabin steward was friendly. But this cruise was clearly not well-organized as we were missing important information such as the voucher that went with our pre-paid specialty restaurant meal resulting in a service charge after going to the restaurant that took two trips to passenger services to have taken off the account again, because i'd already prepaid it. We never received towel animals or other fun surprises in our cabin. Our bathroom was sporadically replenished with lotion and such. There was no information about the vow renewal i had prepurchased in the cabin so that was another wait in the line at passengers services that first day. When i arrived at the desk the attendant said "so you're celebrating anniversary? What do you want? Cake? Balloons?" the door wasn't decorated like so many others as we wandered the hall that day and there was no information in the room- it was as if they didn't notice i had prepaid hundreds of dollars for the vow renewal and lugged our wedding clothes half way around the world. But a manager tasha was summoned and sat down with me and said she had been planning to contact us that afternoon... So we sat and worked out details for the next day. The next day they called to confirm our vow renewal at noon. Then, 5.5 short hours later, we had spent the afternoon getting showered, dressed, and made up for the ceremony. then, just 30 minutes before, my husband got a call and we were told to come to the atrium immediately. A medical emergency required an evacuation of another passenger and our ceremony had to be cancelled. So there we were, hours before the time we were set to dine at, dressed in formal wedding wear, and with no place to go. As medical professionals, we understand the importance of the crew being available to assist with this so that didn't upset us but what i didn't understand was why she took the liberty of cancelling the photographer, the flowers, the chocolate and the champagne, seemingly token gifts, that were to accompany the ceremony. Why not do something special for us in lieu of the ceremony that night and ask us to reschedule? We were all dressed up and had nothing to do. We had spent hours preparing for the ceremony and then just stood there, bewildered, wondering what to do for the evening. What if i had spent the afternoon at the spa paying for an updo and makeup? What if it had been my actual wedding- is that how they handle the wedding ceremonies people plan? What if we had guests attending? Would somebody else have stepped in for the captain? It just left us feeling weird and with a lot of questions. We were very disappointed- never received a note or any other token of apology for the cancellation from the crew during our cruise- so we cancelled and did not reschedule the ceremony and were refunded the amount (on paper) some days later. We still have not received this refund on our credit card nearly 3 weeks after the cruise has disembarked however. Needless to say after an embarrassing dinner at the specialty restaurant- the food was terrible and the service was appalling- food delivered to the wrong tables, no refills, and to top it off, the specialty restaurant is actually just a part of the horizon buffet. I'm not kidding- they set up a screen and throw up a few tablecloths and call it a steakhouse. Awful. I ordered carpaccio and was essentially served very brown thick roast beef slices. The smores dessert was inedible. We saw waiters yelling at patrons in the dining room multiple times telling them to wait to order more juice or to request additional items such as jams or cream with their meals. Everything took a really long time because people were generally seated in large groups so a waiter would come through and take an order for juice, then go get juice, then hand out juice. Then that waiter would take an order for coffee and tea. Then he would go get coffee and tea. Then he would serve coffee and tea. Then they would offer the pastries. Then they would take the menu orders. It just took forever. There were barely any tables for 2 in the dining room, and even when there were available tables we were strongly encouraged, or required on some days, to eat with a group of 8-10 people for breakfast and lunch which we have never had to do on a cruise. Even when there were empty tables. We assumed they must have issues with staffing and an inability to inadequately staff the dining room for meals. We generally love quiet mornings in the dining room and if i'm sitting with coffee and cream i'm happy to wait for meals, though that's never been an issue on a cruise before. We began to resent the dining room, the apparent lack of service training and possibly the short staffing and we would just go to the buffet regularly for our dining needs. Most of the food was awful on the cruise. We loved pizza on our first princess cruise- this time the pizza was not good. It used to be available on deck all afternoon and evening and you could see what it looked like and choose a variety of slices. But now you either pay $3/pie from room service or wait til the restaurant is open for a few hours in the evening and choose blindly an entire personal pizza in 1 flavor off the menu. The antipasto was weird- like little deli cheeses and flavorless vegetables and a very funny tasting thing they called tiramisu that is most definitely not tiramisu on the menu at the pizza place are bad too- which is weird because one time they had an italian buffet on the horizon court and served real buffalo mozzarella and italian looking cold cuts. Someone in the kitchen knows what antipasto should look like-- i'm just not sure why that doesn't translate across restaurants. We thought some of the pastas and lunch were good and enjoyed the lamb chops one night, barramundi and shrimp were ok one night, and the steaks at the steakhouse tasted alright. But i would never pay $25-30 pp for the steakhouse because the steaks were not that good. One of our ports was cancelled (natural disaster, not the ships fault) resulting in an extra sea day. The library was amply stocked and we were able to leave some of the books we brought onboard there as well-- that was helpful. We spent more time in the library on this cruise checking out books to read than ever before-- because there was not much else in the way of entertainment. The ships performers were so bad that we didn't stay for an entire performance the first night. We did enjoy the piano player and the violin player on more than one occasion but they often played in the crowded atrium so it was difficult to find a seat and enjoy them- even as large as the atrium is. We often enjoyed them for short intervals. We were grateful to have nice weather most days and be able to sit out on deck reading. We ended up only using the ship for assistance at one port and the shuttle to brisbane was efficient and affordable at about $30/pp round trip to downtown area. We spent the day eating and shopping there and then took the shuttle back to the ship. We found the ships planned excursions to be quite a bit more costly and with larger groups than doing similar excursions on our own. Overall i was mostly disappointed with service on the ship. For the first time ever, we were not able to do anytime dining by ourselves and i thought well, it's ok, we'll find a waiter we love who will get to know us and our dining style the way the waitress on our first princess cruise did (even though that had anytime dining nearly a decade ago and we were just placed in her area repeatedly for most of 10 nights). But unfortunately our assistant waiter frequently changed (again, is this mostly a training ship? Or just severely understaffed?) and our waiter never really got to know our likes and dislikes. From the way our vow renewal was an afterthought, to the way we were treated at passenger services during the times we approached with repeated concerns, i was just embarrassed for princess. For the first time ever we ended the cruise with a negative folio amount- they owe us money. Money that was immediately charged to my credit card months ago by princess when i purchased things like the vow renewal but which cannot be refunded for weeks apparently. Since returning home nearly 3 weeks ago i filled out a survey sent by the cruise a day later and nobody from the ship has reached out to me to apologize. Then a week later i contacted them online, requesting the refund to my credit card. Nobody from the ship has reached out and the credit card still has not been refunded. Now i'm going to just submit this review to cruise critic because i feel like i might still get my refund, since the ship account did clearly show a negative balance, but i feel like the company didn't care. I had been looking forward to this cruise and my vow renewal for years- i booked this years ago and we flew from the us to sydney to have this life event, and share it with what we thought was an amazing cruise line whose service would make us feel special and that for $3500 this cruise and vow renewal would be magical. It wasn't and i'm still disappointed and will not be likely to sail with princess again. But day after day i'm still email bombarded with their special deals to cruise again-- how can a company be so clueless? Spend some energy and goodwill reviewing surveys and fixing the problems from our last cruise instead of email bombarding us to give up money for another one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I had previously traveled Sea Princess and we had an enjoyable time. However, we had a number of issues with this cruise that we didn't feel were adequately dealt with. Family Friendly - The biggest issue was the lack of family ... Read More
I had previously traveled Sea Princess and we had an enjoyable time. However, we had a number of issues with this cruise that we didn't feel were adequately dealt with. Family Friendly - The biggest issue was the lack of family friendly activities, entertainment and the poor experience with the Kids Club staff. We were advised on the first night, that due to a high number of children on board, there may not always be availability on the kids club. We had to book in advance a number of times. On many occasions, the kids club were not available at all as they had scheduled alternate activities (where parents would need to attend as they were unsupervised). When we did have our children in kids club, we were paged repeatedly for minor things so we had to come collect our children. We weren't able to fully enjoy the other activities as a result. This wouldn't have been so bad if there were family friendly areas or entertainment for our children. They rarely had any children programming on television, and no other place to take them where they'd have fun. The swimming pool was quite dangerous due to the rockiness of the boat and children were generally unwelcome in the calmer pool. Activities & Entertainment - Activities on board ranged from good to pretty ordinary, the shows were pretty good (the singers and dancers were lovely and we really loved the Mentalist). However many of the "enrichment" activities involved spending more money and there was a lot of push to get you to gamble (eg play bingo, go to the casino). I remember some dancing activities the last time I sailed with Sea Princess which seemed to be lacking this cruise. The Zumba teacher was AWFUL (no sense of rhythm at all, songs were bad) and very rude, she yelled at another staff member during the first session over the sound of the music. She also yelled at a child in front of everyone during Trivia because he said an answer out loud. Food - Food was mostly good especially in the Horizon court & traditional dining areas. However, the chips (french fries) were generally over cooked and bland and the coffee left a lot to be desired (and this was the specialty coffee we paid extra for). The drinks were okay, but pricey, and they didn't make a very nice vodka lime and soda. Service - service was generally good however on the deck 5 atrium, there was a bar that was always very very slow to serve. I would often stand for quite a while, while others who arrived after me were served before me - making me feel like I wasn't there at all. When I finally got served, coffees and drinks took 10 mins to make. Facilities - the gym was a little small - it would have been nice if they had some fitness classes on throughout the day. The pool was fine, but as mentioned, it wasn't that safe for children. Occasionally it appeared something was dripping from the roof on the lower levels of the ship, I think this ship needs an upgrade and some maintenance done. Ports - we travelled to Papua New Guinea which wasn't on the list above - some of the locations were really average. Most of the stops didn't have any shore excursions. At one particular stop, the locals were very unfriendly, and the area seemed generally unsafe. Doini Island was lovely however, and Rabaul was fascinating. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We had many people telling us how good Princess Cruises were particularly for cruising New Zealand, plus Princess departs from Brisbane. We were not disappointed and everything about the cruise was fantastic - the Stateroom, the crew, the ... Read More
We had many people telling us how good Princess Cruises were particularly for cruising New Zealand, plus Princess departs from Brisbane. We were not disappointed and everything about the cruise was fantastic - the Stateroom, the crew, the food and dining, the excursions, the organisation of everything was perfect. We were spoilt rotten especially when we had the Renewal of our Vows which was very special. We cannot wait to go again, and highly recommend Princess Cruises to everyone. Embarkation was fairly tiring for us oldies, whereas Disembarkation was so well organised and went so smoothly. We loved the Rigoletto Dining experience and our waiters looked after us exceptionally well. The ship itself was great (not too big for us) and we enjoyed walking the deck every day, and having our morning coffee outside (we were very lucky with weather). Shore excursions excellent, well organised. Very relaxing, being able to do or not do whatever one wanted. Did not want for anything. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first time cruising on Princess Cruises and we were drawn initially to this particular itinerary because of the attractive option of a B2B that would have us embarking/disembarking at Fremantle with a 28-day cruise in between ... Read More
This was our first time cruising on Princess Cruises and we were drawn initially to this particular itinerary because of the attractive option of a B2B that would have us embarking/disembarking at Fremantle with a 28-day cruise in between - how many times do you hear anyone raving about the flying part of their holiday! We have only ever cruised with Celebrity in the past, and even then, not that many times. So we are relatively new to cruising and don't have that much experience to make comparisons anyway. Anyway, we think comparing the two would be like apples and oranges anyway, with both pitched and priced at differing sectors of the market. Embarkation at Fremantle went as smoothly as could be hoped, we think mainly because we had stuck to our pre-arranged arrival time. On and having an explore around the ship in around thirty minutes. Even without any welcome drinks, we felt there could have been a bit more enthusiasm and staff for that initial greeting, but we were soon off discovering/getting lost on our new home away from home. We had opted for an inside cabin, up the front on Caribe deck - more details on this in the cabin review. This was already available for us from the time we got onboard. Introductions with our ninja steward Edgar (and his fellow 'shadow' steward Edgar II down the corridor) out of the way, and we were unpacked and ready for the lifeboat drills and sailaway before we knew it. Because of a rather last-minute booking, we had no choice but to accept second sitting dining (there is no 'anytime' dining on Princess out of Australia), and as it turned out, this ended up suiting us just fine. On port days, it meant there was no rush to get back onboard, and let's face it, on sea days, if you don't think you can last until 7:45 in the evening before you can have dinner, there are many options to 'load up' around the ship to keep you going. On the whole, we were very impressed with the standard and choices of food available for all meals, from breakfast through to dinner. One of the obvious things that can't be avoided is the fact that you are going to see the same cycle of menus come around again on a B2B, but on a positive note, that actually had us looking forward to some of the highlights from the first time through (definitely chilled fruit soup in a glass converts now!). Other reviews have commented on the availability of seats in the buffet (not just on this ship, or indeed Princess), but there's an obvious easy answer to that. Structure your days so that you have that glorious long lay-in and then lo-and-behold, you're turning up for your meals two hours after everyone else. Whilst they are not yet sweeping up around your feet, you'll have no problems finding a table wherever your favourite spot turns out to be. Afternoon tea was a bit of a let-down, as we thought it would have been more appropriate to have at least two or three types of tea available, and those in a pot that could have been left at the table - instead it was just tea or coffee. Seemed to us to be a severe lack of speciality restaurants- maybe just on this class of ship. The only one with a pay-per-use, was The Steakhouse, which turned out to be a section of the buffet 'converted' after the luncheon rush in a part of the main buffet area. We didn't use this offering, so can't really comment, but feel if you are going to have a cover charge, there should be a definite unique permanent venue for those special occasions. Cafe Corniche, the pizza venue, seemed to be much under-utilised and we weren't sure if this was because it a little bit tucked out of the way, or if people thought there was a cover charge, or what. Nevertheless, the pizzas were superb and many a day they got us through to dinner without filling us up. Neither of us are big drinkers and after the initial onslaught of spruiking drinks or wine tasting packages, we were left to our own devices, and all of the venues had the option of pour your own water or served by the waiters. There was very little hard sell once everyone had realised we were more than happy with just having plain old water. That's not to say we didn't fall off the wagon for a drink or two occasionally, and Princess still have their two separate happy hours where the second drink is only one dollar - doesn't that cheaper one always taste that much better! As mentioned, this was a back to back and even though we were expecting it, didn't the demographic change once the second cruise leg commenced in Singapore! On came all of the school children, not in their hoards by any means, but enough to mean your tranquil morning laps in the pool were now a thing of the past. Princess does have a children's club, but it was pretty obvious that some of the older kids had exhausted the options and were board with this after the first few days. One big dampener as a result of this, was the two main pools had to be drained on three separate occasions, which the captain and crew apologised for, but had no control over (perhaps better supervision of the pool areas after the first instance may have prevented a repeat). Entertainment was a little bit hit and miss for both legs of the trip. Again, we were expecting the main shows to be repeated, so used our imagination there and watched them from opposite sides of the theatre on each occasion. When are cruise lines going to realise that hypnotists are not that entertaining - unless they have comedy talents too. The party band changed over at Singapore, and if we were to be brutally honest, any one of the karaoke singers could have covered for their vocal efforts, which was a shame as we would have liked to put some of the dance lessons (taught by the wonderful Jodie) into practice. Perhaps it would have sounded better if we had been drinking! Singers and comedians were well up to scratch and were usually worth a second show visit. We've heard comments about getting to the theatre early to ensure you get a seat; only relevant for the first shows, as second performances always had spare capacity (another advantage of second seating dining). We did our own at ports of call and where we wanted to see more of the surrounding areas, had pre-arranged tours with other like-minded souls on Cruise Critic. Can't comment on ship's tours other than the usual that they appeared to be very expensive. Still can't get over the scam that is Vietnam/Cambodia visa charges (for Australians). We had done these ports previously, so were intending to just stay onboard. As many already know out there, it matters not a jot and you'll still get stung! There goes what little OBC we already had. Out of protest, went ashore anyway and re-confirmed we'll be looking for itineraries that avoid these countries until our two governments can sort something out! With both cruise itineraries joined together, this is a fantastic way to experience a broad 'sample' of south east Asia in the one go. Grab it if you can! We made many a good friend on our shore excursions and an honorary mention to Nyoman Ariasa of BaliIslandTours wouldn't go amiss. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he provided an excellent, value for money service for our Bali stopover. To sum up... did we have a good time and will we cruise Princess again? Yes on both counts. It was great value for money all up, and seeing as it doesn't appear to be that hard to claw your way up the loyalty ladder - up to Ruby even after just one more cruise - we'll be back for more in the future. It would be great to see a newer class of ship in Australian waters, but that might be something we'll have to wait for, or head off to Europe instead. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise mainly because we wanted to get back on the sea, have a decent length of time and because the mini-suites were priced exceptionally well for this cruise. We got a great deal. Overall this was a great cruise – the ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly because we wanted to get back on the sea, have a decent length of time and because the mini-suites were priced exceptionally well for this cruise. We got a great deal. Overall this was a great cruise – the sea was mostly calm with very few rough days, the weather was good to beautiful most days, the staff were mostly good, the food was everything from okay to wonderful and the experience was very enjoyable – especially the mini-suite experience on these Sun class ships, where the room configuration is superior to other mini-suites. I was pretty excited about having a bath at sea in rocky waters. I did get to do this eventually but it wasn't as weird as I was expecting. In addition, I always love travelling on the Sun class ships because of the excellent promenade. I didn’t exactly come back new, but I came back relaxed and content with the cruise, so that’s a good outcome. That said, there were some issues with this cruise that made it slightly less satisfactory than previous experiences and I will outline them here. 1) Itinerary. While I was pleased with the itinerary when I first booked the cruise, investigation revealed that of the 11 ports, 6 were troublesome. 3 ports were way too far from the cities they claimed to visit (Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Ho Chi Mihn City (Phu My), Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang)) and another three required tendering (Bali (Benoa), Lombok and Koh Samui). In addition, most stops in port were quite short and I found this very annoying – especially if the next port was 5 hours away by ferry and yet we were leaving at 4.30pm. Why? I thought we should have had an overnight at Singapore too. Phu My was particularly annoying because I read that ships used to dock at Vung Tau. I so much would have preferred that. 2) Shore Tours The shore tours were, in general, not that great for both legs of our cruise. I mostly had to book ‘on your own’ type tours because of distance and lack of decent choices. Most tours seemed to involve long time wasting Westernised buffet lunches, visits to craft centres I wasn’t interested in or souvenir shops I just didn’t care about. I would have much preferred some decent snorkelling options or some tours where you visit 3 cool things and then have a decent amount of time on your own. But as mentioned above, this was hard because so many ports were too far from the action and the time in port was quite curtailed. Also there were not many options for more local tours or if tours were offered, they seemed very limited. Though Siem Reap was mentioned somewhere when I was booking, this cruise offered no overland overnight tours to Siem Reap, which was disappointing. It turns out to be a very difficult place to visit in terms of getting to and getting from Siem Reap without missing too many cruise days so we didn't bother trying to visit. 3) A perceived drop in some standards. I felt that the cabin staff were not as prompt and reliable as previously and they did not explain and go over the features of the room and some of the bar staff were abrupt (Might have had something to do with the passengers). In addition, crème brulee no longer seemed to be offered as a dessert and I missed those – much healthier than cakes and anyway, I don’t care much for cakes. 4) Other passengers. There were a lot of kids on this cruise as it was school holidays. I won’t make that mistake again! But anyway, being school holidays, there were a lot of kids and a proportion of those children had parents who really didn’t care what they did. They did some terrible things. I don’t even like to mention some of what I heard in case it wasn’t true, but they definitely had a kid or kids purposefully poop in the pool 3 times, leading to some inconvenience for every single person who likes using the pool. I heard worse things concerning poop too. I haven’t cruised with so many kids before and now I know why so many people don’t want to cruise with kids (not that they were all bad, but the whole cruise in general would have been nicer if the bad ones weren’t onboard). In addition, there was the usual Aussie crowd of pursed lips and sour expressions to contend with. You'd think Australians have a much worse time on holidays than they do at home if you judged them by their cruise faces. 5) Tendering process: I can never understand how a ship can tender so often and still stuff up the process again and again. We had great tendering in Lombok despite using only ship’s tenders, and terrible tendering experiences in Koh Samui and Bali. Maybe changes to staff at Singapore explains it? But anyway, it went from a well run process to a terrible boring burden. The ship sailed almost 3 hours late from Bali because, even though they had previously experienced rubbish getting caught in the tender propellers, they did not book enough extra help from the shore until halfway through the morning. Even then it wasn’t enough – people had to queue for hours. Koh Samui was better but they had some really inexperienced tender drivers working and it made the trip and the docking at each end nearly unbearable – they were so slow, they had to try to dock so many times! The local guys were just driving up to the dock/ship and tying up, no problems. 6) The in room entertainment and communication systems really need an upgrade. Also the big screen on deck 14 seemed a bit outdated and not as functional as on other Sun class ships, though I could just have flawed memories from previous ships. The in room movies should be on demand and it would be great if a channel ran text of the captains and other announcements. 7) Not enough good chocolate available at the shop! And overpriced too! Remember, as always, to stock up on everything you might want before you get on the ship! That’s about it. I list these things but must reiterate, I enjoyed the cruise, my cabin, the dining room and staff and various ship features. It was a good cruise! I spent most days feeling just great about everything. I mention the above for others who are considering the Treasures of Asia itineraries – just be aware of where the ports are and what ships tours are available when you decide to book! If you are wanting to actually see and spend significant time in these cities, maybe visit them another way. If you are wanting a nice warm cruise in fairly sedate oceans with some short visits to interesting places, it’s a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Our 30th wedding anniversary cruise had been 18 months in the planning, and it was well worth the wait! We chose Sea Princess for this cruise as we had fond memories of our very first cruise aboard her, and she was leaving from our home ... Read More
Our 30th wedding anniversary cruise had been 18 months in the planning, and it was well worth the wait! We chose Sea Princess for this cruise as we had fond memories of our very first cruise aboard her, and she was leaving from our home port, Fremantle. We also were keen on the itinerary as it visited some ports we had been to previously, but included some new ones for us to experience. Embarkation: This was a little slower than previously, and the time schedule given in advance for boarding seemed to bear no resemblance to what actually took place. Having said that, we were on holiday, so who really cared! Stateroom: We chose a balcony in Baja deck and were very satisfied again. Please note my comments below. Dining: We mainly used the MDR for dinner, and the Horizon for breakfast and lunch. The standard of food again was excellent. Because the cruise was, in effect, two separate cruises back-to-back the MDR menu was repeated in the second leg of the journey, but this allowed us to try a variety of dishes from the same menu. Special mention needs to be made of the Ultimate Balcony Dinner which was a real treat and one we would highly recommend. Entertainment and activities: We enjoyed MUTS, although we felt the range of movies was somewhat limited, and the stateroom TV options also were not as expansive as previously experienced on other Princess ships. The piano shows in the atrium were excellent and the art auctions were interesting and well supported, although there did seem to be more of these than on previous cruises. We made daily use of the gym and really enjoyed the facilities. Service: The stateroom steward, Kenneth, was very professional. He was right on the ball, very efficient without being intrusive, and responded quickly and happily to any requests we made. Our MDR waiters, Lohita, Denchai and Angelito also gave excellent service and added to the pleasant dining experience. Ports and shore excursions: We chose carefully which ports we would visit (not ones serviced by the tender boats) and used Princess organised tours at two of those. Penang: We did the Royal Selangor Pewter, Spice Farm, and the butterfly farm, Entropia. We would really recommend this tour! It was interesting, informative and good value. We had visited Penang previously independently, but this tour gave us a fresh look at the island and piqued our desire to visit again. Singapore: We did this independently and visited Sentosa Island. The highlight here was the cable car around the island, giving us a wonderful overview. Again, we will need to pay another visit now to explore further! Ho Chi Minh City: Our first time in Vietnam and we thoroughly enjoyed it! We did the organised tour to the lacquerware factory plus a city tour including time at the markets, and two hours in Dong Khoi Street to shop independently. Again, we would thoroughly recommend this tour. The guides on each of the Princess tours were very articulate and informative. Bangkok (Laem Chabang): We took the shuttle to Pattaya as it was much closer than Bangkok. We enjoyed a day at leisure in Pattaya at the mega shopping mall, and the highlight there was trying the Thai equivalent of a laksa in an authentic Thai restaurant where no one spoke English! The resulting meal was fiery hot, but very enjoyable! The remaining days were either sea days or days we stayed onboard. These provided opportunities to read, play scrabble, star gaze, and generally fully relax. All too quickly the cruise came to a successful finish. Disembarkation at Fremantle was smooth and problem-free. All in all, this was a memorable cruise, and one from which we returned feeling very refreshed. We will definitely be travelling with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Found this cruise advertised in our NSW NRMA motoring magazine. 17 Days Sydney to Perth via Brisbane/Cairns/Alotau (PNG)/Darwin/Kimberly Coast/Broome and Geraldton on Sea Princess. Then 4 Days Perth and return via Indian Pacific Train to ... Read More
Found this cruise advertised in our NSW NRMA motoring magazine. 17 Days Sydney to Perth via Brisbane/Cairns/Alotau (PNG)/Darwin/Kimberly Coast/Broome and Geraldton on Sea Princess. Then 4 Days Perth and return via Indian Pacific Train to Sydney. Reasonably fast embarkation, and went to our balcony room and met our Stateroom Steward. Then up to Sundeck for the "Sailaway" then to tea at 5-30pm in Traviata Dining Room where we met our Waiters. All staff very friendly and service was great. The food was excellent and just the right quantity so that one could enjoy all 3 courses. Back to the Stateroom to unpack and get a good nights sleep. The rocking of the ship very condusive to sleep. Up early next morning and off to Horizons Bistro for breakfast with a wide selection of food available. The same at Lunchtime. In fact you could go there anytime for meals or snacks.They are very conscious of people washing their hands and it is mandatory to do so before entering a restaurant. Happy hour was 3pm to 4pm in Legends bar (2 drinks for the price of 1 plus $1). There was some form of activity or Entertainment from 8am tp 11pm (and beyond) in the theatre, lounge or various bars. The daily "Princess Patter" let everyone know what would happen during the day and "The Wake Show" (TV) also passed on useful info. We went on organised excursions in Alotau PNG and Geraldton WA and did our own thing in the other ports.When we were not doing activities we would just relax on the balcony or lie down and watch TV. Enjoyed Bingo and Trivia and especially the shows in the Princess Theatre where all acts were of a high standard. The Cruise Director and his staff made sure everyone had a good selection of things to do.Have paid "future" deposit as we fully intend on doing more cruising.Only issue was with going ashore in Darwin where there was only one gangway and it was a real bunfight to get to it. Ships staff should have organised proper queues or another gangway. As is usual with Cruise lines the price of alcohol is a bit over the top but I am led to believe that this is where they make a lot of money. Being an "Australian" cruise there were no "tips" added to accounts but this may also explain drink prices being high. Tipping was a passengers perogative and we did tip our waiters, steward and a couple of others. The other good thing was that the people were mostly aged 55 and up which meant that we did not have younger ones getting drunk and making life hard for others. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Overall a very nice cruise for 35 days. Initially I was concerned about the 35 days as the longest we had cruised before was 19 days. Turned out to be very pleasant and would do something similar again. Australia, the South Pacific ... Read More
Overall a very nice cruise for 35 days. Initially I was concerned about the 35 days as the longest we had cruised before was 19 days. Turned out to be very pleasant and would do something similar again. Australia, the South Pacific and Hawaii are a long way from anywhere so there were 2 lots of 5 continuous sea days - but I did catch up on a lot of reading. Princess had 2 'Hawaii Ambassadors' on board for nearly the full 35 days. This gave a great feel to the cruise with lessons / sessions in hula, ukulele, lei making, language, culture etc. They also provide good quality background live music and dancing throughout the ship on most days - overall it was very well done and added a lot in ambience to the total cruise. Princess also provided an excellent 'port lecturer' who was very informative and approachable throughout the entire to talk about things to do, places to see etc. He didn't only push the ship tours but gave useful info for cruisers who wanted to get out at ports independently. There were also 2 excellent (1 x Princess and 1 x non-Princess) guest lecturers who covered a lot of topics including science, astronomy, ancient history, modern history, bushrangers and war history. Entertainment was generally quite good with some diamonds and a couple of lemons who didn't quite play to the onboard demographics / sensitivities. Approx. 12 months ago, we did Singapore - Asia - Sydney and the production shows were exactly the same as today. Quality of the performers was very good although the shows are relatively short. The demographics on board didn't lend themselves to 'clubbing' so the 'disco' was usually empty although the 'live' music bands in the Wheelhouse Bar were relatively well attended (at least until around midnight - then bed) The cruise director staff were fantastic and always out and about with various activities. Always ready to have a chat. Perhaps due to the number of sea days / length of the cruise, they had 2 senior cruise directors on board. By and large, they do a fantastic job - I certainly couldn't be happy and cheerful 24/7. They also went that little bit further and organised with several of the passengers an ANZAC dawn service on 25th April. This was appreciated by many of the passengers. This is a 'small' ship by today's standards (approx. 2000 passengers) however this does have a lot of advantages , namely: - ship can dock in more downtown ports - no more 2.5hr bus trips (each way) from out of town industrial cargo terminals. - all of the crew (including the bridge crew) are more noticeable, approachable and always happy to say a quick hello. - service times are fairly quick. The ship is fairly old however still more than serviceable and a recent 'refresh' kept it looking nice. Being a small ship meant juggling of activities between venues We had a 'BE' category balcony cabin on Baja deck. A little on the small side but very comfortable without any faults and an excellent cabin steward who provided exemplary service. Food was good to very good. We mostly ate in the buffet for breakfast / lunch and the dining room for dinner. Over the 35 days there was a bit of repetition. Staff were excellent. We did the speciality steakhouse once. Very nice but I do have an aversion to paying extra for the 'experience' Drinks are always overpriced on ships however most days had a 'happy hour' where for $1 extra, you could buy another of whatever you were drinking Internet (satellite) was woefully slow - bordering on dreadful. Speeds increased significantly after 11- 12pm when most were asleep. We din't use all of our purchased 'minutes' - too frustrating Shore excursions - We find most overpriced (approx. double what you can pay dockside) but if you want a 'no think, hassle free' experience, they are of good quality. In Hawaii - all the Pearl Harbour Memorial tours were fully booked, months before sailing. Apparently, the Parks Service only release a certain number of tickets to the cruise ship. Not all is lost however - the Parks Service keeps a certain number of tickets for sale on the day at the memorial however they are 'timed admission'. We could have purchased entry for 1.30pm (we arrived at 9.00am) but we had other places to be at that time so didn't do the Arizona. Even if you don't see the Arizona, the Memorial site is very interesting and well worth attending for a couple of hours. We purchased a tour of the WW2 submarine USS Bowfin on the day - no waiting Tours to volcanoes etc. in other parts of Hawaii were excellent. Tours in the various South Pacific Islands were pleasant and interesting. Places in Samoa and Fiji are still recovering from various cyclones with some areas still awaiting repairs but the people are always friendly and inviting to have the cruise ships assist recovery via tourist $ In Papeete, everyone raved about the dockside foodtrucks selling crepes. Highly overated in our opinion but they are open late night Bay of Islands (NZ) was cancelled due to weather The day of arrival, the Sea Princess was to later that same day, start a 105 day world cruise. We would have liked to stay on board - maybe next time Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I cannot fault the embarkation, it was quick and easy. Cannot fault the staff. Everyone was extremely pleasant. Cannot fault the cleanliness.....cabin and all amenities were spotless. We had a balcony cabin, it was a tad small, but for ... Read More
I cannot fault the embarkation, it was quick and easy. Cannot fault the staff. Everyone was extremely pleasant. Cannot fault the cleanliness.....cabin and all amenities were spotless. We had a balcony cabin, it was a tad small, but for 2 nights not a problem. The bed was brilliant, the best I have slept on during a cruise. However, from the moment we boarded, there was a lack of everything, from food to entertainment. Everything was closed. Entertainment was zero. During the evening, the entertainment was suited to the over 70's. No offense to that age group, but it would be nice to mix it up a bit. We are 50 something's and found 1940's and 50'a music a bit boring after a while. No night club for after dinner dancing. Can't imagine how the younglings on the cruise felt. The food was very disappointing, portion control gone mad. We had a pizza for lunch, it was obviously a frozen pizza, similar to the Woollies frozen pizzas. Paying $19 for it hurt! I feel this ship caters for the elderly age groups, which is reflected in the err...entertainment, so we will never again sail on this ship. We work full time, and enjoy our cruises, and are prepared to spend whilst on holiday. Bonus, I guess, we found nothing to spend money on, so we took our holiday savings home. All the more for our cruise on the Celebrity Solstice in September. This ship not recommended for under 70's.... Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Started off in Brisbane Australia, embarkation was quick & easy, once on board we made our way to our stateroom c703, we entered the room for the first time & first impression was one of disappointment, our stateroom was more like ... Read More
Started off in Brisbane Australia, embarkation was quick & easy, once on board we made our way to our stateroom c703, we entered the room for the first time & first impression was one of disappointment, our stateroom was more like a statecloset, it was small with little room, the bathroom was very very tiny, bugger all wardrobe space. If someone was at the wardrobe then you had a very hard time getting in or out of the bathroom & stateroom main door. One of the lamps that was attached to the wall above the bed was broken & was reported to our cabin steward on arrival & was still broken on the conclusion of the cruise, the mattresses on the bed was passed it's use by date as it was very saggy in the middle & after the third night sleep we woke with a sore back every morning after, there was run marks on the walls & stains all over the carpet. We went to see a show in the vista lounge & after asking the wait staff for a coffee as we don't drink alcohol we were promptly told that they dont do coffee & when we asked why we were just told that we couldn't get one. We went to the Ragilleto restaurant the first night for dinner only to leave hungry due to very small meals so we made our way to the buffet to top up our still rumbling tummies, when we walked into the buffet we were amazed at the selection of different foods on offer & the great quality, so we ate there every night there after, the buffet was great. The ships entertainment & shows were good, the ships staff were good, except for the wait staff in the vista lounge, not very helpful. Overall with the exception of what was mentioned at the start of this review the cruise was good & we would consider Princess Cruises again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Papua New guinea is a must go destination for everyone no matter what age and background you are. Returning expatriates, returning ex-service personnel, children of those who once lived in PNG, inquisitive travelers etc. Our first time ... Read More
Papua New guinea is a must go destination for everyone no matter what age and background you are. Returning expatriates, returning ex-service personnel, children of those who once lived in PNG, inquisitive travelers etc. Our first time with Princess Cruises and they excelled in every area. In Alotau we did the Cultural Festival on board tour which was worthwhile. We noted that independent travelers still had to pay the same as passengers if they wanted entry. Good range of cultural dancers and the arts and crafts were very nice and affordable. We noted that the sellers were not used to haggling and when we were dropped off at the local market on the way back to the ship we could see why. All the produce in the markets was marked with a price and that was what was paid. There were other tours to suit other interests such as WWII or local village and cooking tour. Off to Kitava Island where we were greeted by three young ladies in traditional dress who we felt were only doing it because their mum had insisted. We saw her taking note of the numbers of passengers getting off the tenders so I'd say she billed the cruise line for the privilege as many of the other children had signs "K5 a snap" in front of themselves. The primary school children were there to greet us and put on small performances and were a delight. More carvings, shells, string bags (bilums) for sale. Lovely place for a swim and snorkel. Off to Rabaul where we took a full day tour with Kokopo Tours (wish I could insert their flyer here so others could benefit!) AU$150.00 each including water and lunch at the Gazel Peninsular Hotel. Saw everything there was to see, Yamamoto's bunker, Bita Paka War Cemetery, Kokopo War Museum and Cultural Center, Hot Springs, Volcano, WWII Zero crash site etc. The devastation of the last major eruption in 1994 is still very evident. Sea day before reaching Doini Island for more snorkeling, dance groups etc. More arts and crafts to buy. What a great little 'resort' island. Check out www.doiniisland.com and if you're cruising there pre-book snorkeling or trips to Samarai Island etc. Love to come back and chill!!!! 2 more sea days and back to Brisbane. On the way up to PNG and on other sea days we were entertained by very knowledgeable speakers who obviously loved their work. All in all a very pleasant visit to our next door neighbours. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Embarkation: Embarkation was painless. We arrived at Station Pier Port Melbourne on 24th May 2015, and dragged our suitcases to the upper level where 300 or so passengers were boarding the Sea Princess in Melbourne for a 102 day World ... Read More
Embarkation: Embarkation was painless. We arrived at Station Pier Port Melbourne on 24th May 2015, and dragged our suitcases to the upper level where 300 or so passengers were boarding the Sea Princess in Melbourne for a 102 day World cruise. There were no directions at to where to leave our suitcases, so we had to manipulate them up an escalator to the embarkation area, where they were quickly whisked away from us and taken onboard. Only had to wait a short time before the documentation was processed and Cruise Cards issued. Review of the Sea Princess: In writing this critique, it has to be noted that this cruise was full, with around 2000 passengers and over 1000 crew. The ship itself is getting older, and experiencing spasmodic maintenance problems that caused engine issues, and numerous episodes of leaking pipes which flooded staterooms, hallways, and the Princess Theatre. Staff were always quick to work on reported problems, & despite the age of the ship & all its fittings, everything looked clean, polished & well cared for. Dining: Despite having a pre boarding guarantee of “early seating” allocation for dining in the Traviata Dining Room, on embarkation that had somehow changed to late seating. When we questioned the “Maitre D” about the change, we were told that our guaranteed seating was only a “guaranteed request”. Following an elongated discussion, we were finally changed to our requested early seating by the 2nd day. It seems pointless in filling out the Cruise Personaliser on the Princess website, when Princess themselves have no interest in reading what we request. The information we provide appears to get stuck in Princess’s Head Office, and not passed on to the ships we travel on. The meals in the dining room remain spectacular, however a noted change was that the menu was repeated on a 10 – 14 day rotation with monotonous regularity. For long cruises like the 104 Day World Cruise, this became rather boring after a few weeks. For the first two weeks, there were only six people on our table, with another 2 joining in Freemantle. Our table of 8 became the best of friends, and apart from a few sick days, everyone fronted up each evening to enjoy the wonderful company and delicious food. Our waiters on table 184 were Mario and Alfie, who, between them, tendered to our every culinary need. Mario was a bit temperamental, depending on his mood, but Alfie being the junior waiter excelled at his job. Drink prices were expensive but wine left over was always named, recorked and available for the next evening meal. I renamed the Horizon Court buffet “The horror-zone” for obvious reasons, for it was terrible lining up for food, arguing with combative passengers, and searching for a vacant seat. The manners of many people left a lot to be desired, and you would think some people had never been fed before, the way they carried on around the buffet food. The Sterling Steakhouse was a joke, situated in a partitioned off area of the Horizon Buffet each evening. While it was busy most nights, and the food reportedly great, it could not be seen as a special dining environment. The Ice-cream Parlor outside on deck 12 under the movie screen was usually quite busy, however the quality of the soft serve ice-cream varied considerably, from very creamy to well watered down. All diners were looked after for Special occasions with a cake and a throng of caroling waiters and bar staff, which just made that special occasion even more memorable. Lounges & Restrooms: We always found the restrooms clean, tidy and well stocked. An interesting & well accepted change was that the toilets had disposable paper seat covers. Both the Vista Lounge and the Princess Theatre seat approx. 500 passengers each. With the decline in the number of evening entertainment options, seating for both ends of the ship could only seat 1000 passengers. For a ship holding 2000 passengers, a person would have to get to the main entertainment area (either Vista of Princess Theatre) at least an hour before the event started in order to get a seat. This created a lot of angst and friction among passengers, especially finding the entertainment areas completely filled 45 minutes before the start of each show. Several times over the course of the 104 days there was a leak from the ceiling of the Princess Theatre, and several seats had to be partitioned off as they were soaked. This intermittent leaking continued on for most of the cruise, despite numerous attempts by staff to try and fix the problem. The Wheelhouse Bar was used many days for trivia sessions, and trying to fit upwards of 400 passengers into an area that could only house 200 at best, was nothing short of nauseating. To get a seat, most people had to arrive for trivia almost an hour early, and this caused fights amongst passengers who tried to reserve seats for other members of their trivia team. Whilst reserving seats is a known “No-No” what else could people do. Many disagreements ensued because of this. Princess continually advocates that passengers must not save seats in the public lounges and theatres, however, despite this, seat saving continues at an alarming rate. On very popular entertainment nights, a passenger would take their life into their own hands if they needed to visit the rest room before a show started, because their seat then became fair game for whoever was waiting. The Laundry: The public Laundry was a nightmare, with only 2 machines and dryers on 3 of the passenger decks. Queuing was long and tedious, and those passengers who put washing in the machines and went away for hours continually aggravated fellow passengers waiting for vacant machines. Woe and behold anyone who touched anyone else’s laundry, and only remove someone else’s laundry at your own peril. The laundry proved to be a very entertaining area, with many altercations occurring daily. We found it easier to hand wash in the cabin, and hang it on coat hangers around the room to dry. Always take a small hanging peg line to hang in the shower, and this is great to hang smalls on, which dry pretty much within a day or do in the air-conditioned atmosphere. Staterooms: Surviving 102 nights in an inside stateroom was not a problem, given that this was our 4th time cruising for this length of time, but organization is a must. Having a place for everything, and keeping everything in its place, is a definite necessity. On this cruise we were assigned Stateroom B224, towards the front of the ship on Baha deck level 10. Our Stateroom steward was “Homer” until Dubai, then “June” from Dubai onwards. Both Stewards looked after us well. On embarkation and meeting our steward for the first time, we set out requests for dressing gowns; an ice bucket every night; extra coat hangers, and an extra chair as the stateroom only has one. This cruise we purchased a foam mattress overlay that we packed and took with us, as the mattresses on the ship are either rock hard, or very worn and dip in the middle. We also take our own pillows for much the same reason, and we were very glad we did, because the pillows in our stateroom were sadly lacking in substance. The room was always left clean and tidy, towels always changed each morning, and beach towels were replaced whenever they were used, sometimes several times during the day. Shampoo, soap, skin lotion & body wash (excellent for hand washing clothes) were replaced daily. Laundry bags for sending dirty clothes to go to the ships laundry service were sadly lacking, many times we were having to chase the room steward to get new bags. It’s not rocket science for a room steward to replace a laundry bag when they take a full one away. Entertainment: Having cruised for 104 nights with Princess previously, we had a reasonable idea what to expect as far as entertainment was concerned. In comparing the last 4 cruises we have done of 104 days, it is easy to see that cutbacks on entertainment for this cruise were very noticeable. As a comparison....... 2009 there were 104 different evening events and 14 Production Show 2012 there were 71 different evening events and 15 Production Shows, 2013 there were 62 different evening events and 10 Production Shows. 2015 there were 57 evening events and 13 production shows The Production Shows for this cruise were changed, probably because most of the passengers were repeat World Cruisers, and had seen all the Production Shows Princess had to offer. For this cruise Princess, in their wisdom, decided to employ an outside company to produce the singers and dancers. While the quality was extremely high, and the entertainment good, all of the shows lacked all the glitz and glamour that Princess advertise for their cruises. There were no sets, & costumes were bland. However, the Sea Princess Orchestra always provided a sensational music backing for the production show team. Many nights on this last cruise we found there was nothing to do other than watch a movie, which I do not consider watching movies that are years old and repeated several times, as major forms of evening entertainment. The selection of movies available was antiquated, and despite many complaints, this problem did not change for the entire cruise. Several old & new movies were played on the in-house televisions, and under the stars, however, some of these were repeated with monotonous regularity. Overall, the Production Shows were good, but many of the comedians were aged, as were their jokes and stories. At various ports around the globe, artists got on and off, always ensuring a fresh supply of good and no-so-good entertainers. Pre & post dinner dancing was always available, & passenger theme parties were scheduled at sparse intervals. Morning & afternoon trivia sessions were a must for the brainiacs, who always played for sheep stations. We always tried to catch up on the Port lectures, especially for all the new ports we had not been to before, as there was always some interesting bits of info to take away. The port lecturer “Hutch” was sensational in his port presentations, always a wealth of information, and very approachable when questioned outside of lecture time. Other ways to keep occupied included scholarship @ sea lectures; library; church services; dancing lessons; sports tournaments; bingo; card playing; game shows; exercise classes; movies; choir practice; culinary demonstrations; & ice carving demo’s. Princess offered Service club meetings, which was relevant to us being Lions; but we did not avail ourselves of the Dr Bob & Bill W meetings, nor did we join in as GLBT groups, but it was entertaining to note that they cater for these groups as well. Gymnasium: We did manage to find the gymnasium several times, although not as much as we should have. The equipment was state of the art, and reasonably well utilized, but having someone available to help you to use the computerized equipment was not always available. The only scales on the ship was located inside the gym, and these came in handy to check out just how much weight we were putting on weekly. They probably explained why our clothes were shrinking at a great rate of knots, but on this score, I blamed the washing water for shrinking them!!! Shore Excursions: We researched all the shore excursions before boarding, so picked the eyes out of what was available, and made sure we selected all the important places of interest to us. While it has to be noted that all of the ships excursions were expensive, there was the guarantee of knowing that if an excursion got back late, the ship would not leave us behind, as did happen to several passengers who did their own thing and returned late. All of the good excursions booked out early, so if there is something special that you really want to see or do, then booking early is a must. On this cruise we booked about 50% of our tours with the Cruise Critic group. This is a great way to meet other cruisers, cuts down the cost of excursions, and in most cases, you get to see more places of interest on the tours because the groups are smaller than the big Princess ones. One thing that needs to be pointed out, is that Princess are not happy if tour soliciting occurs whilst onboard, so if you plan on doing Cruise Critic Tours (which I definitely recommend), make sure you have these arranged and paid for before you get onboard. Also note that if you are on a private tour, and you get back late, that Princess will not guarantee they will wait for you. The tender service remains a nightmare, however, I don’t know how else you could move 2500 people on and off a ship any other way. Queuing for tender tickets, then queuing again when your number was called, tended to take the excitement off getting off the ship at each port. If you fore went queuing for tender tickets, then you had to wait until everyone else was off before you could try and find the exit, and this definitely would cut down your time on shore. Possibly Princess need to use more tender boats when this arrangement has to be implemented, because the current arrangement is annoyingly frustrating. Queue jumping was a frequent occurrence, and many an argument was had while waiting in line. Service: Embarkation and disembarkation was handled extremely well. The Pursers Desk, Future Cruise Staff and Captains Circle staff handled most of our needs very efficiently. The Boutiques on board sell a large variety of merchandise, however, items that sold out very quick on our cruise were cough medicine and throat lozenges. Probably due to the air-conditioning, every time we cruise we get the dreaded sore throat and cough, which seems to do the rounds of the ship. A good suggestion would be to go prepared, and ensure you have an adequate supply of an appropriate cough syrup, and throat lozenges. Toiletry items such as soap, shampoo, conditioner & body lotion are supplied in every stateroom, and balconies and suite staterooms have access to other useful toiletry items. Tipping: For all Princess Ships based in Australia, tipping is included in the price of your cruise. We always choose to provide additional tipping to our Stateroom stewards and dining room waiters, depending on the quality of service provided. All drinks purchased from the bars have 15% tipping already added to the bill. It is always a bone of contention to tip or not to tip, but if I get exemplary service, it will be rewarded. The Cruise Staff: For this cruise of 102 nights we had 3 Cruise Directors: Dan Falconer, Peter Tredgett & Mat Thompson. Dan never quite had his finger on the pulse; Peter was patronizing; & Matt at least seemed to enjoy his job. Matt's wife Kim (who acted as Matt's deputy for part of the cruise) was always pleasant and helpful, and took over the Zumba classes whenever she could. The Assistant Cruise staff this cruise seemed to be the most disjointed group I have ever sailed with. They consisted of Sarah, Maddi, Kelly, Jill, Richy Rick, Sascha, Tina & Danielle. Most of them were disinterested in what they were doing, and many times they just huddled together, & avoided talking to passengers IN CONCLUSION: There will always be a few minor hiccups on long cruises, however, despite the few problems outlined earlier, we had a fantastic 102 nights, visiting many parts of the World we had only ever dreamed about seeing. With research and previous planning, we had the most enjoyable cruise ever, and have marked a lot of places off our bucket list. We were wined, dined and entertained in style, and will definitely sail with Princess Cruises again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My husband and I took this cruise because of the itinerary. I'm in my early 50's and was considered young! We met some lovely people onboard but unfortunately it felt at times like we were on a floating convalescent home. The ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise because of the itinerary. I'm in my early 50's and was considered young! We met some lovely people onboard but unfortunately it felt at times like we were on a floating convalescent home. The food in the Horizon Court has deteriorated and the quality of the food each night in the dining room was hit or miss. The food was sometimes lacking flavour, salt or spice. The food was sometimes bland but the waiters did their best to please us. On my four previous Princess cruises I've always enjoyed the fish dishes, but they were overcooked and tasteless frozen fillets. Cafe Corniche is the standout restaurant for lunch or dinner if you like pizza. Princess have really got to lift their game with daytime activities. I found some of the activities like carpet bowls, paper airplane throwing and toss the bean bag quite lame. Unfortunately most of the entertainment was only put on at night and sometimes this coincided with dining times. I used to enjoy an afternoon movie in the Princess Theatre but this was not possible for the first few weeks as the dancers were rehearsing new shows. This should have been done before they boarded in Sydney. The theatre was never large enough to accommodate all the passengers who wanted to attend the tour and port lectures. Each evening the elderly would queue up for the shows so they got a seat. Princess needs to address the stench of sewerage throughout the ship! Try the Royal Princess instead, you won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my 5th cruise (1st with princess ) . Me :25 husband :27 daughter :14months Maybe my expectations were set too high after thinking that we would be sailing on a ship a level up from P&O. Most of the staff were friendly enough ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise (1st with princess ) . Me :25 husband :27 daughter :14months Maybe my expectations were set too high after thinking that we would be sailing on a ship a level up from P&O. Most of the staff were friendly enough with some exceptions (the children's area staff came across rude and uninviting, and when complaining /enquiring the service desk staff made us feel very little and stupid at our enquiries ). GOOD: food :we mainly ate in the "horizons buffet" this was just convenient for us with our daughter as it was quicker and easy for us ,we ate once at rigoletto but with our fellow dinners being around 40years +older we thought we would give it a miss the rest of the cruise. The food and service was good but I found the buffet offered similar equal quality offerings. Staff: the staff at the casino, vista lounge & bar near the main pool were lovely (stince, Marvin ,Roberto ,Edgar to name a few ) BAD : Noise : DO NOT book your cabin anywhere near the vista lounge above or below if you value a good nights sleep. I complained several times after being kept awake until midnight and they didn't want to do anything about it. "We will get them to check noise levels" ," sorry we can't cancel the show" " this is an entertainment venue" "there won't be more products on so you should be right" That was what we got in reply to simply asking them to turn it down (not cancel it ) , the bass is so loud and your can hear word for word every lyric to a song. In apologies after a very sleepless night (and a visit to reception ) we had 5 chocolates and a sorry note in our room - simply not good enough !! SMELL: the ship started to get very stinky with sewerage , this has happened on a ship I've been on before but it wasn't as smelly as sea princess. Activities/entertainment/music : everything was more suited for someone 55+ , activities were bean bag toss , indoor bowls !scrap booking , (we still took part but that was because there wasn't anything else to do ) Overall I don't think I would sail with princess again , p&o although the ships aren't as nice offers a lot more for various age groups and seems to have more variety in ages of passengers. I didn't feel valued on this cruise and felt as though we attended activities just to get out of sitting around doing nothing. All in all when you pay full price for a child under 3 and get attitude from the staff in the children's room when you take them for a play isn't on. We still had a great cruise but next time it won't be princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Staterooms: 2/5 The staterooms are small like many other cruise ships. However, these are even smaller than the staterooms of some other cruise lines. In addition, the first room that I had on the Sea Princess, A527, was old and outdated. ... Read More
Staterooms: 2/5 The staterooms are small like many other cruise ships. However, these are even smaller than the staterooms of some other cruise lines. In addition, the first room that I had on the Sea Princess, A527, was old and outdated. The drawers were broken and did not slide out easily. The temperature settings for the water in the shower did not work well at all. Sometimes after leaving the shower on for a while, the water will get VERY hot, and even setting the water at the lowest temperature will not make any difference. As with any old ship (or building), the walls are very thin. You can hear people in the rooms around you coughing, and can hear conversations in the hallway very clearly. In the morning, expect to wake up to the sounds of housekeeping cleaning the rooms near you. In our room specifically, A527, there was a spot on the floor that would bend and pop in and out of place. It's as if it was a metal plate that had a bend in it. It couldn't be triggered by just walking around the room, but when the ship was in motion, it would have a loud "pop" when it would go out of place, and then another loud "pop" when it popped back into place. It would be as loud as someone banging on a door or a wall. If it were just the sound, it may not have been as bad, but when it did this, since the foot of the bed was near this spot, it would shake the bed too. During the first half of the cruise, it would only do this every few minutes or so when the ship was in motion, so it somewhat could be ignored (although it still led to nights without good sleep). However, near the end of the cruise, this area would pop in and out of place every few seconds, about 5 to 8 times a minute. This caused us not to get any sleep at all, and we finally got the front desk to switch us to another stateroom. Keep in mind that this cruise was completely sold out, so we were only able to switch to another stateroom because one cleared out after one of the passengers disembarked the ship early. The cruise staff said they would try to fix the issue, but being that this cannot be observed unless the ship were in motion, eventually the customer relations manager took charge and moved us into an upgraded oceanview room E338. This room seemed to not have the issues of the other room. The other room was an inside room, and this was our first time staying in an inside room whereas in other cruises we had always stayed in an oceanview room. However, normally the only difference between the 2 was that one can see the ocean. Still, after staying in the oceanview room during the last few days of our cruise, it is apparent that there are major differences: • Slightly larger stateroom, but still smaller than some of the staterooms of other cruise ships. • The deadbolt lock actually locks. • None of the cabinets are broken, so they all roll out smoothly. • The hinges of the bathroom door is more stiff. This prevents the door from swinging open and close while the ship is moving. This was an issue with the original room. Finally, the hallways and staterooms (actually, just about everywhere on the ship) smell bad on the Sea Princess. I know that many cruise ships have issues with people's flatulence or whatever, but this one is especially bad. It smells like urine/feces walking through many of the hallways, and that smell eventually gets into the staterooms as well. Entertainment: 2/5 The shows are all made for the senior crowd on the ship, which makes up over 95% of the passengers. Almost all the music is from the 1960's or older. This is fine, but at least have more variety that caters to people of other age groups as well. I would have appreciated music from the 80's at least. I'm in my 30s, so I'm not exactly a kid (relatively speaking), but entertainment options on other cruises that I've been on had much more variety than the ones on the Sea Princess. Aside from the shows, the rest of the onboard "entertainment" is pretty much a joke. Princess Cruises tries to turn almost anything into a way to sell things to the passengers, whether it be items from their boutique shops, seminars for their spa, fitness classes, teeth whitening, etc. Their "late night parties" are always empty since as mentioned earlier, almost all the senior passengers go to sleep as soon as the last show ends, and the few that remain aren't enough to get more people to stay. Food: 3.5/5 The food on the Sea Princess ranges from decent to good quality. The buffet food can be hit and miss, but the problem with the buffet food is that it's almost the same thing every day. While this is fine for a short cruise (< 5 days), this cruise was for 13 days. 13 days is a long time to see pretty much the same stuff every day. The breakfast looks almost identical each day. Lunch and dinner have almost the same items with very few changes. The restaurants, most of the time, have better food. There's a good variety every day, and the quality is good. One thing I noticed however, is that while many other cruise lines have top quality food on their formal nights, this doesn't seem to be the case with the food on this cruise. The formal night food was about the same as every other night. Service: 3/5 The service in all cruise ships is generally very good. The main server that we had at the restaurant was excellent. However, for the nights that they had the flexible dining times and we would get different servers, the service was just average for the most part. One annoying thing about the way Princess handles their buffet dining room was that they would always try to close off about half of their dining room, especially during breakfast and lunch. Even when it got busy, this would still be the case. This would lead to not enough tables for people to sit. I know that they don't want to have their staff run everywhere trying to clean up after people in the entire dining room, but there were many times when there simply were not enough tables available, and people would walk around for a long time looking for an available table. We even had our table taken over by another passenger once, even after we had just put our plates down on the table and had just left to grab a drink. Housekeeping for the most part kept things clean. Some things would be missed, especially on the days where our normal housekeeping person was ill and another person had to take over. Ports/Sailing: 1.5/5 For a 13 day cruise, we ended up having 7 days at sea and only 6 port days, when originally it was only supposed to be 5 days at sea. Overall, 3 of the 8 original ports were cancelled. Now, I do understand situations of weather preventing access to some ports. This was a cruise to New Zealand in October, so yes, there are some windy conditions. The first two sailing days were very rough with many people getting seasick. However, those are just the conditions of the sea, and that's not what I'm using when I give this rating. The first port delay was Tauranga. It was reported that there were windy conditions, and this prevented the ship from getting into the port. The ship had to wait and recheck every 4 to 7 hours. This of course took up the entire day, and the ship did not get there until night time. Still, Princess Cruises was intent on having this be one of the stops, and therefore, everything else became delayed a day. The problem is that this resulted in the cruise cancelling the last TWO ports in the Southern tip of New Zealand, and replacing them with a much less interesting port in the MIDDLE of New Zealand. One would think that they would just cancel one other port and continue traveling the original route. Therefore, this was no longer a cruise that went AROUND New Zealand. It would only be one that visited a few different ports in the North Island, and a couple less interesting ports in the South Island, and then go back through the middle. So schedules change. The part that is the most irritating about this was that Princess Cruises would use the weather as something that they could blame for everything, and that it was always for "the safety and security of our passengers". The exact wording used in the memo when they cancelled the last two ports read as the following: "The forecast weather for later in the cruise from Port Chalmers to Fiordland is expected to intensify around the south end of New Zealand. As the safety and security of our passengers and crew is our highest priority, and to avoid the worst of the weather, we have made the necessary decision to cancel our calls to Port Chalmers and Fiordland National Park." This satisfied many of the passengers on the ship, since after all, "There's nothing we can do about the weather." However, I did check the weather for those locations as the cruise continued. According to the weather forecast as those days approached, the actual weather was excellent, even better than the weather in the other ports. It seems Princess Cruises just used weather as an excuse to skip the Southern ports of New Zealand when they really needed to stop at Tauranga an extra day to resupply. It just feels like Princess Cruises is very dishonest in what they tell their passengers. Also, there were many delays getting people to shore at the ports. Some delays were due to weather, but even when weather was not an issue, the cruise ship would have issues with the tenders and even the required local shuttle buses, even after the cruise staff promises that "there will be no tenders and the buses will be a smooth operation". Well, tender tickets were still used for the buses, and there was always still a large delay regardless. Overall, Princess Cruises is very disorganized, and cannot handle any situation that changes their plans, including the disembarkation of the ship. Overall: 2/5 I guess we would fit in more with the rest of the crowd if we were retired and didn't mind spending so much time stuck on a ship. However, due to the quality of the staterooms and the loss of time at the actual ports in the schedule, I cannot recommend the Sea Princess. The overall feel is just that Princess Cruises just does things to get as much money from their passengers, and don't care to deliver as promised. When passengers pay so much to see certain locations listed in the agenda, at least make it look like you are really trying to get them there. Of the different cruises that I have taken, this one was the worst. I can't say that this was a good way to spend our honeymoon, and that I'm glad the cruise was not the only part (although a large part) to our honeymoon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We are a married couple, mid-50's to early 60's, and we have cruising with Priucess exclusively since 2002. We are very comfortable with their product, and generally know what to expect from Princess. Hence, when they really miss ... Read More
We are a married couple, mid-50's to early 60's, and we have cruising with Priucess exclusively since 2002. We are very comfortable with their product, and generally know what to expect from Princess. Hence, when they really miss on something, or don't deliver as promised, we know it! And when they do what they are supposed to do, or do things better than usual, we know that as well. We took this cruise since we had to be in San Francisco the week before departure on business, and also because it was an opportunity to take my parents along for their first cruise to Alaska. They cruise, but only with us, and not nearly as often. Since we arrived well ahead of embarkation day, we chose to take a shuttle from the airport to our Fisherman's Wharf hotel. It was very smooth. One could also take public transportation, but I am not known for packing lightly, and with six pieces of luggage between the two of us, it would have been nearly impossible. Our stay along Fisherman's Wharf was quite enjoyable, and very relaxing for me. DH worked. My parents arrived two days before our sailing, so we took the opportunity to take a Greyline tour on Wednesday, from SF, down to Monterrey and Carmel by the Sea. It was a long day, but the scenery was wonderful, and my parents, being avid golfers and true golf fans, loved the opportunity to see Pebble Beach. That was the highlight for them. I personally loved the Monterrey Aquarium as well. We took two taxis (lots of luggage, remember?) from our hotel to the pier just before 11 am on embarkation day. The place is a zoo. Our drivers managed to get us curbside, and there were porters just waiting to help out. But really, the port authority or local police - whoever is responsible for the area outside the pier - should take a look at managing arrivals and departures in a better way. Inside, kudos to Princess. We were ushered to pierside check-in promply, no lines, and through security. Then we had to walk up - and up and up - a series or ramps to the lounges - only to be sent right back down the elevator to the ground floor. Embarkation had already begun, and so we had to walk up another ramp to board the ship. I realize that Princess has to cope with the physical layout at the pier, but this was ridiculous, especially for my pushing 80 parents. Well, we passed the physical fitness test and walked aboard. No one was waiting to direct us to the elevators to go our room. I had to ask...oh well. Our rooms were ready, our cabin steward was fantastic. We put some things in the safe, etc, and made our way to midship to the dining room for lunch on embarkation day, just a few moments after noon. Princess looses big points here from us, to the point of an inexcusable gaffe. Not only does the FAQ on the Princess website indicate that a dining room will be open for lunch, so does the FAQ on the ship's diagram, and so did the patter for that day! But were we welcomed in? NO!! We were told by someone standing outside the open doors that the dining room was closed, and lunch was available in Horizon Court. If we had wanted lunch in Horizon Court we would have gone there. We waited for my parents to arrive and walked right past the "guard dog" who had been placed there to lie to passengers. Arriving at the head waiter's stand, we were escorted to a table for 4 and enjoyed a leisurely lunch. There were two groups in the dining room: travel agents and "bon voyage" experience people. There were also about 80% of the tables unoccupied. Menu, waiters, food - the dining room seemed open to me. Why do they have to make an awkward first impression by playing dining room games for lunch??? That one is on the F&B Department, and the Maitre d'. After lunch we walked my parents around a bit, and then went back to the cabins to get a little more settled in. No luggage before muster drill. Muster was painless, as usual. We do appreciate that Princess musters in comfortable lounges, however, my parents did not manage a seat at their muster station. That was a bit tough on my dad, who cannot really stand for any amount of time without a fair bit of pain in his hips. After muster, we put more items away, headed up on deck for sailaway, and for dinner chose the wonderful Cafe Corniche. We were tired, and called it an early evening, hence no comment on the entertainment the first evening. Waiting for me upon arrival in our cabin was a letter from Sean Leach, the F&B director confirming our Roll Call meet and greet the next morning. Our roll call was quite well attended by the members, and also by the officers. Wow! Kudos to Princess on this one. The Captain, Martin Stenzel, the Staff Captain, Domenico Lubrano, Hotel General Manager John Ibbotson, Sr, Purser Admin James Eaton, Food and Beverage Director Sean Leech, Manuel Radmanto Accommodation Services Manager, and I'm sure I've left out a few others, attended, along with our wonderful cruise director Gavin Chandler. Surprising me was the Captain's Circle Host, Tiago Tavares, who was so gracious throughout the cruise. The officers came a few minutes after the start, Captain Stenzel made a few remarks and then opened it up to questions from the floor. The entire group stayed until almost the end of the hour and most graciously answered question after question from our curious group. Well done Princess, and many thanks for making our group feel so very welcome and appreciated!! Later I got a call from the Future Cruise Sales Ralph Cathro, who had office hours during the meet and greet, apologizing for not making the gathering, but who did invite me stop by and say hello. I not only stopped by, I booked another cruise. We had some rough seas on our way up to Alaska, rougher than usual for the season according to some of the staff. This was not a problem for us, but did keep people off the open decks. There was not an Elite, Platinum and Suite Lounge from 5 to 7 in the evening, or at all on the Sea Princess. We really missed this, and were disappointed that there wasn't a quiet place to relax. We find it a very relaxing opportunity to chat and start the evening off. This is a decision of the F&B department....are you listening??? We really miss it, and there were enough Platinum and Elite members on board. The most traveled passengers had 75 cruises and over 1000 days.....really, there would have been attendance. Let's get the rest of complaints out of the way, then we can get on to the good stuff and there was plenty of good stuff. We like to play cards, the 4 of us. We don't like smoke at all. The card room is located in the casino. (We like the new smoking policy coming in January.) When Cafe Corniche was closed, we could use a table there, but it was open a lot. We dined there more than a few times, so we don't begrudge them the use of the tables for dining. Tables elsewhere, with the exception of Horizon Court were too small. This puts us in Horizon Court, which shares space with the steakhouse in the evenings. That is ok, but for some reason a whole lot of the remaining tables in Horizon Court are completely blocked off and people wanting a light snack or tea, etc., before dinner is really served are compressed into a tiny area. Those tables really didn't need to be blocked off to the extent that they were. Really. Only the tables at the bow, in the front section, not those further back from the windows....were available. We prefer to take our card game out of the way of those really wanting to enjoy their late afternoon/early evening snack. About 8:05 am the morning of our Haines port call, I ordered the Elite afternoon tea for our stateroom, to be delivered at 4 that afternoon. It never arrived, ever. Grrr...we knew that the lunch we would have on our excursion wouldn't appeal to us, and we would get back hungry and kind of grimy, want to shower, wash hair, etc., and afternoon tea would be a perfect to our day. Never arrived...starving by the time we got cleaned up and dressed to meet for cards. Had to snack first. Grrrrr....F&B strikes yet again. Final gripe: Fact - it rains in Alaska. Princess knows this, they tell us this in announcements whenever possible so we don't blame them for the weather. I don't blame them for the weather, I thank them for their excellent Alaska experiences. But, they know it rains, and to make people stand outside of the available canopy covers while waiting for the next tender is just mean. I know security wants people back from the edge of the boarding area for the tender, but to waste an entire canopy enforcing that, instead of 3 or 4 feet of it - just doesn't make sense. It rains in Alaska and old people are standing in the rain unnecessarily. Change how you do things in this regard Princess. The rest was all good, or great or exceptional. We enjoyed good to excellent service for breakfast in the dining room, enjoyed some luncheons in the dining room and some dinners there as well. Dress codes were enforced in the dining room, according to our observations. We kind of mixed it up and had lunch and dinner at Cafe Corniche from time to time, as well as a few meals as the buffet. Overall, we though the food was good to excellent, depending on the item and the location. Pizza always gets an exceptional, and this cruise was no exception. Our cabin steward (A742) was sensational, almost clairvoyant, and he apparently didn't want to come with us, as he successfully dodged our kidnapping attempt. Seriously, we have had lots of cabin stewards, and we had #1 who held that place for a long time. Now we have a tie for first place. Renato was sensational! Laundries were closed during Juneau through Glacier Bay, and boy, were they in demand thereafter. I finally managed to run a load of my things that I don't send to the ship's laundry through several days later. Cruise staff - loved 'em. We played trivia occasionally and they were fun. Managed a dance class or two - fun as well. Hit a show here and there, it was all good. Loved the crew talent show!!! We enjoyed Sammy Goldstein several evenings as well. Only good things when it comes to Gavin and his group, as well as his choices for entertainers. We were delighted to be invited to the most traveled passenger luncheon, and enjoyed the experience very much. Our table host was James Eagen, who was a delightful luncheon companion. An American officer is rare, and one who can talk Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab is even rarer - great time. The food was excellent as well - all in all a lovely time, our thanks again to Captain Stenzel and the ever-gracious Tiago Tavares. Disembarkation was a breeze. Princess is to be commended for working with ICE to allow US passengers with passports to disembark and go directly to luggage. Our transfer to the airport was smooth...however Irene had other plans for our flights home. We knew this by Saturday morning and. Thank You Princess! for the internet benefit. This time it just wasn't a nice thing to have to stay in touch, we really needed it. I was able to change our flights, get hotel reservations and take care of the associated issues, and even though the connection wasn't peppy, between DH and I we had enough time to do things properly so the trip home with mom and dad smooth - that was so important to us. I guess I'll cover the rest port by port. Juneau was our first stop and were at anchor. We arrived a bit late, and our lounge location for our tour was changed. We chose the whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier excursion to give mom and dad those experiences. What was really strange is they assigned us a section to sit in at Vista Lounge, with those going on our excursion, and then instead of calling us to board tenders group by group, they told the entire lounge to proceed to the tenders. That was really crazy and created an unnecessary mob scene. It was a bit rough on mom and dad, too. If they had called the lounge by excursion, it would have been simpler. The tender ride was short, but they really jammed everyone into the tender. Our waiting bus was clean and very comfortable, our driver competent and pleasant. We first went to the marina at Auke Bay to board one of the boats operated by Allen Marine. They are clean, well-maintained and have comfortable cabins, complete with complementary binoculars and warm drinks. Off we went, in rain, in search of marine mammals. This was an afternoon excursion, so they had the morning to find wildlife, and find it they had. First, an orca. We were told this was a rather rare sight in Auke Bay, and tend to believe it as we hadn't seen one in our 4 prior visits. Then on to the sea lions hanging out on their channel buoy - napping. They hang there every summer. Then on to find humpbacks. We had some great sightings, and even saw a bubble feed. We were happy, mom and dad saw wildlife and everyone stayed as comfortable as they chose to. We had a good naturalist and captain....as pleasant as we had hoped it would be for mom and dad. Back to the bus, and on to Mendenhall Glacier, where it was raining pretty hard. Bathroom stops were the first thing on everyone's mind, but we opted to make the short climb up to the visitor center rather than those by the bus drop off and were rewarded with no line at all. The places we had hiked by the shore of the glacial lake were under water this year - it seems an ice dam holding back melt water burst earlier in the season and did "flood" the area. We had a different view than we had a few years ago. To us, it was very interesting to observe the changes. Mom and dad enjoyed the views from inside as well, and took a look at the exhibits. Then it was back to the bus, a black bear sighting in a meadow along Mendenhall Road, and a wait for the tender in the pouring rain. By the time we returned to the ship, we were about 45 minutes later than planned, and we missed Libbey Riddles, I had wanted Mom and Dad to see her, but at least her talk was on the TV throughout the rest of the cruise. Glacier Bay: We got lucky. There wasn't much rain at all, and the fog was far enough away to allow for a good view of the glaciers. We saw some calving, had some great commentary by the park rangers Princess brought on board, but didn't really see much wildlife until we were practically surrounded by marine mammals as we exited the bay and made our way around Icy Point. Wow! Humpbacks, harbor porpoises, and more humpbacks. We truly had an excellent day there. Haines: This is the first time we came in by cruise ship. The pier - well - we had a really, really steep descent from the ship. I am not entirely clear why this was, as the ship had the gangways on Deck 7...I don't understand why they weren't on 4 or 5. Anyway, our bus was waiting for us, along with our driver/tour guide who was full of great information and kept us entertained on the ride to the Bald Eagle Sanctuary on the Chilkat River. We did the jetboat ride (for the second time) hoping mom and dad would enjoy some great wildlife sightings from a relatively comfortable vantage point. It was overcast and chilly, but we had just a bit of drizzle for the boatride, and the outfitters made sure we had warm waterproof parkas, waterproof blankets, gloves, earmuffs....the river was very high, much higher than our first trip a few years ago, when the Chilkat really was a threaded river with channels only about twice the width of the jetboat. This time it was very swollen, and our pilot was quite skilled at finding the channels despite the flooding. We saw trumpeter swan and bald eagles. Lots. But no moose this time, no bear. Oh well. We saw lots of eagles and it didn't rain. Back at the landing, there was a campfire to roast hot dogs, warm beverages, chips, cookies, and yes, reasonable bathrooms! After a bite to eat, it was back to Haines, where the skies had opened up and it was pouring. We climbed those steep ramps back embark on Deck 7 of the ship. Ketchikan: Alongside at dock 3, with the sun trying to shine! What good luck, as we had booked the flightseeing and Dungeness crab feast at George Inlet. This time, we started with a ride to George Inlet to gorge ourselves on wonderful Dungeness Crab. And we did!! Wine, beer, smoked salmon appetizers, a nice salad and all the crab one could eat with drawn butter, and then cheesecake with blueberry topping. Happy customers, each and every one. We had a few moments to use the facilities (decent) and check out the new gift shop...or take some photos of the area. Then it was into our DeHaviland Beaver Aircraft for some flightseeing on our trip back to Ketchikan. Our pilot was so happy it wasn't raining after about 12 days of rain, that he flew like a very happy fellow and gave us some fantastic views of mountain goat herds, glacial lakes, now melted, and just a great flight back to the town. Smooth pontoon landing, and everything I hoped the experience would be for mom and dad. It was a highlight for us several years ago, and my parents loved it!!! So happy! The driver offered to take us back to the ship or further into town, which was great. We took the drop off at Creek Street and dad spent time looking at the salmon in the creek. We wandered back through town slowly, stopping at the National Park Service center in Juneau, which had marvelously clean restroooms, and also a stuffed grizzly bear in the lobby. Photo op - yup, we posed by the bear. Victoria: Brilliant sunshine, comfortable temps, and a comfortable bus ride to Butchard Gardens with a very cordial driver made this my mom's favorite stop. The gardens are breathtaking, and very approachable in 90 to 120 minutes. We had tea there, which was delightful, and a few minutes in the gift shop, where we did some damage to the old credit card. On the way back from the gardens, we had a bus tour through some of Victoria itself, which is very charming. Mom wants to spend some time vacationing in Victoria. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The last time I cruised to Alaska was in 1994 on the Regal Princess. We are an older couple in our 60s who were married about four months prior to the cruise. My remembrance of the Regal was all positive and since Diane had never been to ... Read More
The last time I cruised to Alaska was in 1994 on the Regal Princess. We are an older couple in our 60s who were married about four months prior to the cruise. My remembrance of the Regal was all positive and since Diane had never been to Alaska and had never really been on a luxury cruise, we decided to try the Sea Princess out of SF. The trip was selected because of a favorable prior experience with Princess, the fact that it was a round-trip cruise out of an easily accessible city by air (we live in Florida) and most importantly the side trips that were available. I lived in Alaska for a couple of years so the destinations were familiar territory. However, it was all new to Diane and I wanted her to see wildlife and not tourist havens selling junk. So how did the cruise work out? First cruising and Alaska have changed rather dramatically. The ship was enjoyable, the food had deteriorated somewhat from the "old days," and the only thing they did not try to sell you were the chandeliers off the ceiling. It is obvious that accountants and cost centers have taken their toll. The food, while good was certainly not gourmet. However, the service was excellent. They really need to do something about the dress code. Black tie means just that, not sport shirt and slacks with an attitude. Dress was considerably more formal at every meal in the old days. Our cabin was everything you would expect on a cruise ship without upgrading to a suite. The side trip I wanted in Juneau was cancelled for a lack of reservations. Diane and I were the only two that signed up. It was a bear trip to a very restricted (24 people per day in season) state sanctuary. Our second choice was booked and we had to settle for our third selection, a whale watching boat ride, which turned out better than expected. A rafting trip in Haines was done with the same organization I used in 1994, although high water and a lack of eagles (partly due to a poor guide) was a bit of disappointment although I did manage a few good pictures. (Note: I travel with about 40 pounds of camera equipment.) A bear trip in Ketchikan was superb. Victoria was fine, it is just Victoria. The butterfly gardens are to be recommended but you need more than a half-hour. Ship's entertainment was again what you would expect on a cruise ship. Las Vegas style on a budget. However, it was entertaining and the comedian was excellent. We bought his CDs. Would I book with Princess again? Absolutely. In fact we did while we were on the ship. This time a cruise out of England to above the Arctic circle, hopefully to photograph polar bears. It is a smaller ship and likely to be a bit more formal, which is what we are looking for. One final comment regarding the pictures the ship's photographers take at ever opportunity. They are expensive but worth what you spend. Diane was against purchasing but I overruled. Now she says she is glad we did because they bring back enjoyable memories. Buy as many as you can. You will not regret it six months later. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Sea Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.6
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.8

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