1 Sydney (Australia) to Pacific Coastal Princess Sun Princess Cruise Reviews

Embarkation: Embarkation was painful. We arrived at White Bay Cruise Terminal Sydney on 21st June 2016, and joined a never ending queue to get onboard the Sun Princess. Due to the large number of “Elite” passengers on this ... Read More
Embarkation: Embarkation was painful. We arrived at White Bay Cruise Terminal Sydney on 21st June 2016, and joined a never ending queue to get onboard the Sun Princess. Due to the large number of “Elite” passengers on this cruise, there was no priority embarkation, and it turned out to be a free for all with everyone in the terminal. Review of the Sun 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 frequent 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: The meals in the dining room remain good, however a noted change was that the menu rotation occurred every 7 - 10 days with monotonous regularity. There were far less choices than on previous cruises & for this long cruise the menu became rather boring after a few weeks. There were only 6 assigned to our table for the 1st week, but after that another couple joined to make up our group of 8. Unfortunately, this dwindled down to only 4, as 4 members of our group became sick and tired of the monotonous menu, that they preferred to eat upstairs in the Buffet. We had 4 waiters over the course of this cruise for Regency Dining 1st sitting table 171 . It has to be noted that Mel, Martin & Reagan were wonderful, catering to our every need, but after Yokohama we were assigned waiter “Jesus”, who was excellent at making our dining experience unbearable. He had a way of making you feel uncomfortable for not liking a selection, and he rushed through courses like we were all in a marathon. We would still be eating the entrée, when the plate was whisked away, and main meal was placed in front of us. Likewise with the dessert. Leaning over one person’s plate to collect another was a common event, and despite us grumbling about his behavior, he continued to do it. The Cost of drinks was a major bone of contention, bottles of wine were more expensive than previous cruises, but wine left over was always named, re-corked and available for the next evening meal. My favorite name for the Horizon Court buffet is “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. No Free Ice Cream anymore. It’s such a shame that Princess no longer allow passengers access to soft serve ice-cream, as this is freely available on Carnival Cruise Lines. The Ice-cream Parlor outside on deck 12 under the movie screen was very quiet for this cruise, as it had been turned into a fee for service Ice cream parlor, with a single scoop of ice-cream costing $5, or one click on your coffee card. Possibly because of the age of the passengers onboard, and with so few children on this cruise, Princess made the decision to charge passengers for their ice-cream. I believe this was a bad decision, as many passengers were overheard complaining about yet another service being removed. Princess Theatre & Vista Lounge: This cruise we found there was a lot less selection of entertainers and evening entertainment. Over many evenings, Princess, in its wisdom, decided to have only one major show and present it twice. In consideration there are 2000 passengers, & the mathematics of only seating 500 passengers in the Princess theatre lounge mean that at most only 1000 passengers can get to see the show. What this then creates is a race to get to the Princess theatre just to get a seat, and most times the theatre was filled to capacity 45 minutes to an hour (or more) before the shows even started. Again, in their wisdom, Princess decided to simulcast main shows down into the Vista lounge for the overflow of passengers who could not get a seat in the main theatre, but this did not appease many, and the dissatisfaction continued throughout the cruise. The Laundry: The public Laundry was a nightmare, with only 2 machines and dryers on 3 of the passenger decks. The “Elite” level free washing service was overloaded to breaking point, due to the large number of Elite passengers on this cruise. Clothes sent out for laundering could take up to 4 – 5 days before they were returned. And it has to be noted that twice on this cruise alone did 2 sets of my laundry go missing, never to be found again. Staterooms: On embarkation we were allocated an inside stateroom on Plaza Deck Room 315. We thought being close to the Pursers Desk and the Dining rooms would be an advantage, however, this room had a reoccurring intermittent hydraulic pump noise going through it 24 hours a day. Needless to say, I am sure Princess was aware of this problem, but it took us 3 days of continual complaining before we were moved to Dolphin Deck room 231. So if the Cruise Critic site has an area for problem staterooms, Plaza 315 has to be added to it. The only people that could realistically use this room would be those that were hearing impaired. Our stateroom steward in D231 was Allan, who always left our room 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 always available. A special note has to be made of the new mattresses, which were very comfortable, however, when the beds are put together to make a Queen size, the bed still dips on both sides, with a large mound in the middle. 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 passengers & staff 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. Boutiques on Board: 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: Cruise Director was Mark Turner, & Deputy Director was David. It was disappointing that the staff were not introduced to the passengers at the beginning of the Cruise. However, it has to be noted that on many occasions while out on duty, the staff were observed to be too busy talking & interacting with each other to even notice there were passengers on the ship. It was difficult at times to work out which staff member was taking a particular activity, for they rarely introduced themselves at the beginning of a session. Maybe a named photo of each cruise staff member could be placed in the 1st Princess Patter paper, to help passengers work out who the cruise staff members are. IN CONCLUSION: There will always be a few minor hiccups on long cruises, however, despite a few problems outlined earlier, we had a fantastic 75 nights, visiting ports and places new to us. The Alaskan part of this cruise has opened up new adventures, leaving still many more to explore. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Sun Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.8
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 4.0

Find a Sun Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click