When I booked the cruise, I selected the Berlin embarkation port. I did not realize that most passengers started in Copenhagen. The fact that we were on leg “c” of the cruise detracted from the overall cruise experience. (1) We were ... Read More
When I booked the cruise, I selected the Berlin embarkation port. I did not realize that most passengers started in Copenhagen. The fact that we were on leg “c” of the cruise detracted from the overall cruise experience. (1) We were cut off from tour excursions 12 days before the cruise (not 5 as published online) because, according to Princess customer support “our cruise” window had closed, referring to the cruise that started 9 days before ours. We would have to adjust tours once we got on the ship; (2) When we got on the ship and went to the tour desk, we were told we had to wait until after we arrived in Copenhagen when “our cruise” started (a different cruise that started on Day 4 of ours); (3) We felt as though we were joining a cruise already in progress, no welcome party, incomplete information (we could only get port information through Oslo until after we picked up new passengers in Copenhagen) and leftover seating (explained later) in the dining room. The one positive is that onboarding was an absolute breeze since we were the only ones in the little tent! The staff warmly greeted us and seemed to know we were coming! On the flip side, it was a tad annoying when we were disembarking in Copenhagen (only our 2nd port) and staff was telling us to have a nice trip home. :( At least I didn't get disembarkation instructions on day 2 of the cruise like one of my family members.
I was unsatisfied with the dining situation. We requested and reserved a dining time in the Allegro Dining Room and intentionally chose a close cabin due to my mother’s mobility issues. When we arrived, we were notified that we had been moved to a different less convenient dining room. What made it even more disappointing was that the staff in our dining room were only prepared for anytime diners and kept telling us to get in line. On two nights, our table was given away and one night we had completely different wait staff. Dinner generally took two hours (how many rolls can you eat?). The food was hit or miss - some nights spectacular and other nights like bad leftovers. The dishes were almost always over salted. There was no enforcement of dress code. Why ask me to use suitcase space for formalwear if people can wear blue jeans on formal night?
I usually avoid the buffet because I'm cautious about germs onboard. The Princess staff enforced excellent hygience protocols and the food choice was impressive. However, the buffet was a nightmare of overcrowded lines and inadequate seating. Once you did secure a table, the juice and coffee service was excellent.
The mobile apps are a mess. Why does it require 3-5 apps for basic functions? Also, they are glitchy. My family was continually dropped. The way finder feature was nice, especially since we were a party of 6, always looking for someone. It would have been fantastic, had everyone been able to stay on the app.
Ship - Beautiful, clean and new. I loved the skywalk. My biggest complaint is the slowness of the elevators. At midship, the elevators have 3 independent cycles causing people to call the elevator from all 3 options. The result in that the elevators stop on floors unnecessarily. Since many of the main decks are not accessible from the aft (without going up and down), this was a real problem for our family member in a wheelchair.
Cabin - The bed was HARD! It was so hard, I had to get up in the middle of the night, walk around and take lots of Alleve. The cabin steward was fantastic and kept the room spotless. Loved the flat screen TV and generous bathroom (by cruise ship standards). The Medallion technology was slow and glitchy but I loved being able to take care of all my check-in before I left home. In general, great idea - poor execution.
Entertainment - Enjoyed the evening shows. They were a lot of fun. Shopping was very reasonable. I had one spa treatment and it was quite nice until I got the hard product sell at the end.
Ports - Fantastic!! I loved every single one and left craving more time in each. We mostly booked private tours but the one Princess tour was smooth and worry free. My favorite port was Tallinn. Also, Princess does a great job at providing information about each upcoming port.
This was our third cruise with Princess (Alaska - soso, UK - fabulous). We aren't done with this cruiseline but are definitely looking at other cruising options. Despite my criticisms, we still had a wonderful vacation. Read Less