This was our first cruise with Princess, Royal Princess, 9/15/13.
As the saying goes: “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. We were not impressed.
In no particular order, here’s why:
1. Cabin size – it’s the smallest cabin we've ever been in. Balcony cabin on deck 14 (Riviera). Tiny and crammed with furniture. We stuffed a chair and table in a corner of the “closet” so we could move around. No complaints about the balcony. It’s small, but it’s not where we normally spend most of our time anyway.
2. Ship layout – who designed this maze? It’s ridiculous. No stairways amidships; really?!!! Deck 17: the only way to get all the way to the back of the ship is through the fitness center. Try working out with hundreds of people walking through. A joke. No way to get to Allegro dining room from deck 6 except going up one floor, then going back down to 6. Deck 16, you have to walk through both buffet lines to get from front to back of the ship.
3. Crew- in all our years of cruising, we’ve never seen so many rude crew members (including “officers” in whites. Most were great, but the few jerks sure made an impression.
4. Food-average at best. “Always available” section of the menu: are you kidding me?! These are “favorites”?!!! Give me a break. It’s by far the worst food we’ve had on any cruise. We had also requested a table for 8, but were informed that we could not be accommodated; they only had 4 (four!!!!) tables for 8 on the ship.
5. Drinks-our only gripe (besides the automatic 15% per drink) is the inconsistent bar tabs. We drink rum and cokes, and we were charged three different ways for the same drinks. No one had a good explanation as to why.
6. Nickel and dime- “free seminars” at the fitness center: they were more like late-night TV infomercials; smooth-talking kids trying to sell worthless products. Shame on you, Princess for allowing this on your ships. Tour the ship…For $150!!! The constant cameras in our faces, then trying to sell us our pictures.
7. From bad to worse – when it was time to leave Mykonos, it took 5 hours to get the anchor up. Supposedly the motor for the winch had burned up. Then on the way to Naples the next day, the power went out around 1pm. We didn’t just loose electricity, as was reported on the news; we were dead in the water for almost 9 hours. Electrical power was fairly quickly restored (about 3 hrs), but the engine(s) were not re-started until around 10 that night. After that, the ship could only do 10-15 knots. At that point, some of us knew our cruise was probably over. And sure enough, they made the announcement that the cruise was indeed ending in Naples and we would be sent home from there. Our cruise was effectively over in Mykonos. That’s when things went from bad to worse; long lines at the passenger service desk almost non-stop around the clock. I know it’s hard to make last-minute arrangements for 3500+ passengers, but Princess should have been better prepared. I give credit to the passenger services staff for keeping their composure; they did an amazing job under the circumstances. Things were out of their control, yet they were the ones facing the frustrated passengers; they did so with class.
I do give credit to Princess for doing the right thing and refunding everyone’s fare, plus offering a 25% discount on a future cruise. I’ll have to think long and hard whether I’m going to take advantage of the discount offer. I suppose everyone deserves a second chance….we’ll see.
In spite of how the cruise ended, we had a great time and met some great people.