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Sail Date: December 2017
This cruise was my third time aboard the Ruby Princess, having boarded the ship one year ago with the same destination (Holiday Mexican Rivera). My family and I enjoy cruising on mid-sized ships. Mexico was humid, but nice overall! My ... Read More
This cruise was my third time aboard the Ruby Princess, having boarded the ship one year ago with the same destination (Holiday Mexican Rivera). My family and I enjoy cruising on mid-sized ships. Mexico was humid, but nice overall! My favorite port was Cabo. Although I have already been to all the destinations, the cruising experience never really gets old. As a seasoned cruiser, I have learned that each cruise is a completely different experience. Since this was a Christmas cruise, Santa came and handed out presents in the Atrium (there were stuffed-animals for the younger kids and Popsockets for the tweens/teens). Note: the pools were very, very crowded. The best times to go were when everyone else was at port or right after embarkation (tip: don't store your suit in your luggage because it takes a while for it to arrive in your cabin). Other than trivia and bingo, there wasn't as much to do compared to the bigger ships on RCL like Oasis of the Seas where you can ice-skate, zip-line, rock-climb, etc... As for the demographics, most of the passengers were Americans from the LA area. I liked the Movies Under the Stars and also having the messenger system on my phone to communicate with other guests. One tip for Princess would be to make it so that guests can receive a notification on their phones when they get a message (maybe w/ an app?) because it was annoying having to refresh the website to receive new messages. I enjoyed watching The Voice of the Ocean because the singing performances were fantastic, there were actual swirling chairs, and the audience got to choose the winner. Embarkation went very smoothly, but disembarkation could have went a bit quicker. Overall, this cruise was worth the price and I would definitely sail again with Princess. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Embarkation from Singapore was a little slow, arrived at the pier at 12 noon and didn't board until 145pm. Cabin was ready straight away and luggage was waiting for us at our door. Cabin D307 Dolphin Deck 9. We met our cabin steward ... Read More
Embarkation from Singapore was a little slow, arrived at the pier at 12 noon and didn't board until 145pm. Cabin was ready straight away and luggage was waiting for us at our door. Cabin D307 Dolphin Deck 9. We met our cabin steward straight away James, he was wonderful. Cabin was a Mini Suite Balcony. Loverly cabin well worth the extra $$$. It was spacious and a great layout the balcony was large. Then it was Full steam ahead at 5pm. Went dinner at the international restaurant. Food was good quality and well presented never cold. We also ate breakfast in the restaurant as we didnt like the noise in the Buffet Horrizon Buffet. Entertainment was great and the shows well Choreographed. Ports of call Kota Kinabalu,Phu My. Nga Trang, Sihanoukville, Bangkok and unfortunately KO Samui was missed due to Tender Issues. All ports were good but remember it is Asia and its hot and most places are under developed and still very new to cruising. You'll be jumped on by touts as soon as you get off the ship. Make sure you barter for everything, especially taxi and tour fares. Back to the ship... There was plenty of things to keep you occupied whilst on board. From bingo, trivia, shopping, casino or just relaxing by the pool close to you favourite Bar (plentyof them). Cocktail prices were 7-12 US$ but in the wheelhouse bar between 3-4pm it is happy hour. By one drink get the 2nd for $1. Overall it was a good trip but very packed as it was christmas and to many Kids. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Usually try and sail from San Francisco. The ship was full as travelled over New Year. Holiday decorations were still up for the first few days so looked very festive. Weather was not so hot travelling to Mexico at this time of year. We ... Read More
Usually try and sail from San Francisco. The ship was full as travelled over New Year. Holiday decorations were still up for the first few days so looked very festive. Weather was not so hot travelling to Mexico at this time of year. We have been to Mexico on Princess ships several times so only took one shore excursion in Manzanillo. Very good as we saw the volcano erupting. Had a balcony cabin on Baja deck and we were only the 2nd cruise after The Grand had been refurbished. New bedding and very comfortable. Wish they had more seating in the atrium as always full. People standing on stairs whenever had entertainment. Shows OK but wish they would change British Invasion in the theatre. This show been around for several years. Food good but not as much choice in main dining rooms as on previous cruises. Wonder how the washing of hands before eating survives in the buffet area. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our third cruise on Sun Princess. After touring the South Pacific in Dec. 2013, and New Zealand in Dec. 2014, Xmas and the new year 2016 seemed like a good choice. Boarding was not a problem, having been warned of later ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Sun Princess. After touring the South Pacific in Dec. 2013, and New Zealand in Dec. 2014, Xmas and the new year 2016 seemed like a good choice. Boarding was not a problem, having been warned of later boarding times due to necessary cleaning regarding norovirus presence. The same happened for the previous two trips, so no surprises there. Once aboard, we went straight to our cabin to ready for dinner. The Marquis dining room was as expected, and after some negotiation, we had a table for the two of us; very accommodating Maitre De, many thanks. All our main meals were had there; excellent cuisine, and excellent waiter and his assistant. For breakfast and lunch, Horizons was our choice; select your own food combinations for your pleasure. Most serving staff were of good nature, but several seemed rather tired and a little snappy at times. Understandable, and easier to ignore. During the first few days at sea, there was an ever present odor in the passageway of deck 11, Aloha between the forward elevators and our cabin. The cabin staff appologised for the problem, which took nearly three days to rectify. I'm afraid urea is not a pleasant experience for any person. A short time after that, My wife and I came down with what was 'diagnosed' as norovirus by the duty nurse. Neither of us was seen by this 'nurse'. We were confined to our cabin for 24 hours, a necessary precaution. A package of capsules was sent to each of us to help plug each end, so to speak. Gastro Stop is still Gastro Stop even by any other name.Since my wife was still feeling 'off' afterward, we were confined for another 24 hours. Fair enough, we did not wish to be responsible for other passengers discomfort. At this stage, we had to utilize room service for our meals. The selection is a little restricted compared to the main dining, but quite adequate particularly under the circumstance. After another day and a bit passed, we had not been contacted by the duty 'nurse', so I rang the medical rooms to confirm we were feeling good again. We were allowed out once more. Good cheer. With that episode behind us, it was time to enjoy the rest of the journey. Most of our evenings were spent at Crooners after dinner. Maurizzio is the main attraction for entertainment there. One can join in with the songs, dancing and chit-chat with other passengers. The majority of bar staff we found to be accommodating. The International Cafe we found to be crowded at the best of times, unless very late into the night. Not an overly important issue since there are other places to have a coffee. Could not say much for the shore excursions; Komodo Island was fully booked before we boarded the ship - limited visitors allowed on the island at any given time. Fair enough. Bali (Benoa) was the fun stop. It allowed my wife to buy some presents for the rellies after our return. She also enjoyed a full body massage, bless her little cotton socks. The only other stop we went shore-bound was Macassa. Since it was raining mostly, we spent about one hour walking near the port. Missed the markets due to poor information, but no loss, didn't spend anything there. Overall, we found the cost of excursions via Princess to be overpriced. On our NZ trip, we arranged tours on shore, most costing better than 50% less. Since the main reason for this cruise was to unwind after a heavy working year, (yes, not all of us oldies are retirees) we didn't need to rush around with activities so much. We met with several couples to share our and their stories and experiences. Back in Fremantle, disembarking was the easiest part; straight through from ship to shore. Uber took a little bit longer. Overall, we will travel again, but will try other lines as well to get a better feel for them in all fairness. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Wow so much to say. came into Sydney harbour by river ferry coming around the back and side of this amazing ship. Boarding was a breeze a few rather long queues but that was to be expected as the ship had to board three and a half thousand ... Read More
Wow so much to say. came into Sydney harbour by river ferry coming around the back and side of this amazing ship. Boarding was a breeze a few rather long queues but that was to be expected as the ship had to board three and a half thousand people. once we were finally through the Embarkation process walking across the gangway was so nerve racking wondering what is the ship going to be like? what awaits us just around the corner? when we got around that corner and set foot on-board the truly amazing M/S Emerald Princess we certainly were not disappointed it was beautiful as it was a Christmas cruise there was tinsel Christmas trees and all sorts of other decorations everywhere which was a lovely touch. Now to the cabin my first time in an interior cabin so didn't really know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised the cabin was roomy well designed and actually quite a pleasant room although the bathroom as always with cruise ships was tiny. The Dining OMG the choices for dining on-board was incredible, three dining rooms, three specialty restaurants plus the buffet, Café Caribe, the grill, a pizza place/ ice-cream place and a fantastic little café in the Atrium called the International Café a tip book early for Crab Shack, Share and Crown Grill all of which are very popular this can be achieved through the stateroom phone by pressing the dining reservations button or by calling 6219 from any phone on-board (only the stateroom phones have the speed dial function). entertainment and activities the night-time shows is unfortunately where Princess fell short personally I found some of them to be rather amateurish I personally quite enjoyed the Princess signature show Magic To Do although they could have done more to hide the wires, the activities were quite enjoyable especially the trivia which my family spent a lot of time at all in all the entertainment and activities were abit of a let down (the Trivia was fun though). The service WOW each and every crew member was pleasant smiling happy to help you in anyway possible always with a huge smile (especially in the case of Kefang who worked at the international café as a buffet steward she was always smiling) the cruise director Duke and the assistant cruise director Matt were hilarious always cracking jokes and making fun of each other a true delight to be around. The ports and shore excursions WOW WOW WOW New Zealand is an incredible place a truly breathtaking country starting off in the Bay of Islands right up the top of the North Island we did the Waitangi Estuary by sea kayak shore excursion kayaking up to a small waterfall and back with a short break a 2 hour shore excursion truly amazing next was Auckland an unfortunate let-down very much like Sydney not really anything truly exciting there this was followed by the best port of the entire cruise Tauranga where we went to the Tamaki Maori Village just outside Rotorua what a day we were on a bus for about 90 minutes from the berth at Mount Maunganui to Tamaki both the guide and the driver were always cracking jokes and telling us about the areas we were passing which made the bus trip quite enjoyable then we arrived at Tamaki we were met by a traditional Maori welcome ceremony where the Maori warriors made sure that we came in peace and weren't going to attack them which was quite a show we then went into the village and were split up into small groups at which point we went to different huts to learn different things about Maori culture and history which was rather interesting and fun we then went to learn about a traditional hangi which is a Maori way of cooking after this we moved the meeting house where we were entertained through a number of Maori performances including the famous haka and a performance of a Maori love song called Pokarekare Ana after this it was meal time where we enjoyed a traditional Maori hangi feast which was delicious once this was over we had a bit of time to browse the gift shop and take some photos of the village before it was time to head back to the ship we said goodbye to Tamaki and headed out to the bus we then commenced the 90 minute return journey to Mount Maunganui berth where our ship was docked during this trip we were given a bit of a private performance with our guide singing some Maori songs until we reached Rotorua and she was dropped off we then went for a drive through the nearby gardens and had a look at a rather large building within the gardens before continuing our journey back. next was Christmas Day which was a sea day transiting between the north and south islands Christmas day was quiet and relaxing which was nice it was also a formal night there was Santa's arrival Christmas carols and much more our next port was Picton where we went on a hike and scenic cruise up the queen charlotte track and sound which was beautiful after this relatively easy hike and scenic cruise we were dropped off in the Picton township and had a bit of a look around a market and the town which was quite a nice quaint little rural New Zealand town right on the water which was lovely. Our next port was Wellington which is of course New Zealand's national capital and an awesome city first thing we did was get the famous cable car up the hill and walked back down through the botanical gardens which were really pretty after this we walked around the great city and had very necessary retail therapy we also enjoyed some on NZ's famous fush and chups as they would say we returned to the ship happy and content after a great day looking around an awesome city. next was Akaroa a quaint little French town quite a nice place actually at this port we did the double decker bus tour which was quite enjoyable during this tour we travelled form Akaroa to the famous hilltop hotel for a photo opportunity and pit stop we travelled through a number of quaint little towns the view from the hilltop hotel was breathtaking right over the many bays. Next was our final port of the cruise Dunedin a lovely small Scottish city with quite a lot to see including a Cadbury chocolate factory (the obvious highlight) as well as a great little Scottish shop quite a nice little southern New Zealand city. our final day in New Zealand was spent on a scenic cruise through the absolutely amazing Fiordland National Park through the dusky doubtful and breathtaking Milford sounds a truly breathtaking part of an amazing country. The next day was New Years Eve and of course it was party time and also the cruises third and final formal night they had three different on-board venues with parties celebrating New Years they were the Piazza, the Wheelhouse bar and the Explorers Lounge the Piazza had a live performance form the Emerald Princess party band (Liquid Blue) and a gold and silver balloon drop at the stroke of midnight a great night all in all. Our final night on-board was when my family went to the Share by Curtis Stone specialty restaurant located on deck 16 aft a truly amazing restaurant the six course meal was exquisite and the service was impeccable and the restaurant itself was beautifully designed. all in all a very very enjoyable cruise would definitely recommend Princess Cruises to anyone who wishes to have a relaxing luxurious and enriching cruise. Disembarkation was a breeze as well in and out of the terminal in less than half an hour. Would I travel with Princess Cruises again in short yes definitely although it is not my kind of line as I prefer to have activities galore, water parks, water slides heaps of pools a young persons fun cruise I would definitely go with princess again. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We are 2 women. I am in my late fifties, my travelling companion in her seventies. Originally my parents (also in their seventies) were to join us for the cruise in the adjacent mini-suite, but had to cancel at the last minute due to an ... Read More
We are 2 women. I am in my late fifties, my travelling companion in her seventies. Originally my parents (also in their seventies) were to join us for the cruise in the adjacent mini-suite, but had to cancel at the last minute due to an urgent health issue. This has no bearing on my review of this particular cruise. My companion had never cruised or left Australia before. I am an experienced traveller, often solo. This was my first ocean cruise. Previously I have cruised for up to 14 days on a small ship expedition off Kimberley WA coast and a river cruise in Russia. We are both of average fitness with no mobility problems. We chose the New Zealand itinerary over Christmas for the ports and shore excursions available around New Zealand sailing out of Sydney Harbour and the personal recommendation of at least 6 people regarding Princess Cruises. We used the Princess Sydney Airport shuttle bus both ways. Both the embarkation and disembarkation process and passenger experience was severley compromised by poor communication, lackadaisical service and in fact misinformation on the part of Princess staff/contractors on the ground and on board ship. We had been upgraded to Club Class - thank you - but were not informed of this until we had been standing in various queues for more than 3 hours at the Sydney terminal. There was nothing on the Cruise Personaliser and we or our travel agent were not informed. We were told to get into one queue and then another and then we were appartently in the wrong queue. Honestly this mob could not run a chook raffle. We were even told at one point that they had run out of trolleys - "go and look after your own bags" - after being told by another Princess staffer that they would be looked after between getting on the bus and cabin. Then after considerable panic, some nice young man turned up with more trolleys. The beginning of the cruise was marred considerably as it took my companion the first 3 days to get over it! Disembarkation was just as disorganised. We had done everything we had been told - as always - to the letter. We were called "light blue 6" so we made our way to where we were told only to be told by Security to "wait until you are called" We said "We have been called". We made our way down to the luggage and mine went missing for more than an hour. Another woman and I were both given "lost luggage vouchers" before some sheepish young bloke turned up with my bag. As far as i know, the other woman is still waiting. Cabin (mini-suite) OK, maitenance very poor. Shower/bath outlet blocked so showering in ankle deep water that took up to 20 minutes to drain (after 2 minute shower) - plumber materialised 48 hours after complaint - apparently no one had noticed prior to this. Speaking to other women on cruise - this is the first thing that they check - they clean their own outlet pipe of hair and other debris left by previous occupants! Yuck!!!!! Toilet broke while room steward on time off (Day 5 Auckland). Bowl overflowing and down back wall. Managed to stop before the dirty deluge reached the carpet, after wading in - not happy. Paged steward - no answer - pager clearly not put through to anyone else. Contacted Passenger Services and demanded help - not taken seriously. Plumber took 3.5 hours to arrive. Strange little man came to mop up water - did not clean bowl. Eventually saw supervisor 3 days later, who called me a liar - not a high point Princess! Complimentary bottle of cheap wine not really appreciated after that experience! Food repitive, average, sometimes poor - inedible - even CS Share. Room service - most times something - like milk - left off tray. Entertainment disappointing. High point of trip - the marvelous Ana (Club Class dining room hostess). Perhaps Princess need to make her a trainer in customer service and common sense! On-shore excursions generally as expected although expensive for what is provided. Akaroa - Southern Alps including train to Arthur's Pass. As with all the excursions considerably overpriced. I might be nice to at least get a biscuit to go with the cold weak coffee. Disappointing when driver left an elderly couple behind with their bags and coats still on bus after 5 minute photo stop. They could both be clearly seen by all of the other 20 passengers on this particular bus hurrying back to whithin 2 metres of the bus front door! Driver told repeatedly, but they were left to catch up at next stop an hour or so later on another bus - not good enough! Driver's name - Gary. He was clearly seen being interviewed for the "Reflections" DVD for this cruise. In Dunedin after city tour, bemused when "complimentary shuttle bus back to ship" costs $10 NZ one way! Bemused when on boarding found "gift for you" card for prepaid internet access. Apparently they were the "only cards that we had printed". People who had prepaid drinks packages had to ask for refunds as it was cheaper to arrange on board. Far too often there were language problems including incorrect drinks orders - or perhaps just convenient excuse for appalling service. Most of captain's and other announcements not audible from inside room. Some were - why not all? Told by steward to "open the door". If it is important enough to make an anouncement about then it needs to be heard throughout the ship. Sometimes by the time I realised that there was an announcement going on and got to the other end of the long skinny mini-suite to open the door - the announcement was over! The biggest bugbear was the door to our cabin / mini-suite. One or both of our cruise cards needed to be reactivated no less than seventeen (yes 17) times for the 14 days or our cruise to operate the door. Strangely the magnetic strip worked just fine for everything else - only the door was a problem! Just as well as my companion used hers to spend an awful lot of money in the ship's retail precinct. That was the only time except overnight on the bedside table away from lights etc. that she removed the lanyard from around her neck - as for both of us. She doesn't actually carry a phone and her bag did NOT have a magnet! It got to the stage that my companion would not leave the room without me for fear of not being able to get back in. We made contingency plans so that we did not miss various bookings because we couldn't get timely entrance to our room. Each foray into the queue at Passenger Services took from 5 - 30 minutes. Yes - I timed it! Yes, I, in particular do understand the concept of magnets, phones etc. as I hold post-graduate university qualifcations in medical physics. Other passengers also had problems with their doors and batteries etc were replaced - particularly if at least one of the passsengers was male! I have never had this problem before and no - I do not believe that this was our fault. Twice we were told that this would be checked out - it was not and of course on the last morning of the cruise my companion's card ceased to work yet again - right on queue! It was particularly disheartening to see our cabin steward and one of his nasty little mates appearing to have a good laugh at my elderly companion attempting to gain entrance to her own room and failing. It may be fine in some cultures to treat middle-aged and elderly wormen as invisible - not in mine. Please remember that it is my generation and older particularly in Australia and like countries who DO have the disposable income along with the opportunity, health and fitness in retirement to use it; but we are choosey where we spend it - and we are becoming silent no more regarding poor service and downright rudeness. "Princess Cruises - Come back New"...................... Princess Cruises - Come back broke and disappointed! Princess Cruises - don't come back at all! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
1. Twenty three days were enough to gauge the skills of the Crew of the Diamond Princess - some shone and some only just glittered, some just faded. The first "port of call" for most passengers on a Cruise liner is the ... Read More
1. Twenty three days were enough to gauge the skills of the Crew of the Diamond Princess - some shone and some only just glittered, some just faded. The first "port of call" for most passengers on a Cruise liner is the Customer Services Desk - some passengers with major issues to iron out and some minor administrative questions. Unfortunately the Trainee Staff on our Cruise were at times poorly supervised or assisted by the senior staff and this led to passenger frustration on a major scale with several of our fellow passengers expressing frustration trying to sort our their accounts. Obviously there is no excuse for verbal or any other abuse of Staff by either Senior Staff or Passengers but at times Trainee Staff were left to fend for them selves trying to solve issues which were beyond their limited expertise and there were either no senior staff to support them (the senior staff seemed to miraculously appear from behind the walled enclosure when the heat was turned on) or the Trainees were left floundering. Princess Cruises needs to address this issue of Supervision and Training as a matter of urgency. Many passengers were affected detrimentially and left very frustrated on this one cruise alone and their decision not to cruise with the Princess group again may be made on the perceived calibre of the advice and assistance they received at the Customer Services Desk. After all without Customer satisfaction the Company may be sailing with quite a few empty cabins. Lift your game Princess and provide "real" support for your trainees and up-skill your senior staff on a regular basis or not only will you have no Trainees but no Passengers to pay their wages. On this Cruise the Administrative skills of the Customer Service Team appeared, at times, to be found wanting. 2.The destinations and shore excursions were adequate for those who have not visited South East Asia but were a little mundane for those who have travelled this region extensively by other means. 3. The entertainment onboard was first class and varied - equal to many similar shows ashore - entertainment through-out the Ship was plentiful with something for just about everyone although the "in-betweens" (those between 14 and 18 seemed to be a little short-changed with regard to entertainment - perhaps more challenging activities might be considered ie.character building. 4. Embarkation and disembarkation were streamlined and carried out with military precision with full marks to all staff who participated - tendr operations were also carried out with minimial inconvenience to passengers. In summary, the Cruise was very enjoyable and value for money - we will cruise again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
I have been on two Princess cruises previously in 2013, a 7 day on Ruby and 10 day on Emerald. At the time I told Princess that the food and service was excellent but the space was so cramped we would not travel with them again. We saw ... Read More
I have been on two Princess cruises previously in 2013, a 7 day on Ruby and 10 day on Emerald. At the time I told Princess that the food and service was excellent but the space was so cramped we would not travel with them again. We saw the Royal and decided to try a newer ship. We had a Premium Deluxe Balcony. !. The music offered was fantastic both bands and individual performers. We both enjoy music, not particulary shows. Though the Saxophone Show was great. 2. The service was excellent. 3. Even with this largest balcony we were shocked at the tiny cabin. I think the Interior on the Royal Caribbean and Carnival are the same size. 4. My husband remarked after we were on the ship four hours, "Everything is so cramped". 5. The food was unremarkable, not bad but not exceptional as we thought three years ago. We could see the cuts made by Princess during those three years. 6. We told Princess that we would not travel with them again because we were horrified by the lack of hygiene by passengers in the food areas and the failure of Princess to direct passengers to wash hands as I've seen on my previous twenty cruises in the last six years. This newer ship had lovely handwashing alcoves before each entrance to the Buffet. No crew member directed anyone to them. I asked a crewmember in the Buffet why and he responded that passengers had complained that they were being told to wash their hands. So they were told not to do so. I saw at most ten people using them in our ten days on the ship. As we entered the Buffet there was no crew member placing a dab of Purell in anyone's hands. When I asked another crew member she also responded that they were told not to do so nor to direct passengers to Purell stands beside the plates and bowls. I saw less people using these than the handwashing alcoves. In the Dining Room, elevators and Buffet I saw passengers sneezing without covering their faces with anything. On the ninth day of the cruise in the Buffet a woman reached around me as I was using the tongs to remove some food and grabbed food directly from the buffet tray. I said, "What are you doing" and she responded, 'Huh". The lack of hygiene was appalling. By the sixth day I was hearing passengers saying in elevators and beside us in the Buffet and Dining Room that people were getting sick. Surprise! We will never cruise on Princess again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
After many cruises with Princess, the crew of the Grand Princess was outstanding, from the Passenger Service desk, to the staff in all of the dining venues, to our pleasant and always smiling cabin stewards as well as the ever present ... Read More
After many cruises with Princess, the crew of the Grand Princess was outstanding, from the Passenger Service desk, to the staff in all of the dining venues, to our pleasant and always smiling cabin stewards as well as the ever present Captain. As many have said before... Happy crew.... happy passengers! It was a joyful trip over the Christmas holidays, even with so many children on board. They were well behaved and it was much appreciated.There were so many things planned for all age groups that you really didn't see many of them. The teenager in our group was busy 24/7. Embarkation and disembarkation were the smoothest I have ever experienced. I love the new pier Princess has in San Francisco. I will travel out of this port anytime. I just can't wait for the next one. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
This was my 3rd cruise on Princess, and the first on Emerald. I understand that the ship just came out of dry dock, but I couldn't really figure out what had been updated other than the Effy jewelry boutique that took up a large ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise on Princess, and the first on Emerald. I understand that the ship just came out of dry dock, but I couldn't really figure out what had been updated other than the Effy jewelry boutique that took up a large amount of the shopping area. I'm not sure why Princess cruises made the decision to give so much real estate to such an expensive jewelry store. The pieces are terribly overpriced for mass produced jewelry in my opinion and they were pushing it hard. I'm not sure if this jewelry line meets the demographics of the Princess customer base, but time will tell. Embarkation was a breeze- and my daughter and I were on the ship in less than 10 minutes. The Muster drill was rather disorganized and took much longer than previous cruises. When I embarked on the ship I immediately called for reservations and was informed that Sabatini's Italian restaurant no longer existed. It has been replaced with the restaurant called "share" which comes with a $39 per person cover charge. Needless to say my husband and I did not eat at "share" but we did dine at the Crowne grill and were not disappointed. We did not have hot water for the first two days, and learned from other passengers that this was a problem for them as well. Air-conditioning did not run cold but this was ok with us as we tend not to like air-conditioning anyway. But for some people it was a real problem. I didn't let this ruin my cruise so I just took cool showers quickly and spent most of my time outside. We were upgraded from an ocean view to a premium balcony room which was nice but honestly I wouldn't of paid the extra money for it. The balcony was almost as big as the room and we didn't use it as much as I had expected. The ride down was very rocky and there were gale force winds according to the captain. At one point the pools had to be drained and closed because they became unsafe due to the movement of the water in the pools. I was up in the sanctuary area for most of the sea days and the noise from the wind was extremely loud but again I didn't mind- it's a cruise after all and you can expect wind and other kinds of noise. One issue with the sanctuary area is that you can hear some of the loud talkers down at the Lotus spa pool. They really should have a better way to soundproof this since you're paying $40 a day for the sanctuary area. In the main pools there were quite a few kids that were rough housing unsupervised which was a nuisance. Also, pools were pretty deep starting at about 5'3" which made it difficult for the young ones to swim around. There was no dedicated kids pool which would have been a good idea given the amount of children on board. This could've also mitigated the problem with some of the kids jumping and creating mayhem at the same time that adults and other kids wanted to swim. This resulted in most folks hanging onto the edges or trying to swing while avoiding the constant jumping in and pushing of the unsupervised kids. I actually saw some concerning behavior from the kids on the pool deck and became worried about safety and the deck attendance would not do anything. There was a group of kids that was really loud and splashing during the movie at night and one passenger got angry and yelled at them to be quiet. I'm a parent myself, and I really like kids but this just got really out of hand and affected other peoples enjoyment. My seven-year-old enjoyed the pelicans kids club. In her words- I really enjoyed the kids club. Because we got to go inside and ride bikes and do all these fun stuff. Had a pajama party which is really fun and we we got to do all these fun crafts and play with the Wii, which was where we we have a remote and we dance with that. We also got to do these fun crafts like making Masks and making bracelets and there was also a jungle gym which is pretty fun and you have to take your shoes off to go in , and before you go in the kids club you have to wash Your hands. The buffet food was unremarkable. There is decent salad at every meal. I agree with some other recent posters that the service in the dining room was excruciatingly slow. One night it took us three hours to have dinner. Staff were not particularly attentive and did not refill drinks in a timely manner. Most of the food arrived cold or lukewarm at best. This was one of the main reasons that my husband and I went to the crown grill for three of the nights. Since this is a Christmas cruise we had expected a special meal on Christmas evening. In fact this was touted as one of the features of the Christmas cruise. We were disappointed that there was really nothing special although there was some bland turkey and cranberry sauce but not the extravagant buffet or dining room event that we had expected. Santa made an appearance and gave our presents to the kids which was a bonus, and my daughter seem to have a great time with that. I still have the coffee shop at the international café, the pastries were outstanding. Entertainment was lackluster, but pretty standard in mainstream for this cruise line. We were in bed most nights by 10:30 PM so I can't speak for the late-night entertainment or the clubs. With all that said, I still like Princess and have two more cruises booked with them. A cruise is a cruise and it's what you make of it and I like cruising princess. I do think they need to make some improvements as I mentioned. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
I was on the Crown Princess for Christmas and celebrated it with my family on board. For our itinerary, we visited Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Manzanillo. My family of 4 stayed in two connecting premium balconies, which ... Read More
I was on the Crown Princess for Christmas and celebrated it with my family on board. For our itinerary, we visited Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Manzanillo. My family of 4 stayed in two connecting premium balconies, which were fantastic and definitely worth it. This was my first time on the Crown but my 17th cruise overall. It has also been almost 10 years since I've cruised during Christmas and I was definitely unprepared for the 3,500 passengers that were onboard, 600 of which were kids. There were many holiday activities that were offered onboard which made the experience so much more enjoyable. Many of the activities, such as cookie decorating, visiting Santa Claus, building gingerbread houses, etc. were designed for small children and didn't allow any adult participation. The production shows were great, especially the all new Stephen Schwartz show "Magic To Do" which was fantastic and such a great and refreshing show for cruisers that have seen Princess's old production shows one too many times. My family and I have been to Mexico over a dozen times so we are familiar with the ports and thus, not interested in doing many excursions. Our first visit was Cabo San Lucas, which was of course is a tendered port. The weather was great for shopping and walking which is what we ended up doing. At Puerto Vallarta my family and I did the Los Veranos Canopy Tour which was absolutely fantastic, highly recommend it! Mazatlan had great dining, I especially love La Puntilla, which is a cheap beach side Mexican seafood restaurant that is within walking distance to the cruise terminal. We also made a stop at the Golden Zone to do some cheap shopping. We arrived in Manzanillo on Christmas Eve and it reached mid 90's by noon. It was hot and there wasn't a lot to do unless you were willing to drive an hour to their resort city. I did some local shopping and returned to the ship three hours after I got off. Manzanillo in my opinion was a wasted port stop. The service onboard the Crown was definitely below par, which I believe was influenced by the overwhelming number of people that were onboard. There were often long lines to the bathrooms, International Cafe, elevators, coffee/tea bar, etc. I had anytime dining and we ate in the dining rooms every night except one. It was obvious, just from a quick observation, that the waiters were under staffed. Each team had way more passengers than normal which made for incredibly slow and mediocre service. One night my family and I got our appetizers before we even got napkins, water, or utensils on our table. We constantly waited over 30 minutes just to get any bread or our orders in. However, our room attendant was excellent and very outgoing and social. The staff on board was mixed. Some staff members like the cruise director were great, while others came off a bit cold. I've never had any problems or complaints about the staff, however; on this cruise I was completely thrown off by how some of them were treating the passengers. There was one staff member who I found to be rude and arrogant towards passengers, on two separate occasions. Disembarkation and embarkation was easy and went smoothly. Overall, this cruise was still a lot of fun. The activities are fantastic and great for families. The new production shows are a must see. The crew were still great, but beware of some of the staff members. The food was average on this ship, nothing special. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
I traveled with my family of four on the Ruby Princess for its Christmas Cruise to Hawaii. We flew from Oklahoma the night before the cruise was to debark and had done 'massive' preparation for the trip. We packed seven ... Read More
I traveled with my family of four on the Ruby Princess for its Christmas Cruise to Hawaii. We flew from Oklahoma the night before the cruise was to debark and had done 'massive' preparation for the trip. We packed seven checked-in bags plus carry-ons. We marked each piece of checked luggage with bright green duct tape on the sides, top and handles, and made luggage tags out of candy-cane red striped paper slipped inside of plastic nametag holders and connected to the bags with zip ties. This made identifying our bags in the busy LAX airport very easy. We did have to pay for a luggage cart in a couple of places due to the number of bags, but we needed the extra items packed this time (more to come on that later). As our cruise was scheduled the day that the new Star Wars movie was to come out, we decided to stay in Hollywood and go to the Disney-owned El Capitan theatre (across from the Chinese Theatre on the Walk of Fame) for a midnight showing of the movie. We bought these tickets online a couple of months earlier to ensure we'd have a seat. We rented a car and drove to Hollywood and parked at the highland mall to have access to the Lowes hotel, which is extremely nice and freshly renovated. The lobby of the hotel was filled with an amazing display of decorated gingerbread houses, which we really enjoyed looking through. Warning on this is that there's someone to pull your bags out of the car, and another porter (who won't take no for an answer) to whisk your bags up to your room. We spent $14 on tips before we got to the first night. Because we got in so late, we got a free upgrade to a huge room with a great view of the walk of fame. We got back from the movie and viewing the extensive prop and costume collection on display at El Capitan at about 3 AM. The next morning we did the short, 2-hour Paramount Studios tour, and enjoyed the short drive from Hollywood to the studio. The tour was really fun, with a tour guide driving us all over the backlots with stops to get out and see sound stages, prop rooms, a museum, the employee theatre, and backlot locations like the area that makes up New York City and more. They offer a four hour tour but we didn't want to be rushed for getting to the port. We had planned to get to the port at the beginning of debarkation and I would drop my husband and one kid off at the port with all the luggage, and drop the car off at the San Pedro location of the Hertz rental car, just a few blocks away. We did this and then Hertz dropped us off at the port for free. After having read numerous reviews about embarkation and the perks suite guests get, including priority embarkation and a suite lounge to wait, we were expecting to walk in, check in, and walk on board. We gave the porters our 7 bags and 7 dollars and went inside to an absolute madhouse. The entire building was completely full and we had to literally climb through and over people to find the check in area for suite passengers. Once we fought our way to the entrance of checkin it was smooth, but we were notified that at 1 pm there were still hundreds of passengers on the Ruby due to some immigration issue. We inquired about the suite lounge and the guest services lady said it would be completely overflowing if we could even get there. We were basically directed to 'find any spot we could' and wait. We waited over an hour before the passengers holding Black Elite / Suite cards were allowed to embark, so this was not a great start. (note, when we got home, I saw that Princess did email us during the morning of embarkation to let us know of the delay, but we weren't checking email that day.) However, once we crossed that gangway to the ship, magic happened. We walked into the piazza of the Ruby Princess, completely decked out with Christmas trees, garland, lights and three singers dressed in 1940's singer costumes in red and white singing lovely Christmas songs. At that moment, I felt the stress from the awful embarkation experience drain from my soul. We immediately caught an elevator and made our way to D101/105, the family suite on Dolphin Deck 9 to find a lovely, large group of rooms waiting for us, fresh from dry dock with amazing new beds. As other reviewers stated, the family suites are all the way at the forward end of the ship and there are two entries to the suite. One entry goes to the master bedroom with what felt like a king-size bed, a large closet and full bathroom. The other entry went into basically an interior room for the kids with twin beds and twin berths overhead, and a half bath, with two closets. Both bathrooms had a suite amenities bag, including some lotion, a loofa, gel eye cover, sunscreen, emory boards. Other amenities in the rooms included canvas totebags to keep, sewing kits to keep, fluffy robes to borrow, disposable spa slippers, notepads, and pens. Both rooms had desks with chairs and their own flat-screen TV's, refrigerators with ice buckets filled; they were connected by a family / living room with two love-seat sized couches that have seen better days and were not comfortable for long sits. There was also one sitting chair and a small table. There was a ton of storage nooks and crannies all over the suite, so much that we left a majority of the cabinets unused, which says a lot since we packed so much. The family room had a curved wall and then a sliding glass door out to the extremely oversized balcony with four chairs, a table, and two footstools. The chairs were not in my opinion, any kind of upgraded furniture for suite guests, so that was a bit of a disappointment, but the balcony location is directly under the bridge and with the best views of the sea and port anywhere on the boat. The downside of this suite is that it's on the front of the ship and there is no glass on the forward side of the balcony. We thoroughly enjoyed the balcony on port days and spent all our sailaways there, but on sea days the wind was very heavy (up to 40 knots some evenings), this particular balcony was so windy that we had to flip the furniture over because it was flying around. We recommended to the cruise line that they add a glass wall to the front to the expensive room's balcony could be usable on sea days. We had planned to eat lunch in the main dining room while all the other passengers fought their way through the horizon buffet. Unfortunately due to the lateness of disembarkation and embarkation there truly was no MDR open for lunch. We called dining reservation to book our complementary night at the Crown Grill (suite perk) and then left to get a piece of pizza to hold us over. One thing that was frustrating was that the time for the muster drill changed a couple of times, making it hard to plan for dinner, and getting showered, beforehand. One other thing we noticed about the ever-changing muster drill times was that these were being announced by a person with such broken English that we caught ourselves saying, 'what?' to each other to figure out the announcements, and we'd recommend to the cruise line that safety information be delivered in clear English in the future. We made it through muster drill, which was unlike we'd had on other cruiselines where you actually go to your lifeboat and put on your jacket. Here we met in the extremely crowded princess theatre and listened to announcements and then stood up to wriggle our way into lifejackets while trying not to elbow our neighbors. But it was over soon enough and we raced back to the room for the Crown Grill. The suite perk of a complementary entry fee to the specialty restaurants on embarkation day should not be left unused. The food and service in the crown grill is impeccable, and the food selection are amazing. At our table of four we had a huge tray of lobster tails, salads, steaks for three people, and prawns for the fourth. Everything was cooked perfectly and was a wonderful meal to celebrate the start of an amazing cruise. We also did not have to dress very nice that first night since luggage had not been delivered, although we all had on long pants and blouses/collared shirts since we packed them in carry ons along with our bathing suits. After dinner our luggage had arrived and I unpacked as much as possible. We already had two rounds of dirty laundry so we started the process of cataloguing and sacking up the laundry bags to take advantage of another suite perk - free laundry and dry cleaning. We also sent out all our formalwear for the trip to be dry cleaned and pressed for the first formal night. We sent laundry out six times during the trip and watched bills be added and removed on our stateroom account throughout the cruise. At the end I noted that we'd gotten over $500 in free laundry/cleanig services on the trip. All the laundry came back clean, pressed, and hung or folded, and had a little itchy label identifying us ironed inside each piece. I highly recommend taking advantage of this suite perk. Back to dining. On the first few days of the cruise, we ate breakfast all over the ship, including the buffet, room service and the international grill, but then we decided to try the suite perk of private-ish dining (only other suite passengers) in the crown grill. Immediately we knew we'd made a mistake by not doing this every day. The Maitre'd checked our name and room number one time and then recognized and greeted us each morning. This became one of the highlights of the trip - wonderful, personal service, fun conversations with wait staff, and really good coffee. We ordered things both on and off the menu, but highlights were the massive amounts of amazing bacon served, beautiful crustless French toast, fruit plates, and omelets with any ingredient you like. We enjoyed this part of the trip, and the same two or three waitstaff each morning that I actually cried on the last day of suite breakfast. (They give free mimosas at suite breakfast too, but we usually didn't have them.) From that first discovery, we only had breakfast there unless it was a port day with an early shore excursion meet time. On disembarkation day there was no suite breakfast but suite passengers were allowed to have room service, so we did that. On our room service mornings, we ordered ungodly amounts of food to feed four people and the waitstaff a;ways had it there at the beginning of the service time we'd requested. To. The. Minute. They would come in, set out a table cloth and then lay down the food and leave after getting a small tip. We had nice conversations with the same waitstaff each morning and became friends with this young lad as well. For lunches, we mostly did pizza, hotdogs/hamburgers and the buffet. I think we ate in a MDR one time for lunch but that takes a lot of time so we preferred to grab and go for lunchtime. The hamburgers on the ship are the best around, so don't miss out on that. Dinners we had anytime dining and enjoyed the MDRs many nights. The selection and quality of food were good, but dinner was always time consuming. We did the buffet one night at 5, which is officially snack time, not dinner time. This was a mistake and we felt like it was 'scraps' being served. This put us off the buffet for several days until we tried it again one night after 530 and found that it was better food a little later. In the MDRs we did shared/social tables a lot and actually enjoyed meeting people who've traveled all over. We did not expect to enjoy that, so it was a good surprise. The desserts including the chocolate journeys, were all pretty much perfect and delicious. For Christmas they served turkey and dressing along with a large selection of really nice dishes. On New Year's eve, they served prime rib, escargot, several nice fish dishes, among other tasty treats. They also passed out hats and party favors, which was a nice touch. On drinks. there are perpetual coffee, tea, hot water machines in the buffet, and you can order lemonade for free in the buffet as well. The coffee in the buffet is NOT the same as room service or the MDR/suite breakfast and is frankly, awful. We came to call it, 'sludge.' If you're a coffee drinker, we recommend having it delivered via room service along with free hot chocolate for the kiddies, served in cute teapots. Our kids also got the drink cards and went to the international cafe for mocktails and hot chocolate numerous times. They probably paid for the drink cards 3x over, so we'd do that again. We bought about ten drinks in bars over the course of the cruise and spent a little over $100 on that. We also took advantage of the free mini-bar that started with 2 courvosiers, 2 vodkas, 2 gins, and 2 whiskeys, along with 2 beers, 2 perriers and 2 bottled waters (another suite perk). We did leave a note for our room steward that we wanted to swap the gins, the perriers for other things and he changed them out on his next visit. This leads me to the Room Steward, who was amazing and friendly. Not a lot to say other than we had a perfect experience with him. We did wrap a Christmas gift for him and gave a little cash in a card on Christmas morning. It turns out he is from the Phillipines with a wife and young son at home. Our room was thoroughly cleaned and we enjoyed visiting with him. We got corsages and boutonnieres delivered free (suite perk) on the first formal night, enjoyed canapes in the room, and chocolates delivered on formal nights as well. One other thing on the room. As promised, here's why we had so much luggage. We packed a Christmas tree, room decorations, magnetized door decorations for two doors, tinsel, lights, stockings, Christmas table cloths, unwrapped presents, stocking stuffers, and paper/bags/tissue. We decided to do a regular Christmas. So we took the time to really decorate it up. A lot of other cabins did their doors so that made the trip extra fun. After I wrapped presents, I gave the cabin steward all of the leftover wrapping supplies to share with crew. At the end of the cruise, I left two suitcases worth of decorations, which also got taken downstairs after I discussed it with the cabin steward. I'm so glad we drug extra bags with us to do this. Things we enjoyed doing on the ship included trivia three times daily, led by the cruise director's staff. Each session was hilarious and entertaining. We also went to a magic show (meh), and then a big production magic show (excellent), a culinary demonstration and galley tour (amazing and funny), karoke night, a blackjack tournament, the casino, movies under the stars, a couple of lectures, hula lessons, the voice of the ocean contest, and just so much more. We also enjoyed binge watching the Love Boat series, showing on the TV's 24 hours a day. My husband is still watching episodes now that we're home. There was so much to do we just couldn't do it all, and that's the way it should be. My husband and daughter did the behind the scenes tour (highly recommend this). You need to sign up for this on day 1 at passenger services, as it's limited to 12 people. This cruise did a second round on the way back so we got in with our late signup. This tour was about 3 hours in length, cost $150 and was worth every penny to see the bottom floors of the ship, meet the captain, and all kinds of special access things. When they got back, each of them received pictures of them throughout the ship with their tour group and the captain, a frame, a robe, customized stationary. We thought this was a really nice touch. Our teenage son had the most wonderful trip. The teen club kept him hopping and with friends from afar all day long. There were most days on the ship that we didn't see him and had to set check in times or tell him that x activity/dinner with the family was mandatory. He just had so much fun with the teen hot tub parties, formal nights, video games, etc There's a lot about his trip that we'll never know but we always felt he was safe and out of trouble so c'est la vie. Our ten year old daughter had sign out privileges of the kids club and she enjoyed the evening movies in there and a few of the daytime activities. They had full schedules but the boat was very full of kids so she often preferred to hang out with us, especially once she started having so much fun at all the trivias. We swam a few times and did hot tubs a few times too. I used the thermal spa (suite perk) many many days, and loved this free aminity. All but one day I was the only one there. My routine for this was to wake up at 745 and have bathing suit/robe on and be in the hall by 755, spa by 8 when they opened. I'd check in (leave my cruise card) at the spa desk, make my way to the waiting area for massages to get an icy lemon water to take downstairs with me, then I'd shower in a cool fog shower and sit in an aromatherapy grotto for as long as I could stand, shower again, and then fall asleep on the 'rock chairs' (heated chairs), covered in towels. I'd wake myself up snoring and then drag my way back to the room to get ready for the day. There's nice soft music playing in there and it was a great place to reflect and meditate (sleep). If you're a suite passenger, don't miss this perk. I loved the solitude and relaxation. One other note about the spa - my son got a good haircut on the ship for $35, which was high, but it was a good haircut. We loved New Year's on the ship, which was a fun, (very formal) night on board. Tuxes and real gowns were the order of the day. We were glad to have these items, as even going to the show would be awkward when not dressed like everyone else. We also participated in a gingerbread house making contest, and had packed a ton of little sweets, lights, and decorations for it. We were disappointed to find we couldn't use the items, scissors or anything else to help us, but it still turned out to be a jolly fun time for all. We were AMAZED to see some of the creations people came up with using only the things provided in the box. As a side note, after the contest the ship put out a huge display of their chef-created gingerbread houses which were unlike any I've ever seen anywhere, so beautiful. Shore Excursions - we did the volcanoes national park excursion on Hawaii through princes. This was a large bus full of people and a day packed with activities and a lunch. If you want to hike, see a ton of the island in one day, we'd recommend this. Bring your walking shoes and a bottle of water. Also, lunch isn't until 130 or so, so you might want to throw in a protein bar or other packaged item for this excursion. No ship food is allowed offboard. On Oahu, we rented a car and prearranged for pearl harbor tickets. We spent the morning there then did the dole pineapple plantation (a waste of time in my opinion), drove to the North Shore to watch the surfers enjoy the big wintertime waves (expect heavy, slow traffic full of people in bikinis), and then we drove to Waikiki and spend the last few hours of sun in the lagoons by the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We watched sunset on Waikiki, dropped the boys off at the ship and then the girls went shopping. It rained on an off during this day, but it did not keep us from thoroughly enjoying a convertible and warm weather. ON Maui Christmas Day, we took a snorkel boat, which was waiting for us at the tender point. Weather was very rough, and the captain couldn't get us to Molokini Crater that day. We instead went to two amazing snorkel sites that were calm and just wonderful, with tons of fish, turtles, eels, rays, etc. We had nice breakfast and lunch on the snorkel boat and went from the boat back to our tender, never really seeing Maui, which was just perfect. On Kauai, we did the tour of the island in a minibus that took us to all the movie sites. It was a cool setup - the guide had a TV in the front of the bus where he'd show 'so many' clips of scenes filmed in a location while we were driving. Then we'd look up and boom, we'd be at the same spot we'd just seen on screen. Things like gilligan's island, jurassic park, just so many movies made here, for a reason. Kauai is beautiful and the beaches are the best and most beautiful in the world. We saw the entire east half of the island, had a lovely lunch at a local restaurant, and saw the property of many celebrtieis like Bette Midler, Mark Zuckerberg, and also where Elvis had a bungalo at the CocoPalms resort. A very full day that got us back to the ship with minutes to spare before sailaway. My comment on Hawaii was that we'd like one more day there, made up with faster ship speed or a day tacked on. We didn't have enough time to see it all, especially on Oahu. We did not get off the ship in Ensenada, which appears to be a poverty-stricken, dirty port that has brown water and heavy industry. I heard from other passengers that they were followed numerous times by families with small children begging and/or selling items, and that they felt not good about this. I'm glad we stayed on the ship, packed and enjoyed our last day of eating too many desserts. We discovered late in the cruise the cruise messenger service, which you can access free on your iphones. We recommend figuring this out on day 1 to keep track of those in your party. This eliminates the need for walkie talkies and whiteboards, both of which we very rarely saw on this cruise. What did I forget to pack? A clock - they're rare on the ship. I saw a few outside the elevators, and around the pools. Other than that, you're left to wonder what day and time it is. There is a channel on the ship where it scrolls the ship's position and time, but we sure wished I'd brought that clock. I would not pack beach towels or snorkel equipment again. We used the excursion's equipment and brought ship's striped towels with us, along with all the other passengers doing water activities. Disembarkation was well communicated in advance. We asked for a 930 disembarkation and knew where to have luggage when, and where to be (club fusion / suite members). We did have room service that morning, and then enjoyed coffee in the disembarkation lounge while we waited. This was smooth and on time. We had a wonderful time on this cruise, came back totally disconnected from the real world and with so many fond memories. Other than the few bumps, we'd highly recommend this cruise to families or anyone who wants to be around other travelers for two major holidays. Just a great great cruise. Also, if you think this might be your only time to Hawaii and you can spare the money, we highly recommend getting a suite if there's one available. The perks of the suite breakfast, the thermal spa, priority tenders, free flowers and special chocolates made our trip so special that it was definitely worth it. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We waited anxiously to board the Sea Princess at for the Christmas cruise from Brisbane. Having sailed previously on her, we were waiting to see the remodelling that had been done in Singapore - and it didn't disappoint. Her new ... Read More
We waited anxiously to board the Sea Princess at for the Christmas cruise from Brisbane. Having sailed previously on her, we were waiting to see the remodelling that had been done in Singapore - and it didn't disappoint. Her new Horizon Court was extremely fresh and welcoming - providing and array of foods (greasy and non-greasy) depending on taste. A nice addition was the Italian Cafe offering cakes and pastries and in the afternoon some sliced meats and cheese. We learnt on the cruise that the beds are finally getting an upgrade - about time. This is overdue and will provide an important to sleeping comfort. It was disappointing that many parents with children on board, forgot that they needed to provide adult supervision. I witnessed on several occasions inappropriate behaviour of children, particularly around the staircases and in the lifts (pressing every button when exiting). It was great to hear the Captain (although shouldn't have had to do) remind parents and children about the safety aspects and conduct around the ship. For those parents who were upset by these announcements - maybe look at your kids! Tender disembarkation was good at those ports requiring tenders. However, tender disembarkation is always slow, so may have upset some who had to wait for a tender. Return services from the islands was great. Overall, the cruise was value for money and very relaxing. Looking forward to sailing on the Sea Princess again soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Wish I could choose no stars. Half the ship sick as no sanitisation policy, sloppy management (Italian and S. American majority) art auctions...painting and easels all over our muster station, no checking of tender and shuttle bus tickets ... Read More
Wish I could choose no stars. Half the ship sick as no sanitisation policy, sloppy management (Italian and S. American majority) art auctions...painting and easels all over our muster station, no checking of tender and shuttle bus tickets so a free for all and chaos. Thankfully, no accident or it would be worse than a Costa disaster. Library not there...empty shelves! .. (Do not make money so took them out). Entertainment programme dire, as just hard sell all day... Promoting the spa, Effy Diamonds, shops....you name it. Anything interesting was lumped into the first hour so all day could be 'open your wallet'. Christmas and New Year very poor. Atrium is social centre...not big enough for such a big ship so pictures look good......but majority of passengers cannot see/hear/dance/use. Three days at sea and we left ports at 4.30pm?????? Could not see what we wanted....yet next port only four hours sail away?? One port was San Martin, a disused sandy area with NOTHING there......and they had the audacity to charge $16 each to be shuttled ten minutes away to a tiny resort....no taxis to do it yourself. Only there to pick up Macho Picchu excursions and cheaper than staying in Lima.....money, money money taken with no thought of the other passengers....the majority! Lots MORE but needless to say NEVER AGAIN ON PRINCESS. Check their history of diseases! In Nicaragua we had our temperatures taken as we left the tender....'"this ship has a bad record....we do not want here"!! NO sanitasation getting back on and folk going straight to eat at the buffet and restaurants...again sanitisation optional!!!! TempeLong delays getting off in places as immigration checking the loads who used the doctor...same numbers self medicated so iver 700?? Theatre was a cacophony of coughing, sneezing and spluttering but authorities NOT sanitising or cleaning banisters and denying any problem or sickness.......AWFUL! Think Carnival is now pushing money, money money.....so will not be using the other lines under their umbrella. Woukd rather sail, .....enjoy .....and survive!!! Sailed for forty years and this was the WORSE cruise, ship, management, sickness incidence numbers and programme/port times etc. Nightmare 31 days. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
'What plans do you have for your day today?' - 'Did you have a nice day?' - 'Where are you going to eat?' - 'What did you think of the entertainment?' These are examples of the opening conversation ... Read More
'What plans do you have for your day today?' - 'Did you have a nice day?' - 'Where are you going to eat?' - 'What did you think of the entertainment?' These are examples of the opening conversation lines we did not hear from our Concierge except 'Good Morning' and we only got that as a begrudging comment before she returned to her computer. Not on this ship - Everyone made you feel as though you were on a really friendly ship and everyone including the deck and service crew gave you a cheery wave -- that was on Norwegian line. The only time anyone spoke to us was when they were trying to sell you the overpriced jewelry and spa services. And the lifts were a joke. The aft (front) lifts went to the 6th floor but you could not access the back of the ship from there you had to go to the 7th floor and then walk along to the middle to go back down to the 6th. ??? The ship itself was fine. The suite cabin we had was smaller than we normally get and we found our friends who paid less got a bigger suite two floors below. Certainly if it was my first time on a cruise I would think it excellent but unfortunately it seems I have been spoiled by Norwegian line. Just to top it off we dined in the crab shack on the penultimate night and when the waiter put the napkins around my friend's neck he said 'How tight would you like me tie it?' and made a hanging motion as if to hang her. This was unfortunate as her son had actually hung himself five years before. We larfed and larfed over that one............!!   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
My wife and I are frequent cruisers (19), with 13 on Princess and the others spread between Royal Carribean (1), Carnival (2) and Celebrity (3). We started with Princess on the Golden and to be fair, that class of ship remains my ... Read More
My wife and I are frequent cruisers (19), with 13 on Princess and the others spread between Royal Carribean (1), Carnival (2) and Celebrity (3). We started with Princess on the Golden and to be fair, that class of ship remains my favourite, although lately we prefer Celebrity. I won't talk about the ports as they are common to all lines. Specific Positives about Princess in general: (1)Food is very good ( a notch below Celebrity but above Carnival). (2)Love that they have multiple entertainment theaters (Vista Lounge in the rear and Princess Theater in the front, plus piano bars so you can usually find something you like). (3)Service/Staff is excellent (notwithstanding they have eliminated many positions - no longer have wine stewards in the dining room and you have to go to the bar to get a drink when on deck). Specific Negatives about Princess in general: (1)For a cruise line that pioneered anytime dining, anytime diners are now almost second class citizens. They have always had three dining rooms however previously one was reserved for set seating and the other two for anytime diners. This was our second cruise with Princess this year and on both cruises one dining room was specifically set aside for set seating, however one of the remaining two was reserved for set seating until 8:00pm, leaving only one dining room for anytime diners wanting to eat before 8:00pm. As both these cruises left from Florida, most anytime diners wanted to eat between 6:00 and 7:00 leading to long lines and wait times. I know many Europeans like to eat later so it may work there but not on cruises from North America. (2) I know many people love the Movies Under The Stars, and I would have no problem if it was only under the stars, but during the day the sound system is so loud that if you want to relax and read a book in peace and quiet you are almost obligated to pay the money for the Sanctuary (was that the plan?). Specific Negatives about the Royal Princess: (1), (2), and (3) - Balcony size! It is ridiculously small. We had a mini suite and were constantly tripping over either chair legs or each other's legs trying to manoeuver around the balcony to sit down. Forget trying to entertain guests on the balconies. (4) WARNING - do not book a balcony cabin at the rear sides of the ship. The glass walkways on Lido deck that hang out over the side at the back of the ship allow people to easily observe the balconies (no privacy) and for balcony rooms on the upper decks, walkers can look right into the cabin. (5) The proximity of the redesigned Wheelhouse Bar to the Crown Grill, without a full wall between, and both open to people walking by, eliminates the sanctuary feeling of the old Wheelhouse Bars and the romanticism of the specialty restaurant. Specific Positives about the Royal Princess: Can't really come up with any specific to the ship as basically I think Princess "missed the boat" so to speak, on this design. But I'm prejudiced, as I stated earlier I prefer the Golden/Grand class. Embarkation/Disembarkation- My wife and I breezed through both although we are Platinum so we had Preferred Embarkation, and we have GOES for returning so we had a priority line for customs - NOTE - there are no signs or other indications that a GOES priority line exists, you have to ask. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Overall, we were happy with our cruise. We did B2B 4 and 5 night cruises. This was our first Princess cruise our others were four Celebrity and one Carnival. The ship was beautiful and was very nicely decorated. We enjoyed Grand Turk and ... Read More
Overall, we were happy with our cruise. We did B2B 4 and 5 night cruises. This was our first Princess cruise our others were four Celebrity and one Carnival. The ship was beautiful and was very nicely decorated. We enjoyed Grand Turk and Princess Cay. Our Cabin Steward, Pol Mateo, was fantastic. Tatiana, from Vines, was also excellent. We liked the food and the entertainment. Christmas was fun. We enjoyed the Crown Grill. The casino staff was great. In other words, They did the big things very well. Princess failed in our opinion, in the little things. There were never enough towels, they allowed people to reserve pool chairs for hours without being there, they did not clean up dishes around the ship, the lines for Anytime Seating for dinner were extremely (1 hour +) long, I paid for a coffee card and never received it (even after 4 tries), unlike Celebrity you rarely saw the senior crew members, they let children swim in the adults only pool, there was no benefit in having a mini suite over an inside cabin. I know this was a B2B of short cruises over the Christmas break but we did not feel as if we were being treated like we did with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We were on the Dec 22-27th cruise to Cozumel and Princess Cay. We are experienced cruisers and have travelled on Ruby Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity before. We go on cruises with the mindset that we are going to be flexible and ... Read More
We were on the Dec 22-27th cruise to Cozumel and Princess Cay. We are experienced cruisers and have travelled on Ruby Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity before. We go on cruises with the mindset that we are going to be flexible and have a fun time! I have to admit I was disappointed though within the first 15 minutes of exploring the ship but tried to focus on the positives throughout the trip. We had 2 mini-suites on the 9th floor: D305 and D419. Our group consisted of 2 adults (ages 42 and 43) and 3 teens (13, 16, 17). Pros: Boarding process was a breeze. Very organized. Rooms were clean and the attendants were friendly. Balconies were spacious. Uncovered but worked well for sun-bathing. Nice variety of pools on the ship. Movies Under the Stars was a hit with my family. We especially enjoyed the pizza served on the pool deck, International Cafe, and the Casino. Nice movie selection in the cabin. Princess Cay was clean and offered something for everyone. A fun beach day! Cons: Pool towels were not available on Day 1. Must use beach towels from your cabin. Note: pool towels were older and need a refresh. Some of the furniture in the buffet dining rooms are showing their age and need to be replaced. The food selection at the buffet was odd and not appealing. There was a long line to get food at the buffet on Day 1. Something I have not experience on other ships. Passengers were grumbling. Noted a few young passengers with poor buffet etiquette so we did not return. (Ex: sneezing without covering mouth) The most alarming to us was the brown water (color of cola!) coming out of faucets and shower head intermittently in both cabins starting on Day 2. We were told this was happening on the starboard side of the 9th floor and a plumber would need to work on it. This continued through the end of Day 4. We brushed our teeth with bottle water (provided by us) and went to the pools and hot tubs vs taking a shower with contaminated water. This is an older ship that has doors in some common areas (busy pool/elevator areas) that you need to use your hands to pull/push vs being automatic. I was surprised Princess did not upgrade these doors to touch free to reduce germ transfer among passengers. We tried to ignore the flaws to the best of our ability and have a fun Holiday vacation. Would I cruise on this ship again? No. We much prefer the Celebrity Cruise Line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
We are a family of 3. This was our 3rd cruise with Princess. Previously we cruised with Dawn to Brisbane and Sun to Melbourne, one way. Both the Dawn and the Sun catered to all types and we had a good time. I wanted to try the Diamond ... Read More
We are a family of 3. This was our 3rd cruise with Princess. Previously we cruised with Dawn to Brisbane and Sun to Melbourne, one way. Both the Dawn and the Sun catered to all types and we had a good time. I wanted to try the Diamond Princess for its size. The ship is big and at times you wonder where everyone is, but on this cruise it was full - 2823 paying passengers. Embarkment and disembarkment went smoothly. We planned to get on board early, like 1.30pm, but when we boarded there were 100 people boarded already. We dropped our carry ons and our suitcase was already there in our stateroom. Also we booked the last room on this cruise. We headed to the Horizon buffet and stopped by to purchase the Soda package. After lunch we walked around the whole ship to get an idea where things are. On this cruise there was no drinks package and it was credited to our account. You buy as you go. The food in the buffet is always good. From housekeeping to dining, all staff were attentive and professional. We encountered a little problem with fine dining. On the first night the lines were massive and when we reached to be served we were told to go to reception and from there to see maitre D. At the end we got to International buffet and we stayed a few nights to be waited on. If you have food intolerances let them know in advance or note it in your bookings. We ordered many of the dishes. Lunch in fine dining was not good - ordinary. Best to eat at the buffet. Dinner excellent. We did see a few people in casual clothes on semi formal nights and also on the other cruises. I guess it's not a policy. Hmm thinking of wearing shorts on my next cruise just to see what reactions. Staff at the restaurants will try to get you to purchase drinks, be strong and simply say no. Wines are very expensive with the gratuity fee. If you intend to buy wines check out the buffet where it can be purchase at a discount price and you can take it to any of the 4 free fine dining restaurants and also if you don't finish the bottle they will store it for you for the next night. We didn't dine at any of the paying restaurants and on some nights it was empty. Activities were good as well as entertainment - this depends on what you like. Karaoke was bad, you have to search for song on an iPad and when you do find it try to remember the number so the staff can retrieve the song. There weren't that many songs and most people left which you can't blame them. There were too many excuses. We did our research on this cruise and we brought emergencies items e.g sunburnt spray and cream, medications, highlighters for bingo and to mark activities on Princess Patter. On 2nd day we told reception we don't want to pay for the gratuity fee and I signed a form and it was automatically credited, no problems. This cruise suited for the oldies and families, not so much for the 18-20s, but they manage to find others and party on. 18 years old were allowed to purchase alcohol on this cruise, but they don't tell you when you book. A lot of the oldies hung out at the piano, Croonies bar and they know how to party. Can't wait to get to Ruby status. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our 6th Christmas cruise but 1st on the Royal. We arrived in FLL a day before the cruise and spent the night at Embassy Suites. We took the hotels's shuttle to the port at 11:00am and were on board eating lunch in the dining ... Read More
This was our 6th Christmas cruise but 1st on the Royal. We arrived in FLL a day before the cruise and spent the night at Embassy Suites. We took the hotels's shuttle to the port at 11:00am and were on board eating lunch in the dining room by 12:30pm. We are Elite so embarkation was quick and painless. We were upgraded to a mini on Marina deck. Loved the size of the cabin and the large bathroom. The only minor issue was a noise during the day from the pool deck above when someone was dragging chairs around or walking in heels. We missed the full Promenade deck as we like to walk in the morning and before dinner. There was a walking /jogging track on Deck 17 but it was not protected from the sun and rain. 7 laps around = 1 mile. We did not use the elevators during the cruise so can't comment on those. We had Anytime dining and usually ate between 6:00-6:30pm. We always shared a table and never had to wait. Food was good but sometimes underseasoned for our taste. Loved the Chocolate Journeys desserts on 3 nights. We ate breakfast in the buffet or International Cafe since we like to sleep in and never got ready before 9:00am to eat in the Dining Room. We missed Christmas wreaths on the tables and Christmas Crackers on Christmas day. Those changes made the Christmas dinner that much less special than previous years on the Emerald. We had lunch at Alfredo's 2 times: pizza was OK but the crust was not salted. The 2nd time we tried the pasta dishes and they were very good. We did not take any excursions and in most ports we did not get off the ship. We enjoyed staying on the quiet ship, reading on our balcony and people watching in IC. We went to see the new production shows. Enjoyed all of them but they are short at 30 minutes. We did not see the other guest performers as comedians, mentalists and ventriloquists are not really our preferred entertainment. We did not like the new theater, prefer the one on the Emerald. This one seems like a cold cinema rather than a grand theater. There are no tray tables in the seats so people order drinks and then leave the empty glasses on the floor, which get kicked by people leaving the rows. You could see old lemons, straws and napkins under the seats. We missed having a priest on board to conducts a Midnight Mass. This time there was Catholic service conducted by the DJ and cruise staff on a bare theater stage without even a Christmas tree. We understand that Princess wants to be politically correct but this cruise was advertised as a Christmas cruise so they could make an exception. There also was no Rabbi so there was an annoucement in the Patter asking for a passenger to conduct Hannukah services. All in all it was a great cruise on a lovely ship. Perhaps if we have't cruised at Christmas so may times before, we would not notice all the little cut backs that made this Chrstmas cruise seem a little less festive.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I was initially concerned about cruising on the Emerald Princess at Christmas for fear that: 1) the ship would be overrun with unsupervised children, 2) we'd have problems departing and arriving in the Port of Houston due to fog and ... Read More
I was initially concerned about cruising on the Emerald Princess at Christmas for fear that: 1) the ship would be overrun with unsupervised children, 2) we'd have problems departing and arriving in the Port of Houston due to fog and 3) that the number of passengers would make for a crowded ship. I am happy to report that none of my fears materialized and that our Christmas cruise was very merry indeed. Embarkation: We (two adults in late 50's and two adults in mid 20's) stayed the night prior to the cruise at the Springhill Suites at Hobby Airport. The hotel offered free shuttle service from the airport and to anywhere within 5 miles of the hotel. This worked our great for us because we had family members arriving at Hobby at 3 different times and they just came to the hotel on the shuttle. Also, the shuttle was great for taking us to restaurants, Walmart, etc. The next day we called Pasadena Taxis and they sent a nice minivan for our party of 4. The cost, as they estimated beforehand, was around $50. We arrived at the time Princess requested we do so (noon - 1pm) and the line was rather long, but moved at a good pace. We were onboard the ship within 30 minutes of arriving at the port. The ship departed the Port of Houston almost on time--no fog problems. Public Rooms: This was the largest Princess ship I had ever sailed on, so I was a little concerned that it would feel crowded. Not so. There were plenty of public places to go which were uncrowded. In fact, this felt as one of the most un-crowded ships I've ever been on. Because this was a Christmas cruise, all of the public areas were decorated which made it especially nice. The Piazza was wonderful and we enjoyed the champagne waterfall, Christmas caroling and other programs here. Another of our favorite spots was the area outside the Explorers Lounge. There were always some tables and chairs there where we could play our Scrabble game. The outside areas were equally uncrowded. Our go-to place for breakfast was the Caribe Cafe and the area behind the cafe and our go-to place for sunning and swimming was at the Terrace Pool. This area seemed to be a secret from most of the passengers because they were crowded in the Horizon Court and around the Calypso and Neptune Pools. The only public area that was a disappointment to me was the library. For such a large ship, this was a pitifully small library. Cabin: Our party had both a balcony room and an inside room. The rooms on Princess are somewhat smaller than their counterparts on other cruiseships, but they are still fine. I will say that we had more than enough storage space for all of our clothes and luggage. And having a mini-fridge in all of the rooms is a big plus for Princess. The beds on Princess have always been so comfortable to me. Our cabins were on the Aloha Deck and we never heard a thing--no sounds from the ship, no sounds from the passengers, no sounds of the stewards' carts. This was the quietest room I've ever had on a ship. Fitness and Recreation: The fitness room was similar to most fitness rooms on other cruise ships. Treadmills were the most popular machines but were available for use only after 8am due to the fact that there were cabins underneath. The gym was open from 6am to 10pm. There were lots of other recreational areas--putting course, croquet, half-size shuffleboard, and basketball. Enrichment Activities: I don't recall any on this cruise. On previous Princess cruises, there have been educational talks about the ports-of-call, but not so on this ship. There were also not any "Scholarship at Sea" programs. Dining: Our dining experience (late traditional) started out poorly when we were assigned a table in a highly-trafficked area next to the waiter's service area. We could see several other tables in quieter areas which were empty, so the next day I contacted the head waiter for the Botticello dining room and we were immediately re-assigned to a quiet table next to the window. (I wonder why passengers were seated at less-desireable locations when prime locations were available?) The breakfasts in the Caribe Cafe were fine, but we were never able to get any grapefruit despite being told we could. For lunch, we always had pizza, hot dogs or hamburgers and they were all delicious. We never waited for the grilled foods and there was never more than a 5 - 10 minute wait for pizza. The dinner menu was OK, but I have always found the food on Princess to be rather bland. Since this was a cruise out of Texas, I would have expected some spicer food as we love our Tex-Mex and BBQ. Even the food choices that were supposed to be spicy were not. Princess would do a real service to their customers by providing a "spicy" option at each meal. Entertainment: There was lots of entertainment on this ship. We did not attend any of the production shows, but the performances by the guest performers, singer Lovena B. Fox and magician Michael Barron were excellent! The Christmas caroling by the staff was such fun and there were other programs in the Piazza which I enjoyed. My only gripe about the entertainment was that there was a nightly game show (trivia, etc.) each night at 9:15 pm, but those who had traditional late dining could not participate because we were never finished with our meals until 9:30 pm or later. Shore Excursions: We had 3 port stops and we did a ship's excursion in Belize. I prefer private tours, but since this was a tender port and since we were only in port until 4:30 pm, I was afraid to book a private tour for our destination, the Lamanai Mayan Ruins. Like all big tours, we waited around a LOT but the excursion met our expectations. I will say Princess does a good job on their website letting you know exactly where you will go on your excursion and how much time you will spend there. The lunch, however, on this excursion was poor. The meal consisted of 2 small pieces of chicken, rice and coleslaw. I barely had enough to eat and my 6'4" son certainly did not. Service: The service on the Emerald Princess was excellent. The staff was friendly and seemed to do all that they could to ensure you had a great experience. My interactions with the head waiter and with the pursers desk were productive. Debarkation: We arrived in the Port of Houston about an hour later than scheduled due to weather. However, they made up some of this time and we debarked only 30 minutes later than scheduled. The debarkation was pretty good, but our assigned area, the Crown Grill, was too small for everyone who was supposed to be there. We ended up waiting in another area and ocassionally walking over to the Crown Grill to check on our debarkation time. Going through Customs and Immigration in Houston was easy and we quickly got a taxi (Pasadena Taxi again) to Hobby airport. The cost was around $60. Value for Money: Because this was a Christmas cruise, the cost was much higher than the cost of this same cruise at other times. Therefore, our "value-for'money" was less. However, this was a great cruise and I would recommend both the Emerald Princess and doing a Christmas cruise. A Final Note: As previously mentioned, I was really concerned about booking a Christmas cruise for 4 adults for fear we'd be overrun by children. When we were in the embarcation line, I commented to my spouse as to how few children there were. During the entire cruise we saw relatively few children and we did not experience ANY rude, misbehaving or unsupervised children. I was very pleasantly surprised.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
My husband and I wanted to do something different for Christmas, like not spend time with our family this year and do our own thing!!! It was our second cruise we have ever been on. I am going to list the pros and cons. Pros: The pizza ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to do something different for Christmas, like not spend time with our family this year and do our own thing!!! It was our second cruise we have ever been on. I am going to list the pros and cons. Pros: The pizza was AWESOME!!! Always fresh, hot, thin crust, nice sized pieces, and there was always cheese and pepperoni available along with a special for the day. Great selection of alcohol under 10$ which was included in the all-inclusive beverage card. The bartenders did not skimp on the amount of booze in the drinks. Our stateroom attendant was great! She was very attentive, our room was always clean, and available to meet our requests/needs. Deck 7 was our favorite. It is an open deck and we would walk around the ship a lot. There were several places throughout the deck to sit, read, and relax. They had a British Lunch a few times during the week and the Fish and Chips were GREAT!!! The disembarkation was very well organized, smooth, and efficient. Recommend letting cruise line get you to where you need to go (for us LAX). We paid 20$/person to go to the Crab Shack and it was worth it!!! Delicious seafood and portions! For entertainment we enjoyed Movies under the stars, bingo, and the exec chef demonstration. We were GRATEFUL that they televised the NFL games on the big screen Sunday and Monday night. We appreciated that they hand sanitizer throughout the ship and at the entrances of food stations. Although we didn't have kids with us, It was a nice touch that they had Santa circle the boat on the tender on Christmas day for the kids. Overall, service was great and employees were friendly. CONS: Food in the Horizon Court buffet was so-so to below average. My husband had a piece of andouille sausage that he said tasted like throat spray.....and he eats everything! For a cruise in the Mexican Riviera we were surprised there wasn't more Mexican food? We wished our time in Cabo was all day instead of just 1pm... The tender took some time getting to and from the shore. The internet packages were overpriced so we opted to just quickly check our e-mails paying 80 cents per minute!! If you purchase the all exclusive beverage package you better drink! Doing the math, it equates to drinking $50/day whether it be booze, soda, specialty coffee, etc. We did make good use of getting large bottles of water which were $3.50 each. We expect it to be crowded when there is >4,000 people on a ship but...It seemed like there was never anywhere to sit for meals and there was always a long line when waiting to be seated for dinner (we were anytime dining). Overall we had a good time!!!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
"Oh, you are the Hammann's? You have been upgraded!" OK. I'm not an idiot. I realize that getting upgraded is fairly standard. However, don't we all love to hear that phrase? It put a smile on my wife's face ... Read More
"Oh, you are the Hammann's? You have been upgraded!" OK. I'm not an idiot. I realize that getting upgraded is fairly standard. However, don't we all love to hear that phrase? It put a smile on my wife's face as well as mine and set the tone for our 20th wedding anniversary cruise. We arrived at 2:00 as suggested by our boarding pass. It literally took about 5 minutes to get through the check-in process. We stood for about three minutes behind on family and then was instructed to move to a quicker line by an attendant. We were greeted, given our cruise cards and moved on to the ship. Quick and easy! We had reserved an obstructed view stateroom and were upgraded to a balcony stateroom. We were excited to see our room. Both of us had never cruised before so we were enjoyed each and every step of the process. From the name tag on the room to the greeting from Jeffrey, our steward, we were amazed at the service. The food and food service was top of the line. We loved our meal times. Not only were we served amazing food, we established some great relationships with the servers who come from all corners of the world. While I haven't been on other cruises so I cannot compare, I suspect that it would be hard to beat what Princess offers in this area. We dined using the anytime dining package which offered a great amount of flexibility. The balcony cabin we were booked into was amazing. It offered amazing views. The bed was comfortable. Our steward, Jeffrey, was efficient and stealthy! It took some getting used to the two a day service plan on our rooms but once we had the system down it was great. The 2015 New year celebration was great. We had a great time hanging out with people of all nations. This was a memory for a lifetime. I certainly would sail Princess again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We sailed Regal Princess Christmas week 2014. The ship was full with 4000 passengers. This is my 5th Princess cruise, 7th overall. My BF has sailed many more times than me on both Princess as well as other cruise lines. We are both ... Read More
We sailed Regal Princess Christmas week 2014. The ship was full with 4000 passengers. This is my 5th Princess cruise, 7th overall. My BF has sailed many more times than me on both Princess as well as other cruise lines. We are both Princess Platinum. We are 43 and 42. I will start by saying we had an absolutely wonderful time and would love to sail Regal again in a heartbeat. I only had a few minor criticisms. Embarkation was a breeze. It took 10 minutes or less to check in, we were onboard by noon and our room was ready. The ship is truly beautiful, elegant, lovely in every way. The online pictures do not do the Regal justice. The atrium is much more beautiful in real life, as is the whole ship. Although the ship was fully booked we never felt crowded anywhere. It was kind of strange! Room: We had a mid-ship mini-suite A407. The room is very spacious and well laid out. There is plenty of storage. I’m a heavy packer and there were still some empty drawers. The bathroom is lovely with a large tub and plenty of storage for your toiletries (and I have a lot). The balcony was nice. It’s perfect to sit out with a glass of wine and enjoy the sea air. The size was not an issue for us. We were a few decks down from the Seawalk, and it was slightly off to the side. You can see up into it and those above can see you on your balcony, if that matters to you. For me it didn’t. Most people on the Seawalk are oblivious anyway. Pools: This is where I have a criticism. I wish there was another full size pool that was quiet. The MUTS pool is too loud. If you want quiet you must move to an area away from the main pool and hot tubs or go to the Retreat Pool. The Retreat pool is lovely, IF you can get a lounger. Lounge hogs were in full effect everywhere, especially the Retreat. I was happy to see deck attendants taking their towels away after a while. All pools are colder than a frozen margarita, seriously. The aft pool is far too small. I also feel the fountains are a waste of space. That being said we enjoyed our poolside time very much. Spa: We had a nice couples massage and it was great. The new location of the Spa near the Piazza is fantastic. Yes they do try to sell you stuff but not too forcefully. I wish they would stop doing that. Entertainment: We only saw 2 theater shows: the Beatlemaniacs which were fantastic, and “Spectacular” which was not so…spectacular. (They tried, it’s just not my thing.) The bartender flair show at the Seawalk bar is not to be missed! Get there early for a good spot. There was an excellent quartet (Rick Kilburn) that played in numerous venues, we enjoyed them a lot. There was also a comedian who was pretty good. Princess Live is a very cool venue, check it out. It’s something different and fun. Overall, the entertainment everywhere was good quality and varied. There is plenty of time to see the theater shows every night, they run 3x per night. Food: Horizon court is AWESOME. You will never have the crowds and people in your way and in your face. It’s so large and well laid out. The food is overall very good. There is plenty of seating as well. Don’t miss the Crab Shack ($20 pp) at night, we loved it (happens 2x per cruise). The seafood is delicious and abundant. Sabatini’s and Crown Grill are fantastic as always, we ate here 2 times each. MDR leaves much to be desired, the waitstaff are very overworked and therefore cannot pay proper attention to the guests. They forgot a course one night and on another night couldn’t deliver our drink order in a timely fashion. This is why we prefer the special restaurants. The price is good and the food and service are top notch. They want you to try everything so don’t be shy. Get those extra lobster tails or have 3 appetizers! Alfredo’s Pizzeria makes fantastic pizza, it’s a step above Prego pizza at the pool and very nice environment to dine in. It gets busy on sea days so be prepared. Trident grill and Prego Pizza are good as always. Service: All around excellent. Everyone says hello and smiles, even when just walking past them. Wait staff are all around excellent. Room steward did an excellent job. Drink package: We did the all-inclusive beverage package. It was well worth it. Both people in the cabin do NOT have to buy it. Note that you cannot work it to serve 2: they will only give you one drink at a time. Even if you want bottled water and a cocktail you must wait and get them one at a time. However, you can get cocktails or wine at dinner as well as a bottle of sparkling or still water for the table. We made full use of the package and probably came out ahead. It includes all your alcohol by the glass below $10 (vast majority of drinks) as well as sodas, bottled water, coffees, gelato, juices, mocktails, basically everything. Buy it at any bar when you get onboard. Other notes: - Bellini bar is lovely, it’s a good place to watch what’s happening in the Piazza in the evening and the cocktails are good. We did not try the Ocean Terrace Seafood bar but it looks similarly nice. - The lack of a mid-ship staircase makes no difference, in fact it was better: we just took the elevators instead of hoofing it! There are 6 elevators in one place, you never have to wait more than 1 minute. And this was on a full ship. There are so many complaints about this it makes me feel that CC readers have been brain washed to believe it’s a problem when in fact it’s not a problem at all. Haters must hate, I guess. - Don’t miss sailaway on the top deck, they play the Love Boat horn and it is AWESOME!!!!! Overall this was a perfect vacation with just a few little complaints. I highly recommend this ship and hope to sail her again someday.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
The ship was beautifully decorated with an xmas theme. We enjoyed the first half of the cruise as we chilled out and relaxed, however due to a lack of activity range on board, the second half was deadly boring. On board activities were ... Read More
The ship was beautifully decorated with an xmas theme. We enjoyed the first half of the cruise as we chilled out and relaxed, however due to a lack of activity range on board, the second half was deadly boring. On board activities were aimed at rest home level, and were regular. i.e. knitters group, craft group, bridge players group, and on it goes! There was little of interest for anyone under 50 years old and there were no new activities during the cruise. The cruise director was dreadful. He appeared lazy and stale. His jokes were weak and he repeated them often. He was rarely seen during the day and came on after each show in the evening, and many people just walked out when he came on. The singers and dancers were great, but unless you enjoy ballroom dancing and associated music, there was nothing else to do in the evening except gamble at the casino which became expensive, or drink too much. They had one deck party during the entire cruise which was great, but needed more. We love good music but there was only the princess band which had a large brass section so could be hard to listen to, a duo who where almost karaoke with their electronic backing, a quartet which played classical and the band which occasionally played on deck who were painfully out of tune and untalented (only ok to listen to after large quantities of alcohol). The nightclub mainly played disco music. Occasionally they screened concerts by good bands like tina turner or U2 on the big screen which were great, but often at 10am?? The food was amazing. Fabulous, fresh, tasty, great selection, cannot complain. We had an inside cabin which was quite adequate for us, but the beds were very hard and a bit lumpy. The itinerary sounded good, but all of the Fiji ports were just that - ports or small towns. No little islands with sandy beaches and good snorkelling and swimming unless you paid for an excursion. New Caledonia ports were good though. In general the best staff were the lower ranking ones. They couldn't do enough for you, although it soon transpired that if they put one foot out of place they were disciplined. They wouldn't even let us fill our own wine glass from the bottle on the table, or they would end up in the office of their superior. The supervisors, however in general were not great and could appear arrogant and unhelpful. Typical of such a hierarchal organisation. I would have happily fired a few and promoted their subordinates. Overall I definitely would not travel with Princess again. They have dated and slipped behind in a hugely competitive market where there are superior ships and experiences available. My advice to Sun Princess is get rid of your Cruise Director and find someone with some fresh ideas and some get up and go.   Read Less
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