This was my 25th cruise, 1st on this cruiseline. Here is a quick overview of my observations:
1. This is a beautiful ship and towers over all others at every port. 2. Our cabin stewart was excellent, always watching out for us especially when the pool towel supply ran low at the end of the cruise. 3. The spa was beautiful and my massage was excellent. 4. Embarkation, tendering and debarkation were the best ever. 5. Coin operated laundry facilities were excellent.
1. Bar service was the worst ever. Bartenders visited amongst themselves, restocked shelves, washed glasses or just about anything possible to avoid having to wait on customers. Bar waiters were impersonal and hard to find. Immediately, you get the feel that these people hate their jobs and would rather be anywhere but on this ship. Do not expect to be greeted or acknowledged by the waitstaff. Staff appears to be overworked, angry and stressed.
(examples: when I asked for a glass of iced water in the casino bar, I was handed and glass with ice and told to go get the water pitcher on the bar and pour myself a glass....all the while the bartender is visiting with a bar waiter and joking amongst themselves; while watching the final edition of Princess Idol in Club Fusion, all of the bartender were in the back of the bar, cleaning and restocking, etc. and no one was available to take orders?)
2. Pool deck layout of lounge chairs. Six chairs are layed arm rest to armrest across the deck..with a single aisle for servers near the railing that overlooks the pool. The rows of chairs are positioned so close together that it is difficult at best to get to the sixth chair...and the wait staff doesn't even try to manuever that area. Which means chairs number 4-6 don't get very good service - and the wait staff doesn't really care anyway. (Most cruise lines divide the chairs with a center aisle for waitstaff so they can accomodate all passengers and are at most 3 lounge chairs away from each guest)
3. Club Fusion - here the waitstaff has brought slow service to a whole new level. 3 Bartenders, 2 barwaiters and aproximately 30 passengers and it takes 25 minutes for 2 drinks? Also, they begin closing down the bar at 12:30am while the DJ plays until 1am. So order before midnight if you want a drink during the last hour of music.
4. Personal choice dining: the wait staff and management are totally overwhelmed by this concept. Arriving at a time other than main or late seating times, totally screws up the wait staff. Everynight we made reservations for dinner at whatever time they said they had availability and each night we still waited sometimes 30 minutes for a table. Several nights we waited 20 minutes at the table for water and menus. Twice the waiter took our orders and skipped one of our orders...we would chase him down and get his attention!
5. Pre-ordering champagne for a newly engaged couple...mistake there...they handed the couple the bill for the champange, instead of the passenger that ordered the champagne.
6. Caribe Cafe Bar - closes at 10pm; however, because maintenance begins at 9pm and they hose down the entire area (Aft Deck 15-17) with a garden hose in the wind - most people run away to avoid the inevitable shower!
7. Movies Under the Stars: great concept if you could hear the dialogue. Either the sound guys an idiot of the winds carry dialogue away - but all we heard clearly was background sounds. Oh yeah, and call early to reserve your seat - because it sells out quickly.
8. Late night dancing: if you intend on dancing after 11:30pm to something other than hip/hop, remix, or techno, pick another ship.
9. Maintenance: our balcony walls had lots of paint splatters on them.
10. Working ice dispensers in the Horizon and Caribe Cafes would be nice. The plastic bins with the spoon weren't very attractive.
11. Mattresses: $20 mattress on a $10 box springs
12. Dining room food: Both the Palm and Coral dining room food was mediocre. Certainly didn't meet my expectations.
13. Your "Coke" card won't work on Princess Cay. Very limited bar service too. Beware, drink service closes at 1:30 on Princess Cay, while the last tender runs at 3:00?
14. Horrible Caribbean one man band on Princess Cay. He sets up at the bar near the Volleyball Court, avoid this area!
15. Sewer Gas: This is a constant problem for this ship. From embarkation to debarkation the aroma is nauseating. Most notably during Movies Under the Stars, on pool deck and on balconies. GROSS!
16. The fitness center was state of the art, just not enough equipment for the number of passengers. Since the "Promenade" deck requires you use stairs to access a different deck if you want to walk or jog, most people move to the fitness center to use the treadmills.
17. No midnight buffets.
18. One deck party on Thursday night, which was at the Caribe Bar area deck 15. Too small to handle passengers.
I will not travel this ship again. I am booked on the Grand in December and pray I have a better experience than this.