Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Marc Eastern Caribbean August 13, 2009
AVOID THIS CRUISE LINE AT ALL COSTS! The cruise we took was the worst vacation we have ever had. As experienced travelers and cruisers we had a good idea of what to expect. We were disappointed in almost every aspect of the cruise. One expects a certain amount of "nickel and diming" as that is the nature of cruises. But Princess takes this to a bizarre extreme. Every possible way to separate one from his or her money is exploited.
The ship is completely and totally overcrowded. There is no where to go and nothing to do without being crowded by other passengers. The dining rooms, the fitness center, the decks, the pools….everything was crowded. The anytime dining rooms had lines frequently an hour or more. In the buffet areas the dining areas were always full leaving no place to sit. Princess cruises staff actually took up tables while passengers had no where to sit.
Early in the morning passengers would spread towels on lounge chairs since if one waited until late morning there would be no available lounge chairs to use. Even though there are signs asking passengers not to reserve lounge chairs, this was never enforced. The pools were always packed, the adults only pools frequently had many children in them.
The staff seemed simply angry. From the cabin steward to the bar tenders to the front desk it was clear that they were overworked, mistreated, or just unhappy to be there. Our cabin steward was frequently AWOL. On more than one occasion we actually had to go to the front desk to request someone clean our room and bring some fresh towels. Our room was not clean when we arrived. My wife actually had to do cleaning in the bathroom area. The towel she used was filthy when she finished.
When calling for room service or any other service the phone would ring, on some occasions 20 times or more. Both times we ordered room service they said they were extremely busy and the service took over an hour. There was never a time when anything was done in a reasonable amount of time. The ship was too crowded.
There are many other examples of poor service and a lack of promised facilities. I rarely write reviews for cruises but in this case I wanted to warn those who may be contemplating booking a cruise with Princess. What is promised in their promotional material will not be delivered. You will spend far more money than you expect due to the extreme "nickel and diming" that is practiced by princess. You will receive poor service.
The food was ok, not great. Trying to get a table in the anytime dining rooms is impossible. Expect to wait in long lines. The buffet areas are so busy that it's very difficult to make ones way through. Fining a place to sit is also very difficult. If you’re expecting gourmet meals served by good waiters then you will be very disappointed. The cuisine is similar to what one would find in a chain restaurant. The service will be far less than one would expect.
We had a balcony stateroom on the Riviera deck. The room was small as one would expect. The balcony was small. There is a plastic pane that is about 4ft high. This piece of plastic was so filthy that one could not see through it. I requested that it be cleaned and was told that nothing could be done. I have been on other ships and this pane of plastic is cleaned each day.
The television would frequently lose its signal. The only stations that would be available were the ones that have promotional commercials. It was actually comical to see them trying to market their cruise showing people in different parts of the ship. In their infomercial nothing was crowded. On the ship everything was crowded.
The bottom line: The room was about what was expected as far as size, but unacceptable dirty.
The onboard activities were lacking. The swim against the current pool NEVER worked not once when we were on the cruise. Each time we inquired as to the reason, we got a different answer as to why it was not working.
The internet cafe charged exorbitant rates to use the computer. The connection was frequently poor, resulting in the need to reboot. The shows in the evening filled up very fast. If you did not get there early, you would not get a seat. The cruise director staff in general seemed to think that we were there for them instead of them being there for us. Plan on entertaining yourself on this ship.
Lesson to the wise: DO NOT PLAN AHEAD FOR SHORE EXCURSIONS. Our itinerary was changed while we were on the cruise and we were not able to attend any of the shore excursions we had booked. Princess re-routed us to ports of call that had limited shore excursions and extremely limited tourist amenities. The alternate route was clearly chosen to save Princess money (i.e. a lot fewer nautical miles traveled). It was clear to us that more desirable ports could have been chosen with no danger based on weather conditions.
AVOID THIS CRUISE LINE AT ALL COSTS! You were warned. The culture of this cruise company is designed to make money and not to satisfy the customer.