by Gene Simasek
March 7, 2006
We recently returned from this roundtrip cruise, San Pedro/Los Angeles to The Hawaiian Islands. I would advise anyone taking this cruise to NOT book transfers with Princess. It took 3 hours from the time we picked up our luggage at LAX til the bus dropped us off at the pier. There were many Princess representatives at the airport, but no one knew where the bus was. As it turns out, we had to take a cab for the return Flight and the cab was $5.00 less than the bus! So be advised,take a cab. We barely had time to grab a bite in the Horizon buffet til lifeboat drill was being sounded.
By the way, this buffet was the smallest I have senn on any ship. It seemed they always had on side closed. Maybe because they would not let you serve yourself later in the cruise as an unknown number of people were sick. You couldn't go anywhere without someone squirting your hands with sanitizer. The Captain would not shake hands with anyone at the reception.
The theater on this ship is also small, including the stage. MAybe thats why the shows were sub-par. The 2 "headliners". Benjamin Perez and Tawney Dolley (how's that for a stage name?) were less talented than the regulars in the shows. The dining rooms felt cramped and the ceilings are low, unlike other shipe with 2 level dining rooms. The food and service, however, were very good. Our Potugese waiter, Filipe and Assistant Nuno from Madeira were exceptional. The food was excellent except for the steak. The "prime" rib part of the surf and turf was better suited for resoling ones shoes. Rhe fish entrees were also very good.
What can one say about the cabins? We had a balcony on deck 12. I don't know how many of the people even fit as it measured 20" X 24".
The fitness room also was small. Would you believe 3 exercise bikes? The mens locker room only had 2 showers. The bed was probably the worst we have ever had on aship. You could feel the binding/springs through the ticking and this ship is only 2 years old. Would I sail this ship again? Definately no. There are to many others to try.
That brings us down to the constant announcements hawking something.Flyers in your cabin pushing all sorts of things, but you have to ask to have the little world news sheet delivered. I asked late in the cruise why they no longer give that out and was told they try to save paper. I guess so they can print more sales flyers. We love cruising but this was not one we will fondly remember.
One final note in closing. If you have not been to Hawaii before, don't expect to see too much from a ship. We have been there 5 times, fly and stay on the Islands. We also were told the ship would sail from Kona to Hilo past the lava flow at night and was a sight to see, but for an unknown reason, we took the short route away from the lava fields. Thanks, but no thanks Princess.Gene Simasek