My wife and I just returned from a Regal Princess New Zealand/Australia cruise and, since we were very disappointed with the ship and its personnel, I thought it appropriate to write and provide some specifics. This was our fifth cruise and second cruise on Princess.
Our room number was E169. This turns out to be immediately below the shuffleboard game on the deck above. This game creates quite a bit of clatter and noise in the rooms below it. This was not a problem during the day since we were gone from the room quite a bit. However, it was a problem when we tried to sleep. I felt that there should have been a restriction that prevented shuffleboard play after 10 PM. This could have been easily done by posting a sign (as was done on the jogging track) or by removing the shuffleboard game pieces.
This after 10 PM noise situation was reported four times to the ships purser office/reception area (three times personally and once by phone). On one occasion, I reported this noise problem to the reception desk at 11:30 PM and they said they would ask someone to go up and stop the game. Shortly thereafter the game did cease, however this still did not solve the basic problem.the game should not be allowed to be played after 10 PM.
Each time the ship's staff agreed this was a legitimate problem and something needed to be done about the situation. Each time nothing was done. Some thought signs were already posted; I can assure you that signs requesting no shuffleboard play after 10 PM were not posted. The basic problem here is that none of the ship's staff accepted the responsibility to follow up and make sure the problem was corrected. The bottom line to us was aggravation and a loss of sleep.
I should also comment on our waiter at table 131. He needs some added training on basics. In my experience, ladies are always first. There were several instances when we were all seated and he took the gentlemen's orders first. He also served gentlemen first several times. On several occasions, he served the wrong food to the wrong person and in the case of my wife, he ordered the wrong meal for her. In his defense, he was waiting on 18 people at three tables. I personally feel 18 is too many people to provide "excellent" service to. He also seemed to take it personally when we chose to eat at alternative dining sites. I got the feeling that he was somehow penalized if someone did not show up at his table for dinner. Everyone at the table was chastised several times for missing a meal in the dining room. e.g. "where were you, you missed the best menu of the cruise last night". I felt uncomfortable with this attitude.
Everyone at the table had great difficulty talking to others at the table. We were a table of six (three on one side and three on the other). This seating arrangement combined with the high noise level in the dining room made it extremely hard to hear others at the table. It seemed to all of us that Princess tried to stuff as many people as possible into that room. I wondered if it was because it was the first sitting. One night, the ladies noticed that the tablecloth was very wrinkled and not pressed. Everyone at the table considered the food average. We have had far superior meats and vegetables at local restaurants in the Los Angeles area.
Entertainment was OK, some above average, some below average. Steward service was excellent. The ship is just beginning to show some wear and tear in the rooms. The tours and ports in New Zealand and Australia were excellent. New Zealand was very green and each city seemed to have a personality of its own. There are a number of other areas that I could speak about, however rather than belabor the point, I can summarize the trip by saying "Excellent ports and countries, mediocre ship". It was certainly not as good as the Sun Princess we cruised on. This was our fifth cruise.