August 2016 - Regal Princess to Europe - Northern Europe
This was our fourth cruise with Princess and in comparison with our earlier ones this one did not quite match up.
Our cabin was smaller and the balcony was very cramped. There was a constant " sewer" like smell in our bathroom and we generally felt more vibration in the room than we normally do.
A major complaint was the length of time we had to wait in line almost every evening to get into the Symphony dining room. We chose anytime dining ,as we always do when available, and we have never had to wait before. We did notice that many people had made reservations and they were given preference over those of us who were waiting. We were not aware that making a reservation for anytime dining was an option and quite frankly this does not make sense to us. Incidentally we are always willing to share a table, we were not waiting for a table for 2.
On previous cruises we have always been able to request slight changes on the menu which were honored with pleasure. We noticed that not only for us but other passengers this was not the case on this cruise. One example, one evening a leek pie was served alone on a plate. 3 people at our table asked if any vegetables were available to go with it. We were shocked when they were told there were no vegetables. Our experience in the past has been that every effort would be made to accommodate the guests.
Food overall was very good, Horizon Court had good choices every day. The Crown Grill speciality restaraunt was excellent.
The interior of the ship is very nice but the layout is " awkward ". What we found very disappointing was the lack of a promenade deck where we could walk all around the ship.
The port stops were good. We only did one Princess excursion which was the train into and back from Berlin with time on our own there.This worked out well as we always prefer to do our own exploring. St Petersburg was wonderful. We arranged our own guide for 2 full days which was less expensive than the Princess tours and was only a group of 6.
We were disappointed that we missed Helsinki but thankful that the crew take the precautions for our safety.
Our room steward, Alan, did an excellent job.
Overall we think the ship is too big and ultimately something is lost in the level of service. We take cruises to feel a little pampered and this time it didn't work.For instance on other cruises with movies under the stars a crew member brought us blankets, popcorn and hot chocolate.On this one we had to get our own blankets and there was no offer of popcorn or hot chocolate.
In the whole scheme of things this is not a major problem but a disappointment nevertheless.
In speaking with other passengers throughpout the cruise many had the same impressions we had. Many had done more cruises than us and gave comparisons with other cruise lines.
As a result of this cruise when the time comes for us to make plans for another cruise we will be looking at other lines.