August 2015 - Royal Princess to Europe - Western Europe
While the ship is a beautiful ship, the dinner menus were lacking, and the "Any Time Dining" preference that was forced on us back in April when we booked this cruise is - to be blunt a cruel joke. While our card read, "Any Time, Any Table," the truth is just the opposite. "Any Time Dining" is assigned but to only two dinning rooms, and "Any Time Dining" is available only after 7:35 p.m. each night. Princess takes reservations for these dinning rooms, and the reservations fill up the dining room leaving little dining options left for the "Any Time" diner. Of course, Prince will give out buzzers (just like you get in restaurants at home) that allow you to wait for a table, except for when all the buzzers have been given out. My wife became ill with the Norovirus early in the cruise and on the first formal night; so, we missed that formal dining opportunity. On the second night, we dressed in our formal attire for dinner. I called much earlier in the day for a reservation only to be told that none were available. However, I was also told that there were plenty of tables available designated as "Any Time" dining. We showed up at our designated "Any Time" dining room at 7:30, and we were turned away because they were full and did not expect any tables to become available. We went to other dining rooms including the specialty dining rooms, and we were told by each on that they were full and closed for the evening. My wife and I, dressed in our formal attire, ended up eating dinner in the Pizzeria. The entertainment was too heavy on local culture. The local culture was interesting, but there was too much of it. We have experienced much better entertainment on other cruises. On the bright side, we liked the way the Princess staff handled the flow of people in the Horizon Cafe on Deck 16 where people usually go for breakfast. We did not have a problem finding a table as we have on other cruise ships, and Princess had people waiting on us at the table to serve coffee and juice. There was no waiting line for omelets as we simply ordered the omelet and went to our table with a ticket that was picked up by the waiters. The waiters then brought the freshly cooked and still hot omelet to our table. Ports of call were very good, and we enjoyed our tours that we were able to keep. We could not attend two tours because of illness, and the cruise bypassed Dublin because of bad weather. On the one hand, you should know that when a passenger becomes ill and reports the illness to the medical room, the medical staff will stamp your tour tickets. You then turn them back to the tour desk, and your money for these tours will be refunded. On the other hand, you should know that if you become ill with the Norovirus, Princess does not look out after your diet in recovery. We called for chicken soup and rice, and we were told that room service did not have it on their menu and to go to the Horizon Café. I went there and asked for this food, and was told to call room service.