Just back from two week cruise to Hawaii on Star Princess. It is our fourth time on Princess and the second on the Star. We are regular cruisers in excess of 20 cruises in total and until now never needed to complain about a cruise company.
Although the ship and itinerary were good and overall we had a pleasant trip we have decided that we would never go with Princess again and fully recommend that people steer clear of Princess. The overriding reason for such a strong statement is the company's "timeshare' approach to sales.
Now I am very use to the growing commercialisation of cruising with company's trying to make extra money from any opportunity, it's now a fact when cruising with the larger lines. However Princess take this to a whole new level and at one point we felt like we were going to get tossed upside down every time we rejoined the ship just to see what money they could shake out of us!
A few examples, my wife had a spar treatment which she enjoyed up until the last ten minutes when the sales pitch kicked in. When she made it clear she wasn't going to buy the product (as she has the product at home) the previously pleasant and cheerful masseuse turned sullen and offish, clearly realising a missed commission opportunity. This was also the case for two couples we met one of whom had their massage cut by 15 minutes when they said "no thanks".
I used the gym everyday and was worried and concerned that in the first eight days I saw elderly guests using machines in flip flops and even one in bare feet as well as one misusing weights. In that time the two gym instructors were busy running "complimentary" seminars (at which they tried to sell products of course) and one on one paid sessions. Not once did I see them taking any interest in the health and safety of their guests.
Additionally, we booked an excursion through Princess (discovered most excursions were nearly double the price of doing the same thing yourself ashore, most company's normally go up to 30% more, but not Princess.) The excursion was a once in a lifetime flight over an active volcano, preceeded by a tour of the island. However after a morning of touring and getting ready for the helicopter flight we turn up to be told we can't go up due to mechanical problems. Totally devastated we returned to the ship ( six of us) not blaming Princess but expecting a refund for the day and some form of understanding. However to our shock their attitude was that we had to pay for the half of the tour we had and they would only refund the part we missed, even though we booked one full day excursion. Not only that to add insult we were told that neither the customer services director or tour manager were authorized to refund us and there was not even "sorry about that please have a complimentary meal" etc. Just out and out poor service.
There are a number of other examples of how they put profit before service but I could be here for a while. Please be assured my review is meant to help people decide what company to choose when taking a cruise, all I would advise is steer clear of Princess as NCL, Caribbean, and the other mainstream lines will make you feel far more valued.