July 2015 - Royal Princess to Europe - Western Europe
First, this is our 8th Cruise. We have traveled on Oceania, Renaissance, Carnival, Windstar, Norwegian, Viking, and our 2nd Princess Cruise - to places from China to Istanbul, Denmark to Tahiti, Danube River, etc.
The Royal Princess is a large beautiful ship, with activities for everyone. And an impressive array of tours in each port. The cabins are very comfortable and well appointed. Since we had a suite, the service and perks were generally very good, especially the Concierge Lounge. The speciality restaurants were excellent - both cuisine and service. We only attended one show (production) and it was quite good.
What is not said above.....it seemed that Princess "nickles and dimes" everything. Soft drinks, a latte at the coffee bar, speciality restaurants, sea food bar, and on and on. When paying in excess of $17,000. for a cabin, you would think more than 6 sodas , one bar set up and a bottle of sparkling wine would be included! On other cruise lines there were fountain soda bars where you can get your own...this was especially bothersome to us. Princess does offer soda, wine, drink, speciality coffee packages, etc.....for an extra charge. The quality of food at Horizons Buffet was spotty as well as the service....not always the friendliest. Example - for coffee you have to wait for a steward to serve you a cup and then add cream, if desired. Many of the staff did not seem to have answers to questions or gave wrong answers, this may be because, I learned, they rotate jobs. A major problem - the day of the virus being announced we were on a shore boat, a passenger vomited at the back of the boat (EEK), we were totally unable to understand the pilots announcement due to language difficulties, this was serious. And of course there was an uncontrolled rush to get off the shore boat when we sided to the Princess. If a crew member has responsibilities that pertain to passenger safety, their English should be as such that they can effectively communicate the instructions.
Unfortunately, on our cruise there was a virus outbreak 4 days out from the final port - see above. The Princess crew handled it very well on board, but it made one nervous to venture into some of the public areas, especially Horizons.
Finally, we will not travel on this large a ship again, or Princess, it is not for us. There were many on the ship who were on their 10+ Princess cruise and loved it...it's a matter of taste.