For the most part, the cruise went as expected. However, it seemed from the moment we arrived on the ship that there was something not quite up to par with the staff. I found the room stewards to be a surly lot, rarely smiling and it was difficult to even get a "good morning" out of them. The bar staff (there were specific individuals that were great) seemed to wander around the bar/deck/casino aimlessly, rarely stopping and asking if you needed anything. The food was mediocre in the dining room, the pizza was wonderful, the food at the buffet was barely edible most of the time.
As far as our ports went, Hawaii was very nice, Papeete was a major disappointment, Bora Bora would have been a disappointment had it not been for the wonderful tour that we booked (not Princess), Pago Pago was also a disappointment. All of our stops in New Zealand were wonderful, it was a shame that we missed Akaroa as we were really looking forward to it. The scenic cruising was beautiful, the onboard ranger very informative. Sydney is a beautiful city, clean and safe, we just did the hop on hop off bus and the Sunday market in The Rocks since we only had one day there.
Huge kudos to the public area cleaning staff. This ship was by far the cleanest ship that I've ever been on. I expected that the facilities would degrade as the passengers were onboard for so many sea days. Every day, the ship fairly sparkled.
Overall, I’d give this cruise a 3 ½....not terribly bad, but not as good as other Princess cruises that we have enjoyed.
What was good. The ports of call, the tours and the weather. The weather was perfect at every port. Juneau was raining in town, but NOT on the glacier where we were. Skagway and Ketchikan was overcast, Victoria started off with a light mist and cleared by the time we were outside at the Sunken Garden. What was Bad. The service in the main dining rooms is UNTRAINED! Except for ONE young lady (Anna from the Ukraine) orders were taken around the table. Should be Ladies first. Servers Consistently reached across in front of one guest to serve another. Food was served from both sides. Empty dishes were picked up the same. Doesn't ANYONE Serve from the Right & Pick up from the Left anymore? The wine cellar was out of numerous items on the list. My wife never got her first choice wine. What was Ugly. NOTHING save AIR is included in the fare. A 1/2 letter bottle of water is $2.00, as are sodas. Wine is about double the retail cost. GRATUITIES are Not Gratuitous, they are added to your account daily. (For your convenience) My dinner the first night was the Chef’s Award Winning Recipe of Pan Seared Salmon on a bed of Root Vegetables. The salmon was WAY Passed done.
The cruise departed from San Francisco, our home and so it was very convenient to get to the port. The first couple of days were a little rocky but after that it was smooth sailing. The food was great and so was the service. We celebrated 2 birthdays and the cakes were amazingly cute with the princess logo. Overall, the entertainment variety was unique. We enjoyed all the excursions at the different ports and felt we had enough time after for shopping also. I would definitely recommend this cruise.
Princess Cruises promised one thing in their advertisement and delivered another. We were not given the upgrade offered nor the onboard credit advertised, $300 per person ($100 for me only), Military credit $100 ($50 only for my son). Mia with the pursers office did her best to resolve the matter, but to no avail. The reason given by Princess, I booked through Cruises Only. Therefore I will no longer be using Cruises Only or Princess.
The onboard and shore crews were very helpful.
Total Passengers: 2590
Total Crew: 1116
Crew to Passenger Ratio: 2.32
Built: May 2001
Refurbished: 6 yrs ago
Number of Decks: 14
Total Cabins: 1316
Cabin Categories: 34
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The "all you can drink alcohol card" was an immense deal since it included water bottles and artisan coffees. As well as the "all you can drink card" for the youth since it included mocktails. Those cards saved us lots of money!
If you like coffee, sign up for the coffee card in the piazza!
Purchased the All-inclusive beverage card and it was great! Included wine, beer, cocktails, sodas and the specialty coffee's too! A bit pricey, but felt we got our monies worth!