August 2015 - Royal Princess to Europe - Western Europe
It was a good trip and a good ship - excellent entertainment, hospitable staff BUT be wary of the port excursions. They are expensive. When people pay top dollar they expect a top tour. I was told by the cruise staff that Princess contracts with Trafalgar. I had a great overland tour with that company, albeit some number of years ago. The bus was comfortable then, but they are NOT comfortable now. I have taken overland tours all over the world. Never a problem. I assume there are "special" buses for day tours designed to pack travelers in, without regard to comfort. I cancelled all of my long ride tours. It just isn't worth the back ache. And then there is the issue of Princess getting the most bang for its buck. One tour had every seat taken including the two middle seats in the back row. You cannot see out of those seats. Shame on Princess. Multiple buses were contracted for each tour. As you might expect, the buses that had good guides had satisfied travelers. If Princess cannot get uniformly good guides, they should limit the buses to the extent that they can get good guides. I was on a bus tour where approximately 40% of the travelers were disabled. To say that Princess was unable to cope with that is an understatement. At a time when organization is clearly required there was a total organizational breakdown. We were counted and recounted until they finally just gave up. I think it is obvious that a time accommodation should be given if you have a significant number of travelers who need extra time. This was not done and it was not fair to any of the passengers. I did have good guides and good trips. But it is a hit or miss proposition. In the future, this will discourage me from taking cruises on big ships unless I just want to enjoy my time on board the ship.