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We are an active couple in our 50's and this was our 12th cruise, the first time on Princess. Most of our previous cruises have been on Holland America. This is probably the only cruise we will do on Princess. Maybe it was just this ship but Princess just doesn't compare with Holland America. Our trip started off in London and we got transfers to the ship from the Victoria Coach Station because we had spent a few days before in London. We were told that information on where to meet our transfer would be posted on the board at the station. Wrong! If it wasn't for the Celebrity Cruise Line Representative there we would have had a hard time because no one at the station seemed to know about the Sea Princess and it was never posted on any board. Princess doesn't have a representative there, the bus driver just comes in at the appointed time and announces the transfer. There were only a few people besides us there to get the transfer. Not a good start! Embarkation was easy and we were quickly in our cabin. We had a balcony cabin and as other reviews said it is much smaller than other balcony cabins we've had on other ships, as is the bathroom, balcony and storage. The cabin was slightly worn looking with stains, cracks and worn carpet. Our fellow passengers on this cruise were 1800 British and 150 Americans (we are American). That would not have been an issue except that it seemed like most of the British were smokers, so smoke was an issue. You couldn't sit at the pool without having smokers all around you, the bars were smoky and even our balcony had smoke from our neighbors. Most of the people on this cruise too were 75 yrs. and older. We had a LOT of wheelchairs, motorized cars, walkers and canes. Four days into the cruise the ship became infected with a virus so it changed how things were done on the ship. While the crew did a great job of keeping the virus from spreading, it got to be somewhat annoying to have to have everything served to you in the buffet lines. The Horizon Court is not laid out well and it gets very crowded and congested but especially when everything had to be served lines got very long. They did not vacuum the ship for 10 days, laundry rooms were closed, ice had to be requested, it was not replaced daily by the room steward as it was in the first couple days, some activities were stopped and salt and pepper and sugar were taken off the tables to name a few of the precautions that they took. Since the cruise seems to attract a lot of British passengers it is understandable that there would be a lot of British food (especially for breakfast) and mostly British entertainment, but we got a little bored with the breakfast choices--they never changed and the entertainment was BAD, except for the band that played at the pool everyday, Skyline, was very good. The entertainment in the Wheelhouse Bar was good but the bar was too smoky to spend much time in. The "Movies Under the Stars" is great except the movies were pretty old--"Grease and Top Gun". The service was good but not exceptional, the crew was not nearly as friendly and fun as we've experienced on other ships. The food was good in the dining room but not great in the Horizon Court. There was a lot of variety in the dining room but nothing was outstanding. The desserts were disappointing. The grill by the pool had some of the best food. We've enjoyed the Alternative Dining on other ships but didn't try the Sterling Steakhouse on this ship because they just curtained off a part of the Horizon Court (Buffet) for the steakhouse at night. We did like the anytime dining and were always able to get a table by the window. The waiters did not seem as rushed in the anytime dining as we've found in the traditional dining. We enjoyed our cruise but there just wasn't anything amazing about this ship or Princess that would make us want to do another Princess cruise. We'll stick with Holland.
We were on the Sea Princess in the Med in June this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. We also sailed on her two years ago and felt that she had improved. the main restaurant was excellent food and excellent service..the buffet was OK as well...the cabin steward was very efficient, cabin with balcony very comfortable, the entertainment was excellent this year (better than two years ago) just one comedienne who was rubbish and I'm sure would not be appearing again!
We felt the organisation on embarkation and disembarkation was good, cases delivered to our cabin fairly swiftly. We cut our suggested gratuities by half and then paid what we wanted to who gave us excellent service. We always found plenty of deck space on sea days, some little secret places that few found. We like the Movies under the Stars. Nice range of ages...in fact not much to complain about at all ....except the photographers jumping in front of you at every opportunity!!
We also sailed on Sea Princess to the med, in July 2007. We had a balcony cabin which although comfortable was indeed smaller than our previous cruise with NCL. When first arriving I found that the top cover on the bed looked grubby, and had a burnhole in it, presumably from a cigarette. I complained, and it was changed immediately.
The cabin stewardess was friendly enough and kept the room clean, but certainly only on the surface. It was not spotless. Areas of the ship I found to be dirty.
I am a smoker, and whilst I am becominmg used to being treated like a leper these days, I do not expect it when paying a good amount of money for a holiday. The only area to smoke outside, after breakfast for example was outside the horizen bar near to the pools.
A few wooden tables in the corner, and nearby tiles were filthy. They needed a good wipe down with bleach or something. Bins were up against the tiles and the remnants where waiters had missed the bin were never, during the whole cruise removed from the tiles. I found it disgusting, and felt as though I was on a cross channel ferry, not a cruiseliner.
The food in the restaurant was good, but the horizen bar left alot to be desired, often it was cold, and to add insult to injury was served on plastic plates..ugh!
The staff on the whole were reasonably friendly, but many of them seemed to have a chip on their shoulder and were bordering on the surly. We were late docking at Southampton due to someone seriously ill having to be taken off the ship at Brest. I have no complaints about this at all. I do have a complaint about the attitude of the staff on the pursers desk though when we were trying to re arrange our journey home.Downright rude doesn't do it justice!!.
We had to catch a train to the north of England, and of course knew that we would miss it. I felt sorry for those trying to re schedule flights, the assistance was almost non existant, I saw Americans, many elderly who did not really have a knowledge of the geography of Britain, almost in tears with confusion and the unhelpful attitude of the officers.
As for us, we had to re book our train home, our pre booked tickets now being invalid for travel. I thought to hell with it and booked us in first class, why should we travel in a full train with no certainty of a seat when none of this was our fault? I wrote to the cruiseline afterwards, and at least I can report that we were refunded in full.
Would I travel with Princess cruises again?