Princess - Needs Help!

Old Jul 22nd, 2017, 07:31 AM
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Princess - Needs Help!

The "Consummate Host" that is anything but. A recent voyage on the newest ship in the fleet (Majestic) strongly suggests that Princess management has lot touch with passenger expectations and their intelligence. There are so many examples poor quality food and resultant unappetizing cuisine. Something as simple as supposed freshly popped popcorn turns out to be a cruel, tasteless joke.

The so called "chef inspired" upgrade restaurants which cost extra were hardly worth it. In lieu of a quality ingredients upgrade, they simply serve more food. Several of these restaurants were located at or near entertainment venues so any attempt at dinner-table conversation was defeated. If these concepts were truly the creation of Michelon Star chefs, then they may want to consider the risk to their hard-earned reputations.

The at sea activities for passengers not inclined to attend an event designed to sell, were left with ample time for reading, playing cards or, on a more positive note, a decent selection of on-demand movies and television shows in the staterooms. Perhaps, the biggest and most cruel joke is the "Art at Sea" fiasco. While there is some decent art, the vast majority are extremely overpriced and, to be honest, suitable for display in the garage.

Shore excursions should be selected carefully after a great deal of non_Princess on-line research. To put it bluntly, most are not what is advertised. If, however, shopping is your primary objective, you will not be disappointed, as the tour guides will gladly direct you to "the best places with the lowest prices."

Bottom line: The hype is no where close to the execution.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2017, 11:14 AM
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I understand your disappointment. Can't comment on Princess, our cruise experience has been entirely with Cunard and Celebrity, 8 or 9 cruises so far with three more booked for 2017 and 2018.

Out last cruise was on Celebrity Reflection, just a seven night eastern Caribbean cruise out of Miami with three ports of call. Overall, the ship is still beautiful and very well maintained, the staff very good, excellent drinks, good live entertainment in several bars.

However, we did notice some lowering of standards of the food in both the Tuscan Grill and Murano, two of the specialty restaurants. In the Tuscan Grill we were seated in the corner next to a large table with several children despite the dining room being half empty. The food was not that special for the $40 pp surcharge. The entertainment in the large theater was poor or didn't happen.

On the plus side, the food overall was good, a new to us open-air buger bar (small surcharge) served fantastic burgers in a great atmosphere. Blu, the aquaclass restaurant still tries hard and has great sea views.

So, while nothing atrocious, we did come away with the feeling that the ship was trying to cut corners where it can. And, while not right "in your face", constant up-selling is going on for upgraded drinks packages, spa treatments, excursions, etc. The "art" is a joke but on Celebrity it's an easy enough area to avoid.

The experience probably won't change our cruise plans, for now the trims are fairly subtle. In November we are on a 15-night transatlantic crossing, 4 ports, all but two nights at sea. I'm particularly interested in the entertainment offerings, the natives may get restless!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2017, 02:46 PM
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We've been on 6 Princess cruises including Japan in 2014 and SE Asia in 2016. No issues really and certainly no "sheet feet." .
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Old Jul 22nd, 2017, 02:46 PM
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Hi PrincessCritic17,

From your review, the new Princess Majestic seems a complete failure, but after looking on different websites, at tons of reviews for this new ship, most were extremely positive. It does seem that experiences were quite different at different times.

It would be helpful if you would kindly provide more specifics rather than generalizations.
When was your cruise?
What was your itinerary?
How was your cabin? Balcony? Small? Furnishings? How was the bathroom arrangement?
Were things clean and well maintained?
How was the quality of musicians on board? Any good pianists or violinists?
How were the sail-a-way and poolside parties?
What was the major entertainment?
How were the pools? Clean, crowded? Hot tubs?
Were things like elevators working or crowded?
How were fellow passengers? That sometimes makes a real difference for me.
What tours or excursions did you take that were "not as advertised?" That would be very, very useful specific information!!
What lines and ships have you cruised on before!

Some of your criticisms seem par for any cruise.

Art. I would not go on a cruise to buy art. Kind of silly when you have choices of galleries on land with no rush to make a decision. As to quality and style, all in the eye of the beholder.
Selling. Just pass it by.
Excursions. We always comparison shop. That was advice given on our first cruise.

Food. I must admit that on our last cruise on Princess, the new Regal last year, I did not find the food impressive, and I sent one thing back, but it wasn't bad either, just not my personal favorite. The rest of the family stuck with steaks, etc. and were all happy. I like fish, and am very picky about it.

Please come back and share more specifics of your experience.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2017, 04:40 PM
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The 'review' could have been written by anyone even without actually going on a cruise. Not one detail/specific - none. Noisy restaurants is the closest to an actual description of anything.

But he registered to post this so probably won't come back to fill in the blanks.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2017, 06:12 PM
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To be fair to PrincessCritic17, some of his/her comments were specific (paragraph 2). I also understand how you can come away with an overall impression of change and downgrades without a comprehensive list of wrongs.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 06:45 AM
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Sorry i mixed up this review with another thus my comment about "feet sheets."

In any case I doubt the OP will ever be back either. Its another vent and good bye post.

Princess will survive.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 08:05 AM
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Troll
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 09:03 AM
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I think so too.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 02:18 PM
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With well over 35 cruises taken in the past 25 years, I just had to add my comments.

Food and entertainment is very subjective. I have seen many changes to both in the past 20 years. I'm not a foodie, so most of the food is OK by me. I do not even go to most of the entertainment offered on cruises. I used to go to the art auctions for the free champagne. Now I find the auctions a waste of time. In fact, most reviews of ships by cruisers do not even mention the art auctions.

RCI, Celbrity, NCL, Princess, Carnival are cruises for the mass market. They want to make money! Like any business, they hype their offerings.

Research is the key. Read the reviews, keep up with what is going on with the cruise line you are cruising with.

I haven't taken a ship sponsored shore excursion in over 10 years. I research what I want to see and find reliable tour companies that offer what I want to see/do.

And yes, things happen while cruising that can put a damper on that cruise. But, I still think that if you know the product you are buying into your expectations will be more realistic.

Cruising has brought so many rewards to my life. Meeting people from all over the world and seeing new places. Seven years ago my husband and I met a couple on a b2b Caribbean cruise. We are best friends now and travel the world together (about 3-4 trips a year) even though we live in CA and they live in OH. The four of us met another couple from Australia on another cruise. We have become fast friends and now all of us cruise together. Our Australian friends have even hosted us for a month in Australia.

I have several cruises booked for the next couple of years. My motto is that a day cruising is better than a day cleaning or cooking at home! Life isn't perfect. Neither is cruising.
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Old Jul 25th, 2017, 07:23 AM
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Nothing they have posted is really wrong, I think it's a question of unrealistic expectations. Perhaps it's been a long time/first time that they've been on a mass market cruise.

I agree it's one of those complain and disappear posts but not necessarily a troll.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 04:39 PM
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I am sorry as well that you didn't enjoy your Princess cruise, but wonder if you'd really find the experience on the other lines that much different? It's hard to satisfy everyone, but I do believe the cruise lines try hard--really hard.

Unlike you, of the four lines I've been on extensively (HAL, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess)--21 cruises in all--I feel Princess is far and away the best. The food, at least to my taste, in the buffet is the best at sea. The service is top notch. The ports are terrific. It's lower key than a Royal Caribbean trip and thus more relaxing. The mini-suites are unique--and affordable.

But, again, everyone looks for different things on their vacation. - Musing About Cruising
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 11:12 PM
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ira, I wouldn't call it a troll but I'll call it a seagull-post, flew in, dump sh*t all over and then disappeared.

Larry, we have all seen this many time, OP posted a negative review/comment and never coming back again, maybe except once or twice.

Service level, value, quality, taste, whatever or however you call it, is objective and intangible. It is always in the eye of the beholder. Even with specifics, we took side and sometime questions the cruise lines or the OP on the incident. Was the fact straight? Was the info presented tainted? Was it unrealistic expectation? We all jumped in.

Maybe the best way to deal with this type of seagull-post is just ignore it and let it sunk to the bottom if the reading list.
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 08:34 AM
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It would be helpful if you would kindly provide more specifics rather than generalizations.
When was your cruise?
What was your itinerary? Rome to Shanghai
How was your cabin? It was a Mini-Suite
Furnishings? Nothing new or different. In room and on-board wi-fi communications were technologically ancient.
How was the bathroom arrangement? Nothing new or different
Were things clean and well maintained? yes
How was the quality of musicians on board? Any good pianists or violinists? The String Quartet was very good... the pianists were so-so. We missed having a singing pianist who proactively responded to requests and had fun with the passengers.
How were the sail-a-way and poolside parties? Dull
What was the major entertainment? Fair to poor... for a so-called "maiden" voyage, Princess was not spending very much for the entertainment.
How were the pools? Clean, crowded? Hot tubs? Fine
Were things like elevators working or crowded? Very crowded elevators... mid-ship ones had three different sets of call buttons, so many times the elevator would stop for phantom passengers.
How were fellow passengers? That sometimes makes a real difference for me. They were great, but that was not something that Princess enabled.
What tours or excursions did you take that were "not as advertised?" That would be very, very useful specific information!! Here is the point... Princess does not proactively solicit on-board comments concerning tours or anything else for that matter. If you do not go stand in line to complain, waiting for the infamous post-cruise survey is silly. With respect to the tours, Princess needs to set higher tour-guide standards.
What lines and ships have you cruised on before! Several... Princess is better than Carnival and on a par with Holland America, RCL, etc.
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 08:46 AM
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I am not a "troll" or a "sea gull." The purpose of the original message, if you actually bothered to read it, was to offer insight as to what I believe is a serious decline in attention by the so-called "Consummate Host." If you advertise high quality, then it should be consistently delivered. Not sure how that message was received in such a negative and, sometimes, insulting manner.

The reality is that the Princess ship architects created a mishmash of dining and entertainment concepts that diminish, rather than enhance the experience.
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 11:36 AM
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PrincessCritic17,

Thank you very much for returning and for the extra comments.
I do agree with some of your overall observations.

On our first cruise with Princess, Caribbean Princess, the entertainment was absolutely superb. I did think it was rather lame on the Regal, but a worse problem is the increase in volume, which makes some of the music unbearable. However, that is true on all the cruises I have taken recently.

I also found the poolside parties and sail-a-ways dull on this last cruise, but thought it was just the time of year and the itinerary. They were loud though, which I hate.

We took a late Winter/early Spring cruise on Carnival that was similar in that respect, too loud, but still dull. On both cruises, the events they had, seemed to use passengers for entertainment: game shows, singing contests, etc.

I don't think it is just Princess though. It was that way on the last couple of cruises with other lines. Maybe not a good one, but seems to be a trend.

I have not taken any ship's excursions so do not know if they have gone down hill.

I do think the cruise line has an influence on who chooses to cruise on that line, so in affect fellow passengers are a reflection of that line and ship.

Again, your response is much appreciated.
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 12:25 PM
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E I like what you said.
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 01:01 PM
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OP I hope you find something that suits you.

Happy sailing. .
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 03:04 PM
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PrincessCritic17, I hope I did not insult you by calling some posts are seagull posts. It is a generalization and as I have said, we all took side. We side with the OP, we side with the ship, it was a discussion. For some posts, it was best to let it drop to the end of the reading pile.

I have commented often in the past on the decline of service and quality on cruises in general. It is all across the board with the industry, and not limited to just Princess, or just mass market ships. Even the so call high end elite cruise lines are dropping in service and quality.

For the past 10 to 15 years, the cost to cruise has not gone up significantly, if at all. Their cost, however, did. To maintain profit level, easiest thing to do is to reduce quality and service.

When Celebrity offered only half a lobster tail on lobster night, it was a tell tale sign. It used to be double tails before that. With so much noise in the system, they had to gone back to at least a full single tail, which was more than acceptable.

Across the board, the staff to passenger ratio changed. You see less servers in the dining room, a whole middle layer of captain waiters disappeared. They now call the busers waiters or waiter's assistant depending on where they are stationed. The cabin steward used to clean about 20 cabins, now it is more like 30. It is what it is.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 04:36 PM
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Thanks for coming back and answering questions. I've noticed if anyone dares criticize Princess, there is a predictable pushback from certain regulars. Of the four lines that I've been on, they all do some things well and some things less than well. Our newish cabin (one of the balconies added to Island) had the worst shower of all of them.

I think Princess is good for desserts and older people who like less highly seasoned food. I thought the dining service the second worst of the four lines I've been on. No where near enough waiters or seating for the demand in the buffet That was made worse because of the lack of late night options (and no International Cafe). I guess because of the flack they got on that Island remodel they didn't make the same changes to Coral. Surprisingly, Norwegian had perhaps the best MDR service (more of a restaurant model than a conference model). Even though the food got really repetitive during 2 week cruise we could always find something edible especially since the MDR staff would accomodate any modification requests.

I think expecting gourmet quality food on a mass market cruise, even if you pay for upgrades, is a dream. The best you can hope for is hotel quality.
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