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Just back from a super holiday to Alaska with Princess. Now Princess are using Southampton a bit more these days so you may be thinking of giving them a try.

Ship - Coral Princess. c2000 pax. Whittier to Vancouver. 7 days.

 

Cabin. We treated ourselves to a mini suite and it was lovely. Up in the top 3 of cabins with Oceania whose lowest grade of balcony is bigger and better than Cunard or P&O, and Noble Caledonia’s Island Sky, pure luxury. But no kettle so a walk to the buffet to get a cuppa.

Buffet restaurant. Well it closes during the night. Closed 1130 to 0600.

much better offerings than P&O. Except for the dire American idea of breakfast. They simply have no idea. Truly awful. Really truly awful. And not a nice sight watching gross obese people tucking away plates of waffles washed down by pints and pints of Coca Cola.

Entertainment. Not as much daytime activity. Not many quizzes but easy to win. We did two. Just the two of us against a room full of 6 member teams and won both comfortably. Their version of Headliners were excellent but in 7 days only did one show. While the dreadful Whitney tribute did 2 as did a dodgy ‘comedy magician ‘.

MDR. No complaints here about the grub. Very good. Desserts not so clever but leg it up to the buffet for that. Excellent selection up there. Freedom dining meant waiting for a table for 2 or being sociable on an 8 or 10 table. So a bit slow. Only 6 Brits on board and the other 4 were in a group. Not one pax guessed we were English. They all said Australian.  But actually they were all very friendly and had either been to the UK or wanted to go so lots to chat about. Formal nights. 2 of them. About 10 tuxedos spotted. Maybe 60% in jacket but no tie. The rest in jeans and t shirts. So not enforced at all. Up to you if you think this is good or bad.

Tipping. 15.50USD a day. They do love tipping over the pond don’t they.

 

Enough now. Any questions answered. 

Yes we saw loads of Orcas and Humpbacks and brown bears and black bears. Brilliant.

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We have sailed twice with Princess out of Southampton, both times on Sapphire Princess. We had a fantastic cruise director who did quizzes in the central ballroom type venue every evening. They were hilarious and very well attended.

 

We only had breakfast in The MDR each day where we had our usual porridge and one poached egg. I did have an omelette a few times which was also good. We discovered from seeing others order bacon that If you don’t want streaky American bacon you have to ask for Canadian bacon, which the Canadians onboard were quite puzzled about as didn’t know why it was called Canadian. Plus we had tea and coffee and kettles in the cabin, this is just sailing from the U K though or possibly just on the Sapphire. 

 

 We were put on Platinum in their loyalty club because it  picked up our P & O cruises, which it no longer does and are now on the top Elite. The loyalty benefits are really good and much much better than P & Os. 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, simonpjd said:

Just back from a super holiday to Alaska with Princess. Now Princess are using Southampton a bit more these days so you may be thinking of giving them a try.

Ship - Coral Princess. c2000 pax. Whittier to Vancouver. 7 days.

 

Cabin. We treated ourselves to a mini suite and it was lovely. Up in the top 3 of cabins with Oceania whose lowest grade of balcony is bigger and better than Cunard or P&O, and Noble Caledonia’s Island Sky, pure luxury. But no kettle so a walk to the buffet to get a cuppa.

Buffet restaurant. Well it closes during the night. Closed 1130 to 0600.

much better offerings than P&O. Except for the dire American idea of breakfast. They simply have no idea. Truly awful. Really truly awful. And not a nice sight watching gross obese people tucking away plates of waffles washed down by pints and pints of Coca Cola.

Entertainment. Not as much daytime activity. Not many quizzes but easy to win. We did two. Just the two of us against a room full of 6 member teams and won both comfortably. Their version of Headliners were excellent but in 7 days only did one show. While the dreadful Whitney tribute did 2 as did a dodgy ‘comedy magician ‘.

MDR. No complaints here about the grub. Very good. Desserts not so clever but leg it up to the buffet for that. Excellent selection up there. Freedom dining meant waiting for a table for 2 or being sociable on an 8 or 10 table. So a bit slow. Only 6 Brits on board and the other 4 were in a group. Not one pax guessed we were English. They all said Australian.  But actually they were all very friendly and had either been to the UK or wanted to go so lots to chat about. Formal nights. 2 of them. About 10 tuxedos spotted. Maybe 60% in jacket but no tie. The rest in jeans and t shirts. So not enforced at all. Up to you if you think this is good or bad.

Tipping. 15.50USD a day. They do love tipping over the pond don’t they.

 

Enough now. Any questions answered. 

Yes we saw loads of Orcas and Humpbacks and brown bears and black bears. Brilliant.

The Princess cruises out of the U.K. are different to what you experienced in a few ways. They certainly catered for the mainly U.K. cruisers, only 15% non U.K. in fact we felt it was very like a P&O cruise. Our ship was Crown so the same vas Ventura/Azura. As has been mentioned tea/coffee in the cabin.

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Having been aboard Coral Princess for a 7-night Southbound in Alaska this July, I agree with much of what you say.  Lunch and dinner in both mdr and buffet very good but breakfast left me wanting - in both the buffet and mdr.  I must say that we didn't have a problem waiting for a table for two - the longest wait was about 5 minutes one evening, the rest of the time we were able to just walk straight in.

 

I'm surprised to hear that there was only one Production show in your week aboard as we had three.  "Encore" and "The Secret Silk" in the main theatre and "On the Bayou" in the Universe Lounge.  All three were excellent and in my opinion far, far superior to anything I have seen on P&O.

 

In terms of style of dress, I think Princess (when not ex-UK) are more casual generally than P&O but especially so in Alaska.  Like you, we found very little evidence of real Formal Wear on the formal nights.

 

We did a four-night tour with Princess on-land in Alaska prior to joining the ship and I would highly recommend this.  If anyone is interested, you can find a review of my cruise here: https://www.cruisecritic.co.uk/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=663407

 

I would happily sail with Princess again but am not a lover of the larger ships, which somewhat limits my options.

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We did a Panama transit on Princess (17 days) a  couple of years ago, our third Princess cruise.

We feel that service levels are much  better on Princess.  For example,  in the buffet, tea and coffee are served to you at your table,  no need to queue at the hot water dispenser. At breakfast, you order your omelette at the egg station, and a waiter brings it to your table.  The staff are much more friendly and out going than on P&O. Entertainment is probably better on P&O,  and the guest speakers on P&O are far superior to Princess. 

But, on Princess it is so nice to have a cosmopolitan passenger mix. Every meal time was a chance to meet people from all over the world, rather than from just the confines of the UK. 

All things being equal, we would always choose Princess over P&O,  but unfortunately economics determine that we will be cruising with P&O for the immediate future.

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If the prices and access to cruises ex Southampton were the same, then there would be no contest, as Princess would win every time, for me.

However, for the extra half-star (in my estimation) you generally pay at least an extra half-star amount on your fare, plus a daily gratuity charge of $12-14,  plus 15% service charge on purchases.  Additionally, their ex Southampton itineraries are fewer and more limited.

 

I agree wholeheartedly about the more international passenger-facing crew on Princess producing a different, more relaxed, atmosphere.  P&O crew sometimes feel too rules-bound and stiff.

 

So, as ever, it’s the old question of paying yer money and taking yer choice.  For most of our wishes, P&O, ex Southampton, fits the bill.  Occasionally we fly, occasionally we use other lines - Cunard, Thompson, MSC, NCL & Princess, thus far.  We are very lucky to have so much choice

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I've mentioned this before,English bacon is available at the omelette station,freshly cooked and delivered to your table.Don't make the mistake I did,booking a highup aft cabin for buffet and not doing my homework found that it is forward on the Coral,lol.Good exercise on a 30 day repo Whittier to Fort Lauderdale.

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3 hours ago, eddie11 said:

If the prices and access to cruises ex Southampton were the same, then there would be no contest, as Princess would win every time, for me.

However, for the extra half-star (in my estimation) you generally pay at least an extra half-star amount on your fare, plus a daily gratuity charge of $12-14,  plus 15% service charge on purchases.  Additionally, their ex Southampton itineraries are fewer and more limited.

 

I agree wholeheartedly about the more international passenger-facing crew on Princess producing a different, more relaxed, atmosphere.  P&O crew sometimes feel too rules-bound and stiff.

 

So, as ever, it’s the old question of paying yer money and taking yer choice.  For most of our wishes, P&O, ex Southampton, fits the bill.  Occasionally we fly, occasionally we use other lines - Cunard, Thompson, MSC, NCL & Princess, thus far.  We are very lucky to have so much choice

It is now 18% but only on purchases of drinks and not anything else. Princess have a their largest programme from the UK for the summer of 2021 but my advice is not to book early as Princess reduce their prices significantly closer to the date and the beauty of Princess over P&O is you can still choose cabin and dining even on late bookings.

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Princess becomes a little more English when sailing out form Southampton. Kettles in the cabins and formal night although less nights, most people dress up. The passengers are International and so are the crew. It makes for a very enjoyable cruise.

The drinks service charge is 18%,. English bacon is available in the MDR,  Tea, take a chance, you need to ask for extra tea bags to get it strong enough.  Just ask, nothing is too much trouble, excellent service.

I love you can ask for iced water, coffee, tea at any time any where. The waiters are not on commission so everyone is happy to help.

 

Cruised 2018 and 2019 on Sapphire Princess, booked to go on Island Princess and Grand Princess next.

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2 hours ago, Scorpio41 said:

Princess becomes a little more English when sailing out form Southampton. Kettles in the cabins and formal night although less nights, most people dress up. The passengers are International and so are the crew. It makes for a very enjoyable cruise.

The drinks service charge is 18%,. English bacon is available in the MDR,  Tea, take a chance, you need to ask for extra tea bags to get it strong enough.  Just ask, nothing is too much trouble, excellent service.

I love you can ask for iced water, coffee, tea at any time any where. The waiters are not on commission so everyone is happy to help.

 

Cruised 2018 and 2019 on Sapphire Princess, booked to go on Island Princess and Grand Princess next.

Not all Princess ships sailing from Southampton have kettles in I might be wrong but I think Sapphire is the only one. Crown definitely does not have kettles in cabins because we sailed on her in August from Southampton.

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54 minutes ago, majortom10 said:

Not all Princess ships sailing from Southampton have kettles in I might be wrong but I think Sapphire is the only one. Crown definitely does not have kettles in cabins because we sailed on her in August from Southampton.

 

Interesting. I will have to check before or cruise on Island Princess next year.

 

i always take my own coffee as I don’t like the Princess coffee.

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2 hours ago, majortom10 said:

Not all Princess ships sailing from Southampton have kettles in I might be wrong but I think Sapphire is the only one. Crown definitely does not have kettles in cabins because we sailed on her in August from Southampton.

They were on Crown when we sailed a couple of years ago. Perhaps they have one set and it’s passed to the one main ship based in Southampton. 

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4 hours ago, Scorpio41 said:

Princess becomes a little more English when sailing out form Southampton. Kettles in the cabins and formal night although less nights, most people dress up. The passengers are International and so are the crew. It makes for a very enjoyable cruise.

The drinks service charge is 18%,. English bacon is available in the MDR,  Tea, take a chance, you need to ask for extra tea bags to get it strong enough.  Just ask, nothing is too much trouble, excellent service.

I love you can ask for iced water, coffee, tea at any time any where. The waiters are not on commission so everyone is happy to help.

 

Cruised 2018 and 2019 on Sapphire Princess, booked to go on Island Princess and Grand Princess next.

The best tea was to be had in the International cafe. It came free if you had a coffee card. When I was on my own I would always ask for a large pot. 

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There were no kettles in the cabins on Crown Princess in June, I think because the Crown was cruising round GB for the summer there were mainly non Brits onboard so they don t expect a kettle in the cabin.When we cruised on Emerald Princess a couple of years previously there were kettles but the majority of cruisers were British.

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42 minutes ago, daiB said:

They were on Crown when we sailed a couple of years ago. Perhaps they have one set and it’s passed to the one main ship based in Southampton. 

LOL,that's what I call economising.

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On 9/21/2019 at 11:10 AM, majortom10 said:

It is now 18% but only on purchases of drinks and not anything else. Princess have a their largest programme from the UK for the summer of 2021 but my advice is not to book early as Princess reduce their prices significantly closer to the date and the beauty of Princess over P&O is you can still choose cabin and dining even on late bookings.

Princess have not reduced there prices for uk travellers over the last couple of years significantly. In fact last year the med increased from initial release. Also in the uk you now have to pay to receive the price drops...sometimes still worth it but have found after 10 years cruising with princess and p and o , where princess was best for us in uk Pandora is now catching up. Yes you can choose cabin and meal time on them and also with late bookings as long as they available which is the same on any cruise line

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5 minutes ago, Bogof1 said:

Princess have not reduced there prices for uk travellers over the last couple of years significantly. In fact last year the med increased from initial release. Also in the uk you now have to pay to receive the price drops...sometimes still worth it but have found after 10 years cruising with princess and p and o , where princess was best for us in uk Pandora is now catching up. Yes you can choose cabin and meal time on them and also with late bookings as long as they available which is the same on any cruise line

Dont know where you mean have to pay to receive price drops the only explaination I can think is that if you book early and py high price and then decide to change cruise you have to pay a supplement which is what P&O have done for a number of years if you want to change a cruise. I have been cruising with P&O for 19yrs and Princess for 12yrs. If you book early on brochure release then you will pay higher price and if you hang on until closer to the cruise prices always drop. We have just returned from BI cruise with Princess which was initially on brochure release nearly £2000 for an inside cabin when we booked inly few months prior to sale we got a price of just over £1000pp. Today I have received e-mail from Princess offering free upgrade to balcony cabin for price of an inside from £1399 for BI cruise on Regal next summer when it was first released last year was a lot dearer just for inside cabin. Also last summer we cruised on Sapphire to the Med and paid a lot less when we booked than price on initial release. 

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15 minutes ago, Bogof1 said:

Princess have not reduced there prices for uk travellers over the last couple of years significantly. In fact last year the med increased from initial release. Also in the uk you now have to pay to receive the price drops...sometimes still worth it but have found after 10 years cruising with princess and p and o , where princess was best for us in uk Pandora is now catching up. Yes you can choose cabin and meal time on them and also with late bookings as long as they available which is the same on any cruise line

When booking a late Saver/Early Saver cruise you do not have choice of dinner timing or cabin fortunately Princess dont play those silly games of differing prices i.e. Select/Early Saver/Saver.

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13 minutes ago, majortom10 said:

Dont know where you mean have to pay to receive price drops the only explaination I can think is that if you book early and py high price and then decide to change cruise you have to pay a supplement which is what P&O have done for a number of years if you want to change a cruise. I have been cruising with P&O for 19yrs and Princess for 12yrs. If you book early on brochure release then you will pay higher price and if you hang on until closer to the cruise prices always drop. We have just returned from BI cruise with Princess which was initially on brochure release nearly £2000 for an inside cabin when we booked inly few months prior to sale we got a price of just over £1000pp. Today I have received e-mail from Princess offering free upgrade to balcony cabin for price of an inside from £1399 for BI cruise on Regal next summer when it was first released last year was a lot dearer just for inside cabin. Also last summer we cruised on Sapphire to the Med and paid a lot less when we booked than price on initial release. 

In my experience over the last 10 years that definitely applies to Princess; but is totally the opposite with P&O certainly with select fares, and so far we have never seen our balcony launch price bettered even by the cheapest saver fares, I cannot speak for inside cabins which are generally the last to sell out.

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19 minutes ago, majortom10 said:

Dont know where you mean have to pay to receive price drops the only explaination I can think is that if you book early and py high price and then decide to change cruise you have to pay a supplement which is what P&O have done for a number of years if you want to change a cruise. I have been cruising with P&O for 19yrs and Princess for 12yrs. If you book early on brochure release then you will pay higher price and if you hang on until closer to the cruise prices always drop. We have just returned from BI cruise with Princess which was initially on brochure release nearly £2000 for an inside cabin when we booked inly few months prior to sale we got a price of just over £1000pp. Today I have received e-mail from Princess offering free upgrade to balcony cabin for price of an inside from £1399 for BI cruise on Regal next summer when it was first released last year was a lot dearer just for inside cabin. Also last summer we cruised on Sapphire to the Med and paid a lot less when we booked than price on initial release. 

Apparently if you book a Princess cruise and then there is a price drop you can ask Princess to match the price at the cost of £100.You can only do it once before balance is due.

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19 minutes ago, majortom10 said:

If you book early on brochure release then you will pay higher price

I'm not sure from your response to which cruise line you are referring. My experience,  and anecdotal evidence I have read seems to support my view , is that on P&O,  the cheapest price is at launch. I guess that if you wait until 8 weeks prior to the cruise date  you may get an unspecified cabin with no dining choice, but I see no reason to gamble in order to save a few hundred pounds.

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6 minutes ago, wowzz said:

I'm not sure from your response to which cruise line you are referring. My experience,  and anecdotal evidence I have read seems to support my view , is that on P&O,  the cheapest price is at launch. I guess that if you wait until 8 weeks prior to the cruise date  you may get an unspecified cabin with no dining choice, but I see no reason to gamble in order to save a few hundred pounds.

Princes high to low. P&O low to high. Is what happens and what MT was sayong. As he has said before.

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