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stingmom

Disney cruiser tries Princess...bummer

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In terms of embarkation and debarkation... I've noticed and heard that often it can be a matter of the Port, and not the cruiseline. For instance, the one in Galveston, TX is fairly new and doesn't quite seem to have it together yet. I certainly wouldn't write off a cruise completely just because of one mediocre experience.

 

I chalk it up to the low fares attracting people who may not have cruised before and really don't have any understanding of cruise etiquette.

 

It seems to me that "cruise" etiquette is no different than general "out-in-public" etiquette. You respect others, wait your turn, and always say please and thank you.

 

Overall, I'd say rants like this need to be taken with a grain of salt (just as over-enthused positive reviews need to be.) You make your own vacation, and it seems to me that the thigns complained about here are not exclusive to Princess (and as pointed out by others: the OP has already experience on other cruises). So, it's up to you to shrug off the little things and be thankful you have the privilege of being able to take a vacation and spend time with family.

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I really don't think that cruise lines do themselves a great service by offering these shorter cruises. While the casino, bar and spa revenue must be very high, the cost of frequent turnovers has to be also be high. Additionally, I think that there are very few "converts", i.e. people who had never cruised this line before who will be cruising a lot in the future and who will now choose this particular line based on their stellar experiences on a short cruise. There will always be people who live in/near a homeport city who opt to do a quick getaway on whichever cruise line happens to be offering one.

 

Last fall I did a 4 night and a 3 night cruise on the Celebrity Mercury. I had previously taken 4 two week cruises on this ship, and sailed a total of 7 weeks on its sister ships. I know I love those ships! And I did NOT love those short cruises. Not at all representative of what Celebrity can offer. I think the OP might find the same thing is true about Princess, but I admit it can be difficult to make a decision to return to a cruise line after even one bad experience. That's just another reason that the cruise lines need to either get these short cruises "right" or just do away with them altogether.

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Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I thought it was fair and well balanced, based on your experiences. I always appreciate the opinions of cruisers who have tried different lines, as I feel they are best able to offer a fair comparison. Our first cruise with Princess wasn't wonderful, but we're giving them another chance to win us over next week. I hope that I can come back and write a glowing review! ;)

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I have sailed on neither Disney nor Princess before. I consider Disney to be overpriced and don't like their itineraries. I had always feared Princess because I was always of the impression that the line was not family friendly (I thought my kids would enjoy Carnival and RCCL more). Through word of mouth, I think I may have gotten a false impression on that one.

 

But this thread raises some concerns. I have never had the opportunity to do "anytime dining". I am doing that next Spring. Is it possible to make reservations in the morning for 6:30 or 7 pm and actually be seated then? Someone has to be sitting down at that time. Is it just the people who were waiting earlier?

 

I was hoping the chair hog problem won't be as bad on Princess as it is on Carnival. It can't be worse. On the Liberty, there is only main pool area and it's like an arena. If you don't have a chair "saved" by 9 am, forget it. Often times, the excess seating area can't be used and is blocked off because it gets too windy. One afternoon, I gave up and just went out to my balcony and set the two chairs up to act as a lounge chair and lied in the sun there. It was the most relaxing afternoon of my cruise. I was hoping not to have to do that on the Crown Princess.

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Just off the Caribbean Princess 4 nighter..

 

Our cruising history includes 3 with Royal Caribbean and 4 on Disney since 2005. We had the grand illusion of how awesome Princess must be, so we thought a 4 day sampler for our family of 5 would be just the ticket to convert a hard fast group of fans of Disney cruising.

 

Here are the basics: We had a total party of 8 guests traveling. (Me, hubby and our 3 kids, plus one of my folks and a set of grandparents - 3 generations on one last family cruise.) and 3 cabins, all side by side "linked" by the reservations.

 

Embarkation was a nightmare!! I had requested wheelchair assist on and off the ship for my grandparents. I was told by Princess over the phone to "just let a Princess member know at drop off and they would help/direct us." This was a joke. My dad drops us all off curbside and goes to park the car and we look for someone to get us a wheelchair. I was told by a staff member outside to go INSIDE to get a wheelchair (but I could not use the one HE was pushing?) So, I had the family wait while I go through security and then I was told there was a wheelchair waiting area. Huh? Then I was redirected outside to get a wheelchair from outside the terminal. By this time, my father had found a wheelchair attendant outside and we loaded up the g-parents. Back now through security and to the wheelchair waiting area. Whew! Worst is over, right? WRONG!!!

 

We have some cold water to cool down and wait patiently, we are in no rush. We are instructed to begin boarding. We have out birth certificates, driver's licenses and marriage certificate, just in case. Now, mind you, we are traveling by BOAT so a passport is NOT mandatory at this time. I do have to use my Disney Cruising comparison here, because when you board a Disney cruise, you have ONE designated traveler per room that brings all the documents to check in while the rest of the group waits in the terminal and this one person is provided all the room keys. This is not the case with Princess, but we understand all cruises will be different. So, the 8 of us, plus the wheelchair attendant are the 2nd in line for our deck (dolphin). The first couple went through quickly, no more than 5 minutes. (I can taste the endless buffets and room service already!) We step up and hand her the documents for the first cabin. Immediately she asks for our passports. We do not have any. A naughty little glare peeks over the counter at me. Sighs begin to erupt from her she then asks for my 9 year old's photo ID. Um, she doesn’t have one. “Why not?” Because she has never needed one (unfortunaetly they aren't required for scooters!). Then the lady asks me if she has a school ID card? HUH?! She’s in 3rd grade for crying out loud!! No, I tell her. Again sneers of disgust and more sighing. So, she asks my daughter her date of birth and decides that will have to be sufficient enough to match her notarized birth certificate. Then we go through this again with the 2nd cabin (my dad and our 2 sons, age 14 & 12). More remarks and questions about why we don’t have passports, school ID and then instruction about getting a government issued ID for the kids. I explain that we are not new to cruising and they aren’t required this date anyway. We NEVER have had these problems before. Third and final cabin was more of the same for my elderly grandparents. This debacle took 45 minutes to get through.

 

Soda cards....ok, I am used to free soda on Disney whenever we want, but we bought 4 cards for the kids and myself. (They grown ups couldn’t seem to find a Bombay Sapphire card or a Grey Goose card.....just kidding! We are tea, water and coffee consumers. The kids and I had great difficulty getting any decent service on the soda card. If the card was shown before we ordered, we were completely ignored, but held deftly in my hand until I ordered, then told to “show me your sticker,” I was served eventually and dismissed with a quick turnabout by the bartender. Alcoholic beverages were a complete rip-off. I ordered something frosty (Loco-Coco?) and you could not taste anything in it. Very disappointing.

 

Grand Turk was okay, similar to Costa Maya, which I enjoyed more. Margaretville was full of chair hogs that would yell at you from across the pool that “that chair is saved!” Settled in our chairs, I wandered to the poolside bar for the $15 “Big Rita” banana something, which lacked any booze. At least I was able to get the kids some water in a cup to drink. They had variety mix music playing, between games of which topless guy can chug his bear the fastest, a kids game that involved people with more than one tattoo (that had to be shown) and of course a lady’s dance off. (Had to shield the kids from this one!)

 

Food....We chose anytime dining, figuring we would be seated in a relatively timely manner and when we were ready. No the case... On formal night, we waited 30 minutes for a pager, then waited an additional 45 minutes for a table. This caused us to miss the Captain’s cocktail hour. The service was, to be kind, POOR. Our waiter was busy schmoozing with another table and left us for about 15 minutes by ourselves. Menus were dropped off and no recommendations or descriptions were provided. I asked about of couple of things, but the waiter didn’t even seem to sure himself. Did I forget to mention the breadbasket with all five pieces in it for all of us? The food in general was mediocre (instant potatoes anyone?!) Nothing outstanding or out of this world. We realized the buffet may hold the answer to providing quicker food with more options. Not so there either. The Horizon Court Buffet has entry sides on both sides that cross paths in the middle. This led to much confusion and disgust from other guests who thought you were cutting them in line. Desserts were the same almost each night. Again, nothing amazing.

 

The “Boutiques.” The jewelry was pretty limited. I thought there would be a nice variety of gemstones and sparkling items to choose from. This was the smallest selection of jewelry I had seen. None the less, something caught my eye and hubby got a watch. The saleswoman told me how to “make the claim on my customs form. She said to claim hubby’s watch at full value, but to write JEWELRY for my newly acquired ring and put a $0 next to it. She said it is tax free and they will only look for my stamped receipt. I wrote it as she said, but kept the receipt with my customs form for disembarkation.

 

Customs...Thanks to the kind jewelry sales lady, a flag alarm went off as we tried to leave the ship and we were all peronsally escorted to have our bags searched and a close scrutiny was made of our receipts and purchases. I have never had this occur and we explained to customs exactly what the sale lady TOLD us to do! He said it was for HIS decision to decide what was tax and duty free. How embarrassing!!

 

Okay, I am tired and here is my final $.02...

 

This was our 8th cruise in 2 years and this was the rudest group of cruisers we have ever traveled with. People were reaching over my granddad at the buffet to get a dessert slice before he could reach it! My grandmother looked like a car spun out in Nascar as people bumped, pushed and spun her so they could get past her at the buffet. This rudeness was seen every time we went to eat or sit or walk. This has nothing to do with Princess, just a personal observation.

 

Cabin D527, 525 and 523...we were pleased with the sizes of the room. It was more than adequate for all of us and the door opening between the balcny gave us more bang for our buck. Our stateroom attendant did a nice enough job on our keeping our room tidy and prepared for us. However, the last night, he actually called our room to see if we needed him for anything before he was done for the evening. Well, we needed the sofas pulled out so our kids could go to bed. I can pull my own covers down. Oh yes, and as everyone says, the beds are hard and lumpy.

 

 

Princess will definitely not be a line we consider for future cruising. We may try others, but this was HUGE disappointment from the fantasy of the “Love Boat.”

 

Happy Sailing!!

 

I'm sorry you didn't care for your Princess cruise and from reading on here it does sound like the 4 night cruise were not up to the usual Princess standards. They don't usually offer these so it's probably not the best way to judge a Princess cruise.

 

I've done 5 Disney cruises and 6 Princess cruises so I do know both cruise lines fairly well. As far as documentation required, Disney changed the procedure I believe in early 2006, the entire family used to have to all go up to the counter just like Princess. Since you all are required to go up on RCCL you shouldn't really have been surprised at this request.

This is directly from Disney's website on what documentation they require, sounds the same as Princess and it's what we always had to bring for our kids.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION INFORMATION

 

The following information is provided to help clarify which citizenship documents you may require when traveling with Disney Cruise Line®. Required travel documents vary depending on your national citizenship status and the itinerary of your Disney cruise vacation.

 

United States Citizens

 

Caribbean, Bahamian and Mexican Riviera Cruises

In order to board the ship, all Guests are required to provide proper travel documentation. Guests unable to provide proof of citizenship will not be permitted to sail. All Guests claiming U.S. citizenship, including children, must present one of the following as proof of U.S. citizenship:

 

A valid, unexpired U.S. passport.

Original state issued Birth Certificate; additionally, Guests 18 years of age and older must present a photo ID issued by a Local, State or Federal Government agency.

Original Certificate of Naturalization; additionally, Guests 18 years of age and older must present a photo ID issued by a Local, State or Federal Government agency.

Original Certificate of Citizenship; additionally, Guests 18 years of age and older must present a photo ID issued by a Local, State or Federal Government agency.

Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad of U.S. Citizen; additionally, Guests 18 years of age and older must present a photo ID issued by a Local, State or Federal Government agency.

Copies of any of the above documents are not acceptable.

 

We are unable to make any exceptions or accept any other forms of documentation for U.S. citizenship. If you do not present the proper documentation, you will not be permitted to board the ship. In addition, on the day of your sailing, all Guests must board the ship no later than 4:00 p.m. Please plan your arrival accordingly to avoid the possibility of not being permitted to sail with us.

 

 

I do realize that soda is free on Disney, that too changed prior to you cruising with them. You used to only get free soda in the dining rooms, you either paid by soda or purchased a soda card with them prior to 2006. We were a bit taken aback not to receive free soda in the dining room on our first Princess cruise but quickly adjusted. Disney charges about twice as much as Princess and you can't even begin to compare the price you paid for these 4 night Princess sailings to the 4 night sailings on the Wonder so a few free sodas shouldn't really be that big of a deal.

 

The jewelry on the Disney ships are much more limited that on Princess, you can't even begin to compare the two. Disney has 2 shops and they basically offer Disney items and that's about it. A few pieces of jewelry are about all that are there and many of them are even Disney themed. I guess most cruise lines feel like many people are going to shop on the islands so stocking up with lots of jewelry doesn't appear to be a major priority for them.

 

I agree about the food on Princess, not thrilled with it. I do think the Disney food is a bit better, but not by much. Their buffet is set up better but then again, they don't offer you the choice of a main dining room or buffet for dinner only the main dining rooms or Palo. Service isn't the same in anytime dining as it is in set dining, that is true. In all 6 Princess cruises we've never experienced the kind of wait you did for a table and we've even had a party of 9. Sorry this happened to you, it sounds like the set dining times would have worked better.

 

The beds are about the same on both Disney and Princess with Princess getting a jump ahead on the ships that have the new beds. The duvets on Princess can't be beat, the pillows are about the same. I will say the Disney wins on the cabins however, as even their inside cabins have a sofa/sitting area. Princess wins big time on balconies though, Disney's are tiny.

 

I love Disney, the service is great on there but the prices are always twice as much as Princess even with my Florida resident discount so we've decided not to do any more Disney cruises until we have grandchildren. I can get a mini-suite to a full-suite on Princess for the same price as a Cat 5 balcony cabin on Disney so Princess will be who we cruise on for this and many other reason.

 

Sorry you didn't enjoy the cruise. Hopefully you and your family were able to walk away with some wonderful memories even though it wasn't the cruise of your dreams.

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I have sailed on neither Disney nor Princess before. I consider Disney to be overpriced and don't like their itineraries. I had always feared Princess because I was always of the impression that the line was not family friendly (I thought my kids would enjoy Carnival and RCCL more). Through word of mouth, I think I may have gotten a false impression on that one.

 

But this thread raises some concerns. I have never had the opportunity to do "anytime dining". I am doing that next Spring. Is it possible to make reservations in the morning for 6:30 or 7 pm and actually be seated then? Someone has to be sitting down at that time. Is it just the people who were waiting earlier?

 

I was hoping the chair hog problem won't be as bad on Princess as it is on Carnival. It can't be worse. On the Liberty, there is only main pool area and it's like an arena. If you don't have a chair "saved" by 9 am, forget it. Often times, the excess seating area can't be used and is blocked off because it gets too windy. One afternoon, I gave up and just went out to my balcony and set the two chairs up to act as a lounge chair and lied in the sun there. It was the most relaxing afternoon of my cruise. I was hoping not to have to do that on the Crown Princess.

 

Don't worry, Princess is very family friendly. My kids love sailing on Princess now and chose it over Disney.

 

I've done anytime dining on all 6 Princess cruises and love it. We went back to Disney after 3 Princess cruises and had a real hard time with the set dining times on the ships, just hated it. We've never had a long wait and there are times we request a table for only 2.

 

You'll find chair hogs on every cruise line it seems and Disney and Princess are included. I've found them at most hotels that I stay in including the high end hotels like the Ritz Carlton. Guess it's just a way of life.

 

I'm sure you'll love your cruise!

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I totally agree with you on the CB. Our first Princess cruise was on her and what a nightmare. I also said I would never do Princess again, however, the following year we went on the Star and what a fantastic time we had. Crown will be in Octbober and we can't wait. We are trying a little cruise to nowhere in June on Carnival, however, it is a 2 day cruise so I will not judge Carnival on that one.

I am sorry your experience was not pleasant and only hope you try the Star for a 7 nighter.:)

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I'm sorry but you not having proper documentation (including photo ID) for your children is not the cruise lines fault. I have just finished reading my passage contract for my upcoming cruise and it clearly states the requirements for identification for all passengers regardless of their age - passport or birth certificate and photo ID.

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Really don't enjoy seeing a cruiseline bashed over one cruise. I say this because I did it. I bashed Celebrity over our first Zenith cruise. Since then we have sailed Millie, Connie and Century, all outstanding cruises !

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Really don't enjoy seeing a cruiseline bashed over one cruise. I say this because I did it. I bashed Celebrity over our first Zenith cruise. Since then we have sailed Millie, Connie and Century, all outstanding cruises !

 

J'ACCUSE!! :D

 

Me too (true confessions)... I was a Carnival basher after a three day bahamian stint on Fantasy... :( Then four years later I found myself on C. Miracle and had a great cruise :) :) (Joe Farcus' decor takes a little getting used to, and we had full gale winds for a couple days, but it really was a terrific - fun - cruise).

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Don't worry, Princess is very family friendly. My kids love sailing on Princess now and chose it over Disney.

 

I've done anytime dining on all 6 Princess cruises and love it. We went back to Disney after 3 Princess cruises and had a real hard time with the set dining times on the ships, just hated it. We've never had a long wait and there are times we request a table for only 2.

 

You'll find chair hogs on every cruise line it seems and Disney and Princess are included. I've found them at most hotels that I stay in including the high end hotels like the Ritz Carlton. Guess it's just a way of life.

 

I'm sure you'll love your cruise!

 

I agree with Carolyn. (Although I've never sailed on Disney.) My kids love Princess. We've done Anytime Dining on three cruises and never had to wait. I had a bad experience on my 2 day Dawn Princess cruise, but my three 7 day cruises were all great.

 

--Junglejane

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I'm sorry but you not having proper documentation (including photo ID) for your children is not the cruise lines fault. I have just finished reading my passage contract for my upcoming cruise and it clearly states the requirements for identification for all passengers regardless of their age - passport or birth certificate and photo ID.

On the Princess website it states that photo id is recommended for those under 18, but not required.

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Really don't enjoy seeing a cruiseline bashed over one cruise. I say this because I did it. I bashed Celebrity over our first Zenith cruise. Since then we have sailed Millie, Connie and Century, all outstanding cruises !

 

I agree with you and that is why we are coming back to Princess to try it once again. Things happen........sometimes a cruise just doesn't live up to expectations (which usually is a problem in itself)

 

Our one and only Princess cruise was on the Caribbean Princess and to be frank ranked in the lower third of all our cruises to date.......but having said that, I always knew we would give Princess another try with a different set of circumstances............well that time has come and we are going on the Pacific Princess next year. This time I really don't have any expectations (or at least trying not to)......

 

things happen sometimes that makes your cruise experience live up to your expectations........but you just can't judge a cruiseline by one cruise.....which is why we are giving it another try.

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IF you are unhappy with your Princess cruise...so sorry. But chalk it up to experience and cruise on the lines that you prefer. Princess seems to work well for many....my husband and myself included. There are many cruise lines out there and they obviously must all have something going for them as they all have huge followings. Life is way to short to complain over and over about something that is now out of your control. I am sorry you had a bad experience. I hope you continue to enjoy cruising on the line that meets your expectations. Lighten up and enjoy the day and move on to plan your next cruise experience.

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Princess isn't perfect. I have had my own issues with them, but we are sailing today, LA to Vancouver.

 

I agree that Princess dropped the ball big time on the wheelchair issue. There should be a supervisor or someone with a walkie talkie to ensure that wheelchairs are provided pronto at the beginning of the check in line.

 

As others have pointed out, OP, you are just asking for trouble these days if you don't get passports. Obviously the checkin person didn't like anything out of the norm, and her attitude was poor. You wouldn't have had the problem, however, if you had the passports. Telling her you didn't need one is not likely to get you the royal treatment.

 

Similarly, showing up at anytime dining with a large group without a reservation was guaranteed to get you a wait. You would have had the same experience in any land restaurant. Did you expect Princess to leave passengers unseated and hold a large table in case you happened to show up? They are not mind readers. If you opt for anytime dining, you either bear responsibility to make a reservation for a time the dining room can accomdate your large table request, or you risk having to wait. Buck up!

 

Lastly, I think it is unfair of you to blame Princess for the rude behavior of passengers. Carnival has had to suffer its reputation on the issue of party-hearty passengers, and has worked hard to improve their rep. With a lower total fare for short cruises, there were bound to be a number of passengers who haven't cruised before and don't know how to act. While money doesn't buy class, the behavior of people in general with respect to consideration for others has been on the decline for years, but is in no way attributable to the carriers. JMHO.

 

Whether you cruise again with Princess is of no consequence to me. While we generally choose our trips with respect to itinerary, you must choose the most comfortable fit for your family. But several of the issues you raised do not, in my opinion, justify your rant.

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Different strokes, I guess. We loved this cruise and found service, food and everything else to be spot-on.

 

There were two anytime dining venues. We noticed that everyone went to the Coral Dining room and had pagers. We walked to the Palm and never waited a minute, always walk-right-in. I think it was because the Coral is closer to the lobby, maybe? But personally, for a party of 8, I would have chosen traditional dining, it's probably easier to get everyone together when it is a set time, and you would have never waited. If everyone shows up at the same time, of course there has to be a wait, there is not one table for every group in every dining room. That's the chance you take with anytime dining if you eat at the times when everyone tends to dine.

 

Yes, they did give out the comment cards on all tables all the nights we ate there, and the food and service was great. However, I did travel the first three-night cruise with neighbors who have a "rudeness" problem, and I can tell you that the nights we dined with them and their rudeness, the staff immediately picked up on it and treated them as they deserved, with less attention. Sometimes what you throw out there comes right back at ya', so to speak. Maybe you weren't being so nice because your bread basket wasn't to your liking and you had to wait with that pager.

 

The food was good. I owned my own cafe' for two years and I was very pleased. I did not see any instant mashed potatoes, as you said. But I did have some of the best prepared fish I've ever had. Attention to detail was there. Really, how hard is it to ask for more bread? It takes longer to write about it than ask and receive it.

 

The big things you complained about, some of them could have been avoided fairly easily. Coming with properly filled out customs forms would have avoided the baggage and receipt search. This is not Princess' fault. You say you cruised 8 times in 2 years, you should have known how to properly fill out a customs form.

 

And proper PHOTO ID for everyone. Personally, I would not have left the house without a PHOTO ID for everyone in my party. Even my 11 year old or my grandmother, because it is mandatory for everyone to have PHOTO ID. A birth certificiate is not photo ID.

 

It's a shame you didn't like it. But it sounds like you cruise a lot, 8 cruises including 4 on Disney in two years. That's a lot of cruising for a family. I'm sure you'll have a better cruise in a few months :rolleyes:.

 

We can't treat ourselves that often, so maybe we just appreciated what we got more.:) I always try to be a tigger, and not an eyore.

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I have been on both Disney and Princess more than once and I too am surprised by the OP's experience.

If you havent done Disney one word on the free soda: Be careful what you wish for. (Ok thats more than one) The only free soda you have to get yourself and its only available at the kids pool . Not always convienient. Also if you at a lounge elsewhere on the ship you have to buy can soda. It was nice, but not all its cracked up to be.

I like both lines very much, but dollar for dollar Princess is the winner easily. Rack rates for Disney is 2x as much or more. and NOTHING on their ships is twice as good. The food to me was slightly better on Princess in the dining rooms and nothing beats not having to sit with a family with kids if you dont have any. My all adult party was seated with a family for the whole disney cruise where the people were very nice but their daughter was nuts...it made it very uncfortable for everyone. I felt bad for them becasue they did nothing every night but apologize to us.

Living in central florida I was able to get my Disney cruises for resonable rates and at those rates they were great. Palo is still my favorite...sorry Sabitini's you are a very close second.

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Maybe people shud read the stuff Princess sends you. Our TA forwarded a spl notice from Princess that "Passports are required". Maybe their agent didn't. But any cruise critic regular shud know it.

 

The only thing I could fault on this ship was the service in the "anytime dining". Lack of accountability for the waiters( no feedback form and they share the tips anyway) seemed to cause them not to be as personable & attentive.

 

Otherwise everything on this ship went off lock clockwork, including disembark, which was an hour early.

Met a nice group of ccer's !!!

 

Congratulations Princess ( and Carnival Corp).

 

The "not so attentive waitstaff because there is no accountability and they share the tippings" probably is the most misperceived myth.

 

We have Anytime dining, but with a fixed table at fixed time because we found a perfect table for 2 and a great waiter. We were very happy with our evening waiter and his assistant. He knows our likes and dislikes, and always suggests us to get an extra, different main course to share when he thinks there are more than one good choice on the menu. One night we had a lobster and Monkfish. I indicated I wasn't sure about Monkfish - he arranged to have 2 lobster tails and no Monkfish for our dishes. They may not be the perfect waiters as about 1/2 of the time our table was not set perfectly when we came - missing cutlery, esp the butter knives, were common occurence - often due to they did not get the clean ones back in time or they did not have time to fully reset the table before we came. Those are small items we could tolerate. On the other hand, they were very sincere and attentative and showed geniune concern if we did not seem to like a dish.

 

On every dining table, including the Horizon Court, there is a little card placed on the table, invited the passengers to write down their comments - good or bad - most of the time the card has the waitteam's names on it and at the back it has the 3 dining times for passenger to check, so to correctly identify the servers. Trust me, these cards ARE the tools for the passengers to provide feedback. There are also forms available at Purser desk should you have any complaints that warranted formal comments.

 

We did use one of such on our recent 16day Transatlantic cruise on Emerald Princess (our 8th with Princess) about an annoying lunch experience at dining room on a port day. We took the card on the table, and asked the assistant waiter the name of the waiter (a woman) as there was no name on the card. We did not submit the comments that day. The Headwaiter of that section of the dining room came over to our table on the other side of the dining room that evening, chitchatted with us sneakly trying to find out what might have been wrong. Since he did not ask directly, we did not tell him what had happened, despite we sensed his purpose. We submitted our comment card together with the complaint form the following afternoon. That evening, the Headwaiter, the boss of the woman waiter, came over again to chat with us but left our Headwaiter to do the apology, although our Headwaiter did not really know what had happened. He came with a bottle of wine, said the Maitre d sent us the wine to apologize for what had happened the day before. We turned it down but told our Headwaiter what had happened. He totally agreed with us the woman waiter had some imappropriate behavior but insisted we took the wine, even if we did not drink it, but took it and gave it to others as gift, whatever. When we left the dining room, the dining room Headwaiter who was responsible for assigning tables, immediately had his assistant delivered the wine in an ice-bucket with 2 glasses to our cabin. The following 4 nights, both the Headwaiter of the other section and our own Headwaiter, came over to chitchat a few minutes to make sure we were happy.

 

Our own waiter also verified that, the comment cards did mean something to them, and the questionnaires at debarkation were even more important. We filled both out and handed to purser desk dutifully.

 

All in all, many comparisons OP has layed out, are not a fair comparison between cruiselines. I think Coral has a very good post to respond to that.

 

Personally I would much rather people who want Soda to buy Soda card, than people who dont want Soda but still are forced to pay much higher prices for the cruise so the Soda would be free.

 

Also, travelling aboard without passports for the kids are just a timebomb waiting to set off. Princess did send out notice about Passport requirement. I did not know what was in OP's mind that having 3 kinds of paper would be more convenient and secure, than having just 1 passport.

 

Finally, with a party of 8, including wheelchair - even on a land-based restaurant, you would have some difficulty to get an adequate table without reservation. Why would OP expect Anytime Dining would be a magic word, to erase all the other factors involved when seating a party of 8?

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We went to anytime dining 3 nites :

Ist nite was great b-cause it was formal nite and no one else came.

 

The next 2 nites, 1 in each dining room--I assure there was no comment card either time. We never heard from a Maitre D , or ass't M.D. either nite.

 

Food was very slow , orders were screwed up. No gorund pepper offered, no checking to see if we liked what we got,orif it was done right, etc, etc,etc.

 

With tradn'l dining your questionaire has the table # etc-- not so this way.

 

The food was good, but the service "sucked".

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Sorry for the typos-- I loved the cruise,but-- the anytime dining service left something to desire, and there were not comment cards on the tables!!!!!

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Disney...Palo; best food EVER

hate split bath; give me one larger bath

 

 

LOVE Palo's, it's the reason we cruise DCL:p ;)

Love the split bath with one for kids and one for us, makes for much easier getting ready:D

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forgot 1 thing:

on the 2 nites ,in separate dining rooms, the waiter(s) and ass't waiters did not introduce themselves.

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Thanks to everyone for sharing there opinions, as I did in the OP.

 

I'd like to reiterate that I did state my "personal observation" was noted with regards to the rude travelers (chair higs, etc) and that this in no way refected on Princess as at all.

 

When we went to the Coral Dining Room, the host told us we would also have to wait for a table at the Palm. The elders in the group decided to pass on the formal night, so we had a group of 6, not 8. And yes, our potatos were instant.

 

And my comparisons to Disney were noted to specific items only (check in and soda cards). There is no *bling* on DCL. I was stating how surprised we were because the 2 RCCL ships we have sailed had a nice selection. We were very surprised the short sailings of Sovereign had an even larger store than the Granduer. So, we were very shocked to find a "Grand" fleet ship shop selection was pretty minimal.

 

It was been interesting reading everyone elses opinions. The reason we chose Princess was due to the strong supporters of Princess from here and other message boards....More confusion for us when we sat shaking our heads at the severe disorganization.

 

Better customer service would have met our expectation.

 

Thanks again all!

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I cruised on CB (with Jercal 10) and our party chose traditional dining which worked out great. Although I didn't see any comment cards, we sure had lots of bread baskets! I would have shared had I known the OP went without rolls. Sounds like an awful cruise for that family. My relatives did not like this cruise. Nothing against Princess, but cruising in general is not for them. The kids were incorrigble, a couple of them got seasick, it didn't work out as planned, etc. So be it. But even our 3 and 5 year olds in our group had passports. Folks who travel to a foreign country without a passport, whether by land or sea, any at age, leaves me shaking my head in wonderment. OP states they waited 45 minutes to get through this mess? On behalf of all the others behind them, I pray those kids get passports.

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And my comparisons to Disney were noted to specific items only (check in and soda cards). There is no *bling* on DCL. I was stating how surprised we were because the 2 RCCL ships we have sailed had a nice selection. We were very surprised the short sailings of Sovereign had an even larger store than the Granduer. So, we were very shocked to find a "Grand" fleet ship shop selection was pretty minimal.

 

It was been interesting reading everyone elses opinions. The reason we chose Princess was due to the strong supporters of Princess from here and other message boards....More confusion for us when we sat shaking our heads at the severe disorganization.

 

Better customer service would have met our expectation.

 

Thanks again all!

RCI itself says that it puts shopping malls to sea - Princess doesn't do that. Contrary to what people would like to believe, all of the mass market lines are not alike. Some of us don't choose ships so that we can spend all of our sea days in stores...I can do that at my local mall.

I just got off a six day Golden Princess cruise and it went like clockwork - the only issue we had was with disembarkation because the seriously stretched Vancouver airport bus service (there were four ships in) had a breakdown and it backed everything else up. The rest was perfect, so your severe disorganization experience is not normal for Princess - if it was, Princess wouldn't be held in such high regard.

I get the feeling that you can't accept that your experience wasn't the norm...but that's OK, you gave Princess a try and didn't like it. Best with your future cruises.

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