AR I enjoyed your review a lot! Having sailed on Princess last year on a brand new ship I found the same problems. Coffee was very very bad, food almost always bad and the service WOW very bad. It is interesting to note at Disney they give you a tray,silver ware, cotton napkins and free juices, soft drinks etc. I compared the Disney cruise to our last Princess cruise and I must say Disneys service was 100%. But the food wasn't that great either and I am wondering what cruise line will have the best food? We have a large credit from Princess if we book again with them and I must tell you we could care less. If we do make the Century cruise I am curious how they will compare to service and food to all the other lines? At least you saw some interesting ports! I agree with you when you stated it was almost insane for some people to fly in the same day! Having gone to Germany many times I know how time differences and the jetlag will affect the first 48hrs. Again, thanks for the review!
2015--- Alaska Cruise separate land trip to Ireland and England !
I sailed the Grand Princess several years ago, and didn't care for it. Even though the same size as the Diamond and Sapphire, they've made big improvements in layout on the newer ships.
I don't think the "drops" you noticed really have anything to Carnival. Past Princess passengers seem to refer to the "Carnivalization" of Princess when complaining about the line, but I think it's entirely Princess' doing... while service on Carnival is actually improving significantly.
I also think that none of the mass market lines are truly consistent from ship to ship. All are somewhat overburdened finding quality, well trained, and devoted staff because so many new ships have come on stream the last few years.
Comments by staff.. like the refusal to get a pax a straw are just a demonstration of laziness. No way I would believe it's "company policy" that the waiter can't go to a bar and bring back a straw!
I'm not certain I'd avoid Princess entirely, but I'd be in no rush to sail the Grand, Golden, or Caribbean.