We will be sailing with Princess for the first time in the fall. We are seasoned cruisers having been on Carnival and NCL several times. I see from several post that many of you have been on several Princess cruises. I'd be interested in hearing (reading) what you all find especially nice, fun, interesting, etc about Princess Cruises and maybe what to avoid. Thanks in advance!
We loved Princess! The atmosphere is quieter and more refined than what we saw on Carnival. There were less hairy chest type of activities. What we liked best was that Princess handles crowds really efficiently. We never had to wait in line more than 5 - 10 minutes anywhere, even embarking. The photo shop is open more than just after dinner, so you don't get the whole ship trying to fine their own pictures at the same time. The crew spoke better English and were more friendly. They try to never say "no" to a request. If they can't say "yes", they pass you up the chain of command until someone hopefully can say yes. This typifies the differences we saw: One night on Carnival I asked for a different salad dressing than what was on the menu and was told that that wasn't possible. One night on Princess, I didn't like to dressing on my salad. Both the waiter and his assistant were there right away begging me to let them bring me a salad I would like better. Not on the menu? No problem. If you want it we'll get it.
I've liked the Activities on the Princess ships. The Activities Staff seem to mingle better with the cruisers.On the Sun Princess there was a 50's themed dance.It was later in the evening and my husband was already in bed. I decided to go down in my jeans,took a book and intended to just sit in the back and listen to the music. Well, lo and behold, Peter, a member of the staff went back where I was and invited me to dance. Albeit that they all had plans to make sure that all guests were involved, it made me feel good to be asked. And, yes, I did dance! On the Grand, I had my picture taken with Sean, another great member of the Activities Staff (he had a great voice, too, and led the guests in "YMCA" in one of the lounges during one of the "lounge singer's" Programs.) He was a hit every night as it was in a main thoroughfare..They are not pushy,but might gently encourage you to join in.The waiters at dinner got to know us on at least two of the cruises, and the stewards were very friendly to us.This feeling was the same on both the Grand and the Golden. I was a regular fixture,almost, at the Photo Shop,as I had my pictures developed onboard rather than waiting.My bill for pictures on the Sun,(our first cruise) was $177.(We now have a digital camera and do our own or take them to a 1 hr Photo in one of the ports.)The staff there was nice, too.Many of the overall staff are British or Canadian.Being from Canada originally, I appreciated that. I guess our word for Princess Cruises is "comfortable". We were aboard a ship from a different line last year to just get a taste of something different.The Activities Staff there were not very inclusive,personal or friendly and the internal climate was "cold".We're back to Princess this year and will sail on the Caribbean Princess Sept.18. Lynne
Princess has a casual elegance that i didn't find on Carnival. A bit more refined but not snooty at all. No rowdy drunken crowds, or super-duper partiers,just nice folks looking to relax and have fun, great activities - the cruise directors staff are great. The service and food on Princess far exceeds that of Carnival -imo.
Thanks for all your comments. It is nice to see that everyone has good things to say. Is there anything we should avoid? Also, how is the lounge chair situation. We have a nice balcony, but I like to people watch and want to spend some time in the sun. Should we plan to find a seat early? We will be on the Star.
Our experience has been that the lounges around the main pools on the Sun, Golden and Grand are taken pretty early.There have been lounges available on the decks most of the time.However, the higher up you go, the windier it gets! Also, you're in the direct sun,so beware, it won't take long for a good tan or burn. There is the shady side, of course, but you get the breeze and shade and it might feel cooler or chilly in the wind.Many folks get to the pool early and get a lounge chair farther back , with a little shade provided by the deck above, and read.The younger cruisers go for the front rows by the pool. If you choose to sit on the Promenade Deck on one of the benches you'll get the jogging and walking traffic-so you'll have a lot of company and see them go by several times. Lynne