Originally Posted by You
Thanks Norm! As I said we haven't been on a Princess ship since 1985 so I know nothing about "anytime dining". We like to eat early and often...ha ha. Just wondering how the staterooms compare in size to the Summit. Our Summit rooms were 191 sq. ft. and it looks as if the Royal has much smaller rooms even though it says 214 sq. ft. Does that that include the balcony? Also I was wondering if Princess is on a par with Celebrity's wonderful service....we were really impressed by our last cruise this May 25 to Alaska as it was the best service we've had so far. I'm thinking that the smaller ship size will make a huge difference and will be very intimate and pleasing. Anyway, we're looking forward to what we believe will be a wonderful cruise in June 2008. Thanks again!
I first started cruising on Princess in 1998, but the product changed in a few significant areas in the 2000-2002 time frame.
>> 1. In 2000, Princess changed the prescrived dress to "casual" on the previously "informal" evenings so that seven night cruises now have two "formal" evenings and five "casual" evenings. (The term "smart casual" appears in Princess's literature, but the description of "smart casual" is identical to the description of "casual" before the change.) This change made Princess the most casual of the major cruise lines, and thus drew a significant contingent of passengers who don't want to dress up -- many of whom won't dress up for the "formal" evenings, either, but insist on going to the "formal" events anyway. Unfortunately, the line did absolutely nothing to enforce its dress codes. As a result, the ambiance of the evenings aboard ship deteriorated markedly.
>> 2. About the same time, Princess introduced the "Anytime Dining" gimmick on all ships with two or more main dining rooms (one main dining room always maintains the "Traditional Dining" arrangement). Unfortunately, "Traditional Dining" is usually well oversubscribed and the line does nothing to accommodate the additional passengers who want the "Traditional Dining" arrangement.
>> 3. MV Grand Princess
has positively the most dysfunctional layout of any ship on which I have ever cruised. Unfortunately, the line has copied nearly all of flaws in that ship's layout not only on the rest of the vessels of the Grand Princess
class, but also on the vessels of the Diamond Princess
class and the vessels of the Caribbean Princess
class. Together, these vessels now comprise over half of the Princess fleet and the line is still building nearly all of its new vessels to the same dysfunctional basic design.
>> 4. The line's parent company instituted a "Cost Reduction Programme" in 2001 that made some very deep cuts in the product, most notably in the cuisine. Nearly all of the flaming desserts vanished completely, as did the Crepes Suzettes at the Champagne Waterfall event. There was also a major cutback in entertainment (the live music disappeared from the Horizon Court aboard the ships of the Sun Princess
class and the cabaret acts disappeared from the Explorer's Lounge aboard the Grand Princess
class, for example).
For me, the last straw came when the stockholders of Princess's parent company, then known as P&O Princess Cruises Plc., voted to change the name of the company to Carnival Plc. (LSE: CCL) and to merge operations with Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL) right after the cruise aboard MV Tahitian Princess
mentioned in my earlier reply. I think that Celebrity is now the cruise line whose product is closest to what Princess Cruises was a decade ago, and I am much happier cruising with Celebrity than with Princess now.
Of course, YMMV....