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Sunday, December 3, 2006

what i did on my winter vacation...

As many of you know, Wifey is a graduate of Wellesley, a very prestigious all-woman's school outside Boston. At the school, there are tons of holier-than-thou students whose response to any situation is to "write an angry note". That being said, here is my review of our vacation which will soon be posted (hopefully) on the cruisecritic website.------------

You know its a bad sign when you return from a cruise and when you check into the airport and say "finally some decent food."

This was my first cruise with Princess and will likely be the last. The principle reason was the food was horrible, worse than most cafeteria food and definitely far below expectations. Out of 7 dinners, I sent my entree back 5 times. I had salads with brown lettuce, veal that was all fat and every pasta dish was overcooked. Soups were all water and seafoods wasn't fresh. Additionally, the cooks didn't understand anything about how the appearance of food. Having a bunch of chopped up food with a half leave of mint on top is not attractive.

We went to both premium restaurants and they were a little better. But the same issues with quality of food, though preparation was a bit better.

Service on the ship was hit or miss. Our room attendant was very good and did an excellent job with our stateroom. The service in the dining room was pretty good. They really made an effort to give us what we wanted. (It was their food the food was horrible). The bar service was hit or miss. We spent lots of time out by the pool and it was also impossible to flag down a waiter. (Maybe it was because my wife and I don't drink). On other occasions, when waiting in line for pizza, I was skipped in line for a countryman of the person working the area. On the postitive side, my wife (who is Flipino) often didn't have to pay for her drinks when she ordered them from Filipino countrymen. This is a major customer service issue which needs to be address immediately by Princess.

Shore excursions were OK. We probably didn't pick the best ones but the tour guides were qualified and friendly. One problem-- nothing started on time!!. They made a big deal about excursions starting promptly, but they always started at least 20 minutes late. Apparently, they built this into the schedule. This is completely disrespectful to Cruise guests.

Entertainment onboard was OK. The comedian wasn't funny, but wifey and I enjoyed the art auctions. The biggest issue I had was with the casino. The dealers (especially the Blackjack and poker ones) didn't know the rules. Several guests had to complain and it was very unprofessional. It appears that Princess doesn't invest in basic training for its staff.

Getting on the boat was easy. Got there at 12:30 and were in our room by 1:15. Getting off the boat was another issue. There was little communication to the process. There was tons of line going around the boat and noone communicated which line to get in. We ended up lining up before our assigned group (seems like other people did the same) and noone cared. A few signs explaining the process could have gone a long way.

All this said, we will not sail Princess again.

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