Returned a few weeks ago from an Alaska Pacific Princess Cruise where we had a lovely time. Dined with folks from Ohio, Louisiana, California, good cross section of experienced travelers. We all thought the quality of the food in the dining room not very high. The beef was especially poor. The buffets were okay, but certainly nothing special. You had to go to a specialty restaurant to get a memorable meal. Is this an anomaly with Princess or just the way things are heading?
Interesting question, TimA; how many anomalies does it take before you call it a trend.
By the way, hello and welcome to cruise-chat.
I felt the same way about a recent Island Princess cruise to Hawaii; except my problem was with the buffet, not the dining room. I was dissapointed with the variety and the presentation in the Horizon Court. Sometimes it was O.K., but just O.K.; other times I would walk through and have nothing on my plate--nothing looked good; and I am in excellent health and no problems with my appetite, to which my wife can attest.
We had no problems with the food in the dining room, not even the beef; and in 15 days we had just about every kind of beef dish they serve. I agree that the truly memorable meals were in the specialty restaurants (Sabatini's and Bayou Cafe), but I don't really expect "memorable" meals in the regular dining room. Our issues in the dining room were with the staff, mainly the matre d' and head waiters. After the second night we were the only two at a table for ten; there were only 6 to start with and the other 4 wanted anytime dining, and got it. But we could not get assigned to another table or get more people at our table, despite repeated requests to the head waiter. Maybe I should have slipped him a gratuity, but it was a matter of principle with me to not tip to get something I had requested and for which I was confirmed. So we just started going to the Anytime dining room and it just reconfirmed for us why we like traditional dining. Some waiters were very pleasant; others were anywhere from indifferent to downright surly.
So I had issues too, although not the same as yours.
Conclusion: Princess is not perfect. The way things are heading? I think the jury is still out. This was my first problem of this kind in 30+ years so I'm not ready to abandon ship just yet. But I will be watching closely on upcoming cruises.
Besides the dining issues, how did you like Pacific Princess? I am anxious to sail one of their smaller ships. I loved the original Island Princess, Pacific Princess and Sun Princess.
I too have notice the decline in meat quality on Princess a few years ago but then it bounced back to being acceptable. Didn't someone mention they tried a new meat vendor at one time & then changed again? On our last two cruises (Caribbean P. & Island P.) it was better & I hope it stays that way for our next one on the Diamond.
Wow! We hate to hear there was dissapointment with food and service in the dinning rooms of a princess ship. We are leaving in 2 days to board the Tahitian Princess(Sept 1) and had decided not to do a specialty restuarant this cruise. We are hoping with this being a smaller ship we will have a different and pleasureable cruise.
Hello K&S; I wouldn't worry--I'm sure you are going to have a great cruise. You have only heard three complaints out of the thousands of passengers that sail every week on Princess' 17 ships. And if you notice, the problems were not serious enough for any of the three of us to say we would advise not sailing on Princess, or that we would not sail with them again.
As RichC said, his issue seems to have been resolved. And TimA and I prefer to think our problems were just anomalies, and not symptoms of some larger breakdown in the Princess organization.
Time will tell; in spite of some problems, we had a wonderful cruise--I would recommend it without hesitation--and I would go again; in fact I am. If you go back through some old posts you will see that RichC and I always speak very highly of Princess. This was just something that was brought up and needed discussing in an open forum.
So go, have a wonderful cruise; and be sure to get back to us when you return. We love to have up-to-date information.
I don't think any of the major cruise ships serve the gourmet feasts that were notable when the ships were smaller and cruising was more expensive. However, the food is still very good, you just can't have lobster every night. I notice that they have cut back on portion sizes, which suffices most of us, and you can ask for more if so inclined. And no matter how hard you try, at a buffet for 2,000+ people you are going to find some things getting cold or wilting away as they try to keep ahead of the food line.
I had a bad feeling about Princess food after we sailed on the Sun. Our first Princess cruise was on the Sea and the food was extraordinary, service was impeccable and presentation was 5 star. Then we sailed on the Sun, the food was nothing to write home about, presentation was just ok, the service was good but not excellent. I thought, oh my, Carnival PCL bought Princess and there went the food. Well, I'm glad that wasn't the case. Our next cruise was on the Dawn, the food was great, the presentation was 4 star and the service was superb. We sailed on the Sea and the Sun again with the same results. I came to the conclusion, it must have just been the chef we had on that one particular cruise and maybe the wait staff was just worn out. I'm sure all the major lines have their off times, they're only humans working (and being over worked as well). And I agree with Jill SC, no matter how hard they try on a buffet line, some things are bound to suffer. I can promise you on our cruise on the Sun where we were disappointed, we didn't go hungry. I do hope all of your experiences on your cruise will be wonderful!
Penny3333- It's strange that you mention the Sun P. having so-so food. We had the same experience on the Sun in Oct 2006 & we then sailed again on the Sun in Oct 2007 with completely different results. The food had improved 100 % (mostly the meat quality). I had first attributed it to the head chief but I did read some where that Princess had switched to a different meat vendor for a while & that was probably the reason. Since our first so-so experience we've sailed on 4 other Princess ships & the food was back to where it had been. They must have had other people complain- who knows?
That is strange, RichC. I wonder if it is the same Chef? I sure hope it's good on the Emerald, my hubby is really looking forward to the sushi bar. But, like I said, we didn't go hungry. I'm debating between the Royal and the Grand for next year. The Royal is $900 more than the Grand for the same length of cruise, 14 day. I guess it's because the Royal is so much smaller that they have to charge more. I like the itinerary of the Royal better, but the extra cost is really making me hesitate. To some, $900 might not be much, to me it's a lot. I guess by November I'll make up my mind. I like booking on board because of the credit you receive, it's the same price as booking on line, so why not get a little extra.
I made a big error on our last Princess cruise buy not buying 2 more future cruises. We normally take 3 or so during the fall/winter/spring period and I only had 1 future so I'll have to wait for our next sailing to purchase them. They might be a lot of good deals to be had in the mean time.