Embarkation at Port Everglades was worse than Miami. Although
not under the control of Princess, they need to work with the Ports
Authority on the wheelchair boarding process. They use the "Honor
System" (no numbers or log-in sheet to determine who's next) and we
had many jump the line causing us to have to wait over an hour
before we could board in sweltering heat. There is NO excuse for
this especially when you request wheelchair boarding prior to the
cruise through Princess.
We had a Balcony cabin (R611) which was common in size and
amenities yet these cabins have an overhang from the Buffet above
making it quiet and private. NO noise heard from the buffet above
at all for the entire cruise. Mattress was sub-par and we had to
request foam egg crates to fill in the gully in the middle if the
Buffet was hit and miss (yet more miss). Main Dining room (Palm)
was excellent with great presentation, good portions and served
hot. Don't understand why people complain about portions when you
are eating a six course meal!
Princess theater too small to allow access to many passengers
you arrive an hour or more earlier. Crew were always smiling and
helpful. Customer service desk personnel need some customer service
Slots (penny) were VERY loose as were most of the other
one-armed bandits in the casino. I hit for over $1500 in one day on
the penny slots. Drinks are as expensive as any other line but you
can order from Princess Cellars prior to the cruise and have a
bottle of your liking in your cabin for the entire cruise. I would
most Definitely sail Princess again.
Holland America Line (HAL) delivered on its itinerary. We
embarked in Valparaiso, Chile. We disembarked two weeks later in
Buenos Aires having sailed around the Horn. There were two ports
along the way where we were supposed to stop, but didn’t. The
Captain probably made the right decisions in the interest of
safety. One was weather-related. The other due to a forest fire and
a lot of smoke.
The food was great, plentiful, and available just about every
minute of the day.
The cabin was clean and everything worked well. The boat is
getting a little old, but it is well maintained. Our cabin steward
was excellent. He was incredibly cooperative, conscientious, and
Now, for the downside.
HAL maximizes its revenue by selling use of limited boat space
to vendors who make good use of a captive audience. There’s a
wrist watch shop, a jewelry store, people bugging you all day long
to buy photos of yourself, a place that sells clothing, and a smoky
casino. Pardon me, but if I want to buy a watch, some earrings, or
a sweatshirt, then I’ll do it on
land before I leave for the trip. And I won’t pay an inflated
price. We would like for HAL to use all that vendor space for
something more productive - like a place to sit and look out the
window at the fantastic scenery. The most amazing hustle of all is
the Park West Gallery art “auction,” complete with the
“auctioneer’s” confederates circling behind you,
telling you when to raise your card. It was offensive.
HAL seems to be a generation behind in the areas of on-board
entertainment, restaurant décor, and mid-ship sculpture. The
comedy and dance presentations could compete for the Lawrence Welk
audience. The fancy restaurants looked like 19th century brothels,
complete with servers sporting costumes and a level of fake
formality calculated to encourage heavy drinking. A hideous,
organ-shaped sculpture consumes the middle of the ship, unavoidable
on decks three through five. HAL would make more friends if it
traded the artificial opulence for brighter, more contemporary
furnishings and service.
In short HAL, as an independent company, was a first-class
cruise line for the first nine decades of the last century.
Carnival bought it in 1989, and has now fully effected the culture
shift. Today HAL is a reflection of the lowest common