Enchanted Princess (12th-16th August 2022) - Our Initial Thoughts
When we spotted a short Princess sailing from Southampton, we were so excited and wasted no time in getting it booked. If you've been following along with us, you'll know that Princess were the reason we fell in love with cruising 10 years ago, but for various reasons we hadn't made it back onboard a Princess ship. We thought we got a good price for this sailing and we loved the idea of having Princess Plus included, effectively making it an all-inclusive cruise. We will go into more detail in subsequent posts about what we got up to onboard, but wanted to start out by sharing an overview of our positives and negatives from this cruise.
The food - one of the standouts from our first Princess cruise was the food and this hadn't changed. Everything we ate was fantastic, from the buffet to speciality restaurants. We couldn't fault it.
Entertainment - everything we saw was brilliant. We enjoyed a good range of different entertainment and there was always plenty going on around the ship.
The staff and crew onboard - all of them were fantastic. They work so hard and always had a smile on their faces.
Embarkation - this was one of the fastest embarkations we'd experienced. We had to queue for the car park but after that we walked straight through every stage. This was definitely helped by our Captain’s Circle membership (mainly thanks to cruising with P&O) which meant that we got priority embarkation.
The ship - Enchanted Princess is a beautiful ship. She is in great condition (which you'd expect with how new she is!) and there are lots of lovely spaces onboard. The Piazza area in particular is great, it was a hive of activity all of the time and had lots of comfortable seating.
Getting a drink - at times it was next to impossible to get a drink. There were massive queues for bars, some were over 30 minutes long, and there were no waiters serving drinks to tables. The bar staff were working so hard but there simply weren't enough of them. We appreciate that this was a short cruise and had been sold as all inclusive to the majority of passengers (97%) but it was very frustrating. We felt like they should not have sold out the ship (3600 passengers) with the current staffing numbers.
Medallion App - we had initial problems getting the app working, Lizzy's worked but Laura's didn't. A visit to the help desk solved this. Travelling as a party of two, means it is no fun if one of you is constantly standing in queues, so we tried to use the app as much as possible to order. On some occasions we received nothing at all, but the order showed as delivered. At other times, we received double orders which we weren't too upset by! There were often extremely long waits from when we placed the order to when it finally arrived.
Stateroom service - this was very hit and miss. We've only cruised P&O since the pandemic so were pleasantly surprised to have turn down service, but perhaps this meant that the stateroom stewards were stretched too thinly. Out of the 7 times our stateroom should have been serviced, we only actually received 4. One of those times we were definitely a bit late out of our room but we were especially disappointed that on our final day we didn't get any service at all, leaving us with no clean towels for disembarkation day.
Lack of information - we both agreed that if we had been first time cruisers we'd have felt a bit lost. For example, we hadn't pre booked a dining slot as we weren't sure what our dining plans would be once onboard, but we didn't receive any information telling us which dining room accepted walk-ins.
This last one is just Laura's - the bedding! The combination of sheet then duvet then sheet was a bit odd and cumbersome and led to a lot of middle of the night tangles.
Overall, we enjoyed our cruise and we would probably cruise with Princess again for the right price. We had some great experiences onboard and as we've said there were parts that we really loved. It was, however, not the experience that we expected and we would be wary of choosing a short cruise with Princess again.