Travel Series: Princess Cruise Review
If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you likely know we went on a Scandinavian cruise over the summer. I wanted to make sure I gave you my full Princess Cruise Review. We chose Princess Cruise Lines because I saw several bloggers do the same cruise, showcasing the awesome places they visited via Instagram Stories. It looked okay to me! In fact, it looked better than okay and I got an itch to see all those Scandinavian countries for myself.
I want to preface this post by saying that Bryan and I are “particular” about our accommodations while traveling. We like to be comfortable. I suppose everybody does but some people aren’t keen to spend more money when they’ll only be sleeping in a room, for example. We are not those people. So, I did want to put that out there. Traveling makes us happy and it’s worth it to us to pay extra to be comfortable.
I had a lot of trouble finding the right room set up for us because we are a family of five. Most cruise lines do not accommodate more than 4 people in a room and in a lot of cases that includes the suites. Well, I had never been on a cruise and I just wasn’t comfortable having my kids in their own room that didn’t adjoin (except by way of the balcony OUTSIDE). I needed to be able to see them in the night. I spoke to numerous people on the phone at Princess and we finally settled on a suite with a room next door. I figured we’d all just stay in the suite unless it became crowded or someone was snoring or needed some space. We did use the extra room a few times for various things but mostly we all stayed in the suite. What they didn’t tell us was that all the benefits that go with the suite, would not extend to two of the five of us. This was a huge inconvenience and waste of money. We (would have) had priority seating at some of the restaurants, a captains dinner on the first night, priority boarding and disembarking, access to perks for specialty dining, blah blah, the list goes on but we weren’t able to take advantage of these things. Pretty much the only thing we COULD take advantage of was an upgraded room service menu (because room service was complimentary and unlimited, no one could really say anything). It was actually super upsetting to have spent the money on a suite and not be able to take advantage of the perks. It would have been FAR better if they had mentioned this when their agents guided us to this particular room set up. I spoke to 2 staff members to explain that we did not realize 2 of my kids would not be included. Princess sold us the rooms and never mentioned it. We offered to pay the difference for the dining and forgo everything else but they refused. They assured us that the complaint had been logged and would be sent to their office in California. They also sent me a survey after our cruise, which I dutifully laid these things out. All of that was well over 6 weeks ago and we haven’t heard from anyone with Princess. I’m not expecting to.
Having said all of that and as disappointing as it was, we really enjoyed our suite. It was spacious and we were quite comfortable. The best part was a huge balcony. The weather was absolutely gorgeous – sunny and breezy – so we sat out there quite a lot. It helped me with being motion sick too.
Speaking of being motion sick…I suffer from motion sickness pretty badly. I always have. I am pretty much a disaster on planes and on long car rides without Dramamine so I came PREPARED on this cruise. I had the wrist bands, Dramamine, Children’s Dramamine (it doesn’t make me as drowsy), the ear patches…You name it! And I used all of it ?. We boarded on a Sunday evening and by Wednesday, I wasn’t feeling nearly as sick as the first few days. I don’t know if that was because my body got used to the motion or because all of my “devices” started really kicking in. I will say this…I’ve heard that if you’re on a lower level, the motion isn’t as prevalent (we were on deck 15 of 17, sooooo not so low at all) and after having been on the ship and eaten dinner on some of the lower levels, I do think there’s something to that. The closer you are to the water, the less swaying there seemed to be.
Back to the cruise. We were on the Regal Princess and while it was a perfectly nice ship, I didn’t think it was anything special. It is definitely an older and more subdued crowd. After our issues with Princess, I started doing more thorough research and I believe we probably should’ve booked a Royal Caribbean cruise. I think it’s geared more toward families than Princess.
Having said all of that, the highlight of our trip was seeing 7 countries in 13 days. That part was BEYOND. We visited Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Germany, and Norway. I’ll write about each country in my next post but we really struggled initially with only having one day in each of these countries but ultimately decided that it was an amazing way to experience so many countries at once. And if we loved a specific place (looking at you Russia, Estonia, and Norway!), we could return for longer. I figured it would be tough to visit all of those countries on individual trips. Anyway, it is hard to put into words how much I enjoyed having the privilege of experiencing all these different cultures with my boys. We absolutely loved it!
If you missed my post about how to pack for international travel as a family make sure to check it out here!
Let me know if you have any questions about our cruise. I’d love to share!