The past week we’ve talked cruising. I’ve told you why I wasn’t a big fan in the past and how that’s changed. I told you about the fabulous wineries, gorgeous Santa Barbara, the impressive Chef’s Table and the capable, friendly staff. Just in case you missed anything, I’m recapping it all here and listing ten reasons why I know I’ll cruise again. And why Princess will be my cruise line of choice.
The Food. This is, by far, the number one reason I’ll cruise with Princess Cruises again. I’d cruised twice before my Princess cruise. The first time the food was “meh”. It was mostly bad although they did make a mean Eggs Benedict. The problem was that was all I ate the entire cruise because everything else was awful. My next cruise was even worse! ALL the food was bad, with the exception of the one restaurant that we paid several hundred dollars extra for the pleasure. What that said to me was that both ships know what great food is, they just didn’t take enough care to serve it to the masses unless they paid through the nose for it. I vowed that I would never, ever take a cruise again for that reason alone. But Princess changed my mind completely on the food. They, too, have specialty restaurants that you pay a small fee to dine at. But I don’t mind that since the rest of the food was great, too! My friend Kimberly and I ate many of our meals at International Cafe where you can pick what you like by pointing to it in a glass case. I was severely skeptical the first time we ordered but it was all incredible. One evening after being out all day in Santa Barbara, we decided to do a spa night and just grab something light after. International Cafe has the most incredible grilled vegetables, I couldn’t believe it. We followed it up with a few light desserts that was exactly what we were looking for. Their breakfasts there were equally delicious! So my #1 reason for cruising Princess is, without question, the amazing food. I eat really well when I’m not on a cruise ship so why would I want to cruise if I can’t feel a little spoiled?
The Value. Admittedly, I was not only comped for my cruise but also paid for the articles that came after it. However, I’ve been looking into taking a last-minute cruise for NYE 2015 and I’m floored at how inexpensive it is to cruise with Princess. If I still lived in SoCal I would have already booked yesterday. I spend more than that in a week when I’m NOT on a ship, why not have all my meals paid for and lie by the pool, too?
Come Back New. Seriously, who doesn’t need a break from life’s every day stresses? Even if you don’t need the break, a change in pace will always help to center things and realign your focus. Grab your spouse, a friend or your mother – just get out of town and soak up the sun for a few days!
The Excursions. I was so, so impressed with the Princess excursions! We toured two wineries but it wasn’t just that (after all, I tour wineries all the time living in VA wine country). These wineries were exceptional and treated us like royalty. And I’m quite certain that I would never have visited a winery in Ensenada, Mexico; even if I’d known the Baja peninsula had a “wine country” I doubt I could have been persuaded to pay a visit! But now? Now I can’t wait to go back and take my SoCal friends on a tour. Won’t they be surprised!!
The Staff. This is a biggie for me. I don’t want to pay to take a vacation only to have a snippy or indifferent experience with the staff. I’m a Midwestern girl, we like people. And I like people who like people. I don’t expect to be fawned over every second of the day but, at the very least, I want a smile and courteous service. The staff on the Ruby Princess exceeded that expectation and then some. From our morning coffee to our room steward to the executive chef, everyone was consistent and happy. I actually had a fairly long conversation with a young woman who works in the spa on the Ruby Princess. She’d only been working with Princess for a couple of months, having previously worked with other cruise lines. She had a sparkle in her eye when she told me about how welcoming the rest of the staff had been and how they already felt like family. According to her, this was not a typical experience and she said she’ll never work for another cruise line. Many of Princess’ staff has been there for years, a sign that something right is happening there. That carries through to the guest experience and I know that I felt cared for and pampered my entire trip!
I don’t know about you but I like giving my hard-earned dollars to companies that get it right. Princess Cruises not only changed my mind about cruising but turned me into a life-long fan!