We chose this cruise because of the itinerary- Southampton-Falmouth-Dublin-Greenock-Reykjavik-Qaqotorq-St Johns-New York. It was our first time on Princess and the previous cruise was Princess Grill on Cunard so we lowered our expectations - and were pleasantly surprised.
Southampton- Embarkation was a shambles. We ended up standing in line for nearly an hour, when we could have been sitting down. Needs fixing, as the rest of the cruise was far more organised.
Falmouth - a tender port with help from local boats which was a welcome surpriuse. No lines, well organised. Falmouth has people welcoming us and providing info. We chose to go for a walk and avoided the tours.
Dublin - we missed due to high winds. We don't mind missing ports for safety reasons. However, anyone going on this cruise MUST realise that nearly every port is at risk of being missed as they are narrow and difficult.
Greenock - amazing welcome from the locals. We took advice of previous critics and avoided the expensive Princess tours and signed up for a FREE local one. Need to sign up by 9:30 am as they fill up. You sign up in the Terminal when you get off.
Reykjavik - we did an expensive tour (half day was enough). Ended up spending the night in port as winds too strong to leave. VERY narrow entrance.
Qaqatorq - tendering operation was well organised. Small place, went for a walk. Dont expect a city and tours - the whole point is to experience it as it is!
St Johns - amazing place. Moored up alongside the main street! Again, no need for the tours. Can walk or take taxi to the main points of interest. Free wifi in the Atlantic Place Starbucks...
New York - disembarking was stupendously easy. 15 mins to get off ship, collect luggage and through immigration. Then spoilt by an horrendous tour - Manhattan Highlights and airport transfer. Guide and driver positively disorganised and reckless. Will NEVER do Grayline again.
We'd expected rough seas, being a North Atlantic adventure, but were very surprised by mostly calm and sometimes mill pond like seas.
Bearing in mind our most recent comparison is with Cunard QM2 and Princess Grill, our highlights and lowlights were as follows:
Highlights: Room Service (we had for breakfast and many tea/Coffees) which is free and fast. Cabin was a bit tired but spacious with lots of storage and hanging space. We wanted to relax and found the dressing policy good. No doubt the clothing police will disagree with me, but I found the formal night were quite informal (less than 10% of the Palm Dining Room - traditional seating) was in black tie/tuxedo - ties and jackets were enough. And Smart casual mean a short and no tie, and slacks. All very agreeable. If I want to dress up I will go Cunard again. Tendering was well organised.
Lowlights: Very expensive tours, so we mostly did our own thing, The Manhattan tour/airport transfer was so bad that we'd have got off and taken a taxi if we could. There were many passengers who seemed to be professional complainers: the mill pond seas were too rough (this was the North Atlantic..), the ship too large and too many passengers (then why book this cruise) and basically went round moaning and taking photos of things they didn't like. The lecturers were very American and one was so bad with poor facts - I've nothing about USA lecturers but if they are covering UK based science and history they need to be more accurate.
Bottom Line - I would recommend this cruise but know what you're booking. It is the North Atlantic with narrow ports and you may miss one or more. The seas may be rough (or not). It is Princess not Cunard, that said, it was the most stable ship I've every encountered, with average food (which was fine) and events that were inviting but not pretentious. It was a great cruise for relaxing.
And Capt William Kent needs the final word. He was superb (I expect the stability of the ship was also down to his choice of route). He is wonderfully English, with phrases like scampering, tootling along and going like the clappers - which I expect most of the passengers didn't understand!