Service: For the most part, the staff and crew were really warm and friendly...and did a great job of attempting to respond in a rapid and professional manner to any requests. Our waiter and his assistant (Rolan and John) were great! They got an additional cash tip at the end of the trip.
Our room steward did what he had to, but that was about it. We requested two things from him....ice at 430 pm each day and some champagne glassed when we won a bottle on board. To the first request he said that he would do the room in the morning and again after 530 in the evening and we'd need to call the pager system each day at 430 if we needed fresh ice. To the second request he told us to call room service. We also had a bottle of wine in our cabin every day - and he never "thought" to bring us wine glasses to drink out of. He did not get an additional tip.
Coral Dining Room Dining: Presentation was very good; quantity was good and upon request, you could get as much as you wanted; quality was usually average...nothing to write home about, but good. Dinner rolls were always cold and relatively hard - except one night when we were served a different type of roll that was outstanding - soft, flaky, & flavorful. Deserts were pretty much the same thing every night. Tip: we were in a group of 8 and desired the same table every night at other than 1st or 2nd seating times (530 & 8). We were advised to book Anytime Dining and talk to the M'D the first day on board for reservations at our desired time (7 or 715). For a group our size, reservations were not granted at any times other than the normal 1st and 2nd seating times - ever. So, don't plan on getting that option with Anytime Dining - just go ahead and book one of the regular seating times.
Crown Grill Specialty Dining: We were a group of 8 booked and paid for by our travel agent and seated with 4 more people from her agency. I don't know if that was the reason behind the way we were "treated" by the restaurant staff or not...but it shouldn't have been an excuse since she paid the full $25 per person. We expected a quality dining experience similar to what we had experienced in the past in other cruise line's premium dining venues. What we got was, to us, unacceptable. However, to the other 10 at our table (none of which had ever been to a premium dining venue before - it turned out) it was acceptable. We leave it to you to decide if you would find the experience described herein as premium. We were the only couple who ordered wine with dinner - the server could not pour it without spilling part of the bottle each time. The server informed us that she would not serve individual vegetables, but would serve vegetables family style. So, each end of the table received a small bowl of creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, and a plate holding about 10 asparagus spears. We did not get the option for baked potatoes or mushrooms (a must for me at a steak house). She did ask if we wanted lobster and served two plates with some lobster meat and one bowl of butter to dip in for each end of the table. When it came time for desert she informed us that the women would get a sampler of all deserts on the menu and the men would get berry cobbler with ice cream. In our opinion, we got better service and had a better meal the night beef wellington and lobster tails were served in the crown room - and we got to pick our own vegetables and desert.
Ports: Overall, great! however, the biggest city (Boston) had the shortest port time and the smallest (Bar Harbor) had all day. If these were reversed it would be better.
Entertainment: Was not as good, on the whole, as we have seen on NCL and RCI.
Nickel & Diming: Though I can only think about one specific example now, a week after the cruise, I do remember making the comment to my husband quite a few times during the cruise that there were a lot of things you get on other cruises that you had to pay for on this one...Specifically, motion sickness pills have always been available at the customer service desk for no charge on any other cruise we've taken. On Princess you must buy it in their shop....
Vibe: We are in our 50s and 60s - and were really surprised by how dead this cruise seemed. Don't know if it was the cruise itinerary or if it is Princess, but we felt like it was really too low key and almost boring at times. Thank goodness we were with a group that could make our own fun!
Overall, we are glad we went on the cruise - the staff was great and the ports awesome....However, because of the overall impression we have after this cruise, we really don't think we'll ever do another Princess Cruise...