We drove to Port Everglades from NC and stayed over in Palm Beach going and drove straight home after the cruise. We are a couple and have sailed 11 times including three times on Princess and once before on this ship. We arrived at the port at 1025- dropped our luggage and parked at terminal 2, it was convenient and cost 15 dollars per day. Breezed thru security and check in and then waited about an hour to board the ship. All in all a smooth process. I like that you can drop luggage and go to cabin when you board. We had lunch in the Coral dining room, walked a bit and did the muster drill. Our luggage arrived by 230 and we went to sailaway which was delayed 35 minutes as we waited for two ship officers to board. We did anytime dining and the first night we waited about 10 min for a table at about 630.
DINING- as stated we did anytime but only used the dining room three nights. The first night, little wait, and first formal night no wait. We did wait the second formal night about 15 minutes but we were happy overall and probably would choose this again.The food in all places we ate including horizon court, international cafe etc. was good. The pizza was fabulous and the sandwiches at international cafe were very good. We did the Ultimate Balcony dinner and it was well worth the money. We also dined one night at crown grill and one night at sabitinis and enjoyed them both. We ate off the ship in Curacao.
CABIN- we had an aft cabin and loved the rear view and wake noise. our cabin steward was Martin and he was good. he seemed to have a lot of cabins though. our room was plenty cool and our only complaint would be that many times the water in shower or sink was just warm...never hot.
ENTERTAINMENT= we tried to go to the show the first night and third night and could not get in, you have to go 30 minutes or more early or wait for 1015 show. we did see the 4 seasons show and it was OK. we gave up on shows. we did trivia and enjoyed that. listened to music in many venues. we tried to go to crooners two nights to hear piano guy but again you have to show up way early to get a seat.cruise staff was mostly english and australian and did a fine job.
there was plenty to do and we often opted to read but no one could say they were bored. we played trivia a number of times and enjoyed that as well as a couple of the game shows they did. we also picked up daily trivia and soduku at library and that was nice to work on at the pool.
POOLS- we used the terrace pool, which is aft and adults only mainly. we also went to the spa pool which has an endless, lap machine. we enjoyed them both. the aft pool is heated and was nice the last sea day as it was cool outside. there were chair hogs and we sometimes had to search to find two chairs. we found a number of broken chairs and saved chairs that no one used. it would have been nice if the deck attendants had been more dilligent in policing the saved chairs. we avoided the two mid deck pools as there were 700 kids on board.
GENERAL overall the ship was in good condition, the staff were friendly and the total experience was great. a few notes...the shops seemed expensive on the ship and when they said 40% off etc it was the price as marked, no further discount which was a little misleading until we understood the pitch. the piazza area is nice and there is always something going on. the international cafe has good food, pastries and desserts, nice place but too bad it is all the way down on deck 5. we never used or tried to use the internet but heard many complaints about slowness. we did not go to MUTS but once but enjoyed some of the sporting events and movies in our cabin as they were simulcast on channel 50.
PORTS- We rented a clamshell on Princess Cays, we went to the island dining room at 9, left immediately for a tender and were set up by 940 on the island, the lunch was good and we enjoyed our day here. there was a line at 230 to go back to the ship but it moved well. We took the Hato Caves, walking tour in Curacao-the caves were unbearably HOT and drained us, there were lots of steps inside and out and the logistics of the tour guides in the cave was poor. we really did not enjoy the experience and would not recommend it. we bailed on the walking tour and did our own walking, shopping and ate dinner at LA Bahia next to the swinging bridge ferry terminal and enjoyed the meal and view. it was nice to not have to be back until 930 pm. we loved aruba and did the 4 wheel drive tour. there were 8 people per jeep, we saw all the main sights and had 45 minutes at a beach near CA lighthouse at the end. the guide was entertaining and knowledgeable. the ride over the back country was a little rough but fun. i would not recommend this for anyone with mobility issues, neck or back problems or who does not want to be out in the heat for over 4 hours.
LEAVING- we were given a departure time of 820 and met in the casino. Princess does a good job splitting the groups and you dont have to leave your cabin until 830. we moved thru checkout, luggage pick up and customs in about 20-25 minutes. we were in our car and driving out of the port at 9...
OVERALL we had a good time and would cruise princess again.