We traveled with Princess because of the itenerary. That was great; just what we wanted. We had a mini suite at the very back of the ship. We had no trouble with the location as we enjoyed the walk to the dining room, etc. The cabin was very little larger than we were accustomed to in a balcony room. We had a tub with shower and my husband found it difficult to turn around without hitting the curtain. There was no top sheet on our bed. Out cabin steward (who was excellent) immediately placed one on the bed but why did we have to ask for something that shoulw be standard. They gave a welcome aboard party for those who had not said with Princess before. They served "hot" tea and "hot" coffee and pastries. I filled my cup with tea and walked to the tray of pastries where a waiter stood with tongs to serve. As I approached he said: "They are numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4; give me a number and do not touch!!" I shook my head, gave him a number and took my lukewarm tea and my numbered pastry to a seat beside another lady who was drinking her lukewarm coffee. Is this a way to encourage people to come back? Our dining waiter was rude; he would walk up between 2 people and in mid sentence stick the menu in their face and ask what they wanted. We were always late starting our dinner. The later hour did not bother us as we are used to late dining but it was irritating to stand in line for up to 20 minutes past time. The food was not up to the standard we are used to and when I ordered a steak medium rare and it came medium well and so tough I could not cut it I told the waiter and he just looked at me, looked at the steak and walked away. Tips are mandatory so why would any employee go the extra mile when they know the tips are coming anyway, On other lines we received envelopes with suggested amounts. Many times we gave more for excellent service and in rare instances gave less if we felt they were not doing their best.
We had an excellent cabin steward, some excellent waiters at buffet upstairs and the shopping helper (her name was Greenwood) was also very good. We missed seeing the captain around the ship (he came to one event and stayed about 5 minutes). We are used to being offered the opportunity to have a picture with the captain. There was a lack of entertainment at an hour compatible with our dining hour. Only 2 days did they have an early show and it was only 30 minutes long. We were just relaxing and enjoying it when it was over!!! All in all we did not feel we had our money's worth. We took this cruise because it went to the Panama Canal leaving from Ft. Lauderdale and returning there. It seems I am looking for something good to say and the visit to the canal was it. Embarkation was very slow.