After eight or so Princess Cruises, taking this trip was a little like going home for the holidays -- you know where everything is and what to expect. It's nice enough, but above all, comfortable. That pretty much describes the cruise.
Our suite, C749, was fine, with the balcony being its best feature. We have had several aft-facing /fantail suites before, but this particular balcony was deeper than we have enjoyed before -- and made the multiple sea days all the more enjoyable. The teak patio furniture included a table for four, two chaise lounges, and two cocktail tables. There was still LOTS of room to move about. One day while looking down at the bubbling wake I noticed a fine glimmer from a fishing line -- a passenger from a cabin several decks below was actually fishing from his balcony -- wild! Everything was in good working order and condition with the exception of the living room couch, which was hard as a rock.
Our cabin steward kept the room neat and clean but did not go out of his way or above/beyond his basic duty. A bit of a surprise since all previous experiences on Princess included cabin stewards who were fun, engaging, and who actually wanted to make your experience memorable.
Kudos to Princess for giving suite passengers the daily breakfast in Sabatinis! It is not only delicious, but a very peaceful way to begin the day -- their complimentary mimosa is also appreciated! We loved the entire staff headed up by Martin the maitre d' and by the end of the two weeks, they felt like family!
We found that we dined more often in both Sabatini's and the Crown Grill as Princess offered the first night complimentary in either of the specialty restaurants. We dined in the Crown Grill and it was so delicious and quietly elegant, that we repeated the experience three more times during the trip. Sabatini's also offers wonderful Italian cuisine and a new menu is very good.
We also appreciated the complimentary flowers, daily canapes, laundry, and dry cleaning.
While we don't go in for the shows and musical reviews that tend to be popular, we did enjoy pre- and post-port lectures by John Maxtone-Graham who is a great storyteller and expert on the Titanic and British history.
Hawaii: The four islands come and go all too quickly. We decided to rent a car at each port and make the most of the time we had. It was the perfect way to cover as much territory as possible without all the people on cruise tours. Honolulu also gave us enough time to dine in port and we thoroughly recommend Alan Wong's for an Asian-Pacific, fresh, and unique dining experience.
Took the "Ultimate Ship Tour" at $150 pp (15 guests) This was a great experience we had never known about. A three-hour walking tour to see many parts of the ship not open to passengers. They also present you with a collection of gifts and photos as a memento.
Would We Do This Cruise Again?: This was a long-awaited vacation to decompress after a very stressful year of work -- it was just what we needed, but it can drag a bit. Yes -- I would do it again!