This was my first time sailing on Princess, and my husband's 2nd time. He had sailed on this ship a few years prior (before it was refurbished) We were looking for a cruise for our honeymoon over Thanksgiving break and came across this. It was reasonably priced and had a nice itinerary. My husband said he'd give the ship and Princess another shot since it was refurbished, so we booked it and off we went!
Embarkation was a breeze and everyone at the port was very friendly. We did have to wait quite a bit for the transfer from the airport, but we didn't mind.
Once on the ship, we checked out our room. It was pretty small, but a lot of space to hang clothing. It didn't bother us too much as we were hardly in the room the entire time. We were out having fun! We went to Horizon Cafe for some food. We were immediately greeted by staff trying to sell us wine tasting packages. We did want to look into it, but we were excited to just be getting on the ship and didn't want to be harassed at that moment. Once we did settle down, you couldn't find any information about the wine tastings, so we missed out on it.
Our bags were in our room when we got ready for the muster drill and we met our cabin steward Homer. He was very nice and always greeted us by name in the hallway.
We tried Crown Grill the first night which was great! We really enjoyed Crown Grill. The salts that go on the steak were great and a different experience for me. The lobster and all the sides were very good as well. We had anytime dining, and were always seated promptly the other nights on board. The food in the main dining room wasn't too great so that was a bit of a disappointment. We tried Sabatini's one night as well. We had great service there, but the food wasn't as good as we had hoped. We decided to try Crown Grill again on the last night because we enjoyed it so much. As for breakfast/lunch options we ate at the pool or in Horizon Cafe. We basically had the same thing every day as there wasn't much of a variety. We did do the pub lunch twice which was decent, but nothing spectacular. We tried high tea one afternoon which was enjoyable and the sandwiches were very good.
Princess Cays was a nice island. Lots to do, but we just laid out and relaxed and ordered a bucket of beers! Curacao was a bit odd. We probably should have researched this port before going out to explore it on our own. Once you went over the bridge, it wasn't so nice. We probably should have gotten a taxi to go to the beach or booked an excursion for this port as we didn't spend much time walking around. We were going to eat on the island that night, but we took a glance at the restaurants and the prices were outrageous and the menu options didn't seem to be worth it. Aruba was beautiful. We went to Palm Beach. It was absolutely gorgeous! The weather was perfect there and we spent time just sunbathing, swimming and ate lunch at the beach bar. It was my favorite day.
The entertainment on the ship was OK. We enjoyed the magician. The sail away party was tons of fun. We also loved the Thanksgiving party. Other than that, we didn't really go to any shows except for the Love and Marriage show which was a complete disappointment. Usually this show is hilarious, but the couples chosen were kind of boring (sorry) and the newlyweds that were chosen were not really newlyweds after being married for over 3 years. It was just a boring show that could have been spiced up a bit more by the entertainment director. Other nights we spent in the nightclub which was such a great view! Some nights it was busy and the DJ played great music, other nights not so much. When the nightclub was dead we went to the casino. We aren't big gamblers, but played roulette and had a lot of fun!
For the sea days we did not have any problems finding chairs and no chair hogs. There were a lot of kids on board because of Thanksgiving break, but it didn't really bother us. If you're near the pool expect to be splashed on by kids or adults...it's a pool, you're most likely going to get wet! We met a few nice people on board and the atmosphere was friendly throughout the cruise (except when we were getting off the ship for Curacao) a fight nearly broke out because the ship's staff gave no one any direction on where to go and where the line was etc., however people need to chill out!
Overall we weren't blown away by Princess. The service was good, the entertainment was OK and the food was a bit disappointing (except for Crown Grill) We had a blast because we made our own fun and didn't pick everything apart or complain about every little thing. We truly relaxed, partied, and spent some quality time with one another which is what it was all about.
My only really negative take away is that they overcharged our credit card at the end of the cruise. We had pending charges on it for days that were over double the amount of our bill! We called the customer service, but they acted like it was no big deal and just said the pending charges would eventually go away. We weren't sure why the pending charges were for over double the amount though, and it caused our card to be over-drafted! My husband had a flat tire a few days after the cruise and tried paying for it with the card and was declined. He had a backup card, but we were pretty peeved that it took so long to sort out the pending charges issue as we were unable to access cash and use the debit card for anything for several days!!!