My husband, myself and two boys (12 and 17) were on our first New Year's Cruise. It has been 3 years since we sailed with Princess and right from the first day we were happy to be back. The service was so friendly, attentive and accomodating and it really added to our cruise vacation experience.We left out of Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 29 after spending a few days in the area with family and friends. Embarkation was very good, once we got through some minor traffic coming into the port (we parked for the week which was convenient).
In terms of the ship, although there are some areas that could use a bit up updating and maintenance, it was definately in good condition. Carpets in public areas were in excellent condition and piazza (tiles on floor, bars, furniture) was very nice (banister needed varnish). Food in the diningroom was better in the past but still more than acceptable. Sabatinis and Crown Grill were amazing and well worth the money. We loved the feeling in the Piazza, especially when there was entertainment or parties. Princess did a great job with their New Year's party in the Piazza with 2 different bands. For those who preferred the pool there was a dj up there for another party.
We missed Princess Cays due to winds, but had a longer day in Curacao. As we knew, quite a bit was closed in Curacao due to New Year's day. We got off the ship in the late morning and did a two hour tour from a local company on an air conditioned bus that was very good before heading back to the ship for lunch. We headed back out in the later afternoon to walk around the port area. This was such a charming port we would love to come again... floating bridge, synagogue with sand floor (closed for NY), colorful restored homes, cafes, bars etc., Renaissance and Fort area.
Aruba was fun. We went to Palm beach which was very nice and my kids and husband went jetskiing and had a great time. Lots of hustle and bustle in the port area, more than we thought so we were a bit surprised. We were expecting somewhat more upscale a feeling (like Grand Cayman or Bermuda) and it was a bit kitschy, imho.
Entertainment: Good, but not great. The illusionist show was cool in that they have appeared on America's Got Talent. The comedian, Sarge was lots of fun but we had to wait until the last night to see him. It seemed very late in the cruise to have the first and only comedy shows. Otherwise we went to Princess Pop Idol which was cute, and the welcome show with Dan Styne the Cruise Director who was very personable and entertaining. The staff was energetic around the pool. To note, this cruise had the best bands of any cruise we have been on. They had a variety and whether in the club, piazza or pool they were just great and of really good quality. We would have preferred more inovative shows and more comedy during the week.
Still, we all had fun and enjoyed a relaxing vacation which was important to us. We would sail Princess again and especially look forward to trying Royal Princess.