We had to get away from the gray skies, the cold and the damp of Seattle and chose a week of warmth down Mexico way. We were not disappointed even though it wasn't as warm as we had hoped. Embarkation was easy. Sail-away was delayed some 4+ hours due to a glitch with the TSA/customs computers, not the fault of Princess. Two sea days were filled with activities of all sorts and one could participate or just chill out and relax. Fairly decent choice of MUTS, loved Mamma Mia and Bourne Identity. Football games broadcast on Sunday were great as long as you were not Broncos or Seahawks fans.
Port visits: Our focus for this trip was to simply get away so we didn't care too much about the ports of call.
Puerto Vallarta---was nice to see all the changes since our last visit, the pedestrian only portion of the melancon, the lengthening of the melancon, visits to shops we've spent time in before. Efficient bus transportation from the head of the pier into town and back.
Cabo San Lucas---surprised at the number of contracted tenders used by Princess. Never had to wait long to go to shore or return. Nothing much has changed downtown since our last visit. Enjoyed the stroll around the marina. Loved watching the sea lions "hitching" rides into the marina on the back of fishing boats.
Ensenada---have avoided Ensenada before so we went ashore to see what there was to offer there. Many tourist traps. Biggest laugh of the cruise occurred when a vendor tried to sell me a belt. He said, "It's strong, check it out". So we each grabbed an end and gave a good tug and the belt split in half right in front of several of his buddies who cracked up to the point of tears. Could do without this port in the future.
Dining: Wonderful food with the exception of the roast lamb dinner which was tough, probably should have sent it back. The remaining dinners were stellar. Made good use of the International Cafe offerings for breakfast and lunch and we took our food up to our balcony for those meals. Vanilla bean lattes from the Deck 5 baristas after the morning power-walks were great. Enjoyed Alfredo's excellent veggie pizza for lunch one day. Rarely visited the Horizon Court or other dining venues. Service was excellent, especially Romano and his partner George in the Savoy Dining Room. We usually ask the maitre'd for a set table at a set time for the entire cruise but this time we decided to sample the 3 anytime dining rooms. Bad idea. On night 4 we returned to the Savoy where we stayed for the rest of the cruise. We enjoy getting to know the wait staff and were much happier the last 4 days. Our waiters, Romano and George, were fantastic.
Entertainment: Carlos Oscar put on his usual excellent show. Impressionist Micheal Wilson started slowly but once his show got rolling it was good. 2 production shows,Do You Wanna Dance and Piano Man are old standbys by now but we still enjoy the energy and vocal talent of the dancers and singers and their costumes. The third, Born To Be Wild, has great potential but the choice of music is somewhat unfamiliar and really out of the mainstream of the 60's and 70's. The pink Cadillac and the use of graphics as background was interesting but we left thinking this show was not quite up to snuff for Princess. Piazza performances were good but it is an absolute crime to ask the excellent string quartet to play in that setting. Unfortunately, the Piazza is quite noisy and often times populated by inconsiderate yahoo's who have little concept of personal proper behavior during the performance. They were rude to the performers and those trying to enjoy the music. The concert given by the string quartet in Explorer's Lounge was excellent but again noise filtered into the room from the passing crowds walking by making it difficult to enjoy the effort of the musicians. The crew show on the last evening was good but dominated by the cruise staff. The juggler in the Piazza was excellent and we thought the orchestra/band was the best we've witnessed on recent cruises. The Dixieland Jazz performance in the Piazza was memorable.
Boutiques: The staff in each of the shops were friendly and very helpful. Aliona in Meridien Bay was particularly good in helping us make decisions on sizing for Frank Lyman dresses we purchased. Goran in the duty free shop was quite friendly and knowledgeable regarding purchases of liqueur's.
Cabin: B341 was very comfortable, we made good use of the balcony. Excellent service from Luisa who kept everything well stocked and ship-shape.
Misc: didn't use the fitness center more than once or twice as we are Promenade Deck walkers in the early morning. Used the treadmill on day one when it was a bit chilly outside and liked the fact the shades are recessed and I can actually see the sea. Did not attend any lectures. Played trivia on our own as we don't care for some who must be professional trivia players. The Yes/No Show was fun. The Marriage Game was long-winded and there wasn't enough seating so we left early. Captain's Circle Cocktail Party was crowded but we got a seat. Cut-off for the most-traveled passenger luncheon was over 400 days at sea so we didn't make the cut. Not sure if we like the new 30-40 minute show format, will have to experience this again.
Disembarkation went smoothly.