This trip was booked a year a half prior as we had to save up. It was our 15th cruise, fourth on Princess. We booked the lowest inside and got a porthole which was adequate. Being on the 3rd floor was somewhat inconvenient because in order to get on the tenders, we had to go up to 4, go across to the forward exit. (There is only the aft elevator on the 3rd level). I don't know if it was the cabin category but the bedding and towels could use upgrading.
Having never been on a small ship before I found it to be a very good experience. After 10 days you really get to know people and everyone was very friendly, coming from all over the world.
Our flight was just from Los Angeles so we couldn't complain as others traveled many more hours to reach Papeete. We arrived at 6:30 pm, we caught a cab to the ship and were in the dining room eating dinner at 8:45. We were the only ones checking in so we really beat the crowd from the plane. The ship's decor is somewhat old world, the pool small, and finding a spot in the sun can be difficult but not impossible. The spa deck was rarely used when I checked it out. The spa itself was very nice but they did push products, the fitness center was impressive for a small ship.
The casino was tiny but was open even the last day while in port. There are 2 shops, one for jewelry, the other has an assortment of sundries, liquor and clothing. We chose the late dinner seating as I did not want to miss sunset. It seemed very late and our waiter was slow, but we had great tablemates. The food was okay, I was surprised the buffet closed at 6pm-so no alternative dining except for Sterling or Sabatini. Did go to Sabatini one night, it was very good and a nice change from the dining room.
We went to the shows to see the traditional dancers, otherwise the Cabaret Room is barely adequate to see anything and the shows are repeats of fare I've seen on other cruises. We were tired at night from the activities of the day so no late night activities for us.
We enjoyed every port--Huahine, Raiatea, Rarotonga, Bora Bora, and Moorea. In Papeete the first day we went to Le Marche for flowers, returned to the ship for lunch and then took a bus to Point Venus and the black sand beach. Enjoyed it very much and no need to take an excursion here.
At sailaway we met our Cruise Critic group and some of us went together on Marc's Motu Picnic in Raiatea. We went to a Pearl Farm, saw dolphins, snorkeled and had a great lunch. In Rarotonga, we got off the ship right away and rented a car. Driving is on the left which was a challenge. We went to Muri Beach which was just like the tropical screensaver you see on a lot of computers. We snorkeled at Tikitaveka--saw very colorful fish. In Raiatea we signed up for Stephan at the dock, again met some of our Cruise Critic friends. This was a great day, swimming with sharks, stingrays and going to a Pearl Farm.
We arrived in Bora Bora on Easter Sunday and took Le Truck to Matira Beach which was disappointing. Later on we took the Sunset Sail through Princess which was on a large catamaran. It was my husband's birthday so we ate at Sabatini's. The next day in Bora Bora Easter Monday we took the circle island tour, we stopped for pareos, views, at Bloody Marys, etc.
On Moorea, we rented an air conditioned car and drove around the island, stopping numerous times at hotels, viewpoints, beaches, and shops. The last day we planned to go to the IC Tahiti to hang out but it rained so we shopped some more for last minute souvenirs. Other than that day we had great weather with only an occasional shower. The seas were calm. I must mention the ship did have Easter services and a Passover Seder.
The disembarkation was painless, we kept ourselves busy the last day, and although you have to be out of your room you have the amenities of the ship at your disposal, meals, the spa, casino, movies, throughout the day. We took a cab to the airport at 4:30 to beat the crowd. This was a great cruise and even my husband, the skeptic, would do it again. We made many friends on this cruise. This was the best cruise ever.