We arrived at the port of Venice on July 5, 2013. We arrived rather early and had to wait to get on the ship, but were still on before noon. We immediately headed towards our stateroom on deck 15. Together, my family had 4 members and we had booked a mini suite for the 12 day journey. The room was well designed and was very pleasant to be in. The beds were very comfortable to sleep on. The room had two flat screen TVs; however, they rarely worked. It would take 5 minutes for the TV to turn and once on it would often freeze or stop functioning. Princess should look into to getting a new operating system for their TVs as we heard fellow passengers complaining about them as well.
The bathroom in the room was nice with a large bath tub (although no lighting in the tub) and the toilet paper dispenser was annoying as other reviews have mentioned. The balcony was considerably smaller than any other ship we had ever been on. It was barely large enough for 2 people, let alone the four in our room. The balcony had two chairs, two footrests and a table; however their was barely enough room to use the footrest.
The Horizon Court was very large and was easy to find seating except on the first day when every was up early for the emergency drill. The breakfast buffet had excellent food and had two omelet bars every morning. The pizza place on the pool deck provided excellent pizza anytime of day. Alfredo's Pizzeria on deck 6 was also very good, offering delicious pizza, calzones and tiramisu. For dinner we had anytime dining and ate at the Concerto Dining Room. The food was spectacular. On a 12 night cruise one would expect repeats on the menu, but there were different options every single night. The menu had 4 appetizers, 4 soup or salads and 5 main choice items every night along with the items available every night. Desserts were as equally impressive as they had 4 different options every night. The service on the cruise was great. The staff was friendly, well trained and was very efficient.
The ship was very impressive with a few exceptions. The promenade was pretty much non-existant, as you couldn't walk all the way around the ship. The life boats were put so low, that you can only walk in the few sections were they do not hang. There was also no way to get a view of the front of the ship, as it was all balconies and the sanctuary (must pay to go in). The adult only retreat pool was a nice break from the often crowded pool deck. The fountain show on the pool deck was interesting and impressive. The new sky walk was a neat but after the first time walking on it wasn't that special. Movies under the stars showed a few movies; however often times it showed old concerts, such as Beyonce live at Wimbley, which was rather disappointing as we had expected more movies.
The entertainment was average. The shows in Princess Theatre were okay but nothing spectacular. The ship had two comedians on board who were both funny and put on a good show. The ship could have used a few more activities during the day as it seemed some days there wasn't much going on. The cruise director Ron was okay; however we found deputy cruise director Dan to be more personable and funny. The new princess live was a great venue for smaller shows such as comedians and magicians as it was easier to see compared to a crowded lounge. The ship had a wide variety of lounges and bars to choose from.
The piazza was a nice place to sit or walk buy and listen to an individual or small ensemble play music. The ship had a new procedure for shore excursions where instead of meeting on the dock, groups met in lounges or restaurants and then were led to a bus. This seemed much more orderly and efficient. The gym on the ship was well equipped but seemed a little small for the size of the ship. Overall, the ship and staff were great which made for a memorable and fun vacation.