This new ship simply did not cut it with us. The disappointments included:
- A "Promenade Deck" that wasn't. Most of the promenade deck was closed to passengers, although it doesn't show that on the deck plan on the Princess website. The deck is mostly taken up by the life boats, which block the windows entirely on Deck 7 (which are Public Spaces). Facets jewelry sales has great views while the Crown Grill Restaurant has no view at all. Most of the windows remained covered, which we found depressing.
- The mini-suite balcony is ridiculously small. If you just want to stand on it, it works. If you want to actually use it, forget it. There's not enough room to open one of the chairs, much less both of them. The bathroom is much smaller than the mini suite on the Caribbean Princess, the shower water pressure very limp, & the rubber shower curtain blocked off all light, making me feel like I was showering in a closet & needed a flashlight.
- We were unable to see the bow of the ship from any area that we could find. Perhaps the Sanctuary had a view of the bow, but we didn't pay the $425 per person for entrance to the Sanctuary. I've never liked this feature on Princess ships & judging by the amount of people I saw using it, neither do most others. The Retreat, right next to the Sanctuary, was secluded & quiet enough for us. The private cabanas in the Retreat were never used that I saw, & were a ridiculous waste of prime real estate. People began taking the cushions for use on the regular chaises.
- I looked forward to trying the Enclave, but you could not access it unless you paid the full $450 fee. Even if you had a massage, you could not use it. The exception was a couples massage. If you paid the $350 for the couples massage, then for an extra $40 per person, you would be allowed in to the Enclave. The fee prices I'm quoting were for an 18 day cruise, & are what I'm remembering, so I may be off a bit. It's annoying that you can't get full, written information on fees prior to sailing.
- The Sea Walk is a design gimmick that sounded nice, & IS nice to walk on, but it also blocks the views for many balconies & takes away from their privacy. Beware of choosing a balcony below or near the Sea Walks.
- The "Plunge Pool" is actually a children's wading pool. The "Water & Light Show" only happened once a week, about 4 times in one hour, at 10pm. That was it. Maybe they were too labor intensive, I have no idea.
- The huge buffet areas were really more of the same offerings ... not the great variety I hoped for. I stopped trying to have a hot breakfast. Cold eggs & potatoes are very unappetizing, so I stuck with the cereal. My husband doesn't mind cold eggs. The food in the dining room was mostly terrible to inedible & we stopped going there.
- Embarkation was chaos. The initial check in was quick & easy, but then we had to wait for our boarding group. The room was large, over-filled with people, no seating was available, no services except bathrooms. We waited 2 hours there. It dampened my excitement substantially. I spoke with one woman who had been on a Princess pre-cruise tour & she had been "dumped" off by the tour bus - & had been waiting over 2 hours to board.
- Disembarkation was delayed an hour, but otherwise was very smooth & quick. From our group being called to getting in the cab was only 45 minutes, & included finding our luggage & going through Customs. It doesn't get any better than that.
We really did not like this new ship, sorry to report, & would not sail on her again.