I have been in 15 cruises on various cruise lines and have always found Princess to be a favorite because of the good food, service and general atmosphere.
Embarkation: Fast and Easy. Almost too quick. Felt rushed from security to boarding in less than 15 minutes. First time I didn’t even have to show credit card. They used the one from online registration.
Muster Drill: Long, thorough, and efficient. Probably more so than usual probably because the Coast Guard was on board watching everything since this was the first U.S. cruise.
Cabin: We had a balcony. Both the cabin and balcony seemed small. Storage was adequate. Nice sized shower with body lotion and shampoo provided. TP dispenser inconveniently located, low and almost behind you under the sink. Flat screen TV seemed to large for the space and was annoying to operate. More like a computer moving from tab to tab. Poor channel selection and horrible reception. As a new ship the cabins also have the energy saving feature that requires a card in a slot near the door to turn on the electricity. Any card will work, even a business card. Two outlets are available near the desk and one in the bathroom. Our cabin was above a lounge and the music kept us awake the first night.
Food: Excellent, as expected on Princess. Loved the onion soup and the alfredo as appetizers. Lobster and prawns were terrific as were the short ribs. Prime rib was good but too large of a portion. Horizon Court has incredible variety but the carved beef was tough. Pizza was OK. The soft ice cream in Swirls was excellent. Breakfast was OK but do try the raisin bread when they come around with various pastries. It was wonderful
Service: Good, but robotic. Didn’t get the personal feel I normally find on a cruise. “Hello, Good morning, thank you, have a good day”. It also seemed as if the servers in the dining room had too mant tables and could have used additional help.
Entertainment: Loud, too loud. Theater was gorgeous with great sight lines. Even sitting in the back row you felt close to the stage. Stage shows were typical cruise shows. This ship also has a TV studio called Princess Live. Seemed like a non needed space waster to me. It was great having Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing) on board for the inaugural. The ships horn even plays the first two lines of the Love Boat theme song.
Overall ship: Beautiful, but hard to navigate. My wife and I often thought “you can’t get there from here” . Best bet is to travel the ship on the lido deck or deck 7. I really miss wrap around promenade decks to walk or relax on. Seems as if most ships today do away with these in order to maximize revenue generating space. There is some outdoor promenade on the aft of deck 7, but too many people use that space to smoke. The pool deck is nice and feels larger and more open than some ships. The dancing fountain is a nice idea as is Movies Under The Stars on an incredible screen. On one night they ran the World Series. The Sea Walk that they make a big deal about is really no big deal.The fitness gym was well equipped and the adult Serenity area of the ship was incredible, but somewhat pricey.
Disembarkation: Simple and easy. If you have arranged for transfer to the airport from Princess, the process is simple and efficient.
Final thoughts: I love the overall product Princess offers, but would probably not choose this ship. The Crown Princess is a better option for me.