EMBARKATION: easy, peasy. We arrived about 2pm and walked right on
CABIN: we had a deluxe balcony on Emerald deck with obstructed view - but there was NO obstruction, we had an unimpeded view thru glass. Also the extended angled balcony was bigger than the standard balcony so we could turn our chairs outward to view the ocean. There was a 2 cushion loveseat, and desk, with a nice handy drawer to hoÅ‚d hairdryer, toiletries, etc. Bath was standard except for the larger shower with handheld shower head and wall mounted shampoo/ shower gel dispensers. Bed was very comfy ( no gap in the middle) and the down pillows were big and fluffy. AC worked well. The flat screen TV was great except that it broke 4 times. We called and someone always came within 24 hrs to fix it. The on demand selection of movies, tv shows, HBO, Showtime, and misc ship lectures was fantastic. For news, you had Fox, BBC, and MSNBC, no CNN. Closet space and lighting were adequate. Our room steward was not good, had to ask for towels, ice, water glasses, breakfast cards, etc. Could not get Internet in our room, had to stand in the hallway to connect.
We did anytime dining and loved CONCERTO dining room mainly because of the maître d Elena. We always asked for a table for 2 and only had to wait 1 night ( about 5 minutes) out of 18. Food was exceptional, we liked almost everything and only sent 1 entree back. Service was not good IMO. Sometimes we sat down to a table which was not completely set. We had to ask for butter dishes, butter knives, wine glasses, water glasses, etc. Generally, although not always, the servers did not introduce themselves, or suggest special appetizers or entrees as they did on other ships. They immediately asked us what we wanted to order, and then we had to ask for a wine list and explain we weren't ready to order until we had time to peruse the wine menu and food menu. Everything seemed rushed. The waiters were not trained well, and insisted on filling our wine glasses to the top instead of half way, & were bringing food almost before we were ready. Maybe they are used to being rushed because people want to go to shows?
WINE PKG: we bought the silver for wines up to $29. Be careful if u order a more expensive wine - Twice they did not credit us the $29 & charged us for the full amt of the more expensive wine instead of the difference. Got resolved at Passenger Services.
BELLINIS: menu looked good, reasonable, but we did not eat there
Ditto for the CRAB SHACK.
VINES: nice venue for wine w/complimentary sushi appetizers while overlooking the goings on in the Piazza.
ALFREDOS: this was a highlight and very popular for lunch and dinner. Free venue with salads, pizza and several pasta entrees. The veal ravioli in white sauce was to die for!
CROWN GRILL: food was good but it was not private - it was open to EXPLORERS which was a kind of weird venue. Open on both sides it offered no intimacy.
SABATINIS: was a delight! Great service, quiet, intimate, good food.
HORIZON COURT; I was not a fan. There were lots of seats, and the salad bar was great, that's the only good things I can say. Food was spread out all over the place - English muffins waaaaay at the other end of croissants - I never did get the hang of it. People just wandered around till they found something they liked. Food was warm/cold buffet food and not very tasteful to me. (Others loved it). The pastry shop was a huge waste of space and was nothing more than what was offered anywhere else on the ship - ok they did have fondue there one day I saw. HORIZON BISTRO was closed it seemed randomly, I don't know why. Coffee wasn't very good either place
ENTERTAINMENT: I did not go to any shows, but the piano player in Explorers & all the musical combos/acrobats/demonstrations, etc in the Piazza were enjoyable.
INTRANET: this was a great feature! you could check the Patter, browse the Princess website, or check your account balance anytime.
POOL/OUTDOOR AREAS: pool area is noisy because of MUTS. Lots of people r ok w noise, I'm not. There were lots of loungers on 2-3 decks and also rattan sofa groupings people were using a lot. I found some quiet areas aft on deck 7 with real deck chairs/cushions for reading/relaxing to the sound of the ocean. 2 outdoor deck areas on deck 7 midship were also nice and quiet. Deck 16 Aft of HC also had great seating areas for playing cards, talking, relaxing, getting online. 3 hot tubs were never really crowded. The pizza poolside was outstanding, hamburgers not so much - they tasted like cardboard. Brats were good. Ice cream was delicious. I did not use the Retreat or Sanctuary areas. No promenade, but many people on the walking track aft at the top of the ship. There were outdoor stationary exercise stations which were easy and convenient for a quick workout.
SEAWALK & Seawalk Bar: both were a novelty and not well used. You def COULD see fully onto the balconies and partially into the actual cabins on deck 14 under Seawalk. The lower the deck, the more privacy you had.
INDOOR PUBLIC AREAS:
PRINCESS LIVE a TV studio, had several interesting lectures, and trivia and Zumba was there, as well as the morning show.
INTL CAFE: loved this. Paninis, Cubans, mozzarella/tomato, tuna salad, Waldorf salad, desserts, pastries, cappuccino, latte, espresso. I bought a COFFEE CARD -15 punches was just right for an 18 day cruise.
CROONERS: great bar, great bartenders - Raphael & Tatiana, this was the place for the get-togethers, always crowded at night.
VISTA LOUNGE: ok but tables r crowded with no knee room.
PRINCESS THEATER: no tables for drinks, no center aisle
CASINO: large w spiral staircase up to deck 7. Unfortunately this allowed smoke to waft up. Bad design!! CLUB 6 next door was nice at night and didn't smell smoke there.
PIAZZA: is huge, elegant, lots centered here at night and is the place to see and be seen. Nice for evening dancing.
ELEVATORS: midship a total disaster!!! Take the stairs or stay forward or aft & use those elevators.
LOTUS SPA: located on deck 5 forward, much more convenient and more likely to get walk-in business. Had a great massage/facial combo w/Chachi.
PASSENGER SERVICES/FCC/SHORE EXCURSIONS: never seemed to be long lines here. In the FCC area, there were no computers to browse while waiting for a consultant.
INTERNET CAFE: was always crowded, long lines. Don't understand why more people don't use smart phones, laptops, or tablets. Wifi signal was strong in most public parts of the ship.
DEBARKATION: a mess as always
OVERALL IMPRESSION: this is an indoor oriented ship with smaller balconies, no aft pool and no promenade. I think lack of shaded lounges will be a problem in the Caribbean (attention chair hogs). And it has many more indoor pay-for options. My impression is that not many people used the new pay-for options, I don't know how profitable they will be. That being said, the ship never seemed crowded, but it did seem understaffed.
Major flaws r: no midship stairs, no promenade, no aft pool, Internet did not work in many staterooms, and open casino allowing smoke out.
Best things not found on other Princess ships: intranet, larger showers, more outdoor rattan sofa groupings, & large elegant atrium for evening gatherings.
If I didn't write about something, that means I either didn't do it or didn't go there.