This was our 4th Princess cruise for a grand total of 12. We like sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale because it's easy to get to for us and the port is very close to the airport. Well, we learned that traveling on Saturdays is much more congested that our previous trips that departed mid week. The ship was very nice as always, although it did show a bit of wear. Our balcony cabin was as expected, clean but showing a bit of wear. The hitch referred to was the embarkation process. The ship had just come across the Atlantic and this was it's first U.S. port, which required a thorough inspection by the Coast Guard, I.N.S. and Health Service, each performed separately. Long story short, we stood in line for over 3 hours before we were able to board. What made it worse was the fact that no one told us what the delay was until the Captain made an announcement well after we had left port. To be honest, it was bordering on chaos and tempers were short all the way around. I would have thought that Princess would have expected the inspections and adjusted the times so that some of this would have been avoided. Communicating honestly to the passengers about the cause of the delay would not have made the wait shorter, but knowing would have at least help us understand the reason. I would have expected Princess to have handled this situation more professionally.
Since we have cruised the Caribbean many times, our primary purpose this time was to enjoy the ship and the sea days. We love this class of ship, especially the Terrace Pool aft. We always get our room on the port side aft...it makes access to the adult pool, the Outrigger Bar and the Horizon Court so very convenient. We did not take any port of shore excursions, but did go ashore in Curacao and Aruba to knock around. We stayed on board at Princess Cays. It's really nice to have the ship to ourselves! We dined at Sabatini's and it was very, very good with great food and great service. We had Anytime Dining and used it once. Since we had made reservations, we were seated immediately and had a nice dinner. I have to say that the food was good, but not excellent. It's difficult I am sure to cook for so many. While on the topic of dining, I must mention the coffee in the Horizon Court...it has to be, in our opinion, the worst tasting coffee that we've ever had...I don't know why, but it's really not good. This has been the case on the past 3 Princess cruises. The coffee in the Piazza, however, was excellent. We spent most of out time on our balcony or by the pool..we did not participate in formal night or the other organized gatherings; been there, done that.
Disembarkation went smoothly as always and the transfer to the airport very convenient and prompt.
Overall, a very nice cruise as we have come to expect from Princess. Hopefully the embarkation issue with be resolved for future cruises. Also, we really enjoyed the free beverage and more membership that included two really nice cups and unlimited soft drinks and fruit drinks and shakes...simple but a nice freebee that was enjoyed.