This was our 10th Princess Cruise and still love the cruise line just not the ship. We were excited to try the newest ship and booked a mid-ship cabin on Deck 9. Upon arrival we were immediately aware that the cabin was smaller as well as the balcony. Our biggest disappointment was the positioning of the lifeboats. They extend out over the water thus blocking the view from the balcony to the water below as well as watching the docking process (our favorite thing to do from the balcony). If your balcony cabin was on deck 8 you would not be able to see the water at all due to the position of the lifeboat. Only the very front and very back of the ship allows the unobstructed view.
We loved the piazza but felt the trade off from a darker dance floor area to this lighted area made a lot of nonprofessional dancers sit it out. That was the only place for dancing on this ship. We liked the adult only pool area but felt the size of the main pool area was much too small.
The theater was a concern. They have taken away the outside aisles in the theater, in fact blocked them from use from the top. Therefore the seats on both side aisles can only be accessed from the center section aisles. Late arrivals could not slip in easily. I really felt that the lack of outside aisle access could be dangerous if the theater had to be emptied quickly.
Food was great in all areas. Horizon court design did allow lots of seating. It took a while to become aware of all the food locations but it was easier to find just what you wanted. Many of the staff came from the Ruby Princess so there were some familiar faces.
Since we were mid-ship we needed to access to the center elevators. Sometimes we actually pushed both sets of buttons up and down in order to reach the level we wanted, riding the elevator and not getting off until we could arrive at the intended floor. Elevators were always full of people or didn't stop at the floor. Pushing buttons to go up or down after a full elevator stopped made the doors open again and people were not happy. People on scooters or wheelchairs found it more difficult because most elevators already had people on them and the size of the elevator prevented them from getting on.
We will continue to use Princess as our primary cruise line but won't plan to book on the Royal or the Regal.