We sailed on the Dec 15th cruise and we have very mixed feelings about our week on the ship. This was our 3rd cruise on Princess and we were very happy with the past crusies. The past crusies the only real problem we have had is in the boarding procedure. This time turned out to be worse of the three. You would think that Princess would know how to board people on there ship;s by now but I guess not. We got there around 10:15 A.M. to try in be in group #1 on regular boarding. As we all know there were 2 lines , one for regular and another for Elite and Platinum and above. By 10:30 A.M. both lines had at least 2 to 3 hundred when theyopened. They took the 2nd line first with the Elite and Platinum members which was fine. The only problem was that they could take there friends with them if they were sailing also. The problem with that is that we all saw them taking people through the line that asked them if they could go with them. Once we got into the terminal we did get in the first group and sat down in the group # 1 area . Usually they board the first group by 11 to 11:30 on our past crusies . By 12:00 P.M. no one but Elite or Platinum had boarded. So you had at least 1,000 people sitting in the terminal . Then for some reason they also stopped the elite line and 10 mintues later you had at least 200 people waitting in that line outside of check-in to board. All of a sudden at about 12:30 all the groups sitting in line started to get up and moved towards the door that leads to the second floor. I grabbed by wife and we moved also. The 2 people at the door realized what was going on and tryed to stopped everyone from going through the door. Finally they made a P.A. announcement about the number group system which they should have done a long time ago. We were allowed to go through since we were in that first number group and once we got through the magic door it was clear sailing. I know that Princess is trying to get people to boarding at different times but it is not working all all so far. The reason we want early is we cannot book our Crown Grill or Sabit. reservations on line and also get the Enclave passes since they only sell 40 for the cruise. If they ever set-up that system on-line that might help alot. I would not show up until 2 p.m.
Now that I got that off my chest let me give you some thoughts on the cruise and ship. Overall I liked the ship and the changes I saw. The food was great , the buffett was great, and I loved the Crown Grill. At Sabatine's ? it took us 3 1/2 hrs. to eat but the food was O.K. . The pizza was good as always and the public rooms were good. Never had a problem at the pool area's getting lounges or the area we wanted. I do miss the pool on the back but they are going to change that in first drydock . I felt that it is still a little to quiet around the pool during the days. They still do not have enough going on at the pool during sea days for us. I loved the track and used it every day. A great way of doing working out if that your thing?
Now for my cabin. I tought it was will layed out as compared to other Princess cabins that I have had. I have been in regular balconys to mini-suites. I had a regular balcony on this cruise. I loved the batroom and the larger shower . Plenty of storage for clothes and personal items. The best part was the 36" T.V. mounted in front of the bed. It offered over 25 to 30 different programs and movies. It was the highlite of the cabin for us. I did not mind the smaller balcony since is use it just to view the ocean. The only issue we had was the air flow at times was a problem in the cabin. I had heard from other people that they had the same problem. I did not have a problem with the toilet paper holder like people have been blogginh about . Life is to short to worry about things like that!
I got around the ship with not much real problem and the elevators sometimes work real strange but every ship I have been on has that issue most of the time. My wife and I bought the "Enclave" for the week and it was worth every dollar to us! They did a great job on that new area.
There were many other things I liked about the ship but it's getting late and I am sure you have read many different trains of throught . In closing I would say that Princess has to work on the boarding procedure and the on-line site like RCCL and others. I would go again on another Princess cruise but I hate to think of dealing with those two issues right now! Overall I had a good time but not enough of it !