First, cruising is the best vacation value out there if one can drive to the embarkation port. This was our third cruise with the prior two on RCL. Conclusion: Not Impressed due to lack of a wow but we did score a great last minute price. Would we book Princess again? Sure, if you give us a new ship and a great price.
Ship: Dated. Eating in the main dining room felt like going to a nice local cafeteria with a touch of a Titanic motif thrown in. We loved sleeping during our last two cruise and it took a very determined effort to roll out of the “oh so comfy & cushy” beds on RLC. These beds were not “oh so comfy & cushy”, even after asking the cabin steward to adjust. One side of the bed was always lower or higher than the other side and never once did it sing its siren songs of "Forever Sleep". The room felt better organized and functional than RLC’s but Princess’s public areas were much less impressive.
Food: Food quality was quite good with props for their prime rib on the first night. On the 2nd formal night they had lobster and tiger shrimp with the shrimp out shining the lobster. We took our meals in the main dining room in the back of the ship with the traditional 1st seating option.
Overall Service: Very good.
Onboard Entertainment: Mediocre.
Onboard Activity: Take the free galley tour at the end of the Chef's show in the main theater. Just follow the crowd after the show to the atrium.
Port-of-calls: Cozumel, Roatan & Belize
Tips & Notes:
A) Embarkation Day from Texas: Wine drinkers - If you have 1st seating you will only be able to buy wine by the glass as the ship will not be out of Texas jurisdiction yet. Highly recommend you bring your own bottle onboard to have with your first nights meal. This limitation may apply to 2nd seating also.
B) Embarkation Day: Find someone in Houston and pay their $40 to take them on Princess's "Bon Voyage Experience". This gets your buddy and your party a tour of the ship and lunch onboard but more importantly it get your party on board the boat at 10:30 AM with your friend. As a side benefit, if you are driving, have your buddy also drop your party off and not only will this offer of "Bon Voyage Experience" kindness pays for itself but save you in parking fees.