This was my sister and I's first cruise. We booked a mini-suite, on the recommendation of others. It was wonderful! Nice, roomy, decent bathroom and closet space, plus a cabinet and safe. The room also had a "living area" with couch, chair and table. Two TV's, storage and counter space allowed plenty of places for our collections along the way. Also included was a small refrigerator. Of course, the balcony was wonderful, also. We spent time out hanging onto the railing, watching as we left port and occasionally, as we entered a new port. How these big ships can maneuver and turn is amazing.
I was impressed with the speed and organization at Check-IN (embarkation) I've heard horror stories about other cruise lines! Many employees around to guide you in each direction, as needed, for each step of the way. ALL the staff was extremely friendly, always with a smile, no matter how many questions I asked.
Our luggage was quick to arrive to our rooms. We hurriedly unpacked. Our Room Steward brought us Champagne and fruit. How nice!
We later wandered around the ship. I took the "SHIP TOUR", which was offered. I met a new "Assistant Cruise Director", Catalina, (Cat, for short) Throughout the length of the cruise, when we saw each other, she always recognized me and said a warm, "Hello, Miss Laura". We often chatted for a few moments, as she would tell me how her new job experience was developing. She was such a genuine person!
All the staff had smiles and seems willing to help or offer their services. (even when NOT requested)
I loved the decor and theme of this ship!! Beautiful beyond imagination! My taste, for sure. Even Fresco paintings on the walls, mosaics and water falls, dark wood paneling. Very elegant,lovely, and quite calming.
(I looked at photos of other cruise line ships. Their decor would give me a migraine, what with all the colors, shapes, patterns and craziness!)
The TV had a channel that kept everyone updated with location and another channel describing the cities we would visit.
The nightly Theater shows were mostly OK. A few were really good, (the song and dance numbers) The magician wasn't very good. The shows filled up so fast, we had to get there about 30 mins. BEFORE show time to get a good seat.
The pools looked lovely, but we were not into swimming. We DID enjoy the outdoor movies. Really fun, with popcorn and a blanket to keep us warm.
We choose ANYTIME dining....thinking it was the Buffet. It was NOT...it was in a choice of two BEAUTIFUL, Elegant dining rooms. Very fancy, with white table cloths, servers for all our courses. We were quite impressed! We did eat in the buffet often, for dinner. Many items to choose, all the ones we tried, we liked. We never did eat breakfast, choosing ROOM SERVICE, because we had to get off the ship so early to see each city we visited. We were disappointed in the offerings for Room Service Breakfast. Beverages were good, coffee, tea, milk, juices, etc. Food choices very limited. Oatmeal available. I ordered the Egg McMuffin with cheese and ham. Small, dry, (no condiments) and muffin not tasty. Croissant was very small, so my sister started ordering two. We thought to have sandwiches delivered, to take along on our tours. That did NOT work out, as they came DRY, no condiments, no lettuce, and UNwrapped. We put them in ziplock bags we had in our room. We didn't order sandwiches anymore.
One thing that was GREAT.....being an American ship, I was able to get money from an ATM, on board. There is also a Money Exchanger for Euros.A small fee of $4.50. was charged.
Throughout the cruise, live music was playing in the Piazza, on the 5th deck center. This was so wonderful. Even as we left Venice, the Venice Symphony was playing. Great moment to remember.
This was a very exciting time for me. I hope to take another cruise in the future.
Thank you to Princess for a memorable time. Plus, good weather!
All-in-all, a GREAT first cruise and I hope the beginning of many more!