This was my family's 1st cruise and we enjoyed it. A few things could have been better, though. I thought the food was stellar. Everything I had from appetizer to dessert was tasty and fresh in both the sit down dining as well as the casual and buffet. The wait for the anytime dining was unforgivable and the seating times were crazy. After waiting practically all night on the first day to be seated, I thought I might make reservations for the second night. However, they only make reservations for 5:30, 5:45, 7:45 and 9:15. Those are the same seating times as the traditional dining option so how are reservations helpful?
Also, this cruise line is probably the worst for kids. Although I wouldn't call it kid unfriendly, I wouldn't call it kid friendly either. The pelicans kid zone has you pick up your kids by 12pm so you can feed them and then they can return at 1 but you have to get them again at 5 and they can't return until 6pm however none of the dining seats until 5:30 (if you had wanted to dine with your children). If you want to dine without your children, you'd have to wait until your 7:45 reservation, meanwhile, the shows start at 7:30 which you couldn't be at because you're dining. If you could manage to eat within 45 minutes (which I doubt since the wait staff, although nice as can be, are the slowest I've seen anywhere land or sea), you couldn't make it to the last show at 10pm either because the kid zone closes at 10pm and you have to pick up the kids unless you pay extra money to have the kids babysat which you'd have to let them know by 8pm. Suffice it to say, there is no flexibility when cruising Princess with kids.
Our days on this ship revolved more around our kids schedules than they do at home which wasn't exactly relaxing. We'd constantly have to leave the pool or the movie we were enjoying outside to go pick up and feed the kids. We weren't expecting Disney but even looking across port to the carnival ship with the tubular water slide made the princess "splash pool" (which the kid zone staff does not take them to- you have to) look like a total joke. Still, all the staff and even the cruisers had oodles of personality and clearly delighted in the kids. Most of the cruisers were over 50, which I don't mind at all and are interested in making conversation. I found the ship to be very clean and Princess seems to be committed to keeping germs at bay. The 1 Vegas style show we saw was great although I thought there'd be more of that (though I am a cruise virgin). The shopping was a bit disappointing although I guess I didn't come for that. I felt the ship should have better signs about where this and that was as well as more clocks (esp since you constantly have to keep your eye on it). Towel availability was inconsistent but pools were never overcrowded (although we sailed in January, the weather was great). All in all, the pleasantness of the staff and fellow cruisers made up for all the other issues our family experienced on the Sapphire.