We went on New Years cruise with friends. Overall the cruise was great. We had been on the Pacific Dawn in September and this boat is definitely nicer. Our boarding was delayed due to Norovirus on the previous cruise and the ship needing extra cleaning. On board our cabin had not been properly cleaned out from previous tenants. All food on the cruise was handled by staff only (even the salt and pepper shakers). Despite this people on our cruise got sick as well.
The Princess line seems to cater better for older people. The shows were dated and had some obscure old time songs that were not well known. The Cruise Director did a great job and looked and had mannerisms very similar to "Dicko". We had Jonathon Welch, Jackie Love and a magician as our entertainment. Most shows had two showtimes so it was easy to make time to go to them. NYE was handled very well with an four different parties to cater for different age groups. Formal nights were good with most people dressing up and joining in.
The food was fabulous. Wait staff were very attentive and the dining room was very grand. So was the Princess Theatre and Atrium. At times it was hard to get drink service - especially lunch time on deck or the buffet or on party nights.
As per other reviews there is a distinctive sewerage smell on the boat. You do get used to it but it is unpleasant.
Alcohol was at usual cruise prices, however each adult can take one bottle of wine onboard for consumption in their cabin. More bottles can be brought on if you pay $15 each bottle. We decided to do this and between 4 adults had 2 dozen bottles. We were happy to pay but there was much confusion going through customs when the wine is taken off you and trying to get it back once onboard. It took 2 days to locate the wine, which was disappointing. When we asked at the pursers desk we were informed (quite loudly) that the wine was confiscated, it was quite frustrating trying to sort this out.
Our cabin steward was good but it took two days to get pool towels. He kept saying, "It's not my problem"???
Isle of Pines was our first port. It has good snorkelling and a beautiful beach. For $15 each the locals for a 1 1/2 hour tour. Vila we hired a taxi for $100 to go the waterfall ($25 entry fee each) - it is a good idea to go early as it gets quite crowed later in the day. Port Denauru was surprisingly nice. I went out to Bounty Island snorkelling for the day $160 Fiji. My husband went on a V8 trike tour for $165 Fiji. At Suva locals offer tours for around $30. The city itself does not have much and watch for the Fijians pulling you into stores and not letting you leave until you buy something.
The usual offerings for activities, bingo, trivia, golf, table tennis etc. Movies under the stars is a nice touch (with popcorn). Breakfast in bed and room service were good and free.
Definitely a step up from P&O but they can still improve.