First I would like to put our review in context, we are seasoned travellers around the world BUT have never been tempted by a cruise before, this was our first cruise. Rather than bore everyone with a day by day account I would just like to list what we thought was great and of course as I always try to keep it real I will mention some points we didn't like or areas we thought could be improved. OK here goes.
1, Very efficient check in and departure of the boat.
2. Spectacular islands chosen to visit, Stunning!
3. Wonderful food on board at each restaurant, even the buffet!
4. Wonderful service by staff.
5. Extremely knowledgeable chef's who kept my wife "safe" as she requires Gluten Free food, not one incident in 10 days which is a credit to the knowledge of the chefs to Coeliacs disease. This was very important to us.
6.Wonderful balcony cabin.
7.Very efficient cabin steward who gave some personal touches we appreciated, eg When we attended dinner he would top up our ice bucket without being asked. Various little extras we appreciated.
8. While dining it was nice each night to have our own table for 2.
9. Very efficient room service, never had to wait more than 10 mins for drinks etc.
10, Very few kids on board, so little noise from kids!
OK now to keep it real here is what we didn't like:
1. Entertainment on board is aimed at age 70+ apart from the local entertainment which was fab, this did not really bother us as we were happy to sit and drink on our balcony, but if you are under 70 do not come on board expecting great entertainment (we are 55)
2. We were disappointed that some popular excursions were sold out the day we stepped on the boat.BUT
3 As we discovered same excursions were available at shore at far less cost. So we regard the onboard excursions as overpriced.
4. Sabatinis, we visited the specialist restaurant just once, we were disappointed at the food and at the service in particular. From other reviews it seems that we just seem to have caught the staff on an "off night"
5. Mobile Phones, on our first 2 nights on our balcony we had to endure listening to a fellow passenger talking loudly on his mobile phone with no consideration to fellow passengers. Thankfully this only happened twice. BUT I feel Princess should advise passengers not to use their phones on their balcony, rather take it up to a quit spot on deck. Nowadays I don't think you can rely on passengers to be considerate. If we can live for 10 days without a phone why can't anyone else?
6. Yoga classes on board, my wife was pleased to see Yoga classes available, but the day we stepped on board they were full!! in 10 days she managed only one class, that was disappointing.
7.Formal Nights: Being Australian I do not like having to dress up for a meal but accepted that was expected on board, you can imagine my surprise to be seated to a fellow passenger wearing a T shirt!
Think it would be better to have "Formal Dress Preferred" but Smart Casual accepted. This would mean if you like getting fully formal dress you can do so, but if you don't than it's OK. I felt uncomfortable in a suit and tie. We could have went to the buffet but could not see by the food in the main restaurant.
8. GYM as I like to stay in shape I visited the gym on a daily basis and it was well used by passengers. On some days (at sea) people were queueing for use of the cardio equipment, what I could not understand is why they had 6 spin bikes tied up and sitting unused in a corner of the gym, it would have taken 5 mins to get them out for use by passengers, GYM staff please note!!
9. On a minor note I prefer to drink the local beer anywhere I go on holiday, I could not believe it when I found the boat did not stock the local beer, spent 10 days drinking German Beer! This obviously does not support the local economy. I should note that local beer is available at any island you visit, but boat staff will confiscate it coming back on board. I think this is really penny pinching and a bit rich considering you can't buy it on board.
10 My last negative is that I unfortunately has a theft on board, during a visit to the gym I had a well used pair of "Oakley" flip flops stolen from the locker room. My fault as I did not place them in my locker thinking them "safe" I did report this to staff but not much reaction which made me think, "is petty theft common on board?" I was pretty upset about this and did not say anything to my wife until after the cruise, so I would say be aware of your belongings on the cruise.
Despite the above we thought the cruise was a wonderful experience and would highly recommend it, can't wait to do it again!