This was our 5th cruise, 1st time with Princess & all others with Celebrity. We LOVE Celebrity but wanted to try a different cruiseline just to see how it would be & had heard good things about Princess. This was also our 1st cruise to Hawaii & we were excited for the extra sea days as we usually feel there are never enough with just a 7day cruise. We arrived 1 night before cruise & we stayed at The Renaissance Hotel by LAX. It was nice but didn't blow me away. However, the price was great! Only paid $93.
We pre-arranged for Super Shuttle to pick us up in the morning to go to port. They were right on time & very nice. Paid $20pp. Not bad considering we were told that a cab would be $80. We arrived around 11a.m. The lines for checking in were already really long & moved verrry slow. There were many windows but just 2 or 3 employees working. After finally getting checked in we were told to go to the other side of the room & wait. It was very crowded & not enough seats to accommodate everyone so we stood for about an hour & a half. Not pleasant. Once we finally boarded there was no champagne or mimosa greeting like we were used to with Celebrity. In fact, there was really no one to greet you other than the many photographers.
The ship was very nice in the public areas but in some other areas it was outdated & worn. It can really use to be refurbished. Our cabin (E701) showed obvious signs of wear such as the carpeting which was stained & discolored. Our room Steward Eddie was fantastic & went above & beyond to make us comfortable. There were a few different pools & hot tubs but unfortunately most of them were closed often due to somewhat rough seas & high winds. The hot tubs were just luke-warm not as hot as they should've been. The movies-under-the-stars is a nice feature but most of the movies were very old & usually it was too chilly & windy to enjoy it.
The service throughout the ship was usually very good with a few exceptions. The staff in Horizon was very friendly & helpful but in Capri dining room they were not as friendly & never seemed interested in making conversation, just getting through the dinner quickly. There were a few employees that I would say hello or good morning to & there was no response at all. As far as the food itself, the buffet Horizon was mediocre. Many things were repeated often & I noticed left overs being used in other dishes for a couple of days. In Capri it was very good. Did not eat in Amalfi or Portifino as we could not get in. Once finally getting to HI we did enjoy the ports but since we had been to HI before we opted to rent a car on each island & do our own thing.
The Captain made the decision to cancel Maui due to rough seas/ dangerous conditions for tendering. It was very disappointing but I do understand his position. Many passengers did feel as though he could have gone to Kona instead or back to Kauai for the day since they have ports. Instead we were heading back. After 5 more chilly, cloudy days we arrived in Ensenada, Mex. This time we decided to do a tour (through Princess) of the downtown area, old section & a winery. Let's just say we would not do this tour again. It had a lot to be desired. The disembarkation was a bit annoying because they seemed to be running behind or slow. The line was extremely long & moved at a snails pace. In summary, I will still always love Celebrity first as they are a step above Princess in all areas but if I was given a great deal I would sail with Princess again, maybe just a different ship.