This is our 9th Princess and 14th overall cruise.
Embarkation- Probably the fastest and most organized that we have encountered. We arrived around 10:45 and were on board before 12. After boarding we were able to go immediately to our room.
Ship in General-Beautiful! Rich looking but not gaudy. Gold tones around with glass sculptures hear and there was very tasteful. We had little trouble getting around or finding where things were. Of course I carried the neat little fold up ship map everywhere we went. The sky walk that extends over the ocean is really kind of neat. I don’t think many knew about it though, check it out. The fountain in center pool area is kind of just there but people did put chairs on that section when the water was not on so it was not useless. And contrary to what I have read there are three pools. One adult pool by itself near the sanctuary, one center ship and a shallow wading type pool on the other side of the fountains. We did not see the pools overly crowded but the chairs and lounges were. We never had a problem finding somewhere to sit as we are shade seekers.
Tip-back of the ship behind the Horizon is a really nice area to sit, eat, have a drink or play Rummikub as we did. Even when the Horizon was crowded we could always find a seat out there.
Our cabin- We were originally in E636 (obstructed view balcony) and were given an upgrade to E409 which was center ship and with a huge balcony. Check it out, if a large balcony is a must these rooms will give you that. We did notice that the cabin itself was slightly smaller than other balcony rooms we have been in. But they did have a small couch and was plenty big for the two of us. Room steward did a fine job, nothing over the top but a $10 tip on the first night got us fresh wine glasses every day and he did a good job as always. I might add, very comfortable beds and bedding.
Tip-Any room between 407 and 425 you were guaranteed a larger balcony and completely unobstructed.
Entertainment- we thought was sufficient and very good. What really was well accepted was the entertainment in the Piazza every day and night. It seemed a much better way to get more involved as it was hopping most nights with an assortment of things going on throughout the day and night.
To name a few, piano man, three different groups- a body balancing act-comedian-magician- dance classes- drink making etc. etc.
Movies and MUTS- Great choice of movies and concerts playing in the theater and on your room tv. We got to watch two pretty current movies in the comfort of our cabin and a few concerts at MUTS.
Food- Overall very good to excellent. As always.
First, Crown grill has become a status quo for us on the first night. The only day we are really hungry, you know how that goes. The Sea Bass is my favorite and for my wife its the Rib eye. These dishes are always done perfectly. Many sides to choose from, they will bring you one of each if you would like. The dessert selection, Tip-look no further than the Chefs sampler. A taste of all four desserts and they are good!!
Dining rooms- we had anytime dining. No problems at all. We noticed some people would complain they had to wait 20-30 minutes to get a table? Really? Have you ever gone to a restaurant with no reservations and not had to wait? Especially at prime eating time? Nothing stopping anyone from making a reservation or just take the early or late seating when you book the cruise. Some people you just cannot please.
Horizon Bistro/Court- we were a little overwhelmed the first day but soon after you get used to where things are. It is larger and laid out differently and much nicer than on other Princess ships. With a much larger variety and yes they do have different selections at the Horizon Bistro. A complete dessert aisle makes it nice to search for just the right sweet treat you have a hankering for. We have always enjoyed the desserts Princess creates. Too many favorites to mention.....but, the Love Boat, Fruit tart and anything chocolate!!!
Alfredos was very enjoyable for a sit down lunch or small dinner. Food was of good quality and a nice place to have an ice cold Stella away from the crowds. Pizza good as always on Princess, both at Alfredos and the outdoor pizza shop. Also burgers/dogs etc. and seafood bar we did not frequent that came with a charge.
Tip-try and get a taste of everything. All dining/eating areas had something to offer that may be a little or a lot different.
International Cafe-love it. From breakfast sandwiches (that many do not know about) to desserts galore to lunch and then night time selections. And of course the specialty coffee drinks.
Tip-get a coffee card. For $29 you get to enjoy 15 specialty coffee from the International Cafe or items from the Gelato bar. Also unlimited perked coffee from the International Cafe all day and night.
Vines...our favorite place. Special thanks to Edwin, Renaldo and Carmen.
Always there with a smile and great service. The tapas never stopped unless you told them you had enough! A few times we would just stay and enjoy their treats along with cheese etc. from the International Cafe. Plus you had great seats for whatever was going on in the Piazza. Also a great wine selection, something for everyone.
Wheelhouse attached to the Crown grill was very nice. Crooners and every other bar you can find were great also. Just find one you like you may just meet someone interesting. We sure did.
Disembarkation....was a breeze. Went without a hitch. We even wanted to change our time off the ship and the woman at the Guest services counter gave us new tags and said just use these on your luggage and no problem.
Complaints (No not from us) but from your everyday cranky people.
No center stairway- to me this is not a deal breaker as some have complained about it repeatedly. Not a big deal. We were at center ship. All we had to do was take the center elevators down or up, OR simply walk to the front or back to catch the elevator or to do stairs. Being on the eight floor we usually walked down to 5, 6 or 7 or took the elevators up to 16. There really was not a long wait except for the first day. Now they do have emergency stairs in the center but only for the crew, why? Good question as we were able to use them for the emergency drill on the first day only. Come on people your on a cruise walk off some of the food you will be eating:)
Waiting in line for dinner...really? They are feeding 3500+ people.
Tip-If you do not want to wait for a few minutes then book early or late seating... jeez.
Just general cranky people expecting perfection at every turn. Don’t you think the cruise line wants to keep everyone happy so they return? Most of the crew will go out of their way to please....The crew on Princess is without a doubt of the friendliest.
Food at the Horizon court being cold or warm or not hot.....We did not find this to be a problem. Now when you walk around looking for just the right things to eat for 15 min. so you do not miss one morsel of food, and then you take another 10 minutes to get just the right seat or find your group.....
In summary... we had a Great time...on a great ship...with a great crew.
Tip-try the Royal.. you may love it...we did!!!