Welcome aboard the Super Bowl Special! I have cruised with several lines from NCL to Crystal and wanted to try Princess as it appeared the standard was high. We stayed in Miami the previous night and then got the Tri Rail to Fort Lauderdale. A quick taxi ride ($14) took us to the port and we arrived at about 1.30pm. Embarkation was really quick and we were on board in no time. Went to the Horizon Court for a buffet lunch and then to our cabins. The ship seemed busy and we went to the small pool at the back of the ship to sunbathe. This is where it hit home we had booked the wrong cruise.
The area soon became very noisy with people drinking and shouting (generally always the same loud mouths). Want a conversation with someone who is 100 yards away? No problem, just shout and they can shout back! We leaned that 1300 Super Bowl fans from Ohio had joined the ship for this cruise. They were there to have a good time and I have nothing against that at all, but Princess should have designated this as a super bowl cruise and informed other passengers. We would not have booked this cruise had we known. The group basically monopolised the pools and the bars and drank like there was no tomorrow. Once again that is fine, I like a drink myself, but it was not what I wanted everyday. One day there were sections closed off just for them. On the day of the game itself, they showed it in the theatre and as it overan, the entertainment was cancelled! Not sure that this group is about as no Ohio team was in the final anyway.
First port of call was Princess Cays. This was like being on a crowded beach in a downmarket resort with people drinking and shouting and stuffing their faces, so we didn´t stay that long. Next was Curacao where I have been before, then Aruba which is always nice, followed by 2 sea days.
The casino was always packed so they did a roaring trade. The bars were obviously busy as well.
We were on anytime dining and thought the service was excellent every night. Surprised some people think it is acceptable to go to dinner in shorts and a tee shirt, this was actually allowed on the last night!
The food in general was very good. There was a café on the 5th floor where you could buy special coffees. What surprised me was that you even had to pay for the normal coffee/tea there when it was free in the buffet. Even Royal Caribbean don´t charge for that.
I don´t generally bother with the entertainment but it was good and the team very nice. The pianist in the bar, Tom, was excellent and very entertaining. There was always a lot going on with quizzes, dances etc. The shows were of a good standard in the theatre (I enjoyed talking to the couple from Southampton who were Princess Elite and they assured me the cruises were generally much better when no football fans were on board).
So, an eventful cruise. I do not want to come across as a snob as everyone is entitled to have a good time, but this was more like a Carnival fun/booze cruise than the type of cruise I had in mind. We met some nice people as one always does, but perhaps not as many as usual.
I would not say Princess is a premium line, but a good standard similar to HAL. Other Princess regulars said the cruises were nothing like this one so taking that on board, I will give them another chance.