We stayed at Springhill Suites in Dania Beach, FL. For 2 nights prior to our cruise. They were very accommodating as usual. Nice & close for last minute shopping along with quite a few places to eat. The breakfast is always wonderful. Springhill Suites also has a FREE shuttle not only to & from the airport but to the cruise port as well.
The shuttle left for the cruise port right at 10 a.m. We like to take the 1st shuttle so we can board early. We were able to check in as soon as we arrived since we are frequent cruisers. We did have 8 others with us who were able to come along. They did put us in a comfortable “holding” room until we could go aboard. We were in our cabins by noon…. Dropped off our carry-on luggage and went off to explore the ship and go for lunch.
We love the new buffet lines…. It was not near as crowded and confusing as the rest we’ve been on. We love this new layout of the atrium…. So much more seating for the International Café… it was great to watch all of the entertainment in there….just sit visiting….reading a book or people watch. A coffee card is a must buy if you enjoy time me in the atrium…. They even let you use your punches for Gelato now I have found that the wait service is not near as plentiful as it always has been on the other ships. I think it’s because of the drink counter at the International Café. It is nice to have the counter if you want something on the way by…. But if you just want to sit for a long while no one really asks if you would like anything else…. Now in the bars…. That’s another story…. They are there all the time….. Which brings me to another issue. Princess does not advertise too much about purchasing a bottle of wine & storing it for you. It’s a better bargain than purchasing by the glass.
We opted for anytime dining so we thought we would try the Symphony dining room for 6 of us on deck 5. We were assigned to table #118 with José & Slagania (that may not be spelled correctly…. We called her Slaw for short…. Or sometimes Lasagna). They were both were wonderful. Such great sense of humors. We enjoyed them so much that we called & reserved their section for the next night for the 10 of us….. We were not disappointed at all yet again. Their service was top notch along with the food….
We went to the welcome aboard show. The singers & dancers did a great job…but we were not real thrilled with the Master Illusionist David Cats.
Day 2: Princess Cayes we stayed onboard the ship since we have been to the island several times and we kind of like how empty the ship is…. So in the afternoon we went to deck 17 forward to the pool… another hidden… relaxed place to be. The pool was heated and great Jacuzzi’s. So many people think since it’s next to the pay for cabaña’s and close to the Sanctuary that you are not allowed to use it…. But that’s not true…. It is FREE…. So take advantage. This area is for adults only.
After dinner we went to the Princess theater and greatly enjoyed the performances of Marcus Terel & the looking for them again on another Princess cruise.
Day 3 we were out to sea so it was a relaxing day of sleeping in…. up to the buffet for breakfast…. Then up to the very top deck for some shuffleboard, to Princes Live for a culinary show with a great surprise…. We were able to sample the goodies that they prepared.
For dress up night we opted not to dress up but go to Alfredo’s for dinner. There is no charge for this place which is a pretty well-kept secret…. Kind of like the International Café…. So many are unaware of this. Princess really does need to advertise this much more…. Before dinner we caught the early show in the Princess theater… Colors of the World… it wasn’t too bad but I would not break my neck to get to watch it again soon…. Then we were off to the Vista lounge after dinner to see the performance of Dwight Blake: Elton John with a tan. He was very good but there was a group sitting behind us that were VERY disrespectful making it hard to listen. It was extremely distracting. You would think that a group of 50+ yr. Olds would know how to behave….but apparently not.
Day 4: St. Thomas…we slept in again…. Up to the buffet for a quick breakfast then off the ship to shop for about an hour. My husband stayed off & went zip-lining with several of our cruise mates…. After returning he said that the tour company… Tree Liming Extreme Zipping Tours did a great job!
Day 5: St. Maarten…. This sleeping in has become a habit that we can never seem to do at home…. The ship just seems to rock you to sleep to total relaxation. Had a quick bite…. Decided to get off the ship to do a little shopping at the end of the pier. We didn’t find anything that we could not live without. We did however find that we should have done our electronics shopping in St. Thomas and we also heard from others jewelry shopping as well…. So this is a tip for others.
The show tonight was Al Katz…. What a GREAT comedian. Don’t miss a chance to see him.
Day 6: at sea…. Movie on the big screen today was Mama Mia…. What a great movie to watch over & over again….. The show on the Princess theater was Sweet Soul Music…. It was GREAT! Then off to the marriage show for lots of laughter.
Day 7: at sea… this is one of the most sad days onboard the ship…. Packing day to get off ïŒ but we have to make the best of it…. We will just squeeze more in to this final day. We rushed off to the first show in the Princess theater to see Spectacular. What a great new show. After the show we headed up to the buffet for our last dinner with family & friends. After dinner we went down to the Vista lounge to see the comedian Al Katz yet again. The show would have been enjoyed more if the same ride group wouldn’t have sat near us that did the night of Elton John with a tan. Of amazed us that these people who were definitely grown adults could act like 2 year olds.
Laundry room: I usually have to bring along a roll of quarters to do a few loads of laundry so I don’t have as much to do when we arrive home. This time I thought I’d take my chances & hope that the change machine worked…. Well to my surprise the change machine replaced by a token machine. You punch in how many loads you will be needing… or how many laundry soaps you want to purchase…. Swipe your cruise card…no $$$ needed and the tokens pop right out. The washers & dryers are surprisingly large…. So of course I purchased too many tokens that I will just save for another time. One more reason to cruise again soon on Princess. I hope all of the other ships go to this.
New TV System: this is great… you can watch many movies whenever you want….They all start at the beginning… if you need…you can pause or fast forward….. The Wake show…. Informational videos… etc. What a great addition. Many of the game shows etc. Can be watched in the convenience of your cabin at any time.
Princess Live: this place is a wonderful addition. They have many of the game shows, the Wake Show and informational sessions. The seating is very comfortable, no one asking if you needed a drink… but if you do need one there is a bar right outside the door.
Shower: the shower on this ship is noticeably larger than on the other Princess ships we’ve been on They are not large by any means….bit you don’t have to put the shower gel on the shower curtain & do a quick spin to get lathered up like the other ships. Princess no longer gives you small bottles of shampoo, conditioner & shower gel…. It’s in large pump bottles in the shower. What a great improvement this is.
Entertainment: this is the first time we’ve ever had all new shows onboard. Colors of the World, Sweet Soul Music & Spectacular. The singers & dancers are very talented. We really did not enjoy the Illusionist David Cats may have been enjoyed by others but we are not real fond of Illusionists. The comedian Al Katz was very funny. The Flamingo dancers performed many times in the atrium…. They were alright but they performed too often. The movies on the big screen was very nice to sit & relax, snack on popcorn, pizza & burgers… all FREE.
Ship stability: our cabin is B105 which is the very first cabin on the front of the ship on deck 11. We were NOT thrilled when we found out our location at all because we thought for sure that we would be rolling machine up there…. Well we were wrong. We rarely felt any motion. The stability of this ship amazed us everywhere onboard this ship.
Overview: We had a great time on our 12th cruise on a Princess ship…..18th cruise all together….Sure… we may not have liked everything about this new ship…. But we would LOVE to come back again soon. My motto is…. “If I’m having a bad cruise…. It’s my own fault….. I need to do something to make it better”.
When we got off the shop we decided to go to a different hotel for the night. It was Hyatt Place near the waterway…. NEVER again… the hotel was not real friendly or accommodating like they are at Springhill Suites in Dania, Fl. We definitely have learned our lesson.