On a lucky Friday my wife & I made it to Midway a day before embarking for the five day to Cozumel and Grand Cayman for a well-deserved (but brief) respite from a horrid Chicago winter. I will not mention the lodgings we stayed at, but in beating the snow we were beset with the following:
- Fort Lauderdale was jammed by Valentine's Day, President's Day, highway construction, the boat show in nearby Miami, etc.
- zero cabs available.
- airport shuttles way behind schedule & slow as well due to the highway conditions.
- increased port security.
- almost zero decent rooms available ANYWHERE near Port Everglades.
Bottom line: plan ahead unless escaping snow is your main objective no matter what.
The lines moved fast as well as processing, and port & Princess staff were pretty friendly as well. There weren't too many families on this cruise nor college breakers, so the absence of people walking around the ship holding their booze 24/7 was welcome. The lower attendance of "under 25 year old's" made programming less frantic and hyper (if you know what I mean), but there were plenty of things to do on board & ashore (if you wanted to do the excursion route).
The cabin was a bit tight as well the bathroom, but the balcony was surprisingly large with 4 chairs and room to stretch out. The ship's layout made for labyrinth & maze-like hikes to our sit-down dining room at the aft of the ship: not optimum. And the poor signage and crew's lack of location knowledge added to the feeling of being lost half the time. The soft water in the shower made rinsing off pretty daunting as well. It also took 7 hours and multiple calls to the room attendant, customer service and maintenance to fix a dorm-style cabin fridge fixed or swapped out: the repair was done at 11:00 PM (for medical storage I might add).
Dining was generally good, but...
- the buffets could get crowded & snug, and the Caribe Cafe buffet had snags in it's posted closing time(s) - 2:30 or 2:00 or 1:30. There were always a few interesting choices and special items for diabetics, those challenged with allergies, and vegetarians. People were enjoying the pool-side pizza too.
- We chose to do the 8:15 PM sit-down dining at the Boticelli, and it was usually tasty. Steals & chops tended to be tough, but other items hit the spot.
Entertainment was good: cover bands at the bars, karaoke, and the shows in the theater were also of note. Screenings of first run movies & live concert videos on the big screen by the pool at night were fun if you could find a cozy spot at prime time. Popcorn, milk & cookies, and blankets when it was chilly made a good impression. Art auctions, jewelry & other shipboard hawking were there for trinket chasers. Note to Princess: your screen is stained & needs a cleaning.
If you're concerning about safety and cleanliness around the general pool areas: signage about pool rules including running, nose clearing in the water and other hygienic items, glass & food around the pool area/water are not prominent/apparent. The need for people to shower before jumping in the pools & spas is really needed.
In hindsight there was too much nickel & dime charges, merchandising, etc. And a couple of the guys at the customer service desk could use some much-needed refresher courses on smiling (and not talking down to clients). Overall an A- if we were back in school: just a few bumps on this cruise.