We had not been on Princess for six or seven years and decided to try them again. On earlier cruises, we were very happy; however, it seems evident that Princess has been caught up in "cost-cutting".
I'll start by saying that the ship was new, very clean and the crew, almost without exception, was outstanding.
That being said, here's some of the things that really disappointed us. The line for embarkation was longer than I have ever seen. Hundreds of people waiting to board. Once onboard,the food was extremely BLAND and the menus limited, at least in the dining room. The self-serve food, on deck 16, while varied, was really spread out so it was difficult to carry your plate in different directions, sit down, and then go back for dessert, etc. Fruits were basically limited to watermelon, melon and pineapple. Another example, what was advertised as "New York style cheesecake", was not. It had an artificial taste.
The ship itself is humongous and it took me over 300 steps to walk from one end of our deck to the other. A big problem is a lack of stairs amidships. The stairs go to deck five or six and then disappear. Then, you're stuck waiting for an elevator or walking to stairs at the front or stern of the ship. Most of the time, elevators were busy and when one did arrive, there was a race to enter the elevator before others.
There were 3500 to 4000 passengers onboard and the main theater held only about nine hundred. To make up for this, I guess, Princess had three shows nightly. Most people wanted to go to the earlier shows so it was basically a zoo.The entertainment was good, (comedian Manuel Washington was great], however the shows were limited to a quick one half hour, on average. (On a variety of our prior cruises, shows have lasted about an hour). Because of the limited seating, it was necessary to arrive at the theater one half hour early for a good seat. So, we wasted one half hour waiting for a show that was only a half hour long.
The fitness center is small, but adequate if you selected the time of your visit to dodge the crowds. A downside is that a walk-way, used by all passengers, runs right down the middle of the gym. So,as you're exercising, people are strolling by. A few times, I had to stop exercising, to allow people to pass.
Princess movies on the deck is a nice feature and there seemed to be adequate deck space for all to enjoy.
The last thing. We were fortunate enough to win two bottles of champagne. Since we don't drink champagne, we asked to exchange them for a bottle of white wine or, get a credit. We had done this many times before on prior cruises with success. The front desk said "no". You won them, so they are yours. Not the way to run a ship!