I have been on two previous Carnival Cruises. A three night interior cabin to Bahamas on Sensation and a 6 night balcony to Western Caribbean on Freedom. I feel I got a better bargain on Princess. First, they were lax with their beach towels, unlike Carnival you didn't have to worrk about constantly exchanging your towel to get a dry one. You could take your towel out on a lounger and come back to your refreshed room and be given two more by your steward. You could get fresh towels out on deck as well. I liked not having to worry about having the towel taken and then being charged for it.
There were No towel animals left in your room, but that didn't bother me at all. The bathroom did seem smaller than on Carnival and the shower was extremely small. Many times I would turn off the shower while soaping up, or while shaving because there was just no room. BuytBut, the closet and storage space was much more spacious on this boat than on any Carnival ship I've previously been on.
The first day of the cruise I won the $150 spa giveaway. Had to use it on a port day. My biggest complaint was the 15 minutes of talking before the service and then 20 minutes of talking after the service. All trying to sell me hugely overpriced oils and "at-home detox" products. I was supposed to have a 75 min service but the actual service lasted for one hour. I had a full body aromatherapy massage, scalp massage and facial. The scalp massage was definitely lacking but everything else was okay. I also didn't like how after the service she (Lorna) came in and said the service was only supposed to be for 75min, but she gave me 90 at no additional charge. Um, no. The first 10 min were wasted because the lockers in the locker room were all stuck to lock so no one could actually use them to lock away valuables, and then 10 min filling out the paper info form, and then 15 min of you talking and asking me questions. I'm happy I didn't pay for the service, but I still tipped $21 on the $139 service. The worst part was the 15 min of fumbling around after. First, the receipt she brought in the frist time was for the wrong service and for more than what I actually purchased. The second time, the service was still wrong on the receipt with the wrong price. Apparently the "head to toe" special wasn't an option in the computer so she was trying to figure that out while I ws waiting in the room. Eventually I just left, got dressed and found her at the front desk because I had to go get ready for dinner.
The last night of the cruise, I tried to order room service and NO ONE answered the phone. Then it stopped connecting me at all. It was about 10pm. This was really frustrating as we wanted to try the room service food while packing. I tried calling about 20+ times to no anser or help.
Halfway through the cruise cold water stopped coming out of the faucet. It burned to brush your teeth or wash your face. After about a day of waiting to see if it would be adjusted, I called around and after being transfered around, finally got someone that had the issue fixed. It worked well for about a day, but towards the end, the cold water seemed to be disappearing again.
The Piazza area I wasn't a fan of. I really liked the huge open space and view from the elevators while you go up and down that I've seen before on Carnival.
During this cruise two stores were shut down for construction and it took forever to find a the gift shop that was open "Hearts & Minds". This gift shop was tiny with a very limited selection. I wanted a souvenir bottle and they only had one type, athletic with a straw. Very disappointed but since it was the only option I spent the $9.95.
Movies Under the Stars had a nice size screen, with clear picture and quality sound. Much better than on other ships. They showed Gravity and Catching Fire. Also, our room (not all because our friends room didn't have it) had an on-demand feature with free movies that were released about 8 months prior and nice selection of tv shows and live channels. The flat screen was at least 32in and very clear and bright.
The bed was okay, but the mattress on Carnival I liked much better. Also, my boyfriend was not happy about not having a top sheet, just flat sheet and then duvet blanket.
There was no cake/bakery/flower gift shop! I wanted to do something nice for my BF bday other than the ballons and poster you buy before the cruise online and they had NO options! Very upsetting.
The maiter d' was able to accomodate sitting the other couple we cruised with and us in another dining room for dinner the first night and then got us an assigned table for 4 in the International Dining room. Very happy about that. What I liked most was that other than the last night, there was no singing and dancing in between courses like on Carnival in the dining room.
Breakfast buffet was good but french toast wasn't very good and waffles were just okay and got cold fast. Lunch buffet was okay options. Dinner food was also just okay. No food WOWED us. It was all mostly edible with some decent tasting dishes. The fried chicken in the dining room was a let down and the Lobster Bisque didn't taste like lobster bisque. Went to Costco after the cruise to show BF what lobster bisque should really taste like.
Entertainment shows were okay, one of the main singers had an accent and didn't sound nearly as good as the others. Dancing was nice, though sometimes not synchronized perfectly. Comedy standup show was decent. The standout was the two black physical comedians in the Explorer's lounge.
This cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada was chilly at sea and they really need heat lamps around the outdoor pools and lounge chair areas during colder months. Also, no one really used The Sanctuary because they charged $20 for a day pass. But the biggest thing we'll remember was the ROCKING of the boat. It swayed non-stop especially the sea day. Thank God for meclizine! I would try Princess again (after I try NCI and RC) but not this boat.