We were a bit worried after reading some of the reviews, but those worries were unfounded. Some people will find flaws where ever they can. Yes, there were some less than perfect situations on this ship, but that can be said about any ship.
When we arrived at the terminal, there was a long line. We do not have Elite or preferred embarkation status, so we joined the end of the line. It moved quickly, and we were seated in the dining room for lunch less than an hour after we arrived.
Service was as expected. The moment we walked on the ship we felt welcomed. Every staff member we passed, looked us in the eye, and greeted us. It truly felt like Princess valued us as passengers.
The lack of mid ship stairway above deck seven seems to be a non-issue, few people used the stairways even when they were available. The wait for the elevators was no longer than any other cruise we have been on.
We had a balcony stateroom, it was small but there was sufficient storage. Our large suitcases fit nicely under the bed. The balcony was small, but still comfortable. It did not matter to us that you could not position the chairs to directly face the ocean. We had a perfect view by gazing forward or aft or slightly turning our head. When in our room we watched the movies on-demand. We loved that feature!
The Horizon Court buffet was large, but set up in a logical and orderly way, unlike other cruise lines we have been on. The same offerings were available on both sides of the buffet, so you really didn’t need to venture far. The Horizon Bistro did have slightly different offerings, so it was good to walk through to see what was there. Seating was NEVER an issue. Even at the busiest times, there were tables available. It was also nice to arrive at a table and find it set with silverware. The Pastry shop was a bit of a disappointment, we really expected there to be more desserts of many varieties.
The International Café was always wonderful. Their breakfast sandwiches were delicious, as well as the pastries available in the morning. After breakfast they changed over to sandwiches and salads. Every item we tried was delicious; sandwiches, salads, and desserts.
We were looking forward to Alfredo’s and we were not disappointed. The first time we had lunch there, we split a pizza. It is by far, some of the best pizza we have ever had. The crust was perfect, thin and crispy. For our second lunch there, we chose the rollata di malanzane and the calzone. Again we were not disappointed.
We had anytime dining, but made reservations for the same time every night at the same table. Our waiter and assistant waiter were fabulous. Our waiter would offer suggestions every night, and he was always right on. Food in the dining room was always very good and beautifully presented. Yes it took an hour and a half for dinner, but that is what fine dining is all about. We enjoy the time between courses to talk to each other and our wait staff.
There was always something to do onboard, even during port days. This has not been our experience on other cruise lines. The cruise director, Sam, and her staff were all excellent. We think they are probably the best we have ever encountered. The shows in the Princess Live Theatre were all very entertaining. It was fun to be part of a live audience. We saw the comedian and illusionist. We enjoyed the comedian, but not the illusionist; he was just not what we enjoy. There was always music somewhere on the ship. The Piazza had some kind of entertainment every hour of the day. If the entertainment there wasn’t your thing, the people watching was always very good.
We thought the only bad thing about this cruise was its length: it was not long enough! We still have a list of things to do, guess we will have to go back!