This cruise was just what the doctor ordered after a long, long, winter.
Embarkation: seamless, fast, and efficient. All the photo ops and standard services available and to par. Luggage arrived quickly within a couple of hours. Buffet was crowded, and had to wait for a table to open up. This is pretty common on embarkation day regardless of cruise line. Not sure why they wouldn't open a secon section knowing this always happens.
Stateroom: clean, well appointed, and steward went above and beyond to meet our expectations.
Food: aside from the prime rib (which was bland and obviously not from top grade) the food was above average. Neither better nor worse than other cruise lines. Wide selection, abundant, and had good flavor. While much of the food is processed, I was pleased to see that many fresh fruits, vegetables, and salad were always available for those who are health-concious. There were numerous offerings on the dinner menu as well for vegetarians. I highly recommend the fettuccini Alfredo in the Parmesan shell. Anytime dining was a real plus....no wait to be seated, same meal offerings, and the convenience of setting your own dining schedule.
Drink: I have been on four cruises, and the drink prices will certainly run up your shipboard account quickly. Not anymore. Princess offered a drink card, which included any alcoholic beverage under $10, for a daily fee of $49. This was something that I was not expecting, but pleasantly surprised! No more surprises at the end of your cruise....just a flat rate that included everything. FINALY, thank you, princess! Please keep this option. The only negative was that drink service seemed impeccably slow....especially when ordering from wait staff on deck or by the pool. In princess cays, our waiter forgot we were there after about 11:00 am. The bar began to pack up and stopped serving drinks around 1:30 on princess cays also-but did retain beer service for another hour or so.
Shore excursions: in princess cays, we rented a cabana which was well worth it for the privacy and space. However, the wait staff was very attentive at the beginning of the day, but abandoned our end of the beach entirely after just a couple of hours. While walking to the bar for a drink wasn't so hard, part of renting the cabana was the perk of being waited on.
In grand Turk, we took a taxi to the salt quay for $5 per person, and easily walked downtown.. Grand Turk is pretty much a deserted island, other than its beautiful beaches. No downtown to speak of, just a few vendors, and no town square. The main attractions are right at the cruise port, but you can go to margaritaville in Florida. You can buy jewelry anywhere, too. Wouldn't recommend a paid your of this island- get a taxi and see all you want for pennies on the dollar, and it won't take long at all.