We've cruised quite a bit on many popular cruise lines depending on ports, timing and cost. Sailed Princess for the first time since price was too good to pass up and wanted to get away. We will sail Princess again based on other criteria.
Drove to Ft. Lauderdale night before and roomed at a wonderful stay and park free hotel with free shuttles to and from the airport, nice pool, modern, clean rooms.
Embarkation was fast and efficient. At terminal 11:15am, on ship w/room ready at noon, luggage came shortly thereafter.
We had to settle for a guarantee Oceanview Room on low, Plaza deck due to last minute availability. Was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a decent size with large window viewing sea, lots of storage, close to Piazza with entertainment, International Cafe, Vines Bar, etc. No odors in cabin. Only noise we encountered was during embarkation and morning of debarkation from floor underneath. Bathroom was small although plenty of space for storage. Shower was SO TINY...Can't imagine how an "over the average" size person could shower there. Don't drop the soap...hard to shave legs also!
MIssed a balcony since we enjoy relaxing on our own inbetween activities. Just not the same in Oceanview Room.
Food and Service was the best we've ever had on any cruise. We chose Anytime Dining and just showed up to eat around 6 or so at a "shared" table. Got right in and met some very nice people. Waiters were superb. No problem with last minute requests such as horseradish, red pepper flakes, extra shrimp cocktail, etc. Requested prime rib or other main course instead of menu items one night, but could not be done. Also asked for escargot...Could not get. Was on menu one night though.
Buffet was excellent with lots of choices. Plenty of seating in back section (Cafe Caribe). As soon as we put our food on table, waiters were right there with water, ice tea, lemonade, coffee, etc.
Our room steward, Ronaldo, kept our ice bucket full, wine glasses available, gave us a top sheet since we don't like heavy covers, got robes for us and in general, was always there for us when needed.
Crooners was nice though very small, and the bar near the Piazza and International Cafe was fun...Thanks Mikey and Frankie! Disappointed at no formal martini bar or martini tastings.
Two of the four nights in theater featured comedians...One night a duo and the other a single...both were great! Good piano players, steel drum player, Passion Band, acrobat demo...Trio was pretty boring.
Night Deck party, ice sculpture demo, different games poolside - fun. Line dance lessons during the day also.
Loved the 7' deep pool with poolside entertainment. Didn't do the large screen movie thing, but looked like fun!
Received balloons and a nice sign on door wishing me a Happy Birthday...cute touch!
No smoking night in casino was a good idea. Smoking only apparent on back of Deck 15, one side.
Main complaint - It was freezing cold in 3 of the lounges...Actually felt like a cold breeze coming out of Explorers when we passed by. Looked like nice places to hang out in, but not many people, which I believe was due to the cold since many people commented on this.
Way too much "selling" of wine packages, tastings, etc.
No zumba - free or paid...Love zumba and was disappointed at this....Fitness Room was fine w/good equipment, but only yoga and a few other paid exercise activities. Also had quite a few seminars which were informative, but aimed at selling products afterward.
The Caribbean Princess dancers in the main theater (2 nights - different themes) were pretty poor with only a few good dancers/singers. No big production numbers as on other ships. Perhaps this was due to it being only a Monday - Thursday night cruise. People told me things are better on a longer cruise.
Pre-Galley Tour/American Idol Contest during the day featured some restaurant personnel who sang much better than the show performers. Thoroughly enjoyed these singers, but disappointed since it was more of a variety show than cooking demo. After the show the line to tour the Galley was extremely long so we passed on this.
Regular coffee in restaurants and even at International Cafe was awful. Cappucino and espresso at Int'l Cafe were fine. (Charge for coffees there with assorted free pastries and "fancy" sandwiches.
Had to get to theater no less than 15 minutes before show or no seats.
Activities staff didn't mix with crowd as much as on other ships though. For example, at deck party, they danced by themselves and didn't encourage guests to dance as much as on other ships. We didn't do trivia so things may be different if you met the staff at such events.
Signed up to walk off w/our bags at 8:10am. Got to restaurant and found a long line. Customs apparently was backed up. Delay not Princess' fault. We waited awhile and once the line moved, we got off pretty quickly.
We decided that we would like to try a newer, larger, Princess ship in the future if the timing and ports were good for us, mainly due to their excellent food and service.