Once again, Princess cruises know how to organize a relaxing holiday. The embarkation process at Fremantle was prompt and professional but I suspect some passengers did not wait until their letter or number was called.
Our balcony A632 on deck 11 did not disappoint us. It was compact, neat and tidy but the carpet was staying to fray in some spots. The bed was very comfortable and we usually did not draw the curtains at night preferring the occasional moonlight view. It is recommended that you book a balcony stateroom as it was great just to sit out on the balcony and take in the view from time to time. This cruise is the most that we have used a balcony, possibly because the weather was so good and that we were sailing towards the Equator. Nothing was ever too much for our cabin steward, Jose, who kept our stateroom spick and span and he promptly attended to all of our requests.
We opted for the 7.45pm dinner sitting at the Traviata Restaurant and our 2 More
waiters, Rolly and Ferdinand were on the ball. I could always rely on Rolly for suggestions if I could not decide on which meal to order. Food options were always varied,high quality and not huge portions. We thoroughly enjoyed the company of the other 6 passengers at the table.
We rarely ate at the buffet in preference to the restaurant table service. At lot of people do obviously enjoy the Horizon Court buffet as we would often hear that it was difficult to get access to a spare table and chair. We heard good reports about the Sterling Steakhouse which we did not frequent, however, we did sign up for the Chef's Table. It cost $125pp and it was worth every cent. We and 4 other couples were spoilt by the MaitreD, Joachim and Executive chef, Rermo as we made our way through 9 courses-the first 4 in the galley. Food quality and presentation was first class. The only slight criticism was the table seating configuration which was not conducive to conversation involving all the attendees. I understand that the Chef's Table is a recent addition to Princess Cruises.
Drink prices are not outlandish and in line with hotel/restaurant prices back home. Cocktails ranged from $9.95 to $13.95.
The varied entertainment on offer certainly catered for +55 age bracket. Our major criticism is that diners on the late sitting missed shows on 3 occasions due to timetabling clashes. Some shows were only on once at 8pm. The cruise director, Tim, and his staff were always out and about and there were certainly plenty of things on offer during the day and night if you wanted to get involved. We attended most trivia sessions to prove that there was a lot of useless information that we did not know!!!
All the crew seemed to be enjoying their jobs and forever smiling. Our request for a dis-embarkation time change was handled promptly, efficiently and without fuss by Emma at Front Desk. We were thoroughly impressed by Captain Diego Perra who just seems to exude authority and respect.
The "Sea Princess" is starting to show her age and is in need of a good paint job with rust evident. New carpet in some areas would not go astray and the "technical difficulties" that started over 2 months are still ongoing.
We opted for 2 Princess shore excursions, Komodo Island and Semarang, and did our own thing in the other 3 ports. As usual, Princess excursions are overpriced, but it is the same with all cruise lines. It is a captive audience with Komodo Island-no excursion means you cannot leave the ship. We were fortunate at Bali being some of the first passengers aboard the tender as operations were later suspended in the morning due to rough seas. There were long delays in the afternoon with return tender operations and the final passengers were on board some 2 hours after the ship was due to leave for Lombok.