This was our fourth Cruise, first on Princess. In the past we have sailed twice with Carnival and once with Royal Caribbean. We are both in our late forties and were traveling alone.
As many have already described embarkation was a nightmare. We are not the type to let little things spoil a trip. We flew in from New Jersey early Sunday am and we were tired and just went along with whatever was happening. Needed to have our room key reprogrammed along with everyone else, not a huge issue. Muster drill was typical and we were off!
The cabin was a little smaller than our usual ocean view, but the room was tastefully decorated and the bed was very comfortable. Our room steward was wonderful and very friendly, I faxed ahead and requested extra bed pillows and robes. Everything was set upon our arrival.
We had traditional second seating, our service in the dining room was great too. The food was very good, we ate in the dining room every evening. Breakfast in the dining room was not great so we stuck to the buffet, which was very good. There were many choices all fresh and delicious, the fruit was especially good. Lunch was poolside, best pizza at sea IMHO, burgers were just ok and the fries....don't waist the calories.
Entertainment was pretty good, there were a couple of really funny comedy acts. The theater was not crowded as some had warned, Most of the best entertainment was in The Explorers Lounge which was always full so get there early.
MUTS was fun and we had never had that on any other cruises. Saw two good movies. There were movies all day but I could not stand to be in the sun for long enough to watch a whole movie.
The ship was very pretty and much more elegant than either RCCL or Carnival, it was clean and in good repair although we did notice a lot of burnt out light bulbs and there did not seem to be enough crew assigned to cleaning up glasses and dishes from public areas. The areas devoted to eating were fine but if you grabbed a seat off to the side there were people bringing drinks but no one every took any empties back with them.
We were expecting a "better" experience from Princess than Carnival or RCCL, honestly they were so similar. The food was comparable on all lines, as were the passengers and service. If you removed the cruise line logos I be hard pressed to find someone who could tell the difference. Overall I feel Carnival is more fun and the passengers are more energetic, there were plenty of passengers on Princess who felt sweats and baseball caps were just fine in the theater and showering was optional.
The beds on Princess and Carnival are much more comfortable than RCCL, princess did not do towel animals in the cabins.
All in all this was a fantastic trip, I can't imagine a cruise I didn't love. I would definitely sail with princess again, future cruises will probably be chosen by itinerary and price.