We were a group of ten women and one 11 year old girl travelling on this cruise. For the majority of us, this was our first time to the Caribbean. We were definitely a mixed group as far as cruising goes, one first-timer, with the rest of us having at least one cruise under our belt and several others being seasoned cruisers (many with Princess).
All of us came from California and some of our group arrived a few days early to see San Juan, others of us actually arrived the morning of sailing. For those of us that arrived at 9:00 a.m. the day of sailing, I set up a tour with Countryside Tours. Our driver was Victor (I think he owns Countryside Tours) and he showed us a little bit of San Juan and then took us on a tour of Old San Juan where we had lunch at a place Victor recommended. It was nice and full of locals and we were able to sample a little bit of local cuisine. We then had a little time to shop before it was time to head for the ship. Victor was a great tour guide and we enjoyed our brief tour with him.
We were at the ship about 1:00 and there were no lines whatsoever for boarding. We checked in and went over to the duty free store where we all picked up wine, water and some hard liquor as well. We stuck the hard liquor in our carry-on bags, but took the wine and water on in plain sight. Not a problem with any of it. We were in our rooms midship on the Baja deck by 1:30 and in most cases our luggage was already there. We found everyone we encountered as far as ship personnel to be extremely friendly and polite on embarking. Maybe it had something to do with a large group of women yakking away and obviously having a great time. I don't know, but everyone was joking with us and made us feel very welcome! Our room Steward was Carmen and she took exceptionally good care of us. Our room was immaculate all the time (I did miss the towel animals though - I guess this Princess ship doesn't do that - sad!). And she was always so helpful with any of our requests. Our room had an ice bucket replenished several times a day when she knew we were on board. She was great.
Our whole group met up at the Neptune Pool at 4:30 to get our vacation started. We had all had a few drinks in our balcony rooms (all four balconies were opened to each other). Sorry if we were a little loud for our neighbors but we enjoyed this room feature tremendously! We had a few more drinks by the pool and then went and checked out the ship. I agree with many people about the elevators. After seven days, I never did figure them out and was always going up or down one or more set of stairs to get where I wanted to go! Very confusing.
The ship was very pretty and I wish we could have spent more sea days on her. Our sea day was spent recuperating after a long red-eye flight from California and most of us were pretty wiped out. We did get to enjoy some pool time and really never had a problem finding at least a couple of lounge chairs together where some of us would take turns justing sitting and relaxing and listening to the great music being played by various bands. Unfortunately on port days, we were so busy with excursions that this was the only time we really got to fully enjoy the ship.
We did enjoy a few of the shows. Those in our group that went said "The Piano Man" was their favorite. We enjoyed comedian as well. Another person we all really enjoyed was the comedian/singer who played most nights in the lounge area by the boutiques.
We had two tables for dinner in the Palm Dining room. Our wait staff, Martin and Christy, were fantastic. Within a few days they knew without asking what each of us wanted to drink. They were great!
I really can't think of anything to complain about other than the elevators. There was no rhyme or reason to them and they would skip your floor completely when you were trying to get on. Very strange. I know people have complained about the air conditioning in some rooms, but none of us had a problem at all. The hallways could be a bit noisy in the middle of the night, but so can any hotel you stay in too. It was a great cruise and I would definitely do it again with Princess!