booking: We booked on the Princess website. After booking we were contacted by Billy, our assigned Princess representative for those who book through the website. Billy was very helpful and gave us great tips for our trip. He also arranged for a special dessert one night in the dining room and also our room to be decorated. He booked hotels for us in Ft. Lauderdale and also airport transfers.
arrival and hotel: We flew to Ft. Lauderdale the same day as our morning wedding. Needless to say we were dead tired by the time we got to Ft. Lauderdale. A Princess representative was waiting for us at the baggage claim. It was so nice to have our bags grabbed and be ushered to a bus without us having to think at all. The bus took us to the Marriott renaissance hotel. We tried to get off the bus, but the bus driver kindly suggested that we wait for the bellhop (we are not used to that kind of service) who came running to get our bags and take us to our room. The next morning we had to put our bags at pretty early for them to be picked up. We ordered room service for breakfast and eventually wandered down and checked out. There were alot of people milling around the lobby waiting for the Princess transfer. There was a Princess representative in the hotel who was friendly. We went through a slightly odd exercise of walking around a room where all of our baggage was- I never entirely understood what we were doing, and then we were put on busses.
Embarkation: It was completely unmemorable and very quick. We were absolutely ecstatic- so happy to be married and to be together and to be setting out on a first adventure together as a married couple. Our luggage was delivered promptly to our cabin as we wandered about the ship.
Dining: dinners: We had the anytime dining, which we really enjoyed and we ate all but one of our evening meals in the Michelangelo Dining Room. We never made reservations, just came to the dining room when we were ready to eat. (which was generally around 8-8:30) We were always seated at a table for 2 within moments of arriving. The maitre d was so nice to us and generally gave us a table by a window where we could see the waves crashing against the ship. The food was basically great. Just like at any restaurant we each got a couple of things that we didn't like, but most of what we had tasted great. The service was suburb. We had a bottle of wine with dinner each night. They will cork it for you and keep it for you for the next night, but we preferred for them to cork it and take it up with us to our room where we would finish the bottle on our balcony that night, or on the balcony the next afternoon. We did try the DaVinci dining room one night. It was more crowded and we were placed at a table for 6 with two other couples. The food and service were just as good, but one of the other couples was not having a very good time and spent the whole dinner complaining about Princess. Most of their complaints appeared to be things that were entirely their fault, not Princess's, but that made us decide we preferred just talking to one another.
Lunch: We ate at the Horizon Court buffet a couple of times. It was fine, but nothing special. We did find it easy to find seats and were quickly served drinks. On one of the Sea days there was an pub lunch in the Wheelhouse pub which my husband loved. It's good, but quite a limited menu. If your idea of ideal food is bangers and mash it's definately the place to go. We also liked the pizza from the pizza bar by the Neptune pool. We were fairly unimpressed by the Trident Grill- a long line for hamburgers that were not very good. The pizza line was long too, but it tended to move very quickly.
Breakfast: We ate on our balcony every morning except for the last day. We would put our order out in the evening and it always arrived exactly when we asked for it. Leisurely breakfast on our balcony in our bathrobes looking over the Caribbean is one of our most treasured memories. We loved it. The food was fine- continental breakfast, ie fruit cups and pastries, but having it delivered to us was just fantastic. On the last day we went to the dining room and had a very nice breakfast.
Entertainment: Wheelhouse Bar: We went to the wheelhouse bar several times after dinner and enjoyed dancing to the live band there. We were generally the only ones on the dance floor. Adagio Bar: There was a particularly good piano player in the adagio bar. The service was also very good- maybe it helped that there was hardly anyone there. Wines & Vines: We love wine and had been looking forward to this bar. We went every night before dinner and had a glass of wine and sometimes 2. We were a little surprised that the service varied quite a bit there. Sometimes the bar tender knew quite a bit about the wine, but a couple of times the response I got when I asked a question was something along the lines of- I don't normally work in this bar. Pools: Interestingly enough when we first booked this cruise I had been really excited about Movies Under the Stars. However, it actually ended up irritating me that there was a constant movie/ television running around the pool. We preferred the adults only Terrace Pool, just because it was quieter and less crowded. We ultimately decided that our favorite place to relax was our very own balcony! Our room was very close to the Terrace pool so it was a simple matter for one of us to walk to the bar there and bring back a couple of cokes to our room. (We got the coke sticker which we think saved us a lot of money since it made us more likely to drink coke during the day rather than beer or mixed drinks.)
Ports: We went to Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. In retrospect I wish we had spent more time thinking about what we wanted to do in port. As it was we didn't even get off the boat in Princess Cays. On this trip we were all about relaxing and being with each other, rather than seeing a lot of new things.