This was our 5th Princess cruise and we definitely enjoyed it. We heard that the boat is going to into dry dock next year and it could use some work. The ship does look like it has some wear and tear and could use a sprucing up.
We left from Southampton, United Kingdom. It is a hassle to get to Southampton from London. We traveled by bus this time which is the cheapest option if you book online and travel from Victoria Station. However, we don't suggest traveling this way unless you are strong and fit and have very little luggage, since there are no elevators(lifts) at Victoria underground and it is a couple of blocks from the underground to Victoria Coach Station.
Getting on the ship was great. There were no long lines to wait on. Our room was typical. Small, with a comfortable bed, a chair, a window, enough storage, a refrigerator, a tv and a tiny bathroom.
Food was very good. We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet which had a varied enough offering and we ate free style in the dining room. The dining room meals were excellent, with wonderful service. We ate with different people every night and especially enjoyed dining with people from the United Kingdom. It is interesting to hear their view on things.
The shows were enjoyable. They had two excellent comedians which we enjoyed, eventhough it is sometimes hard for Americans to catch the English humor. The magician was great. However the song and dance shows with the staff were pretty amaturish. The dancers never seem to be together and the singing for the most part isn't anything special. There were a lot of movies shown and the tv in the rooms had a lot of good movies too.
Only low point was the Cruise Director, Martyn Moss. He came out at the end of the shows and had some juvenile humor. When he was telling us about the ports we were to visit, he had nothing positive to say and just complained about how expensive the beer was. The other activities on the ship were never announced during the day and you had to study the Princess Patter, the newsletter, like a bible. Some of the other members of the entertainment staff were more enthusiastic and did some fun activities like the Newlywed game and the Liar Game. The cruise director and assistant cruise director, however, never seemed to be around for any of these activites.
When we left Oslo to get back to Southampton and had to travel on the North Sea, the water was incredibly rough. They had to cancel the dancing show. A lot of people on the boat weren't feeling well, but we were fine. We take ginger pills whenever we travel by ship and it seems to work well for us. Haven't had to miss a meal yet.