The Sun Princess was a terrific ship. The vibe on board was very positive and every crew member we met was both very friendly and helpful....always! Embarkation in Honolulu was smooth & certainly not onerous, despite a Tsunami warning earlier that morning.
Our stateroom (up grade from an inside to an ocean view) was very clean but we needed to ask at the Burser's desk, upon arrival, that it be made up for a double rather than a twin, even though we had booked the double. This was done very promptly.....& in fact, the double bed was more like a big queen size. The bed was very, very comfortable. Though, if you are fussy about your pillow....bring your own! The window was terrific and the space we had in the stateroom was fine. The service by our cabin steward was excellent. As at the 17/10/09 I was permitted to smoke in the stateroom. I took my own (sealable) ashtray but apparently, ashtrays are available. Whilst smoking wasn't encouraged in staterooms, nor was it banned.....so I was happy! I smoked in my stateroom, though I think a balcony would have made it more pleasant for all! I saw one of these staterooms and was most impressed.
Dining was a lovely experience. We were booked for 2nd seating dining on a table of 8. This worked out exactly as we thought. We connected immediately with one couple, yet also became friends with another (going on a taxi trip with them at one of the ports), so a good way to meet people. We probably ate in the dining room every 2nd or 3rd night. It was certainly fine dining at it's best. We also enjoyed the free Horizon Court Buffet, the free Pizza place, the free ice creams......the Pzzas were very nice (I always ordered the "vegetarian with ham" because I like a bit of bulk....whilst the "Terrace Bar" (hamburgers/wraps) & ice-creamery at the rear side of the Lido were also yum on a hot day.....all included! The Steak House was great value/service....$20 for 3 courses (your choice of steak!). Absolutely recommend as a treat!
Smoking areas were allocated on the Lido deck (swimming pool area) in one corner. This was under cover with tables & chairs & very popular. Other areas icluded the Port side of the Promenade deck, & port side of the Top Siders Bar (sun lounges available here). Other than inside, I believe smokers are well catered for.....so check out the spots by having a walk around the different decks (especially Port Side), they are more avaialable than what I have mentioned.
Ports: we only booked one tour. It was "The Land Of Ice & Fire' on Hilo. We really enjoyed this tour. At other ports, we either walked around the towns or hired a taxi to take a few of us on a "mini tour". Whist this was cheaper, perhaps you get what you pay for.....so consider what you have seen before & arrange your tours accordingly. We didn't want to see villages/fire walking etc again....but if you havn't seen it......????
I also took my lap top. Wireless internet was avaiable from my cabin on deck 5. It was also available for wireless from many locations. It cost $75 for 150 minutes (I stretched that out for the 3 weeks). I was able to write my messages in word, save & copy to emails before logging on. If you need to log on & then write a message (ie you don't take your own wireless internet lap top) then you will need more time.
You can buy cigs on board, but either take your own duty free or buy them at the ports(they are not cheap on board). Duty free on board is avaialable, but delivered to your room the day before you disembark. There are numerous activities on board to fill in time.....my husband had a ball! The daily "Princess Patter" kept you up to date with what was happening. We found everything on this ship very organised. The staff were very friendly & most obliging. We had a great time!!!
Just note!!! Our disembarkation from Sydney was about an hour late (the ship was organised, but there was a hold up in customs). We had allowed 5 hours between arrival at Sydney Port & our flight to Melbourne. This was perfect...but others had obviously allowed less time and ended up missing flights. Keep this in mind! Overall, a great trip! It's all there....make your own fun!!! I'm 56 years old but would recommend the Wheel House Bar for "after dinner"....no matter what your age!!!