This was a great trip! We did all of our research on Cruise Critic and this made the trip for us! Our Background - My husband and I are both in our 40's and wanted to try something different. Our main focus when deciding on which cruise to take is the port stops. We have done many Caribbean cruises and one Mediterranean cruise. We have sailed with NCL, RCCL, Carnival and did one with the R1, which is now Oceania. This was our first Princess Cruise.
Overall - The ship is very nice. It was clean and easy to get around. Even though it is a large ship with 3000 passengers, it never felt too crowded for the most part. The ship has great stabilizers, better than any other cruise we have been on. The cabin seemed to be a bit bigger but I think it may be a better floorplan that made it seem this way. The beds were not comfortable but they will bring you an egg crate for your bed if you request one. We had an interior cabin and it was fine. We couldn't beat the price!
Service - The first day, we noticed a different from past cruises. There were staff every where helping people find their cabins and other locations on the ship. After that, it was typical of what we had on other cruises for the most part. We received good service throughout, not great but good. The staff was very friendly and seemed to be trying very hard. The one thing we did notice on this cruise was, the staff couldn't answer 80% of our questions. It became quite comical! I don't blame them but rather their training. They tried very hard. NOTE: Do all port/tour research before your cruise because nobody on board can help you make a decision or answer any questions about the ship's tours or sites at the port in general, not even the people working at the shore excursion desk! One staff member told us, "I do not have any time to go ashore so we don't know."
Food - Very average and similar to what we have had on past cruises on different cruise lines. My husband eats mostly seafood and he did not like the food on this ship. I do not eat most seafood and found the food to be average, some dishes better than others, typical "cruise-type" food to me. We ate in the buffet some nights and there was a good selection. Entertainment - Because this cruise was very port intensive (which we love!), we didn't worry about the entertainment aspect of the cruise when researching. I do have to say though that the entertainment was the worse ever for us. I am not sure why but it was very poor in our opinion. We did enjoy two nights - a comedian and a comedian/juggler from France. We did a Carnival cruise this summer on the Fantasy and the entertainment was far better. The two cruise directors were great but I can't remember their names. They tried very hard and you did see them out and about.
We arrived in New York the day the cruise departed but we took advantage of our one day in New York. Because embarkation at Red Hook in Brooklyn was so fast and easy (the best we have ever had), we had half a day to explore Brooklyn and New York. We decided to take a take a taxi to the end of the Brooklyn Bridge and walk the bridge. This was a great experience with beautiful views. Hundreds of people from all walks of life were walking the bridge. We then walked around New York - Wall Street, Battery Park, etc. Great experience! The ship left that night at 7:00. Beautiful views of the city and Statue of Liberty!
Other ports: Sydney - This port was canceled due to bad weather so we had an extra sea day. We watched movies in the cabin all day because the entertainment and activities that day was not very good at all.
Saguenay, Canada - I spent a ton of time trying to figure out what to do in this port and couldn't find a lot of information. We didn't book a tour in advance and waited to get on board to ask them about this port. None of the ship's staff (not even the shore excursion desk) could help us. We decided to get off the ship without a plan. This port was quite a different experience. This port has only been open for tourism for 3 years and it was obvious. We did enjoy ourselves though. The people were very friendly and wanted you to have a good time in their little town. There were many locals at the dock in costume handing out candy, blueberry juice and homemade cheese. We did two things: The hop on/hop off bus that you can purchase tickets for at their tourism center that is at the pier (only $10 per person) and a tour to Bec Scie, which we also purchased tickets for at their tourism center. We didn't think the tour on the hop on/hop off bus was interesting. Actually, we would not recommend it unless it is very cold or if someone in your group has trouble with mobility. There really isn't anything that interesting that you see. We did enjoy our tour to Bec Scie, which was absolutely beautiful and only a 15 minute drive. It cost $35 per person and included a one hour guided tour through the forest and to see waterfalls. The guide explains things about the waterfalls, the forest, and talks about the Salmon's trip up river, etc. This tour is on an uneven path and there are stairs to climb at several points. To see some pictures, you can do a search for Bec Scie on "google images". Would we go on another Princess Cruise again? Yes, if the price is right and the ports are of interest to us.