This was our third time on Princess - we have sailed 20+ times mostly with RCCL. We arrived in New York the day prior to sailing and spent the day in Downtown New York City. It was a nice visit, but it began raining in the evening and continued through embarkation and sail away - making the Statue of Liberty barely visible in the rain and fog.
Embarkation was efficient and organized. We got to our room in less than one hour from the time we arrived at the port. My first impression of the ship was that is was in good shape and very pretty. Our cabin was toward the back of the ship. The aft elevator did not access all decks and only certain elevators were available to go up to Skywalkers. This made the ship seem somewhat "chopped up" to me.
Our cabin was small in comparison to other lines. The closet, however, was the largest closet we have ever had. I did, however, miss a love-seat or couch. The bathroom was incredibly small - taking a shower was a challenge. There weren't enough shelves in the bathroom or shower to hold much of anything. Fortunately, I had a door hanger which helped hold most of my toiletries. Even though the size of the cabin was small, we were able to get around adequately without tripping over things and we had plenty of storage for 2 people. We had a small, empty refrigerator and flat-screen TV which was nice. I did miss the interactive TV where you could book shore excursions, order room service, and view your shipboard account in your stateroom. However, stateroom movies were exceptional. We sailed with 5 others and all 3 of our cabins were lined up in a row. Our travelling companions were told by both Princess and our TA they could get a roll-away for a third person in their room. A roll-away is impossible in this cabin category as there is no floor space other than the closet. They had to use their upper bed. It was nice that we were able to open up an access door between all 3 balconies - we would have liked full access, though, to have had more space. We all spent a lot of time on the balconies. Next time I think we'll try the mini-suite for the additional space.
Anytime dining was not up to my expectations. You could only make reservations in the anytime dining rooms for traditional hours (5:45 and 8:00 p.m.). We had sailed Princess previously and they allowed us to make reservations in between (at 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. on a previous ship) and that is what we would have preferred. For the nights we didn't have reservations, we had at least a 45 minute wait, so for us, late dining with the same waiter would have been better. We did find a waiter we preferred and asked for him the second half of the cruise. Service in the dining room was fair to excellent, depending upon the server.
Room service was sporatic (one day they didn't give us bowls for the cereal), but always early. I would have liked to get nicer things on the room service menu without a fee. I would have liked a fruit plate and veggies via room service, but didn't want to pay additional. The buffet was not laid out well for the size of the ship and was often very crowded and chaotic. We did enjoy the fruit at the buffet and learned about the coffee shop on Deck 5 (I believe it was the International Cafe) where the food was great for a quick snack and less crowded (note food was free, but they charged for beverages at this location). This was a hidden gem.
I actually liked the pool areas - it was nice that you could be by the pool games or go to the pool with the movies. We also enjoyed Skywalkers at night for dancing and after-dinner/show drinks.
I missed getting at least one towel animal in our room and it would have been nice to have been entertained in the dining room one night.
Disembarkation was held up due to customs - this was the slowest disembarkation we have ever experienced. I did like the silent disembarkation, but didn't like the long wait to get off the ship, but I guess it couldn't be helped. We weren't off the ship until after 11:00 a.m. and we were in the middle of the list.
Other than what I've listed, Princess was very nice. This was probably one of the friendliest cruises we have been on. People and staff were friendly everywhere. I felt very welcomed and comfortable on board. The Captain was very visible and kept us informed of poor weather conditions leaving New York. Once we got to the Caribbean, weather was beautiful - we even had a double rainbow one morning.