We were a unique group, I'm sure. My 90-year-old mom and her 75-year-old boyfriend (yes, she's a proud cougar), my sis, brother-in-law and myself (hovering around 60) and my 20-year-old son who is developmentally disabled.
We chose traditional dining, which was a great decision since we'd all head out to pursue our own cruising style but we always knew we'd reunite at dinner if we didn't run into eachother elsewhere.
My mom and her boyfriend had a room designed to acccomodate her scooter. It was really quite big and my BIL noted he'd ask for a handicapped room in the future. I reminded him that would be like parking in a handicapped zone and did he really want to be a jerk. My son and I shared an obstructed view room which was comfortable but I have to say I prefer both beds to be "hugging" the walls. In our case, one was rather "out there" and it felt a bit peculiar to be at risk of rolling out on EITHER side. The bathroom was nice, the shower roomy enough. The closet space was amazing! Actually more than enough there - perhaps the space could be better used by adding some drawer in the closet.
As noted, we all had different interests and needs. My mom and her bf enjoyed watching the comings and goings in the main area, listening to the revolving musicans and having coffee. And napping.
My sis and BIL liked gambling and dancing. They had a great time.
My son and I enjoyed the onboard activities and tried to pack in as many as possible. If you were on that cruise, you'll probably remember us as always being there: dancing lessons, trivia games, art auctions.
The staff were outstanding! Our server Carlos quickly learned our preferences and was so attentive we completely forgot that we weren't his only table. Seriously. It felt like we had his complete attention. Now, my son has special needs including oppositional defiant disorder (I know, no fun) but Carlos handled him VERY well and they became best buddies. By the end of the cruise, my son wanted to apply for a job so he could stay and work with him. Our steward Roderio was fantastic and when my son specifically asked about towel animals, Roderio made a point of making one every night, even though he didn't have time to do that for all his folks. He's even wrote my son notes every night: "See the monkey?" Roderio was so wonderful we gave him a bonus tip.
The entertainment staff quickly got to know my son as well. I have to say, to be honest, they weren't all super thrilled, but they maintained a postiive connection with him that my son was very happy about. In a strange way, I think they got a bit tired of seeing him show up at every "event" (and frequently winning) but these were the highlights of my son's cruise, the whole reason for being on a cruise, so, so be it. I know some people are squeamish around people with special needs, don't like little kids, don't care for old folks etc. But if you're going to be on the entertainment crew you'd better like everybody and not have any hangups.
The food was fantastic. I'd just been on a Norwegian cruise to the Bahamas in May so the comparison was pretty fair. Norwegian food tasted and looked like it had just come out of a frozen food box. Golden Princess food was exceptional. My son got to try caviar, crab and lobster (good luck getting that at home, buddy). Presentation was always very special.
We did have an incident when my mother's boyfriend went MIA. We were concerned because he's 75. When I reported a missing person the response wasn't quite as urgent as I expected. I mean, cripes, we could have had a man overboard at that point - move it people! Instead she alerted the night "guy" whoever he was and apparently he and he alone went looking. After an hour and a half we found Al ourselves lost on a cabin floor but I have to say I was very disappointed at the ship's policy on missing persons. No real sense of concern at all.
The big showroom wasn't used nearly enough. Only one major production. After that there was a magician, a comedian, but only one big number. I seem to remember more shows on a previous Princess cruise.
But overall, considering we had some unusual situations to deal with (elderly, special needs, etc.) we felt Princess provided a fun, delicioius, clean, adventurous week - and the weather was FABULOUS.
We missed stopping in Victoria due to wind, but the staff rallied together and set up additional activities on board to keep the passengers occupied.
I took a cruise to the Bahamas on Norwegian in May and the comparison between the two is remarkable. Norwegian has a huge disappointment. The emphasis on marketing was enormous. Even though Princess did some of their own, they were subtle about it and even enquired as to whether or not the passengers felt it was too pushy. Norwegian didn't really care, I'm sure. I didn't care for "free style" on Norwegian. The traditonal dining made the experience so much more special and I'm glad to learn that Princess is going to keep that tradition.