Don't really want to be long winded for a 3 day cruise review so in a nutshell:
Embarkation was okay, used Princess transfers from the airport.
Cabin was ready, a little small for the three of us, (opted for a balcony instead of mini-suite).
Sail away was fun, a little breezy, lots of locals on the bridge and in the park lookouts cheering us off.
Service was fine, cabin always cleaned promptly, food was okay, certainly nothing to write home about.
Didn't see any of the shows.
Disembarkation was also fine although as usual, princess transfers get you to the airport way too early. Who wants to spend 4 hours at LAX? Raise your hands!
Now some details.
There are a lot of first time cruises on these sailings. Lots of blue cards, people trying to pay with cash, not understanding why they couldn't take their duty free cigs and booze back to the room with them.
The captain warned everyone that the first night was looking pretty rough and to take whatever they had with them. Several people failed to heed his advice.
One of the worst things about this cruise was the fog. I didn't mind it much as it was still warm enough for me to be in shorts, however, when in fog the ship must blow its horn every 2 minutes. Couldn't hear it below decks and not really a problem on our balcony. But up on deck, trying to watch MUTS or get in a quick read, forget about it. The cruise was horn-free for maybe six to eight hours each day from about 2 pm to 10 pm. The fog probably doesn't happen all the time, just this time.
The casino was also disappointing. There were some high buy in tournaments with prizes being cruises for 2. Didn't play. I do like to play the penny slots for mindless activity at a relatively small expense. However, on all the penny slots, the bet 1 and play less than 10 lines button have been disabled. So the minimum bet on any machine was 20 cents. I know it may seem trivial to some, but those of you that play the penny slots know what I am talking about. The lady behind me won $2700 on video poker, she said she was still down for the trip, but it lessened the sting.
Decided we would give anytime dining a go to see if we would like its flexibility, we didn't. First night, 45 minute wait, second night, longer, we ate in Horizon court. We really wanted to eat in the dining room so I call the dine line the last day at 8:02 am, (the line opens at 8:00 am) the earliest reservation in Bellini was 7:30, later in the other one. We took it, had a good table and good staff, but really missed the opportunity to get to know the staff that traditional dining offers. And, sitting there, staring across the room, eating mediocre medallions of beef and tasteless halibut (yes I ordered both) realized that I was done with cruising for awhile. (We cancelled our 17 day B2B Golden cruise in April and will instead be heading down under to stay with some friends we met on a previous cruise).
And, to add insult to injury in the food category was the last breakfast in the Horizon court. A favorite that has become my staple on Princess ships - Lox. Looking forward to the toasted bagels, cream cheese and, much to my dismay - smoked trout. Blah!
After we returned we learned that all the big shots from Princess were on board with about 200 travel consultants. Didn't see them, wouldn't have know them. Maybe that was why the crew seemed a little nervous, not as many smiles as in past cruises. Maybe they were just tired from the blow out on the day cruise the night before.
Lots of people take these short cruises to up their status. That was our plan, but looking at the benefits of the next level, decided it really wasn't worth the cost.
So for us, this was an eye opening cruise. We tried a few things differently and wish we hadn't. And coming off a really spectacular trip/vacation on the Ruby last April, left us somewhat disenchanted. I love every aspect of cruising, just need to give it a rest for awhile.