This is a great way to get a sample of the New England coast. We cruised on the last sailing of the season - October 16 to October 23. This was our 7th cruise, 3rd on Princess. We invited relatives to join us and it was their first cruise. They are now hooked. We are in our 50's.
Transportation to Brooklyn port terminal: Cab prices to and from the terminal to NYC were about $30. Once you crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, there were blue signs directing drivers to the port.
Embarkation: We arrived at the port at about 1:30 and breezed through the embarkation process with very little waiting.
Weather: Due to a Nor'easter, it was a bit cold in ports. Many people bought jackets while there. While the weather wasn't freezing, there was a lot of wind coming off of the water which made it feel colder. I would have preferred the weather to be a tad warmer, but we did see some nice Fall colors.
Ship and staff: The ship was in very good shape and we had great service from the staff. Since it was too cold to use most of the outside areas of the ship, I was afraid we would feel crowded at times inside the ship. This was not so. We could always find a quiet spot on the ship.
Cabins: We had balcony cabins B402 and C309. C309 is on the deck that has extended balconies. This was a nice perk, but it was a bit cold to spend much time on the balconies. This room is located directly across from a Laundromat, but no noise was heard from this room. In fact, we heard very little noise from outside the cabins. The new flat screen televisions were a nice new feature, but the beds were not very comfortable. Shampoo, conditioner and lotion were replenished daily. We requested wine glasses and these were changed out daily. We were very happy with our room stewards.
Breakfast buffet: The selection at the breakfast buffet was large and varied daily. My only complaint was that there was not enough staff during peak time to clean tables and supply drinks quickly. Since there was an outbreak of the norovirus for our sailing, we could not pour our own drinks. This created extra work for the staff.
Dinner: We chose "Anytime Dining" and were always able to get a table for four without a wait. We always arrived before 7:00 and requested a certain section/waitstaff. The food was very good. Our favorite was the escargot that was served on the Wednesday night. We liked it so much that we requested to have it again on Friday night. We learned that they are usually happy to accommodate if you give 24 hours notice.
Afternoon Tea: This was one of the highlights of our day. Tea, sandwiches and pastries are served daily at 3:30 in one of the dining rooms with piano music in the background. On a few cold days, we ordered Irish coffees from the bar and brought it to our table.
Miscellaneous eating: Cookies and milk are served in the Piazza daily at around 3:00. We went to the English Pub lunch on our day at sea. The food for that even was only okay.
Entertainment: We saw a variety of entertainment in the Piazza which including a martini demonstration, hula hoop and champagne tower pouring demonstration. We saw a comedian in the Explorer's Lounge that was good and a show in the Princess Theater on the second night. The entertainer we enjoyed the most was Martin Kaye in the Crooner's Lounge. He is a very talented singer and pianist in addition to being quite a cut-up. He involved the audience for most numbers and had us all laughing until we were crying on many occasions.
Ports: We really enjoyed these ports of call. I would return to Newport and Bar Harbor.
Disembarkation: We chose to take our luggage off ourselves. If you choose this, you have to be off the ship for 8:00. We were scheduled for 7:50, but showed up 30 minutes early and were able to disembark with no problems. Cabs were lined up at the port to take us away.