I am a Royal Caribbean Frequent Cruiser and this was my second time on Princess (against 10+ from RCCL and 1 in Carnival) and I have to say that I would describe Princess as a reasonable facsimile for RCCL.
The ship itself is beautiful and well maintained altough the layout was sometimes confusing (at the end of the week, I was kind of lost when moving around the ship) and the signs were misleading sometimes (example: If you go all the way down to deck 5, you can't go all the way from back to front because you ran into CREW only passages, you have to go up one deck then to do that).
The embark/disembark process were smooth, I don't complain with that.
There are minor issues that were annoying (nothing serious just personal preferences):
- RCCL offers an interactive system from your stateroom's TV to see your account charges, order services, etc. In Caribbean Princess you don't have that. You have to go to the Purser's Desk and ask for a printout. You can imagine the large lines at the end of the cruise just asking for this.
- I missed the Towels Animals on my stateroom. Nevertheless, the service in our room was excellent.
- I found that the Buffet area on deck 15 was small and not so well organized when compared to RCCL. Again, those are personal preferences. Nothing bad with the food or the variety on it.
- In the buffet, they don't give you silverware because they are on the table and if not, they bring it to you. That's seems fine until you have the room fool of people and few employees for all of them. I prefer to receive the silverware at the entrance like in RCCL.
The entertainment on board is very good and in this cruise in particular they have a lot of Spanish shows for the Latin guests. That was good.
The Piazza (on Mid Ship on Deck 5) was always bursting with activities and I enjoy everyone of them. It's the place to be (in-between shows and other activities) at every night.
I tried the Anytime Dining and the experience was excellent. They always meet our expectations and gave us the table for two every night. Food quality and presentation was outstanding.
Specialty restaurants: YOU MUST GO, I REPEAT, YOU MUST GO TO SABATINI'S Italian Restaurant. For $20/person you get to try every appetizer (including pizza), soups, salads, pasta, the main dish and dessert !!! (Definitively, you must go with an empty stomach). The service we receive there in the hands of Sandro (from Portugal) was out of this world.
Another specialty restaurant is the Crown Grill. In this one, you will have an succulent stake (they even have a Porterhouse of 22 ounces!). Excellent choice also, $25/per person charge.
The cabin was fine for the two of us, and the space for luggage is HUGE (at last, better that RCCL) that in fact, we didn't end putting the luggage under the bed like we usually do in RCCL in cabins of this type.
In conclusion, I enjoyed very much the experience on this cruise ship. I would definitively recommend it. Despite the minor setbacks described above (I am guilty of charge for being an RCCL fan), I would say that Princess did good and satisfied our expectations.