I try to visit Europe once or twice a year and this was my first European cruise. I relied a lot on these boards for advice so I want to pay-it-forward.
Dining: We had an 8:30 seating for dinner. We were a group of 35 and depending on what table you sat at, your waiters varied. They all aimed to please but as always, some were better than others but the service was what I would expect in a nice restaurant at home. The food was above good - and some things like the lamb chops and the passion fruit souffle - rocked my world. The one time I ordered something that I wasn't satisfied with, it was taken away without judgement and replaced by another dish.
Buffet/Food Options: I only did the buffet for breakfast and it was fine. I did get tired of serving myself towards the end of the cruise and took advantage of doing the sit-down dinning at breakfast in the Davinci dinning room. It was nice but the food was the same as the buffet but the coffee was MUCH better : )I did the Fish-n-Chips at the Wheelhouse Bar on one sea day - it was good and I would recommend it. I also did the cheese burger a couple days after returning to the ship and that too was enjoyable. The International Cafe did have very good chicken salad and a shrimp salad that I would frequently pick up and snack on before dinner. I tried the gelato everyone raves about - it is $1.50 extra - and in all honesty, I would not waste my money. I did not think it was worth it; it was more like ice cream than gelato.
Vines Wine Bar: Being our seating was so late I would stop at the Vines and have a glass of wine and either a plate of cheese or tapas. The cheese plate was awesome and the tapas were not anything to write home about. I do not like sushi so I can not review it but a couple I met there came every night for sushi and said it was fabulous - they used to own a sushi bar in Boston. What I really enjoy about the wine bar was Cyril the bartender. He was very professional and knowledgeable about wines. He took the time to learn my taste and recommended some perfect wines. I never planned on purchasing a bottle but ended up buying 3 or 4. He also did not suggest the most expensive wines - which I appreciated. As far as pricing for the wine, beer, and cocktails - I thought the prices were fair and what I would typically pay at a chain restaurant in Minnesota. A bucket of domestic beer was $22 for 5, happy hours for a pina coladas was $3.99 (3 - 6 pm) and an Amaretto Sour at the night club was $6.84 including gratuity.
Stateroom: I was sharing a room with a friend's cousin whom I never met. We had an inside stateroom on the Caribe deck. Our room was the last room on the port side, right before the suites. The ride was smooth and I liked the hum of the engines. I was surprised how large the space was. They do a nice job laying out the room to make it the most efficient and I liked that the bathroom was separated by the closet from the sleeping area. I did take the advice and brought a "shoe rack" to hang over the bathroom door to store things. I am glad I did. There was plenty of space (drawers, shelves) to put stuff in/on but I do not like clutter and like the feeling of being organized. I was able to put everything I did not immediately need for the shower in the shoe rack so I did not have to wait for the bathroom to be empty before I could get ready. I also stored all my chargers, shoes, lotions, curling irons, camera, and many other misc. things in it. As for the hair dryer - it is bad. I have fine hair and even my hair took a long time to dry. If it is important to you to dry your hair, I would recommend bringing your dryer from home. I did bring the power strip. It did come in handy when I was charging my camera battery because my charger is larger and the strip just made it easier.
Activities: I am not much for group activities but I did do Movies Under the Stars and went to the Galley Tour/Cooking Class - I really enjoyed both. I spent most of my free time by the pool and I never had a problem finding a chair.
Tours: I did the Ephesus tour with the Terrace Houses in Kusadasi. It was wonderful and the up charge to visit the Terrace Houses was TOTALLY worth it. That was the only tour I took from the ship. Others in my party regularly did tours through the ship - they enjoyed the tours but they had MANY complaints about the staff who worked the excursion desk. They found them rude, short, and uncaring. The people I was with are the most low-maintenance people who never have a harsh word to say so I believe that they were treated badly.
Boarding/Leaving: Both processes were painless. I would highly recommend logging on and entering all your information on Princess website before going and checking prior to leaving that everything you requested is correct. I also got a copy of my bill the day before we left to check it against my receipts. It was correct.
I am not a cruiser and I probably won't do another one for awhile because I do like more freedom and staying in cities longer to really feel the culture - but this was a great way to see so many countries in only 12 days. It also made me more comfortable with Turkey and Greece (this was my first time there) and I now know that I will definitely go back to Istanbul and Mykonos and skip Athens and Kusadasi.