Let me start by saying the ONLY reason we ventured back onto Princess is my sister, her friend, friend's daughter and grandkids booked this ship and this cruise. We had a poor Princess experience doing a transatlantic relocation crossing on Grand Princess in 2009 and said never again then, but for family, we'd do anything. We just hope next time that anything is NOT Princess but Cunard.
From a room which NEVER got cool (I lost track after was it five or six calls to get it fixed that brought someone up each time but no results?) to buffets which featured really sloppy and tired-looking dishes, including meat sandwiches which were room temperature (are you listening e-coli?) to dining room lunch hours too short for going to port and then eating upon one's return, and a cabin steward (Sonia) who never did get her act together and was so poor we told the desk if it continued that bad we'd omit her tips, this ship just failed to hit the mark in so many ways. It might be because my partner and I usually travel transatlantic on Cunard (first time was 1985 on the lamented late Queen Elizabeth 2) and did this same itinerary on Cunard's QM2 in her inaugural year or because we like a more mixed European - U.S. crowd, but this ship is lacking in many ways.
I could go on --- no daily news bulletin, no local TV when in port with the local news & weather, hands out wanting extra charges for everything and anything --- but you get the drift here. Also disappointing was the captain's decision to pass the first port, Sydney, Nova Scotia, as it was "too rough". This guy needs to be taken to QM2 and shown how a REAL ship is operated as it was barely rough at all and what there was abated before we were due to land. Many passengers were disappointed and we especially were as we so adore Sydney that after our last visit we named our then-kitten Sydney after the town!
OK so what was good? Truly, from veteran Cunarders' points of view not much save for a wonderful 9 days with family and the ship line did not provide that---we did. I am not a clothes snob nor a car snob but I would willingly pay double what I paid for this experience for a REAL ocean liner (Princess doesn't own any) and a ship with sufficient, polite, accommodating staff, a better mix of more polite (say non-U.S.) passengers and people who know how to dress for dinner and so on. At least one guy in his 20s was refused entry to the dining room when he showed up one evening in flip flops and shorts, but we saw plenty of jeans even on formal nights. Do folks not know how to behave? Must everything be "informal" to the point of sloppiness?
Our waiters and the maitre'd did a wonderful job, especially going out of the way to make the three under 13's with us happy. And the pools, the pizza they could get and the ice cream (one of the few things included in the price) were great for the kids, who also loved the movies on deck. For adults, however, this ship has too few public rooms and the best one --- Skywalkers Lounge at the back of the ship with a wonderful view --- was reserved at 5 every afternoon for "VIP/Elite members only" so we were unable to read, watch the departures or anything else there without being kicked out by polite but firm staff each afternoon.
Food as a whole was OK but our great matire'd got us escargot and other specials which we greatly appreciated, though we are traditionalists and more, better service was possible as we'd chosen traditional dining, late seating which as always is less crowded. The cattle car "anytime dining" is a joke and paying extra for Sabatini's and other "specials" is a waste we feel. The Horizon Court buffet food was a feeding trough, and while we were stuck there some lunches and breakfasts, wild horses couldn't get me to touch that in the evenings!
As a whole Princess is too domestic, too poorly run and even for the price, just marginal. As I said at the outset, unless family leads, we will not be following anyone back to this ship or this ship line!