I was so shocked to read the first published review as I had the impression to be on a different cruise.
We booked the cruise because we wanted to start as Princess Circle Club Platinum Member our 23-night cruise from Tianjin to Vancouver in May 2013 and benefit from all privileges when we are on such a long cruise.
So we need a break and it was the perfect cruise for us just to get few days out of our work.
It was my cruise no. 45 and although I am from Germany I am familar with UK-brands like P&O, Fred Olsen and Cunard as well as US-brands like Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and NCL. So we know exactly what we can expect and we know exactly the price level on board and the tipping policy. But we choosed a US-line because we love the service and the activities etc..
We made many Mini-Cruises and it was one of best where the crew showed their best performance to make us coming back and not staying away like other lines occassionally doing as they think that mini-cruisers occur additional work only.
So we had always a bundle of dollars with us as we honored those crew-members who walked an extra-mile for us. And we found so many of them that we need to use the ATM to get more dollars.
Regarding our cabin we are lucky. Maybe it's because of my problems I had on my last Princess-cruise. Maybe it's because of my blog. Maybe it's because I have a great TA who has good business relationship with Princess. We payed for an obstructed Oceanview (as we knew all ports already) and we got one of the brandnew Window-Suites next to the Casino. I think Princess made the right choice to give us the Bering-Suite as our next cruise with them goes via the Bering-Strait from Asia to Alaska. Whoever made the choice: thank you. We loved the privileges and the short time did not allow us to use them all. But most of all we used the free internet. We loved breakfast at Sabatinis. We had our tea-time in our cabin. We got flowers for our tuxedos. We used the special debarkation lounge. And we had great cabin attendent who did everything for us: Jimmy.
To be honest: there are little construction errors which should be corrected before STAR PRINCESS maybe get the same cabins during their next dry-dock stay. But as said: little - minor - nothing to talk about here.
You get what you paid for. Of course it was not 5*+ like on EUROPA but we did not pay so much per night. Sabatini's breakfast for us Suite-guests was just outstanding and most of all we loved the crew their: Monica, John, Fabiola and Philipp which made our day even the call of the port was just canceled due to bad weather.
Lunch was nice in Da Vinci main-restaurant. Especially the Curry I had.
Dinner: two times in Da Vinci - some irritations because of their reservation policy - even for us Suite-guests we had to queue and wait. But the quality of food was much higher than average. The Crown Grill was an outstanding experience as well.
The only disappointment was the breakfast at day of debarkation as Sabatinis was not available. I dislike to share especially in the morning. And breakfast was available in Botacelli (regular restaurant for traditional dining with fixed seatings). No table for 2 available and Asst. Maître insitsted us to share. Normally a no-go. But after two great days it was acceptable. Just in case someone from Princess is reading: one reason why I am not booking RCI anymore: I do not like to share my table in the morning.
The shows and other activities:
Well we saw two of the best shows on any ship: Motor City (unfortunately problems with the sound as it was presented in the Vista-Lounge instead of the theater) and British Invasion. We missed Movie under the Stars somehow. We loved to stay in The Sanctuary but it was too cold and windy. I had a massage while my friend had the pleasure to see the champagne pyramide which I never seen before on my Princess-cruises. So we had many coffees at the International Café and many teas in Leaves and we had our Kindle with us and my notebook to write my blog. So we were more tired than we would go to work. Who need to be entertained need to book a cruise which is more like a fun factory and nothing like Princess which is more for a higher demand who also like a little less aggressive with activities. So we loved it.
So for us: we were more than satisfied and we love to come back on Princess.
If you like to see pictures you may see this thread: