Our third princess cruise and 11th overall we had high expectations. They were all met. My parents, my sister (16) and myself (18) enjoyed two separate rooms. They were immaculately cleaned and kept that way by our excellent steward Edmund who did a fantastic job. Bathroom was a little small and outdated but well kept. The balcony was spacious and always cleaned. Overall there was adequate space in our stateroom. Our embarkation was a little slow due to a technical glitch but to our pleasure our bags were already in our rooms- well done Princess.
The food on board was wonderful. We dined 12 out of 13 nights at the restaurant. Our waiters Gary and Jay were attentive, quick and informative. They always gave great recommendations and were lovely company. The food was fresh and seasoned well; the deserts creative (especially the sugar frees. The steakhouse was exceptional! The meat there was marvelously cooked and the waiters that notch above. Only recommendation, the buffet is good, but on sea days get there earlier as there is a mad rush and it can at times feel claustrophobic.
The ports were excellent- cultural experiences galore. The tours we did in Napier, Dunedin and Tauranga were our favorites, particularly the orchards and hillside of Napier/Hastings and the beauty of Larchan Castle in Dunedin. See these sites if you're in such ports!
The spa/fitness/salon were all brilliant. The hairdressers were quick, prompt and my hair looked a dream. The massage girls attended to your specific requests and didn't disappoint. The fitness centre was a little outdated but enough equipment and staff to make the experience enjoyable. Didn't use the sanctuary or the pools though.
The public areas had enough staff and they were great at their jobs. Crooners had really good service, but was often busy after 7pm and after 10pm. Colin and Arnold catered to our every need and remembered our specialty drinks. We didn't attend much entertainment though the instrumental groups were very good, especially the string quartet. It was a Christmas Cruise so we had the pleasure of seeing carols and attending a Christmas mass, however besides a Staff Talent Show we didn't attend any entertainment programs.
The only complaint I'd share is that Princess is letting in a lot of passengers who behave in a certain conduct that doesn't fit into the Princess conduct, including dress e.g. shorts and thongs in the dining room, drunkard behavior in public areas and foul language. We were privileged enough to bid and win the Captain's Map and instead of a fellow passenger saying 'congratulations', a very intoxicated fellow shouted abusive language at us and said we shouldn't have bided for it as another couple wanted it and we had no use for it. If Princess don't increase their standards they're going to lose the loyalty of the traditonal cruisers who enjoy this line because of its pristine and prestige reputation.
Otherwise we enjoyed our Christmas cruise on the Sea Princess and met terrific staff onboard who do their everything for the passengers.