For the second consecutive year I decided to spend the holiday season on board a cruise ship. What a great way to get away from it all - no email, no email and guess what? no email. It was relaxing and all that I hoped. This was my 7th cruise with Princess and I generally travel alone. This time a friend decided at the last minute to join the cruise.
Although this was my third time through the canal I booked a balcony stateroom so that I did not have to crowd the decks to watch the transit. The stateroom was very nice, although Celebrity's Concierge class are nicer, but there is good value for the money paid. I had been upgraded to a stateroom with a large balcony and I was surprised that a ship that had just been refurbished was in need of more work. The paint was pealing around the outside light fixture and the metal rims of the chairs were also pealing. I thought it a bit odd, especially since the category I was in should have had relative perfection given the price that I might have had to pay. Pealing or not I did not allow this imperfection to dull my senses or detract from my much needed R & R.
I have noticed that the quality of the meals has not been kept up to the same standards that I recall from my first trip onboard Island Princess back in the late 1980s. One night the steak was so bad that everyone at the table left it. We did the Chef's Table and the food was incredible. Along with the wine parings it was well worth the $95 surcharge that we paid. We also had dinner at Sabitini's one night and the food was excellent. We had planned to go to the Bayou Steakhouse on New Year's Eve for dinner but cancelled after having looked at the menu and the environment. I thought it would be more like the Stirling Steakhouse on Golden Princess but alas it was not. We found the menu to be too fussy and the restaurant and accompanying bar too big and too loud. Although the majority of our meals were good we found the meals we paid extra for were exceptional.
I also noticed that the selection in the buffet is getting smaller and smaller. Now on saying that I only had 3 breakfasts and 1 lunch in the buffet as I found the food selection not to my liking. We ate breakfast every morning in the restaurant and I did order room service for lunch twice because all I wanted was a simple tuna fish sandwich.
The entertainment was very good on the ship and there was only one show that I can recall that I saw the previous Christmas and it was well worth seeing again.
All in all Princess continues to offer a good value for the dollars spent. They also have an excellent variety of destinations to chose from.