Let me start by saying that this was my 8th Cruise (4th with Princess) along with 3 Carnival and 1 Royal Caribbean. I am also 42 year old male.
After reading many reviews on here, I truly believe that some people are just down right snobs or truly picky. I believe that any cruise is what you make it.
I was traveling with 10 other people. Our 1st small group in 3 years. We normally have 30-50 people with us. So this time was family and a few friends.
So here are some of my thoughts:
We normally try and get to the pier early, but since we were staying with a friend in Ft. Lauderdale, we waited until early afternoon to board and it went so smooth that we will probably board later from now on.
I thought the ship looked great and was a nice ship.
Food & Dining Rooms
Has the food changed through the years. Yes but I understand that companies want to make money so they have cut back but I didn't have a bad meal all week. Also, the buffet fulfilled all my needs. I truly believe that some people think they are entitled to 5 star meals 24/7 on cruises. I would like these people to see how much it would cost them in a week to eat all they do on a cruise in 1 week at restaurants. Pretty sure it will cost them more than the fee for their cruise. My recommendations for those who are worried about good service. Return to traditional dining. We tried anytime dining a few years ago and we realized that we pretty much went to dinner at the same time every night. If you do Traditional dining, you have the same wait staff and they tend to know your needs (they know they may receive additional tips at the end of the week, which ours did).
All of the shows were pretty good. They are what I expect on a cruise. If I want to see Broadway caliber, I guess I will go to Broadway. My only complaint would be the times for shows and how they work. The night that the comedian was performing they put him in the Vista and I singer in the Princess Theatre. Well a lot of people went to the singer at the 8:15 show and then went to the 10:15 show for the comedian. Well for us 8:15 dinner seating people, the Vista was full by the time we got out of dinner. Enjoyed the singer but would have preferred to see the comedian. Also on the last night, Princess Cruises does a show with other staff members performing....the time was 9:30...which again the 8:15 dinner seating misses.
I do believe that Princess does have the best bar staff. They are all very personable and great services people. If you were on this ship, Flora & Referen at Crooners were amazing and so much fun. Georgi in the new Club One 5 was wonderful. He made my friends and I a special shot every night that week.
Age of guests:
I read a review from the this cruise who was amazed at the amount of older people. If anyone does any research on cruises, you would know that you are probably going to get an older crowd on this ship. If you want younger crowd, that is what Carnival is for.
I found this ship to be very roomy and plenty of deck chairs. I still do hate that people throw towels on chairs and never use them on the decks by the pools and at the movie screen. I wish the deck crew would take a little more action on this. It is a problem on all cruises. The older crowd on this ship made more chairs available. So the person that complained about the crowd she see this as a positive.
I was fine with missing Princess Cays. I have been and its pretty much a Sea Day anyway. Curacao was nice and we enjoyed our tour but it is one of those places that I am fine if I never go to again. I loved Aruba when we went a few years ago. We had a great tour...Howard Folkes did a wonderful job (not a Princess Tour). Highly recommend that you look him up. Great tour for a great price.
Club One 5 that replaced Skywalkers is wonderful space. I love that it has the dance floor in one area and then the main bar is in another area where the same music is playing but at a level that you can still have conversation without having to yell. It was very well attended, I believe because it isn't well promoted. The cruise direct (who I wasn't overly impressed with)didn't promote it at all until the last night or 2. The only reason he did was 2 of the people we met on this trip sent him a note. DJ Brian on this trip was amazing. He played music for all generations. Most DJ's on cruises now play all current music that the majority of cruisers are not necessarily fans of.
I had an inside cabin. I had a balcony last year and realized that I don't like them. I was on it maybe 3 times. I recommend insides for anyone that wants to save a few bucks. I love that it is really dark if you want to take a cat nap or sleep late in the morning. My room steward did a great job. I will give props to Princess on their showers...much better than Carnival.
Overall this was a great trip. The most of it was me and my friends making the best of everything we did....just ask the DJ who asked us if he could pay us to come and dance because people would dance when we were on the floor.
I will look at another Princess Cruise.