Being first-timers, we have nothing to compare it to, but we found our cruise on the Emerald Princess to be very enjoyable. Embarkation and debarkation were smooth and quick, not at all the chaos we'd been led to expect. The staff were excellent, the food was great and so was the entertainment. We visited six ports and enjoyed them all. We had a bit of rain and rough water, but that's hardly Princess' fault, and, unlike some horror stories we'd heard, nothing went wrong with the ship and no one got sick.
We had an inside cabin, which would have been boring had we spent any time in it. However, we just slept there and spent all our time on deck or in the various lounges, so I'd recommend an inside cabin as a good way to save money. The cabin was large enough, and very queen (refreshed twice daily.) There was individual temperature control, which worked very well.
We took four tours booked with Princess, and one we found on our own. Advance booking is less trouble, but on-the-spot is cheaper. I think next time we'd book fewer tours in advance and more on the spot. The "official" tours were all as advertised and quite satisfactory, just a bit overpriced.
We travelled to and from Fort Lauderdale on Southwest -- right on time, friendly and efficient. We stayed for one night at the Marriott Cruise Port/Airport hotel before boarding the ship. I think everyone there was going on a cruise. The place is fine but there's no other reason to stay there.