This was my first time sailing with Princess Cruises (7th overall), and my boyfriends first time cruising all together. The ship was pretty nice, and other than the hot tubs was in great shape for its age. We booked a guaranty oceanview and got a fabulous room on the Lido deck that made bar and pool access a breeze! The food was lackluster to say the least... the buffet provided food that was no better than a Ryan's Steakhouse at best, and there weren't a lot of other options unless you wanted to eat pizza, burgers, and hotdogs for every meal. I will say that Sabotini's, the speciality Italian restaurant onboard, was fabulous in every aspect of the dining experience, but reservations had to be made days in advance to get a dining time that would allow you enough time after to at least grab the late show. The other speciality restaurant onboard, the Crown Bar and Grill, had a menu that included shrimp with almost every entree which my boyfriend and I are both allergic to, so we never tried the food there. So if you are looking to cruise, and have amazing food I would suggest Celebrity where they have both a buffet and a casual dining boulevard where you can get sushi any time that is properly prepared, as well as a mMicheline star restaurant onboard. :)
In my experience in cruising with Celebrity I learned that that line tends to cater (on average) to the 65+ crowd mostly due to price, but the ships, crew, and guests are generally fabulous. I had hoped that Princess, being kind of in the middle of the road on price, would cater somewhat to a younger crowd especially with the active itenary we had...but I was wrong. I personally do not have any interest in doing the hokey pokey and/or chicken dance anymore which is where the evening dances on deck always seemed to go. It was difficult to find anyone to talk to or make friends with onboard due to the age differences and the entitlement driven attitudes of the older crowd we were cruising with. I understand that we are still young at the age of thirty, but we are no longer crazy spring breakers out getting trashed and starting trouble constantly... and no our parents didn't buy our tickets either.
With all of that being said, my boyfriend and I are incredibly close and thankfully do not require outside stimulation to be entertained... We made our own fun, and had a blast! I do want to say that this is more of an informational post than a complaint driven post, but we will still be booking Royal Caribbean instead of Princess next time.