We chose this cruise for the itinerary and met several cruisers who had been on this same cruise 3-10 times. I'd never been to Hawaii, Samoa, or the South Seas islands of Tahiti, Moorea or Bora Bora, so this was a big thrill for me. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and met several cruisers who had been on this same cruise 3-10 times. I'd never been to Hawaii, Samoa, or the South Seas islands of Tahiti, Moorea or Bora Bora, so this was a big thrill for me. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. It probably helped that we were some of the last people on (2:30pm) and off (10:30am). With a 28 day cruise, there aren't many children and we perhaps saw 15 under 20. A few things to address that I read comments on in prior reviews: there were three evening shows - 6:30pm, 8pm and 10pm. They were packed (particularly the two earliest shows), but still, if you really wanted to go, you could. You just go early and get a seat (many did and brought something to read) or go to the late show. There were plenty of lounge chairs. We could always find two together. There was plenty of room to sit and eat in the buffet. Sometimes you'd have to not sit at a window or sit with others, but you could always find a seat. There was plenty of activities to keep you busy all the time. We enjoyed the Enrichment lectures, Tai Chi, football games on the big screen, World Series games, movies, working out in the gym, checking out makeup and facial tips, trivia games, Pop Choir, Voice of the Ocean, Talent show ------etc., etc. There was a band that played familiar tunes you could listen to by the pool or dance to in the evening. They always had great energy and played a wide variety of music. I must say tho that the female singer frequently sang flat and so sort of butchered some songs. The lead male was pretty good and very energetic. Princess varied events so that you might have ballroom dancing one hour in one room, then the next hour might be a trivia game, then back to dancing, then something else. There were two great hardwood floors - which we really liked to dance on - even tho the one at the stern frequently moved with the ocean waves and sometimes felt like your feet were not below you. The staff were just friendly, always helpful, and called me Madame. I loved that.
Dining - some people complained and I understand now what they were talking about. The quality was excellent; it's just the choices were sometimes odd. We ate in the Horizon buffet almost exclusively. They frequently served lamb, duck, various kinds of fish, bok choy, had two German nights with bratwurst, sauerkraut, stuffed fish, etc. We don't care to sit for hours in the dining room, but just about every afternoon, I'd check the dinner menu and 9 times out of 10, there was nothing that would draw me in to want to go eat there anyway (Frog legs? Duck? Pheasant?). Sometimes even the 1st course items were just..........odd. Cold soups, odd salad combos, just weird stuff. Now, my husband isn't as picky as me and loved the fact that there were tons of different kinds of choices. And believe me, I never starved. Loved their oatmeal. Creamy good. Always salads, breads, a carved meat, a hot dessert (as well as many others), variety of cheeses, etc.
Ports - we did our own thing. I rented cars on the Big Island, Kauai, and Tahiti. They were around $50 each and first two had unlimited mileage. Budget picked us up at the cruise terminal and brought us to the airports where we got our cars. We drove to the Volcano Natl Park (don't forget your Senior Natl Park pass - it'll save you $50). On Kauai, we drove up to the north coast as far as we could and both were quite doable in the time we had. On Tahiti, Hertz was there to get us at the port, but Expedia failed to tell me they would do that - and we went to the airport via bus. It took a lot of time. That being said, we drove from Papeette to Teahupoo (Tahiti-iti) and back in 4 hrs. Small islands. Tahiti was neat in that we docked right in town, could walk around for a few hours, go back on the ship for lunch, then back out. There's a beautiful walk along the malecon of gardens. When we got off the ship, there were vendors there for Moorea offering tours for the following day. In Moorea, there were basically the same three vendors all selling essentially the same thing - unlimited beach time at a private beach, a 1/2 hr snorkel with the rays and sharks, and fresh fruit and water/punch at the beach for $50pp. You could stay all day or a few hours. We stayed about 5 hrs. Moorea is GORGEOUS.
Sales pitches - as with any cruise, you get these. Mail with champagne parties at art auctions, the jewelry store, photos, etc. Easy to throw out. Some of the talks during the day (like Learn about Acupuncture) were really an attempt to get you to sign up for treatments. But, again, you can always walk away. Didn't care for the Spa personnel always being at our elevators just waiting to write your name down for a massage or something - but, you can say hi and walk on by.
Did not participate in the rip off Art Auctions nor buy expensive jewelry.
Oh - I was told by the front desk that my onboard credit would not apply to tips, but it does. The tips are just a debit on your account and the credit is a credit. So, it goes towards any charge on your ship account.
All in all - we had a wonderful time and felt that Princess did a great job having to please 3000 passengers. My cabin review is below. Very few complaints. Read Less