We drove from the west coast of Florida where we live the day before we were to leave and spent the night at a great Extended Stay America hotel in Plantation. It was close to the freeway, shopping, restaurants, about 10 miles from the cruise port terminal and was reasonably priced. We also used Park'NGo to park our car. They were convenient, reasonably priced and very efficient and quick to pick us up and drop us off.
This was the second year in a row we took a New Years cruise. We were also celebrating a birthday and an upcoming retirement. This was not the best cruise we have ever done, but it came close. We had a wonderful time, had fantastic food, met some wonderful people, saw exotic places we had never been before, and enjoyed all of the amenities and entertainment. Embarkation was slow and tedious and they kept hundreds of us waiting outside the terminal on the sidewalk next to the loud buses for several hours. Once inside, there were only two agents to handle hundreds of people that wanted to be checked in. It was not a good experience.
No cruise is ever perfect, but this came very close. It was also only our second cruise on Princess. The last time we did this line was to Alaska was in 2005. We chose them this time because of this ship's itinerary and the features onboard the Emerald Princess. Also, the fact that they give a Military onboard credit to Veterans was a nice gift to receive. Almost daily, they had listed in the activities calendar a Veterans get together for one of the lounges. My husband really enjoyed this, and by the end of the cruise, he had met quite a few other veterans. It would have been nice if they had provided a wait person or bartender for them when the meetings were going on. They missed a huge opportunity to sell some drinks!
This was a large stateroom with a lot of storage space and a huge closet that we really loved. There was also a lot of cupboard storage. It was a nice plus to have a refrigerator that we could actually use, too. There is a huge drawback to this cabin and cabins in the aft of the ship. We docked very early in the morning five times. On four of those dockings, the captain had to use the side thrusters. The thrusters made the outside walls of our cabin vibrate very loudly. More than once we were awakened out of a sound sleep to this loud noise and terrible vibration. It was fortunate for us that we were able to take naps in the afternoon as sleep was impossible once the docking process started.