This was our first experience on a Princess Cruise and our 7th cruise overall. My wife Sheryl and I (married 45 years this November) did our first cruise some 40 years ago on a Royal Caribbean Cruise line. Way back then they had travel agents and ours told us that starting our first cruise on Royal, especially for 14 days would spoil us and we would be hard pressed to find a better cruise line in the future? I always remembered that statement and it held true for 40 years! We have cruised to Mexico several times, Alaska, Caribbean again and our most spectacular cruise was in the Mediterranean to Israel,Egypt, Turkey and the Greek Isles before they closed all cruises to Israel and Egypt some 25 years ago.
Consequently all other cruise lines paled in comparison to Royal, despite fabulous destinations, until we sailed on the Pacific Princess from Tahiti to Hawaii. All cruise lines have good service ( we have tried five different lines) and most have good food. Certainly those ships that carried many more passengers could offer better entertainment value? Perhaps our only average experience on Princess, as this is a small ship some 562 feet and carried only a bit more than 600 passengers. The entertainment was average at best and the stage was small,so bigger groups could not perform anyhow?
This was also our first time selecting a room with a Balcony, all other previous cruises were inside cabins! Our room was excellent, we really did enjoy the Balcony and we were located only two rooms from the Stearn of the ship. I selected this location for a better ride, given we were going to spend 5 days out to sea traveling between Tahiti and Hawaii and yes we did run into rough weather while out to sea. While in our cabin we comfortable despite 12 foot seas and 35 to 40 knot winds!
Our cabin service, dining service and all bar activities were exceptional, which you come to expect on a cruise line. This was certainly top of the line and we built a fantastic relationship with our head waiter and with the dining area group supervisor Falvio from Romania. We enjoyed fine wine and Flavio was a connoisseur of wine and assisted us in many great choices as we chose the gold wine plan for 12 nights which entitled us to a choice of any wine up $48 for only $28. If we chose a wine priced a little higher we paid only the difference.
Our food choices were as outstanding as you could expect,all the luxury meats, fabulous appetizers and deserts to compliment the meal. I especially enjoyed the soups, most of them some form of puree or creamed. I was told long ago when dining out, if the place serves good soups it must be above average in most other food items! Sit down dining, we chose late seating(8pm) was extraordinary every evening, with a wide variety of choices and five standard items always available such as Filet Mignon, Smoked Salmon, a great pasta dish and a chicken dish.
All of the Beef items offered were prepared perfectly,medium rare for me! The Prime Rib, Filet Mignon and New York steaks were tender and tasty! All of the fish dishes served were also nicely cooked and most included a delicious sauce. The pastas were all outstanding as well. The appetizers were excellent as were the deserts, and choices many! You could always order several and I liked the fact they served small portion sizes, to avoid waste which I despise, as you could always ask for more, if still hungry?
I had a mobility problem (torn knee ligament) which I had surgery on after the cruise and it was great news to be on a smaller ship so I did not have to walk far to reach anywhere on the boat. Also you were fighting a big crowd at anytime, even disembarking a port.
Both sit down breakfast and lunch contained a form of elegance and each was open seating, which we enjoyed as opposed to assigned seating for dinner. Both the breakfast buffet and lunch buffet contained a level of quality seldom experienced in buffets unless it was a top of the line Las Vegas buffet! The choices daily were constantly changing,although the most popular items were repeated often. Our favorite is Lox and Bagel for breakfast and Eggs Benedict, while a good omelet is always appreciated. We enjoyed these and many other exotic dishes.
Since we enjoyed the dining experience so much,,we never did try the buffet for dinner. The ship also provided home made Pizza from 10am to 10pm and in the pool area you get Hamburgers and Hot Dogs, fries and chips and dips. In the morning the Pizza parlor doubled as an omelet bar!
Visiting the Islands of Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea were an experience we will not forget, such incredible beauty. Papeete is nothing more than an over priced shopping center and the Island has few tourist sites worth visiting?
All in all it was a fabulous vacation on a very special ship! Thanks to all for the opportunity to realize! Our next cruise will definitely be either Princess or Royal!