This was my 12th cruise, the majority of them with Princess. But this is my first review.
There are two large identical dining rooms, one for set seating and one for anytime dining. We were anytime, and actually ended up eating in both. We showed up whenever we were hungry for dinner and were usually seated right away. We never waited more than ten minutes for a table. Having the International Café was a plus, but we liked the dining room arrangement on the Diamond better. That one has four smaller dining rooms, each with a theme. So one always has an Asian dish, one an Italian dish, etc. It was more interesting that way.
We don’t really do the musical shows, but went to see the comedians, and the magician/comedian – all of which were good. The string quartet was really good too.
We had a mini-suite, as there were three of us in the cabin. This gives a little bit of space, and a sitting area during the day. The couch becomes a bed at night, which is a lot nicer than pulldown bunk arrangement. The bathroom has a real bathtub instead of a tiny shower in the bathroom, as well as a decent size counter for all our stuff. After having a mini-suite, it will be hard to go back to a balcony or window cabin.
Because of the itinerary, the casino was closed most of the trip as were bingo games. My son loves bingo. A disappointment for us, but not a major deal.
Some people complain about the spa and internet prices. They are what they are. I’ve never been on a cruise when the internet wasn’t very slow and very expensive. We buy enough minutes to check email once a day.
The ports: Going in, I wasn’t so sure about this cruise. My brother actually picked this route. But we had a great time in just about all the ports. The weather was mostly cooperative, only raining on our day in Edinburgh and for a couple hours on another. Getting off the ship was sometimes difficult, especially the days we docked around noon. There were lines stretching around the entire deck!
Most of the ports had very long stops, which gave time to see a lot of stuff on shore. I had an all day tour in Cobh including Blarney Castle, and took a tour to the Welsh countryside from Liverpool. People were able to go into Dublin at night to watch the World Cup from a pub in town. In Belfast, we had a private minivan take us out to the Antrim coast as well as a tour of Belfast. I think that was the highlight of the trip. Even my teenage son was impressed with the beauty of the place. We did a riverboat cruise on Loch Ness and went to the Castle. We went into Paris on the last day.
All in all, I had a great time on this cruise. The ship was nice. The ports were great. I would highly recommend it.