The ship is showing its due for dry dock. On several occasions they were combating water leaks in the hall ceiling outside our cabin. This was our first cruise on Princess and on both our most recent vacations on RCL the balconies were covered, so silly me I just assumed this would be. Live and learn. Since the ship was only about 2/3's full I called the Service Desk and asked if we could change cabins and was told by the young lady who took my call that she would check into it and call me back. After several hours and no feedback I went down to the service desk and explained the situation to the young man at the counter. He was most apologetic about the lack of a response and then excused himself as he went back into the office area to see what could be done. He returned several minutes later with the response that he was sorry but there was "nothing comparable available". I never got a straight answer what exactly this meant and was never offered any attempt to ameliorate the situation. Shame on me once again for not pushing it up the line to at least receive an understandable reason why nothing could be done. It was an interesting contrast to our last RCL cruise where we had a less than desirable dinner experience in one of their optional dining venues and they went way above and beyond to make it right. At any rate I didn't feel as if this were properly resolved.
Being a panamax ship it also was much smaller than the last several ships we've been on and it felt a little claustrophobic. We prefer the promenade and wide open spaces of the RCL ships. The other issue we had is with the quality of food in the main dining room. We chose anytime dining which worked well and provided us flexibility plus allowed us to meet a lot of interesting fellow cruisers. To Princess credit the menu selections were extremely varied but the actual food served was spotty. While several of the entrees were quite good we also experienced dry pork tenderloin, fatty almost scrappy beef and dried out fish. We would have gladly opted for less variety of better prepared dishes. One of the highlights was the on board lecturer Bill (his last name didn't register) who held informative talks prior to every port. He was thorough, extremely knowledgeable, most approachable and entertaining. Overall he did a fantastic job. We enjoyed the trip a great deal. The ship was OK but the ports of call were all fascinating, and/or very pleasant. We'd definitely like to do it again when the Canal expansion opens in 2016 but we may try Celebrity for that trip.
The sofa in our mini-suite was stained and there were obvious signs of a prior leak in our bathroom. We opted for a mini-suite because it was the lowest category of stateroom that included a sofa. The cabin itself was very comfortable and nicely outfitted. We had the sofa, lounge chair, a built in desk with chair, a good size closet area and lots of shelving, mini-fridge, safe, two flat screen TVs and a decent size bathroom including a combination shower/tub. It was very comfortable EXCEPT.. when I booked the trip I did not think to ask if our balcony was covered and it was not.