Our group consisted of my wife and I, 2 daughters, 1 son-in-law and four grandchildren, ages 4, 4, 8 and 11.
We had a pre-cruise stay at Springhill Suites. The hotel sent a shuttle to pick up the 9 of us and our luggage within minutes. I had requested early check-in at the hotel if available. We arrived at the hotel about noon. They had 1 room available, 723 and said that they would notify us when 724 and 725 were available. We took all the luggage into the room and then went to Burger King for lunch.. Burger King is just across a small street that had no traffic. We went to BK again in the evening. When we returned to the hotel, everyone went to the room. About 1/2 hour later the other two rooms were available. One of the rooms. 725 connected with ours, 723. The grandchildren wee able to play hide and seek using those 2 rooms. I would recommend getting rooms across the hall from the highway side of the hotel as the highway noise was somewhat bothersome at night. I was told that to schedule the shuttle to the ship the next day, I had to meet with "Jonathan" after 4:00 PM. I came down at 4 and met with him. He told me that even though I had booked our 3 rooms a year in advance. 224 people form a group were ahead of us. The earliest shuttle we could schedule was at 12:45. The hotel's breakfast the next day was great. The lady that ran the breakfast area was fantastic. Jonathan's shuttle company kept falling behind. We had to wait in a very crowded lobby while shuttle after shuttle slowly filled since checkout was at noon.. They finally brought more shuttles and started catching up, We finally left the hotel at about 1:00 PM.
Princess handled the embarkation process very well and we were quickly onboard. I have long felt that the cruise lines are going downhill and treat the passengers no longer as guests, but merely as "cash cows." You used to be able to bring al the wine that you wanted onboard. Rose and I followed the rules and had one bottle in each of our 2 carry-ons. After going through security, we were sent to a table where our bottles were examined. We felt like some sort of criminals. Maybe the next time I have "guests" to my house and they bring wine, I will set up a table to examine it. We had planned to have lunch in the dining room since We thought that it would be hard to find a table for 9 in the buffet. However, because of the shuttle situation, we had to go to the buffet since the dining room closed at 1:30 PM for lunch. To my surprise, we were able to find a table for 9 in the buffet with little trouble.
Typical cat BB cabin with a 9 by 9 balcony. Mattress was like sleeping on a rock. Princes has the worst bedding of any cruise line that we have been on. Our last cruise was on Celebrity and our next 2 are booked with Celebrity, also.