Let me start by saying that the actual ship is very nice and we had a nice trip.
PROS: The cruise directors, Andrew & Andy, were really fun. The entertainment was very good. We enjoyed the various trivia games, there was a great magician, awesome juggler, and very interesting high-tech lights\video\music act. The food was great in both formal dining room and buffet. They have great video screen at the pool that plays recent movies (that you can also view later in your cabin). There are fun "touch screens" on every floor where you can locate the people you are travelling with, see deck plans, the entertainment schedule, AND there is fun "explorer puzzle game" for the kids to play. There are 3 regular sized pools (one is private one for adults only near the spa), and one very small "kid's area pool", so there are different options. I think they make good use of the space and boat doesn't feel too large (or too small). Also, very "non pressure" from the staff. I've been on some cruises where they are always trying to sell you things, but this ship wasn't like that.
Stops on our cruise were awesome. In particular I loved Quebec City, & Prince Edward Island. Halifax is nice, but a bit more of a bustling city. Sidney Nova Scotia is cute town but a "young port" so tour options (e.g. if want to go to the Alexander Graham Bell museum) are limited if you don't book ahead. You can't even really even find a taxi.
CONS: There are limited shore excursions and most of the good ones they sold out months before the cruise. (Not sure why they can't see the high demand and arrange for additional tours). It ended working out OK for us though because we found that for most ports you can find alternative tours outside of the port for cheaper than Princess charges. The EXCEPTION though is the port of Sydney, Nova Scotia. If you don't book something ahead won't be able to find trips on short.
The "app" (where you can order drinks and see entertainment schedule seems to be a bit of a work in progress (didn't work very well for me). I could see upcoming events schedule but never could do anything else with it.
There was mystery "high seas heist" ongoing game that we participated in, which was semi-fun but sloppily run and slightly confusing.
There is "kids club" for area but for some reason it is closed from Noon-to-2PM so it didn't work out well for my wife and I when we wanted to do some of the things like the art auction on the boat, or trivia. Also, the staff in the area are not that friendly, and per my kids (so take with grain of salt) they had strictly regimented task for them to follow. (e.g. they couldn't just draw, read, play video games or Foosball when there was an activity like "t-shirt painting" going on. You have to do what group is doing while in kids club, at least if you are in the 7-to-11 year old section).
Perhaps not the cruise line's fault but found the "exit port" in Brooklyn NY to be run horribly. A lot of confusion, and they routed people into different lines... allowed people to cut in the lines... and ultimately you could just walk out of the port if you wanted to (there was no security check or anything) so all the confusion wasn't really necessary if they were better organized.
Lastly, bad ratings to our cabin (E514), mostly because it is located directly above the lounge where loud music is played most nights.
E514 (Deck 8) is typical cruise room in size. We had two twins on ground, and two pull out "bunk beds". Small but manageable for 2 adults\2 kids. It is one of the better "obstructed view" cabins, because is located between the gap of two tender boats outside so you do have an okay view. It is mid-ship so very convenient to go to center "piazza" or walk to back of the boat, then up to the buffet on deck 15.
Biggest downside of this cabin is that is is DIRECTLY ABOVE the stage of the Explorers Lounge on deck 7. That is lounge where rock, R&B, and big band music is played by a live band. That means you will be subjected to extremely loud music on most nights between 9PM to 11PM. I'm not exaggerating when I say that you can feel vibrations of the band. Will effect you if want to go to sleep early or when watching TV at night.
Right outside of port you can book a "jump on\off". Did the loop of Boston once to hear about the city, then jumped off in center city to walk around the park and shops before heading back.View All 41 City Tour Reviews
About a 3 hour drive each way (with break stop at a cheese factory\cafe). It was rainy but got tour info from driver on way there, and did see a bit of some humpback whales.View All undefined undefined Reviews
All tours were sold out so we just walked around the town. Stumbled across some fun things (like Screaming Eagles Hockey Stadium near the casino), but this is small, young port with not as many shops or things to see as some other towns.
On Long Pier is great Lobster Boat tour... they take you out, teach you about lobstering and tell you about the bay.View All undefined undefined Reviews