We boarded in St. Petersburg after a 4 day stay in town. Wonderful visit and nice, safe place, with friendly people. Lots to see and do, and cabs are cheap.
The terminal experience was very unusual however. We expected the regular crush of hundreds of other passengers, but there were fewer than a dozen that we saw during our processing. The Medallion system isn't really much of a benefit under these type situations.
The ship is in good condition, I didn't see any wear and tear anywhere, and the crew keeps it quite clean. The décor is a little boring except in a few spots like the central atrium. That said, the layout is peculiar in that there are parts of the ship that are difficult to reach, and not in the typical locations. For instance, the rear set of elevators ends at deck 6, but you need to go up a level to actually get anywhere except cabins on that deck. The buffet has somewhat narrow passages on each side and this causes a lot of bumping and confusion, particularly at peak meal times. Smoke from the open ceiling casino vents into the shops above and became an issue for passengers. My biggest disappointment with the entire cruise is the food in the buffet. The selection and availability is good, HOWEVER it is never hot! I mean it's barely warm. All the toasted items like bagels English muffins, French toast, etc. will not even begin to melt butter. Eggs are fried in batches and put out 20 or so at a time and also lukewarm. By the time you get to your table with your meal, everything is usually at room temp. The scrambled eggs taste like they began as powdered, and the omelets seem to be made from the same mix. The pastry selection is usually good for every meal in the buffet I must say.
The highly touted "Highest Speed WiFi At Sea" was practically unusable for a full 5 days while crossing the Atlantic. Speeds typically were between 50-150kbps, similar to dialup or DSL speeds over 10 years ago. The Captain apologized, announcing it was the lack of satellite coverage, but it should have been no secret that over 25% of our 19 day cruise would encounter such poor service. The gym is sparsely equipped with basic machines like curls for instance. It's also small, and at the rear of the ship, unlike most I've seen. The main theatre does not have enough seating for anywhere near 1/2 the passengers, so you'll need to arrive 30-45 minutes before a show to get a few decent seats. Entertainment was average with the usual mix of entertainment. The dining room anytime dining is good, and we ate there about half the time. Alfredo's pizza on deck 6 is great and I highly recommend it for a quick, good individual pizza. The Calzones also looked good, but I didn't try one. I doubt I'd book this cruise again mostly because of the buffet food temps and the poor WiFi at sea, but overall, it wasn't a bad experience, just not great either. The standard balcony cabins are small compared to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, with no couch and tiny bathrooms. The balcony was only about 4 feet deep it seemed, barely enough room to have a chair face out to sea. The Medallion feature turned into a major yawn for us. It only was used to unlock our door and check in and out in port. NO ONE used the public panels to navigate the ship or anything else that I noticed. There are at least 5 different Princess apps to download if you want to bother, but they are confusing and do very little easily. I've been on over 50 cruises, and I walked away slightly disappointed in this one.
Clean, small, bed was comfy, good lighting. Bathroom is quite small, small shower, plastic shower curtain hard to seal against leaking water onto floor, deep sink, decent towels. Barely room to turn around though.
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