This was our first cruise with the Princess line, but we have cruised with Carnival and Holland America previously. We chose this New England/Canada cruise for two reasons: we wanted to visit New York City, and we had never been to New England. We arrived in NYC two days before the cruise and visited as many historic sites that we could: Times Square, Liberty and Ellis Islands, Castle Clinton, Grant's Tomb, 9-11 Memorial, Trinity Church, St. Patrick's and others. We even took the subway a few times.
Our itinerary stated boarding would begin at 1:00 pm. However, I believe people began boarding a couple hours before 1:00. Embarkation went smoothly although we did wait 20-30 minutes in line. To save money, we chose an interior cabin on Baha deck, and it was quiet and peaceful. The bed was comfortable although the cabin was on the smaller side, but OK for 2 people. The bathroom was rather small, but very clean and well maintained as was the cabin. For some unknown reason, the wash clothes weren't there, but our steward brought them later, and we had to ask for the bathrobes that usually are in the room.
The first thing we did after boarding was have lunch at the Concerto room. The food was excellent and the waiter was very pleasant and cheerful. Afterwards, our room was ready. We took a walk to check out the ship which was beautiful. The skywalk was fun, and there were already people in the hot tub. Muster drill was fast and easy.
Princess no longer gives out maps when you board so I had to stop by Guest Services and they gave us 2 maps. We had assigned early seating at the Concerto room, but there was a mix up for our table. There are two entry doors on opposite sides of the ship, one side is for odd number tables and the other door is for even. Seems like everyone was going to the wrong side which caused confusion. Someone was already seated at our table, so we were seated two tables over by the window which was fine.
We had a wonderful, pleasant waiter and his assistant. They were very attentive. We did feel the menu was somewhat limited in the choices. Overall, the food was good, but some items were hit or miss. We also ate at the buffet which had quite a large selection of food, and servers came around to bring you drinks.
We enjoyed roaming the ship, but felt that some of the lounges should have had more comfortable chairs where we could put our feet up and enjoy looking out the windows. There is a Sanctuary were the chairs looked comfortable, but to rent it there was a hefty upcharge. There is also a fee to use the whirlpool in the spa which is usually free on other ships.
We enjoyed the nightly musical entertainment very much and another night, there was a comedian that had us in stitches. There is a large outdoor screen where we enjoyed a movie. Popcorn and blankets were provided.
The ports where we stopped were wonderful. Two ports we had to take tenders. The first 4 ports, we had wonderful weather and the trees were in fall colors. Captain had to skip Halifax because of a severe storm and we had some rough seas that night.
Our favorite port was Boston where we took a bus excursion to see highlights of Boston, Cambridge, Lexington and Concord which we enjoyed very much.
Disembarkation was a long wait for us, Captain stated there was congestion at the port and we had to wait to disembark. Our luggage was easy to find. We booked our transport to the airport through the ship. We were somewhat confused and irritated that the bus driver had to drop all of us off at the baggage claim level, and we had to go one floor up dragging our luggage and try to figure out where our airline was to check our bags. It was quite a walk.
Overall, the cruise was enjoyable with excellent service, but we felt there were too many extra charges and were disappointed that some lounges close at certain times for Elite Members only. We also thought there was not enough comfortable chairs where we could look out and enjoy the scenery. There were no midnight buffets or ice sculptures that we experienced on previous cruises.