I rated the cruise as Very Good, but it was between Average and Very Good. As with most cruises, there were good and bad experiences, and some that were OK, but could do with a re-think. We booked late in the year, and got an inside cabin at a very good price.
We had Anytime Dining and could generally get a table (around 7.45 pm). We liked our waiters on the second night so we asked to be seated in their area each night. The waiters were friendly, efficient, very aware and they really made the cruise as they greeted us warmly each night, with a smile and a joke. They greeted us by name if they saw us during the day, and if time allowed, would stay for a chat. The food was very good, with a couple of highlights, including rack of lamb and some nice fish (telopea?).
The wine list was comprehensive and prices were equivalent to those in a good restaurant in Australia.
The food in the buffet was generally good, and the staff were always willing to bring you a juice or a cup of tea/coffee. I would prefer there be individual buffet stations, but it would mean a complete revamp. The coffee varied, but was generally OK. You could always get a barista coffee if you had a package or paid for it. The Sterling Steakhouse was a disappointment. They just block off one half of the buffet area. The food quality was varied as my wife enjoyed her dishes, but my bisque was lukewarm, and my steak was cooked as I requested but the meat was chewy and almost inedible. For $35 each extra, it was not worth it. However, I did hear others say they enjoyed it.
Summary: it was our first time on a Princess ship, but would not go on Sea Princess again. Willing to try another Princess ship. Good value for money. Staff were the highlight and I rewarded them appropriately.
A couple of times I ordered Room Service for lunch, and the Chef's Salad was terrific.
I did not care much for the entertainment, except the soprano from Melbourne who received a standing ovation. The main theatre is small, and it was often difficult to get a seat unless you went 45 minutes prior to the show. One fun event we participated in was Musical Bingo (no charge).
The demographics of the cruise: many very elderly and frail people, so heaps of walking sticks, roller walkers, wheelchairs. There were a few children, but hardly saw them. I did meet the 2 loveliest young girls, who were so courteous. Whenever they saw us later on, they greeted us by name. We met some very nice people, usually in the bar before dinner, or at breakfast.
The weather was not great, so there were always pool lounges available. We missed 2 ports and received a refund for government/port charges. The scenery highlight for me was going through the Sounds. The Captain kept us well-informed as to what was happening, and the Cadet gave a midday briefing with some nautical trivia.
The Casino had limited table games, and there were plenty of pokies. Casino staff were very friendly and at least smiled ruefully when they took your money!
Internet was very expensive (around $30 a day).
We were "upgraded" to another interior stateroom, on Dolphin deck, right at the back of the ship. This was not a good upgrade, as we were right above the Vista Lounge and could hear everything that went on there. The soundproofing of the room was bad and we could hear people talking to a baby in the next room. Interestingly, this only happened on the last 3 days of the cruise. The room itself was very small, and I had little room between the bed and wall to get into bed. There was a spare fold up bed on the wall on the other side, and there was a rattle during the night. When the thrusters were used on the ship, the whole room shook quite violently. The very small TV was high up, almost at roof level, and to watch, we either had to sit on the end of the bed and strain our necks, or lie on the bed.
There was plenty of hanging space, drawer space, and heaps of good coat-hangers. Our room attendant was sensational. Very efficient, very aware of what was going on. By the time we had come back from breakfast, our room was done.
There was only one Aus powerpoint, but I took a 4 port USB charger, so that was enough. My wife said that the hairdryer, which was just outside the bathroom, was adequate and did the job.
The bathroom was good, with large bottles of shampoo/conditioner and body wash in the shower. The shower curtain was good quality, did not cling to you, and no water escaped on to the floor. One minor point, and it was not really a problem, but the quality of the towels was poor.