This was our 29th Princess cruise. We have cruised that much on other lines ( Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Regent, Oceania, NCL). When I see the Sea Witch logo on the Princess ship my heart is happy. This is our third time on Regal ( a beautiful, elegant ship) and generally, we don't like 7 day back to back cruises because the day in the middle is stressful and wasted. In this case, it fit the time frame and friends of ours from California joined us for the last 7 days Western Caribbean. They haven't cruised in years and we were anxious that they have a good time.
Because of the Superbowl , we stayed with friends in Florida for a few days. They drove us to the port. This was a nightmare, going around and around because of poor signage. We stayed in a Penthouse suite on Riviera deck. It is a lovely large room with a curtain between the bedroom and living area so one person can watch television while the other sleeps. The bathroom is spacious with a roomy walk in shower in addition to a tub and there is plenty of the storage. The balcony is extremely tight. We arrived at the port at ten o'clock am ( don't pay any attention to boarding times.) The Medallion works great and we were on the ship by 10:30! we raced up to the Sanctuary but there was already a line. We knew that people from the previous cruise reserved lounges and the Casino gets a few but this time was the worst. In past cruises, if you booked a full week ( pricey but worth it) you got first dibs. Now if you wanted just the sea days or just mornings you got them over someone who was willing to shell out the big bucks for a full week. Coupled with the expense of a suite ( and tiny balcony) Princess is going to lose out to Celebrity Retreat and NCL Haven if they don't watch out. We did get lounges although not our first choice. The service in the Sanctuary is beyond wonderful and peaceful as long a people realize they should keep their voices low. Just looking out at the ocean is worth it's weight in gold.
We ate at the Crown Grill ( free the first night for suites) and it was great. Sabatini's is good too. Free laundry was excellent, I could have brought half the clothes. The entertainment the first week was very good. The shows ( have seen them all before) are good especially Born to Dance and Bravo. The Show Fiera ( the second week) is terrible and everyone hates it. The comedian Robby Printz was hilarious and did two full hours. The second week both the comic and the magician were terrible. Voice of the Ocean is always fun and one of the passengers sang Patsy Cline's Crazy and got a standing ovation. Every single service person on the ship were outstanding especially Club Class dining and our suite concierge called us family. She ( Magdalena) printed out my husband's crossword every morning, arranged for anything we needed from tenders to spa appointments to reservations for anything. The other people on the ship were friendly and polite and mostly kind to each other.
Lovely, comfortable suite close to the concierge lounge. Great spacious bathroom with walk in shower and tub and separate toilet area. Wonderful storage. Very tight balcony, really ridiculous. Comes with excellent free laundry and two bottles of water a day in addition to the bar set up ( which can be exchanged). Excellent bedding and mattress. Two TVs but no ESPN sports and not as many movies as in past years.
Downtown is still destroyed from the Hurricanes. At least one third of the stores are shuttered. We have a favorite unique custom jewelry store that thankfully is surviving because of loyally customers that we visited. Okidanokh in Palm Passage