This was cruise number 4 of 2022 for me as I continue to use up credits from past COVID related cancellations. I did this same itinerary back in February 2022. Back then, the ship sailed at about 25% capacity and I really enjoyed it. This most recent cruise on the same ship and itinerary was a completely different animal. It sailed at almost full passenger capacity with a reduced staff.
Embarkation was fine for me, as I hold Elite status and was able to bypass the long lines. From Uber to my stateroom, took about 30 minutes. Inside the terminal, mask use was required and enforced.
However, once crossing the gangway, the only people masked were crew members and a very small percentage of the passengers. We are all tired of COVID restrictions, but we cannot act obliviously to the virus' continuing presence. Princess did absolutely nothing wrong regarding onboard health protocols, and everyone agreed to the terms and conditions of the contract. Defence against infection now rests totally on the individual - nothing wrong with that at this point in the pandemic's evolution, but be aware. Testing up to 72 hours prior to boarding is currently useless as most people will experience their highest chance of exposure during that period as they travel to the ship, line up in airports, fly, stay in hotels, etc.
Mini Suite. I stayed in an ME category cabin. It was one of only 12 such mini suites on Emerald Deck 8. The difference between these mini suites and the ones on Dolphin Deck 9, is that they are covered and nobody can look down on your deck from above. The bed was comfortable. The room was clean and in good shape, but the bathroom needed a good scrub as the grout in the bath/shower area was yellowed and unsightly. I prefer the aft area of a ship as I like the motion of the ocean when I sleep, but I'm not sure what was going on with the propulsion system as there was a very noticeable synchronization problem with the vessel's screws. The vibration was unusually high and noticeable at cruise speed and seemed to make a large resonation pulse every 13-14 seconds. I didn't sleep well because of this. Again same stateroom area, same ship back in February - no such issues. My toilet malfunctioned several times as staff were dealing with a blockage above me on Dolphin Deck. On a positive note, my cabin attendant, Edgar, was excellent!