Now that I had time to reflect on my first princess cruise experience, I would like to share my thoughts. The ship was amazing, the process to get on and off went smoothly. It does help to pay for transportation to and from the ship and pay for a suite. We did custom medallions and we loved them. The Penthouse suite A734 was nice. Excellent food throughout the ship. The service was incredible, and the entertainment was nice and interesting. Bistro Sur La Mer, Crown Grill and Sabatini were delightful, we ate at all the locations multiple times and couldn’t get enough. Nice selection of wines and alcohol unfortunately my wife couldn’t drink because she was pregnant. Tommy (I believe – beverage manager) was extremely helpful. A few more notables, Olga (spa), she did an amazing job and multiple massages and Michael at Sabatini. Overall, the crew were helpful and nothing bad to say.
We did run into a few issues once at the beginning and the last few days. At the beginning we had a difficult time with the drink packages. Clearly my wife was 29 weeks pregnant, and we both had the plus drink package. I wanted to upgrade my drink package to premium and change her package to specialty coffee/bottle water/can soda. It took multiple times and over 1 day with guest services but finally they transferred us over to the beverage department and Tommy handled it. The final and most important issue was the smell of smoke/diesel in our Penthouse suite A734 (the last few days). I would say the smoke/diesel smell for me was about a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. It was a 9 or 10 for my wife. It got so bad that she woke up in a panic, couldn’t sleep and started wheezing. Obviously, we weren’t too happy about it and I’m sure being pregnant also contributed to the sensitivity level. However, because she was pregnant, that did raise some additional concerns regarding if it was good for the unborn baby and mother. We reported the issue a few times. They tried to fix the issue and it did improve somewhat but then the next day, it went back to being an issue. The last day, we kept the wonderful big balcony closed and locked to ensure we didn’t get any additional smoke/diesel from the outside. One of the crew members suggested that the Aft of the ship tends to have more of the smoke/diesel smell. It was shocking because after paying that amount of money, we didn’t expect to have any issue at all. It was a major concern, but we dealt with it as best as we could. It did affect my wife for the last few days.
Going forward, we would investigate getting a suite at the front of the ship and a little lower (away from the outside engine smoke). We might be interested in a Premium Suite (Deck 9 or Deck 10), Window or Vista Suite (Deck 17) or might switch over to a suite on the Sun Princess. Basically, we'll be reevaluating and performing a little more research on cruise lines.