This was our 11th cruise, but our first cruise out of Galveston although we live less than 100 miles from Galveston. We originally scheduled a regular balcony cabin and bid to upgrade to a Reserve Class Mini-Suite. We also paid for Princess Plus to get the perks offered like drinks, Wi-Fi, and gratuities. We spent the night before the cruise in a local hotel, the Best Western Plus Seawall Inn & Suites by the Beach, which I highly recommend. We parked in a covered parking garage with a shuttle to the ship. It was raining and embarkation was a wet mess - insanely long snaking lines, with no perks for having reserved a suite. Took us at least an hour from shuttle drop-off to being on the ship. But we enjoyed visiting with other passengers in line; overall this cruise had the friendliest and happiest fellow passengers we have ever encountered, perhaps because most of them were fellow Texans, and repeat cruisers on this ship.
Embarkation: After dropping off our carry-on bags in the cabin, we headed to the International Cafe for a light lunch. The sandwiches were pretty bad, skimpy filling on tough chewy bread, but the hot meat pie I got was extraordinary. I would have eaten two but we had evening reservations at Crowne Grill, and I did not want to get too full to enjoy that.
This was a respite trip for us, a break from being full-time caregivers, so we did not participate in much onboard the ship. We were there to eat, read, and rest. So I can't review any shows or activities other than our shore excursions. Our Medallions worked fine for unlocking our door and getting drinks with our drink package.
Our cabin was spacious and very comfortable, with good beds and plenty of storage space, especially for hanging up clothes. Our stateroom attendant, Maeshell, was always pleasant and helpful and never refused any request, no matter how busy she was. Like most of the staff on the ship, she appeared rushed and overworked, but it never affected her willingness to take care of us. The cabin was always sparkling clean when we returned to it. I will say the bathtub was a bit of a tight fit; I'm a bath person and had to move around carefully to avoid splashing water all over the floor, but it was still nice to have a tub. The upgraded toiletries in the bathroom were very nice. The balcony was pretty small, but still nice for reading and relaxing, even though it rained quite a few days on our cruise and we were stuck inside. Overall a very nice cabin, but relatively few perks for suite guests compared to other lines we have sailed - no butler, no special dining room, etc.