I bookedthis cruise when it first opened for 2 reasons. Itinerary and brand new ship.(as I thought we would have to fly to US orEurope to sail on a new Princess ship). We are Aussies, late fifties, still working FT
We had agreat time, sure there were a few things that were different, but we hadalready booked the repo cruise from Shanghai to Sydney next August (beforetaking this cruise) and wont cancel.
I booked anObstructed ocean view Emerald deck mid ship E421, which has the angled balcony, on the curve). It wasa great cabin, no obstruction at all, as it overlooked the Promenade deck. Balcony was larger than others. Bed& pillows very comfy.
Lots ofpower in cabin. USB charger next to bed. Desk had US power & Europe, Abovefridge had Europe & Aussie. Large sink in bathroom and usual shower withcurtain. Plenty of storage in wardrobes and shelves. Suitcases easily fit underbeds. Stateroom steward was excellent. Close to midship stairs and lifts.
We hadanytime dining and were able to get a table straight away (except for 2occasions, when we went at busy times of 7.30pm) Lots of tables for 2, whereyou could chat to others, or just be by yourselves. Food was great, smallerMenu, but ours was always hot. Not many Chinese options. You could keep yourwine for the next night and the waiters always managed to find it!.
Anytimedining was in Symphony dining room Deck 5 from 5.00pm to 9.30pm
AnytimeConcerto Dining room Deck 6 8pm
TraditionalAllegro Deck 6 aft First seating 5.45pm, late 8.00pm
TraditionalConcerto Deck 6 First seating 5.30pm
We didn’t goto dining room for Breakfast or Lunch.
Marketplace (buffet) Deck 16 fwd, opened from 5.30amto 11.00pm
Lots ofoptions for food (and they even had Vegemite). Busy at peak times, but youcould usually get a seat. We liked going to the back of the ship (Wake Bar) tohave our meals.
There was aCoffee bar in the Bakery section.
AlfredosPizza Deck 6 Midship opened from 10am to 11pm.
Menu hadantipasto, salad, pasta and about 10 pizza. Very busy at lunch time, quieter atDinner time.(as was noisy due to Atrium) No bookings. Did take a while for pizza’s to be made 30-45 mins.
InternationalCafé Deck 5 midship. 24 hours
This was oneof our favorite places. Breakfast items up to 11am included fresh fruit,muesli,yogurt,donuts, pastries, muffins and egg & bacon muffins (hot).
After 11amthey had salads, paninis, pies, quiches, sandwiches,soup and cakes.
The coffeebar was next to it and very popular. Most people had the coffee card and theBaristas managed the queue really well. One took the order, 3 Baristas making thecoffee, and one doing the milk.
LobsterGrill & Dim Sim Bar Deck 16 fwd 11.00am to 9pm. This also had theHamburger,Cheeseburger,fries and Hot Dogs, all freshly made and free. You hadto pay for Lobsters and Dim Sum and we didn’t try them.
Noodle BarDeck 16 fwd 11.00am 9pm. Had rotating noodle dishes and soup (free) and somedishes to buy.
Swirls icecream bar Deck 16 Midship 11am to 9pmFree
RoomService- seems to be the normal Menu, we had dinner in one night and orderedthe Lasagna and Hamburger. Took 30mins, hot and tasty. Didn’t order Breakfastat all, but you do it on the Messenger app.
There were3 specialty restaurants. All had a $29pp cover charge.
We ate atthe Crown Grill and enjoyed it, butprobably wouldn’t bother again.
The other 2Restaurants Harmony(Chinese) and La Mer (French) were very quiet. La Mer tookprime space on Deck 7 midship and that area was very noisy as most of the Entertainment took place in the Atrium (morelater)
We had noproblem getting a drink, plenty of waiters to take your order, though I thinkthey may add a few more bars when it comes down under
Piazza barand Vines are on Deck 5 and had lots of seats.
BellinisBar Deck 6 overlooking the Atrium (which is closest bar to the Casino)
Crown GrillBar Deck 7 aft. This was where the happy hour was held each day 3.00-4pm and10pm-11pm Buy one, get 2nd for $1.00.
Seaview barDeck 16
Pool barDeck 16
Wake viewbar (our favorite place for Sailaways) Deck 16 Aft
HollywoodBar Deck 16 fwd
OceanTerrace Juice bar Deck 7 midship
Gong Chatea bar Deck 7 midship.
Theplatinum/Elite lounge was held daily , usually 4.30pm-7pm in The Vista Gaminglounge- no bar here, but I think they could easily add one.
Most of theentertainment was held in the Atrium are. Lots of dancing classes, linedancing,gameshows, Music, so it could be very noisy.
We had 4 productionshows (held in the Princess theatre, usually at 7.45pm and 9.45pm), severalvocalists,mentalist, ventriloquists,etc. You had to get there early to get aseat as only 900 odd seats available.. You could not save seats, but it was notpoliced.. There was a fight one night as people were saving seats, and otherwanted them. Princess needs to do better here as there were 3600 people on theship, so half of the people couldn’t see the show.
We usuallydo Trivia, but this was held in Princess Live. You couldn't sit together as theseats were like theatre seats.( so we didn’t bother) They also has the Culinarydemonstrations in here (for the specialty restaurants), which were quite good.
Movies wereheld in the Vista lounge and up on deck at MUTS. You could also see the Movieon your TV in your room later. We watched a few this way, easy to pause andthen start again.
They had bands, , vocalists and a string quartet.They alternated between the Atrium andCrown Bar.
This is amistake on Princess behalf. Internet Cafe & Library together in a tiny room.Only 2 PC’s., I expect they think people will bring their own tablets, phonesetc. The worst thing is the Speed- Terrible. I don’t understand why a brand newship wouldn’t have better speed, especially in this day & age. Luckily we don’thave to pay for Internet, but I feel sorry for those that had to (and therewere a lot of Blue cards on board).
I knowpeople will say, you don’t need it, but we like to check in with FB, checkemails etc. I had organised several private tours and needed to contact my touroperators.
High endshops were empty. Princess shops held raffles etc, to try and get people in tobuy. No usual tables blocking the Atrium areas selling cheap items (thankgoodness)Shop on deck 5 had the usual Princess merchandise, chocolates,toiletries, Booze, though not a big selection.
We lovedgoing to Hollywood Pool on Deck 17 Adults only indoor pool,2 hot tubs, airconditioned, bar with plenty of deck chairs.
A lot ofpeople were on Pool deck roasting in the Sun. That is not us anymore.
Wake bardeck 16 aft was great place for Sailaways and watching the wake. One magicmoment was when we were leaving Incheon in Sth Korea. We didn’t leave till10.30pm, and the local port authority did a Laser show, with the song Gangham style blasting out. Most people would have missed this, butthose up on deck loved it.
PortLecturer –Hutch was excellent. He previewed each port and gave great info. Hewas in the Princess lounge and this was simulcast in the Vista lounge, and thenon the TV in the room. 2 hours later.
We wentinto the Casino a couple of times. It was smoke free on Formal nights, but notthe rest of the time. Lots of Tables, obviously getting ready for the Chinese. We played the Pokies, but no luck.
Princesshad a special on the photo package back in Feb $99 for unlimited photos (Onboard it was $249). We usually only buy 1 photo per cruise. We ended up with 50photos (printed and on USB) They were not delivered till last night though andupon checking at home, half of the photos are not on the USB. We have sent anemail to Princess, lets see what happens! It is so much better than having tosearch for your printed photos. The machine allows you to view your photos, byputting in your name and Cabin no and uses facial recognition. Sometimes thereare other people there, but you just delete them.
The Sea walkis a gimmick, great to do a couple of times, and we did get good photos. Don’t lookdown if you are scared of heights.
There were3600 people on the ship. And we were told 1100 from USA, 800 Aussies, then restfrom NZ, UK and China. There were a lot of Chinese Americans on board mainlyfrom San Francisco, and they loved to dance.
Not many children on this ship, maybe saw 20, not sure if there will be enough to occupy them as there are only 2 small pools.
All thestaff were excellent. A lot of Chinese staff came on in Hong Kong, obviouslygetting ready for the Chinese season. They were all willing to help.
I have probably left out heaps of things, will try and answer any questions, though have to go back to work tomorrow, so make take a while to respond.
NCL Sun Miami to LA Oct 2017
Explorer of the Seas Feb 2018 3 day Sampler cruise
Golden Princess Tokyo to Vancouver April 2018
Majestic Princess Shanghai to Sydney Aug 2018
Been there-done that
Fairstar South Pacific 1997
Diamond Princess - Beijing to Bangkok Oct 2005
Golden Princess - Rome to Venice Oct 2006
Sapphire Princess - Sydney to Auckland Mar 2008
Dawn Princess - San Francisco to Sydney Sept 2008
Dawn Princess - Brisbane to Sydney June 2009
Emerald Princess - Baltic 2009
Mariner of the Seas Mexican Riveria May 2010
Diamond Princess Singapore to Sydney Dec 2010
Sapphire Princess Alaska May 2011
Pride of America Hawaiian Islands Sept 2011
Radiance of the Seas Sydney Nov 2011
Dawn Princess Dec 2011 Syd-Melb
Pacific Sun Feb 2012 Syd-Newcastle
Pacific Jewell Feb 2012 3 day
Sun Princess 01/03/2012 Bris to Syd
Dawn Princess 8/4/12 Melb to Syd
Dawn Princess 18/5/12 Syd to Bris
Grand Princess 26/1/13 49 days Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco
Dawn Princess 2 day Syd-Bris July 2013
P & O Jewell Syd 3 dayer Aug 2013
Ocean Princess Singapore to Sydney Oct 2013
Celebrity Solstice -Sydney 3 day Jan 2014
HAL Zuiderdam Fort Lauderdale to San Diego April 2014
Pacific Pearl another 3 day weekend cruise Aug 2014
Diamond Princess Tokyo-Hong Kong B2B Oct 2014 Typhoon cruise
Diamond Princess Brisb-Syd -Melb- Syd B2B Dec2014
Voyager of the Seas 3 day weekend cruise Feb 2015
Diamond Princess 2 days Brisbane to Syd March 2015
Radiance of the Seas Alaska & R & R in Hawaii June 2015
Pacific Jewel 3 day Comedy cruise Sydney Oct 2015
Pacific Princess 50th Princess anniversary Dec 2015
Anthem of the Seas NYE cruise to Bahamas Dec 2015
Explorer of the Seas 3 day Sydney Feb 2016
Dawn Princess 2 day Syd-Bris April 2016
Hawaii Land tour with family for Kevins 60th Jun 16
Anthem of the Seas Sept 2016 Canada/New England
Voyager of the Seas Sth Pacific Feb 2017
Majestic Singapore to Shanghai June 2017