Mo has been on 5 cruises, and this was my 4th. Two previous trips were with Royal Caribbean and one 4 day cruise with Holland America. It is sometimes difficult to compare something like a cruise, and I think every experience is individual. For what it is worth, in most ways we were impressed with Princess. The cabin was excellent, and our steward did a great job. We knew there wouldn’t be cute little animals, but chocolates and a turned down bed were fine, and if I had to choose, I would pick the huge closet over fancy towel animals.
The Anytime Dining option has some glitches, but still is a great way to go if you aren’t traveling with a big group of people that you know. The food on Princess was fine and the service was excellent in our experience, but there wasn’t quite the fabulous fancy thing that you expect on a cruise. We didn’t opt for any of the extra charge restaurants, but that shouldn’t be the only way to get great food on a cruise. Talking with a friend about this, we think it may not just be the difference between cruise lines, but an overall difference in cruise food in general.
The spa was wonderful, and my experience on this ship better than others. There are 4 pools, lots of places to hang out, and not very many children or young adult people on this trip. It was pretty quiet, actually, not a party ship at all. It seemed very classy, and mature, unlike the rock climbing wave riding midnight party glitz of the Royal Caribbean. I would still like to someday experience one of those big ships like the Independence of the Seas, but in all, Princess compared very favorably to past cruise experiences.
The only other problem seemed to be the very short times in port. Often, another ship would be in port when we arrived and there after we left. We heard tales of 12 hour port stays, and the 6 or 7 hours that we had in our ports was a real detriment to actually enjoying them. I’m not quite sure why it worked out this way, but might pay closer attention to port stays when planning another cruise. My choice won’t necessarily depend on the company, but on the ports, the price, and the dates.