September 2015 - 15 Night Iberian Passage (Southampton To Ft. Lauderdale) Cruise on Royal Princess
First time on Princess
I have experience with several other cruise lines, but have never been on Princess. I was impressed with the innovative menus, seeing things I have never seen on other ships. The entertainment was the usual: production shows, mentalists, instrumentalists, comedians. Not much improvement on other lines but competitive. This was a grey-hair cruise, with the majority of the passengers over fifty, so little harassment from children. Therefore the pool experience and hot-tubs were a joy to partake of. Movies under the stars, as well as in the various theatres, were also available in the rooms. One of the best parts was there weren't many nights with parades through the dining area, of staff, cabin-personnel, nor were there many photographers disturbing the evening's conversations. Although the daily schedule was amply filled with activities, there was little hype to 'buy this, purchase that' that one often gets. As a first-timer, I was not invited to 'loyalty' freebies, but there was also discretion about where they were held and what was offered, so I did not feel deprived of attention. I especially liked the ports of call - the two nights in Rotterdam, right in the city, with free transfers offered by the city, was a welcome bonus; Le Havre and Vigo offered a chance to visit major attractions, or an option to see the ports themselves. I only took one excursion to Sintra and Cascais: the guide was well prepared with the history and points of interest and the outing gave ample time to discover the places for ourselves. Altogether, I am VERY pleased with the cruiseline and look forward to taking another cruise on a Princess. Despite being a large ship, and traversing the Bay of Biscay (usually rough seas), it was difficult to feel the ships movements and few people complained of sea-sickness. Oh, only one bad comment - too much waiting time for elevators. There were ample elevators, but they often stopped on every floor, without the floor being selected on the inside, nor having someone waiting outside for it!