Princess Cruise lines has some of the better itineraries and has a “Premium” cruise ship feel while still being a mainstream cruise line that offers competitive pricing. I think the Princess ships feel romantic and classy again without being stuffy or feeling overly pretentious (although to be fair we have encountered a few pretentious types on these cruises).
Our first cruise on Princess was on the Royal Princess and our cabin was fantastic, the service was fantastic, and the food was very good in both main dining and buffet areas. The ship never felt crowded and we loved the spa and pool decks. I feel like a lot of the on board activities are catered to adults with wine tastings, martini making classes, and TED talk type lectures.
Our most recent cruise was out of Southampton on the Sapphire Princess, the ship is definitely showing more wear and tear. The buffet on the Lido deck was always really crowded and not well designed. We opted for a Club Class cabin which has a separate dining room, after this experience we felt that this was well worth the extra $$ and our next cruise on Princess will definitely be in Club Class.
I was really disappointed that our last cruise on the Sapphire Princess also miss a port (Bruges, Belgium) as a result of weather. The disappointment is because 4 ships were in port at Southampton, all ships sailed except ours which resulted in the missed port. Princess sent a letter of apology to our cabin, but no extra time in other ports, no compensation, no on board credit for the missed port. If all ships had not been able to sail I would feel differently, but this was a decision by the Captain and cruise line to wait for the “storm to pass” for two hours, this resulted in an 8 hour delay and a missed port. We have missed a few ports here and there for multiple reasons over the years, but most other cruise lines have gone above and beyond to make up for it.