We chose this cruise because Princess has a pretty good reputation and it was my birthday (any excuse for a getaway and fun). There were 7 of us total, 2 of which were my friend's parents in their 80's. There were plenty of activities for all us to enjoy. I should confess that we usually travel on smaller ships in a more prestigious category such as: Windstar, Viking, Oceania and even Crystal. So we were thinking this huge ship would not really be our cup of tea - but what the heck, it was my birthday and time to be silly! However, it was really enjoyable and the decision to try something we wouldn't normally do, was the right one.
The food was good in all restaurants and ship seemed to be very clean. All the crew were friendly and helpful, and embarking was easy. The only thing that disappointed was the lack of bar service on the outside decks during the ship's sailing out of port. This is always a time when people gather on the decks to farewell the port and enjoy the late afternoon sunshine or sunset - but getting a drink was almost impossible. Plus the choice of wine was very limited. We even wanted champagne one day in the outdoor bar on deck 16 and no, nothing! Really - no champagne! And the white wine selection was dismal. The service was also extremely slow and people were getting quite frustrated. The excitement of sailing out of port with a drink in hand and a toast was lost. A shame when all we wanted to do was have a good time, after all, the shipping staff are supposed to be well seasoned professionals in hospitality.
If you don't have kids, I recommend doing the Mexican cruise during the first week of November, as there were few children on board and no rowdy college kids either (not that I have anything against kids, but the passengers were more our age group, 50's-60's).
We did the upgraded dining a couple of times. The Curtis Stone restaurant was way too slow in service, so we didn't enjoy that experience and wouldn't pay to do that again. But we did like the Crown Grill. And all of the dining rooms on board were a good experience - nice staff, good menu, and excellent food. I also enjoyed the English Afternoon Tea - good scones with jam and cream!
We were fortunate to have a full suite and it was lovely. Yes, it was expensive, but it was very roomy, which was good because my sister slept on the very nice, new sofa bed. The sofa bed was actually comfortable!
Our favorite port was Puerto Vallarta, but it would have been nice to have a couple of extra hours there. We sailed too early and didn't have time to do all the things we'd planned. The ship is a long way from town - allow about half an hour to 45 minutes to get there. And take the local Blue Bus - it only costs a dollar and usually has a local singing on the bus (tip him $1.00).
The cabin/suite was at the back of the ship. The noise of the water at the back is louder than that of a cabin at the side of the ship. But our balcony was very big and we enjoyed it.