This was our first Princess cruise, so we truly didn't know what to expect other than what we had read and what Princess is known for. Embarkation was a breeze even if we were required to fill out a medical questionnaire stating our exposure, or lack of exposure, to Covid-19. No temperature check or screening of any kind.
Once onboard, we found evidence of what all the previous reviews had mentioned. This is an older ship and shows it with rust in many areas, disabled elevators, etc. Even with these shortcomings we were still quite excited to begin our 25th wedding anniversary cruise.
The first noticeable observation was that this cruise was populated with older adults. The largest age group represented was the 70+ group. Many walkers, canes and electric scooters. Since this itinerary was 15 days and right in the middle of the school year, we didn't expect to see many young people, but we weren't truly prepared for this demographic. All that said, we had a great time. Our dining room staff was top notch, the Broadway-type shows were very good and the magician/comedian(Christopher James) was hysterical! There were several activities during the many sea days and the food was quite good. We paid the up-charge for the Crown Grill steakhouse and felt it was money well spent.
Sadly, everything changed on the 12th day. We were informed that a passenger on the previous cruise has contracted the Coronavirus and, regardless of usual cleaning practices, we were now considered exposed to the virus. We were allowed to dine for our lunch meal after which we would be confined to our rooms. Masks were issued and social distancing was encouraged for lunch, but instead most folks treated it as if this would be the last meal they would receive. Taking as much food as they could carry to their rooms.
While confined to our rooms, Princess did an amazing job of keeping us fed, amused and informed. The captain would make frequent announcements and we had meals and activities delivered to our rooms. Our stewards would place a tray/container at our door, knock and then stand a safe distance away. We had booked a balcony, so access to fresh air and sunshine was immediate. The folks in inside staterooms were allowed to walk the upper decks, in small groups, on a controlled schedule . Princess also gave everyone free wi-fi and added new content to the "on demand" TV viewing options. Our last port, Ensenada, was eliminated so we could head directly back to San Francisco. We floated in limbo for a couple days until Oakland graciously accepted us. We didn't realize how good we had it until we were placed in the hands of US authorities.
Princess did everything right with the information and supplies/services they were provided. The generosity of Princess was exemplary. I have nothing but good things to say about how our crew, and the Princess team, dealt with our constantly evolving situation.
Fabulous bed. When I first tried it, I felt it was too soft, but I slept well every night. The balcony had a fair amount of rust, but nothing a little paint would cure. The refrigerator came in very handy.