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Hi guys; Time to report on the ship itself.
Lets begin with the physical appearance. First of all if you are looking for glitz and glamor then this is not the ship for you. The interior reminds you of an older, stately hotel. It is very clean and subdued in its decor. Even the casino seemed a bit sedate. If you like Vegasesque features you won't like this ship. Bear in mind it is the smallest ship in the Princess line along with its sistership the Pacific Princess. We learned during the "Meet The Captain" cocktail party that Princess is actually building a new SMALL ship with similar dimensions, i.e. 30K tons and a length of about 600 ft. which seems to buck the trend for all new ships being goliaths. What do you find with small vs. mega-liners? This is what we noticed; First of all you see the same people more often and this means you have more opportunities to meet and greet. It leads to a friendlier atmosphere I think. Secondly word on a smaller ship travels fast. As you recall from TR part one a woman suffered a cardiac arrest and died. It seemed in no time that everyone knew about it and everything else for that matter. Third you do feel the motion more, esp. if the seas are rough.
For calm seas its no problem but if the waves and wind kick up you do notice it more, esp. if you are at either end of the ship. Amidships was much better so I would advise those going on smaller ships to be in the middle as much as possible. I wondered how the Paul Gaughin did in this weather. We saw her as we passed Raiatea the first time. She was docked but couldn't get out due to the choppy seas and the narrow inlet. She is only 18K tons and about 100 ft. less than the TP. Fourth its much easier to get the "lay of the land" as it were.
Next what about the service? In a word SUPER! If you read TR part 1 then you saw how wonderful that officer was in aiding us, esp. my wife in getting a more suitable room. Everyone working on that ship never once failed to be less than polite, accomodating and friendly. We felt welcomed and well considered. A few days into the cruise we took a galley tour and met the head chef. I was astounded when he asked my wife if she felt better. How he knew she had been ill I don't know but the fact that he did and asked was very impressive to us. Our cabin attendants were always polite, smiling and most importantly had our room spic and span. And our waiters were amazing! They were always on top of everything and worked tirelessly to be sure our needs were met.
You know it seems that if you are friendly with them they more than return the favor to you. I really can't say enough about the overall excellence of the crew as a whole. Well done!
How about the shows? We actually missed about half of them but from what we saw we thought they were well done and professional. They acted well, danced well and performed capably overall. However as this is a small ship the stage was pretty small too. Personaly I prefer a bigger stage for that big productuion feel. The best performance came while in Raieatea when a local group of performers came on to show us native dances. They ranged from age 4 to about 18 and this was pretty neat to see.
OK what about the food. We were very pleased for the most part. I would avoid the scrambled eggs from the Panorama cafe but aside from that the breakfast selections were quite varied and really very good. I would go up there around opening time for coffee and pastries and bring that to our room. We would relax on the balcony, eat that then have our full breakfast in the main dining room. The selections were well made but I think their menu could be expanded. The coffee ( I am fussy about my coffee. I brought my own plus a French press to make it with) was suprisingly very good in the Panaroma cafe but pretty weak in the main dining room. I was very impressed with the buffet luncheons. It seemed there were 2-3 different salad selections every day w/o any repeating themselves. The Chinese cabbage/duck salad was especially good. They also have a great variety of main selections including things that you don't usually see such as Indian egg curry which actually even isn't on the menus of most Indian restaurants. Once day they had coconut shrimp which was fantstic and everyday they had a meat carving server dishing out whole roasted pig, scrumptious veal roasts, fresh turkey, roast beef and one day a whole tuna. Cold cuts and Pannini were always there.
We had dinner in the main dining room every night and what can I say except all was very well. There were always appetizers, salads, soups and entress selections followed by dessert of course. Again it seemed that there was very little repetition esp. for a 10 day cruise. As an aside my wife requested Indian food on our first night and did get it it every night thereafter. It was pretty good really and on day 8 I think the head chef and all his assistants paraded around the dinig room to receive a well deserved round of applause. Then we saw there were several Indian assistant cooks. No wonder the Indian food was so good. I must add that on Italian night we were able to try the home-made lemoncello. Momma mia! I bought a bottle today.
Overall I can see why this particular ship is so well rated on x. Actually as the FP destination is anything but glitz and glamor ala the Caribbean or Mexico this ships offerings fit percectly to this destination. If there are any questions I haven't addressed please ask.