This was our first ever cruise. We normally do all inclusive resorts, but we normally travel just after Christmas which has become more and more expensive to the point that it wasn't much more to take a cruise so we thought we would try it. We are a middle-aged couple, It was my 45th birthday during this cruise and my husband also turned 56 the first day of the cruise. Princess decorated our door for us for free. We flew from Toronto via Air Canada Rouge, the flight was fine, nothing special though. Our flight was delayed due to an unruly passenger needing to be deplaned by air mashalls so not a great start. Arrived at FLL - easy to deplane and pick up luggage. We stayed at Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Lauderdale 17th Street for 2 days before the cruise, we had included our transfers from hotel and to cruise port at time of booking. We like this hotel, it is expensive, and the rooms are all 2 room suites, but older. There is a full breakfast buffet every morning, takes a while to get a seat if you are not there right at the start. Every evening there is a free cocktail hour, mixed drinks are not strong, wine and beer is your best bet. Nice pool and hot tub, central location close to Publix, wine and liquor stores, shopping areas and restaurants, you can catch the sunshine trolley out in front and go to the beach or mall. We cruised on Royal Princess, loved that theme song horn. I enjoyed the MDR, especially miss that fettuccine in a baked Parmesan bowl! We did not do a-la-cartes. We did the buffet for breakfasts which was fine. We did find the service lacking in the bars though. You could sit for almost an hour without being served, perhaps this had something to do with the fact that it was a New Year's cruise? We find the Pressecco Bar to be our best bet. We did find that the clientele was mostly older, and there were not a lot of activities to do - obviously this ship has no water slides or things of that nature so definitely not suited to those with children as I think they would be bored silly. We are beach people, so did mostly beach excursions, we found them to be much as expected. This was our first introduction to port shopping, I had no idea what that was a thing until this cruise LOL
We booked a mini suite right over the bridge so we had THE BIGGEST balcony EVER! So cool to have that view on our first cruise, I literally could have run laps on our balcony! The room was a two room, more like a suite, but only classed as a mini suite. There was a bathtub, which was important to me and lots of storage and space.