Those are pretty open questions. Depends on your own personal preferences as to whether you'll like Princess. Have you cruised before? If so, what cruise line? From there, those of us who have been on Princess could draw some comparisons.
Yes, I have been on one cruise. I sailed the NCL spirit out of NYC to the Caribbean. (St Thomas, Tortola and Bermuda) It was great. I heard some bad things about NCL before I went but all in all, it was a good cruise and I would sail NCL again in a heartbeat, but I like to try new things plus my girlfriends family swears by Princess.
Princess is among the top of the mass market cruise lines. - Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity & NCl. They do offer a good product for the money & I doubt if you'll be disappointed. If your more into partying, then Carnival might be more to your liking as Princess caters to an older age group. On some Princess cruises (10 day) I found the passenger ages to be on the much older but recently on my last 10 day cruise there were people of all ages. The longer cruises tend to attract older passengers who have the time to cruise. I think you'll find a Princess cruise is slightly above what you experienced on NCL.
You will not be disappointed at all in Princess. Here's a little guideline I came up with for ages and cruise lines. I'd be interested in knowing who all agrees and disagrees and why. Could be fun!
Ages 20-30 Carnival because of the party.
Ages 30-40 Royal Caribbean - because you really don't want to be around the party...you deserve better.
Ages 40-45 Back to Carnival to satisfy the upcoming mid-life crisis - prove you can still hang!
Ages 45-70 Princess for total relaxation, but still able to kick-it up if desired.
Ages 70+ one of the others, or perhaps the Delta Queen
Based on adults only, children may vary choices.
Disclaimer: this is not meant to offend anyone and is just based on personal observations, along with personal experience.
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Pretty much sums it up tncruiseman. I started out with Costa, then NCL, then RCL, then Carnival, then HAL, then Princess. So far, to me, Princess does it best. We're sailing on the Costa Magica in a few weeks and am totally excited about trying Costa again. I'm even more excited about the Emerald Princess next year. Sure wish I could go once a month!!
We have been sailing Princess now for the last 4 years. We've sailed the Grand, Dawn, and Sun twice. We like the personal choice dining as well as the fresh water pools. We were on the same cruise this year as Penny3333, Oct 21, and there were various age groups. We also sailed the Sun last year during Halloween, and I felt as though there were various age groups on that cruise as well. It's all in what you make of it. To me, it's a vacation, and I'm not working. Probably do the Emerald next year, as we tend to do 10 day fall cruises, and the Sun is not sailing that itinerary next year. Although, I do like the Sun and Dawn because of their small ship feel. The Emerald is going to be part of the grand class, so it will take some getting used to being back on the bigger ships.
Raffles, this is all good information. I think Princess is really good value for the money and a cruise line that you and your girlfriend and her family will like. The average age does increase with the length of the cruise and the climate--colder climates seem to attract older cruisers. Since you've done the Caribbean, I would suggest a seven day Mexican Riviera out of Los Angeles on Diamond Princess. My wive and I did it last March(before it gets too hot)on Sapphire Princess, Diamond's sister, and just had a wonderful time. The ports are great, especially if you are active and like water sports, off-roading, hiking, things like that; and Mazatlan is great for shopping. Choochella is right on: it's all what you make of it!