My girlfriend and I were on the "Sea Princess" April 14-29 for a Panama Cnal cruise. Both of us enjoyed the experience and I thought it was the best cruise the two of us have been on (our fourth together).
I agree that the economic realities of today's cruise industry have forced some cutbacks. But on this cruise the service was first-rate. The food was good, probably not "5-star quality"; but, we seldom eat in such places anyway. Drink prices were not out of line compared to what we pay on land. Yes, the photos and the spa are overpriced so we only bought a few pictures and I did not go to the spa at all (she did). There was only one alternative restaurant (Sterling Steakhouse) and the extra charge was only $8 plus gratuity.
Princess has 7 new ships on order over the next 3 years. Even if they retire older smaller ships, they will have more cabins to fill. Too many cabins which are a perishable commodity mean continued discounting.