Rick, we just got back from the Sea Princess yesterday doing Mexican Riviera. I'll pen a review later -- great ship and shows!
You're lucky in that I got nosey this time and checked out the mini-suites as we were leaving our balcony stateroom on checkout day. All I can say is oo-la-la! Very nice! In fact, after seeing them, I saw no reason to spend the extra money for a suite.
I'll tell you a couple observations and details ...
First, it's much larger than it appears on the 'net and in the Princess brochures. The living room area features a leather sofa and barrel chair. The ceiling above the coffee table is mirrored. The first TV (which was 19 inch) sits in a mini bookcase setup to the left of the entrance to the bedroom alcove and the bar area sits to the right of the alcove. Lots of wood trim (crown moldings, chair rails etc) adds a touch of luxury. Sliding doors near the barrel chair are one of *two* ways to get to your double balcony. (Major jealosy from me)
The bedroom, as I said is in an alcove. A curtain may be pulled to separate it from the living area if one wished to stay up later and not disturb the other. Very nice size, with nightstands on either side of the queen size bed. If I recall, there was a mirror behind the bed (as was the same with the balcony stateroom), which added to the sense of space and a sense of excitement during other activities. ;-) There is a second TV here. Again, sliding doors from the bedroom access the double balcony, which features not only the resin chairs and table, but also two comfy-looking lounge chairs.
The bathroom is to die for. The floors are a beautiful gray marble, which also encircles the tub. (Much nicer than the tile and plastic floors on the simple balcony cabins). The architect thoughtfully made two entrances to the bath -- one from the bedroom and one near the entry. Furthermore, the vanity area is separate from the bathing area, so one can be making up while the other is cleaning up.
The size is absolutely perfect for a longer excursion. I will think very hard about upgrading to the mini-suite next time on Princess. Another benefit is that the mini-suites appear to be located midship, wo it's much less of a walk to access the theaters and Horizon Court etc.
Hope this all helps. Feel free to email or post any other questions.
We didn't do the steakhouse dining venue ... mainly 'cause we are not steak people (and I'm cheap). But we did use Lagos, the pizza place (by the way, you can customize the pizzas ... for example, we ordered double pepperoni).
Under the member reviews area, I think the review penned by a Mr Baumgartner was the most thorough. In fact, I cut out the topics about Alaska, cut and pasted the rest in Word, and took it with me on our Mexico trip. His description of the decks, etc, was excellent in helping to learn the lay of the land asap. Only problem I had was remembering which way to the front of the ship and which way to the aft section.
We did Personal Choice dining, which was great for us. Also, be sure and input all your personal information on the Princess Cruise's site so that you can get Express Check-in. I couldn't believe it -- from the time we were dropped at the terminal till the time we were smiling for the photographer at the gangway, it was 10 minutes! Absolutely incredible.
At any rate, keep the questions coming. I'm happy to help