We are experienced cruisers, but have only sailed on ships where the veranda rooms had full views of the ocean with a railing on the veranda. Notice on the Dawn Princess that the veranda has a cut-out hole through which to view the ocean -- believe it is an older ship. Approximately how large is the actual hole? I would think that with only that little cutout, it might get really hot on the veranda. Any information is appreciated!
I still think that the Sun Princess class, which includes MV Dawn Princess, is the best class of ships on which I have ever cruised. The layout is highly functional and the decor is very, very nice.
What you are calling "cut-outs" for the balconies actually extend from below the rail to a few inches below the overhead verically and within a foot of the ends of the balcony horizontally. They are much larger than the windows on standard outside cabins, and will not obstruct your view at all.
We've never sailed with Princess. Any comments? We are looking at the Mexican Riviera, and the two ships we are comparing are the Celebrity Mercury (also an older ship) and the Dawn.
Advice? Weather in January?
That said, I would choose MV Mercury, sailing from San Diego, over MV Dawn Princess, sailing from San Francisco, for two reasons.
>> 1. I think that Celebrity now has a better product overall. Princess cut a lot of corners as part of a "cost reduction programme" a few years ago, and it really degraded Princess's product.
>> 2. If you sail from San Francisco, you will have four days of very cool weather while at sea in transit to and from the tropics, and any ports of call in California also are apt to have cool weather. If you cruise from San Diego, you will have only two such days.
That said, I should point out that Celebrity is not a good cruise line for passengers who do not like to dress for dinner and remain dressed for the rest of the evening for a couple reasons.
>> 1. Celebrity sill has "informal" evenings (gentlemen require a sport coat, but no tie, and most ladies dress well beyond an "informal" standard) in addition to the three "formal" evenings on the "Mexican Riviera" itineraries. If you book on Celebrity, you should expect to dress up for dinner at least half of the evenings aboard ship.
>> 2. Celebrity's casual alternatives on formal and informal evenings are very limited. Celebrity does offer "alternative casual dining" (with full service) in the buffet area, but a reservation is "recommended" (they will seat walk-ins if space is available) and it carries a surcharge ($3.50 per person IIRC). MV Mercury also a pizza and pasta bar that's open from noon to 1:00 AM on the starboard side the magrodome behind the main buffet area, but the options there are relatively limited -- pizza du jour, pasta du jour, and Caesar salad. Celebrity's ships have NO casual entertaiment whatsoever other than stateroom television -- which probably is NOT the way that you want to spend half of your evenings aboard ship.
Thus, I strongly recommend choosing a line other than Celebrity if you don't want to dress up for most evenings.