I just returned from the Caribbean Princess that sailed from Southampton on 07 June, 2012 with a group of fifteen passengers. The trip was a disaster from the go.
We arrived at the pier to embark at our given time. Our group waited two hours to board the ship. Everyone was given a color code and told to wait to embark. Some of the people checking people had no one in front of them in line. Yet they were very slow in calling people to check-in.
We finally checked in, had dinner, saw the show, and the casino remained closed. We did not know why. The next morning when we woke up, we were still at the pier. At 8:00am there was an announcement from the bridge that we had not left. The announcement said that the ship was having technical problems which were being taken care of and they did not know when we were leaving. The announcement was repeated at 10;00am, 12:00noon and 2:00pm. No more information was given. Supposedly, an announcement was made the night before, but the next morning in the restaurants and lounges, elevators everyone was saying an announcement was not heard.
About 4:30pm on Friday, an announcement came out that we were departing at 6:30pm and would arrive in Guernsey the next morning. I called the tour guide that I had hired for our group, and Princess had called her early that afternoon to offer her a guide job with the ship. Of course we did not find out until much later about a day delay.
At dinner, someone found out we were moving tours for the next three days up a day and deleting Liverpool. This was a huge disappointment to many, many people. We were never told why we could not omit Guernsey since we were just staying there until 1:30 and continue on the trip as planned. Since I had private tours for our group I had to get in touch with the tour operators I had contracted with, as well as castles and museums. Our guide in Liverpool sent me an e-mail timed much before I was notified that he heard we will not be in Liverpool.
It was clearly a Princess problem that we did not dock in Liverpool as well as the extra day we had to stay on the ship in Southampton. I cannot believe that Princess only gave everyone a $75 ship board credit!!!! In Southampton, we were not allowed off the ship and the activities were horrible.
As for activities- not very many. There was music to sit and listen to. That gets very old with the same people playing for twelve days. They had trivia at least a couple of time a day if you were interested in that. They had many money making activities -- like how to look younger, loose that stomach fat, etc. art auctions. All money making for the ship. On ten to twelve day cruises that I have been on, a lecturer is brought on board with very interesting lectures. No selling involved. Not on our ship! The shops were open, but the casino was closed for three days straight, beside the two days in Southampton, and later in the cruise they opened one night at 10:30 and one night they were closed. Sabatini's became a game room until 4:00pm. No water of coffee or anything else for that matter was available. No organized games or duplicate bridge which is usually available on twelve day cruises.
They ought to get a new chef. The food was tasteless!! However, I will say the portions were quite large. Fifteen of us went to Sabatini's for dinner which was awful. Not one of us had a good meal. It is pretty bad when people ask for catsup in a fine restaurant for their steaks, veal and chicken. Definitely a waste of money, but since the dining room was not very good, we thought we would pay for a good meal. Wrong!!! However, we did go to the Grill Restaurant and that was very good. In fact ten of us went a second time and one couple went three times.
We also missed Edinburgh because we could not tender into port. I understand that. However, I have been on a couple of cruises in the past, when we could not go into a port, but we went to a different port. Since we had already missed Liverpool and spent an extra day in Southampton plus the next day was a sea day, I cannot believe that we could not go someplace else.
Just a minor complaint, but important. On every ship I have been on in recent years, hand sanitizer is everywhere. It was nowhere to be found when we arrived back on the ship after being in port. I went into the dining room and asked where the Purell was and they said to go to the ladies room and wash my hands. The only place I saw it was at the buffet.
By the way, I went to the Captain's Party and was greeted by the captain. I said I was disappointed that we could not go to Liverpool and he turned his back to me. I think that was very rude. If he would have been honest and told people that there was a reason we omitted Liverpool instead of Guernsey or someplace else, I think the passengers would have been more understanding.
Our group is a well traveled group and not one in my group will take another Princess cruise, unless it is free. Many people on the ship, were saying how Princess has gone down. I am sorry to hear this.