We sailed on Caribbean Princess on December 29 -it was our New Year's 7 nights South Caribbean cruise with ports of call of Princess Cays, Curacao and Aruba. We had two cabins - penthouse suite for ourselves and an interior cabin for our son.
This was our 5th cruise ( first with Princess) and we always sailed in suites.
Other lines we sailed with are: Carnival, RCI, Celebrity, Norwegian.
In terms of the service quality For suite passengers I can only compare princess with Carnival, the only difference is that we paid for Carnival cruise 4 times less than Princess!
Reading all the wonderful reviews about Princess made us book our holiday cruise with this line and we were extremely disappointed! We were constantly battling to get some information, gave up on this idea when the senior customer service officer could not tell us how many suites were on the ship. Wonder HOW other passengers could feel special on this overpriced cruise line...may be they never sailed on anything else and have nothing better to compare with?
Here is a brief summary of our cruise experience and suite services, compared to other cruise lines
Priority check in -YES
Lounge - NO
Free Internet - NO
Priority theater seating -NO
Free laundry -YES
Afternoon canapes -YES
Balcony dining - YES
Overall cruise experience - 2 out of 10
We felt that we were neglected. Elite and platinum passengers staying in non-suite cabins received more attention than suite guests, there was a special lounge for us, nor designated person to help us. Suite passengers were left by themselves, getting any information felt like pulling healthy teeth.
Embarkation - 2 out of 10
We received priority check-in with Princess , together with elite and platinum members, but there was NO lounge ( all other cruise lines we sailed with had lounge for suite passengers with refreshments). Unlike other lines where suite passengers automatically receive platinum level with distinctive keys, we received the lowest blue level, so there was no way to tell that we were suite guests unless we would emphasize it. There was no special embarkation procedure (on other lines we were escorted to our cabin by a concierge), we just boarded the ship with other passengers and went to our suite.
The suite - 5 out of 10
The penthouse suite ($8000 for two) was equipped with two TVs, DVD, fridge, counter with sink in the living area. The cabin was divided into living area and bedroom area by a curtain. Bathroom had a shower, a tub, a single sink vanity and a toilet. Bedroom area also had a dresser counter and a closet with the door. The balcony was really large as our suite was located on aft section. There were certain signs of wear and tear in the suite-the crack on the sink, missing grout on the shower floor, dated furniture on the balcony, worn out carpet in the cabin, rattling mirrors and panels.
The interior cabin - 6out of 10
The size of the cabin was good. Perhaps this was one of the very few good things about this cruise. The bathroom smelled awful, we complained few times and it was sanitized and cleaned by the 3rd day.
Cleanliness overall - 7 out of 10
Theatre decor - 5 out of 10
Dining rooms decor - 6 out of 10
Staircases, elevators and hallway areas - 5 out of 10
Atrium area decor- 7 out of 10, space - 4 out of 10
Lounges and bars - 8 out of 10
Casino - 5 out of 10
Gym - 6 out of 10
Steward's service - 9.5 out of 10
We followed the advice and tipped the steward throughout the cruise. Did not have any problems with him.
Restaurant reservations -3 out of 10
There was no butler service, nor the concierge service, so we had to make all reservation and inquiries by ourselves. At times we were placed for almost 35 minutes on hold trying to get restaurant reservation.
Restaurants with no cover fee - 2 out of 10
Compared to the other cruise lines, the variety was very poor, both in the buffet and plated restaurants, the quality of food was inferior. Even Carnival had better food!
Restaurants with cover fee ($25 per person)
Crown grill - 10 out of 10
Sabatini's - 8 out of 10
Shows - 4 out of 10
It seems that the entertainment director has no idea about entertainment on other cruise liners. Considering the quantity of passengers on board(about 3500 people), we expected to see some good shows. Unfortunately this did not happen. 5 nights out of 7 the performances were by the in-house cast, one female singer lacked general singing skills, dancers were of very average standard. Other two nights were magic tricks by "America's got talent" duo and a comedy show. We were quite disappointed with this as we saw Broadway level shows on other ships.
Spa and salon - 4 out of 10
I went two times to have my hair done. For the same service I got charged 55$ for the first time and 83$ the second time ( had to redo everything the second time in the cabin)
Duty free on board - not worth it at all.
New Years celebration - 3 out of 10
There were many other issues, but at some point we decided to ignore things and try to enjoy our vacation.
General impression from the cruise - grossly overpaid for mediocre services.