My Husband and I cruised on the Caribbean Princess during New Year's. We had a great time. I read the reviews by other passengers on the same cruise, and I wonder if were actually on the same ship.
Embarkation...not so good. We arrived earlier than usual because the ship sailed at four. It was around 2:00, and the line was long. While my husband parked our car in the garage, I waited on a bench. He joined me when he finished, and then we just people watched until the lines thinned. After that, it was very quick. We were inside, our S&S cards issued, on the ship, eyes scanned and to our cabin. Most of our luggage was there. We were almost totally unpacked before muster. WooHoo! Muster was in the Explorer's Lounge. We took life jackets. Saw them demonstrated. Then put them on. Short. To the point. Well done.
Ship.....It is big. We had a balcony cabin, very close to the mid ship elevators. We had issues with the toilet seat which did not want to stay fastened. It was never fixed. It was not major. The toilet stopped one time. It was fixed within ten minutes of being reported. We had plenty of storage space. The bed had a eggcrate mattress cover, and it was fine. We slept like logs. We walked a lot. We found ourselves gripping about having to go from Trivia, which we enjoyed, to the MDR or theater two or three times a day. The Silver Lining was that I ate like a horse and gained not a single pound. I loved the decor of the ship. I thought it was very classy.
Cabin Attendent....Could not have been better. His name is Jeffrey. He is the greatest. Our room was always spotless. He did anything asked immediately.
Dining...We ate in the MDR a lot. Every night for dinner and we enjoyed it. My DH, a skinny non foodie, commented on how good the food was on this cruise. I was startled. And it was good. The beef medallions..which I had only once..sob,sob. The Shrimp Danielle. The eggrolls. The fresh fruit plates. The fried chicken was delicious, and I am from Alabama. I know fried chicken. The desserts in the MDR were good. A nice list to choose from. I would order two...supposedly one for me, and one for DH, and the little rat would eat his. That seldom happens on cruises. He knocked back chocolate cake, ice cream sundaes, cheesecake, and again, commented on how they tasted. For Breakfast, he went up to the buffet while I dressed. He ate bran flakes there, and then joined me for breakfast in the MDR which was the Coral DR on the CB. The coffee was hot and strong, the service immediate, the staff friendly and competent, and the food...very good. One morning I asked for grits. The servers did not know what that was..I told them it was a southern thing, that I liked hash browns as well and to forget it. We ordered and forgot about it. Then our waiter comes out with a big bowl of grits. Cooked just right. Not too thin. Not too thick. No lumps. My DH and I grabbed the salt and pepper shakers, put a good bit of butter on them, and then fought over who go the biggest portion from the bowl. We ate the last grit. And appreciated the kindness of the staff for making it for us. They were funny as they watched what we put on grits to eat them, and how we ate them. My DH eats his from the bowl, I put mine on my plate by my eggs. We can eat them as a cereal but did not go into that. It was a nice morning. For lunch, also in the MDR..Coral DR..when open..great food. Club sandwiches..yum. Rum Baba..double yum. Chocolate layer thingies..yum, yum, yum. A tasty hamburger. A seafood plate..fried but in small portions...with cole slaw and fries. Only the hush puppies were missing . My DH had a big salad with grilled chicken..he ordered tortilla soup and raved about that. We were very pleased with the food choices. We seldom went to the buffet. It was O.K. but crowded. It was hard to find a seat.
Entertainment..Great. We played Trivia. We won Jeopardize Trivia. Does it get any better than that? We also won one other trivia contest, The folks we played trivia with were so great that I was teary eyed on the last night. Great, great fun. I only saw one show..and I thought they sang and danced up a storm. I liked the shorter length. I stayed awake. For me, that is high praise for a cruise ship production. I have slept through a lot of them on many cruise lines. We saw an extraordinary man..Tom ..I cannot remember his last name, who played the piano and did comedy. He had people lined up in the halls to watch him. The ship scheduled some extra shows for people to see him, and my DH and I laughed ourselves silly. He had a very good voice, and would sing occasionally. He was a remarkable talent. My DH caught his show the next night too. The casino was too small. Too tight. The machines were not the modern fancy ones..nor the old beloved ones. A lot of the card type ones that sit empty all of the time. My DH played roulette and did pretty well. The service was good in there. I never found it to be smoking. PRINCESS did not televise the Georgia. Bowl Game. The Sugar Bowl. DH was very disappointed. Then we heard it was shown in the bars and hotels in Cureso..but who knew?
NEW YEAR'S NIGHT.....The Christmas decorations were still up, and Princess had lovely trees every where. I liked that. It added to the Holiday feel. That night, we ate dinner. We had hats and horns..blew them. acted silly and had fun. Then we played Trivia. We won. We liked that. Then we went to the casino..met up before 12..saw the crowd at the Plaza and went to the room to watch on TV. Fell Asleep. Still a great NYE. Princess partied big time.
Wait Staff in MDR...simply could not have been better. We tipped all of them extra..starting with the asst. maitre 'd who went to every table..every night. That is why service in the PALM MDR was a smooth as ice. Like clockwork, NEVER had a hot dish that was supposed to be cold or vice versa. Big change from Carnival..which I also love..but truth is truth.
Activities Staff....If you can't find fun with the activities of these guys and gals..you are not looking for fun. Trivia...marriage show ( which I don't like but many do) activities for the kiddies..decorating cookies..making things for NY's Eve...line dancing..ballroom dancing Zumba...crafts...movies..pool games..wine tastings..some lectures... on and on and on.....LOVED it. LOVED the folks who did our trivias....The "hunk" from Brazil.....Nat...super fun. All of them were super fun. The guy from Trinidad...totally hilarious. The young lady from S.Africa...sweet. funny. Took a picture of our Trivia group and chatted with us. Loved her. Booger. From Rumania. Sharp. Kept the games going. Nice guy.
Ports...perfect. Warm. Sunny . Aruba to the Butterfly Farm. It was like from fantasy island. Millions of them. Lovely plants. Millions of butterflies. They would light beside us. Millions of them. Great tour. In Cureso...we wound up on the wrong tour. My DH went back for his sunglasses..our tour group left us..we waited for the next group to load the buses..the Tour Boss stuck stickers on us and told us to come with her. We did. We sat right across from her on the bus. She knew her island and gave a great lecture. We went to see the Dolphin Show. I told her we were on the wrong tour. She said we had done nothing wrong, that sometimes things just happened. The Show was great. My DH saw the shark feeding too. Little birds would fly to the table where I sat. and just watch me. I loved it. I loved the tour. I love the tour boss. What a nice woman.
Disembartation...easy. We had a sickly dog in the vet. ( Seriously sick. The vet says he is allergic to Florida..skin disorders and things like that ..allergies..pancreitis..he had set back..I went to the Main Desk..explained we were driving and they let us move up in our already assigned color. From six to one. So we were off the ship pretty early. We made it home in time to get him before the vet closed. He is recovering nicely. Thanks Princess.
It was a great cruise. I have no reason to fool with you. I would take it again in a heartbeat. I love Princess. This cruise was a typical Princess cruise. It was a fabulous week.