We were on the "cruise to nowhere" last year (2012), when the Crown Princess was brought back to Ft Lauderdale due to a large percentage of passengers coming down with Norovirus. So really, any cruise that went on without illness would be better. That said, I'm beginning to think that I'm not really a "cruise person".
The good things about this vacation:
the weather was warm and wonderful. The ports were loads of fun. We met a lot of really nice people, including those on our "Roll Call".
I enjoyed the food-it was plentiful and well prepared, especially the meal we had at Sabatini's. It was well worth the #25 pp cover charge. I had roast duck breast, which was so perfectly prepared. My husband had a veal chop that was also cooked to perfection. We went with another couple we met at our hotel the night before and they were also impressed with the meal. The MDR meals seemed more like banquet food that you would get an any wedding. Good, but uninspired, and somewhat bland.
The staff of the Caribbean Princess were professional and courteous to a fault (more on this later). Our bartender at Vines remembered our names and got my bottle of wine out right away when I approached the bar. The complimentary tapas and sushi were a wonderful treat in the early evening when we were planning on eating later. Our room steward deserves top honors!
The ports were a lot of fun-since we didn't get to visit any ports last year, this was part of what I was really looking forward to. We booked a Princess tour in Curacao-good value for our $$, but I would probably not do it again. I liked exploring on my own a little more.
The things I did not like:
Some of the staff were a little too intrusive for my taste. Now this is what I mean by "I'm not really a cruise person". We were at the buffet one morning, and as we left the food line, a staff member asked if we were looking for a table. We said yes, and she took our plates and walked us to a table-I can carry my own plate, really. I also don't like the way it seems we are charged extra for everything. I know, for you experienced cruisers, this is old hat-but the total cost would be more realistic if the tipping was added into the total price. Also, Princess really advertises their "Scholarship@Sea" programs, but doesn't add in that there is an upcharge for them. Same thing with the Chef's table and ship tour. $150 pp for the "ultimate ship tour"?? Other lines, I've heard do this for free. You've got me held captive in the middle of the ocean, now you want me to pay for activities????? Not cool.
The lsst thing I did not really care for was a cooking demonstration with the Executive chef, held on the last sea day.
The demo was actually a comedy act between the chef and the Maitre D' that used it's time to sell a cookbook. It was followed by a galley tour, that was no more than a walk through the kitchen area. Not interesting at all-I would have liked a more serious demo and tour, but I have a feeling that I would have had to pay for that!
If we do go on another, we will choose a different line and pay attention to more of the upcharges-to minimize additional costs. Money is tight, and I like to know I am getting good value.
Honestly, I think I'd rather get in my car, hook up my camper and go to the mountains and cook my own dinner over the campfire.