We were on the Caribbean Princess the end of February and the beginning of March 2013. We'd read review after review, and they were all preparing us to be disappointed. It was just the opposite. Better than we had expected. We had to look for the complaints of other reviewers.
We got into Fort Lauderdale on Thursday Night, just after midnight. Princess met us at the airport, with a shuttle, and took us to the hotel. 2 good nights at the Embassy Suites, and lots to do within easy walking distance. Princess shuttle took us to the ship.
Embarkation was well-handled. The line was always moving, and we never felt stuck in line. From the time we got off the bus, until we walked onto the ship it might have been 45 minutes.
We starting looking around the ship. It was described in earlier reviews as worn-out and looking tired. We didn't see that. They were painting inside and out, varnishing railings, and even replaced a banister in the atrium while we were on board. OK...this ship is almost 10 years old, but it doesn't look like a 10-year-old car, or a 10-year-old sofa. We looked at each other and both commented how nit-picky other reviewers had been. Pleasantly surprised.
Overcrowding and waiting: We had been warned that the ship had an entire extra deck, and no extra public space to accommodate the additional passengers. Our only wait was for dinner, which was Anytime/Anywhere. We walked up to the Host-stand and put in our name, and received a beeper. The first night we sat by ourselves, and had to wait 30 or 45 minutes for a table for 2. After that, we asked to share with other folks, and 5 of 6 nights we walked right in.
We had wonderful dinner companions. Fascinating people.
Staff was just great. More Princess Staff per passenger than I remember on either Norwegian or Holland-America. My favorite were the folks at the end of the buffet line who helped find an open table.
Food: Met our standards. We didn't have a poor meal all week long.
Never disappointed. Impressed that the menu always had (v) vegetarian items shown.
Beverages: We bought a soda mug and refilled it with Diet Coke 3 or 4 times each day, with multiple locations to refill the mug. Money well-spent. We also bought a coffee card and only used it 3 or 4 times in 7 days. Only 1 place to use it. OK, it's good on our next cruise. Better to pay-as-you-go...
Entertainment. Fun and Enjoyable. Magician was the only weak show. Should have shared the bill with another act. Easily became repetitive.
Terrace Pool area, on the tail-fin of the boat was our hangout for the week.
It's an over-21 area, and most of the folks we reading or chatting. We saw no need to go to The Sanctuary.
Our first time on Princess.
We were impressed.
We had a good time.
We'll be back.