Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by Crui$erCT: OK Cruise on the Caribbean Princess
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OK Cruise on the Caribbean Princess
The biggest positive for us on the cruise was, indeed, the service. We had read on CC that previous travelers were disappointed before we left, so we were concerned about what we would encounter, but we found the staff almost to a person to be friendly and helpful. We also loved Sabatini's Restaurant and enjoyed the Crowne Grill. There International Cafe made some delicious expresso-based coffee drinks that helped my husband with his Starbucks withdrawal.
The biggest negatives for us were: smoking allowed in the casino, the terrible food in the traditional dining rooms (laughable even... the portions were so small and the quality so BLAH), the heavy push to shop on the ship, and the crowded conditions during embarkation & disembarkation.
My husband likes to gamble as our entertainment, and we are both nonsmokers. While part of the casino seemed less smoky, it so happened that the large ashtrays were near the slot machines that I preferred, so I had to endure More horrendous amounts of smoke on all but one night when the ship had a "special event" and make it a nonsmoking night in the casino. On really bad nights, the smoke wafted into the hallway from the casino. They need to change this policy YESTERDAY!!!
We ate in two traditional dining rooms for dinner, and both were just plain poor. This really is inexcusable. We shouldn't have had to pay a premium and go to Sabatini's or the Crowne Grill to have a decent meal. While the servers were VERY nice in the dining rooms, the food they put in front of us was barely warm and very unappetizing. We loved everything about Sabatini's... great wait staff in Milo and the Maitre D, fresh and delicious food, and lovely atmosphere. The Crowne Grill's food and ambiance were very good, but the service was not as personable or professional as in Sabatini's. They need to work on this. It cost us $50 each time we ate at each specialty restaurant (4X), and it was worth every penny.
Staff seemed under pressure to constantly hawk the products in the shops... this became annoying. This was also true in the spa, but I really wanted a massage, so I went ahead and booked one. Careful, though... they tout discounted Embarkation rates, inferring that if you book the first day, you'll receive the discount. Then they inform you that you have to use the services THAT DAY! I was annoyed, so the manager grudgingly offered to let me come in at 7:30 am the next morning (an at sea day) and honored the reduced rate. I wound up having a fantastic seaweed wrap and massage! Really well worth the money.
Embarkation: The Princess rep barely said a word to us, gave us our room assignment, and shuttled us off. I'm sure he felt rushed due to the long lines and disgruntled people, but we had not friendly greeting or overall orientation to the ship and what to expect. On other cruises, this is where you sign up for drink plans, the spa, etc, but this was not the case here. We just happened to stumble upon the drink plan table and initiated a spa visit ourselves. Not a great first impression.
Disembarkation: Once we got off the ship, things went smoothly (see Fort Lauderdale port review below), but we were cramped into the Island Dining Room with too many other people, many who were leaving much later than we were, but who arrived early and jammed up the entrance so that we couldn't get through. They need a better system. On MSC, we waited in the comfortable auditorium and had entertainment while we waited, which made disembarkation (last impression) very positive. Not so with Princess. Less
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Cabin review: Caribbean Princess C633
The room was clean enough and satisfactory, but smaller than the rooms we enjoyed on the MSC cruises we took in Europe. The decor needs to be modernized and brightened up. The overall feel is BEIGE and blue... very nondescript and uninspiring. Our room steward, John, was very sweet and attentive and always did a turn down service for us and provided fresh towels. We LOVED the reclining deck chairs on our balcony, and spent hours reading, sleeping, and taking in the ocean views, especially on our days at sea.
Port and Shore Excursions
We absolutely LOVED the convenience of being 15 minutes away from everything in Fort Lauderdale. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Dania Beach, which was 15 minutes away from the airport. They came quickly in a complimentary van to pick us up, and the ride to the hotel was quick. The only negative about the hotel is that there is nothing else around it, so one needs a car or taxi to get around. We had friends come down from northern Florida, so we were able to have a wonderful lunch at the Rustic Inn Crab Shack. The next morning, the hotel organized the shuttle for the 3 cruise ships that were in town, and we were swept quickly to the cruise terminal. Finally, upon our disembarkation, we had a seamless departure through Customs and out the door to awaiting cabs. All personnel kept the foot traffic moving and signs clearly marked where to go. A fantastic location from a proximity perspective!!!!
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