We boarded Caribbean Princess on July 26 under rainy skies in Ft. Lauderdale for our first summertime cruise to the Caribbean. The hotel staff, food/beverage, and entertainment on this cruise were some of the best we have ever experienced, and it's easy to give this cruise a "strongly agree" rating.
By departure time, the skies had cleared and we made our way through the channel. Shortly thereafter, the ship slowed and turned around. The captain explained that a passenger had a medical emergency and it was better to disembark them in Florida rather than continuing. The ship quickly passed back into port and docked very quickly to remove the passenger. After about an hour's time to let other ships leave, we departed again for the overnight trip to Princess Cays.
The next day dawned bright and sunny as we dropped anchor. Princess Cays was typically beautiful, though much different for us because it was very warm and the water was perfect for swimming, which we did all More
day except for the lunch BBQ break. By late afternoon we tendered back to the ship and departed for the trip to St. Thomas.
The sea day was very relaxing, though due to the nice weather all the pools were packed so swimming was not an option. There were many activities available on ship, but the best one was napping in our cabin and enjoying the view from our balcony.On the first formal night we ate in the Crown Grill, and thoroughly enjoyed a special (and very filling) evening, capped by the molten chocolate dessert.
Our stops in St. Thomas and San Juan brought us back to familiar places, though of course much hotter than we were used to on prior visits in the winter/spring. But with steady breezes most times and lots of water they were very tolerable.
We ate in the Island Dining Room on two nights. Both service and food were excellent. Since we were traveling in a suite, we ate breakfast at Sabatini's, and this was truly a highlight of every day. The staff were so upbeat and attentive that it was like we were family, with much laughter and sharing stories of our lives. The suite also allowed us to order room service off the dining room menu, so on the second formal night we had steak and lobster on our balcony -- it was great. We just aren't into the dressing up of formal nights anymore so this was a great way to spend it. Finally, the Horizon Court, pizza and grill were all sampled from time to time and were tasty and dependable. The service was always first-rate, delivered with a smile and professionalism. In my opinion, the only way you can deliver that kind of service is if the employees are very satisfied with their jobs and management -- that was clearly the case on Caribbean Princess.
This cruise also featured the best entertainment we've had on a Princess cruise in quite awhile. We didn't see any of the song-and-dance shows, we did really enjoy the other entertainers. Landon Swank did two amazing illusion shows -- his math brain and card tricks are incredible. Jerry Goodspeed did a great comedy/ventriloquism show the final night. The other music groups were also very good, but the highlight for us was Bert Stratton's hilarious piano shows. He drew such a crowd to Crooner's the first two nights that his show was moved into Explorer's Lounge which was a lot better. We really hope to see him on another cruise in the future. Also, all of the entertainment on this cruise was very family-friendly -- which I cannot say about other recent cruises. There were a lot of kids on the ship given the summer vacation time, but honestly even us older folks really appreciated having such great, clean entertainment.
Our arrival back in Ft. Lauderdale was very uneventful. Our disembarkation time was 9:50AM. We ate breakfast in our cabin and went to Club Fusion, which was quiet and peaceful. When our tag was called, we left the ship, picked up our bags, were through customs and immigration, into a taxi, and at the airport all in less than 45 minutes -- a record for us. Unfortunately we were plunged back into the realities of air travel, with a plane delayed over 2 hours and having to spend it in the terrible, crowded, hot, amenity-lacking environment of Ft. Lauderdale airport.
So that's our latest Princess experience. All around it was wonderful. If I had any bone to pick at all, it would be that the ship is looking its age (10 years of hard use). Clean enough, as always, but we found the area around the spa pool to have old sign frames where the sign had fallen out, wood with the finish peeling off, strings of lights laying on the ground with black junk all over them, so they had been like that for awhile. This in no way diminishes our view of the whole trip, but if you are looking for a gleaming new, glitz-and-glamour ship, this is not it. Despite that, we would not hesitate to travel on Caribbean Princess again and we're already thinking about when that will be! Less
Caribbean Princess Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean
Note that the balcony on this suite is significantly impacted by the two support beams. We were aware of this at the time of booking. You can use the two deck loungers if you wriggle around the beams to reach them, but don't expect any wide-open spaces on this balcony. Still, it offers a wonderful view. The cabin itself was in very good condition and the bed was quite comfortable. When the balcony door is closed the room is very quiet. Air conditioning was good, even with the hot temperatures outside. No complaints at all!