Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by tkrgreen: Relaxing vacation
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Just returned from our 7 day cruise on the Caribbean Princess. This was our 6th cruise overall but our first time on Princess. My wife and I were concerned after reading several bad reviews posted on the Cruise Critic web page but are happy to report that despite a few problems, we had a wonderful time.
Embarkation: We met the ship in FT. Lauderdale (Port Everglades). There was a long delay at the start of the embarkation. What should have been a 20-25 minute process took well over two hours. We were never told what the issue was on the ship but believe they were having difficulties getting the former passengers off. The terminal was packed to capacity and the line stretched outside in the heat and humidity. Guest were getting upset and you could not help but feel sorry for the elderly female employees (both of them) left to handle thousands of anxious passengers pretty much by themselves.
When we finally got onboard the ship my first impression was....WOW! Caribbean More Princess really delivered on the WOW factor. The Italian inspired Piazza was both grand and beautiful. The ship was very clean. The Crew were always cleaning. I actually felt embarrassed by some of the passengers that cannot seem to find a trashcan and instead just drop THEIR crap onto the floor. These are usually the ones that then complain that the ship is dirty. Wish people could show more respect to the hard working crew.
We went to our stateroom (Caribe deck C411) to drop off a few things. The interior room was larger than I had expected. Plenty of storage for our clothing. The bathroom was adequate, however the shower was comically small, but we made do. The bed was large enough really firm (almost hard) and began bothering my wife's back by the end of the trip. We met our stateroom attendant, Maria. She was personable and hardworking.
As it was lunchtime, we went up to the Horizon cafe (buffet area) for a bite to eat. On the positive side I will say that the food in the buffet area was VERY GOOD. Several reviews have been negative on the food in the buffet but I honestly found it to be exceptional. The layout of the four buffet areas is another matter entirely. The flow is terrible. You have to enter at one end and try to maneuver in a tightly confined space to the different stations. The exit is at the opposite end of the buffet making it extremely congested at times. I would recommend eating a little earlier than usual to avoid the crowds.
The MDR. lacked slightly in appearance. Gone are the Grand Dining rooms, replaced with several smaller dining areas to accommodate both traditional dining and whenever dining options. The food in the MDR was fair. I had one meal that I honestly could not eat. I ordered the fettuccini which is listed a Princess favorite on the menu. It was uneatable (very salty). Of course I had the option of ordering something else but unfortunately it killed my appetite. Weird pairings as well, such as shrimp and scallops on top of mashed potatoes. They must have had a good deal on asparagus because it was EVERWHERE.
The MDR service was slow. If I had to nitpick I would have to say that our waiters never introduced themselves. They were pleasant but not very personable. The problem occurred when we tried to get to our table. I had requested a table for two (traditional dining) when I booked the cruise. As our sail date approached, I called Princess to verify some travel information and to ensure that we had a table for two. I was told we did have a table for two, traditional dining at 5:30 PM. Our cruise cards had anytime dining printed on them. When we attempted to go to dinner we were passed off to three different people at the hostess station. When we spoke to the maitre d, all they were interested in was what was printed on our cruise cards. My wife told them three times that we had been assigned a table for two in the Coral Dining Room. After a prolonged encounter, the maitre d begrudgingly checked his list and after about 4 seconds found that we were right all along.
We tried both the Crown Grill and Sabatini's. My steak was very good in the Crown Grill, however my wife's lobster was overcooked and tough. Sabatini's was very good. Our waiter Alex "blue eyes" was exceptional. The ship also offers a Crab Shack on two nights. If you like crab I highly suggest you try it. 20 dollars per person is well worth it. My wife loved the King Crab legs and steamed shrimp.
My final comments on the food would be that the burgers and fries onboard are very good. Probably the best we have had on a cruise ship (with the exception of Johnny Rockets). Make sure to try the International Cafe. Wonderful food. The pizza.....I could write a novel on their pizza however all I will say is that it is the BEST pizza I have ever had. That pizza alone is enough to make me sail with Princess again!
The entertainment was the biggest let down of our trip. The comedian "Troy" was very funny and the mentalist was highly talented. The ships entertainers left a lot to be desired. Usually we go to every show onboard. This time we actually walked out of one and skipped two others. Just happy they offered Movies under the Stars which was a nice way to spend the evening.
We never had a problem finding a place to sit on deck. The chairs around the pools were available in the morning and lots of others can be found in several locations. There are several pools on this ship and that helped with finding a chair near a pool. I saw deck attendants removing towels left by chair hogs.
One elevator is not working. I recommend using he ones forward or aft. The ones midship are almost always tied up with long wait times.
Overall the service was good. They were not pushing drinks on passengers all day and night which I for one appreciate. But ,they were REALLY pushing the wine tasting events ALL the time.
We never used the casino but the smoke was strong , especially at night.
The last problem was something that has been mention on several other reviews recently. The aroma of sewage that is prevalent from time to time. We could smell it around the pool areas when leaving Ft. Lauderdale. It was really strong while in San Juan. It only seemed to be around the pool areas. Never detected it while inside the ship.
We visited Princess Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk. Great weather all week. We loved Coral World/ Coki Beach in St. Thomas. We did not do any shore excursions thru the ship, just read reviews and took a cab where we wanted to go. This saved a lot of time and money.
Disembarkation was a breeze. No problems at all. Less
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