Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by AnglerGirl: Good First Cruise on Princess
Overall Member Rating
Good First Cruise on Princess
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Info: This was my fifth cruise, first time on Princess. I took advantage of the short 4-night sailing as a way to try the line, and brought my mom on this cruise as a Mother's Day gift. Travel to and from was simple as we are local. We parked in the covered garage at Port Everglades for $15 per day. It seemed to take forever to find an empty space because many sections of the garage were closed off due to repairs. Also traveling with us were 6 family members, in two additional cabins, who drove from the Orlando area the morning of embarkation who had never cruised before.
Embarkation: A breeze. We arrived to non existent lines for card keys. The lines are formed by deck which makes things very simple with plenty of people to direct you where to go. Other lines could learn from Princess, they have embarkation down to a science. One very brave woman cut in front of us to the embarrassment of her husband. When I was called to the line next to her, I read her a very graceful More riot act for cutting the line, and advised her not to do it again while on board our ship. She stood stunned, not saying a word. Her husband said "I told you this was going to happen".
Caribbean Princess is a large ship. Don't think I nailed my way around in the 4 nights we were aboard but I think she is a wonderful ship for longer hauls. Lots of nooks and crannies both outside and inside! The 4 pools are great and I enjoyed each of them depending on whether I wanted music, a movie, some solace, or aft shade. The pool activities were fun, the band was OK, but after Grand Turk, the main pool was very hot! I jumped out and into the shower to cool off. I think the heat may have been on, or the hot tub water was flowing through the pool! No biggie, but that water did not feel good on my sunburned hiney! Had a burger at Trident, it was so-so. Mom wanted a veggie burger but they said it would take 10 minutes so she had a chicken sandwich which was also so-so. The pizza, however, was to die for. I really liked it and so did others, including some more line cutters, and one 20-something who decided to shove my one of my in-laws whilst ordering her slice. I'm glad I wasn't there to witness. I should be the only person allowed to shove my in-laws, not some stranger.
Certainly was a lack of over 18 aged folks with any finesse aboard. They were the minority, but seemingly everywhere. Like the couple who showed up for white gloved High Tea in dripping wet shorts and cut off tee shirts, with 18 finger sandwiches on their plates as if they were in a buffet, or the group of drinking age young people downing beers and shots, smoking, and cussing loudly at the Lotus Spa pool, and the lady who had cell service the whole cruise, chatting away during the movie, while the band played, at the aft pool, walking around wherever there was any activity...wherever there was an activity, she was a-chattin'. Don't know how anyone she was talking to could hear anything she said and from the conversations I overheard, she wasn't talking about anything but the weather to her friends at home. The milk and cookies guy and I were trying to have a conversation but the chatter appeared, so he carted off and I ran away from her (again). Oh, and the 2 couples during Island Night who literally stole 4 chairs from right under the butts of the people who were sitting on them. A fight almost broke out but those couples must have wanted those chairs because they planted themselves right at the table with the ones who could have easily given them a beating. It's not the cruise lines fault these types of people get aboard, but it does give a good insight into the fact that far too many people have not been using any form of birth control or the mere fact many of the cruisers aboard were raised by wolverines. I found pleasantness in the Kids Club where the well behaved peeps were hanging out. Although my niece and nephew wanted no part of this place, a couple of us adults had a grand time painting tee shirts with markers. Given there was a small pool and a bar right outside the club was an extra bonus. Beer gives one extra artistic talents! There were many drinking age young adults aboard - they all seemed to know one another. Other than lots of kids with large tattoos, iffy attire, and a quasi gang mentality, they were quite jovial and lent some fun especially at the pool games. We didn't mind them a bit and only wondered "why all that ink". I guess we've moved from one small tattoo to gadzillions. Ah, these kids today.
I have come to realize that I like good food when I cruise. I enjoyed every meal, nothing was sent back. Dinners didn't blow me away but they were all good. I ate all my dinners at the late seating traditional and enjoyed the speed of dinner. Not a lot of waiting in comparison to X where my dinners tend to be an all night event often until 11 PM. We had breakfast in the cabin two mornings and the breakfast buffet two mornings. Breakfast was much better than on NCL but not as good as X. X has 'those waffles' which get addicting, but a nice assortment of fruits, meats, cheeses and granolas were had. Hot foods, including the bacon, were very good. It does get confusing in the buffet with people walking all over the place, but the smart people formed little lines and moved through the stations with ease. My lunches consisted of small turkey sandwiches and Caesar salads and fruit. Kudos to Princess on their breads - not a stale roll could be found morning, noon or night!
I feel as if we didn't partake in many activities but casino action was pretty good at the machines, I won a couple hundred on a dollar slot, and the blackjack for me was fruitless although my husband did quite well. Really enjoyed MUTS, the piano player in the atrium, and my mom really enjoyed the comedy show. I heard the hypnotist was a lot of fun too. I was a little disappointed in the shopping aboard - the shops didn't seem to offer much for what I consider a large ship. I wasn't on a duty free shopping trip though so the lack of knick knacks and cosmetics were not a big deal. I did not go into the spa but have friends who love this ship and rave about the facilities. On a longer sailing I would have done much more but thoroughly enjoyed my loafing.
Grand Turk: Took a cab into town - thought $15 was expensive but hey it's an island and they need tourist dollars too so we paid. Not much to see but walked along the shore, went into some old buildings including the library, a church where services were being held, got invited to stay and then to the prison. Our goal was to snorkel so we carried our gear to a beach in front of small inn. Unfortunately we didn't see much of anything but a few fish and grasses. If I go back to the island I'll definitely take an excursion to get to one of the reefs offshore. We met family at Margaritaville, and they really enjoyed it - the kids played in the pool and the adults were just hanging out. There was some sort of amateur hour booty contest near the swim up bar, and after taking a peek, and confirming there weren't any men shakin' their thing, we headed back to the ship and partied at the main pool.
Princess Cays: Having sailed through these islands as a young girl with my family, I was pleasantly surprised at how the commercialization of this spit of land is transformed by cruise line. Very nicely done, and fabulous snorkeling for beginners, and those born with mask and snorkel like us in gin clear water. My husband said he met someone who had a cabana who was very pleased with the location and the service. Snorkeling in front of those cabanas is better than on the other side near the clamshells. The buffet was great and I made sure I'd gotten all my cocktails before the bar closed at 1:30. Stood in a long line to take the tender back but the wait was very minimal. Again, great job Princess!
The night we left PC and headed home was a doozie. We were rocking in 8-12 ft swells. I popped a Dramamine and hobbled up to a pretty empty Skywalkers at 11:30 PM with my hubby. I really liked that space above the ship. Would have hung out there longer, but after a couple drinks and the Dramamine, body told me to get to bed.
Our cabin was C605. This was my first non suite cabin and it was perfect for a short sail such as this one. I'm not convinced I'd take a BA again, because I do prefer to have a sitting area. The balcony made up for interior space. I loved it out there and found the size perfect. I did successfully shave my legs in the shower which I knew was going to be small. And it is small! I thought the closet space was excellent, and the beds were indeed firm but we never considered asking for the egg-crates. We brought our own sheets which was a nice touch of home and without asking our steward made up our beds with them. He kept us flush with ice, towels and fruit, even cleaning out my 4 cup coffee maker I toted along. Oh, I tasted the coffee on board and it wasn't really all that terrible. Our steward got a large tip on day 1 and day 4 and he deserved every dollar. He made us some towel animals too, which for 2 grown women were fun to get. My niece and nephew ages 3 and 5 got no towel animals in their cabins up on Aloha, so I brought ours up to them to enjoy. To nit pick for the sake of a review, I'll note that unlike our previous cabins (suites) I didn't have cotton balls or q-tips in the bathroom. Maybe they have those items in the suites? No biggie, I always pack my own.
Overall, this was a great cruise. I don't think I got enough good or bad to rate Princess but would definitely sail the line again without hesitation. I'm still an X fan but I think Princess did a fabulous job on this cruise. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. I would recommend Caribbean Princess. I also wanted to thank my new friends from Cruise Critic. I met some lovely folks and the sail away was a blast! Less
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