We sailed on the Caribbean Princess on October 17-24, 2009. This was our first time aboard this ship but the 3rd time doing this itinerary on Princess. This time we did travel with my daughter and her husband along with their 1 1/2 year old son. One thing that I was VERY surprised at was that Princess had NO baby changing tables in any public restroom. (there was plenty of room)
We live about 40 minutes from the port so we drove to it and parked at the port. There was no hotel or transfers.
Embarkation: We dropped off our luggage and my husband parked the car. Everything went smooth. We arrived about 11:30 and were on the ship by about 12:30. The cabins were ready and we ate lunch in the buffet.
Stateroom: We had an obstructed OV cabin and this was the most obstructed we have had. I'm not complaining, just stating fact. Many ask about how obstructed a particular cabin is. The only time we could see anything other than light was at Bar Harbor when the lifeboat was used as a tender. Our stateroom steward was OK. He did his job but we rarely saw him. The only requests we had were to remove the bedspread (he was reluctant - don't know why but he removed it), put on a top sheet and 2 wine glasses. He did all 3 but didn't replace the wine glasses without asking again. The cabin was kept clean, but he also was slow to replace shampoo and soap. On other cruises, I was more impressed with service and felt the urge to tip more, not this time. My husband did leave a little extra but I wouldn't have. He wasn't even around when leaving either.
Dining: We ate most dinners in the Anytime Dining Room (Island). We ate at table 278 and had the BEST waiters. The next night I asked for the table and it wasn't available. I just thought it was taken but we found out from the assistant that the Waiter had to be moved to the Palm dining room due to illness of a waiter there. Every night this assistant (Mycanos spelling not correct) came over to our table and interacted with my grandson. He was so sweet with him. Most of the waitstaff looked forward to seeing him since he had fun waving and smiling at them. I found out that many have small children at home and miss them so much! We did tip the waitstaff as we ate there additional amounts and really wanted to. They were so surprised at a 1 1/2 year old table manners. He can say please and thank you! The food was fine but I found was somewhat not quite as good as past Princess cruises. I did order fresh berries each night and they did bring large bowls of them!
We ate at the buffet and it was pretty crowded most of the time. At odd times it was crowded as well. There were a few times we had to go even outside to find a table. The food was OK. I mostly had salads and fruit and they were fine.
We had room service each morning for tea and coffee and light items. The service was on time and the food/drink as ordered.
We did have the coffee card and my daughter and son in law enjoyed the specialty coffees (that we don't really drink) while we had brewed coffee most days.
Entertainment: We did enjoy Bert Stratton's nightly performance at Crooners. He did heard my grandson clapping and played a few songs for him on a couple nights. In fact when he heard him laughing and clapping he said "is that Tommy?" One thing about Bert was that we saw him in a hall by our cabin walking past. I said hello and he did hear me but ignored me. I guess he's different on stage than in a regular setting. I found that a little rude, but I guess accepted. (we weren't bothering hie either, just a hello that he heard but didn't respond to)
We did watch the Piano Man and it was pretty good on it's last show. The wind was strong and they still performed and very well.
We visited the Casino on a few nights. Along with the Formal nights they had another no smoking night that we were VERY happy with. It was still crowded, in fact more so, I think.
I will write in detail for each port visited.
We missed Newport due to high winds (up to 70 knots) and somewhat rough seas (we have been in worse on a previous Canada/NE cruise)
We did not do any of the ships excursions. We did purchase the bus to the historical district in Boston.
All other ports we did 100% on our own as the port really was close to what we wanted to see.
Princess has a silent disembarkation now. It was fine. One thing was that I did check to make sure that both my daughter and our cabins would disembark together. We were travelling in the same car. I checked the day before at the Purser's desk and was told we were all scheduled together. I didn't check our luggage tags until the day of disembarkment since my daughter said hers was at 10:20 as ours was. I found out that we were in different meeting places. I was concerned but was told we could just say together. We had no problem after that nor with finding our luggage. We were met by a port worker and he helped us right up to the car! Customs was fine as was getting our car at the port. I found the parking to be a little on the high side (143 for the week) but it was NY!