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Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by jaynak: Excellent Family Holiday


jaynak
5 Reviews
Member Since 2004
462 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin Not Rated
Dining 3.0
Embarkation 5.5
Enrichment Activities Not Rated
Entertainment 4.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 5.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Rates 5.0
Service 3.0
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Value for Money 5.0

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Excellent Family Holiday

Sail Date: October 2009
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)

Backgroud: This cruise was technically a repositioning cruise - New York to San Juan. It appealed to us because it left from New York (a shorter flight for us coming from western Canada) and it has always been my dream to sail past the Statue of Liberty. We have sailed twice with Celebrity, once with Holland, once with RCCL and once before with Princess. On this cruise we had two of our teenagers with us and we travelled with two other families.

Embarkation was perfect - we arrived very early as a our taxi ride turned out to be 20 minutes instead of the predicted hour 1/2! - no traffic at all on this Saturday morning in NYC. We were in the second group called to board and we were eating lunch at the buffet by noon. Very friendly staff at the terminal - full marks to Princess here.

Stateroom: We had an outside obstructed view stateroom. There were a few ropes and pulleys outside our window - nothing that seriously blocked our view. I have always felt More before that if I wasn't booking a balcony I wouldn't bother with a window - but this time I discovered it is very nice to have the light! Our children had an inside room and was identical to ours other than no window! Our room steward was certainly adequate but not overwhelmingly friendly or helpful - I think he was 'tired' and who could blame him? The room was clean and he did what he had to. Some days we only got one bath towel - to share?? - hmmm?? We asked for a foamy to be on our bed which helped a little - it was the definitely the worst bed we've ever had. Also had robes delivered - one less thing to pack.

Dining: We all know this is very subjective - however we felt this was the poorest food we have experienced. The beef was virtually inedible, the fish was overly fishy :) (wow, does that sound fussy!!) and the turkey dinner was dry as shoe leather! On the other hand the salmon dinner was excellent and I did order it a second time. We had fixed late dining and our waiters were fantastic - very friendly and accommodating. There were us 6 parents at our table and our 6 teenagers at the table beside us and their waiters went above and beyond for them. They made dining a highlight for 6 teens and we truly appreciated it.

We enjoyed the International Cafe very much and would recommend it for a great lunch - far better than the buffet! We used our coffee card to the max and all met each night for a pre dinner latte in the piazza - a very relaxing, inviting environment.

We only ate at the buffet for breakfast where we loved the fresh fruit and the waffles - excellent. Don't miss the waffles at the Ice Cream shop - a rather odd location - but worth finding. We had a hard time getting a second cup of coffee and found the staff here to be 'tired' and very indifferent. Often there were dirty tables and we had to look for clean cutlery ourselves - not that we minded, I'm just comparing to other cruises we've had.

Entertainment - The comedian was marvelous and the 'Broadway' shows worth attending - particularly Piano Man (often we give these a miss). We often enjoy a quartet before dinner and missed one on this ship.

Kids Club - our teens were mostly too old for the Kid's Club - they were extremely disappointed but we understand that there has to be an age cut off somewhere. The cruise staff went out of their way to accommodate them and include them in activities - even posting special activities for their age group 18-21! We thank them for that. This truly was the best holiday any of our children have ever had and they made memories of a life time - in part because of the fantastic staff.

The ship itself: one can always find 'worn' spots if you're looking I suppose! We enjoyed the ship, found it to be clean and well kept and commented on how uncrowded we always felt - even though it was a full ship. On that note, I overheard a man in the elevator complain that he would never cruise Princess again because the ship was too big and too crowded! Huh!! This is not a BRAND new ship - if that is what you want, you'll have to pay for it. For what we paid we felt we got excellent value.

Disembarkation: 'silent disembarkation' is very nice and I'm sure it works well. This time however, there was a huge delay in disembarking due to customs in San Juan - not the ships fault. We were disappointed to have a chunk of our day wasted. Be aware than things don't always go exactly as planned when you are vacationing!

Given the right itinerary we would travel Princess again. The biggest negative for us was the food - the biggest positive was the excellent time our children had. Less


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Port and Shore Excursions


We were picked up at port by Captain Glen of Creole Cruisin, in his speed boat. I had understood this to be a catamaran but anyway we had a good time on the speed boat! Take note that the speed boat is for 1/2 day tours and the catamaran for full day tours. He took us to a reef for snorkeling - the reef is about 2 km off shore and is very shallow in places - it is also mostly dead! He does not have any proper snorkeling life jackets - just the old fashioned bulky orange kind. While we didn't feel safety was number 1, Captain Glen is a very nice man and we enjoyed seeing Antigua from the water - amazing views. As we had a very negative snorkeling experience, Captain Glen suggested that we stop at Turner's Beach instead of having a second snorkeling stop. This is a gorgeous spot and I'm glad we didn't miss it. In spite of our negative experience and my fears about safety, this was our six teenagers favorite excursion. After he dropped us back off in town we spent an hour or two browsing around. While this is a very poor place with dilapidated infrastructure (reminds me of Ochos Rios) there were some lovely shops and we had a great time.
Read 797 Antigua Reviews

Bought a bus pass for the day at the visitors center right at the dock - took the city bus to Horse shoe Bay Beach - wow not to be missed - pink sand - soft as silk, warm water, excellent photo ops. There are washrooms, showers, food etc. Then re-caught the bus into Hamilton - spent the afternoon walking about enjoying the clean, tidy town. Then caught the water taxi (more of a ferry really) to take us full circle back to the ship. Fantastic day all for the bargain price of $12 bus pass!

We flew into Laguardia and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. Excellent value (around 130 CDN for four). Their shuttle was very slow in picking us up but after that was great about taking us to the train and picking us up again. B'fst is included as well. We spent our first evening walking Times Square, and had dinner at John's Pizza (wonderful). For our one full day in NYC we took the train to Central Park, walked the downtown, took the train to Trade Centre site, saw the rebuilding and the church that stood while all else fell,shopped at Century 21 right at the WTC site, took the train to Canal Street in China town for some shopping, took the train back to Times Square for supper at Bubba Gumps and spent the evening in Times Square. Next morning we took a cab to Brooklyn Cruise Port (took 20 min as there was no traffic at all - we had been told it could take up to 1 1/2 hours)

This port was a pleasant surprise for us as we weren't expecting much from it! We took a cab directly from the pier to our hotel - Embassy Suites and Casino. This is a great hotel - excellent suites, great breakfast included and a really nice pool area and even a good pizza shop! There is also an Outback restaurant there. We were very impressed for 150 CDN night for four of us! Within walking distance was the beach of Isla Verde - my teens did some body surfing which they loved - this is not a beach for little kids as the surf is very strong. The beach itself seemed to be a spot for the locals but it is huge and plenty of room for all. There is a Walgreens, Burger King, lots of restaurants with in walking distance of the hotel as well.
Read 1353 San Juan Reviews

We were met at the port by Jonathan Clark - a driver for "Rose and Jim's taxi service". He took us on an little island tour on the way to Cockleshell Beach. This beach is very nice - but nothing to compare with our previous stop in Bermuda! The water is clean and warm though and we rented a Hobie Cat - lots of fun. There are washrooms and food here. As soon as you are dropped off you will be inundated with vendors - try to politely ignore and walk to your right on the beach - keep walking and you will escape the crowds. The vendors will tell you that you have to pay $5 for the beach - you DON'T! You have to pay to rent a chair or an umbrella but NOT to use the beach. Do not let the ladies give you a SAMPLE massage unless you are prepared to pay - these are not FREE samples and they will get aggressive in making you pay!

Jonathan picked us up a few hours later and took us back to town where we shopped for an hour - our teens were all approached to buy weed :( Sketchy characters will also approach you to hold their darling little monkey - of course they will then want money! - beware!!

I would not go anywhere on this island without having a pre arranged taxi driver! Rose and Jim's service was excellent.


We were picked up by "Godfrey" who took us to town for a couple hours shopping in Charlotte Amalie, then on a 1 hour tour of the island and finally dropped us off at Megan's Bay. The tour was informative and Godfrey loves to tell dates and the history of his island. Some of the vistas he took us to were amazing -however the one hour tour was plenty! Megan's Bay was amazing - certainly well deserving of it's top ten beach in the world title. The water is the warmest I've ever experienced. Godfrey picked us up and returned us to the ship as well. This was all for $25 per person - pretty good value!
Read 2318 St. Thomas Reviews

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