Embarkation---went smoothly after 45 minute Princess van shuttle ride from Newark Airport with 4 other passengers. In our cabin at noon, luggage arrived shortly thereafter.
Cabin---90% obstructed view (lifeboat/tender) with decent amount of ambient light during the day, twin beds, adequate storage space, standard bathroom, nice linens, good TV.
Food and service---made arrangements with maitre'd to eat in Island MDR at 5pm nightly, magnificent waitress (Alisa) made dining very enjoyable, head waiter (Romeo) came by twice each evening to check on food quality and service. Food was spectacular and well presented nightly. The menu was widely varied with choices sure to please everyone. Soups, appetizers, desserts, and entrees all top quality at the proper temperatures. Breakfasts were also very tasty (loved the granola yogurt) and served in an appealing manner. No complaints with buffet lunches in Horizon Court. Wait staff helped father in law to the table every day. More
Snacks at Cafe Caribe after 10-11pm were quite good, I didn't miss the Horizon Court which was closed at those hours. When time was critical the International Cafe offerings were excellent and the coffee served there was excellent.
Port activities---Newport-jumped on a local bus for a glimpse at estates located near the downtown area. Boston-bus tour of downtown area seeing the major tourist sites. Bar Harbor-cold, rainy, foggy weather cast a shadow on the bus tour to Cadillac Mountain and Acadia National Park. Saint John, NB-port cancelled due to high winds (60+mph) preventing safe tieup at the pier. Halifax-almost lost this port too as the wind was pretty strong but died down a bit just in time. 35F upon arrival and it stayed cold and windy the entire day. Went on a bus tour around town and visited the Titanic cemetery. This itinerary is too short, next time I go to New England/Canada I'll take the 10 day cruise.
Entertainment---loved comedian Al Katz, illusionist/magician was passable, three production shows "Do You Wanna Dance" (great), "Piano Man" (great), "Caribbean Caliente" (almost entirely Latino lyrics, great dancing), Piazza acts were OK if you were there early and found a spot to stand, couldn't get close to Crooners where Bert the pianist played nightly...he had a real cult following, Carlos Oscar (a very funny comedian with a clean, family act) was fantastic---I wish him luck on Comedy Central TV. Loved the string quartet and enjoyed Icon, the lounge band.
The crew---everyone we met seemed happy and focused on doing their best for us. Good leadership is apparent throughout the ship. Captain's Circle Host Dicomas is impressive. Deck department crew cleaning the promenade deck and windows early each morning were very friendly, a nice welcoming start to the day. Cabin steward invisible as usual but he always had the cabin well supplied and squared away.
Caribbean Princess---still in very good shape with some minor cosmetic fragility that will be addressed in drydock early 2012. Not much space to sit and enjoy the piazza activities. Promenade deck is narrower than on Grand-class ships so on warm sea days I suspect it gets crowded for those who like walking. I liked the International Cafe concept but lack of seating is a problem. "Chair hogs" hang out here. Loss of seating in the library is a problem. MUTS did not appear to be very well attended but cold weather had an impact here. Didn't take advantage of "Vines" and didn't notice many others there. My twin bed in our cabin wasn't very comfortable, Dad had no complaints about his. I am sure Princess will replace old mattresses during drydock. Took advantage of the soothing hot tubs below the Sanctuary, met some very nice people there.
Loyalty Program---thoroughly enjoyed the perks of being at the Elite level but can't help but wonder how Princess will deal with these as more passengers achieve Elite level. Will another level be created? Will it take 25 cruises to reach the next level? Greatly appreciate the generous retired military and stockholder cabin credit program.
Disembarkation---went as smoothly as possible, took the bus to Newark Airport with about 50 other passengers. Minimal wait time to hit the road, trip took about an hour. It's not a pretty ride through Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Princess continues to put forth a very appealing product. Their crews, entertainment, service, food, and shipboard activities will continue to bring me back for more. Less
Caribbean Princess Cruises to Canada & New England