First let me say that I was more than a bit concerned after reading some reviews of the New England cruise on the Caribbean Princess. I told myself that the majority of people that took the time to write a review probably did so because they were upset about something. I tried to ignore the reviews from those who felt they weren't treated with the elite status they thought they'd earned, those who disliked a port for whatever reason(Newport - nothing to do for kids? - are you kidding me?), and those whose closed minds should have stayed in England and avoided "us yanks" altogether. Some other concerns before boarding were:
- Embarking/disembarking lines - Too easy on in 20 minutes off in much less
- Kids overrunning adult only areas - I never saw one instance of this.
- Food being horrible - I loved the food! Dining rooms, Buffets, everywhere
- Too many New Yorkers - They comprised the majority, yes - Every one having a good time, non-aggressive, and fun.
- Lines everywhere - We waited 5 minutes in the coffee line each day. In the ports where tenders were required to go to shore - 5 minutes was the longest, more times than not there was NO wait.
On one "formal night" we might have waited 10 minutes for a seat with our "anytime dining"
- Bad attitudes from the crew:
. Without exception, the crew was friendly and eager to help with anything they could. Our steward was incredible - taking care of everything we asked of her and volunteering many things never occurred to us. It seemed like she was always within sight when we entered the corridor. Not once did we ever have to call for anything - she was always "magically there".
One day at the international coffee shop, the passenger in front of me was calculating the tip to tip the guy on a $30.00 coffee card - the Crew member says "don't worry about tipping us" we just want to insure you're having a great time. I was flabbergasted (yes you are billed daily for gratuities, but still I spent 22 years in the restaurant business - you just don't see such a thing)
The maitre d in the Island dining room was extraordinary. On the second day he had us (party of 4) all figured out. It was like we were his only customers and the one day we came in early to eat he mentioned "oh, you thought you might confuse me"? Just outstanding service.
I'm very happy to report that my concerns were dismissed within hours of going aboard. My experience on this cruise was absolutely wonderful. Perhaps it is to my advantage to be a first time cruiser, but I absolutely recommend Princess Cruises, the Caribbean princess and the New England/Canada cruise.