By Christine Koubek, Cruise Critic Contributor; updated by Erica Lamberg, Cruise Critic Contributor
Caribbean Princess Overview
The 3,080-passenger Caribbean Princess boasts charm, elegance and a comfortable vibe. No matter your vacation interest -- romance, culture, exploring culinary interests, relaxing and rejuvenating, gambling or creating family memories -- you'll find something aboard to suit you.
What's especially nice about Caribbean Princess is its blend of indoor and outdoor amenities. Outdoors, the ship features four pools, multiple hot tubs, an adults-only private sun deck (fee applies), a jogging track, half-court basketball court, putting green and 900 balcony cabins. At night, under the stars, patrons can wrap themselves in snuggly blankets to watch movies on a huge 300-square-foot screen while munching fee-free popcorn.
Indoors, lounges and bars offer live entertainment, and on most nights The Princess Theater features three show times to accommodate everyone's schedule. The liveliest spot onboard is the Piazza. Strolling performers entertain while passengers indulge in light fare from the 24-hour International Cafe or sample wines and tapas at Vines. Entertainment options vary, but during our sailing, a magician, sword-swallower and an acoustic guitarist performed.
The dining rooms are reminiscent of an old-world cruising experience -- a maitre d' who greets everyone at the entrance, intricate designs on millwork, white-gloved and courteous servers, and a sommelier that does rounds in the dining room and recommends wonderful selections. Dining options abound; choose from at least 10 entree selections nightly, or opt to eat in either of two specialty restaurants (Sabatini's Italian or Crown Grill steakhouse), two buffets, a cafe serving sandwiches and salads, a pool-side grill or a pizzeria.
While Caribbean Princess was in dry dock in November 2011, the ship had some minor and major renovations. A sampling of these includes an upgrade of the Art Gallery and Art Gallery Locker, retiling of pools, marble replacement, polishing of some public areas, refurbishment of interior hardwood floors in several lounges and glass replacement in some public areas.
With more than 3,000 passengers onboard, Caribbean Princess still maintains an open and uncrowded feel. The friendly and competent staff keep things moving in the restaurants and buffets.
Caribbean Princess Fellow Passengers
Fellow passengers run the gamut from families with children to retirees. The average age on a non-school-break sailing is 51, while school-break and summer sailings skew younger, as they attract more families. During winter holiday sailing, many families will bring children ages 10 and older, so the children's programs are likely to be packed with tweens and teens.
Caribbean Princess Dress Code
Two formal nights are scheduled on seven-night itineraries. On other evenings, the requested dress code is cruise casual, which means pants for gents and slacks or dresses for ladies. While the dress code is adhered to in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants, casual dress is fine for dining at the buffet.
Caribbean Princess Gratuity
Gratuities, which are automatically charged to onboard accounts, are $11.50 per person (including children), per day, for passengers staying in standard accommodations and $12 for passengers staying in mini-suites and suites. A 15 percent gratuity is added to beverage purchases onboard, including wine at dinner. Spa and casino staff members do not share in the gratuity charges -- if you use these services, tips are advised.
This was my first cruise. My wife has been on several with family.
I loved the whole experience. The Carribean Princess was a really nice ship, with just enough shopping and on board fun (casino, shows) to keep you busy, but not ...continue
This was our fifth Princess cruise, and the second time on the Caribbean Princess. It is not the same! For a ship that just went in to dry dock a couple of months ago,, you could not tell what was done. We were in a mini-suite, the first time for ...continue
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Pro's--Dinning room staff, embarkation, International Café, and entertainment (with the exception of one night...entertainment did not show up one of the evenings and the staff had to do an impromptu show of crew members hidden ...continue