The Princess Theater spans decks 6 and 7, though the only entrances are, strangely enough, on decks 5 and 7. Another oddity about the theater -- hidden in the arm of each seat is a drinks tray that you can pull out to put your drinks on if you'd like. Princess might want to consider renaming the theater, which has a capacity of about 800, to the Coral Theater, as the prevailing color everywhere you look is coral.
The theater is used for a variety of entertainment offerings from big-stage song and dance productions (there are usually three to four, depending on cruise length) to guest acts that on our 12-night British Isles cruise included an Olivier-award winning West End singer, a concert pianist, comedian and Harlem-based Motown cover group. The best show (which ranks among the best we've seen at sea) is Bravo, which features opera's greatest hits as well as a few popular songs done in operatic style. Princess flies in a professional soprano for one or two days to do the most complex of the arias. Between the extraordinary talent of the singers and the ballroom dancing that accompanies many of the songs, the show is the one you don't want to miss.
During the day, Princess Theater goes mostly unused but occasionally is home to destination and shopping presentations (usually at the start of the cruise), cultural performances (like Irish or Scottish dancing in the British Isles) in the late afternoon and film screenings on sea days or if the weather isn't good enough for Movies Under the Stars.
Whether sea day or port day, Caribbean Princess packs in a lot of activities. Most days you'll find morning and afternoon trivia sessions, game shows, art enrichment lectures, spa seminars (be prepared for a hard sell), retail sales events, bingo, sports tournaments (free throws, golf putting) and classes that range from dancing to crafts and, on our British Isles sailing, pennywhistle classes. Movies are offered from early in the morning till late at night, both inside and at Princess' signature outdoor Movies Under the Stars. The brand-new HD screen, added during the 2017 dry dock, is a whopping 30 square meters, with a resolution of 495 X 900 pixels. Movies shown range from random, but popular selections to just-out-of-the theater hits. (On our 2017 sailing, choices included La La Land, Mama Mia, Inferno, Hidden Figures, Aladdin, Passengers, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, among others.)
Caribbean Princess comes alive at night with live music or crew-led fun in virtually every available space on the ship, including in the Piazza. The fun gets started early in the evening and goes until about 1 a.m. (or later depending on the crowd); you'll find big stage entertainment in the theater, live or recorded music in the lounges -- sometimes with ballroom or line dancing -- and interactive game shows or trivia in the Explorers Lounge. Plus, the ship's nightclub opens at 10 p.m. with a buy one, get one for $1 happy hour.
The casino is also open until late whenever the ship is out to sea. Here you'll find lots of slot machines and table games including roulette, craps, blackjack, three card and Texas Hold'em poker. If you want to play Texas Hold'em against other players, it'll be on the electronic table and not with a dealer.
One of the ship's signature activities is the Voice of the Ocean, created in partnership with TV's "The Voice." Interested karaoke aficionados audition the first two nights of the cruise for a spot in the final sea day afternoon finale. Those chosen practice with coaches throughout the sailing and then perform onstage in front of a packed audience to win it all. We were told by others who have seen the show before that it can be a lot of fun, but on our sailing the talent was fairly mediocre, the audience lacked energy and the entire spectacle became just too embarrassing to watch.
Caribbean Princess Bars and Lounges
There are plenty of bars and lounges to be found on Caribbean Princess, with most used for various activities during the day and live music or entertainment of some kind in the evenings and at night.
Lobby Bar (Deck 5, midship): This small bar is located in the Piazza, near the International Cafe. You'll find a basic lineup of beer, wine and cocktails here; it's most popular in the late afternoon and evening when there's live music in the Piazza.
Vines (Deck 5, midship): Located in one corner of the Piazza, Vines is Caribbean Princess' dedicated wine bar with several varietals on offer as well as wine tastings, wine and chocolate pairings ($15 per person), and wine blending classes ($37 per person) on offer. Additionally, all glasses of wine come with a choice of sushi and tapas, so you can make an afternoon snack or even light meal of your wine habit. Just a sampling of the wines you'll find on the menu includes Wild Horse pinot noir, Silverado Sangiovese, Ancient Peaks merlot, Jekel Riesling, Estancia pinot grigio and Silverado sauvignon blanc. Seating is at the bar, or in the terrace-style main section at round table tops placed on faux wooden barrels, or larger wooden block tables -- all with bar stool seating.
Churchill Lounge (Deck 6, forward): Churchill is Caribbean Princess' cigar bar and also doubles as a sports bar, having access to some sports channels you can't find anywhere else on the ship or in the cabins. It's intimate, dark and atmospheric with comfy armchairs and sofas, but it does smell strongly of smoke.
Crooners (Deck 7, midship): Good luck finding a table at this small piano bar, especially once the music gets going in the evening. Located on Deck 7, two decks immediately above the Piazza, Crooners is not a sing-along bar in the traditional sense; nevertheless, you'll find yourself humming along and tapping your foot as song after familiar song is played. On nights when the piano player/singer hosts music trivia sessions like Name That Broadway Show Tune, it's standing room only, and even the hallway alongside the bar will be packed shoulder to shoulder with people. (On our cruise the Name That Broadway Show Tune session was so crowded that subsequent music trivia sessions were moved into the Explorers Lounge.) During the day, Crooners is a good spot to people watch or just sit and read a book.
Explorers Lounge (Deck 7, midship): We kind of love the colorful kitsch of this largish lounge with its Egyptian decor (think golden sarcophagi and paintings of Egyptian sand sculptures) and African animal-print rug in red, gold and green. At the front of the lounge is a small stage and sizable dance floor surrounded on three sides in an arc with three tiers of seating -- mostly lacquered wood tables with seating for four, plus loveseats and armchairs. Explorers Lounge is used throughout the day and into the night for trivia and interactive game shows, art lectures and auctions, dance classes, live music and dancing and occasional afternoon movies.
Wheelhouse Bar (Deck 7, midship): Probably the quietest of all the lounges on Caribbean Princess, Wheelhouse Bar is located between Explorers Lounge and Sabatini's and is a bit inset so it's easy to miss. It's got a nautical theme with paintings of famous mariners and ships on the walls, display cases of nautically themed items and an old-fashioned ship's wheel at the entrance. The brand-new, geometrical brown and aquamarine carpet, which was added during the 2017 dry dock is pretty, but doesn't quite match the rest of the space. Wheelhouse is mostly used in the evening for solo travelers and LGBTQ get-togethers; a live band plays jazz and soft rock. It's occasionally used during the day for spa seminars and cultural activities like pennywhistle lessons on our British Isles cruise.
Club Fusion (Deck 7, aft): A Western-themed lounge (think paintings of cowboys, lots of wood and leather, and a Western-style saddle displayed at the entrance), Club Fusion is packed during most events -- unsurprising since it hosts a roster of bingo, trivia and dance classes during the day, and karaoke, concert broadcasts and dancing with either prerecorded theme music (50s jive, 70s disco, etc.) or a live band from early evening till late. The large space features a spacious dance floor and three tiers of seating, mostly round wooden tables with brown leather-seated and backed chairs. There's a bar at the back, but bartenders wander the floor regularly, keeping on top of when you might need another drink.
Grand Casino Bar (Deck 7, forward): This small bar is used primarily by people playing electronic games embedded in the bar, as well as by the waiters who serve drinks to players sitting at the table games and slots.
Outrigger Bar (Deck 15, aft): This small bar is located way at the back of the ship and is quite underused on colder-weather itineraries. In the Caribbean, this is a popular bar due to its wake views and proximity to the adults-only aft pool.
Calypso Bar (Deck 15): This is a simple pool bar with limited seating located near the Calypso pool.
The Mix (Deck 15): Located in between Salty Dog Grill and Slice Pizzeria, The Mix is a standard pool bar, located close to Neptune's Reef & Pool.
Tradewinds Bar (Deck 16, forward): Yet another pool bar, Tradewinds is located one deck up from the Neptune Reef & Pool. It's used mostly by people sunbathing in the area.
Morgan's Bar (Deck 17, aft): Located at the back of the ship, Morgan's Bar is a relatively quiet bar most of the time, used mostly by parents hanging out by the Pirate's View pool, kiddie splash pool and nearby hot tub.
Skywalkers Nightclub (Decks 18 and 19, aft): This is the ship's nightclub, though it gets a lot of use during the day as a game room and a quiet place to read a book or watch the ocean. Most nights the dancing gets started at 10 with themed music (70s or 80s, Motown, Latin, British Invasion, etc.), then continues with DJ'd tunes that span all music genres and keep people on the floor till after midnight.
Caribbean Princess Outside Recreation
Caribbean Princess has an impressive number of pools -- five plus a little splash pool for kids-- when most cruise ships have only one or two. Two pools are reserved for adults only.
The main pool is the Deck 15 Neptune's Reef & Pool; it can be quite crowded on a warm-weather sea day. Almost as popular is the nearby Calypso Reef & Pool, located right outside the World Fresh Marketplace. The adults-only Lotus Spa pool is accessible via the spa on Deck 16 but you don't have to use the spa or pay to use the pool; just be careful not to take the stairs up from the pool to the Sanctuary. That's a for-fee space and you will be kicked out if they catch you sitting there without paying.
The aft-facing Terrace Pool on Deck 14 is an adults-only area with great views and lots of loungers. It's typically quieter than the two main pools. The small, Deck 17 Pirate's View Pool is also at the back of the ship but has no view, located in a desolate space with no seating beneath the Skywalker's Lounge walkway. There's also a hot tub here, as well as the kids' splash pool and a bar.
You'll also find seven hot tubs, all located near a pool. Children must be potty trained to use either the pools or the hot tubs.
The ship's sports complex is at the back of the ship on Deck 18. It has a small (probably less than half court) basketball court, which can also be set up for volleyball games. Further midship on Deck 17 is the Princess Links course, a golf putting practice space; Deck 16 houses two Ping-Pong tables (one on each side of the ship).
There is no jogging track on Caribbean Princess but you can walk around the perimeter of Deck 7; 1 mile is approximately 3.5 laps around.
There are numerous spots on Caribbean Princess to sun yourself, from loungers surrounding the midship pools (Neptune and Calypso) to the Deck 17 Sun Terrace to the adults-only, extra-fee Sanctuary. The plush Sanctuary costs $20 for a half-day or $40 for a full day; when you sign up you'll get to pick which padded lounger or daybed you want and it'll be yours for the duration of your stay.
If you're thinking of sticking close to the pools, keep in mind there's usually a movie on the big screen by the Calypso pool. If you're looking to read or relax while sunbathing, that pool might not be the best spot.
Caribbean Princess Services
Most of Caribbean Princess' main service desks can be found on Deck 6, including the guest services and shore excursions desks. You'll also find the Future Cruise and Captain's Circle offices on the same deck, tucked into a corner near the Crown Grill, catty-corner to the shore excursion desk. Most of the ship's retail shops are on decks 5 and 7. The Deck 7 shops sell designer wares including handbags, sunglasses and clothing, Princess logo items from magnets and lanyards to T-shirts, jackets and hats, and duty-free alcohol, perfume and makeup. The smaller shop on Deck 5 is for essentials and sundries, as well as a tiny selection of books and magazines. Around the corner is the art gallery, where paintings by artists such as Peter Max are on sale.
Deck 5 is also home to the ship's combo Internet Cafe and library, which is mostly a decent-sized internet cafe with one wall lined with bookshelves and a couple of armchairs to sit in; it's not a quiet place for reading at all -- better to borrow a book and find somewhere else to read. The Internet Cafe is always open, but only manned during set hours.
Internet prices are not cheap, with 100 minutes available for $69, 200 for $99, 400 for $159 and 600 minutes for $199. If you purchase a package on embarkation day, you'll receive up to 40 additional minutes free. On the last day before disembarkation, a 15-minute package is available for $8.99. Speeds are OK; we've had both better and worse on other cruise ships. For the best results, try to use the internet at non-peak times (early in the morning or late at night, or on port days).
A great service offered by Princess is Princess@Sea, a website all passengers can use without purchasing any internet access; just turn on your Wi-Fi and connect to Caribbean Princess and you have access. Using the site, you can view daily schedules, favorite the ones you want to remember, add your own activities to the schedule (dinner reservations, spa treatments, etc.) and even set up reminders. The only flaw in the system is that you can only view the ship's activities on each individual day, so you can't see what time trivia is two days in the future or find out if the next wine tasting is Wednesday or Thursday. Princess@Sea also allows you to check your onboard bill and text message other passengers on the ship. (Cruisers have to periodically check for messages as there is no alert when you get one.)
On Deck 7, you'll find the photo gallery, where hundreds of photos line the walls, and items like scrapbooking materials, GoPros and camera accessories are for sale. You can also schedule a session with the Platinum Studio for professional studio photos. It costs nothing to pose for any of the photos, but it'll set you back a bit to take home the results. For those who like a lot of photographic evidence of their vacation, the best deal on photos is the all-inclusive photo package; it costs $249 but you'll get to take home all your photographs, plus digital copies as well.
Cruisers looking to do their own laundry will find launderettes on decks 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14. You need a token to use the washer and dryer; tokens, as well as soap are available through keycard-operated vending machines. Each costs $2.50, with the total cost added to your onboard bill.
Caribbean Princess also has a wedding chapel for anyone looking to get hitched at sea or renew their vows. A variety of wedding packages are available.
Other services onboard include a medical center on Deck 4 and an ATM located near the casino.