1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Princess Cruises
  4. Caribbean Princess Review
  5. Caribbean Princess Cruise Reviews

61 Princess Caribbean Princess Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

Hello to all. I'm an infrequent poster on this board. I did write a number of weeks ago as to a seemingly high number of negative reviews and a general decline in dining and service in the mainstream cruise industry. So here's my ... Read More
Hello to all. I'm an infrequent poster on this board. I did write a number of weeks ago as to a seemingly high number of negative reviews and a general decline in dining and service in the mainstream cruise industry. So here's my second attempt at a review from the CB from its 7/17 to 7/26 voyage(I wrote a whole review then somehow wiped it out while posting).Cruised with my wife, son age 21, daughter age 22 and her boyfriend age 22. Have cruised on Home Lines, Carnival and RCI from 1985 to present. This was our 6th cruise and first on Princess. Two inside cabins, Riviera Deck(14). R252 forward and R721 aft. Embarkation: Fabulous in Brooklyn. Miles ahead of Manhattan. We drove down from Connecticut just after rush hour on Friday morning. Unloaded vast amounts of luggage with the stevedore, parked literally in minutes and boarded the ship within 30 minutes thereafter. We were having lunch on the Lido by 1:00. What could be better?The Ship: Beautiful and well maintained as most people report. We particularly like the small club venues(Club Fusion, Explorer's, etc..) for live music and entertainment. The Princess Theater is always full and some complained about the lack of adequate seating. Having read this Board carefully, we knew to get there early for seats and we had no trouble on any night. We also especially enjoyed the smaller adult pool area, Deck 15 aft. Great view of the ocean, seats in the shade and sun(we do shade), hot tub one deck above. It was almost felt yacht -like within the vast confines of a 116,000 gross ton ship. The main pool areas, as usual on most ships are jammed. This is especially the case on the CB with its added passenger cabins. We needed to secure our places aft in the adult area early as seats were gone after 8:45am. This ship does have air conditioning issues. Fortunately for us, cabins were fine as long as we kept the AC on the lowest settings. Inconistent AC in various areas including portions of the casino and at times, the Horizon and Caribe Cafe buffets, even the Palm Dining Room, especially with the sun shining in at 6:00 pm dinner. In mingling with other passengers, we did hear complaints about cabin AC issues as well. Its strange how this issue seems to pervade this ship. I did email Princess in advance of the voyage about it and received an email response denying any AC issues. Dining and Service: Except for a major issue noted below that arose on the last night of the voyage, dining quality, dining service and service at all levels throught the ship exceeded our expectations. We chose traditional first seating dining. Our waiter Edgar, and his assistant(who's exact name escapes me so I do not want to mis-state it) anticipated our every dining wish. They could not do more for us. Edgar brought extra crab legs, lobster tails, and especially made sure my wife and daughter, both of whom do not eat red meat, were happy with their selections. The food quality in the dining room was really good to excellent as was the Horizon and Carribe buffets. Certainly better quality than Royal Caribbean and significantly better than Carnival. This is subjective of course. I don't know where the negative reviews on Princess food quality come from. Only my wife's turkey scallopini selection was not very good and had to be sent back. Edgar brought a vegetarian choice that my daughter had originally ordered and they both found it to be excellent. The desserts were really very good and the Baked Alaska on the last night was excellent. Edgar indicated to me that the end of cruise surveys are really important and we of course gave dining the most excellent of reviews. We also extended additional gratuities to our waiter and assistant for their fabulous work. Daughter and her boyfriend went to Sabatini's one night. They said it was worth it, very filling and very good though not the best meal ever, necessarily. We all went to the Crown Grill one night. They were surprisingly out of the Brazilian Lobster Tail(which is an additional charge) so for those of us that wanted that and "settled" for steak, our waiter brought us 4oz lobster tails and we made our own "surf and turf". It was really very nice and very good. Golden Fleece on Carnival still remains the best ship speciality restaurant though, in our opinions. Cabin stewards were excellent. They got to know us quickly, always left the "correct" number of towels and pool/excursion towels. Cabins were very well kept and clean. We hardly saw the stewards after the first day yet all the service was wonderfully provided. Could not ask for more. Unlike especially Carnival, the crew top to bottom greet you with eye contact and a smile and are eager to please.The Cruise: By the first night, the ship was shaking back and forth due to being on the edge of a tropical depression and by day 2 at sea, although sunny, we encountered gale force winds. It caused rapid shaking of the ship rather than large rolls. This was tolerable to us but some passengers appeared to be seasick. The movement did cause a number of falls on deck. Though we enjoyed a sunny day at sea, given the past history, we were not hopeful as to being able to dock in Bermuda but by the evening of day 2, the seas calmed and we docked in Bermuda the next morning uneventfully. We took a cab to Governor's Beach which the kids said was the best they've been to even compared to beaches they've experienced in the Caribbean. Then, it was on to San Juan, not our favorite port. During breakfast, the Captain announced that there were near gale force winds in the port, that he had ordered two tugs and would reassess when and whether he would enter the port. We were delayed about 20 minutes and then entered and docked. The cautiousness of the Captain and caring attitude in keeping the passengers informed added a great sense of security and trust in his experience and competence. Safety was the priority and he made that clear. It always amazes me that some people would complain about missing a port due to sea conditions. In San Juan, we decided to try something different. We took a hotel room at the Marriott to have a beach day. Fairly nice beach, nice pool area. Nice hotel all around. San Juan defeated us as the rains came at 1 pm and never stopped. We laughed about it. Its only money. We took naps in the room(nice Marriott special bedding) and went to the casino after only about an hour or so at the beach and pool. So it was an experience of a sort. Went back to the ship about 7 for the late dinner at the Crown Grill mentioned above. We've been to St. Thomas several times, which was the next port. We repeated the St. John Beach and Snorkel excursion through Princess. The ferry called the Island Girl was late picking us up to depart and was late picking us up to return to the pier. We had reduced time at the wonderful beach and spent time waiting in the hot sun at both ends of the ferry trip. This was uncomfortable and aggravating. We made appropriate comments in our excursion survey requested by Princess. The next port, Grand Turk was very crowded at the pier because the Carnival Liberty was also in. The shopping in the controlled area at the pier was excellent. The beach right there was so crowded there were no lounges or cabanas available. We sat at the Margaritaville restaurant and nursed several Pina Colata's while the kids went into the crowded water. In retrospect, we should have taken a cab to a beach elsewhere but at least the shopping worked out. Of note, there was a bridge announcement on the last night at 1:30am apparently dispatching appropriate crew to a fire alarm. About 10 minutes later, there was an additional announcement for this crew to stand down so very thankfully, the incident ended. Questions in the morning to the Purser were answered vaguely, although we were told there was a minor incident in a crew area that was immediately taken care of. Problems: The safe in one cabin had a low battery and was never fixed despite two attempts. This was only a minor inconvenience. Here's the problem. On the last night, after going back to sleep following the bridge announcements to crew, groups of teens were shouting and swearing and running up and down the hallway near our aft cabin on Deck 14. We scolded them outside our door. When the conduct persisted, we called security twice between 2 and 4am. At 4am we went to the Purser's desk. While we were there, there were kids banging on the grand piano in the Piazza. Here's what got us. We demanded to speak with someone in charge and spoke to the night manager. While he was apologetic, he said there was little he could do "since there were 800 kids on the ship." This was entirely unacceptable to us. We said sufficient security personnel should be available and dispatched to control this type of behavior. He said they try to talk to these kids but it doesn't really help. I did not ask for nor was I offered an account credit. I didn't care about that aspect. I felt very badly that my family was disturbed by all of this. Where are the parents? Some of these kids appeared to be drunk as well. They were shouting, cursing but slurring there speech. We basically got no sleep and as we were slated for express walk off at 7:30, the last night was ruined. Final Comments: Before the events of the last evening. we were already talking about planning another cruise on Princess. Our experience was unfortunately somewhat tainted, following a wonderful cruise on a wonderful ship. I will write a letter to Princess. Time will tell as to our decision making. Please feel free to ask questions.  Please note this incident is not reflected in the summary ratings of the cruise itself but obviously is a major concern to us.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Okay, first off...I am not a complainer. But this one I have to let people know about.   ... Read More
Okay, first off...I am not a complainer. But this one I have to let people know about.   /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} I just got in the door today (7/26/2009) from my 9 Night Caribbean Princess Cruise which left on (7/17/2009) from New York. 1. The Room:  We had a $4300 mini suite. The bed was very hard. I took 3 nights of the room steward adding stuff under the sheets before it felt halfway okay.  The room smelled like smoke. Because the 3100 passenger ship was overbooked with 3500 passengers, we could not change rooms. The room steward 'Dennis' was nice. Although he never created special towel animal on the bed or anything like typical cruise room stewards do. He cleaned the room. That's it. Nothing special. The room reminds you of a traditional old school hotel room. Nothing Special about it at all. They just added cheap shelf mounted flat screens TVs to help the appearance but it does not help the decor much. The Bath room was a good size for a cruise and it had a tub in it. The balconies on the ship are larger than I have seen on ship. The only problem is that there are two deck (8 & 9) where the balconies stick out from the ship like steps. This means the you look up and see everyone looking at you and you see them. So, no balcony privacy. Most ships the balconies are flush to the ship so have almost complete privacy unless a ship pulls up next to you! 2. The Ship: This ship in no way takes your breath away. It looks a little like it came out of the 'Love Boat' TV show. Nothing special. It has the most illogical design of any ship we have been on. Very Few Venues.  Princess ships have a design concept where they break up the pool decks into three areas. This design is actually kind of bad. The Middle section has the Movie screen which is nice. But if they did not have the movie screen you would really be bored.  The shows are just okay. They had only two theatrical performances (Musical Tribute, Caribbean theme), Magician (Adult oriented w/Comedy, a magician in a to to), Hypnotizer (okay), Two Comedians. Now, this was a 9 night cruise. You get more than this in a 5 night cruise. What they did was keep repeating the shows over and over and over. They had to do this because the venues/theaters are pretty small when you are carrying 3500 people. And there would be maybe only two major performances going on simultaneously. So people would be crowded around everywhere. 3. The Dining: More Crowds! The buffets had pretty good food. We had lobster or crab several times. I was surprised that there were lobster claws in the buffet on the first day of departure. Of Course they portioned them out to you. But I had my share since most people were unaware it was being served. The dining room food was good also. The service was really bad since there where so many people. So you would wait to be seated, and then wait to be served for each course of the meal. When it arrived it was usually good. The wait staff often time were rude or just non-attentive, we heard this from everyone we dined with. We had anytime seating so we met several new people each night. I believe since they have started charging you automatically for tips that service has gone down (freestyle cruising causes this also).  In the buffet you will always find yourself looking around for a while for a seat. Every Cruise I have been on host special nights on the pool deck. Usually there are several theme nights. Usually there is a Themed cuisine buffet style on the outside decks. In this 9 night cruise they only had ONE and all they served was FRUIT! Oh I'm sorry they did have a few fried appetizers. There was only ONE LINE and a serving area that was only 6 tables long for a ship that had 3500+ (700 kids) people on it!  There was not one special midnight buffet evening! No special themes or waiter performances in the dining room. Wait...one night they did wear Italian sailor outfits. This was such an uneventful cruise it is crazy!  But if you never cruised you would not know this.  Wait...let me tell you about the ICE CREAM....every cruise I have been own the have self serve ice cream machines placed around the pool decks or the buffet.  NOT PRINCESS.  When you get on the ship at the door they tell you that free ice cream is only available between 2-4pm. So, if you want unlimited ice cream you must purchase a $93.00 'Soda and Ice Cream' sticker. Okay...you buy this and the you find out that ice cream is only served until 6pm. Wait...and there is only one place to get Ice Cream. Wait...and there are only every 1 or 2 people working at the stand...for 3500+ people!!!! (700 kids). And they give you a mini-cone. 4. THEY TRY TO CHARGE YOU FOR ALMOST EVERYTHING, SPIN, YOGA, ETC...... 5. In the workout room they shut down the treadmills at 8pm because there are rooms under the gym and it disturbs the passengers. WHAT KIND OF SHIP DESIGN IS THIS!!!! 6. There is now separate Karaoke Place like Royal and Others...they just convert the main club into a Karaoke place for an hour then change the theme. The cruise director is able to Host every major event because only one thing good is going on at a time. You would think he was the STAR on board. Nice guy but man! Look...I could go on and on. We made the best of it. We had fun meeting people and doing the thing we did. And just relaxing on deck mostly because the bed was hard.   The best part of the cruise was the MOVIES under the stars and the Food. 85% of the Passengers are from the New York, Boston, NJ, Penn. Areas. And maybe the staff has been beaten down by the strength of the New York style personalities. I don't know... but this is not a quality cruise. It's maybe a Cruise for beginners who don't know better. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
My last cruise before this was on the Norwegian Dawn from New York.  I won't get started on a rant about that ship, but needless to say the Caribbean Princess was a welcome change of environment and quality.  Kids and the young at ... Read More
My last cruise before this was on the Norwegian Dawn from New York.  I won't get started on a rant about that ship, but needless to say the Caribbean Princess was a welcome change of environment and quality.  Kids and the young at heart, do not be afraid of Princess's reputation.  On our cruise, there were 300 teenagers (ages 13-17) and the ship was not stuck up or full of old people at all.  In my opinion, Princess combined the fun and friendliness of Carnival with the cleanliness and elegance of Holland-America or Cunard.  The Caribbean Princess (and its sister ships) are very big and very nice.CabinsOur inside cabin was actually a pretty good size compared to some other inside cabins that I've been in.  The only problem was the bathroom.  As I said, this was my 8th cruise and the shower was probably the smallest I've seen on a cruise ship yet.  The good part, however, was that the shower allowed you to adjust the water pressure from light to blast-your-skin-off and several levels of intensity in between.  Our cabin steward Arnel was excellent!  (Deck 12 Forward, Port side).  FoodThe food was excellent.  I gained 10 pounds on a 9-night cruise!  I was up until almost 3 AM many nights and even then there was still food in Cafe Caribe (Deck 15 Aft).  The pizza was good and was readily available most of the day (sometimes we would have to wait a few minutes for our after-midnight snack).  I was traveling with a group of 10 people and we like to sit at one table, but we were separated the first night in the Palm Dining Room.  I'm not sure if this was the cruise line's fault or the fault of the Travel Agent, but the Maitre d' sent us a notification the next afternoon that he could accommodate all of us at one table in the Coral Dining Room at almost the same time as our original seating.  The food choice was excellent in the dining room.  And if you're not into eating duck and unidentifiable types of fish (I am not), then there's always caesar salad, chicken and other daily alternatives that were just as tasty and well-prepared as a featured dish.  The service in the dining room was also very good.  However, the upstairs eating areas on the Lido Deck (Deck 15) were often crowded (see below).EntertainmentThe entertainment on this ship was good, but I've seen better.  There were two different comedians during the cruise, both were hilarious in my opinion.  There was also a hypnotist.  He was good in his hypnosis show, but he did another show later in the cruise that, I thought, had a lot of phony bologna in it (to put it in laymen's terms).  There was a "bad boy of magician" who was juts plain weird and not that funny, or a good magician for that matter.  While the shows were good, they were repeated.  The hypnotist did a total of 5 performances of the same exact show over the course of 3 days.  The so-so magician performed two nights in a row.  The singing-and-dancing show was apparently good.  I didn't go, but I heard it was decent.  However, it too was repeated a second night during the cruise.  This meant that there wasn't always a show to go see after dinner.Teen Group (REMIX)The Teen Group is very strict.  In order to register a teen, a parent needs to sit through a safety briefing session, and the teen's card needs to be cut, and I quote "with the special scissors that nobody else has."  If your card wasn't cut, you couldn't enter because there was a teen group moderator carding everybody at almost all times.  It was good that there weren't older people in the teen group (my last cruise had 20-somethings with alcohol in hand in the teen group and the moderators didn't care.)  However, the moderators treated us like children by forcing us to participate in games and such, so I spent more time elsewhere with friends I made there.  I still had fun of course, but not because of Remix.It's Too Crowded!As I mentioned before, the Caribbean Princess was the biggest and newest ship I have been on as of yet.  One of the problems with this ship is its size.  The Caribbean Princess has extra cabin space as compared to its sister ships, which means it can accommodate 500 more passengers than its sister ships (the Crown, Emerald and Ruby Princess).  However, the public spaces were not updated to reflect this change.  Everything was crowded.  I could never find an empty table near the Pizza and Hot Dog/Hamburger Grill (I forget the name).  The Buffet Line at Breakfast was often very long, especially after 10:30 AM when some stations began closing down for workers to begin preparing lunch.  The Princess Theatre was always packed.  There were also decent shows in the Explorer's Lounge.  Most began at 8:30 but we had to arrive by 8:00 to get a seat.  Even though I wasn't allowed, members of my family who attended the Adult Comedian Show in Club Fusion also reported that there was no room for them to sit, even though they arrived 45 minutes before the show's start time.  (Later in the cruise for the "London Calling" show they found a Scrabble board and got seats almost 2 hours before start time and just played Scrabble until then).  OverallNice ship.  Very clean.  Very friendly staff.  Very good food.  Very crowded in public places like lounges and cafes.  Itinerary was only so-so.  Entertainment was hit-and-miss, and repeated too often. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Accomodations I went on the Caribbean Princess with my husband, his brother and my mother and father in law. It was a 9-day cruise that set sail on July 8, 2009. We embarked in Brooklyn. When we drove up to the pier, several gentleman were ... Read More
Accomodations I went on the Caribbean Princess with my husband, his brother and my mother and father in law. It was a 9-day cruise that set sail on July 8, 2009. We embarked in Brooklyn. When we drove up to the pier, several gentleman were waiting to unload our luggage and take it to the ship for us. When we boarded we were allowed to go to our room right away. (We had traveled on NCL last year and had to wait nearly 3 hours before we were allowed to go into our cabin) My in-laws had a suite whereas my husband and I had a general stateroom with balcony. The balcony was a nice size that fit a table and four chairs. The stateroom itself was a typical cruise cabin. The bathroom was small and the shower was smaller. The beds and the pillows were comfortable. The suite had room for 3 people. The bathroom had a small, stand up shower with an actual shower door and a Jacuzzi bathtub. It was much bigger than our bathroom and it had two sinks. There was a large counter area as well as plenty of closets and drawers for storage. The suite included many perks including complimentary laundry and dry cleaning service, free Internet access, daily canopies (chocolate covered strawberries, caviar, etc.) Entertainment and Activities The Caribbean Princess has 18 decks. By the end of the cruise we had explored all of them. There was a lot to do on the ship. Tim, the cruise director, was excellent. He got on the loudspeaker at least three times a day to update us on the days' events. He was also very charismatic when introducing shows and he even hosted a few shows of his own. The entertainment was wonderful. There was always something going on in the piazza whether it was a musical group or a street performer. The shows in the theater were close to Broadway caliber. The comedians were very funny and toward the end of the cruise there was a hypnotist on board who did an extremely funny show with members of the audience. In addition to the on board entertainment, there were numerous activities the guests could participate in, such as Princess Pop Star, a contest similar to American Idol. They had qualifying rounds three days in a row. Then on the final night of the cruise they held the finale where the top six singers competed for the title. The only complaint I had about Princess Pop Star is that the winner did not receive anything special. All six contestants received a Princess Cruise tote bag but the winner, did not receive anything in addition. I thought that was a little tacky. There was also a dance contest where contestants competed in ballroom dance. The Caribbean Princess offered Scholarship at Sea classes in computers, ceramics, scrapbooking and more. The scrapbooking class was not what I expected. In the beginning, they showed us some products that they were selling. Then they brought out tools and paper so we could start creating our own pages, however the tools were old and didn't work well anymore and the paper was construction paper. In scrapbooking you need to use acid free paper so it doesn't fade. Other activities included Bingo, Bridge, board game get togethers, pool games, basketball, ping pong and more. We wanted to take advantage of the gym they had on board during one of the days at sea. However, we got there at 8:30 in the morning and all the machines were in use. There were also 5 treadmills that were roped off so no one could use them. We went outside to the track but they had shortened the track to add The Sanctuary. Therefore the outdoor track was extremely short and boring. There was another walking track on deck 7 that went all around the ship however, you had to walk up a set of steps around the front of the ship and then down another set in order to complete the wrap around. The Crew Every member of the crew that we came in contact with was extremely nice and pleasant with the exception of one. When we had a problem with one of our excursions, Tina from the excursion desk was very helpful and followed through with everything until we were satisfied. One member of the cruise director's staff, Shane, remembered my name throughout the entire length of the cruise after I tried out for Princess Pop Star on the second night. The room stewards were very accommodating. Anything we asked for we received in a timely manner. We always felt welcome by the staff with the exception of one crew member. As part of the benefits of being in a suite my in-laws received a card in their room that invited them to breakfast at Sabatini's, one of the premier restaurants. We went along with them on the last day of the cruise. The maitre'd looked up their cabin and it showed that there were only three people in the cabin, however there were 5 of us all together. The man told my mother-in-law that "under no circumstances" can they allow anyone to dine for breakfast who was not staying in one of the suites. He repeated himself several times after my mother-in-law tried to explain that she had received a card that said suite guests and their families were invited. We thought it was very rude of him to continue saying "under no circumstances" could we dine there. It was as if he was saying "How dare you step foot into this restaurant. You are just commoners." We had eaten at Sabatini's for dinner and paid the premium a few nights before. We were disappointed and annoyed with the maitre'd. The food The food was amazing. I tried things I wouldn't normally eat and I was not disappointed. The soups, the appetizers, main meals and desserts were mouthwatering. It was all five-star quality. Even the food at the buffet was good. They were making omelettes for breakfast. When we didn't see the lox that we wanted we asked for it and a dining worker went in the back and retrieved it for us. We had the option of having formal seating (where you eat at the same time and with the same waiter every night) or anytime dining (which is what we chose). Twice, we had to wait up to half an hour for a table, though. The Casino We are avid gamblers and were in the casino every night. There were several blackjack tables but only one roulette and one craps table. Both of which were crowded every night and hard to get on. Perhaps they can remove two of the blackjack tables and add another Roulette table. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Okay, so this was my first cruise so I may have opinions that differ from seasoned cruisers.  We were traveling with four 18 year olds and one 13 year old celebrating hs graduation (three kids ours.)  We are a 44 year old couple who ... Read More
Okay, so this was my first cruise so I may have opinions that differ from seasoned cruisers.  We were traveling with four 18 year olds and one 13 year old celebrating hs graduation (three kids ours.)  We are a 44 year old couple who consider ourselves fun overall.  Here is the review. Embarktion.  Great, no problems easy on in about 20 minutes.  Parking in brooklyn is a snap, I stressed about it and was happy to find parking plentiful and closeby.  Cabin.  Fine, we had three cabins in all.  They were small, but we had no complaints.  Our steward Jeal on the starboard was great, the steward for the kids rooms on the port side was awful, never returned pages, threw the eggcrates on the floor and said he would put them on the beds "if he had time" and overall just didn't respond to them.  I really feel is was due to their age, however they did not page him because they wanted to be "princesses" they paged him for things like towels, and being locked out of the room.  Never getting a response.  We ended up asking the tips be adjusted.Staff.  Overall on the ship there was a weird vibe from all the staff, I feel like they are overtaxed by their contracts and too many days at sea.  Bascially everyone was just plain unfriendly.  Especially to the kids.  One bartender gave my daughter a half a glass of grenadine and can of sprite when she ordered a shirley temple.  He couldn't be bothered to mix it for her.  We experienced that type of attitude from the majority of the bartenders.  They don't greet you, don't look you in the eye, and really aren't all that interested in you other than to take your order and scan your card.  We found it weird, as we are friendly people and always said hi.  On the otherside, with our older daughers we found certain staff members overly "friendly" particularly the cruise directors staff who hang out in the night club late at night.  They were constantly hitting on and touching our 18 year olds (granted they are pretty girls) we also found it inappropriate when we went to change one of our 18 year old guests cards from "child" to "over 18" (her birthday was the 2nd day of the cruise and the card change allowed her access to the disco) the man at guest services helping us asked her if she "wanted a birthday kiss."  We're no prudes, but it was just creepy! We took a cruise with the hopes we didn't have to watch our daughters 24/7.  I've heard that the cruise directors staff is encouranged to engage with the customers after hours, I guess that includes trying to make out with them! Entertainment.  As first time cruisers everyone had said "there is so much to do" to us.  Well if so much to do means, eat, trivia and kareoke, I guess there is so much to do.  I seriously felt like nothing has changed since the 1970's love boat series.  Entertainment was in a word "lame."  The trivia contest were rediculous, with about 10 people participating and key chain prizes.  Activities included things like napkin folding, charades and line dancing.  And anything worthwhile cost extra.  It was really strange because the things that did go over well, like the deck party halfway through the cruise were few and far between. That deck party was great!  We had so much fun, but it was the only event with some life to it.  Otherwise you were back to trivia and hanging by the pool.  Movies under the stars was nice, but it was impossible to find a chair if you didn't go early.  Trust me, I hate saying all this, as I had such high hopes for events, but I think people should know what they are in for on this ship.  On the upside for entertainment, The shows were good, I have to say the comics were first rate and hypnotist was outstanding, no complaints there. The problem was during the day, the events just left me feeling like I should be 65 and love bingo. We were really disappointed to find no shuffleboard or minigolf, and that the ping pong paddles were all broken, and that one deck was taken up by a basketball court that only a select few used.  We just wanted something to DO...anything other than swim at the pool. Our 13 year old particpated in the kids program, which consisted of primarily hanging out on the stairwell outside the kids center.  While the organized activities were good, they were not that often and the club was deemed "really small"  Groups of kids hung out side at night, every night.   She by far had the best cruise however, making a ton of friends. Food.  Okay food, here is the honest truth, you may agree or disagree.  If you like hometown buffet, you'll like the food.  There is LOTS of it, but nothing really tastes good.  However, you can have as much as you want. The eggs were fake, the bacon deep fried, the sausage underdone, etc.  But if you're into quantity over quality, you'll love it.  The anytime dining was great, no complaints about the format.  The waiters were efficient, but never really looked at you.  The food was okay, nothing I could even remember to mention.  That's pretty much how it was.  We were all gaining on average about 8 pounds on the cruise, but nothing was really that outstanding. Ports.  This made it worthwhile...we LOVED the ports.  Especially St. Thomas and Bermuda.  We only wished there were more time.  We did an excursion on Grand Turk (snorkeling) it was really fun, and well organized, I would recommend a princess excursion anytime.  Also mad props to Liz, the shopping coordinator, who made our tour of Bermuda seemless, by helping us with transportation and an itinerary that would be the least expensive was to do the most while on the island.  She's really great and a terrific asset to princess.  Go to her shows or watch her on the princess channel on board, she knows what she's talking about!Overall, while we made the most of our princess cruise, we couldn't help but feel maybe we belonged on Carnival.  We found the bars empty at 11:00 on princess and really wanted to have a good time.  I think if you're very low key and turn in early, you'll like the ship.  We were overall disappointed and felt somewhat "processed."  I'll leave on a positive note, the ship is very clean, very beautiful and the wine bar is fabulous, the bartender there was great!  We are generally beer drinkers, but converted to wine because we liked the wine bar so much!       Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
                My husband and I just got back today from an Eastern Caribbean cruise on CB with our 2 children, ages 9 and 11.  We were in a group of 13.  Sorry if this is wordy....I talk/write a lot.... ... Read More
                My husband and I just got back today from an Eastern Caribbean cruise on CB with our 2 children, ages 9 and 11.  We were in a group of 13.  Sorry if this is wordy....I talk/write a lot....                 Embarkation was a delight.  We were driven by van and dropped off at 11:30.  We were probably the 5th group to board-embarkation was a breeze.  We immediately tried to sign up for the sanctuary for the week  for my parents which was already booked by 12:45.  We had lunch in the Coral Dining Room-much quieter and laid back then the buffet.  By the time lunch was finished our luggage was already at our cabin.  Our cabin was lovely.  I loved the huge closet and our balcony was nice and large with 4 chairs and a small table.  We could see the balcony below us and we could be seen-but we received our robes and it was not a problem.                 Immediately after lunch my DH stood on line to speak with the head waiter regarding our seating.  We were a group of 13 and not all eating together.  He brought a book and I unpacked and joined him when I was finished.  They totally accommodated us to have 2 tables at early seating which was great!  Meals were ok-again this is my 9th cruise (NCL, Carnival, RC) but my first on Princess.  I found there to be a lot of beef and pork choices-not too many chicken.  My daughter enjoys cold fruit soups-not offered many nights.  We tried several times to get Escargot for my son-he had it twice but would have preferred more often.  The head waiter did get us pasta with olive oil and garlic one evening, but when asked a second time only was able to get 6 portions (we needed 13) although he was tipped generously the first night.  DH enjoyed bringing wine on board.  DH also enjoyed beer that he was able to get at the Wheelhouse in a pint glass...something that others have had concerns about.  (The secret is to ask for a mixing glass.)  We did eat at the Crown Grill which was very enjoyable and relaxing.  They did not help me with cutting the lobster tail.                 Kids were in 2 different levels at camp.  Both kids left dinner every night before dessert to be certain not to "miss anything."  My son, 9, loved the foosball, Wii competitions, and dodge ball.  My daughter, 11, loved the ping pong, card games, dodge ball and foosball .  The counselors were all wonderful.  Both of my children signed themselves in and out which was great.  We did have them have walkie talkies and we made arrangements on when/where to meet.  They always followed the plan probably in fear of losing their freedom.  They could not sign in/out on port days which was not a problem-just needed to remember our license.                  We did not stop at Bermuda due to weather.  In San Juan we had a couple's massage which was lovely (I loved the orange/lime water) and then we walked around a little with the kids.  In St Thomas we shopped and in Turks we did the horseback riding.  Horseback riding was a good time!  Wear shorts with a bathing suit underneath.  You do get wet!  My legs were slightly achy the next day.  Kids giggled a lot with the water gallop.                  The seniors in the group loved reading and people watching in the piazza.  If you are a coffee drinker definitely get the coffee card on day 1.  Coffee is not great except from the cafe and the lattes and cappuccinos were yummy as well.                  The ship is elegant.  I did not understand the elevators in that you needed to press several buttons to cue them to come and some had a very musty odor.  I found the entertainment to be fair.  My husband loved the poker and the bridge.                  Another big issue for me was the fitness center.  It opens at 7:00 which is great but you can't use the tread mills until 8:00.  The outside track is slippery if wet (which it was several mornings) and you need to go up/down steps.                 Service-room was kept tidy and she stayed out of our way.  No towel critters and not much interaction b/w us.  The dining room staff had 4 tables.  They kept us moving but unlike other cruises didn't spend the time telling us what was on the menu the next day or getting to know us.  They never helped us cut our kid's food.  By the end they did have lemons on the table for our water which was nice.  Only song was last day which they did a baked Alaska parade.                 Disembarkation was rather easy. We did have 2 mistakes on our bill which were quickly resolved.  We got to the desk early-the line was quite long when we were done.   We were in the fusion lounge and our color was 9:30 and we were called at 10:05.  We were in the van at 10:30.  Now I am on load 4 of wash and contemplating making dinner.    Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Between June 10-20 2009 my boyfriend and I (both in 40's, no kids) took the Caribbean Princess from Brooklyn NY to Bermuda, San Juan PR, St. Thomas, Grand Turk. We cruised once before on Carnival and this was our first Princess ... Read More
Between June 10-20 2009 my boyfriend and I (both in 40's, no kids) took the Caribbean Princess from Brooklyn NY to Bermuda, San Juan PR, St. Thomas, Grand Turk. We cruised once before on Carnival and this was our first Princess cruise. This ship beats Carnival by far!A quick warning before the Cruise Pros & Cons: Beware of BEACH swimming in Grand Turk. Our ship berthed next to Carnival Destiny ship already at the pier. Many Princess customers were swimming within the designated beach area located close to the Carnival ship. When Carnival quickly pulled out of port, it created a strong undercurrent which sucked the beach swimmers out to sea! It's a miracle nobody drowned, though some were physically & mentally hurt by this scary episode. Princess had to send out a rescue boat. There are no lifeguards.Ok, now the rest:PROS: quick embarkation and debarkation. Professional courteous staff. Our room steward, Amado, was outstanding. Great buffet dining experience. Seemed like the staff really tried to prepare interesting themes and variety. I really enjoyed the ample fresh fruit at breakfast and free room delivery. Extremely good quality pizza by the family pool. We had "anytime" dining for the table-service dining. Twice had great food and service in the Coral dining room - coincidentally (?) when we agreed to be seated with other people. Ate at the Crown Grill: excellent food & service.We enjoyed the company of the other cruisers in general a perfect mix of young/mid/older people, from all over US and beyond. Maybe we lucked out, but the kids we encountered were well behaved (unlike our Carnival experience - total chaos where people expected ship staff to discipline the kids).Adult-only pools (Terrace & Spa) were soooooo nice. These fresh water pools were super clean yet seemed to have no chlorine...YAY!! I spent hours in the water daily and never got the usual chlorine eye/skin irritation.Spa and Thermal Rooms:  we opted to buy the "couples special" whole-cruise access to the 'thermals', which are a series of dry/wet heat saunas. We used them every day; extremely relaxing! Many days we were the only ones in there!You'll have the place to yourself if you go in late afternoon/early eve. before dinner.Promenade deck: you can walk the complete perimeter of the ship. The bow is a deck higher than the rest of ship, but this step-walking just added to the fun and work-out factor! 2.7 laps = 1 mile  : )All of the musicians, singers, and show dancers were real pros.CONS:Smoking is allowed on balconies, so don't expect to get any fresh sea air there : (Surly girl 'barista' at the International Cafe was only staff member in need of attitude adjustment (or a vacation herself!)Comedians were 2nd or 3rd rate. They had a guy billed as a comedian/magician who was neither. Booooo.St. Thomas:  if you're unlucky enough to have a rainy day while at this port, don't bother getting off the ship. The town is a dump. Tourist store rip-offs abound. If you MUST shop for jewelry, don't dare pay the 'first' price they quote you. To Princess' credit, I was so relaxed by the cruise that I lost the b*lls required to deal with the obnoxious salespeople here.TIPS:  despite ample signs prohibiting "reserving" of deck chairs, you won't find a 'free' one after 8 a.m. But just because there's a towel on the chair doesn't mean you can't sit on it. I did just that with no problem after watching only 3 people in the (family) pool yet there were 50+ towel-covered chairs with no people or belongings by them. Let the 'no reservations' rule work to YOUR advantage!There are FREE saunas in the mens & ladies locker rooms by the fitness center. You don't have to buy your way into the thermal rooms. The thermals just allow men and women in together.Teeny-tiny cabin showers got you down? Use the FREE large luxurious shower stalls in the fitness/spa area. Especially if you're going to the gym anyway! Added bonus: lots & lots of big clean towels!In a watery nutshell, we would definately do another Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
CB- It was the best of times...   We have just returned from the June 29th sailing of the Caribbean Princess.  We were a family of 5, my husband (48), myself (47), our two daughters (17 and 19) and my sister (never to be revealed!).  ... Read More
CB- It was the best of times...   We have just returned from the June 29th sailing of the Caribbean Princess.  We were a family of 5, my husband (48), myself (47), our two daughters (17 and 19) and my sister (never to be revealed!).  We had two balcony rooms and an inside on the Aloha deck.  We were scheduled to visit Bermuda, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk.  Due to the weather conditions, we were unable to visit Bermuda.  However, the weather for the entire trip was sunny and hot, a welcome to our rain soaked and cold Northeastern bodies.    We chose to use the Princess transfer.  It was a bus out of Providence, RI which stopped a few times along the way in Connecticut.  Our group was wonderful and the trip to the ship was without incident.  The trip back, however, was more eventful.  We were one of the last buses out of the pier and ran into a lot of traffic.  Our driver chose to stop once he entered Connecticut to get a bite to eat.  This put us behind further in time, but we were okay with that.  We were given 45 minutes to get food and return to the bus.  We were all on time- but, the bus would not start!  The driver immediately called for assistance, but we were stranded in the rest stop until 3:15pm.  We were put on another bus and arrived back to Providence at 6:15pm.  The bus transfer was a good idea for those who didn't want to drive to and from NY, though, next time we will drive ourselves.   Embarkation was easy.  We arrived at the pier at 1:15pm, were assisted by the porters with luggage and entered the terminal.  We were asked to show our passports and tickets and preceded to security.  This was done very quickly.  We were given group numbers and sent to another line for processing.  We were able to check in and receive our ship cards within minutes.  This was a very efficient process.  We then entered the waiting area.  Due to tide levels, only one gangway was open.  It was 1:30 pm.  The waiting area had vending machines and bathroom facilities available.  We were group 77 and they were boarding group 71.  It looked as though it took 15 minutes per group to board.  Boarding went more quickly than we thought and were on board by 2:15pm.  They had tables set up with soda stickers, the ultimate soda package and coffee cards at convenient spots.  The ultimate stickers gave our daughters the option of ordering mocktails and sodas by flashing their cards. To clear up any misconceptions, there is no age limit for purchasing the ultimate soda package stickers.     Our rooms were on the Aloha deck.  Our balcony room was a good size, allowing easy movement around the bed.  The closet space was more than sufficient for the two of us and was the same size, I believe as the closet in a mini-suite.  Yes, the bathroom is small, but we did not have any problems with the dreaded shower curtain.  Our balcony was used often during the early morning and late afternoons.  We had the door between the two balcony rooms opened to allow us to move from one to the other.  We often had all 5 of us on one balcony.  Though small, we all did fit.  Our daughters had an inside across the hall.  This worked well for them.  Their only complaint was the movement of the ship went head to toe vs. side to side due to the positioning of the beds.  We had different stewards; ours was good, theirs very good.  He was very understanding of two teenage girls and their sporadic schedules.   We had Anytime Dining.  We did this on our first cruise and enjoyed it.  We were also very fortunate on this cruise.  We ate in the Coral Dining room, arriving around 6:00 pm each night and never had to wait.  We had the same table every night.  Our waiter, Jaime and assistant waiter, Maria Isabella were fantastic.  We enjoyed getting to know them.  Jaime would give his suggestions each night.  He brought ketchup for one daughter without being reminded every night.  On formal night, it arrived on a silver platter!  We enjoyed the meals.  Some meals were better than others, but overall the food was very good.  We tried things we had heard about on cruise boards and were happy with the suggestions.  We also ate breakfast in the dining room once and in the Horizon Court. FYI, there are "real" eggs in the buffet.  Fried eggs were available each day, along with several scrambled or omelet varieties.  Eggs Benedict was also offered several times.  There was also a smoked fish daily.    We also went to the Crown Grill one evening.  It was fabulous!  We had filet mignon and lobster tails.  My husband had the rib eye and lobster tail.  We tried the black and blue onion soup- it was as good as we read about.  We had delicious desserts and coffee.  Truly a great dinner and worth the extra money.   The pizza and burgers were available by the pool, along with chicken sandwiches and hot dogs.  These were delicious.  We also ordered room service a few times and found this to be very good.  We had the coffee cards and had brewed coffee often during the day.  We also tried the Mocha coffees and cappuccinos.  Our assistant waiter would go and get cappuccinos after dinner in the dining room for us.   Entertainment was better on this cruise than on our last cruise several years ago.  Yes, there are shows that are offered more than once, but this allowed us to choose when to go to these shows and see more than one in an evening.  The musicals in the theater were good and yes, you had to arrive 30 minutes prior to get a seat.  We saw Piano Man, Caribbean Caliente and Do You Wanna Dance.  We also saw all of the comedians and the hypnotist/mentalist.  These were very good.  We were entertained by Martin Kaye at Crooners.  He is a pianist/entertainer and engages the audience.  There was always a crowd around his area in the evenings.  He did a theater show, but had a much harder time engaging the audience in a large setting.   Our family also had fun playing Bingo and going to the casino.  We shopped on board for a few items.  The girls also went to Movies Under the Stars many evenings and saw movies such as Gran Torino, He's Just Not That Into You, and Yes Man. Other movies that were shown both inside and out included Mama Mia, The Dark Knight, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Iron Man, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Slumdog Millionaire, Paul Blart Mall Cop, and Cirque de Soleil. During the day MUTS showed various musical concerts and coverage of the Wimbledon.   We went to the pool daily, choosing the Neptune pool. It was difficult to find loungers as many people did go early and place towels on lounge chairs, never to return again.  We were able to find chairs together.  The pool did get crowded on sea days.  We heard the ship had over 3500 people aboard on this cruise with many children.     We were unable to go to Bermuda, as previously mentioned.  We had only one scheduled tour on St. Thomas.  We chose to do the shopping and Magen's Bay excursion.  It was a good tour providing transportation to and from the ship, allowing time to bring back purchases and change before going to the beach.  Magen's Bay was beautiful and the water refreshing.  In San Juan we chose to walk old San Juan visiting several shops, including the Coach and Dooney and Burke outlets.  We ate authentic island food at a local restaurant recommended by some of the shop keepers.  The plantains, mofongo with chicken, and steak and onions were terrific.  On Grand Turk, we waited to disembark allowing the crowds to go before us.  We could not find chairs on the beach and chose to go to Margaritaville, instead.  We found loungers by the pool.  We shopped in the various stores and then spent the afternoon in the pool.  The Margaritas were delicious, as were the nachos and wings.  We went back to the ship early, again beating the crowd.    The worst of times... This was beyond our control but did put a crimp in our cruise.  My husband dislocated his shoulder on the first at sea day.  He had injured his shoulder in February and was cleared by his doctor to resume all activity.  He was actually putting on sunscreen and raised his hand above his head and...POP!  Fortunately for us, the medical facility on board was phenomenal.  They took us in immediately, sedated him and popped his shoulder back into place.  They put him in an immobilizer sling and off we went.  This did curtail his ability to use the pool on board.  Though an unexpected expense, it is good to know they can accommodate such injuries on board.   There were many, many children on board.  The captain made an announcement at the beginning of the cruise to tell parents they were responsible for their children.  Unfortunately, that was the extent of it.  Children were often jumping and diving into the crowded pools.  Those next door to my daughters' room were often yelling obscenities and pounding on the walls late at night.  We were awakened to the running and yelling of children up and down the hallways at night.  There were also many people who did not understand how to close their doors, but instead opted to let them slam shut every single time they entered or left their room. Over 18 nights in the comedy clubs were ignored, as were the no children in the first three rows in the theater, and other recommendations in the patters as far as age restrictions.  This did not affect our fun or enjoyment of the cruise, just observations.    Overall, we had a terrific time!  We did many things on this cruise and came home rested and happy...and several pounds heavier! Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
A year  ago we sailed on Explorer of the Seas from Bayonne, NJ, to New England and Canada.  There were several missing details that would have made an enjoyable vacation more enjoyable.  Our review for that cruise is still posted.We ... Read More
A year  ago we sailed on Explorer of the Seas from Bayonne, NJ, to New England and Canada.  There were several missing details that would have made an enjoyable vacation more enjoyable.  Our review for that cruise is still posted.We decided to try a different cruise line this year and selected Caribbean Princess for the convenience of a New York departure and for the itinerary.  We wanted a relaxing vacation and the Bermuda - Caribbean cruise met our needs.We arrived at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at 11:00 AM and quickly and efficiently passed through security and check-in in a matter of minutes.  We were given a boarding number and directed to the waiting area.  There were enough chairs for everyone with videos playing touting Princess.  At noon boarding began and we were on board by 12:15.  Unlike our previous cruises we were permitted to go directly to our cabin to drop off our carry-on baggage and then proceeded to the Horizon Cafe for our first sampling of Princess fare.  Embarkation was a snap.The Ship was to sail at 5:00.  There was a slight delay for passengers arriving late.  The Muster Drill was scheduled for 4:45 and we were assembled in public areas rather than herded to the Prominade Deck and lined up like bowling pins.  It was explained that if there were an emergency the likelihood of having to go to the life boats was remote so passengers would be assembled and directed from the safety and comfort of the assembly sites.  Makes sense to me!  We sailed a little bit late and our vacation was under way.Rather than a step by step, day by day review, I will summarize our experiences on our vacation.The ship is very big.  There are several pools, several entertainment venues and several dining options.  If I returned tomorrow I doubt I could navigate to every area without a few wrong turns.  Its not poorly laid out, just large.  The room steward told me that from end to end, our hallway was 732 feet long.  I sure am glad that every room has a bathroom!  The ship was recently in dry dock for some upgrades.  She is in excellent shape, public areas are very attractive and comfortable.We selected traditional dining and were assigned to the Palm Dining Room.  There are three main dining rooms each seating about 550 people.  We found this arrangement much better than one 1500+ seat area.  We could actually talk to our table mates without yelling.  Also, there was much more space between tables than on previous cruises.  The service was consistent and pleasant.  No complaints there.  The food was not spectacular but better than we had on our past two cruises.  When one night you can have duck, and the next night have lamb and enjoy them both how can you complain?  There are set items on the menu as well as four or five new items every evening,  good variety and tasty fare.  We had lunch and breakfast most days in the Coral Dining Room and experienced the same service and food quality.  If you want variety, go to the buffet, Horizon Court, where there is always plenty of selections.We ate in Sabitini's (Italian) one night and in the Crown Grill (Steak house) another.  Both were superb.Our room, a mini-suite was wonderful.  The bathroom was large with a tub, and the balcony very pleasant.  We had read about the lack of privacy on the verandas on the Dolphin deck but this didn't bother us at all.  Alvin, our steward was extremely efficient and as pleasant as could be, as were all the attendants we passed in the hall.The entertainment was adequate.  Some shows were more enjoyable than others,  Almost all had a live band, not canned back-up.  The theater was attractive and comfortable.  The "side shows" in the lounges were entertaining.  Others have cited the constant nuisance of servers pushing drinks.  We do not drink and did not find them annoying or overly persistent.The staff on the ship were always responsive and friendly.  Nobody ever said they could not help us.  If they did not have the answers they found someone who did. All of the small problems we encountered can be attributed to the fact that there were more than 3600 passengers on this cruise.  Getting a chaise at any of the pools required early arrival or great luck.  Lounges were always available but not in better locations near the pools and hot tubs.  In the Horizon Cafe you often had to share a table with strangers.  This actually was a good thing because we got to meet and chat with some lovely people!  Getting your picture taken on the formal nights required patience and additional time.The staff did a marvelous job of managing disembarkation at all the ports and at the end of the cruise.  There was never a problem getting on or off Caribbean Princess.The bottom line is that we are not fans of the larger ships.  Even having this preference we cannot say enough about the efforts of the staff of Caribbean Princess to ensure that our vacation was enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Mornings are downright horrible, with the ship anchoring, very very noisy, I was in the front, so don't know if it makes a difference, but the noise goes on for an hour and you end up with a headache.The rest of the cruise you ... Read More
Mornings are downright horrible, with the ship anchoring, very very noisy, I was in the front, so don't know if it makes a difference, but the noise goes on for an hour and you end up with a headache.The rest of the cruise you don't even realize when the ship moves. Nights you hear some strange noises which people said was heavy wind. If you are a light sleeper, don't expect good sleep as in every room you hear people outsideinitial costs seem viable, but towards the end everything adds up, for eg: be prepared to double your initial budgetif the cruise cost you x000, be ready to spend another 500 on taxes, another 500 on tips, another 500 on drinks/expenses aboard ship, another 1000 on shore excursions, 200 on taxi fo airport commute, another 3000 on airfare, another 500 on new clothesEmbarking was pretty disorganized but thankfully it went off real fast. They make you sit in seats and then have no clue who came first. While disembarking on the last day, they delayed and embarrassed the heck out of me and my family by the machine making loud sounds when my card went through, to stop me, all because they had made a mistake and credited me incorrectly for another guy's payment. Well, the ship guy sure was decent about it, but could have been more inclined to compensating us for the ordeal of making us stand and wait for quite some time. He wanted me to go 5 floors up to swipe my card I told him to take a walk so he offered to do it.Ship  crew come from all over, so may not share your holiday excitement at greeting on passing.Casino: not much poker options, there was only an automated table for texas hold 'em, mostly down, and when it was up, would take forever to come on, and was mostly cash games where the rake went faster than ever as there was no dealer. Tourneys would be held occasionally when you least expect it.Communication: Wish they improve personal communications, it is a pain to be in touch with your roommate/friends if neither of you are not in your room. Rent some decent walkie-talkies or let us use our cell phones or something. Internet communication is downright awfully slow and costs an arm.Food items are unlabeled in nights, so you have no idea what you are eating...the kitchen crew skulk around like rats.  The only nice food item during the whole cruise was gone before we could make it there. C'mon, if your passengers like it so damn much, have more of it.  No advance notice of what items will be featured in future menus.  Not much Vegetarian fare, in fact it sucked for vegetarians.  Fine dining is rushed and awful, has same item everyday as main item, and the helpings are ridiculously small and tasteless.  Not very courteous, very fake attitudes (well, it is free after all)  The old guy Maitre'd at the Corral Room was downright obnoxious and unfriendly.  Every drink and even coffee is carefully charged back, overpriced to your room    The biggest con job by these cruises is the lack of decent drinks.  You have to pay through your nose for soft drinks, and fresh juice is totally non-existent, the OJ was watered down crap, everyday. If my Breakfast OJ is bad, my day doesn't go very smoothly.  C'mon, we are paying top dollar and we get such pathetic food ? Breakfast spread was ok, cereals were good, hashed browns were downright awful frozen stuff, omelettes were just so-so.  Too greasy. and the aisles were too narrow. Did I mention that the OJ was bad. Coffee was excellent, Tables were cleaned very fast. Alcohol costs go through the roof I was able to smuggle in a bottle of scotch without a fuss on the first day. Apparently it is allowed only the first night of the cruise, I guess because the xray is the port's not the cruise line's.       Shore Excursions: The only difference between Cruise-arranged and doing your own is they will come with a placard.  Do your homework of places you would like to see beforehand and bargain it with taxi operators, or ask at the tourist booth what a good rate to pay is.  People at all the islands, whether near the pier or not are extremely friendly and trustworthy, at least the ones I met were: The only difference between Cruise-arranged and doing your own is they will come with a placard.Remember, for some reason, GPSs don't work in ANY of the Caribbean area, not only did my Mio and Navigon GPSs promise Puerto Rico, they didn't support it at all, but the worst part was lack of finding any GPS satellites !! The cruise was much less fun without GPS, unless the ship was jamming these signals.Massage services are ok, rates fall on last day, look for dealsKid sitting services and activities were very good Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
We just returned yesterday from a 9-day cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess, sailing from Brooklyn NY to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Bermuda, with five sea days scattered through the itinerary. Our party consisted of my 78 yr-old ... Read More
We just returned yesterday from a 9-day cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess, sailing from Brooklyn NY to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Bermuda, with five sea days scattered through the itinerary. Our party consisted of my 78 yr-old mother, my 50 yr-old sister and her husband and six-year old daughter, my 47 yr-old sister, and me (51 yrs old). For comparison purposes, some or all of us have previously sailed on Royal Caribbean (Grandeur, Voyager, Monarch), Carnival (Destiny, Triumph, Pride, Legend), Celebrity (Zenith) and Cunard (QM2). With the exception of a significantly substandard debarkation procedure, discussed more fully below, we all agree that this was one of, if not the best cruise we have ever been on. Princess Website: Before turning to the cruise itself, let me say a word about the "cruise personalizer" on the Princess website. We found it efficient, easy to use and very, very convenient. In addition to getting all the passport, contact and all those other informational items done online rather than by hand the night before sailing, I was able to book all of my spa appointments well in advance. The only improvement I would make to the system is with respect to bon voyage gifts. The way the website is set up, you have to print out a form and handwrite your selections and then fax it to Princess (or call them). You should be able to order them directly on line, the way you can with spa appointments and shore excursions. Embarkation: We live in northern NJ, so one of the great attractions of this cruise was that it leaves from NY -- no pre-dawn flights, no lugging our carry ons through the airport, just a quick hour drive from home to the pier. We sailed from the new Brooklyn pier last year for our QM2 cruise, and think it is by far the best of the three NY/NJ embarkation ports (the West Side terminal is a nightmare of congestion; Bayonne avoids that, but you actually have to be bussed to the ship after going through the embarkation procedures; its a short hop, but you can wind up waiting for the busses at peak embarkation times). The parking at the Brooklyn terminal is a snap, with plenty of spaces for parking very close to the entrance. It cost us $175 for the 9 nights, which seems very reasonable, since it probably would have cost us that for cabs each way if we had decided not to drive ourselves. Our boarding passes (printed out online from the website) said that embarkation would begin at 1 pm, but to arrive at 2 pm for faster service. Don't listen to that. As experienced cruisers, we know that early arrivals get through the process quicker. However, we got tied up with other things and didn't arrive at the pier in this case until 2:15. Far from being "faster" there was a mob at the unloading area. We sat in a long line of cars waiting to unload, and had some difficulty getting a porter. Also, by this time the security line went on forever. However, because we were booked in suites, we had priority check in after you went through the security screening (I did hear some suite and platinum elite passengers complaining about the lack of separate security lines for those entitled to priority check in, but personally, I like knowing that everyone goes through the same security clearance to get on board). The priority check in was an absolute breeze. While we didn't get through security until about 3 pm (45 minutes after arriving at the pier), after that we were on board by 3:15. Cabins: We had three penthouse suites: R405, R408, and R417. I would have to say that they were by far the best suites we have had on any ship, including the Princess Grill suites on the QM2. They are extremely spacious and well laid out, with a curtain that can be pulled to close off the sitting from the sleeping area. The walk in closet was a bit smaller than on the QM2 (a difference you would expect between a ship that is designed for long-term or world cruises, and one that is not), but there was more than enough storage. The bathroom was to die for, with a separate tub and glass shower, marble tile, and all the right amenities. Although I had heard a lot of complaints on the Cruise Critic boards about the beds being uncomfortable, ours were extremely comfortable (I think I heard that the mattresses in the suites were recently upgraded, and that all of the remaining mattresses will be upgraded when the ship goes into dry dock at the end of the year). The suite balconies were very large, with enough room for two lounge chairs, and a table with two straight chairs. Having said that, however, the balconies on the other cabins seemed very small to me, with no lounge chairs and only room for a couple of upright chairs. The only negative about the cabins is the noise -- not from the adjoining cabins, but from above. The Riviera deck is directly below Lido, and there is a constant stream of moving deck chairs and running (really, thunderous) footsteps from directly above you. I know that some cruisers spend very little time in the cabins, but that's not us (which is one reason we have always opted for suites). We enjoy an afternoon vegging out in the cabins, watching a little TV, "gathering our strength" for the evening activities. Accordingly, we pay a little more attention than most to the offerings on the ship's TV, which on Caribbean Princess were excellent. Aside from CNN, Turner Classic Movies, ESPN and the usual ship channels (you know, the port talk, the "where are we now" channel, the "don't miss this great shore excursion" channel), Princess has what they call a "romance" movie channel that ran really great old movies (which I realize not only dates me, but is a matter of taste) from West Side Story to Breakfast at Tiffanys to the Bridges of Madison County. They also had a channel like a lot of lines do now that ran a loop of sitcoms and TV dramas like Everyone Loves Raymond and the Closer. Made those lazy afternoons a little more enjoyable. Suite amenities: I don't usually go on about the "extras" available in suites, as I know the majority of cruisers don't care about them, but some of the Princess suite amenities to me seemed so unique that they are worth a separate mention of their. own. Of course, you have the what I consider "typical" upgrades -- afternoon canapes (though not as good as those on Celebrity, they were a nice addition to the afternoon), flowers, a dvd player in the room, with access to a reasonably-sized dvd library, and the ability to order from the full dining room menu during the hours the dining room was open. But my two favorite "extras" wound up saving me probably a couple of hundred dollars on the cruise -- free laundry and dry cleaning and free internet. IMHO, those are very valuable and very unusual upgrades. Service: We have been on cruise lines that pride themselves on service but have never, ever been treated as well as we were on Princess. Of course, you kind of expect that your cabin steward will greet you if and when you see them in the hall, but here you couldn't pass any crew member without getting a warm smile, a hello and a question about how you were enjoying your cruise. The staff in the spa, the restaurants and everywhere on the ship went out of their way not only to cater to your every whim, but also to affirmatively ask you if you had any whims that needed catering to. There were only two exceptions to this, one of them being the disembarkation which is discussed below. The other was a really dumb staffing error in the casino, that should be an easy fix. On the first sea day, the slots opened at 8 am, but the tables did not open until 10. My brother in law happened to hit a jackpot at 8:15 am, and had to wait several minutes for anyone to respond. Finally, someone came over to talk to him, then went back to the cage and came back holding up both hands, signaling "10". My brother in law said, "OK, so someone will be here in 10 minutes?" to which she responded "No, we can take care of it at 10 o'clock." They actually expected him to sit there for an hour and a half and wait to be paid out. Unacceptable -- when the casino is opened, it has to be staffed. (After he justifiably kicked up a polite fuss, they managed to find someone who could complete the payout). Food and dining rooms: I admit it; I was against booking Anytime Dining, as I had visions of us waiting on line to get a table for six every night. But my sister insisted that we try it, and it was definitely the highlight of the cruise. We only had to wait once, and that one time they gave us a pager, we went to one of the lounges, ordered drinks and were summoned to our table before we could even finish them. And we absolutely loved the freedom it afforded us -- no ticking clock deciding when it was time to get dressed for dinner, no need to have a "relationship" with our waiter (I hope that doesn't sound horrible; I appreciate how hard the staff works and the service they provide, but I really just prefer the unobtrusive service of a waiter who is essentially a stranger every night), no hesitancy to skip dinner on the ground that we haven't told them not to expect us in advance, and no danger of being assigned to table mates with whom you are so incompatible that you begin to dread dinner by the end of the cruise (as happened to us on both the Triumph and the Voyager). If you opt for anytime dining, we recommend that you go to the Palm Dining room rather than the Coral; the Palm is aft and a little harder to get to (you know, go up to Deck 7, then aft, then down to Deck 6, because you can't get through on Deck 6 alone), so people seem to crowd around the Coral which is amidships. The Palm also has a roomier and quieter feel than the Coral. The quality of the food was excellent, though the dining room menus tended to favor the "chi-chi" over more plain food. We also thought that both buffets -- the Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court -- were very, very good, but would recommend that they have more non-bar beverages available. The only free beverages offered in the buffets were water, iced tea and coffee. On other cruises they have also supplied lemonade and fruit punch. This isn't about the money -- its about not having to flag down a waiter, place an order and wait for them to return with it, in a dining venue that is supposed to be quick in and out. Actually, our favorite food on the cruise wound up being room service. While, as noted above, suite passengers can order from the dining room menu, we found the sandwiches from the regular room service menu to be outstanding, and a midnight "croque monsieur," turkey sandwich or turkey club became our standard way to end the day. The pizza and burger grills by the pool were also highlights -- at the risk of sounding repetitive in this review, the pizza was far and away the best we've ever had on a cruise. And while I had originally balked at the thought that a cruise ship would charge for any food, and thus didn't like the idea that "Scoops", the ice cream shop on the ship, charges a "nominal" fee, what they served was delicious and MORE than worth that fee. Entertainment and Activities: We absolutely loved Movies Under The Stars. Aside from the brilliance of the concept -- sitting on a lounge chair, surrounded by the night sky, munching on a bag of popcorn with a blanket tucked around your legs -- we were surprised at the quality of the movies offered -- including recent Oscar nominees/winners like "Ratatouille," "No Country For Old Men," "Atonement," and great classics like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and a late-night showing of "Rocky Horror Picture Show." The casino was more than large enough (if a bit unkind to us during the cruise after that first day jackpot), with a terrific assortment of machines and plenty of table action. We saw all three of the production shows: "Piano Man", "Do You Wanna Dance" (which premiered this week on the ship) and one whose name escapes me but which was a Latin and Caribbean themed show. We enjoyed them all very much (my mother and I especially liked "Do You Wanna Dance," while my sisters preferred "Piano Man"). In my review of the QM2 last year, I commented that we could tell that the performers were outstanding but that they had been placed in boring, poorly directed shows. Here, the opposite was true. The performers, while very good, did not stand out from other cruise shows we've seen, but the choreography, costumes and direction took them to another level. With the exception of the shows on Zenith, we would again put Princess at the top in this category among all the cruises we have taken. It was also clear that there were a host of great performances that others raved about that we just did not get to. At night, between comics in the lounges, movies under the stars, the production shows, the dancing lounges, and other activities, you just could not cram everything in. Oddly, the same was not true of the daytime activities, a flaw especially noticeable on sea days. All of the daytime activities seemed a bit staid -- ceramics classes, art auctions, computer classes, etc. There were not nearly enough more lively events that we see on sea days on other ships, like game shows. (That may account for the thorough report I can make of the TV available in the staterooms!). The two main pools, the Calypso and Neptune pools amidships, were predictably jammed on sea days. However, the adult-only pools -- the Spa Pool and the Terrace Pool -- were much more sparsely attended, and as a result quieter and more relaxing. One special note about the Terrace Pool, which is at the aft of the ship between Decks 14 and 15 ; unlike every other shipboard pool I have ever been in, it actually has steps to enter and exit the pool -- not just ladders. As a significantly "plus-size" cruiser, that was an unexpected boon; I often have a very difficult time climbing the ladders to exit from a standard shipboard pool. And though my mother is not "plus size," at 78, she also appreciated being able to use the steps, rather than having to jump into and climb out of the pool. My niece only attended the kid's program one day, since we all tend to prefer to spend most of our time together as a family when we cruise, but the one day she was there my sister reports that she liked the facilities and activities a lot. Itinerary: When you cruise out of New York, you have to expect to have some shortened days in the Caribbean because of the extra travel, but we did think that the port itinerary could have been organized much, much better. After two sea days, we arrived at Grand Turk at 7 am, and had to be back on board at 1:30 to sail at 2. The next day we spent all day in San Juan, followed by a half day in St. Thomas, from 7 am to 3 pm, then another sea day followed by a stop in Bermuda from 9 am to 5 pm, then one more sea day and home. The two stops in Grand Turk and St. Thomas were much too short, and frankly, for my money San Juan is a waste of a day. I realize people could differ in their tastes, but really the itinerary should be adjusted so that either Grand Turk or (preferably) St. Thomas are a full day. I won't bother spending too much time on reviewing St. Thomas, San Juan or Bermuda, since they are pretty standard cruise stops and there are lots of reviews of them on the boards. Suffice it to say that we shopped in St. Thomas (had we had a full day there, we would have made it a beach day, probably at Megan's Bay), took a cab to Horseshoe Bay beach in Bermuda (glorious, though still a bit chilly in late May), and never left the ship in San Juan. Grand Turk is a relatively new cruise ship stop (at least as far as I know). My understanding is that the pier area was built in the last few years by Carnival, allowing the larger liners to make a stop there. We had originally intended to take a cab to Governors Beach, which we understand is a five-minute cab ride from the pier, but when we looked out of our cabins at the pierside beach, it looked very nice and uncrowded, so we opted to go there instead. It was a very good choice. you walk right off the ship, along the pier and through a small shopping area to the beach. There are plenty of beach chairs, and the water is really beautiful (the bottom is a bit rocky at first, but smoothes out after you're in to about your waist). There is also a huge pool area by a bar called "Margaritaville," and judging from the screams and cheers we heard coming from that area, there are plenty of poolside games and activities for those who want a livelier beach day. Miscellaneous: Unfortunately, we had occasion twice on this cruise to take advantage of the medical facilities; fortunately, they were excellent both times. My mother spent a horrid first night in excruciating pain with what we thought must be a broken wrist, but which turned out after an xray to be a severe attack of gout (which she's never had before). Later in the cruise, I developed a respiratory infection requiring an antibiotic. On both visits, the staff was attentive, and the care excellent. We had been told to expect that our shipmates would be older than what we were used to, particularly on Carnival, and that did seem to be the case; my sisters and I felt that we fell into the "younger" side of the median age as a whole. However, there were plenty of twenty- and thirty-somethings as well. Also, probably because school is not yet out, there was a definite lack of pre-teens and teens on the cruise, though I don't know whether that will continue to be true in June, July and August. Disembarkation: OK, here is the only true negative of the review. Disembarkation was handled as badly as we have ever seen it handled on a ship (with the exception of one nightmare disembarkation from the Voyager). First of all, the information provided was sporadic at best, and in our case, just wrong. We were given orange luggage tags, which in the printed information circulated to all cabins meant that we were to gather at Club Fusion, aft. However, all three of our cabins also received letters the last night of the cruise saying that, as suite passengers, we should gather instead at the Explorers Club, where all suite and platinum elite passengers would wait. So that's where we went, and waited until another passenger informed us that the suite and platinum elite passengers were supposed to be at the Wheelhouse Bar, not the Explorers Club. How she knew that, I have no idea. There were no crew members stationed in the Explorers Club whom we could ask. When one finally did arrive, to call another color tag to leave the ship, we asked him where we were supposed to be and he said (while running by us) "Orange -- club fusion." However, after packing our carryons and starting to make our way to club fusion, we stopped at the Wheelhouse bar on the way, and were told that, yes, that was the waiting area for platinum and suite passengers. We showed the person there the letter that had told us to go to the Explorers club, to which she responded "I didn't write the letters." As we moved into the bar, another passenger complained that the lounge was far too small to accommodate everyone (and in fact, we wound up sitting on the floor among our bags), and was not appropriate for passengers entitled to "upgraded" status, only to be told by the same crew member "Lady, I just work here." I have never, ever heard any crew member on any cruise ship say such a thing. The chaos continued when that same person moved through the lounge calling for people with orange tags to disembark, and we moved into the hallway, where we stood, not moving, for thirteen full minutes, bags in hand, before finally being allowed to get off the ship. None of this had to happen. For one thing, Princess has decided for some reason not to make general shipwide announcements during disembarkation; rather, a crew member goes to the lounge where a certain color is supposed to have gathered and makes an announcement in that lounge, that the "red" or "green" tags may now disembark. Accordingly, you have to be in the right lounge or you will never receive word to disembark -- thus our panic to figure out where we should be. On other cruise lines we have sailed, you could essentially wait anywhere in the public areas, and would then debark whenever the announcement was made over the general shipwide intercom that it was time for your color tag to debark. Even if Princess doesn't want to make that simple adjustment to their procedures, there is no excuse for calling a particular color to disembark, and then having them simply stand in line for ten minutes or more until you begin to let them off -- if you're not ready to let us off, then don't call the color. Summary: The chaos at the end notwithstanding, this was a fabulous cruise. We are already planning our next one with Princess, and hope that it will be the first of many. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Caribbean Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.5 3.3
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.2

Find a Caribbean Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click