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

It was a last minute vacation for my husband and I and our 5 kids (13,14,17,19 &20 yrs) The staff was great, friendly, helpful and fun! Loved the medallion and it’s apps! Very innovative and helpful if you aren’t regular cruisers. ... Read More
It was a last minute vacation for my husband and I and our 5 kids (13,14,17,19 &20 yrs) The staff was great, friendly, helpful and fun! Loved the medallion and it’s apps! Very innovative and helpful if you aren’t regular cruisers. The only thing I wished is that I’d be able to track the kids under 18 in the other 2 state rooms since we had 3 rooms. But because of their age the app wouldn’t allow me to track them but we all have iPhones so we just texted. WiFi plan purchased workers really well, especially being in the middle of the ocean. Food was tasty and lots of options for the picky or for adventurous taste buds. Didn’t eat 1 thing I didn’t like. Plenty of areas to sit and relax, didn’t feel over crowded in any areas (obviously many people at pools on hot days, but there are multiple pools so it didn’t seem to bother anyone and didn’t seem over crowded). There’s about 4-5 smoking areas. Rooms were stayed on top of, very clean, service was great. The staff remembered your orders or likes almost immediately. Made for a very personal feeling. Entertainment was funny and there was always something going on somewhere. Princess cruises has it down pat all the way around. Looking into sailing with them again next summer. Embarking and disembarking was soooo quick and easy too! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My husband and I decided to do a Caribbean cruise for our anniversary, and my son’s high school graduation. I was a little weary about sailing on a Princess Cruise because it seems to cater to an older crowd, and we had an 18 yr old, ... Read More
My husband and I decided to do a Caribbean cruise for our anniversary, and my son’s high school graduation. I was a little weary about sailing on a Princess Cruise because it seems to cater to an older crowd, and we had an 18 yr old, 16, and 11 yr old with us. Half the passengers were senior citizens, and the rest were families. All of my kids made friends on board and had a great time. The food was great, the weather was perfect, the islands were beautiful, the crew went out of there way to cater to everyone. There were plenty of lounge chairs, and rarely any lines. The newlywed game and Voice of the Ocean was great. The medallion system and WiFi was exceptional. Movies on deck were great. My kids can’t wait to do another cruise. I like that the atmosphere is low key, and laid back. A slide or two for the kids would be nice, but I would definitely Cruise Princess again. Princess Cays, St. Maarten (Maho beach) St. Thomas (excursion to Trunk Bay St. John’s USVI) Perfect. Getting on and off the ship was well organized too. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I had heard that the food and service were great The dining room staff was outstanding. Our waiter was Carlos and the Dining Room Captain was Frederick. My nine year old granddaughter asked for strawberry soup and Frederick had it ... Read More
I had heard that the food and service were great The dining room staff was outstanding. Our waiter was Carlos and the Dining Room Captain was Frederick. My nine year old granddaughter asked for strawberry soup and Frederick had it delivered every single night within 5 minutes of being seated even though it was not on the menu. Carlos treated the 2 girls (9 and 6) as princesses. He would bring a chopped fruit cup immediately for the baby. Loved the trip so much I am going again next year and will request both Frederick and Carlos again. Carlos has been on this ship for 14 years. He danced the Macarena with the girls one night. Loved the beaches at all 3 stops in Eastern caribbean. Perfect weather and seas as flat as glass. Port locations in the perfect location from where the ship docked. Medallion class worked perfectly. Boarded the ship within 5 minutes at ll:30 a.m. Virtually walked right on. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I have cruised with Princess many times and not been disappointed. But This was the best ship ever on Princess, Great Activities, shows, music, food, many pools to suit everyone. quiet pools as well as kiddie pools and music pools spa ... Read More
I have cruised with Princess many times and not been disappointed. But This was the best ship ever on Princess, Great Activities, shows, music, food, many pools to suit everyone. quiet pools as well as kiddie pools and music pools spa pool hot tubs deep pools shady pools. Easiest embarkation ever. Luggage delivered to my room 2 hours before scheduled Front Desk handles all request, fun parties, wonderful kid programs - get the kids to join you won't be sorry. Buffet is awesome. Hard to believe the number of breakfast items to suit all tastes. Burger shop, pizza shop Gluten free, sugar free desserts every day. Best service ever at the buffet. There were 186 teens aboard and they were kept very busy. St Marten 10 best sites excursion is well worth $49.95 and if you are lucky enough to get "Ash" you'll see and learn more about this Island than you knew existed. Have fun and Don't hesitate Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I love Princess! Rooms are amazing, and the beds are more comfortable than my own. Staff pampers you and there are many great things to do. We are already planning our next Princess cruise. Princess is our preferred criuse line. Took a 14 ... Read More
I love Princess! Rooms are amazing, and the beds are more comfortable than my own. Staff pampers you and there are many great things to do. We are already planning our next Princess cruise. Princess is our preferred criuse line. Took a 14 day European cruise on Princess last year as well and was amazed with the ship experience as well as the excursions. You can relax and enjoy your time and thete is something to do for all ages. The only way to vacation for me now will be cruising. Pools, casino, ocean view, great food, bingo, and night time entertainment all wrapped up in one. It is even better with the medallion, makes everything so easy. Love the room service and speed and quality of the food. Lookung forward to the many many more cruises I will be taking with princess. Bon voyage until we cruise again. Thank you Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose our cabin after my husband researched the aft ones. The view could not be beat, as one can see almost all of the port or other islands. Embarkation/Disembarkation was worse than going through TSA at any airport hub. It totally ... Read More
We chose our cabin after my husband researched the aft ones. The view could not be beat, as one can see almost all of the port or other islands. Embarkation/Disembarkation was worse than going through TSA at any airport hub. It totally should have taken a lot less than the 30 minutes, coming and going in Port Everglades. Our cabin did not disappoint, as it had lots of closet spaces and plenty of drawers. However, the bathroom could have used an extra sink and some shelves for toiletry storage. The bathtub, with its jets was a complete dream. So good for a soak and rest! Wished that I could have folded it up, and put in the suitcases! The shower was a good one, with a great showerhead that could be adjusted for different streams. The overall shower needed to have a different kind of door that sealed, as there was a stream of water that escaped out the bottom and flooded the bathroom! Dining did not disappoint...plenty of venues and choices. Whether your tastes run to steak, seafood or ice cream, it was all good. The wait staffs and managers were totally top notch!! We had one of our shore excursions cancel, due to nature, and the others were a complete surprise with the places we saw and areas we viewed! Would do it again in a heartbeat!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This cruise was a surprise birthday present for me! I had been complaining about how we couldn't afford a cruise this year (we had to buy a lovely roof instead…) and my wonderful parents stepped up and made it possible! My parents ... Read More
This cruise was a surprise birthday present for me! I had been complaining about how we couldn't afford a cruise this year (we had to buy a lovely roof instead…) and my wonderful parents stepped up and made it possible! My parents are chronic cruisers who go 5-6 times a year - sometimes more (this year they’ll do 10!). They are the ones responsible for getting my family addicted as well! This cruise was selected with relaxation in mind. With three ports and four sea days, it's the perfect way to unwind and let someone else worry about making us happy - and did Princess pull through for us! With kids left behind grumbling about not going, my husband and I had our first vacation alone together in 10 years. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. We had a balcony next to my parents and spent many hours reading and watching my favorite, mesmerizing reality show "Ocean Waves" on that balcony. I spent so many hours I received a nice sunburn sitting in the shade! Over all the ship was on good condition, we could definitely tell what had been refreshed and what still needed to be refreshed. The beds are sumptuously soft. The bathroom was clean, but definitely dated. Princess is trying to get up to snuff with technology. They have installed new TV's with current on-demand movies. Most of the time it worked – when it didn't, I figured out that if you rebooted the TV, it would reset and work fine. They also offer on board Wi-Fi which was spotty at best. They are still working out the kinks. While frustrating to passengers, I understand the problems with tech upgrades. Many people complained about not being able to connect to work (how very sad – work? On a vacation?). Once they get this nailed, it’ll be great to be able to message on board companions freely. The service was outstanding. Our room attendant, Allen was the happiest hard worker I've ever met. Every request was met with ninja efficiency. Every morning (and I am an early riser) his smiling face was the first I would see. His personality was infectious and utterly charming. He should be a game show host… Our wait staff was great as well. We had traditional dining where Richard and Alexander took great care of us. My parents are used to getting things “just so” and they accommodated their every whim. Our water glasses were never empty (my pet peeve) and their recommendations where never wrong. For breakfast my parents knew Michael in the main dining room from previous cruises and requested him every morning. He too took care of their “just so” requests along with his team mate Somsak. Again smiling, happy workers! Most of the bar tenders were ok. We found (and this is an important person to find on every cruise!) a great bartender, Topher, who made the best long island tea. Not too much sweet/sour or too much cola…just right. He was the first to learn our names and what we liked. We went out of our way to get our drinks from him – he tended up at the Tradewinds bar on deck 16. He also made some great suggestions on other drinks that we tried. The only “excursion” we did was to reserve the clam shell on Princess Cays. For my mom it was essential, for the rest of us, well, I spend more time in the beautiful water, bobbing like an apple. We went ashore in St Thomas and took a shuttle to Coki Beach for the best snorkeling ever (to date)! It was like floating in an aquarium. The fish are used to being fed biscuits so they are abundant. For more beauty, float around the rocks…such variety of colorful fish and coral! In St. Maartin we took a water taxi to Great Bay Beach and again did the bobbing apple routine. It was marvelous! The entertainment was pretty good too! We had the comedian Ronndell Smith on 2 nights – he is hilarious! I wished his set was longer. There was a great singer (eek! Can’t remember his name at present!). He energetically sang everything from Ray Charles to Michael Jackson. Most surprising, as I didn’t expect to enjoy it, was the production of Bravo! The show is touted as mixing opera with pop with the grace of ballroom. It delivered outstandingly. The opera pieces were easily recognizable, as were the pop selections – but the voices were amazing – stunning really. I’m getting goosebumps just remembering! It was phenomenal, beautiful and worth the price of admission anywhere. I watched The Black Panther, Thor, Ragnarok and Jumanji for Movies Under that Stars. It was nice! Attendants came around with popcorn that was better than AMC’s. Those movies would show up in on-demand the next day. The food in the main dining room was very good. I'm not picky, but my parents are and they were very happy with the food. The buffet is everything you expect a buffet to be. My husband prefers the buffet saying he likes all the different selections and he can eat whenever he wants. He always joined us for dinner and enjoyed that as well. I was very disappointed in the Salty Dog Grill. My burger was near cold as were the fries. Oh well, can’t be perfect at everything! The pizza was OK, I liked the Stromboli – it made for a small, quick, late night snack. We were treated to the Crown Grill by our travel agent. It was excellent. Husband had the filet and lobster tail (raved about it and he is a steak snob), my mom had the lamb chops (made yummy noises the whole time eating) and dad and I had perfectly cooked Chilean Sea Bass - ohhh such delicious bliss! The on board shopping seemed limited. The high-end nature of it turned me off. I’d rather have more souvenir type choices than department store selections. Do people really buy that much clothing on board? I love browsing jewelry I can’t afford though…and there was plenty of that. Overall, it was a fantastic cruise. Princess has always done an excellent job in my opinion. We hated to leave – but off to work so we can afford the next cruise…and the cruise after that! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the destinations that it was going to. We stopped at Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Bermuda. The destinations were beautiful, the boat was beautiful and the staff was wonderful. We have been on two ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the destinations that it was going to. We stopped at Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Bermuda. The destinations were beautiful, the boat was beautiful and the staff was wonderful. We have been on two other cruise lines and would recommend Princess over our other two experiences. We went on our Honeymoon and were treated very well. The Excursions that they offer are great, our favorite was the snorkeling in Grand Turk as well as the bus tours in Puerto Rico. We would love to go on another Princess Cruise to experience other locations and their other boats. They had entertaining themed parties and the live band played great music. The food and room service was also very good. I had notified them that this was our honeymoon and they surprised us with balloons as well as chocolate covered strawberries. If you would like to see our experience on this trip please click on the link to see for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8ANESBJcko Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We booked the March 6, 2016 Eastern Caribbean cruise to accommodate a family member's vacation. We flew to Houston one day before and settled in a hotel near Clear Lake, 15 minutes away from the Houston Bayport Cruise Terminal. We ... Read More
We booked the March 6, 2016 Eastern Caribbean cruise to accommodate a family member's vacation. We flew to Houston one day before and settled in a hotel near Clear Lake, 15 minutes away from the Houston Bayport Cruise Terminal. We took a taxi to the terminal and were onboard in 15 minutes after arriving at the terminal. There were lots of staff working and boarding was very efficient. The ship is a bit worn as some of the elevator panels had chipped paint. Once onboard, we received a letter in our cabin from the Captain informing us that due to a diesel generator problem, the ship was not able to travel at full speed. Adding to the fact that we will lose one hour for Daylight Saving Time on the last day of the cruise, Princess decided to cancel the call to Princess Cays and go to Nassau instead. This was quite a disappointment since we really wanted to spend some time at Princess Cays to enjoy the water sports activities. After one sea day, we arrived at the port of Key West and everyone was ready to stretch our legs. Unfortunately the Captain came on the speaker to inform us that due to high winds (>30 knots), that between the harbour pilot and him, they decided that it was not safe for the ship to dock and the ship would skip Key West. So we spent another sea day doing nothing. Then we got to Freeport, Grand Bahamas, and spent the time on shore shopping. it was sunny but the wind was too strong and the waves too rough to safely enjoy the beaches. Then after another night at sea, we arrived at Nassau, capital of Bahamas. Although it was sunny and hot, the wind was howling and it was not typical Caribbean beach weather. We received another letter from the Captain in the evening apologizing for the disappointment of the cruise due to various factors and offered each passenger $50 ship board credit and 25 % future cruise credit to be booked by March 31, 2017. It was a nice gesture to show that Princess cared about our disappointment. Given all the unexpected events, we had a lot of time onboard to eat, take in the entertainment and shop. We chose fixed time dining in the Palm Dining room and our waiter, Marius from Romania, and assistant waiter, Ben from Philippines, worked very hard to make our dining experience memorable. Along with headwaiter, Michael from Italy, they made the dining experience the highlight of this cruise. As with usual Princess practice, there was a different theme every night. The Italian dinner was the best of the meals and the lobster night was made into a surf and turf night. We did not find a need to pay to go to the specialty restaurants as the service and food quality were already very satisfying. The entertainment was also worthy of commendation since Princess put on two production shows with their four singers, nine dancers and the band. They also invited a guest soprano, Jennifer Fair, who added a lot of volume to the shows. She also gave a solo performance on the last night of the cruise. There was also the Entertainer of the Year competition with a vocalist, a magician and a comedian performing multiple shows throughout the cruise and passengers got to vote for the top entertainer. These three were the top attractions in the Princes fleet in 2015 and of course their performances were all very enjoyable. The other surprise was the jewellery shopping onboard. We normally do not buy jewellery onboard as we did not know the value. For this ship, Effy has taken over the jewellery shop and they sent their "ambassador" Zoran to introduce the jewellery pieces. He was a most dynamic fellow and gave at least two talks everyday in the Effy Shop about the various precious stones. He got a few Effy collectors to act as models and appealed to our greed by holding raffle draws at each talk. Other notable entertainment included Bert Stratton, the pianist/ vocalist, performing in the Crooners Bar. The nightly crowd got so big that Princess moved him to the larger Explorers Lounge on the last two nights. He really knew how to entertain the crowd and got everyone participating in the singing. The ship was always busy with the usual Princess band, violin duet, body balancing pair, bingo and art auction. Even though we travelled on a Princess ship in December 2013, we found that the activities were very enjoyable. Disembarkation was also surprisingly smooth. On the second night of the cruise, we were asked what time we wanted to disembark. As I booked a private shuttle to the Bush International Airport, I requested 8:30 a.m. On the last night I was assigned 8:20 a.m. disembarkation. The terminal building was large enough that disembarking passengers did not have to wait too long to get through Immigration and Customs. It took one hour on the freeway to get to IAH. Although it was not a cruise that we expected (only getting one of the original three ports of call), all in all we found it very enjoyable. The staff was Princess' biggest asset. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our 8th cruise 2nd cruise on the Caribbean Princess, all of our expectations were met again, I have read so many negative reviews on this ship that I thought that maybe we should have selected a different ship, i am glad we did ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise 2nd cruise on the Caribbean Princess, all of our expectations were met again, I have read so many negative reviews on this ship that I thought that maybe we should have selected a different ship, i am glad we did not, this ship is just fine very clean and in very good shape,the staff, all of them very polite and helpful,food was great, we had a 5:30 sitting in the coral dinning room and never took more than a hour and 30 minutes from start to finish.I don't know where others ate who said in some reviews that it took more than two hours it didn't. We had a wonderful vacation and we would go back on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My wife and I usually sail from the Texas coast. We decided to try Ft Lauderdale to be able to go to Grand Turks. GREAT decision. We really enjoyed this cruise. We had great service by our room steward and the dining was ok. Not quite as ... Read More
My wife and I usually sail from the Texas coast. We decided to try Ft Lauderdale to be able to go to Grand Turks. GREAT decision. We really enjoyed this cruise. We had great service by our room steward and the dining was ok. Not quite as good as past Princess cruises but definitely not bad like I have read other cruisers say. The ship appeared to be clean and well maintained. We had a few bad staffers but over all they did not "ruin" our cruise as I have read people say before. (You meet all kinds of people in every walk of life and not all are exceptional) I do admit it did not seem to have as many staffers on board but this didn't detract from having a good time. And Grand Turks was so great. Want to go back again. Only draw back is it is only 4 days and we drove to Ft Lauderdale.. But we did stay on the next leg to the western Caribbean for 5 more days. Overall well worth the drive, time, and money!!! I recommend it. (this was my 4th and 5th cruise and my wife's 6th and 7th cruises) Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our 5th cruise. Previously we have cruised three times with Royal Caribbean (loved all three) and once with Norwegian (decided we were not their target audience). We were celebrating our 20th anniversary, and had talked another ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise. Previously we have cruised three times with Royal Caribbean (loved all three) and once with Norwegian (decided we were not their target audience). We were celebrating our 20th anniversary, and had talked another couple into joining us for the trip. Initially I was concerned by the number of online reviews complaining about staffing and the run-down atmosphere of the ship, but my fears turned out to be baseless. The ship is clean and glistens. There is a constant hum of staff polishing and shining! All of the staff is outstanding and will go out of their way to help you. We could not have been more pleased with Princess cruises, and the Caribbean Princess. Here is a not too complete impression of our experience. Fort Lauderdale and Embarkation: We booked rooms at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66. Originally I was panning on the Hilton Marina, however I stumbled on a great rate at the Hyatt. Most reviews seem unhappy with the pool view rooms, but we found our room to be clean, and well appointed. our was a king room, with sliders to a sitting area adjacent to the pool. we did not use the pool, or the sitting area as we had plans that evening, but the amenities in the pool area would appeal to many families. We saw volleyball and badminton set up, as well as soccer goals and bocce. lots of activities if you come in early for your cruise. I will say the tree frogs were almost deafening! but we have them here in NC, so eventually I managed to tune them out. We met local friends for drinks and dinner just over the bridge at Bimini Boat House. Everyone loved the menu, however if you are not a seafood lover, you may want to choose another restaurant. I am allergic to fish and shellfish, so there was only one non-seafood appetizer option, and the usual choice of steak or roast chicken. But the company was excellent, and too soon the evening was over. Port Everglades was a let down after previously sailing out of Miami. I am hoping that Princess will be investing in their facilities at Port Everglades. Essentially you are in a giant warehouse, following queue after queue, no atmosphere or amenities to be found. I did my best to keep my spirits up, since I knew what waited at the end of the lines. We were dropped off at 11:30, and were on the ship by 1:30, much longer wait times than experienced with RCCL or NCL. However, we were able to immediately drop off our bags in our cabin, and head to the Lido deck. Ports of Call: We had decided not to book excursions. Rather we planned to hop a taxi to a local beach in St. Thomas and Grand Turk. In San Juan we were planning on walking the city in the morning, and splitting up in the afternoon, hubby and I going to the Bacardi factory on our own (no excursion) and our friends heading to the beach. well that was our initial plan :-) However after spending 4 hours in the water at Princess Cay, Hubby and I were pretty well sunburnt. And so was my girlfriend. We ended up adjusting our plans. St Thomas: We were careful on our sea day between ports, but ultimately in St Thomas, we chose to take it easy and skip Magens Bay. Our friends headed off to the beach, and Hubby and I jumped on a tour by the pier as it was about to leave for $25 pp. If I was not going to the beach, I was definitely going to take in the beautiful ocean views I had been seeing online. Our Driver was Jeff, and a very friendly and chatty guide! we learned a lot about the history of the island, some of the local plants and trees, as well as their uses. The mountain roads were steep with hairpin turns, and at times I thought my husband would fall out to the open taxi! but the views were incredible. I will say that I was quite disappointed with the Mountain Top. It is not quite what I expected from the pics I had seen, but the views from the back deck were incredible. No daiquiris for us (it was 9:30AM). At the end of our tour we could go back to the ship, be dropped off downtown, or ask to be dropped off at a beach. We opted to go downtown for shopping, and meet our friends for lunch. We had a wonderful lunch at Cuzzins which had been highly recommended. My Jerk chicken was well spiced, but not so hot that you could not taste it. Add a Painkiller, and it was a lunch to die for. After lunch my husband was a bit under the weather, and took a taxi to the ship, while my girlfriend and I searched the jewelry shops for the perfect souvenir. San Juan: I had downloaded a walking map of Old San Juan, and we walked along the waterfront following the Paseo de la Pricipesa to the old city gates. Unfortunately after we passed through the gates we ended up in the middle of road blocks. Apparently there were protests happening due to the decision regarding potential statehood, independent nation status or continuing as a US commonwealth. There were police and men in dark suits every where, and not knowing the roads very well, we kept hitting road blocks as we attempted to circle around to the landmarks on my map. Ultimately we opted to head out of the area, and trek over to Castillo San Cristobal. After exploring Cristobal, we decided to head to the air-conditioned comfort of lunch. We ate at Raices at the recommendation of several friends familiar with the area. Lunch was quite good, although we all agreed that the mofongo was a bit saltier than we liked. The filling however was wonderful! We again split up, the boys heading back to the ship, my friend still searching for that elusive perfect souvenir. after walking in incredible heat, we headed back to the ship empty handed. Grand Turk: I had every intention of checking out all the beach bars listed here on Cruise Critic, however, the lure of the loungers under the palm trees in front to Margaritaville was too strong to ignore. By now the heat was doing me in, and I needed the shade. From the ship I scanned down the beach and saw my only option for shade was at the cruise center, so the decision was made! We camped out in the shade, and at 2:30 had lunch at Margaritaville. Honestly not a good decision. Not because the food was bad, but because after lunch we all decided we were beached out, and headed back the the ship! where of course lunch and beverages were available minus the credit card! Beverage Package: For the past 4 months or so we had been discussing the beverage package amongst the 4 of us. My husband and I felt that since we were traveling with another couple, we would most likely do well with the package. Our friends were split. My husband's buddy would be drinking beer most of the day, with a few mixed drinks at dinner, so the plan was definitely a good option for him. My girlfriend however is not a heavy drinker, however she decided that factoring in bottled water, soda and specialty coffees, she should be able to about break even, so they also signed up. We made good use of the plan every day except for when we were in port in St Thomas, as we were not back on the ship until almost 6PM. Food: I was always impressed with the food on RCCL. Not so much with NCL, where I found myself wandering around the buffet at breakfast and lunch pretty much uninspired. So I was interested to see how the food was with Princess. Again the reviews were mixed. So please believe me - I cannot say enough good things about the buffet and dining room service. We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet. While there was a bit of waiting, the only time I actually had to stand in any line of consequece was for lunch on embarkation day. The set up is not the best, I will admit, but I never saw any backups that were worth complaining over. In the evening, our dining room waiter and assistant waiter were wonderful, the assistant waiter especially light hearted, and always ready to make a joke. The food was outstanding, and the portion sizes were just right - not too big after spending long days in the sun drinking and eating. On Wednesday Night (our anniversary) we opted to try the Crown Grill. Cover charge was $25 per person. The food and level of service was in my opinion higher than any high end steakhouse I have been too. The steaks were incredible! All sides are served family style on a platter, with portions large enough for 3-4 ppl easily. Both of the guys opted to add a lobster tail (for an add'l $5), and I am told they were perfection. At the end of the meal we were serenaded by the restaurant staff with a large piece of chocolate mousse cake. We girls of course still ordered the molten chocolate cake as well ;-) Vines: My husband and I enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner when we are on vacation, so I was very interested in trying the wine bar out. I cannot say enough about this venue. Our two wine stewards - Joseph and Amel - were incredible! Every night they greeted us like old friends! By the end of the week, when we passed them by, they were asking if we would be stopping in. There is an extensive list of wines by the glass to try, and our new friends made wonderful suggestions based on our likes and dislikes. they never led us astray. Only a few of the options were not available with the beverage package, but there were more than enough to sample throughout the week. After ordering your wine you will be offered either tapas or sushi to enjoy with your beverage. Due to my allergy we opted for tapas, which was usually 3-4 bites. Just enough for a before dinner snack. There was usually one shrimp in the offering, and when Joseph asked if I did not like it, and found out about my allergy, he disappeared, and re-appeared with a plate of assorted cheese! Cabin I was planning on an outside cabin, hoping maybe to find a good price on a balcony, but my girlfriend pretty much was only interested in booking an interior cabin. It was not a bad option given that we were almost never there. The room was larger than either the interiors I have been in on RCCL or NCL. the cabin layout was wonderful, and the closet size puts every other ship I have been on to shame! I will say however that if we were cruising just the 2 of us, I would have enjoyed a balcony of my own to sit in the morning with my coffee and iPad. Hubby likes to sleep in, and I am an early riser, so I ended up wandering the ship from about 6 till 8 most mornings, stopping wherever there was coffee available. Final impressions: I am 100% sold on Princess. Up until now I was pretty loyal to Royal, but can easily see more Princess cruises in my future! The service levels and ship is well above any other cruise I have been on, and I am looking forward to booking my next cruise with them! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
The Caribbean Princess was launched in 2004 and the design is very similar to the Grand Princess on which we have also sailed several times. The Caribbean Princess has been maintained to excellent physical condition, and its entire staff ... Read More
The Caribbean Princess was launched in 2004 and the design is very similar to the Grand Princess on which we have also sailed several times. The Caribbean Princess has been maintained to excellent physical condition, and its entire staff has been very well trained and proved to be helpful in every instance that we experienced. The food provided in all the venues was delicious and among the best experienced among the many cruise lines we have used over the years. (our 73rd cruise) There was some delays experienced at the Breakfast Buffet each morning due to so many people delaying their meal to the last half hour of the Breakfast period, but the delays were of short duration. Of note to the passengers who are in need of mobility access, is that most of the doors leading to the outside decks must be manually opened, which does present somewhat of a problem for those in wheelchairs and scooters. The cabin doors (even the handicapped ones) are also only opened manually as opposed to many of the newer ships that have electrically operated doors. Of good news is the very good availability of the elevator system. There are many of them available throughout the ship and they are consistently kept in good operating order. I noticed only one elevator that was down for repairs that was not fixed during the entire cruise. Regarding meals; this ship offered many additional options for your culinary pleasure in the form of "Specialty Restaurants" that are available for a usual cover charge of about $20.00 PP. We did not partake of that option on this trip as the included restaurants were perfectly adequate. The stage shows were elaborate and very well done by the ships staff of performers, and the main theater was spacious enough for comfortable seating for enough passengers that there was few people that were required to stand for even the most popular shows. The Handicapped seating, and positions for wheelchairs and scooters were very adequate and easy to access on Deck 7 (Balcony). Embarkation, and Disembarkation were well managed and not at all stressful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Embarkation: First off embarkation went very smooth for us. We arrived at Port Everglades around 10:30am dropped off our luggage came back to the terminal entrance got checked in around 11:00am. They had us wait in one area since we are ... Read More
Embarkation: First off embarkation went very smooth for us. We arrived at Port Everglades around 10:30am dropped off our luggage came back to the terminal entrance got checked in around 11:00am. They had us wait in one area since we are Platinum level members. As time came close to board they moved us to another area and by noon we were on the ship. Stateroom: When we arrived at our stateroom we received our luggage shortly after arriving and we were greeted by our room steward. He was more then friendly he would do anything for us and always made sure that we had everything we needed. He always came by just to say hi when he seen us in the hallways. Food: The food on the ship was very good whether if we ate in the dining room or at the Horizon Court there was always options onboard to choose from. Of couirse, I had to stop by the international cafe for a slice of cheese cake. The lobster that they had was very good and of course the Alaska bake the last night of the cruise was very good indeed. Ports: I loved all the ports in general. First stop was in Grand Turk the ocean was very nice clear water all around and very relaxing. I later found the pool and then I moved over there where they had a tiki bar and the water was very warm. San Juan: This was my first time in San Juan I seen some historic sites that I was impressed with. The streets of San Juan which is the old San Juan were very small and reminded me very much of St. Maarten there streets are small as well. Overall, I had a fun time in San Juan. St. Thomas: Having been here before I didn't see much in change from the last time I visited two years ago. We didn't do any excursions in the ports as we wanted to explore on our own. Princess Cays: This was my third time being at Princess Cays and we did not stay on the island that long because it was way too hot. We had the free lunch that Princess offers we had lunch on the island then decided to go back to the ship and go swimming since it was hot. I will say this about Princess about getting off the ship. They have tender boats that take you to and from the island and I feel that they need to get a better system in place as this does get congested and by the time you get off the ship its time to come back. Advice if you are going to visit the island get off the ship early otherwise it will be very crowded. Entertainment: I will say this if you can't find anything to do on the ship then that is on you. This is my 5th cruise with Princess and I always found something to do whether it was watching a show a demonstration, casinos there is always something to do on the ship. Disembarkation: What can I say it was very smooth and very well organized. Since we are platinum level members we had the option to either sit in the Casino or stay in Club Fusion so we chose to stay in Club Fusion where they had tea and coffee for us. Once off the ship we were through customs within 15 minutes so very smooth indeed. Overall, great cruise as I did celebrate my birthday onboard. Hats off to Princess for making my cruise enjoyable. Would I sail with Princess again most definitely!! Thank you Princess for another great cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We arrived in at the New York cruise terminal at about 10:30ish and check in was a breeze. Boarding started right before noon and we were the second group to be called. We were greeted with smiles and excitement from all who welcomed us. ... Read More
We arrived in at the New York cruise terminal at about 10:30ish and check in was a breeze. Boarding started right before noon and we were the second group to be called. We were greeted with smiles and excitement from all who welcomed us. Our rooms were ready when we got on and we met our steward Roger who was absolutely wonderful the entire trip. Our first thing of course was to wonder the around the ship and see as much as we could. We did have lunch at the buffet which was very good. What we liked: We had a mini suite on the dolphin deck...very nice. People above us could look down at us but we hardly ever saw people out on the balcony, so it wasn't an issue. We we not bothered any one smoking either which I was concerned about. Over all the food was good. We enjoyed the buffet, the dining rooms and the international cafe. There was always something on the menu for everyone. The deserts were wonderful no matter where you got them. The coffee.....The coffee was fine and not worth getting a coffee card. (unless of course you like the special coffee drinks.) I actually liked it better than the coffee you pay for at the international cafe. We thought the coffee at the international cafe had a funny coffee pot taste to it. We only got it once....just to see the difference, not worth paying extra for. The Entertainment was very good. The Caribbean Princess Singers and dancers were wonderful and we very much enjoyed all of there performances. The kids did as well. The outside entertainment was also very good. We especially like Juan Carlos and Alfred and Seymour. Our Cruise Director Andre and Deputy Cruise Director John were fabulous. Funny, Funny, Funny. We loved them as well as the Wake show every morning on TV, telling us all about what was happening during that day.I had read many comments about how hard the beds were. To the contrary......I thought our bed was very comfortable and we slept very well all week. The bed linens were plush and we loved the down comforters. The mattress was very comfortable and not hard like I had read. Overall the ship was very clean....you see some wear and tear showing but overall in good shape. I had overheard someone say that this ship was going in to be overhauled soon. We participated in the dance classes and many of the activities and enjoyed them all. We felt there was always something to do. My daughter (9) loved the kids club. They kept her very busy with crafts and games etc. She had a blast there. Our son also had a good time there, however he did get a little bored sometimes. I think for him it would have been nice to have more game options as well as the crafts. There was a foosball table in the room which he loved but another sporting table of some kind would have made his day. There was an air hockey table in the teen room which they visited one morning which he loved. What we didn't like:We didn't like the very early seating at 5:30. This was all that was left at time of booking. We didn't do anytime dining because of the ages of the kids and the possible waiting times for dinner. But next time we will try anytime dining. Pools were very very crowded and we thought they would be a little bigger. But we still made a lot of use of them. A minor annoyance was the chair hoarders. Seems there were very few public restrooms on board, which wasn't a problem but it did seem that there was always a stall or 2 that was out of service. Lines for the ladies room was always a bit long. The Casino opens up into the Piazza and there was always a strong odor of smoke there, especially where the tables were set up for items to be sold, like the T-shirts, jewelry, etc. Over all a wonderful cruise and we would sail Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Traveling out of Brooklyn was very easy. Leaving and arriving was a breeze. We always stay a couple of days before we sail in Manhattan and use a car service. From the cruise port to the airport to use a service like Carmel is much cheaper ... Read More
Traveling out of Brooklyn was very easy. Leaving and arriving was a breeze. We always stay a couple of days before we sail in Manhattan and use a car service. From the cruise port to the airport to use a service like Carmel is much cheaper than the cruise line transfer. The only rain was day 3 after we boarded from a day in Grand Turk. Other wise it was beautiful,sunny and warm. The pools were relatively empty till we got to Grand Turk and warmed the water temperature up. The ship was in good shape and well maintained. We never ate in the dining room so I cant comment on that but the food in the buffets was very good with a lot of variety. We ate one night in the Crown Grill and found the food and service excellent. Like any ship you have chair poachers. People who will leave towels on the chairs to come and go as they please and save them for people who may never show up. This is especially true around MUTS. The room and room steward were as expected. We didn't want for anything. The bartenders and wait staff we found to be either very friendly or very indifferent to things. Entertainment was average. The comedians were very good but the singers and dancers were mediocre. Unfortunately we had some engine problems that cost us to leave St Thomas one hour early and arrive two hours late in Bermuda ( but we did get to stay one hour later) Princess was quick to acknowledge this was going to be the case and credited every passenger $50 on their ship board account. Kudos to them for this gesture. Overall it was a cruise and ship we had been on before. It was what we wanted in several ports and a lot of sea days. Hate to see Princess change the itinerary where this cruise will not be offered in the spring and summer next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We live in NJ so the drive to Brooklyn was a breeze and we were on the ship and eating lunch by 12:30. This is the 3rd time we've sailed from the Brooklyn cruise terminal and it's by far the easiest and fastest embarkation point. ... Read More
We live in NJ so the drive to Brooklyn was a breeze and we were on the ship and eating lunch by 12:30. This is the 3rd time we've sailed from the Brooklyn cruise terminal and it's by far the easiest and fastest embarkation point. They've been consistent each time we cruised with getting us through security, checked in and boarded in no time at all. Bravo for that!Our cabin was R604, a balcony cabin on the Riviera deck. We had booked a guarantee for the first time ever, and was a little concerned that we would hear noise from the Horizon Court above, but that was never an issue. The location was great - if we walked to the end of the hall and went out the door, we were right at the adult pool in the rear of the ship. All we had to do was walk up a short set of stairs to go into the buffet. Very convenient for grabbing a quick cup of coffee! The only noise we had an issue with was one of our neighbors on the floor, who slammed their door at all hours of the day and night. This was our fourth cruise on Princess, and the ship is pretty identical to the Crown Princess, the Ruby Princess, and I'm sure other Princess ships. It's elegant and there's no garish flashing neon to be seen anywhere. Runiel was our cabin steward and he did a great job keeping everything clean for us, I have no complaints about cleanliness. The only complaint I have about our cabin was the bed. Out of ten cruises on three different cruise lines this is the first time I found the bed uncomfortable. It was lumpy and uncomfortable and hopefully during the next dry dock they'll replace it. It didn't ruin my vacation but I would have gotten a more restful sleep if not for that bed.The food was good, dinners were the highlight food wise. I was pleasantly surprised on lobster night, it was by far the best lobster I've ever had on a cruise ship. My favorite was the beef filet medallions, which are available every night as it's one of the alternative choices. Each time I had it I found it cooked perfectly and melt in your mouth tender - I enjoyed it more than the sirloin or the filet mignon, actually. I also like their Caesar salad. It's unfortunate that most nights I was too full from dinner to enjoy dessert. I didn't have the Love Boat Dream once this cruise which is out of the norm for me. I just enjoyed the rest of the food way too much to have room left for dessert!My ONLY complaint about the dining room was the rudeness of the Maitre'd, Giorgio something. We had booked a table for two, and when we got there we saw we were seated at a table for six. We were told to ask the Maitre'd about it, so we did. We WERE polite when we said "Excuse me, we thought we were going to be seated at a table for two, we're at a table for six. Is there any way we can switch tables?" That was ALL we said, before we were shouted at as he said "EVERYONE wants a table for two! There are 3,000 passengers on this ship, everyone can't have a table for two! There are 350 tables for two, that's it. 350 tables! I don't know what people are thinking!" At that he grabbed my cruise card out of my hand, pointed at the table number, and said "This is your table! That's where you sit! If you're not happy you can eat in the buffet or go to Anytime Dining!" My husband and I were floored. All we had done was ask a simple question, not asked to be lectured to, shouted at or demeaned in public. Believe me, after that tirade we did consider switching to Anytime Dining, something we would never do otherwise, just so we wouldn't have to see this guy anymore. We decided to stay where we were seated, but ONLY because we prefer sitting at the same table with the same servers at the same time every night. That's why we do traditional, late dining. We didn't let this Maitre'd ruin anything for us, but I have to tell you that he has a lot to learn about dealing with the public. By the way, the reason we had wanted a table for two was because my husband is dealing with a health issue and didn't want to have to be sociable with others - and that was also the reason we didn't make a fuss about this while on the ship, even though we saw the Cruise Director numerous times throughout the cruise. Had my husband been feeling better, we would have complained to him. The only other complaint I have about this cruise was the last day. After we vacated our room we were sitting in the back in the Caribe Court having breakfast. Suddenly we heard a loud voice. It was someone we believe to be a head waiter, ripping into one of his waiters. Whether or not the waiter needed to be chastised or not isn't the issue. The issue is that he did it loudly, for an extended amount of time, in front of customers. It was inappropriate and a man at the table next to us made it a point to get his name (Federico or Frederico), go down to Guest Services and fill out a complaint about it. We weren't the only ones who felt uncomfortable, we saw other diners and waiters, all who looked appalled at the spectacle. Other than these two negative experiences, I have to say that I would sail on the Caribbean Princess again. The rest of the staff was wonderful, our waiter Geronimo and his assistant Simo were efficient, friendly and very helpful in making recommendations for us. The entertainment was great, we enjoyed the production shows, and the band that plays by the pool is great too. We saw them a few times, at the past passenger party and in the Explorers Lounge and found them quite enjoyable. It's unfortunate that I don't see any Caribbean cruises from the Brooklyn port listed for 2012. I would have sailed this same itinerary and ship if they were going next year too. I hope Princess rethinks this and schedules it again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Travelers ranged in age from 5 to 81 and "a good time was had by all." There truly was something for everyone. I am 48, married, with an 18 year old son who sailed with his best friend. We hadn't sailed on Princess since ... Read More
Travelers ranged in age from 5 to 81 and "a good time was had by all." There truly was something for everyone. I am 48, married, with an 18 year old son who sailed with his best friend. We hadn't sailed on Princess since 2003. Our last several cruises were on Royal Caribbean, my preferred cruise line at this point. Embarkation was incredibly easy. We arrived at the port around 12:30 and were on board within 15 minutes. No waiting anywhere - none at all. We probably could have been on board even quicker if the port wasn't so huge. Two of our travelers were handicapped so navigating was a bit slow. However, the port employees were quick to bring a wheel chair for my FIL (without his asking; they approached him with the much appreciated offer) and let all of us bypass the elaborate "ropes course" lines. Cabins: Our group of four had a BA balcony and an interior cabin (naturally the kids had the interior). We were on Caribe, so our balcony was HUGE - loved it! The balcony cabin itself was narrow, leaving only about a foot at the end of the bed to walk through. The sitting area is also smaller than I had remembered, and only had one cushy chair plus a desk chair for us to sit on. Since it rained a lot on this cruise, sitting on the balcony was not always an option. The interior cabin was small but well laid out. Certainly my son and his friend had no complaints! The closet space in both cabins is much larger than most other cruise lines with more than enough space for even this clothes horse! The bathroom was as expected and the shower is the worst part of the cabin. Incredibly tiny and I hate the shower curtains - thin cloth that loves to cuddle. We also had problems with the temperature. Despite the fact that we would set the water temperature to the coolest setting, we were at times scalded. Our room steward was terrific! Nicest man and incredibly unobtrusive. Room was always in top shape. Even the boy's room, which was hard to imagine! I kept telling the steward to just skip their room and not worry about it, but he wouldn't stand for that. The second they left the room, he would drop everything to take care of their cabin. I'm sure this was a real pain for him, but it became more of a running joke than anything else. And trust me, he was well compensated for it! Food: Since we were such a large group, we made it a point of eating dinner together every night in the Dining Room. We were seating at two tables of 9 next to each other. The wait staff was different for the two tables, which made things a bit confusing for them since we changed who was at each table on a nightly basis. They handled things quite well. The wait staff couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating. The food was very good to excellent. There was always something yummy offered (even if it was from the always available menu). The flavor and presentation far exceeded expectations! My mother is on a special renal diet so the head waiter came by every night to get her food selection for the next day, ensuring it could be prepared without salt and very low-fat. I was surprised, however, by the role the head waiter played. On RC, the head waiter runs around filling water, passing out rolls, cutting steaks, etc as needed. On Princess, the head waiter mostly just stood around or told jokes, sang, etc. I would have preferred the extra service. I was also surprised to find out that there were 120 waiters and only 40 assistant waiters. That explained how long it took some nights to get drinks or water refilled. Buffet had much better food than I expected and lots of variety. I loved getting lunch from the International Cafe. Perfect, light meal and rarely a line. Entertainment: I went to only one show, Do You Wanna Dance, and wasn't terribly impressed. My parents, however, loved it. They went to all the shows and thoroughly enjoyed them. I went to all the movies and enjoyed them! Especially loved MUTS! I thought that was a great way to spend an evening! Disembarkation: Piece of cake. We headed to the buffet around 8:00, the time you're asked to leave your cabin by. We stayed at the table until it was our time, and walked right off. Again, no lines at all. Our luggage was waiting and easy to find. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Traveled (47) with my nephew (23) for the first time with Princess Cruises. I have previously cruised with Carnival (24 years ago) and 2 cruises with Celebrity (Zenith). My nephew had been on the Celebrity Zenith. Having read the ... Read More
Traveled (47) with my nephew (23) for the first time with Princess Cruises. I have previously cruised with Carnival (24 years ago) and 2 cruises with Celebrity (Zenith). My nephew had been on the Celebrity Zenith. Having read the reviews I was really expecting the worst. I believe you get what you want from the cruise, so if a person wants to pick things apart they will and if a person wants to enjoy it they will. We absolutely loved the cruise. The weather cooperated. The seas were like glass. Embarkation: Brooklyn Red Hook Pier 12 We arrived by noon. We went through the terminal in 15 minutes. We waited until 1:00PM to board. By 1:15 we were in our room. Our luggage was already there. This process worked well. Room: We were in a cabin that was accessible to wheelchairs which is the reason the bathroom was huge. We didn't need the accessibility but it made the room spacious. There was enough closet space and we were right across from the elevators. The A/C didn't work effectively the first day but I told the room steward and the second day it was fixed. The balcony was well worth the extra money. The Baja deck (Deck 11) balconies are covered. The Baja balconies allow you to look down on the two lower decks' balconies (Dolphin and Caribe) We received turn down service each night and whatever we needed Estefana made sure we got it. Pools: Loved the fact that there were 5 pools. 2 pools for families, and 2 adult only pools, and one other pool. Let's face it people - there are signs put up for a reason. People don't pay attention. The no jumping or diving signs were disregarded. And I hate to say it but I saw young kids and adults jumping and diving. There is only so much the ship can do. I saw people complain to the cruise officials. I saw the cruise personnel tell the jumpers to stop. The cruise personnel would walk away and the kids would jump right back in. I actually had a mother say to me she was mad that some guy told her kids to stop jumping in. She said well other kids are doing it. My thought was if someone cracked their head or dove and hit bottom, how fast could the Coast Guard get there. People are just stupid. I enjoyed the adult's only pools because people could read the signs. And one more thing, people can't read the sign about not saving any lounge chairs as a common courtesy. By 8AM all the lounge chairs were saved by people who didn't show up. All we did was walk up a level, there are plenty of lounge chairs and it's not worth getting annoyed by. Ship: This ship is huge. Ginormous would be more like it. It took like a week before we could navigate the ship. And I believe we were booked to capacity so maybe there were like 3500 people on board. Never washed my hand so much as on the cruise. We sanitized our hands every chance we could. To us this ship never seemed crowded. We didn't do the shows. But when we went through our days there never were lines (we tend to be on the early side) Yes it may have been tough in the buffet but we always found seats. The dining rooms (Coral and Island) were quite good. The lounges ( Explorers) was a nice place to sit and look at the ocean. The Promenade Deck (7) 2.7 times around was a mile. Yes you had to climb stairs during this walk but it was still enjoyable. The Sanctuary was wonderful. However if you aren't one of the first people to board the ship chances are the 20 loungers will be sold out for the week. They then sell the remaining 27 seats on a daily basis, $10 for either 8-12:30 - or I think 1-5:30. We were lucky to get in the first day at sea. There was no one else up there. We were able to relax for 2 hours but then we hit a patch of rain and we had to leave. It was well worth the $20. Entertainment: We didn't do any shows. We did do the Movie under the Stars and thoroughly enjoyed it. Again with the saving of seats and how some people could almost come to blows over this. Dining: Crowne Grill - $25 pp extra but it was well worth it. I had the Black and Blue Onion Soup, excellent. And filet mignon that absolutely was the best I have ever eaten. It more than melted in my mouth. The service was attentive and the food was superb. Sabatini's - $20pp extra and if you like to eat than this is for you. We aren't really into fish so alot of the food they served we didn't eat. But what we did eat was also excellent. We ate so much that we didn't have room for dessert. The Horizon Buffet/Cafe Carribe both served buffet style food. We could find something we liked when we wanted to stay in our shorts and not have to dress for the dining room. Prego Pizza - Pizza was good for a cruise ship. Trident Grill - Hamburgers/ fries very good. I didn't like the hot dogs. Internet Cafe - Buy the package-$55 for 100 minutes or whatever. That pay by the minutes cost me $35 for one email. Didn't realize how long it would take. Buy the package. Casino - We had the hardest time figuring out how to get the money from the card to the account to the machines. Complicated. We only went when there was the No Smoking Nights. The Spa - I had the frangiapani scalp massage and then I had the 5 treatment special. Ceilo did an excellent job and was helpful in product selection. Staff: Overall, I think the passengers were nastier than any staff I met. I think some passengers come with a certain rudeness/entitlement that rubbed me the wrong way. So if I worked on the ship it might be a stretch to be pleasant to these passengers. You get what you put out there. So I was met with nothing but warmth and smiles. Shoutouts: Our room steward Estefana was great. The Horizon Buffet 6am club -Pisces, Zlatimir and Isidro made my morning coffee enjoyable. Gabriel at the Crowne Grill and Sebastian at Sabatinis were more than accommodating and Ceilo in the spa did a great job. Disembarkation: We had to wait in the Crowne Grill longer than we had hoped but once off the ship we had to find our luggage. That was a trip. Then we loaded the luggage and waited outside for our ride. Overall: I would definitely do this cruise again. I will definitely recommend it to friends. I would book this ship and have nothing but great memories. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
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
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

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