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2,731 Princess Caribbean Princess Cruise Reviews

I went with my parents having only cruised once before with Carnival. It was on an older ship on a shorter Western Caribbean itinerary and the food and service were just ok so I was looking forward to trying a different cruise line. My ... Read More
I went with my parents having only cruised once before with Carnival. It was on an older ship on a shorter Western Caribbean itinerary and the food and service were just ok so I was looking forward to trying a different cruise line. My parents had used Princess a couple years ago for their Alaskan cruise and enjoyed it quite a bit. Embarkation: We live outside NYC so we drove and parked at the Brooklyn terminal. We got their a little bit before noon and had no trouble getting right on the ship. We were on the Baja deck in a 3-person balcony cabin towards the middle of the ship. I was a little concerned about the room being too tight but it was fine; my bed came down from the ceiling. I loved having a balcony as I didn't have one on my last cruise. Dining: We had Anytime Dining and it worked for us. I don't think my mom liked the fact that we could only make reservations after 8 pm but I knew going in that Anytime Dining is like when you go to a regular restaurant. The peak times are the busiest and sometimes you have to wait. We always ended up eating close to 8 pm though so we never had to wait for a table. I also heard through others that passengers that went before 6:30 really didn't wait either. The only time it was an issue was the first night where both dining rooms had about 45 minute waits. Hopefully they can fix that in the future because even the wait staff told us that the first night is always the worst. I can totally understand why some prefer Traditional Dining but I just prefer to go to dinner when ever I want instead of at a set time and at the same table. Overall, I thought the food was great in the dining room and I don't think my parents or I were disappointed in any of our meals. My dad has diabetes and there was always a dessert he could have and my mom has to be on a gluten free diet and they bent over backwards to accommodate her. We also went to both alternative restaurants and were very pleased. We usually went to breakfast at the buffet and there was always a good selection. I do agree with others that if you go during a peak time, it sometimes takes a bit to find a table. We went to dinner once at the buffet and we thought the food was just ok so we stuck to the dining rooms. Whenever we went to the Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe for a snack, we were always able to get sugar free or gluten free snacks, even if we had to ask. I also thought the service, from our steward to the wait staff to everyone that we encountered, was excellent. They were always helpful to us. Entertainment: I am not much of a cruise entertainment person so we didn't do a lot of it. As others have noted, the venues were crowded to begin with. I know that you sometimes had to go to a place a half hour or an hour early to just get seats. We sometimes sat outside the Explorer's Lounge and listened to some acts that way and we went to the Crooner's one night and listed to Bert Stratton, who was very good. We also did MUTS one time to see the movie 21. It was fun to watch it outside but half way through, the movie stopped and after 20 minutes of waiting (and no sign from the cruise staff that it would come back on), we decided to leave. We were able to watch the ending the next night on the TV though. Halifax: I really liked Halifax. We just wanted to walk around the city so we purchased the hop on/ hop off tickets through Princess. We felt it was the best way for us to see the city. We went to the public gardens, the Citadel and walked along Upper Water Street and the waterfront. I previously took recommendations for lunch from previous posters and we were not disappointed in any of our selections. In Halifax, we ate at Salty's and it was really nice to eat along the water. The weather was beautiful, as it was for most of the trip. St. John: We decided not to purchase any tours and just walk on our own. We walked along Brunswick and Market Squares as well as City Market. We ate at Billy's Seafood and it was fantastic. We also toured the Jewish Museum and walked along the Preservation district. We had great gelato at Opera Bistro. It was a very relaxing day. Bar Harbor: I have only seen this mentioned maybe once but it took a long time for us to get a tender that morning. It said in the Patters that we should avoid a certain peak period if we could, which we did. I think if we had done the opposite, it would have been better because I read that passengers who went to get tender tickets a half hour to an hour before us, got off much quicker. It took at least an hour and 15 minutes (if not more) from the point that the tender tickets were given to us to the point where our number was called to go to the tender. Someone had told us that the process shouldn't take longer than 40 minutes max so I was surprised it took so long. Once we did get to Bar Harbor, we bought tickets for a 1 hour tour on Olli's Trolley. I was pleasantly surprised to see what we would be going to the top of Cadillac Mountain; I wasn't positive if we would. Acadia National Park was beautiful and I am glad we got to see it. The rest of the afternoon, we just walked around the town. We ate at the West Street Cafe and it was great. All the seafood dishes my parents and I had there were really good. Boston: My parents and I split up that day and they went on the Scenic Boston tour where at the end they drop you off at Quincy Market. They hung around there a little while and they came back on the shuttle Princess offered; they said the shuttle system ran smoothly. I decided to buy a ticket for the hop on/ hop off Old Town Trolley (used them before) and picked it up at the nearby Westin, which is a good 15 minute walk from the ship. I spent most my time at Quincy Market, the Prudential Center area and Beacon Hill (which I had not been to before). I have been to Boston a couple of times before but it was nice to get a tour of the whole city again. Newport: This was the only day where it was cloudy and rained (well, mostly drizzled) but we didn't let that get in our way of seeing the town. Actually, the night before, it was a bit rocky on the ship (the only time I felt swaying on the ship) to the point where people coming out of the dining room were saying they weren't sure if it was the ship or they were drunk. My parents and I don't get sea sick so it wasn't an issue. The tendering for Newport went really fast (it only took 10-15 minutes to call our ticket number) and we decided to walk around the wharf area in the morning. We ate at the Black Pearl, which was also very good, and had great chocolate mousse. We had a Grand Mansion tour in the afternoon so we got to see The Elms, which was interesting and just toured some other areas of the town. By the time we returned, it was ready to take the tender back to the ship. Other: On the sea day, my mom and I enjoyed a 3-service special in the spa where I got a scalp massage, shoulder massage and facial. I felt very relaxed afterwards. The spa itself was very nice and even though we didn't go, we checked out the exercise room which also looked nice. Disembarkation: We elected to do the "walk off with your luggage" program and it was chaotic. Again, I think it has to do with the time that you go because I have seen that passengers that went an hour after us, breezed right through and got off the ship. We got there at 7:15 which is what the ticket said we should do. They tried to filter people into the Coral dining room but it was just too many people and no one knew what to do. They then started to filter people out the other end of the dining room but it was a free-for-all at that point and there were like 4 different lines forming within the dining room to get out. Mind you this really didn't delay us and we still were the first group to get off the ship, but I hope they make it less chaotic in the future. Overall, I was very happy with this cruise. We were mostly lucky with the weather and I enjoyed the ports a lot. Even though there were some minor annoyances here and there, I did enjoy the ship, the food and the staff. I would definitely consider cruising with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
This was my first cruise. I am 39 years old and single. I went with my folks who were celebrating their 53 wedding anniversary and it was an early 40th birthday present to me. My parents wanted to do Canada/New England and that was fine ... Read More
This was my first cruise. I am 39 years old and single. I went with my folks who were celebrating their 53 wedding anniversary and it was an early 40th birthday present to me. My parents wanted to do Canada/New England and that was fine with me. I knew the passengers would either be older or families and I was correct. If you are going on this cruise to meet young people, don't do it, go to the Caribbean. If you are looking for a different experience and want to relax, then this is for you. The embarkation process went very smooth. When we got to baggage claim there was a Princess cruise rep. waiting to meet us. We got on our bus and off to Port no problem. It was a very easy process. We were on the ship and in our staterooms by 2 pm and we landed at the airport by Noon. We did not get our bags for a couple of hours, but that was not a big deal. We went up to the Horizon Court and had a bite to eat and a beer and enjoyed watching people. One thing I noticed immediately upon arriving to the ship and I hate to offend people, BUT, there were so many rude people on this ship, it was very sad to see. I am from the Midwest and we have been taught to respect people and to say excuse me and not cut in line, etc. I wasn't expecting to be among a lot of rude people, but that was the case, all week long. And to see how some of these people treated the crew was very, very sad. The crew are hard working individuals who deserve respect. My parents had a balcony stateroom on the Riviera deck and it was very nice. They ended up being in a handicap room which worked real well for them, large shower, etc. I was just down the hall from them in an inside cabin. Next time I will go for an outside or a stateroom with a balcony, but it wasn't that bad. It made for good sleeping that's for sure. It was a very clean cabin and the Cabin Steward - Antonio was wonderful. He introduced himself to me right off the bat, showed me the workings of the stateroom, asked if I wanted bottled water and ice each morning and evening and made me feel right at home. He did a great job and remembered my name from day one. It is amazing how you treat the crew with respect and you talk to them, find out about their lives, etc and they really appreciate you when you put forth effort. The ship was easy to get around and it only took a day or two to get my bearings. We opted for anytime seating. Not sure if this is the best choice, but we liked the option of being flexible. I tried to make reservations 24 hours in advance. We opted to eat in the Coral dining room, because the Palm is not as easy to get to. We had to wait to get in each night we ate in the Coral Dining room and that wasn't a huge deal (in every day life if you make a dinner reservation you usually have to wait 10 minutes to get in), but it was upsetting to see people with no reservations walk right in and sit down. Being there was 3 of us, at breakfast and lunch they were always trying to seat us with other people and that wasn't a big deal. For dinners, we were not seated with other parties and weren't asked if we would do so either. We did eat at Sabatini's the first night and the food was fantastic as was the service. Martin was great at seating us, because we did not have reservations on Sunday night and we ended up going back on Wed. night with no reservations and he was able to work us in on both nights. Gustov was our main waiter and he did such a good job. Gaetano was our waiter on Friday night and he assisted Gustov on Sunday night. Gaetano was fantastic, had a sense of humor and did just a great job. We ended up at Sabatini's 3 nights of the cruise. We also ate at Sterling Steakhouse, although I was very disappointed in my steak. Would stick to the filet the next time to be safe. Service was great though. I was disappointed in selections for breakfast and lunch in the dining room and though the food was fair at best. The evening meals we had in the Coral dining room were very good, except for the last night, the Prime Rib was not that great. Our service was very good though - Mirko waited on us 2 nights and we were disappointed we did not get his section on our last night, because he was absolutely great. Emil and Giovani were great and they recognized us each time we came in. Bar service was great. Rudy and Allen at Crooners Lounge were great and so was Desreal in the Wheelhouse Bar. It was great, each bar I went to the servers or bartenders remembered me and what I drank. I agree with what has been said about Natalie - she needs a new job. She was crass and she was fairly rude on our first day we tendered in Bar Harbor. She was that way when we saw her during the disembarkation process as well. I thought Collett was wonderful and she did a great job with the Princess Pop Star! The Ports of call were great... Halifax - pleasantly surprised. Enjoyed our excursion and also took advantage of the ship this day. We didn't over do which was nice. St. John - did the jet boat tour of the reversing rapids. thought I was going to drown, but it was so much fun. I definitely recommend this. Bar Harbor - lovely town. I didn't care for tendering that much, too big of a hassle, although I will say it was very organized. Boston - did our own thing. Did not have enough time in Boston, should have been the one port where we had more time, than let's say Newport or Halifax or St. John. Newport - didn't get off the ship (had been there before, but there were great options for shore excursions). Was the last day and didn't feel like doing the tender thing and wanted to relax. Glad we stayed on board, as it rained and I got to relax a lot. I didn't go to any of the shows. Everyone thought Bert was wonderful, but I found his voice annoying. I would go to Crooners in the early evening and then end the night in the Wheelhouse and Club Fusion. Spent a couple of sail aways in the Skywalkers club, which was great. Disembarkation went just fine. All in all, this was a good cruise and although I was disappointed with most of the guests on board and the food at times, I still had a great time. My parents are fun and they don't meet strangers so we became friendly with some fellow cruisers who were actually nice and we had a good time interacting with the staff. The service was just fantastic. I work in the hospitality industry and customer service is the # 1 thing I look for and the staff of the Caribbean Princess hit the mark! They were great. I would cruise on this ship again and I am hoping to go sometime this fall to the Caribbean, where there will be young people and hopefully nicer people. Plus, I would love to see the crew again!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
Just a quick 'supplementary' review of the Aug 24, Canada/New England cruise, as more comprehensive reviews have been posted already We usually cruise 2-3 times a year, always the last week of August on the Caribbean ... Read More
Just a quick 'supplementary' review of the Aug 24, Canada/New England cruise, as more comprehensive reviews have been posted already We usually cruise 2-3 times a year, always the last week of August on the Caribbean Princess with our daughter, who likes to veg out and watch MUTS before going back to school; Our other cruises have been split with the Royal Caribbean and Norwegian lines; The itinerary had always been the Caribbean in previous years, but luckily, as it turned out, the CP repositioned to do New England/Canada this year and we avoided the hurricanes; some random observations and comments: A bit of port info that may be useful (we never sailed out of the NY terminal before): -we flew into LaGuardia Airport, and the taxi meter came to $32.00, took about 20+ minutes to get to the terminal, had to detour a bit because of road construction/maintenance; -we were booked to fly out of Newark after the cruise, you can either wait in line for a metered taxi, or grab one of the black non-metered limos? that are parked on the other side of the pedestrian island...quoted fares may vary, and we overheard 1 couple complaining that they were initially quoted $115 to Newark when we were quoted $95 by a gentleman who seemed to be in charge of dispatch and drumming up business...just make sure the driver hears/knows the quoted price because he had to ask us what price the dispatcher gave us! the trip took about 50 minutes; We arrived at the terminal a bit early, about 10:30 am...there were only a couple dozen other early birds like us, and at 11, everyone was boarded without line-ups...we're Platinum, and had been escorted to a separate room to wait, but with no line-ups, it wasn't an issue and not really any faster; the nice thing was that once we deposited our carry-ons in our cabin and went up to the Horizons buffet, we were among the first there...no line-ups and lots of empty tables; we took our time eating lunch and it didn't start getting busy until about noon, by which time we were done; We've never had problems with food quality of the buffets on the Princess, and the variety appeals to us a bit more than those on the RC and Nor. What really appeals to me is that it's basically open 24/7, and I could always get a coffee and fruits/snacks whenever I had a late night urge; The menu in the dining rooms had changed from last year, and we thought the overall quality has improved; We usually dined at the Palms (usually less crowded as it was more difficult to access, but perfect for us because our room was at the rear of the ship), and with line-ups, we didn't find it a problem as we usually dined early...we initially went at 5:25 before the dining room opened and there would be about 20-30 folks ahead of us, which took some 10-15 minutes to clear; the next day we simply went at 5:45 instead, after the initial crowd was seated and we got seated almost immediately; Service was usually good/acceptable except for 1 night, when an older couple next to us had their meal completely ruined/messed up by the waiter, who gave our appetizers to them, then lost their soup order, then, after another excruciating wait of some 20 minutes, mixed up the wife's main dish with his... the husband lost his temper and though the captain of the section or manager went over to smooth things over, I think they've lost 2 long term customers (that couple was at least Platinum); our own meal was delayed by some 20 minutes also, and the waiter didn't so much as apologize for the error; this is the main downside to any-time-dining, a lack of any personalized service and consequent general overall decrease in quality; Mistakes happen, but it is how they are, or are not, corrected/responsibility accepted that defines 'customer service' ...we were not particularly impressed; The ship was completely full, and felt like it at peak times and choke points on the ship...our coping strategy was to avoid those times and places by either eating early (5:30pm) or late (after 8pm), going a bit early to get seats for the theatre and MUTS, going along our cabin deck rather than on the Promenade level (or walk outside, rather than jostle with the crowds at the photo gallery), using the stairs to access the public rooms and entertainment, doing my swims (the pool is heated) at off peak hrs, etc And it did seem like an older crowd with less children and teens than usual; and the gym (the equipment was nicely maintained) was never even 1/5 full any time I was there; We'll probably continue alternating cruises with Princess and other lines, we're comfortable with her particular personality but we also enjoy a change of pace as well; Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
I traveled with my husband and two sons ages 9 & 13 on the August 6 sailing of the CB. We had 2 cabins on the Emerald deck. The Great and Good: - Our obstructed view cabins. We booked the obstructed views when Princess was having a ... Read More
I traveled with my husband and two sons ages 9 & 13 on the August 6 sailing of the CB. We had 2 cabins on the Emerald deck. The Great and Good: - Our obstructed view cabins. We booked the obstructed views when Princess was having a special offering these for the price of an inside. Based on the ship diagram I had assumed we would have a wall of orange life boat entirely blocking our window. Yes, you could see the lifeboat but we also had a great view of the water, ports, etc. I would take this deal again. Our cabins were above the Princess theater, which was noisy during some of the evening shows. We would probably move a little farther from the theater next time. - Dinner in the Palm dining room. We enjoyed most of our dinners here and anytime dining worked for us. Most nights we were seated immediately and our maximum wait was 20 minutes on the second formal night. We especially enjoyed being served by Celso. He was great with the family. - The pizza. It is really good. My kids would skip breakfast just so they could eat pizza as soon as they started serving it at 11. - Sterlings. Our dinner here was well worth the additional charge to eat here. The steaks, chowder and shrimp cocktail were all excellent. - We enjoyed Muts, Wavelength (the rock band), and the comedian magician. - There was a professor on board giving a series of lectures on different sea voyages. We really enjoyed the lectures and they were a nice change of pace from the other activities. - We were surprised at how much we enjoyed the art auctions. We didn't buy any art, but we learned a bit and had fun listening in. Next time we might buy. The not so good: - The Kids program did not work for us. Our 9 year old DS was assigned to the 7-9 year old age group. The staff was very nice, but the activities were completely focused on the lower end of the age group. Anyone who has spent time with a 9 year old boy knows they are not interested in activities like coloring pictures of "Timmy the Turtle." Even the room where the group met looked more like a kindergarten/1st grade space. The activities and the space were just not appropriate for a child entering 4th grade. Our son wouldn't go after the first couple of tries and ended up hanging out at the basketball court. Although he had an ok time, I will more carefully investigate the kids club, activities and age groupings before selecting another cruise. - Princess reduced our originally scheduled time in all the ports due to engine/generator issues and handled the situation very poorly. Their contract allows them to change ports and times entirely at their discrectionw, but I expect better customer service from a company to which I am giving my limited vacation time and money. I have seen very low budget airlines handle flight delays with more finesse and concern for customer service. - One of the two mattresses in our room was in horrible shape. It was visibly bowed even with the bed made. Our shower curtain had some mold on it (yuck!) - Most of the food was good, but we had a few things we didn't like. I thought the cost cutting went a little too far when I first tasted the crab appetizers and found they were made from imitation crab surimi. It just isn't what you expect at a formal dinner in the nice dining room. We also didn't care for the breakfast buffet. It was had a lot of selection but the food was just ok and did not compare to many of the land based breakfast buffets we have enjoyed. What we did: - Bermuda. We joined the taxi line and a van took a large group of us to Horseshoe Bay Beach for the day. The beach was lovely, but it was just as crowded as a beach on the Jersey Shore on the 4th of July. We paid $20 each way with tip for our family of 4 for the ride. There was a vendor at the beach renting chairs and umbrellas ($10 each) and selling sandwiches ($5-6 for hamburgers, chicken tenders and the like). Cash only. - St. Thomas - our favorite stop. We had arranged for a private sail and snorkel with Capt. Mike at Island Girl. He met us at the cruise ship and took us direct to his sail boat anchored very close to the CB. We had a lovely day of sailing and snorkeling. Capt. Mike had those little seadoo scooters to pull you around while you snorkeled and my kids had a blast with them. Especially with the shortened port time, I was glad I had selected a day sail that would pick us up at the CB rather than a different day sail where we would have had to taxi to the other side of the island. - San Juan - we walked to Fort and walked around Old San Juan before hitting the duty free shop. The duty free shop here had much, much better prices than the duty free on board the ship. - Grand Turk. We did the reef and rays excursion with Princess, mostly due to the limited time in port here. We liked the stingrays but the snorkeling didn't hold a candle to the snorkeling on St. Thomas. If we had it to do over again we would skip the snorkel and take the less expensive stingray only excursion. I was excited to go to Turks and Caicos, but Grand Turk is basically a private island stop. Princess/Carnival owns the whole area around this ship dock and the local flavor of the island is very much missing. What we spent: - The ultimate kids card (unlimited soda, juice, mocktails, soft serve icecream in cones or cups with limited topping choices, and hot chocolate) was $186 for both kids. They were really selling these hard and approaching the kids directly as we got on the ship. I guess it is a good deal depending on how much your kids consume. Given what our kids consumed this was not a good deal for us. - Pictures. We ended up buying a canvas print of one of our family portraits. This was a better deal than I expected because you also get the 8x10 and your photo in a fully digital format on CD. We have already had very inexpensive prints made for all the grandparents from the CD at our local photo store. - We also had a few alcohol charges, although these were limited because we supplied our own wine and just paid corkage. We also had the usual tips and other minor incidentals. All in all it was a good, but not outstanding vacation. Princess didn't impress us. On the other hand, we would take them again if the price and itinerary were right. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
Caribbean Princess - Canada an New England My wife, 11 year old son, and I were excited about this cruise as we had not previously visited any of the ports on this route. This was the fifth Princess cruise for my wife and I and the ... Read More
Caribbean Princess - Canada an New England My wife, 11 year old son, and I were excited about this cruise as we had not previously visited any of the ports on this route. This was the fifth Princess cruise for my wife and I and the third Princess Cruise for my son. Once again, Princess provided us with a great cruising experience and we are already discussing what cruise to book next. We arrived in New York on Saturday morning after taking the Vamoose bus from Washington D.C. This was an excellent way to get to New York and at $25 per person, affordable as well. We spent Saturday night at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott. We would recommend this hotel as it is convenient to the pier where Princess docks their ships. On Saturday afternoon, we went on the NBC Studios Tour and on Sunday morning, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. We were excited that we could see the Caribbean Princess in port from the bridge. The embarkation process was the smoothest and fastest that we had experienced. We spent the afternoon checking out the ship and having a light lunch at the Horizon Court. We attended the sailaway party which was fun. The ship passes the Statue of Liberty on the way out providing an excellent photo opportunity. Now for a summary of the cruise CABIN - We had an inside cabin on the Aloha deck and the room adequately met our needs. We do not usually spend much time in the room so cabin size is not a big issue for us. The room was always serviced and the room steward was very friendly. My son enjoyed joking with him so much that he asked that I provide him with an additional gratuity above and beyond what you are automatically billed. FOOD - The food was excellent. We were pleased that once again we had selected traditional dining. We were seated at a table for six with an English couple with a son around the same age as ours. We had a great time spending each evening with this wonderful family, usually being one of the last tables to finish. Service was good and when asked, the waiters provided us with good recommendations. On one evening, the head waiter had a special appetizer made for every one at our table based upon a conversation held the previous evening about a dish I had enjoyed on an earlier cruise. The food in the dining room was excellent (particularly the lobster, pasta selections, cold soups, and salads). I even found the beef dishes to be quite good, an improvement from previous cruises. The food in the Horizon Court was satisfactory, but the pizza by the pool was exceptional. You could also get hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries by the pool. We never felt pushed to buy drinks. The cookies and brownies were a big hit with my son. ACTIVITIES - We did not see any of the shows on the ship, but did enjoy the performers in the Wheelhouse Lounge and at Crooners. We found plenty of activities to enjoy. I enjoyed the trivia, Wii bowling tournament, and game shows. My wife enjoyed making a jewelry box at an adult craft show, attending a bagpipe performance in the Princess theatre, and playing bingo. My son had fun going to the kids club and playing miniature golf. My wife and I enjoyed going to Tea a couple of times. MUTS was a hit. My wife and I checked out books from the ship library. I was pleased that the library had improved from the last two Princess Ships we had been on. PORTS - We enjoyed all of the ports on this route. In Halifax, we went on a land/boat tour that provided an overview of the city. We also walked the boardwalk where we found an awesome ice cream place called COWS. In St. John, we went on a tour that included time in their museum and a boat trip in the Bay of Fundy. The boat trip was fun as we were able to see many sea lions and the whirlpools generated within the bay. In Bar Harbor, we went on a tour of Acadia. The park was beautiful and the local tour we booked turned out to be a pleasant surprise. In Boston, we did the freedom trail and were amazed by all the history to be found. In New Port, we walked part of the Cliff walk and went into one of the mansions, "the Elms." The disembarkation process was efficient and painless. We found catching a cab to Penn Station much cheaper than getting a transfer through Princess. To give Princess credit, we were told at the purser's desk that this would be the best option for us after I explained our need to catch our 11:30 am bus. My minor complaints were limited to the fact that some of the other passengers were rude and would complain about anything. From our previous experience on this ship, we also knew that some areas would be crowded. CONCLUSION - Our family had a great time, and I would recommend this cruise. The Caribbean Princess can be crowded, and there may be a few rude people, but I think with little effort, you can have a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
My sister and I sailed on August 6-15, 2008 from New York. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the port at 12:30 p.m. and were on board by 1:00 p.m. Our mini-suite cabin was beautiful and spacious. Our cabin number was D407 on the ... Read More
My sister and I sailed on August 6-15, 2008 from New York. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the port at 12:30 p.m. and were on board by 1:00 p.m. Our mini-suite cabin was beautiful and spacious. Our cabin number was D407 on the Dolphin Deck in the center of the ship. The bathroom had a tub and vanity and had plenty of room for storage. The closet space was ample and had plenty of hangers. There was also a full mirrored storage cabinet with shelves next to the closet. The stateroom was spotless and had two tv's -- one for the seating area and one for the bedroom area. We explored the ship the first day and had lunch at the Trident Grill on Deck 15 overlooking the pool. Great burgers and fries! The first evening we had dinner in the Palm Dining Room. We opted for anytime dining --- which proved to be amazing. We just walked up to the dining room and requested a table for two and were seated immediately. The food was amazing -- delicious and wonderfully presented. The waiters were terrific. Over the next few days, we ate in the Palm Dining Room and the experience was always top notch!! The staff on the ship were polite and were always ready to please. we did opt to dine at the specialty restaurants -- Sabatini's and the Sterling Steak House. The food was truly amazing! Since this was my first cruise, I was apprehensive about getting sea sick. However, I needed no medication or wrist bands. The sea was amazingly calm. On the last evening, we had 17 foot swells, but it didn't upset me at all. The ports we visited: Bermuda was beautiful and the shopping was great. We didn't enjoy Puerto Rico. We were on the island for only two hours -- couldn't wait to get back to the ship. St. Thomas was amazing and so was the shopping. We had to purchase another bag to bring home the items we purchased. Grand Turk was beautiful and so was Margaritaville!! I only wished the time on the islands were longer -- not enough time to shop and enjoy the beaches. The ship has something for everybody. There is noting negative I can say about this cruise. You won't be sorry if you book with Princess!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
EMBARKATION: A dream. As a first timer it was a beautiful beginning. We were on the ship in 10 minutes and our luggage arrived over the next 3 hours or so. Not too shabby. ROOM: Spacious, ample closet room and our bed ... Read More
EMBARKATION: A dream. As a first timer it was a beautiful beginning. We were on the ship in 10 minutes and our luggage arrived over the next 3 hours or so. Not too shabby. ROOM: Spacious, ample closet room and our bed wasn't nearly as bad as some peoples, as we had no trouble sleeping with the egg crate mattress on it. The bathroom was small but it wasn't a problem for us as we showered in the spa every night. The balcony was fully covered and we liked that feature. On a side note though, it's near the front of the ship and we hit some rough seas that made my motion sickness kick in hard. The front of the ship had more motion so it made sleeping very difficult one night as my stomach was not happy. CABIN STEWARD: Antonio is the man!! He was never anything less that 100% helpful to my husband and I the whole cruise. Give the man a raise. FOOD: Oh how I love food. We did anytime dining and it worked well for us. The dinners were superb in the dining rooms. I ordered something I didn't like one night and they took it back and I had the perfect Sirloin steak before me in less that 10 minutes. We were able to order more of a couple of different appetizers without any trouble and they even asked my husband if he would like to try a second one so they could serve our dinner parts at the same time. The wait staff was great. On the night I was not feeling well, the waitress noticed and helped me with ordering and gave me some good advice on how to eat so I wouldn't make it worse. She was right and it made my dinner very pleasant despite the nausea. I did notice that the Palm dining room always seated us at a table for 2 if we showed up there, but the Coral always asked us if we would mind being seated with others. We did both and enjoyed both immensely. Now to the other foods on the ship. The buffet...well, it wasn't spectacular that's for sure. I am a buffet fan. I love them. I like to try a little of this and that and not really have to commit myself to any one thing. Unfortunately there was not a whole lot on the buffet I would rave about. The premade eggs were mostly bland. Even the fillings were bland which I found bizarre. The sausage wasn't bad, the turkey sausage was definitely the best of it. What is with the tiny little cups of juice? I am a big girl, I can handle a regular size glass. The bagels were good, the fruit was usually fresh, the cream of wheat had plenty of things to throw on or in it, but why are the bagels and cream of wheat on the opposite side of the buffet area from all their toppings? The breakfast and lunch in the dining rooms were definitely better than the buffet so hit them if you would like something a little less mediocre. On a side note...The sushi bar at the caribe was very good. Coming from someone who has spent time in Japan. I would eat it again. It wasn't superb but it was tasty. The potstickers were very good as well. I ate many. Afternoon tea. Yet another food experience. I think I need to take this one home with me. The scones were to die for, and I hate raisins but I will admit that in those scones I ate them anyway. The tea sandwiches ranged anywhere from delightful to 'an interesting idea.' The breads and cakes were nice with the tea and the desserts were a little slice of heaven in some cases. We enjoyed getting the chance to meet more people as the tea is always group seating and with anytime dining we ate alone a lot in the Palm. (Honeymooners like to do that) Sabatini's. I could take or leave them. The wait time at the door to even be greeted was unacceptable. Both times we went to inquire and then to dine there we waited an excess of 10 minutes to even be acknowledged. It was not a good beginning. The food was interesting and I enjoyed the experience, but I was less inclined to send back something I didn't like, which was unfortunately my main course. The langoustines my husband got were the highlight of his trip though so I didn't have the heart to say anything. The service once seated was bordering on overwhelming for us. They seemed to hover and it was a little daunting. Next time I think I will stick to the dining room. The only other food place we tried on the ship was the pizzeria. The pizza was okay, but I was surprise to find that with the exception of the veggie pizza, none of the other pizza seemed to really have any toppings that were substantial. I love margarita pizza, but I have never had it where you didn't see anything but cheese and sauce. Where are all the toppings? I like hearty pizza, piled high with chunky goodness. I like to eat one piece of pizza and be full. Alas, it was not so. Drinks at the bar were kinda substandard and strong to the point of being a little 'burnt.' ACTIVITIES: Wine tasting was fairly good. Wished they didn't rush you from one to the next so much. You couldn't really finish your last glass before the next one was being poured and explained. Dancing. Oh how we danced. Natalie is a dream. She is an excellent teacher and she has a great sense of humor. We learned 5 dances over the course of the 9 days and we enjoyed it all. EXCURSIONS: We went discover scuba diving in St. Thomas and LOVED it. My husband has dove before and he was impressed with the range of underwater life there. We saw parrot and yellowtail fish, plus many kinds we didn't know. We saw squid, a sea turtle, sea urchins, Moon jellyfish and lots of plant life. Our instructor through Coki Beach Dive Club was awesome and we will definitely be visiting them again. We walked around Old San Juan and visited El Morro. Do it, it's an impressive place if you like old architecture and history. Bermuda was rushed and we really weren't that impressed with Hamilton. Horseshoe Bay was nice. The rock climbing around there gives you a great view when you hit the top. Grand Turk left me wanting. The swim areas were small. The margaritas at Margaritaville were okay but very small. There were tons of shops there and the duty free was quite impressive. My husband enjoyed swimming but I stayed in the shade so I can't tell you what the water is like. THE SPA: So my husband and I did the Couples Thermal Suite Pass ($115 per couple) and I have to say that we used it a lot. Every night before dinner we went to the spa and drank crisp, cold water with fresh cucumber slices in it (they have oranges too) and rested on the heated stone lounges. My husband noted that the lounges weren't as hot as he expected them to be, but that's ok. We used the heated lounge room, which made up for the lack of heat in the other loungers. We enjoyed the mist room and the aroma room. Both were very warm but have shower heads to run cool water if you like. (Note, don't hold the doors open for too long. They will set off the fire alarm that was foolishly place right outside the two warmest rooms in the spa.) The two showers, the rainforest rain and mist shower were very refreshing after trudging around all day. Our small room shower was not an issue as we used the fullsize showers in the changing rooms. They are fully equipped and worked very well for us. We went to dinner relaxed and squeaky clean each night, which made us feel great. The MUTS was great for the one movie we saw there. We went to two in the Princess Theatre. That was okay too, but MUTS was great for us. DISEMBARKATION: I have one word for you...NIGHTMARE! So we hit a bit of rough water and that put us getting in a couple hours late. So we decided we would do the walk-off option (for first disembarkation if you take your own bags) because of our flight time. That was fine. There was a bit of confusion at the various desks as to who could authorize what but they got it squared away and it was handled. We got our nice green numbered card and we were good to go the next day. So we proceed to the Coral Dining Room that morning at the designated time and proceed to wait till 10am. This was our scheduled time, all good so far. Then they swing open the doors and start ushering people through based on their proximity to the door...what happened to the numbers on our cards??? The line quickly congested to a stand still for the next 30 minutes. Them something happened, not sure what, but the line started moving at a good rate and we get to the gangway and meet up with another line...what is this? The line we were being merged into was the regular disembarkation line. Apparently they decided that we could wait just like everyone else. What was the point of going for the walk-off and doing all the work ourselves if we didn't get any kind of priority for disembarking? Wasn't that the point? The reason our line had been so slowed up is because they were trying to do the regular disembarkation groups at the same time and the people rummaging for their luggage were blocking the exit areas so the line couldn't proceed. Not the fault of the passengers, but where the heck was the Princess staff and what were they thinking assuming this was a good idea? As soon as we got into customs it was a breeze to go through but Princess seriously needs to reevaluate how they handle disembarking, especially when they are in a time crunch. Not a very good last impression of Princess to say the least. OVERALL: As you can see there were a few things to be desired on the cruise, but for the most part we loved it and would definitely do it again. Great ship, great itinerary, great food and a great memory! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
We have been on numerous cruise, but this was our first with Princess. Prior to the cruise, we were upset with the reduction of times in ports. We don't get off the ships, but it was very limiting to those who do. Cabin - Our cabin ... Read More
We have been on numerous cruise, but this was our first with Princess. Prior to the cruise, we were upset with the reduction of times in ports. We don't get off the ships, but it was very limiting to those who do. Cabin - Our cabin attendant- Tannin was excellent. Maybe the best ever. He had the room clean and all requests were always taken care of. Food - The food on the ship was above average. The buffet had very good fresh food and it tasted better than most cruise ships. The food lines weren't as bad as stated by other cruisers. The dining room food was good also, but the desert selections and bread/rolls were not as good as RCI. The pizza was by far the best on the high seas. It was wonderful. We made reservations for Sabatini's and two nights at Sterling. The night at Sterling was a very big disappointment. We both ordered ribeye steaks medium. One came medium rare (closer to rare) and the other was well done. How does a steakhouse cook make that big of a mistake? After some time, the waiter came back and I told him of the problem, but who wants to wait for another steak and then have the other steak and food get cold while waiting. So, we just shared the medium rare steak. It was ok. (We were talking to Sarge and he was saying to someone that Sterling was good, as good as a steak at Outback.) Well, although we like Outback, there are much better places to get a steak. We also had to constantly had to ask for refills on ice tea and water. The next day, we canceled our second meal at Sterling's. When we went to Sabatini's, we were rushed by the waiter Gaeta. He was literally walking fast like he needed to get us out of there. Little did we know that he did. Prior to the entree, he disappeared. We then noticed that he was serving a party of aprox. 35 people in a wedding party. He nor the manager never told us that we would lose our waiter. Someone else put our entrees in front of us, never brought our wine to fill the glass and then cleared the table and gave us the desert menu. He brought the deserts and then was gone. No coffee or asking if there was anything else we wanted. I eventually asked the manager for the check. I told him I was upset that the waiter abandoned us for the larger group and he apologized and shrugged his shoulders. The food was good, but the service stunk! The 2 and a half hour leisurely meal was an fast hour and 20 minutes. I don't have to pay extra money for this. We loved sitting be the Aft pool. It was very nice, quiet and relaxing. I found that the ship was clean but not like other ships. The glass doors were always covered with fingerprints and marks. I went up to the pool deck by 5:30am and these were from the previous day, Not a big deal, but if this obvious thing is like that what else is there? I watched a guy clean a hot tub. There was a bandaid on the deck in clear site and he left it. A number of days, by the aft pool were we were sitting, there were glasses and dishes from the previous days still there. Again, not big deals, but I NEVER experienced this on the numerous ships we have been on. Entertainment was very good. Don't usually go to the shows but the few we saw were good. I don't like cruise ships with the tips being automatically deducted. I don't think this gives you the level of service that you get when the staff has to get the tips based on their service. Embarkation and Disembarkation went very fast. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
Just returned from the August 6-15 cruise on the CB.Have followed the reviews all summer,can't believe I was on the same ship as some of the others that reviewed their cruise!! Three generations together, family of six ages 6-73. ... Read More
Just returned from the August 6-15 cruise on the CB.Have followed the reviews all summer,can't believe I was on the same ship as some of the others that reviewed their cruise!! Three generations together, family of six ages 6-73. Drove to port from Ct., parked the car and walked right on the ship, never been easier! The ship was clean, waiting and ready for us!! Up to the buffet for lunch. It is busy there but always a table, usually sat at the Cafe Caribe which offers a theme buffet each lunch. Those who complain about the Horizon Cafe and the lines have missed the whole point. This buffet is set up with many food stations and you should not be in any long line waiting to enter the buffet. Enter from both ends and go to the area of interest. NEVER did I have a problem. We choose Traditional dining, first seating which worked well for our family. We thought the food in all areas was exceptional. Can not understand what people complain about. Many, many choices at the buffets and dining room. The theme buffet may not have been my choice (hate Mexican) but doesn't mean it wasn't good. The grandkids joined the kids program on the first day and it was impossible to drag them out of there. The program reopens at 7pm, after dinner and they passed up dessert daily so as to get to "camp" as we called it as soon as it opened. Went to most shows in the theater, usually arrived 15-20 minutes ahead and loads of seats. Walk in when the show is beginning and you will not find a seat. However, no one has mentioned that during the shows in the theater there are several other shows going on. Usually in the Explorers Lounger (huge) and Wheelhouse Bar. Half the people on the cruise are not trying to fit into the theater, I keep reading 800 seats for 3100 guests. True, but not half the guests are going to the theater, they are going to another show. Yes, the ship was crowded. Sailing peak season during kids vacation it is going to be. Pools are very busy but you can always find a chair on the aft upper deck. Pizza and burgers at the pool were the best, the kids lived on the fries all week. We arrived at all the ports on time except NY coming home due to a storm during the last night which had us arriving 2-3 hours late. We loved Grand Turk. Carnival has bought as big area and developed it into a stop with shops, pool, etc. but best of all a free beach and chairs right off the ship. The kids loved it and it was very safe. The pool was crowded so stayed on the beach. The 6 of us voted this to be a wonderful cruise with great food, and fun activities. The cruise director was fun and easy to approach and had a great sense of humor. Go on this ship and plan to enjoy every minute. You are one of 3200 people so everything can't be just your way!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
Just back from my second Princess cruise. This was the Caribbean Princess August 6th - 15th sailing and I'm still feeling totally delirious and ecstatic. We were 11 people on this cruise, family and friends. The Ship ~ Loved it!!! I ... Read More
Just back from my second Princess cruise. This was the Caribbean Princess August 6th - 15th sailing and I'm still feeling totally delirious and ecstatic. We were 11 people on this cruise, family and friends. The Ship ~ Loved it!!! I am so impressed! It was so beautiful, so clean and well laid-out. We were on the Crown last year and we knew we had to navigate up and down staircases to get around the mid dining areas. The water bubble in the atrium elevators was cool! I didn't find the ship to be crowded even though it was a sold-out sailing. Cabin ~ We were in cabin E 509 (obstructed view) with a lifeboat semi blocking our ocean view. It was a nice upgrade from an inside cabin. The huge window let in the sunlight and we able to see over the orange lifeboat. It was cool to see that these lifeboat do drills and you can see them floating around in the sea. You can call room to room by dialing the deck # then the room # (ex. 8509 for my room). We brought our own shampoo and Princess provided toiletries from the Lotus Spa (my DD said it smelled manly). The mini-fridge stored our drinks. The television had a variety of movie, Art, Port Info, Good Morning TV with Dan & Sam and CNN. The air condition was set on the coolest setting and it worked fine. Princess offers you choice fruits in your cabin and a continental breakfast menu to place on the door the night before. Our cabin was clean by Ben and he was very accommodating to our needs. The Muster Drill is done prior to sail away and was in an air-condition lounge. The Cruise Director and Staff ~ I give them an A+. Dan Styne was hilarious in the show Liar Club. These young people work so hard and they are so talented, upbeat & funny. They really get the crowd on their feet. The pool-deck sail-away bash was so much fun. Karaoke ~ Was located in Club Fusion. My teen-aged nephew participated in karaoke and he was so seam-splitting funny. Staff ~ Very, very, very friendly! There wasn't a staff person that I passed and made eye contact with that didn't say "good morning" or "hello" to me. Dining ~ We had 8:15 pm Traditional Dining table #242 and our wait staff was great. We were 9 people and we wanted to add 2 more people to our table of 10. I spoke to the Madre D' the first day and asked him to add 2 more people. The Maitre D' is available at 1pm, He was very nice & accommodating and granted my request. We were a little tight the first night and the second night we asked the waiter to change the armchairs to armless chair and we were comfortable. It's the Coral dining room that serves breakfast and lunch. Dining ~ The menu here in the Island Dining room was wonderful; small dishes, soups & salads, main course. It changes every night and I always wanted to try something new. My daughter enjoyed her (choice prime cut) steak each night and it was cooked to perfection. I enjoyed the fish selection nightly. If you like seafood, do not miss the seafood buffet on the first night. On Lobster night our waiter came around to our dish to remove the lobster shell. The butter is in a flower shaped and the dinner rolls were fresh and delicious. We enjoyed the dessert menu nightly. As far as dress code goes in the dining room, if you choose to wear your tank top and shorts go to the buffet for dinner. This is fine dining! Room Service ~ We ordered twice and was told it was going to take ½ hour and it arrived with-in 15 min. Sandwiches were double deckers and served with a choice of French fries, chips and cole slaw. Make sure you order the flan; it comes with whip cream on the side. Delicious! Tea ~ 3:30-4:30 in the Coral dining room. Make sure you get to do this at least 1 time. It was so nice with music playing and scones, sandwiches and pastries being served. I enjoyed the conversations with the people from Wales, Austria and Canada. They were so sweet even when they said I had a New York accent. Buffets ~ I can't understand why the buffets get a lot of bad reviews here. Why does it seem when you give people too many choices it's still never enough??? Let's star off with breakfast; you have many different choices; different styles of eggs and an omelet station, french toast, pancakes, waffles, hash browns, fried potato, danish & muffins, mini croissants, grains & granola, cheese quiches, hot & cold cereals; grits, oatmeal, turkey and pork sausages, bacon, ham, fresh fruit, fruit salad and cheeses, meats, beans, rice and crackers, dates, cottage cheese, smoked salmon and another fish with white sauce, soups & juices. Baked rolls, english muffins, white & whole-wheat bread and bagels. What else can you possible eat for breakfast that Princess left out here? (The only thing that I found about breakfast Princess needs to improve on is the bread toaster…Yikes, so darn slow!) For lunch you can make your own salad with many mix-ins. A different carving meat (turkey, brisket, beef, etc.) with mash potato and gravy too. The menu changes daily. If you like nacho with salsa and dip go to the Cafe Caribe. Look for the California Sushi (white & rainbow color rice) from 12-2pm offered 2 times during the cruise. Oh don't miss the Shrimp Creole over rice. More Food ~ I need to mention the cookies & milk at poolside. These cookies were soft and warm and tasted homemade, loaded with chocolate chips and you must try the delicious peanut butter cookies too. The pizzeria serves a thin crust, crispy margarita style pizza, pepperoni, or everything pizza and a burger-bar on the opposite side, with hot dogs, grilled chicken and french fries was very good. Scoops sells ice cream in waffle cones and sundae cups with toppings. There is food 24/7 and so many choices and yet still people complain….Why? Sabatini's Trattoria & Sterling Steakhouse if you don't book early, you will be wait-listed. Well worth it $, but I wouldn't do it on formal night and miss the lobster! Casino & Bingo ~ I didn't play but my daughter won $80 at roulette. Card Room ~ If you like sudoku, trivia, arts & craft, check out the daily puzzles here. We played and won 2nd place in a scavenger hunt. Art Auction ~ Our friends bought some art here, a lithograph and was very pleased with their purchase. It will be mailed to them in a few weeks. Just note that most of the art does not come with a frame as shown. Internet center ~ I did not use this. I was able to check my emails on my cell phone in PR & St. Thomas. Skywalker ~ An adult nightclub featuring DJ John Thomas "In The Mix". A great large dance floor, sound system and lighting. It's 18 to get in and 21 to drink, ID is checked here by 2 security guards. Coffee card ~ Worth it! The cappuccino's at dinner comes decorated with a cinnamon heart in a big mug. 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Sail Date August 2008
When thinking about booking a cruise for the summer I wondered: is the Caribbean Princess "experience" big enough that sailing her in consecutive summers could be fresh the second time around? Having just completed our summer ... Read More
When thinking about booking a cruise for the summer I wondered: is the Caribbean Princess "experience" big enough that sailing her in consecutive summers could be fresh the second time around? Having just completed our summer sequel on the CB, I can enthusiastically answer "yes!" The Caribbean Princess was our home away from home for seven nights in August 2007. Sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, we enjoyed our first taste of the Caribbean. 2008 offered the chance for nine nights aboard and the convenience of a New York embarkation - near enough to avoid air travel! We booked the cruise on the last day of March and included the Princess Motorcoach transfer from near our hometown to the Brooklyn pier for only $79 per person. No flying, driving or parking? Count me in! Best of all, we'd have two more nights to enjoy onboard. We booked the August 15-24 run to Bermuda and the Caribbean. Everything about the trip to the pier and embarkation was perfect. We were aboard by about 2:30 PM. Our first stop was to make reservations for Sabatini's. Then, we hit the Horizon Court for some overdue lunch. Boat Drill in the Grand Casino, our Muster station, took a bit too long but was uneventful. Sailaway from New York City was one of the things that attracted us to this cruise, and it didn't disappoint. The weather was gorgeous as we thrusted away from the pier with the Brooklyn Bridge visible to the rear. Soon, the Statue of Liberty was off our starboard bow and the Staten Island Ferry was sailing along nearby. Rounding the bend, we aligned for our passage under the Verazanno Narrows Bridge. Traffic was clearly visible high above as the Caribbean Princess glided below, and we watched it all from the Promenade Deck at the very bow of the ship. Fantastic! An appealing aspect of cruising is the choices you have. You can tailor the experience to suit your own tastes. So, instead of joining the rowdy fun of the raucous sailaway party on deck, we retreated to the cabin to get ready for dinner and the night ahead. Most nights we dined at the Palm dining room on Deck 6. This venue tends to be a bit less crowded because it is accessible only via the aft stairs. We tend to eat on the early side so our family of four never had to wait a moment for a table. On the whole, service here was very good except when it became more crowded and the waiters struggled to keep up. The fact that Princess does not have dedicated bar wait staff in the dining rooms doesn't help. Our favorites were the prime rib - always cooked to your preference, duck a l'orange, beef Wellington, lobster tail, king crab legs and the many delicious seafood appetizers and entrees. The coffee is served piping hot and that's good because you can't taste it as much! When it cools down, the fact that you are sipping reconstituted coffee concentrate becomes evident. The food stations at the Horizon Court are still as poorly laid out as ever, but his time we were ready and managed to navigate the area without difficulty, skipping from station to station while assembling our meals. Why do I always end up with too much food? And why do I always eat it? Because it's good! One surprise came when ordering juice and coffee through room service in the early morning: they're watering down the orange juice! It's obviously a cost-cutting measure, because the stuff was almost undrinkable. Quite different from our two previous Princess cruises. Picture yourself mixing up a batch of frozen OJ concentrate at home. The instructions call for two quarts of water, and instead you add a gallon... now you're getting the picture. Why, why, why? I was surprised that the penny-pinching had gone that far. We had reservations at Sabatini's for the second night. We showed up at 6PM in our formal wear ready for an experience of epic gastric proportions. We left disappointed. What happened? The atmosphere was pleasant but the service was rushed. We were given a fair amount (but certainly not a lot) of food quickly but then were ignored after our entrees arrived. Then, to our surprise, we found that the soup and salad course had been omitted! I asked about it near the end of the meal, and the waiter mumbled something about how we wouldn't be able to finish if we ate all that! For an extra eighty bucks, let me be the judge of that! This cruise we booked an oceanview cabin on Plaza deck with our two kids (both in college) across the hall in an inside cabin. I knew we wouldn't be as pleased with these as we were with our Caribe deck side-by-side balcony cabins last year, but we wanted to save a few dollars. The cabins were fairly far forward, so we occasionally felt the slap of the bow wake outside the window. The cabins are very well soundproofed. Even though the Princess Theater was just above us, the music from the rock concert came through as only a muted thumping. There were some very noisy kids in the cabin next door; this became a problem when their shrill screaming continued past 1:30 AM for the first night or two of the cruise. Eventually, I had to bang on the wall a few times so they'd get the hint that some people like to sleep at night. I tried calling passenger services to complain but no one answered the phone. I don't know why they bother asking your preferred bed configuration when booking because it seems that the beds will only be configured for your needs if they were already that way from the previous cruise. We had to request a change from queen to twins for our son and daughter. Sara was our cabin steward and she took care of this at turndown and was unobtrusively efficient at keeping the cabins clean and supplied throughout the cruise. I only wish that she had said "hello" first a couple of times; I always beat her to it. The night table in our cabin was positioned such that the drawers faced the bed; we moved it into the more conventional position and in doing so noticed that only one of the two lamps bolted to the thing was plugged in. In fact, the only way that both lamps could be used was if the stand was between the two beds when set up as twins. So, it was my job to shut off the lamp each night and my wife's side of the bed was a bit too dim for reading. That's okay; she usually falls asleep within a few moments of opening the book anyway! Our Cruise Critic roll call held a get-together on the first sea day in Skywalkers and quite a few of us turned out for it. James Deering, the Passenger Services Director attended and he very graciously answered all our questions about the Caribbean Princess, other ships in the fleet and cruising in general. He readily admitted that the ship had lost a generator over the summer - in fact it had quite spectacularly failed and was now nothing but a wreck. This was the reason for the slightly reduced cruising speed, the shortened port calls and the slightly warmer public areas. With one less generator, there is less available power for things like air conditioning and cruising at full speed. It has to wait until the January dry-dock to be repaired because the bad generator is in the middle of the row. Holes have to be cut not only in the ship but in the dock as well, and the functioning generators between the hull and the wrecked one have to be removed to facilitate the repair. Obviously, it will be a huge job. With a dry-dock already scheduled for January in Freeport, Princess figured it could wait. As we knew what to expect it wasn't a problem. James mentioned that Commodore Giuseppe Romano is known for being early to each port and we did arrive "early" to each of our already later arrivals, which helped us make the most of our ports of call. There were a few uncomfortably warm public areas the first couple of days before things evened out. With so much speculation and rumor flying about on the CC message boards on this topic, this sets the record straight. During the meeting, James spoke about a new Ultimate Ship Tour that Princess was considering offering. He said that some of us could help them by participating in a trial run of the tour during our cruise. I eagerly left my name at the Passenger Services desk later that day and a couple of days later received a call asking if we were interested in going along! We're we? You bet! It was held on our next-to-last sea day beginning at 9AM. We would tour several areas that had never before been opened to the public. Sam, the Assistant Cruise Director and James the PSD were our guides and along the way department heads and staff met us to explain what we were seeing. Tour stops included the backstage area of the Princess Theater, the galley and crew dining rooms, the funnel area, the engine control room and the medical center. It all ended on the bridge where Commodore Romano gave us a guided tour, took a photo with each of us before we were offered champagne and canapEs! I really enjoyed seeing how they make the magic happen behind the scenes. I don't know if I'd pay $150 for the privilege, though. That's the price that was announced by Princess shortly after our return home. The tour will officially debut this fall on the new Ruby Princess. The entertainment offerings were varied. Again, that's the beauty of cruising. If it's bands up on deck by the pool and Princess Pop Star and karaoke you want, you can find it. We go for different things, and there was plenty to choose from. Yes, Sarge was aboard and his comedy routine was strikingly similar to what we saw a year ago. We knew the drill: if you want a seat in the Princess theater, arrive no later than thirty minutes before the show - forty-five if you want to choose the seat. His shows were simulcast on the Movies Under the Stars screen up on deck, and that's where my wife and I watched one of them. Although the camera work was poor, there was a nice breeze, and I lay there eating popcorn, which certainly beats a cramped theater seat. And then there's Bert. Bert Stratton is...well...Bert Stratton. He certainly is unique. We stopped by his "living room" a couple of times. Like driving past a terrible car crash, there was a certain morbid curiosity that drew us into Crooners. One night as we walked by we heard him yell "I broke a strainng on my piano... say it! STRAINNG!" On the last night of the cruise, Bert was "under the weather" and we enjoyed Robert Smith with a martini in hand. To me, he's Bert with an "e flat". Except for Sarge, we avoided the Princess Theater for evening shows. I had no interest in "Do You Wanna Dance" and had seen "Piano Man" last year and did not need to see it again. There's a huge time commitment needed to secure seats in that place so seeing the show has to be worth it. We gravitated toward the Explorers Lounge a lot this time out. Last year I hadn't ever set foot in the place. Impressionist Jason Neistadt wasn't bad. Although his show lacked polish, it was family-friendly. James Michael's was not. He was billed as a magician, but the only thing magical about his act was the fact that I didn't get up and leave. He was not funny or entertaining. I can usually find some redeeming quality in almost any show but not with him. To make matters worse, my kids saw him do the same show, almost word-for-word, last year. Jugglers "On The Edge" staged a short but amusing show. It must be difficult to work in a venue with a low ceiling when you're throwing things in the air while astride a unicycle! Mentalist Jason Seth only had me "in his power" for about 15 minutes before I left. I just couldn't buy it. Totally unconvincing. Aren't hypnotists supposed to snap their fingers? Instead, Jason made a "clucking" sound at his volunteers ("Cluck, cluck going deeper, cluck"), which certainly wouldn't make me sink into a deep trance. We loved the lectures by Dr. Alan J. Stone on Columbus and the New World. True, most of his small audience was senior citizens and some of them slept right through his talk (maybe they heard that "clucking" sound...) but as a bona fide nerd I was listening intently. Again, the beauty of a cruise is that you can make your own good time. There weren't many people in the audience for the navigation lecture by 3rd Officer Adam Mordaunt either, but we were there. Also not high on the "hip" list for people my age (upper 40's) was the music of Nick Connell and the Caribbean Princess Orchestra, highlighted one night in Explorers for dancing - but it was marvelous. The show really hit a high note when Robert Smith joined the band for vocals. The joint was jumpin'! Another favorite was the evening of classical music featuring the ships' musicians on piano, violin, accordion and pan flute! There are a lot of talented people working hard to earn your applause on the Caribbean Princess. When selecting a cruise, we look at the ports of call first. Where we are going is just as important to us as how we get there. Unfortunately, all of the port calls had been shortened due to the generator problem, so we knew we wanted to make the most of what time we had. Our first stop was Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda. It was a beautiful Sunday, and we booked the Horseshoe Bay Beach Transfer through Princess because our call was a short seven hours. The beach was gorgeous! The pink-tinged sand sits warmed by the sun while the waves roll in. There's a bit of rough surf and a strong undertow here, so use care. If you walk off to the left, you'll find many secret spots among the rocks where water, sea and sky merge into a beautiful, quiet retreat. Amazing! The transfer was handled by local taxi vans. I was not happy when our driver made two additional stops to pick up locals, dropping one of them off at a school and another at a supermarket. We were paying high ship prices to ride this thing, and it was crowded to begin with. Back on the ship, I told the person at the shore excursion desk what happened. They said another passenger had mentioned it, and when they contacted the tour operator they were told that it didn't happen. I guess greed and dishonesty are everywhere, even idyllic Bermuda. After a sunny sea day, we docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Tuesday. Before going ashore we had to present ourselves and or passports to U.S. Customs and Immigration. They were set up in Club Fusion and the queue formed quickly and stretched the length of the ship. We joined the line in the Atrium area but the whole thing was well managed by many of the ships' staff positioned at intervals along the way. They even gave estimates of the wait time from our position once the line began moving. Impressive! Once we had our landing cards we walked through the terminal and out the front doors into the bright Caribbean sunshine. This is where the homework I did ahead of time paid off. We hung a left and walked down the street. A few dozen yards along I spotted what had to be the Cataño ferry. Entering the terminal, we saw that a ferry was about to depart. At the ticket window we saw that the ferry was now free because of a special promotion! Seconds later we were gliding across San Juan harbor. After arriving in Cataño, we were met by men shouting "Bacardi! Bacardi!" Yes! We walked in the direction of their gestures and soon came to a parking garage where several taxis waited. Allowing myself to be herded to his van by a rather aggressive driver, I asked "How much?" "Three per person" was his heavily accented reply and so we were off! Believe me, this was high adventure for us. Soon, we arrived at the Bacardi factory and began our free tour. As with so many tours of this type these days you don't come anywhere near the actual factory. Rather, you see simulations and multimedia presentations about the process of rum making and the history of the Bacardi family. A stop at the gift shop was included. Looking for something different, and not being a big rum fan, I saw their Bacardi 8 aged rum selling for $24.50 per liter. I picked one up. The next day at Saint Thomas, I saw the same bottle on sale for $16.99! Red-faced, I checked the onboard shop... and it was $16 even! So much for saving money by buying at the source. I guess you have to pay for the two free drinks at the end of the tour somehow! The taxi back to the ferry and the ferry back to San Juan was not quite as exciting, as we now knew where we were going, but we enjoyed each ride tremendously. We began a walking tour of old San Juan in the hot sun, passing the capital building and exploring Fort San Cristóbal, which offered spectacular views of the city, the ocean and our ship. Meandering the hilly streets and admiring the colorful, old-world architecture made the time fly by. We made it to Fort San Felipe del Morro at the far end of the city, but not before it was closed. The beautiful seaside cemetery there, visible from atop a wall near the shore, was the highlight of the stop. We ambled leisurely back in the direction of the pier and got back onboard Caribbean Princess just as the sun was setting, ready for a relaxing dinner. By Wednesday we had arrived at Saint Thomas and our most-anticipated shore excursion: the Saint John Eco Hike and Beach trip. We were met at the pier by the crew of Island Girl and boarded for the 45-minute ride to Saint John. Two other excursions were on the boat with us. For no apparent reason our departure was delayed by about fifteen minutes. This ate into our hiking time on what was already a tight timeline. The hike itself was beautiful, though it was so rushed there wasn't really enough time to enjoy it. It was hilly and I had time only to check my footing and struggle to keep up. The scheduled stop was Honeymoon Beach but in the end we ended up at the less-crowded Salomon Beach instead. This is what I always dreamed a Caribbean Beach should be. It was small, secluded and stunningly gorgeous. The best of the cruise! On the way back, we walked through the Caneel Bay Resort. If I ever inherit a fortune, you'll be able to find me staying there two weeks each year. The next day we stopped at Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands. Carnival Corporation (parent company of Princess Cruises) made a substantial investment in a large, modern cruise center there, which opened in 2006. You walk off the ship and immediately enter a huge duty-free shop, which is part of a sprawling shopping and entertainment complex featuring Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. There is a long, white-sand beach just to the left of the pier with plenty of lounge chairs available. Before you book a shore excursion to tour the island, though, you should know that there isn't a lot to see outside the cruise center. Grand Turk is a low, seven mile by mile-and-a-half island that isn't particularly green and has little in the way of areas of interest apart from the beaches. Those were our interest there, and we made the fifteen-minute walk to Governor's Beach by exiting the Cruise Center and walking up the road to the left. Interestingly, this takes you by the Government Complex. It's funny to see buildings that would look at home in an army base with signs out front for the Attorney General's Chambers or the Judicial Department! We also had to carefully avoid the "presents" left in our path by the wild horses that were grazing their way along the road. The walk was very hot. On arrival, the beach was too hot to stand on, even with a towel between our bare feet and the scorching sand. But the water was warm and clear and the snorkeling there was easy if not particularly exciting. Other spots on Grand Turk are renowned for their fabulous snorkeling. After a couple of hours of alternately roasting in the sun and pruning in the water, we were ready to walk back to the ship. Back at the cruise center we took some time to explore the shops, which sell everything from high-end jewelry to cheap trinkets and everything in between. And of course there's Margaritaville with its huge pool featuring a swim-up bar and expensive drinks. It was jammed with "all of those tourists covered with oil" and they looked like they were having a ball, but I wouldn't enjoy it. I picked up a nice bottle of single malt scotch at duty (and tax!)-free prices and got back aboard the ship in time to get ready for dinner and our final sailaway of the cruise. While onboard, we wanted to take advantage of the chance to book a future cruise with a lower deposit of $100 per person and with onboard credit that is awarded based on the accommodations chosen. A Panama Canal cruise sounded perfect to us, so we did some research at home and went on one cruise ready to book another. We met with Velma, the Future Cruise Consultant on the Caribbean Princess. Let's just say she was less than helpful. Was she condescending, impatient and inattentive because it was almost lunchtime by the time we saw her? I don't know. But she wouldn't answer our questions fully, gave incorrect and misleading information, (no, Velma, the balconies on the coral Princess are NOT all fully covered! In fact, there are some that are fully and partially covered and some that are completely uncovered) and although we thought we booked a cruise with her we found out afterward at home that the booking had expired and that all we were left with were future cruise credits. I managed to straighten it all out on the phone the Monday after we got back but it would have gone so much more smoothly if someone else were sitting behind her desk. The program itself is a great deal, though, and if you think you'll be sailing Princess again you should consider signing up. Another treat this trip was the wine tasting seminar, offered at nine dollars per person. We enjoyed the opportunity to taste a few wines while listening to wine tasting tips and some particulars about each. Theses were not the precious gems of the wine cellars but they weren't bad, either. I wonder why so many people couldn't stop talking long enough to listen to the presenters? How rude! Why bother attending? If all you want is a glass of wine you're better off at a bar. The last wine tasted was a dessert wine served in a souvenir glass, which we were allowed to keep. Although they offered another seminar later in the week with better wines and a higher price, we declined. Disembarkation was straightforward and all too soon we were headed off the ship and out of the city. Justmake sure you're rested; in Brooklyn they won't let you stop to catch your breath from the moment you leave the ship until you're at your car, in the name of security. The Caribbean Princess is a big, beautiful ship full of hard-working, friendly staff. It's carefully maintained and offers enough choices to keep a wide variety of cruisers happily entertained during a nine day cruise. I didn't think it was possible, but I enjoyed this cruise more than our last on the Caribbean Princess. I would sail her again on a different itinerary. If you're lucky, as we were, you'll really "escape completely"! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
This was supposedly the first itinerary for this ship and there were a great deal of teething pains. I traveled with my husband and fifteen year old son. The embarkation in Brooklyn was very quick, we got there around 1 pm and were on the ... Read More
This was supposedly the first itinerary for this ship and there were a great deal of teething pains. I traveled with my husband and fifteen year old son. The embarkation in Brooklyn was very quick, we got there around 1 pm and were on the ship in about fifteen minutes! The cabin was a huge disappointment. It was listed as a minisuite, but it was more like a deluxe balcony room. There was a foldout couch for the third person, the usual beds and the bathroom had a tub. The room looked like it was decorated in the 1970's. It was in need of a huge face lift. The couch was very stained, the carpeting by the balcony was coming up to the point where the tacks could have gotten in your feet. We are all non-smokers and the smell of smoke was coming in our room several times each day throughout the cruise. The beds must have been bought from Alcatraz when they closed. The pillowtop on my mattress at home is thicker than the entire mattresses on the bed. The foldout couch had wooden slats you could feel. There were two tv's and two remotes that operated each tv, that led to a lot of yelling when a channel was changed on the wrong tv. The tv had the usual fare, the first day we must have watched Hairspray five times, they had the usual Princess channels, a few cartoon networks and two movie channels with only four movies or so a day. It seemed like the majority of the cruise was over 65, there were about 300 children and couples that were in their 30's. Not too many teenagers or 20 year olds. The activities were sparse, especially if you are used to Carnival which usually has ten things going on at once. There was maybe a trivia game, some board game, a bingo and at night, music, dancing and karaoke. One activity that I really enjoyed was, instead of singing karaoke, you sang with a live band playing behind you. I was one of the few that tried it, and it was really fun, the band was great and they would sing back up on the choruses. The only problem was they had a very limited list of songs and they were almost all by male groups, and being female, I sing more female songs, but I managed to get through Summer of 69 without people leaving. A few of the movies under the stars were ok , but they ran out of blankets every night. The food was by far the worst I have had on a cruise. Even the sit down dinner wasn't good and the buffets were mostly not edible. They served a lot of lamb and veal, which a lot of people do not eat, and on German food day they were slicing meat off a pig head, which really was disgusting. They even had something called squid ball soup for breakfast one morning. We mostly had the pizza and burgers and room service sandwiches. Some nights room service took over ten minutes to answer the phone. This cruiseline nickels and dimes you to death, everything is extra, the only free drinks were coffee, tea, and milk. Everything else is extra, so we had to purchase drink stickers and upgrade my son's so he could have hot chocolate and soft serve ice cream, all of which are included on Carnival. They really pushed the booze, and we are not drinkers so it got annoying to hear entire drinks lists and keep saying no. The first port was Halifax, we went to Peggy's Cove. Peggy's Cove is beautiful, it's like going through a time warp and being there a hundred years ago. The tour guide was good and the scenery is breathtaking, wear good shoes, the granite shore line can be slippery. We were supposed to have a city tour but there was a mistake and we didn't get it, so we were refunded 25 dollars each without having to ask. St John's wasn't too interesting as a tour but the changing currents in the waters were amazing. The tidal changes are so big that the current reverses back and forth each day with amazing rapids. Bar Harbor was very unorganized, no one seemed to know what bus to go on and we had to stand for a long time. Noting the age of most of the people and having back problems myself, this was difficult. We went to Acadia Park and stopped a few times to take pictures, the views are amazing from there. We also got a lobster bake, which I thought would be a picnic thing but it was in a restaurant, my son ordered the steak and it was disgusting, about four inches thick and mostly fat. In Boston we elected to go on our own and take the trolley, you get on and off when you want and there is one every fifteen minutes. My favorite was the north end which is where Paul Revere's House is and the Old North Church. It was amazing to be where history happened. If you like Italian food, stay in that area, there are tons of restaurants and gelato stores. If you want a cold drink, the little stores are a good bet. The area had a charm not evident in the newer parts of Boston. Overall it is a beautiful city with quite a bit to see. They take the Red Sox very seriously there so I would not advise wearing a team logo from another area. As soon as I said I was from NJ, I was immediately asked if I liked the Yankees, I really don't follow sports so they were much friendlier after that. Newport Day was rainy and foggy so we elected not to go on the tour. The crew for the most part were nice, the entertainment staff were great, except some of the people had thick accents which made trivia playing difficult. Our cabin steward was extremely nice and did a great job. The customer service people were not very nice. I had misplaced my dvd's and thought I had forgot to pack them, due to back pain, I wake up frequently and watch movies on a portable dvd player until I can sleep again. I asked them to rent me ONE dvd, which I would pay for, but they refused because I didn't have a suite. I was pretty peeved at that, especially after Gavin Macleod on tv says they will solve any problem. I also asked an employee if she could just look under my lounge chair for a second because I couldn't find my card. She said maybe after the movie and walked away. We did the walkoff disembarkation, which went quickly, and I was more than happy to get off the cruise and sleep in a comfortable bed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
Embarkation. We took the Tri-Boro Bridge from the Bronx into Queens and then Brooklyn. There was a slight bit of traffic on the BQE. However, we missed a turn when we got off the exit and had to go around an extra couple of blocks. This ... Read More
Embarkation. We took the Tri-Boro Bridge from the Bronx into Queens and then Brooklyn. There was a slight bit of traffic on the BQE. However, we missed a turn when we got off the exit and had to go around an extra couple of blocks. This mistake caused us to sit in a bit of local construction traffic for an additional 20 minutes or so. The area around the terminal is under lots of construction, so depending on the way you are coming in, be prepared for a bit of a delay. We got into the terminal a little after 12:15 pm and there were no delays once inside the gate. We drove right up, were directed to a drop-off point on the left and the porter took our bags right away. I tipped him about 5 bucks and he said the bags would be up shortly. They were in the room well before sail-away. I had a bottle of wine in my carry-on and as it went through the scanner, the agent had me show it to him. For those of you wanting to bring anything harder, don't put it in your carry-on. I put some vodka in my checked luggage and it made it to the room no problem. Have all of your paperwork handy and bring a pen to fill out the health form. We did and we filled it out in 2 seconds and went right to a check in counter as there was no line at all. I misplaced my health form in under the 1 minute it took us to get to the counter and ran back to get another one as the agent didn't have any more. By the time I got back (30 seconds) we were all checked in and ready to board, I just had to show my passport. We were on the ship and in our cabin by 12:25pm. We had a great location Riviera deck 707, Starboard side, aft. We were overlooking lower-Manhattan and The Statue of Liberty. Our cabin was under Cafe Caribe and right at the stairway that is between the Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe. Throughout our cruise I would run up and get most of our breakfasts and bring them down to our balcony to enjoy. We quickly unpacked a few things from our carry-ons and went right to the buffet. Yes it was a bit crowded, but we found a place to sit and enjoy a wonderful lunch. We toured the ship for a little while, but being that we have been on the Grand twice and the Crown twice, it was a cross between the two ships so we were very familiar with the layout. There was a table to make reservations for Sabatini's and we did so for the second to last sea day. There was also a table for the Sterling Steakhouse on the other side, but we did not do that this year. I got my first of many buckets of Bud Light and we enjoyed our drinks on the Lido deck. We went back to the room and my wife took a short nap while I stayed on the balcony and took some photos of Lady Liberty and the skyline. I drank a few more beers so they wouldn't get warm on me and then made a few last minute phone calls on the balcony. You'll have cell service for about 2 hours after sail away. Our Muster Station was in Club Fusion and I always enjoy these. You start to see who you will be on the cruise with. There were already a few whiners and complainers and the ship hadn't even left port yet!! We don't let these people ruin our cruise. In fact we are quite amused by them. I am not talking people with legitimate complaints that may happen during a cruise. I mean the people that complain that the water is wet and the sun is hot, etc.... They make me laugh and they should be listed in the patter as entertainment. One girl who was complaining the very first time we saw her, was complaining right off the ship the last day. It was pretty funny! Anyway, sorry if I insulted the complainers. You can post a forum complaining about my review! Sail away was a lot of fun. We hung out near the band stand where Voltz was playing. They are a very versatile, Caribbean sounding party band. I say they are versatile as they played the tropical cruise music, they played pop/dance music, Country Western Music, Rock, and they even played instrumental Jazz one night. I am a musician and very critical of bands and they were very good. I will talk about another house band, Wavelength in a few minutes. When sailing out of NYC, I always feel the cruise has REALLY started once we sail under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge. It always seems like the ship can barely fit under it. Once the ship does, you are pretty much almost out into the open seas. Just under an hour later, you can barely see land. After the sail-away party we went back to our cabin to get ready for our first night's dinner in the dining room. Dining: We had anytime dining and we love it. This year we experienced a bit more of a wait than in times past, but nothing too long. The first night we went to the Coral dining room and the line was pretty long. We decided to go to The Palm Dining room which is also on Fiesta Deck 6, AFT. You have to go up to deck 7 and walk aft, and then go back down to Fiesta. The dining rooms are separated and you cannot walk from room to room. When we got there, we waited about 5 minutes in line, watched an older woman cut the line and get seated, and then we were seated. We were reminded often that there are rude people everywhere. This is not the fault of the cruise line and I think they try to handle it as best they can without making waves (pun intended). We had a wonderful dinner and my wife, who is kind of a vegetarian (she will eat seafood) loved the vegetarian choices. The next night was the longest wait for a table. It was the first formal night and the Captain's Party in the atrium. As soon as the captain finished his speech, there was a mad rush for the dining rooms. We waited on line for almost an hour to get to the door. I thought we were going to be given a pager, but we got seated right away. We always ask for a table for ONLY 2. They always try to get us to share, but we cruise Princess for the flexibility of dining choices. We always get our table for 2. Other than this formal night and then the next night, we always just walked up and were either let right in, or given a pager and waited only a few minutes. We don't mind waiting a few minutes. If we were at the Palm dining room, we went up above to Club Fusion and had a drink. If we were at the Coral, we went to the Lobby Bar and had a drink. Overall, I felt the food was very good. I tried a few different things and was quite pleased. The buffets were very good with lots of choices. The pizza is always very good and they always have a different kind of special in addition to plain and pepperoni pizza. The grill had burgers, veggie burgers, chicken, sausage and hot dogs. The hot dog was huge and juicy and comes with fries. I wished I had a burger, but I had one in San Juan and like to have things I can't always have at home when I am on a cruise. Entertainment: I am/was a semi-professional musician. I am very into entertainment. However, I am not into the Broadway style shows and didn't go, so I can't comment on those. I love live music and singing. We were mostly mainstays at Club Fusion for Karaoke/Princess Pop Star and then we would go over to see Wavelength in Explorers Lounge. Wavelength is a classic/modern hard rock band that is similar to what I play and listen to. They are very talented and have a decent song list. A few nights of the cruise they had what was called "So You Wanna Be a Rock Star". This was basically Karaoke to a live band. You picked the songs and they provided a lyric sheet and you sang along to the live band. Whether it was this or just their regular performances, they are tight, precise, and energetic. They had the crowd rocking. They even did an acoustic set where their vocal talents really shined. They can all sing and their harmonies are spot on! I got to talking with them on occasion and they are nice guys. As I mentioned we also were at Club Fusion quite a bit. I love watching fellow passengers sing and have a good time. I am primarily a drummer, but I also sing and play guitar. I have done Princess Pop Star in the past, but only once. After a few glasses of vino one night I decided to become adventurous and enter into the competition. All of the qualifying talent to this point was very impressive and I didn't enter with the intention of winning, but just to have a good time and enjoy myself. I qualified that night and went on to the finals. I didn't know what I got myself into as there were some really excellent singers. I am a huge Bon Jovi fan and picked a song by them that I thought was out of my league. I watch American Idol and always hear them say "Take a risk!" I did and to my amazement, I won! It was a lot of fun and I met great people in the process, so that was really the prize; the experience and meeting great people who were great singers. Additionally, I would like to add that on this cruise we had some of the most memorable and personable cruise director's staff we have ever encountered. Two people come to mind especially. Adam and Johnny were two of the best cruise staff employees we have ever had. Adam was always in Club Fusion and always came by to say Hi and chit chat. He remembered that he signed my wife and myself into the ship on embarkation day. That says alot to me. There were over 3 thousand people on board and he remembered me! Whenever I saw him anywhere on the ship he would always call my name and give me a high-5. When I sang at Princess Pop Star, he came out with a blow up electric guitar and I almost burst out laughing! We had a great time! We got along great and if you see him on the ship, tell him Freddie said Hi! Johnny usually ran things in Club Fusion and he also ran the On Deck For The Cure 5K race. He is also a very personable gentleman and very funny and makes you feel like a friend very quickly. We have had great cruise staff before, but these two guys REALLY stick out in my mind and I hope to have them again on another cruise. I am sure they will remember me and it will be like seeing old friends. Ports: Unfortunately on this cruise, Hurricane Bertha caused us to miss Bermuda. Some people were unhappy, but "Come on people, it's a hurricane!!" Some were grumbling we should go to a new port. Where? To keep schedule, the only feasible idea would be Port Canaveral or another port in Florida. Many people flew in from Florida, why would they want to go back home? Other people said do the itinerary in reverse. Can you imagine the nightmare of having to re-book all excursions?!?!? It probably wouldn't even be possible. Plus, don't forget, we were not the only ship at sea. All of these ports are usually pretty full on any given day. Finding an open port would have been an adventure as well! We got extra time in San Juan and I am glad we did. San Juan: We had a great time roaming around Old San Juan and we went to the fort, which was amazing. My wife found the Coach outlet and bought her birthday present from me, which I saw after she bought it. While she was inside it gave me an excuse to sit in Maria's bar and have a few beers. Maria's is a small, open air bar with the aroma of homemade Puerto Rican food in the air. There were pictures of celebrities on the wall and the staff seemed very warm and accommodating. I ordered Medalla, which is brewed in Puerto Rico. If you like Bud Light or Coors Light, you'll like this. I meant to get a 6-pack to take on board, but we didn't pass the store on the way back. We then did the very touristy thing and went to the Hard Rock Cafe. I wanted to go to an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant, but my wife is very limited in what she will eat, so we went mainstream. We met a cool bartender, I saw some cool Bon Jovi memorabilia, and we had a good meal. We then went over to Senior Frogs and had a blast. I must have had about 5 yards of beer and a heck of a good time to boot! We boarded the ship, had a nice dinner and went to the Island Night Party. We stood on the top deck and looked down on people having a great time, as were we. I noticed a "Cigars Under the Stars" section cordoned off and took a seat there to have a few cigarettes. I try not to smoke on open decks, but I figured my cigarette smoke would pale in comparison to cigar smoke. We had a few drinks and then returned to our cabin as we wanted to be up early for one of our favorite ports, St. Thomas. St. Thomas Last year on the Crown, we made our way on our own to St. John by taxi, then ferry, then taxi again. We planned on doing the same thing this year, but our shortened port times had me thinking twice. When we got of the ship, it was a torrential downpour. I didn't want to spend almost 2 hours traveling to St. John only to have a rainy day. We decided on the spot to go to Magen's Bay Beach. I figured that even if the weather stayed bad, we could taxi back and do some shopping. Well, we were glad we went to the beach as after some brief pouring rain, we got lovely sunny skies! We enjoyed the day at the beach and stayed until about 1:00pm. I don't remember this from my last time at Magen's Bay, but there were sea birds and pelicans all around in the water. They would dive-bomb into the water from high above looking for a meal. More often than not they came out with a fish in their mouth. More than a few times I felt like they were going to dive right into us, but they know what they're looking for, and it's not us. I think I got some good shots with an underwater camera, but I still have to develop the film. There is a concession stand at Magen's Bay and they have drinks, pizza, sandwiches, and basic breakfast foods until about 11:00am. My wife got grilled cheese and a Coke and I got a chicken Gyro. Both sandwiches were good enough. There is also a full service bar next to the concession area. We also saw a waitress walking along the beach taking orders from the bar. We then got on a taxi back to the ship and had just as nice a day as we would have had on St. John. Later that evening, we went into Churchill's and watched the MLB All-Star Game. Churchill's is a cool Cigar bar with lots of TV screens. I smoke cigarettes but my wife does not. She said the ventilation must have been pretty good because the smoke didn't bother her. The bar was very crowded mostly with baseball fans, but a few just enjoying a drink and a cigar. During the day, it's a nice quiet place to escape crowds and have a drink and read a book. The game went into extra innings and at about 1:00am one of the bartenders called last call. He said we could all stay and smoke cigars if we wanted, but it was last call for alcohol. Being that the casino bar was right near by this wouldn't have presented a problem, but we soon decided to call it a night and I finished the game, along with another cold beer that was in my fridge, in my cabin. Grand Turk: The next day was our last port, the beautiful island of Grand Turk. Many people ask what there is to do on Grand Turk. I cannot really answer that as I find I really enjoy doing what most people do there-hang on the beach at Margaritaville, get a bite and a few drinks, and then go into the pool with the swim up bar for a few more drinks. I don't know if they lowered their prices, but they seemed a bit more reasonable than I remembered. There may be lots to do outside of the cruise center, but after 3 times there we have done just what I described. I think you can rent bikes or go to Governor's Beach for a less crowded atmosphere, but we liken Grand Turk to Princess Cays. It's a lazy beach day that is the perfect remedy for a late night. No cabs or buses unless you want to. This year I tried something a little different to me. I bought a cheap snorkel set from K-Mart for about $12.00. I took it to the beach with me and I am glad I did-sort of. I have never snorkeled in the sea before. Perhaps in a friend's backyard swimming pool looking for the assorted sea life that might be there, but never in the ocean. I put on my mask and was immediately astonished by the scenery and sea life that was swimming between my feet. There were little fish of many different shapes and colors, little caves and rock formations that fish and other creatures were swimming in and out of. As I went out further, there was a really long chain attached to an anchor. For someone who never snorkeled before, this was pretty cool. I am sure more experienced snorkelers know of better places, but for a start, this was pretty cool. I am sure more experienced snorkelers would have warned me about buying a $12.00 set. The mask kept filling up and I had to hold it in place with one had, so I could barely swim. I also went a bit too deep trying to capture an underwater photo, and - GULP- a big sip of sea water!! I will buy a better set before the next cruise and remember not to go so far under. We really enjoyed all the ports and just rolled with it on our own. We have been to all of these islands, so we don't do ship excursions. I usually research the heck out of every port I'm going to, so I don't know if I'll ever do another ship excursion. But that's me. Unless you feel absolutely comfortable and are knowledgeable about where you are, you might consider ship excursions. Even though we missed Bermuda this year, I feel I know the names of the locals when strolling through St. George whenever we go there. I seem to recognize faces of store owners and taxi drivers. That is how familiar I feel with some of the islands. But if you are a first timer, you may feel less inclined to do it on your own and that's fine too. Sea Days, Disembarkation, and odds and ends. Our sea days were great. We had a little rough weather and seas the second day out, our first sea day. We ate our breakfast on our balcony after I got it from the Horizon Court, one deck above us. I would balance two trays and head down one flight, right to our room, R707 which was right at the stairwell. Breakfasts usually had the same tasty fare. No surprises here, but good breakfast food. Always fresh fruits if you want to go lighter, which we tried to do, but my weight loss efforts took a hit on this cruise. I will double up the next few weeks. I have a lot to lose, and it wasn't caused by the cruise, so I won't beat myself up, lol! I did go to the gym a few days and did the 5K "On Deck for the Cure" on the last sea day. It was a great cause and I did keep to exercising, but I'd have to walk from NYC to California to burn off the calories from the cruise, but oh well! Most sea days we found a shady spot away from the pool. As I may have said, there was chair saving, but many of those people were right in the pool, so it's a fine line. I'm sure there were plenty of people who were nowhere near the pool, but I don't go for those seats so, while it is annoying that it's done, it didn't really affect me. We would always have to walk around awhile to find our "perfect" spot, but we look for secluded, shady, and quiet places. One day we did find a good shady spot under a unique overhang right near the MUTS pool. We watched Happy Feet and I had another of many buckets of Bud Light. This is your best option if you're a beer drinker. You get 5 pints for the price of 4 ($19.00 plus grat.). Of course, I didn't drink them in one sitting (most times), but I'd bring them back to my room and put them in the fridge. We also had a bottle of wine and vodka in the fridge. I'd make a mixed drink or take a glass of wine out to the deck once in awhile, but I brought the bottle of vodka back home with me. Next time, I may just leave it at home and if I want vodka, I'll order it from room service. Yea, I may have smuggled, but our final bill was over $1000, so for the $14.00 for the bottle of vodka, sorry Princess! We had our Cruise Critic Meet'n'Greet on our first sea day. I had contacted Princess and they cordoned off a little area near the Terrace Pool aft on Lido Deck for us. Many wonderful people showed up and we had a VERY nice time. We met many great people whom we saw many times throughout the cruise and will hopefully see again during future cruises. They provided dry snacks and sent a very nice deck officer by the name of Felix who gave us some insight about our sailing and Hurricane Bertha. I would definitely go to a meet'n'greet if you get a chance. We were glad we did. So, most of our sea days were spent being lazy on a deck, walking in the atrium, or reading a book on the quiet Promenade Deck 7. We heard one complainer saying there was nothing to do during the hours of 5-7pm. Well, number 1, this is because most people, including cruise staff, are either getting ready for dinner or eating dinner. Number 2, do you really need the cruise staff dictating to you what you need to be doing EVERY hour of every day?!? The expression "If you're bored, you're boring!" comes to mind. 'Nuff said! Some things I noticed that could use some improvement were the cleanliness of the outer, public bathrooms. When I'm on a cruise, I tend to have "go" more often, whether it be from drink or food. Use your imagination as to what 2 ways that may mean, lol! Last 2 years on the Crown I remember telling my wife in amazement how the public bathrooms were immaculate EVERY time I went in. This time, on more than one occasion, there was "evidence" that someone may have been in there recently. I am not saying they were filthy. They were in most cases clean, but needed an extra check per hour perhaps. This didn't ruin my cruise though. If it was ever really bad, I'd have gone back to my cabin, which was kept spotless by our steward, Dennis. I can't believe that as I type this, I have to go pick up towels from the bathroom floor. No, they don't get automatically replenished every day. Oh, 1 more thing. A few posts have asked about noise on the Riviera Deck. We were pretty far aft right at the elevator bank. I'd be lying if I said we heard no noise. We were right under the Starboard Aft side of Cafe Caribe. I went up there a few nights very late after we left Skywalkers. So too did just about everyone who left Skywalkers after 2 am. This did cause me, on a few nights, to hear some noise. It seemed those people were still in party mode and made a bit of noise. If I was asleep, I wouldn't have been woken up, but I did hear a lot of party type noise as I was trying to fall asleep. I might reconsider this area if I was a light sleeper or retired earlier in the evening, but I would book this area of the ship again in a heartbeat. It was very convenient for our balcony breakfasts and snacks. It was also a few feet from the door to the adults only Terrace Pool. I went out and got a few cocktails from the bar there on more than one occasion. Well, all good things must come to an end, and cruises are no exception. I really like the 9-day cruise as after 2 days, you are starting a 7 day cruise. You just get the lay of the land and then can really feel at home. We know these ships well as we have sailed on the Grand twice and the Crown twice. Aside from a few minor differences, you can almost feel like you are on the same ship. Overall, I think I like the CB or the Grand the best. The ONLY reason I say this is that I feel that with Skywalkers being way aft on these ships, it allows for more open deck space up top on the aft portion of the ship. Also, it's so cool being in Skywalkers day or night and looking out and seeing the wake. With that being said, if you go back, I probably said in my review of the Crown that I liked her best. It's like children, you don't have a favorite, you just love and accept them for their differences. I don't have kids, yet, so maybe I can do it with cruise ships! Disembarkation was different for us this year. In the last 2 years on the Crown out of Red Hook, we opted for Self- Walk Off Disembarkation. We just picked up our bags, got an elevator and went to a lounge or the casino and waited to be called off. We then walked right through customs and we were home free. This year, we knew they did not want you taking elevators if you did walk off. However, we did not really see "no elevators" listed on our papers. It said you must be able to handle luggage through stairs, gangplanks, and stairs. It did not anywhere say you couldn't take luggage on elevators. All in all, we did regular disembarkation anyway, and it was a bit of a culture shock after 2 years. We had to search for our luggage and it wasn't in the EXACT spot it said it would be in. We had ORANGE 20, and it was more or less in the section with the ORANGE 18 section. We had to navigate past 1000 other people looking for their luggage and it just seemed chaotic for a very short time. After we found it, we navigated our bags through pushy, rude people and walked through to a very quick customs line. We showed our passports and gave our customs form and we were through in under a minute. We then walked all the way to the first pick up waiting area, as my in-laws were picking us up. We saw some friendly faces from the cruise and that made it easier or harder to say goodbye, depending on how you looked at it. We waited right at the very tip of the curb all the way at the beginning of the pick up area and when my FIL pulled up, I used my HE-MAN strength (LOL) to load our bags in under 20 seconds. We went around the loop, onto the BQE, and were home in the Bronx in under 45 minutes. Goodbye Caribbean Princess, I will miss you! I can't really think of any other concern. We had an awesome time and will probably do the same itinerary (4th year in a row) on the CB next summer. The staff was always very nice and helpful. We had anytime dining and always had courteous waiters, some were better than others. I hope this review has been helpful and if I can think of anything else, I will post it on the boards. I can't say this enough to people going on any cruise. If you expect perfection, you will be disappointed. Everything is a little broken in this life. Go and have a great cruise!! We sure did! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
My family and I cruised with Princess on 7/28-8/6, sailing to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Grand Turk. This cruise was extremely enjoyable, and I would highly recommend Princess to future cruise-goers. It disappoints me to see ... Read More
My family and I cruised with Princess on 7/28-8/6, sailing to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Grand Turk. This cruise was extremely enjoyable, and I would highly recommend Princess to future cruise-goers. It disappoints me to see people negatively discussing Princess cruises; everyone is entitled to their opinions, however I feel that it is difficult for ANY cruise to be unenjoyable. It is what you make it; don't let the small stuff like crowds, small venues, etc. spoil your fun. These trivial complaints can be found on almost any cruise with any cruise line if you look hard enough, so although it can be somewhat annoying at times, Princess offers so much to their customers so complaining about such small things seems pointless and a waste of time. The single complaint I have, which is not really even a complaint; more of selfishness on my part, was our inability to sail to St. Maarten due to one of the engines being down. We were so looking forward to exploring this beautiful island so when we were informed we would not be able to sail, it was somewhat of a disappointment. Instead, we traveled to Tortola. If I could make a suggestion to Princess, it would be to simply leave this island out; there wasn't much to see or do. Perhaps, Princess could have extended the allotted amount of time at the other islands instead of sailing to Tortola, just a thought though. Embarkation was smooth, quick, and an easy process. We have cruised before, but this 9 night cruise was our longest. At first, the length of the cruise seemed somewhat intimidating; it is a long time to be on a ship. However, there was so much to do; the entertainment was wonderful, specifically the comedian Sarge. We saw him three times while on board! Hilarious! The shows-they were what you would expect to find on a cruise. Other than the comedian, they had a staff talent show which was really enjoyable. It was cool to see the people working on the ship show off their talents and get some recognition. The cruise director and staff were awesome; friendly, fun, and exciting. The ship is huge and it is easy to get lost; but that's part of the fun, I think; I felt I found a new place on the ship each day! My favorite part of the ship was definitely the pool deck. I think there was 4 or 5 pools all together, and the at the one pool there was a huge movie screen where they played movies all day and night. At the other pool they always had a band playing tropical music, which is always fun. Other amenities included a miniature golf course, a fitness center, a spa, and a sports deck. Skywalkers night club provided a source of nightlife for an over 18 crowd. The cabins were a good size, the bathrooms were small, but hey, its a cruise ship so that's to be expected. The food was delicious, and everything you could ever want was available at some point throughout the cruise, and the staff was a lot of fun. We opted to do the anytime dining option so we missed out on having a regular server, but it worked out for the best. Waits were not long; at most 20 minutes. We traveled with two other families so we needed two tables. Normally we were able to get tables next to eachother, but a few nights we had to be separated. While in San Juan, be careful; some parts are a little sketchy. We did not have much time there; only about 5 hours and we didn't get there until 7 PM so we took a bus tour of historic San Juan, did a little shopping, and visited Senor Frogs and then headed back to the ship for evening entertainment. St. Thomas; My favorite! We had the most time on this island so we decided to go snorkeling. We took a catamaran out to a private island; it was absolutely gorgeous. On the way back, the crew served us come cheese, crackers, and the famous Caribbean Painkiller rum punch. After about 3 of these, be careful; they will CAUSE pain later! After snorkeling, and drinking entirely too many Painkillers we returned to the ship for some lunch, resting, and recovering. After this we got off the ship again and did some shopping in town. Be aware, however that the stores close around 6 PM, which we did not know so we were only left with about 30 minutes to shop. Tortola was the next day, and as I mentioned before; not much to do or see, if I were to do it again, I probably would have opted to stay on the ship and lay by the pool. Grand Turk was a lot of fun. Upon entering the island you are greeted by Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville! A must-stop, even if its just for one drink. There are also a lot of touristy shops around the area. Disembarkation was also a quick and easy process. Even though we didn't want the cruise to end, Customs was quick so we were able to get out of there quickly. I would definitely cruise with Princess again, and confidently recommend this cruise line and cruise to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
My family which consisted of 8 people just returned from our 9 day trip on the Caribbean Princess to the Eastern Caribbean (Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Bermuda). My aunt, uncle, and cousin have been on multiple cruises. My mom, dad, ... Read More
My family which consisted of 8 people just returned from our 9 day trip on the Caribbean Princess to the Eastern Caribbean (Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Bermuda). My aunt, uncle, and cousin have been on multiple cruises. My mom, dad, sister, and myself have only been on one and that was about 5 years ago. I wasn't too familiar with Princess, because it doesn't seem to be as mainstream as Royal Caribbean, NCL, or Carnival. As we arrived to the Port of Brooklyn and saw the ship in person we were all stunned. This ship is humongous, and is by far the largest ship we have ever seen in person. The Port of Brooklyn really has their check-in procedures straightened out because we flew right through check-in until we sat in a waiting area, waiting for our number to be called to enter the ship. We were supposed to board the ship around 1, but ended up getting on about 12:30. Once we got on we went to our room to scope it out. My aunt, uncle, sister, and cousin got on the shop around 1:30 since they got to the port after us. The received their luggage about 30 minutes after they got to their rooms. We didn't end up getting our luggage until about 5 which we weren't too thrilled about because we had to get ready for dinner. Service: The service on the Caribbean Princess was phenomenal. The service was by far better than you can receive in any 5 star hotel. Our room cleaner was Larry who was great. He cleaned the room twice a day. Once in the morning when we be at port or at the pool, and once at night when we would be out to eat. We always had fresh, clean towels, the garbage was always emptied, pillows fluffed, and bed ready to fall into. All room attendants were great. They work their asses off and always have a smile on their face and greet you. When at the pool, attendants are constantly walking around taking orders for drinks and usually get them to you quickly. When you are in the buffet all the servers are constantly clearing off tables and taking your dishes. The servers were also great in the dining rooms too. You never had to ask for a new drink. They would automatically take your cup and fill it for you. If you were undecided on your entrEe for dinner, they would bring you out more than one. Food: The food was really good. We are very skeptical of buffet food since it isn't always the freshest or best food possible. But the buffet food on the Caribbean Princess was really good. It was different everyday and every night. At night they would have theme nights like seafood, German, Chinese, American, etc. The Trident Grill is constantly grilling up burgers, hot dogs, and chicken, because their food was so good. The pizza bar always had a line, at all hours of the day. The pizza was by far the highlight of the cruise for our family. It wasn't too thin and not too thick, just the perfect size. Everyday they had plain and pepperoni, and a pizza of the day. We also found out on the second to last day that they will make a specific pizza for you as long as they have the ingredients. We didn't eat at Sabatini's or the Sterling Steakhouse because we figured there was no point in paying the cover charge when we paid ahead to eat in the dining room. We ate in the Coral Dining room every night. The maitre de was great. We got to know him well and every time we came to eat which was a different time every night, he got us right in which wasn't the easiest since we had anytime dining and consisted of a group of 8. The food was amazing here. A different section of the menu every night. But if there wasn't anything there you liked, they had an always available section with steak, chicken, pasta, etc. The same went with the dessert menu which was absolutely remarkable. BEWARE that all food spots are packed when you get back from destinations especially is you have to be back earlier in the day. So go back a little earlier or wait a little bit to beat the crowds, because there will be nowhere to sit, trust me. Ports of Call: Grand Turk was great. St. Thomas was great. Bermuda was great. San Juan was NOT great. If there was one big gripe my family had with the trip it was San Juan, Puerto Rico. I'm sure there are parts of the island that are beautiful, but I wouldn't trust going anywhere. When you drive and see down some of the side streets it looks like Harlem, NY and you feel very uncomfortable. I would highly suggest making San Juan a shore excursion island, or just stay on the ship which seemed to be popular among passengers. We were in San Juan from 10 AM until 11 PM which was completely uncalled for. San Juan is much nicer from a distance. Grand Turk was really nice, especially since there is a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville there. Maybe I'm a little bias since I am huge Jimmy Buffett fan, but it was a great place to spend your time. The pool was amazing, there was a swim-up bar, a wave simulator, and great music. It was a hot spot for passengers since its for cruise guests. You can also get a famous "Cheeseburger in Paradise" there or just wait to eat on the ship. There was a small shopping center there too with local stores as well as a Ron Jon Surfshop, Jimmy Buffett's Trading Post, and Piranha Joe's. Our time off ship was 7-2 which was a good amount of time. St. Thomas definitely has a lot to do. We took the Pirates Harbor Tour to the two different shopping centers. One is more touristy with an open flea market and small stores. The other shopping area has high end stores like Coach, Louis Vutton, BCBG, Whitehouse Blackmarket, etc. We were in St. Thomas from 8-2 which clearly was not enough time. You have to either choose shopping or beach and we went with shopping. We really got shafted with Bermuda. It just so happened that they got a hurricane a few weeks before our cruise and changed the itinerary from 9-5 to 1-5. On the morning we were supposed to get to Bermuda the captain came over the loud speakers saying one of the six generators had broke down causing the ship to lose speed and we would be getting to Bermuda at about 2, which left 3 hours on the island. A lot of people didn't get off because it was kind of worthless. My family went to Horseshoe Bay for about an hour and a half which was popular among passengers. This was by far the best beach on the whole trip. Entertainment: Can't really comment on this too much because this isn't really up my ally. I went with my family one night to see a show with all music from the Caribbean which was OK, just wasn't my cup of tea. Skywalkers Club which is above the back of the ship enclosed by glass is a really cool concept, and had some really great parties. No one under 18 though after 10 which disappointed my sister and cousin. "Movies Under the Stars" is by far the most revolutionary idea when it comes to cruising. There is a giant TV screen toward the rear of the ship and they play movies all day long. They play good movies too. During the day it was more kid and family friendly movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Pirates of the Caribbean. At night they had movies like 21, and Sweeney Todd. Great concept and was always packed. The casino was of course packed every night. Lets face it, gambling is a huge draw for people and definitely drew the people. Tons of slot machines, and a number of different games that you would find in any casino in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. There was a heavy amount of smoke in there every night, but they did have 2 smoke free nights which was a great idea. Public Rooms: All the lounges and public areas were very clean just like the rest of the ship. I would absolutely advise anyone thinking about taking a cruise to take a journey on the Caribbean Princess. The whole crew of workers on the ship really make it an enjoyable experience onboard. The whole ship is very clean and has so much to do. My family is already talking about our next vacation which is definitely going to be on a Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
just to give a little background. this is a 23 rd cruise for my husband and I. I am 39 and he is 41. we like to cruise at least 2 to 3 time a year. we sailed numerous Caribbean cruises and European. we sailed celebrity,rccl, carnival,ncl, ... Read More
just to give a little background. this is a 23 rd cruise for my husband and I. I am 39 and he is 41. we like to cruise at least 2 to 3 time a year. we sailed numerous Caribbean cruises and European. we sailed celebrity,rccl, carnival,ncl, cunard, Holland America,and princess. our first experience with princess was a positive one. it was inaugural sail to panama canal on dawn princess. at that time it was not owned by carnival so the service and food was amazing. ever since carnival took over it went down hill. we also sailed Grand Princess and Caribbean princess in 2004. it was ok then but not great the only reason we picked this cruise was because we had the family traveling with us and no one wanted to fly. this ship suited our work schedules so we decided to give it a chance. The embarkation process was smooth. Once on board the ship, there was no welcome or any other resemblance of a real greeting by Princess personnel. the only thing we noticed was everyone was trying to sell you something even when they saw our hands were full with luggage. our cabin faced lifeboats so not much of a view,but there was enough room for everything. the bathroom was on the ugly side. it reminded me somewhat of a hospital bathroom. the lighting was green so it was not ideal if one wanted to put makeup on and the rest of the light was on a dark side. at least it was kept clean by the cabin attendant. on a formal night My husband sent a suit to be cleaned they brought it back with same spots and charged us a full price for cleaning. when we asked the cabin guy he said they did not have the chemicals. anyway they did not give us the money back nor cleaned his suit. so the formal night number two was with same stains we started with but they advertise all over that they do dry cleaning. everyone else got a bottle of water in their cabin but we only got three cans of coke in the fridge that hardly worked with no ice. we could only buy water at the casino. What I found most offensive was the overall lack of service and the attitude of most of the personnel. It was as if they were going out of their way not to be helpful. in the dining room the waiter was annoyed if we asked for an extra dish to try and one night when we came in 10 minutes late he advised us that our table was almost given away to someone else since those people are without a table and were promised to be seated when people are late. on a lobster night when we asked for an extra lobster he said you get one only and the bitterly brought another one out. the nickel and diming was endless. they charged my cousin a dollar for tomato juice at the dining room at lunch. the buffet was always so full so finding a table was almost impossible. we had to circle like sharks for half an hour to find a seat. there were no working ice machines. you had to scoop ice out of a bucket. it was very unsanitary. out of ice tea pumps came out warm water so you had to walk all over the buffet to find a working one. they do not offer lemonade. no ice tea by the pool and when you asked a waiter they got annoyed because it's for free. The food quality is institutional at best.it was very uneven. one night it was ok and another blend or too salty. all the cream soups were blend and lumpy. The room service menu is very limited and the room service breakfast is little more than cold cereal, juice and pastry and everytime they brought food they shoved a paper for you to sign for gratuity. The Caesar salad sits pre-made in a bowl and some of the lettuce was brown and wilted. The waiter we had had a condescending attitude and acted like he was doing a favor. he only smiled on day one and when we asked if he was ok he just coldly answered he was concentrating. everytime I ordered a salad he told me I can only have low fat dressing. I told him I did not want that. he was not happy about that. his assistant could not remember after nine days that My husband drank tea and not coffee. it was a joke every night when she asked over and over again and then brought him coffee anyway. on a final night they did not even say goodbye to us.when we walked out of the dinig room. not a word. they already got their tips so they don't care. the air conditioner was very low. in my cousin's room it shut down all together. she was sweating bullets and could not sleep . they complained but nothing was done. they were saving energy because of the two or three generators being down. one of the waiters told us that they heard an explosion on one of the days it turned out another generator went but dry dock will be in January. I noticed they changed the itinerary for people who were boarding today. they took away their St martin and replaced it by tortola. they do not tell you anything until it's too late. just like our captain announced the morning we were supposed to arrive to Bermuda that because of mechanical problems we were going to be late. he sounded bored when he was speaking.they have been having this problem for the last two years i was told by a personnel. we arrived a little before two PM by the time we came out it was 2:10 and we had to be back on board by 5:30. keep in mind to take a ferry to Hamilton takes at least 30 minutes plus whatever time it took to buy tickets. there is nothing to do at king wharf. so we ran around like crazy people for 1:45 minutes in hamilton. in St Thomas we were there till 3:00pm all aboard 2:30. not enough time to do anything. tickets to megan's bay were about 24 dollars pp. that did not include a beach chair. my friend had to pay extra to rent one and in addition to that they were given only two hours there.when we got off the ship that was docked at crown bay the taxi fare was only 9 dollars pp to the same beach. we at least had enough time in San Juan. we arrive at 9:00 till 11:00 PM. to be honest many people felt there was no need to be there that late. everyone wanted more time in st thomas instead. grand Turk was a total waste of a stop. we did not even get off the ship.many people said they could have skipped it completely. tickets to go to Governor's Beach is a waste. they just provide a shuttle for 30 dollars pp. it was walking distance from the free beach. the only thing it was an ugly industrial area one would have to walk thru. when you get there you have to drag your own chairs. my cousin said the free beach was nicer. As for the entertainment, the Princess Theatre and explorer lounge does not come close to accommodating the number of passengers on board. we arrived 35 to 40 minutes before show time and still could not get seats. The theatre was crowded with people clogging up the aisles and the back of the theatre. (has anyone at Princess ever considered that this might be a fire hazard? we stood everytime we saw a show. people sat on the floor and kids were at a ten thirty show sitting all over the floor. people came there hours before taking up seats because there were other things going on before the show so they hung on to their seats. this morning instead of dining room breakfast they gathered people there for disembarkation. in the patter it says breakfast at the palm till 8:30 am but when we arrived at 8:00 am there was no service so with luggage we went to the buffet and of course with all the people there were no tables. people just sat on deck chairs. they later also announced that there was a shortage of porters so therefore we had to carry our own luggage thru customs. this was the first cruise where they did not even give us questioners to fill out. I guess they don't care. no one even mentioned them. In sum, for the price range, I find that Celebrity and rccl delivers a far better cruise experience. They do understand the importance of good customer service. You can bet that my next cruise will not be on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Background Information: Married couple with 12 year old twins. This was our first family cruise. As a couple we have cruised previously on a 12 day Med cruise (Barcelona to Venice), an Alaska cruise, and a Carib cruise. These were on NCL ... Read More
Background Information: Married couple with 12 year old twins. This was our first family cruise. As a couple we have cruised previously on a 12 day Med cruise (Barcelona to Venice), an Alaska cruise, and a Carib cruise. These were on NCL and now defunct Royal Cruise Line. I have also cruised Royal Viking (5 times) and once on SS France and SS Argentina as a kid. My kids are good travelers - been from coast to coast, Mexico, Caribbean and through England (Birmingham to London). Activities: All you would expect on a cruise, well run and plentiful. The activities really kept large groups of people in varying areas of the ship. Note: There are too many people on this cruise at this time of year. And the configuration of the ship takes many days to maneuver. Service: Couldn't be better. Oscar our stateroom steward must be one of the best. John and Jose in the Island Dining Room were fantastic. John even serenaded us multiple nights with songs. We did have trouble getting to our late traditional seating however. As the 4th on the wait list we were told that it would be no problem a week before cruising. As we boarded I noticed the "Anytime Dining" note that I really didn't want. I was told to sit in the dining room and wait my turn to see the Maitre'd, an experience that someone else in Cruise Critic described quite well. After waiting 45 minutes my wife and I were given the pleasure(?) of sitting before the maitre'd. He took our request and told us that we would hear back from him if anything in traditional dining opens up. I said that we were 4th on the wait list but this meant nothing to him. In hindsight, perhaps a gold coin, shekel, or crisp George Washington would have sealed the deal. After a phone call from me, an average experience in anytime dining, and a view of the waiting lines for anytime dining, I was sent a note with our new table for the rest of the cruise. This worked out beautifully. As I mentioned the rest of the cruise was wonderful. The attention of John and Jose was great and they seemed liked family by the end of the cruise. Food: Food was generally very good in the dining rooms. My son had different things never tried before -- frogs legs, escargots and pheasant. The buffets were not as good but expected when trying to serve so many 24 hours a day. Great pizza! Shore Excursions: I think we were lucky to pick some good ones. I heard complaints from other folks about different experiences but the Rain Forest Hike in San Juan, the sky ride in St. Thomas, and ultimate snorkeling in Grand Turk were all great for the whole family. Embarkation: Easy, 20 minutes Entertainment: Comedians were very good -- the former LAPD cop, Dwight Slade and impressionist. Impressionist (Jason Neistedt) was better the first night but still good. Bands were all great. Crew talent was good although we preferred our waiter John's singing in the dining room. Dance team was good but these groups are always a cut below Broadway or traveling tours. I never believe the reviews that say how they should be on Broadway. They are not. They are on a ship and they are very good, that's it. The magicians/illusionists were good, even a bit freaky but that's all. Also Dan Styne was a great cruise director -- not very visible between shows but his staff was everywhere. I had multiple conversations at bars with different entertainers. They were all interesting and fun to be with. Disembarkation: Not as easy as embarkation but still very good This was a great experience for the whole family as my kids loved the freedom, seeing different places and meeting new people. They usually hung around the pools, basketball court and ping pong areas on sea days. We enjoyed the Movies Under the Stars too. Others said how difficult it was getting seats everywhere. We found that if you got to a show or movie 20 minutes ahead there was no problem. Missing Bermuda due to Bertha and not having much time in ports is due to an overcrowded ship that is so large. We still had a good time but may try a smaller ship next time. This was a good first time family cruise for all. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
I am in my late 30's and cruised to visit my boyfriend who is an employee on the CB. Unfortunately for me, being a single cruiser I must pay full fare plus another HALF just to see him once during his four month absence! He is not ... Read More
I am in my late 30's and cruised to visit my boyfriend who is an employee on the CB. Unfortunately for me, being a single cruiser I must pay full fare plus another HALF just to see him once during his four month absence! He is not eligible for a family discount (as others are) because of his position and that he is in a shared berth cabin, so that definitely hurts! This was my 6th cruise with Princess, and second time on the CB. I flew from Vancouver, BC to Newark, NJ for the first time and chose to stay at an airport hotel with shuttle, the Wyndham Garden Hotel, Newark a/p. I took the airtrain to P4 after using the hotel phone being told they ran every 20 min's. Well I waited for 30 and finally one came with too many people and not enough space. Anyway, it was a very nice hotel and was able to shuttle back to the a/p in the A.M. to catch a Princess shuttle to the pier. Princess does not allow you to simply purchase a transfer to the pier in the morning without having come off of a flight. So I had to lie about a pretend flight I flew in on that morning in order to purchase the transfer which seems ridiculous to me! The only way for me to get from the west coast of Canada to the east coast of the U.S. by morning is to take a red eye and I wasn't going to do that with my migraines! Therefore, I picked a flight arriving at EWR at the time I wished to be picked up, pre-purchased my transfer through my T.A. (who is also my mom!) and found the Princess rep waiting for me by the arriving flight's carousel. Wasn't she surprised to see me when the flight hadn't even landed yet! :) The shuttle was not a large coach but a small van. We loaded up at the next terminal and were off to Brooklyn. I had researched flights into JFK and hotels in the area of the a/p & Brooklyn but found flying to EWR cheaper as were the hotels near the a/p. Being able to take the Princess shuttle for $35 to the pier also cut back on costs for me. Previously having worked on ships out of Manhattan I was disappointed to be so far from Manhattan but must admit the Brooklyn terminal is very nice and seemed very organized. I arrived at the pier about 1pm and nearly walked right up to the next available ticket counter, it was effortless. Met my boyfriend at the gangway and we found our inside, mid-ship cabin on Caribe #508. The location itself was excellent but I would NOT recommend this exact cabin as it is located right next to that deck's crew galley/swinging door etc. All night and all morning we heard room service trays being dumped, ice machines running, lots of banging and talking. It was EXTREMELY loud! I sleep with ear plugs and I was still woken up to the noise banging around on the other side of my wall. The beds were AWFULLY hard. We both had sore backs for days but as we're late to bed, late to rise we rarely saw our cabin attendant Jenny, who I had warned of our silly sleep schedule and asked her not to wait around for us. If the sign was out, please come in, if not please don't worry about us! I had planned to ask for an egg crate but come mid-cruise I just didn't bother. When we did see Jenny she was always very happy and so accommodating. Lovely girl. Again as an ex-employee I've seen my share of the Caribbean and was really only excited about Bermuda but of course, Bertha changed that as I'd expected prior to getting onboard. Very disappointing nonetheless but that's the way it goes. When I cruise we do not participate in a lot of the goings on onboard nor do we eat in the dining rooms. We ate everyday either in the Horizon Court/Caribe Cafe or we'd run up for burgers & pizza both of which were EXCELLENT, perhaps a little TOO convenient and tasty as we used them a lot. This time we actually used room service quite a bit too although unlike RCI you can't order off of the dining room menu which was a shame as we never saw the dining room. But we stuck to our favourites as I'm an extremely picky eater and the fancy stuff doesn't do it for me, but I was very happy with the sandwiches & chips. I must say though that those crappy little stick-like fries they served with the burgers & sandwiches up until the last day of the cruise were awful! Finally by day 9 we got the larger cut fries. Not sure what that was all about though. I've never really understood the 'anytime dining'. Anytime we went by to look there were lines of people waiting so it's not like you can just walk up and get seated whenever you feel like it. It seems it must be planned out and I guess for us, we couldn't be bothered. We also tried to make reservations at Chops the night before San Juan but were booked. We waited and called again 2 days later and were told it was booked up for the whole cruise but we'd be put on a wait-list, which we never did get called for. So we missed out on that too which I was very surprised at! I'm HOPING that had nothing to do with the fact he was a crew member but we did get some looks from other staff when we'd do something 'passenger-like'. That gets irritating at times. They think I'm cruising for free or at an extremely reduced rate when in fact I've paid a lot more than some to be there. Entertainment wise I'd seen the shows in the theatre before and wasn't very impressed so didn't bother fighting the crowds this time. I loved Wavelength and we listened to them every night. They're from Vancouver Island and were GREAT guys, very talented. I actually did go into the beginning of the theatre show when they sang a few songs to open up for the main act. Again, they were amazing, definitely don't miss them in the Explorer's Lounge. So You Wanna Be a Rock Star was a HUGE hit with people it seemed as the lounge was always packed. We also listened to Fathoms in the Wheelhouse and chatted with them as they too were from Vancouver. Nice guys and were great at what they do. As a previous Shore Excursion Manager I had little left to do in the ports. In San Juan, we simply walked around old San Juan, had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe for old times' sake but my goodness have prices gone up! That evening we sat outside of a Mediterranean restaurant not too far from the ship for drinks & snacks and then I went to the deck party to once again enjoy Wavelength and the warm night air. St.Thomas I have always docked at Havensite and think what a shame it is that new passengers to the island are seeing this pier as their intro to the island. Unless you're interested in some jewelry shopping you'll need to cab downtown or way around to Havensite for anything to do. We didn't end up doing anything but Internet on our laptop at the terminal. I had never been to Grand Turk so was looking forward to it however once there was rather disappointed. I wanted to see clear blue waters and white sandy beaches I guess like 7 mile on Grand Cayman or from what I'd seen of photos of the Turks & Caicos. Grand Turk is a cruise ship stop, period. As someone else had said it reminded them of Costa Maya. A man-made concrete platform ashore that held some gift shops and of course jewelry stores plus there was a Jimmy Buffet's where 3000+ people made their way to. The pool was wall to wall people, reminded me of a bathtub so had no desire to get in. The beach was O.K., perhaps because of the ships churning up the oceans there was a lot of black seaweed lining the beach and surrounding waters. I know this is certainly just me being picky but I wanted to see CLEAR blue water and WHITE sandy beaches. If you did go sit on the beach right there you look directly back at the ship! What kind of a view is that? The ship sits perpendicular to the beach! why didn't they build the pier so the ship sat angled in the other direction is beyond me. There is a rope along the beach with a sign saying 'You are now leaving the cruise terminal area' or something to that effect so most people stayed within the Jimmy Buffet boundary. We walked next door to an excellent little bar/restaurant that offered free wireless access (for those of you that might bring a laptop with you!), excellent food and a little peace. So thank goodness for this little spot or we may have just walked right back onboard and laid out on deck. The staff onboard (for the most part), were very friendly. The man at Chops, after looking at my BF's name tag changed his attitude toward us from being just passengers to being crew who took second priority, this I did NOT appreciate as I was NOT crew. The CD Dan and Deputy CD Sam were so friendly and really fun. I went to the top deck aft a few times to sun tan and had no problem finding a chair to sit in. As an elite member I got 100 free minutes in the Internet Cafe. A $55 charge is put on when you first sign up but then it is credited at the end of the cruise. Yes the computers are slow so it was very nice to use them on their dime. We used the washers/dryers on Caribe one evening and it was super busy. $1 wash/$1 dry/$1 for detergent. Be prepared to have damp clothes come out of the dryers there, one cycle won't get most things dry so we had to go for another round to the dismay of those waiting for dryers. On debark morning, the Pursers desk called at 7:50am to let me know I needed to come to the desk to claim a refund. When I got down there and to the front of the line, they looked and said 'Oh no sorry, you actually don't get it back, you needed to spend it onboard.' I guess it was the refund of port charges for Bermuda. There was a refund of $22.13 July 12th and then later a refund for $7.00 on July 15th both claiming Gvt tax refund. I didn't use my account onboard but wish perhaps we'd been given a notice of some sort early on letting us know this credit was coming because I would have spent it! You are charged a Govt. Fee of $10.74 once getting onboard for who knows what so I had -$18.39 coming to me. But I didn't feel like arguing so I just said fine, and walked away. Seems to me that I prepaid your port charges so why wouldn't I get them back if I don't visit your port??? If it was just a good will onboard credit I'd understand and if that was the case wouldn't I be notified you were doing that for me? It's only $18 but it's the principal as far as I'm concerned. You credit me secretly but if I don't use it that's too bad for me? I didn't know I had it to use! Granted I'm guessing there are few if any who cruise and never use their onboard account but still, there may be one or two of us out there, I'd have gone to the gift shop or treated my bf to a drink out, rather than he paying. As I was trying to leave the ship that morning my card buzzed saying 'You have a credit to pick up' so I had to go BACK to the purser's desk and they looked and said 'You have money owed to you' I tried to explain that I'd been there already this morning and was told I wouldn't be getting it back. After checking with someone else I once again was given an apology and told Oh you're right, you don't get it back, never mind. You'd think they'd never done this before! So that was really my only gripe on the whole cruise. It was great to see my bf again and enjoy time away from home. The sun was shining for the most part, the seas were fine and by the end of it I wanted to stay for another but it was time to leave. I chose the Courtyard Jersey City Newport to stay at and we were going to cab there. The cabbie told me that if he drove us to New Jersey he'd have to double the meter so we opted to be dropped off at the Christopher St. PATH station and take the PATH over to my hotel, which was located right next door. The cab was $20 and the PATH was $1.75 each which was excellent. I spent the night and he went back to the ship. The next day I took a cab to EWR for a flat rate of $45. Not relevant to the cruise at all, but we ended up having to sit on the plane for 2 hours due to runway traffic and weather, so my 5 hr 20 min. flight ended up being over 7 hours on a flight with no movies, no music, nothing! Man was I ready to get off that plane! Had never been into or out of Newark but apparently air traffic is VERY heavy at 6:30pm on a Sunday just FYI!!! All in all a lovely trip! :) Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
This was my 8th cruise . Celebrity 1, Royal Carib 3 and Carnival 3. Embarkation - Best so far. Very quick. Half hour from curb to room. Cabin - Mini suite on Dolphin deck.. Family of 4. Nice size room, nothing special. Pull out sofa ... Read More
This was my 8th cruise . Celebrity 1, Royal Carib 3 and Carnival 3. Embarkation - Best so far. Very quick. Half hour from curb to room. Cabin - Mini suite on Dolphin deck.. Family of 4. Nice size room, nothing special. Pull out sofa bed had nothing more than a foam pad... no mattress - not too comfortable. The queen size bed had a bar going down middle... VERY uncomfortable! Nice size bathroom, tiles kept lifting off floor. Cabin steward was great at least. Food - One word GROSS! Squidball soup for breakfast! What is that????? You have to pay for ice cream by the pool and espresso/cappuccino at dinner is not free either. Venues - Way too small for number of people on ship. You had to arrive at least 45 minutes prior to get a seat at any location that had entertainment. Ports - Booked cruise because because of St. Maarten - Never made it, went to Tortola instead because of "operational issues" We were down one engine (and still not working. Also, when entering ship after Port visit, they make you walk up steps that are covered with rugs to accommodate the wheel chairs. VERY UNSAFE - You cannot grab the steps under your feet. Comfort - Air conditioning not functioning properly due to lack of engine. Ventilation of cigar lounge is poor. The overwhelming smell permeates the surrounding hallway. Same with Casino. Pool - Chlorinated water...NOT fresh water. So much chlorine that it faded the stitching on my sons bathing suit. People are allowed to bring drinks into the hot tubs!?! Drink waiters not too quick to take your order or bring drinks. No "free" drinks such as fruit punch, lemonade, iced tea, coffee/hot tea out by the pool area., only water by the bar in jugs. Iced tea is available in the buffet dining areas if you can find a fountain that is working. Ice machines not working 90% of the time, you have spoon ice cubes from a bucket. VERY UNSANITARY. Cruise Directors Staff - With the exception of Kelvin the rest of the staff was rude and very unfriendly. They never got the party started. This was a highly confrontational group. In addition, I had to kill (crunch) a huge bug with my shoe in my cabin. I flushed it, I should have brought to the front desk, my mistake. Horrible vacation, would never book another Princess Cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
We boarded in Brooklyn on July 19th with basically no hitches except the long line in the gangway to the ship with no AC on and outside temperature at about 90 degrees. Family of four, we went straight to our cabin and our expectations ... Read More
We boarded in Brooklyn on July 19th with basically no hitches except the long line in the gangway to the ship with no AC on and outside temperature at about 90 degrees. Family of four, we went straight to our cabin and our expectations were on target. Don't expect a large space, rather a tidy little closet with bunks that fold out of the wall. Yes you will hit your head numerous times, sometimes when you least expect it! Luggage was within 10 minutes of room arrival! Now the fun starts! 3000 people herded onto the top deck for disembarking but most of all reaching for the fairly priced cocktails and the free food frenzy. It's as if everyone is stressed to the max and not knowing what to do first. Take a lounge and sit you say! Well that would be easy if 3000 people weren't trying to sit their fat bottoms into approximately 300 lounge chairs. All in all folks, a lot of fun ensued leaving our great city. I will not make this a lengthy review, rather I will keep it to the point! State rooms with four- NO WAY EVER AGAIN! try to get two rooms or a suite!Room was clean but not spotless. Steward was a Pro and cleans twice a day. When you book your room make sure to check the deck levels above and below as we were situated right on top of a lounge. Whats so horrible about that you say? Well, with the ship scheduling a rock and roll band every night from 10 p.m. till the wee hours, sleep will NOT be on the menu! I would have slept better in the middle of the Herd at the buffet line! Polite complaints were to no avail as the front line on this Big Betsy is well trained to ward off any encounters. In short, once your in your locked! Dining- We chose "Any Time" and it met or exceeded our expectations, Dinner service was top notch. Food tasted very good with a wide variety of choices from start to finish. Entertainment- Do see the shows as they are O.K., especially the comedians! The pool bands were cabaret and repetitive but enjoyable. The "Movies Under The Stars", old releases but entertaining if you do not want the noise that surrounds the music pool. Casino- What you would expect! Buffets- Endless and crowded but food was O.K. Staff- 95% friendly, 5% with no personality. Tipping- Although not required as your room gets tacked 10.50$ a day per person per day, a little gratuity at dinner time might assist in your endeavors.The drinks have gratuity already included at 15% on every signature purchase made on your room. You be the judge! Ports of Call- Not near enough time in the good ports and far too much time in San Juan! Princess tends to dock far away from the main attractions at every important island! This affects your Taxi charges and timing to different areas of interest! Overall Impression- What you would expect with 3000 people herding at buffet lines and pool loungers. Get an early start! If we had to do it again, I would scrutinize my room better and pick a ship where the ports of call had lengthier stays. Princess is definitely selling themselves as a premier carrier, but I think they lack that personal flair you would expect with the prices your paying.The ship is not short on things to do for all age groups. Still, I stress, way too many people! Age Groups- 50% seniors, 25% couples, 25% families. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Did the Captain have a screw loose? The guy first sailed southeast to Bermuda as Hurricane Bertha was approaching that island by heading northwest. The first two days at sea were therefore nauseating. We should have been at Bermuda the ... Read More
Did the Captain have a screw loose? The guy first sailed southeast to Bermuda as Hurricane Bertha was approaching that island by heading northwest. The first two days at sea were therefore nauseating. We should have been at Bermuda the morning of July 11th but finally on the afternoon of the 10th, Popeye announced that travelling to Bermuda would be too dangerous and instead he was changing his heading to due south past Florida thru the Windward Passage to San Juan. Three cheers for El Capitan. But that made for three full days at sea and the passengers stood on all the decks yelling, "Land, land, we want to see land." One engine was disabled as we left NY. The ship was running on 5 instead of 6 engines and they knew it before leaving port. So from where did it get the energy to continue? By cutting back on air conditioning to the cabins, lounges and dining rooms. That created a major problem and all we got were excuses. Because of lack of proper ventilation or just plain lack of maintenance, there was a musty odor throughout the place, especially bad in the hallways and dining rooms. I had to spend thousands of dollars on a massive floating apartment complex with body odor? The food? Unless one ate in a specialty restaurant that charged extra, the meat was inedible. So for two nights we dined in the Steakhouse and had fish the other six. The buffet on deck 15? Food not bad but no empty tables to be found. The shows? Awful. After dinner it was better to take in a movie under the stars. But I will say the muster drill was a lot of fun. This was my fourth cruise and the first with Princess. Fuggedaboutit. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Since this cruise had so many problems with it, I thought that I should give an honest review of our recent cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess which departed from NY and visited the Eastern Caribbean on July 1st. This had been our forth ... Read More
Since this cruise had so many problems with it, I thought that I should give an honest review of our recent cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess which departed from NY and visited the Eastern Caribbean on July 1st. This had been our forth cruise and our first with Princess. Prior to do this, I had heard all positive things about Princess Cruise Line - only some of those things turned out to be true! The cruise started with a change of the itinerary and no information coming from Princess. My travel agent had to make the call for me to try and get some factual info on why they changed the itinerary. I had heard this same thing from many, many other passengers about the lack of info coming from Princess. It turned out that the ship was running on one less generator and therefore the entire itinerary was changed. As a result of this mechanical issue, they decided to scratch one of the major islands St. Marten and substituted this with an island that virtually had nothing to do on it. They also changed the allocated time-frame that we were supposed to spend on each island. The air conditioning was cut back to compensate for the lack of electrical power. It was some of the poorest planning that I have ever seen and the worst communication from any company that is supposed to cater to luxury cruisers. You arrived at Puerto Rico at 5:00 at night and were told to be back onboard at 9:30 pm - no time to do anything. This was then repeated for every other island that we visited. If that was not bad enough they overbooked the cruise by adding 300 extra people to this cruise. THIS WAS A MAJOR PROBLEM! By having so many passengers onboard meant that you could not get into a restaurant, casino, pool chair, elevator etc. I was considered as Open Seating Dining which I was told that I could eat anytime at any restaurant that I wanted. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE. On the first hour of the first day, I tried to make reservations for any of the restaurants and was told I could get 5:00 or 10:00 reservations and that both specialty restaurants (pay extra fee) were already booked as well. I ended up making such a scene with the head maitre d (spelling??) that to keep me from making a bigger scene in front of a large crowd he added a table into the primary dining room for me and 6 other passengers just as angry as I was. You could not have your desert because you would not get a seat at any of the shows. One night, an older gentleman, dressed in a Tux was literally sitting on the steps to the right side of me. A disgrace! Later that week they started to simulcast the shows up to the outside movie theaters by one of the pools - even the comedian made jokes about this. One show got cancelled 30 minutes into it and no explanation was ever given. Another act was so poor that by 30 minutes in, most of the passengers walked out. Because the ship was so over booked you had to rush to do everything,,,, you had to get to the pool no later than 8:00 AM to get a lounge chair. There were some positive things that I will say. The ship was spotless! My cabin steward was outstanding. The food at dinner was pretty good, but the buffets were average to poor. My children ran up a $60 bill for ice cream - go figure! The entertainment was terrible. Calvin the entertainment director was pretty good, but had no supporting staff. Entertainment at the pools was the worst that I had ever seen. They had one reggae band that wasn't all that bad, but played the same exact songs each and every day - the joke at the pool was that it was like ground hog day, over and over again. I do not mean to be venting so much but this was supposed to be an enjoyable cruise for me and my family. Given the state of the economy and with spending several thousands dollars for this cruise, I expected to enjoy myself, I was very, very disappointing. It seems that by looking at other cruise critic reviews about this same cruise that I was not the only one disappointed. I tried to contact Princess to let them know how I felt and was put on hold for 20 minutes on two separate occasions. Given the performance and lack of a response from Princess on these issues, would lead me to believe that they may be having financial difficulties and are a company that is desperate. The best advice I can give to others, is to look for another cruise company to book with. This was my first and last cruise with Princess. Very Disappointed! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
This marked our return to sailing Princess after a hiatus of 5 years. It was our 10th cruise and our 4th aboard Princess Line. We had previously sailed on the old Pacific Princess, a tiny ship by today's standards completely lacking ... Read More
This marked our return to sailing Princess after a hiatus of 5 years. It was our 10th cruise and our 4th aboard Princess Line. We had previously sailed on the old Pacific Princess, a tiny ship by today's standards completely lacking in amenities but much more customer friendly than it's successors. I came away with an overall lukewarm impression of the ship and of Princess Cruise line. Part of this is a reaction to the ever expanding size of ships and the number of passengers aboard. I am of the opinion that less is more. The logistics of transporting thousands of people at one time while entertaining them with land based activities(golf, tennis, basketball, gambling and endless shopping), moving them on and off the ship for transient native experiences (a tedious process at times--we saw one very bad example of gangway rage)simply detracts from an ocean voyage experience and any sense that the passenger is valued as an individual customer. Ships like the Caribbean Princess and the even larger ones simply lack the graceful lines of their predecessors and resemble nothing so much as large floating hotels or shopping malls. Any sense of being on the sea is being eliminated. I guess this suits the tastes of most cruisers but anyone wanting a more genteel or sophisticated experience had better look elsewhere. The POSITIVES of the cruise included an excellent embarkation from the Brooklyn, NY terminal. We were travelling with my mother in law who needs wheelchair assistance and Princess could not have done better. Our cabin stewardess and dining room staff were also very good as were some of the cruise director's staff with whom we interacted. The ship was well maintained and clean. Our cabin on the Riviera deck was of a decent size, with a balcony that comfortably sat two, BUT the bathroom is, given the overall size of the ship, absurdly small with a commode and shower that will not comfortably accommodate any person of girth. On the Negative side: FIRST AND FOREMOST the ship does not,in the common venues, reasonably accommodate the number of passengers it carries. There was an unpleasant competition for seats in the Princess theater for popular shows and likewise in the smaller Explorer's lounge where some acts perform. It was necessary to wait 45 minutes to 1 hour to be assured of a seat or otherwise missing the entertainment. Princess added some 500 passengers to this ship by putting an entire deck of cabins post original construction. This may have improved the bottom line but only at the price of customer service. The competition for lounge chairs by any of the pools was likewise nasty with the usual "saving of seats" by placing towels over everything in sight beginning very early in the morning. This led to a couple of verbal altercations where ship security became involved. Similar space issues exist in the buffet dining areas where finding a seat can be a real issue. Princess was once a more premium line but since its acquisition by Carnival Corp., that company has clearly decided to embrace a downmarket segment which was reflected in many of the passengers and their behavior. If Princess wants to provide accommodations for only 2/3 of the passengers I suggest they provide food for only the same number and then they will have a true Darwinian competition on board (maybe Caribbean Princess can do only Galapagos cruises?). The food was just OK both in the Horizon buffet and the main dining rooms but uneven in quality and presentation. Not as good as past Princess Cruises and below that of Holland America and Celebrity. Still a cut or two above Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. We initially were assigned open seating but this was problematical for a party of six with various medical issues. We requested a change to traditional seating and were granted an interview with the head Maitre'd an experience that proved more entertaining than most of the acts on board. The gentleman in question sat in a far corner of the Palm dining room and passenger supplicants were given a number and told to wait their turn. When the number was called a lesser staff member ushered you into the presence of this well manicured and somewhat austere European gentlemen who radiated the ennui of someone who had seen and heard it all before. This felt rather like being sent to the Principal's office, enduring a tax audit, or being granted a three minute Papal audience. Mirabile dictu, the next day we received notice that our request had been granted and we were assigned to traditional seating. I am grateful to the gentleman and regret not having genuflected upon taking leave of him. The "engine problem" that caused a last minute change in itinerary resulted in our arrival in San Juan at 4Pm and departure at 10 PM. There were no shore excursions offered and except for a brief foray into old San Juan this stop was a waste. We likewise left Gran Turk early and only had a short stay in Tortola (the more distant St. Martin having already been scrapped). No mention of these problems was made on board and no credit or other consideration offered by Princess. In short, our return to sailing Princess was disappointing and we have booked our next (January 09) cruise with Holland America (also a Carnival company but apparently geared to a different market segment). We may sail Princess again someday but not the Caribbean Princess. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
This was the first cruise we ever took and have asked ourselves over and over again, why we didn't do this sooner! Please do not listen to others. We talked to many on the ship and no matter what cruise line you go on, someone will ... Read More
This was the first cruise we ever took and have asked ourselves over and over again, why we didn't do this sooner! Please do not listen to others. We talked to many on the ship and no matter what cruise line you go on, someone will have something to say whether it is good or bad. We read reviews before we left and feel that finding things out and asking MANY QUESTIONS will make your trip perfect! Sarge, the comedian, is hysterical and we saw him three times while we were on board. We plan on going to see him when he is in Massachusetts - he is FANTASTIC! The entertainment is what you would expect from cruise-type entertainment. It was fun! Formal wear - don't spend alot of money on clothing. Not many people seem to dress in formal wear and to spend money on a tux, gowns, etc... don't. Just look nice! The food was great! We had 6:00 seating for dinner and the food, the service, etc... was FANTASTIC! If we wanted to try something in addition to what we ordered, our server always let us try. She was so professional and personable. Never did we have trouble during our seating. The buffet was nice also. We never had trouble finding a seat. In the formal dining room, if you have the set seating - 6:00 or 8:15, make sure if you don't want to sit near kids, you request this. We sat next to two tables where the kids were running around, screaming and the parents were not paying attention. We, along with our tablemates were beside ourselves since they had no discipline at all and the parents paid no attention to them. The waiters infact, had to chase them down to put them back in their seats since the parents didn't. Beverages - just to give you heads up, you will be HOUNDED to purchase alcoholic beverages constantly. Just make sure you have some type of class with liquid in it and no one will bother you!!!!!!!!!!! If you do get the soda card, even though you ask one for a drink, ask another. It can take up to 30 minutes to receive a soda or water. Ask questions - there is free ice cream - don't buy an ice cream card. You do have to buy a soda card if you want unlimited soda. Unfortunately, they don't serve Pepsi products so we only bought one. There is so much to do on the ship - casino, games, movies under the stars, entertainment, etc.... Off-shore excursions - this is not Princesses company - they are individually owned and operated. Don't blame Princess for problems. If you go to Tortola and take the coast to coast tour, ask for COCO! He is great! Esmerelda, the company director on Tortola is so nice. Very accommodating to all! If you go to Margaritaville and buy a Margarita, the TIP IS ALREADY included! Don't double tip!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our steward was a doll! He straightened up/cleaned our room twice a day. Left fresh towels each time and really did a nice job. Things that we experienced that are negative we will not discuss. If you listen to what everyone says, then you will never enjoy anything. We are taking care of those things with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
My husband and I are dedicated cruisers and this was our sixth adventure on Princess, our first being the year Princess acquired the Sitmar line. We found the July 1, 2008 sailing on the Caribbean Princess to be a most enjoyable ... Read More
My husband and I are dedicated cruisers and this was our sixth adventure on Princess, our first being the year Princess acquired the Sitmar line. We found the July 1, 2008 sailing on the Caribbean Princess to be a most enjoyable experience. We booked a few days in NYC at the ParkLane Hotel and then used a car hire for transport to Red Hook, Brooklyn. The car service charge plus tip totaled $55 (including tolls). Life was easier when ships sailed from the WestSide Piers of Manhattan. Embarkation was the absolute BEST of our multi years of experience...20 minutes from the desk to our cabin. The ship is beautiful, though I was disappointed at times to find empty glasses lingering in corners of elevators and a few stay Kleenex in public areas. (The ship needs to be more aware of public areas and the passengers need to avoid such behaviors.) The main atrium was nicely done, the library stocked with a good selection and never did we wait in "line" for more than a few minutes. Activities were plentiful but much too LOUD. The volume at the main pool was deafening and the assistant cruise director would SCREAM into her microphone. That said, our favorite activity is to look at the sea. The balcony with our Aloha Deck cabin offered great views and on that deck we had a "roof" to protect us from the sun's rays. (Be aware that many of the balconies have full exposure to the sun.) The promenade deck provided a place for a delightful stroll and comfortable chairs in quiet surroundings. Service was 100+%. From our cabin stewardess to the various waiters we met with the "anytime dining" option (perhaps the BEST feature of the "new" ships would be the anytime dining) we constantly were impressed with attitude, personalities and efficiency. We did not participate in shore excursions as we have many times travelled to the Eastern Caribbean. The day before sailing we received a call (from both Princess and our travel agent) that the sailing time had been moved up one hour (though the ship sailed late) and that St. Maarten had been replaced with Tortola. We enjoyed our visit to Tortola and would like to return. though we were told that all shops in San Juan would be closed as it was the 4th of July, we walked into Old San Juan to find all shops open. As we equate most ship entertainment with high school musical productions, we did not attend any of the shows. We did find the classical musicians to be excellent, especially the pianist. We We attended only one lecture and were amazed at how unprepared the "expert" was on the subject of Caribbean history and customs. The only real negative we would offer would be that the airconditioning in our cabin did not function. We lost a few nights of sleep due to the temperature in the cabin. Twice our cabin was checked (per our request) and we were told adjustments would be made, but we felt no difference and our comfort was negatively impacted. As to the dining and the food...simply wonderful. Breakfast in the dining room offered freshly made and hot food, always well prepared. Breakfast and lunch buffets were without exception excellent and fresh trays were continuously being presented. Dinner was fantastic. The barimundi and the butterfish were truly gifts of the sea! We did an evening at each of the "extra charge" restaurants. Sabatini's offered Italian selections with much emphasis on seafood, it was very good. But OUTSTANDING was the Sterling Steak House. I would encourage passengers to enjoy both and to book reservations when you board the ship as these two venues "fill up" quickly. Disembarkation went smoothly. We purchased the ship's transport to Penn Station. A Princess Cruise representative was waiting for us by our luggage, met us again as we departed customs, and escorted us to the comfortable coach...$25 per person, such a deal!!!! We would definitely recommend the ship, and that is based on a long history of cruising. Consider requesting "table for two" in the restaurants...it spares one from having to deal with the personalities who book a cruise to do just one thing...and that is complain. We find that isolating ourselves from such negativity adds a great deal to our vacation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Caribbean Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.5 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.5 N/A
Service 4.0 4.2
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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