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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
My wife and I boarded the ship on Aug. 16, and stayed on her until Sept. 14. We do not do "formal," and chose "Anytime Dining," and ate in the buffet for the entire time except one night in the Crown Grill. We could ... Read More
My wife and I boarded the ship on Aug. 16, and stayed on her until Sept. 14. We do not do "formal," and chose "Anytime Dining," and ate in the buffet for the entire time except one night in the Crown Grill. We could find nothing bad to say about the entire experience. I must say, reading the "down" reviews, that it seems people are really nit-picking. The food was fine, the coffee was good, and the service was outstanding. By simply being observant, we were able to see some really interesting things, such as a "Mola-Mola" sunfish on the surface near the Guernsey Islands, and a couple of whales near Iceland. As far as the ship was concerned, our cabin was very comfortable, and our steward was always at our disposal. A couple of times the toilets briefly didn't work, and we were told it was because somebody nearby had clogged theirs by putting something in it they shouldn't have. The entire crew down to the "black gang" and deck hands were polite and cheerful. The itinerary was fine - we saw a lot of places for the first time, and were charmed by Scotland and Ireland. It turned out that we retraced many of the steps of the Titanic, which I found fascinating. We did encounter a couple of storms, and the Captain made the right decision to stay in port at one point. We had 60 knot plus winds one night, but the ship was easily able to handle it.When we got to New York, it was a bittersweet time, as we had made some fast friends among the crew. We were told that if we stayed on the ship any longer, we would be drafted as crew! Disembarkation was incredibly easy. We had a train to catch at Penn Station, and so disembarked at 8 AM. Much to my amazement, we were on the curb looking for a taxi by 8:15! In summary, it was 28 days of great fun, and we plan to take more cruises in the future with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
To make this review more useful, I'll try to write in sections. OVERVIEW: I love cruising, in general. My room is cleaned 3 times a day, my groceries bought, meals planned, cooked, and cleaned-up, entertainment choices laid out, etc. ... Read More
To make this review more useful, I'll try to write in sections. OVERVIEW: I love cruising, in general. My room is cleaned 3 times a day, my groceries bought, meals planned, cooked, and cleaned-up, entertainment choices laid out, etc. What's not to like? Well, several things. Too many passengers means that entertainment/lectures are not available to everyone wanting to see them. Getting on and off the ship requires extra time, which shortened every port day by 90 minutes on average. But a large ship also has more offerings than is possible on a small one. FOOD: The dining options were plentiful, and you could eat 24 hours a day, if you wanted. The quality varied. On Deck 15 are the Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe. For breakfast, they typically offered similar fare, although CC is smaller, so cannot offer as much. But they are adjacent, so if one was lacking, it was easy to go to the other. During lunch, the options were a bit different. For example, one day CC offered a sushi bar while HC had the usual variety of salads, fruit, sandwiches, hot foods, and the ever-present desserts. We had "anytime dining", which was in the Islands restaurant. The Maitre d' was difficult to deal with until the absolute last day, when he was suddenly pleasant and accommodating (looking to improve his reviews or tips??). We only had dinners in the restaurant, so I cannot comment on breakfast or lunch there. Quality was variable, but overall was like a moderately-priced chain restaurant. Steaks were sometimes good, sometimes tough and flavorless. Fish was the same, and often overcooked. We expected the pasta dishes to be outstanding, since the head chef is from Italy, but I suppose "corporate food" cannot be expected to be special, and it wasn't. Not that it was bad, it was just ordinary. Desserts required translation from the menu! What we expected to see, from the description, was often not even close to what arrived. The creme brulee, however, was quite good, as were the ice creams. The PIZZA bar was actually very good. I had only had pizza on a different line (Celebrity) and was not impressed, but this pizza was good! The crust was thin and crisp (despite the poor cook having to stand out in freezing weather to cook/serve it), and the toppings were tasty and not overdone. We didn't try the burger/hotdog bar. The ice cream spot served mostly soft serve, but had 1 or 2 flavors each day (like strawberry and vanilla) of regular ice cream. The offerings at dinner were much better. COFFEE/DRINKS: The coffee is awful. The special "coffee card" you can buy gets you the same coffee without having to go to Deck 15, plus some "fancy" coffees. Our friends bought the coffee card, and seemed happy with it. I drank water or iced tea, which were free, but required going to Deck 15 (except for water). Wine was priced at about double the price of a similar bottle on shore, and ranged from about $26 up. I did not find the mark-up amount surprising (the lower end bottles seemed to have a higher mark-up, but I cannot confirm this). Beers were about $5.75-$6.75, and all bar drinks have an automatic 15% added on. We did not purchase mixed drinks or soft drinks. SERVICE: This is one area where the Caribbean Princess did truly shine. Nearly every staff person we saw appeared to be happy and friendly. Most greeted us with a "good morning" or at least a smile. Our cabin steward was less cheerful initially, but brightened up once things got underway. In the dining room, no request was too great, and there was never a "no, you can't" from the wait staff. They even went out of their way to secure a recipe about which I had inquired. One of the bartenders went to the other side of the ship to find the answer to a question I'd asked, and then brought another wine steward back to further answer the question. Service gets a 5-star from me! ENTERTAINMENT/VENUES: The Princess Theater is a very nice venue, but can only hold a fraction of the people on board. For evening shows, which are repeated 3 times, this was not a big problem. Most people tended to prefer the earlier times, and they were more crowded, but it was possible to attend the 10:00 performance and have a choice of seats. The size of the theater was a huge problem at other times, though. Some of the lectures were taped and available on the ship's TV (channel 49, I believe) during the day, but other presentations were not available at all unless you arrived at least 30 minutes early to secure a seat (and no saving seat!). At one point, a brawl erupted when 3 men were saving seats for their wives who were in the restroom (probably in a long line), and another man wanted 2 of those seats! This is not high-class behavior guys. Toward the end of the cruise, the kitchen/restaurant staff put on a show with comedy, cooking demos and a galley tour, but the theater was packed beyond capacity more than 30 minutes early. I had another event beforehand, so I was completely out of luck to see that one. One complaint I have about the theater is the shining of searchlights/strobe lights onto the audience. It is annoying, potentially harmful, and does not add to the show, so please stop, Princess! The other complaint is that it is too loud. The cruise director (Neil) is the loudest. Bring your earplugs. OTHER VENUES - the other lounges and performance venues seem to work well. Entertainment in the Piazza was visible/audible from 3 levels, and most people who wanted to see could. If you wanted to sit, however, it would be a problem. The lounges were comfortable, and pretty much identical to every other Princess ship, so if you've sailed on one, you know what it's like. The actual ENTERTAINMENT was also variable, which is probably a good thing. I especially enjoyed the Princess singers and dancers and their production numbers. This team had apparently just boarded with us at Southampton, and initially seemed a little stiff. But as the cruise went on, they got smoother and better. There were a variety of other entertainers, from a violinist to a ventriloquist, with comedians and jugglers and other acts mixed in. One of the house bands, Retrospect, was excellent. They mainly performed in the Explorers Lounge, and were a very danceable band with music from the 50s to the present. One thing that impressed me was that Erin, the lead singer, said if there was a request she didn't know, she would do her best to learn it before the next night, and she was good to her word. They were a highlight for us. There were other venues with recorded music and DJs, but once we found Retrospect, we stuck with them. The other ENRICHMENT options were generally excellent. A very good lecturer was Dr. Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer, who gave talks every sea day. There was another speaker who told wonderful tales of the older ships (like the Titanic) and their sailings. His wife was a great foil as they occasionally acted out passenger stories - hilarious! There was also a watercolor artist who taught sold-out classes (actually, they were free, but people were turned away because it was so popular and they had only brought enough supplies for 60!). The PHOTOGRAPHERS were well-mannered and accepted "no" for what it was. We liked several of the formal night portraits and had trouble deciding which to buy. There was also an option for a private photo session with an excellent B&W photographer. Although we loved the results, we were not prepared to pay $575 for five 8x10 prints! If that's something you're looking for, bring your wallet because she's good. STATEROOM: We were in C250, a balcony on Deck 10, the port side near the front. (TIP: if you're going westbound to the North Atlantic and hope to see the northern lights, they'll be on the STARBOARD side - odd numbered rooms!) The cabin was comfortable for hanging out, with a desk, desk chair, and sitting chair. There was adequate open closet space, plenty of drawers (2 side-tables with 2 drawers each and 5 more in the desk, plus the closet shelves). BATHROOM - tiny! but aren't they usually? We had the mini-shower (called that because I think it was only about 2.5 x 2.5 feet with the corners cut off). The mini-suites and up have actual bathtubs and longer vanity/sink areas. Our bathroom worked fine, but only 1 person at a time could be there (unless one was fully in the shower). There was adequate storage in the bathroom when you used the shelf near the floor. TIP: if you want a nightlight, take one of those battery-operated tea lights. It stays on the shelf and at least you can find the toilet without turning on the light. TOILETRIES - I had been told that Princess had changed to wall-mounted soap, shampoo, etc., but that was not the case. We had bar soap and little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Very nice! I had also been told the hairdryer was good - it was not. It was one of those ancient ones that are attached to the wall and produce more noise than air (but they do get very hot). I begged, pleaded, demanded, and complained until I got another, more modern one. Since the original one kept pulling clumps of my very fine hair out, I was quite happy to have one that didn't. There are only 2 OUTLETS, next to each other by the desk on the outside wall. I brought a 4-outlet extension, and we tended to use at least 2-3 nightly (charging electronics, hair dryers, curling irons, etc.). There is an outlet in the bathroom for a shaver, but we did not use it. BED/PILLOWS - not a highlight. The bed was very hard, except where people sat on the edge, and then it was totally broken down and slumped. The 2 types of pillows were 1) a large case with a dozen or so feathers, and 2) a folded up beach towel which had served as a seat cushion before being put into a case. Not really, but that's what they felt like. TIP: buy the large Eagle Creek compression bags and pack your own standard size pillow and case. I did and it saved my neck. PORTS: We had been scheduled to visit 2 ports that were removed from the itinerary due to predicted bad weather. I later learned that, had we gone to Shetland and Faroe Island, we could probably have gotten in without trouble. But the forecast was for rough seas, and the captain decided to take a different route. So we spent 2 days in Bergen, Norway (where the exchange rate was much against our favor), had an extra sea day, and then 3 ports in Iceland, and one each in Greenland and Newfoundland. After our first port, apparently the cruise staff learned that 3000 people take a long time to board, so the "be back on" time listed in the Princess Patter was 90 minutes later than the official one given daily as we left the ship. So the scheduled stop that was to go until 5:30 was changed to needing to be on board by 4. I scheduled several tours with non-Princess companies, so I cannot comment on the shore excursions offered by the ship. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION: We received the email that told us we should arrive at noon, as our deck was the first to board. We arrived about 10 minutes early, and found the waiting area was already half-full. Elite passengers were called first and had very short lines to board. It took us 2 hours to finally arrive at our room. That, I think, is another downside of such a huge ship. Getting off the ship was equally disorganized. We had booked a Princess transfer to Newark airport, but our travel agent alerted us (only 3 days before sailing) that Princess had changed, and would not transfer anyone with a flight early than 1:30 (ours was at 1). Thank goodness she checked, as I would have assumed they would actually notify us of a change that significant! So our TA booked us a private transfer which was to pick us up at 9. We had the choice of walking off early, taking our own luggage, and that's what we should have done. Unfortunately, it seemed from the ship's questionnaire, that there was plenty of time to take the other option. We received our luggage and "get off" tags for 8:20, which seemed perfect. But No. I have no idea why, but our group was not called until nearly 9:30 to get off the ship. Then we had to claim our 2 suitcases (from the 6000 in the warehouse), get in the customs-immigration line, and get through. And we got the chattiest customs agent in history (very nice, but we were ready to leave already!!). Fortunately, other passengers seemed to have alerted the transfer company of the issue and they did not leave us. Another big negative for Princess! SUMMARY: I am happy to have visited Iceland and Greenland, and to have seen the incredible Aurora Borealis. I will never sail on a ship this big again. In fact, my new goal is 1500 or fewer passengers, and preferably 800 or less. The ship is not built for the number of passengers, meaning long wait times for meals and shows (if you can even get in) and to get on and off the ship. Service was excellent. Food was mediocre, room was fine, except the uncomfortable bed and pillows, and entertainment was generally good.   Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
Travel reservations via Princess Air were excellent with clean planes and adequate time between connecting flights to clear security, immigration and customs. Embarkation took forever and did not adhere to times posted on website. ... Read More
Travel reservations via Princess Air were excellent with clean planes and adequate time between connecting flights to clear security, immigration and customs. Embarkation took forever and did not adhere to times posted on website. Caribbean Princess is a large ship, larger than Ruby Princess. Public areas clean, staterooms spotless and cabin stewards friendly and helpful. Any requests for help from service desk were handled quickly. Those are the good points. What made this cruise disappointing were the poor quality fo the food, the poor quality of the entertainment, the dearth of activities on the ship and the generally mediocre quality of the tour guides. The food was tasteless. If I closed my eyes I could not tell what I was eating. I saw other passengers pouring pepper on their meals. The meal selection in the dining room leaned heavily on fish and vegetables and many dishes with weirdly mixed ingredients. None of the selections were appetizing. Breakfast was the only recognizable meal, and it too was absent of taste. Entertainment choices were limited. Many very late-night venues, but most of the passengers were up in years and not likely to party into the wee hours. The casino was closed most nights due to UK regulations, and nothing else to do. The tour guides were not top quality. Adequate, but did not address tour passengers needs to really stop a minute or two to see some of the sights. I always felt rushed. Here I am comparing these tours to the great ones in Mediterranean ports. Disembarkation was the best I have ever been through. Quick and efficient. Travel back to the airport was pleasant. I'm glad I took this cruise. The scenery and history were definitely worth the expense. And the day in Paris, even with a 2 1/2 hour bus ride from the port to Paris, was great, if too short. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
Overall I was not pleased with this cruise. On the positive side, the staff was top notch. Great service, waiters were attentive and everyone was friendly. Room cleanliness was fine and the ship was in nice shape. We were disappointed ... Read More
Overall I was not pleased with this cruise. On the positive side, the staff was top notch. Great service, waiters were attentive and everyone was friendly. Room cleanliness was fine and the ship was in nice shape. We were disappointed with a few things. We felt they pulled back on so many things. Some very minor and some more significant. For example, they had a nice room for working out, and then showers. No hair dryer. Not that is not a big thing but simply disappointing and inconvenient to clean up after a workout. A big thing was the quality of the food in the main dining rooms. They tried to make the entries fancy with sauces etc but the basic food was not up the the OLD Princess standards. The portion size was small. Yes we know you can order more but on a daily basis, we did not want to order 2 dinners. We opted for the buffet a few times for dinner. A few main dishes were ok on the buffet but overall, I was not pleased. Don't take this cruise for the food. Being a Platinum class (7 cruises) the embarkation had a separate area for us previous cruisers. All seats were taken and all refreshments were gone soon after opening. The internet cafe was only for surfing the net and getting email that they can charge you for. I took lots of pictures and wanted to view from my camera to a screen and they said NO. They had no classes in the internet cafe as other cruise lines have. We booked a few excursions from the boat. Most were disappointing in that they all had LONG bus rides for limited tour times. To be on a bus for an hour to see the Italian Chapel for 30 minutes and then to a distillery for an hour and then another hour on the bus, makes no sense. We went to Blarney Castle. We arrived after a ride of over one hour and had 2 hours there. The line to kiss the stone was 1 3/4 hours long and there was not guarantee that you would make it. We decided to just go to the castle and forget the Kissing of the Blarney Stone...They closed the castle for visitors other than those committed to the kiss. So we walked to the Blarney House. OOPS, they closed it before we got there. So the only thing left was to walk the gardens which were worse than my back yard. With 2 of the 3 attractions of the Blarney Castle NOT AVAILABLE, we just walked around. I complained to Princess and they gave me a 20% credit. I guess they need the money more than I do. I was insulted and told them to keep the 20%. One day we booked a private tour in Belfast. Our tour started at 9:00 am. We got off the boat at 10:30 and missed 1 1/2 hour of our private tour. ALL THE PRINCESS TOURS WERE OFF THE BOAT BEFORE WE WERE ALLOW TO LEAVE. On the final evening, I received my final bill. I had a credit card on file to pay the charges. Note the bill was marked FINAL. When I tried to disembark, they said I had open charges and had to go to the service desk. How embarrassing. they forgot to add a charge to my bill from the previous week and just held me up. The service desk line was 20 minutes while my traveling friends waited at the door. When I told them that a card was on file, they said OK, I can go. Then upon leaving the boat, they tried to stop me again. After a few choice words, they let me go. I did enjoy the sugar free ice cream, pizza always needed to be warmed up again and the burgers were always like warm and French Fries never hot and crispy. Overall I would not select this cruise line. This is the first review that I have ever done for a cruise.   Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
We booked this cruise as an excellent late deal price as we had never been to five of the ports of call in the British Isles despite having cruised worldwide for many years. We were pleasantly surprised that Princess has managed to ... Read More
We booked this cruise as an excellent late deal price as we had never been to five of the ports of call in the British Isles despite having cruised worldwide for many years. We were pleasantly surprised that Princess has managed to maintain their usual high standards apart from allowing people in shorts into the dining rooms on casual night dining! As Captains Circle Elite passengers we also benefited from all their perks (some of the best provided by any cruise line's loyalty programme) as well as on board credit. We like doing things on our own and not using the ship's excursions, which were horrendously expensive and we felt sorry for the majority of passengers who were American being fleeced in this way. We did our best to inform many of them we encountered of the do it yourself options available. Ports of call:- St. Peter Port Guernsey This was a tendering port and only a half day call which unfortunately was a Sunday. It was quite foggy early on so tendering also started late. It is normally possible to walk for about 15 mins along the front to get a bus which does a 2 hour circular tour of the island for £2 per person. There was a small food and craft fair on the front and also a timed hill climb for charity by a variety of cars which kept the menfolk happy. Some of the shops were closed. Cobh The ship docks alongside the railway station and it is possible to get a train (every half hour) into Cork for 7 Euros 60 per person and then a bus onto Blarney Castle if you wished. Cork is a very pleasant city and easy to walk around. There is time on your return to Cobh to go round the Heritage Centre near the ship and also to walk around the town. The weather was glorious as were all the flowers grown in containers round the town. Dublin The ship provided a shuttle for $16 per person but it is possible to walk into the city centre in about 40 mins. Turn left once off the ship to the end of the road and turn left again. If you are lucky the 53 bus from the ferry may go past and you can catch it into the city centre. If not carry on along the dock road to the end and at the T junction turn left and continue to the roundabout just before a bridge. Cross over the road turning right and follow the road along the banks of the Liffey until you come to O Connell Bridge and turn right here for the hop on hop off bus (18 Euros) or left to go to Trinity College and the Book of Kells. We opted for the hop on hop off bus as it started to rain quite heavily and actually went round three times. Our driver gave his own commentary which was very amusing but this is not always so on the hop on hop off buses. Liverpool If you get off early there are some free tours of the city on offer. The cruise terminal is not brilliant and you have to go in a roundabout fashion to get off the ship and onto the street. From there you turn right at the end of the short street, cross over the road and continue along til you see James Street. Follow this street into the centre for Liverpool One shopping and the Walker Art Gallery. If you want to go to Chester James Street station is close to the road junction and it costs £4.60 return after 9.30 a.m. Along the waterfront is the Liver Building, the Museium of Liverpool Life, Tate Modern and the Maritime and National Slavery Museum and the Beatles experience on the Albert Dock. Belfast. Free shuttles were provided by the city. If you get the first shuttle (9a.m.) you can then book a tour to the Giants Causeway for £16 when you get off the bus as you are accosted by various people selling trips. If not going on one of these City Hall is straight ahead of you and they run free tours which are very interesting. The timings are by the door and it takes about an hour. There is also the Titanic Experience which you can see across the dock from the ship but to get there is a long roundabout walk around the dock or take the shuttle into the city and a bus back out or a taxi from the ship. Greenock A 20 minute walk from the ship takes you to the railway station and it is less than £10 per person and takes about half an hour. It is as well to print off a map from the internet as the tourist information office is a way from the Central Station. A hop on hop off tour is worth while here. The return train is the Gourock train. Invergordon This was a Sunday again but there were some free local tours available if you got off the ship before 9 a.m. and other tours were available including Inverness and Loch Ness for £15 per person. ALternatively there was a local bus 25 from near the ship and it cost £11.50 per person for a day rider ticket and you can connect in Inverness to a bus going past Loch Ness. The bus takes an hour and it is a very scenic route but remember you need to get the 15:25 bus back to get back to the ship on time. Inverness had many shops open from 11 a.m. and a walk up to the Castle (albeit offices now) is worth it for the view. There is very little in Invergordon itself. South Queensferry The ship anchors by the Forth Road Bridge and tenders in. Beware the jetty can be slippery due to the tides. There are various tours on offer and a shuttle into Edinburgh by local firms for £10 per person. If you wish to take the train turn left at the end of the jetty, cross the road, walk for 5 mins to a path singposted station and be prepared for a hike up many steps to get to the level of the Forth Bridge where the station (Dalmeny) is. It costs about £5 each return to Waverley and when you go through Haymarket station look up to get a view of the Castle). On arrival you are in the centre of Edinburgh with a 10 minute uphill walk to the Castle. The return train is the Cowdenbeath one. Le Havre We have been here before and instead of taking the ships shuttle at $16 per person we walked into the city. The walk is well signposted and very flat. There are a few things to see such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Shipwrights House. A taxi into the city is 8 Euros and they charge 30 Euros per hour if you want a tour and it is 70 Euros to go to Honfleur. Paris is two hours away by train but you would not get much time there. I hope this helps others. It is also worthwhile finding somewhere on board to watch the sailaway as in many ports it involves sailing down a firth or lough and the scenery is magnificent. We rated this cruise as in our Tope Ten Best Cruises and we have done more than 100 with various cruiselines but be prepared as it is 10 ports in 12 days, it can be extremely tiring if you try to fit in as much as we did. We averaged 3 miles walking a day!   Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
We were on the July 8-23, 2013 British Isles trip on board the beautiful Caribbean Princess. This was our third time on this ship and it is my favorite. We had absolutely no problems on this cruise with the ship or crew. The weather for ... Read More
We were on the July 8-23, 2013 British Isles trip on board the beautiful Caribbean Princess. This was our third time on this ship and it is my favorite. We had absolutely no problems on this cruise with the ship or crew. The weather for our trip was incredible. It was very warm for almost the entire trip. Cobb, Dublin and Paris use Euros and all other places use the British Pound. I hope you find this summary helpful. I know I counted on the previous cruise critic reviews to help me plan our trip. LONDON: We arrived in London two days before the cruise. We took the tube from Heathrow to the stop close to our hotel. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza St. James. The location of the hotel could not have been better. We walked from the hotel to Westminster Abbey, past much of the government buildings, Calvary Museum, over to St. James Park and to Buckingham Palace. The next day we walked over to the Westminster Bridge to catch the River Thames boat ride and saw both Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. We took the river boat down to Tower of London. You could spend an entire day here but after about 4 hours we walked (yes, walked) down to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Would highly recommend walking up the 528 steps to the top. What a great view of London. You are higher than the London Eye. We than walked (yes, walked) back to our hotel. Walking does allow you to take in all of the sights and do some people watching. There are plenty of opportunities to ride the bus, which are everywhere. We did purchase the London Pass with the transportation included. It allowed us to skip many of the ques. Transfer to the Ship: We had International Friends take us from the Hotel to Southampton via Stonehenge. The bus driver that we had was TERRIBLE. Very scary. He cut off numerous cars and would zoom up on the back of cars he was following. Stonehenge was ok, it was one of those things that you go see to say that you saw it. Guernsey, Channel Islands: This is a tender port. We booked a walking tour with Annette Henry Tours. (www.annettehenrytours.gg) Annette lives in Guernsey and knows so much history on the island. She makes it fun, does some role playing and takes you places that would be missed by other tours. Make sure you walk to the actual town which is behind those building you see from the port. It is a beautiful town. The tour was about 3 hours long and I think it was 10 pounds each. We tipped her very good. Cob, Ireland: We did the Princess Excursion: Rock of Cashel, The Vee & Lismore. This tour was pretty good. We were able to see a lot of the countryside. The Rock of Cashel was interesting. We were there on a very warm day, close to 70 degrees and we were very lucky that our bus had air conditioning. There were two other buses in our group and both had problems with their air conditioning. There may be better tours offered than this one. Dublin, Ireland: We took the Princess Shuttle $8.00 per person each way to town. When we got to Dublin there were people there waiting to sell us HOHO tickets. Be careful!!!! Not all buses are the same. The green bus-which we purchased had only a couple of buses. They go in one direction around the whole town so if you want to go backwards you walk. Plus there was a big wait time between buses. Go with the RED HOHO bus. Our bus was €18 each. We did not do any excursions. We planned on doing the Trinity College walking tour but too many people showed up and you couldn’t hear the guide so we went out on our own. We walked around Trinity College, went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral (on a Sunday morning between masses) and then went to Guinness Brewery €16.50. Buy your ticket in advance and they have a will call. Otherwise you will stand in line. The best meal on the entire cruise was at the Guinness Storehouse restaurant. Little place that offered a couple of items on the menu, you order at the bar. But their Irish Stew was Fantastic! If you are going to buy things to take back home-Dublin is the place to do it. They have a ton of shops with good prices. This was a hopping town. Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland: We booked a tour with Discover Scotland Tours, the Highland Lochs, Glens & Castles Shore Excursion 40 £ a couple. Our tour guide was Bobby Toner and he was fantastic!! (www.discoverscotlandtours.com) It probably helped that we are of Scottish decent. He was very interested in teaching us about Scotland. We went to the small village of Luss and what a picturesque little place. The flowers were just beautiful outside the homes. Got a lot of history of the region. We then went to the Inveraray Castle. Looks like a Cinderella castle. Look it up on the internet. It has been used in some of the Downtown Abbey show. The castle fee and lunch is not included in the tour. Actually had to pay to use the bathroom in a town on the tour. Stopped at a small church, he took us on some back roads with beautiful scenery. You don’t go here on a big bus. Our little bus carried 16 people. Bobby will give you lots of history and interesting story telling. Highly recommend! Belfast, Northern Ireland: We booked a Tax Tour with Belfast City Tours 125 £ a couple. There were just the 4 of us with a cab driver. At first, we weren’t sure about this tour. We were picked up at the dock and RUSHED to the Northern Coast. The good thing is that we beat all of the tours so when we got to the Carrick-A-Rede (7 £ each) there was not anyone there. Good for us! We paid our entry fee and proceeded to walk all the way down to the rope bridge, walked over to the island and WOW was it ever beautiful. Well worth the walk. But it is a long walk. Then our driver, William, took us over to the Giants Causeway (8.50 £ each). This is another site worth seeing. From the welcome center down to the causeway is a long walk. However, if you ride the bus be prepared to stand in line at both ends because the road only allows one bus at a time. We rode down but decided to walk back up. Watch your step on the rocks as they can be wet and slippery. We then headed to the Bushmills Distillery (8.50 £ each). We went on the tour and got our free drink. Up until this point William did not have much to say. We told him we were interested in seeing the city and learning about the conflict. William took us to both sides of the Peace Wall and explained the history about the conflict. This was very interesting. None of the sites were included in the price of the tour. Would recommend Belfast City Tours and William! (Belfast City Tours TD Taxis Booking TJ Doyle) Kirkwall, Scotland: Tender port. We did not book any tours. We took the shuttle (free) to town. Cute little town. We walked to St. Magnus Cathedral (free) and Bishop’s and Earl’s Palace (entry fee). We looked around for tartans and there are some nice shops. The wind was blowing so hard at this port that our captain had to have Tugs sent in from hours away to pull us away from the dock so the boat would not be damaged. We were over two hours late leaving port. Very light up here since it is so far north. Inverness, Scotland: We booked a tour with George Munro of Munro Highland Tours. George@munrohighlandtours.co.uk (195 £ a couple) This was not a typical tour in that we want to a lot of back road places that only a small vehicle could go. Nature walks, waterfalls, beautiful flowers, herds of deer. We drove through historic Beauly and we give a short guided walk around the 13th century priory (free entry) Stunning hilltop drive through crofting communities to Loch Ness. We took the 30 minute boat trip to Urquhart Castle £18.50 per person for this including the castle entry. The boat trip is nothing special in itself, but avoiding the queues and seeing the castle from the water makes it more than worthwhile. This was a good trip and George knows a lot of history. He also does distillery tours. It was a bit pricey. We did not see the Loch Ness monster! South Queensferry (Edinburgh): This is a tender port. Based on what I read on Cruise Critic I figured out how to get where we wanted to go. You walk up from the tender across the street and follow the people to the stairs. Straight up all 139 steps. Then you turn left and follow the path along the chainlink fence to the Dalmeny Train station. Take the train (£9.60) to Edinburgh. When you walk up the stairs from the train be ready to be wowed! Edinburgh is beautiful!!! We could spend a week here. Get a HOHO ticket and travel around the city. The HOHO starts at 9 am for $22. We took the bus through the city two times. We pre-purchased tickets to go see the Edinburgh Castle which was smart because the ques were VERY long. The Castle is worth seeing. Then we walked the Royal Mile and city streets. There is a great shop the Tartan Weaving Mill & Exhibition on the Royal Mall. Very interesting. The one thing we did not do but was highly recommended is going to see the St. Mary’s Close. Le Havre (Paris, France): Princess Excursion: Paris City Drive & The Louvre Museum with lunch at the Restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Very interesting day. We visited Paris on Monday the day after the Tour de France race finished in Paris. Monday is also the day that one of the other major museums in Paris is closed. So EVERYONE was at the Louvre! It was packed. First, make sure you go to the bathroom on the bus. Because the lines are so long for the bathroom that you will lose your tour group. We saw the big three-Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Can take that off my bucket list-Oh, that’s right, it wasn’t on my list. My brother-in-law went to the top of the Louvre to take pictures of the pyramid on the outside (you arrive via bus in the basement). Well, he got locked outside (no receipt for re-entry) and we were all separated and lost from our tour group. The four of us finally got back together and were reunited with our group which did an ovation for us when we finally got on the bus. Went to the Eiffel Tower-extremely crowded, and went to lunch in the restaurant. Great view from up there. The food was not great at the restaurant. Then we headed back to the bus. It was about 2.5 hours each way on the bus. I would not recommend this expensive tour. Also, no chance to buy any souvenirs on this tour. Did see some pretty sights of the city including the Arc De Triomphe Etoile. Hope this summary helps someone plan their trip. I know I received lots of good tips from Cruise Critic!   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
This was our sixth Princess Cruise. Booking last minute we found an incredible bargain ($1329 for a $3799 balcony; interior cabins were sold for $599). We are Platinum members, and hence boarding was very easy, as was disembarkation. Our ... Read More
This was our sixth Princess Cruise. Booking last minute we found an incredible bargain ($1329 for a $3799 balcony; interior cabins were sold for $599). We are Platinum members, and hence boarding was very easy, as was disembarkation. Our Cabin was R718, aft on the ship, but perfectly comfortable and convenient. Good things: We've always had pleasant experiences with crew, dining hall staff, stewards, and this was true on this cruise as well. Crew worked to be very attentive and helpful, with only one invisible exception I'll mention later. Always found if we are courteous and respectful of crew, they'll be likewise to us. We have liked Princess for social dancing, more floors and venues, space in general for dancing than we have found on Carnival or Royal C. That said, often live bands played very short sets (30 to 45 minutes) and then were wisked off to another venue. The ship has four dance venues. They make generally poor use of the Skywalker Club at the top of the ship, and the objective there didn't seem to be dance but selling drinks.. They kept a band in Wheelhouse Bar regularly most evenings capable of a wide selection of music. Only problem there was length of time between selections, waiting for computers to pull up their music. Explorer's Lounge was underutilized for dancing, bands starting late and leaving early so one of the over-done cruse staff games could be shuffled through, and those well worn performances were eternal, never ending. Club Fusion was mostly DJ music,and often slow without much being offered for dance, just an empty room. It is used some, but could be used much more effectively without huge overhead. I've read some downer reviews on food. In regular dining rooms, two things helped for anytime dining. First, don't ask for a table for two or you will wait a long time. Be willing to mix with others, and you are seated quickly. This cruise was very international, and we always enjoyed meeting others, Brits, Israeli's South Africans, many Asians, Aussies and New Zealanders. One of the great aspects of the trip was only about half of of the guests were American. The second thing that helped was to ask the waiter for a recommendation. A couple of times I went on my own, a steak, or a seafood item I had attraction too. Usually, if it was an every night available or if it was beef, it tended to be a bit ordinary. When I followed wait staff recommendations, I always got a good entree. On desserts, creme bulee is always a good choice. We found food to generally be a bump better than Carnival or RC. Some of the Excursions on this cruise were a mistake. Getting the more expensive excursion where you depart in the morning and meet the ship at Geiranger was a mistake. . Lots of down and wasted time, and the best sites can generally be seen from the Geirnanger side. We opted for a rental car in Bergen, a mistake (use Hop On Hop Off bus). For Flaam, buy railway tickets in Bergen the day before and save a few bucks. Stavenger is a walk on your own city, everything in good proximity of the ship; called that one right. Use public transportation in Tromso (we walked too much).. We were generally disappointed in the shows. Couple of weak entertainers, a magician and comic who brought no energy to the show and the audience was unable to generate any either. Because there were 3 shows each night (limitation of seating in theatre), shows were short, about 45 minutes. On this cruise, four or five times 45 minutes was actually enough. Sameness about them, lack of creative choreography. If not for midriff and sexual inuendo, there wasn't much else to carry them. Nice string group that was used in very limited capacity. A good group where most of the band was from Barbados, but again they were under utilized. My disappointment came in the Admin officers and his staff to help correct an error I made. I use a CPAP machine at night. In packing it, I had inadvertently left the silicone portion of the mask behind, the piece that sits directly upon one's face. I realized my error on the plane before landing at LHR. As soon as I boarded ship, I went to the Purser's desk and asked for an address to have the missing portion of the mask shipped too. We were in Bergen, Norway's second largest city following a day at sea, and I was told that if it were shipped there it would be delivered to the ship. I was provided an address, we called home and my daughter was off to the UPS Store with the address provided within the hour. She paid UPS Global $140+, had them box the item ship it out on overnight delivery. Upon returning to ship, an hour and a half ahead of departure, I asked if the package had arrived. At second request, a call was made to the port agent, who said he hadn't received the package. I was told there would be an effort to get the package traced, and they were certain it would be delivered possibly at North Cape, but certainly by either Tromso or Stavenger. I went by the Medical Office. Staff there was wonderful. We tried to take a regular oxygen mask, which cost about $200, and amend it to work. Good effort, but unfortunately it was $200 down the drain. Doctor there and staff were very responsive and polite. We checked in every couple of days to see if Admin officer had located the package, and answer varied as to whether the mask was in Oslo or Bergen. It never showed up. Six days into the cruise, UPS called my home phone in the states and left a message that they didn't have a deliverable address. UPS offered to ship the package back to my home address for another $170. Upon returning to the states, and running tracking info, there had only been one inquiry with UPS (other than the two I made by internet), and outside of about three crew packages, I don't think any other packages shipped to passengers could have ever happened given the lack of address, and the poor communication between crew and the largest American shipper. I tended to be more angry about this problem with UPS. My wife was more upset with Princess, as she felt there was no link or possibility for success put in place by Princess. With 1300 Americans on the ship as passengers, it seems to me that Princess should have in place a probablilty for successful delivery of a package from the states on a twelve day trip. They clearly did not. I would still recommend this cruise, and taking it with Princess. Holland America typically runs the same route, perhaps a day longer every summer. While a Princess fan for most of the past 20 years, I'll tell you we have generally had good cruises with Carnival, one great cruise on Pride of America in Hawaii, and we are giving RC Liberty of the Seas a shot next month. Our only terribly disappointing experience in cruising was with RC ten years ago, and their fumble made me reluctant to return and had Princess not been screwing up pricing and mismanaging their website this February, my wife would still not be open to returning to RC. Our view is for the money, Carnival offers a good cruise; Food not quite as good, unless one uses pay dining. The ships are gaudy, but crew nice and a fun experience. RC likes big ships, tends to herd passengers around like cattle, lots of unique on ship activity sometimes difficult to access and good shows, but from mid management up service is terribly lacking. Norwegian tends to have fewer frills, but good service; lots of not bad on NCL from my conversations with their cruisers. Hear very good reports on Disney and Cunard, but neither have offered a cruise to the right place and the right price for me. All the older people I know love Holland America, one couples' comment the hubby says "they have the nicest suites and most comfortable beds on the seas," but wife commented, "yeah, but you always walk around the ship feeling like you are going to trip on somebody's oxygen line." In short, if one goes with a good attitude, not aiming to be critical, and makes no mistakes on their end, you can have a good cruise at a reasonable price with a half dozen companies. Each has a target niche. . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
This was our second cruise with Princess. Two years ago we were on the "Ruby" in the Mediterranean. We are two young active senior citizens 62, and 65 from CT. Caribbean Princess is Ruby's sister ship, only a bit older. So ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Princess. Two years ago we were on the "Ruby" in the Mediterranean. We are two young active senior citizens 62, and 65 from CT. Caribbean Princess is Ruby's sister ship, only a bit older. So we had no surprises when we booked. The ship is beautiful, but some of the furniture is worn and faded. Some carpeting has been replaced while some has not. Some bathroom tile showed some black mold, and the bathroom mirror was spotting with age. These signs of maturity did not take away from the experience. The Caribbean Princess' mechanicals were fully operational, meaning she got ua from port to port and elevators and toilets worked just fine. We were most impressed by the friendly, helpful, genuinely nice staff. We loved Kelvin Joy, the Cruise Director, and his Deputy Cruise Director (Sorry...forgot your name.) who were funny, and informative. In the Island Dining Room, Randy and Almira worked hard to keep us happy by giving us food suggestions and accommodating our special requests. (We did notice the food quality declined from two years before, but we never went hungry.) The shows were good and very entertaining. We always went to the 7:00 one. We liked that we always got a seat, because there were 3 shows and we liked the shorter versions. Also when I ordered a diet coke in the theater (or anywhere for that matter)using my soda card, I was giving quick and respectful service equal to anyone ordering an expensive drink. The very best show was not at night. During our last "Sea Day," we went to the "Cooking Show". This was much more than we expected with cooking, comedy, and entertainment by the staff. DO NOT miss this one. We spent many afternoons in the Piazza drinking coffees, hot chocolate, eating too many cookies or at Vines drinking wine and having sushi. Our cabin steward was efficient and was always available when needed. He fixed a broken light bulb, and called someone to help us with a testy safe. He kept the bed made, gave up plenty of towels and toilet paper and always left us candy on the bed. We only did Princess excursions and enjoyed the time given. These excursions delivered what they promised. A couple of times we had to choose between shopping and a part of the attraction. (For instance, stand in line to kiss the Blarney Stone or shop at the Woolen Mills....It was DH's turn and we kissed the Blarney Stone. (Bring antibacterial wipes for the stone :) Princess excursions might be a bit costly, but they were well planned, and stress free. The all day excursions with lunch included, had the best food served, and was better than what was served on board the Caribbean Princess. The local tour guides were always knowledgeable and eager to please. Princess... should know the Caribbean Princess Staff always take good care of their cruisers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
After 4 days in London with constant sightseeing, we transferred via a Princess bus to Southampton. Bus transfer a bit chaotic but passable. Embarkation and later disembarkation at terminal good. We have been on this very ship 4 times now ... Read More
After 4 days in London with constant sightseeing, we transferred via a Princess bus to Southampton. Bus transfer a bit chaotic but passable. Embarkation and later disembarkation at terminal good. We have been on this very ship 4 times now and each time we very very satisfied. The food was very good, if not excellent, although we have seen the more expensive items disappear from the menu over the years( e.g. lamb chops)Service in the dining room was excellent but the average length of time in the dining room was over 2 hours. That would interfere with getting to entertainment. One of the section maitre d's, Toma, overheard me ask about escargots. He saw to it we got escargots the next evening. Each day when we returned from a shore excursion, we had a snack at the international cafe, which had good sandwiches and very good soups which were quite welcome since the weather around the British Isles was often cool and windy. The room service was excellent. We had breakfast in our room every day to save time since we always had an early excursion. It was always on time and we were brought things we ordered that were not even on the menu. Pizza and hamburgers by the pool were excellent. The cabin itself, an oceanview with a balcony, was trouble free. The steward, Ron, was excellent. All features of the cabin worked well including plumbing, climate control, fridge, TV, & comfortable queen bed. The entertainment was excellent. It was varied and enough of it. The cruise director and his staff were wonderful, except for one woman whose attitude regarding one of the trivia games was unacceptable. The cruise staff often has wrong answers to trivia. This woman insisted the American flag has 13 red stripes. This was on July 4 th no less. I was insulted. But this was more than made up for by the fantastic cruise director, Kelvin Joy. In 10 cruises, he is the best one we've ever had. Tons of personality, talent, good sport (and a great bum which he flashed at the end of the crew show), very friendly and easily accessible. The ports of call were a great selection and that's why we chose this cruise. Only Guernsey should be replaced since little to see or do.As for these ports, make arrangements on your own. The ships tours are not as good and are considerably more expensive. We took a tour of Cork with some friends we had met on an cruise 5 years ago and among other things they got us to the Blarney Stone ahead of the lines. Can't you tell I have the gift of gab?In Dublin, we took a free walking tour of the city which was interesting but too rich in history. In Liverpool, we saw two good museums and the Cavern where the Beatles got their start. On to Belfast, for a tour of the Giant's Causeway and the swing bridge at Carrick-a Rede, both worthwhile natural wonders. In Glasgow, visited Loch Lomond, and Stirling Castle which was over rated. Inverness included a tour of Loch Ness among others and was great because of the great guide, Gordon Pearson of Wow Scotland. Edinburgh, next, very colorful and St Giles church not to be missed for its stained glass windows. Last port was Le Havre and an hour and a half car ride thru Cruise Excursions.com (Not the ship)and an excellent guide(Florian) We went to the 2 American beaches of the D Day landing, the American cemetery and several other related cites. It was extremely emotional and we don't even know people who died there for our freedom. One of our friend's father fought there but survived. In all, a marvelous cruise, taking into account the ship itself and the ports of call. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
Background: We arrived in London on 2 June for a little sightseeing before our cruise set sail on 5 June 2013. There were eight of us in our group and we took the opportunity to visit London, Windsor Castle, and Stonehenge. We had ... Read More
Background: We arrived in London on 2 June for a little sightseeing before our cruise set sail on 5 June 2013. There were eight of us in our group and we took the opportunity to visit London, Windsor Castle, and Stonehenge. We had pre-arranged transportation for pick-up at Heathrow and at our Hotel for the trip to Southampton. Transportation requirements took place without a hitch Southampton Hotel: We stayed at the PremierInn Southampton Quay; we booked this hotel based on previous Cruise Critic recommendations and we're not disappointed; clean and comfortable hotel, friendly staff; reasonable price; good location, and close to cruise terminal. The hotel arranged two taxis for our group and the cost was about 8 British Pounds per taxi. I highly recommend the hotel if departing from Southampton. Ship Info: This was our 4th Princess Cruise and first time on the Caribbean Princess. The ship layout is basically the same as other Princess ships in the same category and we are very comfortable with that. We like the ease of access to food by the pools such as pizza and hamburger bars. The ship sails with approximately 3100 people, but one never feels crowded. Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal around 11:15am from our hotel, the trip was short and very smooth. Baggage porters we're standing by to take our luggage and they also reminded us to ensure we had all our travel documents in our handcarry bags and not packed in suitcases, we we're very impressed with this. The terminal wasn't too crowded at the time; but they weren't ready to start processing passengers yet. A receptionist handed out Health Forms and Check-in Letters based on your Cruise Status; Elite (Green) or Non-Elite (Orange). We waited approximately 45 minutes before our letter was called; I venture to say it took no longer than 5 minutes for us to have our room key in hand and head towards security. The security line was crowded and long by the time we got there. One factor that slowed things down was that "Elite" passengers who arrived late we're allowed to go to the front of the line to go through security. We we're on board and dropped our handcarry luggage in our room by 1:00pm. One of the things Princess has always impressed me with is the fact your room is ready for you by the time you board; in fact on this trip, our luggage was already at the door waiting for us. State Room: We stayed on the Aloha Deck; Room A705; we like this ship location, the deck is quiet and close to the elevators; which take you right to the Horizon Food Courts. Dining: We had Traditional Dining in the Coral Dining Room. Although we had requested and had been approved a 6:00pm seating time, our room keys stated 5:30; we spoke to the head waiter and our time was adjusted. I personally didn't have one back meal in the Coral; food was plentiful, tasteful, and very good. Our waiters Alberto and Jorge did an Outstanding Job; the eight in our group all submitted "Impressive Employee" Cards on them and all gave them additional gratuity at the end of the cruise. One thing I noticed about our dining time was the amount of empty tables. I am assuming people had reserved them, but 95% of the time they remained empty while we ate dinner; plus there was a waiting line of "Anytime" Dining passengers waiting to get in. We normally ate breakfast or lunch at the Horizon Food Court; nothiing special here; service was good for the most part; the food was plentiful, but the same as other Princess cruises we've taken. We still like the Pizza and Hamburger bar; our friends did have one bad experience with the burger bar when orders Brats; they said they we're awful. However, my wife and I never experienced this. Services: Our room was always clean and ready for us, although our cabin steward was very quiet and preferred not to interact with us unless necessary; we are okay with this; as long as the room is clean we're happy. The mattresses in our cabin need replacing, but plentiful for storage space. Shore Excursions: We only took one Princess excursion and that was the visit to Normandy for the 69th Anniversary of "D-Day"; feeling it would be quite crowded that day; we felt more comfortable traveling with the ship excursion. The excursion did not disappoinit and lunch at a very nice golf course (included) was included. We had booked 3 private shore excursions and had no problems; they were always ready for us when we arrived in port and ensured we returned to ship ahead of the required time. We had purchased entry tickets to attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, Blarney Castle, etc on line and before departing for the cruise; this was a big plus and I highly recommend it as the lines to purchase tickets we're very long; we simply bypassed the line and went right in. Entertainment: My wife and I are layed back and don't expect too much in the way of entertainment; we we're very happy and content with the shows on this cruise. The lounges had trivia each night and we really enjoy that type of entertainment. Zumba, Bingo; Dancing, was all available and all suited our needs. Smoking: I enjoy a good cigar and the ship does have a Cigar/cigarette lounge.....Churchills. It was never crowded and service was good. There was one evening when a couple came in wanted to watch the French Open and complained about the smoke; the bartender reminded them this was a "Smoking" Lounge and they left, but not without fussinig. Disembarkation: Smooth, with a minor customs delay. Our appointed time to meet was at 6:55am in the Coral Dining Room; our number wasn't called until 7:40; our flight wasn't until 12:35pm from Heathrow, so we had ample time. When we arrived in the terminal our bags we're ready for us; the terminal was arranged by the color of your disembarkation tags and easy to find. We walked out the terminal and the buses for the Princess Transfer to the airport was waiting for us; luggage was loaded and we arrived at Heathrow by 9:30am. Sleamless process. Summary: My wife and I really love sailing on Princess and have very little to complain about; we understand servicing 3,000 people has its challenges; a clean room, good food, drink and entertainment is all we look for and Princess has yet to disappoint us.   Read Less
Caribbean Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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