This was my 6th cruise (Holland, Celebrity, and Carnival), 1st on Princess. I tend to travel like an old person, with early mornings and early bedtime, and I'm not into the party scene. For me cruising is a relaxing vacation with ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise (Holland, Celebrity, and Carnival), 1st on Princess. I tend to travel like an old person, with early mornings and early bedtime, and I'm not into the party scene. For me cruising is a relaxing vacation with fun new places to visit, and it's not about boozing it up, or climbing a rock wall. Based on what I'd read, Princess sounded like my style.
The embarkation process was very smooth and easy, and then up to Lido to kill time waiting for our room (a reasonable wait time considering we were on board very early.) We were in E416, obstructed view but not too obstructed, and the location was fantastic -midship, and a middle floor. No noise problems, which I was concerned about given how close to the elevators we were.
There were two big issues with the room:
1. This is the tiniest bathroom I've ever had. The shower was ridiculously tiny, and certainly was not roomy enough to do anything like turn around, or shave my legs in it. (I had to sit on the shower seat and put my legs up on the toilet, and my roommate had a very hard time due to some mobility issues.
2. There is a serious lack of electrical outlets!!!! One outlet with two plugs in the sleeping area, 2 low power outlets in the bathroom. My roommate had a CPAP and another medical machine to plug in and had to be close to her, we both had phones to charge, camera batteries to charge, and a tablet to charge. Good thing we brought a plug strip! The location of the outlet still sucked, I had to navigate around my roommates bed in the middle of the night to get to my phone cord to plug my phone in. (Because princess has a website at sea they want you to use, I had my phone with me all week, and I really hadn't expected to want to carry it.)
That said, our room steward, Pratap (sp?) Was amazing!, and I don't think he ever got a chance to sleep, cleaning and tidying the room 3 times a day.
The room was disappointing, but what really put a damper on our trip was the food and dining experience. Having sailed with other cruise lines before, we were expecting to have some great meals. Instead, the buffet was boring and rarely seemed to change from day to day, and it wasn't big enough to offer variety. We were in Mexico, but there wasn't a taco on sight?) The dining room service was attentive, but horribly slow! 2 hour meals were the norm. (I like relaxed dining, but it made us miss the show sometimes it was so slow.) And the food was, at best, okay. The potatoes were consistently in need of salt (or flavor.) The main courses were generally flavorless. Desserts were disappointing in variety. The selection was disappointing to say the least.
(I liked the pizza station and the soft serve, but I have low standards for those two items.)
We paid $29 one night to dine at the Crown Grill and were very surprised to find it a pleasing meal, much more like the meals we enjoyed on Holland America and other ships in the past. (The mashed potatoes of all things were the best part. Wish they let us take the leftovers back, I hardly ate any of my steak after the asparagus and potatoes, but I did get to take dessert to the room!) Also, our waiter was great. His name was Zsolt).
Apparently Princess wants you to pay for what other lines include already. I'm glad we didn't go until the end of the week, it would have made the other food that much more disappointing, and I certainly didn't budget for $30 a night for meals.
We had a hard time finding water onboard. I felt like I was inconveniencing the pool area bar staff when I had to ask for a glass of something they didn't get paid for. The other bars were friendlier, but it was still ridiculously unavailable. I would have killed for more water stations.
I also felt like we were getting Nickel and dimed to death. Aside from booze costs, which I expected, they charged for fancy coffees, milkshakes, a coupon book, bottled water, burgers and fries and so on. I get that they have to pay for the water, but to charge $2.50 a bottle when that can buy a case on the mainland was just plain wrong.
Points to Princess for cleaning and maintenance. Every day we saw the crew out painting, patching sanding and restaining, and generally keeping the ship in shape.
We only saw one show, a musical performance by a guy who THOUGHT he was funny.
Horse racing was great. The pools (2 midship, I never made it to the others) were comfortable.
Horse racing was fun. Watching the pool games was fun. We enjoyed the wine tasting both at sea days. I wish they put some of the singers in the bigger lounges rather than the piano bar off of the atrium, it was standing room only on several nights.
My roommate has mobility issues and the staff did their beat to help out. (Except in the dining room, they seemed to like to sit us in the back of the room, and it's a maze to get there and out again.) Elevators were plentiful except on embarkation and disembarkation day. But the doors closed fast! Which was tough for someone with trouble walking, so I learned to move quick and hold the door.
Also not impressed that the promenade deck had stairs. My roomie made it up once on embarkation day, but never tried again, which took away some of the fun of walking the ship when we could only do 4/5ths of it.
We went on city tours in Grand Cayman, Belize, and Cozumel. Loved the turtle farm and tour in Grand Cayman, and in Cozumel on the land and sea tour, the semi sub was awesome!!!
Would not recommend the city tour in Belize. The city is obviously struggling, and we felt uncomfortable on the open air trolley. All we heard about afterward was how we should have done the cave tubing.
We did the ultimate beach package at Roatan and loved it. Included a Cabana, snorkel gear, 2 floats, the chair lift, and 30 minutes of kayaking. Just check your tickets- we bought 2, only to find that one ticket was for 2 people. They were kind enough to refund the second ticket to our account.
Also, however often you apply sunscreen, you WILL burn that far south. Bring aloe, especially if you can find aloe with lidocaine. Keep it on the fridge for super cold relief.
New cruisers were all impressed with the ship, so it might make a good first cruise, but we heard from several well seasoned cruisers that this cruise was not up to snuff for them either.
(On a side note, make sure to ask everyone how many cruises they've been on... The answer may shock you!)
Final tip: do yourself a favor and have the cruise line take care of getting your baggage to the airport after-hours I wish we had!!!
We will probably go back to traveling with Holland America after this, but will certainly not be on the Caribbean Princess ever again. Read Less