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Sail Date: August 2003
This was our 7th cruise with Princess and found they finally got the Personal Choice Dining to really work very well. One must make a reservation by phone rather than at the desk outside the Dining Room. Consequently there were no lines in ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise with Princess and found they finally got the Personal Choice Dining to really work very well. One must make a reservation by phone rather than at the desk outside the Dining Room. Consequently there were no lines in front of the dining room and a table for two, if desired, was never a problem. The food arrived hot and very good. The Sterling Steakhouse was excellent. If we did not want to eat in the Dining room we tried the Capri Cafe in back of the Lido cafe. This was set with table clothes each evening, with the same menu as the Dining room. Several evenings lobster was served with no limits, along with shrimp and crab. We sat in the Capri each morning for breakfast after making our selections in the Lido cage. It was never crowded. Same with lunch. Since there were so many children on board, Princess had groups of children for every 3 years of age. Our Granddaughter is 9 and she loved it. They treated the children very well with many activities appropriate for each group. The ship was very clean. We found the halls and elevator plazas very small which was a surprise with a ship of this size. The pools were very crowded but they had 2 adult pools, including a pool outside the spa which was great. Our main disappointment was with the entertainment. The two production shows were, at best, just loud. The other evenings were so so, with the exception of the comedians who were very good. We would recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
GREAT, WONDERFUL, CRUISING EXPERIENCE! Frame of Reference: (3) couples ages 30-early 40's. Previously sailed on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Beautiful ship! Gorgeous! Clean obviously since it was its inaugural sailing. Would not ... Read More
GREAT, WONDERFUL, CRUISING EXPERIENCE! Frame of Reference: (3) couples ages 30-early 40's. Previously sailed on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Beautiful ship! Gorgeous! Clean obviously since it was its inaugural sailing. Would not have expected any less. But, cabin steward worked hard and staff seemed to be constantly cleaning. Saw the steward on the first and last day and then communicated by leaving him notes in the room. Did not come away that Princess was a cruise ship for the "older folk" as some may have referred to it in the past. Several families on board but it was near Easter break. I did get to ask one set of parents and their children about the kids programs and they both said it was GREAT! All I can comment on that subject. Our balcony room was just what the Doctor ordered. Can't imagine not sailing without a balcony room and with all the new ships being built with balcony rooms, it appears I am not alone in my belief and that the cruise lines are listening. Cannot tell you enough times, it is worth the extra money! Our room was smaller than that on the Voyager ship but we really didn't care. The service was great! Definitely beat out Royal Caribbean on level of service. We were constantly being greeted in the hallway by crewmembers and I don't care what anyone else says, it does make a difference to have the staff act like they are happy that you are there and that they want your business. From talking to the crew it appears they work fewer hours than staff on some of the other cruise lines (12 rather than 16 hour shifts per day). I was also told the staff had nicer quarters than on some of the other ships. So, it goes to show once again if you take care of your employees, they will in turn take care of your customers. Plenty of things to do on the ship. Many pools and hot tubs. Plenty of deck chairs. Fighting only for those in the "prime" areas, otherwise, you could find one just not in the most desired location. The special classes at sea seemed like a nice touch. Pottery, computer classes, etc. but we did none of them. Why take a computer class on your vacation? Stayed in touch with our daughter via e-mail. Charge of .$30 per minute. There were times when the computers were slow or had trouble getting a connection. Just asked that they be removed from our room charges. No problem. I would have been happier if they had offered their core fitness classes on a daily basis. Couldn't wait to take the lotus fusion class and then found out it was offered on only 2 of the seven days. Thought that was pretty lame. The gym facilities were top notch and I made up for it on the machines but honestly, those classes should have been offered each and every day. The spa was GREAT! Beautiful! Tranquil! Overpriced as usual but that didn't seem to deter anyone. They were always packed. Ordered our massages on-line ahead of time and had no trouble. I had the aromavedic massage. No one ever explained or did anything different during that massage that would verify its classification as aromavedic, so that wasn't too swift. (Sidenote: I have had numerous massages at many top rated facilities and am also well versed in ayurvedic medicine. So, it wasn't like I was clueless going into the situation). No one tried to push any products on me which has happened on cruise lines in the past. But, I also chalked it up to the fact that the therapist spoke very little English. We could barely get through the semantics of a massage, much less do you want to buy this product for $49.95? Only complaint there was that when I checked out they told me about the 15% gratuity charge and I read later it was completely optional. I would have liked to have been asked. I was not and for their lack of courtesy I had the charge removed from our ship account. I think all the ladies in our group agreed Cindy the ship's shopping director was full of "it" and that she and/or the cruise line must be getting some great kickbacks for pushing their passengers to use specific retailers on the islands. In several of those she recommended things were pushed on us as, "Hey buy from us. We are the ones the ship recommends" or they were just down right rude and pushy. For the business they were getting I expected better preferential treatment, but I have no doubt Cindy's own personal jewelry collection is one to behold. I have found in general when cruising, you can usually find things a few dollars cheaper but in the end you can usually find those same items somewhere on the internet for around the same price. As for the port of Cozumel, I can only say go downtown to the Centre where things are substantially cheaper that the shops that corral you in when getting right off the ship. For example we saw beach bags right off the pier for $25 and in downtown we were able to get them for $15. Of course, Mexico is the best place for bargaining. My only real complaints about this cruise were: (1) the drink cards for sodas and (2) Anytime dining. First, the drink cards sounds like a great idea but we found out early on the drink cards were for fountain drinks and were either flat or severely watered down. Eventually, everyone in our group got pissed off about this and by the end of the week were ordering and paying for can sodas. I guess this would be fine if you have kids and normally they don't care what they drink as long as it resembles a soda. And yes, there is some difference to be expected from a fountain drink but not to that degree. I mean a fountain drink offers a high profit margin as it is but add the level at which they were diluting it and they were making a fortune. SECONDLY, the anytime dining. We had always done traditional dining, late seating which usually means 8:00. Fine. We were thrilled to not have to rush to and from anything to make it to dinner, but we soon found out that ANYTIME DINING DOES NOT MEAN ANYTIME. It means anytime will be 10:00 PM because that was the earliest they could get you in for a seating OR you had to make reservations to get in any earlier that than. After the first night we made reservations for the rest of the week at the same time. Which honestly, seems to defeat the whole purpose of anytime dining if that is what you must resort to. We like the concept in theory and would probably choose that option again. Just this time we would rush to the dining room the minute we boarded the ship to make "reservations" for the times we really wanted. We also asked after the first night to return to formal seating at 8:00 and were told the formal seatings were full and it was not possible. Regardless, we survived and all ate way too much food during those 7 days. None died of starvation, but it should be noted that Princess still has a lot of kinks to work out and I hear this is a common complaint on many of the cruise lines that offer this form of dining. As for the actual food. I would say better food than Royal Caribbean but not as good as Celebrity. The shows were varied and good. We seemed to stick to the comedians and that suited us just fine. There was also a hypnotist that was great and would have been even more enjoyable if we could have gotten our spouses out of the casino. Only other gripe is that the purpose of our cruise was for a friend's wedding. We didn't book the wedding through Princess but a private wedding planner in Grand Cayman which was recommended by the Wedding Channel and was much cheaper than Princess. However, ahead of time the bride and groom ordered champagne and spa certificates for each of the guest rooms. Never got them. Then we found out people from home ordered gift items for the bride and groom as well to be delivered to their cabin during the cruise. Never got them either. We also informed at least 2 different people at booking and prior to sailing and then again, when we checked in on the ship and then again to the room attendant so the "wedding party" could get some special treatment. I mean I thought this was the "Love Boat" right? Nothing. I finally called the appropriate guest services the afternoon of their wedding telling them they still had not received anything. They stated basically they wouldn't unless their wedding had been booked through Princess. The gentlemen also said they could put some balloons on their door but they were busy that day since it was a formal night at dinner that evening and could I wait until the next day. I said no and then they eventually got "Happy Captain's Club" balloons. Not a single thing to designate wedding. (But during the week we saw balloons on other cabins saying anniversary, birthday etc.) We did get them a dessert with a candle at dinner once we made it known on three different occasions to the dining room staff. Would have to say, the "Love Boat" seriously dropped the ball on this occasion. I hope these few complaints don't cause you to misinterpret our opinion of Princess or this cruise. No one is perfect and I would hope if Princess or any cruise line for that matter is smart enough to read the message boards on a regular basis to look for ways in which they can improve. Honestly, we had a wonderful time. Ate too much, drank too much and spent too much money. All par for the course in cruising. We would highly recommend this cruise and Princess cruises to anyone. We couldn't necessarily say that after our Royal Caribbean cruise. Would go again in a minute and will more than likely take our 8 year old daughter with us the next time. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
My husband, 55, and myself, 53, celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary by taking our very first cruise. This was the second voyage for the new CARIBBEAN PRINCESS, and we were excited! We are the parents of 7 children and have 4 grandkids, ... Read More
My husband, 55, and myself, 53, celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary by taking our very first cruise. This was the second voyage for the new CARIBBEAN PRINCESS, and we were excited! We are the parents of 7 children and have 4 grandkids, and this is the first "real" vacation we have taken. Embarkation was surprisingly swift, with no problems. Our deluxe stateroom with balcony was lovely, with ample room and storage. Our steward admitted that this was the first trip for her as a steward, but she did very well, fulfilling our every need and keeping our room clean and inviting. The Ship is large and beautiful with at least 17 decks. We were on the 15th Lido deck and heard no noise at all. The food was out of this world. I had been told that food was always plentiful on cruises but not necessarily of great quality. Our food was fitting the 5 stars rating. The Horizon Buffet always had plenty to choose from, be it vegetarian, health-conscious, variety of meats, or downright decadent desserts, and it is always open. The tea and coffee were not quite up to our standards, though. The thin-crust pizza near the pool was also excellent. Very crispy on the bottom, tasty on top, but I wish there wasn't so much grease -- which probably made it taste so good. We were assigned to the Palm dining room, which is an adventure to find, as it is on the other side of the center atrium, and "you can't get there from here" rings true. One must go down to the 7th floor and then walk aft and then go down to the 6th floor. You can't take the elevators straight to the 6th floor from the forward side and find it as the atrium does not run straight through. Our only disappointment was that it took a long time to get served for the regular sit-down dinners. The atrium is beautiful with rounded exposed glass elevators covered with carved-like bronzy whales, porpoises, and other sea life. Winding staircases going to three floors, marble steps, wonderful carpets, and a shopping mall-style hallway grace the center atrium on the promenade deck. My husband's favorite entertainment was Bert Stratton, a singer-pianist who took requests and had singalongs in the open atrium. He was a mixture of Jim Carey, Lurch, and Victor Borga. He definitely walked to the beat of a different drummer, which kept you fully entertained, and his voice was beautiful. We stopped first at Princess Cay (Princess Line private island) where we enjoyed water sports and a barbecue on the beach. Tender ships brought us to shore. Pirates decked out in full garb met us to have pictures taken. It was fun. Our second stop was Montego Bay, Jamaica. This was disappointing, but not entirely without merit. The docking area with shops looks depressed and sad. Taxi drivers ask you every 2 minutes if you want a ride and are VERY hard sell, as are the shop owners. We took a van to Margaritaville (Jimmy BUffet) and had lunch. We shopped in a local shopping center and bought T shirts, etc., but every time you left a shop others were pulling you inside their store, or other taxi drivers were begging you to use their services. It was not relaxing or enjoyable. You realized the people were very poor and desperate. I don't think we will even stop there the next time, but stay on board and enjoy the activities of the ship. Our third stop was to be Grand Caymans, where we hoped to do some snorkeling. The surf was high and the Port Authority closed the port to all six cruise ships that were waiting to enter. We could not land. For that reason our captain decided to move onto our next stop. Our fourth stop was Cozumel, Mexico, which was my favorite. No tender ships are needed as you can make land and disembark right on the dock. Colorfully dressed natives greet you at the ship for pictures. You enter the shopping district through a duty-free mall right on the dock. Beyond the mall in the shopping district there are many shops offering jewelry, t shirts, hand crafts, bags, hats, whatever you would like, most at very good prices. You can have your picture taken with a donkey covered with colorful Mexican rug while wearing a sombrero. We caught a catamaran to do some snorkeling and it was glorious. We sailed to two coral reefs and snorkeled for a couple of hours, seeing very colorful fish, beautiful coral with caves and interesting shapes, sea turtle, large groupers, and scuba divers below. We loved it! On the way home the ship's crew served both alcoholic and soft beverages and fruit. It was a lovely day. Our days at sea were spent exploring the ship, enjoying the MOVIES UNDER THE STARS -- which I loved. Like a big drive-in movie that you watch from a reclining chair at night with the cool breeze and stars overhead, or from the pools or hot tubs! We could dance in many different clubs to whatever kind of music we liked. We missed most of the shows in the theater, as we were dancing, eating, and listening to Bert Stratton. We played bingo and my husband won part of a $200 pot. He was chosen as the one man on the ship to have a makeover (along with two women), and that was filmed and aired after his "reveal" to a roomful of shipmates. THis was to advertise their fancy Lotus Spa and Beauty Shop. Disembarking also went surprisingly fast, with no problems. Oh! One funny moment. Unfortunately, we were late leaving Cozumel because a dozen or so passengers had not made it back to the ship on time. Perhaps the following scenario is played out whenever this happens, but I did not expect it. All the passengers on the DOCK side of the ship went out to their balconies and YELLED at the latecomers as they arrived, "GET YOUR ARSE IN HERE!" YOU'RE KEEPING 3000 PEOPLE WAITING" etc... The vocal ones were laughing and enjoying it, so I guess it was in fun, but the latecomers were either very embarrassed, or jogging triumphantly among the screams as they returned. Next to us was Carnival's Sensation ship, and their passengers also jeered, as they were not allowed to leave the ship until ours had disembarked. It was quite a scene. We had a truly wonderful time on our cruise and can't wait to go back. I would definitely sail Princess again. The staff were all courteous and gracious. The only complaints I heard was that there were too many "kids and teens" aboard who were not being watched, and that they were in the adult pools so the adults could not swim in peace. Personally, we had no trouble as we did not seem to be where the kids were. SO I highly recommend the Caribbean Princess to anyone waning to be pampered on a quality ship with wonderful food and activities. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
We were on the Inaugural sailing of this magnificent ship. I will always remember coming over the 17th street bridge in Ft. Lauderdale and seeing her, lit and beautiful. We watched her sail out on Friday night for the VIP/Wedding of Jill ... Read More
We were on the Inaugural sailing of this magnificent ship. I will always remember coming over the 17th street bridge in Ft. Lauderdale and seeing her, lit and beautiful. We watched her sail out on Friday night for the VIP/Wedding of Jill Whelan overnight VIP cruise. Embarkation was a breeze considering this was an inaugural. We arrived about 11:30 and stood in a long line but fellow passenger camaraderie was pleasant; everyone was excited! As they opened the doors, everything just seemed to go so smoothly. Princess really does well with embarkations. We had pre-registered on the cruise personalizer page and so went to expedited check-in. We had been upgraded five days before the sailing but the new keys were ready and waiting and we were through the line in under ten minutes. Every passenger did go through security, bags through the machine and people through the metal detector. My tiara, worn for the occasion, did not set off the detector. People were directed right or left, depending on room number. Embarkation photos were taken and a few feet on the security photos were taken. Every single staff member was smiling and polite and helpful. As we entered the atrium I was struck by a sense of deja vu, having sailed on the Golden before. This ship was a sparkling new apparent duplicate of her. The suite was marvelous and we would certainly recommend one to anyone who is considering that level of cabin. We were starboard side, midships, one level below the main pool and Horizon Court. The suite had a huge balcony, approximately 5 x 20 (aft suite balconies are even bigger), with teak furniture: two chaises, a dining table and two chairs, a side table, thick cushions on all of the chairs. We sat out on the balcony and watched the shipyard action, which was pretty interesting. We could see every single bag going into the x-ray area and then coming out to be taken to the rooms. So, yes, they do x-ray them. We had a two part bathroom; one part had the commode and a beautiful green marble vanity with sink, plenty of storage space on either side for his and hers essentials. There was Lotus Spa shampoo, lotion, and conditioner in bottles and pretty soap. The second part of the bathroom, which was separate from the other by a door, had a huge jacuzzi tub and a separate all glass shower. (Having not brought bubble bath I used the shampoo and it worked fine.) The suite itself was two parts, a bedroom with queen bed, two bedside tables, a vanity with ample outlets, a walk in closet with rods for shirts, pants, dresses, etc, shelves in the closet, a safe, and in that part of the room was also a floor to ceiling dresser/wardrobe combo. The other part of the room was the living/entertaining area with a sofa (pull out but we didn't use it as it was the two of us), cocktail table, two end tables, a desk, a wet bar with sink, a refrigerator, and more storage here and there. We didn't use all of the cabinet space we had and we took plenty of stuff. There were two televisions in the suite, one in each section. Decor was muted, soft, and restful, in tones of sage and cream. Heavy drapes at the windows and between the two parts of the room provided privacy and darkness if one wanted to sleep during the day. The ship is amazing and we had no sense of being crowded with the extra 500 passengers on board, and it was a full ship. The deck we were on, Riviera, is the newly added deck. People seemed to just disperse and the whole week was comfortable in terms of crowds. We never had a wait for a table at Horizon Court, there were more deck chairs than could be imagined (the ones by the pool were usually taken but there were chairs everywhere and if you couldn't find a place to sit in the sun you weren't trying}. We went to a couple of minor shows and got seats with no problem. We showed up at a major show late and there were still several seats at the back but we chose to stand rather than disrupt the other passengers. Horizon Court is different on the Caribbean Princess in that it is only open until early evening and then you are directed to Caribe cafe instead. People on the ship did not understand the mechanics of Horizon Court and there was some testiness for the first day or so. By way of explanation, Horizon Court is a "stations" place, meaning it is not a typical buffet line. You can enter from four sides (two port, two starboard) and there are stations, several for salads, several for fruits, several for breads, hot entrees, etc. You go directly to the station that interests you, you do not stand in a long line. Those who were still in the buffet line mentality got pretty upset at those of us who have been on these ships before and know how it is done. For my own peace of mind, I asked a ship's officer (who became our friend) which is the right way and he confirmed you do NOT stand in a buffet line you go where you want to and he promised to advise the Horizon Court supervisor that there was a problem. Anyway, the food there was excellent as always. You can ask to have your eggs fried, poached, whatever, just go to the window between the hot entree stations. I love the salad bar and we usually went up there just before dinner to bring cheese, crackers, fresh veggies, shrimp, etc. back to our room for cocktails on the balcony. We booked traditional late dining and our confirmed reservation had gotten lost. We were, however, quickly seated in spite of this glitch and ended up at a table with other "lost" reservations. It turned out this was just too late for us although the company and the service was fine. We opted from then on to do personal choice. We met Cruise Critic friends and shared a table with them every night at 7 p.m. by asking Mauro, the maitre'd, to set that table aside for us every night, same tablemates, same table number, same waitress and assistant (Cecylia and Stefan). So it turned out to be just like traditional except each night we would have one new set of tablemates as we had two available chairs. We thought the food was excellent and only had a couple of things we thought might have been better prepared (fish). The desserts were to die for, souffles, sorbets, and my personal favorite, pineapple creme brulee (Caribbean Night, which replaces French Night). I loved the asparagus with tarragon butter and our waiter brought an extra and then he brought a whole plate to accompany the entrees. (Yes, I was very appreciative.) We used room service, ordered tea every afternoon (tea, lemon, milk, and some form of sweets), ordered appetizers every evening, had our laundry done (very nice feature), had our dry cleaning done, and have to say that it was all quite painless. We used the concierge line to take care of these things and rarely had a wait to get through. The Caribbean Princess has so many pools, hot tubs, "dipping" pools (that you just get in long enough to cool off from the sun) that is hard to count them. They are fore, midships, aft, on several decks. The Lotus Spa was an experience to be repeated next time we go. I had the AromaVedics massage (choosing the energizing massage oil) and it was so wonderful. Soft music (kind of like you hear in subliminal tapes), dim lights, a view of the sea (when you can keep your eyes open!). I loved the ceramic heated "S" shaped relaxation chairs (available to treatment guests only) and the aromatherapy sauna. The locker room had plush robes, slippers, showers, shampoo. lotion, etc and its own sauna and steam room, which are available to any passenger, treatment or not. The Movies Under the Stars was a lot of fun. They cover the pool (so no swimming while the movies are going on, although they show other stuff during the day for swimmers, kid movies, sports events, rock videos). You get plush deck chairs with "Movies Under the Stars" padding, a blanket, free popcorn, pop and candy at movie theatre prices, and a feature presentation. Just call the front desk or the concierge and ask for tickets because you must have tickets. We visited Explorer's Lounge and highly recommend the chocolate martinis. We also recommend the cocktail of the day and the fizzy beverage of the evening in the dining rooms. All were delicious. Part two will follow: It will include the itinerary and more about the features of the ship itself. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
We were on the Caribbean Princess for her 4/17 sailing. She is a beautiful ship and our vacation was fabulous. Embarkation - Princess does a great job of getting folks on and off the ship. Even in the ports in which tenders were used ... Read More
We were on the Caribbean Princess for her 4/17 sailing. She is a beautiful ship and our vacation was fabulous. Embarkation - Princess does a great job of getting folks on and off the ship. Even in the ports in which tenders were used (Princess Cay and Grand Cayman), any lines that developed moved very quickly (there was a line to get back on the tender in Grand Cayman that we thought was very long, yet we were on the tender within 5 minutes). Service - Service was impeccable in most cases. There were a few minor exceptions (one of our waitresses in the Coral Dining Room left a little to be desired, but was by far an exception) but nothing I would bother to be concerned about. Our room steward, Marlon, was a gem. Always johnny-on-the-spot, exceptionally friendly and eager to please. One day we went ashore and I left a very nice satin nightgown sitting out (not on purpose, just didn't put it up). He had it on the bed when we returned from our shore excursion...But...when we returned from dinner and our beds were turned down, chocolates on the pillow, etc., he had formed my satin nightgown into a butterfly on the bed! It was so adorable. Just nice little touches that you wouldn't think are necessary but just elevate things to a certain level. Room service was extremely fast - I called for coffee the first morning as soon as I got out of bed (thinking it would take a little time with 3100 people on board) and our coffee was there and delivered right to our balcony in less than 5 minutes. I was surprised and impressed. I never tired of being called "milady" when greeted by certain staff. Food - Sabbatini's food was exquisite and the service matched. One of the (many) appetizers we were served was beluga caviar. The pasta was great, the main dish superb. This is a great experience, and one for which you'd easily pay $125 - $150 in a land-based fine restaurant. The $20 cover charge is not an issue compared to what you receive. Food in the Coral Dining room was very good (not to the level of Sabbatini's, of course, but it was quite enjoyable). We also very much enjoyed the Cafe Caribe. Many new and different dishes, and quite tasty. Don't hesitate to try the goat stew! Entertainment - Entertainment was good overall. The production show, Let's Rock was fun even though some parts came off as being slightly cheesy to us. The magician was kind of offbeat and very good. The hypnotist was good, although it was promised that he wouldn't embarrass anyone - some of the things he made people do would have embarrassed me. We were glad we didn't volunteer. There was a band called Deep Blue that played at the pool - they were a great band (steel drums, Calypso, etc.). Very entertaining, and had us all up doing conga lines, Caribbean line dances, etc. Their music was very fun - they played in the Explorer's Lounge the last night (Friday) and many of their songs were still ringing in our heads on Sunday. Loved it! Ports of Call - We took the banana boat ride in Princess Cays. Do it! It was fun and worth it. I wanted to go again. Jamaica - we took the Countryside Tour with lunch. This tour was not fancy but very worth our time. It included a bamboo raft ride down the Great River, a jitney ride (sort of a wagon that is drawn by a tractor) and tour through a banana plantation, a little lecture on how to make a pina colada using fresh coconut, etc. (and of course free samples of pina colada, banana liqueur, etc. were shared). Lunch was excellent. We liked this tour because even though it is a "touristy" thing to do, it did take us away from the typical beaches and shopping and into the interior. We had a chance to sit and talk with Jamaican people the whole time and we learned a lot about the culture and the people. We loved the laid-back attitude and good conversation. It was a very worthwhile, fun and interesting experience. Grand Cayman - we contracted with Captain Marvin's to take us on the Stingray tour. We'd highly recommend going with a smaller outfit for this excursion. It's about half the price and your boat will have 10-18 people (not 100 to 125). Some on the cruise ship tour were disappointed because they felt they just stood there among the crowd and watched the stingrays swim around them. On ours, however, we had a chance to feed the stingrays (2-3 times, in fact), they were coming right up to us and resting in our arms! I had several pictures taken holding the stingrays. I also have a lot of great underwater shots of the stingrays swimming up against people, etc. My boyfriend had a very moving experience because the stingrays just seemed to love him in particular! (So he's either a very loving person and animals tend to sense that, or he just smells like squid. I think it's the former : ) We also took the semi-submarine tour (booked through the cruise ship) - worth the money. We saw Cheeseburger Reef, the Callie and Balboa shipwrecks. I've heard you see just as much on the semi-submarine as you do on the Atlantis sub (that goes down 100 feet) for less money. Couldn't verify that as we didn't go on the Atlantis sub, but we did enjoy the semi-sub tour. Cozumel - Did the Dolphin Swim - what can I say? They take you in groups of 8 so it is not crowded. A Dolphin Swim is the experience of a lifetime. Do it if you have the $$ - it is worth it. First class operation. We spent most of the rest of our day in Chankanaab Park (skirt steak tacos at the restaurant were heavenly!) and bought a small amount of jewelry (excellent quality and prices, but DO NOT pay the first (or even the second) price they give you). I love the Caribbean topaz and Mexican fire opals - unique and gorgeous! Back to the ship: Overall, I'd say it was a great vacation and I'd highly recommend the Caribbean Princess. We saw nearly all age groups represented. I will say we didn't care for the kind of music they played in the Skywalker's Lounge (hip-hop - I'd rather dance to the classic rock stuff if you're going to use a DJ) but the view of Caribbean Princess's wake was magnificent even at night. Besides, there were so many other options that it was no biggie. The ship wasn't crowded even though it was fully booked. We had no trouble finding lounge chairs (had to grab one a little away from the pool on the second day at sea, but otherwise always found what we needed). I've seen some comments on the Anytime Dining. We booked our reservations for the week on the first day. We did notice that some folks had to wait, but it seemed that many of them were set on a table for 2 only (there are only so many of those). It's like any restaurant - if you come at peak dinner hour, they'll give you a pager and you'll wait for a time unless you've made a reservation in advance. I think the situation seems to be smoothing out. I used the Lotus Spa, but only for a mid-week nail polish change. They ran on time, were friendly and efficient. They do automatically add gratuity, which is okay for me since gratuity is customary for this type of service. The gym was great and well-equipped. Nice exercise bikes and the resistance training machines were top notch. The free weight area was a bit small - boyfriend said the few guys in there were ducking one another's weights. Also, the movies under the stars were fun and relaxing. There were several different movies playing throughout the week. We enjoyed lying under the blankies watching the movie with a gentle breeze in our faces. They pass out popcorn and sell typical movie-type candies at the bar (and, as always, drinks). So now here I am back at work and I seem to be classically conditioned as it is 2 p.m. and I suddenly want a large pina colada. Ah well....there's always next year. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
We sailed on the Caribbean Princess from 4-24-04 to 5-1-04. First let me say that our overall rating would be that this was a good trip. But, that being said, there were a lot of problems. First, there were three in our party (ages 45, ... Read More
We sailed on the Caribbean Princess from 4-24-04 to 5-1-04. First let me say that our overall rating would be that this was a good trip. But, that being said, there were a lot of problems. First, there were three in our party (ages 45, 44 and 15), sharing a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck. When we arrived at about 11:30, there was a very very long line outside, as they were not open yet. Once they opened the doors, we were through check-in in a flash...the whole process took about 20 minutes (if that long) from the time they opened the doors until the time we got on the ship! Absolutely no complaints there! However, two of our three cards did not work to let us on. They told us not to worry and to go to the Passenger desk when we got on and they would straighten everything out. So we went straight there and the gentleman trying to help us said he could not get access to the computer right now and asked if we could come back later...again, no problem for us. Since we had two sea days to start we were in no rush...the cards worked in the door and to order drinks, so we were all set! On Monday (2nd sea day) we went back to the passenger desk and had a very rude individual (actually, now that I am thinking about it I wish I had gotten his name). He stated there was nothing they could do at that desk and that we would need to take care of it when leaving the ship for St Thomas on Tuesday. We tried to explain that everyone so far had told us we needed to come to them, but he was not interested at all. On Tuesday morning we tried to leave the ship and again our cards came up "invalid". The people tending the machines (I believe they were St Thomas security folks) told us that we would need to get the cards fixed before leaving the ship (bear in mind that we were trying to get out early to beat the cruise excursion folks to Trunk Bay). So we explained to them everything that had happened. They were confused, but they wrote our names and card numbers down and allowed us to leave. When we returned they still tried our cards but still no luck, so they manually logged us back in. Then we cleaned up and left again to shop in town and had the same problem...only this time they were somewhat used to it and it only took a few moments of explaining. On Tuesday night I went back to the Passenger desk and this time I was a bit rude myself...asking if this was something I was going to have to deal with the entire trip. I said "if so, then I will talk to the Captain about it at dinner tomorrow night" (we had gotten a Captain's Circle invite). The gentleman I was dealing with was very helpful, and probably would have been even if I had not shown how perturbed I was. Bottom line, in about 5 minutes he fixed the problem and we had no trouble in St. Maarten or Princess Cays! The ship: this ship was very much like the Grand class in a lot of ways (pools and Princess Theatre), but the aft theatre, officially called Club Fusion, was called Club "con"Fusion by most. Whomever designed this lounge should be shot...what a waste! If you did not get a front seat you had to watch everything on a tv monitor...and there were plenty of them around the room. BUT, if you were going to watch the entertainment on tv, then why not stay in your room and watch it! Believe me, EVERYONE was complaining. The pools were filthy! Two of our party (including me) spent a lot of time in the pools on sea days and when we would get out our feet and knees were blue...I assume it was paint coming off the floor and sides of the pool. And we both wore goggles to protect our contacts, so we saw all the filth on the bottom of the pools...for a couple of days it appeared that there was a broken up baby diaper in one corner (not sure if it was that or just soggy paper). Our daughter and a young friend she met on board thought it was funny and while swimming in the back pool actually wrote on the walls...using their fingers in the dirt on the sides, much like steaming a window and writing in the steam. They said it was like a white powder they were writing in...no idea what it was. There was no discipline on the ship. Even though there were some areas where cigarette and cigar smoking were not allowed, people smoked what and where they wanted, which was a bother. We left one show because the smoke bothered us. The Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe dress code required some type of coverup over bathing suits, but no one paid attention and wore only their bathing usits in to eat. Many of the wait staff were very lazy it seemed. One night we asked if the woman had a wet towel so that WE could wipe off the table, but she acted like she had no clue what we were saying...and the table never got wiped off. And it would take 3 or 4 requests to get a drink of ice water (even when ordered with a mixed drink!). Our room steward, Larry, was no where near as good as last year's steward, Nester! Our first night he turned down the bed and opened up the sleeper sofa, but left only two chocolates (both on the big bed), so I asked him the next day to make sure he always left 3...which he did the rest of the nights. I know that is not a big deal, but it was to us. Our first night we had two bath towels and two pool towels in the room, so I had to ask Larry to bring more of those too. From then on he kept us up on towels. Large screen tv. Although we did not partake in either of the movies (they showed Something's Gotta Give twice each night on Saturday and Sunday night and Intolerable Cruelty twice on Monday and Wednesday night), we did participate in the Wizard of Oz showing on Tuesday night, which was nice. The movies were both movies we had seen before so we did not try to see them again. They closed down the one pool at 5:30 each day so they could set up the movie area, and it did not reopen until after the movies or the next morning. Our cruise director and deputy cruise director was Paul and James, and they were okay. But there was a Senior Assistant Cruise Director named Donna that was absolutely OUTSTANDING! All three of us just loved the job she was doing. She did not just do the job, she acted liked she really enjoyed what she was doing. And she was very compassionate with the older folks. None of us could say enough good things about her! The food: was okay. Lobster night (the 2nd formal night) was excellent, and Sabatini's was excellent, but the rest of the food was disappointing. We did not care for the menu on several nights and opted to eat at the Horizon Court instead...with one problem...the Horizon Court closed everyday around 5:30. So if you wanted the buffet you had to go to the smaller Cafe Caribe, and there were a couple of nights that we did not like what they were offering either and we ended up eating hot dogs, hamburgers and/or pizza, which were good but not what we really wanted. The entertainment: was okay. We saw James (the kid) Michaels whom we loved last year. And he was good again this year, but it was the same stuff basically. Another comedian they had was Don Driesdan (I think that was his name) and he was lousy...maybe because he performed in the Club 'con'Fusion (which he complained about being lousy too). We loved the horse racing and we played bingo the last night (hoping to win the big jackpot! We didn't win, but had a great time trying!). Teen area: in our teenager's words, it was "cheesy". The stuff they had to do was not anything she wanted to do. She is an active girl (involved heavily in dance and cheerleading) and all they had was things like Monopoly tournaments and such, which she was not interested in at all. So she never did participate. She did participate in some arts and crafts things held around the ship for anyone and enjoyed that. Many of her cohorts were elderly ladies whom she referred to lovingly as her "beading buddies" (because they made bead bracelets and such). The Itinerary: was excellent. I liked St. Thomas and St. Maarten much better than Grand Cayman and Cozumel last year. But that was our personal feeling. Others may like the Western Caribbean better. We went to Trunk Bay at St. Johns (while at St. Thomas) on our own and loved the snorkeling. Then we went to Dawn Beach on our own at St. Maarten, but the water was too rough to snorkel (25 knot winds that day). But the shopping was so relaxed...unlike the Mexico stops last year. I think that is about it. This was definitely not a trip that would swear us off cruising, but our expectations were quite high for this brand new ship and we decided the Grand was much better last year. Good luck if you find yourself on this big ship!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
CARIBBEAN PRINCESS, APRIL 10, 2004 My 55-y/o husband and myself (53) celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary by taking our first cruise, and chose the new Caribbean Princess as our vessel. This was to be only the second sailing for this ... Read More
CARIBBEAN PRINCESS, APRIL 10, 2004 My 55-y/o husband and myself (53) celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary by taking our first cruise, and chose the new Caribbean Princess as our vessel. This was to be only the second sailing for this ship, a 7-day trip. We booked through an online agency and paid $897 each plus port charges and insurance, etc. We left from Ft. Lauderdale and our ports of call included Princess Cay (Princess Line private island), Montego Bay Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island, and Cozumel, Mx. Embarkation We flew into Ft. Lauderdale from Baltimore, had arranged for Princess bus transfer from airport to ship, and had absolutely no problems. The lines moved quickly inside the ship terminal and we were onboard and ready to explore in good time, even though it was Easter weekend. Atrium Upon entering the ship, the promenade deck with its center 3-floor atrium is breathtaking. There are clear rounded elevator shafts covered with bronzy-looking carvings of sea life - whales, dolphins, vegetation, shells, etc...extending three decks, under which you see the elevator move three floors. Beautiful. Each exposed deck is beautiful, with gracefully curved stairways. There are many shops to entice you to spend your vacation dollars. There are needed sundry shops and clothing shops, cosmetics shops, coffee shop, jewelry shops, purser's desk, etc. all surrounding the atrium. There is a nearby computer room for emailing home at 30 cents/minute. Stateroom Our balcony stateroom was on the Lido deck, 9 rooms aft from the bridge. We found it to be beautiful and roomy with plenty of storage and closet space. We heard absolutely no noise from the Lido deck or from the exercise room above. Our stateroom had many mirrors around the walls, and was tasteful in dEcor, color, and fabric. There was a queen bed, flanked by two nightstands, a desk with chair, a three-tired mini-frige, bar, and TV stand, and side chair. The bathroom was more than adequate and had plenty of water pressure for all necessities. There was a pull-out clothesline in shower. The vanity area in the bathroom had an adequate counter, and three rounded shelves going up the wall to hold personal items. Outside the bathroom there was a closet area that had a large rod with long deep shelf over top, floor space for shoes. There was also long narrow built in with 5-6 shelves to hold more clothing or personal items, and it included a safe for valuables. Our stateroom had sliding doors opened onto a balcony complete with a table and two chairs (plastic). We spend quite a bit of time out there, loving every second. We would take coffee there in the morning and read or "Princess Patter" to chose our activities for the day. Food The food was 4 stars and plentiful. The Horizon and Caribe buffets were very good, and never ran out of anything. The offerings included something for all palates - vegetarian, meat-lovers, sweet tooth. There were fruits and veggies, rice and pasta, lots of meats and cheeses, soups, breads, Italian, Asian, American, Eastern -- you name it, it was there! The self-serve coffee and tea could have been better. There was only milk at breakfast for cereal. The Caribe was open later in the evening and included a Bistro into the wee hours of the morning. The Caribe was a little more exotic, offering lamb and couscous and such fare. We were assigned to the Palm Restaurant for dinner. This was a challenge to find, as "you cannot get there from here" without going from bow to aft, up and down, using elevator and stairs. I think this was because the atrium cuts across the center of the ship. The food here was very, very good. The menu was also comprehensive, but you could also order things not on the menu, like a steak if you so desired. Our only complaint was that dinner serving took entirely too long. You best be ready for a relaxing conversation with your tablemates as you wait for the entire meal to be served. My husband always hit the buffet first to stave off his appetite anticipating the long wait at the dinner table. There were also some "specialty restaurants" for which you could pay extra, like a steakhouse, an Italian restaurant, and one other I can't remember, but we did not try these as the steak ordered off menu in the Palm was exceptional and we were perfectly happy with the "included food." On the Lido Deck near the pools was a pizza oven with very good thin crust pizza. There was also a sandwich grill for hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, and other fair. There was a "scoops" ice cream shop, but you had to pay $3.50 for that. If you wanted soda, you could pay (about $25?) for a sticker on your cruise card which would give you unlimited fountain soda. Otherwise they were about $2 each. They gave you a narrow thermal cup for this to be refilled, but It held so little, that we just asked for the large size fountain sodas, showed our sticker, and got them. Entertainment We loved the new Movies Under the Stars located on the Lido deck. It is like a drive-in movie theater where you lie in your deck chairs, each covered with special padded body-length "Movies under the Stars" cushions and afghans. The gentle night breeze and swaying ship was so nice while watching a first-run movie. We did not go to the Princess theater to see any of those shows. We understood that there was equipment missing when we had to forego our stop at Grand Cayman and the Broadway-style show was limited. Richard Hatch was there to speak (First winner of Survivor). We only caught him while passing by to another venue. The bands at the various clubs were exceptional. We especially liked the fifties music in the Fusion lounge and danced to that. There was also a very nice Caribbean band on the Lido deck and a 70s type band in the Explorer's lounge. On the 17th deck in the Skywalker Lounge was the nightclub for the younger crowd. We went up there during the day to check out the look of the place, and it was quite impressive! My husband's favorite entertainment was a piano-player/singer taking requests in the open atrium. His name is Bert Stratton and he can be found at a web site with just his name. He was a mixture of Jim Carey (humor and facial expressions), Victor Borge (humor and piano), and Lurch! He could play most any song from any era you wanted, and had so much energy that he "whipped his crowd into a frenzy" during the singalongs. Don't miss him. We did not go into any of the pools. The only complaints we heard from others was that there were too many unsupervised kids on this trip getting into the adult areas. We had no such problem ourselves, but overhead others complaining about interruption of bridge games in the Jokers card room where kids were playing loud board games, and kids getting into the adult hot tub/pool areas. My husband won part of a $200 pot at bingo so that was fun. The casino is large and impressive, and there are lots of nickel and quarter machines as well as the higher-priced ones. Exercise/SPA The Lotus Spa is a full service salon and massage service. There is also a ton of state-of-the art exercise equipment in a lovely exercise area. My husband ran the jogging track, but found it to be too small (0.10 mile) and that each curve had you running into people just hanging out on the track. My husband won a "makeover" (haircut and style) which was filmed and shown all day long on the Ship TV, and that was fun. Excursions Princess Cay - Needed tenders to land. Lots of fun with water sports. Nice barbecue served in pavilions right on the beach. There are local craftspeople selling baskets, clothing, jewelry, etc. Lovely day. Montego Bay, Jamaica - No tenders needed. Docking port shopping center depressed area. Taxi drivers are WAY TO AGGRESSIVE in demeanor and in driving, even the "official red-tagged ones." Shop owners are equally in your face and pressuring you to buy. Not a relaxing stop. Probably would have been better to take a ship tour to a specified site. We took cab to shopping area and then to Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville. Now we can say we were there, but it was pretty much a dive. Hamburger $8. Free long tube slide into water with floating docks. Overpriced souvenir shop. I understand the one on the other side of the island is better in location and atmosphere. Might stay on the ship next time. Grand Cayman Island - Such a disappointment. We could not land because the sea was too high and the port authority closed the port to all tenders. We had planned to do snorkeling. We will have to go back some day! I understand this is a beautiful port of call. Cozumel, MX - This was great. The ship docks directly, no tenders needed. You exit the dock through a building full of duty-free offerings - alcohol, jewelry, candy, vanilla, etc. Once through this building you are out among the shops where you can buy vendor T-shirts, crafts, silver, clothing, bags, jewelry, etc. Prices are reasonable. There is a mock-up of Mayan ruins with waterfall. There are eating places and resting places. There are costumed locals ready to pose for pictures. There are thatched-roofed huts doubling as kiosks. We caught a large 50-person catamaran for a sail/snorkel excursion. It was glorious! We enjoyed the sailing and the snorkeling over two different coral reefs. The crew was great, especially for me, who was nervous, and needed a gentle hand and encouragement. Once in the water I had a wonderful time, and even saw a good-sized sea turtle along with the beautifully colored fish and reefs. Below us divers encompassed us with tickling champagne-like bubbles. We snorkeled for up to 2 hours (wear sunscreen or T-shirt!), and then enjoyed a relaxing sail back to port with complementary alcoholic or soft beverages and fresh fruit. What a wonderful day! That evening about a dozen people were late getting back from their various excursions (probably not boat-sponsored), and held up the ship. We were supposed to leave port an hour earlier. I had returned to my stateroom exhausted from snorkeling and dozed off. Shortly afterwards I was awakened by loud shouts and whistles. As the latecomers began to arrive back to the ship, the people on the dock side all ran to their balconies and shouted at them, "Come On, Pokey! you're Holding up 3000 people! Nice of you to JOIN us! Move Your Arse!" I could not believe it! Next to us was the Carnival ship Sensation. Their passengers could not get off until our ship left, and we could not leave until out latecomers were aboard, so THEY started shouting too! Actually, it was pretty funny. The latecomers were quite embarrassed. One man was obviously furiously arguing with his wife for making them late as they hurried back onboard to the many shouts. Maybe this is common practice for those who delay a ship, but it was new to me! I guess they won't be late again! DISEMBARKATION This went smoothly and without a hitch. Very well organized. Long lines moved quickly. OVERALL PROS AND CONS The Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship. The rooms are roomy and tastefully appointed. I highly recommend a balcony. The staff was congenial and helpful. The food was exemplary. The entertainment was of good quality. The excursions varied, and I would recommend each person research them to make the right choice. The Movies under the Stars was great. There is much to do for people of all ages. Parents should be more accountable for younger children who are in areas where they do not belong. Dinner was delicious but slow. We will definitely sail with Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
We sailed on the Caribbean Princess on April 24, 2004 to May 1, 2004. We had our children 4 and 7 with us. We had sailed on the Disney Magic last summer and had a wonderful time. Actually we were a little afraid that we would be ... Read More
We sailed on the Caribbean Princess on April 24, 2004 to May 1, 2004. We had our children 4 and 7 with us. We had sailed on the Disney Magic last summer and had a wonderful time. Actually we were a little afraid that we would be disappointed on another cruise line after such a good time on Disney. Needless to say, the cruise was fantastic. My group enjoyed themselves more on this cruise than on the Disney cruise. The ship was beautiful. There were 4 pools to choose from and 2 small children's pools, one of which was located in the Kids Club section. My children loved going to the Kids Club. The hours of operation were from 8-12, 2-5, and 7-10. Each night they had a children's disco which my children insisted on going to. The staff throughout the ship was very nice. One of the staff member working in the Kids Club was a Registered Nurse. On the final night of the cruise, they gave all of the children who attended a stuffed animal. They also colored t-shirts with the ship's logo on it. Needless to say, the ship was very clean. On sea days, we spent most of our time by the pool. The Movie under the stars was great. They closed the pool during the movie, but you could still get into the hot tubs which we did. If you wanted to swim, there were 3 other pools to choose from. Unfortunately, children were not allowed in the current pool. But, we do understand that each ship needs an adult pool only. Overall, we had a great time. We would definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
It was the "best vacation" I ever took!! We went crusiing for the second year in a row with the same couple. Our ages are: 60, 57, 56, and 56 - all of us enjoyed every minute of the cruise! The food was extemely good, the ... Read More
It was the "best vacation" I ever took!! We went crusiing for the second year in a row with the same couple. Our ages are: 60, 57, 56, and 56 - all of us enjoyed every minute of the cruise! The food was extemely good, the service was better than that, the shows were very good - we could not find a complaint for the review sheet that we had to turn in. The Sterling steak house was just wonderful and well worth the $15 charge per person!! Our inside room was very nice and was laid out much better than rooms in our past cruises. We did enjoy the outdoor threater, the fitness area, the walk around the 7th deck (951.5 ft on each side) and getting on and off the ship was no trouble and went very well. The waiters (Anthony and Junior) were the best and the cabin mate just could not do enough for us. You can not find a better cruise for the money!! We enjoyed all the ports that we sailed to. We will be going on another Princess cruise on this ship again next year!! EVERYTHING WAS SUCH A GREAT EXPERIENCES!!!!! ON A SCALE OF 10 - I WOULD RATE IS A 12!!! Thanks Princess for the nice week!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
We sailed on the April 24th through May 1st Eastern Caribbean sailing. We arrived around 12:30 and found no lines outside. Once inside the building the small lines moved very quickly. We were inside the ship within 15 minutes max. The ... Read More
We sailed on the April 24th through May 1st Eastern Caribbean sailing. We arrived around 12:30 and found no lines outside. Once inside the building the small lines moved very quickly. We were inside the ship within 15 minutes max. The decor was lovely. We found it warm and inviting. All public rooms were beautiful and the ship was very clean. I can not comment on the cleanliness of the pools since I am not a pool person. I did notice that the aft pools were much quieter. This was the 1st time we had an aft balcony. We fell in love with it at once. We spent many hours relaxing on our balcony watching the wake of the ship. It was twice the normal size. It had 2 chairs and a table and 2 lounge chairs that our room steward brought us. We also took naps on the lounge chairs in the afternoon. There were only the 2 of us so the room size was fine. We had enough space to hang all of our clothes and plenty of draw space. We found the shower size to be very small. Having only sailed Carnival before we noticed that if you dropped anything in the shower you had a difficult time picking it up without leaving the shower 1st. We had a wonderful room steward Lenie. She always had the room clean and was always there with a smile and hello. We had second seating traditional in the Island Dining room. We asked for a change to a large table so we could sit with another couple who went on the cruise with us. We were moved to the Island Dining room at 8:30 each night. We were at table 100 and had a window facing the aft of the ship. We were lucky enough to get an interesting couple to join us. The maitre 'd did an exceptional job of making us feel like old friends. He even gave my husband a cake the last night for a celebration we had while on ship. Our waiter and assistant did a great job and never rushed us since we were the last seating. I must add that the fruit on board was extremely ripe and sweet. We were grateful for the everyday menu listings since we found the nightly menu to have many dishes not to our liking. Our favorite bar was Outrigger's on Deck 15 aft. It was usually quieter than the others and had an outstanding bartender, Uyllsis. He was always willing to talk and share his personal experiences with us as well as to listen. You could often find him twirling his glasses and doing a little dance. We did find Club Fusion to be a poor set up for the entertainment. It was difficult to see what was happening unless you got one of the few up front seats. There were tvs everywhere to watch it, but I didn't go on a cruise to watch tv. We found the entertainers to be very good. We saw all of the comedians, the magician and Fernadez. All were worth seeing. We did not make it to the dance production, opting to see one of the comedians a second time for a different act. He was well worth it. We did book an excursion in St. Maarten. The 4X4 drive. It was to be a narrated trip but the speaker system did not work. This left us all to look around and wonder what we were seeing. The tour guide did try to fix it but in some vehicles it still was broken. The shopping was good, however the trip to Orient beach was at 9:00 am and most people found it too early for swimming and nothing was open on the beach yet. As for the gym on board, we found it quite busy. Often having to wait for weight machines and cardio machines (other than treadmills). The TV screens were nice but not adjustable enough to allow you to move it out of the way if you wanted to watch the ocean instead. The towels were often in short supply. I did not find the gym staff to be as attentful as the rest of the ship. The door on the ladies room was broken and would often open on its own. Overall we found the Caribbean Princess to be a beautiful and welcoming lady. It was a relaxing and wonderful cruise. We believe that with a few more sailings her staff will work out the few bugs she has. We did have a great time meeting new people, like Cruise Critic members. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2004
This was my second cruise, first with Princess. The cruise was average. Nothing in comparison to the Eastern Caribbean on Royal Caribbean, Explorer of the Seas. The service was average. The employees acted like it was torture to be there ... Read More
This was my second cruise, first with Princess. The cruise was average. Nothing in comparison to the Eastern Caribbean on Royal Caribbean, Explorer of the Seas. The service was average. The employees acted like it was torture to be there and certainly didn't act like they were aboard a brand new ship. The nicest person we encountered the entire cruise was our Cabin Steward. He was pleasant, extremely prompt, and always acknowledged us. The food was nothing in comparison to Royal Caribbean. Everything was very repetitive. The Personal Choice Seating was a joke. We were under the assumption the Personal Choice meant you could dine at your leisure; however, they failed to inform us that it meant we still needed dinner reservations. After standing in line for 35 minutes on the first formal night we were turned away and told that everyone with reservations must be seated first. We were extremely unhappy and ate another boring buffet which was pretty much what was on the buffet in one dining room or the other... The entertainment was average. The comedians left a lot to be desired and the shows were average. The huge movie screen was OK, but again, reservations required. Who wants to make reservations when you are on vacation?? All in all, the ports were great. Montego Bay was a bit more than I expected and I would definitely not make a return visit there. The other ports were absolutely wonderful, and I must say that Princess Cays was by far, the most beautiful private island... If you are wanting to do something exciting, and wonderful, make sure you take the visit to Sting Ray Island. It was by far the highlight of my trip and I wish I would have taken the longer trip there. We did not book off of the ship, we used Captain Marvin's tours and they were excellent and much cheaper than the booking from the ship. The crew was excellent!! All in all, the cruise with Caribbean Princess was definitely average and I will definitely return to Royal Caribbean!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
As my husband and I had sailed with Princess previously, we were excited about the new Caribbean Princess, and we were on the first sailing of this new ship to the Eastern Caribbean. This ship is so similar in layout to the Grand ... Read More
As my husband and I had sailed with Princess previously, we were excited about the new Caribbean Princess, and we were on the first sailing of this new ship to the Eastern Caribbean. This ship is so similar in layout to the Grand Princess - made it easy to find our way around. Big disappointment: the entertainment, or lack thereof. I was so bored with the main shows that I left early! The musical reviews were actually childish and poorly presented; Bert Stratton in the Martini Lounge was very entertaining, but his presentation was the same every night and by the end of the cruise I knew exactly what was coming next. The American Idol experience was actually glorified karaoke; if you didn't sing, you couldn't be in the show. There were some talented people onboard, so at least the final show wasn't a waste. The "Vista Lounge" is a joke....where's the Vista? Can't see around the huge supports! Loved the mini-suite! Princess has great cabins... Food was typical cruise food, plentiful. Sabatini's was wonderful as usual. Nice mix of passengers, and much better behavior than our last Royal Caribbean experience! Had a really bad experience at the Lotus Spa; I wrote to Princess Cruises and they are investigating. I have visited spas on many other ships; without going into detail, I can affirm that I will never recommend the Lotus Spa. There have been many changes in cruising in the past 10 years as cruising moves more and more into the mainstream. These changes offer such nice options as balconies, speciality restaurants, defined children's areas. But with some of the changes, there has been a loss of personality and graciousness. One ship becomes just like another, and it is kind of sad. Oh well....so much for a nice string quartet, flaming coffees at dinner, 800 passengers instead of 3600. I would definitely sail with Princess again, but might hesitate booking the Caribbean Princess until the entertainment is upgraded. Otherwise, it is like any other ship in the mainstream category! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
This was my maiden voyage as well as the ship's. Unfortunately the ship sailed too soon. Many quirks needed to be worked out before sailing. We had a gorgeous stateroom with a balcony but no air-conditioning. We sailed on Saturday ... Read More
This was my maiden voyage as well as the ship's. Unfortunately the ship sailed too soon. Many quirks needed to be worked out before sailing. We had a gorgeous stateroom with a balcony but no air-conditioning. We sailed on Saturday and slept with the balcony door opened because it was the only way we could be comfortable. After constant conversations with purser staff a technician finally came to make a computer diagnostic. He found that the thermostat was not operating. Unfortunately this did not rectify the problem. On Tuesday Senior purser Graham sent me a 13" table fan to circulate the air for sleeping. By Wednesday a Junior purser, Pamela (Italy) made an appointment for us to meet with the Chief of Engineering Operations. She told us that the cabins were governed at 24 degrees Celsius, 75 degrees Fahrenheit. We asked for a cabin change but were told it was impossible. We resigned ourselves to make the best of it. Friday I encountered other passengers that had been having the same air conditioning problems. Their room was changed but this was not their first Princess cruise. I have heard other people talk about the food on Celebrity Cruises as being spectacular. This food was only OK. The buffet breakfasts were cold. Cold scrambled eggs, cold sausage, and cold hash browns were standard fare. I had also heard of "midnight buffets" with ice, vegetable, and butter sculptures. There were none on this cruise. Also, the food service at the Buffet was poor. On days when we were in port the buffet lines extended out the doors to the pool deck plus the flow of traffic from opposite directions made the opposing lines feel like the others were cutting in. We had chosen "personal choice" dining. Reservations were always closed at the two restaurants. Dinner menu's were forgettable. Thank God for the steak, we and our tablemates chose it four of the seven nights. The entertainment was "iffy". A show scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday in the theatre was cancelled for both evenings. The Tony Tillman Show was outstanding. Princess Idol was great fun. The passengers that participated in the final heat were a talented, entertaining group. Trevor, the winner of the competition truly deserved it.  Open-air viewing of movies was by reservation. The lounge entertainment was so-so and repetitive.  The worst part of the cruise for myself and my companions was the rudeness of several members of the purser staff. They actually moaned aloud when they saw us approaching the desk to complain about the air-conditioning situation. Fortunately for me the passengers were wonderful as well as certain staff members: Ernelito - Cabin Steward, Graham - Senior purser, Pamela - Junior purser, and Noel and Lester, Palm Dining Room Staff. Cruise again? YES!! Princess? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!     Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
we boarded the Caribbean princess april 17th which was originally to be its first sailing and we had a ball! The ship itself is beautiful, super huge with lots of people but it always feels empty. staff that must hide in the wood work or ... Read More
we boarded the Caribbean princess april 17th which was originally to be its first sailing and we had a ball! The ship itself is beautiful, super huge with lots of people but it always feels empty. staff that must hide in the wood work or something for you never see them unless you need them ... then they are right there. the nightly entertainment was great ....especially the comic and the piano player Burt. I know I didn't get to see all of the shows because there are a couple different venues that perform at the same time and not to mention the movies under the stars with the free popcorn that is passed around as you are bundled up on your cozy lounge chair with pillow and blanket that is there waiting for you under the stars nightly. We choose the western itinerary for all the very active ports of call and were extremely impressed with the excursion companies that Princess works with. Great people who are highly organized...unlike what we saw going on for other people who went on other types of ships. in jamaica we did Dunn's rivers falls and we were protected by the money hounding locals by our guide. grand cayman, we did the highlights and snorkeled with the sting ray.. our guide found the perfect spot and treated us so well compared to other boat captains who were treating their passengers like cattle. Cozumel...we did Tulum and xel ha... the ruins are sooooo hot that all we wanted to do was get in the water so when the driver took us to xel ha we were more than ready to do our snorkeling. but the driver was so knowledgeable that it was completely worth getting that hot at the ruins. my family and i had such a terrific time that we are booked on another princess cruise for next year...this time the Golden, Southern Caribbean for now my family is hooked ! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday. Embarkation: Due to flight delays, we arrived at the pier shortly before 2 pm. There was just one person in line in front of us. We only had ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday. Embarkation: Due to flight delays, we arrived at the pier shortly before 2 pm. There was just one person in line in front of us. We only had birth certificates and picture ID's but had absolutely no trouble. Princess truly does make this process very easy. Cabin: We were on the 14th deck, Riviera, port side, in room 614. (By the way, to tell the difference between port and starboard look for the border on the carpeting in the halls. Port is blue and starboard is red.) I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of storage space in this cabin. We completely unpacked all our luggage--and I do not pack light! The shower stall was very small. Don't bend over or you might get friendly with a venting pipe sticking out on the lower half of the stall!!! It happened to me. My husband and I are relatively thin; I can't imagine using that shower if we were overweight. Our balcony was completely covered and was only sunny in the early morning. There was room for two resin chairs and one small table. Our friends were next door so we requested Marlon, our room steward, to open the door between balconies. This was a nice feature and made for easy communication between cabins. We had what they call a refrigerator. We found out that it is really just a cooler with a dehumidifier. My husband did wish that the TV showed something more than Spanish ESPN, CNN and TNT. I watched the Princess Channels for daily activity information. Public Rooms: We utilized the ship's library on several occasions. It's a great spot to email home from and it's stocked with lots of good reads. The internet connection was easy and cost us about $4 to send one email. The crew is everywhere and always very helpful and friendly. I just wish they wouldn't push cocktails at all hours of the day and in all places. We finally got smart and kept our water bottles in hand when on the pool decks. My husband bought the Coke Card. He did have trouble getting prompt service for Cokes at the bars. It's all about earning the 15% gratuity. The crew works long days and likely for a very small hourly wage. I felt bad for them but I can't drink all day. Dining: We had Personal Choice dining. We made reservations 2 of the seven evenings. The other nights we either visited the Cafe or waited to be seated. We thought the food was fantastic. I am still craving their smoked salmon. And those desserts---never met one that I didn't love, especially the Love Boat Dream. The only problem we had was on the second formal night. Our usual party of four split into two parties. My husband and I opted to eat in the Coral Dining Room. When we approached the maitre'd for a table for two, he told us the wait would be about an hour and gave us a pager. We sat in a nearby lounge and had a couple glasses of wine. Nearly two hours later, we had yet to be called. While waiting we had made friends with other couples who were also sitting patiently with a pager. As a group we went to the Coral and asked what was going on. To our surprise, there were many tables open and we were able to be seated immediately. No apology or anything---I think they forgot to page us or those things don't work! Despite all, we met some great people who then became our evening tablemates and we all enjoyed our meal. My favorite meal of the week was at The Sterling Steakhouse. It was definitely worth the money. Make reservations early in the week--it fills up fast. The Prego Pizzeria was my favorite place for lunch. A must try is the Four Seasons Pizza. How do they make the crust so thin and not burn it??? Afternoon Tea in the Coral Dining Room was spectacular. Awesome service and delicious scones, pastries and sandwiches. I made my husband join me and even he was pleasantly surprised. We made friends with our tablemates and had great conversation. I would have loved to have gone every day but it kind of fills you up before dinner. It's a must do at least once. To summarize on Personal Choice, whenever we ate in the dining room and asked for a table for four, we were seated within minutes. The problems only arise when you request a table for two. This considered, I would still opt for Personal Choice again. I love the flexibility. Entertainment: We thoroughly enjoyed Sarge, Let's Rock, Caribbean Caliente and the comedian Phil Tag. We didn't get Bertified. I really tried. Bert Stratton is wonderfully talented but so quirky! I believe he could do without so many crazy antics. We never did catch Princess Idol. They were having some difficulty on it's first night and did trivia instead. Needless to say, we left. Our Movie Under the Stars was Something's Gotta Give. We were really comfortable and enjoying the film when a scattered heavy rainstorm disrupted everything. We scrambled and all crammed in under the shelter to see the rest of the movie. We didn't see any other film. I think Princess should use this theater during the day more. So often all that showed was a Princess graphic. I would have loved it if they featured the sights and sounds of the musicians down on the Calypso deck. Shore Excursions: In St. Thomas we did the Water Island Bike and Beach Tour. It was a mountain bike ride. We loved Wendy our tour guide. She is very familiar with the Virgin Islands and their history. My only complaint was the multiple stops during the bike ride. We were constantly waiting for others to catch up to the group. In St. Martin we did the America's Cup Regatta. It is so much fun and definitely worth the money. Our boat, The Canada II, came in first place! We had to buy the t-shirts and picture. Because of our elaborate excursions, we had little time to shop or see the rest of the islands. We were disappointed in downtown St. Thomas. The taxi drivers do not abide by traffic laws and the roads are terribly congested. If you are not out to buy jewelry, it's a waste of time. The best views are right from the ship. St. Martin was cleaner and less congested. We only had time to shop right off of the pier. My husband was disappointed that we didn't have time to visit Orient Beach--maybe next time.... Fitness: We loved using the gym. We visited most every day. I opted to participate in Spinning. For $10 Susanna will work your you-know-what off!!! It was one of the best exercise classes that I have ever taken--very invigorating! There are also plenty of tread mills, elliptical trainers, bikes and weights. I rarely had to wait, even at peak times. Because of this gym, I came home weighing a half pound less than when I left. Not bad considering all the food and drink that I enjoyed. I did recommend on our comment card that they put in some fans. With the fitness centers beautiful panoramic view of the ocean also comes the heat of the sun. It was hot! Disembarkation: We had an early flight out of FLL at 11:15 am. The day before we received red #1 tags. We were off the ship before 8 am. This process was smooth and painless. The pain began when we boarded the Princess transfer bus and felt our post-cruise depression setting in. Of course, the best cure for this is to begin planning your next cruise... Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
We had a wonderful cruise and would rate it a 9 out of 10. Really my only complaints were truly not even ship related. Forget the bus transfers and just get a cab from the airport - you can see the ships from the airport so you know how ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise and would rate it a 9 out of 10. Really my only complaints were truly not even ship related. Forget the bus transfers and just get a cab from the airport - you can see the ships from the airport so you know how close it is - you wait and wait for the bus to fill up and then get the ok to leave - just save your $10 per person and take a cab. Also know that there are rental car offices right at the dock - we wanted to rent a car and I was told by Avis they did not have an office there!!! They do - I guess you need to know the name PORT EVERGLADES. We were checked in and eating lunch in our swimsuits by noon (bring a carry-on with these items in them) Room was fine - a little larger than expected - they provide a safe, hairdryer, and soaps and shampoos etc. Wish they would spring for better toilet paper and tissues though - that thin stuff was lousy. Lots of hangers are available. Bring 1/2 the clothes you think you will need....take it from me. Capris are fine in the formal dining rooms - I saw no one turned away - formal night - don't stress - a nice "Sunday" dress would work if you don't want to get anything fancier - most were dressed in long dresses and suits. But you saw a little of everything. We used the personal choice dining and had no problem. We had reservations for 7 and then we were able to catch at least 2 shows a night. Food was great and if you want to be on a diet it is possible - if you have GREAT WILLPOWER THAT IS! They give you samples of combinations for healthy or vegetarian meals. You had many selections to pick from and we loved all of the meals. Serving sizes were on the smaller size which was a good thing. I am sure if you wanted 2 meals you would get them. We enjoyed their cocktails of the day - we did purchase the drink card for $20 which allows unlimited soft drinks. They are not worth the money, or you should just get one. The soda was fine but you won't use the card that much. They hardly look at your card anyways when you go for your drinks. There was only one crowded night in the restaurant and that was the first formal night. Other nights there were lots of empty tables even though the ship was filled to capacity. We loved all the entertainment - this was our favorite - they had so much available - some nights we caught 3 shows. That Princess Idol was a JOKE - we watched shows on 2 nights - just a step up from karaoke - in reading some of these posts I think people think they are going to be discovered here or something....it is all very light entertainment and at times was painful to listen! They had comedians, the regular type shows, a great singer the last night I am sorry to say I do not remember her name but she gave a fantastic show. There was a hypnotist, several comedians, juggler/comedian, magician - they had several shows - new material. I loved the pina coladas - yummy. I would be glad to answer any questions you might have - don't waste your time listening to Cindy on where to shop - there are no bargains - except for the liquor - but people just seem to want to buy when they are on a cruise. I hate that frenzy at the stops - we horseback rode in Cozumel which was fun and my husband snorkeled in Grand Caymans (great) and Jamaica (fair to poor) - I don't go on a cruise to site see in the Caribbean - it is to relax for me. Hope you have a great trip. ( I was disappointed they did not have more exercise classes available and many of the few they had they charged for ????? I did not like that. Did not use the Spa but people who did seemed pleased. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
Just to give you a point of view reference, we are a couple in our mid 30's with no children. We sailed to the Eastern Caribbean May 2004. This was the 5th sailing of the Caribbean. It was apparent that they had worked out all of the ... Read More
Just to give you a point of view reference, we are a couple in our mid 30's with no children. We sailed to the Eastern Caribbean May 2004. This was the 5th sailing of the Caribbean. It was apparent that they had worked out all of the kinks and bugs. We had a wonderful experience and it is a beautiful ship! The staff was extremely friendly and helpful! We spent several hours making pottery with Blue the Potter. Blue is an excellent teacher and she really makes you feel like you created a beautiful work of art! She talks to you, asks you questions and has a great personality! I participated in a couple of the virtual golf tournaments. That was a lot of fun! If you are a golfer, you have got to try the virtual golfing! It is great! I saw a family of four play 18 holes of golf and they looked like they were having a great time. We enjoyed the entertainment from the games, comedians, to the Las Vegas style shows. The entertainment was top notch! Caribbean Caliente and Let's Rock were fantastic original productions. We had the anytime dining and highly recommend it. While we didn't have to wait for dinner seating, we did see where it got backed up around the peak dining hours. We typically went either early or really late. Even if we showed up for dinner at 9:30pm (which we did a few times), they never rushed us and the food was always excellent. I've been on three different cruise lines and I have to say the food and entertainment was the best on Princess! The "Movie under the Stars" is a must!! You lay in a comfortable lounger with a blanket and they bring you free popcorn. It is beautiful sitting there with the wind blowing watching a good movie. We went to both movies and loved it! There was a nice mix of older and middle aged couples on the ship. I really didn't see that many younger children on board. We thought (previously to sailing) that Carnival was the fun ship, but Princess proved us wrong. We had a great time dancing at the Caribbean Party. The entertainment staff spent all night long dancing with fellow passengers. The only two negatives for me: The shower was way too small and I didn't like the fact that they only served tea and coffee in the buffet rooms. Other cruises I've been on offer fruit punch and lemonade, I prefer the variety. What truly made the experience so fantastic is the entertainment staff! They really went out of their way to talk to us, dance with us, and make our time aboard the cruise memorable! We will be sailing with Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
This was our 3rd cruise (previous cruise was with RCCL-Voyager of the seas). We got to the port at 11:45 and there was some line but it moved quickly. Once inside I was lucky that the non-citizens line was empty so we got into the ship in ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise (previous cruise was with RCCL-Voyager of the seas). We got to the port at 11:45 and there was some line but it moved quickly. Once inside I was lucky that the non-citizens line was empty so we got into the ship in less than 15 minutes. Very nice ship, but I found it to be a little complicated inside, unlike Voyager of the Seas. We had an AB mini suite, which was really nice. The only problem is that the balcony is completely uncovered (It starts where the balcony above us finishes). We went to make reservations for Sabatinis and Sterling and to check to see if we had gotten into second seating, since I did not like that idea of anytime dining. We spoke to this Italian person who was the Maitre'd at Pals Dining room. Since I read here on another review that we could (and should) make reservations for dinner on those dining rooms, I told him about it and he said NO! That they did not take reservations. Well, next day (formal night) we went to Palm dining room and after a long line, we got to the desk to ask for a table and the maitre'd told me that we had to wait about 20-30 minutes to get a number while he sited the people with reservations... WHAT?????? I had asked him the day before and he said NO RESERVATIONS.... I was furious, so before I got really mad at him we left to Coral Dining where my wife went to get a number after the maitre'd told us to wait 30 min. Once there we had a number but the dining room was almost empty, because a lot of people made reservations and did not go. So I went to the desk to complain to the maitre'd but before I got there, he got my number, saw that we had 5 people and told someone to set up a table right away for us since he did not want us to wait. I told him what had happened and he apologized several times. He checked on us during dinner and told us that he was going to have a table for us at 8:00 PM every day. Next day, as soon as we approached him when we got to the dining room for dinner, he called me by my name and told me that he had a table ready for us by a window. He made up for the other staff person. We did the check in on the Princess web page and stated that we were celebrating a birthday. We got nothing while many people did get balloons and a sign at their doors. Anytime dining is a very bad idea. We went to Sterling Steakhouse, and it was very good. Both service and food were fantastic. Probably the best prime rib I ever had. We ended up canceling the reservation to Sabatinis to go to the steakhouse again.($15/person) They had a couple of good shows but I would have to say that the ones at Voyager were better. Also they repeated the shows the next day. The comedian was very good. Buffet food was a little bit better that RCCL, while dinners were about the same. Club Fusion has a horrible design and most of the activities were running late. St. Thomas was very nice. We went downtown and there we booked a tour of the island and ended up in Coki Beach. It was nice, we did some snorkeling (rental was $10) After about 1:45 min the tour guide picked us up and return us to the ship. The tour was $20/person. In St. Maarten, we rented a Jeep (~$100/day from Hertz) Maybe if you look up in the web you could get a better rate. We went around the island, stopped at three beaches, but the best one was Rouge Beach on the west side. Beautiful colors and powder like sand. We also went to Orient beach (crowded) and Guana Beach (small but nice and only a few people). Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
We felt that this ship needs a bit of tweaking. There is just something that is lacking and others that have sailed before were saying the same thing. We are considering cruising the Panama Canal sometime next year and will probably give ... Read More
We felt that this ship needs a bit of tweaking. There is just something that is lacking and others that have sailed before were saying the same thing. We are considering cruising the Panama Canal sometime next year and will probably give Princess another try for that cruise and hopefully by going on one of their smaller ships the service will be better. We found the embarkation a bit of a problem. We supposedly had express checkin and that meant nothing. The regular checkin was moving faster than our lines did. So much for express! Once onboard we were awestruck by the beauty of this ship. She is massive and gorgeous. Our cabin a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck was just perfect sizewise for our tastes. Plenty of storage for everything. Our balcony was a good size with two lounges and table and 2 chairs. Cabin was perfect! Our cabin steward, Emilio was wonderful and kept things very well for us throughout the cruise. We had signed up for traditional dining with early seating. This was a disaster. The first night we arrived at 6 pm and waited 45 minutes for someone to even ask what we wanted to drink with our meal. Not bar orders just what you wanted to drink. Not a good start for sure. The second night we gave it another shot and just decided to not return. We ended up eating at the Cafe Caribe buffet or Horizon buffet for the balance of our meals. I personally don't consider self serve buffet much of a luxury (which cruising is to me) so was disappointed. My husband kept commenting on how in the world with all the food on steam tables they managed to have tepid at best food. I can't figure it out either. Overall we had a good enough time but found this ship just lacking somehow or other from others we have been on. As I said before, I will consider cruising on Princess again, just not on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
Sailed Western Caribbean on the 5th of May. This was our second Princess cruise and 14th cruise overall. We had sailed the Grand last May and had a great cruise, so expectations were very high. Long lines awiting boarding, but once the ... Read More
Sailed Western Caribbean on the 5th of May. This was our second Princess cruise and 14th cruise overall. We had sailed the Grand last May and had a great cruise, so expectations were very high. Long lines awiting boarding, but once the doors opened it went very quickly. This is a lovely ship (very similar to the Grand with a great deal of public space. We never really noticed the extra 900 passengers, with the exception of the shows. We chose anytime dining, but spent most of our evenings in the Sterling Steakhouse (wonderful) and Sabatini's. Ate in the dining room two of the evenings and found it to be fair to good. The Horizon Court was moderate at best. We had planned to have the lobster dinner on the deck, but the winds kept us from enjoying our balcony much so decided to cancel this. The ship seemed to pitch and rock quite a bit for a vessel her size. We had never experienced as much movement as on this ship, but also note that it was extremely windy on this sailing. Our cabin was on the 9th deck (forward) and the noise and vibration from the waves hitting was difficult to deal with for the first couple of nights. The mini-suite was good sized and well appointed with more than ample closet space and a great tub/shower. We thought that the staff was stressed and not especially friendly on the first couple of days. I guess it takes time for a new crew to gel. Some of the great crew members to mention: Mark and Shampane in the Martini bar - great guys Gabby and Maria in the Lobby bar - a morning ray of sunshine with our morning cappucino. Captain Romano - who is always friendly and making rounds Princess Cays is the nicest private island we have experienced. Beautiful beaches, good facilities and a very enjoyable day. We go early for morning sun and then come back to the ship in the early afternoon to enjoy the ships pools. Not to Miss.... We were booked for two shore tours.... Montego Bay (what a pit) we went on the river tubing. There were biting bugs in the tubes that ate our legs and the guides did nothing but curse at each other. At the end of the tour, we rode in an open truck at very high speeds (one of the tour guides fell out of the truck). Couldn't wait to get away from them. Following the tubing we went to Margaritaville for a beer and burger. Topless girls on the trampoline, overcrowded, fair food and a "hooker/john" dispute in the back of the restaurant led us to a less than good rating of this spot. Never Again for Montego Bay! After this lovely experience we cancelled Cozumel tour. I think the excursion staff needs to do some more work on their knowledge of the tours. Grand Cayman was lovely as always. Spent a day at the beach (Royal Palms is a 6 dollar ride from the ship and $3 dollar admission to the beach). Before going back to the ship we spent some leisurely time shopping. Great Day! Cozumel is Cozumel. Many pushy vendors and so-so beaches. The weather was hot and sunny, so we went to the beach again. We were disappointed in the choice for evening dancing. My husband and I enjoyed the Swing and Latin dancing on the Grand and had a hard time finding consistent avaiability on the Caribbean Princess. The band entertainmenet changed every couple of hours it seemed and the shows were in the main dance lounge as well as in the theaters(quite confusing). The club Fusion was a mess. Couldn't see anything and it was primarily used for Princess Idol every evening (great if you are into that- but not everyone is. Other disappointment was with the Spa Services. We made all of our appointments in advance for treatments, massages and hair/nails. 14 appointments in all. They were on time for 11 (always waited at least 10 minutes). We overslept one morning (time change) and were 10 minutes late. Then it seemed that promptness was essential, since they told us that we could have reduced time for full price or just pay full price and not have the treatment. NOT HAPPY! The staff spoke little english and didn't seem to have much in the way of customer service skills. I think they need to bring Steiner back to manage the salon and spa (you can always say no when they try to sell you something). Gratuity - 15% is automatically included, but you can decline it. On a positive note: The steaming stone massage is great and their prices were slightly lower than on other ships. Overall, we had a nice cruise but not a great cruise. The ship and crew need to work the bugs out. We'll be back to Princess again, but probably not on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
I just returned from 2 weeks on the Caribbean Princess. Overall the two cruises were AMAZING!!! First week was Eastern Caribbean and the second week was the Western. I know that the review reads for Eastern Caribbean so please note that we ... Read More
I just returned from 2 weeks on the Caribbean Princess. Overall the two cruises were AMAZING!!! First week was Eastern Caribbean and the second week was the Western. I know that the review reads for Eastern Caribbean so please note that we did back to back cruises. Personally, I like Western better - love Grand Cayman and Cozumel! The ship is beautifully decorated - many soft pastels, very bright and airy. That is one of things I love about Princess. My sister, brother-in-law and 3 year old niece took an inside cabin on Aloha Deck. My parents and I shared the Grand Suite. It was INCREDIBLE and definitely a splurge. But so worth it for us because of the room we had. My Dad and I really enjoyed spending time on the balcony.....reading, napping and watching the wake of the ship. We flew out of San Diego on Friday and stayed at the Renaissance. Nice hotel and very close to the pier. Ate breakfast at Cafe Bonjour based on feedback from other posts and it was OK. But there is a restaurant in the hotel and an Einstein Bagels is within walking distance. We went to Costco that morning and bought wine, water and soda. No problems taking any of them on board. We even placed a luggage tag on the water and they delivered it to our stateroom! Embarkation was very easy. We boarded after the crowds - around 1:30. Walked right on the ship and made our way to the Grand Suite. The Grand Suite covers half of the back of the ship on the Aloha Deck. Has a separate living room with a sofa bed that I slept on - it was very comfortable. My parents had a bedroom with a king size bed (even though the brochure said it was a queen). Our bathroom was huge - big Jacuzzi tub, shower with 8 shower heads, two sinks in one room, a separate sink and toilet in another room and then my Mom and I each had our own areas to do makeup and hair. The living room had a PC with free internet access and a TV with VCR/DVD player. Grand Suite also had a big dining table for 6 which we used one morning for breakfast. Was a spectacular cabin!! Our only surprise was that we did not receive anything special because we booked this cabin. For the $$ we spent, we expected something!! But we did get suite perks - anyone in a suite or an elite level cruiser gets these - free laundry/dry cleaning, nightly canapEs, champagne on sailaway day (one glass per person), corsage and boutonniere on first formal night, free Internet access, preferred dining reservations (but we had to remind the concierge every time we called for reservations!), priority tender embarkation and use of the lounge on disembarkation day. The best perk was the laundry/dry cleaning. Brought home clean clothes!! First week was Eastern Caribbean. We had some rough seas on the first two nights but had spectacular days in St. Thomas and St. Martin. I went scuba diving in St. Martin and booked via the ship. Princess uses a GREAT dive operator.....Dive Safaris. I highly recommend them. Saw a shark, rays, turtles, barracudas........it was great diving! Shopped in St. Thomas - did go on the sky ride - in my opinion, it was not worth the $15 price tag!! And Princess Cays was wonderful!! Very relaxing! Second week was awesome. Ocho Rios was nice - really like the Island Village - very clean area with a Margaritaville and shopping. It is within walking distance of ship pier. Loved Grand Cayman - I also dove here with Don Foster and they too were great. Had the best time in Cozumel. We docked at Puerta Maya. Nice shopping area and we ate at Pancho's backyard. It was great Mexican food and margaritas with a spectacular view of the ship. Very clean restaurant and beautifully decorated. Then my sister, brother-in-law and I went to Carlos & Charlie's. Had to take a cab. We had a lot of fun!! We had personal choice dining and never had a problem. Just make reservations! You can always change them but at least you know you have a set time in the dining room. And I only saw people waiting for tables on one night out of 14 nights. So I am not sure why so many people had challenges with PC dining. That is the only way I would go and one of the things I love about Princess. Our reservation was at 7:30 in the Coral dining room. We never waited for our table. We sat at the same table and had the same waiter/assistant waiter. I love the food (I know a lot of people don't like it!). I think the selection is good and the portions are perfect.........not too big or too small. For big eaters, just order more entrees! And we ate at Sterling's Steakhouse both weeks. The steaks were wonderful and we really enjoyed our meals. Definitely try Sterling's!!! It is worth it! We did not try Sabatini's because they serve mainly seafood for entrees and some of our family does not eat seafood. Cafe Caribe was nice in the morning. Please know that they say it only serves continental breakfast but that is not true. You can get eggs, bacon, sausage in addition to fruit, rolls, cereals and juices. And it is not nearly as crowded as Horizon Court!! We did go to the Dining Room for some breakfasts and lunches. These meals are very nice because it tends to be quiet in the dining room at these times. If you like Pizza then definitely try it - I LOVE THE PIZZA!!! Very busy at peak times but the line always moved quickly. We had afternoon tea once and really enjoyed it. It wasn't crowded and we were seated immediately. But Princess really does need to do something about the coffee and OJ - neither one are great. In fact the OJ is practically undrinkable! The gym is great! They had 20 treadmills and there was never a wait for one. And they face out the front of the ship - very nice view. And they had ellipticals, bikes, weight equipment. Each piece of cardio equipment has it's own TV and you use wireless headsets to listen to the sound. Was a very nice touch! Aerobics schedule was not great - too many early and late classes - and they charge $10/class for cycling, kickboxing, yoga and pilates. Entertainment was OK. I enjoyed it but miss the shows that they have in the Vista Lounge on the other ships. Club Fusion is a beautiful facility but they don't do production shows in there. Instead, they have live bands. There are two production shows - Let's Rock and Caribbean Caliente- and I really liked them! We saw Sarge the first week and loved him. Second week the other acts were just OK. Island nights for both weeks were DEAD!! Never seen this - was strange. But the setup is nice. They have it at the Movies Under the Stars pool and use the screen and sound system for the party. We did Sing along Wizard of Oz and it was fun - did not see any other movie. Churchill's was a great place to watch the NBA playoffs - very fun and lively! The pools were nice but very crowded on sea days. They are configured a little differently than the other Grand Class ships and have more room around the pools. So it was never a problem to find a chaise lounge. And the back pool is adults only and they have a cute kids pool that my niece loved! First week the CD was Paul McLaughlin. He is OK. Didn't see much of him. Second week was Graham Seymour. He is absolutely my favorite CD and I REALLY REALLY enjoy him. Be sure to watch him on the morning show - you will laugh! And be sure to see him on sailaway night in the Princess Theatre. Overall the service on the ship was good, not great. As usual, I found that the pursers staff are RUDE! Happens every time I cruise and I always write comments on my survey but nothing changes. OH well. Our room steward was OK (Ruben) - not the caliber that I would expect for the Grand Suite. Did love Arsen, Marta and Tamas in the Coral Dining room. And Miguel, Maria and Jose in the Sterling Steakhouse were wonderful! Had 3 spa treatments - steaming stones massage, reflexology and oceanic plunge. Overall pretty good. I booked on port days later in the day (3pm and beyond) and got reduced pricing. So I saw the ports but also saved money on treatments. Highly recommend you do that and book via the website before you go. My Mom got her hair done in the salon and it was SO OVERPRICED!! $45 for shampoo/sets and for updos. Normally I have my hair done for formal nights - not on these cruises!! Disembarkation was easy. We were one of the first groups off the ship since our flight was at 12:03pm. We were at the airport by 9:30 and wished we had booked an earlier flight. But then you risk not making it if the ship is delayed for any reason. Overall I loved the cruises and had a great time. I definitely recommend the Caribbean Princess! The ship is beautiful and it was a vacation of a lifetime for me and my family! Am already booked on my 12th Princess cruise for next year! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
WE LOVED IT!!!! We had never gone on a cruise before and from the awesome experience we had, this is the only way we want to travel. The ship was gorgeous, the waiters, bartenders, room steward, EVERYONE that worked there was just so ... Read More
WE LOVED IT!!!! We had never gone on a cruise before and from the awesome experience we had, this is the only way we want to travel. The ship was gorgeous, the waiters, bartenders, room steward, EVERYONE that worked there was just so courteous, helpful and totally friendly. The casino was AWESOME as well as those who worked in the casino. The food, well....EXCELLENT. We really liked the personal choice dining, as opposed to the early and late dining times. We never felt rushed to hurry to dinner after coming back from an excursion. In fact we loved the Caribe Cafe and the Horizon cafe. Everyone was so pleasant to deal with. We made friends instantly with the dealers at the casino and they created such a fun atmosphere we made friends in the casino as opposed to at dinner. The ship was always clean, and never was messy anywhere. Employees were so helpful and hard working. I've never seen such a large group so dedicated to their job. Our room steward was the greatest. We loved their Princess Patter newsletter which we would read every night before going to bed to plan what we wanted to do the next night. The excursions were really well organized and reasonably priced. We had a blast. My husband and I have never been more relaxed than we were on this cruise. The big screen on the deck for Movies under the stars was so great. It was more than we ever thought it could be. In fact we were so impressed w/Princess, that they're the only ones we'd cruise with. So many folks that cruised before, commented on how great the embarkation and debarkation was compared to all the cruise lines. We were on the ship after only 10 minutes or less in line and we were off that ship just as quickly. Very well organized. If anyone says otherwise about this ship, they're just flat out crazy. I'd tell them cranky people not allowed, stay home. WE LOVED AND IT!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
This was our 12th cruise & our 2nd with Princess. We've sailed on Royal Caribbean & Carnival. To start, I'll say that Royal Caribbean has always been our favorite, but Princess is definitely right up there as well. The ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise & our 2nd with Princess. We've sailed on Royal Caribbean & Carnival. To start, I'll say that Royal Caribbean has always been our favorite, but Princess is definitely right up there as well. The Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship. We had a wonderful time & I would highly recommend her to anyone who enjoys having a good time. Embarkation was a breeze, we arrived at the port around 11:30 & by 11:45 we were onboard ready to start our vacation. We had a balcony cabin on the Dolphin deck. I've read all the things people had to say about how the balcony on the Dolphin deck is uncovered, ok, so what's their point?? Yes, the balcony is uncovered, but I don't see a problem with that whatsoever. It was beautiful out there. There are 4 chairs, 2 that recline & 2 stationary with a foot stool. There was plenty of closet space as well as drawer space & having the mini-suite with the extra space was great. Food - We originally had traditional late seating (there were 9 of us travelling together), but switched to PC dining on the 2nd night. It worked out fine for us, we made a standing reservation for 8:00 every night & there was never a problem. The food was ok, nothing to write home about, but it was fine. I will say that the pizza & fries out by the pool area were yummy. The kids (6 teenagers) thought so as well. We didn't eat at Sabatini's. We had done that on the Grand Princess. i would say if you're going to Sabatini's & you have young children, try not to take them. We took the kids last time & it's a very long drawn out meal, go alone if you plan on going. My husband & I went to Sterling Steakhouse one night & enjoyed it very much. He had the filet mignon & I had a new york strip & both were excellent. Shows - If James the Kid is performing at the time you're sailing - do not miss him! He's fantastic - very very funny. We didn't go to any of the cabaret type shows, we've done them in the past & now we pass on them. There was a wonderful piano player, but I can't remember his name. Casino - For some reason the casino was not very crowded for our sailing. I asked some of the dealers & they said the casinos had been more crowded for the Eastern Caribbean sailings. I have no idea why unless it was because we had 3 ports back to back & maybe people were tired. Ports - We sailed the Western Caribbean - Grand Cayman, Cozumel & Jamaica. We've been to each of those ports in the past. Jamaica - last time we sailed we (ok, not me, hubby & the kids), climbed Dunn's River Falls & it was a great experience, since they had already climbed the falls, this time they went river tubing. let me tell you, they came back from that trip raving about how wonderful it was & the pictures show them having a great time. They said that the drive to the river was part of the adventure as the roads are very narrow & one lane (for both ways). Grand Cayman - What can I say, we love Stingray City. Last time we took a snorkel boat, this time we went on a catamaran (the Cockatoo). We had a blast. I highly recommend the catamaran. Here's a hint... they have one catamaran sailing I believe it was at 7:30, BUT....when they fill that one up, they open another one around 10:00 & it's not advertised. There were 15 of us who went together & maybe 2 other families, so it was like a privately chartered excursion. Cozumel - We've been to the beaches & have done the shopping previously, but of course there's always Carlos n Charlie's. If you're not into shopping or walking the streets in the heat & you've done the beach in the morning, then head to Carlos n Charlie's. The food is not the best there is, but the fun is never ending. If you like music & craziness this is the place for you. We took all the teenagers with us & they love this place. People dancing on chairs, staff blowing whistles, conga lines, you name it, it's pure fun. Hope this helped a little. I'm sure I've left a lot out, but I have to get back to work now :) Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
My husband and I boarded the Caribbean Princess on May 29, 2004. This was his first cruise. This was my second cruise. My first cruise was 8 years ago on a Royal Caribbean ship. In a nutshell, we were disappointed with our Caribbean ... Read More
My husband and I boarded the Caribbean Princess on May 29, 2004. This was his first cruise. This was my second cruise. My first cruise was 8 years ago on a Royal Caribbean ship. In a nutshell, we were disappointed with our Caribbean Princess cruise. The highlights were the food and staff at Sabatini's and The Stirling Steakhouse. We also enjoyed our balcony on the Aloha deck. The disappointments were as follows: 1) The crew and staff were unfriendly, appeared ill at ease and stiff and in some cases, lazy. We actually had to have our cabin steward, a gentleman from Romania, replaced because of very poor service 2) The ship was not pristine. It was unsettling to walk places throughout the ship and see half eaten plates of food sitting on tables, fingerprints everywhere, etc. The children on this cruise were totally out of control and running rampmant --- we blame the parents for this --- but, it still impacted our vacation. The ports of call were fine. The weather was great. The private dining rooms were OK. But for the dollars spent, I was truly disappointed. Since my husband had never cruised before, he didn't have anything to compare our Princess experience to. I'm not totally turned off by cruising.......but, I will not return to the Princess cruise line. Our next trip will be on Royal Caribbean. My philosophy is that you can fix the food, sanitary and cleanliness conditions, etc., but you've got a bigger problem than that........it's your staff that impacted our enjoyment. We work really hard to earn the privilege of going on vacation. This was not one of our better vacations which makes me sad. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2004
I arrived home yesterday after spending 7 days on the Caribbean Princess and had to share my latest experience on our Princess vacation. We have been loyal Princess cruisers for the past 4 years, taking 5 out of our last 5 cruises on ... Read More
I arrived home yesterday after spending 7 days on the Caribbean Princess and had to share my latest experience on our Princess vacation. We have been loyal Princess cruisers for the past 4 years, taking 5 out of our last 5 cruises on different Princess ships and we fully expected that this cruise would be as great as all the rest. Well, not exactly.....when we arrived in Ft Lauderdale we went to baggage pickup and expected that the Princess Rep would be waiting, not the case, I had to go hunting for him. When I found him he told me to "get my luggage" meet him at the "far" end of the terminal (in the past the Rep would get a cart, help us to get our luggage and then wheel the luggage with us in tow to the bus). We were exhausted by the time we got to the "far" end of the terminal. We had chosen to purchase the additional night stay through Princess so that we could begin our vacation fully rested and this turned out as expected. On Saturday, filled with excitement, we were picked up and headed for the ship. We were told that because we had booked a Mini Suite we would have priority check in. Well, that didn't happen. We got in one line that indicated "suite checkin" and were told that our Mini Suite didn't qualify and we needed to get in another line. I would have expected that since no one was behind us that the Princess Rep would have just checked us in but still we were in the wrong line...... Our first look at the Caribbean Princess reminded us of our two previous trips on the Grand. Both ships look the same, have the same feel but both are easy to get around. Our room was wonderful and the bathroom was so much better than what we had in our previous staterooms. Now, finally we were all set for fun and a much needed rest. In all fairness, we did rest and the food was up to the usual standards but we define fun as "evening entertainment". This facet was missing from this cruise. On previous cruises we've had so many things to chose from that we found ourselves going to two or more different things every night. The Princess Theater holds 750 people and you would expect that the big, splashy, Las Vegas type shows that use to be held every night on Princess would still be alive and well, not so! We were "bored" if you can believe it. Every night we searched for a show that would be fun and entertaining and every night (except one)we were disappointed. Princess seemed to think that hosting a "princess idol" contest was something that the passengers would enjoy. One would think that when "no passengers" showed up for the show they would get the hint! We were not alone in our assessment of the entertainment. Our fellow passengers were complaining as well. So, how do we feel about Princess? Good question, we have mixed feelings, we have been loyal to Princess in the past. However, we feel that the Carnival buyout has had an impact on what was our favorite way to travel. Small things that Princess always did put them a leg up on their competitors things like, good airport service and fast check in and let's not forget the big things like entertainment. Nightly entertainment is an important part of cruise travel and quite frankly, a big screen TV is not the answer. For our next trip we will be looking at other cruise lines. Read Less
Caribbean Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.5 3.3
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.2

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