Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by J Seldon
- Sail Date: May 2015
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Premium Balcony
Cabin B628 was clean and well maintained and up to standard but there it ended. The public areas and particularly the pool resembled a Holiday Camp. We reckoned that these areas were only as big as those on smaller ships like the Island Princess (of happy memory) but had to accommodate almost double the population. Consequently there was unlikely to be a place to sit for a pre-dinner drink - we took ours onto the promenade deck on four occasions. We spent most of the time on board in our cabin or on our balcony to get away from the mobs of people who,for example, after a show or dinner surged through the atrium areas like crowds at Christmas in Oxford St London. It was quite intimidating and one had to dive for cover or fight for space.
It was interesting to observe that the design of the atrium no longer impressed with its height as extra space had been used above for cabins (one presumes) which of course allowed for increased population! Obviously many had been able to make the trip because it was cheap. ...and what happened to the shops and shopping? That was always a feature but again sacrificed for extra cabin space no doubt.
Where was the Captain The drinks gathering for the Platinum and Elites was planned in advance for exactly the time when he had the excuse that he had to be on the Bridge to steer us through the Straits of Gib. I don't blame him wanting to avoid the event so really it was clever or pragmatic scheduling and incidentally, while on the subject, if one is going to go to the trouble of getting into a dress suit, would it not have been appropriate to have the dress night and the gathering on the same evening? .
Next -The entertainment was really almost non-existent - a look through the Daily Patter left one completely underwhelmed and the offerings would appear to be targeting a children's holiday camp rather than a cruise patron. Undoubtedly the worst schedule we have ever encountered - infantile and at times patronisingly insulting to anyone with with one GCSE or more. There was no separate cinema and the only cinema was on deck "Under the Stars" which in the tropics can be OK but not on those cold evenings? Anyway, the sound up there was so distorted that you could understand only bits of the dialogue. Where were the new releases? One afternoon we wandered into the theatre and they were actually showing a film of old advertisements from the black and white days!! On deck even in the area of the Sanctuary, one could not escape the deafening and unending loud musical "wallpaper". Peace and quiet was at a premium. Various slots were advertised in the patter for groups but the facilities to meet were totally inappropriate.
Dining in the self service was a battle and a case of adopting the strategy of find a seat if you can - book it with a coat or endlessly wander about and wait because of overcrowding at the normal peak times. We nicknamed this one the Magaluf cruise!! As far as we are concerned this was a sad and dramatic downgrading of the Princess standards we had come to anticipate. If this is the future of cruising on the Princess Line then as far as we are concerned we shall never reach Elite and our last Platinum cards will remain as a sad reminder of what good times we once had. A final thought? Although the majority of the passengers seemed happy with this type of holiday camp environment perhaps they have not had our good fortune in experiencing better. There maybe a niche market (perhaps) for a restoration of better standards even if we have to pay more. Personally, I am angry after this experience we would not be found dead on another ship of this size and much as we enjoy cruising, in the absence of what we once enjoyed,we will look for alternative holidays. Incidentally, I think I recall that we would be sent some sort of opportunity to offer feedback which would be sent to ones email. It never arrived so this will have to do instead.
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