On the last day of the cruise we received the Ports of Call newsletter which thanked us for sailing on the "Emerald Princess" which was very nice BUT we were sailing on the Carribbean Princess and it was this lack of attention to detail that made sailing a the ship rather tedious. That being said embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth (although Southhampton is not the greatest terminal to wait in) and we have never had tenders (all three) go as smoothly and as orderly as they did on this cruise BUT the spectacular landscapes of Norway made up for a great deal of the shortcomings of the ship itself.
We sailed on the Star Princess at Christmas and found engaged, lively, servers across the ship but on Caribbean it was as if everyone had been told to lose their personality and become very stoic and corporate. Star had entertainment in both theatres but on this cruise Club Fusion was used for nothing but bingo, line dancing and a few events that feature "the passengers" instead of real entertainment...so that HUGE space at the back of the ship is basically wasted space. Given that even on nights with 3 performances on the mainstage it was SRO there was a desperate need for more space for entertainment on the ship and it seems insane that Club Fusion just sits empty; I have NO idea why there was no double bills like we had almost every night on the Star. That being said the ship vocalists were the strongest yet...all of them could sing and sing across a variety of genres...was happy to see that Stardust was NOT on this cruise but sad to hear it is being added to Diamond and Sapphire in the near future. Not happy that I could hear the singer from Crooners on Deck 9 a couple of nights...I'm not that old but he was WAY too loud and often drowned out the music in the Explorer's Lounge (those two bars that close together has never worked well but it really didn't work well on this ship)...he was good but everyone should remember that he's NOT Elton John.
However, the biggest complaint was the fact that Carribbean Princess made NO attempt whatsoever to recognize that this was a northern European cruise nor did it make any attempt to celebrate the culture of the cruise (which their ads keep on going on and on about). When we sailed to the Antartic on Celebrity there was no pretense that people would be 'lounging' but there where blankets all over the ship that were available for use - on CP blankets are ONLY for Movies Under the Stars (laid out under watchful eye just before the movie and put away immediately after)...WHY movies under the stars runs when it's +4 baffles me anyway. On Celebrity there was hot chocolate everywhere and peppermint schnapps was nearby...NOT so on CP but cold beer and tropical cocktails abounded. There comes a point, especially on some of the sea days and very cool port days that really the outdoor bars should be closed BUT the ship would have to plan for that and apparently that wasn't going to happen...but really Norway in June is not that warm do not pretend this is another Mediteranean cruise AND for all that is holy let those poor female servers on the deck wear pants!! Despite the many claims of Princess that they are celebrating the region of the cruise there was nothing, save a few knick knacks in the shop, that suggested we were anywhere special - I'm not asking for ludefisk and aquavite (although why not?) but the menus where almost identical to the food on the Hawaiian cruise (right down to all the tropical fruit salad appetizers). I also found it odd that absolutely nothing was done around summer soltice or the midnight sun...the ship's rather monotonous programming went on despite or regardless of these events (again just a complete lack of making something truly memorable for your cruisers)
The cabin had a better bathtub than we have at home! Perfect for this cruise but if we were doing a hot weather cruise would prefer Caribe because the balconies on Dolphin have NO shade whatsoever. I still wish Princess would put doors on the closets but there is LOTS of storage space and it was very quiet.
This is not to slag Tromso but Princess should NEVER dock in Tromso on a Sunday...most of the tours involve one if not both of the important churches in the town and they are, more or less, closed to the public on Sunday. People waited 90 minutes to go up the gondola because the churches were not accessible...given that the itinerary had flipped once it's not impossible to have avoided this. Given that Norwegian cities are pretty much shut down on Sunday adjusting the itinerary so that a more remote port could be visited on Sunday might have made more sense.
Beautiful but expensive however found the cheapest sweaters of the cruise at the fish market!! It is a bloodly shame that this was our shortest port of call...atually a bit of an outrage too much art and architecture to explore!