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This was our 6th cruise (3 Carnival, 1 NCL, 1 Princess), with each having distinct differences in each area, but I'll focus on the Caribbean Princess. I was travelling with my wife (36), son (3) and daughter (6), along with another couple and their daughter. Embarkation We arrived at the Pan-American Pier at 3pm on Sunday to undergo the embarkation process. Now we weren't as tired as most of the travelers we witnessed in the terminal, as we spent two days at the Rio Mar in Rio Grand, and not travelling for 12 hours through various airports. We walked right up to the desk and was pleasantly greeted by Princess Personnel where we were promptly given our shipboard cards (as were the kids). From there, we boarded the ship and were able to get right to the cabin and become familiar with our surroundings. Approximately 2 hours later, our luggage and golf clubs arrived and we were able to settle in to our home for the next 7 days. Cabin We were in an inside cabin with two upper bunks for the kids (which they absolutely loved). Consequently, they disliked it last year on Carnival (which led me to sleep up there). It was fine for the four of us as we didn't spend a great deal of time in the cabin. Nothing to complain about here. Entertainment I really can't comment on this as we never went to a show... By about 9pm, the kids were wiped out (as we were too) from being in the sun all day. I heard no complaints from other passengers regarding shows. From the 2007 Crown Princess cruise, it was fantastic, so I can only guess it was similar on this voyage. Ship This ship was originally built in 2004 and underwent a two and half week dry dock at the end of January. This was the second sailing out of dry dock. During this period, the casino was relocated one deck higher and the Sterling Steakhouse was relocated and made larger. We never saw this because it was not yet complete. Other renovations were (as mentioned), the brand new casino, all televisions were replaced with Viewsonic 26' LCD units, carpeting replaced in a lot of areas, and a completely new Piazza area at mid-ship, from decks 5 up to 7. On Deck 5, you'd find the International Cafe (I spent a lot of time there with Emmanuel baking up fresh cookies for me). You'll also find Vines, the Wine bar, Passenger Services, the tour desk, among the other normal shops and services at mid-ship. The entire renovation process in the Piazza was remarkable. The finishes, wood, trim etc were flawless. What set it all off was the marble/granite staircase with a single center runner attaching each riser - impressive. Movies under the Stars was a hit with most of the crowd, from what I could gather. They had various videos playing throughout the day - from Superbowl to concerts to recent movies - even kids movies (Bee Movie) for the 38 children on board. The layout of the ship was typical. Public areas were always clean and tidy. Deck attendants were seen balancing the tubs and pools on a daily basis. Dining This was an issue. It started with the same old tired breakfast items most buffets usually have. However, throughout the course of the week, it NEVER changed. We did utilize the dining room for breakfasts on 2 occasions but again, never changed. On to lunch - again, the buffet never changed. The Trident Grill serving burgers and fries got tired after the first 2 days. The pizzeria of course was the same (you can't stray from that), but too much of the same. This leads me to the dining room for diner. You always had the same staple items - Beef tenderloin every night (I'm a big beef lover, but please attempt to prepare it differently sometimes! ) , baked chicken (there are numerous ways to prepare chicken rather than just baked), lamb, and pasta. Again, just to repetitive. To qualify, this wasn't the case in Feb of 2007 on the Crown Princess - it was quite the opposite. However, 2 hours and 15 minutes for a dinner seating is a little much for me...nevermind the kids (Nicholas rarely made it thorough diner). Nothing against the wait staff, however, I don't think Princess has the Anytime Dining down to a science like Norwegian (NCL). We were on that in 2001 and it was like clockwork. (that's another review). In general, it wasn't the fact that you'd go hungry on this ship, it was, in my opinion, the lack of variety and the quality of the food. Ports of Call What can I say......Simply amazing. My wife will recommend the port talk, which was held in one of the lounges by the cruise director explaining what each port had to offer. The wives were gone for HOURS and returned with a book. This was "the bible" for all of the ports. They said that it only cost $25 - but you get a free bag when you arrive at the first port. Well... with that logic, I can go down to my local Chevy dealership and purchase a $60,000 Corvette brochure. Afterward, they give me a free Corvette. They didn't share my humor. Anyway, my wife lives to shop (I should start a help group). Barbados - We went on a catamaran on a swim with the turtles adventure. Due to the rough conditions of the sea, we were made aware that there were no turtles (They went elsewhere). We were offered a refund on the tour, however, they said that they promised us a fantastic snorkeling tour - and that they did. We went over two shipwrecks...afterwards, on to the beach for a couple of hours and then the rum punch and local beer (Banks) started flowing. The rest of the day was kind of a blur. The rest of the ports, St. Lucia, Antigua, Tortola, and St. Thomas were all pretty much the same. At each port, we simply hired an open air taxi and had him drive us around the island, pointing out the highlights, which ended with him dropping us off at a beach for a few hours, then back to the ship. Shopping was pretty much the same at each port, with your usual selections of alcohol purchases, spices, shirts, etc. Really, nothing to complain about. Children's Programs Really didn't investigate this too much, as our kids were with us all the time. On a ship with 3100+ passengers, there were only 38 children on board. Not rowdy at all. From what little we saw of the children, they were all well behaved and quite often, went unnoticed. Of course, there was the odd person who would complain about children, but that was to be expected. Conclusion Great cruise, and vacation. We would do it again, but on a different cruise line. There are numerous choices for cruising on lesser known lines, or smaller ships which would lend more personal service. However, Great vacation! Looking forward to a 2010 vacation! Cheers Vijay Doobay Markham, Ontario, Canada doob@rogers.com

Sand, Palm Trees, and Relaxation!! A+++

Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by dssking

Trip Details
This was our 6th cruise (3 Carnival, 1 NCL, 1 Princess), with each having distinct differences in each area, but I'll focus on the Caribbean Princess. I was travelling with my wife (36), son (3) and daughter (6), along with another couple and their daughter.
Embarkation
We arrived at the Pan-American Pier at 3pm on Sunday to undergo the embarkation process. Now we weren't as tired as most of the travelers we witnessed in the terminal, as we spent two days at the Rio Mar in Rio Grand, and not travelling for 12 hours through various airports. We walked right up to the desk and was pleasantly greeted by Princess Personnel where we were promptly given our shipboard cards (as were the kids). From there, we boarded the ship and were able to get right to the cabin and become familiar with our surroundings. Approximately 2 hours later, our luggage and golf clubs arrived and we were able to settle in to our home for the next 7 days.
Cabin
We were in an inside cabin with two upper bunks for the kids (which they absolutely loved). Consequently, they disliked it last year on Carnival (which led me to sleep up there). It was fine for the four of us as we didn't spend a great deal of time in the cabin. Nothing to complain about here.
Entertainment
I really can't comment on this as we never went to a show... By about 9pm, the kids were wiped out (as we were too) from being in the sun all day. I heard no complaints from other passengers regarding shows. From the 2007 Crown Princess cruise, it was fantastic, so I can only guess it was similar on this voyage.
Ship
This ship was originally built in 2004 and underwent a two and half week dry dock at the end of January. This was the second sailing out of dry dock. During this period, the casino was relocated one deck higher and the Sterling Steakhouse was relocated and made larger. We never saw this because it was not yet complete. Other renovations were (as mentioned), the brand new casino, all televisions were replaced with Viewsonic 26' LCD units, carpeting replaced in a lot of areas, and a completely new Piazza area at mid-ship, from decks 5 up to 7.
On Deck 5, you'd find the International Cafe (I spent a lot of time there with Emmanuel baking up fresh cookies for me). You'll also find Vines, the Wine bar, Passenger Services, the tour desk, among the other normal shops and services at mid-ship. The entire renovation process in the Piazza was remarkable. The finishes, wood, trim etc were flawless. What set it all off was the marble/granite staircase with a single center runner attaching each riser - impressive.
Movies under the Stars was a hit with most of the crowd, from what I could gather. They had various videos playing throughout the day - from Superbowl to concerts to recent movies - even kids movies (Bee Movie) for the 38 children on board. The layout of the ship was typical. Public areas were always clean and tidy. Deck attendants were seen balancing the tubs and pools on a daily basis.
Dining
This was an issue. It started with the same old tired breakfast items most buffets usually have. However, throughout the course of the week, it NEVER changed. We did utilize the dining room for breakfasts on 2 occasions but again, never changed. On to lunch - again, the buffet never changed. The Trident Grill serving burgers and fries got tired after the first 2 days. The pizzeria of course was the same (you can't stray from that), but too much of the same. This leads me to the dining room for diner. You always had the same staple items - Beef tenderloin every night (I'm a big beef lover, but please attempt to prepare it differently sometimes! ) , baked chicken (there are numerous ways to prepare chicken rather than just baked), lamb, and pasta. Again, just to repetitive.
To qualify, this wasn't the case in Feb of 2007 on the Crown Princess - it was quite the opposite. However, 2 hours and 15 minutes for a dinner seating is a little much for me...nevermind the kids (Nicholas rarely made it thorough diner). Nothing against the wait staff, however, I don't think Princess has the Anytime Dining down to a science like Norwegian (NCL). We were on that in 2001 and it was like clockwork. (that's another review). In general, it wasn't the fact that you'd go hungry on this ship, it was, in my opinion, the lack of variety and the quality of the food.
Ports of Call
What can I say......Simply amazing. My wife will recommend the port talk, which was held in one of the lounges by the cruise director explaining what each port had to offer. The wives were gone for HOURS and returned with a book. This was "the bible" for all of the ports. They said that it only cost $25 - but you get a free bag when you arrive at the first port. Well... with that logic, I can go down to my local Chevy dealership and purchase a $60,000 Corvette brochure. Afterward, they give me a free Corvette. They didn't share my humor. Anyway, my wife lives to shop (I should start a help group).
Barbados - We went on a catamaran on a swim with the turtles adventure. Due to the rough conditions of the sea, we were made aware that there were no turtles (They went elsewhere). We were offered a refund on the tour, however, they said that they promised us a fantastic snorkeling tour - and that they did. We went over two shipwrecks...afterwards, on to the beach for a couple of hours and then the rum punch and local beer (Banks) started flowing. The rest of the day was kind of a blur. The rest of the ports, St. Lucia, Antigua, Tortola, and St. Thomas were all pretty much the same. At each port, we simply hired an open air taxi and had him drive us around the island, pointing out the highlights, which ended with him dropping us off at a beach for a few hours, then back to the ship.
Shopping was pretty much the same at each port, with your usual selections of alcohol purchases, spices, shirts, etc. Really, nothing to complain about.
Children's Programs
Really didn't investigate this too much, as our kids were with us all the time. On a ship with 3100+ passengers, there were only 38 children on board. Not rowdy at all. From what little we saw of the children, they were all well behaved and quite often, went unnoticed. Of course, there was the odd person who would complain about children, but that was to be expected.
Conclusion
Great cruise, and vacation. We would do it again, but on a different cruise line. There are numerous choices for cruising on lesser known lines, or smaller ships which would lend more personal service.
However, Great vacation! Looking forward to a 2010 vacation!
Cheers
Vijay Doobay Markham, Ontario, Canada doob@rogers.com
dssking’s Full Rating Summary
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