We are relative newbies to cruising. Did an Alaska cruise about 17 years ago on Royal Caribbean with our kids and my wife's parents (we live in Vancouver so it was convenient). Then no cruising till April this year, when my wife and I (59-60 years young) did the 10 day Eastern Caribbean on the Royal Princess. After the first few days we thought we had made a mistake and cruising wasn't for us. But by the end, we had learned the ropes and grown to like it very much. So much that when we found ourselves looking to escape the Vancouver rain this Fall, we got a last minute deal on the Royal Princess (again!) - this time doing the southern Caribbean. We are surprised by the poor reviews, particularly considering value versus price. Maybe it means as we try other ships and other cruise lines we will be even happier! Over the past 16 years, our warm weather winter vacations have primarily been "All Inclusive" resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, which are totally relaxing and we love. However, cruising has many great features that we also enjoy.
We found the Royal Princess to be a beautiful ship. Although there were about 3400 guests aboard, it is hard to believe how well everyone is distributed - we rarely felt it to be overcrowded.
Food: ranged from so-so to great.
Buffet: so-so. We have found the buffet's at all-inclusive resorts to be much better. We therefore had most meals at the MDR or elsewhere.
MDR: It varies, but mostly quite good. Soups and salads could be improved. Main courses and desserts are usually very good.
Alfredo's: Excellent Pizza, and lovely restaurant for lunch!
Sabatini's: Unlike the Crown Grill, Sabatini's was not worth the extra cost
Crown Grill: Fantastic!! what a great steakhouse. Comparable to any top end steak house. We ended up having two dinners here.
Service: we found wait staff to be consistently great - efficient great service, always friendly. Cabin steward was great, too. Not sure how Princess does it, but we were very impressed.
Outside Deck: The pool areas can get crowded on Sea Days but there are enough different areas that one can usually find a good place to lounge.
Sanctuary: Wow! We didn't really check into this until late in the cruise. At that point we were lucky to be able to reserve two loungers for the first half of the last Sea Day. What a great place - feels like an upgrade from economy to first class! We will be back.
Shows: Much better that what we get at All Inclusive Resorts. Very pleased.
Cabin: We had a deluxe balcony cabin both times and it was very nice. Beds are great, lots of storage to unpack. This time we had a partial view on Emerald deck, due to last minute booking, but it was still okay.
Itinerary: Both Eastern and Southern Caribbean were excellent itineraries. We liked the southern a bit better, but both were good. You definitely pack in a lot on these 10 day trips! Our favorites on this trip were Aruba, Grand Turk and Bonaire. Last trip - Saint Lucia.
Extras: I do prefer All inclusive resorts where just about everything, including drinks are included. However, I found Princess has resonably priced the drinks, as well as other extras, which was nice.
Yes, there were things we didn't like but they were not show stoppers. We will continue to try out different cruises, but will also keep going to All Inclusives, as well as other travel. But we found Princess to be great overall, and we really liked the Royal Princess!
Nice layout. Great bed! Lots of storage.
Stayed at Hollywood Beach
Rented a Car - Beautiful Island, great beaches and snorkeling.
Took passenger ferry to Klein Bonaire for snorkeling. Very nice.
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Buses were really poor! First one broke down and we had to wait for replacement. Second bus had a flat tire in the mountains. Luckily bus behind us had spare. This was a Princess excursion and they shouldn't have such poor buses. Long bus ride on an old poor uncomfortable bus. Once we got to the actual river tubing it was good!View All 34 River Tubing Reviews
Taxi to Megan's Bay. It's beautiful!
Nice reef, very clear water, but not many fish.View All 208 Snorkeling Reviews
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