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We chose Princess because our friends have raved about their many cruises, and we were not disappointed. We flew in from upstate NY and spent a few days in Key Largo, then returned our car to the airport and caught a taxi to the ship. Embarkation was effortless and quick and our luggage had arrived by the time we got to the cabin, so we needn't have packed our swimming things separately as advised. We enjoyed doing the "treasure hunt" by getting our card stamped at various places around the ship - a good way to get orientated. (though we only found out after the cruise finished that there was an unadvertised spot where you can go to the front of the ship and watch as it comes into the port.) The first day we had gale force winds which was interesting! They had to close the pools and cancel the evening show. But we survived and from Day 2 (our cruise was 5 days) it was great. The food was amazing, especially the night we celebrated my husband's 6-th birthday at the Crown Grill. He announced that he hadn't had a steak that good in a long time. (And he had had a steak at a very nice restaurant just the previous week on his actual birthday.) We enjoyed the fact that you could do everything or nothing. One thing that annoyed us was the way people hogged the loungers at the pool with their belongings while they were obviously somewhere else, having lunch or whatever. I also wished I had known about the gym classes before I got there, too late. Those are not advertised in the daily news and updates. We chose a cabin with an outside view and had way more space than we expected. I watched a lot of videos on youtube and discovered I didn't need to have a toiletry bag hanging over the door, there was plenty of room and more, for our things. We had lots of drawer space and a big open hanging closet. Our cabin attendant was very nice but we never really had to ask for anything (except a thinner pillow which he couldn't get as they are apparently all new!) We did 2 excursions through Princess. We read up a lot and decided not to take the risk of a private excursion as we heard some horror stories of people being left behind when things went wrong and the ferry was delayed. We did the cave tubing in Belize which was absolutely amazing. We took the tender from the ship to the port and our guide was waiting for us. I wish I could remember his name, he was very informative and lots of fun. We found out we didn't need closed shoes for the hike which was a half an hour stroll, with another guide pointing out interesting things along the way. (We were divided into groups of 8.) Don't bother to bring closed shoes unless you plan on wearing them in the river, I had to lock mine in the locker with the rest of our belongings as you get your tube at the beginning of the hike, so I walked in my strops. The locker cost $7 - which was not explained in the excursion details. We understood it was included so that was a bit of an annoyance. The cave tubing was a once in a lifetime experience but be prepared for a long day as it took about and hour and a half to get there, plus the ferry, plus time for lunch etc. In Cozumel we did the Tulum Mayan ruins tour. We chose this for the location - on cliffs above the beach, plus 2 hours free time. We met in the theatre just before 8am and were on the ferry and off to the mainland by 8.30. The ferry took about 45 min. Then the bus ride was about 45 minutes or more. We were somewhat disappointed with the ruins, especially as our guide spent a great deal of time telling us about the wonders of other ruins nearby e.g. Chichen Itza (which we later heard were fantastic) plus others around the world. It was obvious he believes aliens had invaded our planet, which is not what we came to hear, we felt we really didn't learn that much about the Mayan culture. Our 2 hours free time ended up being 1 and a half hours, and we had not yet seen much of the site as we stood under a tree most of the time while he talked. The beach was closed but there would not have been much time for it anyway as we still wanted to explore the site, plus it took a good 10-15 min to get back to the bus and then grab something to eat. We were then taken back to Playa del Carmen where we left the bus, walked around and were then given about 40 minutes free time. Now our towels were locked on the bus so once again we couldn't swim. We would much rather have gone back to the port and have had a little bit of time in Cozumel. We arrived back just before 5 and left the port very shortly afterwards. This was an extremely long day we didn't really feel we got value for money. Perhaps that was colored by being extremely disappointed with our guide. We spent a day at Costa Maya and took a trolley/shuttle for $3 each down to the beach and "downtown" which was fantastic. It was great to mingle among the locals, eat on the beach at the Crazy Lobster, have a one hour massage on the beach for only $20 - best ever! - and then swim/lie on the loungers offered by the restaurant. Definitely a must, we were very glad we didn't simply spend the day at the very nice but touristy port. Our final day at sea was great with much to choose from. I finally discovered I could go for a run on the deck (so much nicer than the treadmill!) and also went to the cooking demonstration, mainly because I wanted to do the tour of the galley. It turned out to be a comedy show "cook off" between the Maitre D' and the executive chef. It was hilarious but rather long (90 minutes) and the galley tour was a 5 minute walk through. We loved wandering around on the various evenings, going to a show or listening to the great pianist in the Crooner's bar. We chose anytime dining and tended to go around 7.30 or 8 and never once had to wait. We met a couple at the airport and had dinner with them and others a few times - again never a problem finding a table. Another highlight was afternoon tea, served beautifully in silver tea pots by gloved waiters. Definitely a must! As a South African, I love scones with jam and cream and I really enjoyed them on the ship. It was also nice to meet 2 other couples during this time and compare notes - our first cruise, one couple's 60th. We chose to take our own luggage off the ship. Our flight was at 12 so we chose to disembark at 7.15 as we had no clue as to how long it would take. We also read that finding a taxi could be a problem. Well we were at the airport (a 10 minute drive) by 8 am and so had a very long wait at a very crazy busy airport. Back to reality. All in all we really enjoyed the cruise but I would love the option of spending more than just one day in a port. We never got to see Cozumel except for the 5 minutes on the pier, on our way to and from our excursion. Next time we will try to find something that doesn't have 3 port days in a row. My husband particularly would have enjoyed sea days in-between. The ship is showing signs of age but I understand it is due for an overhaul soon. My husband chatted to someone who was taking measurements of all sorts of things for the re-furbishment.

Our first cruise on Caribbean Princess

Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by Moiralouise

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2017
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview
We chose Princess because our friends have raved about their many cruises, and we were not disappointed.

We flew in from upstate NY and spent a few days in Key Largo, then returned our car to the airport and caught a taxi to the ship. Embarkation was effortless and quick and our luggage had arrived by the time we got to the cabin, so we needn't have packed our swimming things separately as advised. We enjoyed doing the "treasure hunt" by getting our card stamped at various places around the ship - a good way to get orientated. (though we only found out after the cruise finished that there was an unadvertised spot where you can go to the front of the ship and watch as it comes into the port.)

The first day we had gale force winds which was interesting! They had to close the pools and cancel the evening show. But we survived and from Day 2 (our cruise was 5 days) it was great. The food was amazing, especially the night we celebrated my husband's 6-th birthday at the Crown Grill. He announced that he hadn't had a steak that good in a long time. (And he had had a steak at a very nice restaurant just the previous week on his actual birthday.)

We enjoyed the fact that you could do everything or nothing. One thing that annoyed us was the way people hogged the loungers at the pool with their belongings while they were obviously somewhere else, having lunch or whatever.

I also wished I had known about the gym classes before I got there, too late. Those are not advertised in the daily news and updates.

We chose a cabin with an outside view and had way more space than we expected. I watched a lot of videos on youtube and discovered I didn't need to have a toiletry bag hanging over the door, there was plenty of room and more, for our things. We had lots of drawer space and a big open hanging closet. Our cabin attendant was very nice but we never really had to ask for anything (except a thinner pillow which he couldn't get as they are apparently all new!)

We did 2 excursions through Princess. We read up a lot and decided not to take the risk of a private excursion as we heard some horror stories of people being left behind when things went wrong and the ferry was delayed. We did the cave tubing in Belize which was absolutely amazing. We took the tender from the ship to the port and our guide was waiting for us. I wish I could remember his name, he was very informative and lots of fun. We found out we didn't need closed shoes for the hike which was a half an hour stroll, with another guide pointing out interesting things along the way. (We were divided into groups of 8.) Don't bother to bring closed shoes unless you plan on wearing them in the river, I had to lock mine in the locker with the rest of our belongings as you get your tube at the beginning of the hike, so I walked in my strops. The locker cost $7 - which was not explained in the excursion details. We understood it was included so that was a bit of an annoyance.

The cave tubing was a once in a lifetime experience but be prepared for a long day as it took about and hour and a half to get there, plus the ferry, plus time for lunch etc.

In Cozumel we did the Tulum Mayan ruins tour. We chose this for the location - on cliffs above the beach, plus 2 hours free time. We met in the theatre just before 8am and were on the ferry and off to the mainland by 8.30. The ferry took about 45 min. Then the bus ride was about 45 minutes or more. We were somewhat disappointed with the ruins, especially as our guide spent a great deal of time telling us about the wonders of other ruins nearby e.g. Chichen Itza (which we later heard were fantastic) plus others around the world. It was obvious he believes aliens had invaded our planet, which is not what we came to hear, we felt we really didn't learn that much about the Mayan culture. Our 2 hours free time ended up being 1 and a half hours, and we had not yet seen much of the site as we stood under a tree most of the time while he talked. The beach was closed but there would not have been much time for it anyway as we still wanted to explore the site, plus it took a good 10-15 min to get back to the bus and then grab something to eat.

We were then taken back to Playa del Carmen where we left the bus, walked around and were then given about 40 minutes free time. Now our towels were locked on the bus so once again we couldn't swim. We would much rather have gone back to the port and have had a little bit of time in Cozumel. We arrived back just before 5 and left the port very shortly afterwards. This was an extremely long day we didn't really feel we got value for money. Perhaps that was colored by being extremely disappointed with our guide.

We spent a day at Costa Maya and took a trolley/shuttle for $3 each down to the beach and "downtown" which was fantastic. It was great to mingle among the locals, eat on the beach at the Crazy Lobster, have a one hour massage on the beach for only $20 - best ever! - and then swim/lie on the loungers offered by the restaurant. Definitely a must, we were very glad we didn't simply spend the day at the very nice but touristy port.

Our final day at sea was great with much to choose from. I finally discovered I could go for a run on the deck (so much nicer than the treadmill!) and also went to the cooking demonstration, mainly because I wanted to do the tour of the galley. It turned out to be a comedy show "cook off" between the Maitre D' and the executive chef. It was hilarious but rather long (90 minutes) and the galley tour was a 5 minute walk through.

We loved wandering around on the various evenings, going to a show or listening to the great pianist in the Crooner's bar. We chose anytime dining and tended to go around 7.30 or 8 and never once had to wait. We met a couple at the airport and had dinner with them and others a few times - again never a problem finding a table.

Another highlight was afternoon tea, served beautifully in silver tea pots by gloved waiters. Definitely a must! As a South African, I love scones with jam and cream and I really enjoyed them on the ship. It was also nice to meet 2 other couples during this time and compare notes - our first cruise, one couple's 60th.

We chose to take our own luggage off the ship. Our flight was at 12 so we chose to disembark at 7.15 as we had no clue as to how long it would take. We also read that finding a taxi could be a problem. Well we were at the airport (a 10 minute drive) by 8 am and so had a very long wait at a very crazy busy airport. Back to reality.

All in all we really enjoyed the cruise but I would love the option of spending more than just one day in a port. We never got to see Cozumel except for the 5 minutes on the pier, on our way to and from our excursion. Next time we will try to find something that doesn't have 3 port days in a row. My husband particularly would have enjoyed sea days in-between.

The ship is showing signs of age but I understand it is due for an overhaul soon. My husband chatted to someone who was taking measurements of all sorts of things for the re-furbishment.
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Cabin Review

Oceanview
Cabin OC P209
Much more space than we expected. Clean. More than adequate. Lots of clever space to unpack our stuff.
Plaza Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cave-Tubing
    Great day, tubing a great experience. Did it through the ship as we had heard some horror stories about ferry boats being delayed etc. Didn't know we would have to pay for a locker for our things - $6-8 depending on size. The instructions from the cruise info were not sufficient - took my walking shoes for nothing, had to lock them away before getting our tubes for the 30 min "hike" (stroll through the jungle). Lunch was very limited as our excursion didn't include the lunch provided for other excursions.
    View All 344 Cave-Tubing Reviews
  • Costa Maya
    We wanted to see "beyond the wall" (exact words of one of the vendors at the port) and so we paid $3 each and hopped on a trolley for a 10 minutes ride downtown. We could see the ship from the beach. Great experience, wandering down the street, having a massage on the beach ($20 for an hour, best ever!), eating lunch on the beach, swimming and sunbathing on the loungers. Cab ride back cost @2 each.
    View All 2,660 Costa Maya Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Costa Maya Cruise Port Review
  • Tulum
    A very long day (8-5pm.) First a 40 min or so ferry ride to Playa del Carmen and then a 45 min or so bus ride. We chose this tour for the location on the beach and 2 hours free time to do our own thing. Our guide was a great disappointment, telling us about all the other spectacular places e.g. Chichen Itza and other places around the world. Spent most of the time talking under the shade of a tree. Had one and a half hours free time instead of 2 and most of the ruins still to explore by the time he had finished telling us about "our fathers who came from the stars." Didn't feel we learnt much about Mayan culture at all. Would not have had much time for a swim even if the beach had been open, as there was a lot to see, plus a 10-15 min walk back to the bus and still had to grab lunch. Then a 45 min drive back to Playa del Carmen, with some walking around and then 40 min free time. Now our towels were locked on the bus so once again we couldn't swim. Would much rather have gone straight back to Cozumel to at least have a bit of time there. We arrived just in time for the ship to leave - I think they were waiting for us as there were no cloths to wipe our faces this time.
    View All 124 Tulum Reviews