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Some of our best friends love Princess and wouldn't cruise on anything else. When we saw this British Isles tour it had the ports we wanted so we thought why not - let's do it! I'll start at the beginning. We were glad Princess had transportation from downtown London to Southampton - a real advantage! It was rather crowded and a bit disorganized at Victoria Coach Station, but we got to Southampton in good time. I thought the embarkation was very smooth and quick. We went straight to our cabin on Deck 9 and went to the restaurant to get some lunch. To our surprise the restaurants were all closed - it was 1:35. We arrived when Princess brought us and to not have the restaurants open was a great disappointment. We did go up to the Lido and made our way thru the crowds to grab something - very crowded, but to be expected with the dining rooms all closed. Our luggage was put outside our door (but not brought in to our room) in a timely manner. We met our cabin steward shortly after we got there, Christian, who was fantastic. Throughout the cruise he was always there ready to help with whatever we needed. The ship was much larger than we're used to but I thought people were very well spread out - the only times felt crowded were when we docked and everyone wanted to get off the ship at the same time. Our cabin was clean and well maintained. The bed was very comfortable and the other furniture (sofa and chair) were in good condition. The only sign of the ship being "old" was rust on the balcony under the glass, but it didn't do anything to make us that the ship was in bad shape. We only went to one show because we wanted to be up and out early each morning. The show itself was very good, but way too LOUD. We were sitting in the back row and could have used some earplugs. I noticed that with other entertainment throughout the ship - just way too loud. Even the 2 violinists in the plaza were too loud to be enjoyed. If you were sitting at any of the tables in the area of them, you couldn't carry on a conversation with the person next to you. Turning the volume down would make it much more enjoyable. We didn't use any of the ships excursions because they are too costly and force you in to a large group. We prefer to find our own excursions - smaller groups and less costly. Our 2 biggest disappointments with the Caribbean Princess were in the Dining rooms and the Main Desk and Shore Excursion desk. We have heard that Princess ships have magnificent dining and it really missed the mark for us. There wasn't a wide selection/variety of foods. The beef generally had a lot of 'gristle' on it and usually was overcooked. Soups were often not hot - luke warm at the best. On the service in the dining rooms, it just never came together. It almost felt like it was a totally new crew trying to get used to each other. Some nights service was excellent. Other nights it took over 2 1/2 hours to get through dinner. Some nights I didn't get the things I ordered and other nights they tried to give it to me twice. One night when the service was particularly spread out, I had finished my soup and was waiting for the next course. About 20 minutes after they cleared my soup bowl, a server brought me a bowl of the same soup. I told her I already had my soup and she asked "Are you sure?" - yes, I'm sure . . . . . Another night I had a salad, and had ordered the crab cake as an appetizer. My entrée came next, and the crab cake never did come. I know they would have brought it if I had asked for it, but by that time I was ready to go. We did have 2 servers that were top notch - Victoria and another lady from Ukraine. They were exceptional! The other are of problem was the main desk. The first couple of nights you'd think they'd realize there would be a lot of people with questions/problems yet they often would only have 2 or 3 at the desk. Very slow. Once you finally got up there and asked your question, the answer would be snapped back at you and if you tried to ask for clarification, they made you feel like you needed to leave. I understand they might have been overwhelmed also, but the management should have had more people there helping. When we went to the Shore excursion desk we asked a question and started to ask 2nd question, the woman snapped at us and said we could find the answer on line and then looked past us to the next person - glad we didn't sign up for anything. There was a good selection of movies "under the stars" that played outside every afternoon and evening. If it hadn't been so cold, I would have enjoyed them. At the end, the disembarkation was one of the easiest and smoothest we've ever had. A few days before the end, we received the schedule of when we'd be leaving to get on the bus to take us to Heathrow (we thought it cut the time a little close to our flight, and we didn't realize we could have asked for an earlier departure time). We were "Green 6" and waited in the assigned area till it was time to leave. We got to where our luggage had been taken, found our luggage quickly, went thru customs, got on the bus and away we went. All in all, the ship itself was in great shape - beautiful and clean. The housekeeping staff was wonderful. The Dining Room and Main Desk staff need some help in smoothing things out.

Good but not what we expected

Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by Herbs Mom

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Some of our best friends love Princess and wouldn't cruise on anything else. When we saw this British Isles tour it had the ports we wanted so we thought why not - let's do it!

I'll start at the beginning. We were glad Princess had transportation from downtown London to Southampton - a real advantage! It was rather crowded and a bit disorganized at Victoria Coach Station, but we got to Southampton in good time. I thought the embarkation was very smooth and quick. We went straight to our cabin on Deck 9 and went to the restaurant to get some lunch. To our surprise the restaurants were all closed - it was 1:35. We arrived when Princess brought us and to not have the restaurants open was a great disappointment. We did go up to the Lido and made our way thru the crowds to grab something - very crowded, but to be expected with the dining rooms all closed.

Our luggage was put outside our door (but not brought in to our room) in a timely manner. We met our cabin steward shortly after we got there, Christian, who was fantastic. Throughout the cruise he was always there ready to help with whatever we needed.

The ship was much larger than we're used to but I thought people were very well spread out - the only times felt crowded were when we docked and everyone wanted to get off the ship at the same time.

Our cabin was clean and well maintained. The bed was very comfortable and the other furniture (sofa and chair) were in good condition. The only sign of the ship being "old" was rust on the balcony under the glass, but it didn't do anything to make us that the ship was in bad shape.

We only went to one show because we wanted to be up and out early each morning. The show itself was very good, but way too LOUD. We were sitting in the back row and could have used some earplugs. I noticed that with other entertainment throughout the ship - just way too loud. Even the 2 violinists in the plaza were too loud to be enjoyed. If you were sitting at any of the tables in the area of them, you couldn't carry on a conversation with the person next to you. Turning the volume down would make it much more enjoyable.

We didn't use any of the ships excursions because they are too costly and force you in to a large group. We prefer to find our own excursions - smaller groups and less costly.

Our 2 biggest disappointments with the Caribbean Princess were in the Dining rooms and the Main Desk and Shore Excursion desk. We have heard that Princess ships have magnificent dining and it really missed the mark for us. There wasn't a wide selection/variety of foods. The beef generally had a lot of 'gristle' on it and usually was overcooked. Soups were often not hot - luke warm at the best. On the service in the dining rooms, it just never came together. It almost felt like it was a totally new crew trying to get used to each other. Some nights service was excellent. Other nights it took over 2 1/2 hours to get through dinner. Some nights I didn't get the things I ordered and other nights they tried to give it to me twice. One night when the service was particularly spread out, I had finished my soup and was waiting for the next course. About 20 minutes after they cleared my soup bowl, a server brought me a bowl of the same soup. I told her I already had my soup and she asked "Are you sure?" - yes, I'm sure . . . . . Another night I had a salad, and had ordered the crab cake as an appetizer. My entrée came next, and the crab cake never did come. I know they would have brought it if I had asked for it, but by that time I was ready to go. We did have 2 servers that were top notch - Victoria and another lady from Ukraine. They were exceptional!

The other are of problem was the main desk. The first couple of nights you'd think they'd realize there would be a lot of people with questions/problems yet they often would only have 2 or 3 at the desk. Very slow. Once you finally got up there and asked your question, the answer would be snapped back at you and if you tried to ask for clarification, they made you feel like you needed to leave. I understand they might have been overwhelmed also, but the management should have had more people there helping. When we went to the Shore excursion desk we asked a question and started to ask 2nd question, the woman snapped at us and said we could find the answer on line and then looked past us to the next person - glad we didn't sign up for anything.

There was a good selection of movies "under the stars" that played outside every afternoon and evening. If it hadn't been so cold, I would have enjoyed them.

At the end, the disembarkation was one of the easiest and smoothest we've ever had. A few days before the end, we received the schedule of when we'd be leaving to get on the bus to take us to Heathrow (we thought it cut the time a little close to our flight, and we didn't realize we could have asked for an earlier departure time). We were "Green 6" and waited in the assigned area till it was time to leave. We got to where our luggage had been taken, found our luggage quickly, went thru customs, got on the bus and away we went.

All in all, the ship itself was in great shape - beautiful and clean. The housekeeping staff was wonderful. The Dining Room and Main Desk staff need some help in smoothing things out.
Herbs Mom’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MD D603
We booked this cruise at the last minute and were glad we were able to get a mini-suite. It was smaller than we're used to, but it was good. The bed was very comfortable. It was nice to have 2 televisions - one toward the bed and the other in the living room area.
The bathroom was in good working order, but was very small.
The balcony also was very small, but had 2 chairs and a table. I did like that the door was a sliding door - it made going to and from the balcony very easy.
Dolphin Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Giant's Causeway
    The Odyssey Tour group was a little hard to find at first, mostly not their fault. We got off the ship and the signs pointed us to the left for BUS TOURS, so we all went that direction. We didn’t see anything marked ODYSSEY and asked a driver from another company who pointed us in the direction which was to the right of where we got off.

    Martin was there with his blue jacket on and the sign that said ODYSSEY TOURS (the busses were from another company – it would have been helpful to have known the name of the busses – would have made it easier to find on that initial search).

    We waited a few minutes for 2 who didn’t show and then we left. I liked it that Martin wanted to be punctual.

    We deviated from the usual schedule and went to Carrick--a-Rede rope bridge first to try to avoid crowds there. Martin waked thru the bus first to see who was interested in going down to the bridge, then when we got there picked up that specific amount of tickets and distributed them on the bus and collected the money (this was to avoid waiting in the line to purchase tickets). It was no problem if you changed your mind and didn’t want to go down. We changed our mind and decided to walk around the cliffs instead – beautiful views!!!! We used the hour and a half there easily and enjoyed the scenery. We next went to Giants Causeway and again, Martin was very detailed how to avoid the lines and gave great tips about it. We walked down and rode the bus back up (1 pound/person). It was very crowded down there and hard to get a good grasp of the true beauty of it with all the people crawling around.

    We did enjoy a good pub type lunch at the Nook at the top of the Causeway.

    Our drive next took us down the coast – Martin was very detailed about the area, especially the history. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery! Our tour ended in downtown Belfast where Martin showed his true passion of the division in the city in the 1960’s/1970’s + the history leading up to it. It was very interesting hearing it directly from a person who lived it.

    John was a terrific driver – always putting our safety first
    View All 82 Giant's Causeway Reviews
  • Cobh (Cork)
    We went with Paddywagon to Kinsale, Cork and Blarney. Great service - they picked us up at the pier and had us back at the appointed time. A great company - highly recommended!
    View All 343 Cobh (Cork) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Edinburgh (South Queensferry)
    We had intended on taking the train in to Edinburgh but I had slightly injured my knee a few days earlier and thought the large number of stairs to the train station would have wiped my knee out. We weren't sure about cabs, etc at the port, so we booked the Princess Bus in to Edinburgh. The price is outrageous, but it gave us the comfort of knowing we'd get in town and back again. Knowing what we know now we never would have booked the ship's bus, but would have gone to the city on our own. There was nothing wrong with the bus - just the horrific price.
    We really enjoyed our time in Edinburgh and wish we could have had more time in this wonderful city
    View All 12,776 Edinburgh (South Queensferry) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Greenock (Glasgow)
    We went out early to find the bus to try to get front seat (motion sensitive) and our bus wasn’t there yet (we were about 90 minutes early) but another Timberbush driver on an earlier tour assured us our bus would be coming in about 30 minutes. Alan pulled his bus up about 8:25 and we promptly got our cherished front seat. We left pretty close to 9 AM and went directly to Stirling Castle (for those that had preordered Stirling Castle tickets, Alan passed them out as we got on the bus). Alan was very specific about the time and place we would depart from and we left Stirling Castle just a few minutes after the assigned time. We had a beautiful drive thru the Trossachs and stopped at Aberfoyle for a lunch stop. Alan gave suggestions of places to try for lunch and also interesting things to see.

    As we were driving, Alan was full of details of the history of the area we were driving thru – very interesting.
    After Aberfoyle, we drove to the small town of Luss on Loch Lomond. Alan said we should be back to the bus in 45 minutes. Even though many in the group thought 30 minutes would be more than enough, Alan assured us that coming back in 45 minutes we’d be fine to get back to the ship in plenty of time. He said he’d never been late getting a group back to the ship and even with rush hour afternoon traffic we’d be fine. We left Luss about 5 minutes late, but he said we’d be fine and would be back to the ship by 5 PM at the latest (the “on board” time was 5:30 PM so many of us were nervous about that). I’m sure you can tell where this is going . . . And yes, it did happen. We were approaching Greenock, along the River Clyde and could see our ship and then traffic came to a complete stand-still. It took us over 30 minutes to go about ½ mile to the traffic circle where there had been a bad traffic accident. The circle was closed and we were rerouted up a hill away from the port. We knew there were several buses going to our ship that had left Luss after us, so we knew it wouldn’t just be our coach that was late. As we were going around the round-a-bout to the diversion, I saw a coach that looked like it had a “Princess” sign in the window, so that made us feel a bit better. Traffic was still very slow and we were all looking at our watches. We tried to call the emergency port number to report what was going on, but no one answered – it just kept ringing ‘busy’. By this time it was approaching 5:20 PM and were going thru a residential neighborhood, still at a ‘crawl’. No one said anything but from the look on people’s faces we were all thinking the same thing. Finally traffic opened up and Alan sped the fastest he legally could. We walked, rather ran, up the gangway at 5:38, but we weren’t the last. About 6 PM, the captain announced we would be about an hour late leaving because there were still several busses late getting back because of the fatal accident.

    My point with all of this is that independent tour operators should make it their goal to be back at the ship at least 1 hour before the “all aboard” time.

    Thru it all you could tell driver Alan was nervous (lots of finger tapping on the wheel). He legally wasn’t able to use his phone or make any contact with his office (that’s why we tried to call the emergency port number). He was still very patient with a calm exterior and did deliver us to the ship before it left.
    View All 222 Greenock (Glasgow) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Highland Day Tour
    This time we booked with Crusing Excursions and I was very pleased with them. Again, we left the ship about 90 minutes before our tour was to leave to get our cherished front seat. We looked for a Cruising Excursions rep where we were told they would be, but we were so early, we understood why no one was there. We kept walking toward other busses outside the port gate and we found 2 Cruising Excursions busses. Mike/Mick looked at our paper and told us we’d be on his bus. He came back in a few minutes and let us get on the bus – very friendly and helpful (the bus had USB plugs – very helpful, but no WiFi. I think no WiFi is a good thing - the people should be looking at the beautiful scenery – not glued to their phones). About 8:20 Caroline came. She and Jeff were at the prescribed location over at the port and the rest of the passengers were on board before the leaving time of 9:00 AM. We drove directly to Beauly and were given time to explore the little village. Caroline told us several things to see in the village, including where the restrooms were. All people were back on board at the assigned time and we left for Loch Ness and after that Inverness. As we were driving between the different locations, Caroline (and sometimes Jeff) were great at telling about what we were seeing, the history of the area, and Caroline told a lot about the geology of the area.

    Caroline was very pleasant and helpful to all the passengers. We got back to the ship about 3:02 - over 2 hours before the “All onboard” time – YEAH!
    View All 57 Highland Day Tour Reviews
  • Honfleur
    If I could I'd give our taxi driver a "10" rating - Marc was wonderful! We were tired by the time we got to LeHarve, but wanted to do something fun. We left the ship and found a line a cabs waiting to take us where we wanted to go. It was our great fortune that Marc was the next cab in line. For 125 euros, he took 4 of us to Honfleur, drove us around the city and showed us some great things and then dropped us of at the center of town. He said he be back in 2 hours to pick us up at the same spot. We had a delightful time in this quaint town - it was Market Day, so it was extra crowded, but lots of fun things to do and see.
    Marc was at the appointed location at the precise time and took us back to the ship, all the while telling us about this wonderful time in France. He was open to a longer time and would have charged a little extra.
    If you're going to LeHavre and want a great guide and driver, arrange ahead of time for Marc with Artisant Taxi of LeHavre. His email is mbetrancourt@wandadoo.fr
    View All 43 Honfleur Reviews