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After enjoying several cruises on another line, we tried Princess and were very happy. The ship is beautiful, the staff extremely helpful, and the food plentiful and delicious. Our cabin was a little smaller than expected (mini suite), but since we faced front, the balcony was very large. The entertainment was great, and we always enjoyed the live musical performers in the lounges. We loved afternoon tea and the Sanctuary! What we liked most of all was the clientele - the average age was an older crowd, all fun and friendly. Very few little kids, which we appreciate as empty nesters. The ship didn't have some of the fancy activities like other ships (rock climbing wall, zip line, etc.), but we don't do those anyway. The music was appropriately geared toward this age group and there was still plenty to do that we couldn't do it all. We met many nice people. We did a few shore excursions - Aruba and Grenada via Princess, and we rented a golf cart on Bonaire, which we highly recommend. The Aruba tour was great, but Grenada was disappointing. We made a last minute decision not to do our 2 hour walking tour of Martinique, since it was pouring as we got to the gangway. Although it cleared up shortly after, others told us that many shops were closed for Armistice Day (Nov. 11), so they were disappointed. We chose Club Class and enjoyed dinner whenever we arrived, with no wait and excellent servers. However, at breakfast, there is one waiter who stands and stares at you angrily if you are there past the ending time, which happened with us when we met nice people and got talking. We would have preferred if someone just nicely told us they were closing - we didn't mean to be ignorant but were enjoying ourselves and lost track of the time. That was not very friendly! The boarding process was the only very disappointing thing about this cruise. Since the ship came from Europe, we were notified recently that there would be a Coast Guard drill. They told us boarding would not start until 3 pm and were repeatedly told NOT to go to the dock before that time. When we got there at 3, there were long lines to get into the building and go through security, and paying extra for Club Class only saved us a few minutes in a shorter line once inside the terminal. We later talked to several passengers who got to the ship much earlier and were in their rooms by 1 pm! Those who arrived early also booked all the prime days at the Sanctuary, which you cannot book until you are on board. Many people who arrived at 3 as instructed were unhappy about this. We wish that maybe having Club Class would have provided us with an earlier boarding time, and that Princess had been more straightforward about boarding times. There were multiple issues with elevators, not stopping at our floors sometimes and then stopping at empty floors other times. As with other cruise lines, we wish the staff would remove belongings from the "chair hogs" after a reasonable time. On a crowded sailing day, I sat next to 4 "occupied" chairs for over an hour with no one ever coming back to sit on them, while multiple passengers searched for chairs. However, there seemed to be plenty of deck chairs all around the ship, so if you didn't need to be near the pool or watch the movie, you could still find something. The Movies Under the Stars was very cool, playing movies as well as concerts during the day and at night. The fitness center isn't very big, and on sailing days it was impossible to use the machines due to the crowds. We'd like to see them replace the teen/kid center with a larger fitness center - fewer than 2 dozen kids were on the entire ship, while many people were trying to work out. Overall, it was a wonderful 10-day cruise that we enjoyed very much. Assuming this boarding situation will be more seamless in the future, we look forward to cruising with Princess again.

First time on Princess - Definitely won't be our last!

Royal Princess Cruise Review by jerseygalcruiser

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
After enjoying several cruises on another line, we tried Princess and were very happy. The ship is beautiful, the staff extremely helpful, and the food plentiful and delicious. Our cabin was a little smaller than expected (mini suite), but since we faced front, the balcony was very large. The entertainment was great, and we always enjoyed the live musical performers in the lounges. We loved afternoon tea and the Sanctuary!

What we liked most of all was the clientele - the average age was an older crowd, all fun and friendly. Very few little kids, which we appreciate as empty nesters. The ship didn't have some of the fancy activities like other ships (rock climbing wall, zip line, etc.), but we don't do those anyway. The music was appropriately geared toward this age group and there was still plenty to do that we couldn't do it all. We met many nice people.

We did a few shore excursions - Aruba and Grenada via Princess, and we rented a golf cart on Bonaire, which we highly recommend. The Aruba tour was great, but Grenada was disappointing. We made a last minute decision not to do our 2 hour walking tour of Martinique, since it was pouring as we got to the gangway. Although it cleared up shortly after, others told us that many shops were closed for Armistice Day (Nov. 11), so they were disappointed.

We chose Club Class and enjoyed dinner whenever we arrived, with no wait and excellent servers. However, at breakfast, there is one waiter who stands and stares at you angrily if you are there past the ending time, which happened with us when we met nice people and got talking. We would have preferred if someone just nicely told us they were closing - we didn't mean to be ignorant but were enjoying ourselves and lost track of the time. That was not very friendly!

The boarding process was the only very disappointing thing about this cruise. Since the ship came from Europe, we were notified recently that there would be a Coast Guard drill. They told us boarding would not start until 3 pm and were repeatedly told NOT to go to the dock before that time. When we got there at 3, there were long lines to get into the building and go through security, and paying extra for Club Class only saved us a few minutes in a shorter line once inside the terminal. We later talked to several passengers who got to the ship much earlier and were in their rooms by 1 pm! Those who arrived early also booked all the prime days at the Sanctuary, which you cannot book until you are on board. Many people who arrived at 3 as instructed were unhappy about this. We wish that maybe having Club Class would have provided us with an earlier boarding time, and that Princess had been more straightforward about boarding times.

There were multiple issues with elevators, not stopping at our floors sometimes and then stopping at empty floors other times. As with other cruise lines, we wish the staff would remove belongings from the "chair hogs" after a reasonable time. On a crowded sailing day, I sat next to 4 "occupied" chairs for over an hour with no one ever coming back to sit on them, while multiple passengers searched for chairs. However, there seemed to be plenty of deck chairs all around the ship, so if you didn't need to be near the pool or watch the movie, you could still find something. The Movies Under the Stars was very cool, playing movies as well as concerts during the day and at night.

The fitness center isn't very big, and on sailing days it was impossible to use the machines due to the crowds. We'd like to see them replace the teen/kid center with a larger fitness center - fewer than 2 dozen kids were on the entire ship, while many people were trying to work out.

Overall, it was a wonderful 10-day cruise that we enjoyed very much. Assuming this boarding situation will be more seamless in the future, we look forward to cruising with Princess again.
jerseygalcruiser’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin L105
Smaller than we expected, but still plenty of room. The balcony was very large, although with an obstructed view since it was forward facing. With a forward facing balcony, the bottom is not glass/plexiglass; it is the white steel the the ship is made from. So you can only see over the balcony, not through it as with the side balconies. Also, the forward facing balconies provide a wonderful view going in and out of port, but are very windy when sailing. Our cabin steward was outstanding.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Bonaire
    Highly recommend Bonaire Cruisers! Friendly, reasonably priced, and the golf cart was gassed up and ready to go. They provide a map with instructions about where to go.
    View All 592 Bonaire Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Bonaire Cruise Port Review
  • Island Tour
    Not much to see other than beautiful plants. The bus ride up to the top was windy, narrow and scary, and it's a very impoverished island. The lake wasn't much to see. Lots of things that the tour guide pointed out were destroyed by a hurricane a few years ago. The tour guide was knowledgeable and friendly, and gave a great explanation of the U.S. military involvement in Grenada in 1983.
    View All 52 Island Tour Reviews