Princess is No Queen!: Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by Lilamadison

Caribbean Princess 2
Member Since 2008

Overall Member Rating

Princess is No Queen!

Sail Date: June 2011
Destination: Canada & New England
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
Let me start by saying the ONLY reason we ventured back onto Princess is my sister, her friend, friend's daughter and grandkids booked this ship and this cruise. We had a poor Princess experience doing a transatlantic relocation crossing on Grand Princess in 2009 and said never again then, but for family, we'd do anything. We just hope next time that anything is NOT Princess but Cunard.

From a room which NEVER got cool (I lost track after was it five or six calls to get it fixed that brought someone up each time but no results?) to buffets which featured really sloppy and tired-looking dishes, including meat sandwiches which were room temperature (are you listening e-coli?) to dining room lunch hours too short for going to port and then eating upon one's return, and a cabin steward (Sonia) who never did get her act together and was so poor we told the desk if it continued that bad we'd omit her tips, this ship just failed to hit the mark in so many ways. It might be because my More partner and I usually travel transatlantic on Cunard (first time was 1985 on the lamented late Queen Elizabeth 2) and did this same itinerary on Cunard's QM2 in her inaugural year or because we like a more mixed European - U.S. crowd, but this ship is lacking in many ways.

I could go on --- no daily news bulletin, no local TV when in port with the local news & weather, hands out wanting extra charges for everything and anything --- but you get the drift here. Also disappointing was the captain's decision to pass the first port, Sydney, Nova Scotia, as it was "too rough". This guy needs to be taken to QM2 and shown how a REAL ship is operated as it was barely rough at all and what there was abated before we were due to land. Many passengers were disappointed and we especially were as we so adore Sydney that after our last visit we named our then-kitten Sydney after the town!

OK so what was good? Truly, from veteran Cunarders' points of view not much save for a wonderful 9 days with family and the ship line did not provide that---we did. I am not a clothes snob nor a car snob but I would willingly pay double what I paid for this experience for a REAL ocean liner (Princess doesn't own any) and a ship with sufficient, polite, accommodating staff, a better mix of more polite (say non-U.S.) passengers and people who know how to dress for dinner and so on. At least one guy in his 20s was refused entry to the dining room when he showed up one evening in flip flops and shorts, but we saw plenty of jeans even on formal nights. Do folks not know how to behave? Must everything be "informal" to the point of sloppiness?

Our waiters and the maitre'd did a wonderful job, especially going out of the way to make the three under 13's with us happy. And the pools, the pizza they could get and the ice cream (one of the few things included in the price) were great for the kids, who also loved the movies on deck. For adults, however, this ship has too few public rooms and the best one --- Skywalkers Lounge at the back of the ship with a wonderful view --- was reserved at 5 every afternoon for "VIP/Elite members only" so we were unable to read, watch the departures or anything else there without being kicked out by polite but firm staff each afternoon.

Food as a whole was OK but our great matire'd got us escargot and other specials which we greatly appreciated, though we are traditionalists and more, better service was possible as we'd chosen traditional dining, late seating which as always is less crowded. The cattle car "anytime dining" is a joke and paying extra for Sabatini's and other "specials" is a waste we feel. The Horizon Court buffet food was a feeding trough, and while we were stuck there some lunches and breakfasts, wild horses couldn't get me to touch that in the evenings!

As a whole Princess is too domestic, too poorly run and even for the price, just marginal. As I said at the outset, unless family leads, we will not be following anyone back to this ship or this ship line! Less

Published 06/29/11

Cabin review: LB237

Cabin had non-working air conditioning...that was the biggest issue. Despite an "engineer" being repeatedly sent to check it and assuring us it was "fine" we never were cool. This can happen when one chooses an inside cabin but never before has it on any ship been this awful. I found the cabin OK in the whole, but they have a small round table which was always in the way despite us moving it here and there. It was an elephant in the room which we'd been better off without. Finally, if you travel Princess be aware someone somewhere decided that ice buckets go in the refrigerator not on the counter. Took us two days to find ours though having to bend over, sort out that pesky table and get into the fridge anytime we wanted a cold water was a pain. Buy better ice buckets and put them on the counters by the glasses and ice tongs please Princess!

Port and Shore Excursions

A lovely setting in the Northeast but think just another town full of Chinese brick-a-brac and you will understand. It's Gaitlinburg, Nashville, Indiana, Daytona Beach and anywhere else full of nuts-to-butts tourists, buses and crowds and the same "Lobsta Nation" and 3 for $35 t-shirts. We'd never been here before, but have been to Portland many times. Portland is a wonderful, artistic city. Bar Harbor is lovely scenery but kitsch, kitsch, kitsch. Aside from one bookstore called Sherman's we honestly could have been near Dollywood!

Skip the ship tours and walk down the street from the dock first. Shop the farmers' market and craft shops then hit the Halifax Transit Number 1 bus. Meet the Number 52 and go to the Roots Outlet. Roots is the leading Canadian maker of athletic and casual wear and their outlet is about a 45-minute bus ride from the port, but well worth it. We stocked up on 75-85% off items and spent almost $400 before we headed back toward the ship. On the way (the bus transfers at a mall) we got off for an hour, shopped for Canadian Tea and items at Sobey's, the grocery chain which is Canadian, and we popped into McDonald's which has Lobster Rolls for under $6 on their menu in Nova Scotia! When you get back near the dock, hop off the Number 1 Bus and walk around, visiting the fort and shopping near the university with ecclectic stores, coffee shops and more. You can make a really fun and different day of it if you just venture out!
Read 570 Halifax Reviews

Been here before and as always love the area, the sights and the town. Never buy a lot but did browse the excellent history museum, then visited the Truro Synagogue (oldest in North America with a letter welcoming them signed by George Washington to prove it!) and we hit a few antique shops for some odds and ends. The place is less laid-back in season, which this visit was, than our last time in early Spring, but still friendly people everywhere and fair prices. Do avoid the 3 t-shirts for $35 shops near the tender dock and walk down the main street to see and shop the real Newport!
Read 171 Newport Reviews

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