Great Fun though ship a bit too crowded: Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by Urbankmo

Caribbean Princess 4
Member Since 2011

Overall Member Rating

Great Fun though ship a bit too crowded

Sail Date: August 2011
Destination: Canada & New England
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
This was my third cruise with my husband and a group of family and friends, first time on Princess (RCL on other two cruises). We took the Princess NE Motorcoach bus from Philly, which made traveling to Brooklyn and getting on the ship quite easy, as well as on the way back. I would recommend this to others. All embarkation/disembarkation was easy.

Here are some of the good points and less-than-good points about the cruise:

Good: Ship itself is attractive and doesn't seem to be showing its age like some say. Room steward was friendly and efficient and provided ice and extra pool towels. Room service was super fast and I thought the quality of food better than RCL. Ditto the dining options at traditional dining. More options and slightly better food than RCL. Took one shore excursion in Halifax (Titanic cemetery and Maritime Museum)--guide was very informative and excited about the subject. Love the fact that Princess allows you to openly bring wine and champagne on More board, a definite plus for pre-dinner drinks. Comedians and hypnotist were pretty good; dancers sort of sub par but I don't really like the song-and-dance stuff anyways. Skywalkers was fun. Really liked the storage space in the cabin and the layout; shower was small but that's par for the course and actually thought it was better than the RCL ships I've been on. International cafe paninnis were very good, liked this option a lot. Thought the breakfast buffet in Horizon/Caribe had a lot to offer, but pretty crowded during peak times. Back pool on aft 14 deck was great and not harried, spent a lot of time there. Also liked the two Zumba classes and the afternoon movies in the Princess theatre.

Less than Great: My main 'ding' to this otherwise very enjoyable cruise was the feeling of crowding in a lot of the public areas, moreso than on the other 2 cruises I've done on smaller ships (and not during summer, so perhaps there were fewer people on them in general). Had to get to Explorers Lounge 20 min early to get a seat for evening entertainment, which meant one in our party would leave dinner early to do that. Never could get a seat in Crooners area, very small. Dinner took a long time too, which I don't normally mind if we didn't have to rush to get to entertainment. Our dining room waiter was nice and very efficient but seemed very overrun with tables, while his assistant seemed new and a bit green. I also found myself wanting drinks during entmt or Movies Under the Stars and not being able to find a waiter, so Princess could have made a lot more dough on me. Couldn't find popcorn, drinks, or wool blankets during the Movies Under the Stars, perhaps they had all been taken in the case of blankets. The soft serve ice cream was pretty paltry, after waiting in line for ten minutes to get it. Waiting for tender to get off in Newport was also crowded, about a 20 min wait (though others waited for 40 mins). While Princess upgraded this ship with the Vines wine bar and Crooners, Piazza, etc I think I'd prefer the older version of the ship with a bigger library, card room, etc. The library, while well-stocked, was impossible to even move in given the computer terminals. More quiet areas that don't involve any shopping or consumption would be appreciated (i know, kind of silly on a cruise, but call me old at 40!). Sanctuary didn't go to b/c of the charge but would have liked this just be a public area for all. Gym looked nice but pretty small and crowded.

Overall we had a great time and I rate Princess highly on the overall ship experience and the food. Less

Published 08/28/11

Cabin review: JJ

Port and Shore Excursions

While Acadia and Bar Harbor are beautiful and charming, I had to give this a 3 for the madhouse that was Acadia in high season. Tenders back and forth were quick and easy. We tried to rent bikes at Acadia Bike's two locations to be told they had no bikes and they acted like of course we should have known this. Maybe we should have but they could at least put a sign up saying that before you get in line? We then got a park pass and onto the Island Explorer buses, which the rangers explained were quick and easy and came by all the time. NOT SO. We waited a half hour at the vistitors center for the loop bus, which was SRO and we passed up many people. Did the Ocean Path hike with the crowds and tried to get the bus to take us to Jordan Pond or back to the town square or anywhere for that matter. Waited over an hour, as 5 buses stopped and said they were at capacity (when clearly some weren't) with very grumpy drivers! Meanwhile our bus stop crowd grew, and I felt so sorry for the other folks, some of whom had reservations for Jordan Pond House an hour and a half later but had to skip it. Never saw the rest of the park as we finally got a bus back to the town square after begging the driver to let us on (she had 3 standing, when she's allowed 13, but she still wouldn't let us on until we basically just got on and made the standers count off to show we could fit). Half of our six hours off the ship were spent in bus hell. We had ample time to get back to the ship but that's b/c after that experience we weren't willing to chance any trip on the park buses, even though we still had a couple of hours to kill. We are city folks so are used to waiting for buses, but this was ridiculous and made me doubt why Acadia even runs this service if they can't deal with peak crowds. Recovered by having a great lunch at a restaurant on the town square and drowning our sorrows in blueberry beer.

So I guess I'll do Princess a favor and say to do a shore excursion into Acadia with them or do some other organized tour. Don't believe the park rangers about the buses!!

Been there many times, so took it easy and took a cab into town and walked around, had lunch in Beacon Hill, saw the Rose Kennedy greenway, back on ship since there's really too much to do in Boston and wanted more R & R on the ship.

Read 496 Boston Reviews

Nice harbor area. Easily walkable. Took Titanic cemetery excursion, which was great.

Read 572 Halifax Reviews

While tendering took a while, very enjoyable day in Newport. Did the Cliff Walk, which was wonderful. Just know that it's pretty rocky towards the western half, which is exciting, and once you're on it there aren't as many exits as you might think. So wear sturdy good shoes (hiking boots or sneakers) and allot enough time to get back to the ship if you want to walk the whole route (3.5 miles) and take the public RIPTA bus back ($2 fare). We loved this walk but I was surprised by how many folks were doing it with flip flops or sandals.

Read 171 Newport Reviews

Pleasant walkable area near ship. Took in city market (good lobster roll at Billy's, pretty bad one at Lord's) and two of the squares. Took a cab to Reversing Rapids and while it wasn't in high or low tide, still an intersting visit.

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