The Caribbean Princess is a very large ship- over 3,000 passengers. The ship was fully booked for our cruise (the week before the hurricane). I was a little worried since some of the previous reviewers complained about there being no place to have some private time. I found lots of spots/deck chairs to sit and relax. I ate breakfasts in the buffet area, and lunch and dinner in the seated dining rooms. I was not able to get an assigned seating and actually hated having to line up for dinner for seating for the first 2 nights. The first night was extremely busy, and the second night was a formal night- also very busy. Trying to book a reservation by phone was frustrating. After 2 nights, once we started touring, free dining became less of a problem. I think Princess should have more fixed dining availability. Also, there was a time change of a hour when we arrived in Halifax but a lot of cruisers (myself included) did not see the tiny printed notice on the daily bulletin. The next time there was a time change, a large printed notice was sent to the cabins- I guess people complained. The meals were very good, and if you did not choose to eat in the main seated dining rooms, there were lots of alternatives. Loved the beignets and croissants at the coffee/bakery section on the fifth floor. The staff is very multi national and were wonderful- great service,and very friendly . I will definitely be booking future Princess cruises. The quality of the food is very high in importance to me when choosing a cruise line . As cruise lines try to economize, they often do so at the expense of the quality of the food. I have been on a previous cruise (which will remain unnamed)in which the food was very mediocre.It does not matter how great the sale , or how great the itinerary - I will never go on another cruise from that particular cruise line.
Tiniest bathroom I have ever seen,reminiscent of an airplane. It was functional though. The shower was very tiny, but the toilet flushed very well and I never once heard any sound from my next door neighbours. The placement of numerous mirrors in the room helped to create a feeling that the cabin was larger than it was. Lots of storage space for clothes. My cabin was an inside cabin which sleeps 4. There were 3 of us and we were ok. We were on the fifth floor, close to our dining room , and to a great coffee/bakery area, and to the suishi/wine bar.
It was a great location- very central to everything, and not at all noisy.
Rented a car from Alamo on 1161 Hollis Street- walking distance from the dock. Drove to Peggy's Cove to see the lighthouse and the awesome granite rocks - about an hour's drive. Had lunch at the fish market near the dock - freshest mussels I have ever tasted. The seafood chowder was very good too. Visited the Maritime Museum which was within walking distance from the ship. Enjoyed the Titanic exhibition , and the great fire disaster exhibition. The ship drove through a storm that night leaving Halifax so the waves were a little rough that night.
A friend met us at the dock and drove us to see the reversing falls. Not much to see but it is a very pretty spot. Had to choose between seeing St Martin's Caves or the town of St. Andrews since they are both about an hour from the dock, but in opposite directions. We chose St. Andrews - a pretty, picturesque town. There we toured 2 historic homes (free - donations welcomed)and we enjoyed that enormously. On the way back, we stopped to eat at Comeau's, a local restaurant patronized by locals. The portions were huge- the fish chowder was wonderful, and so was the lobster roll. If you choose to rent a car, there is an Avis car rental on 4 Water Street, within walking distance of the ship.
Booked the whale watching tour offered by Princess. It was a great experience. The ship travels some miles out, to a deep area known to be a popular feeding spot.We saw dolphins, and whales, and lots of sea birds. If you have a tendency to motion sickness - be warned. The boat moves a lot. Bring a heavy sweater/cold- it is cold on the water. Had the early bird lobster special at the restaurant on the dock - the most starved lobster I have ever eaten (and I love to eat lobster). Mostly shell. Did not realize that the Princess had a lobster night the following night.
Booked a tour with the Princess for the full day- Boston and Salem. Not advisable to rent a car to drive around - heavy traffic and complicated roads. Enjoyed the commentary by the guide. The drive to Salem takes about an hour- and the tour there is about an hour. We ate lunch close to the Salem museum. Shopping in Salem seemed to be mostly "witch related" . Enjoyed the day, but thought the Salem museum would have been more.
Bought tickets to see the Newport mansions on the internet from the Newport preservation society. The ticket entitles holder to see up to 5 mansions. Walked a short distance from the dock to the Tourist centre and bought an all day bus pass for the bus that goes to the mansions. We saw 3 mansions and they were phenomenal. Enjoyed it enormously. We would have seen more but the bus was extremely crowded and passengers at the bus stops complained about the scarcity of the buses. We decided to head back to port after 3 mansions, and a brisk walk along the cliff walk. Do not use the cliff walk to go from 1 mansion to the other unless you are physically fit- the walk sometimes required walking from rock to rock.