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20 Princess Caribbean Princess Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern from New York (Manhattan)

We arrived in at the New York cruise terminal at about 10:30ish and check in was a breeze. Boarding started right before noon and we were the second group to be called. We were greeted with smiles and excitement from all who welcomed us. ... Read More
We arrived in at the New York cruise terminal at about 10:30ish and check in was a breeze. Boarding started right before noon and we were the second group to be called. We were greeted with smiles and excitement from all who welcomed us. Our rooms were ready when we got on and we met our steward Roger who was absolutely wonderful the entire trip. Our first thing of course was to wonder the around the ship and see as much as we could. We did have lunch at the buffet which was very good. What we liked: We had a mini suite on the dolphin deck...very nice. People above us could look down at us but we hardly ever saw people out on the balcony, so it wasn't an issue. We we not bothered any one smoking either which I was concerned about. Over all the food was good. We enjoyed the buffet, the dining rooms and the international cafe. There was always something on the menu for everyone. The deserts were wonderful no matter where you got them. The coffee.....The coffee was fine and not worth getting a coffee card. (unless of course you like the special coffee drinks.) I actually liked it better than the coffee you pay for at the international cafe. We thought the coffee at the international cafe had a funny coffee pot taste to it. We only got it once....just to see the difference, not worth paying extra for. The Entertainment was very good. The Caribbean Princess Singers and dancers were wonderful and we very much enjoyed all of there performances. The kids did as well. The outside entertainment was also very good. We especially like Juan Carlos and Alfred and Seymour. Our Cruise Director Andre and Deputy Cruise Director John were fabulous. Funny, Funny, Funny. We loved them as well as the Wake show every morning on TV, telling us all about what was happening during that day.I had read many comments about how hard the beds were. To the contrary......I thought our bed was very comfortable and we slept very well all week. The bed linens were plush and we loved the down comforters. The mattress was very comfortable and not hard like I had read. Overall the ship was very clean....you see some wear and tear showing but overall in good shape. I had overheard someone say that this ship was going in to be overhauled soon. We participated in the dance classes and many of the activities and enjoyed them all. We felt there was always something to do. My daughter (9) loved the kids club. They kept her very busy with crafts and games etc. She had a blast there. Our son also had a good time there, however he did get a little bored sometimes. I think for him it would have been nice to have more game options as well as the crafts. There was a foosball table in the room which he loved but another sporting table of some kind would have made his day. There was an air hockey table in the teen room which they visited one morning which he loved. What we didn't like:We didn't like the very early seating at 5:30. This was all that was left at time of booking. We didn't do anytime dining because of the ages of the kids and the possible waiting times for dinner. But next time we will try anytime dining. Pools were very very crowded and we thought they would be a little bigger. But we still made a lot of use of them. A minor annoyance was the chair hoarders. Seems there were very few public restrooms on board, which wasn't a problem but it did seem that there was always a stall or 2 that was out of service. Lines for the ladies room was always a bit long. The Casino opens up into the Piazza and there was always a strong odor of smoke there, especially where the tables were set up for items to be sold, like the T-shirts, jewelry, etc. Over all a wonderful cruise and we would sail Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Traveling out of Brooklyn was very easy. Leaving and arriving was a breeze. We always stay a couple of days before we sail in Manhattan and use a car service. From the cruise port to the airport to use a service like Carmel is much cheaper ... Read More
Traveling out of Brooklyn was very easy. Leaving and arriving was a breeze. We always stay a couple of days before we sail in Manhattan and use a car service. From the cruise port to the airport to use a service like Carmel is much cheaper than the cruise line transfer. The only rain was day 3 after we boarded from a day in Grand Turk. Other wise it was beautiful,sunny and warm. The pools were relatively empty till we got to Grand Turk and warmed the water temperature up. The ship was in good shape and well maintained. We never ate in the dining room so I cant comment on that but the food in the buffets was very good with a lot of variety. We ate one night in the Crown Grill and found the food and service excellent. Like any ship you have chair poachers. People who will leave towels on the chairs to come and go as they please and save them for people who may never show up. This is especially true around MUTS. The room and room steward were as expected. We didn't want for anything. The bartenders and wait staff we found to be either very friendly or very indifferent to things. Entertainment was average. The comedians were very good but the singers and dancers were mediocre. Unfortunately we had some engine problems that cost us to leave St Thomas one hour early and arrive two hours late in Bermuda ( but we did get to stay one hour later) Princess was quick to acknowledge this was going to be the case and credited every passenger $50 on their ship board account. Kudos to them for this gesture. Overall it was a cruise and ship we had been on before. It was what we wanted in several ports and a lot of sea days. Hate to see Princess change the itinerary where this cruise will not be offered in the spring and summer next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We live in NJ so the drive to Brooklyn was a breeze and we were on the ship and eating lunch by 12:30. This is the 3rd time we've sailed from the Brooklyn cruise terminal and it's by far the easiest and fastest embarkation point. ... Read More
We live in NJ so the drive to Brooklyn was a breeze and we were on the ship and eating lunch by 12:30. This is the 3rd time we've sailed from the Brooklyn cruise terminal and it's by far the easiest and fastest embarkation point. They've been consistent each time we cruised with getting us through security, checked in and boarded in no time at all. Bravo for that!Our cabin was R604, a balcony cabin on the Riviera deck. We had booked a guarantee for the first time ever, and was a little concerned that we would hear noise from the Horizon Court above, but that was never an issue. The location was great - if we walked to the end of the hall and went out the door, we were right at the adult pool in the rear of the ship. All we had to do was walk up a short set of stairs to go into the buffet. Very convenient for grabbing a quick cup of coffee! The only noise we had an issue with was one of our neighbors on the floor, who slammed their door at all hours of the day and night. This was our fourth cruise on Princess, and the ship is pretty identical to the Crown Princess, the Ruby Princess, and I'm sure other Princess ships. It's elegant and there's no garish flashing neon to be seen anywhere. Runiel was our cabin steward and he did a great job keeping everything clean for us, I have no complaints about cleanliness. The only complaint I have about our cabin was the bed. Out of ten cruises on three different cruise lines this is the first time I found the bed uncomfortable. It was lumpy and uncomfortable and hopefully during the next dry dock they'll replace it. It didn't ruin my vacation but I would have gotten a more restful sleep if not for that bed.The food was good, dinners were the highlight food wise. I was pleasantly surprised on lobster night, it was by far the best lobster I've ever had on a cruise ship. My favorite was the beef filet medallions, which are available every night as it's one of the alternative choices. Each time I had it I found it cooked perfectly and melt in your mouth tender - I enjoyed it more than the sirloin or the filet mignon, actually. I also like their Caesar salad. It's unfortunate that most nights I was too full from dinner to enjoy dessert. I didn't have the Love Boat Dream once this cruise which is out of the norm for me. I just enjoyed the rest of the food way too much to have room left for dessert!My ONLY complaint about the dining room was the rudeness of the Maitre'd, Giorgio something. We had booked a table for two, and when we got there we saw we were seated at a table for six. We were told to ask the Maitre'd about it, so we did. We WERE polite when we said "Excuse me, we thought we were going to be seated at a table for two, we're at a table for six. Is there any way we can switch tables?" That was ALL we said, before we were shouted at as he said "EVERYONE wants a table for two! There are 3,000 passengers on this ship, everyone can't have a table for two! There are 350 tables for two, that's it. 350 tables! I don't know what people are thinking!" At that he grabbed my cruise card out of my hand, pointed at the table number, and said "This is your table! That's where you sit! If you're not happy you can eat in the buffet or go to Anytime Dining!" My husband and I were floored. All we had done was ask a simple question, not asked to be lectured to, shouted at or demeaned in public. Believe me, after that tirade we did consider switching to Anytime Dining, something we would never do otherwise, just so we wouldn't have to see this guy anymore. We decided to stay where we were seated, but ONLY because we prefer sitting at the same table with the same servers at the same time every night. That's why we do traditional, late dining. We didn't let this Maitre'd ruin anything for us, but I have to tell you that he has a lot to learn about dealing with the public. By the way, the reason we had wanted a table for two was because my husband is dealing with a health issue and didn't want to have to be sociable with others - and that was also the reason we didn't make a fuss about this while on the ship, even though we saw the Cruise Director numerous times throughout the cruise. Had my husband been feeling better, we would have complained to him. The only other complaint I have about this cruise was the last day. After we vacated our room we were sitting in the back in the Caribe Court having breakfast. Suddenly we heard a loud voice. It was someone we believe to be a head waiter, ripping into one of his waiters. Whether or not the waiter needed to be chastised or not isn't the issue. The issue is that he did it loudly, for an extended amount of time, in front of customers. It was inappropriate and a man at the table next to us made it a point to get his name (Federico or Frederico), go down to Guest Services and fill out a complaint about it. We weren't the only ones who felt uncomfortable, we saw other diners and waiters, all who looked appalled at the spectacle. Other than these two negative experiences, I have to say that I would sail on the Caribbean Princess again. The rest of the staff was wonderful, our waiter Geronimo and his assistant Simo were efficient, friendly and very helpful in making recommendations for us. The entertainment was great, we enjoyed the production shows, and the band that plays by the pool is great too. We saw them a few times, at the past passenger party and in the Explorers Lounge and found them quite enjoyable. It's unfortunate that I don't see any Caribbean cruises from the Brooklyn port listed for 2012. I would have sailed this same itinerary and ship if they were going next year too. I hope Princess rethinks this and schedules it again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I have only cruised on NCL prior to this Princess sailing. I found the two very similar for our needs. We have found that traveling with our DD creates a much different vacation then when my DH & I go alone. We were delivered to the ... Read More
I have only cruised on NCL prior to this Princess sailing. I found the two very similar for our needs. We have found that traveling with our DD creates a much different vacation then when my DH & I go alone. We were delivered to the port in Brooklyn in a limo-van in the mid afternoon. It was the busiest time at the terminal. Long lines that kept moving. Had to wait maybe 30 minutes to board. We skip almost all photo opportunities with the ship photographers in an effort to get where we are going. I stopped at the Service Desk immediately to try my luck at getting a spot in the Ultimate Ship Tour. The attendant said it was already full. I was fine with that since it was so late, but was upset later when they advertised in the Patter that people should sign up before 4pm the next day in order to have a chance to go. Apparently they weren't doing the lottery system on this sailing. We then went to our cabin (dolphin deck 301) I was happy with the mini-suite. We booked this trip relatively late. The only other balcony at the time was near the nightclub and I didn't want the noise when my DD needs to be sleeping. Booking the mini was a wonderful choice. I loved the open balcony with space to relax. We enjoyed room service breakfast out on the balcony almost every day. I also like having my DD in a separate area. We brought a dark sheet, non-marking hooks and binder clips to create a separator between her sleeping area and ours. That worked great! Also brought magnet clips based on a suggestion on the CC boards... great way to keep the important papers where I could find them (on the walls). Since I've side tracked myself into the best things I brought, here are a few more: - travel mugs for morning coffee or tea that is bigger than a tiny cup. - light up alarm clock. - Dramamine - window cling for our balcony glass wall (allowed us to identify our balcony from shore) - reusable water bottle - extension cord/plug extender. This helped with all of the various chargers we used each night, plus the laptop. Food - I found the buffet food to be similar to NCL. Nothing exciting, but I can always find something I like. My 9 year old DD lived on hot dogs from the grill by the pool. I also enjoyed the burgers & pizza from these pool area eateries. The themed buffets were inconsistent. The oriental buffet was lacking, it didn't even have rice! The Mexican one was good. We had anytime dining but since we were trying to eat as a group we tended to be at either the Coral or Island dining room at 6 each night. Our group of 12-18 were seated at 2 tables each night. We really liked Rey in the Island dining room. He was very good. The food in the dining room was fine. After having the beef on the 1st formal night that tasted like liver, I stayed away from most beef main courses. I'm not a foodie and don't like seafood, so I felt limited in my dinner options in the dining room. But I did eat 3-4 courses a night and usually finished what I ordered. As I mentioned above, we had room service for breakfast most of the trip. They were always early and everything was correct on our order. I followed someone's advise to order 2 cups of tea for one person and they delivered a carafe of hot water with multiple bags. The International Cafe was all that everyone says it is. Great free treats! My DH and others in my group raved about the milkshakes from Scoops. When I tried to get one the blender was broken, which happened multiple times on the trip. Activities - - As expected on this full ship the week after school let out, the sun & pool decks were mobbed on the sunny sea days. It's disappointing to not have loungers but we found places to be or went back to our balcony. I also like to sit on the edge of the pool. No lounger needed. - We registered our DD for the kids club, but she never went. The orientation guy must have been new as he read his list to us, including the stuff about diapers and toddlers after we told him we only have the 9 year old. He didn't try to interact with my DD during the orientation so I wasn't surprised that she wasn't dying to go back. We tried to sign her up for the Jr. Chef program, but that was full, we were 1st on the wait list, but never called. - Went to 1 show "Piano Man" singing and dancing. It was fine. Nothing exciting.. - Went to the Hypnotist show with Tim Triplett- I thought it was hysterical. My DD enjoyed it too. It was clean except for the joke the CD said at the beginning. We even tried to attend a show the 2nd night, but it was in the lounge and already full by the time we arrived. - Went to 1 of the comedian shows at the lounge, he was funny. But it sounded like the 2nd comedian was funnier later in the week. But we didn't see him. - Walked around the Promenade deck multiple mornings for exercise. I enjoyed the exercise and got used to passing slower walkers or staying to the right for joggers. It'd be nice if the CB had a separate jogging track. - Formal nights - The dining attendants were inconsistent. They sent one of our pre-teen girls back to her room to change out of nice flip flops. But then we saw others later in flip flops and even jeans in the same dining room. - Photos - I had planned ahead to have a casual family photo done while on board. We did the contemporary white background and were very happy with the results. It would have been better if we could have understood the photographer better. But we had multiple prints to choose from and didn't need to do any other studio shots. I bought the cruise book package through pan-raven. We'll see how that works out. - Since the kids in our party didn't go to the kids club, they were bored quickly on the last 2 sea days, especially when it was cloudy and rainy. I created a scavenger hunt for them. That worked well. They enjoyed going in pairs to find things on the ship. We also went up to Skywalkers one afternoon. That gave 3 of the kids some space to play without bothering anyone. We enjoyed reading with the great views up there. - Internet - my DH set up our account with ease. We used the WiFi from our room. There were times when the connection died. But it was in typical busy times. Evenings and early mornings were fine. Even some dinner times on sea days worked well! - On the last sea day we attended the Chef's demo and Galley tour. It was free. The chef & Matre'd were so funny. The captain came and made salad too. It was in the theater then we all filed our way to the galley behind the Coral dining room. I couldn't believe they let us through there. There wasn't anyone telling you what was what, so you figured it out on your own. But it was neat to see some of the behind the scenes. I recommend this! Even with all the waiting to get through the galley it only took 30 minutes after the demo. Room: - We barely ever saw our cabin steward, Iggy. He did a fine job. Met our needs without needing to be tracked down. I thought our room was clean and well kept. Much like any other 6 year old hotel or cruise ship room. - Our room was very close to the elevators in the front of the ship. We could hear the ding of the arriving elevator, but I don't think we heard very much foot traffic. - This was my first balcony. I loved it. I liked that it had no roof. Although on the rainy days that sent us inside. - It was nice having the living room area for the kids to play in during the day or to watch a movie. - Plenty of closet space and shelf space for the 3 of us. We didn't actually use all of the space. The bathroom had more than enough space for all of our stuff also. Disembarking: - We were supposed to be out of our rooms by 8am. We decided to go to the buffet without our carry-on bags. So we didn't get back to our room and leave it until after 8. I was a little surprised that our steward checked in on us around 8:05. -We were scheduled to meet in the dining room at 8:15am. We arrived close to that to a standing room only dining room. We waited 5 -10 minutes then they announced our tag color/number. The lines to get off the ship and to go through customs were minimal. Found our luggage and were waiting for our ride by 8:40. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
My in-laws, my husband and me recently cruised aboard the Caribbean Princess. For my husband and me, this was our third cruise in the past two years; for my in-laws, it was their fourth. Having sailed on Sapphire Princess out of Los ... Read More
My in-laws, my husband and me recently cruised aboard the Caribbean Princess. For my husband and me, this was our third cruise in the past two years; for my in-laws, it was their fourth. Having sailed on Sapphire Princess out of Los Angeles for all of our previous cruises, we felt we knew what to expect and were excited about experiencing this new adventure on the Caribbean Princess - which is touted as the largest of the Princess Fleet. While offering some new experiences (i.e. Movies Under the Stars and "The Sanctuary") the overall experience fell far short of our expectations. Boarding in NYC, we found our balcony rooms to be extremely hot. Even after closing the drapes, setting the thermostat to its coldest setting and waiting 3 hours the room was still hot. The same was true for my in-laws room next door. We informed our cabin steward, Phillip, and the maintenance crew made three separate visits to attempt to solve the issue by increasing airflow in our room by 20% each time (at least that is what we were told). After the third visit our room was cooler but we needed to keep our drapes drawn and lights out to maintain the temperature. My in-laws room never cooled down and even the room steward complained that he couldn't clean the room because it was too hot. After speaking to other passengers during open seating meals, we discovered that this was a common issue on the ship. So, having a balcony room offered no additional enjoyment to the cruise because you couldn't enjoy the sunshine/views or use it for fear of heating up the room. During the safety drill, the Captain came over the intercom system and noted that the cruise had a "large number of children onboard and that parents would be held accountable for their children's action." While we weren't travelling with children, and took a little comfort in the announcement, this kind of "business only" attitude permeated every area of the ship. From aggressive sales people to waiters confirming our room numbers so they could make sure they were awarded the proper tips to the pools being covered with nets every evening at 8:00 sharp, it was evident that the focus was on procedures and not passenger experience. It was unfortunate. To make matters worse, the room steward had a nasty habit of popping into our cabin late in the evening unannounced to undertake random duties. On a few occassions, because of the room temperature, let's just say I wasn't dressed for company. During two of these incidents, he stood waiting, with the door open, while I tried to hide myself and dress so he could come in the cabin. We finally started bolting the privacy lock on the door to control when he entered while we were in the room. To add insult to injury, my husband and I decided to book an ocean horseback riding excursion in Grand Turks for our party as a Mother's Day gift. We hadn't engaged in shore excursions on our previous cruises so this would have been our first experience. I contacted Princess well in advance of our cruise and reserved four spots. At the time of booking the agent informed me that the excursion only had three slots open but that she would book those slots, put one of us on a waiting list, and contact the excursion operator to see what arrangements could be made to accommodate the additional guest. The Princess Rep also said that if any other party cancelled their reservation, the "wait list" person in our group would be automatically slotted into the open space. Having not heard from Princess before we embarked, we went to the tour desk to confirm our reservations. Onboard, we were informed that Princess had re-sold the three confirmed slots for the excursion to another party and wait listed all four of us. So basically, we had no shore excursions. Disappointed/embarrased by this news (my mother-in-law was there to hear her gift had been re-sold), we informed the excursion agent that we would just cancel our placeholders on the excursion. They then added to the discord by sending a note to both rooms the next day indicating that we had not cancelled the excursion and asking if we wanted to remain on the wait list. On the whole, the Caribbean Princess is all about Princess business and not about the guest experience. I say this because during all of our cruises on the Sapphire, we were never engaged in discussions regarding tips, the pools were available for late-night swims before bed, and the staff made us feel like we were the only guests they had. It was an experience that accommodated every need and felt really personal to my husband and me. When a person is treated like that, they don't mind spending the money...like when you go to Disney. I noted that the Caribbean Princess had lost the "Disney Magic" for this very reason. Disney is a business, and it's expensive, but the way things are managed behind the scenes, the all-surrounding atmosphere and the joy of the guest experience is priceless. This concept is lost on the Caribbean Princess leadership. Amidst these experiences, there were a few saving graces on the Caribbean Princess. The Sanctuary is a must do. The staff is attentive and because it is a private sunning area with extra amenities, you feel special. Our 6:00pm traditional seating waitress from Romania was very personable and often made recommendations from the menu. Lastly, of course, the Lotus Spa staff as charming as usually. Even upselling me a $125 cream was done with grace and made me feel special (sticker shock only set in later but I was not disappointed with the purchase). All this being said, we still have faith in Princess. We feel like we shouldn't let one bad ship spoil our whole perseptive of the company. We have booked to new cruises - one on the Crown and one on the Golden. However, we didn't want to leave others to discover the Caribbean Princess and think that this is the way Princess operates on the whole - because it isn't. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
This was our seventh cruise, first on Princess. Previous ships include Carnival Miracle, Carnival Legend, Carnival Victory, and NCL Spirit. Embarkation was a breeze. Arrived at Brooklyn around 11:30, we were on board starting lunch a ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise, first on Princess. Previous ships include Carnival Miracle, Carnival Legend, Carnival Victory, and NCL Spirit. Embarkation was a breeze. Arrived at Brooklyn around 11:30, we were on board starting lunch a little after noon. Apparently embarkation slowed down for later arrivals as the ships' departure was delayed one hour. It appeared that there was some delay processing luggage and getting it on board. When we arrived at our cabin after lunch our luggage was waiting for us. It is our opinion that if you stiff the porter, your luggage probably won't arrive early. Our staterooms were located on Baja deck 11. The rooms were clean. Closets were comparatively large. Steward service was very good. Balconies were great. Some small issues: 1. it took over a day to get a proper fitting life jacket for our 8 year old. (We didn't plan on using it anyway!) 2. one of our rooms on the starboard side had a/c issues and a slow draining sink. Tip...the stewards always close the drapes for a reason. The sun will heat up a room in no time. 3. sliding doors were not easy to operate. The sliding door in our room did not lock. 4. Due to layout of TV shelf, remote was difficult to operate from bed. Television had great movies showing. We would have preferred one local (American) TV station like other cruise lines offer. At least you have an idea then of what's going on news wise. Princess had CNN Int'l and CNN in Spanish. 5. Smokers on either side of our rooms, including a chain smoking cigar aficionado, spoiled otherwise perfect balcony experiences. Dining was above average. We did traditional dining at 6 p.m. every night. Service was very good. Food was good. Some meals were better than others. Wide variety of choices. We did the buffet a number of times. Again excellent variety of choices and good quality. Desserts were awesome and plentiful. Interestingly, could not get lemonade in the dining room!? Overall coffee on board was terrible. We paid for the coffee card to get better coffee. That means if you want a decent cup you had to travel to deck 5 (Int'l Cafe), carry a coffee card with you, and occasionally stand in line. This was one of our biggest disappointments. Tried the pizza once, it was pretty good. We prefer Carnival's multiple self serve ice cream stations compared to Princess' one staffed area. The ice cream left a lot to be desired anyway. Tip: Arrive early for dinner or choose anytime dining! Traditional dining only occurs at Palms, deck 6 aft. Since one person on our party needs a walker we had to use the elevators to access dining room. Only two out of four elevators in the rear gave access to deck 6. It took a lot time waiting for elevators and some late arrivals at dinner to figure the elevators out. Generally, the elevators seemed to be poorly designed. Children's Camps were good. One 8 year old and one 12 year old really enjoyed the activities. Our 13 year old really didn't blend in well with his bracket of 13 to 17 year olds. We felt this was a pretty big age swing. He found new friends and things to do anyway. Similar operation to other cruise lines Entertainment for us was good. Everything we saw we liked. Singers were good. Musicians were very good. Trivia was fun and challenging. Cruise director and assistants were entertaining. Ultimate Ship Tour. Two of us did this. Although quite expensive we felt it was worth it. As soon as we got on board, we went to the purser's desk to sign up. We really enjoyed seeing areas of the ship off limits to others. It was fascinating and the staff could not have been more gracious. The Chief Engineer and the Captain were particularly welcoming and enthusiastic. One of the highlights of our cruise. Debarkation was a little different than other cruises we had done. It actually went well and we disembarked at our assigned time of 9 a.m. Unfortunately for us our van service was over 1/2 hour late. All in all though it went great. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Travelers ranged in age from 5 to 81 and "a good time was had by all." There truly was something for everyone. I am 48, married, with an 18 year old son who sailed with his best friend. We hadn't sailed on Princess since ... Read More
Travelers ranged in age from 5 to 81 and "a good time was had by all." There truly was something for everyone. I am 48, married, with an 18 year old son who sailed with his best friend. We hadn't sailed on Princess since 2003. Our last several cruises were on Royal Caribbean, my preferred cruise line at this point. Embarkation was incredibly easy. We arrived at the port around 12:30 and were on board within 15 minutes. No waiting anywhere - none at all. We probably could have been on board even quicker if the port wasn't so huge. Two of our travelers were handicapped so navigating was a bit slow. However, the port employees were quick to bring a wheel chair for my FIL (without his asking; they approached him with the much appreciated offer) and let all of us bypass the elaborate "ropes course" lines. Cabins: Our group of four had a BA balcony and an interior cabin (naturally the kids had the interior). We were on Caribe, so our balcony was HUGE - loved it! The balcony cabin itself was narrow, leaving only about a foot at the end of the bed to walk through. The sitting area is also smaller than I had remembered, and only had one cushy chair plus a desk chair for us to sit on. Since it rained a lot on this cruise, sitting on the balcony was not always an option. The interior cabin was small but well laid out. Certainly my son and his friend had no complaints! The closet space in both cabins is much larger than most other cruise lines with more than enough space for even this clothes horse! The bathroom was as expected and the shower is the worst part of the cabin. Incredibly tiny and I hate the shower curtains - thin cloth that loves to cuddle. We also had problems with the temperature. Despite the fact that we would set the water temperature to the coolest setting, we were at times scalded. Our room steward was terrific! Nicest man and incredibly unobtrusive. Room was always in top shape. Even the boy's room, which was hard to imagine! I kept telling the steward to just skip their room and not worry about it, but he wouldn't stand for that. The second they left the room, he would drop everything to take care of their cabin. I'm sure this was a real pain for him, but it became more of a running joke than anything else. And trust me, he was well compensated for it! Food: Since we were such a large group, we made it a point of eating dinner together every night in the Dining Room. We were seating at two tables of 9 next to each other. The wait staff was different for the two tables, which made things a bit confusing for them since we changed who was at each table on a nightly basis. They handled things quite well. The wait staff couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating. The food was very good to excellent. There was always something yummy offered (even if it was from the always available menu). The flavor and presentation far exceeded expectations! My mother is on a special renal diet so the head waiter came by every night to get her food selection for the next day, ensuring it could be prepared without salt and very low-fat. I was surprised, however, by the role the head waiter played. On RC, the head waiter runs around filling water, passing out rolls, cutting steaks, etc as needed. On Princess, the head waiter mostly just stood around or told jokes, sang, etc. I would have preferred the extra service. I was also surprised to find out that there were 120 waiters and only 40 assistant waiters. That explained how long it took some nights to get drinks or water refilled. Buffet had much better food than I expected and lots of variety. I loved getting lunch from the International Cafe. Perfect, light meal and rarely a line. Entertainment: I went to only one show, Do You Wanna Dance, and wasn't terribly impressed. My parents, however, loved it. They went to all the shows and thoroughly enjoyed them. I went to all the movies and enjoyed them! Especially loved MUTS! I thought that was a great way to spend an evening! Disembarkation: Piece of cake. We headed to the buffet around 8:00, the time you're asked to leave your cabin by. We stayed at the table until it was our time, and walked right off. Again, no lines at all. Our luggage was waiting and easy to find. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Review of the CB 8/4-8/13 First I would like to thank the powers that be for us not choosing the 8/13 trip instead. I don't know what my girls would have done if they missed St. Thomas. Day 1: We chose the Princess bus transfer ... Read More
Review of the CB 8/4-8/13 First I would like to thank the powers that be for us not choosing the 8/13 trip instead. I don't know what my girls would have done if they missed St. Thomas. Day 1: We chose the Princess bus transfer from Providence, RI. The bus was caught in traffic and didn't get to the bus station until 9:15am. We were supposed to leave at 8:45am. We were underway by 9:30am. We had one stop in New Haven, CT and then on through to Brooklyn. We didn't get there until 2:15pm. Terri made our reservations for Sabatinis & the Crown Grill. Once there it didn't take very long and we were through the check-in process and in our stateroom (D726) by 2:45pm. Wet met Rodrigo, our cabin steward. This was his first cruise back from a 5 month vacation. He was absolutely wonderful. We rushed up to Outriggers but there weren't too many people left at the CC get together. Or Princess organized M&G wasn't until the next morning, so I was ok with that. We rushed to grab something to eat at the Horizon Buffett. I was so hungry, I didn't even notice if it was good or bad, then on to the Safety Drill. I have to admit if I have to choose the best safety drill on the high seas, it would be Princess. You don't have to go stand out in the hot sun on the deck below the life boats, you go to your muster station and get the information there. With a bad back, standing for that long was always hard for me. Then, it was to our cabins to drop off our life vests and up to Deck 15 to view the departure from NYC. We ate lunch so late that dinner wasn't our first priority. We checked out the ship and of course we made it to the casino. The opening show in the Princess Theater was very good. We met Dan Styne, our CD (awesome guy) and he introduced some of his staff. We got a quick show from the singers & dancers and the comedian Jay Moore. Then, it was off to bed. Day 2: We set our clocks forward this am. 2 of us went to the gym and 2 of us went to breakfast and got lounge chairs at the pool. Once the other 2 made it to the pool, it was over cast, so we packed up and left. I went to the Acupuncture seminar while the other 3 went to ceramics. Our M&G was at 11am in Skywalkers. I told them I would meet them there. I made it, they didn't. It was a great group. Frank & Jeanne did a wonderful job organizing it. I then stopped by the pizza station (love their pizza) for a quick lunch and then off to the shopping demo, which I didn't make. I went to the martini demo instead and then on to the slot tournament. Unfortunately, it wasn't as good as others have been. There isn't much difference except that they only use 4 machines instead of 6 which makes the wait time longer. I didn't qualify, oh well. I then made it up to the line dancing class with Terri. That was a lot of fun, except for the guy that kept stepping on my feet. I have to say they should have had Rocky (I think that was her name) on the TV screen because the people in the back couldn't see her feet. Stopped by the casino on my way to getting ready for formal night. I don't know why, but it always appears that the casinos on board the ships get the worst slot machines there are. It is almost like the junk that no one else wants. But, of course, that doesn't stop me from donating! After that I was off to the stateroom to get ready for formal night. Here I find 3 sick women. One was light headed and the other 2 were feeling the ocean. I felt the ship sway on occasion but it didn't bother me. But they were sick. So, off I go to get green apples and they started taking the ginger pills and eating the ginger snaps that we had. They were already taking Dramamine and had on their wrist bands. It finally passed and we were off to dinner. Our pictures weren't very good, but we kept hoping for the next time. We went to dinner in the Island Dining Room, which wasn't as busy as the other one. We were blessed with a dining room steward by the name of Ana Maria. She was the highlight of our meal. The food was very good, no complaints. Then, off to the show. One of my girls fell in love with the CD and one or two of the others fell in love with one of the dancers (Sam). The show was very good. People complain about the show being repeated on another night, but for a 9 day cruise, I can see why they do it. Also, the Princess Theater isn't large enough for all of the passengers to see it in the 2 offerings on the first night. We watched Princess Pop Star and one of us went to see the hypnotist/comedian. She enjoyed that show. Of course, it was blackjack for me and then to bed. Day 3: Bermuda. Having been here many times before, we chose to take a bus to Horseshoe Bay and then on to Hamilton for a few select items and then the ferry back to the dockyard. The NCL Dawn was also docked with us. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful island, but it wasn't enough time to enjoy it. We got back to the ship after a short stop at the Frog & Onion and got ready for dinner. We headed off to the Island Dining room and asked for Ana Maria again, and we got her. She was as wonderful as the night before. We also found that we enjoyed the meals in the dining room a lot more than the buffet. After this the girls went to the show (Jay Moore, comedian) and the comedian/hypnotist. I went to the black jack tournament. I didn't qualify and I am glad I didn't. They had a special table set up with no seats. I couldn't stand that long because of my back. But, I did play black jack for awhile then to bed. Day 4: I started the day with acupuncture for my back and then a massage. My back had been bothering me constantly for the last couple of days. I was hoping that this would help. The only thing that happened was instead of it being constant, it was less often. I think it was the massage, not the acupuncture. We checked out the arts and crafts (3D Hearts). I thought they were lame, but they were a little difficult to make. We had dinner in Sabatinis. It was good, but by the time I got to the main course I was done. It was country night. I made it to the trivia (obscure questions as usual). Of course I heckled Andy who was asking and he started calling me Miss Obscure. I gave him my Toby Keith bandana and we made peace!! The girls came and they line danced, while I listened and actually drank too much (there is always once on the cruise). Then it was back to the casino and then to bed. Day 5: Puerto Rico. The clocks were set back 1 hour this morning. I needed the extra sleep after last night. Luckily we didn't dock in PR until 10. We took the Rainforest drive excursion through the ship. I expected more, but the view was wonderful from the top. He dropped us off at the Plaza in Old San Juan. We snapped a few pics and then headed to Senor Frogs. That place is always a trip. We dropped off our things and changed and went back to the Sheraton for a little casino action. We were in bed early. Day 6: St. Thomas. We went on a private tour with Sunny Liston tours. Elvis was our guide. Some of the other members of CC were with us. Elvis dropped us in Charlotte Amalie for 2 hours. I got my Del Sol shirt and my black coral bracelet. After that we headed to Peter's Great House (Mountain Top burned down). The views were beautiful from there. After that Elvis said he would take us back to the ship or drop us at the beach. I was starting to come down with something, because I had an awful sore throat. Elvis dropped the girls and 4 others at Maegen's Bay and I went back to the ship. I got pizza and then back to the stateroom. It rained when I was getting off the bus. It rained again while I was on the balcony waiting for the girls to come back. When they got back they said they never got any rain. That was good since they were at the beach. After they got back and were taking showers, I offered to get them pizza and bring it back to the room. Well, in front of the ice cream stand I slipped and fell and landed flat on my back. The deck was slippery because of the rain and it hadn't been mopped up yet. I got up and got the pizza. When I got back to the room I called the front desk to file an accident report. They called the on call nurse and she met me at the Medical Center where I completed it. After that a man from security called me up and came to the cabin to ask me more questions. Other than 2 swollen thumbs, I didn't have any real problems. I wasn't up to doing much, so after dinner at the Island dining room with Ana Maria, I headed to bed. Day 7. Grand Turk. Breakfast in the cabin and then off to the casino. We played bingo and then headed to the Cafe Carib for the pasta lunch. After that we went to Grand Turk. There isn't much there except for Margarittaville, though they do have a Ron Jon's, Piranha Joe's, & a Del Sol. The girls went shopping, I went to the beach and then to the pool at Margarittaville. After that I went back to the ship and went to the Medical Center. I thought I was coming down with something yesterday and it showed up today. I had an awful head cold and cough. I wouldn't have bothered with the Medical Center except that every time I coughed my back/ribs hurt and I was afraid of more damage. They gave me pain meds, and cold stuff and sent me on my way. It was another early night for me. Day 8. Today was the On Deck for the Cure walk which Terri did. I didn't do much except bingo twice. We went up to get ready for dinner. I didn't decide until the last minute that I would go. It was formal night and I felt lousy. But, I bit the bullet since it was formal night and went. We went to the Island Dining Room, but couldn't get Ana Maria so we settled for someone else, who was fine, but not her. Our formal pictures came out a lot better than the first formal night. After dinner we went to the Production Show Piano Man and it was very good. Day 9. Well, the day was filled with getting photos of all of the people we wanted to remember. We also went to bingo twice and I went to the slot tournament. No luck again. We went to the Island Dining Room again and got seated in Ana Maria's section so we got to take pics with her. We received all of our debarkation paper work. I liked the fact that they didn't have the big meeting but Dan did the debarkation talk on the TV instead. I also received my Platinum Captain's Circle package. Day 10. Debarkation was fine until we got off the ship. We were schedule to meet in the Crown Grill at 10:30am. That is the latest I have ever been scheduled to leave. There were no porters available and we had to drag our own luggage to the bus. Well, my back finally fought back. I was miserable and still am for that matter (8/22). Our bus ride back to Providence was uneventful and we got back about 3:30. I want to say that I had a great time even though I was sick & bruised. Everyone we encountered was great. Especially Ana Maria and our room steward Rodrigo. He should receive the highest of praise after taking care of 4 women in one mini suite. He was a master at his art. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
This was our third Princess cruise and all I can say is that if tattoo's, body piercing and people with no manners or class are your style, then book this one. I certainly can not blame Princess, but apparantly this cruise runs most ... Read More
This was our third Princess cruise and all I can say is that if tattoo's, body piercing and people with no manners or class are your style, then book this one. I certainly can not blame Princess, but apparantly this cruise runs most of the summer, so by the time we got on the ship the entire crew was "fried" from the clientele from previous weeks. My husband appoached the maitre d about changing our dining table and the guy was just completely rude. The pool scene was not appropriate for our 6 year old daughter, half of the "moms" looked like they all shopped at Forever 21 and got their belly's pierced on the way to the ship, we saw a lot of implants, even with the young girls. The parents were worse than the children and were giving their kids drinks and they all overtook the pools. You could not find a lounge chair, they all got up in the morning and saved them all. The dining room was more of the same, most did not respect the dress code and were argumentative with the staff. Every night the drunks would go up and down the hallways and wake everyone up. One night a group of boys decided to take everyone's room service request off their doors, so no one got their order. We missed our tour because of it. I finally got to speak with the head of passenger services and they just apologized, there was not much they could do to control the enviornment on the ship. He said when the ship turns around and goes to New England it's a whole different clientele. I guess this is what you get when you embark in Brooklyn, many of the people looked like they just came in off the subway line. The clientele on the ship ruined the trip for us. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Traveled (47) with my nephew (23) for the first time with Princess Cruises. I have previously cruised with Carnival (24 years ago) and 2 cruises with Celebrity (Zenith). My nephew had been on the Celebrity Zenith. Having read the ... Read More
Traveled (47) with my nephew (23) for the first time with Princess Cruises. I have previously cruised with Carnival (24 years ago) and 2 cruises with Celebrity (Zenith). My nephew had been on the Celebrity Zenith. Having read the reviews I was really expecting the worst. I believe you get what you want from the cruise, so if a person wants to pick things apart they will and if a person wants to enjoy it they will. We absolutely loved the cruise. The weather cooperated. The seas were like glass. Embarkation: Brooklyn Red Hook Pier 12 We arrived by noon. We went through the terminal in 15 minutes. We waited until 1:00PM to board. By 1:15 we were in our room. Our luggage was already there. This process worked well. Room: We were in a cabin that was accessible to wheelchairs which is the reason the bathroom was huge. We didn't need the accessibility but it made the room spacious. There was enough closet space and we were right across from the elevators. The A/C didn't work effectively the first day but I told the room steward and the second day it was fixed. The balcony was well worth the extra money. The Baja deck (Deck 11) balconies are covered. The Baja balconies allow you to look down on the two lower decks' balconies (Dolphin and Caribe) We received turn down service each night and whatever we needed Estefana made sure we got it. Pools: Loved the fact that there were 5 pools. 2 pools for families, and 2 adult only pools, and one other pool. Let's face it people - there are signs put up for a reason. People don't pay attention. The no jumping or diving signs were disregarded. And I hate to say it but I saw young kids and adults jumping and diving. There is only so much the ship can do. I saw people complain to the cruise officials. I saw the cruise personnel tell the jumpers to stop. The cruise personnel would walk away and the kids would jump right back in. I actually had a mother say to me she was mad that some guy told her kids to stop jumping in. She said well other kids are doing it. My thought was if someone cracked their head or dove and hit bottom, how fast could the Coast Guard get there. People are just stupid. I enjoyed the adult's only pools because people could read the signs. And one more thing, people can't read the sign about not saving any lounge chairs as a common courtesy. By 8AM all the lounge chairs were saved by people who didn't show up. All we did was walk up a level, there are plenty of lounge chairs and it's not worth getting annoyed by. Ship: This ship is huge. Ginormous would be more like it. It took like a week before we could navigate the ship. And I believe we were booked to capacity so maybe there were like 3500 people on board. Never washed my hand so much as on the cruise. We sanitized our hands every chance we could. To us this ship never seemed crowded. We didn't do the shows. But when we went through our days there never were lines (we tend to be on the early side) Yes it may have been tough in the buffet but we always found seats. The dining rooms (Coral and Island) were quite good. The lounges ( Explorers) was a nice place to sit and look at the ocean. The Promenade Deck (7) 2.7 times around was a mile. Yes you had to climb stairs during this walk but it was still enjoyable. The Sanctuary was wonderful. However if you aren't one of the first people to board the ship chances are the 20 loungers will be sold out for the week. They then sell the remaining 27 seats on a daily basis, $10 for either 8-12:30 - or I think 1-5:30. We were lucky to get in the first day at sea. There was no one else up there. We were able to relax for 2 hours but then we hit a patch of rain and we had to leave. It was well worth the $20. Entertainment: We didn't do any shows. We did do the Movie under the Stars and thoroughly enjoyed it. Again with the saving of seats and how some people could almost come to blows over this. Dining: Crowne Grill - $25 pp extra but it was well worth it. I had the Black and Blue Onion Soup, excellent. And filet mignon that absolutely was the best I have ever eaten. It more than melted in my mouth. The service was attentive and the food was superb. Sabatini's - $20pp extra and if you like to eat than this is for you. We aren't really into fish so alot of the food they served we didn't eat. But what we did eat was also excellent. We ate so much that we didn't have room for dessert. The Horizon Buffet/Cafe Carribe both served buffet style food. We could find something we liked when we wanted to stay in our shorts and not have to dress for the dining room. Prego Pizza - Pizza was good for a cruise ship. Trident Grill - Hamburgers/ fries very good. I didn't like the hot dogs. Internet Cafe - Buy the package-$55 for 100 minutes or whatever. That pay by the minutes cost me $35 for one email. Didn't realize how long it would take. Buy the package. Casino - We had the hardest time figuring out how to get the money from the card to the account to the machines. Complicated. We only went when there was the No Smoking Nights. The Spa - I had the frangiapani scalp massage and then I had the 5 treatment special. Ceilo did an excellent job and was helpful in product selection. Staff: Overall, I think the passengers were nastier than any staff I met. I think some passengers come with a certain rudeness/entitlement that rubbed me the wrong way. So if I worked on the ship it might be a stretch to be pleasant to these passengers. You get what you put out there. So I was met with nothing but warmth and smiles. Shoutouts: Our room steward Estefana was great. The Horizon Buffet 6am club -Pisces, Zlatimir and Isidro made my morning coffee enjoyable. Gabriel at the Crowne Grill and Sebastian at Sabatinis were more than accommodating and Ceilo in the spa did a great job. Disembarkation: We had to wait in the Crowne Grill longer than we had hoped but once off the ship we had to find our luggage. That was a trip. Then we loaded the luggage and waited outside for our ride. Overall: I would definitely do this cruise again. I will definitely recommend it to friends. I would book this ship and have nothing but great memories. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Hello to all. I'm an infrequent poster on this board. I did write a number of weeks ago as to a seemingly high number of negative reviews and a general decline in dining and service in the mainstream cruise industry. So here's my ... Read More
Hello to all. I'm an infrequent poster on this board. I did write a number of weeks ago as to a seemingly high number of negative reviews and a general decline in dining and service in the mainstream cruise industry. So here's my second attempt at a review from the CB from its 7/17 to 7/26 voyage(I wrote a whole review then somehow wiped it out while posting).Cruised with my wife, son age 21, daughter age 22 and her boyfriend age 22. Have cruised on Home Lines, Carnival and RCI from 1985 to present. This was our 6th cruise and first on Princess. Two inside cabins, Riviera Deck(14). R252 forward and R721 aft. Embarkation: Fabulous in Brooklyn. Miles ahead of Manhattan. We drove down from Connecticut just after rush hour on Friday morning. Unloaded vast amounts of luggage with the stevedore, parked literally in minutes and boarded the ship within 30 minutes thereafter. We were having lunch on the Lido by 1:00. What could be better?The Ship: Beautiful and well maintained as most people report. We particularly like the small club venues(Club Fusion, Explorer's, etc..) for live music and entertainment. The Princess Theater is always full and some complained about the lack of adequate seating. Having read this Board carefully, we knew to get there early for seats and we had no trouble on any night. We also especially enjoyed the smaller adult pool area, Deck 15 aft. Great view of the ocean, seats in the shade and sun(we do shade), hot tub one deck above. It was almost felt yacht -like within the vast confines of a 116,000 gross ton ship. The main pool areas, as usual on most ships are jammed. This is especially the case on the CB with its added passenger cabins. We needed to secure our places aft in the adult area early as seats were gone after 8:45am. This ship does have air conditioning issues. Fortunately for us, cabins were fine as long as we kept the AC on the lowest settings. Inconistent AC in various areas including portions of the casino and at times, the Horizon and Caribe Cafe buffets, even the Palm Dining Room, especially with the sun shining in at 6:00 pm dinner. In mingling with other passengers, we did hear complaints about cabin AC issues as well. Its strange how this issue seems to pervade this ship. I did email Princess in advance of the voyage about it and received an email response denying any AC issues. Dining and Service: Except for a major issue noted below that arose on the last night of the voyage, dining quality, dining service and service at all levels throught the ship exceeded our expectations. We chose traditional first seating dining. Our waiter Edgar, and his assistant(who's exact name escapes me so I do not want to mis-state it) anticipated our every dining wish. They could not do more for us. Edgar brought extra crab legs, lobster tails, and especially made sure my wife and daughter, both of whom do not eat red meat, were happy with their selections. The food quality in the dining room was really good to excellent as was the Horizon and Carribe buffets. Certainly better quality than Royal Caribbean and significantly better than Carnival. This is subjective of course. I don't know where the negative reviews on Princess food quality come from. Only my wife's turkey scallopini selection was not very good and had to be sent back. Edgar brought a vegetarian choice that my daughter had originally ordered and they both found it to be excellent. The desserts were really very good and the Baked Alaska on the last night was excellent. Edgar indicated to me that the end of cruise surveys are really important and we of course gave dining the most excellent of reviews. We also extended additional gratuities to our waiter and assistant for their fabulous work. Daughter and her boyfriend went to Sabatini's one night. They said it was worth it, very filling and very good though not the best meal ever, necessarily. We all went to the Crown Grill one night. They were surprisingly out of the Brazilian Lobster Tail(which is an additional charge) so for those of us that wanted that and "settled" for steak, our waiter brought us 4oz lobster tails and we made our own "surf and turf". It was really very nice and very good. Golden Fleece on Carnival still remains the best ship speciality restaurant though, in our opinions. Cabin stewards were excellent. They got to know us quickly, always left the "correct" number of towels and pool/excursion towels. Cabins were very well kept and clean. We hardly saw the stewards after the first day yet all the service was wonderfully provided. Could not ask for more. Unlike especially Carnival, the crew top to bottom greet you with eye contact and a smile and are eager to please.The Cruise: By the first night, the ship was shaking back and forth due to being on the edge of a tropical depression and by day 2 at sea, although sunny, we encountered gale force winds. It caused rapid shaking of the ship rather than large rolls. This was tolerable to us but some passengers appeared to be seasick. The movement did cause a number of falls on deck. Though we enjoyed a sunny day at sea, given the past history, we were not hopeful as to being able to dock in Bermuda but by the evening of day 2, the seas calmed and we docked in Bermuda the next morning uneventfully. We took a cab to Governor's Beach which the kids said was the best they've been to even compared to beaches they've experienced in the Caribbean. Then, it was on to San Juan, not our favorite port. During breakfast, the Captain announced that there were near gale force winds in the port, that he had ordered two tugs and would reassess when and whether he would enter the port. We were delayed about 20 minutes and then entered and docked. The cautiousness of the Captain and caring attitude in keeping the passengers informed added a great sense of security and trust in his experience and competence. Safety was the priority and he made that clear. It always amazes me that some people would complain about missing a port due to sea conditions. In San Juan, we decided to try something different. We took a hotel room at the Marriott to have a beach day. Fairly nice beach, nice pool area. Nice hotel all around. San Juan defeated us as the rains came at 1 pm and never stopped. We laughed about it. Its only money. We took naps in the room(nice Marriott special bedding) and went to the casino after only about an hour or so at the beach and pool. So it was an experience of a sort. Went back to the ship about 7 for the late dinner at the Crown Grill mentioned above. We've been to St. Thomas several times, which was the next port. We repeated the St. John Beach and Snorkel excursion through Princess. The ferry called the Island Girl was late picking us up to depart and was late picking us up to return to the pier. We had reduced time at the wonderful beach and spent time waiting in the hot sun at both ends of the ferry trip. This was uncomfortable and aggravating. We made appropriate comments in our excursion survey requested by Princess. The next port, Grand Turk was very crowded at the pier because the Carnival Liberty was also in. The shopping in the controlled area at the pier was excellent. The beach right there was so crowded there were no lounges or cabanas available. We sat at the Margaritaville restaurant and nursed several Pina Colata's while the kids went into the crowded water. In retrospect, we should have taken a cab to a beach elsewhere but at least the shopping worked out. Of note, there was a bridge announcement on the last night at 1:30am apparently dispatching appropriate crew to a fire alarm. About 10 minutes later, there was an additional announcement for this crew to stand down so very thankfully, the incident ended. Questions in the morning to the Purser were answered vaguely, although we were told there was a minor incident in a crew area that was immediately taken care of. Problems: The safe in one cabin had a low battery and was never fixed despite two attempts. This was only a minor inconvenience. Here's the problem. On the last night, after going back to sleep following the bridge announcements to crew, groups of teens were shouting and swearing and running up and down the hallway near our aft cabin on Deck 14. We scolded them outside our door. When the conduct persisted, we called security twice between 2 and 4am. At 4am we went to the Purser's desk. While we were there, there were kids banging on the grand piano in the Piazza. Here's what got us. We demanded to speak with someone in charge and spoke to the night manager. While he was apologetic, he said there was little he could do "since there were 800 kids on the ship." This was entirely unacceptable to us. We said sufficient security personnel should be available and dispatched to control this type of behavior. He said they try to talk to these kids but it doesn't really help. I did not ask for nor was I offered an account credit. I didn't care about that aspect. I felt very badly that my family was disturbed by all of this. Where are the parents? Some of these kids appeared to be drunk as well. They were shouting, cursing but slurring there speech. We basically got no sleep and as we were slated for express walk off at 7:30, the last night was ruined. Final Comments: Before the events of the last evening. we were already talking about planning another cruise on Princess. Our experience was unfortunately somewhat tainted, following a wonderful cruise on a wonderful ship. I will write a letter to Princess. Time will tell as to our decision making. Please feel free to ask questions.  Please note this incident is not reflected in the summary ratings of the cruise itself but obviously is a major concern to us.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Okay, first off...I am not a complainer. But this one I have to let people know about.   ... Read More
Okay, first off...I am not a complainer. But this one I have to let people know about.   /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} I just got in the door today (7/26/2009) from my 9 Night Caribbean Princess Cruise which left on (7/17/2009) from New York. 1. The Room:  We had a $4300 mini suite. The bed was very hard. I took 3 nights of the room steward adding stuff under the sheets before it felt halfway okay.  The room smelled like smoke. Because the 3100 passenger ship was overbooked with 3500 passengers, we could not change rooms. The room steward 'Dennis' was nice. Although he never created special towel animal on the bed or anything like typical cruise room stewards do. He cleaned the room. That's it. Nothing special. The room reminds you of a traditional old school hotel room. Nothing Special about it at all. They just added cheap shelf mounted flat screens TVs to help the appearance but it does not help the decor much. The Bath room was a good size for a cruise and it had a tub in it. The balconies on the ship are larger than I have seen on ship. The only problem is that there are two deck (8 & 9) where the balconies stick out from the ship like steps. This means the you look up and see everyone looking at you and you see them. So, no balcony privacy. Most ships the balconies are flush to the ship so have almost complete privacy unless a ship pulls up next to you! 2. The Ship: This ship in no way takes your breath away. It looks a little like it came out of the 'Love Boat' TV show. Nothing special. It has the most illogical design of any ship we have been on. Very Few Venues.  Princess ships have a design concept where they break up the pool decks into three areas. This design is actually kind of bad. The Middle section has the Movie screen which is nice. But if they did not have the movie screen you would really be bored.  The shows are just okay. They had only two theatrical performances (Musical Tribute, Caribbean theme), Magician (Adult oriented w/Comedy, a magician in a to to), Hypnotizer (okay), Two Comedians. Now, this was a 9 night cruise. You get more than this in a 5 night cruise. What they did was keep repeating the shows over and over and over. They had to do this because the venues/theaters are pretty small when you are carrying 3500 people. And there would be maybe only two major performances going on simultaneously. So people would be crowded around everywhere. 3. The Dining: More Crowds! The buffets had pretty good food. We had lobster or crab several times. I was surprised that there were lobster claws in the buffet on the first day of departure. Of Course they portioned them out to you. But I had my share since most people were unaware it was being served. The dining room food was good also. The service was really bad since there where so many people. So you would wait to be seated, and then wait to be served for each course of the meal. When it arrived it was usually good. The wait staff often time were rude or just non-attentive, we heard this from everyone we dined with. We had anytime seating so we met several new people each night. I believe since they have started charging you automatically for tips that service has gone down (freestyle cruising causes this also).  In the buffet you will always find yourself looking around for a while for a seat. Every Cruise I have been on host special nights on the pool deck. Usually there are several theme nights. Usually there is a Themed cuisine buffet style on the outside decks. In this 9 night cruise they only had ONE and all they served was FRUIT! Oh I'm sorry they did have a few fried appetizers. There was only ONE LINE and a serving area that was only 6 tables long for a ship that had 3500+ (700 kids) people on it!  There was not one special midnight buffet evening! No special themes or waiter performances in the dining room. Wait...one night they did wear Italian sailor outfits. This was such an uneventful cruise it is crazy!  But if you never cruised you would not know this.  Wait...let me tell you about the ICE CREAM....every cruise I have been own the have self serve ice cream machines placed around the pool decks or the buffet.  NOT PRINCESS.  When you get on the ship at the door they tell you that free ice cream is only available between 2-4pm. So, if you want unlimited ice cream you must purchase a $93.00 'Soda and Ice Cream' sticker. Okay...you buy this and the you find out that ice cream is only served until 6pm. Wait...and there is only one place to get Ice Cream. Wait...and there are only every 1 or 2 people working at the stand...for 3500+ people!!!! (700 kids). And they give you a mini-cone. 4. THEY TRY TO CHARGE YOU FOR ALMOST EVERYTHING, SPIN, YOGA, ETC...... 5. In the workout room they shut down the treadmills at 8pm because there are rooms under the gym and it disturbs the passengers. WHAT KIND OF SHIP DESIGN IS THIS!!!! 6. There is now separate Karaoke Place like Royal and Others...they just convert the main club into a Karaoke place for an hour then change the theme. The cruise director is able to Host every major event because only one thing good is going on at a time. You would think he was the STAR on board. Nice guy but man! Look...I could go on and on. We made the best of it. We had fun meeting people and doing the thing we did. And just relaxing on deck mostly because the bed was hard.   The best part of the cruise was the MOVIES under the stars and the Food. 85% of the Passengers are from the New York, Boston, NJ, Penn. Areas. And maybe the staff has been beaten down by the strength of the New York style personalities. I don't know... but this is not a quality cruise. It's maybe a Cruise for beginners who don't know better. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
My last cruise before this was on the Norwegian Dawn from New York.  I won't get started on a rant about that ship, but needless to say the Caribbean Princess was a welcome change of environment and quality.  Kids and the young at ... Read More
My last cruise before this was on the Norwegian Dawn from New York.  I won't get started on a rant about that ship, but needless to say the Caribbean Princess was a welcome change of environment and quality.  Kids and the young at heart, do not be afraid of Princess's reputation.  On our cruise, there were 300 teenagers (ages 13-17) and the ship was not stuck up or full of old people at all.  In my opinion, Princess combined the fun and friendliness of Carnival with the cleanliness and elegance of Holland-America or Cunard.  The Caribbean Princess (and its sister ships) are very big and very nice.CabinsOur inside cabin was actually a pretty good size compared to some other inside cabins that I've been in.  The only problem was the bathroom.  As I said, this was my 8th cruise and the shower was probably the smallest I've seen on a cruise ship yet.  The good part, however, was that the shower allowed you to adjust the water pressure from light to blast-your-skin-off and several levels of intensity in between.  Our cabin steward Arnel was excellent!  (Deck 12 Forward, Port side).  FoodThe food was excellent.  I gained 10 pounds on a 9-night cruise!  I was up until almost 3 AM many nights and even then there was still food in Cafe Caribe (Deck 15 Aft).  The pizza was good and was readily available most of the day (sometimes we would have to wait a few minutes for our after-midnight snack).  I was traveling with a group of 10 people and we like to sit at one table, but we were separated the first night in the Palm Dining Room.  I'm not sure if this was the cruise line's fault or the fault of the Travel Agent, but the Maitre d' sent us a notification the next afternoon that he could accommodate all of us at one table in the Coral Dining Room at almost the same time as our original seating.  The food choice was excellent in the dining room.  And if you're not into eating duck and unidentifiable types of fish (I am not), then there's always caesar salad, chicken and other daily alternatives that were just as tasty and well-prepared as a featured dish.  The service in the dining room was also very good.  However, the upstairs eating areas on the Lido Deck (Deck 15) were often crowded (see below).EntertainmentThe entertainment on this ship was good, but I've seen better.  There were two different comedians during the cruise, both were hilarious in my opinion.  There was also a hypnotist.  He was good in his hypnosis show, but he did another show later in the cruise that, I thought, had a lot of phony bologna in it (to put it in laymen's terms).  There was a "bad boy of magician" who was juts plain weird and not that funny, or a good magician for that matter.  While the shows were good, they were repeated.  The hypnotist did a total of 5 performances of the same exact show over the course of 3 days.  The so-so magician performed two nights in a row.  The singing-and-dancing show was apparently good.  I didn't go, but I heard it was decent.  However, it too was repeated a second night during the cruise.  This meant that there wasn't always a show to go see after dinner.Teen Group (REMIX)The Teen Group is very strict.  In order to register a teen, a parent needs to sit through a safety briefing session, and the teen's card needs to be cut, and I quote "with the special scissors that nobody else has."  If your card wasn't cut, you couldn't enter because there was a teen group moderator carding everybody at almost all times.  It was good that there weren't older people in the teen group (my last cruise had 20-somethings with alcohol in hand in the teen group and the moderators didn't care.)  However, the moderators treated us like children by forcing us to participate in games and such, so I spent more time elsewhere with friends I made there.  I still had fun of course, but not because of Remix.It's Too Crowded!As I mentioned before, the Caribbean Princess was the biggest and newest ship I have been on as of yet.  One of the problems with this ship is its size.  The Caribbean Princess has extra cabin space as compared to its sister ships, which means it can accommodate 500 more passengers than its sister ships (the Crown, Emerald and Ruby Princess).  However, the public spaces were not updated to reflect this change.  Everything was crowded.  I could never find an empty table near the Pizza and Hot Dog/Hamburger Grill (I forget the name).  The Buffet Line at Breakfast was often very long, especially after 10:30 AM when some stations began closing down for workers to begin preparing lunch.  The Princess Theatre was always packed.  There were also decent shows in the Explorer's Lounge.  Most began at 8:30 but we had to arrive by 8:00 to get a seat.  Even though I wasn't allowed, members of my family who attended the Adult Comedian Show in Club Fusion also reported that there was no room for them to sit, even though they arrived 45 minutes before the show's start time.  (Later in the cruise for the "London Calling" show they found a Scrabble board and got seats almost 2 hours before start time and just played Scrabble until then).  OverallNice ship.  Very clean.  Very friendly staff.  Very good food.  Very crowded in public places like lounges and cafes.  Itinerary was only so-so.  Entertainment was hit-and-miss, and repeated too often. 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Sail Date July 2009
Accomodations I went on the Caribbean Princess with my husband, his brother and my mother and father in law. It was a 9-day cruise that set sail on July 8, 2009. We embarked in Brooklyn. When we drove up to the pier, several gentleman were ... Read More
Accomodations I went on the Caribbean Princess with my husband, his brother and my mother and father in law. It was a 9-day cruise that set sail on July 8, 2009. We embarked in Brooklyn. When we drove up to the pier, several gentleman were waiting to unload our luggage and take it to the ship for us. When we boarded we were allowed to go to our room right away. (We had traveled on NCL last year and had to wait nearly 3 hours before we were allowed to go into our cabin) My in-laws had a suite whereas my husband and I had a general stateroom with balcony. The balcony was a nice size that fit a table and four chairs. The stateroom itself was a typical cruise cabin. The bathroom was small and the shower was smaller. The beds and the pillows were comfortable. The suite had room for 3 people. The bathroom had a small, stand up shower with an actual shower door and a Jacuzzi bathtub. It was much bigger than our bathroom and it had two sinks. There was a large counter area as well as plenty of closets and drawers for storage. The suite included many perks including complimentary laundry and dry cleaning service, free Internet access, daily canopies (chocolate covered strawberries, caviar, etc.) Entertainment and Activities The Caribbean Princess has 18 decks. By the end of the cruise we had explored all of them. There was a lot to do on the ship. Tim, the cruise director, was excellent. He got on the loudspeaker at least three times a day to update us on the days' events. He was also very charismatic when introducing shows and he even hosted a few shows of his own. The entertainment was wonderful. There was always something going on in the piazza whether it was a musical group or a street performer. The shows in the theater were close to Broadway caliber. The comedians were very funny and toward the end of the cruise there was a hypnotist on board who did an extremely funny show with members of the audience. In addition to the on board entertainment, there were numerous activities the guests could participate in, such as Princess Pop Star, a contest similar to American Idol. They had qualifying rounds three days in a row. Then on the final night of the cruise they held the finale where the top six singers competed for the title. The only complaint I had about Princess Pop Star is that the winner did not receive anything special. All six contestants received a Princess Cruise tote bag but the winner, did not receive anything in addition. I thought that was a little tacky. There was also a dance contest where contestants competed in ballroom dance. The Caribbean Princess offered Scholarship at Sea classes in computers, ceramics, scrapbooking and more. The scrapbooking class was not what I expected. In the beginning, they showed us some products that they were selling. Then they brought out tools and paper so we could start creating our own pages, however the tools were old and didn't work well anymore and the paper was construction paper. In scrapbooking you need to use acid free paper so it doesn't fade. Other activities included Bingo, Bridge, board game get togethers, pool games, basketball, ping pong and more. We wanted to take advantage of the gym they had on board during one of the days at sea. However, we got there at 8:30 in the morning and all the machines were in use. There were also 5 treadmills that were roped off so no one could use them. We went outside to the track but they had shortened the track to add The Sanctuary. Therefore the outdoor track was extremely short and boring. There was another walking track on deck 7 that went all around the ship however, you had to walk up a set of steps around the front of the ship and then down another set in order to complete the wrap around. The Crew Every member of the crew that we came in contact with was extremely nice and pleasant with the exception of one. When we had a problem with one of our excursions, Tina from the excursion desk was very helpful and followed through with everything until we were satisfied. One member of the cruise director's staff, Shane, remembered my name throughout the entire length of the cruise after I tried out for Princess Pop Star on the second night. The room stewards were very accommodating. Anything we asked for we received in a timely manner. We always felt welcome by the staff with the exception of one crew member. As part of the benefits of being in a suite my in-laws received a card in their room that invited them to breakfast at Sabatini's, one of the premier restaurants. We went along with them on the last day of the cruise. The maitre'd looked up their cabin and it showed that there were only three people in the cabin, however there were 5 of us all together. The man told my mother-in-law that "under no circumstances" can they allow anyone to dine for breakfast who was not staying in one of the suites. He repeated himself several times after my mother-in-law tried to explain that she had received a card that said suite guests and their families were invited. We thought it was very rude of him to continue saying "under no circumstances" could we dine there. It was as if he was saying "How dare you step foot into this restaurant. You are just commoners." We had eaten at Sabatini's for dinner and paid the premium a few nights before. We were disappointed and annoyed with the maitre'd. The food The food was amazing. I tried things I wouldn't normally eat and I was not disappointed. The soups, the appetizers, main meals and desserts were mouthwatering. It was all five-star quality. Even the food at the buffet was good. They were making omelettes for breakfast. When we didn't see the lox that we wanted we asked for it and a dining worker went in the back and retrieved it for us. We had the option of having formal seating (where you eat at the same time and with the same waiter every night) or anytime dining (which is what we chose). Twice, we had to wait up to half an hour for a table, though. The Casino We are avid gamblers and were in the casino every night. There were several blackjack tables but only one roulette and one craps table. Both of which were crowded every night and hard to get on. Perhaps they can remove two of the blackjack tables and add another Roulette table. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Okay, so this was my first cruise so I may have opinions that differ from seasoned cruisers.  We were traveling with four 18 year olds and one 13 year old celebrating hs graduation (three kids ours.)  We are a 44 year old couple who ... Read More
Okay, so this was my first cruise so I may have opinions that differ from seasoned cruisers.  We were traveling with four 18 year olds and one 13 year old celebrating hs graduation (three kids ours.)  We are a 44 year old couple who consider ourselves fun overall.  Here is the review. Embarktion.  Great, no problems easy on in about 20 minutes.  Parking in brooklyn is a snap, I stressed about it and was happy to find parking plentiful and closeby.  Cabin.  Fine, we had three cabins in all.  They were small, but we had no complaints.  Our steward Jeal on the starboard was great, the steward for the kids rooms on the port side was awful, never returned pages, threw the eggcrates on the floor and said he would put them on the beds "if he had time" and overall just didn't respond to them.  I really feel is was due to their age, however they did not page him because they wanted to be "princesses" they paged him for things like towels, and being locked out of the room.  Never getting a response.  We ended up asking the tips be adjusted.Staff.  Overall on the ship there was a weird vibe from all the staff, I feel like they are overtaxed by their contracts and too many days at sea.  Bascially everyone was just plain unfriendly.  Especially to the kids.  One bartender gave my daughter a half a glass of grenadine and can of sprite when she ordered a shirley temple.  He couldn't be bothered to mix it for her.  We experienced that type of attitude from the majority of the bartenders.  They don't greet you, don't look you in the eye, and really aren't all that interested in you other than to take your order and scan your card.  We found it weird, as we are friendly people and always said hi.  On the otherside, with our older daughers we found certain staff members overly "friendly" particularly the cruise directors staff who hang out in the night club late at night.  They were constantly hitting on and touching our 18 year olds (granted they are pretty girls) we also found it inappropriate when we went to change one of our 18 year old guests cards from "child" to "over 18" (her birthday was the 2nd day of the cruise and the card change allowed her access to the disco) the man at guest services helping us asked her if she "wanted a birthday kiss."  We're no prudes, but it was just creepy! We took a cruise with the hopes we didn't have to watch our daughters 24/7.  I've heard that the cruise directors staff is encouranged to engage with the customers after hours, I guess that includes trying to make out with them! Entertainment.  As first time cruisers everyone had said "there is so much to do" to us.  Well if so much to do means, eat, trivia and kareoke, I guess there is so much to do.  I seriously felt like nothing has changed since the 1970's love boat series.  Entertainment was in a word "lame."  The trivia contest were rediculous, with about 10 people participating and key chain prizes.  Activities included things like napkin folding, charades and line dancing.  And anything worthwhile cost extra.  It was really strange because the things that did go over well, like the deck party halfway through the cruise were few and far between. That deck party was great!  We had so much fun, but it was the only event with some life to it.  Otherwise you were back to trivia and hanging by the pool.  Movies under the stars was nice, but it was impossible to find a chair if you didn't go early.  Trust me, I hate saying all this, as I had such high hopes for events, but I think people should know what they are in for on this ship.  On the upside for entertainment, The shows were good, I have to say the comics were first rate and hypnotist was outstanding, no complaints there. The problem was during the day, the events just left me feeling like I should be 65 and love bingo. We were really disappointed to find no shuffleboard or minigolf, and that the ping pong paddles were all broken, and that one deck was taken up by a basketball court that only a select few used.  We just wanted something to DO...anything other than swim at the pool. Our 13 year old particpated in the kids program, which consisted of primarily hanging out on the stairwell outside the kids center.  While the organized activities were good, they were not that often and the club was deemed "really small"  Groups of kids hung out side at night, every night.   She by far had the best cruise however, making a ton of friends. Food.  Okay food, here is the honest truth, you may agree or disagree.  If you like hometown buffet, you'll like the food.  There is LOTS of it, but nothing really tastes good.  However, you can have as much as you want. The eggs were fake, the bacon deep fried, the sausage underdone, etc.  But if you're into quantity over quality, you'll love it.  The anytime dining was great, no complaints about the format.  The waiters were efficient, but never really looked at you.  The food was okay, nothing I could even remember to mention.  That's pretty much how it was.  We were all gaining on average about 8 pounds on the cruise, but nothing was really that outstanding. Ports.  This made it worthwhile...we LOVED the ports.  Especially St. Thomas and Bermuda.  We only wished there were more time.  We did an excursion on Grand Turk (snorkeling) it was really fun, and well organized, I would recommend a princess excursion anytime.  Also mad props to Liz, the shopping coordinator, who made our tour of Bermuda seemless, by helping us with transportation and an itinerary that would be the least expensive was to do the most while on the island.  She's really great and a terrific asset to princess.  Go to her shows or watch her on the princess channel on board, she knows what she's talking about!Overall, while we made the most of our princess cruise, we couldn't help but feel maybe we belonged on Carnival.  We found the bars empty at 11:00 on princess and really wanted to have a good time.  I think if you're very low key and turn in early, you'll like the ship.  We were overall disappointed and felt somewhat "processed."  I'll leave on a positive note, the ship is very clean, very beautiful and the wine bar is fabulous, the bartender there was great!  We are generally beer drinkers, but converted to wine because we liked the wine bar so much!       Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
                My husband and I just got back today from an Eastern Caribbean cruise on CB with our 2 children, ages 9 and 11.  We were in a group of 13.  Sorry if this is wordy....I talk/write a lot.... ... Read More
                My husband and I just got back today from an Eastern Caribbean cruise on CB with our 2 children, ages 9 and 11.  We were in a group of 13.  Sorry if this is wordy....I talk/write a lot....                 Embarkation was a delight.  We were driven by van and dropped off at 11:30.  We were probably the 5th group to board-embarkation was a breeze.  We immediately tried to sign up for the sanctuary for the week  for my parents which was already booked by 12:45.  We had lunch in the Coral Dining Room-much quieter and laid back then the buffet.  By the time lunch was finished our luggage was already at our cabin.  Our cabin was lovely.  I loved the huge closet and our balcony was nice and large with 4 chairs and a small table.  We could see the balcony below us and we could be seen-but we received our robes and it was not a problem.                 Immediately after lunch my DH stood on line to speak with the head waiter regarding our seating.  We were a group of 13 and not all eating together.  He brought a book and I unpacked and joined him when I was finished.  They totally accommodated us to have 2 tables at early seating which was great!  Meals were ok-again this is my 9th cruise (NCL, Carnival, RC) but my first on Princess.  I found there to be a lot of beef and pork choices-not too many chicken.  My daughter enjoys cold fruit soups-not offered many nights.  We tried several times to get Escargot for my son-he had it twice but would have preferred more often.  The head waiter did get us pasta with olive oil and garlic one evening, but when asked a second time only was able to get 6 portions (we needed 13) although he was tipped generously the first night.  DH enjoyed bringing wine on board.  DH also enjoyed beer that he was able to get at the Wheelhouse in a pint glass...something that others have had concerns about.  (The secret is to ask for a mixing glass.)  We did eat at the Crown Grill which was very enjoyable and relaxing.  They did not help me with cutting the lobster tail.                 Kids were in 2 different levels at camp.  Both kids left dinner every night before dessert to be certain not to "miss anything."  My son, 9, loved the foosball, Wii competitions, and dodge ball.  My daughter, 11, loved the ping pong, card games, dodge ball and foosball .  The counselors were all wonderful.  Both of my children signed themselves in and out which was great.  We did have them have walkie talkies and we made arrangements on when/where to meet.  They always followed the plan probably in fear of losing their freedom.  They could not sign in/out on port days which was not a problem-just needed to remember our license.                  We did not stop at Bermuda due to weather.  In San Juan we had a couple's massage which was lovely (I loved the orange/lime water) and then we walked around a little with the kids.  In St Thomas we shopped and in Turks we did the horseback riding.  Horseback riding was a good time!  Wear shorts with a bathing suit underneath.  You do get wet!  My legs were slightly achy the next day.  Kids giggled a lot with the water gallop.                  The seniors in the group loved reading and people watching in the piazza.  If you are a coffee drinker definitely get the coffee card on day 1.  Coffee is not great except from the cafe and the lattes and cappuccinos were yummy as well.                  The ship is elegant.  I did not understand the elevators in that you needed to press several buttons to cue them to come and some had a very musty odor.  I found the entertainment to be fair.  My husband loved the poker and the bridge.                  Another big issue for me was the fitness center.  It opens at 7:00 which is great but you can't use the tread mills until 8:00.  The outside track is slippery if wet (which it was several mornings) and you need to go up/down steps.                 Service-room was kept tidy and she stayed out of our way.  No towel critters and not much interaction b/w us.  The dining room staff had 4 tables.  They kept us moving but unlike other cruises didn't spend the time telling us what was on the menu the next day or getting to know us.  They never helped us cut our kid's food.  By the end they did have lemons on the table for our water which was nice.  Only song was last day which they did a baked Alaska parade.                 Disembarkation was rather easy. We did have 2 mistakes on our bill which were quickly resolved.  We got to the desk early-the line was quite long when we were done.   We were in the fusion lounge and our color was 9:30 and we were called at 10:05.  We were in the van at 10:30.  Now I am on load 4 of wash and contemplating making dinner.    Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Between June 10-20 2009 my boyfriend and I (both in 40's, no kids) took the Caribbean Princess from Brooklyn NY to Bermuda, San Juan PR, St. Thomas, Grand Turk. We cruised once before on Carnival and this was our first Princess ... Read More
Between June 10-20 2009 my boyfriend and I (both in 40's, no kids) took the Caribbean Princess from Brooklyn NY to Bermuda, San Juan PR, St. Thomas, Grand Turk. We cruised once before on Carnival and this was our first Princess cruise. This ship beats Carnival by far!A quick warning before the Cruise Pros & Cons: Beware of BEACH swimming in Grand Turk. Our ship berthed next to Carnival Destiny ship already at the pier. Many Princess customers were swimming within the designated beach area located close to the Carnival ship. When Carnival quickly pulled out of port, it created a strong undercurrent which sucked the beach swimmers out to sea! It's a miracle nobody drowned, though some were physically & mentally hurt by this scary episode. Princess had to send out a rescue boat. There are no lifeguards.Ok, now the rest:PROS: quick embarkation and debarkation. Professional courteous staff. Our room steward, Amado, was outstanding. Great buffet dining experience. Seemed like the staff really tried to prepare interesting themes and variety. I really enjoyed the ample fresh fruit at breakfast and free room delivery. Extremely good quality pizza by the family pool. We had "anytime" dining for the table-service dining. Twice had great food and service in the Coral dining room - coincidentally (?) when we agreed to be seated with other people. Ate at the Crown Grill: excellent food & service.We enjoyed the company of the other cruisers in general a perfect mix of young/mid/older people, from all over US and beyond. Maybe we lucked out, but the kids we encountered were well behaved (unlike our Carnival experience - total chaos where people expected ship staff to discipline the kids).Adult-only pools (Terrace & Spa) were soooooo nice. These fresh water pools were super clean yet seemed to have no chlorine...YAY!! I spent hours in the water daily and never got the usual chlorine eye/skin irritation.Spa and Thermal Rooms:  we opted to buy the "couples special" whole-cruise access to the 'thermals', which are a series of dry/wet heat saunas. We used them every day; extremely relaxing! Many days we were the only ones in there!You'll have the place to yourself if you go in late afternoon/early eve. before dinner.Promenade deck: you can walk the complete perimeter of the ship. The bow is a deck higher than the rest of ship, but this step-walking just added to the fun and work-out factor! 2.7 laps = 1 mile  : )All of the musicians, singers, and show dancers were real pros.CONS:Smoking is allowed on balconies, so don't expect to get any fresh sea air there : (Surly girl 'barista' at the International Cafe was only staff member in need of attitude adjustment (or a vacation herself!)Comedians were 2nd or 3rd rate. They had a guy billed as a comedian/magician who was neither. Booooo.St. Thomas:  if you're unlucky enough to have a rainy day while at this port, don't bother getting off the ship. The town is a dump. Tourist store rip-offs abound. If you MUST shop for jewelry, don't dare pay the 'first' price they quote you. To Princess' credit, I was so relaxed by the cruise that I lost the b*lls required to deal with the obnoxious salespeople here.TIPS:  despite ample signs prohibiting "reserving" of deck chairs, you won't find a 'free' one after 8 a.m. But just because there's a towel on the chair doesn't mean you can't sit on it. I did just that with no problem after watching only 3 people in the (family) pool yet there were 50+ towel-covered chairs with no people or belongings by them. Let the 'no reservations' rule work to YOUR advantage!There are FREE saunas in the mens & ladies locker rooms by the fitness center. You don't have to buy your way into the thermal rooms. The thermals just allow men and women in together.Teeny-tiny cabin showers got you down? Use the FREE large luxurious shower stalls in the fitness/spa area. Especially if you're going to the gym anyway! Added bonus: lots & lots of big clean towels!In a watery nutshell, we would definately do another Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
CB- It was the best of times...   We have just returned from the June 29th sailing of the Caribbean Princess.  We were a family of 5, my husband (48), myself (47), our two daughters (17 and 19) and my sister (never to be revealed!).  ... Read More
CB- It was the best of times...   We have just returned from the June 29th sailing of the Caribbean Princess.  We were a family of 5, my husband (48), myself (47), our two daughters (17 and 19) and my sister (never to be revealed!).  We had two balcony rooms and an inside on the Aloha deck.  We were scheduled to visit Bermuda, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk.  Due to the weather conditions, we were unable to visit Bermuda.  However, the weather for the entire trip was sunny and hot, a welcome to our rain soaked and cold Northeastern bodies.    We chose to use the Princess transfer.  It was a bus out of Providence, RI which stopped a few times along the way in Connecticut.  Our group was wonderful and the trip to the ship was without incident.  The trip back, however, was more eventful.  We were one of the last buses out of the pier and ran into a lot of traffic.  Our driver chose to stop once he entered Connecticut to get a bite to eat.  This put us behind further in time, but we were okay with that.  We were given 45 minutes to get food and return to the bus.  We were all on time- but, the bus would not start!  The driver immediately called for assistance, but we were stranded in the rest stop until 3:15pm.  We were put on another bus and arrived back to Providence at 6:15pm.  The bus transfer was a good idea for those who didn't want to drive to and from NY, though, next time we will drive ourselves.   Embarkation was easy.  We arrived at the pier at 1:15pm, were assisted by the porters with luggage and entered the terminal.  We were asked to show our passports and tickets and preceded to security.  This was done very quickly.  We were given group numbers and sent to another line for processing.  We were able to check in and receive our ship cards within minutes.  This was a very efficient process.  We then entered the waiting area.  Due to tide levels, only one gangway was open.  It was 1:30 pm.  The waiting area had vending machines and bathroom facilities available.  We were group 77 and they were boarding group 71.  It looked as though it took 15 minutes per group to board.  Boarding went more quickly than we thought and were on board by 2:15pm.  They had tables set up with soda stickers, the ultimate soda package and coffee cards at convenient spots.  The ultimate stickers gave our daughters the option of ordering mocktails and sodas by flashing their cards. To clear up any misconceptions, there is no age limit for purchasing the ultimate soda package stickers.     Our rooms were on the Aloha deck.  Our balcony room was a good size, allowing easy movement around the bed.  The closet space was more than sufficient for the two of us and was the same size, I believe as the closet in a mini-suite.  Yes, the bathroom is small, but we did not have any problems with the dreaded shower curtain.  Our balcony was used often during the early morning and late afternoons.  We had the door between the two balcony rooms opened to allow us to move from one to the other.  We often had all 5 of us on one balcony.  Though small, we all did fit.  Our daughters had an inside across the hall.  This worked well for them.  Their only complaint was the movement of the ship went head to toe vs. side to side due to the positioning of the beds.  We had different stewards; ours was good, theirs very good.  He was very understanding of two teenage girls and their sporadic schedules.   We had Anytime Dining.  We did this on our first cruise and enjoyed it.  We were also very fortunate on this cruise.  We ate in the Coral Dining room, arriving around 6:00 pm each night and never had to wait.  We had the same table every night.  Our waiter, Jaime and assistant waiter, Maria Isabella were fantastic.  We enjoyed getting to know them.  Jaime would give his suggestions each night.  He brought ketchup for one daughter without being reminded every night.  On formal night, it arrived on a silver platter!  We enjoyed the meals.  Some meals were better than others, but overall the food was very good.  We tried things we had heard about on cruise boards and were happy with the suggestions.  We also ate breakfast in the dining room once and in the Horizon Court. FYI, there are "real" eggs in the buffet.  Fried eggs were available each day, along with several scrambled or omelet varieties.  Eggs Benedict was also offered several times.  There was also a smoked fish daily.    We also went to the Crown Grill one evening.  It was fabulous!  We had filet mignon and lobster tails.  My husband had the rib eye and lobster tail.  We tried the black and blue onion soup- it was as good as we read about.  We had delicious desserts and coffee.  Truly a great dinner and worth the extra money.   The pizza and burgers were available by the pool, along with chicken sandwiches and hot dogs.  These were delicious.  We also ordered room service a few times and found this to be very good.  We had the coffee cards and had brewed coffee often during the day.  We also tried the Mocha coffees and cappuccinos.  Our assistant waiter would go and get cappuccinos after dinner in the dining room for us.   Entertainment was better on this cruise than on our last cruise several years ago.  Yes, there are shows that are offered more than once, but this allowed us to choose when to go to these shows and see more than one in an evening.  The musicals in the theater were good and yes, you had to arrive 30 minutes prior to get a seat.  We saw Piano Man, Caribbean Caliente and Do You Wanna Dance.  We also saw all of the comedians and the hypnotist/mentalist.  These were very good.  We were entertained by Martin Kaye at Crooners.  He is a pianist/entertainer and engages the audience.  There was always a crowd around his area in the evenings.  He did a theater show, but had a much harder time engaging the audience in a large setting.   Our family also had fun playing Bingo and going to the casino.  We shopped on board for a few items.  The girls also went to Movies Under the Stars many evenings and saw movies such as Gran Torino, He's Just Not That Into You, and Yes Man. Other movies that were shown both inside and out included Mama Mia, The Dark Knight, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Iron Man, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Slumdog Millionaire, Paul Blart Mall Cop, and Cirque de Soleil. During the day MUTS showed various musical concerts and coverage of the Wimbledon.   We went to the pool daily, choosing the Neptune pool. It was difficult to find loungers as many people did go early and place towels on lounge chairs, never to return again.  We were able to find chairs together.  The pool did get crowded on sea days.  We heard the ship had over 3500 people aboard on this cruise with many children.     We were unable to go to Bermuda, as previously mentioned.  We had only one scheduled tour on St. Thomas.  We chose to do the shopping and Magen's Bay excursion.  It was a good tour providing transportation to and from the ship, allowing time to bring back purchases and change before going to the beach.  Magen's Bay was beautiful and the water refreshing.  In San Juan we chose to walk old San Juan visiting several shops, including the Coach and Dooney and Burke outlets.  We ate authentic island food at a local restaurant recommended by some of the shop keepers.  The plantains, mofongo with chicken, and steak and onions were terrific.  On Grand Turk, we waited to disembark allowing the crowds to go before us.  We could not find chairs on the beach and chose to go to Margaritaville, instead.  We found loungers by the pool.  We shopped in the various stores and then spent the afternoon in the pool.  The Margaritas were delicious, as were the nachos and wings.  We went back to the ship early, again beating the crowd.    The worst of times... This was beyond our control but did put a crimp in our cruise.  My husband dislocated his shoulder on the first at sea day.  He had injured his shoulder in February and was cleared by his doctor to resume all activity.  He was actually putting on sunscreen and raised his hand above his head and...POP!  Fortunately for us, the medical facility on board was phenomenal.  They took us in immediately, sedated him and popped his shoulder back into place.  They put him in an immobilizer sling and off we went.  This did curtail his ability to use the pool on board.  Though an unexpected expense, it is good to know they can accommodate such injuries on board.   There were many, many children on board.  The captain made an announcement at the beginning of the cruise to tell parents they were responsible for their children.  Unfortunately, that was the extent of it.  Children were often jumping and diving into the crowded pools.  Those next door to my daughters' room were often yelling obscenities and pounding on the walls late at night.  We were awakened to the running and yelling of children up and down the hallways at night.  There were also many people who did not understand how to close their doors, but instead opted to let them slam shut every single time they entered or left their room. Over 18 nights in the comedy clubs were ignored, as were the no children in the first three rows in the theater, and other recommendations in the patters as far as age restrictions.  This did not affect our fun or enjoyment of the cruise, just observations.    Overall, we had a terrific time!  We did many things on this cruise and came home rested and happy...and several pounds heavier! Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
A year  ago we sailed on Explorer of the Seas from Bayonne, NJ, to New England and Canada.  There were several missing details that would have made an enjoyable vacation more enjoyable.  Our review for that cruise is still posted.We ... Read More
A year  ago we sailed on Explorer of the Seas from Bayonne, NJ, to New England and Canada.  There were several missing details that would have made an enjoyable vacation more enjoyable.  Our review for that cruise is still posted.We decided to try a different cruise line this year and selected Caribbean Princess for the convenience of a New York departure and for the itinerary.  We wanted a relaxing vacation and the Bermuda - Caribbean cruise met our needs.We arrived at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at 11:00 AM and quickly and efficiently passed through security and check-in in a matter of minutes.  We were given a boarding number and directed to the waiting area.  There were enough chairs for everyone with videos playing touting Princess.  At noon boarding began and we were on board by 12:15.  Unlike our previous cruises we were permitted to go directly to our cabin to drop off our carry-on baggage and then proceeded to the Horizon Cafe for our first sampling of Princess fare.  Embarkation was a snap.The Ship was to sail at 5:00.  There was a slight delay for passengers arriving late.  The Muster Drill was scheduled for 4:45 and we were assembled in public areas rather than herded to the Prominade Deck and lined up like bowling pins.  It was explained that if there were an emergency the likelihood of having to go to the life boats was remote so passengers would be assembled and directed from the safety and comfort of the assembly sites.  Makes sense to me!  We sailed a little bit late and our vacation was under way.Rather than a step by step, day by day review, I will summarize our experiences on our vacation.The ship is very big.  There are several pools, several entertainment venues and several dining options.  If I returned tomorrow I doubt I could navigate to every area without a few wrong turns.  Its not poorly laid out, just large.  The room steward told me that from end to end, our hallway was 732 feet long.  I sure am glad that every room has a bathroom!  The ship was recently in dry dock for some upgrades.  She is in excellent shape, public areas are very attractive and comfortable.We selected traditional dining and were assigned to the Palm Dining Room.  There are three main dining rooms each seating about 550 people.  We found this arrangement much better than one 1500+ seat area.  We could actually talk to our table mates without yelling.  Also, there was much more space between tables than on previous cruises.  The service was consistent and pleasant.  No complaints there.  The food was not spectacular but better than we had on our past two cruises.  When one night you can have duck, and the next night have lamb and enjoy them both how can you complain?  There are set items on the menu as well as four or five new items every evening,  good variety and tasty fare.  We had lunch and breakfast most days in the Coral Dining Room and experienced the same service and food quality.  If you want variety, go to the buffet, Horizon Court, where there is always plenty of selections.We ate in Sabitini's (Italian) one night and in the Crown Grill (Steak house) another.  Both were superb.Our room, a mini-suite was wonderful.  The bathroom was large with a tub, and the balcony very pleasant.  We had read about the lack of privacy on the verandas on the Dolphin deck but this didn't bother us at all.  Alvin, our steward was extremely efficient and as pleasant as could be, as were all the attendants we passed in the hall.The entertainment was adequate.  Some shows were more enjoyable than others,  Almost all had a live band, not canned back-up.  The theater was attractive and comfortable.  The "side shows" in the lounges were entertaining.  Others have cited the constant nuisance of servers pushing drinks.  We do not drink and did not find them annoying or overly persistent.The staff on the ship were always responsive and friendly.  Nobody ever said they could not help us.  If they did not have the answers they found someone who did. All of the small problems we encountered can be attributed to the fact that there were more than 3600 passengers on this cruise.  Getting a chaise at any of the pools required early arrival or great luck.  Lounges were always available but not in better locations near the pools and hot tubs.  In the Horizon Cafe you often had to share a table with strangers.  This actually was a good thing because we got to meet and chat with some lovely people!  Getting your picture taken on the formal nights required patience and additional time.The staff did a marvelous job of managing disembarkation at all the ports and at the end of the cruise.  There was never a problem getting on or off Caribbean Princess.The bottom line is that we are not fans of the larger ships.  Even having this preference we cannot say enough about the efforts of the staff of Caribbean Princess to ensure that our vacation was enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We just returned yesterday from a 9-day cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess, sailing from Brooklyn NY to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Bermuda, with five sea days scattered through the itinerary. Our party consisted of my 78 yr-old ... Read More
We just returned yesterday from a 9-day cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess, sailing from Brooklyn NY to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Bermuda, with five sea days scattered through the itinerary. Our party consisted of my 78 yr-old mother, my 50 yr-old sister and her husband and six-year old daughter, my 47 yr-old sister, and me (51 yrs old). For comparison purposes, some or all of us have previously sailed on Royal Caribbean (Grandeur, Voyager, Monarch), Carnival (Destiny, Triumph, Pride, Legend), Celebrity (Zenith) and Cunard (QM2). With the exception of a significantly substandard debarkation procedure, discussed more fully below, we all agree that this was one of, if not the best cruise we have ever been on. Princess Website: Before turning to the cruise itself, let me say a word about the "cruise personalizer" on the Princess website. We found it efficient, easy to use and very, very convenient. In addition to getting all the passport, contact and all those other informational items done online rather than by hand the night before sailing, I was able to book all of my spa appointments well in advance. The only improvement I would make to the system is with respect to bon voyage gifts. The way the website is set up, you have to print out a form and handwrite your selections and then fax it to Princess (or call them). You should be able to order them directly on line, the way you can with spa appointments and shore excursions. Embarkation: We live in northern NJ, so one of the great attractions of this cruise was that it leaves from NY -- no pre-dawn flights, no lugging our carry ons through the airport, just a quick hour drive from home to the pier. We sailed from the new Brooklyn pier last year for our QM2 cruise, and think it is by far the best of the three NY/NJ embarkation ports (the West Side terminal is a nightmare of congestion; Bayonne avoids that, but you actually have to be bussed to the ship after going through the embarkation procedures; its a short hop, but you can wind up waiting for the busses at peak embarkation times). The parking at the Brooklyn terminal is a snap, with plenty of spaces for parking very close to the entrance. It cost us $175 for the 9 nights, which seems very reasonable, since it probably would have cost us that for cabs each way if we had decided not to drive ourselves. Our boarding passes (printed out online from the website) said that embarkation would begin at 1 pm, but to arrive at 2 pm for faster service. Don't listen to that. As experienced cruisers, we know that early arrivals get through the process quicker. However, we got tied up with other things and didn't arrive at the pier in this case until 2:15. Far from being "faster" there was a mob at the unloading area. We sat in a long line of cars waiting to unload, and had some difficulty getting a porter. Also, by this time the security line went on forever. However, because we were booked in suites, we had priority check in after you went through the security screening (I did hear some suite and platinum elite passengers complaining about the lack of separate security lines for those entitled to priority check in, but personally, I like knowing that everyone goes through the same security clearance to get on board). The priority check in was an absolute breeze. While we didn't get through security until about 3 pm (45 minutes after arriving at the pier), after that we were on board by 3:15. Cabins: We had three penthouse suites: R405, R408, and R417. I would have to say that they were by far the best suites we have had on any ship, including the Princess Grill suites on the QM2. They are extremely spacious and well laid out, with a curtain that can be pulled to close off the sitting from the sleeping area. The walk in closet was a bit smaller than on the QM2 (a difference you would expect between a ship that is designed for long-term or world cruises, and one that is not), but there was more than enough storage. The bathroom was to die for, with a separate tub and glass shower, marble tile, and all the right amenities. Although I had heard a lot of complaints on the Cruise Critic boards about the beds being uncomfortable, ours were extremely comfortable (I think I heard that the mattresses in the suites were recently upgraded, and that all of the remaining mattresses will be upgraded when the ship goes into dry dock at the end of the year). The suite balconies were very large, with enough room for two lounge chairs, and a table with two straight chairs. Having said that, however, the balconies on the other cabins seemed very small to me, with no lounge chairs and only room for a couple of upright chairs. The only negative about the cabins is the noise -- not from the adjoining cabins, but from above. The Riviera deck is directly below Lido, and there is a constant stream of moving deck chairs and running (really, thunderous) footsteps from directly above you. I know that some cruisers spend very little time in the cabins, but that's not us (which is one reason we have always opted for suites). We enjoy an afternoon vegging out in the cabins, watching a little TV, "gathering our strength" for the evening activities. Accordingly, we pay a little more attention than most to the offerings on the ship's TV, which on Caribbean Princess were excellent. Aside from CNN, Turner Classic Movies, ESPN and the usual ship channels (you know, the port talk, the "where are we now" channel, the "don't miss this great shore excursion" channel), Princess has what they call a "romance" movie channel that ran really great old movies (which I realize not only dates me, but is a matter of taste) from West Side Story to Breakfast at Tiffanys to the Bridges of Madison County. They also had a channel like a lot of lines do now that ran a loop of sitcoms and TV dramas like Everyone Loves Raymond and the Closer. Made those lazy afternoons a little more enjoyable. Suite amenities: I don't usually go on about the "extras" available in suites, as I know the majority of cruisers don't care about them, but some of the Princess suite amenities to me seemed so unique that they are worth a separate mention of their. own. Of course, you have the what I consider "typical" upgrades -- afternoon canapes (though not as good as those on Celebrity, they were a nice addition to the afternoon), flowers, a dvd player in the room, with access to a reasonably-sized dvd library, and the ability to order from the full dining room menu during the hours the dining room was open. But my two favorite "extras" wound up saving me probably a couple of hundred dollars on the cruise -- free laundry and dry cleaning and free internet. IMHO, those are very valuable and very unusual upgrades. Service: We have been on cruise lines that pride themselves on service but have never, ever been treated as well as we were on Princess. Of course, you kind of expect that your cabin steward will greet you if and when you see them in the hall, but here you couldn't pass any crew member without getting a warm smile, a hello and a question about how you were enjoying your cruise. The staff in the spa, the restaurants and everywhere on the ship went out of their way not only to cater to your every whim, but also to affirmatively ask you if you had any whims that needed catering to. There were only two exceptions to this, one of them being the disembarkation which is discussed below. The other was a really dumb staffing error in the casino, that should be an easy fix. On the first sea day, the slots opened at 8 am, but the tables did not open until 10. My brother in law happened to hit a jackpot at 8:15 am, and had to wait several minutes for anyone to respond. Finally, someone came over to talk to him, then went back to the cage and came back holding up both hands, signaling "10". My brother in law said, "OK, so someone will be here in 10 minutes?" to which she responded "No, we can take care of it at 10 o'clock." They actually expected him to sit there for an hour and a half and wait to be paid out. Unacceptable -- when the casino is opened, it has to be staffed. (After he justifiably kicked up a polite fuss, they managed to find someone who could complete the payout). Food and dining rooms: I admit it; I was against booking Anytime Dining, as I had visions of us waiting on line to get a table for six every night. But my sister insisted that we try it, and it was definitely the highlight of the cruise. We only had to wait once, and that one time they gave us a pager, we went to one of the lounges, ordered drinks and were summoned to our table before we could even finish them. And we absolutely loved the freedom it afforded us -- no ticking clock deciding when it was time to get dressed for dinner, no need to have a "relationship" with our waiter (I hope that doesn't sound horrible; I appreciate how hard the staff works and the service they provide, but I really just prefer the unobtrusive service of a waiter who is essentially a stranger every night), no hesitancy to skip dinner on the ground that we haven't told them not to expect us in advance, and no danger of being assigned to table mates with whom you are so incompatible that you begin to dread dinner by the end of the cruise (as happened to us on both the Triumph and the Voyager). If you opt for anytime dining, we recommend that you go to the Palm Dining room rather than the Coral; the Palm is aft and a little harder to get to (you know, go up to Deck 7, then aft, then down to Deck 6, because you can't get through on Deck 6 alone), so people seem to crowd around the Coral which is amidships. The Palm also has a roomier and quieter feel than the Coral. The quality of the food was excellent, though the dining room menus tended to favor the "chi-chi" over more plain food. We also thought that both buffets -- the Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court -- were very, very good, but would recommend that they have more non-bar beverages available. The only free beverages offered in the buffets were water, iced tea and coffee. On other cruises they have also supplied lemonade and fruit punch. This isn't about the money -- its about not having to flag down a waiter, place an order and wait for them to return with it, in a dining venue that is supposed to be quick in and out. Actually, our favorite food on the cruise wound up being room service. While, as noted above, suite passengers can order from the dining room menu, we found the sandwiches from the regular room service menu to be outstanding, and a midnight "croque monsieur," turkey sandwich or turkey club became our standard way to end the day. The pizza and burger grills by the pool were also highlights -- at the risk of sounding repetitive in this review, the pizza was far and away the best we've ever had on a cruise. And while I had originally balked at the thought that a cruise ship would charge for any food, and thus didn't like the idea that "Scoops", the ice cream shop on the ship, charges a "nominal" fee, what they served was delicious and MORE than worth that fee. Entertainment and Activities: We absolutely loved Movies Under The Stars. Aside from the brilliance of the concept -- sitting on a lounge chair, surrounded by the night sky, munching on a bag of popcorn with a blanket tucked around your legs -- we were surprised at the quality of the movies offered -- including recent Oscar nominees/winners like "Ratatouille," "No Country For Old Men," "Atonement," and great classics like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and a late-night showing of "Rocky Horror Picture Show." The casino was more than large enough (if a bit unkind to us during the cruise after that first day jackpot), with a terrific assortment of machines and plenty of table action. We saw all three of the production shows: "Piano Man", "Do You Wanna Dance" (which premiered this week on the ship) and one whose name escapes me but which was a Latin and Caribbean themed show. We enjoyed them all very much (my mother and I especially liked "Do You Wanna Dance," while my sisters preferred "Piano Man"). In my review of the QM2 last year, I commented that we could tell that the performers were outstanding but that they had been placed in boring, poorly directed shows. Here, the opposite was true. The performers, while very good, did not stand out from other cruise shows we've seen, but the choreography, costumes and direction took them to another level. With the exception of the shows on Zenith, we would again put Princess at the top in this category among all the cruises we have taken. It was also clear that there were a host of great performances that others raved about that we just did not get to. At night, between comics in the lounges, movies under the stars, the production shows, the dancing lounges, and other activities, you just could not cram everything in. Oddly, the same was not true of the daytime activities, a flaw especially noticeable on sea days. All of the daytime activities seemed a bit staid -- ceramics classes, art auctions, computer classes, etc. There were not nearly enough more lively events that we see on sea days on other ships, like game shows. (That may account for the thorough report I can make of the TV available in the staterooms!). The two main pools, the Calypso and Neptune pools amidships, were predictably jammed on sea days. However, the adult-only pools -- the Spa Pool and the Terrace Pool -- were much more sparsely attended, and as a result quieter and more relaxing. One special note about the Terrace Pool, which is at the aft of the ship between Decks 14 and 15 ; unlike every other shipboard pool I have ever been in, it actually has steps to enter and exit the pool -- not just ladders. As a significantly "plus-size" cruiser, that was an unexpected boon; I often have a very difficult time climbing the ladders to exit from a standard shipboard pool. And though my mother is not "plus size," at 78, she also appreciated being able to use the steps, rather than having to jump into and climb out of the pool. My niece only attended the kid's program one day, since we all tend to prefer to spend most of our time together as a family when we cruise, but the one day she was there my sister reports that she liked the facilities and activities a lot. Itinerary: When you cruise out of New York, you have to expect to have some shortened days in the Caribbean because of the extra travel, but we did think that the port itinerary could have been organized much, much better. After two sea days, we arrived at Grand Turk at 7 am, and had to be back on board at 1:30 to sail at 2. The next day we spent all day in San Juan, followed by a half day in St. Thomas, from 7 am to 3 pm, then another sea day followed by a stop in Bermuda from 9 am to 5 pm, then one more sea day and home. The two stops in Grand Turk and St. Thomas were much too short, and frankly, for my money San Juan is a waste of a day. I realize people could differ in their tastes, but really the itinerary should be adjusted so that either Grand Turk or (preferably) St. Thomas are a full day. I won't bother spending too much time on reviewing St. Thomas, San Juan or Bermuda, since they are pretty standard cruise stops and there are lots of reviews of them on the boards. Suffice it to say that we shopped in St. Thomas (had we had a full day there, we would have made it a beach day, probably at Megan's Bay), took a cab to Horseshoe Bay beach in Bermuda (glorious, though still a bit chilly in late May), and never left the ship in San Juan. Grand Turk is a relatively new cruise ship stop (at least as far as I know). My understanding is that the pier area was built in the last few years by Carnival, allowing the larger liners to make a stop there. We had originally intended to take a cab to Governors Beach, which we understand is a five-minute cab ride from the pier, but when we looked out of our cabins at the pierside beach, it looked very nice and uncrowded, so we opted to go there instead. It was a very good choice. you walk right off the ship, along the pier and through a small shopping area to the beach. There are plenty of beach chairs, and the water is really beautiful (the bottom is a bit rocky at first, but smoothes out after you're in to about your waist). There is also a huge pool area by a bar called "Margaritaville," and judging from the screams and cheers we heard coming from that area, there are plenty of poolside games and activities for those who want a livelier beach day. Miscellaneous: Unfortunately, we had occasion twice on this cruise to take advantage of the medical facilities; fortunately, they were excellent both times. My mother spent a horrid first night in excruciating pain with what we thought must be a broken wrist, but which turned out after an xray to be a severe attack of gout (which she's never had before). Later in the cruise, I developed a respiratory infection requiring an antibiotic. On both visits, the staff was attentive, and the care excellent. We had been told to expect that our shipmates would be older than what we were used to, particularly on Carnival, and that did seem to be the case; my sisters and I felt that we fell into the "younger" side of the median age as a whole. However, there were plenty of twenty- and thirty-somethings as well. Also, probably because school is not yet out, there was a definite lack of pre-teens and teens on the cruise, though I don't know whether that will continue to be true in June, July and August. Disembarkation: OK, here is the only true negative of the review. Disembarkation was handled as badly as we have ever seen it handled on a ship (with the exception of one nightmare disembarkation from the Voyager). First of all, the information provided was sporadic at best, and in our case, just wrong. We were given orange luggage tags, which in the printed information circulated to all cabins meant that we were to gather at Club Fusion, aft. However, all three of our cabins also received letters the last night of the cruise saying that, as suite passengers, we should gather instead at the Explorers Club, where all suite and platinum elite passengers would wait. So that's where we went, and waited until another passenger informed us that the suite and platinum elite passengers were supposed to be at the Wheelhouse Bar, not the Explorers Club. How she knew that, I have no idea. There were no crew members stationed in the Explorers Club whom we could ask. When one finally did arrive, to call another color tag to leave the ship, we asked him where we were supposed to be and he said (while running by us) "Orange -- club fusion." However, after packing our carryons and starting to make our way to club fusion, we stopped at the Wheelhouse bar on the way, and were told that, yes, that was the waiting area for platinum and suite passengers. We showed the person there the letter that had told us to go to the Explorers club, to which she responded "I didn't write the letters." As we moved into the bar, another passenger complained that the lounge was far too small to accommodate everyone (and in fact, we wound up sitting on the floor among our bags), and was not appropriate for passengers entitled to "upgraded" status, only to be told by the same crew member "Lady, I just work here." I have never, ever heard any crew member on any cruise ship say such a thing. The chaos continued when that same person moved through the lounge calling for people with orange tags to disembark, and we moved into the hallway, where we stood, not moving, for thirteen full minutes, bags in hand, before finally being allowed to get off the ship. None of this had to happen. For one thing, Princess has decided for some reason not to make general shipwide announcements during disembarkation; rather, a crew member goes to the lounge where a certain color is supposed to have gathered and makes an announcement in that lounge, that the "red" or "green" tags may now disembark. Accordingly, you have to be in the right lounge or you will never receive word to disembark -- thus our panic to figure out where we should be. On other cruise lines we have sailed, you could essentially wait anywhere in the public areas, and would then debark whenever the announcement was made over the general shipwide intercom that it was time for your color tag to debark. Even if Princess doesn't want to make that simple adjustment to their procedures, there is no excuse for calling a particular color to disembark, and then having them simply stand in line for ten minutes or more until you begin to let them off -- if you're not ready to let us off, then don't call the color. Summary: The chaos at the end notwithstanding, this was a fabulous cruise. We are already planning our next one with Princess, and hope that it will be the first of many. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Caribbean Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.5 3.3
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.2

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