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28 Princess Bahamas Cruise Reviews

21-28 February 2016 Caribbean Princess We have cruised many times and had experiences ranging from outstanding to deplorable. On occasion we find ourselves blessed with all possible favorable outcomes on one trip. Such was the case ... Read More
21-28 February 2016 Caribbean Princess We have cruised many times and had experiences ranging from outstanding to deplorable. On occasion we find ourselves blessed with all possible favorable outcomes on one trip. Such was the case on our recent Key West and Bahamas voyage with Princess Cruise Lines on the Caribbean Princess. We have just been aboard the Caribbean Princess in late November 2015. That voyage was not especially remarkable. In fact we considered it to be, on balance, slightly below par for Princess. Thus, our expectations may have been set lower on this trip. We arrived slightly early for prescribed our check in and boarding time but breezed through check in and went directly onboard and to our stateroom in about ten minutes time. The cabin was immaculate. We were greeted cheerfully by the attendant who, throughout the course of the journey, did an excellent job. Virtually everyone we encountered was helpful and polite. No issues. Our dinner attendants were among the best we have had on any cruise line. Polite, helpful and engaging. I am generally critical of cruise ship meals, but on this voyage it was obvious that Princess had taken the quality of their cuisine up a notch. Certainly one could pick a nit or two if one wanted, but quality, selection, assortment, preparation, presentation and variety were all at a good standard. The onboard entertainment was quite good. On this trip Princess had a “Voice of the Ocean” competition which we thought might be hokey but turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. We loved it. As far as the ports are concerned Key West is basically a box that we wanted to check off. Crowded, expensive, dirty and unappealing. The history is fascinating however, as is the Mel Fisher Museum which although pricey is a must. This was our first visit to Freeport and we were not impressed. Due to a diesel generator malfunction and choppy weather we diverted from Princess Key to Nassau. We had not been to that port in thirty years and found it to be crowded, unappealing and dirty. The brightly colored building we remembered were sporting the same coat of paint they had on thirty years earlier. We walked around the town for miles, down the crumbling roads and sidewalks and past derelict buildings. Surprisingly, however, everyone we met was pleasant, helpful and cheery. Our trek to the Bahamas National Art Museum was worth the walk. The docents were informative, pleasant and helpful. We highly recommend this stop. The return voyage was uneventful as was our disembarkation experience. We did the “walk off,” and when our elevator doors opened on deck 7 we simply merged with the line of passengers already exiting and proceeded to customs. The entire experience, including our walk to the car, took about fifteen minutes. Special acknowledgement is deserved by our Cruise Director, Lee Childress. Although a quick “Google” search might reveal some undeserved bashing of Lee, we feel he was a special gift. Choose ten people and one will get ten different opinions of a topic. We loved Lee. Thanks in part to Lee, Princess made time available each day for an interdenominational bible study hour. He also arranged, and led, a nondenominational worship service. Princess has a daily LGBT get together hour for those so inclined. They also have a Dr. Bob & Bill W. session every day. For those of us who are Christians it was a true blessing to have these few minutes set aside for worship. Good job Princess! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My Wife and I loved the Caribbean Princess and her crew. Our room steward was awesome and took great care of us. Bartenders were very nice and it was easy to get a drink. We could always find someplace out of the way on the ship where it ... Read More
My Wife and I loved the Caribbean Princess and her crew. Our room steward was awesome and took great care of us. Bartenders were very nice and it was easy to get a drink. We could always find someplace out of the way on the ship where it wasn't crowded. The food was amazing in the sit down dining and out of this world in the Crown Grill and Sabatini's. The meal we ate at the crown grill was one of the best we have ever had. The Snorkeling on St Thomas was fantastic and the airport beach was fun on St Martin. The Balmoral Beach excursion at Nassau was horrible. The beach was tiny and full of seaweed and no fish to be found. Then the prices at the bar are outrageous. 4 beers is 34 dollars and a hotdog was 13 dollars. There is nothing anyone could do to a hotdog to make it worth 13 dollars LOL.... But the cruise itself was awesome and we will cruise with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Cruised with wife and another couple. Embarkation OK but our friends got on board in the regular line than we did with preferred boarding(why call it preferred?). Cabin was Aloha deck regular balcony about midships. OK but a little ... Read More
Cruised with wife and another couple. Embarkation OK but our friends got on board in the regular line than we did with preferred boarding(why call it preferred?). Cabin was Aloha deck regular balcony about midships. OK but a little dated; mattresses was quite sunken on both sides. Always need to mention the TINY shower princess has in anything under a mini suite. FOOD: OK if not great with the exception that my wife had barramundi the first night which made her sick. I had it before and warned her as I am you. Buffets were universally crowded, but the pizza is really good. Hand dip ice cream and popcorn is a nice touch for an evening snack. Good salads and sweets in the International Cafe. Entertainment: Enjoyed all the lounge bands and piazza entertainment ( be sure to get seats early as the are only on deck 5 and limited). Production shows were very good and Phil Tag the comedian is just great! Watched the College Champ. game on the big screen (not crowded). Over all thought crew was very friendly and helpful. No problems encountered. Debarkation was smooth with lines moving well at customs.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Background - third cruise ever, first two were on Carnival, this was our first on Princess. Price and OBC was too good to pass up. My boyfriend is 63 and I'm 39 so there's two age groups reviewing here. I knew that Princess was ... Read More
Background - third cruise ever, first two were on Carnival, this was our first on Princess. Price and OBC was too good to pass up. My boyfriend is 63 and I'm 39 so there's two age groups reviewing here. I knew that Princess was going to be and older crowd and more subdued, THIS IS WHAT I WANTED. I was so stressed out from the holidays, my job, going to college, my family, my dog, you name it, and I just wanted to get away and relax. I knew that Carnival was not going to fit the bill this time. Hotel - we flew in the night before and stayed at the Extended Stay America on 17th. Very clean room which is all I wanted. We booked a king (Orbitz) and they gave us 2 doubles. Ok. Around the corner from Total Wine & More and Publix so we stocked up on water, diet soda and wine. Debarkation was a breeze. The only 2 shuttle times left with Extended Stay ($4 pp plus tax) was 10:30 and 1:30. We took 10:30. Stood outside for a few minutes and then we were all let in. We were the first non-preferred (first-time Princess guests) people in line and in the boarding sitting area. Sat for awhile, I forget how long, and then we were onboard, it was before noon. Get on the ship, I immediately started looking for the MDR for lunch. They were trying to funnel everyone into the elevators up to the Lido deck. Nope, I want the MDR. One guy flat out lied to me and told me the MDR didn't open for lunch until 1:30. I knew they CLOSED at 1:30, thanks Cruise Critic! Finally found the Coral dining room. Our first lunch was TERRIBLE. I told my boyfriend that if the rest of our cruise food was going to be like this, I was going to be PISSED. His cod was rubbery and you couldn't cut it even with a knife. My london broil was grey and rubbery. Gross. Went to the room - we had a window room on the Plaza deck. TINY. When they push the twins together to make a king, the nightstand gets turned to the side and the drawer space becomes unusable. The closet space was great but dang, that cabin, so small. In our window cabin on Carnival Imagination, the bed was parallel to the window so my boyfriend could get up in the middle of the night and look out the window without disturbing me. On Princess, it was perpendicular so he had to kneel in bed to look out. Not crazy about it. The rooms are also worn, the carpet seriously needs updating, walls were beat up, our sheets had stains on them and the bathroom had mold on the shower, sink and under the toilet rim. I seriously wished I brought along some Ti-D-Bowl or something. The hallways are also worn. Don't get me wrong, the main common areas are great, BEAUTIFUL, just the hallways and rooms where we were, seriously gut these rooms and hallways in the next dry dock. Bed wasn't uncomfortable so there's that. Steward - I'm not the type that needs to make friends with my steward, just keep the room clean and the ice bucket full and I'm happy. This guy disturbed every afternoon nap, and even though I told him several times that we were on late dinner, disturbed us when we were getting ready for dinner every night. Even when I put out the Do Not Disturb tag. I didn't remove our tips but I didn't leave anything extra like I usually do. No robes in the room that I ordered pre-cruise. A note about this ship - does it even have stabilizers? We rocked to and fro like crazy. I don't get seasick, thank goodness. Very weird. Front Desk - I did some laundry in the laundromat. $3 for a wash and $3 for a dry. One of the dryers wasn't working and I didn't realize it until I had already paid twice to dry. Front desk sent someone to fix it while we were in Princess Cays and my wash was finally dry by the time we got back but they refused to refund the wasted $6. Yes, it's only $6 but it's about the customer service! Dining Room - we were on late seating in the Palm dining room. Most of the tables in our section were empty all 5 nights but service was soooo slow. The server in the section next to us had two 8 tops and 1 2 top and they all were always finishing dessert when we were getting our entrees. Frustrating, but we made the best of it. And yes, the food quality DID improve over that first day's lunch, thank goodness! Entertainment - I read some reviews from some other cruisers on the same cruise, they didn't think the comic was funny - we did. We also enjoyed the movies in the Princess Lounge but didn't get to see one under the stars. Weather - Our two port days were sunny and our two sea days were overcast and drizzly. Go figure. Ports - I loved Princess Cays because all I wanted to do was lay on a lounger and read a book. We went in the water - it was a bit chilly but became comfortable once we got used to it. Very rocky, next time I would bring water shoes. I was eaten alive by sand flies on Princess Cays. DON'T FORGET YOUR REPELLENT LIKE I DID! Ouch. Nassau - we did the beach day at the British Colonial Hilton the first time we were in Nassau. That was in August so it was worth it. I didn't think it would be worth it in cooler weather so this time we decided to do something different and walked to the Queen's Staircase and Fort Fincastle and took pictures. We then walked over to Junkanoo Beach to check it out. We stopped at Fat Tuesday's (overpriced but it was nice to sit by the water and those drinks were strong!!) and then walked back to our ship. If we had our suits with us, we would have stopped at Junkanoo Beach, it looked decent for a free beach! We then walked back to the ship. Fellow passengers - the only place my fellow passengers annoyed me was on the last day at the buffet. I stopped for a quick lunch and people were cutting in line and pushing ahead of me. That was the only time I ate at the buffet. It was Italian day, it wasn't that great. So would we do it again, yes, at that price, it was worth the little quirks. But for full price - heck no. We would definitely go for a balcony next time, our balcony on Carnival Pride spoiled us FOREVER. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our previous cruise on the Caribbean Princess which we took shortly after this ship was launched has changed greatly. Still the great stage shows, still the fine Lido buffet and excellent dining room services and cabin service i'm ... Read More
Our previous cruise on the Caribbean Princess which we took shortly after this ship was launched has changed greatly. Still the great stage shows, still the fine Lido buffet and excellent dining room services and cabin service i'm happy to say. The changes we did not care for was the Lido deck special buffet in the most aft section where previously, we were treated with fabulous seafood including unlimited lobster claws and other deliciousness but this menu is not relegated to a new pay-for sea food specialty dining room! A second inevitable change is the aging of the cabin mattresses. Ours, in our handicap cabin had broken springs virtually collapsing the mattress. When we informed the steward and finally the Hotel Manager, our mattress were switched out but even the new mattresses needed replacement as they did not support our bodies. The steward, as an answer, had tried adding plastic bags, duvets and other materials as padding but, of course, that did not help in the lease. Hey guys, it's time to update your bedding! Other than that, we really enjoyed our too-short cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
As expected, the Caribbean Princess is a well-run ship. Service all over the ship is professional and certainly adequate with special mention of the staff in the Lido buffet who were especially helpful. This is our second cruise on the ... Read More
As expected, the Caribbean Princess is a well-run ship. Service all over the ship is professional and certainly adequate with special mention of the staff in the Lido buffet who were especially helpful. This is our second cruise on the Caribbean the first one was back when she was relatively new. Two changes my DW and I regret: On our earlier cruise, the Lido buffet had a second buffet astern of the main buffet where seafood was predominant and quite wonderful. That dining choice, as i see it, got so popular that Princess decided to open a new specialty restaurant featuring the self-same seafood that we loved but now require reservations and a service charge. Our regrets. Second, the cabin mattresses have aged beyond acceptability. In an almost comedy of events, we complained about our mattress as it no longer offered any support (I am somewhat handicapped and NEED firm support to sleep). When informed of our problem, hotel management tried but failed to meet my specific need so we will no sail on her again until that problem is resolved. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Great cruise on the CB for a short 3-day cruise. Everything went well. Embarkation was super quick. With Preferred Check-in, we went from shuttle to ship in 12 minutes at 1:30pm check-in. The calendar was packed with things today. I think ... Read More
Great cruise on the CB for a short 3-day cruise. Everything went well. Embarkation was super quick. With Preferred Check-in, we went from shuttle to ship in 12 minutes at 1:30pm check-in. The calendar was packed with things today. I think they squeezed a 5-day itinerary into the 3 days. Entertainment was top notch, with main shows being a comedian, comedian/musician and the fantastic CB Singers and Dancers. There were 3 Showtimes each night, so plenty of opportunities to fit it into your schedule. We had our granddaughter along with us. This cruise was very different, as it had about 3 times the number of kids, compared to a typical Princess cruise. She enjoyed all the events she attended. The "seasonal" employees were also top-notch. They called her by name, whether it was at the Pelican Club or around the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We had some rocky weather, which of course was not Princess's fault, but we still made it to Princess Cays. Embarkation and debarkation was literally walk on and walk off. Staff was consistently great and service impeccable. It seems ... Read More
We had some rocky weather, which of course was not Princess's fault, but we still made it to Princess Cays. Embarkation and debarkation was literally walk on and walk off. Staff was consistently great and service impeccable. It seems Princess has scaled back a bit some of the "luxury" features, and perhaps the food is not as high-end as it used to be, but it is a well-run line with well-trained staff. The captain and executive staff came to our Meet & Greet, which was nice. The ship looked great -- very clean well taken care of. The shows were standard (read: bad) amateur-hour shows. We saw Landon Swank for the second time, and the show was pretty much the same as the last time. He puts on a good show. The comedian Troy Thirdgill had the place in stiches. He was very funny and definitely the best, most professional part of the entertainment. Bert Stratton was, well, "Bert WITH AN 'E'"! What can you say? You either love him or you hate him. I thought he was entertaining. He is definitely different. And a real talented piano player and performer. The ship was pretty empty. We heard there they were 1,000 passengers short of being full. That made it real easy to find seats, room in the pool and hot tubs, etc. We also got a nice upgrade on our cabin and a generous onboard credit allowance. All in all, it was a great experience and we will definitely be back sailing with Princess soon. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My wife searched for bargain cruises while we are wintering in Florida and this cruise to Jamaica was what we chose. You get what you pay for. We've sailed on other Princess ships and this one didn't compare. Here are the Pros ... Read More
My wife searched for bargain cruises while we are wintering in Florida and this cruise to Jamaica was what we chose. You get what you pay for. We've sailed on other Princess ships and this one didn't compare. Here are the Pros and Cons: PROS - Cabin stewart was excellent - Ship was overall clean and in good repair - International Cafe was superb - Overall, the staff was friendly and accommodating - Food in all areas was acceptable - Nice having silverware on tables in buffet area - Sanitation was stressed by staff - Disembarking was very good - expedient - Walking deck for exercise was excellent CONS - Entertainment was sub-par; musical was performed at a high school level - no band - Art on walls throughout ship was low-end - Hardly any flowers throughout - Our server in dining room was overtaxed; Princess has cut back on restaurant staff too much - Embarkation was terrible; took excessively too long to board. - Shore excursion to the Falls was not well thought out Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
I was looking for a quick getaway for my family and was thrilled when I saw that the new Regal Princess had a 3 night sailing between the Mediterranean and Caribbean itineraries. I traveled with my husband and two kids ages 7 & 9. We ... Read More
I was looking for a quick getaway for my family and was thrilled when I saw that the new Regal Princess had a 3 night sailing between the Mediterranean and Caribbean itineraries. I traveled with my husband and two kids ages 7 & 9. We have all cruised before many times. This was our 2nd time on Princess, but 1st time out of FLL. Embarkation went fairly quick. Food on the Lido deck was amazing. The different options available were amazing and continued throughout our cruise. When dining at the Horizon you definitely have to walk down all the rows to see what is available first before making a selection. The huge bakery always smelled yummy, but considering the size I didn't find a big enough variety of pastries there. We stayed in cabin A107. I found the cabin a bit small, but then again my last cruise was on the RCCL Oasis. I liked the flat screen on the wall as it didn't take up unnecessary space elsewhere. The balcony wasn't obstructed, but the bridge did block the view to the front. Lots of hanging closet space, but it was open exposing it's contents throughout the ship. Our cabin attendant Henry was wonderful...always knew when we were out to make our room... no fun towel animals for the girls, but always a new chocolate. This particular sailing had a lot of celebrities since it was the first Caribbean voyage out of FLL for Regal Princess and it had just been christened the day before (11/5). The Love Boat cast, Charo, Jeraldine Saunders, Micky Arison and I'm sure more. They were all VERY pleasant when approached throughout the ship and on the island. We were a bit disappointed with not being able to see the Charo show live. The theatre filled up and there wasn't a 2nd performance. We were told to go up to Lido deck to watch on the big screen, but for the first 10 minutes of the show no one bothered to zoom in on Charo so we could barely see her...big screen and all. At some point there was some zooming, but considering how many people were out there to see it, not enough. Many people left the deck frustrated. Better use of all that fabulous technology would have been great. The wedding performed in the Piazza (atrium) was very nice. Love Boat Captain read a blessing. Captain Perrin married them. Hundreds of balloons fell to the ground from above once they were pronounced husband and wife and after the Opera singer. Congratulations to the happy couple! The tender process at Princess Cays wasn't too painful. Our kids stayed in the kids club area most of the time we were there. They enjoyed themselves in the sand, playground and were allowed to enter the small pool if one of the parents was present...there was a lifeguard on duty as well. I would caution parents to take some bug spray for the little ones. All four kids came home with bite marks and we are pretty sure they came from their stay there. We had a 5:30pm dining time which isn't our usual as that is way too early. The first night kitchen service was REALLY slow...most likely because the ship was delayed to leave for some unknown reason. The food and service was wonderful. The 2nd night kitchen service was better, but we also ate at a later time 7:30pm open seating (with the same wait staff)....and the 3rd night we opted for eating on the Lido deck so we wouldn't miss the shows we wanted to see. While we did not make use of the gym, many others did. They seem to offer plenty of machines and a decent sized room for group classes. The ship also had workout stations throughout the walk/running track on deck 18. We didn't get a chance to enjoy the Sanctuary because it was too crowded the few times we went there but the space looked nice. They also had a special area of the Sanctuary that required reservations and an extra charge of $50 per person for half day and $80 per person for the full day. This exclusive section was very nice. It included some open cabanas with flat screen tv's, robes and even sandals to wear. No pool or hot tub from what I recall in this private area...just a shower. There were some closed off sections - not sure if those were massage rooms or saunas/steam rooms as they were not labeled on the outside but we did hear people talking in them. Our kids think cruising = kids club. As much as they like hanging out with parents, kids club is better, and things were no different on this cruise. Pelicans are for ages 3-7, Shockwaves for ages 8-12 and 13-17 in the Remix Lounge. Between the two families traveling together we had 2 in Pelicans and 2 in Shockwaves. Staff is very nice and interacts with children. They do ask that they wash their hands upon entering. Pelicans offer a pager should anything come up. They close for lunch 12-1 and dinner 5-6. They operate until 10pm free of charge with new activities almost every hour. From 10-1am they offer care for just $5 per child per hour. During this time they just hang on the couches and floor and watch movies. They do combine the Pelicans and Shockwaves. On this particular cruise there were only about 100 children...not sure how their numbers will be during the summer on longer cruises and if it will be feasible to combine after 10pm. Both rooms have a lot of books on animals and science which many of the kids enjoy reading. They do ask that you bring a photo id to check out kids, but I was never asked for one. I think they do this should their system not be available at pickup time to swipe the card... Kids camp activities were only provided on the island while at Princess Cays. I read about a kids pool, but never did find it to report about it. The fountains on Lido deck were great, but I guess not meant for kids to play in while on since I only saw them on at night with the lights on and the entrances blocked. Disembarkation was just as smooth. Luggage tags were provided along with the time. Luggage had to be placed outside by 10pm... I have to say, I've never seen luggage disappear from hallways as quickly as I did on this ship. We found out that our luggage was out and ready one hour before expected so we just walked off the ship and started our journey home. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Just returned from the 3 day sampler cruise on the Regal Princess, the newest ship on Princess Cruise Lines. It was their first voyage from a U.S. port. Boarding process was quick, easy and flawless. We had a mini-suit. Baggage was ... Read More
Just returned from the 3 day sampler cruise on the Regal Princess, the newest ship on Princess Cruise Lines. It was their first voyage from a U.S. port. Boarding process was quick, easy and flawless. We had a mini-suit. Baggage was delivered to our door swiftly and the room was available immediately. The ship was in immaculate condition. The staff was helpful and courteous at all times. The ship sailed a few hours late. The only stop was Princess Cay (a small section on the island of Eluthera). The sailing was smooth as most big ships are. The Ship has lots of places to eat, drink or just sit and people watch. There was music everywhere and they crammed a significant number of events, attractions and shows into such a short cruise. No one could possibly say they were bored. There was an interesting mixture of the upscale with the cool. A piano player singing standards at the Wheelhouse bar, a jazz violinist in the Piazza, a steel drum/calypso band on the lido deck near the pool were all nicely spread around to give you just enough of everything. The shows, Fiera and Spectacular were just that: Spectacular! Kudos to the troupe and their directors. The Princess Theater, where these shows took place is the largest at-sea indoor theater I have ever seen. It is a beautiful facility. They also use it for late night movies. Speaking of movies they ran concerts and movies on the giant movie screen on the Lido deck but the real treat was the night they ran a first run movie. The deck chairs were covered with a "Movies Under the Stars" cover. They served popcorn and hot chocolate and they had warm blankets for those who felt the chill of the night air. Nice, very nice. The food was excellent with a huge variety in the Horizon Court and nice specialities in several of the other free eateries. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants because it was such a short cruise. Our regular dining was in the Concerto dining room and the food there was very good, with a nice selection that changed each night. On the menu they kept several items the same each night so that a fickle eater could fall back on whatever he or she had the night before. Now for some disappointments - The elevators are puzzling. In some of the banks there are elevators whose up and down call buttons are not linked to the others in the bank so, at times you would be facing one way and an elevator behind you would suddenly be there. The Vista lounge, where the nightly comedian entertained is a smallish room with non-functional seating. Barrel shaped chairs took up too much space and were more a nuisance than an asset. Because it is first come first seated late comers crammed in, standing in the aisles and doorway and blocking the view of those seated already. I would suggest they have staff on the doors and close the room off once capacity is reached. One last negative. There were several rooms closed for private parties during this cruise. I hope they don't make it a habit of cordoning off areas that are for public use. We were having drinks in a lounge and were told that at six a private party had reserved the area. Not nice. Back to the positives. The stars of the "Love Boat" TV show are the godparents of the ship and they were on hand for the cruise. This was a nice touch for the older crowd who remember the show and its stars. The Piazza is a phenomenal space, allowing for performers to do their thing in a central location while people on three decks can look down and see the show. The same space was used for dancing to Beatles tunes played by a four piece Beatles look alike band, a hot rhythm and soul show by a little combo called Evolutions and on one evening, a violin quartet playing classical music and an opera singer one afternoon. A great use of space. Disembarkation was organized and uneventful. All in all we had a great time and would recommend this ship on an expanded itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
After reading so many mixed reviews on here I headed on to the ship with some trepidation, but it was a good experience. This is my second Princess cruise so I already knew enough to know not to expect the level of service that you'd ... Read More
After reading so many mixed reviews on here I headed on to the ship with some trepidation, but it was a good experience. This is my second Princess cruise so I already knew enough to know not to expect the level of service that you'd receive on Disney, Celebrity or the higher end lines. Even still we had a fabulous cabin steward, John, who was incredibly friendly and a great waiter in the Palm dining room, Michael from the Philippines, who was incredibly helpful, funny and great at anticipating our needs. The other areas of the ship delivered the reasonable service level I expect from a mid-price line like Princess. As many reviews state, the ship has signs of her age here and there but nothing egregious that I saw. There always seemed to be small puddles of water on the upper decks, sometimes large puddles after it rained that made it hard to navigate without getting your shoes wet. We also found the layout of the ship very counter-intuitive and the signage significantly lacking, even on Princess Cays which tells me it's probably a company-wide thing. But if you keep your handy little ship map with you and look for deck signs with listings of what is on each deck, you'll be fine. The Princess Patter is a nice thing to have but if you have a mobile device (tablet/phone) you can hop on to the ship's wifi for free and use it to navigate to caribbean.princess.com and you'll have the ship information with event listings, venue hours, shipboard account info, etc at your fingertips and you don't have to pay for internet to use it. Overall the food is good but not excellent. The food was pretty hit-or-miss on the buffet lines but consistently good in the dining rooms. We ate all but 2 or 3 of our meals in the dining rooms and were very satisfied. There was only one dinner where we struck out and that could have been our choice of entrees. The baked Alaska was great, much better than I remember having on any other line which is a highlight for any cruise I take. I would agree with the other reviews that the nightly entertainment isn't stellar but we only caught the ventriloquist. He wasn't bad just don't go expecting Jeff Dunham. The musical acts throughout the ship are a mixed bag, the DJs and steel drum players were alright, but the pianist/singer in the Crooner's lounge in the evenings is great and every night we went by there it was standing room only and everyone was singing along like in a piano bar. The guitarist, Toby Reiley (?) was fantastic, we loved listening to him while we played cards. We didn't do any of the ship activities except the wine tasting the last day at sea which we got for a bargain deal of $9.50, instead of paying the full price $25 at the beginning of the cruise like our dining room neighbors. We booked this cruise within 2 weeks of sailing, got a great deal and so were very happy with what we got for what we paid. Since we live in Ft. Lauderdale this was cheaper than a staycation and a great getaway. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My husband and I just returned from a 5-night cruise to the Bahamas and Grand Turk on the Ruby Princess. We are in our mid-sixties, and both retired. This was our 6th cruise, 3rd with Princess. The other 3 were with Celebrity. Mostly we ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 5-night cruise to the Bahamas and Grand Turk on the Ruby Princess. We are in our mid-sixties, and both retired. This was our 6th cruise, 3rd with Princess. The other 3 were with Celebrity. Mostly we take longer cruises, and 5 nights was definitely too short. But last summer we got an offer we couldn't refuse, a balcony stateroom for the cost of an oceanview, so we grabbed it. And thank heavens we did--the winter here in Northeastern Ohio has been brutal and endless, so we needed a break. Pre-cruise: We flew to FLL from CLE Sunday and stayed at the Sleep Inn in Dania Beach. We have stayed there before, and find it a very clean and comfortable hotel in a good location. They offer free shuttle to and from the airport, and shuttle to the port for $5.00 per person. There is a Mexican restaurant across the street which offers a 15% discount to hotel guests. If you don't care for Mexican, there are also an Italtan and a Japanese restaurants. There's a Walgreens across the parking lot, where we stopped Monday morning to stock up on Coke Zero and buy me some socks. The hotel also includes free continental breakfast. Embarkation: We caught the 11:30 shuttle to the port,. By the time we checked our luggage, filled out our health forms, and got our sea passes, they were letting people board. My husband uses a cane, and the staff was extremely helpful, allowing us to bypass the long line and use the Elite/Suite passengers check in. After posing for the Welcome Aboard photo, we were in our cabin by 12:30. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on Deck 11, Baja, midship starboard side. It was a very nice size for 2 people, although there was a drop-down bed in the ceiling which might make it crowded. The sitting area was smaller than a similar cabin on Celebrity, and there was much less drawer space, but it was adequate for a short cruise. And there is a HUGE walk-in closet, with a set of shelves. But the bathroom is the smallest I've ever seen. The stalls in the ladies' restrooms have more floor space. And there were only 3 tiny shelves for toiletries and drinking glasses. The shower had barely room to turn around. I don't know how a larger person would manage. The balcony was very nice, with 2 canvas chairs and a small table to hold your drinks and camera. Food: We ate breakfast in the Horizon Court buttet every morning. There was a good selection of various types of food, mostly geared to US or British passengers, but there were some Hispanic and Asian dishes. I didn't find out until after breakfast the last day that they make yummy waffles out at the pizza station. I really like that the flatware and napkins are already set at the tables. They also come around serving coffee and orange juice, but you can get tomato juice and other types for free, and they'll also bring water. Service was hit-or-miss the first 2 mornings, but improved as the cruise went on. For lunch, we ate in the DaVinci dining room once, where I found the selection disappointing and uninspiring. We ate at the Mast Grill once, and the burgers were excellent, and at the Pizza station once. Princess undoubtedly has the best pizza at sea. The other 3 days, we ate in the buffet. Again there was a good variety and the beverage service was much appreciated. We chose anytime dining so we could eat either at the Michaelangelo or DaVinci dining room. We enjoy meeting other people and sharing experiences. We went to the Michaelangelo (deck 5) if we wanted to eat early. If we went to the early show, we would just stay on Deck 6 and go across to the DaVinci, which didn't open for anytime dining until 7:30. After hearing everyone complain about needing pagers, we only had one on the third night. Then we went out to the piazza and listened to the musicians for about 10-15 minutes, a reasonable time to wait. I think the fact that we were willing to sit with others made it easier for us to get seated promptly. Food ranged from good to excellent, but I had nothing to really make me go WOW until the last night. Then I had the chilled Granny Smith apple soup, which was wonderful. The really fun part was that they served it in a pina colada glass with a straw and an apple slice on the edge. Because it was a short, port-intensive cruise, we didn't do much onboard. We went to the production shows, "Colors of the World" and "Broadway Ballroom." Both were fun, high-energy, well-performed and well-produced shows. We skipped the magician and comedian, and missed the Welcome Aboard show due to dinner running long. We saw only a few of the casual entertainers, and found them underwhelming. Unusual for us, we never made it to the fitness center, let alone the spa. We only encountered one serious glitch, which was eventually resolved. We signed up for EZcheck, where, for a fee, they will check you in with the airline and print your boarding passes. They also check your bags through from your stateroom to your final destination. The problem was, they delivered my husband's boarding pass and luggage tag on Thursday evening, but I didn't get mine. After 4 trips to guest relations, where we were repeatedly told not to worry, everything will be fine, I finally got mine at 3:30 Friday afternoon. They just couldn't seem to understand why we were worried. Well, maybe they are used to the process, but we aren't. Plus, our flight down was oversold, and people who checked in last, or not at all, got put on standby. We would have been much less concerned IF they had held his until mine was also available. Since our flight was at 5 pm Saturday and United doesn't let passengers check in prior to 24 hours in advance, we really didn't expect anything until dinnertime Friday. I'm not going to comment much about the layout of the ship except to say I found the Lido deck confusing. We normally used the midshop elevators, which come out between the 2 swimming pools, and I could never keep it stratight which way to the buffet, grill, pizza, etc. Signage was less than helpful--arrows pointing up and down rather than left and right. I'm sure if the cruise had been longer, I would eventually have gotten myself oriented. The staff was exceptional--everyone was polite, cheerful, helpful (except for the woman handling EZcheck). Passengers: Age-wise, this was the widest range of passengers since our first cruise to Alaska. There were families with toddlers and school children on spring break, a large crowd of 20-30-somethings, and adults of all ages. (Note, we didn't encounter much drunkeness or other excessive behavior, but then again, we avoided the pool and didn't stay up past 11. Others may have a different perspective.) We were at the older end of the spectrum, although definitely not the oldest people on board. From over 3300 passengers, 2/3 were Americans, 450 were Canadians, 50 were Chinese, and the rest were a mix of British, German, and 16 other countries. Disembarkation: Since we had a late flight, we booked a shore excursion following disembarkation. Everyone with excursions met in the casino. After about half an hour wait, our group was called. Having just 2 carry-ons and one of us walking with a cane, we got through the handicapped line and had no problems. Then we boarded our bus and were off on our tour. Ports/Excursions: We prefer to book through the ship and choose easy excursions due to my husband's mobiiity issues. We like to see the island highlights and get a taste of the history and culture. In Nassau, Grand Bahama Island, we took the "Forts, Ardastra Gardens, and Scenic City Drive." This took us to Fort Charlotte for a photo stop, and to the Ardastra Gardens, which is part zoo and part nature preserve. Seeing the flamingos march in formation was a sight not to be missed. A fascinating tour. Since there was a long walk from the drop-off point to the ship, we decided to stay in town and browse through the shops. There was the usual mix of cheap souvenirs and high end jewelry stores. Then we caught the shuttle bus back to the ship and headed for pizza. At Princess Cays, on the island of Eleuthera, we took the "Rock Sound, Tarpon (sic) Bay, Scenic Drive, and Lunch" tour. We stopped at an elementary school, where the 5th graders sang the national anthem and shared information about their country, The Bahamas. Other stops included a local church with shopping across the street; Ocean Hole, a "bottomless" pool which is somehow connected to the ocean; the town of Tarpum Bay to see the government offices; and lunch at a local bar/restaurant. We were served conch fritters, mac & cheese Bahaman style, honey barbeque wings, and pineapple muffins. There was also a demonstration of how to make conch salad and a Junkanoo performance with audience participation. The tour was very informative. Outside the fence to the Princess Cays area, there is a local craft fair, and more shopping just inside the area. Not being beach people, DH headed for the shade while I browsed the shops. Princess Cays is a tender port, and the seas were rather choppy, which made for an uncomfortable ride. Also, the tender lurched just as DH was getting ready to step back onto the ship, which wrenched his back. Nothing to spoil the trip--just a warning to others. Grand Turk: Here we took the "Scenic Drive, Lighthouses, and National Museum." We drove past a replica of John Glenn's space capsule, which made splashdown offshore. We visited the National Musuem, which has artifacts from the Molasses Reef wreck, which may be Columbus's ship, The Pinta. We visited a couple churches and the historic lighthouse, which is located in a donkey sanctuary. The final stop was at a former salt house, now a museum and gift shop. If you're looking for unusual and authentic souvenirs, this is the place to go. I think this was my favorite tour. Local carft are available in Cockburn Town of at the various tour stops. There is a large tourist shopping area at the port, again with high end gift and jewelry shops, along with the largest Margaritaville in the western hemisphere. Ft. Lauderdale: We chose the "Intracoastal Waterway by Boat and Las Olas Boulevard with FLL transfer." The intracoastal waterway tour was on a riverboat and was very enjoyable. Then we were taken to Las Olas Boulevard, Ft. Lauderdale's answer to Rodeo Drive, for time to shop or eat. We had lunch. Back on the bus for a ride along the waterfront, seeing all the spring breakers. Passengers going to FLL got dropped off first, then those who were returning to the ship, then those flying from Miami. It was a very enjoyable tour. In retrospect, I wish we had chosen to make this cruise part of a B2B. We needed more sea days to appreciated this beautiful ship, and a longer respite from the endless winter we're experiencing in NE Ohio. I guess this just gives us an excuse to book another cruise on the Ruby Princess.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My boyfriend and I choose to take our first cruise this March, after researching all the possible cruise lines we choose Princess. Nothing but good things too say about this trip. The food was excellent, between the constant buffet, the ... Read More
My boyfriend and I choose to take our first cruise this March, after researching all the possible cruise lines we choose Princess. Nothing but good things too say about this trip. The food was excellent, between the constant buffet, the main dining room and the little grills poolside. Our room which was upgraded from a balcony room to a mini suite a week before we embarked and I have to say we we're very pleased! Our "bellboys" name was Micheal, he served us hand and foot, anything and everything we needed at all hours of the day/night, we was great! Evenings when we dined in the Da Vinci dining room we had a waiter name Mersal and his assistant Victoria, always conversed and made dinner for us a great time every night. The casino was a great time and a great place to meet new people, which we did and again I have to say the bartenders Roy and Merlin were always happy to serve my boyfriend and I. Grand Turk was BEAUTIFUL and a great place to shop. We did the Snorkeling and Sting Ray Excursion while we were there, it was wonderful the tour guides made you feel safe in the ocean and brought lots of smiles and laughs to our faces while on this excursion. The shopping at Grand turk was good, a little expensive but HEY your a tourist that's what happens right? We also visited Princess Cays on this trip, now any future cruisers on this agenda, do all your shopping at Grand Turk because Princess Cays is a day designed for you to just relax on the beach, which is exactly what we did. Overall an excellent vacation, excellent cruiseline, we will be back for another getaway soon! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This is our 2nd cruise on Princess, and it did not disappoint. After parking our vehicle in Park and Go (near the dock (very convenient due to lots of road construction in Fort Lauderdale) and reasonably priced, we arrived at the ship ... Read More
This is our 2nd cruise on Princess, and it did not disappoint. After parking our vehicle in Park and Go (near the dock (very convenient due to lots of road construction in Fort Lauderdale) and reasonably priced, we arrived at the ship close to 1pm, and literally walked on (I had completed all required paperwork in advance). Since Princess always has their rooms ready early, we brought our carry-on bags to Aloha - 327 (room ok, but did not realize there were overhead bunks) and then headed to DaVinci for a quick lunch, which was very good (beef so tender you could cut it with your fork). After checking out some areas of the ship, it was time for muster drill, which took about 1/2 hours time. Anytime dining works for us; Michelangelo at 6:30 pm was not crowded. We had a table of 12 and were served promptly. All the meals in the dining rooms were very good - no complaints whatsoever. Production show "Once Upon a Dream" was creative and very enjoyable. Day 2: Breakfast in Horizon Court (buffet) - good selection of fruit, eggs, omlets, meats, even fruit smoothies, etc. Water and coffee served at your table. 11:30 am - Princess Cays (Princess private island) - tendered to the island where we found a beach chair and headed into the beautiful Caribbean water which was cool and refreshing. Tough getting out of water due to sinking in the sand, but otherwise beautiful. Did not partake of the barbecue and headed back to the ship about 2pm for some pizza on Deck 15-midship, which is pretty good; Movies under the Stars going all day and well into the night. Dinner, comedian Rollin Jay Moore (very good),casino, karaoke. Day 3: Breakfast Horizon Court. Departed ship at 11:30 am, walking-off in Grand Turk, where a golf cart drove us the length of the pier to beach and shopping. Lots of beach chairs available (some in the some, some in the shade of palm trees). Water chilly, but refreshing once you got in. Again, tough getting out due to undertow. Shops are pricey, but nice to visit. Margaretville was hopping - pool and bars were full with everyone having a great time. Dinner (Horizon Court), magician Landon Swank (from America's Got Talent), Latin Fiesta Deck Party. Day 4: At Sea day. Lots to do, or not - your choice. Wheelhouse Bar offers a British lunch - fish and chips, meat pie, etc.; always good. Hunger Games on big screen, Dinner: DaVinci - Surf and Turf (wonderful). Colors of the World Production show, Late Night Comedy (Rollin Jay Moore) in Club Fusion - Adults only - laughed til I cried! Icon (band) opened for Rollin Jay Moore and were very entertaining. Staff was great throughout. Disembarkation a bit of a nuisance - should always walk-off if possible. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Took this short cruise on a lark and a "special" that applied the price to a future cruise. The ship offered all the amenities you would expect and the staff was very efficient and assistive. Too short a trip to make any real ... Read More
Took this short cruise on a lark and a "special" that applied the price to a future cruise. The ship offered all the amenities you would expect and the staff was very efficient and assistive. Too short a trip to make any real judgments but a few things really stood out. Check-in was a breeze and we able to immediately go to our cabin. Food was okay but a bit below the standard for Princess. Disappointing that with all the years Princess has had Princess Cays, you still have to tender. You would think by now they would have a pier. Tendering with that many people is a hassle. We stayed on board and enjoy free run of the ship. Rather sparse offerings at the Princess Elite lounge. Not the variety we have come to expect at this venue. DEFINITELY loved the mixed performances times. 7pm, 8:30pm and 10:15pm so you could choose when to go. The talent was good too.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
First let me disclose that I am a part-time travel agent, and limit myself to booking strictly for family and friends as I would never take on the responsibility of booking cabins for strangers. Too many liabilities and complainers! ... Read More
First let me disclose that I am a part-time travel agent, and limit myself to booking strictly for family and friends as I would never take on the responsibility of booking cabins for strangers. Too many liabilities and complainers! Besides I have a full time job! That said, I have been in the resort/travel industry for over 30 years and lived on 5 continents, 12 countries and many islands in-between. I am fairly new to cruising, having taken my first cruise on RC over Christmas out of the port of Singapore in December 2008, and have been hooked on cruising, especially over Christmas, ever since. Yes, I know Christmas cruises are more expensive and full of kids, and as someone who has no kids you would think I would avoid them, as opposed to paying MORE for them. But who can resist the beautifully decorated ships, real snow falling in the Piazza and the entrances that Santa makes. (More on that in my review). And this cruise was a DEAL, and I did not even use my TA discount. Just booked directly with Princess in late November. I now cruise with my DM (a young 82) since we lost my Dad a few years ago. She prefers not to spend the holidays at home and who can blame her after sharing 63 years of her life with my DD. We are fortunate that we live in Vero Beach and it’s an easy drive to Port Everglades. I did some cruise ship inspections in November during the cruise convention and we learned that Port Canaveral is set to become the largest cruise port on the East Coast within 5 years. I hope Princess will place some ships there! EMBARKATION DAY (Or as I call it Woo-Hoo Day).: On Sunday, Dec. 22nd with the dog off to the sitter we left Vero for the no traffic Sunday drive down I-95. We arrived at PE around 11:00 am and I dropped DM off at Pier 4 with our luggage. I had packed a cooler of Diet Cokes (for me) and Caffeine Free DC’s (for DM) and water. I also had 2 allowed bottles of champagne and Christmas decorations for our cabin and door. (You may have seen our door on Dolphin deck, port side, mid-ship near the elevators, as very few doors were decorated and our was done top to bottom! I forgot to take a pic though. I parked on-site and in the few minutes it took me to park and come down the elevator my DM was waiting right there for me. There was no line, zippo, nada and we proceeded straight through to the waiting area. I stopped at the table to “register” my bubbles, but since it was in my roll along carry on, I am not sure how they would ever have known if I chose to not claim it??? We were given a card for group 6 and we waited for approximately 45 minutes to be called. I would point out that it was difficult to understand the person calling the groups, whether it was a faulty system or a bad microphone, and reminded me of Charlie Brown’s teacher! Wah-wa-waa-wah! If they would just hold up fingers on their hands it would have been a better system. Regardless we were soon through the doors and the line slowed as everyone waited to have their boarding photos. Having cruised with Commodore Romano previously, I actually saw him stick his head in a door in this area and have a quick look around and then duck back out. We bypassed those who wanted their photos taken and were soon stepping onboard. For those of you CC members who say their cruise starts when they hear the…. take your pick…… Plink, Blonk, etc. of having their cruise card entered, you will be disappointed as they are all done with hand scanners now and there goes that noise. Who would think it’s the little things you miss??? We proceeded directly to Dolphin 416 and were pleased to find it right by the elevator. For those of you who ask about upgrades near the elevator, I can say that we are always mid-ship near the elevator which is extremely convenient, but never the first door. It was no problem whatsoever and I would book this cabin again with no hesitation. Our cabin steward was Michael, and he was surely the best, non obtrusive, accommodating cabin attendant I have ever had. Every day we would leave for a quick breakfast, and EVERY day our cabin was made up when we got back. We never had to ask for ice. He was superb! This was our first time in a Mini-Suite. This was the THIRD time I have booked a cabin with two single beds, only to find it made into one bed. (This happened in my brother’s cabin on the Island for a Christmas Panama cruise, but my brother left it as he was with his then 7 yr. old son and happened to me again on RC in Nov.) I explained to Michael that we had requested 2 beds and he showed me the post it note that said “D416- Q”, but I assured him that as the TA who booked it, I knew I had requested 2 beds. He said he would change it later which he did. The pillows and beds were as comfortable as could be! No need for an egg crate. No pillow substitutions necessary. I make it a habit to tip extra at the beginning of a cruise, and at the end, and I did. (Especially for crew working over a holiday). We requested robes and slippers and he said that it would probably be later or even the next morning, but we had big fluffy robes in 20 minutes. I am not sure if our refrigerator was meant to have a mini-bar set up or not??? I know I requested for it to be emptied on the Island and the (very lazy) steward told up to just empty it ourselves and set everything around the tv. So it being empty worked perfectly as our luggage arrived very quickly and I set about filling the frig with coke and water and putting our Christmas decorations up including lights and a small tree. Michael suggested that we may want to take the stockings on our door in at night or they might disappear as the decorations that they had put on all of the mail-boxes were already half gone. Sure enough, I looked down the hall and most of the cabins in our area had been stripped of the little decorations that had been there just 45 minutes before. Seriously cruisers??? Anyway, I never put anything on our doors I am not willing to lose (most from the dollar store) and all of our decorations remained in-tact during the cruise, except for the candy canes we kept re-filling for people to take and I know Michael enjoyed a few of those!!! I had a letter, poem and photo for the Commodore (with a bridge tour request for DM) and when I asked Michael the best way to get it to him, he said he would take care of it. Within the hour he informed me that it had been delivered. With the cabin decorated, the luggage un-packed and our first time in a balcony cabin, I enjoyed the sparkling wine Michael brought to us on the uncovered balcony, which I did not mind at all. (I have not had a covered balcony, but I feel like it would be like looking out of a box with all sides covered.) DM does not drink so I had her glass as well. I chilled a bottle of my Veuve Clicqout for sail away. We passed on lunch in the MDR as I just can’t eat a FULL meal for lunch and then again for dinner. We went to the Horizon Court which was busy and shared a table. From that point on we ate at the Café Caribe, which I think is less busy as most “starving passengers” stop at the first line available! HINT to future cruisers, keep heading aft to Café Caribe and you’ll find tables both inside and out, and shorter lines. We then went for a tour of the ship, which I was familiar with from my cruise on the Crown Princess. The Christmas decorations were beautiful! So far, so good! The muster drill was uneventful and we were in the Explorer’s lounge. I asked if my DM could take a seat outside but the crew said that was reserved for handicapped. I found her one of the last seats left and I stood a bit away. It always amazes me travelling with her at the number of young people who never offer an “old lady” (more on that later) a seat. We went back to our cabin and I opened my bubbles and we watched all of the other ships sail away and finally it was our turn at “last”. We did sail away from our balcony, but now that I know about the sail away cam I will surely be one of those holding a poster from somewhere on the ship next time, if we do not have a balcony! We did see the Princess flag get raised and as soon as we passed those condos it was gone. What fun that must be for those who live in those buildings and participate in that ritual! We made our sail away calls to family and doglet sitter and then sailed away from land-lubber worries! I for one was looking forward to no phones, no internet, and I hope the majority of the cruisers I saw with their noses stuck in iPads were reading a good book, but to each his own. The seas were some of the calmest I have ever experienced. As a long time sailor, and having done that trip on my own sailboat, I knew this was going to be one of the smoothest cruises ever. DM does suffer from vertigo from time to time, and I could tell from the forecast that this would not be a concern on this voyage and we would not need to unpack the Sea Bands, Dramamine, etc. We dressed nicely for dinner. I am one of “those” who figure if I am on a cruise, I am going to dress the part. We do anytime dining in the MDR and enjoy sharing a table each night. (We do not want to HAVE to be ready at a certain time to eat). As we waited a very short time, Commodore Romano approached with two young boys and told the hostess that the boys were with him. I put together that these were his sons and he must have popped his head in the door earlier looking for his family to come through the VIP line. This was confirmed the next night when he was again at the Da Vinci entrance with his wife and sons and introduced us all. Our first night sharing a table in Da Vinci’s was quite the experience. Our table was a family of 4 (2 boys approx. 9 & 11) and both Mother-in-laws. This was the first cruise for the family (not the Mothers) and it turns out they are Vegans. Now I WISH I could do that, but that is never going to happen in this life-time, and I don’t think a cruise and Vegan make a good pairing, especially if you’ve made no prior arrangements and it’s your FIRST cruise. These people had the chefs out of the kitchen 4 different times. Could they prepare this without this? Could they make that? They did finally ask to see the menu for the next night so hopefully, they were more prepared. In the mean time, the two Mothers ate meat, desserts, etc. lol. The poor wait-staff was already saddled with a party of four making special requests (Honeydew sorbet), and the one lady was demanding dessert before any of them had even been served their “meal” and while we were still eating out entre. Needless to say, I was happy we were never re-seated with them again, and I don’t think I ever saw that family the rest of the cruise. For those of you who are looking for food reviews, please find another reviewer. I do not take pictures of food on my plate, although we did share a table the 2nd night with a couple and she asked if she could take pictures of everything I got! I am not a “foodie”. I did eat at a specialty restaurant on the Crown once and for some it’s worth it, for me it’s just not. I did buy a bottle of Danzante Pinot Grigio that I have had before, to drink with dinner each night in Da Vinci’s. I will summarize and say that I was very happy with the food on this cruise whether it was the Caribe, the IC, Da Vinci’s, the pizza, etc. I heard my share of complaints about the food though…..”not up to Princess standards”, etc., but I do not share that view. My service was great, my food was great. And you will NEVER hear me complain about dessert. I also heard my share of complaints on this cruise about the “short” cruises and how they are “not Princess’s niche”. I guess I am just not a complainer and am just happy to be lucky enough to cruise! So, back to that…… As much as I would have liked to see the Colors of the World, we missed the early show due to dinner and sacked out early and missed the later show. I have heard good things about it. I did stop in the Piano Bar where I met a server, Franky from Bali. Having lived in Bali for a few years, I always enjoy meeting Indonesians aboard and usually befriend one just because they are amazed that I can speak some Bahasa Indonesian to them and Franky & I had both lived in Nusa Dua, so we hit it off and I did make a point of seeing him each night. The Piano Bar is usually my place to hang, but I did not find Craig Andrews very interactive with the crowd. I should probably stop here and explain that we chose this cruise for R&R. We were not interested in a port intensive cruise. We just wanted to be on a beautifully decorated ship, have someone else do all the work, and have no agenda. This cruise ticked all the boxes and I was not disappointed one bit. Day 1 At Sea: We awoke with no complaints and went to a leisurely breakfast at the Café Caribe. After brekkie we went to the Onboard Outlet Sale in the Michelangelo Dining Room where I found some great tank tops that Old Navy stopped making so I was a happy camper. There was a “Holland Line” lady in a hurry to check out and complained that all she had done with Princess so far was wait in lines. Again, seriously? You booked a sold out cruise over a holiday and you forgot to pack your patience??? We did mark the patters every day, (Creativity @ Sea, Turkey Carving, etc.) but if we didn’t make it to something, we didn’t worry. We were not interested in the trivia contests or the Pop Star or The Treasure Hunt or the line dancing, or the Spa, etc. Just R&R on the high seas and we napped in our mini-suite every day! After the sale, it was impossible to find two loungers together at the pool, but this was partly our fault as I wanted the sun and DM wanted the shade. I bumped into the Commodore and he told me that he had received my letter, poem and photo, and I introduced DM. At that point I settled her into the shade and went off to the adult only aft pool where after a short wait I was able to score a lounger overlooking the stern on the pool level. Now a bit about chair hogs. As someone who often travels single/solo, it is difficult to sometimes reserve your rights (as you dash off for a slice of pizza or to the loo for example) and not be accused of chair hogging. The whole 2+ hours I was in that lounger, there was a chair next to me with a towel and one sneaker on it. No one ever used that lounger. I should have gone back and rescued DM from the termites, I mean kids, but I did not want to be accused of chair hogging or lose my prime spot. There was a gentleman behind me who was asked by an ”ahem” lady if the chairs surrounding him were being used and he said yes. She then told him in no uncertain terms that you were not allowed to save chairs. He told her that he could assure her they were just over there in the pool. She scored a chair near-by and within 10 minutes, 2 more became available and she plopped down 2 of her party in those chairs. Literally 2 mins. later her DH asked what time it was and she said 1. He said, “what I thought it was like 11:00. Let’s go eat lunch at the buffet.” So they left all of their stuff and took off for lunch. I guess the rules don’t apply when you look in the mirror!!! Lol This night was the “Dress To Impress” night and the champagne waterfall. We did a few portraits until we got tired of being asked to pose in awkward poses (lol) and we found a front row seat under the staircase and watched the glasses being set up. I had never seen it done in red before and lest you think it was for Christmas, the very talented gal setting up the glasses explained it is because of the “Ruby” Princess. It is one of the cruising rituals I love! We engaged the couple sitting next to us. She had a “Christmas Cape” on, which she explained was really a Christmas Tree skirt. She said she has a whole wardrobe of them that she buys on sale after Christmas. Very clever! We waited until the end to get our waterfall pictures taken. We then went to DaVinci’s and the Commodore introduced us to his beautiful wife and 2 handsome sons. We sat with a couple. This was the gal who took pictures of ALL of the food plates. We passed on the Comedy show and DM called it a night. I wandered up to Sky Walkers but there were not many people there. Came back to Crooner’s and had a specialty martini. A “Poinsettia”, had a chat with Franky and then off to bed. Day 2 Princess Cays: Having been to Princess Cays previously, I could have bypassed it altogether and stayed aboard enjoying the empty ship. Being from Florida I knew I was not going in the water! As DM had never been, we decided to watch the movie (The Princess Bride) and enjoy the pool to ourselves and get some sun. At one point DM decided to use the hot tub. The previous days, it was just too crowded. As she entered the hot tub, it was occupied by another woman and 2 small girls. One of the girls looked up and said “Oh no, not another OLD LADY!”. I won’t go into all of their bratty behavior but the other woman gave up and left. Now the parents of these 2 brats were in a lounger near the hot tub and never once minded them. It’s a good thing I was up on deck watching the big screen or these “non” parents would have gotten a piece of my mind. I am not a public hot tub user but isn’t the rule that kids are not supposed to be in them unaccompanied??? About the same time that the movie ended (noonish), they announced that we no longer needed tender tickets to go ashore. WE caught a tender with no waiting and ventured ashore. We ate a burger which was what you would expect it to be as everything has to be ferried over, and shared a table with 4 young crew members on a rare day off. DM bought a trinket for a friend and we caught a tender back. We easily scored some prime loungers on the upper aft deck at the adult only pool, and I had a Mud Slide for a very reasonable $6.50. Then it started to drizzle so it was back to the mini-suite for a nap. I do love having the sofa to nap on! We returned to our cabin where we found an invitation for our “Navigational Bridge Tour” on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas DM! I had visited the bridge previously on the Ultimate Ships Tour on the Crown which I highly recommend, but thought it would be a bit ambitious for DM. Therefore I was hoping the request to the Commodore would be granted and he did not disappoint. We dressed festively as it was Christmas Eve, but passed on any casual photo opportunities. This night was the crew Christmas caroling and it’s another reason I love cruising at Christmas. We got our Holiday Carols booklet and joined in. When they got to “Let It Snow” and that real snow starts falling from the top of the Piazza, it is magical! We again shared a table with a large group this time and afterwards caught the tail end of the Beatles Medley in the Piazza. DM spent a short time in Gatsby’s which was waaaayyyy too smoky for me and came out $20 ahead on her slots. I had a drink from Franky in Crooners. Our plan was to attend the Ultimate Deck Party. The drizzling rain outside forced the deck party to be held in the Piazza. The change of venue did not seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. For those of you who were on this cruise, I was the one in the blinking red glasses and flashing ring. The fact that I got DM to wear both as well is why I love cruising with her! I think a good time was had by all, even though we mostly just took advantage of our front row seat and people watched! Afterwards it was time for DM to retire. I had a Bailey’s in Crooners, and chatted with Franky who had a Christmas present for me…a crew pin! I now have the old version and the new! CHRISTMAS DAY at SEA: We awoke and exchanged a few small presents we had brought aboard and DM won $10 on her scratch lottery tickets I had put in her stocking. We did some packing and I took down the Christmas decorations, as we were one of the few who put luggage out later that night. We gave wrapped presents to Michael and Franky, some candy we had brought on board. Today was Santa’s arrival! I have to comment that other than the bratty girls in the hot tub, the 750 children on board were all well behaved. And I believe all 750 were lined up to sit on Santa’s lap and get a gift! The line went FOREVER! I love the radio chatter between the Coast Guard and the Bridge when Santa arrives. I thought I was video taping his whole entrance thru the Piazza as “Here Comes Santa Claus” blared, and afterwards realized I had not pushed the button to tape! Well, some things are just meant to be seen in real time! I think Santa had a l-o-n-g night as his sparkly attendants had to help with his bowl full of jelly belly which was sort of sagging. The kids, big & small, did not seem to mind. We watched for a bit and then went off for the pub lunch and some great fish & chips in the Wheelhouse Bar. We caught a bit of magician Ben Seidman in the Piazza and we did some reading on the Promenade deck which is just a peaceful place to relax. I wish they would make it a “quiet zone” as the people strolling tend to shout at each other as they walk by. Our Bridge Tour was scheduled for 3:00 and we were met by a member of the security team and escorted to the Bridge where Commodore Romano greeted us. We had brought gifts of candy to the Bridge as well. We were allowed to take photos and DM even got to sit in one of the pilot chairs. I love the bridge and the crew there takes watches of 4 hours on, 4 hours off with no days off. The watcher stands his visual watch and with all of the electronics onboard, his position is considered the most important. Some things never change in hundreds of years! http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 After the Bridge Tour, DM went for a nap and my plan was to have Afternoon Tea. When I turned the corner, the line for tea was longer than the line for anytime dining! Oops. Now I am the one complaining about lines! Lol I think it was due to the fact that the weather was not that great. I passed on the tea and went to the IC and had some goodies! Dinner was shared with a table of 6 others. One couple did the food complaining, the short cruise complaining, etc. Another couple was frustrated as they were doing a B2B and had to change cabins from an interior to an obstructed view. Seriously? Take the upgrade! DM had the turkey and I had the beef and all was tasty and the best part was we did not have to cook it! Dessert (Christmas Pudding for me) was as always, fabulous! My favorite dessert on this cruise was the French vanilla bean crème brulee, and I am an admitted vanillaholic! After dinner we went to see the show Broadway Ballroom, the only time we went to the theatre. It was your typical cruise ship production. My bad, but I almost fell asleep. I was looking forward to seeing “Now You See Me” on the big MUTS screen and after dinner we changed into comfortable, warmer clothes and headed up only to find it raining. So we returned to the cabin to watch it on tv and as much as we had planned to see the Christmas production, Holiday Wishes, with the crew…..once in the cabin to watch the movie…. we were done for the night. DISEMBARKATION DAY: (Sad Day) - Having put our luggage out the night before we were to wait in the Wheelhouse for a Group Orange 7, 9:20 disembarkation time. We had a leisurely brekkie in the MDR and still had an hour to kill. I found a seat in the packed Wheelhouse for DM and then went to drop my Consummate Host card off. I also dropped our Future Cruise Deposit Form in the box. This was literally 15 minutes before we disembarked and within 5 hours we had our e-mail confirmation. I had read some other posts complaining about this, so possibly we benefited from those previous complaints. I can say that each time I cruised by there, I never once saw the consultant. I noticed no one disembarking. I went and collected DM and it was about 20 minutes before our group was to be called. I asked the crew if we could walk off and she asked if we were in a hurry. I said we had a long drive and she smiled and said sure go ahead. We were the only two down the gang plank and into the luggage area. We elected to have a porter help, found our bags and he walked us thru the lane where the wheelchairs were going and we bypassed the whole passport line so we were literally off the ship and outside in 3 minutes. He took our luggage to our floor of the elevator and we were parked only about 6 spaces away. We loaded up and were off to A1A to visit my brother in Lighthouse Point. SUMMARY: This was one of the most relaxing cruises I have ever enjoyed. I wish I had booked the B2B, but prior to the cruise my Miata had to have a fuel pump replaced, and after the cruise my Yorkie fell and needed an x-ray so the mechanic and the Vet cost more than my whole cruise! I’m hoping they offer the “free cruise” again and I would book this same cruise in April for my birthday. Princess is my favorite line so I might be biased. The bottom line for me is the complainers are on a CRUISE! They are not fighting an illness in hospital. They have discretionary money to cruise. Unless the ship breaks down, or the seas are 30 feet, what is there to complain about??? Bon Voyage until next time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We booked the first Caribbean (actually it was in the Atlantic) for this new ship -- which was launched in Europe the summer of 2013. It had completed its transatlantic cruise to Ft. Lauderdale and this was the initial 5 day sailing which ... Read More
We booked the first Caribbean (actually it was in the Atlantic) for this new ship -- which was launched in Europe the summer of 2013. It had completed its transatlantic cruise to Ft. Lauderdale and this was the initial 5 day sailing which included a day at Princess Cays, a day at Grand Turk, and two days at sea. The ship is the largest of the Princess fleet. It was beautifully outfitted with all types of venues available. It was fully booked and holds around 3,600 passengers. I felt that the service, in all areas, was good and efficient. We ate in the buffets and the traditional dining room -- and the food was well prepared and the variety good. There were no problems with substitutions (ie: no potatoes, but more veggies, etc). The shows were all well done and appropriate for any age range. Positive Additions: The buffet eating venues (Horizon Court and the adjoining Bistro) provided excellent food selections as well as abundant seating. There was never a problem getting a place to sit and eat. Negative Issues: There was no central staircase bethind the central elevators -- a staircase ran from deck 5 to 6 and 6 to 7, but not beyond that! That necessitated unnecessary central elevator use, or the need to go to either the far aft or far forward stairs! This made for heavy traffic on the central elevators. All other Princess ships have a stairway to all floors behind the central elevators. In the Princess Theater, there are no cup holders -- although bar service is provided. Therefore you either held your beverage, or sat it on the floor! Not the best arrangement to say the least.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
we just got back from our western caribbean cruise on princess. we've mostly cruised on celebrity, but also have gone on holland america, disney, regent, and royal caribbean. we were hesitant to try princess, but friends were going on ... Read More
we just got back from our western caribbean cruise on princess. we've mostly cruised on celebrity, but also have gone on holland america, disney, regent, and royal caribbean. we were hesitant to try princess, but friends were going on this cruise and talked us into it. i'm glad they did. we had a great time! overall, we were pleasantly surprised at how upscale the cruise was. the best thing about it was the staff. every single person working there was over-the-top accommodating. the personal attention was even be better than regent. the dining room food was good and the service was excellent. the maitre d', neville, was extraordinary. we were able to go to the chef's table dinner which was absolutely fantastic ($75 per person); dinner at sabatini's was excellent ($20 per person, free our first night through American Express); dinner at the crown room was also very good ($25 per person). we did not like the buffets. more stations with international variety would have been welcome.after reading on the boards about the coffee, we bought coffee cards. if you like coffee, this is a must. the liquid coffee mixture used in the dining rooms and around the ship is vile. we like good wines and were able to secure many excellent bottles. the sommelier, mihai, was very professional and knowledgeable. we spent a lot of time at vines (the sushi and tapas wine bar). the lounges were really comfortable, most with excellent musicians. the shows were no better or worse than most. the casino is huge and lively. the dealers and pit bosses were friendly. the fitness center was very well equipped, with a variety of classes available. the movies under the stars was a fun concept.our mini-suite was roomy and comfortable, except the mattress was too hard. our steward, edgar, was fine. although the public rooms are rather dated, they were not "worn" or dirty. overall, the ship was very clean. we didn't do any excursions as we've been in all the ports before. we did go into each port, though, and when tenders were used it was very organized. the private island was as nice as any of the other cruise lines. the only bad experience was luggage dropoff and embarkation which took over an hour -- poor signage, crowded conditions, lines that blended into one another and too few clerks. but once we were aboard, and two cocktails later, all was forgiven. getting off the ship and securing our luggage was quick and easy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was our second cruise on the Ruby with the 1st being Nov. of last year. We loved our last cruise so when I found out the Ruby was doing a special 3 night cruise in Dec. my husband and I decided to give ourselves an early Christmas ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Ruby with the 1st being Nov. of last year. We loved our last cruise so when I found out the Ruby was doing a special 3 night cruise in Dec. my husband and I decided to give ourselves an early Christmas present. We loved our cabin before so we booked the same cabin. Embarkation was a breeze for us. We drove down the night before and stayed the night at the Hyatt Pier 66 and had a very nice dinner at the restaurant there. The next moring we drove to the pier to park but since my husband has a concealed to carry permit and had a weapon in the car we were told we had to park at the Park N Go over by the airport. That was a great idea as the parking there is only $10 day and you get a discount off that if you are a AAA member. The shuttle picked us up immediately and took us to the pier and when we got of the shuttle was right there. The neet thing about Park N Go is that they have a family of monkeys living right next door and they feed them banannas so we got to see them. Parking at the port is $15 a day. We were on board very quickly. Cabin: The cabins on Caribe (10) deck have the biggest balconys onboard. They are a huge 9' x 9' and the front half is covered. The balconys are tierd so if you don't want to look down on someone or have someone look down on you do't book princess. We don't care. Now you can hear others on their balconys and you can smoke on your balcony. You have no control over that and neither does Princess or any other crusie line. It is just like a hotel balcony in that you have your personal space but it is not completely private. FOOD & SERVICE: The staff onboard to us was wonderful and very courteous and friendly. We are not buffet people so we only did the buffet for lunch the first day. It was crowded and impersonal. We had anytime dining and never had to wait more than 50 or 10 min. to get seated ever for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The food was great we thought. ULTIMATE BALCONY DINNER: I HIGHLY recommend doing this if you are at all romantic. WOW we felt like royalty. The cost is $50 pp. but so worth it. Our personal waiter arranged everyting out on the balcony with a beautiful table set up complete with flowers. First course was canapies, Second course was appatiser and we had steak for the main course and the dessert was do die for WOW along with water, wine and champagne. The photographer took some beautiful pictures of us. Between courses the waiter waits outside your door so you do have complete privacy. Our dinner was the ultimate highlight of our cruise. We had a day at sea so early that moring at 7 am I went to sign us up for the Sanctuary for the afternoon in the adult area. We love that area as it is quiet and relaxing with wait service. Then I went and worked out in the gym. In the moring I shoped and took pictures. PRINCESS CAY DAY: We slept in as we were in no hurry to get to the island. Princess Cay is a pretty island with tons of water sports opportunity with bars, grills and local shopping. IT was a fun day. The tendering was very organized getting to shore and back. CROWN GRILL: our last night of the crusie we had dinner in the Grown Grill. IT was wonderful and so was the food. MISC: Movies under the stars was fun with blankets and popcorn. Loved the internationa cafe with sandwiches and desserts. The Champagyne waterful they do was so much fun and a great photo op. It only lasted a few minutes. We never did so see a show as time and our plans did not allow. We spent a lot of time on our balcony reading and just looking at the water. We love the Ruby Princess and are now looking forward to our next crusie on her. the only negative was that the cabins never really get what I call cool, like you keep it at home so I brought a small fan and extension cord and used that at night. I think the thermastates are just there for looks. In the day time it helps to keep the drapes closed if you are not in your cabin. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We just returned from the 3 night Ruby Princess Cruise to the Bahamas. The weather was not good, but the cruise was great! It was just me (Larry) and my DD, (Lindsay), who was on her winter break from Grad School at FAU. She's in her ... Read More
We just returned from the 3 night Ruby Princess Cruise to the Bahamas. The weather was not good, but the cruise was great! It was just me (Larry) and my DD, (Lindsay), who was on her winter break from Grad School at FAU. She's in her 20s and I'm in the second half of my 50s. This was my 20th cruise and 10th cruise on Princess. This was Lindsay's 5th cruise and 1st on Princess. The weather in Ft. Lauderdale was ominous with big black clouds and periods of hard rain. The embarkation process was quick and easy. We parked the car around 11am. There was no line at all to enter the terminal and we were through security within minutes. I Platinum level and we were seated in a waiting room for Elite and Platinum members. The wait was about 15 minutes and then we were allowed to proceed to registration. Registration took less than 5 minutes and we were on the ship by 11:45am! Princess has always had a great embarkation process. We found the way to our cabin which was an aft/starboard inside cabin on the Aloha deck. Since it was only a 3 day cruise we carried our luggage on with us and we couldn't even fill half the drawers and closet with our clothes! Our cabin steward met us in the room. I asked to have 2 extra pool towels each day and for 2 bathrobes which he placed in the room by the time we got back from lunch. I had been on the Emerald Princess (identical twin of the Ruby) twice before and know the layout of the ship very well; so I gave Lindsay a full tour of the ship. For those of you that have not been on the Ruby, Emerald or Crown Princess, they are very impressive ships. I pointed out my favorite places like the International Cafe, Piazza and the aft adult pool area. I love the fact that the layout of the ship is somewhat confusing as I continue to discover new things every time I sail. We had lunch in the Horizon Court buffet which was excellent. I had a salad that was crispy and fresh, sliced turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. The turkey and mashed potatoes were warm and delicious. I then discovered something new to me on Princess, which is Free Ice Cream!! They now have free soft serve ice cream at the ice cream kiosk next to the Pizza Kiosk. Very yummy! The rain stopped for a while, so we changed into our bathing suits and enjoyed the Aft Pool Jacuzzi for a while. The heavens opened up around 3:30pm and they moved the Sail-away party from the Neptune Pool to Club Fusion. The rains subsided a little when we sailed away, so we enjoyed sail-away on aft pool deck. Prior to dinner we went to the Cafe Caribe for the Seafood extravaganza buffet. As always Princess came through with a sea food spread of delicious shrimp and large lobster claws. We shared a plate and then went to the Monticello Dining room for dinner. I love to meet new people, so we opted to share a table and met some interesting tablemates. The food and service in the dining room was excellent. For dinner I had the porticini (sp) mushroom soup and the prime rib. Princesses' Porticini mushroom soup is one of the best mushroom soups I've ever had. I always order it and as I always I was not disappointed. The prime rib was cooked to perfection, cooked medium rare as I like it. I am an ice cream aficionado and order a different kind of ice cream each night. I had hazelnut ice cream this night and it was very good! I can't remember everything Lindsay had for dinner, but she definitely enjoyed her meal. Our waiter was very friendly and efficient. We had a different waiter each night and all of them were very friendly and efficient. We were in and out of the dining room each night within an hour and had plenty of time to make it to all the evening shows and events. After dinner we went to the Princess lounge for the welcome show. The Princess singers and dancers were one of the best dance troupes I've seen on Princess. They also had a one of the funniest comedians I've ever seen. His name is Troy Thirdgill and I highly recommend him if he performs on your cruise. We then enjoyed the Karaoke event in club fusion where there were both excellent singers and not so excellent singers. We ended the night by going out on deck to see what movie they were showing on MUTTS. It was raining fairly hard, but there were some die hard people watching and enjoying the movie under the sheltered part of the deck. The movie was The Time Travelers Wife. It was off to bed for us and a good night's sleep as the ship gently rocked back and forth. Friday was a great sea day! I am an early riser, so I hit the gym around 7am and worked out for about an hour. They have a great gym on board with lots of weight machines, elliptical machines and treadmills. They had a yoga class going while I was there with about 40 people. After the gym I went down to the International cafe and got a latte using my frequent coffee card. It you love coffee, especially specialty coffee drinks, Princess has a great deal. You can buy a coffee card that allows you to have 15 specialty drinks for $27. That's less than $2 for any specialty drink like Lattes, Cappuccinos, espressos, etc. You can also get unlimited free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. with the card. I then went to the Cafe Caribe buffet for breakfast. I try to be healthy on the cruise and hence I had oatmeal along with some fresh fruit, but I did cheat a little and ate one piece of bacon. It was all warm and delicious! If you want more, the buffet has a full variety of scrambled eggs, sunny side up eggs, omelets cooked to order, bacon, ham, sausage, French toast, waffles, bagels, lox, various rolls, breads and pastries, etc. I find all the food to be hot and perhaps the reason some people seem to find the food cold is because they load so much food on their plate, it can't all stay warm before they eat it all! :rolleyes: I then went outside to find a place to sunbathe and read my book. It was overcast most of the day, but the sun did peak through many times; enough to give us both a little sun burn! The temperature was a perfect 80 degrees most of the day. We sunbathed at the Aft Pool deck on starboard side railing right at the back of the ship. It's one of my favorite places on the ship as it is very quiet and it's just you and the ocean! We went in the aft Jacuzzi several times as well. The lunch special in the Cafe Caribe was Mexican and Lindsay had a Taco salad that she said was delicious. As much as I try to eat healthy, cruising brings out the worst in me and I thoroughly enjoyed a delicious cheeseburger and fries from the grill located by the Neptune Pool. Later I had to get my free ice cream cone which really hit the spot. There were dozens of activities both inside and outside during the day, but we were more than content to sit outside and read almost all day. We went to dinner around 7pm in the Da Vinci Dining Room and again sat with some very interesting people and enjoyed our meal with them. Again the food and service were excellent. I had a shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad and Lamb Chops. I always get the Caesar salad mainly because they only give you a very small portion which does not fill me up. A lot of people complain about the small portion and I'm not sure why. If they want a larger portion, all they have to do is ask for a larger portion, but it seems some people would rather complain. Princess serves a delicious shrimp cocktail and the lamp chops were cooked to perfection and were to die for! It was butter toffee ice cream for dessert which I thoroughly enjoyed. Lindsay had a tossed salad and chose the Chilean Sea Bass for her entre, which she loved. After dinner we went to the Princess Theater to see the Production show called "Once Upon a Dream." The show was fantastic. It featured the Princess Singers and Dancers and used a cool new technology where the side and rear backdrops were all done with multi-dimensional video projection. It's the first time I've seen this technology and it was really cool. After the show we went to the Explorers Lounge to see the comedian Troy Thirdgill. His full show was hilarious and everyone in the crowd was howling with laughter. We really loved his show. After his show, we went to the Grand Piazza for the "New Year's party event. They had a live band playing dance music and the crowd danced the night away. Everyone is given steamers and at midnight everyone throws their streamers. It's a blast of a party and I've attended many on past Princess ships. By now we were totally exhausted from a wonderful day at sea and made our way to the cabin for another nights relaxing sleep. I was up at 6:30am on Saturday and decided to skip the morning exercise routine as I wanted to be one of the first to take the tender to Princess Cay. Lindsay and I had our usual fare for breakfast in the Cafe Caribe and afterwards made our way to pick up our backpacks from the room to take on the tender. As we left the room with our backpacks, the Captain came on the loud speaker to announce that due to rough seas and high winds, we would be unable to safely tender over to the Island. I had a feeling this was going to happen as it was very over cast and it was windy on deck. If you've heard the expression of turning a lemon into lemonade, that's exactly what Lindsay and I did. While the weather was quite windy and overcast, we found an area by the aft pool that was somewhat isolated from the wind and spent half of the day lounging and reading our books. As the hours went by, the weather conditions improved, but as the sun peaked out more and more the temperature dropped. By mid afternoon, it couldn't have been more than 70 degrees. We decided to go inside for lunch and very much enjoyed fish and chips in a traditional pub lunch that they serve at the Wheelhouse bar. The fish and chips were almost as good as I have had in Alaska! I decided to splurge when we went back on deck and had a delicious piece of Pizza from the pizza grill. Again, Princess has some of the best pizza I've ever had. It may not be as good as NY Pizza, but I live in Orlando and it's definitely as good as or better than anywhere in Orlando! If that wasn't enough, I had to then have my ice cream cone on top of that! My dd just shakes her head at my lack of will power!:o We went back to the room to watch a movie on the TV. I was browsing through the Princess Patters guide where I saw that they had afternoon tea in one of the dining rooms. My wife always goes to the afternoon teas and I have never gone with her. So we decided to try it out. I never knew what I was missing! We were seated with other people and enjoyed their company while we dined on little sandwiches, cookies and cakes and of course, tea. The icing on cake was when they served us scones with whipped butter and jam. It was so delicious!! Having filled myself with all this food, it was very easy to fall asleep and take a great nap until it was time for dinner! Once again we ate in the Monticello Dining Room and joined other interesting folks to share our dinner. It was Italian night, of which I am not a big fan, but I made some good choices and enjoyed my dinner very much. I had a shrimp cocktail appetizer along with a Caesar salad and finished it off with the Pot Roast entre. The pot roast was hot, juicy and delicious (just like mama made)! Lindsay had the Shrimp Fra Diablo, which she said was not too spicy and tasted delicious. They had two different gelatos for the ice cream dessert. Not knowing which one to get, Lindsay and I shared them both and they were both excellent! After dinner we went to the Princess Theater for the evening's main show which was a man and wife Illusionist team,Tony Laffan and Kasey-Laura. I'm not a big fan of magic or illusionists, but they were very good. The illusions they performed were mind boggling and I'm glad we went to their show. Afterwards we went to the Explorers Lounge for the Liar's Club Game Show. It was entertaining and hilarious as a couple of words were, "BALDERSNATCH" and "COCKSHY". You can use your imagination as to how a couple of the "celebrity" players defined those words! :eek: As it was our last night on the ship (way too short), we made our way to the cabin and packed our bags so we would be ready for our 7:25 am walk off departure in the morning. Before we went to the cabin, I went to the purser's desk to pay cash for our bill. As neither of us drinks, our bill came to a whopping total of $27. I own 100 shares of Carnival Stock, so I received $50 OBC and to my delight Princess credited our account by another $15 per person for not stopping at Princess Cays. My only expenditures were for a coffee card and sun screen I purchased on board. Princess also posts $10.50per person per night for tips which makes the tipping process very simple. I do usually tip some of the staff extra especially if they go out of their way and go over and beyond. We awoke bright and early at 6:15am on Sunday. We dressed and went to the Cafe Caribe for our final breakfast of Cereal and fruit. We then picked up our luggage out of the room and went to our pre-disembark area in the casino. We got there at about 7:10 and were received our notice at 7:30 that we could disembark the ship. As we never made it to land, we did not have to go through customs and were in our car within 5 minutes. I dropped off my daughter at her apartment in Boca at 8:30 and was home in Orlando by 11:30am! Just as Princess excels in their embarkation process, I don't think they are second to anyone on their disembarkation process. In conclusion, I rarely write reviews of cruises any longer, but due to some of the negative reviews floating around about this cruise, I wanted to give another perspective. I really don't mean to take away anything from people that do have negative experiences on a cruise, especially when they are serious. But sometimes people make a little more out of the negative experience that it deserves. Was our cruise perfect? No. On the first cruise day, I ruined my coffee card in the Jacuzzi. I went to the International Cafe to see if they would replace it and I was told rudely that they could not replace it. Did I get mad and upset? No, I called the Food and Beverage Manager and politely told him about the card and he did replace it for me. Even if he had not replaced it, would it have done me any good to get upset? No, I would have ruined the cruise for me and my daughter. Losing a $27 card is hardly enough to ruin an entire cruise and a horrible reason to not cruise on that cruise line again (as some would surely do)! Also, as this was one of very few 3 night cruises that Princess offers and the total cost for the entire cruise for my daughter and I was less than $400, I didn't have sky high expectations. I am pleased to say that Princess totally exceeded all my expectations by a wide margin. Four years ago, my daughter and I sailed on a 4 night cruise on the Imagination ship and Carnival's food, service and entertainment far exceeded my expectations for that cruise as well. As usual others found something to complain about in their cc reviews. Cruising is not for everyone. For those of you expecting 5 star meals on a cruise ship, you'd be wise to go on a land trip where there are 5 star quality restaurants or on a very high end very expensive cruise line like Crystal; for those of you expecting Broadway quality shows on a cruise ship, you might want to go to NYC or London to get that kind of quality and for those of you looking for the comfort of a Heavenly Bed, you should consider a land trip and stay in a Hotel that offers that type of bedding. For those of you that are generally happy people that enjoy the true gifts of life, I think you will find a cruise on any cruise line to be a fantastic vacation! Just my 2 cents...Happy Cruising!:) Larry Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We really enjoyed sailing the Ruby Princess, but not for the reasons we thought we would. It had been about a year since we last sailed on Princess Cruises, our last sailing on favorite ship Caribbean Princess. Since then we had sailed ... Read More
We really enjoyed sailing the Ruby Princess, but not for the reasons we thought we would. It had been about a year since we last sailed on Princess Cruises, our last sailing on favorite ship Caribbean Princess. Since then we had sailed on several other cruise lines, some not as great, some about as great and one greatly less than wonderful. We are on a health management program that required we follow certain guidelines and hoped we would be able to on the ship. What we found were plenty of good, healthy options aboard Ruby Princess that worked well with our program. What we did not count on was a deadly combination of two factors that drove us off our plan: Fabulous food and an equally fabulous, helpful crew. We just were not counting on either being as good as they are. As a result we went far off our plan, have no regrets and nothing but nice things to say about both. This ship truly blew us away in most all areas so let's get right into it Embarkation A breeze. We entered Pier 2 at Port Everglades about 11:00 and were on the ship by 11:30, in our aft balcony stateroom by 11:40. Very nice. Food As mentioned, fabulous. What made it difficult to stay strictly on our plan was Maitre d' Jose who just could not do enough for us. From a personal phone call upon embarkation, to his personal commitment throughout the cruise, this was a first for us. It seems more the norm for Maitre d's and other dining room management people to stop by tables occasionally during a cruise. This man was really into being sure we had a good time and did what it took to see that happened. The ship Beautiful. As this was a holiday cruise the ship was decorated quite tastefully and was spotlessly clean throughout the voyage. The familiar basic layout of the ship mirrored other Princess ships so we felt at home and enjoyed the new features added, especially the International Cafe offering a nice variety of light meals and snacks throughout the day plus some fabulous coffee selections. The crew Again, fabulous. From our cabin steward to electricians and maintenance people met in random encounters walking the halls, everyone seemed so happy to be there doing what they do. It was really refreshing to see. Not that other lines do not have happy people on board there working, they do, the crew on this ship just seemed so over the top happy to be there that it was a real pleasure to see. Itinerary This was the perfect ship to miss a port when we could not stop at Princess Cays for safety concerns about the tender operation in high seas. It was a great day to spend in our stateroom for the most part even though a revised and updated activity schedule was promptly distributed and featured plenty for everyone to do on the ship that day. Disembarkation We needed to get off the ship early for our drive back to Orlando and got just that, off the ship and on the road before 8am. Very nice. I like that they keep it simple and their "silent disembarkation" without a bunch of annoying announcements was pure heaven. Some highlights: Internet Access in-cabin- Decent. We had an aft balcony cabin, all the way at the back of the ship, probably about as far away from the Internet Cafe as possible and got a signal. A low signal but it worked. Others I talked to, closer to the center of the ship, had signals much better. I chose to go sit at the International Cafe, within view of the Internet Cafe on deck five, to connect. Very good signal there Motion in the Ocean- We sailed away under rough sea conditions and a rain storm. I can not remember sailing on rougher seas since a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 but this ship handled it well. Our aft balcony stateroom on the Baa deck was rocking and rolling all night long that first night. Lisa always takes Bonine for this purpose, forgot to take it until we were well under way and had no problems but I would suggest a more midship location for those who experience motion discomfort...and a note to take precautions before getting on the ship Quality of the food- It is difficult for me to believe that the cuisine on this ship could be rated anything less than remarkable but as I have said many times before, food is such a subjective thing that I suppose it could happen. Our experience as noted earlier: fabulous. For those with food issues, look forward to your sailing on this ship; they really try hard to make it work for you. Dining room issues: None. Best advice: see the Maitre d' once on the ship no matter what. I think this is going to be a new rule for us, just something we do. Knowing the Maitre d' proved to be richly rewarding for our dining experience. These people really do want us to have a good time, we just need to give them the chance to make that happen Clientele- Short cruises on lines that don't do a lot of them often draw the curious. I know we had never sailed Celebrity until the Century offered shorter cruises so we could give them a try. We saw and talked to a lot of people just like that. Nice people who were regular guests on other lines, trying Princess for the first time. It might have been just luck but I did not talk to anyone who was not blown away by the Princess experience. I also talked to a number of repeat Princess guests, all mostly happy to be there. Front desk personnel- Bob from Tulsa had experienced less than wonderful service from the Pursers desk on a different Princess ship and was concerned. Bob, relax, this was one of the best bunches of Pursers desk staffers I have ever seen. I did have some issues with my bill, a double charge that was just a mistake and a charge for something I did not buy. Both were handled quickly and efficiently. I could not have asked for more. Past Guest perks- Sailing on Princess a bunch in the past had earned us Elite past guest status which was fabulous. From complementary laundry, to a priority disembarkation lounge and very accessible Captain Circle host, this program is a real winner, I think the best of the bunch. A couple we talked to while waiting to board who had not sailed the ship before had booked this one and the next two sailings for a total of 22 days on the ship. We happened to see them the last day at breakfast and were happy to see that they really enjoyed the ship. Princess past guests can be a really vocal group and don't hesitate to mention something they don't like. This couple thought there should be more places to sit and "people-watch" but were solidly loyal Princess fans who had tried other lines and said they "always come back to Princess". I can sure see why. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We were hesitant, because a 3 night Princess cruise did not seem like enough time. BUT... we needed a break from SO many things that the timing and hours seemed ideal. During the 8 cruises that we have taken, our favorites were 7 nights in ... Read More
We were hesitant, because a 3 night Princess cruise did not seem like enough time. BUT... we needed a break from SO many things that the timing and hours seemed ideal. During the 8 cruises that we have taken, our favorites were 7 nights in length. However, we have sailed on the Caribbean Princess before, and since we were comfortable with the large ship, we believed that we would be able to take part in most of the activities, not needing time to get acquainted with the ship. In many ways we were correct, because we really were able to navigate throughout this beautiful ship with no problems. But... we certainly were not able to participate in all of the activities, and that is because Princess, even with such a short sailing, offered us SO many choices that there just were not enough hours to do everything we wanted to. Since this was a short cruise, we felt that passengers were a bit younger than is traditional on Princess. I believe that many people took an extended weekend, and thus, this was a party group. There were very few children, or at least, there were not many that we noticed. My husband and I are in our 50's, and we like the sophistication of Princess passengers. As a matter of fact, friends joined us on this cruise that we met on a previous Princess cruise. Joining them on this cruise was a highlight for us, and we all seemed to actually prefer the grouping of passengers on our past longer Princess cruises. But, that is just our opinion. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the Fort Lauderdale terminal around 12:30 p.m., prepared for an early rush of people. Pleasantly surprised, we walked directly onto the ship after receiving our keys from Princess personnel. We went directly to check out our room and make plans for the evening after reading the Princess Patter. Within a short time period, we went to the lunch buffet, and by the time we were finished eating, our luggage was already in our stateroom. Actually, by 2:30 p.m., we were unpacked, greeted by our cabin steward, and reacquainting ourselves with this beautiful ship. SHIP INFORMATION: The Caribbean Princess is, indeed, huge. We did not, however, find it difficult to navigate throughout. Some of this is because this was not our first voyage on the Caribbean Princess, but looking back, we were not overwhelmed by it size on our first voyage. There are maps of the ship on most walls, and Princess personnel are eager to guide you, if needed. Take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the decks that go straight through the ship. We definitely suggest reserving a mid-ship cabin, because it makes it easy to navigate yourself from the mid-ship elevators. Although there are, obviously, a lot of people on the ship, we never felt crowded or held back by the masses of people. There are enough elevators to accommodate everyone, and the passenger numbers never affected us. Rooms and activities are well spread out throughout the ship, and as a result, there seemed to be plenty of room for everyone. Staff can be found cleaning the ship constantly, which is why she looks practically new. Of course, some of the carpet needs an upgrade, but everything else sparkles so that it is almost not worth mentioning. STATEROOM: We chose an indoor cabin for several reasons. The obvious reason is that the price is less, but more important to us was the fact that the room is dark, without the sunlight peaking through in the early morning and mid-day when we took a quick catnap. The room was small but adequate, since we were only inside for sleeping. This is, actually, another reason why we chose not to take an outside cabin… we never used the balcony, because we were just too busy! Getting back to the room… the shower was a bit tinier than we remembered, but our biggest problem was getting extra towels. Our stateroom attendant, Dino, was just not up to Princess standards, and he was not around much. On 3 different occasions, we requested extra towels, and finally, Dino informed us that he only had enough towels for his assigned staterooms [of which we were one!], but he did not have any extras. Indeed, our stateroom was clean enough, but although Princess is our cruise line of choice, we still miss the towel animals on our beds at night. From experience, we knew to request an egg-crate mattress, which was on our bed when we arrived. After speaking with other passengers, their mattresses were not comfortable, but for us, the mattresses were ideal… so, plan ahead by requesting the egg-crates! DINNING: Again, I must mention that we are not new to Princess, and as a result, we have tried all of her specialty dinning options. To us, the food in the dinning rooms is the same caliber as the specialty restaurants. We chose anytime dinning, which is an option that keeps bringing us back to Princess. It is a luxury to be able to pick and choose your dining times based on other ship activities. Although there were lines at key times, you could easily get a table if you arrived early or late. After the first main show, there were lines, but the maitre-d was always pleasant, assuring us that a table would soon be available. Princess uses pagers for dinner, but we never seemed to have a problem. Also, you are able to make a reservation in the morning for anytime dinning, assuring you a table at the time requested. We ate all of our dinners in the Coral Dinning room and found the food yummy. I will admit that I missed the lobster dinner during formal night, but we were told that lobster was not served on a short cruise. I did have both steak and prime rib that was so lean and tender that I could have cut it with a fork. AND I missed the Princess souffles that are an all time favorite of mine, but again, they are not offered during a short cruise except in the specialty restaurants. The service was impeccable, and our waiter, Elvis, was friendly and very eager to please. We did find our way to a special sushi lunch buffet on our day at sea. We learned that sushi is offered at the buffet on every Princess Cruise during the first day at sea. We were not aware of this, and we were quite happy with the find. We enjoy sushi [obviously], but the wok dishes were just as good. It was a delightful surprise for us, and we will definitely look for such an option in the future. This is not mentioned in the Patter, so check it out for yourselves if you are a fan of sushi. Be aware that you pay extra for ice cream, but it is free during your meals in the dinning room! The ice cream choices are detailed, and we highly recommend the Rum Raisin… WOW, it was almost better than the Princess Love Boat dessert; notice I said "almost". Looking back, we might have paid the additional $20.00 on this cruise to eat in Sabatini's' only because I had my heart set on lobster, and their tiramisu cake is the best on the planet. ACTIVITIES: OK, it was only 3 nights, but we expected a bit more in this area. There was BINGO, 1 horse racing game, an art auction, and the traditional pool games, but the kitchen tour and the backstage tour were missing. Even one of the above mentioned 2 tours would have been better than none. The craft activities were also missing, and several passengers were disappointed not to have the opportunity to paint pottery. We felt that the 1-day at sea could have offered additional choices, and there were moments when nothing to our liking was taking place. I was talking for days about the backstage tour, which was our favorite activity on this ship previously, and we were looking forward to experiencing such again. The pool games are prevalent, but the pools are crowded during peak times. We ended up going to the Jacuzzi when we returned from Princess Cay, allowing us a chance to get in without waiting for someone to leave. Also, the pool choices are enough to give you options, if you want to take the time to look around. ENTERTAINMENT: Princess entertainment options are the best in the business, with more than one different show nightly. On this short cruise, we were a bit disappointed with the welcome aboard show. It consisted of one extremely short number by the Princess singers and dancers, followed by a short routine by a comedian who would be returning the last night of our cruise. The show was short and not much to write home about, although the comedian's show on the final night was extremely funny. However, it was not funny enough for me to remember the comedian's name. There was one production show on the 2nd night of our cruise, Piano Man. My husband and I actually saw this show a few year's ago on this ship; it was the first production of the show ever. We loved it then, and we loved it this time. In fact, to me, it is the best production show that we have ever seen, and if time had permitted, we would have gone to see the 2nd showing of this show. NOW FOR THE BIGGIE… our favorite ship entertainer was Bert Stratton who played at the piano bar every evening. We heard Bert the first time we sailed the Caribbean Princess 2 years ago, and when we were thinking about this sailing, we called to make certain Bert would be playing. Bert is an amazing singer, writer, piano player, and overall entertainer. He plays piano standing and has plenty of energy. Within minutes of his first note, his audience is singing along, while swaying to the music. Bert's personality grabs his audience, and there is always a full house… not to mention the people standing in the ship's aisles listening and singing. Once you attend a Bert concert, you are instantly Bertified, returning for show after show. Currently I am under a lot of stress at my job, and Bert made me leave the outside world and move into his world of music. My husband and I listened to Bert every night, and we left feeling alive with music. Bert doesn't need sheet music, and we are perplexed at how he remembers all of the words and music to just about any song you request. He has a large repertoire of music, and his show is never the same. We were literally blown away by the songs that Bert wrote himself, and several of those that he shared gave me the chills. His music touches your heart and soul, making you a part of the show. I was definitely Bertified, and if given a choice, I would listen to his music rather than attending any of the main shows. He has an unbelievable talent and he is the "real" deal. He appreciates his audience and is just a "good" person. I cannot even begin to give Bert the phrase he deserves. If you haven't heard Bert, you need to visit his web site and purchase his CD's. You will be glad you did! SHORE EXCURSIONS: We did not have the opportunity to take a shore excursion, and since we only visited Princess Cay, our options were limited. Princess Cay is lovely, but there was a major wind and the water was extremely cold. This was the overall opinion of many Floridians, but people from up north seemed eager to get into the water. The barbecue lunch on Princess Cay was typical of what you would expect. We did walk part of the nature trail, but I left my shoes on the beach so the rocks really began to hurt my feet. Definitely wear your shoes! DISEMBARKATION: Simple, easy, and quick. Take time to eat breakfast in the dinning room, since most people do not leave until after 9:00 a.m. The breakfast service was wonderful, and the food was a delicious way to end our trip. OVERALL: It was a great 3-day cruise. We would certainly do it again! However, the 7-day cruises have much more to offer, some of which we missed on the 3 day cruise. Overall, however, it was an amazing get away for a very reasonable price. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail me, since I have learned so much about cruising from Cruise Critic. I would love to offer you any additional suggestions, and I hope this review has been helpful. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Background: I am a 41 y.o. male with a European/South American upbringing and have been living in the U.S. for a total of 27 years. I see myself as a person of refined tastes but do not necessarily live everyday life that way. I consider ... Read More
Background: I am a 41 y.o. male with a European/South American upbringing and have been living in the U.S. for a total of 27 years. I see myself as a person of refined tastes but do not necessarily live everyday life that way. I consider myself as someone who knows (both by upbringing and then personal experience) what "is good" and what "is not so good". As a consumer, I enjoy and seek out good value which does not mean cheap; there are times when a $50 entree represents better value than a $2.99 fast food meal. My previous cruise resume reads: Renaissance Cruises (1x), Princess (4x), and Royal Caribbean (3x). Reviews on cruise critic are as follows: Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas (AOS) on 07/07: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=30616. The Caribbean Princess Western Caribbean on 09/07: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=32829. The Crown Princess Southern Caribbean on 12/07: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=35864. The Caribbean Princess Eastern Caribbean on 04/08: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=40724. This cruise was booked simply in order to achieve platinum status which I wanted to have for my January '09 booking of a full Panama Canal on the Island Princess (Acapulco to Fort Lauderdale). As a secondary goal, I wanted to see how the Princess experience, which I enjoy immensely, translates into a shorter cruise. My cruise reviews are written in diary style, often with several entries per day. I attempt to give as much detail as possible, when required, and try to separate fact from opinion. This time around, I did not take the computer along to make actual 'live' entries but instead relied on the old fashioned "pen and paper" which I am now transcribing. April 30th/May 1st Fort Lauderdale Pre-cruise Took the late flight out of SJU on American Airlines which was thankfully empty and I was able to get the $90 instant upgrade to business. Other than a tad more room, this $90 charge also got me half a turkey wrap! What a bargain!!! Although we left late, we arrived on time and thankfully, there were still taxis around the airport something I always worry about when arriving somewhere in the last flights of the evening. I had a reservation at the Ramada that's on SR 87 and the electronic lock was having electronic trouble at 1:30am which necessitated an on the spot room change which turned out to be a pool side king. It was a very large room, clean, and the A/C was on upon arrival. There was also a pack of chocolate chip cookies which I found to be a nice touch. The room had a large mini fridge, a huge safe, TV with the usual assortment of local/cable channels, coffee maker with your standard issue regular/decaf coffee packs (plus 2 Lipton teas - yuk), iron & board, and a shower massage head which came in handy. Overall the room had a modern look to it but the two chairs looked dated (but only on their style, they were fairly new too). The hotel rooms are located on two floors around a central courtyard area which has the pool, a tiki bar, and loads of vegetation. It's your typical 70's courtyard hotel construction. A breakfast buffet (6-10am) was also included in the price and featured your standard hot breakfast that's now included in many mid-priced hotels (scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, breads, fruits, yogurt, danish/donuts, coffee, cereals, even grits). The breakfast was very well attended at around 9am and most of the people I saw had "tourist" written all over them. For $107.11 tax included, it was a very good deal in my opinion. Please note, that the price includes an automatic daily charge for the safe. Whether you can dispute that charge or not I don't know. After breakfast, I bummed around the room for a bit and ended up checking out at 11am. I then took a taxi to visit my travel agency. My past trips to the area tended to be over the weekend and I never got a chance to visit the good people I was sending my money to!!! It was terrific meeting them in person and we spent a good hour taking about cruises, trips in general, those bogus travel agencies ("be your own travel agent"...) and generally getting to know each other. I had a great time and it was way overdue. Thank you ladies - you are awesome!!! May 1st Fort Lauderdale Caribbean Princess 3pm My TA was then kind enough to drive me to the port and I got to the Caribbean Princess at 12:30pm. I had wanted to go at this time, because I truly wanted to go through check-in at what I assumed was peak time. Amazingly, the place was empty!!! In fact, the longest wait I had was entering the building when you have to go through TSA security and that was only because about 4 people were in front of me. I was in my cabin and unpacked (only traveled with a carry-on) by 1:15pm and this included the purchase of my soda sticker ($14.66 for this 3 night cruise). So much for trying to experience rush hour... My cabin is Riviera 407. This is one of the extra large inside cabins (II Category) available and I enjoyed the extra space so much on my Western Cruise in September '07 (R 403) that I went with this one this time around as well. For a complete description of the cabin, please follow the link posted at the beginning on this review for my 9/07 cruise (you may need to cut and paste). The only difference in description between R403 and 407 is orientation; what's on the left in one is right on the other. The other MAYOR difference is that in this cabin there was no (slight) machinery noise at all at night. In another first of mine, I decided to eschew the buffet and try lunch at the Trident Grill. I now know that I won't eat there again voluntarily since the burgers were completed dried out but the knockwurst was ok. The only thing I could point to this disappointing experience (my first bad meal on Princess) was that at that time (around 1:30pm) the Caribbean Princess was still basically empty. Maybe the Trident is better with more volume... I also cheated a bit because I ended up going to the Horizon for some of those great fruit tarts which I'm am so absolutely addicted to - they saved the meal!!! So far, those are the 2 differences I've seen vs. the 7 day cruises: no rush to check-in early (let's remember it was a Thursday) and - as an obvious result - basically empty sun decks with loads of space/loungers available at the pools. After lunch I headed back to the cabin and - believe it or not - found that someone had pooped in the hallway. And it wasn't a kiddie portion. This one was a hefty deposit. How in the world???????? In any case, shortly thereafter, a Princess Environmental Services team sealed off the hallway between the two nearest fire doors to the poo (where's Mike Rowe when you need him) and began clean-up. There were 3 guys I think, all dressed in full body white suits and masks; they reminded me too much of Bill Murray in the movie Caddyshack!!! Once in the room (while the hallway was being "de-pooed") I called up to put my name on the Chef Table's list. Having done the Chef's Table already on the Crown in December, I very specifically told them that I'd do it only if an extra spot was available and not to take someone else's spot away that hasn't done it before. In hindsight, I should have signed up for anytime dining for this cruise, especially if I end up getting on the Chef's Table. After all, tomorrow is formal (which I will not participate in this time on account of having traveled with only my carry-on) and Saturday is the Chef's Table. So potentially, I may just end up in traditional tonight... Well, let's see. I also called up room service for a hot tea service in order to abduct the carafe. Less than 2 minutes after placing the order, they called back informing that they couldn't deliver because my hallway section was sealed. I think it's pretty cool that the poo info got to another department so quickly. Good organization!!! Our muster drill is supposed to be at 5:15pm. This sort of puts a damper on our Cruise Critic Roll Call meeting which we had scheduled for 5pm based on information that muster was going to be at 4:15pm. I hope enough people recognize the error in the times and remember to go to the original meeting time. 5pm We had a nice turnout for the meeting!!! "The Undesirables" were smart enough to think on our feet and ended up meeting at 4pm at the Outrigger. As usual these meeting can be a lot of fun and I recommend that all who do think about going make a serious attempt to do so. On the way back to the cabin I paid a bit more attention to the name tags on the doors. We are sailing in a sea of blue. This is a Princess first timer cruise. Oh sure, there's the occasional gold and I even saw a platinum or two, but blue rules on this cruise. In fact, on the elevators so far, I have only heard comments like "This is so much better than... (mostly Carnival)". And that, at the end of the day, is what sampler cruises are, and should be, all about. Not bad really, and they didn't even have dinner yet... 7:35pm We left about 15 minutes late and I went to the Promenade Deck to see this. The sail away party was going strong on the Lido with quite a number of people "dancing" in ways the human body wasn't meant to be moved. On our way out I saw the 5 U.S. Navy ships that were in town. It included one of the Marine's baby carriers which was fun to see from a distance. I've never seen an aircraft carrier before. 11pm What a record!!! I always bring a www.cruisecritic.com door magnet with me to put on the door. Usually, on a 7 night cruise, someone "appropriates" it about 4 or 5 days in. This time it lasted less than 4 hours!!! Ha ha, I think CC should hand these out for free!!! I finally ordered tea. Well, we had the poo thing earlier, remember? Dinner was the Sailaway. I again had the seafood terrine, the salad, the pseudo putanesca as a pasta course, the Luau pork loin, and the flourless chocolate tart. Terrific meal again. On the way out I talked to one of the head waiters to re-iterate my desire to do the Chef's Table but not at the expense of someone who hadn't had the opportunity to do it yet. May 2nd At Sea 10am I woke up early (7am) and went to breakfast at around 9am. There was no smoked salmon, maybe due to this being a 3 night cruise as opposed to a 7 nighter. Afterwards, I perused the watches available and couldn't decide between the two toned and the golden toned one so I did the right thing and purchased both. Being single with no responsibilities has its occasional advantages... Great news!!! I was included in the Chef's Table. That will be Saturday night (Princess Cays). We are to meet with the Maitre D' in an hour so I just played around setting the watches up. 2:30pm The meeting with the Maitre D' went well. Ok, I did get ticked off a bit. Why do people sign up for a fixed menu event and then have the gall to say "I don't eat this or that"? It's not a restaurant with menu choices! You eat what is presented and if you are a fussy eater you have no business going to such events (or go and just eat what you "can"). Jeez... I was so embarrassed for the Maitre D'. Had lunch at the Horizon: the herring in cream sauce (a favorite of mine since childhood and which I can't get here in Puerto Rico), salad, some rice, and the coq au vin. I feel like in a time warp: I had the same meal combination 3 weeks ago!!! The gnocchi however, wasn't a successful dish as they were falling apart. My fault really, I should have known better than to try that particular dish in a buffet setting. They did taste very good though!!! With most purchases done I also stopped by the pursers to get a print out of my account. Just need to mentally add in the Chef's Table and 2 more auto-tips. I like to settle my account in cash and if I end up purchasing something else, well, those miscellaneous expenses can go on the card. 6pm Hooray! Just woke up from a 2 hour nap. I know I'm on vacation when that happens. Or maybe it was the slight rocking of the ship. We are having some strong winds too. Had a couple of teas at the Outrigger Bar. The weather was slightly overcast with some passing showers. I could see a Carnival ship emerge a bit away from us returning to Miami. Those distinctive funnels do them in... This also afforded me the opportunity to peek in the Cafe Caribe as they were setting up for tonight and I saw a couple of dishes that peaked my interest for dinner: jerk chicken, lamb curry, and flying fish (which reminded me of Barbados of course!). 8:15pm So why was I eating dinner at the Cafe Caribe tonight? Because it's formal night and I didn't bring a suit in my carry-on luggage; don't want to ruin the experience for those that did pack nice clothes. It would be very selfish of my part to do so. In any case, the food was very nice there too. In fact, I enjoyed it a lot more than "Caribbean Night" in the dining room 3 weeks ago (where my critique was that the dishes served bore no resemblance to any true Caribbean dishes). These, however, did (for the most part). I started with the rockfish terrine which looked frightfully similar to the seafood terrine I had last night... The chicken jerk was spicy but not overpowering - nicely done! The lamb curry wasn't very "curry" at all and probably the weakest dish but only because it wasn't curried enough - it was a fine lamb stew though... I also tried a bit of the sirloin with green peppercorn sauce (very recommendable) and the lamb chops - in honor of my mom who loves them. Hmm... I think I might have even had some vegetables - I think... For dessert I had both a fruit tart and a cappuccino cheesecake. I'm stuffed and rolled down the flight of steps back to the cabin. Gulping for air like a fish out of water I reached for the phone and called room service for hot water. Yup - that stuffed... I also filled out my customer service questionnaire including my usual points of upgrading the tea brands on board to something drinkable, a need to upgrade the TV offerings (plus interactivity), and that Princess should consider doing more short cruises from time to time. May 3rd Princess Cays 9:15am I fell asleep last night while watching Troy on TNT. Last thing I remember is Paris chickening out against Menelaus and rushing to Hector. Wait a minute!!! Didn't Aphrodite whisk him away from battle? Mental reminder to read the Iliad again... Again, there was no smoked salmon for breakfast, a question I will bring up at the Chef's Table tonight. 12pm Came in a bit early from Princess Cays. You see, I had booked the hobie cat for two hours but we ended up having moderate winds (4 on the scale) which is still a tad more than I feel comfortable with a beach cat so far. I was ripping through the water getting wet all over with the spray. The water bottle I had brought along must now rest at the bottom of the sea somewhere - never having been opened. I hope a coral reef forms around it... Nevertheless, I did push the envelope a bit and picked up valuable experience to build on. You've got to know when you're in over your head and at least I didn't have to go through the humiliation of having been towed back ashore by the guys with their jet ski... Now that we are nearing the end of our mini cruise, how did the 3 night experience rate compare with the normal 7 night? That was an important question I wanted to answer to myself and it was also debated heatedly on the message boards. So here's my take: Princess didn't miss a beat and the very large number of "blue cards" truly did get a good taste of what Princess is all about. Everything was pretty much the same with small exceptions in food (no salmon for breakfast for example). So take that all of you Princess snobs who naysayed these 3 and 4 night cruises. As a side note, there was a large number of new crew members aboard but they did great. I had very uniform and efficient service in that "quiet" way that distinguishes Princess from Royal for example. 5:40pm It was an intense "do nothing" afternoon of the type required of any true vacation - even if it was just a short one. Still, I did get some things done: most of my packing, the US Customs card, returned the guest questionnaire (they do read those!) and managed to watch a movie on TV to boot. I also stopped by the Captain's Circle hostess to pick up my Gold pin which I never received in the first place; it'll look nice in the office. As luck would have it, my Platinum Welcome Package was in the mailbox when I got back. I suppose I'll do a whole lot more of nothing until we are scheduled to meet up at 7pm in the Lobby Bar for the Chef's Table. Vacationing on a cruise ship is hard work!!! 11pm Just returned from the Chef's Table (for a good review please follow the link to my 12/07 Crown Princess cruise). The menu was basically the same as on the Crown with just minor variations: we had the grilled goose foie gras with apple chutney rather than a duck foie gras pate (the fact we had "picky" eaters afforded me the opportunity to have seconds - their loss!!!), we had a lobster risotto (saffron one last time), and the lip smackin' Bloody Mary sorbet was served with Grey Goose vodka and was very spicy (didn't so much cleanse the palate but rather burned it off which was just fine with me). The 'picky' eaters also got a plate of seafood served for their entree. I found it very gracious of the Maitre D' to lie and announce that the plates were being prepared because of 'allergy' reasons. Their plate turned out to be nothing more than the langoustines plate from Sabatini's re-enforced by some plain shrimp scampi and another piece of fish. I would have served them the turkey wrap I got on Business Class on American Airlines, but I guess that's why I don't work in the service industry anymore - ha ha ha!!! A fun part was the "guest appearance" of Captain Attilio Guerrini in the galley! He was kind enough to pose for pictures with all of us. He just came aboard recently relieving the Commodore. After dinner, Executive Chef Cereda joined us at the table for a little Q&A. Turns out he was covering another Chef who was covering Chef Diffor on the Crown who had a death in the family. This bit of news saddened me. I'd like to add one other bit of "news" here. During the course of the evening, a high ranking crew member didn't want to get quoted but did confirm that for these short cruises, certain food items were omitted from the menus - such as the smoked salmon for breakfast. Considering the low prices we paid, I found that entirely acceptable and I think that all the "blue cards" will be pleasantly surprised on future Princess cruises when they do see them. As usual, I will not comment on disembarkation. However, if past experiences are to go by, it will be a smooth process. Just make sure to get to your meeting place 15 minutes ahead of time in case that they call your group early and be sure to look for the Princess Staff member who calls you out. Since there are no PA announcements, if you miss the crew member - you'll be needlessly waiting longer... See you on the Adventure of the Seas on October 5th and find out how I will survive a week of awful RCCL food!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Info: This was my fifth cruise, first time on Princess. I took advantage of the short 4-night sailing as a way to try the line, and brought my mom on this cruise as a Mother's Day gift. Travel to and from was simple as we are local. ... Read More
Info: This was my fifth cruise, first time on Princess. I took advantage of the short 4-night sailing as a way to try the line, and brought my mom on this cruise as a Mother's Day gift. Travel to and from was simple as we are local. We parked in the covered garage at Port Everglades for $15 per day. It seemed to take forever to find an empty space because many sections of the garage were closed off due to repairs. Also traveling with us were 6 family members, in two additional cabins, who drove from the Orlando area the morning of embarkation who had never cruised before. Embarkation: A breeze. We arrived to non existent lines for card keys. The lines are formed by deck which makes things very simple with plenty of people to direct you where to go. Other lines could learn from Princess, they have embarkation down to a science. One very brave woman cut in front of us to the embarrassment of her husband. When I was called to the line next to her, I read her a very graceful riot act for cutting the line, and advised her not to do it again while on board our ship. She stood stunned, not saying a word. Her husband said "I told you this was going to happen". Caribbean Princess is a large ship. Don't think I nailed my way around in the 4 nights we were aboard but I think she is a wonderful ship for longer hauls. Lots of nooks and crannies both outside and inside! The 4 pools are great and I enjoyed each of them depending on whether I wanted music, a movie, some solace, or aft shade. The pool activities were fun, the band was OK, but after Grand Turk, the main pool was very hot! I jumped out and into the shower to cool off. I think the heat may have been on, or the hot tub water was flowing through the pool! No biggie, but that water did not feel good on my sunburned hiney! Had a burger at Trident, it was so-so. Mom wanted a veggie burger but they said it would take 10 minutes so she had a chicken sandwich which was also so-so. The pizza, however, was to die for. I really liked it and so did others, including some more line cutters, and one 20-something who decided to shove my one of my in-laws whilst ordering her slice. I'm glad I wasn't there to witness. I should be the only person allowed to shove my in-laws, not some stranger. Certainly was a lack of over 18 aged folks with any finesse aboard. They were the minority, but seemingly everywhere. Like the couple who showed up for white gloved High Tea in dripping wet shorts and cut off tee shirts, with 18 finger sandwiches on their plates as if they were in a buffet, or the group of drinking age young people downing beers and shots, smoking, and cussing loudly at the Lotus Spa pool, and the lady who had cell service the whole cruise, chatting away during the movie, while the band played, at the aft pool, walking around wherever there was any activity...wherever there was an activity, she was a-chattin'. Don't know how anyone she was talking to could hear anything she said and from the conversations I overheard, she wasn't talking about anything but the weather to her friends at home. The milk and cookies guy and I were trying to have a conversation but the chatter appeared, so he carted off and I ran away from her (again). Oh, and the 2 couples during Island Night who literally stole 4 chairs from right under the butts of the people who were sitting on them. A fight almost broke out but those couples must have wanted those chairs because they planted themselves right at the table with the ones who could have easily given them a beating. It's not the cruise lines fault these types of people get aboard, but it does give a good insight into the fact that far too many people have not been using any form of birth control or the mere fact many of the cruisers aboard were raised by wolverines. I found pleasantness in the Kids Club where the well behaved peeps were hanging out. Although my niece and nephew wanted no part of this place, a couple of us adults had a grand time painting tee shirts with markers. Given there was a small pool and a bar right outside the club was an extra bonus. Beer gives one extra artistic talents! There were many drinking age young adults aboard - they all seemed to know one another. Other than lots of kids with large tattoos, iffy attire, and a quasi gang mentality, they were quite jovial and lent some fun especially at the pool games. We didn't mind them a bit and only wondered "why all that ink". I guess we've moved from one small tattoo to gadzillions. Ah, these kids today. I have come to realize that I like good food when I cruise. I enjoyed every meal, nothing was sent back. Dinners didn't blow me away but they were all good. I ate all my dinners at the late seating traditional and enjoyed the speed of dinner. Not a lot of waiting in comparison to X where my dinners tend to be an all night event often until 11 PM. We had breakfast in the cabin two mornings and the breakfast buffet two mornings. Breakfast was much better than on NCL but not as good as X. X has 'those waffles' which get addicting, but a nice assortment of fruits, meats, cheeses and granolas were had. Hot foods, including the bacon, were very good. It does get confusing in the buffet with people walking all over the place, but the smart people formed little lines and moved through the stations with ease. My lunches consisted of small turkey sandwiches and Caesar salads and fruit. Kudos to Princess on their breads - not a stale roll could be found morning, noon or night! I feel as if we didn't partake in many activities but casino action was pretty good at the machines, I won a couple hundred on a dollar slot, and the blackjack for me was fruitless although my husband did quite well. Really enjoyed MUTS, the piano player in the atrium, and my mom really enjoyed the comedy show. I heard the hypnotist was a lot of fun too. I was a little disappointed in the shopping aboard - the shops didn't seem to offer much for what I consider a large ship. I wasn't on a duty free shopping trip though so the lack of knick knacks and cosmetics were not a big deal. I did not go into the spa but have friends who love this ship and rave about the facilities. On a longer sailing I would have done much more but thoroughly enjoyed my loafing. Grand Turk: Took a cab into town - thought $15 was expensive but hey it's an island and they need tourist dollars too so we paid. Not much to see but walked along the shore, went into some old buildings including the library, a church where services were being held, got invited to stay and then to the prison. Our goal was to snorkel so we carried our gear to a beach in front of small inn. Unfortunately we didn't see much of anything but a few fish and grasses. If I go back to the island I'll definitely take an excursion to get to one of the reefs offshore. We met family at Margaritaville, and they really enjoyed it - the kids played in the pool and the adults were just hanging out. There was some sort of amateur hour booty contest near the swim up bar, and after taking a peek, and confirming there weren't any men shakin' their thing, we headed back to the ship and partied at the main pool. Princess Cays: Having sailed through these islands as a young girl with my family, I was pleasantly surprised at how the commercialization of this spit of land is transformed by cruise line. Very nicely done, and fabulous snorkeling for beginners, and those born with mask and snorkel like us in gin clear water. My husband said he met someone who had a cabana who was very pleased with the location and the service. Snorkeling in front of those cabanas is better than on the other side near the clamshells. The buffet was great and I made sure I'd gotten all my cocktails before the bar closed at 1:30. Stood in a long line to take the tender back but the wait was very minimal. Again, great job Princess! The night we left PC and headed home was a doozie. We were rocking in 8-12 ft swells. I popped a Dramamine and hobbled up to a pretty empty Skywalkers at 11:30 PM with my hubby. I really liked that space above the ship. Would have hung out there longer, but after a couple drinks and the Dramamine, body told me to get to bed. Our cabin was C605. This was my first non suite cabin and it was perfect for a short sail such as this one. I'm not convinced I'd take a BA again, because I do prefer to have a sitting area. The balcony made up for interior space. I loved it out there and found the size perfect. I did successfully shave my legs in the shower which I knew was going to be small. And it is small! I thought the closet space was excellent, and the beds were indeed firm but we never considered asking for the egg-crates. We brought our own sheets which was a nice touch of home and without asking our steward made up our beds with them. He kept us flush with ice, towels and fruit, even cleaning out my 4 cup coffee maker I toted along. Oh, I tasted the coffee on board and it wasn't really all that terrible. Our steward got a large tip on day 1 and day 4 and he deserved every dollar. He made us some towel animals too, which for 2 grown women were fun to get. My niece and nephew ages 3 and 5 got no towel animals in their cabins up on Aloha, so I brought ours up to them to enjoy. To nit pick for the sake of a review, I'll note that unlike our previous cabins (suites) I didn't have cotton balls or q-tips in the bathroom. Maybe they have those items in the suites? No biggie, I always pack my own. Overall, this was a great cruise. I don't think I got enough good or bad to rate Princess but would definitely sail the line again without hesitation. I'm still an X fan but I think Princess did a fabulous job on this cruise. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. I would recommend Caribbean Princess. I also wanted to thank my new friends from Cruise Critic. I met some lovely folks and the sail away was a blast! Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
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