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Sail Date: October 2016
This was our second cruise on this ship, so we had more understanding about all the food, amenities and services on board . We were very pleased with our first cruise aboard the Royal Princess that we decided to sail on her again . This ... Read More
This was our second cruise on this ship, so we had more understanding about all the food, amenities and services on board . We were very pleased with our first cruise aboard the Royal Princess that we decided to sail on her again . This ship has everything a person could want for a very pleasant voyage . I can't say enough about the eagerness of the crew to provide everything we needed . The food was first rate and was available any time of the day or night. The service in the dining room was extremely professional and on the Lido Deck there was a huge variety and choices at The Horizon Court . In the Piazza there is the International Café, that is open 24 hours and serves sandwiches soups and desserts. The pool area is spacious and the pools and whirlpools are great for relaxing. The entertainment on board is great and also professional . There is always something to do for everyone, and I enjoyed spending some time in the Casino. We have sailed with Princess on our last six cruises and are booked for two more in the future. I highly recommend Princess cruise lines for an enjoyable experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
We were new to cruising so unsure of what to expect, a few reviews on here about the sea princess were not great and the panic set in! However we didn't need to worry as it was absolutely fantastic. Our room was spotless and our ... Read More
We were new to cruising so unsure of what to expect, a few reviews on here about the sea princess were not great and the panic set in! However we didn't need to worry as it was absolutely fantastic. Our room was spotless and our stateroom steward, Homer, was brilliant. The room was cleaned & towels changed twice a day, he always had a smile & spoke whenever he saw us. The ship itself was clean & food was plentiful. we chose anytime dining but to be honest only went to the restaurant 3 times as we preferred Horizon Court & their buffet. Every evening you are left with a Princess Patter which gives you all the information ready for the next day.The entertainment left a lot to be desired, if you want to hear singers that can't sing & comedians that are not funny then you'll be ok, also look out for alan & alana, they play piano & sing - they are just horrendous! We were looking forward to movies under the stars, however the films they were showing were mostly from the 1940's (my partner and I were born in 1979 & 1980) so they were not our cup of tea, one night we decided to watch a film that was out last year, there were only 6 people there ready to watch the film so we asked for our blankets, and they had run out, which was odd as there were only 6 people, then the popcorn machine had been abandoned, so no popcorn, then the movie started, although we couldn't hear it properly due to the bar being located right behind the seats, we gave up and left after half an hour! Alcoholic drinks are very, very expensive, so when you are in a port buy a bottle of wine and take it back on with you. You can take back a bottle each, saved us a fortune. also had a soda package for $73.These were the only down sides to it. The cruise itself was amazing, most of the ports were beautiful, Grand Turk in particular was the most stunning place we have ever seen. Grenada, Tortola & Trinidad felt very unsafe to us so we only went where the ship had sectioned off the border control & went back. Trinidad was only a port day so that the ship could re-stock but this port was by far the most dangerous, that day the ship was heaving! On sea days sunbeds were hard to get if you weren't out by 8am, one day we had to share a sunbed & another we put our towels on the floor. We did the zipline adventure in St. Lucia and that was out of this world, if you want to do any trips i would pre-book online before you go as it is a lot cheaper, the zipline trip if pre-booked was $79 if you booked on the ship it was $119! We really enjoyed our first cruise & it was made even more special as we got engaged while we were there! We are already looking at another princess cruise for next year & we haven't even been home a week yet! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
We have just returned from an excellent 22 night cruise between April 11 and May 10 2011 on the Sea Princess around the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific coast of America. Outward Travel:We got a train to Gatwick the ... Read More
We have just returned from an excellent 22 night cruise between April 11 and May 10 2011 on the Sea Princess around the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific coast of America. Outward Travel:We got a train to Gatwick the day before flying and stayed in the Russ Hill Hotel were we have stayed before. It is fine for one night, but probably not for any longer.For some reason Princess Cruises had advised getting to the airport 4 hours before the flight, so we had to be at Gatwick by 0630. There were 2 flights checking in at the same time which meant quite a queue, but we only waited about 20 minutes before getting to the check in desk. Princess had chartered 6 planes from Gatwick for this cruise, 3 Thomson from North terminal and 3 Thomas Cook from South terminal, with the departure times staggered.We were on the Thomson flight departing at 1030, which was on time and actually landed half an hour early in Barbados. Very impressed with service on flight, including a good hot meal with complimentary wine early in flight, 2 complimentary bar services and a nice snack just before landing.Ship Transfer and Check in:At Barbados airport we got off the plane and straight into coaches for transfer to the ship -- it was great not having to go through immigration and waiting for our cases. These were delivered to our stateroom soon after we had boarded the ship.We did have to queue for around 30 minutes in a shed on Barbados dock for check in and security procedures.Ship:The Sea Princess is slightly larger than the OV1, and takes just over 2000 passengers when full, which it was for this cruise. Some reports have said she is looking tired in some areas, but we thought the ship was clean and in good condition. Incidentally this is the twin ship to P & O's Oceana, so the lay out and size are exactly the same.I realise this is an emotive subject, but one of the first things we did was to remove the automatic tips from our bill. We considered that $10.50 each per day was a lot of money on a 22 night cruise, and we would rather tip who we wanted when we wanted.There are self service laundrettes on most decks, and these were free apart from paying for the soap powder.Sunbeds were plentiful, and we never had any trouble finding one, although on some sea days the ones in the shade were very popular. There is plenty of information on the web about bars, pools, theatres etc so I won't mention much about them here.Cabin:We had booked a guaranteed outside obstructed view cabin, but luckily were upgraded to a deluxe outside. This was very clean, tidy and comfortable, and although not as big as on Ocean Village, it was a reasonable size with plenty of storage space. However, the shower and toilet area were pretty small.We had a couple of problems with a light and the hairdryer during the cruise, but these were sorted out quickly and efficiently.There wasn't tea and coffee making facilities, but room service is complimentary and available 24/7.Food and Dining arrangements:We were on anytime dining for evening meals, and it was nice to eat when we wanted to. Always opted to share a table, which was a great way to meet different people, and on some evenings met up for meals with people we had been in touch with on Cruise critic. The food in the anytime dining restaurant was excellent, and the waiters were very attentive and friendly. There is a separate Pizza restaurant where we ate twice and again it was very good.Breakfast and lunch were mainly taken in the Horizon buffet, and although not as good a choice as on Ocean Village, the food was still good. As some other reviews have mentioned it did get very busy at peak times, but we always managed to find a table and move around the food serving area.We did have a few breakfasts in the waiter service restaurant (mainly on sea days), and these were excellent, again opting for a shared table.Drink prices were quite expensive with a 15% service charge added on, but after 8pm there were certain drinks on offer for $2.99.Entertainment:Overall this was pretty good, although we did have one awful comedian who only did one show before the ship took him off because he was so bad.The best entertainment we saw was Journey South (X-factor), Siobhan Philips (comedy-vocalist), and the show 'Great British Invasion'. We weren't very impressed with the resident group 'Magnitude', but thought the duo 'Walking Miracles' who played in the Wheelhouse bar were good.Apart from the odd night, the disco was very quiet, similar to what used to happen on Ocean Village.There was always plenty to do on Sea days, including dancing, quizzes, demonstrations and talks.Ports of call:These were Martinique, Dominica, St Kitts, Tortola, Princess Cays, Fort Lauderdale, Cartagena, transit of the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador, Puntarenas, Cabo San Lucas and San Francisco.We should also have called at Aruba, but a few hours out of Fort Lauderdale the ship had to turn back due to a passenger being taken seriously ill, and the next day had another delay for another seriously ill passenger to be airlifted off the ship by helicopter.We mostly did our own thing in the ports, but took an organised ship tour in Fuerte Amador.Homeward Travel:In San Francisco we were taken to the Sheraton Hotel, after chaos on board caused by the American immigration authorities because they couldn't access the electronic visas, so we all had to fill out green cards and then queue up for the immigration procedures.Later in the afternoon we were transferred from the hotel to the airport for our check in. We flew back on United Airlines, and despite poor reviews of the company on the net, the flight was fine with plenty of leg room and good service, and actually landed early at Heathrow.Unfortunately the Sea Princess will not be doing the Caribbean again this winter as it is yet another ship that is going to Australia. However, other passengers we spoke to that had been on other Princess ships said they were just as good.So would we cruise with Princess again -- yes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2011
We had never thought about cruising until we met a couple whilst on holiday in Cuba that had done a couple of cruises and got us thinking. We checked several travel companies for quotes and then went to our usual travel agent to see if ... Read More
We had never thought about cruising until we met a couple whilst on holiday in Cuba that had done a couple of cruises and got us thinking. We checked several travel companies for quotes and then went to our usual travel agent to see if they could match or better one we got off the internet, we wasn't disappointed when they came up with a Caribbean cruise with Princess cruises.We did as most people do check tripadvisor and other forms of reviews and to be honest some of them scared me and i was begining to wonder what we had let ourselves in for, but in hind sight i didn't need to worry.Our holiday started with our flight from Birmingham airport and we soon found out that everyone on our flight was going to be on the cruise aswell.The check in so quick the best we have ever experienced. We got chatting to a lovely couple at the airport that had done several cruises, they were also sitting by us on the plane.The flight was superb, staff very attentive and smiling, we had paid extra for premium upgrade but worth every penny. When we arrived at Barbados everything was done with military precision, from getting off the plane right through to boarding the ship and getting to our cabin and having our cases delivered to it. We have heard that other flights were not so lucky as us. We decided to familiarise ourselves with the ship rather than go back ashore and go round Bridgetown, plus we were not sure of the protocol at this point.The Sea Princess was beautiful, spotlessly clean very much a WOW!We had booked anytime dining and on the first night we went to the Rigalleto restaurant, we were taken to a table for 8 people and were not served until it was full which took a while and caused ourselves and others to miss the important emergency drill as we were told there would be another later but this wasn't true. We used the Horizon Buffet restaurant after this which we found fantastic, the service, choice of dishes etc, on a couple of times we used the Corniche when we fancied Italian.The entertainment was good and Marvin, Kez and the others worked hard to keep everyone entertained and boy did they entertain you, Marvin only had to give one of his looks or poses ( when he saw anyone with a camera) and you were in fits of laughter. The island party night they put on was out of this world with music from the ship's band 'Magnitude', we went to the theatre every night to see a show and was never disappointed especially the show the crew put on, although the DVD didn't sound anything like the actual show did.Our cabin steward was named Elric and he was always smiling and kept our cabin spotless and changed the towels twice a day. At night he always put 2 chocolates and the Princess Patter on the bed after he had turned it back, it's the little touches that mean so much.Most of our trips we did ashore except Jamaica as we were advised by others that had been before to book with the ship and go with them which we did. There were 2 places we didn't like and that was due to the locals pestering us and not taking no for an answer, at which they became a bit intimidating so we went back on board and spent the day on deck and in the pools. Our favourite place was Tortola and the visit to Cane Garden beach, although Tobago, Bonaire and ST Ktts was also lovely, Aruba was very cosmopolitan and very expensive mainly jewellery and designer shops, Grand Caymen was also very nice.The security on boarding and dissembarking the ship and around it at each port was first class. They seemed to take passenger safety very seriously as when we were in port they were always doing some drill or another with the crew and there was always someone painting the exterior of the ship.To sum this review up it was FANTASTIC and something we would definately do again. Our only downside for this review is that we were told that Princess cruises are no longer going from Barbados and that they are mainly going from Fort Lauderdale which we were told IS A NIGHTMARE, so we will not be doing that.One last thing you are given the option to opt out of the daily Gratuities except for hotel/bar bills which we did and just left tips for specific people you can save a fortune doing this and you know the ones that matter get their reward. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Flight: We arrived at Gatwick and as we were booked in a suite we quickly skipped thru check-in procedure and enjoyed a stress free flight with Thomson in Elite class, - I have a severe nut allergy and they even made an announcement ... Read More
Flight: We arrived at Gatwick and as we were booked in a suite we quickly skipped thru check-in procedure and enjoyed a stress free flight with Thomson in Elite class, - I have a severe nut allergy and they even made an announcement that they would not be serving any nuts on the flight in case of reaction - top marks Thomson. Embarks: When we arrived there was a separate channel for Premium/Suite passengers and again we checked straight in but then had to join a long queue for security baggage check. Our suite overlooking the stern was lovely but we were very surprised to find Princess do not provide tea & coffee facilities in staterooms anymore, sadly room service is not good and we always had to wait 25 mins+ for a cup of tea! - it's a very cosmopolitan crew but alas sometimes they couldn't quite grasp the fact that "tea for 2 & a hot chocolate for our daughter" means 3 cups are required, not 2!!! - also forgetting the milk was a favourite too! Food: NUTS, NUTS and more NUTS! I would say 80% of dishes both in the restaurant and up in the Horizon Court buffet contained nuts - with no sign to indicate this! Also the cheese board was littered with walnuts and so cheese was a no go for me, it was not until I dropped a comment in the suggestion box the the s... hit the fan in the fact that I was then shadowed by our table waiter, the head waiter and occasionally the Maitre'D telling me what I could and could not eat - not much!! Why nuts in everything?!!! Ents: As a professional musician it always disappoints me to see cabaret acts not using the 7 piece orchestra but using backing tracks, and it appears gone are the days of seasoned tried and trusted entertainers but enter failed 'X-Factor' people!!! RUBBISH! Even the production shows left me disappointed this time. We love the Caribbean and that didn't let us down but we have done Princess Cruises for the first and last time. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Our flight was slightly delayed to Barbados, so we were tired by time we looked for a meal and the ship's main Maitre D efficiently came to help. With few exceptions the crew were great, a couple went the "extra mile" and ... Read More
Our flight was slightly delayed to Barbados, so we were tired by time we looked for a meal and the ship's main Maitre D efficiently came to help. With few exceptions the crew were great, a couple went the "extra mile" and throughout a friendly atmosphere. The food was excellent, plenty of choices and the wine not badly priced. The daily service charge was too high and like many others we opted out. No-one was convinced the crew got 100% of the charge. The evening entertainment was dire and was missed after a couple of nights. We avoided cruise organised tours, which were not cheap and in St Kitts they really pushed the train option, which was over-priced and not good value. Worth checking for independent taxi operators beforehand. At Bonaire, Aruba and two other ports the taxi queue was well organised, no touts about - a real plus. At Scarborough, Tobago there is very little to see, so take the short, informative and free local guided tour of the immediate town. The indoor market is good for spices and advice. Grand Cayman was akin to an airport shopping mall and expensive. Antigua and Dominica scored very low marks; St Kitts was great and we recommend taking an independent taxi tour, we used Jim & Rose's Taxi Service. Most of the port calls are aimed at shopping and relentless pushed aboard by Marty. Sometimes most of the passengers spent all day ashore, many ending up on a beach and if you like scuba / diving bring your basic kit. Sea Princess had one maybe two more Caribbean cruises, then to Alaska for a couple of months and then to Australia / New Zealand. The crew would not comment on what then, so I doubt if the ship will be available next year and a glance at one brochure had no mention of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Just returned from a good trip to the Caribbean but some things could be improved. Main point is general to all cruise lines - I think it is unethical for 3/4 ships to be in port at the same time and then nothing for 2 days when the ... Read More
Just returned from a good trip to the Caribbean but some things could be improved. Main point is general to all cruise lines - I think it is unethical for 3/4 ships to be in port at the same time and then nothing for 2 days when the islanders rely on the tourists for the income. Surely it could be possible to schedule stops so that there are 5/6 days when a ship is in port. Sea Princess ... adequate cabin but bathroom is smaller than on other ships. Food was good, perhaps more salads on the buffet but minor point. My main gripe was having football on the big screen on deck. I didn't book a holiday in Benidorm!! If people really can't go 2 weeks without seeing football, it should have been shown in the theatre. The rugby and golf was shown there so why not the football. I'd just get comfortable on Deck 12 and then have to move. I don't think it needs a film either in the afternoon. 90% of people were trying to read a book and the film is distracting. Hardly any children on board so we didn't need kiddie films in the afternoon. Entertainment was a bit tame and quite repetitive with a singer or comedian doing shows for 3 or 4 days before leaving. Very British, no wonder the Americans are warned not to sail on Princess. All in all, quite a good standard but I'd definitely go with Celebrity next time as their attention to detail is much better in nearly area. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
I cannot praise the staff and the Sea Princess enough my daughter and I had a wonderful cruise, and would go again.Everything is catered for I cannot think of anything I would need that they did not provide. Even iced flannels and water ... Read More
I cannot praise the staff and the Sea Princess enough my daughter and I had a wonderful cruise, and would go again.Everything is catered for I cannot think of anything I would need that they did not provide. Even iced flannels and water when we returned to the ship after exploring an Island, these stations were a welcome sight as we walked back to the ship.Often four other cruise ships were in port but not one of them offered this service, even the bigger USA ships.The food was great, the entertainment was top class.We saw Journey South off Xfactor and Craig a singer impersonator from Britain got talent, also a must see is David Knight a hypnotist.The only one I did not like was a singer comedian whose name I cannot remember who was quite rude to the audience.Marty the shopping guide is very helpful and we went to his shopping guide show in the morning, were he gave free gifts.The ship is spotless and clean and the staff fall over themselves to make your holiday one to remember.I would go with Sea Princess again I loved it. We did our own trips off the ship and found we could usually spend about $20 to $25 on a minibus tour. One I enjoyed was on Bonaire although not as pretty as some of the Islands, we went with ACHIE tours an American lady was our courier and we had a lovely tour.St Kitts was lovely but did not like the fact that monkeys are kept on chains wearing nappies, for the use of taking photos. One guy had a mother and a tiny baby I found it very upsetting.I did not see anyone having a photo although they do try to put these poor creatures on visitors hoping to get a photo.I myself had one thrown on my back whilst bending to my bag, I was shocked to say the least and luckily a policeman was there and the monkey was removed.This could have turned nasty as the man had said that we had taken a photo, we then went back to the ship.Just take care because like most of the Islands there is a lot of poverty and people are desperate to make money. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
The flight from Doncaster airport was dreadful- we boarded the plane at the correct time only to be told to get off again because there was a problem with the airplane. The staff didn't tell us anything. Eventually because there were ... Read More
The flight from Doncaster airport was dreadful- we boarded the plane at the correct time only to be told to get off again because there was a problem with the airplane. The staff didn't tell us anything. Eventually because there were no other planes to take us, we were put on buses to Heathrow airport and caught the plane from there 12 hours late. We could have missed the ship. Princess were excellent though- we arrived at Barbados at 3am and the captain had waited for us, if he hadn't we would have missed it and would have had to be flown to the next port. Staff had stayed up to check us in and our room steward has stayed up to welcome us to our room. We were also given some complimentary water and fruit. They were very very good to us. The cruise itself was fantastic. The room was very nice- we had clean towels and sheets everyday. The balcony was a little bit rusty but we used to get a cup of tea and sit out there before getting ready for tea. The food was excellent. I am a fussy vegetarian and there was something everyday for me. We used to have buffet at breakfast and dinner time and go to the set time restaurant at tea time. There was something different everyday and if there was a day when i didn't like anything (i think once or twice) I would have the Pasta Alfredo which was delicious. I had a pudding everyday and once I couldn't decide between 2 so I had both!!! The entertainment was good- there was the normal cheesy show put on by the dancers. But we had some very good comedians and then there was the McDonald brothers (who were on X Factor or a show like that)- they were fantastic singers and played instruments as well.We stopped off at quite a few places (good and bad). St Marteen is excellent for shopping, we went horse riding in Grand Turk - fantastic and we had a tour of St Lucia. 2 places I didn't like was the Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) and Antigua. The men stand outside the boat trying to get you on trips and they do not give no as an answer. Princess even sent us a letter advising us not to get off at Port of Spain so we didn't. Everywhere else the people were very friendly. The ship itself is a bit older but it was in good condition, they were carrying out some repairs in the pool area but this didn't bother us. It was nice watching the Movies while sunbathing but there was always 1 person who would stand up right in front of the screen so you couldn't see!! They occasionally had football matches on during the day and some music concerts (I think Lionel Ritchie. I went to the spa twice and that was good.I had to go to the customer services desk a few times and they always dealt with my queries straightaway. I also did the The Ultimate Ship Tour and it was great- it was nice to see all of the different areas- the laundry, medical room, the engine room, photo lab, where the entertainment get dressed ready for their show and finally we got to meet the captain and see inside the bridge. The captain was really friendly (he was from Liverpool) and it was nice to see what it is like in the bridge. Apart from the flight and the few bad ports there were no other negatives with this cruise, I would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
First thing to remember is that it is your holiday despite the fact that you may be travelling with friends. Do what YOU want to do otherwise you will be disappointed. Sea Princess had 1900 british passengers and the cruise director and ... Read More
First thing to remember is that it is your holiday despite the fact that you may be travelling with friends. Do what YOU want to do otherwise you will be disappointed. Sea Princess had 1900 british passengers and the cruise director and staff cater to this audience. However like many others I took exception to the decision to show football matches on the big screen on the main deck. Those who wanted to see football should have stayed at home or in their cabin or in the sports bar. Our saving grace was the Sanctuary. I can't speak to highly about it. You need to get up early to get a booking for the day . Once there it is blissful , lovely padded loungers, excellent service and importantly no noise or videos. It is well worth the $20 daily charge The food on Sea Princess is very good with sufficient choices from the set and daily menus. The wine is overpriced as are the cocktails and spirits. Beer was cheaper !! despite what you may be told you can take a bottle of wine on board at each port. However if you abuse the system ( 12 bottles !!) they will confiscate them . The entertainment was good albeit at times you really had to get in early to ensure getting a seat. The cruise entertainment staff worked very hard to please everyone. The Passenger " Pop Choir " was a great innovation and enjoyed by all. Port disembarkation worked very well For once I heard very few passenger " moans " suggests that most people enjoyed the cruise To get the best from your cruise do your homework. read about the ports , book tours via the Internet if you think they may be limited as you can always cancel once on board. In most ports the local taxi and tour companies will offer you good tours considerably less than Princess. Take Sea tours to get a different perspective on the islands. Try out the beaches that the Tours don't use . Don't be afraid to take local buses, easy on Aruba and Antigua visit local bars to meet and talk with people from different countries. They are safe and people are always friendly. Pay the $5 for your lounger on the beach, it helps the locals and you will feel much more comfortable than lying on a princess towel Go onto CruiseCritic.co.uk to get good tips on the ports Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We booked in December to go on a Caribbean cruise with sea princess in January. We have cruised before with M.S.C, Celebrity and years ago with a cheaper tour operator around the Med. I would consider us to be very well travelled and ... Read More
We booked in December to go on a Caribbean cruise with sea princess in January. We have cruised before with M.S.C, Celebrity and years ago with a cheaper tour operator around the Med. I would consider us to be very well travelled and have spent time in Europe, Africa and an extensive time in the far east as well as the Caribbean. I was looking forward to the cruise as we had had a hectic time at home and were ready for a break. We flew with first choice and I was disappointed to see that it was this plane as we had had 2 horrendous flights with them in the past. The flight was excellent and cannot fault the crew or service. We arrived in Barbados to a swift transfer to the pier. We boarded swiftly and was soon in our cabin.It was an inside cabin all that I could get when we booked. I was on first examination a little disappointed I find that after that journey anyway it does not take long to be disappointed. The cruise just went better and better. Highlights for us were: Chefs table: please don't miss out on this for $75 each it is amazing value with the finest of food wines and service and a real insight into the working of the food preparation and feeling like you have been waited on like royalty. Movies under the stars: we loved this as something different. Wine: we spent a lot on wine on the ship our bar bill was of magnificent proportions but we were allowed and did bring wine on from every port. Coffee: word if warning if you like coffee bring a jar of your own as we did the coffee on board is awful. We wish there were tea and coffee making facilities in the room and lots of others felt this way too. The photos on ship are a really steep price if they lowered the price of these they would sell much more. We enjoyed any time ding and played Russian roulette with our dining companions sometimes a hoot and others losing the will to live but the latter less so. We are not keen on Tabago or Grenada and Jamacia means running the gauntlet through the throngs of tour sellers and the like. Aruba for diamond I was lucky that my husband treat me to a superb diamond ring here. On returning to the UK I have had it valued at double the price. Best cruise and in fact in the running for the best holiday ever. Would we cruise Princess again that would be a no hesitation yes. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
On arriving at Gatwick 4 hours before take off we had to complete a health check assessment - questions about had we had sickness/diarrhoea or coughs/colds in the week previous. Yes to these questions and we would have been barred from ... Read More
On arriving at Gatwick 4 hours before take off we had to complete a health check assessment - questions about had we had sickness/diarrhoea or coughs/colds in the week previous. Yes to these questions and we would have been barred from checking in. We were asked again on the dockside in Barbados. This gave us the feeling that Princess were keen on preventing infections on board. However I was amazed that the only hand sanitizers were outside of the buffet restaurant and none outside the main restaurants or on the dockside of the gangplank. My experience and information was, and confirmed by other cruise passengers, that because of the epidemics that have ravaged cruise liners in the recent past hand sanitizers are used extensively on liners and indeed extensively in hospitals. I complained to senior ships crew - the Maitre D and no less than the Staff Captain but regrettably they didn't seem concerned nor interested and nothing was done about it. Although my health check and my wife's was sincerely clear before checking in and on the dockside I developed a feverish cold within 3/4 days of the cruise and my wife had sickness and diarrhoea for 36 hours. My wife developed the cold in the second week of the cruise. I cannot recall the last time I personally had a cold and I have never been on holiday where I have experienced so many people with colds, sneezing, coughing etc. The medical Centre we were told was inundated with people with ailments. Surely it would have been, and would be, prudent,sensible and good hygiene management to have taken the simple and non expensive precautions which seem to be the norm throughout the rest of the cruising industry. Is this the case where an epidemic is waiting to infest itself with the well known after effects? There were a number of unavoidable incidents including a passenger being taken ill and being airlifted off the ship and another passenger threw themselves over board which required the Captain to adopt a search pattern along with a search Airplane and a Tanker which took all day without success. The food was moderate and the buffet could have been more exciting. Embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient and the flights both ways were on time and the aircrew made the journey even pleasanter. Cabin/balcony and bathroom were cramped but clean. All members of the crew including bar staff and dining waiters were pleasant and efficient. Entertainment and excursions were passable.Excursions were expensive and it would have been more cost effective to hire a taxi on the dock with other passengers to reduce the individual cost. Apart from the above and particularly the first paragraph, the cruise was an enjoyable and restful and warm holiday. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
This was our second cruise with Princess - we previously sailed to Hawaii with Regal Princess in 2007, which was a rather mixed experience. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - 11 Caribbean ports in 14 days - while the idea of ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Princess - we previously sailed to Hawaii with Regal Princess in 2007, which was a rather mixed experience. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - 11 Caribbean ports in 14 days - while the idea of direct charters (bypassing the US and a lot of luggage carrying) was also rather appealing. The flight out from Manchester was fine, but we arrived with another five Thomson charters (2 more from Manchester, 2 from Gatwick and 1 from East Midlands) and thus had to queue a while, albeit mostly reasonably comfortably (in the aircraft and on buses) before getting aboard just in time for our first sitting dinner. We had an inside cabin - a first for us. We booked an outside guarantee, but were contacted a few days before departure to be offered a downgrade (outside cabins oversold apparently - its getting just like airlines!!) to an inside cabin at a vastly reduced cost. This was an offer too good to resist, and we decided it was a good opportunity to see what we thought of inside cabins for future reference. (Conclusion: fine on this cruise or probably any with relatively few sea days, or when the weather was likely to be less than brilliant, but we still feel an outside or balcony cabin is best under other circumstances). Anyway, the cabin was fine, if relatively small (although no smaller than other cabins on Sea Princess I understand), and was in a quiet location tucked around the corner at the stern of the ship on Deck 10. It was well looked after by our steward Randi, who was very friendly and obliging and kept everything in good order. As I mentioned we were on first sitting, and had been allocated, as requested, to a table of 8 in a very nice location, rather than the thoroughfare you sometimes get! We had very good company, with a couple from Leicester and 2 couples from Cheshire, thought that the food was generally very good in the evenings (we only went in for breakfast a few times and lunch only once), and that our waiter and assistant Orlando and Enrico, were very helpful and efficient. A lot of previous cruisers on Sea Princess thought that she looked a bit tired and needed a bit of TLC, but we thought she was fine (having cruised on Costa Romantica last November we know what 'a bit tired and in need of TLC' can really mean!!). We found a good choice of food in the buffet, which was generally fairly well laid out without too many queues or shortages of seats, and the Corniche Cafe on Deck 8 was good for pizza the one time we went there. One thing we loved about the Sea Princess was the promenade deck. All these newer larger ships with lots of balconies no longer seem to have one, but it was wonderful to be able to sit in the shade on wooden steamer chairs in relative peace, avoiding the noise, ongoing activities and large movie screen by the pool, which my husband quite liked, but I certainly didn't. It was also possible to walk all the way around the ship at this level, which was also nice, and gave shelter not only from the sun, but also from the not infrequent rain showers! Moving on to the ports of call, which was the most important bit for us, we mainly did our own thing, with only two trips booked via the ship. I must say that the Shore Excursion Staff were some of the worst I have ever encountered - unfriendly bordering on surly and with no practical knowledge about the excursions, or apparent interest in finding out in response to queries. We found all the other crew members on the ship cheerful, helpful and efficient, but really felt that there were serious problems with the excursion staff, particularly as they were trying to sell very expensive (not to say overpriced) trips and I think would have fared better if they had a better manner. We booked a horse riding trip, including taking the horses in the sea (not swimming, despite the description) and it was really enjoyable, if very expensive. More practical details about how it worked, what we could take with us and what we should wear (or not) would have enhanced the experience even more, but enquiries of the excursion staff produced no answers or interest in finding out. We also took a ship's excursion in Trinidad, having read about how it can be dicey for tourists there. This trip, called Rainforest Hike and Asa Wright Centre, was very expensive and very disappointing. It was supposed to be a nature walk, but with one guide and 30 guests of different mobility levels, it consisted of very little. The centre itself was fantastic and with better organisation and investment in more guides and much smaller groups, the trip could have been excellent. But by the time the one guide had got everyone together and made sure they had all seen a small bird on a distant tree barely visible to the naked eye, you can imagine how little was achieved on a 1.5 hour walk, covering perhaps half a mile. It just confirmed my impressions of over-priced, dumbed-down ship's excursions. I passed my thoughts on to the Shore Excursion staff when I returned (constructively, suggesting two or three guides and graded walks) but there was an almost visible lack of interest wafting across; I did fill in a comment form, but I expect it was probably filed in the waste bin! Other places we had some really good experiences (fortunately). We went to Fort George and the waterfront in Grenada before taking a water taxi across to the beach. We went on a fantastic drift snorkel in Bonaire with Woodwind - run by marine biologist Dee. The trimaran took us over to two different sites off Klein Bonaire and Dee freedived to point out all manner of interesting things - coral, fish, turtles, stingrays, etc., while we allowed the current to carry us effortlessly along. Fantastic!!! We had an interesting walk around Curacao on both sides of the river, using the pontoon swing bridge. On Grand Turk we did the horse riding as I mentioned. In Tortola we took the ferry to Virgin Gorda and went to the famous Baths, where we scrambled through rocks, sand and water to Devil's Beach and back. It was a bit rough for swimming and snorkelling that day, but we had a good time nonetheless. St Maarten was most notable for the 21,000-plus cruise passengers there with us - it was heaving! We were berthed with Oriana behind us, Carnival Dream and Ruby Princess the other side of the jetty, and Oasis of the Seas (what a size she is!!!) and Celebrity Solstice on the next jetty. We took a minibus trip over the French side and there we saw Wind Surf moored off Marigot and tendering people in - I think she had the right idea!! After visiting various points, including the market at Marigot and Orient Beach, we returned to the ship for lunch before walking downtown to look around the shops (although we are not great shoppers normally). The next stop was Antigua, where we again went on minibus trip including Nelson's Dockyard and Shirley Heights. We had been there before but it is worth at least a second look and we also went on to a place called the Lookout, which was new to us. We were dropped off at the beach with another couple on the way back and the driver came back two hours later to pick us up. St Lucia was really good - we had got our act together for once and booked ahead for an island trip with Cosol Tours. We met Cosol, but our driver and guide was Yellow Bird. We tasted wonderful St Lucian food at a private house high up overlooking the sea, passed through villages, went to Soufriere and the sulphur springs (heavens opened while we were there, but it did improve the amount of steam coming out of the vents!), then we were taken in a boat round to a beach between the Pitons for very good snorkelling and swimming. Drinks flowed freely, including rum punch, beer, water and soft drinks. It was a very, very good day. Not cheap (although not as expensive as the ship's trips, of course) but a very full itinerary and worth doing we felt. In St Vincent we took another minibus trip to the Mesopotamia Valley in the rainforest and then up to Montreal Gardens, a fantastic garden developed by an Englishman called Tim. He was there to welcome us, and our driver, Derek, showed us around - it was a truly wonderful place with fantastic views, lots of colour and a vast range of plants. I have already mentioned our trip in Trinidad - enough said. Up till this point it had all been marvellous and remained so until we were checked in at the airport and awaiting our flight home. Our 51 hour 53 minute (!) delay has already been mentioned on this site, so I guess you probably know the details (dead plane), but all things considered I think the aircraft ground staff (Sea Princess had already sailed off on her next adventure!) did their best to look after us under difficult conditions, although communication could have been better. But that is always the case in these situations in my experience - it can be very stressful all round. Having been delayed in Bangkok for 8 days in December 2008 when the airport closed, we were better off than many, having been taught the hard way that these things happen and its best to be prepared and just accept them. All in all a very enjoyable cruise and I was amazed that Princess are no longer doing the direct flight charters to Barbados next season, as there were loads of repeat cruisers and the ship was full. But then again, after our experience with our return charter flight, perhaps they knew something that we didn't!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
In 2000 we went on the Dawn Princess to the Caribbean which is a sister ship to the Sea Princess and really liked the ship and the Sea Princess is great as well as it is a good size and not too big like some of the newer ships. Our cabin ... Read More
In 2000 we went on the Dawn Princess to the Caribbean which is a sister ship to the Sea Princess and really liked the ship and the Sea Princess is great as well as it is a good size and not too big like some of the newer ships. Our cabin was on Cariba deck 9 and we only book inside ones as we don't spend much time in the cabin with such a lot to do on the ship. We thought it a reasonable size and there was plenty of places to store your clothes. It made more room in the cabin if you had two single beds as it gave space down the middle. We had a good flight from Manchester with Thomas Cook and were surprised to step off the plane straight onto a bus to the ship and our luggage had arrived by 6 pm although for some people it was a couple of hours later. We had no checking in to do at Barbabos airport and after putting our cases out the night before just had to pick them up at Manchester. I have never been on a cruise before with so many British people onboard as there were about 1800 with only about 20 American and a few other nationalities but that was because Princess had chartered a few planes from England. We didn't have to queue very long at embarkation and were soon in our cabin and then in the Horizon sampling the food. Our Captain was great and had the typical Liverpool sense of humour. Although the weather was hot on our cruise we did have some heavy, quick showers which is why the islands are so green. However, warm rain was much better than the cold rain we are used to. We have found Anytime dining suits us better as we can decide when we would like to dine depending on what we have done during the day and what we would like to do in the evening. Because we enjoy the shows it was better for us to dine early so we could go to the Princess Theatre for the 8.30 pm show which you had to get to early as sometimes it was standing room only, we could then go to the Vista Lounge where they had a quiz each evening and then a different show. I was glad that we weren't on the 8.30 pm sitting as we would have had to choose which show to go to instead of being able to see both of them. The shows put on by the onboard singers and dancers were very good and there were some enjoyable entertainers like Jimmy Tanley a Ventriloquist who was funny and a hilarious comedian from Yorkshire called Andy Wilkins. There was a magician who was very good, but we didn't really enjoy the Hypnotist. Gary T Thompson was a good Vocal Impressionist and Sam Kane a pleasant singer. Avoid Al Katz an American Comedian who just wasn't funny, although perhaps he would appeal to the American sense of humour but I doubt it. We had no complaints about the food, but much preferred eating in the restaurant for breakfast and dinner as it was much better than wandering round the Horizon buffet trying to decide what to have, and then you couldn't both go for your next course as you would find your table taken when you got back. We just had one breakfast when we needed an early one and a couple of lunches in the Horizon when we were late back. You can dine in the Italian Restaurant called The Corniche without any extra charge and we tried it once for lunch. It is very pleasant sitting there overlooking the lovely Atrium. I enjoy the formal nights and seeing everyone in their lovely outfits - we had formal nights on the first two sea days and on the next but last day when we were in St Vincents. It can be rather unpleasant sometimes with the air-conditioning on your shoulders so remember to take a shawl with you. We only go on sightseeing tours as we don't really like sitting around on beaches all day and can't snorkel or dive so can't give you any advice about those sorts of tours, but perhaps I will be able to help about other tours. The ship's tours are very expensive and not good value for money and expect to pay two or even nearly three times as much for a similar tour to one you can pick up at the ports. As you come off the ship you will see lots of taxis and small minibuses and even if you are on your own you will have no problem joining other people on the tours. We enjoyed taking a morning tour, going back on the ship for lunch and then just having a short walk round the nearest town. However, it was rather hot wandering around so we were soon back on the ship to sit in the shade and have a read. Everywhere you go you are pestered by people asking if you want a taxi or to buy something, and even though I tried to keep thinking they are only trying to make a living, I did find I was getting rather fed up with it by the end of the cruise. Even on the Sea Princess the emphasis was on shopping and not about the ports and island you were visiting. Grenada - As we were rather tired we decided not to take a tour, although it was possible to pick up a tour at the port, but just to have a walk round St Georges and to the fort which cost two dollars. There really isn't very much at the fort but you do get rather a good view of the ship Bonaire - We got on a coach with Achie Tours for a tour of the North and South of the Island. The other tour companies appeared to just do the North for the same price of 25 dollars. It was a three and a half hour tour and covered the slave huts and salt plains and then on to the North side and I can really recommend the tour. It was possible to have a walk round the town from the ship. Curacao - We took a tour from the port on an orange bus with painted scenes on the side and did a one and a half hour tour for 15 dollars. It was worth that to be able to see a bit more of the island and allowed time to look round the town where there were lots of nice shops. There is a pontoon bridge to the other side of the town which opens to let ships through, and even though there is a ferry across when it is open, a few people only just made it back to the ship on time as they had been stuck on the other side, so make sure you allow plenty of time. Grand Turk - Carnival apparently dug out the sea bed near the beach so ships can go right in and they own all the complex by the beach. We didn't want to go on the beach all day so took one of the taxis which were charging 5 dollars each to go Downtown but it was disappointing as it was Sunday and nothing much happening, in fact, I think it would be quiet any time and probably better just to stay at the beach or take a boat tour. There were longer taxi tours which were 35 dollars each for one and quarter hours which was excessive towards tours from other ports. Tortola - We had booked a ship's tour at 29 dollars online, 35 dollars on the ship, but a similar tour was only 20 dollars at the port and lasted about two hours. The tours for both are on very unusual large open sided taxis seating about 16 people. We had a pleasant tour of the island and a stop at Pussers Landing, an attractive harbour. St Maarten - I have never been in a port where there have been at least six large cruise ships in like there was at St Maarten, one of them being the Oasis of the Seas which has 6000 passengers. It was far too commercialised. There was plenty of choice of minibuses you could take for a tour but someone we know had booked with Bernard's Tours so booked us on as well - http://www.bernardstours.com/ It had been confirmed at 35 dollars by email but had apparently gone up to 40 dollars but they honoured the original price. The tour lasted over six hours and included two hours on Marigot Beach. The tour guide was very generous with free beer, water and rum punch. You could walk Downtown in about 15-20 minutes or get a water taxi which was either 5 or 6 dollars, or also a taxi. Antigua - We had a tour on a small bus with Carl who was a very nice, careful driver and I can recommend him if he is still there when you get off the ship or you may be able to booked beforehand - www.antiguapremiertours.com - 25 dollars plus 7 dollars to enter Nelson's Dockyard and Interpretation Centre which were worth doing, although we could really have done with more than half an hour at the Dockyard. Although he said the tour would be for two and a half hours, it ended up being over four hours and was very enjoyable. St Lucia - We took a tour from the port on a minibus which cost 25 dollars for two hours. There were other tours available which took longer for 55 dollars. It was about 15 minutes walk to the town centre. St Vincent - We shared a taxi with two ladies and paid 25 dollars each and had a very nice tour of the island, visiting where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed and stopped at a small waterfall. We had a nice, steady driver called Rodney and were rather pleased he didn't drive too fast as St Vincent is very hilly. Fortunately Del Boy wasn't driving!! It was possible to get a water taxi to the beach. It was only a few minutes walk to town which was market day and very busy. Some people walked to a botanical gardens which was uphill from the town, or you could get a taxi. Trinidad - The only island where we were given a list of what to do and not to do eg walk in groups and don't put much jewellery on, and as I had heard you had to be careful in Trinidad I had booked a ship's tour, the Highlights and Scenic Tour which was 39 dollars to book online but 45 dollars to book on the ship. Some people caught taxis and some did walk into and around town and had no problem. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Jjust returned from our Caribbean Cruise yesterday so it's all still so fresh in my mind! This was our second consecutive booking with Gill's and our first Princess cruise.From Gatwick to Barbados (with all immigration done on ... Read More
Jjust returned from our Caribbean Cruise yesterday so it's all still so fresh in my mind! This was our second consecutive booking with Gill's and our first Princess cruise.From Gatwick to Barbados (with all immigration done on line) From Gatwick to Bridge Town Barbados, and straight on to the ship with no hassle - excellent!. Within just over an hour of landing, we were up on Horizon Court having lunch! Our cabin was ready and the cases came along later. Unfortunately one case had been badly damaged somewhere in transit but the ship's staff immediately did the necessary paperwork and on the day before departure made sure that the case was secure enough for us to use on our homeward flight. We were a little disappointed with the cabin being smaller than we have had on other ships, but didn't let it detract from the fact that we were not going to spend the next fortnight in it very much! From beginning to end we had a fabulous Caribbean cruise. We've "done" most of the islands before so it was nice just to take our time, have a wander around the towns on our own, although we were put off by the information attached to the Princess Patter about the dangers of going too far in Trinidad. However, we enjoyed our time there but will probably take an organised tour if we visit there again. New to us was Bonaire and Curacoa (our favourites). This was also the first year I managed to swim in the sea at Grand Turk. The Sea Princess was the only ship docked that day and there were plenty of deck chairs everywhere. Our day in St Maarten was highlighted by 6 ships in port (apparently a total of 17,000 passengers going ashore!). The sailaway that night was great fun - had to be seen to be believed. The noise was almost like the Last Night of the Proms! We chose Anytime Dining for the first time since we started cruising and were quite apprehensive about how it would work, but found it absolutely great. We asked for a "sharing" table each night so did not have to queue and formed some very good friendships in finding familiar faces at a table (in fact, a really good way to meet so many different people). I can honestly say that we had entertaining company every night and were nearly always the last table out! The waiting staff in the Rigoletto Restaurant could not do enough for us. At every table we were treated so well by the staff. They were pleasant and helpful and always brought anything asked for that may have been slightly different to the set menu. Just could not fault it. Most days we had breakfast and lunch at Horizon Court and were impressed by the standards of staff and food there as well. Every day I could find something different and if my husband fancied a change, , he could always have a hamburger at the Riviera Grill and bring it in and join me. He even tried a pizza one day at the Cafe Corniche and enjoyed that. Overall, I thought the variety, quality and standard of food excellent, bearing in mind the fact I do not eat anything with flour in it, so sadly had to turn a blind eye to the delicious looking bread, rolls, danish pastries, muffins, doughnuts etc....!!! The chefs and waiters were very good by always finding me alternatives if I wanted them, but I found plenty to eat! Up on the sun decks by the pools, we could always find a sun lounger and most people were very considerate when it came to not leaving towels unattended for too long. My husband thoroughly enjoyed watching football on the big Movie Screen and it was fun to sunbathe and watch a film at the same time! I enjoyed swimming in the main pool, although it did get rather overcrowded at times! On a couple of Sea days we saw a good film in the theatre and my husband was also able to watch football in the Casino - so he didn't miss out on watching his team win! Most evening we went to the Princess Theatre or Vista Lounge (10.45 performances) and were thoroughly entertained by various acts - our all time favourite of the cruise being the ventriloquist who had tears running down our faces from laughing so much. There was such a good atmosphere on the Sea Princess during our cruise which we can only put down to our fellow passengers - all of whom we spoke to who were also thoroughly enjoying themselves. Everyone was so friendly and it was great meeting new people and enjoying new friendships - some of which we hope will be lasting! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
I have seen some reviews of this ship which complain about how dull it was - with few "fun" activities on ship. That because it's aimed at "the Brits" and not the Amerians, it is dull. Well - I applaud it ... Read More
I have seen some reviews of this ship which complain about how dull it was - with few "fun" activities on ship. That because it's aimed at "the Brits" and not the Amerians, it is dull. Well - I applaud it for being so. The thought of 2 weeks of organised fun and games is what would have me running away screaming. Not that we stayed on the Ship very much except where we were forced to on the "days at sea". We did not go on any organised tours, but simply walked off the ship and found a driver in each port to either take us to a beach - or to go to some place on a mini-tour before finishing at the beach. And that approach was perfect - especially for Dunns River Falls... we got there around 9:30am and had the whole place practically to ourselves. Climbed the falls twice (the 2nd time, the organised tours had started to arrive and it isn;t nearly as much fun in a group of 30 people... believe me). This approach was far cheaper and much more relaxed (and relaxed is precisely what we were looking for... if you want "get up and have fun" then perhaps club 18-30 is what you should be looking for). Annoying things... as has been commented on... the "German" approach of grabbing sun loungers before 7am and then waltzing off to bed befor finally taking your place at 11am... Very tempted just to wander around chucking towels and books into the sea. It wasn't too bad - we would find somewhere around 8:30am on the back of the boat and stay there until we fried... Often surrounded by sun-bathing towels. And smoking.... We had a balcony and it was great to sit out in the sea breeze as we approached each island in the dawn light. Until the people in the cabin next door woke up coughing and spluttering, desperate to light the first cigarette of the day. And promptly the smoke would blow into our balcony. So much for fresh sea air. If Princess allow smoking, then they should group all the smokers together on one side of the boat and on the lower decks and let them poison each other instead of letting them involve everyone in their habit. That one really annoyed me. One of the kids (16) found lots to do when we were on the ship. The other (15) was "bored" a lot... but that's teenagers for you. We ourselves enjoyed the fact we could relax and not have to do anything unless we chose to. We found that it was advisable to book the table (we were on "eat anytime" in the Rigalettos restaraunt). Not booking meant often being in a 20 minute queue to be seating. Booking is free and meant no waiting. DO NOT think that if you have 2 kids, you can share a "double room". They do have some of these where they will fit extra beds in somehow. I cannot imagine how cramped that would be... the double was fine for two of us, but we could never have fitted the kids in there... We had them in an inside cabin (originally we were going to have them in our room but thought better of it... thank God!). Other reviews mention bad attitudes from the staff - we never saw that. Except for the Thomas Cook check-in lady in Manchester who was the most miserable and rude person I have ever met (and I travel A LOT). As the first point of contact for Princess, I think they might want to reconsider using TC ... But I got over that fairly quickly and really enjoyed the 2 weeks... How can you not enjoy all those perfect beaches, crystal clear waters and fantasticly relaxed locals? Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We have cruised many times before but this was our first experience of a cruise at New Year and everything possible was done to make this a very special holiday experience. Sea Princess is a well thought out ship with a lovely ... Read More
We have cruised many times before but this was our first experience of a cruise at New Year and everything possible was done to make this a very special holiday experience. Sea Princess is a well thought out ship with a lovely Atrium plus a quiet adults only pool, which suits us, but what seemed to be plenty of entertainment for the younger ones. New Year's Eve And the Great British Sail Away were wonderful occasions. The entertainment staff should be congratulated. Although the entertainers around the ship were nothing special the shows were excellent and the comedian Garry T Thompson, brilliant. For us what always makes or breaks a cruise is the food, and everything was first-class. We particularly liked the anytime dining and the option of the Pizzeria for a change. Service was excellent and we were impressed by the extent of the assistance available in the buffet restaurant where coffee and juice was served to your table at breakfast and cutlery always laid out The itinerary was good and the weather generally very kind to us, although a little bit more local information on each port of call would be welcome. We understand that Sea Princess is being sold off, which is a great shame as the ship seemed to be in overall good condition. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
We booked in june 2009 to sail on the Sea Princess departing from Manchester on 1Nov 2010.At the time of booking we requested a table for 2 at the second sitting in the dining room. About 4 weeks before sailing we emailed Princess Cruises ... Read More
We booked in june 2009 to sail on the Sea Princess departing from Manchester on 1Nov 2010.At the time of booking we requested a table for 2 at the second sitting in the dining room. About 4 weeks before sailing we emailed Princess Cruises regarding this request and received a reply saying as we had booked so early our request should be granted but areminder of our request would be sent to the maitre d. On checking in at Manchester Airport at 0715hrs for a 1040 flight we were advised there would be a 4 hour delay due to late arrival of the incoming flight.We took off at 1400hrs,the flight operated by Thos.Cook was very good with good food and free bar service.We arrived in Barbados at 1900hrs and werekept on the plane with the doors closed until 1915hrs while we waited for a princess agent to come on board just to tell us uur baggage would be going direct to the ship.The transfer busses picked us up off the tarmac and took us directly to the ship ,arriving on board at about 2030hrs,a very long day! As soon as we had found our cabin we made our way down to the restaurant and asked for our table allocation.The maitre d. told us that we were on a shared table,we then told him we had requested a table for 2 and showed him the email we had from Princess regarding this.He checked his long list of requests but found no details of our request.He was unable to offer us a table for 2 but he would try to change us for the next day,we chose to eat in the Horizon buffet for the first night.The second day we went to the dining room to see if they had been able ti change our table,the only waythis was possible was if we came into the dining room at about 7pm as late arrivals for tha first sitting.This we reluctantly accepted but it did take the gloss of our cruise enjoyment as we always like to be on second sitting. The service and food on board were excellant both in the main dining room and in the self service restaurant.The ship itself is kept spotless but it is showing signs that a revamp is needed.Entertainment on board was very poor,too many comedians who seemed to repeat jokes told by other entertainers on previous evenings.The dancers and singers on board were quite good but they did not do enough shows for a 15 day cruise.All comedians seem to do is call and embarras guests sitting in the front row ,why is their no dcent singers on board. The capacity of the ship is listed as 1980 but at the captains welcome party he stated there were 2035 guests on board.During peak hours it was impossible to find a table in the Horizon buffet area and on days at sea there were no beds to be had anywhere on the decks.Thanks to a previus ctitics report we found a small very quiet area at the very front of deck 10[Baja deck].This suited us fine. We enjoyed the cruise very much ,disembarkation was well organised with our baggage being collected outside our cabin at 10pm,the next time we saw it was at Manchester Airport. Having sampled other cruise lines and comparing like with like we prefer Celebrity Cruises to Princess and R.C.L. inmost aspects including dining and service. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
This was not a "typical" Caribbean cruise. Think "British package holiday" and you've got a better idea. This was a huge mistake by Princess and we spoke to many passengers who said it was their last cruise ever ... Read More
This was not a "typical" Caribbean cruise. Think "British package holiday" and you've got a better idea. This was a huge mistake by Princess and we spoke to many passengers who said it was their last cruise ever with Princess. Nothing was up to usual Princess standards. Although the food was good enough, choice was very limited and monotonous. Cabins were very small and balconies? - more like window ledges I would say. The biggest problem was overcrowding - everywhere was packed. It was impossible to get a seat for shows or in the bars. Mealtimes in the Horizon Court were a nightmare. The limited choice of beverages was usually unavailable due to breakdowns. The staff were greatly overworked so tables were not immediately cleared and service was poor.Taps in the public restrooms were usually not working - despite the ubiquitous notices telling us to wash our hands. There was often a smell of drains to enjoy with your meal. On the plus side the charter flights from the UK were good - although the return journey was marred by a very rude Liverpudlian flight attendant. The American who complained that on their cruise the Brits were people who sat around reading and doing trivia quizzes doesn't realise how lucky they were. Never have I seen so many rude, ignorant, ill-mannered people on a cruise ship. If you enjoy watching grown men fight over sunbeds, hearing lots of variations of four letter words, and looking at tattooed ladies this is the cruise for you! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
The cruise started in Barbados. The ports to Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba were the highlight of the whole cruise. If you are not from the UK Beware! Americans are the minority on this ship. And by there actions have no problem reminding ... Read More
The cruise started in Barbados. The ports to Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba were the highlight of the whole cruise. If you are not from the UK Beware! Americans are the minority on this ship. And by there actions have no problem reminding you of that. Out of all the cruises I have been on this was far the worst. Absolutely NOTHING to do but gamble, eat, read and sleep. No entertainment on deck. Well, I should say they did have a band that played for 1 hour a day from 1PM - 2PM. After that they had what they called a DJ, but it was just a CD which the volume was so low you had to listen really hard to hear it. Especially with all the talking on deck. They had 15 minute games, only 1 game per day. Some of which you had to pay to play. If you like to lay out in the sun from 7AM until dinnertime then you were fine. Providing you got there at 7AM. You needed to get there that early in order to get a lounge chair. After that forget it. They did have a so-called deck party 1 night. BORING!!!!!!!!! On the 2 nights they had shows, they were just OK. The comedian was DRY. The employees on ship seemed like it was a challenge to smile and be friendly. I guess if all you wanted to do was relax and just read This is the perfect cruise for you. As far as shore excursions booking on ship was 3 times what I paid on shore. For the same excursion. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
It took me weeks to write this because I was just so disgusted with the "SEA PRINCESS". I have been on several cruises and usually have to rest when I return home. Not the case this time, had to party when I returned home. The ... Read More
It took me weeks to write this because I was just so disgusted with the "SEA PRINCESS". I have been on several cruises and usually have to rest when I return home. Not the case this time, had to party when I returned home. The food was fantastic; however, the staff catered to the UK. On several occassions, I was overlooked by the wait staff. The ports (Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba) were wonderful and if you are doing the scenic tours, wait till you get off at the port and pay the locals. We went on sightseeing excursions with other travelers from the ship and they were upset when they found out that they had paid 3 or 4 times the amount I paid and we were looking at the exact same sights. Grabbing a lounge chair on the lido deck from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm was unthinkable. Joining in on pool activities was a definite no no unless you wanted to pay additional fees and don't forget your ipod, mp3 or something for you to have your own music. I visited the club on different nights and at various times and each time it was like a funeral (yes...DEAD). The photographers should be taught to take pictures of ethnic people. So any African-Americans, please tell them to add light to your pictures. The last cruise I went on, I purchased over $125.00 worth of pictures, on this cruise $0.00. Went to the comedy shows, the 1st comedian was ok but the 2nd comedian was so dull, I took a nap. The Piano Man was great and the show on the 1st night was Great. If you want to gamble, eat, watch movies and see the same show 2 nights in a row, then this is the ship for you. I tried to find the good in the ship but it was hard to do. Oh the library was ok. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Grand Caribbean Islander Cruise Our background is in education and the travel trade. We used to run a travel agency that was a member of the Passenger Shipping Association Retail Agent scheme. We are experienced travellers. We ... Read More
Grand Caribbean Islander Cruise Our background is in education and the travel trade. We used to run a travel agency that was a member of the Passenger Shipping Association Retail Agent scheme. We are experienced travellers. We chose this cruise (a) to be somewhere warm in March for our ruby wedding anniversary and (b) to avoid all the hassle and hostility to which one is subjected if entering US territory. There was no queue at check-in at Manchester airport and our Thomas Cook flight to Barbados was very good. We paid extra to be in the better seats of the aeroplane and it certainly seemed to be worth the money. However, when we arrived at the ship our "priority" luggage did not arrive at our cabin before it was time to dine. As a result, after taking showers we had to put on our travelling clothes before dining. The suitcases did not arrive until we were ready for bed. The junior suite near the centre of the ship was very roomy and we liked the double size balcony. The extra space and the walk-in wardrobe were much appreciated. We also liked having the Jacuzzi bath and shower cubicle in one bathroom and the WC and washbasin in another. We opted for "any time" dining and were able to have a table for two whenever we wished. Restaurant service was excellent and we savoured food that was superior to that offered on Royal Caribbean with more choice and more courses, if wanted. There was also a notable improvement in standards of dress compared with dinners aboard Royal Caribbean. The ship's excursions seemed pricey for what they offered and we made our own arrangements at every port of call. There were always local taxis and minibuses available offering FAR better value than the cruise line. We generally went to the Tourist Information Office or desk and asked for advice. They would direct us to an approved taxi coordinator and we would decide whether the price quoted was acceptable to us. In the one or two places where we did not use the TIC for advice we simply went around the taxi drivers and negotiated an itinerary and price that suited us. It was easier to push the price down to what we thought was reasonable when we had another couple with us. With temperatures regularly in the high twenties to low thirties, it was good to find the minibuses were air-conditioned. Minibuses were of high calibre with drivers who really wanted us to appreciate their island. Sometimes they included free drinks in the price. Being in a group that never exceeded ten meant that we did not feel as if we were being herded around like in the big coach excursions. Our biggest regret was not being able to see Barbados and, given the choice, we would fly in and out of Jamaica so that we could spend time looking around Barbados. Jamaica was the only place that we felt uncomfortable, so much so that we returned to the ship as soon as we could. The pressure from the various people touting for trade for their businesses was so intense that we could not relax and enjoy the place. It was only on the last day that we had to fill in any immigration forms. All the paperwork was completed on board before we transferred to the airport. We had been allocated our seats for the return flight when we checked in for the outward flight. This meant that there was no need to check in at the airport and we were able to go airside straight away. The return flight was through the night and many passengers slept for most of the journey. On arrival in Manchester we were greeted by grey, overcast skies, such a contrast to the previous two weeks. In conclusion, his was a very good way to scout out destinations for future possible holidays. We would certainly consider revisiting Barbados, Grenada, Aruba, Trinidad, Antigua, St Maarten, the BVI and Dominica. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
As first time cruisers our excitement (and anxiety) was ever increasing as our sailaway date approached. Weeks (months?) earlier, we had arranged car parking at East Midlands airport and booked a night in a nearby hotel to make sure ... Read More
As first time cruisers our excitement (and anxiety) was ever increasing as our sailaway date approached. Weeks (months?) earlier, we had arranged car parking at East Midlands airport and booked a night in a nearby hotel to make sure everything went smoothly on the day. Then, with just three days to go, Princess contacted us. They had apparently 'overbooked' on our flight and were seeking volunteers to relocate to Gatwick. They immediately offered to reimburse our hotel and car parking charges, upgrade our flights to Premium Economy (both outbound and inbound) and dangled $250pp OBC before our eyes. The idea of driving to Gatwick, and particularly the drive home on our return, was daunting but the offer was too good to refuse and so we accepted. Princess' organisation was great and we were able to use our East Midlands 'Thomsonfly' tickets to board a Thomas Cook flight from Gatwick without any problems. I should add that, while the on board entertainment wasn't too good, Thomas Cook looked after us well and quickly got us into the holiday mood by plying us with complimentary drinks! We arrived in Barbados and stepped off the plane and straight onto a bus that whisked us off to the ship. We joined the fast moving queue to be checked in and were escorted aboard the Sea Princess. Just one negative here: we really don't want to be pulled aside for 'embarkation photos' when we look like we've been dragged through a hedge backward after a 9 hour flight. We were met by our cabin steward (Moises, who was great) and shown our "stateroom". The cabin was somewhat compact but it was very clean and functional with enough storage space to hold and hang everything. And we soon developed a 'passing places' system which allowed us to get from one side to the other without getting wedged against the furniture! We were keen to get cleaned up and start exploring the ship but PA announcements made it clear we wouldn't have time as we were to have muster drills 15 minutes later. Once that was over it seemed like time went into overdrive and we were soon on deck for the sailaway. A warm Caribbean evening, a glass of something cold, Barbados behind us and our first cruise ahead of us... bliss! It wasn't long before we were able to explore and were soon learned that what we called 'the pointy end' was the bow and that our cabin was on the port side and not 'on the left'. That did lead to some confusion when we were alongside in St. Lucia. I said we were facing 'to port' and my better half contradicted me to say we were facing 'out to sea'. Each evening your bed is turned back and adorned with chocolates and the 'Princess Patter', a news sheet containing information on the next day's destination and an entertainment schedule. We have read a lot of critical reviews of the entertainment on Sea Princess but we found it varies from 'average' to 'excellent'. The cruise director's staff lead some daytime activities (games and quizzes etc) and are very good at what they do. However, we found that occasionally an activity would be advertised but the staff didn't turn up for it. Perhaps they hadn't been told themselves? Obviously a communication breakdown somewhere along the line. It has to be said that daytime entertainment isn't what it could be. When you're in port and the majority of passengers are ashore then it's not a real problem but on sea days (we had two) then you can be left kicking your heels. Some people are happy to vegetate on a sun lounger all day so, if you're not quick enough in the morning, you'll never find a vacant one. The evening entertainment takes place in the Princess Theatre and the Vista Lounge. The resident singers and dance group put on a few very good shows. I'm sure these shows are repeated many times and, if you've seen them before they won't be as appealing but, to the first time cruiser at least, they provide an hour of reasonable entertainment. The guest performers included very average magicians, good comedians, very good musicians/singers and the excellent Kyle Esplin (if you ever get a chance to see him, take it!). When the show is over you can head for the Wheelhouse Bar or Crooner's Bar. Both of these feature live music from resident duos of varying quality - each to their own, I'll say no more. There is also the Monte Carlo casino, if you like that sort of thing, the Premier Cru champagne bar and the Razzmattazz night club. Like it or not, these three all have areas which allow smoking. Of course, before you take in a show, you have to eat and the Sea Princess has plenty to offer. Horizon Court offers buffet style self-service dining 24 hours a day with sea views. We had the occasional lunch here but found the food to be a bit hit and miss. It was often luke warm and not of the quality found in the main restaurants. Horizon Court is ideal for a salad or snack if you're out on deck but be warned - you may have to tolerate people in vests or swimming costumes at the next table and you run the risk of eating food others have handled! In the evening, part of the restaurant is screened off to become the Sterling Steakhouse. We planned on eating here but never actually got around to it. There is a $15pp cover charge for eating in the Sterling Steakhouse but I understand the steaks are among the best you can get and it's well worth the extra cost. Overlooking the swimming pools on deck is the Riviera Grill. I'm not entirely sure of the opening hours but this offers burgers, bratwurst, hot dogs etc. Again, it's OK for a light snack. The good thing is the food is served to you on a plate so it hasn't been touched by other passengers! At the top of the atrium is Cafe Corniche, an Italian style restaurant offering pasta dishes and pizzas. We used this for lunch a couple of times and the quality is very good. We saw people eating there at dinner time time and have no reason to think the evening quality was anything less than it was earlier in the day. The two main restaurants are the Traviata and the Rigoletto. These are identical in both appearance and menu. The only differences are the Traviata offers 'fixed seating' dining (same time, same table) and the Rigoletto offers 'Anytime' dining (eat when want to eat, sit at any table). We opted for the anytime dining in the Rigoletto and we couldn't find a single fault with the service or the food. The staff were brilliant. When the time was right they could be very chatty and entertaining but at all times they were polite, helpful, professional and efficient. First time cruisers please, please note that there is no additional charge for dining in either of these restaurants. They should be considered your first choice for dining but we have heard of people who ate every meal in the Horizon Court because they mistakenly thought there was a charge for eating in the restaurants. There isn't! With the exception of the Sterling Steakhouse there is no charge for dining on the Sea Princess. You have paid a lot of money for your cruise so sit back and let yourself be spoiled rotten at mealtimes! Another nice touch is 'afternoon tea'. At 3.30 the Traviata opens it's doors for refreshments. It's all very "British" with the string quartet playing quietly in the background and the waiters don their white gloves and serve delicate sandwiches, fancy cakes and cookies... and the most amazing scones with jam and cream! There is a charge for drinks however and a glass of wine or two with dinner each evening will soon add up. You would be best advised buying a bottle (it works out far cheaper). Even if you only have one glass from it, the staff will mark the label and put it away for you for the next night. Whether we like it or not, all drinks on the ship have an added 15% gratuity so it's easy to assume your drinks bill will quickly get out of control. In reality if you're not a big drinker and just want a few quiet drinks in the evening you'll pay around £6.50 - £7 for a couple of beers/lagers. When that's coming out of your OBC it's not a problem - but keep a regular eye on your account by asking for a statement at the purser's desk! As a side note, some people seem to believe you can't bring alcohol aboard. In fact you can't bring spirits aboard (though some do succeed in getting it on). You can bring a bottle of wine (per person) back from your shore visits so you can pick up a cheap bottle and put it in your cabin fridge - ideal for a pre-dinner drink! Those trips ashore can be expensive if you decide to buy Princess excursions in every port. We found it cheaper (and just as enjoyable) to do your own thing and pick up a tour with one of the many taxis/shuttles in port (be sure to only use the authorised taxi drivers that you find immediately at the gates and check and double check the price before you go). You'll find other passengers doing the same trip so you're never alone. Bear in mind though that this advice only really applies to 'island tour' type excursion. If you want to go diving/snorkelling/whale watching/swinging through tree tops then you probably won't find those tours being sold at the port gates and you may want to book with the ship to avoid disappointment. Princess were a little unfair when, three days before the cruise was due to end, Moises approached us to say he had been assigned to a different task and introduced us to his replacement, our new steward. We didn't catch his name but he wasn't a patch on Moises. Whereas we were greeted with a smile by Moises every day, we never saw his replacement again after that introduction and we were never happy with the standard of service over the next few days. All in all though, we found the Sea Princess to be a wonderful introduction to the world of cruising and would happily recommend her to other first timers. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
I left Barbados on December 1st on the Caribbean Princess with my Fiancee, my 1yr old daughter and my aunt, who came along to babysit for us. It was a birthday gift and a chance to find out if the Caribbean Princess could be the ship for ... Read More
I left Barbados on December 1st on the Caribbean Princess with my Fiancee, my 1yr old daughter and my aunt, who came along to babysit for us. It was a birthday gift and a chance to find out if the Caribbean Princess could be the ship for us to get married on in June, as our plans were to get married and sail away with a few members of our families to enjoy a lovely 7 day Honeymoon/ family get together. The cruise started out wonderful until I got to the cabin and saw it was too small and cramp. This was not explained fully to us by the Travel agent but we made the best of it and decided we were going to have a great time no matter what. The ship was beautiful and the staff we met so far were extremely nice and they seemed fascinated with my infant daughter, every staff member who passed us, stopped and played with her. She was loving the attention and I was thinking Yes, we will definitely be getting married on this ship next year but we will be using another travel agent to book with. I started to take notes and we were off to talk to someone about out wedding package for next year. We went to dinner instead in one of the Buffet restaurants and the dinner was great!! Then it was off to buy some gifts on the ship and hopefully catch up with the nice lady who has been showing on the t.v and could help with our future booking for our wedding. We were tired after dinner so we went back to our room after 12am and Michael ( our steward had turn down the room and they were chocolates on the bed). I was loving my birthday gift and wishing that it was my honeymoon and my family was with me. The next day we went to St. Kitts and did a little shopping around, it was nice to visit another island and to get off the boat for a few hours. When we went back, my auntie stayed in with my daughter and my Fiancee and I decided to head down to one of the more fancy restaurants on the boats. Service was great, food was FABULOUS!! and it was a lovely evening. I was so happy, i couldn't believe that it took me this long to get on a cruise ship!! The third day started out great, breakfast was lovely and we head down to St. Maarten to do some local shopping and get Christmas gifts for the family. We got back to the boat around 5pm as we had to be back by 5.30pm and we had some very heavy bags, as we did lots of holiday shopping in St. Maarten. Now this is when everything turned ugly and the reason why I would never go back on the Caribbean Princess. While we were in the line, me pushing my baby in her push chair and my auntie trying to drag the bags in the line of people who had queued to go back to the boat, some of people told us to take the baby to the front, as she was getting quite fussy and they don't mind if we go ahead of them. My aunt started to take the bags up to the front and as she was coming back to help me with the baby and my other bags, a man came out of the boat screaming at her. He told her that she needs to go to the back of the line like everyone else and when he turned around to head back, I started to explain to him that we were in line but the other passengers allowed us to go ahead of them and that she was just helping me with the baby. Before I could get a word out, he shouted louder at me and at this time was directly in front of my baby, who started to cry at this time, he said to me that he was not talking to me and he was going to call the port police for me. At that point, I stopped talking and just stood holding my daughter in disbelief.  I was so upset, I cried in front of all the other passengers and went back to my room, which I didn't leave again until we were about to dock in Barbados. I did not even mention this to anyone on the boat because he was so abusive, I got scared. I work for a very upscale hotel in Barbados and there is no way, we could have ever got on that way with a guest. Repeat clientele means a lots to the tourist industry and maybe someone in higher management needs to advise this individual about this. He ruined what was to be a lovely birthday gift and the hope of a future wedding on the Caribbean Princess. When I was on the boat, I heard lots of the staff saying they are going home, I wouldn't be surprised if it was because of him as Head of Passenger Services, he is rude and he has no compassion because he would never scream in front of a child the way he did. I think this gentleman thought that as this was a 4 day special, that he did not have to treat me with respect. Unfortunately, I would NEVER, recommend this ship to anyone. On my return home, I have been speaking about the bad experience I had and advising my friends, work mates and family members to consider another cruise ship for their holidays . I definitely would be for my wedding next year!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Embarking/Disembarking Procedures - Magnificently organised. Luggage left us at Manchester airport and was next seen in our ships cabin on arrival in Barbados. You step off the plane in Barbados, straight onto a bus, and straight to the ... Read More
Embarking/Disembarking Procedures - Magnificently organised. Luggage left us at Manchester airport and was next seen in our ships cabin on arrival in Barbados. You step off the plane in Barbados, straight onto a bus, and straight to the ship. No customs or waiting around which is great after a long flight. Return journey is very much similar. Luggage is taken from you night prior to departure and you see it next in Manchester. No customs to go through as you go straight into departure lounge. Food - Quality of a very high standard. You would pay a high price to eat in a top restaurant in England for what was served to us. Drinks - Far from cheap. A beer costs $7-13 including service charge, so if you are a budding alcoholic this is not the place for you. Top advice is to buy a soft drinks badge on arrival on board the ship, this entitles you to as much as you like in soft drinks throughout your entire cruise. Cabin - We had an inside cabin with a double bed, and although small it was comfortable for us as we had little intention in staying in the room for long periods of time. Ship - The ship is modern, comfortable with 14 decks. Staff - Very helpful and polite and can't do enpough for you Entertainment - This was the main let down for us as we found it poor in quality, dated (aimed mainly at the wrinkly's)and amateurish. How some of the entertainers pasted auditions is beyond belief. Conclusion - We had a magnificent time and would do it again. Everything was not perfect, but we visited some magnificent places, was looked after by the staff and ate like Kings. This holiday is a bargain. Read Less
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