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9 Princess Bermuda Cruise Reviews

This was our 12th cruise with Princess and 18th overall. After a long MN winter my wife and I needed to be warm. We booked the trip through Princess in January with a pre-cruise 2 night stay in NYC. New York - Times ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise with Princess and 18th overall. After a long MN winter my wife and I needed to be warm. We booked the trip through Princess in January with a pre-cruise 2 night stay in NYC. New York - Times Square Intercontinental Hotel - 2 night pre-cruise package: This was well worth the cost. We were meet at the airport right by baggage claim and within 10 minutes in a limo to the hotel. The hotel was beautiful as it just opened a year ago. It was a block off Times Square and a block off Hells Kitchen. We purchased hop off / on tickets and Statue of Liberty tickets on line prior to arriving. It was a great value to by on line. We did the Central Park tour the first afternoon, dinner in Hells Kitchen that night, subway early the next morning to Battery Park to get the Stature of Liberty Ferry, then hopped on for Wall Street, the new World Trade Center (wow), Little Italy and Rockefeller Center. Another great restaurant in Hells kitchen and before you knew it, it was 11:30 in the morning and we were boarding our bus to the ship. Embarkation: It took all of 15 minutes once our bus arrived at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Ship: Caribbean Princess was in good shape, but was the first time I thought a Princess ship needed some TLC. Outside, rust was very visible which is unusual for Princess. Inside, she was in good to great shape. A few pieces of astroturf were curling up on the edges near the pools and some trim was missing. Other then that she look to be in good condition. Our Stateroom: We had a BE balcony on Baja deck, it was very clean but the shower had a few cracks near the ceiling that was poorly patched. The balcony furniture was a tad dirty and the toilet had a mold problem. Our stateroom steward was fantastic a took care of all the issues within the first 24 hours! Passengers: We were full including over 800 kids. Most people were from NY or NJ. We were an exception being from MN. Overall, people were very nice, loud, but nice. My only complaint was that Princess had to reinforce where kids should and shouldn't be (which they did a good job of) and I wish they would better enforce the dress code in the dinning room. I know jeans are okay, but T-shirts? And if it's formal night, keep the people without jackets or ties our of the lounges. On Board: We reserved the Sanctuary right when we got on board, but only two morning on port days were left! They were fortunately our PR and GT days so we didn't arrive until after 12 noon, so like a sea day. Best to head up there first thing if you want to get space, it is WELL worth the $10 fee. Food and service were both very good. Sabittini's and Crown Grill were fantastic! International Cafe' (please Princess but this on ALL ships) was the perfect morning breakfast hang out. Had most lunches and dinners in the MDR and did a few trips to Horizon Court. 3 different comedians were very funny and I usually don't like them. The 3 production shows I have seen at least twice on other Princess cruises so let the 2,000 first timers go. Lotus Spa hot rock treatment was also wonderful, in fact the best I have had in several years. On Shore: Bermuda was fantastic, did the 1/2 day island Taxi and had a great driver. Learned a lot about the island. The rest of the day we were on our own. San Juan PR was quite the adventure. We walked Old San Juan in the afternoon, and then went zip lining in the evening. We were wait listed for zip line, so instead of the daytime, we went at night! Wild experience jump in the dark, not knowing where your going with only a helmet light to guide you. What an experience! St. Thomas we took the boat to St. Johns and did some shopping downtown and Grand Turk we laid on the beach and relaxed. Disembarkation: Delta had moved up our flight by almost an hours so we cancelled our transfer (which Princess refunded for us without us asking - Thank You!) and walked off with our bags. We were group 2, and were off at 7:25, through customs by 7:35 and in a limo to LGA by 7:40! The limo to the airport are the same as the transfer for two people, so in the future I will do the walk off. We actually got the the airport by 8:30 so we took the 10:15 flight verses the 11:20. Overall: It was a great trip. My only improvements would be to stress the dress code a little more, and paint the outside of the ship! Everything else was perfect including the weather sunny 75 - 87 everyday. It was a great trip. Let me know if you have any specific questions. Oh and yes we did put our $100 down for next year. . . Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Overall I rate my trip 4 out of 5 stars. Arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico the day before sailing and stayed at the Airport Best Western. No fooling-it was the smallest hotel room I have ever had. My cabin on the ship was bigger! ... Read More
Overall I rate my trip 4 out of 5 stars. Arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico the day before sailing and stayed at the Airport Best Western. No fooling-it was the smallest hotel room I have ever had. My cabin on the ship was bigger! Day 1: I had a free transfer to the ship and let me tell you-it was not worth the price I paid. I did not get my luggage until after midnight! You see in San Juan, the ship had 1 truck of which they loaded all luggage for the entire ship. My bags went on the truck when there were about 6 other bags loaded. Embarkation: I had brought an Eagle Creek packable duffel that I put in my carry on. Once past the checkpoint I was able to purchase at the duty free shop a 750 ml bottle of rum, a case of water, and 2-8 packs of soda that I brought aboard the ship inside the duffel bag-no problem. I put my carry on, and beverages in my cabin, and ocean-view obstructed on the Emerald Deck-8. I then went to the Lido Deck and purchased the ultimate drink card, and had lunch. I had early seating traditional dining for dinner and after dinner went to the Juan Carlos Show. After dinner and the show I spent the remainder of the evening looking for my luggage which arrived a few minutes after midnight. Note: this was the worst thing that happened to me on this cruise. Food & Dining I was able to dine at the Lido, and Dining room, as well as have room service for dinner, and breakfast. Room Service offerings are quite limited and below average because of that fact. What they do offer is good however. The lido dining area is broken up into several areas and one big plus although there are no trays, the plates are quite large. Servers also help you in finding seats, and are quick in offering you beverages. The dining room service, and food was very good, but there were 2 nights that I did not dine there as there was nothing on the menu that interested me. Public Areas The ship is very easy to get around, and the cabin key card holder had a built in ship map. One issue I had however was the activities I chose to take part always seemed to be very far away from each other which made getting from one to the other on time a challenge. On sea days I spent a great deal of time at the aft pool area. It is for adults only. I spent the time reading, and listening to music on my mp3 player-very relaxing. Ship Entertainment I went to 2 shows the Juan Carlos show, and "Pianoman" a production show. Both were very good. The ship had other shows but they did not interest me much. Cabin My ocean-view obstructed E8624 Port was a free upgrade from a Riviera Deck inside and was very nice. The obstruction of window view was about 60% and not "fully" obstructed. My cabin steward Alan did a great job keeping my cabin looking good, and ice bucket always stocked. I did have an unfortunate incident in the cabin however with the toilet-overflowing of which I cleaned up myself. Debarkation We pulled into NYC very early on Sunday morning. I was going to self-disembark and I had a relative picking me up so I ate breakfast at around 6:30 AM. They called me down to one of the ship lounges where I sat until the announcement was made that my group could leave the ship. I got off the ship and was through customs in about 10 minutes. My relative had arrived to the port at about 8 AM and I was one of the first people to leave the port area. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Since we are LI, NY residents, departure from Red Hook Brooklyn was great. We parked at the Pier and boarded the ship by noon. It was smooth and efficient. We proceeded to book a spot in the Santuary a great adults only area with plush ... Read More
Since we are LI, NY residents, departure from Red Hook Brooklyn was great. We parked at the Pier and boarded the ship by noon. It was smooth and efficient. We proceeded to book a spot in the Santuary a great adults only area with plush seats and lots of quiet and privacy- well worth the additional money- The cabin was ready and our cabin attendant Wilfred was great- the room was very clean and beds turned down each evening- no towel animals on princess. We had a mini suite which was very comfortable. Lots of closet space a decent bathroom that included a full sized tub. We originally wanted the anytime dining but after the first evening decided it wasn't for us- the waiters were like robots and the head waiter in that dining room not very warm or caring. We changed our dining to regular scheduled dining- that worked out great- our waiter Edgar and Isiodore his assistant were wonderful. We dined one evening in the Crown Grill- it was okay- not as good as the restaurants on Celebrity. The food also wasn't nearly as plentiful as the choices we had on Celebrity as we recently sailed on the Solstice. The public spaces on the ship were very crowded, many nights people would have to stand in the theatre as no seats were available for them- Guests would save seats and many children were sitting in the front of the theatre despite announcements saying "no saving seats or children in the first three rows". However no enforcement of the policies made the announcements silly and useless. I had heard that the Caribbean Princess had added cabins, but apparently not much though into increasing the size of all other areas to hold the large crowds. Seats at the regular pool and buffet were difficult to find if at all, That goodness we had reserved spots at the Sanctuary for the entire cruise. The entertainment was good. We especially enjoyed the piano playing and singing by Rose Winters in one of the lounges and would dash to the lounge most evening to enjoy her talent. The shops on the ship were mediocre. We typically purchase jewelry and many other items in the gift shops, but really couldn't find much of interest on this sailing. I had my hair done twice in the salon. The operators were great and very attentive. Drinks appeared to be more expensive then on most ships. Due to a Hurricane, our ports were changed, but it really didn't matter to us as we sailed into perfect weather, very smooth sailing and at the ports that we found not interesting stayed on board the ship. Despite the crowding and mediocre food- we had a great time. My husband lost weight and I stayed the same. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
We went on a BF cat and we were not told our cabin till we boarded. I must complement the luggage people and the Cruise link people - who are the port agents- they were the best in all my years of cruising. We were Platinum members so we ... Read More
We went on a BF cat and we were not told our cabin till we boarded. I must complement the luggage people and the Cruise link people - who are the port agents- they were the best in all my years of cruising. We were Platinum members so we had less than 5 min wait and into a lounge - which was very bare, uncomfortable seats and very basic. We were very pleased to get a balcony cabin on the LIDO deck. When we got to our cabin -we got the biggest shock of our lives - the carpet was filthy, the bed was not made and the toilet seat was a mess! We later discovered that the shower was blocked as well! To their credit the ship sent somebody round to fix things within 2 hours - we had to supervise the steward to clean the toilet at least 3 times! What made it for us was the fact we made friends with 2 other couples on the ship. Having said that the ship, outdoor cinema was overcrowded - the public areas, dining rooms, theatre, swimming pool was always full and getting seats was a problem. Every year I go on Princess cruises they seem to dilute their service and their standards -this year was no exception. The food choice and the repetitive menu was very poor compared to all my previous Princess cruises. I asked for a curry one night as it was my wife's birthday and although they made a super chicken curry - they made it with chicken wings only, talk about being "tight"! I then asked them to make a prawn curry the next night and it was inedible - I have never tasted such rubbish - we left the restaurant in disgust and went to the Cafe Caribe! We usually like the Horizon Court but it was shut every evening and we had to use the much smaller Cafe Caribe which really is not the same . The ports of call was really disappointing -we arrived in Bermuda on a Sunday - so every thing was closed. We went to the Turks and Caicos and guess what we arrived in a special jetty made by Carnival for Carnival full of their shops! The entertainment was poor apart from Sarge - the shows were the same shows we saw on the Island princess 18 months ago, the rest of the acts were absolutely rubbish for example they had a magic act the chap spent an hour for one trick! I am afraid this ship is old and overcrowded - it has the same tonnage as the Diamond and Sapphire Princess but it has 1000 more passengers. I would have given the cruise more stars if my cabin was cleaner - but in conclusion I am afraid the management in Carnival/PRINCESS really need to go on a course on passenger loyalty and retention as they are and will loose more people to the competition. The standards of Princess ships have really gone downhill in my opinion since they took over from PO . Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Our group consisted of 3 Swiss and one German person between the age of 40 - 45. For one of us it was already the 15th cruise and for the others second, third and sixth. All of us cruised with Princess for the first time. ... Read More
Our group consisted of 3 Swiss and one German person between the age of 40 - 45. For one of us it was already the 15th cruise and for the others second, third and sixth. All of us cruised with Princess for the first time. Booking/Pre-Cruise options: In my point of view it's a shame that passengers from outside of the US or Canada don't have the possibility to book on line. The possibility to book shore excursions ahead is great. Although I have heard that this resulted in certain excursions being unavailable for people to book on board. I would think to have a certain contingent put aside for people who don't have internet access might be a good idea. Advance booking for Spa-Treatments is also commendable. But I'd appreciate a price list for that. Who want's to buy the 'cat in the bag'? Embarkation at Brooklyn Pier: We arrived at the Pier by taxi around 1pm. Although it was suggested to arrive at a later time for a speedy embarkation, we found the process to be very efficient. It took us about 30 minutes until we were standing in our staterooms. Stateroom: I have sailed on a few cruises before - mainly with the German Cruiseline AIDA which of course has much smaller ships. This was the first time we have treated ourselves to a stateroom with balcony. I don't think we would ever want to go back to inside rooms again. We enjoyed that very much. The rooms were big enough and very pleasant. Nicely outlined. The bathroom was sufficient. We stayed on the Riviera Deck (14) near the stairs mid ship. It was very convenient to just have to go up one deck to arrive at the pools and the Buffets and it saves a lot of walking by being in the center of this big ship. Staff: Our cabin stewart was a very pleasant man from India. He took good care of us. We have to say though that the front desk staff leave a lot to be desired for. One of our travel companions accidentally left his credit card in the copy machine at home and only had his copy with him. He did however give them all the required creditcard information beforehand with his Board manifest. Still he had to go back to the front desk four different times until they finally accepted the copy! According to him the staff was quite unfriendly. The other friend lost his cruise card on the second to last day of the cruise. It took them three different cards before he finally could go back into his cabin. To get the Soda-sticker was another hassle. He was sent from front desk to bar and back to front desk to the lobby bar and that guy said that he needs a list from the front desk... When we refused to no longer be sent back and forth he finally went to get the list himself. The rest of the staff was very friendly. Food and Drinks: We did not try any of the speciality restaurants, so no comment on those. We had Anytime Dining and chose to eat at the Palm Dining room (aft) because we figured it would be less of a hassle to get a table there. From the three nights we ate there we had three different waiters. None of them was worth mentioning. The service was slow. So we decided to try out Coral Dining room and were pleasantly surprised by the happy waiters we encountered there. The food was good - not excellent but tasty. To my taste the food at the Horizon Court Buffet was bland. One thing worth mentioning were the salad dressings. We thought they were disgusting. Whenever we had the chance on land, to eat a salad was on my itinerary. We opted for the soda-pass. It costs US$ 38.25 plus 15% tips. You will get a small sticker to put on the cruise card. So whenever you order a soft drink (Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite or Ginger Ale) you just present the card and will get the drink 'for free'. For people who don't drink a lot of alcohol this might be a good investment.The cocktails were delicious and with prices between US$ 4.75 and US$ 6.75 in our opinion surprisingly low priced. Entertainment: We don't much care for magicians and comedians so we never attended those shows, although they have attracted huge crowds..We did go to see the three big production shows at the beautiful theatre. Getting a seat was never a problem. Those shows were great. Wonderful singers and dancers as well as fantastic costumes. The show that stood out though was 'Piano Man'. We also were quite entertained by the fellow cruisers efforts to become the next 'Princess Idol' and we enjoyed the 70' and 80's Trivia games. To finish off the evenings we would usually go to see the rock band 'Wavelength' who also accompanied 'wannabe'-Rockstars for two evenings. They rock pretty good and we especially liked the unplugged night. We also made a few trips up to Skywalker nightclub. For some reason there were hardly ever many people there. The DJ seemed to be enjoying his music much more than the guests. He would play 4 party songs which brought flocks of dancers onto the dance floor, only to kill the moment with some rap- or hiphop which drove the people away. What a shame because the club is really nice. Excursions: We didn't book any of the offered excursions because we thought they were completely overpriced but decided to explore on our own. In Bermuda we took a taxi to Hamilton - which was beautiful but since it was Sunday, all the shops were closed. We then proceeded to Horseshoe Beach which at first seemed a bit crowded but if you walk a bit behind the rocks you will find the most beautiful bays with hardly any people. In San Juan/Puerto Rico we walked around beautiful, colorful old town. They have loads of stores and souvenir shops. In the evening we went to Señor Frogs. Since there were two other ships in port that day (Norwegian Spirit and Freedom of the Seas) there were tons of young people in the place partying away... In St. Thomas we took a cab to Megan's Bay. We were surprised that they charge US $4.00 to get to the beach. It was worth the trip but there were a lot of people there too. The water was crystal clear and very warm. Beautiful place. Grand Turk was a bit of a disappointment to us. We were the second ship in, after the Carnival Liberty. Consequently in Margaritaville - a partyplace right at the port - all pool chairs were already taken by those folks and our ships people were left to sit in the grass - that felt a bit like being second class citizens. Margaritaville to us seemed to be like a moneymaking kettle farm. Great music but very loud and loads of young people screaming and drinking away in the heat. We later heard that normally there's only one ship in port so I guess it would be much nicer to visit. According to the postcards from this island there must have been some idyllic places to visit. Shops: Every day they have special offers on sale, like T'Shirts, Watches, jewelry, Swarowsky, and so on. We would have appreciated the opportunity to buy some small snacks like peanuts, chips or candy or even beverages in the shops. There is a store which sells aspirin, toiletries and stuff like that though. We were hoping to get a wider selection of stores on a ship this size. Photographs: As usual they take your picture at embarkation, whenever you get on land, at dinner and so on. They cost US$ 12.99. If you have your picture taken in front of the gorgeous backdrops for portraits, they cost US$ 25.00. We were very impressed by the way they positioned the clients to get the most flattering pictures. Spa: There is a wide selection of treatments to choose from. I treated myself to both a manicure and a pedicure. The staff there was very friendly and the service is good. The only thing that puts me off a bit is the fact that they try their hardest to get you to buy the stuff they treat you with. If you don't do that they are not very happy. I stupidly let myself be talked into buying some stuff which doubled my bill in the end. I know that's my fault and I need to work on saying no... Ship condition: The ship is in excellent condition. I read in other reviews that it showed signs of 'wear and tear' but they were not obvious to us. We did see staff members varnishing the railings and cleaning up after everyone quite frequently. There is absolutely nothing to criticize there. Disembarkation: The organization was impeccable. We were supposed to meet in Coral dining room at 9.15h and were out by 9.30h. There were no lines, no hectic, no confusion. The suitcases were also easy to find. To sum it all up, it was a very nice vacation. Although, compared to our other experiences, there were a few minus points to the pretty picture. We would recommend Princess cruises but would probably go for another cruiseline next time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
This is a long review, so feel free to skip around! By way of introduction, we are a family of four from Maryland. Our two adult (20, 23) children sailed with us. My sincere apologies, right from the start, to the Roll Call crowd and ... Read More
This is a long review, so feel free to skip around! By way of introduction, we are a family of four from Maryland. Our two adult (20, 23) children sailed with us. My sincere apologies, right from the start, to the Roll Call crowd and especially the one who made name tags. I did write down the time of the first Meet 'n Greet, but after the muster drill, we wanted to watch the Statue of Liberty fade away as we passed under the Verazanno. I did want to meet all of you, and I am sorry for the wasted name tags! I hope all of you enjoyed finally meeting each other! This was our 5th cruise, 2nd on Princess (2 with Carnival, 1 with Celebrity). We drove from Frederick, Maryland, to Red Hook in just under 5 hours. Parking is easy, and the lot is fenced, gated, and secure. We paid $174 for the 9 days, and we gave the porter $11 for 7 bags. Embarkation - This went very smoothly. We arrived about 1:30, and while the lines were long for initial ID check, security, and check-in, they all moved quickly, and we walked onto the ship. Rooms - Son and daughter had an interior room, L237, quite near the food, which worked out for them! DH and I had C753, a balcony on the aft "corner" of the ship. The advantages to this room are several, starting with the large covered balcony (Caribe deck has the largest balconies on the ship). We had only one neighbor (to our right in the mini-suite), and our room was located at the end of a short corridor of its own, affording us quiet and privacy. However, while my husband loved this room, I would not choose it again because of the noise. The aft cabins obviously overlook the wake, and noise is constant unless you're in port. Forget sleeping with the balcony door open to hear the sounds of the ocean - all you hear is "white noise." Again, this did not bother my husband. Room stewards for both cabins were outstanding: excellent, unobtrusive, friendly service. With the egg crates, our beds were quite comfortable, and we had down as well as foam pillows. The rooms have plenty of closet and shelf space. The hair dryer, it is true, is not terrifically powerful, but it did fine for my short hair, and I liked not having to take my own. The shower is pathetically tiny, but we knew it would be. The Ship - We frequently saw workers cleaning, vacuuming, and painting. They were never bothersome, though, and we felt the ship looked exceptionally nice. Every employee spoke whenever we passed by. We don't use the pool, but even we noticed how many lounge chairs were occupied by towels only. Away from the two main pools, though, it is easy to find a place to sit - either a padded chair or a lounge chair. The gym offers plenty, and we never had trouble getting an elliptical or treadmill between 7-8am. (Treadmills are not available before 8am.) The running track is well-used but never too crowded. If you work out, take your change of clothes and use the spa shower; it is huge!! My husband continually complained about how warm the ship was. From our past 4 cruises, I have learned that I will freeze, so I pack long sleeves and a sweater. They were definitely not needed. Entertainment and Activities - We found so much to do on this ship that I joked with DH that I wanted to stay on board and repeat the itinerary so we could take part in activities we missed the first time. Several times during the day we found we had to decide between equally intriguing activities. So that is a good thing - you can be as busy as you want. But it is also a bad thing - I wanted to do it all!! So, having four sea days was wonderful for us. If you play bridge, I recommend the lessons, and I'm sure the bridge games are nice, but they conflicted with line dance lessons! Sam and John teach ballroom and line dance, and they both are terrific! Musical venues are plentiful, both music to listen and dance to as well as the karaoke and Princess Pop Star events. We enjoyed almost all the shows, and it is definitely true that you need to arrive in the theater at least 30 minutes early if you want a seat. Just take a deck of cards or a magazine! While I know the dancers work very hard, the "production" shows did not do much for us, and that assessment includes "Piano Man." We enjoyed the comedian Sarge, the comedian Gary Delena, the comedian impersonator Jason Neistadt, and mentalist Wayne Hoffman very much. If you like rock music, you'll enjoy the husband/wife act, Kamika. The crew show was most enjoyable. Our son said the organized sports events were, for the most part, good. I recommend all the trivia contests, poolside games, and game shows for fun and silliness. Our son was chosen for "Weakest Link," and with a very drunk contestant next to him, the game show was hilarious. While we did not watch any movies, the Movies Under the Stars screen is amazing. Plenty of movie choices, too, although with kids running around until very late, I question the wisdom of showing "R" movies even at 10:15pm. Get to the champagne waterfall early (even 11pm is not too early) if you want a good line of sight. Cruise Director Kelvin Joy is terrific. I am not an experienced cruiser, but I have never seen a CD so visible and involved. He is also pretty funny! Food - We all enjoyed the food. Was it spectacular? No. Was it well above average? We thought so, but we are not food snobs. The Sailaway Seafood Buffet is very nice, and while the crab claws are difficult to tackle, the crab legs are plentiful and split. We chose traditional 6pm dining and were very happy getting to know our table mates and waiters. One night we came back late from our excursion, missing our dinner, and asked if we could eat in Alternative Dining. The maitre d' was most kind and said, "of course." We ate in Sabatini's one night, and there the food and service were noticeably superior. Sabatini's does something unique (to us anyway) - you choose only your entree, and the waiter brings samples of every other appetizer, antipasto, and pasta dishes. This is a dinner to linger over; we were there 2 hours. Buffets could get crowded, but all 3 (both sides of the Horizon as well as Cafe Caribe) have two entrances, so if you see a long line, go to the other side. That worked very well for us. Food was good, not great, in the buffets, but the assortment is impressive. You can certainly find something to like! The pizza is outstanding. I hated the veggie burger, and DH said the hamburger was average. I heard so many people complaining about having to pay for ice cream that I delighted in telling them about the 3:30 free ice cream (and toppings) and warm chocolate chip cookies (this board is so great!!). I did, however, want to go into the kitchen and say, "If you would just take those cookies out of the oven two minutes earlier, they would be so much better!" Crispy, almost-burnt chocolate chip cookies did not impress, although the fact that the were available did impress me. Passengers, for the most part, dressed very nicely on formal nights. I saw many tuxedos and evening gowns. Ports of Call Bermuda - Thanks again to these boards for all the helpful advice. Unfortunately, we were in Bermuda on a Sunday, and it is true just about everything is closed, but I knew that ahead of time. We purchased transportation passes ($12/pp for unlimited ferry and bus travel) - just walk off the ship and over to the ferry boarding area to a trailer which sells individual tickets as well as passes. We took the ferry to Hamilton for a walking tour (I just used Fodor's), ending at Fort Hamilton. Fodor's says the walk to the fort is fairly exerting, but we did not find that to be true. The views are amazing, and if you go, be sure to walk the moat - it's like being in a rain forest. We then got a bus (do not go back to where the ship is - there is an open-air bus terminal off Church Street) to Horseshoe Bay. The beach was very crowded, but we walked well to the left to get some sand to ourselves. We rented an umbrella ($10, with additional $5 deposit), but with the winds, all I did was hold on to it, it seemed! Water and beach were beautiful!! We did spring for the $1 to take the small van back up to the top of the hill. On this Sunday, more buses were running (I presume because of the cruise ship being in port), and we were back to West End quickly. The stores at the Clocktower Mall were open. San Juan - Since we had been here before and walked around Old San Juan, we rented a car (through Enterprise ahead of time - $29 for a compact car). Unfortunately, immigration took a very long time, and we were not off the ship at 10am, more like 11:15. Frustrating, and even the cruise director apologized profusely. So we were not on our way until noon. It is almost an hour to the rain forest, and then the road winds and winds - be careful!! It is, however, beautiful! I had printed off information about El Yunque, so I knew which trails we wanted to hike. The waterfall is definitely worth hiking to, and by the time you get there, that cold water is refreshing! The trails were crowded - school was out, and everyone was in the rain forest!! With our late start, we didn't have time to check out Luquillo Beach, and we didn't get back to the ship until 6:30. Our son decided to skip dinner and walk around Old San Juan. We were at Pier 4, so he had a little bit of a walk. St. Thomas - What a gorgeous island. Three ships were here, and I cannot imagine the traffic with 7 or 8 ships; it was crowded as it was. We have snorkeled Coki Point before, and while St. John's was definitely a draw, we decided not to hassle with the cab/ferry/cab and went to Sapphire Beach ($11/pp one way) instead. The beach is breathtakingly gorgeous, and the snorkeling was good. The beach resort there seemed to be partially open with a resident iguana. Clean bathrooms are available. Chairs are for rent ($7) as are all sorts of water equipment, and while we did not eat there, I did see several menus to choose from. The water was definitely warmer than Bermuda. After the beach, we took a cab ($10/pp) to Charlotte Amalie to shop. When I commented on a particularly pretty view, the cab driver immediately pulled over for me to take a picture. The weather was suffocatingly hot and humid, and we did not last long. While I overheard a cab driver showing a family of 4 how to walk back to the ship ("ten minutes," she said), we opted for the $4/pp cab. As the cab took us back to Crown Bay, I was so glad we did not opt to walk. You'd have to be a speed walker to make it in 10 minutes, and the area is industrial. Crown Bay does have some shops open, so you don't have to trek into Charlotte Amalie unless you want a fuller shopping experience. Grand Turk - The desert-like nature and flatness of this island surprised me, but I knew the real beauty lay under the water. Actually, though, the beach by the pier is pretty, but it is rocky even as you wade out into the almost-bath water! We spent a couple hours on this beach before meeting our guide for Ultimate Snorkeling. This was a great excursion. We snorkeled at two reefs, and our guides were very helpful. One shouted out that he saw a sea turtle, and when I started to take a photo, he kindly took my camera and dove way down to get a shot for me. They told us where to swim and snorkel and how to avoid the shallow parts of the reef. We saw plenty of fish including a nasty barracuda, that turtle, and a stingray. The water was a bit cooler since we were in deep water, but we adjusted immediately. We like to manage excursions on our own, but all the snorkeling excursions I could find were available only through the ship. This one cost $49 a person. Disembarkation - Everything seemed to go smoothly until 9:30. Our kids got off right on time (9:15), but our 9:45 time was not called until 10:45. We were kept in a holding pattern until 10:30 when we were told immigration was "backed up." We give the entire cruise an "A." The only difficulties we encountered were with immigration officials, and that was not Princess's fault. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
This was our 20th cruise, 6th time on Princess. We flew from Burbank to JFK the day before, hired a car service to pick us up and take us to the Brooklyn Marriott. We got a rate of $200 with AAA. We checked in around 4:30 pm and went to ... Read More
This was our 20th cruise, 6th time on Princess. We flew from Burbank to JFK the day before, hired a car service to pick us up and take us to the Brooklyn Marriott. We got a rate of $200 with AAA. We checked in around 4:30 pm and went to dinner at Henry;s End in Brooklyn Heights, then we went to the Brooklyn Promenade to see the July 4th fireworks. Brooklyn Heights is a very charming area to walk around, there are lots of shops and restaurants, we picked up some wine the next day for our cruise. The hotel arranged transportation to the port July 5, we had the easiest embarkation ever, no wait at all. The area around the port is somewhat undesirable however and there is a lot of construction going on. Our cabin was a KK C106 way up front. We had a considerable amount of vibration and noise, plus a hike to the buffet area. We asked our steward for extra towels, but he never came through, we had to get our own time after time. The ship itself is beautiful but I prefer the aft pool area on Diamond and Caribbean Princess. Skywalkers is smaller on the Crown and the aft pool seating is very limited. The pools were very crowded, standing room only (all 4). We had anytime dining which worked out well for 2 people, we rarely had to wait. Getting a window seat is very frustrating--they say first come, first served but this never seemed to be the case. We were lied to more than once both in the dining room and Crown Grill. The food was par for cruise food, although the breakfast buffet grew old fast. I enjoyed the lunch buffet--the salads were especially fresh. Coffee was awful as expected. Service was uneven. They did not enforce sanitizing your hands as they have on other cruises. The Crown had the usual activities, nothing special here. The entertainment was the same old stuff. I did notice an effort was made to have numerous options in the evening with shows in the Princess theater and Explorers lounge as well as in the Piazza area. The Princess theater fills very quickly. We enjoyed the ports and had pretty good weather. Horseshoe Bay is probably the best beach I have seen when you rate sand, water and scenery. In San Juan, we rented a car and drove to Luquillo Beach. We have been to SJ many times and didn't need to see the town. The beach was beautiful, but a ways out of town. In St Thomas, we went straight to Megans Bay--it was a gorgeous day there, just perfect. We loved Grand Turk although finding seating is a challenge. Get off early and run! We found the Conch shell graveyard around the bend--its worth the walk. Margaritaville gets incredibly crowded and service is SLOW! Disembarkation went slower than expected, we didn't actually dock till around 7:30. We had to get off with the self disembarkers although we sent our luggage out the night before. We had trouble accessing it for about 30 minutes, as they were still unloading and we couldn't go to the area where the unloaders were working. We finally got our stuff--customs took 2 seconds, and we found our car service ride back to JFK. We made a 11:30 flight back to Burbank with no difficulty. We saw plenty of taxis at the port contrary to other reports. All in all a very relaxing cruise--it was hard to leave. Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
departed july 23,2007 from Brooklyn Ship Terminal,we arrived at the terminal at 12:25 p.m. we were on board by 12:40.Ship is beautiful! Our cabin R725 was an inside quad, a decent size,except for the shower, which was so small there ... Read More
departed july 23,2007 from Brooklyn Ship Terminal,we arrived at the terminal at 12:25 p.m. we were on board by 12:40.Ship is beautiful! Our cabin R725 was an inside quad, a decent size,except for the shower, which was so small there isn't room to change your mind.We had 6pm reserved dinner each night in the Botticelli dining room, if your don't expect very much in shipboard food, you won't be disappointed. I found myself scouring the menu each night for something to each, on Celebrity and Royal i was always trying to choose between 2 or 3 entrees.As a example Italian Night had Pot Roast on the menu???? Not sure my Italian mother would agree with that one. The food in the buffets was great! plenty of selections and quality, also to be noted,at the entrance to the buffets and the dining room there was always anti bacterial soap dispensers to clean your hand before eating. Good idea... The shows weren't bad. typical cruise line entertainment. Keep your expectations medium and you wont be disappointed. One note Johnny Thunder,,,doesn't have any left,after each song he would do filler for up to 10 mins,i actually saw the drummer close his eyes. The pools great! for the first time ever i saw the deck hands actually enforce the no reserving of chairs rules. The deck attendants would remove towels,and shirts/bags left by cruisers who got up early and left their stuff on chairs and went back to sleep or where ever they go! there was a 30 min rule and it was enforced every sea day. Also great was each afternoon about 4pm the staff would offer warm cookies and cold milk to everyone on deck. The Ports: Grand Turk, we got off the boat and there was a Margaritaville at the end of the dock with a big pool and a beach, all free! and great except for the $9.00 drinks?? Princess must be getting a piece of that action! San Juan, nice we walked to both forts and did some shopping. St Thomas, more shopping Bermuda only not great day, it was raining when we arrived and we took the bus from the dockyard to the Gibbs Lighthouse and back,very nice, it stopped raining and was windy the rest of the day. All it all it was a nice relaxing vacation with 3000 other people,750 of them that were under 21.There was some talk of kids getting wild,but we never saw any of it. My only complaint would be the kids sitting on the floor at each show and commenting to each performer and interrupting the show at times. Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
We arrived at the Brooklyn terminal around 2:00 and embarkation was a breeze. We were lucky for a beautiful fall day. While in port, go to the back of Deck 16. There youll have a vista of the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall St. in front of you. ... Read More
We arrived at the Brooklyn terminal around 2:00 and embarkation was a breeze. We were lucky for a beautiful fall day. While in port, go to the back of Deck 16. There youll have a vista of the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall St. in front of you. Nice place for a drink. When leaving New York we followed the advice of a previous Cruise Critic and went to the very front of the Lido deck. There, after going through two sets of doors, you can access the deck overlooking the bow of the ship. Its a great spot to get a picture of the Statue of Liberty. If you have a choice, get a cabin on the starboard side of the ship. In New York, Bermuda and leaving Grand Turk it was the better side to be on. We had a mini-suite for the first time in our 5 cruises with Princess. As a plus the bathroom had a full tub and was much larger. This alone was worth the price to upgrade. The stateroom itself had a few extra feet of space, and two TVs. The balcony was actually smaller than those found one deck up on Caribe. If you plan to spend a lot of time on your balcony, Id recommend an Oceanview Double on Caribe instead of upgrading to a mini-suite on Dolphin. The best thing about our cabin was the bed. It was the most comfortable Ive ever been in. Everything on the ship still looks brand new, and there was no evidence of the tilt accident from July. Maintenance crews were visible painting and varnishing, but were not in the way. One surprise was that while in San Juan, a crew replaced our balcony dividers. The Star Princess had a major fire and plastic balcony dividers were to blame. Princess has the most plastic dividers of any fleet. To their credit they are going to great expense to replace the dividers with aluminum to fix the problem. It was a slight inconvenience, but we were informed well in advance and the job was done professionally. It was a hot, humid day for a hard job, but the crew did a great job. The only other maintenance issue was the loss of the main generator for several minutes. The whole ship went dark, which surprised me. Emergency lights, and the backup generator were somewhat slow to come on. But everything got fixed and there were no further problems. One other thing. They cant get the clocks on deck to work, so dont depend on them. I have a picture showing one clock ten minutes fast and the other ten minutes slow. We like anytime dining, which gives greater flexibility to see evening entertainment or a late return to the ship. Most nights we arrived around 7:30 and had no more than a 15 minute wait. Both the DaVinci and Michelangelo dining room serve anytime dining. After eating in both, Id go to Michelangelo on deck 5. It seemed less crowded. Also the hostess, (cant remember her name) was the most pleasant crew member we encountered. It may be an unfair statement, but there seems to be a higher percentage of Asian wait staff on the Crown compared to other Princess ships weve sailed. Ive concluded European waiters offer better service and have a better sense of humor. Not a bad experience, but weve had better. The food was quite good, though the Princess menu doesnt seem to change much. We ate at Horizon Court one night because we wanted to see a Movie Under the Stars. That buffet was also good. Entertainment was a little disappointing. Other Cruise Critics raved about comedian Sarge, but I was not overly impressed. It seems every comedian on a cruise ship has to make light of the small showers and sucking toilets. Gets to be an old joke after awhile. The MUTS selection was also disappointing, though if you can find one you like, its a great way to see a movie. The Cruise Director Omar looked new to the position and was just OK. The Assistant Director had much more personality. She also gave the ballroom dancing lessons and was quite a good teacher. We rented scooters in Bermuda from Oleander who has a location right at the West End pier. Go online before you sail and you can save $5.00. Be warned that a $30.00 insurance charge is in the fine print. A scooter gives you great freedom to explore. The best beaches were on the southern side of the island. Plan on an excursion on Grand Turk. There is not much to do at the dock. We did a kayak and snorkeling trip which worked out nicely. The days at sea are a nice change of pace. If you want to get away from the crowds, the sun deck near the front of the ship on the Sports deck always had space. Princess is pushing The Sanctuary as a $15.00 per half day option. I just dont get it. I didnt see more than 6 people use the space. Ill be interested to see if Princess continues this option. One other nice place to avoid the crowds for an evening drink is the Adagio lounge. Their specialty is martinis and they offer a large selection of tasty olives to accompany the drinks. I cant overstate how much we enjoyed this lounge. There were several wonderful musicians for entertainment. Adagio is on Deck 16 all the way aft. Many people just dont venture that far, so it was never busy, but well worth the walk. On a ship with 3400 passengers, it is surprising how many quite places can be found if you are willing to look around. When arriving back in New York, do yourself a favor and wake up early to see the morning sunrise over the city. I went to the front of the Promenade deck. It was just beautiful. Disembarkation did not go well, though the blame goes to US customs. Due to 6 cruise ships arriving in New York on the same day, only 5 custom agents were available to clear 3400 passengers. It went on forever. And getting a taxi was difficult. We should have used a Princess arranged transfer. Those folks got to disembark much earlier. Overall a great cruise. Im guessing in the summer there are many kids which if you have children would make for a fun time. Our September trip was more adult oriented which was just fine for us. Cruises remain the best travel value and we look forward to another cruise on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
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