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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I took this cruise with my significant other (SO) after sailing solo many times. We were booked back to back and it was great! We had the same cabin both weeks of the cruise. This was a casino comped cruise from my previous sailing on the ... Read More
I took this cruise with my significant other (SO) after sailing solo many times. We were booked back to back and it was great! We had the same cabin both weeks of the cruise. This was a casino comped cruise from my previous sailing on the Regal Princess. We did pay for the beverage package - note to others: prior to sailing we would have been forced to buy the package for both weeks but once on the ship had the option to only get it for one week and/or the other. The package was set up as a 7 day charge each week. Since I like my Perrier, water, coffee and cappuccinos, we ended up buying the package both weeks. As one of the bartenders pointed out, you don't have to drink the 15 alcoholic beverages limit to get an advantage from buying the package. We drove to the pier after spending the night prior at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood. We used Park N Go, about a 15-20 minute drive away and got a great summer rate of $8.99/day. Service was good as always. It was pouring down rain when we arrived around 11:30 but waited in the car until we were able to pull up under the tent. The guys grabbed our bags and pointed us to the correct bus. We got to the pier quickly and got through security and check in so we were in our cabin about 12:15 or so. The cabin was ready before the 1:00 time advertised. Princess embarkation is the fastest and most efficient of my two favorite cruise lines. Our cabin was a standard balcony on Aloha deck. Everything was in good shape. The bed was very comfortable and although we didn't watch much, the upgraded TV was great. We had the medallion which was handy when coming back to the cabin with hands full. I only had to use my elbow to open the door. Our cabin steward, John was very efficient. We used the elite laundry benefit several times and everything came back clean and appeared pressed. I was given a mini-bar setup both weeks of the cruise. Elite status also got me unlimited internet but since my SO was with me, I barely used it. Its normal function for me is to be able to keep in touch via Facebook Messenger. The internet did work fast and smoothly whenever I used it. I had previously been to all of the islands visited during this 2 week cruise so the first half of the cruise we barely disembarked. I'm not wild about Grand Cayman so we stayed on board that day. The next day was Mahogany Bay Roatan. We got off the ship but only stayed a few minutes. I had some problems walking from surgery I'd had and walking up the slight hill to the main area inside the pier was too much for me. It turned into another sea day for us more or less. Belize was another tender port and we decided to stay on board that day also. We did get off in Cozumel and shopped around the port. Every day was very hot and since we had no beach plans it was better to hang out on the ship. The second week we were supposed to visit Princess Cay, but due to weather the Captain decided tendering would not be possible. Some people were very disappointed. I was surprised to have someone tell me they booked specifically to go there. I would have like to go since during my previous cruise tendering was stopped after about an hour because of the weather also. But the seas were high and it was best to not make the stop. I'm sure it will be there when I cruise with Princess again in February. In St Thomas, we took a taxi to Emerald Beach for $6 per person each way. There is only one place to go for drinks, food and bathroom facilities so not many people go there. It was a very relaxing day. We rented chairs (hint: further away from the hotel prices can be less, try to negotiate). Water was warm and we found a vendor selling Coronas for $5 apiece. I believe the hotel bar was selling the same for $7 apiece. Kind of ridiculously expensive. Luckily I brought bottled water so we had more than just beer to drink. In St Maarten, we took the water taxi to town for a $7 per person/all day wrist band. They sell beers and water on the boat for $2. We walked through town looking for socks for me and a couple of kind residents led us in the right direction. After that purchase, we walked through the straw market but I was too hot to enjoy shopping and we left without buying anything more. We walked to Blue Bitch Beach Bar after that and got a bucket of beers (5) for $10 - quite a difference from St. Thomas pricing. They allowed us to mix and match, so my SO drank Red Stripe and I drank Corona Light. After a few hours on shore we headed back to the ship. I noticed several signs for chairs, etc. along the beach. One of them was for 2 chairs, an umbrella and 4 drinks for $25...maybe next time. I'm not one to search the Patters for things to do so we pretty much allow ourselves to watch and listen to whatever is going on wherever we are. Because of my difficulty walking, on board ship we basically stayed in just a few venues over the two weeks. Our favorite was the Lobby Bar with bartenders Chris and Sawat. They did a great job for us. We enjoyed all the people watching that could be done in that area and were able to enjoy the shows in the Piazza and the entertainment coming from Crooners. We enjoyed the steel drum player in the Piazza the first few days but after that he started to repeat the same songs over and over. Toward the last few days he did change up some of the songs and that was nice. I liked the cellist and violinist. Very calming music. There was also a young man who did a good one man band type show. We didn't find any rock and roll or blues on board but didn't really look. I also spent a bit of time in the casino and won 3 (!) jackpots. I did spend quite a bit of money too, but had fun. Honey, from the casino bar was great. Nice service and I enjoyed talking to her there and also when she worked at Crooners. When I asked her about Pub Lunch she made sure to remind me both weeks. We did not go to any of the shows in the theater. I rarely do when alone and we saw no reason to change that. We did stop to listen to a band in Explorers but I thought they were just mediocre. We enjoyed the bartender, Mark, more than anything. We only went there a couple of times during the 2 weeks but Mark greeted us every day - because of the location of our cabin we passed by on our way to anything. We stopped to chat and occasionally picked up a drink. We were invited to the Captains Circle gatherings in the theater based on SO's membership and to mine in the Vista Lounge. We attended both of his and only the second week of mine. The Circle gathering for less than platinum is about a 15 minute presentation. No hors d'oeuvres and no beverages, although we were given coupons for a free drink at any bar on the way out. We later gave those to someone we met at the lobby bar. Although I cruise several times a year, I doubt I will ever have "most traveled" status. The people mentioned had close to 4 years worth of sailing days. I've won champagne twice before but not this time. We each had a drink and spoke to a couple who sat with us then left. I went to the Cruise Critic meet and greet and talked to a couple of people. Thanks to my fellow CC'er who set this up. Towards the end of the M&G, Gavin MacLeod's voice could be heard so we went to a table next to the area where he was sitting. If I hadn't heard his distinctive voice I wouldn't have known who he was. He looked like any other guy in Island style shirt and cap. He made himself scarce on the ship. Many people thought he got onboard in St. Thomas, but I can attest that he was onboard from the beginning since there were no stops since leaving Ft. Lauderdale until the M&G. My SO didn't come with me but while sitting in Crooners one day, Captain Stubing came past on his way to a book signing event onboard and SO at least got to get a look. He had wanted to get a shirt that said "Stuby, Stuby, Do" but never did get around to it. We went to the Elite lounge one night but it was in Skywalkers which is not great for meeting people. Every seating area seems separate. We ended up feeling it was not conducive to mingling and we had the beverage package so that was it for that. I like it better when they have the gathering in a smaller venue like on Royal and Regal. Just before leaving St Maarten, a troupe of gorgeous young ladies from the island came on board in fabulous costumes and danced for the crowd in the Piazza. These ladies were very attractive and all legs. They really looked beautiful in their costumes and stayed for photos with passengers after their act. It was a nice surprise. There were a few children on board and they seemed to enjoy Shark Week. They were getting their faces painted and posing for photos with the shark. My SO posed with the shark too. I guess he's just a kid at heart. I suggested to him he may want to get his face painted but he declined. The casino comped dinners for us both weeks. The first week they sent a bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries in addition to dinner for 2 at Crown Grill. The second week they comped my choice of wine at CG and our meals. We ate almost all our other dinners in the Island dining room with a very funny, very professional waiter, Victoria from the Ukraine. We sat in her section all but three nights. We sat at a table for 2 that was basically joined with 2 other tables for 2. We had great dining companions every night and it made the meals very enjoyable. Everyone had great stories and some nights it was a laugh riot. Anyone would have thought we knew the people we were sitting with but only sat with the same couple twice. Some of the food was not great - beef wellington was dry and tasteless - but most was good to very good. My SO loved the salmon on the regular menu and raved about the stuffed trout. We had breakfast every day except one at the buffet. The fresh cooked eggs and omelettes were very good there. We ate breakfast one day in the dining room and I have to say, it was the worst meal of the cruise. Poached eggs were overcooked (I asked for soft), toast was cold, pancakes were like rubber, coffee undrinkable. Lucky I had the beverage package and could get a good cup of coffee at the International cafe. I'm not a coffee snob, but I do drink it black so the sludge being served was terrible. There wasn't enough cream in the world to make it taste okay. But hey, if that's the worst thing in the world, my world would be very small - needless to say, we didn't go back to the dining room for breakfast. Pub Lunch was very good, as usual. It was held in Crown Grill and we attended both weeks. The first week I had the fish and chips, the second week I had bangers and mash along with a side of fish I shared with SO. SO had fish and chips both weeks. I love that the fish is hot and crispy. The buffet just can't provide that. I thought it was delicious! I'd read complaints on the boards here about the quality of the pizza and decided to try it for myself. I only had it twice but thought it was still good. I didn't try any of the new offerings so can't comment on them. I also did not try the burger grill this trip but generally find the burger is overcooked. I prefer a medium rare burger and know they won't cook it that way due to safety concerns. When I sail solo, I often use room service but this time didn't so I can't comment on the new menu. If I had ordered anything though, I would have been happy with the free offerings. I have in the past enjoyed the club sandwich and some of the other free goodies. Lunch at the noodles bar was the best! Maybe we're boring but we had lunch there almost every day. You just gather up the items you want in your stir fry, pick your noodles and hand to the chef. As with the omelettes in the morning, you sit at your table and a waiter takes the slip the chef gave you and delivers your food. The items for stir fry included mussels, shrimp and bay scallops, as well as vegetables and other meats. I thought this was one of the best improvements ever and at lunch there is no extra charge. We did not try it in the evening for the $12 pp upcharge, nor did we try the BBQ for $12. I did talk to 2 people who tried the BBQ and they both said it wasn't worth it. We were happy enough with our dining arrangements anyway. We enjoyed all the crew we interacted with. We didn't experience any lacking of service that I'd read about. We thought everyone seemed to enjoy their jobs or at least put on a happy face. One poor guy was assigned to try to sell dinners at Steamers and the BBQ place Planks. He would walk up to us in the buffet area or back deck and ask us every day. After about 5 times, SO started telling him "maybe tomorrow". That was one thing they could probably stop doing. I suppose it could be annoying for some people but we just thought it was funny. All the other sales pitches were via papers in the cabin or the cruise director trying to sell art and jewelry, etc. via the loudspeaker. My biggest complaint is that SO and I were using different credit cards for our purchases. More than once, my card was charged for a drink at a bar and once for a coffee even though I had the beverage package. I went to the Guest Services desk to ask for the charges to be removed. The first time, the woman I spoke to questioned me over and over again...did you buy a drink for someone? No, and if I ordered drinks for both of us I took both our cards. It took at least 15 minutes before she agreed to remove the charge. Then at the end of the cruise, neither of us received a final bill. I received the 1099 for my wins at the casino slipped under the door the last night but nothing else. There are no mailboxes outside your door- the medallion is there now - so the patters and other invitations, etc. are put on the bed by the cabin steward. I thought maybe because of the change to internet and medallion that bills were being sent via email so we left the ship without them. I am still trying to get that final bill from Princess. I haven't received anything via email. I think the charges are correct, but it would be nice to see it in writing before I pay my credit card company. We are both fairly laid back, in our 60's. You have to go a long way to irritate me. My SO is less patient, but enjoyed the cruise as much as I did. There were the odd complainers and a couple of just nasty people but for the most part everyone was very civil. We met people from all over the world and enjoyed everyone we talked to. We had a great time and enjoyed the ship very much. I must like the Caribbean Princess - this was my 7th and 8th cruise on her! She is showing her age - aren't we all? - but most things were kept in great order. I would give 5 stars but because of wear and tear and the few things I wasn't happy with I can only give 4. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This fabulous 7-night cruise was ideal for relaxation. Since both DH & myself are Princess Captain’s Circle’s elite members, we have perks like complimentary unlimited WIFI for the entire cruise (regular price was $19.99 ... Read More
This fabulous 7-night cruise was ideal for relaxation. Since both DH & myself are Princess Captain’s Circle’s elite members, we have perks like complimentary unlimited WIFI for the entire cruise (regular price was $19.99 per day), priority tender, embarkation & disembarkation, free laundry & dry cleaning and free mini-bar (1-time set up at the beginning of the cruise, will have to pay extra if replenishing is requested). For pre-cruise hotel in Fort Lauderdale, I would recommend the Embassy Suites on A1A, opposite Southport Shopping Center. As I had a complimentary Category 4 hotel stay in a Starwood Hotel, I used my free night at Four Points by Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Hotel instead, a 10-minute walk further away from ES. Taxi from the airport was $12.10 fare + $3 airport charge + $1.90 tip ($17 total) to the hotel. Hotel offered a port shuttle for $6 per person but a taxi ride was only $7.30 to get to the port. Do bear in mind that the shuttle didn’t stop at just the Princess pier but to all piers where there were ships docked. On our embarkation day there were Carnival Conquest & RCI’s mega ship Harmony of the Seas. We arrived at the Terminal at 11:50 am & stepped inside the beautiful Caribbean Princess at 12 noon. The whole check-in process took only 10 minutes. We went to the dining room for lunch & it was only half full. I gathered that most people went to the buffet & many tried the new dining venues Plank BBQ & Steamers Seafood. Our stateroom was ready at 1 pm & our luggage was delivered at 2 pm. Then we went to the spa to do a tour, booked some embarkation specials & went to the muster drill at 3 pm. Our muster station was in the Princess Theatre. Then we went back to the stateroom to unpack. I used the cruise card to operate the Ocean Medallion pad to open the door. The unlimited WIFI was very good. After dinner we went to the spa for our treatments. My husband had a Man’s Package (3 treatments for $99) & I had a seaweed massage $209 for 100 minutes ($50 discount). The spa was beautiful with a new locker area from last year's dry dock. Day 2 was a sea day. Being the coordinator of Meet & Greet, I met up with over 20 CC friends at the Skywalkers, followed by a Slot Pull ($15 per person) at the casino. We broke even. I took a long nap before going to the Elite Lounge on formal night. The show "Bravo" was truly bravo! It was so good that I went again at 9:30 pm. The soprano was fantastic! Day 3 - Georgetown, Grand Cayman (tender) As we've been to Grand Cayman many times, we already did the stingrays & various underwater activities. So this time we intended to take a public bus to go to the Cayman Turtle Centre. At the pier, a taxi driver approached us and offered a discounted rate of US$8 one way or $12 return per person to the turtle farm. We happily accepted the offer & rode the taxi there. The journey took 20 minutes. The taxi driver, Daniel Lowe, was so good that he even took us inside the farm & showed us around like a guide. When we paid for admission, they asked how we came & we told them by taxi, so they only charged us US$11 per person instead of the regular US$18. Let's do some math here: By taxi: $12 x 2 people + $11 x 2 admission = US$46 By bus: $4 x 2 people + $18 x 2 admission = US$44 With only 2 dollars difference, I would definitely take a taxi to save time, though we gave the driver $6 tip. The comfort level with lovely air conditioning was totally worth the extra bucks. The green sea turtles were huge. They're 3-4 feet long & weigh 240-420 lbs. We passed through a baby turtle pool & there were kids in the water holding the baby turtles. We then went to a nearby Tortuga rum store before going to the National Museum ($8 entrance) opposite the pier. There were good displays in an air-conditioned building. Day 4 - Roatan, Honduras We could see the chairlifts going from the terminal to the nearby Mahogany Beach. Fellow guests who went there told us that the place was packed, with people from both Caribbean Princess & Carnival Magic. We joined a ship tour to Gumbalimba Park for clear-bottom kayaking and snorkelling. It was fun with our own full-faced snorkel. The water was very clear but the corals were not as colourful as those we saw last year in Bora Bora & Tahiti. The guides were super good and responsible, they were always on the watch. I tipped them big. Due to the late arrival from the excursion back to the ship, we chose to skip the 5:45 traditional dining and had a totally delicious dinner at Steamers at 7 pm. It was amazing! The cover charge for an appetizer, a main course & a dessert is $12. To add a lobster tail & king crabs was an additional $10. Dessert was strawberry shortcake or key lime pie. The chowder was good. The fried seafood platter was above average but I would recommend paying the extra $10 for the mouth-watering lobster & king crab on top of the mussels and the clams. Day 5 - Costa Maya, Mexico When I looked out from the balcony... what a sight!!! Just the walk from the ship to the port gate was SOOOOO long that I knew there was a lot of walking for the day. There was a free shuttle like a Disney parking lot tram just for the morning but not in the afternoon. Due to the long duration & safety concern, we again joined the ship tour to 2 Mayan ruins, Kohunlich & Dzibanche in the jungle. Bring insect repellent! My husband paid US$4 to get the license for video-taping. It worked for both ruins for the day. You must have exact change. He climbed to the top of 4 ruins and I just went up to one with the help of the rope on the side. He could hardly walk the next day. So check your own fitness level before taking the adventure. On this excursion, I walked for 4.7 km with 7,035 steps. My husband climbed 14 floors of uneven steps. He definitely needed a foot and ankle massage. The whole tour (with 2 hour 15 minute drive each way) took 8 hours and we got iced cold water and cheese & ham sandwich to eat on the bus en route to the 2nd ruin. We also got a snack bag with water, cookie, nuts and a banana. The show after dinner, "A Fantastic Journey" was very modern with lots of high tech add-ons, though there was no catchy melody. Then we went to the Piazza for the balloon drop. Day 6 - Cozumel, Mexico We were so tired after the Costa Maya excursions that we decided to stay on the ship and do nothing today. We have been to Cozumel a few times and did enough activities, so staying on board in the air-conditioned interior & not even out there on the pool deck seemed to be the best choice for us. I personally like art and craft but it was not offered on this cruise. When we woke up, I called the spa to book the $99 Top to Toe special massage for both of us. I added a mini facial for an extra $20. It's great that we could get lovely Makka again. Both my husband & myself loved her hands. We gave her a big extra tip on top of the automatically added gratuity. I had mine at 9:15 am & DH's was at 10:30 am. There was no one at the spa waiting room when I was there. After dinner, we went ashore to explore the pier area as it was less hot. There were many shops but not many people around. We bought some souvenirs and spent about 45 minutes there. The night view of Caribbean Princess was gorgeous. The Mexican Folkloric Festival in the Princess Theatre was below par. The singing was just average, the band was not together & the dancing was repetitive. I'd rather watch the one in Club Fusion. Country singer/songwriter Rockie Lynne and his vocal trio were well-harmonized. It was a good 45-minute show. Day 7 - At Sea We had a brief meeting with the Cruise Critic friends again to do the 2nd slot pull. This time we lost, then we bid farewell to one another before going to the sale in the Island Dining Room. I only bought 2 swimsuit cover-ups. We had Ramen for lunch at Steamers. Following an afternoon nap, we went to the Skywalkers to enjoy our pre-dinner cocktail and snacks. Again, the Captain Circle host was not visible. We only saw her 2 times on board, one was at the Captain Circle's party. The show in the Princess Theatre was very good by the Princess Entertainer of the Year 2018, Tom Franek. He was highly entertaining & had great piano skills with various piano stunts. Since there was nothing much to do, we went to watch him again at 9 pm after packing. Day 8 - Disembarkation After breakfast, we went to Club Fusion on Deck 7 Aft to wait for disembarkation. Our luggage tag was Light Blue 5 and we got called at 9:25 am to get off the ship, 10 minutes earlier than the designated time. Prior to arrival at Fort Lauderdale, I downloaded the App "Mobile Passport" so we could get to security using the fast lane. At this point only Fort Lauderdale cruise port plus 24 US airports could use this App to speed up entry to the US. We took a taxi that cost $12.50 from port to airport, with tips it's $15. This was a fantastic & relaxing cruise. We only did 2 long excursions out of 7 days. Spa treatments were wonderful & I took so many naps. That's a true vacation! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Got a really good price. Very pretty ship as are all the Princess ships we have been on but she needed some work. On our balcony there was a mounting bracket of some kind with nothing mounted on it. It was rusty and seriously mis-shapened ... Read More
Got a really good price. Very pretty ship as are all the Princess ships we have been on but she needed some work. On our balcony there was a mounting bracket of some kind with nothing mounted on it. It was rusty and seriously mis-shapened and in need of paint as were several places on the balcony. There were a number of places around the ship in the same condition. Frankly the food was not much better than average with the exception of the Plank BBQ - excellent. We did the Crown Grill and they did not get the steak right. Offered another steak but I did not accept. Embarkation and disembarkation was wonderful - just boom - boom - boom and we are done. The excursions seemed very limited and as it turned out they cancelled the one excursion to west end on Roatan we really wanted to do - something about the excursion operator did not meet Princess requirements for insurance. We used the Princess EZ Check for our luggage coming home and it worked. Though I was a bit concerned as their explanations weren't very clear. We did the Scoot Coupes in Cozumel and without exception everyone thought it was bit dangerous = the coupes are not in real good shape and it was obvious the tour guide took us to places where his friends work. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
This was a birthday cruise and I traveled with a good friend. I've traveled on many cruise lines including Carnival, Costa, Celebrity,Holland America, MSN, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. This was first cruise on Princess, I was not ... Read More
This was a birthday cruise and I traveled with a good friend. I've traveled on many cruise lines including Carnival, Costa, Celebrity,Holland America, MSN, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. This was first cruise on Princess, I was not impressed. The ship is nice, not beautiful. Shops had a limited selection of merchandise and no t-shirts which was surprising. Day time activities were limited, and I was disappointed in the bingo as the crew pushes everybody to rent a i pad which has 30 games. Art auctions were pushed as well. The shows ranged from excellent to mediocre. The bars were good, especially the lobby bar on deck 5, the bar tenders were great. The International cafe on deck 5 was also good and was the only place on the ship to get a tuna fish salad sandwich. I purchased a specialty coffee at Grounds, the coffee shop on deck 5, it was lukewarm and not good. I did participate in a wine tasting event which was enjoyable, also met some fun and interesting people who I really liked. Gym was ok, a lot of treadmills but the actual area to work out and lift weights was small. Skywalker lounge (the disco) was disappointing and the music was not good. The adult pool at the rear of the ship was very good and a perfect setting to just relax. The attendant did ask anyone under the age of 18 to leave the area, I was impressed. This provided for a relaxing quiet atmosphere. The food - breakfast buffets were excellent, I can't say the same thing for lunch buffets. Of all the cruises I have been on the lunch buffets were the worst I've ever seen. Limited selections, no salads, no tuna fish, no egg salad, only hot soups (in the 100 degree Caribbean heat?), heavy meats. Dinners n the Palm dining room were average. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise but it was not one of my more memorable cruises. I would be willing to try Princess again but not for my next cruise. I have already booked that one and its on Norwegian. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We have cruised on the Crown Princess many times, the last one was January 2018 and we were always very satisfied with it. This ship although the sister ship left a lot to be desired. It definitely needs an update, but they were a lot of ... Read More
We have cruised on the Crown Princess many times, the last one was January 2018 and we were always very satisfied with it. This ship although the sister ship left a lot to be desired. It definitely needs an update, but they were a lot of things that can be done immediately. The food was not good and always cold, hot cereal was cold as was the "hot" milk next to it. Some of the heat lamps were so hot people were burning their hands and then the food beneath them was completely dried out. The first 3 nights there was beef on the menu and each night the gravy was exactly the same, a thick, sweet, ketchup tasting sticky sauce. They even pit it on shrimp. The two new restaurants, Steamers and Planks BBQ were always empty as there was an additional charge. The Movies Under the Stars was wonderful. Lastly, they are testing the new Ocean Medallion program and so every time you used you sea pass you had to do it twice which made boarding, disembarking and getting back on the ship a very lengthy process. We will definitely try Princess again but no the Caribbean Princess. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship. There are some spots that needed maintenance, but never interfered with our good time. The staff was very friendly and helpful throughout the ship. We were in Cabin C743, very aft and ... Read More
The Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship. There are some spots that needed maintenance, but never interfered with our good time. The staff was very friendly and helpful throughout the ship. We were in Cabin C743, very aft and starboard. Great balcony, could actually see a bit of the wake if you looked back. Embarkation was a bit crazy as they are getting ready for the Ocean Medallion program and there was a problem with the card readers. Not a big deal. However I was very upset when we got to our cabin and it was dirty! Never in 12 previous Princess cruises, or any for that matter, did we ever experience that. The problems were remedied asap which was great and we had a new steward after that. The food was very good and the pizza at Slice was excellent. We had heard otherwise before we went, but I am happy to report that they still have the best pizza on the hight seas! We did the Crown Grill one night, and as always, it was amazing. There could have been more variety at the buffet, but for the most part all was tasty. Sad the say, the coffee is still horrible, but a coffee card took care of that! Only saw one show, a comedian, which was good. Theater got very crowded as the ship was totally sold out and there were tons of kids. Still not a big deal for us. There were lots of great programs done in conjunction with the Discovery Channel that we enjoyed, and all the usual activities as well. Never bored. All in all it was a great time and we would definitely sail this ship again. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Be forewarned this is a long review. My wife and I are experienced cruisers (59 & 57 years old) and were looking for a lower priced 7 to 10-day cruise. On the Princess website, under Deals (drop & go) we found a 7-day Eastern ... Read More
Be forewarned this is a long review. My wife and I are experienced cruisers (59 & 57 years old) and were looking for a lower priced 7 to 10-day cruise. On the Princess website, under Deals (drop & go) we found a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess for a mid-forward balcony for $612 pp. I dove into the recent reviews of the Caribbean Princess (CB) and was a bit concerned as there were some negative reviews. Thankfully, we still booked the cruise. We also checked out YouTube entries for recent Caribbean Princess reviews. I recommend those by “La Lido Loca” and by “CruiseTipsTV”. Both are info-packed and well produced. Props to those folks, they don’t really get a good vacation as they are always filming something. Thanks folks. The Caribbean Princess was recently dry-docked and refitted with some impressive upgrades. Pre-Cruise – We toyed with the idea of getting in the night before, but because it was summer we figured that we’d assume the risks associated with same day travel and put the money saved toward something else on board. I would never travel same day from October through April. Even though we were fine, we were tired from getting up really early and there’s always that chance of something going wrong. We took the calculated risk and it paid off. We took the first non-stop JetBlue flight out of Boston on the day of the cruise, Saturday, 8/4/18, and flew to Fort Lauderdale. I travel sometimes for work and invested in the TSA Precheck a couple of years ago. I highly suggest getting this. You don’t need to take off your shoes or take out your laptop, the lines move quickly and are much shorter. My wife does not have this, but she was included under my precheck because we were on the same itinerary. At Boston the precheck saved us about 45 minutes and in FLL (on the return flight) it saved us at least 30 minutes. We had an uneventful flight. The luggage was on the carousel at FLL by the time we got there, we were in a taxi by 10:00 AM and to Port Everglades by 10:20. Taxi fare with tip was under $25. FLL is a smaller airport. They are quick, friendly, cater to the cruise crowd, and have this down to a science. I was fearful that we were way too early, there were some passengers getting off of the previous week’s cruise waiting for rides or whatever. Again, this is part of the same-day travel risk, but we dropped our luggage at the porters (tipped a $1 per bag). We were welcomed into the terminal immediately. Embarkation – Princess has embarkation down cold. Maybe if they loaded us into a howitzer and shot us aboard we’d get there quicker, but I’ll wait the 23 seconds it took to have them check our passports, swipe a credit card and give us our cruise cards, then stroll aboard. We were still a tad early (10:45 or so), we are Platinum members and were escorted to the Elite / Platinum lounge where we had access to restrooms, phone charging stations, coffee, water, juice and pastries. Around 11:15, they cleared the ship and we started boarding. By 11:30, I dropped my backpack off at our stateroom, which was L305. Cabin – Cabin Location - We like the adults-only Lotus Pool and thought that the location of the forward mid-ship of the Lido deck would be handy. In hindsight we would have chosen a cabin a bit further from the path from the elevator bank to the main pool of the Lido deck. Look at a deck-plan of where L305 is in relationship to what the natural path would be from the elevators to the main part of the Lido deck (something I should have considered). We loved the cabin itself, but there was some traffic outside our door. Not that it was horrific, but it was there. Also, you can hear the deck attendants were readying the deck chairs above us daily at 07:00. If you were a late-sleeper that could be an issue, but I’m up early. On the plus-side we were steps away from the main Lido deck area (Salty Dog, etc) and outside of the stairwell leading to the Lotus Pool (spa area and workout room). Cabin interior – the usual small bathroom, tiny shower where you need to soap up the walls and turnaround to wash up. The closet layout is great, the balcony is bigger than those on the Regal / Royal class. A desk with chair and another seat. The bed was set up in a queen configuration (note, these came apart a couple of times at night, I asked the steward if there was anything to prevent that and he merely tightened the sheets, I asked about an egg crate which never materialized, we dealt with it). The TV is new, a nice LG, maybe a 46” (or close to that). Has on-demand and a number of selections, it was very nice. One of the great tips from Cruise Critic and CruiseTVTips on YouTube was to bring magnetic clips, we brought 6 and used them all. We kept relevant info at quick reach. Ocean Medallion (OM) – There were some cabins on the pilot OM group, we were not one of them (we were part of the pilot team when we were aboard the Regal, I also work in IT, so I have a curious interest). Gone are the little mailboxes outside the cabins, they were replaced with little iPad looking tablets secured to the wall where you hold your cruise card to open your door. Pretty slick, but the steward needs to put Patters and envelopes on the bed. There were a bunch of technicians working on OM related tasks this cruise. A table across from us a Princess HR guy was having dinner we chatted for a while and I gave him my take and support on OM. As an IT guy, I know this is an iterative process. THERE WIL BE HICCUPS. The complainers were doing the same thing when they doubting the value of a smartphone over their flip-phones. My take is that Princess is taking a significant risk, with high reward potential by investing quite heavily in technology, good for them. No one else in the cruising industry is doing anything remotely close to this (yet). All are waiting and watching. Once they get it down, the opportunities are endless, they can have a Waze like feature where you can be redirected around post-theater crowds to a lounge, where a drink you wanted is being prepared for you on your walk there. Patience folks, this is going to be awesome, give your feedback and suggestions to Princess. When you are boarding or going off, you need to swipe twice, so they are doing a parallel run, testing both systems, the old scanners and the new OM scanners. I think it’s great. Internet Access – They installed three new antennas during the week, my internet speed was pretty good. There were some spots with slower response, like the theater (we would check texts while waiting for the show) and the response time was not as good there. Maybe they’ll install some gear to help that. We are Platinum so we received 150 minutes of free internet minutes (each). I had 45 minutes left when I disembarked, so there was plenty. When we boarded we stopped by the internet café, they offered to install the Princess@Sea app and gave us a quick tutorial. They also installed a Logout app that we’d select to ensure we were logged out properly and not rack up minutes. The Princess@Sea app allowed you to view the Events & shows for the day, layout of the ship, your account, etc. The User Experience is an easy to use, informative and users-friendly app. It is a really well conceived and executed app. Dining – There was a lot of negative discussion on the boards around dining. I’ll admit that I am not a “foody”. I like good food, expect good service and a good variety. What I write is my opinion, understanding that some foodies will think my review of dining quite pedestrian. So be it. If you expect a 5-star restaurant on the seas, go for a Crystal cruise and pay $5K each for an ocean view room. All in all, the food, service and variety were excellent. Each day in the Patters you get a slip of paper called the “Daily Crave” it lists what is open for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, not what’s on the menu, but type of restaurant, but where it’s located and hours open. Really handy. Coffee Card – We had 12 or so punches from the last cruise and used that, but Princess has a new process where you use your cruise card, so no more carryover from cruise to cruise on a coffee card. Too bad, we liked that. AM – I’d usually run down to the International Café, get two fresh brewed coffees, a couple of treats and have it on the balcony. Then when we were dressed we’d go to the World Fresh Market Place (WFM) for some eggs and stuff. The WFM – I know many will disagree but I found the WFM to be great. The selection and presentation were awesome. Princess’s Executive Chef was on-hand during on our cruise, he was making adjustments mid-cruise and it showed how well Princess responded to previous criticisms. Breakfast - Fried & scrambled eggs were already prepared or you could fill a bowl with your selections for an omelet (by the Planks side of the buffet). There were always 2 types of French Toast and 2 types of pancakes, really good. Plenty of other stuff like yogurt, fruit and pastries. Some other creative offerings like a dinner roll hollowed out an egg baked inside with cheese on top. Lunch – They had 4 different types of sandwiches made up. Like a roast beef on a ciabatta with chipotle mayo, Havarti cheese, lettuce & tomato, a veg options, etc. Easy to grab & go for my wife who felt that if she missed 2 seconds of sun it was a ruined day. Salad bar which looked good, plenty of hot entrees available. Always a few options no matter what. Cookies and desserts always available. Dinner – We never had dinner at the WFM but did walk through one night. They had a couple of carving stations a full selection of offerings which looked good (exactly what, I’m not sure but people were walking away with full plates). They also had the Planks & Steamers at night which we never tried but were told both were pretty good. Slice – The pizza joint. I thought it was really good. They have three types of pizza to choose from with cheese, pepperoni and a daily special. They also have a Stromboli (calzone type thing), focaccia with a meatball on top and also really good California Toast with avocado, feta and, pine nuts (again, really good). The Salty Dog – no more brats, but really good hotdogs, chicken sandwiches, tacos, loaded fries, and of course burgers. The burgers were great, probably 1/3 pounders rather than ¼ pounders, really tasty, fresh, seasoned with something. I had the triple smoked one time with smoked gouda, bacon jam & onion sauce (get it!). I never had the Ernesto (it takes 20 minutes), but talking with a guy that did, he said it was beyond description good. MDR- We had lunch in the MDR on the first day. Seated quickly. I had a really tasty burger, but my wife had what she called the best ravioli she’s had in decades. After that we had lunch elsewhere. Dinner in the MDR – We had anytime dining and never waited more than 5 minutes to be seated. As opposed to the Regal in January, the CB did a great job of getting people seated. On our first night we were seated in the Island dining room with Sonal at a table for two. We ended up eating every dinner there and requested Sonal and his assistant Irinka every night thereafter. We even canceled a reservation for the Crown Grille. The service we received from those two restored my faith in Princess. He had suggestions for every meal, took the time to try to get to know us. I don’t think my water glass ever got below 4oz before he or Irinka would fill it (and make sure I got some ice as well). My wife’s favorite dessert (ever) is the chocolate pistachio dome. She asked about it on Sunday and Sonal said that it was served on Thursday. He joked about it all week. On Thursday, we ordered and he brought out an appetizer of the chocolate pistachio dome, as a joke, then replaced it with the app she ordered. When dessert time came, my wife had two domes on her plate. She struggled to finish them, soldiered on, got it done and loved every second of it. That next morning, while we were at the pool, room service dropped off two plates of the dessert. Needless to say, my wife has made a new couple of friends. Thanks for your outstanding service Sonal & Irinka. Shows We didn’t do all the shows, but saw the Fantastic Journey (go!), was told the first night Broadway Production was great, the comedian was really good (and engaged the audience). The ventriloquist was a riot, he pulled a guy up on stage (who was a great sport) and had us all in stitches. The marriage show was good as usual (maybe come up with some new questions), trivia was scheduled multiple times per day. We never did bingo. We saw Movies Under the Stars one night and saw Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, which was fun. Casino As part of the OM, the casino has a new way to sign into the slots machine, you tap your card (or OM) on a spot and it pops up your information, enter a pin and you are ready to play. Cashing out takes a second. It’s safe, quick and reliable. There’s one craps table, 2 roulette, one poker pro table, 3 card poker and a few Black Jack tables. Platinum / Elite Lounge in Skywalker Each night the Platinum lounge is in Skywalker. They have some apps, cheese, crackers, crudité, etc. with 6 or 8 reduced priced drinks. One note about beer. Princess needs to do a better job of beer selections. I remember when they had a number of good German beers available, now they have Bud, Bud Lite, Bass, Stella Artois, Dos Equis, Coors Lite, Blue Moon, Grolsch and Heineken, not an IPA available. A few cruises ago, there were Spatan, their Sea Witch IPA and Paulander available. Pools There are 4 big pools, 2 adult and 2 “everyone” pools. There are a number of hot tubs, a kiddie pool and a plunge pool also. We liked the 2 adult pools and ended up at the Lotus pool all but 1 day. The Lotus pool has only 10 loungers at the pool level which are open for first-come first served. On the Regal we opted for a Bungalow next to the adult pool. Assuming that the first sea day would be crazy, we booked the Sanctuary. We got a two-person lounger and loved it. When we tried to book the other sea days as well, they were sold out. I asked to be informed if there were any cancellations, there were a couple of cancellations and we grabbed them. The Sanctuary is semi covered, you can get sun in some loungers and the waiters are always bringing drinks, water, food and cold cloths for you. You also get “Tea” at 3PM, which was delightful. If you want quiet, comfortable loungers and being waited on, try a day at the Sanctuary. Ports Princess Cay – stayed aboard. St Thomas – Got off for an hour or so. St Martin – had plans to go to Mullet Bay but opted to stay aboard and put what we would have spent on taxis and loungers, to be used on the Sanctuary. Disembarkation Again, Princess has this down cold. We opted for the self-walk-off. We are finally realizing that a 7-day cruise doesn’t require 5 suitcases. We had a 07:30 slot and were there at 07:30 and whisked off 30 seconds later. A breeze through Customs and to an available taxi, 15 minutes to the airport. We were checked in and through security by 08:15. The Taxi ride back was $3 cheaper due to an airport fee that is tacked on when you get a taxi from the airport. All in all, a very relaxing cruise, aboard a veteran ship with some great new features. The crew goes above and beyond whenever you engage them. My wife asked if I would see if there were any open cabins for another week, it was that good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We booked this cruise after another cruise fell through due to overbooking about one month before embarkation. The price was right, as were the ports of call (4 stops in the Caribbean). The Good: - The location of our staterooms ... Read More
We booked this cruise after another cruise fell through due to overbooking about one month before embarkation. The price was right, as were the ports of call (4 stops in the Caribbean). The Good: - The location of our staterooms was very convenient as we booked guaranteed staterooms - As always, the stateroom attendent was awesome and helpful - AA lost our luggage and the stateroom supervisor helped us with tuxes, dresses for formal night and then free laundry service plus a $100 credit for incidentals we needed on board - Marketplace, Salty Dog, and Pizza were best we have had on cruises - I liked how princess separates the food at the buffett - never felt like we were cramped for space until debarkation so that was a big positive - The ship though almost 15 years old, was in tremendous shape and they kept it in very good shape - paint, varnish, cleaning - best we have seen. - The decorations were modern and I liked the look and feel - Guest Services was very helpful with our lost luggage, room issues, and other errors on Princess part - Photos were excellent - best we have had on a cruise and even ordered a custom package (never done that before) - Cruise Director and his assistant were super approachable and I enjoyed anything they were the feature act. The Bad: - dining room service in the Palm was the Worst i have ever seen or had on vacation. It was so bad we asked to be moved to another venue or allowed anytime service which we were denied. We would go an hour before water was refilled, people who came in and ordered after us recieved appetizer, dinner and dessert before we got an appetizer - we complained after this happened three times. We never got our waiter or assistant waiters name, it was so bad another assistant waiter came by from another group and said let me help you guys, you are being ignored!!!!! - Food in main dining service was never right - we had burned prime rib (how do you do that), raw fish, hot appetizers were cold, cold appetizers were put on hot plates and tasted awful), my adolescent boys asked to order two meals because they were so small and were denied - food was very bland, steaks were horribly over cooked Medium was well done to burnet and medium rare was well done at best, rotten potato's sent on plates and never were offered butter, sour cream or cheese on the plates (this started the first day). - Embarkation was a disaster - we booked air through Princess and transfers through princess. we were one of the last 30 people to go through embarkation. They did not have OUR BOARDING SHIP CARDS!!!! How is that! They made them two times at the pier because they would not work. We were on the gangway with security and our cards were denied, they made them two more times only not to work. Ship was to leave at 4:00pm and we were walking into the ship at 4:30pm due to all the delays. Went to passenger services only to have the cards made again as they did not work initially for our room. - Get into our rooms (they were not setup as requested) and worse other peoples luggage was in the room. The Steward Supervisor was quick on the spot and got everything resolved and defused the situation, - Entertainment was the worst I have experienced on any ship. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Carnival. Very boring shows, the new show was good, but the others were far below standard that I have come to expect. - Comedians and Magicians on the ship were far below average - We felt the ship was understaffed based on who we saw where We enjoyed the stops and enjoyed the family time, but I will not be returning to Princess Cruises. We prefer Celebrity having done Royal Caribbean Giant Boats and Smaller boats, plus the Carnival Party Boats. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
This was a first Princess cruise. It was typical Western Caribbean and nothing unusual about the ports. The best thing about this cruise were the staff. There was not a staff member who couldn't or wouldn't answer a question. They ... Read More
This was a first Princess cruise. It was typical Western Caribbean and nothing unusual about the ports. The best thing about this cruise were the staff. There was not a staff member who couldn't or wouldn't answer a question. They were always there for you and always wearing a smile. This included waiters, engineers, cabin attendants, everyone. The cabin was pleasant enough but not sure worth the price of it. Embarkation and debarkation were truly a joy. They even emailed a notice that due to a convention in the area, there may be traffic and to come a little earlier!! Once again, surrounded with assistance no matter what you asked. Entertainment left a little to be desired. No really great shows. Overall experience was about an 8. The public areas were always clean and constantly had someone working or cleaning something. The food, well, that was a little disappointing. I mean who serves meatloaf on the last night? The casino had great dealers during the entire time. All in all, it was my time to get away from the phones and computer and that was done, so I guess I'm good. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this trip because we had never been to Belize or Roatan and were heading to the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands after the cruise, so it worked out well. We felt after the cruise, however, that maybe we were ... Read More
We chose this trip because we had never been to Belize or Roatan and were heading to the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands after the cruise, so it worked out well. We felt after the cruise, however, that maybe we were people who needed to go back to a smaller ship. Maybe it is that we're getting older or maybe it's that we live somewhere where things are not so crowded or maybe it was a very full ship (maybe all three). I was surprised to read what some others thought about the food. Luckily, we didn't have a bad meal. We are big fish eaters and not so much meat, but we ate dinner in the main dining room every night and lunch occasionally and were pleased. The service was usually fast enough to visit with others at the table and still get our courses on time. The waiters were always polite. The food was at the correct temperature and very good. We especially enjoyed the piano player, A.J. Clarke. Every night you needed to get there earlier and earlier to get a seat because people began to hear about him and wanted to be there. It was fun to watch people walk by, freeze, and stay, and then the next group did the same, etc. He knows songs from many singers and as people called out a name, he would know and sing one of their songs. We all loved that he asked us to sing parts of the songs with him. Good job, A.J. Clarke. We took private tours at Grand Cayman and Roatan and were pleased that we did. For the same price as large groups paid, we were able to have individual tours and go places we had read about. In Belize we took the cruise river cruise with lunch and ruins and were pleased with that. Our guide was good, we saw manatees, crocodiles, and of course, monkeys. The Mexico part was a bit difficult for us with the heat and that much walking. Embarkation was easy. We were catching a flight out of FLL at 12:55 and were a bit nervous, so signed up for early disembarkation and we were out and in a taxi by 7:30. We had our hand luggage with us, so that made it a bit faster, but it was incredibly smooth and fast and apparently I shouldn't have worried because we ended up with a long wait at the airport. We always try to remember that for the price we pay, we are getting transportation, entertainment, food, and lodging. Overall, it was fun and we're off to South America. Read Less
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