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Sail Date: November 2007
A LITTLE ABOUT US We are in our late 30's and this was our first cruise. We were traveling with a group of 11 people, including our parents. At the time of cruising we were together for about 5 years and living happily. We were ... Read More
A LITTLE ABOUT US We are in our late 30's and this was our first cruise. We were traveling with a group of 11 people, including our parents. At the time of cruising we were together for about 5 years and living happily. We were not the only new cruisers in our group, in fact the only members of our group who had sailed before were my parents who had sailed with Princess on 5 other cruises. SHIP Caribbean Princess is an amazing ship. Since this was our first cruise we have nothing to compare it to, however, this ship was well beyond our expectations. Rooms were exceptionally clean, as were the public areas. This ship is huge so be prepared to walk-a lot !! EMBARKATION Swift and painless!! It was with great excitement that we made our way through this very simple process. Princess staff members are well trained and moved cruisers along with ease. It was great to have so many staffers around to assist us. One recommendation- have a few single bills on hand as there seemed to be a lot of tipping from the hotel to embarkation. OUR ROOM Amazing-fabulous-exceptional-perfect!! We had a stateroom with a balcony and it was marvelous. The bathroom is a bit small but this is the norm so it was ok with us. We were happy to have a safe in our room to hold our valuables and important documents. Our bed was very comfortable and the balcony was phenomenal-we REALLY recommend the balcony suites. We loved sitting out during the morning and evening hours. I would have liked to have had bottled water complimentary in our rooms. We drink a lot of water and luckily we brought some on board with us, however, we would really like to have had some chilled water provided in the rooms. Our steward was amazing!!! Our room was kept impeccably clean and she was super nice. She was always smiling, like most of the staff, and she seemed genuinely happy to be working for Princess. FOOD AND DINING Delicious- we ate most meals in the buffet and it was unbelievably good. We also enjoyed three dinners in the restaurants and they were sooooooo good. We ate so much food-luckily, like I said earlier, we did a lot of walking !! We were slated for "anytime dining" and it was perfect. On the evenings we decided to dine in the restaurants, we simply phoned for reservations and it worked out perfectly. Some people enjoy the traditional dining but we like the ability to dine when we wanted to as opposed to having a set time. PRINCESS SERVICE Exceptional!! Everyone, everywhere-exceptional. ENTERTAINMENT Incredible! The entertainment is second to none. It is quite varied and was wonderfully entertaining. We laughed, we sang, we danced, we jumped, we clapped, we listened ! All day everyday, there is something happening on this ship. From dance lessons, to ice carving, fruit and veggie carving, pool contests, deck contests, movies, bands, bingo, horse races, theme parties, sports, golf lessons, golf demos, scavenger hunts, etc.......... RELAXATION We really loved the fact that even with all this entertainment happening, we could still find quiet spaces to relax and read, or enjoy a cold drink and the hot sun. Again the service on the sun deck was terrific. EXCURSIONS Super fun!! We went into the ports of Saint Maarten, St. Thomas and Princess Cays and we loved all three. We didn't particularly enjoy the street vendors constantly begging for a sale, however, the ports were beautiful. We did some shopping and enjoyed the beaches. My hunny enjoyed a fabulous day of golfing in St. Thomas. This was an organized excursion and although it seemed a bit hectic when they were heading out, it turned out to be a great day and worth the money. We really enjoyed our relaxing day on Princess Cays. We did some snorkeling and some swimming and just totally relaxed and enjoyed the day. We really liked the BBQ on the beach; it was a lot of fun. Our group really had a good day! FAVORITE MEMORY AND FUTURE CRUISING PLANS Our favorite memory of the trip was our excursion in Saint Maarten as this is where WE GOT ENGAGED!! We had both decided we would not get married (again) however, after being together for 5 years, the romance and excitement of this trip swept us both off of our feet and the next thing we knew, we were buying a ring and announcing our engagement. It was incredible. We are going to be married "At Sea" aboard the Crown Princess in November 2009. Our children, our parents and 43 of our friends and family are also joining us for our wedding cruise!! If you can't tell, we highly recommend Princess Cruise Line ? Read Less
Sail Date: June 2008
Note-I'm copying this off of my review on the CC forums, so please excuse the odd use of "More later" :p Weather blessed us on this cruise . Seattle was overcast when we left, and Juneau was cloudy with an afternoon rain, ... Read More
Note-I'm copying this off of my review on the CC forums, so please excuse the odd use of "More later" :p Weather blessed us on this cruise . Seattle was overcast when we left, and Juneau was cloudy with an afternoon rain, but after thatwe had amazing weather. Skagway had pure blue skies with the sun out, Ketchikan also was sunny, and the Endicott Arm Fjord (we couldn't enter Tracy) was magnificent, not a cloud in the sky. I'd bring one pair of shorts just in case. It actually got quite hot in some of the towns  I suppose I'll be doing my review in parts. Let's just do Day 1 for now Let me start out by saying a few quick things:-The food was the best we've ever had on Princess.-The service was the best we've ever had on Princess. -The captain, John Foster, and cruise director, David Cole, as well as our server, Arnulfo, were all the best.-We skipped Tracy, and went to Endicott, due to fog, which I definitely did see and understand. We passed the mouth of Tracy and had to keep blowing the fog horn, so Captain Foster decided to just turn around and head to Endicott, his personal favorite fjord.-The naturalist, Michael, was really knowledgeable and entertaining, despite his odd speaking tone.-We missed Victoria due to high winds, which I actually didn't feel, but I trust the Cptn's judgement. We got right to the side of town though, we could see it from our window quite closely.Saturday, June 20th, 2009The alarm went buzzing at 5 A.M., and I rushed into the shower to wake myself up. I then got dressed, gathered up 2 family members that went with me, and we headed to LAX. OUr flight was on time, a relief, and we left LAX around 7:40 and landed at SEATAC at 10:05. No hassle, very easy, kudos to Virgin America. We then contemplated whether to explore Seattle, or just head to the ship, and we chose the latter. We arrived earlier than we've ever arrived before at a cruise terminal. After a 20 minute drive to Pier 91, we were there! The ship came into view and our stomaches tightened. It was about 10:45 and we went to the terminal, checked in and went through security, all under 10 minutes or so. We then got in the three lines to get onboard, as they hadn't started letting passengers on yet. We were on around 11:10 or so, and went to check out our balcony stateroom, mid-ship on Baja Deck. The space was cozy, as expected, and the balcony was bigger than we had thought it to be. Our steward, Timothy, then introduced himself, and every time we saw him, we'd get a huge smile and small talk, something we've never actually experienced before to such a degree on any cruise line.He was truly excellent; room was spick and span. We had lunch at the Horizon Court, but I'm happy to say that the Donatello Dining Room was open ! We then just explored the ship and unpacked, and headed to the muster drill. Then we went to sailaway, which was definitely quieter than usual, and we were on our way. The sailaway view is beautiful. We tried the International Cafe for the first time ever, and truly fell in love. We then booked the Crown Grill for what was supposed to be Victoria on Friday, at 6 PM, so we could explore the town. Then, we headed to dinnersecond seating traditional in the Canaletto Dininng Room. Our server, Arnulfo, and our assistant waiter, Vasiliy introduced themselves, and they were a great duo. Never before had we had such a close connection to our server. Dinner was great, prime rib for all three of us, spring rolls were delicious, as was the salad. Turned out to be the best food on a cruise we've had yet. We then went to MUTS, our very first experience with it, and watched Marley and Me on it. it was really cold out, but we managed with the blankets we provided. Then, we headed to bed in hopes of another great day.More to come  __________________ Saturday, June 21, 2009 Our first sea day aboard! Being that Princess does go west of Vancouver Island, we did have a little bit of rocky seas our first and second night, as well as our sixth, but it wasn't that bad, just a little bit of motion in the ocean! We woke up around 9ish, and headed up to HC for breakfast. It was good. On the Golden, the buffet stewards had silverware at the table, and provided drink service the entire cruise. That was a first for us as well. Our prior experiences showed that that happened for the first day or so, but didn't last after the second or third. Pax would have to get their own silverware and drinks, not a big deal at all, but a nice touch. We used the stairs to get everywhere, never stepped foot in an elevator. I figure that I owe my body that much after having it endure a cruise . Let's see. We headed to Demonstration Nation, which had fruit/sushi/flower carving/making/organizing, followed by a martini demonstration; all very nice and cute. We then pretty much relaxed and for the first time, I've never done it before sadly, we ate in the dining room for something else besides dinner! Lunch seating turned out to be an absolute delight on days when we weren't in port, and I am hooked on it now . The rest of the day flew away with exercise on the Promenade deck, snacks at the INternational Cafe, and relaxing on our balcony. We then watched Carlos Oscar's comedy in the Vista Lounge, which was alright, got better as we went through it. It was a formal, we went to the Captain's address and waterfall then headed to our first formal dinner. Had the beef medallions, so tender and juicyabsolutely delicious. Stopped by Princess Pop Star, and went to bed around 11. Another great day at sea. This day really flew by fast. Juneau would come next!I have all of the patters, papers, as many as you can imagine. I stuffed them all in my backpack that I took along, so if you need a document, just ask me .To be continued... Monday, June 22, 2009 Also, regarding patters, my scanner isn't working, so stand by for those. Today was Juneau! We woke up around 9 AM, grabbed some breakfast in the Horizon Court and hung around the International Cafe until we arrived right on time at noon. Man, the International Cafe is delicious. Paninis, salads, and soups during the day, grilled to perfection, not to mention the completely fresh out of the oven cookies. So warm and chewy....I want one now! Anyways, we left the ship right away, and we had pre-ordered a shuttle for $12/pp/each way. We got on it, it was right across the pier, and we headed to Mendhenhall. We had narration, although when booking it said that it wouldn't be provided, so that was nice. Today was the only day where weather wasn't on our side. We had cloudy skies at this point. We approached Mendenhall Glacier and from the very tips of the trees I saw the highest point of it. As we reached closer, people on our shuttle were gasping at the enormity and majesty of that amazing glacier. We hopped off the shuttle right in front of the glacier, and hiked over a huge pile of rocks to get as close as possible. The hike over the rocks took a good 10 minutes as you had to get on hands and knees, but it was really worth it. We stood right next to the huge, loud, raging white waterfall and were treated with tall icebergs and a front seat view of Mendenhall. We were so close that the waterfall continuously sprayed in our face and sprayed mist across our camera. When we were there, they were constructing a trail through the rocks, so everyone could go there more accessibly. Definitely go. A must see. We spent a good two hours there and headed to catch the next shuttle. As soon as we hopped on, it started raining, so I suppose weather waited for us .We headed to downtown Juneau, and went to go through a free tour, I repeat free , of the government building. We saw the Governor's Office, as well as the Lt. Governor's Office. It was about a 30 minute tour, informative, but not a must-do, as much of the building was closed for construction. Palin actually lives in Anchorage, and we heard 2 jokes relating to the SNL skit on that day from locals . We looked for a lunch place for an hour and a half. There really aren't too many inside of Juneau. So we settled for the Hanger, which wasn't very good...at all. Very expensive lunch for miniscule crab legs. After this, we continued to walk around the quaint little town, but it got a little too rainy and cold, so we headed for the ship after a good 5 hours in town. The Amsterdam and Eurodam were there as well. We took a peak at Cinematastic, and we were not very happy with it. We walked out. It turns out I mixed things up, Cinemantastic was on the sea day, Carlos was in Juneau . We had dinner, it was the Alaskan Dinner, and it featured quite a bit of fish. I had prawns with beef tenderloin medallions, and they were so tendered. Great dinner and we headed to bed for Skagway! Tuesday, June 23, 2009 One note about embarkation daythe beds were really bumpy. We asked for egg crates which helped a little bit, but it was still somewhat uncomfortable. I had never asked for an egg crate before so I was expecting an actual crate, and I was surprised when he brought foam Anyways, let us continue! Today was Skagway, and we had an excursion, our one and only, booked through Princess today. It was Summit, Suspension Bridge, and Salmon Bake. We woke up around 9 and had breakfast in the HC. We headed off the boat around 10 and walked around for about 3 hours. Skagway is a very small town, so there isn't too much to do except walk around, eat, and shop. They have about 30 jewelry shops owned by cruise ships...a shocking number. The Red Onion Saloon and just about every restaurant in town hosted an hour wait at least, so we headed to the ship around 1:15. We rushed to try to get lunch seating and made it by two minutes, arriving at 1:28. We had a very delicious lunch, and headed out to our excursion at 2:45. We left at 3 and our tour guide was Jo, and she was hilarious. The entire bus was roaring with laughter the entire trip and we ended up telling stories instead of learning about the Yukon. Approaching the summit of the White Pass is amazing. The tram followed most and went past where the railroad went. It was beautiful, and we were able to get off for pictures about five times. We arrived at the Suspension Bridge, which was in Canada, and the scenery was magnificent. Under the bridge when crossing are white water rapids, the view to the leftmajestic snow capped mountains, and to the rightbeautiful green fields and trees. It was quite a sight! Had some hot cocoa there, which was great! We then headed to Liarsville for the Salmon Bakeit is close to the pier and it took about an hour. The food was great, the salmon was delicious. They had a lot of characters there that could play songs on saws, as well as story tellers. There were huskies, and old wagonsit was quite a nice stop. Then, we headed back to the ship and said our good-byes to our wonderful tour guide. By this time it was around 7:15, close to the all-aboard time, so we went onboard and had to get dressed for dinner right away (not that we were exactly hungry after that huge meal at Liarsville). It was Italian Dinner night, which was good. We were pretty tired after this, so we hung around lounges and tuned into Princess Pop Star, and then went to bed, for our next lovely day in the Fjords! Wednesday, June 24, 2009 Today was Tracy Arm. I didn't want to miss this at all, as I expected it to be the highlight of our cruise. Set my alarm nice and early for either 6 or 7 AM, don't recall. When I woke up, we were treated to islands and icebergs outside of our balcony. However, I knew that our ship was not yet in the Fjord. Soon after, our ship was COMPLETELY blanketed in fog, and our fog horn was blowing nice and loud every minute. I, personally, love hearing that sound, but I wasn't happy that our fjord would be missed by fog. It then disappeared, and I heard the three tones, meaning an announcement was coming. As soon as I heard the word, "safety", I knew what was coming. We were going to skip Tracy and visit Endicott, which the Captain soon announced. I was slightly disappointed, but I was still looking forward to it. The Endicott Arm Fjord is one of the most beautiful places I've even seen. Granite walls surround and tower the ship, and seem so close to the rails that you can almost touch the cliffs. Icebergs, some HUGE, surround the ship, and the movie Titanic comes into mind. I was surprised that we could just run right over them without a problem. We passed the Star Princess while entering, nearing the Dawes Glacier. They were SO loud and we were quiet, but passengers on the Star say the opposite. View the Star here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxI4nAGI0jUThat was a very interesting experience! We then got unbelievably close to the Dawes Glacier, as close as we can go, and I praise Captain Foster for his commitment toward giving his passengers the best scenery. We even went out of our way on our way to Ketchikan to visit an Island filled with bears, and to go to a different route to view whales. Captain Foster was great! The fjords are truly magnificent. Hundreds of seals lie on the icebergs. Pictures could not, absolutely could not, capture what we saw. We spent a good 4-5 hours in the fjord. After we left, we were still treated with scenery. GREAT day, highlight of the cruise by far. After exiting the fjord, we had a sea day-like schedule of activities. Before our wonderful dinner, we went to a magic show, featuring the magic of a name that slips me, Gaeteno or something like that. It was great! David Cole participated in a disappearance scene at the end, quite a surprise! Definitely see this. Dinner was the Chef's Dinner, something never before experienced on Princess. It was great, I had Alaskan King Crab Legs, Yum. They were nice and fat too . After dinner, at 10:45, we went to the International Crew Showthe absolute highlight show of the cruise. The crew is so, so talented. Four singers, all better than the lounge singers. The band was fantastic. They really were great, like record-recording quality. I can't praise them enough . Comedy acts were good, final act was goofygreat show. Headed to bed, and set a very early wake up alarm for Ketchikan the next day. Thursday, June 25, 2009 Today was Ketchikan. We set our alarm for 7, and we were off the ship at 7:30. We were only in port until Noon today, and all aboard was at 11:45, so we had to get a nice and early start. We got off the boat, and went to the visitor's center, where we decided to purchase a tour for $35 pp that took us to creeks and waterfalls, it was short and adequate, but I was expecting a bit more. We saw tens of bald eagles in flight, including the nest. I thought that the totem pole visit was a waste of time, as they have been touched by modern man for touch-ups, major touch ups. We walked around town, and it was a nice little town, my favorite that we visited. We had some fish and chips by the pier and it was the best that I've ever had, without a doubt. Crispy, without being greasy, it was just perfect. We then entered a looong line to get back on board, but we didn't mind too much. We went on board, but we didn't sail until 12:30 because of the long lines to get back. We enjoyed the rest of they day at sea, and we had a nice and scenic sailaway as well. We had lunch in the dining room and the rest of the day flew by, and before I knew it, it was time for a second formal and our last night with our wonderful servers in the dining room. Dinner was great. Beef wellington was much improved then from when it was last had on Princess, and the lobster was good as always. Tomorrow was Victoriaer, was supposed to be. __________________ Friday, June 26, 2009 Today was our last day of the cruise . It went by oh so fast. It was a sea-day like of activities until we were schedule to reach Victoria around 7 PM. We would be having the Crown Grill at 6 PM. During the day, we watched movies like Gran Torino,at 3 PM, which was very good as well as having our final dining room lunch, going to the Culinary Show and Galley Tour, as well as taking a nice visit to the dessert buffet which was open from 11:30 AM-2 PM. The fruit tart was great! . After those activities, it was already 5:30 and we had our scheduled dinner at 6. We got dressed in normal smart casual attire, and we went to the Crown Grill, and we enjoyed our almost free dinner, because of the Twitter Contest that I won. I must add that getting this recognized was difficult. I had to spend $12 at the internet cafe just to print out and prove that we had actually won something, and several visits to the Purser's Desk later, they finally contacted corporate and our OBC was added. The Crown Grill was very good. I had a 4 oz. lobster tail and a filet mignon, which was perfectly cooked and very tender. During dinner, I noticed that the ship had stopped right outside of Victoria. I could see the buildings of the town quite well, even the Empress Hotel. But right after I finished my steak, I heard the three tones, and I heard the word "safety" again, and I had a strong hunch that we'd be skipping Victoria. The Captain said winds were much too high, approaching 25 knots, and that the ship couldn't handle it. I went outside to the deck shortly after the announcement and felt no wind at all, but oh well, I trust the Captain's judgement. We were looking forward to this port though. They sent a tender with a few passengers ashore to comply with law, and then we set sail quite early. Dessert at the Crown Grill was very good. My molten chocolate lava cake was pure batter, and our waiter insisted that he had to report it to the Executive Chef, so he did, but everyone else's souffle was delicious! DH went up to the room, full and uncomfortable, and called it a night really early. DS and I went to the dining room, as he loves the Princess souffle on the last night with that warm vanilla sauce, so we said that we'd go just for dessert and to see our wonderful dining team again. We had our souffles and our waiter ended up talking to us for a good hour and a half. The other tables in our area were getting ignored . The Head Waiter came in and joined the conversation for thirty minutes as well, haha.We had a very funny conversation. We thought we'd be there for ten minutes, but we stayed longer that passengers that had the full dinner . We gave our servers a big hug at the end, and took a picture, and then we left . I headed to bed after this but DS went to watch Princess Pop Star Finale in the Princess Theater. Then DS went to bed, and we had to disembark the next day. __________________ Saturday, June 27, 2009 Disembarkation day. Blech! We woke up at 7 AM, and we vacated our stateroom as requested around 8. We then had a nice breakfast in the dining room ( a first for me again), and we headed to.....our meeting place. We had silver 6 tags, and we had to meet in the Vista Lounge at 9 AM. We went into the lounge at exactly 9 AM, and they called our tags at 9:01. I've never had that happen before; it's usually 30 minutes of a delay for each tag, but that was surprising. We were off the ship quickly, and we headed to the luggage area. They should have more signage in this area, but the collection was typical-chaotic. After about 20 minutes, we found all of our bags, and we headed past customs, out of the port, and into a taxi. There was barely a line for this, actually there wasn't a line, even at a peak time like 9:30 AM. We had wanted to go into town, but we had luggage and it was $50 in and out of SEATAC, something we didn't want to pay, so we tried to get on an earlier flight. OUr flight was scheduled for 3:35, but we arrived at 10:40, and they put us on standby for the 11:50 flight out of Seattle to LAX. We were called up at the gate, and they told us that they had 2 seats for us, so we didn't take itone extra. The next man had a wife and a young child with him, and he completely left his wife and child there to wait. After he got on the plane, his wife was quite mad! We waited the four hours, and I started this review .My sister picked us up and drove us home, and we relaxed. Didn't get home until 7ish, so it was a long day. We slept long and hard. This was a fantastic cruisemy second favorite that I've completed. Alaska is so beautiful, and is a must-see. I would absolutely do it again. The Golden was beautiful and Vines, MUTS, and the International Cafe were icing on the cake. The food was wonderfulthe best I've had on Princess, as was the service. Embarkation and disembarkation was simple, plenty of time to relax and to explore. Grade A cruise. Thank you Princess for a wonderful vacation.  Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
We Liked:) * Most dinners (lamb chops, prime rib, chicken topped with shrooms & Fontina, king crab legs). * Most lunches aside from the burgers (low-grade). * Cabin steward was the BEST! Guy was like a ninja. * Comedian/juggler ... Read More
We Liked:) * Most dinners (lamb chops, prime rib, chicken topped with shrooms & Fontina, king crab legs). * Most lunches aside from the burgers (low-grade). * Cabin steward was the BEST! Guy was like a ninja. * Comedian/juggler was very funny and entertaining. * Availability of food. Prego's pizza & grill was going at 1:30 AM for MUTS. * Skywalkers is still the coolest club at sea. * Freshwater swimming pools. * Cold towels when getting back onboard from port days. * Most bands were good. * Champagne party even though more difficult to get a glass this time. * Disembarkation was smooth aside from the sheer mayhem that goes on outside of terminal trying to get a taxi, but that is Puerto Rico's fault. * Muster is as painless as they can make it. Much better than other lines. * Wife enjoyed 2 spa treatments, well sort of - see last bullet under "We did not like." We did not like(: * Lack of A/C in common areas. * Water fountains (hot water) and cardio equipment (old) in gym. * Most waiters were not properly trained and lacked motivation, in our opinion. Example, one guy tried to test a 2nd bottle of wine by pouring the test sip into a 1/2 full glass from 1st bottle. Also would not know to always take ladies orders first. * WORST breakfast in the world and HORRIBLE coffee, even by cruise line standards. * Some dinner items were embarrassingly bad inc. filet mignon (leather) and scallop & shrimp appetizer; Think $0.10 shrimp cocktail in Vegas quality. * Always a line at pursers which wasted our time when needed to check on our account; we had lots of credit to be used. * Comedian/magician put us to sleep. * Location of embarkation is away from the action of Old San Juan where Carnival and others dock. * Hard-sell of products in spa while wife still naked under sheet at end of her treatment left a bad taste in her mouth and ruined the whole experience. She left frustrated rather than relaxed. Okay, that's it! We had a terrific time with a few blemishes. Princess CB has room for improvement. Still, we booked an FCC and probably will go through with it. They changed the rules a bit because they are currently offering double OBC's. Only thing is that if you cancel you will get your $200 deposit back but lose the OBC. In other words, we had to pick an itinerary to get the 2x credits. If we change our mind, we lose the credits and can't switch itineraries. Rumors are true, Crown Grill still a work in progress. Lots of painting going on around the ship still, even at sea. You NEED to play the chair game when at sea if you want a decent spot. We hated that, but it is a part of life so keep it in mind when you go. There are signs about holding chairs for more than 30 minutes but guests would assist their friends, family, and new shipmates by speaking on the violator's behalf when inquiries were made. If you booked, you'll have fun but you will need to know it will not be a flawless cruise. The staff said the sailing prior to ours - 1st out of drydock - was a disaster. Maybe in a few months all will be back to normal. Many of the staff did not even know there way around the ship yet. Happy travels to all and hope this helps! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
The Emerald was everything we hoped it would be. Prior cruises on Princess included the Coral to Alaska, Sapphire to Mexico, and the Grand to Western Caribbean. The Emerald incorporates changes that prior Princess cruisers really ... Read More
The Emerald was everything we hoped it would be. Prior cruises on Princess included the Coral to Alaska, Sapphire to Mexico, and the Grand to Western Caribbean. The Emerald incorporates changes that prior Princess cruisers really appreciate: bigger gym, doors that open automatically in heavy winds, an alternative dining buffet at the rear of the ship (Caribe Cafe), and the Sanctuary. I don't want to spread the word too much on the Sanctuary, but my wife would kill to have that again. It is at the front of the ship and there are no kids, attendant service is full-time, comfy lounge chairs, Bose headphones with free Mp3 players, massage tables in private tents... You get the picture. It is an oasis away from the chaos of the main pools on any ship. It is right above the Lotus Spa at the front of the ship. There is a charge but it is worth every penny. It really irks me when people complain on boards about the food on the ships or poor service. The standard rule of life applies: If you are kind to people, they are kind to you. The food was fantastic in the dining rooms and even better than on any prior cruise. The cabin attendant was efficient. I am amazed those guys smile al the time when they are stuck in the jobs they do. We visited Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica, St Thomas, and Princess Cay. On Aruba, we went to Palm Beach but get out your wallet if you want a chair and umbrella. Taxi fare is $10 each way. On Bonaire, we went to Jibe City in Lac Bay. It is where the windsurfers are and I have never seen more beautiful water and I have been all over the world. In Grenada, we walked around downtown but I was not impressed. In Dominica, we joined a private tour fabulous day touring with Reyno. I had read many great reviews of Reyno on Cruise Critic. There were about 20 of us total, ten in each very comfortable van. We were lucky enough to be in the van Reyno was driving, he also supplied a very knowledgeable guide to accompany each van, and ours was Roslyn. Our first stop was Emerald Pool, before the crowds. We hiked to the pool and when we returned to the parking lot Reyno was waiting for us with a cooler of ice cold water and beer. After the Emerald Pool we stopped at one of the Hot Sulphur Springs. Our next stop was Mr. Nice's Fruit Stand. Mr. Nice's isn't a place to stop and buy fruit, but a place where we could sample all kinds of fresh fruit and some very good candied coconut then give a tip if we desire. There is also a stand that sells drinks and hot sauce, we bought some hot sauce and really like it. All along the way Reyno stops to point out beautiful flowers and various fruit. On the way to Trafalgar Falls we stopped at a small beach to check out the black sand. Then we drove through the Botanical Gardens in town. After the short hike to Trafalgar Falls Reyno had another treat for us, a very tasty rum cream, or more water or beer if we preferred. Our last stop was a scenic overlook high above the town, a great photo opportunity. We highly recommend Reyno as a tour guide. as funny as I expected. Reynotours@hotmail.com,TeL: 17672451129/ 17676157698. You can read other posts about the ship but it is a gem Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
Pre-Cruise: We flew into Sydney 2 days early and had a blast. Embarkation: Easy as the cruise terminal was just a couple of blocks from our hotel, just walked on and went to our cabin. Cabin: Balcony. Plenty of room (have yet to have ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: We flew into Sydney 2 days early and had a blast. Embarkation: Easy as the cruise terminal was just a couple of blocks from our hotel, just walked on and went to our cabin. Cabin: Balcony. Plenty of room (have yet to have one that didn't), enjoyed the balcony throughout the cruise as we always do. Room steward (Rizza) was perfect as was the room service which delivered our fruit for breakfast each day without fail at 7:00 AM. Dining: We had standard late dining at a table for 8. Great companions, waiters and meals; so good in fact that no one at our table missed a single meal! We had no complaints about the food at the other venues. The Horizon Court was fine, if you couldn't find something to eat, it was your problem. PS: the salads were terrific, fresh and great variety. The pizza's and hamburgers and hot dogs were the best we have had on a cruise (especially the pizza!) Itinerary: Could not have been better. Exmouth was a happy surprise as it allowed us to really see the Australian land scape in all its glory and natural environment. All the other stops were all we could have expected. We have been all over the world and this was one of the top 5 trips we have taken out of at least 20. Disembarkation: Easy and Painless! We took a tour of Bangkok which took us off the ship at 7:30AM and ended with us being dropped at our hotel in Bangkok (Ramada on the river which was beautiful with a river view)with our luggage at the airport the next day...could not have been better. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
This is our 11th cruise, the third one with Princess. We travelled with two other couples, (one in their 50's, the other in our same age range 41-52). Ruby Princess is the best Princess ship we have sailed on, beautifully decorated, ... Read More
This is our 11th cruise, the third one with Princess. We travelled with two other couples, (one in their 50's, the other in our same age range 41-52). Ruby Princess is the best Princess ship we have sailed on, beautifully decorated, with a more classical look than Sapphire, and with many improvements on the Grand class. We flew from Toronto to Ft Lauderdale two days ahead of the sailing, rented a car and enjoyed shopping at Sawgrass Mills Mall and spent a day at Key Largo. We stayed at University Inn, which was of great value; it's about 12 miles north of the terminal. Embarkation on Feb 21, 2009 was smooth and very efficient. We were there before noon. They lined us up according to the decks and it took no time at all, after staying briefly in the waiting area. Of course, it depends on whether you arrived with other passengers from buses and bigger groups at the same time, for that would slow you down. We were in our cabin by 12:30 pm. Our luggage arrived after we had lunch on the Lido deck (after 2 pm). We had enough time to unpack and tour around, well before the Emergency Drill. There was ample room for storing our bags and clothing in the closet area; there were more than enough hangers for the two of us. Service was as good as we have experienced in previous journeys. The only thing is the cabin stewards did not fold the traditional "towel animals" this time. Having read other reviews that criticized the food on the ship, we were pleasantly surprised by its quality and selections. (Perhaps Princess has responded to those criticisms). It far exceeds our expectation and the dining experience of previous cruises, including RCCL & Celebrity, which was excellent. We were not fans of Anytime Time Dining, but we are very happy with our experience this week. We went to the Da Vinci most of the evenings. Even though we had different servers every meal, they were fantastic, made us feel welcomed and valued every time. We did not miss having the same servers every dinner. Even the staffs at the Horizon buffet were great; of course, some were better than others... We found the food at Horizon/Caribe Cafe also as good as it can be, not disappointing at all. Another couple tried the Crown Drill and they really liked it, and told us it is worth every dollar they spent. We had just one bad experience with a Sea Bass dish one night, it was very fishy - but other than that, all the seafood and beef dishes were excellent! The overall selections were more than adequate. We tried the Fish & Chips/English Pub Lunch at the Wheelhouse Bar on the second At Sea Day, it was fantastic as reviewed. There were no line-ups at about 1:30 pm that day. It was free - I mean no extra charge. The two new theatre production shows (Broadway Ballroom & Once Upon A Dream) were both excellent, definitely worth getting there early to get good seats. They ran them two evenings in a row, so everyone on the ship gets a chance to watch it. The stage is beautiful and it truly seems to spark. Even the "Welcome Show" on the first night was very well done. The performers and the Cruise Director, Lisa Ball certainly set the right tone for the rest of the week. The highlight of the week was the guest performer from Las Vegas, Tony Tillman, a high energy song & dance act that worked the crowd to a frenzy! We also enjoyed the different musicians and performers who worked the Piazza, which made the mid-ship "gathering place" very pleasant. While "Movies under the Star" was a nice experience, the movies offered were rather limited. We seldom went near the Lotus Spa in our previous sailings. But this time, I really enjoyed the Thermal Suite through the whole week, and had a Seaweed /Hot stone massage on the first At Sea Day. It is a most relaxing experience; highly recommended, if you don't mind paying for it. We had gone through the western itinerary before, so the ports were nothing special for us. Still, it was nice to snorkel at Cozumel again, and fun to climb Dunn's River Falls in the pouring rain. We went ashore on our own, without taking any of the excursions offered by the ship. (Note: the ship did change time on the night before going to Cozumel, so ship time and local time is the same there for that day). Overall, the sailing was very smooth the whole week; my wife did not feel too sea-sick, except on two occasions. Of course, she enjoyed all the shopping. She did take the Photoshop computer @ sea course, and Steve the instructor was great! The only downside was disembarkation on Feb 28. Something went wrong and things were delayed for at least 20-30 minutes according to schedule. When we went to the baggage claim area and through to the US customs & immigration, we were stuck with another 500 passengers with no clear lines guiding us. While the ship was able to handle the 3000+ passengers rather efficiently throughout the week, they really dropped the ball this time. It was totally chaotic. They simply let too many people down from the ship at the same time, perhaps to make up for lost time. We were stuck in this crowd for over half an hour. Thankfully, most of the passengers were courteous and patient under the circumstances. We tried not to let this last bit of disappointment ruin a wonderful week of cruise experience for us. Now that we are back in the cold white north, it's time to dream of another vacation, and work off the few extra pounds... which was proof that the food was indeed good! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
We are a family of three, 40's with a teenage son. This was our sixth cruise. We have previously sailed on Princess, Holland America, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Our Panama Canal cruise on the Coral Princess from LA to FLL 03/09/09 ... Read More
We are a family of three, 40's with a teenage son. This was our sixth cruise. We have previously sailed on Princess, Holland America, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Our Panama Canal cruise on the Coral Princess from LA to FLL 03/09/09 was fantastic! We were fortunate to have great weather and calm seas the entire trip. Having CCL (Carnival Cruise Line) shares we were able to take advantage of the On Board Credit of $250 for a 14 day cruise with Princess. The OBC was easily obtained after the final payment was made. We flew into LAX the day before and stayed at the Crown Plaza LA Harbor. It is a great location, with enough things to do and plenty of restaurants within walking distance. Crown Plaza's free shuttle took us to the Cruise Terminal the morning of our cruise. The embarkation was very organized and fast, once the previous passengers were all disembarked. Once on board, we made our way to the buffet for lunch, being some of the first on board it wasn't busy at all. After lunch and a little walk to get acquainted with the ship, we made our way to our balcony mini-suite state room C727. This was a wonderful room. We were the last aft balcony on the starboard side. This room could sleep four. There was a bed that came down from the ceiling and the sofa could be made into a bed. There was lots of room for the 3 of us. Our balcony had 4 chairs and a table. The balcony was exposed on 3 sides. We unpacked our luggage, (there was tons of storage and closet areas) and met our room steward. Alvin introduced himself to us and asked if we would like some champagne. Wonderful! After getting our room setup we were off to purchase our Couples Thermo Suite passes for DW and myself, a discount and limited capacity first day only. DS purchased his internet minutes, extra 40 minutes if purchased first day then registered with teen program. The teen room was extremely well equipped. We chose anytime dining as it works best for us. We had our dinners in the Bordeaux dining room usually when it opened at 5:30pm. A table for 4 was always available for us. After a few evenings of trying different tables and waiters, the maitre'ds knew our preferences. We took advantage of Princesses bring your own wine policy. Some nights we arrived for dinner with a glass of wine, or a bottle of wine without a problem. On a few occasions we purchased a bottle from their reasonable selection. Celebrating a wedding anniversary on this cruise, we enjoyed anniversary balloons, heart shaped towel animals, and acknowledgement from the staff close to us. We were up early every morning and in the gym using the very adequate weight machines and free weights. Then a few miles around the promenade deck and off to the Thermo Suite for a steam sauna. Breakfasts were either on the balcony with room service or something quick from the Horizon Court buffet and taken out to the pool area. Huatulco - We taxied to La Entrega beach and snorkeled with our own equipment. There is a nice reef with numerous fish. We rented a Jet-Ski for half an hour. We sampled a few Cervezas, fresh homemade tortillas and guacamole, and local mescal. Ah heaven! Wish we could have stayed longer. Guatemala - What an experience! We booked Princesses "Antigua on your own" bus ride to Antigua. Armed with my own map of all the sites to see, we negotiated a tour with a driver of a three wheeled Baja taxi called a Tuk-Tuks, for an hour. What fun! Photo opportunities galore! Great restaurants are also to be found for lunch, as we discovered. After lunch we negotiated a ride with a horse and carriage operator, who showed us some hotel restaurant establishments. Nicaragua - We booked a private tour with Va Pues tours to climb Cerro Negro Volcano, have lunch, and tour the city of Leon. With all the volcanoes in Nicaragua, I think it's a must. The climb was over an hour. The descent took minutes. It was one of our most wonderful and amazing tours! Fantastic tour guides and tour, I can't say enough. As a side bar, we were talking to some gentlemen outside the gates of the pier, who are offering tours. There are many things to do and the prices are good, if you are the active type. Would love to go back! Do not be afraid of the country. The people are marvelous. Costa Rica - We took a tour through Princess "Corobochi River Float w/ Lunch". Level 1-2 rapids. We saw monkeys, crocodiles, various birds, iguanas and other animals that our guide was very quick to point out and was also very knowledgeable. Panama Canal - All day site seeing and you don't have to leave the ship. I read "The Path between the Seas' before the cruise. This gave me a great appreciation as to what was involved in building the canal. Cartegena - due to Gas Turbine problems on board, this port was missed. Princess gave every passenger $100.00 OBC. Good for Princess, as this has happed before to us, (other cruise lines) and the refunds haven't been as good. Aruba - Due to missing time in Cartegena, Princess gave us more time in Aruba. Yahoo! We booked a catamaran sail & snorkel with lunch through Princess. We snorkeled overtop of the sunken German tanker, "Antilles". This was a rush! We did some snorkeling near a beach, and then had lunch at Pelican Pier. There were many shows every evening, catering to various tastes. We attended a few comedy shows, the galley tour, wine tasting, also participated in numerous sports, pool and stage entertainment. It was all enjoyable. Disembarkation was the easiest we've experienced. We chose express disembarkation and carried our own bags off. We had a quick breakfast and we were amongst the first off and through customs in less than half an hour. A short $12.00 taxi to the FLL airport and we were on our way. Summary - The dinners in the Bordeaux dining room were excellent. The waiters were "excelente". Our favorite table was #30 with waiters Juan Carlos and Ricardo. The room service breakfasts were on time and adequate. Room stewards were friendly and attentive. We stayed away from the buffet as much as possible. (do not enjoy the atmosphere) We also avoid all the aggressive sales techniques on board, and the usual tourist shops in port. We enjoyed the more out of the way ports, and had our best cruise as of yet. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
We drove from Central FL to Ft. Lauderdale and boarded the Crown Princess seamlessly at about 1:30. We had a picture taken and went directly to our stateroom. We chose a balcony room mid-ship. It was lovely but the bathroom was a bit ... Read More
We drove from Central FL to Ft. Lauderdale and boarded the Crown Princess seamlessly at about 1:30. We had a picture taken and went directly to our stateroom. We chose a balcony room mid-ship. It was lovely but the bathroom was a bit smaller than the Caribbean Princess. What really made the room was Samuel our cabin steward. He was fantastic! He noticed we had wine and brought glasses. We requested ice at 4 each day and because he was not working then, he brought a large container just before lunch. He was really pleasant and it makes a big difference. Our first day at sea was uneventful. The weather was sort of cool for the whole cruise. An unusual cold front had come in but we were still able to use the balcony. The seas were seldom rough. We chose anytime dining and really enjoyed the flexibility of it. No complaints about the food - - just wonderful. The one complaint was that they have done away with teaspoons in favor of those little sticks. Ick! We complained they did not have premium tea and got some - - seems you have to ask for it as people were taking large amounts home. We chose not to try the upscale dining as the dining room had something we loved each evening. The entertainment was good. The dancers and singers did a great job. The comedian (1st one) was absolutely hilarious. We could not stop laughing. The second one was so-so. We noticed they did not have as much entertainment as other years but we really did not care. If this is how they keep prices down it's fine with us. We were unable to get into Princess Cay because of the weather. Got our port fee refunded. Really enjoyed St. Martin and St. Thomas although we noticed the merchants were much more aggressive in St. Thomas this year. We enjoyed inexpensive beer on the beach and met a couple from Canada. It was lovely. We walked in St. Thomas and enjoyed the stores. Grand Turk was a later than usual stop because of wind but they gave us extra time. The beach and stores were a nice (if somewhat cooler than normal). All in all the Crown Princess was beautiful and we would go again. No major complaints and seven days of relaxing with an ocean view - - doesn't get much better than that! Oh, should mention that Princess lets you bring wine on and has an empty fridge. Also, you can bring a bottle to the dining rm. for $15 corkage fee. Very reasonable. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Having sailed the Emerald Princess last year my wife and I were really looking forward to our return trip this year. Embarkation went smoothly and we got on board early enough to enjoy the day reacquainting ourselves with the ship. Once ... Read More
Having sailed the Emerald Princess last year my wife and I were really looking forward to our return trip this year. Embarkation went smoothly and we got on board early enough to enjoy the day reacquainting ourselves with the ship. Once our cruise started we were more than a little disappointed in the following. The production shows in the Princess theater were the exact same shows we saw last year and now they show them two nights. So there goes some of our evening entertainment. The cruise director was basically nonexistent other than his daily appearances on his morning TV show and his staff as a whole seemed to be following in his footsteps as they also were rarely seen. The wait staff in the Michelangelo dining room left a lot to be desired. On more than one occasion we were left wondering if we aliens due to the fact that we left holding our menus with not so much as a glass of water. We complained to the Maitre D' who seemed to take it personally and basically became a nuisance afterwards. We were much happier when we switched to the Da Vinci dining room. Our visit to Sabitini's was excellent as always with a great wait staff and a wonderful meal. My wife saw the s'mores dessert on the Crown Grill menu and being the dessert freak that she is wanted to try it. The dinner seatings were filled so I took a chance one evening and asked if we could come in, just for dessert and coffee and was quite happy when they said it was no problem. Kudos to the Crown Grill. We are active people and try to find the most active shore excursions we can on all our cruises. A word to the wise DO NOT book the bike tour on Water Island in St. Thomas. The bicycles they use are UNSAFE and in severe need of attention. The chain popped off my bike three times. The cable fell out of my rear brake on a downhill and it has to be one of the shortest bike rides around an island I have ever encountered. In comparison the bike tour on Bonaire was on of the best. Excellent equipment, attentive tour guide, excellent ride around the island(if only it were longer than 13 miles). Highly recommended for those looking for something a little more active. Stay in Grenada was to short, I realize that its a long way to Bonaire from Dominica but if thats the case skip a port and hit all three of the ABC islands. Dominica is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever stepped foot on a must see for anyone who loves the tropical side of the Caribbean. Bonaire is just as beautiful but in a completely different way. The desert atmosphere is amazing and the island is very low key. A complete opposite from the tourist mecca of Aruba.I guess after writing this I have come to the realization that overall we did have a great time, other than a few minor incidents it was a wonderful time except for the fact that the time flew by and it was over before we knew. I guess we are going to have to start booking longer cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Background: Our friends had a grandson with a celebration scheduled in St. Thomas. They didn't want to fly so they asked my wife (our resident cruise booking expert) to see if there was a cruise that was stopping in St. Thomas on the ... Read More
Background: Our friends had a grandson with a celebration scheduled in St. Thomas. They didn't want to fly so they asked my wife (our resident cruise booking expert) to see if there was a cruise that was stopping in St. Thomas on the designated day and if we would go with them. She found the Emerald Princess and we agreed to go with them. That is how we came to be talking this cruise. Travel & Hotel. We live in Florida and drove to Fort Lauderdale. We've done this before and stay at the Hampton Inn on SW 12th Street. Good hotel, free shuttle, and you can leave your car there for a nominal charge. Embarkation was well done. There was a long line but it moved along. Once you got to the check-in the process went quickly. There was space to move around the ever present photographer's back-up. Our balcony stateroom was a disappointment. It was smaller than any balcony we can remember on any line. We were on Holland America in Dec 08 and our room was at least 1/3 larger. The bathroom was really small and the shower almost laughable. Our friends got a large balcony room (+$800) and the only difference was a larger balcony. We found that with the larger balcony you didn't have any privacy as all the decks above can look down on your balcony. We were disappointed in the ship design. It appears that the primary consideration was for the number of cabins at the expense of the public areas. All the public areas were too small for the number of people on the ship. The theater seats are narrow and very close together (think discount airline). I found it so uncomfortable I skipped all the shows. My wife went to the shows with our friends. Anytime people gathered (shows, evening entertainment, and Piazza events) there was never enough room. I use the fitness center, dry spa and steam room extensively. The fitness center, equipment, and classes were fine. The locker room is too small for the size ship. It is poorly designed with towel storage on the small bench and thus nowhere for more than one person to sit at a time. There is an additional thermal spa for $80 that I joined. I will not do that again as there is really no benefit over the free facilities. We used Anytime Dinning. This was fine as long as you made reservations. If not, there were long lines most of the time. There is a dining room on Decks 6 and 5. Most people went to the Deck 6 room and Deck 5 was less crowded with a shorter wait. The food was fine. The free pizza was very good. On the days at sea there was an English pub food lunch menu in the Wheelhouse bar. It was very nice and I enjoyed it. There was the usual spread of shipboard activities. All was as expected. Another disappointment was the Princess policies on getting more money from the passengers. I ordered a drink and was asked if I wanted a medium. Now to me that means there is a small, medium, and large. Not the case. A medium is a larger drink than a regular size and more expensive. I haven't seen this type of deceptive marketing since McDonalds Hamburgers used it with their french fries. A fellow passenger fell on the ship and cut himself. The Purser's Office charged him $1.09 for band aids. There is free ice cream on board for a few hours a day but it is totally unadvertised as opposed to the for fee ice cream which is well advertised. The gym classes are $10 each if you buy a package for the entire cruise or $12 if you want to try just one. I could go on with more examples of, in my opinion, the loss of prestige of the line and the move to mass marketing techniques based on the size of the ship. When you are on-board, let the buyer beware. The cabin service and our table service were very well done. We felt that clean-up and drink delivery on the Lido deck dinning were a bit slow. Everyone was pleasant and made the cruise enjoyable. My wife enjoyed the entertainment. As mentioned before, all evening events were very crowded. Most shows were repeated three times over two or three days; I guess so everyone would have a chance to see them. We think the variety and quality was as expected for Princess. We visited five ports. Excursions and other details were as expected. Disembarkation was fine. We had the option of early walk off which we didn't use. Our group was called within five minutes of the expected time. It was a usual, timely disembarkation. I filled out my comment form but couldn't fine a place to drop it off. I guess there was a box by the Purser's Office but who goes near that place on the last day? I expected a box by the gangway but there wasn't one. Summary: A day cruising is better that any day ashore so don't take my comments above to mean we didn't have a good time. It was just a series of small nits that kept it from being a great cruise. Princess seems to have lost the ability to do the last 5% that separates a great cruise line from a good one. Overall I told my wife that we will not cruise on this class of ship again but I don't mind going on Princess. Perhaps we'll find the smaller ships still have the old Princess charm and quality. Read Less
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