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3,052 Princess Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Reviews

We sailed 10/2 to 10/9 and were told this cruise was the first to go to the Eastern Caribbean in 5 weeks due to all the hurricanes. So everyone was really excited about going Eastern as we were too! Not many kids on this cruise which was ... Read More
We sailed 10/2 to 10/9 and were told this cruise was the first to go to the Eastern Caribbean in 5 weeks due to all the hurricanes. So everyone was really excited about going Eastern as we were too! Not many kids on this cruise which was good! James was our cruise director. He was good but it sounds like the guy that was on previous was better. We flew in the night before and stayed at the Sleep Inn (Dania, FL). Our flight didn't get in until 10:30pm on Friday night, so we didn't want to spend much on a hotel since we were basically just sleeping there. But I would recommend this hotel to anyone. There was a Walgreens directly across the street (didn't have to cross traffic), so we bought a 12 pack of Coke and 12 pack of water to take on the ship. We paid $64 with my entertainment card rate. This included free continental breakfast and free shuttle from airport and to port. However, we were late in requesting our time for the shuttle to port and couldn't get the time we wanted (11:00am), so we chose to take a taxi. It cost us $20 for the taxi ride to the port, but got there quickly. We arrived at Port Everglades at 11:20am. They took our bags from the taxi and put them in a big screen thing and we didn't have to mess with them again! Thank goodness cause we had a lot and they were heavy. We gave the guy who took them a $5 tip, but then later realized when we were standing in line as there were signs posted, that you don't have to tip them cause they are on salary. So save your money on tips there at the port and give it to the nice people on board! We arrived at 11:20am and there was a long line, but the processing didn't open until 11:30am. Once it opened, it went very quickly. But be sure to have all your documents ready. We were in our room by 12:20pm. Our bags didn't arrive for about an hour or so, so it would be good to bring your swim suits in your carry on bag, then you can go directly to the pool if you want. We didn't do that, but wished we would have. We went and had lunch instead and when we came back, our bags were there. Life drill was at 4pm, that was very organized. We were on the Baja deck, deck 11 with a balcony. Our room steward was Rose from the Philippines. She was excellent and so sweet. Our room was second to the last room in the rear (aft) star board side of the ship. The room was small but perfect for my husband and I. The balcony was small but private. No one could look down on us as we could look down on the decks below (Caribe, deck 10). The Caribe deck had the bigger balconies but not as private. We had 2 chairs, a table and then a foot stool. I asked our steward (Rose) for a recliner type padded chair and they later brought us two of those. You can hear and kinda see through the partitions or panels that divide the balconies so it's not real private unless your neighbors are not out. But we enjoyed our balcony very much and would get it again. The ship was beautiful but not as elegant as I thought it would be. One complaint that I had and heard several others mention it too, was there wasn't enough restrooms and they were hard to find. There was one restroom (actually two, 1 for women and 1 for men), but in each one, there was only 1 toilet! And this was just outside Club Fusion. You would think that being outside a nightclub you would need more toilets. So sure enough there was a line every time. At least for the women's there was. We thought the food was excellent! We had reserved Sterlings for Thursday night, but wound up canceling because the food was so good. But we did hear that it was excellent and the $15 per person was well worth it! We had the personal choice dining which I highly recommend! It's nice to go to dinner WHEN you want to, not when you have to. We made a reservation for the first night at 6pm. Sat at a table for two but was so close to the next table, that we visited with them the whole time. After that night, we didn't make reservations again and got right in every time. Some nights we sat with outher guests, some we didn't. We met some really nice people. We went early, 6 to 6:30pm. We ate in the Palm Dining room (deck 6, aft) every night except for one night. Ate at the Coral Dining room (deck 6, forward) that night. Both dining rooms are very similar and had the exact same menu. I think your assigned dining room depends on where you are on the ship. In the dining room you had a choice of, an appetizer, soup, salad and entree, then dessert. You could order as much of anything as you wanted. If you order the shrimp cocktail, order two of them because it only comes with 5 pieces of shrimp. The Caesar salad was excellent! It was ALL good! We never had anything we didn't like. Remember, no shorts in the dining rooms. They call it, Smart Casual attire. We ate at the buffet every morning except one, and most days for lunch, too. The first morning we ordered room service. But we were disappointed because the choices were only for continental breakfast. So I asked Rose and she said you could order whatever. Well we did that, eggs, etc., but still only got the continental style. So not sure about that. We didn't try it again. We thought the food in the Horizon Court (Buffet) was good and a good selection. For breakfast you can order an omelet cooked like you like it, or a fried egg. The fruit was excellent! I liked the coffee, but my husband didn't care for it too much. But it was HOT! And that is the way I like it! An FYI on the Horizon Court seating....find a table first, put something on it to reserve it, then get your food. And if you get some food from someplace else, you can take it anywhere. Like if you get pizza or hamburger/hot dog, you can take it in the Horizon Court. The entertainment was good. We especially like the comedian, Scott Wyler. He was funny! So was Steve Morris with his music and video screen! Let's Rock was a good show, Jacqi Michaels was a good singer, Caliente was good. We didn't see the Garry Carson with his comedy magic show, but heard it was good. With all the entertainment and activities going on, it's kinda like a 3 ring circus. Where you want to see everything, but you just can't see it all! Some shows ran twice, but some did not. The casino was good. I was surprised at the people that were winning. One lady hit on a $1 slot machine for $2500. Then on a $1 Wheel of Fortune machine, there were two right next to each other, and they both hit for $1000 each. Then one lady hit $1000 on a $1 slot and 2 seats over another hit for $900 at the same time. And this is just what we saw and we went each night. We played Let It Ride, only 1 table and it was always busy, and we played Roulette. Two tables most of the time. We didn't win anything big, but we didn't do too bad. I think the slot tournament was a joke though. First place was $500 but second place was only a t-shirt. I didn't do it. We were surprised at how much we could feel the movement of the ship. It wasn't enough to make us sick or anything, but we could feel it no matter where we were on the ship. Someone said it was because the Eastern Caribbean was a lot rougher than the Western. And the seas were white capping the whole time. But it didn't bother us. Saw a lot of people with patches behind the ear or the bracelets for motion sickness. Never saw anyone sick though. Our ports were St. Thomas on Tuesday, St. Maarten on Wednesday and Nassau on Friday. We were disappointed that we didn't get to go to Princess Cays. If you shop in St. Thomas and you find something you like, buy it! I found a purse in St. Thomas but was disappointed that they wouldn't come down much on price, so I just said I would wait and get it in St. Maarten. Well they didn't have it in St. Maarten and I was so mad at myself. We had a shore excursion booked online with Princess for the Sea Blaster and snorkeling. Well the night before we had a message on our phone that the tour had been canceled due to mechanical problems with the boat. So we had to hurry and choose something else. We chose the St. John snorkeling, #V2. It was good. We visited 3 islands. First one we saw big sea turtles, second island we saw a ship wreck and 3rd we saw colorful fish and coral. The boat ride was rough though. I liked the shopping better in St. Thomas, but the Island better in St. Maarten. Take the water taxi over to the beach in St. Maarten, it's beautiful, but public. We didn't go any farther than that. Nassau was OK, but they are horrible about hounding you in the shopping district. Horrible! Hated that! Bought a beautiful Tanzanite ring in Nassau! In St. Thomas bought a David Yurman necklace that was about $50 cheaper than in the states plus the tax savings. I did the internet cafe one time. Cost is .35 per minute. It wasn't too slow. It was nice hearing from back home. We did the 25 min Swedish massage (only because the 50 min one was all booked up, so book early). It was very nice but short. $65 on sea day plus 15% gratuity they automatically add on. We did the Movies Under the Stars. Saw Shrek 2. This was wonderful. Had the blanket and popcorn and candy. It was great! Book early for that! They also were showing 13 going on 30. Didn't have time to see this but wanted to. Go to the very front of the ship when coming into port. Good time to do this is when you're coming into Nassau because it was at 12:30pm. It is neat to see how the ship comes into port. I'm sure I'm leaving out so much. But overall we had a great time! I would sail Princess again for sure. We meant to put a deposit down for our next cruise, but totally forgot. We want to save up and sail again in a couple of years. We want our family to go next time. We're already looking forward to our next cruise! If you have any questions, you can find my email address on the message boards, roll call Oct 2nd, Caribbean Princess,  (P.A.). Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
This was a much needed vacation! We weren't very worried about hurricanes, as the most important thing was that we are away from life for awhile. We flew from Boston to Miami two days prior due to using frequent flier miles. We got ... Read More
This was a much needed vacation! We weren't very worried about hurricanes, as the most important thing was that we are away from life for awhile. We flew from Boston to Miami two days prior due to using frequent flier miles. We got a great rate at the Renaissance Ft. Lauderdale. The Renaissance was a nice hotel with a very nice pool area - they will bring drinks out to you there so you can have quite an enjoyable afternoon sitting poolside. We put our names on the list for their van to bring us to port (4.00 pp). We got to the pier by 11:30. There was already quite the line waiting for embarkation. There was a bit of a wait. At 12:00 they started letting us in. We were onboard by 12:30. The Caribbean Princess is a wonderful ship. We quickly got the 'lay of the land' so to speak, and headed up for lunch in the Horizon Court. Surprisingly, they were not ready for us yet, even though the Patters said lunch was served at Noon. We found out later that the CP had its surprise CDC inspection that day - with a perfect score of 100  - so I can excuse the delay. When the Horizon Court did open, it was mobbed! Too many people at one time. The food was fine - your basic buffet fare. We ate most of our breakfasts at the Horizon Court - and a few lunches, and never came away hungry (loved the fried eggplant sticks!) You can find out a lot about her interior online so I won't do over kill on that. We spent the majority of the week on the Lido deck, being those tourists cover'd with oil ;) - mostly because that is what we wanted to do. We took this cruise to just get away from life, and to spend time with each other. I love the fact that Princess pools are fresh water - so nice. There were three days at sea - lots of things to do. DH took part in the photo-shop classes via the Scholarship at Sea program which he thought were good. I went to the cooking class, which was a hoot. Sterlings was fabulous! I had the most tender filet mignon ever! Well worth the extra charge. Sabatini's was great as well. The Trident grill was great (fantastic hot dogs!) and the pizza was fabulous! Couldn't get enough of it. The drinks were good - we did the coke coolers for 22.00 pp, which turned out to be well worth the money. And, we did the drink of the day program. The Island Breeze was by far my favorite! YUMMMM! Anytime Dining: we made standing reservations at 7:00 in the Palm. The food was fine (again, nothing spectacular) but good enough for me to say the food was good. Not enough variety in the menu, however. I thought they could do better. Service was perfunctory - nothing more than I expected, nothing less - nothing outstanding, I have to say. The cabin was fabulous (C402). The balcony was awesome! It was nice having such a large balcony - we spent our late afternoons reading, watching the sunset - breathtaking. Our cabin steward did a good job. Movies Under the Stars: whoever had this idea was brilliant! It was wonderful! We made our reservations as soon as we got on board (call the concierge) for Shrek II and 13 Going on 30. It was so awesome - sitting under the stars, with a blankie and popcorn and a drink  - life was good! The Lotus Spa: The treatments are AMAZING! We both had spa treatments on embarkation day. I had the hot stones, and DH had the deep tissue. We booked these online. My first of two beefs is that the price online said 80.00, but they charged me 100.00. When I mentioned this, they said that Princess reserves the right to change prices. I cry FOUL! No matter - it was still great. My other complaint: I am a woman of size. I had called Princess prior to embarkation to ask them if they had robes for larger sized women - they said they do - that their robes would fit a woman up to a size XXXL. Okay. I go to the locker room, change, and the robe does not fit me adequately. Very embarrassing. So I have my treatment and then up on checkout I said to the manager that I was under the impression that their robes would fit me. She said they did have XXXL robes, but you have to go back to the reception area and ask for them. VERY EMBARRASSING. So we had another treatment later that week. We had the Rasul and then a couple's massage. So before I went to change I asked for a larger sized robe that would fit me. The woman looked at me like I had two heads. Finally, I explained: "I need a robe that will fit me. The robes in the locker room do not fit me!" - of course everyone checking in heard me. This is an unacceptable practice. Going to a spa should be relaxing. PORTS: we went to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau (instead of Princess Cays). We took a ship sponsored tour - the Champagne Catamaran to St. John, which was wonderful. We went to Honeymoon Beach in St. John for snorkeling and it was just unbelievable gorgeous. The staff of the Catamaran was wonderful. We just ran into town at St. Maarten and Nassau and did a bit of shopping. We couldn't wait to get back on board though to take a quick dip in the pool! Debarkation: in a word, messy. We did not get off the ship until 9:30, and we were to be one of the first groups off the ship. I like how NCL and Carnival does this better, but hey, its all good - after all, we were just on a wonderful week's vacation! Happy cruising everyone! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
I'll start by saying most everything was up to the usual Princess 'top-notch' quality, so just a few of the high points (good and bad): CONS: Embarkation - BIG line outside the building, but once inside you can go to a ... Read More
I'll start by saying most everything was up to the usual Princess 'top-notch' quality, so just a few of the high points (good and bad): CONS: Embarkation - BIG line outside the building, but once inside you can go to a Platinum counter (if you're at that Circle Level), or there's another long line before you get to go to you floor's individual counter, but there's only ONE line into the building, and the everyone's back into one of 3 security lines to get onto the ship. This ordeal took almost 1 hour. They could really use another entrance (maybe a Platinum/Elite door & Security line?) # of passengers - other people's comments are true: there's not enough (or large enough) public space for this # of people! Buffet lines weren't too bad (qty 3 w/ 2 Horizons & 1 Caribe), but lounges and theater were hard to get seats in unless you arrived >20 min. before show time. Deck chairs right next to the pool are hard to come by, but OK on upper decks (and no problem for me with saved chairs - if only a towels in the chair, we move it and sit down!) Elevators - you can't get an elevator in under 2 min. to save your life! I've been on other ships w/ >2800 people, and never had to wait more than 45 sec for an elevator). I don't know how they did it, but whenever we were on deck 6/7 all the elevators in the bank were on 14/15, and vice-versa ?!? Photos - overpriced ($9.95 for 6x8's & 14.95 for 8x10's) Bathrooms - shower stalls & rooms very small Shore Excursion Desk - personnel - No help, No details/info, no personality (why is this the same with every cruise line?!?) PROS: Food was top quality, including the Buffets (almost the same menus as in the dining rooms) Kid's Program - our 9 year old daughter liked it; there are separate rooms for each age group ; no Arcade, BUT = FREE PS/2 games in kids rooms! Movies Under the Stars - great, if you're not on the top deck = windy, get reservations/tickets early (we didn't call early enough, but were able to get into Shrek II 'standby' due to 'no-shows'); movies during the day by the pool are cool too. Anytime Dining - can be almost the same as traditional dining (if that's what you like), we booked the same time/table for each night, and had exceptional service (but not as flexible as they make it sound - if you want a table for 4, which they'll have to use twice in one evening, you can only get reservations for 18:00 or 20:00 +/- 15 min.). Pools - FRESH WATER!; and lots of them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Cabin - We had a category BB cabin and the room was just fine for two people. The balcony was one of the biggest on the ship since it was on the Caribe deck and it was half covered and half exposed which was nice if you wanted privacy or ... Read More
Cabin - We had a category BB cabin and the room was just fine for two people. The balcony was one of the biggest on the ship since it was on the Caribe deck and it was half covered and half exposed which was nice if you wanted privacy or wanted to be sociable with the neighbors. PC Dining - We had PC dining and never had to wait, though I think that might have been luck since we met a few passengers who did have to wait on formal nights. The food was good but the service was not as personable as you would probably get at the traditional dining rooms. I found that the assistant waiters were nicer than the head waiters. The head waiters were very business like and when we would crack a joke or two they looked very impatient with us. Sabatinis - I wouldn't do it again. This was more expensive than Sterlings and was not worth it. Let me first say that I'm used to dining in the North End in Boston so I'm comparing it to the restaurants in that area. The service was wonderful, don't get me wrong but the food was not that great. For example, they served caviar with sour cream, onions etc but you placed it on the leftover tasteless hashbrowns that you get at breakfast instead of real bellinis (sp?) like my mom would make. I had the seafood and found it kind of bland. The atmosphere was great though. Sterlings - this was the best dining in the ship in my opinion!!!! The steak was a melt in your mouth filet mignon and was magnificent. The service was incredible and overall it just seemed like the people who worked there really enjoyed what they did. Bars - Our favorite bar was Crooners which is a piano/martini bar. The chairs were so comfortable and the martinis were the best on the ship. It's a great place to people watch, especially on formal night since it's placed near one of the photo shoot areas. Entertainment - Scott Wyler is the best!!! Don't miss him and go to each of his shows!! He had me laugh so hard my stomach hurt!!! Forget Elliot Max unless you're ready for a good nap and a lot of uncomfortable silences. We left halfway through his show. Fernandez was a big hit with my sister...I was watching the Red Sox pound the Yankees so I really can't comment but she really thought he was good. Club Fusion - This was where we normally spent our nights since there is always so much going on there such as horse racing, Karaoke, Princess Feud, and bingo. I liked that if you couldn't see the performer or action in person you could just look up at one of the many screens they had. Churchill's - Here is where I spent the bulk of the nights since they were the only bar showing the Playoffs. I'm still recovering from the smoke inhalation and can't figure out why they didn't show the playoffs somewhere other than a cigar bar. To be honest though, the game was shown in everyone's room so I could have gone back to the cabin to watch, but there's nothing like a packed bar full of Red Sox and Yankee fans during the playoffs. The waiters were nice and would even give you a drink when they weren't too busy watching the game ;) It was really a fun place to be though while we were there...and it is a cigar bar so I can't complain about the smoke. Just wish they had shown the playoffs on the big outdoor screen more than once. Outdoor Movie - The only time we watched was when the Red Sox were on and they only played it because Monday Night Football was on the same channel. It was cool and I wished they had shown it every night because there were so many people on the ship that were excited about it. Didn't go to the movies there so can't comment. Ports of Call - I only really liked Old San Juan due to it's quaintness and history. St. Thomas was dirty and so was St. Martin, though we enjoyed lunch on the French side there. Pools - We stuck to the adult pools and loved the Lotus Spa pool a lot. It was calm and quiet and just what the doctor ordered!!! The aft pool was great in the afternoon and had a great view of the ocean. Dining Rooms - Didn't care for the Palm so we stuck to the Coral dining room. Also preferred the Caribe Cafe over the Horizon Court due to the fact that it was cooler temp wise. Spa - The girls were just great!!! Had both the deep tissue massage and the Swedish massage and liked the Swedish better. Each girl was very nice and did a wonderful job. Great place to go if you need to distress!!! Skywalkers - Didn't care for it but I'm not into the disco thing so that's just me. Cruise Director - He was very good but I actually liked his assistant better personality wise. Overall this was a great cruise but I didn't fall in love with the ship itself so I don't think I'd return. This is not to say it's not great but it just didn't fit in with what I would like for a ship that I would return to. I guess the size is what didn't do it for me. I like a more intimate type of ship I guess. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
We're First timers that will definitely make it time and again. I enjoyed each and every day. Considering the size of this ship, it was well organized and they knew how to move the people. The Princess Patter was very informative, I ... Read More
We're First timers that will definitely make it time and again. I enjoyed each and every day. Considering the size of this ship, it was well organized and they knew how to move the people. The Princess Patter was very informative, I liked having the option of picking where and when to eat. Sabatini's and the Steak House are both well worth the extra cover charge. There is no way you could get the level of services/attention and food for that price anywhere. Our cabin had a balcony and I loved it! The shows were varied and very entertaining. Really, you make the cruise what you want it to be, but if you just want to relax and chill, that is great also. Food was very good, but since we've not been on a cruise before, we didn't have any barometer to measure with. Staff was friendly and helpful. Movies under the Stars was a brilliant idea! Could watch or listen anytime during the day, but best to reserve if attending an evening show. They provide popcorn, blanket, drinks, what else could you ask for! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Embarkation- Arrived at Port Everglades at 10:00 and spent well over hour waiting for the embarkation process to begin. Once it did we were through the process in 15 minutes, very smooth! Cabin- Minisuite on Dolphin. Had same category on ... Read More
Embarkation- Arrived at Port Everglades at 10:00 and spent well over hour waiting for the embarkation process to begin. Once it did we were through the process in 15 minutes, very smooth! Cabin- Minisuite on Dolphin. Had same category on same deck on previous sailing. Clearly our favorite and once you have had a mini-suite, you can never settle for less. Cabin was more than adequate for my husband, myself and our 6 year old. Be warned, balconies on Dolphin are completely exposed, no covering. We liked that just fine, it was great to sit out there at night and watch the stars. Cabin was clean, nicely decorated and room steward, John was attentive and accommodating. Dining- Once we were onboard the very first thing I did was make reservations for Sabatini's, Sterlings and the dining rooms. We were personal choice so we knew basically when we would eat. I highly recommend doing this. Since we had reservations for every night, we never waited for a table. Sabatini's was awesome and should not be missed. If you enjoy Italian food and lots of it...then go, worth the cover fee! Sterlings was not to missed either, a great steakhouse but the decor was a little lacking. Not a "steakhouse" style as I was expecting. Food was top notch and portions were large! Service in both places were beyond expectations. Entertainment- You will not be bored. Bert Stratton, piano player in Crooners, was great and very entertaining as was all of the entertainers. Did not see any of the musical, production shows but heard they were good too. Movies Under the Stars was GREAT...loved watching Shrek 2 under the Caribbean stars. Great added feature! Children's Programs- 6 year old loved it and I had a hard time getting her to hang with Mom and Dad. Staff was well trained and handled the kids very well. Facility was more than adequate and so was the security measures for leaving your children there. Plenty for the kids to do without over scheduling them. They will love it! Ports of Call- St. Thomas, St. Martin and Nassau (due to hurricane damage to Princess Cays). All were ok. Especially enjoyed Nassau. Do your research on each port so you know what you want to do and what you want to see. Service- A lot of comments have been made recently on the service aboard the CP. In comparison to the Grand Princess, I think the friendliness and personal interaction of the staff is not a prevalent as on the Grand Princess but by no means is it bad service. The service I received by each staff member that I came in contact with was excellent they just did not go that extra step and make it more personal. With that being said, there were exceptions, in Sabatini's and Sterlings we had great personal conversations with our waiters and they delivered service beyond expectation! Summary- A great ship but the addition of the extra passengers is noticeable. Pools and public areas more crowded and you must have patience at the buffets! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
This was our first cruise, so we had nothing to compare it to. However, it was absolutely the best vacation we ever had both for value and price. We did an outside balcony, and would never do anything less having had it. We were met at ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we had nothing to compare it to. However, it was absolutely the best vacation we ever had both for value and price. We did an outside balcony, and would never do anything less having had it. We were met at the airport by the cruise line for a transfer to the ship. This was done quickly and painlessly. We had signed up for express check-in, and it took a total of no more than 10 minutes to get through. My wife was very nervous about being seasick, but she never had to open the various boxes of pills that she brought - the ride was extremely smooth without rocking at all. The ship is beautiful and the crew was very pampering and quick to respond. Our room steward, Magda was extremely helpful, and we were very thankful for her. The food was great, although the buffet was just a buffet, nothing great. The dining room food was terrific! The entertainment was Broadway quality, and we had a great time. It was difficult to get into some of the shows, but that's what happens when you show up at the last minute. There were plenty of pools, and the 2 pools for adults only were quite nice. My only negative observations would be that the elevators were very slow, but I understand that is common on all ships. I also felt that some of the common areas were a little too crowded at times. At the end of the cruise, getting off the ship was extremely easy and organized. It only took a few minutes to leave the ship, and pick up our luggage. We took the ships shore excursion to the Everglades (we booked all the shore trips through the cruise), and we were very pleased with this and all other tours. When finished, they dropped us right at the terminal. We are already planning on booking the next one. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Terrific cruise on a terrific ship. I'll only list the low points and the high points I noticed that were different on the Caribbean Princess compared to other Princess ships and/or cruises. Low point: Embarkation photo with no ... Read More
Terrific cruise on a terrific ship. I'll only list the low points and the high points I noticed that were different on the Caribbean Princess compared to other Princess ships and/or cruises. Low point: Embarkation photo with no background. Didn't want a photo with someone else's arm and the port warehouse in my photo. High point: Caribe Cafe (at the rear of the Horizon Court). Varied, special meals each night - Oktoberfest, Sushi, Caribe, etc. Another dining option with good food. No additional fee and many people took advantage of this casual dining option. High point: Good, varied entertainment choices. This ship has a lot going on in the evenings with choices for most everyone's taste. Movies Under the Stars is not to be missed. Watching the sing-along 'Wizard of Oz' was fun. High point: Concierge service. One phone call to make dinner, movie, golf, etc. reservations. Easily done and most accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Caribbean Princess Cruise Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, 3 days at sea Oct 23 - Oct 30/04 Background: This was our 8th cruise the 3rd on a Princess ship but the first on a Grand Class ship. I have also sailed 5 times ... Read More
Caribbean Princess Cruise Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, 3 days at sea Oct 23 - Oct 30/04 Background: This was our 8th cruise the 3rd on a Princess ship but the first on a Grand Class ship. I have also sailed 5 times on Royal Caribbean the last two being Voyager class ships. Pre Cruise: Flight was on a direct flight on Spirit Air day prior out of Detroit. Arrived at our hotel Renaissance on 17th street, which I secured on Priceline for a price of $75.00. I bid 4 * in the Downtown Fort Lauderdale zone. Took a taxi from the airport to hotel, which ran about $10.00 plus tip. Can't say enough good things about the friendly staff at this hotel. Checked in at 10:30 am and they did have a room for us. I asked for one on a high floor so I could see 'our Princess' in the morning and they said 'no problem' Beautifully appointed room with duvet on the bed, very nice pool and free internet for guests. They did have a shuttle that I signed up for at the Concierge desk. First shuttle is at 10:30 a.m. so signed up for that one. We were taken to the pier for $4.00 per person and there were 3 other couples in the van and plenty of storage for the luggage. The hotel is located close by a grocery store Publix and liquor store Crown Wine & Liquor. There is a Walgreen's across the street. We also walked one block to a place for breakfast the day of embarkation called Einstein Brothers Bagels. This place was busy and popular and we recommend it for a great quick breakfast. Good coffee here and many types of bagels and breakfast sandwiches. Embarkation: Arrived at the pier about 11:20 a.m. Porter was quite friendly and took our luggage and pointed out where we should go. There was already a long line, as they had not started to let people in. All staff in the embarkation process were friendly and helpful and we did not encounter any rudeness at all. The doors were opened and they commenced letting passengers on about 11:40 a.m. and by 12:20 or so we were checked in, through security and at our cabin. Cabin was not quite ready but room steward allowed us to leave our luggage, which we did and headed for some lunch. It was also his first day aboard the ship having come back from vacation in Hungary. He had previously worked on Diamond Princess. Caution, do not take pictures or any video tape in this embarkation area. We saw a man who was videotaping and they took his camera and rewound it to erase his video of the area. This held us up a bit in the security line. We had a bottle of alcohol in our checked luggage and a bottle of wine in our carryon and we had no problems bringing them on. In fact while in St. Thomas we bought two bottles to take home and they were boxed and going through security at the entrance we used to get on the ship nothing was said and there was no one to take it away for delivery later to our cabin. We intended to bring it home with us and kept it in the cabin until disembarkation. Earlier when returning to the ship using a different entrance we did see them collecting boxed bottles of 4. Ship: A beautiful ship decorated very elegantly. It is large but I have been on the Voyager class of RCI so this did not bother me. I did not feel crowded even at the pool areas and was always able to find a chair at the pool. Now mind you we were at the pool by 9 am but mostly sat on the upper pool deck. Because there were 4 pools it gave you many options as to where you wanted to spend your time poolside. One by the movie screen, one by the poolside band with the pool games, one on the aft of the ship for adults only (what a view here!) and the pool all the way forward for adults as well. Sabatini: On a suggestion I found on Cruise Critic I decided to book the first evening at this specialty restaurant. While the food was good especially the appetizers and my favourite the soup I did find the service lacking. The waiter was getting ready to commence the dining experience and he did not ask if we wanted to have a drink. We wanted to order a bottle of wine so I had to ask if we could do that. He frequently reached past my husband and myself to serve us instead of walking to the other side to serve. There was no engaging is any additional conversation by wait staff...very business like at least the wait staff we had. You really have to like seafood here as many of the dishes include some sort of seafood from caviar to calamari to mussels to clams. All the entrEes are seafood dishes with the exception of a veal and a chicken dish. We opted for the off the menu of a combination of all the seafood. Neither of us liked the sea bass and we are seafood lovers. While we enjoyed it I do not think we would do it again. So sorry I did not get to the seafood buffet in the Cafe Caribe. Heard only good things about it. Things we liked: Thought the entertainment was excellent on this ship. So many different and varied things to see and do especially in the evening. The comedian Scott Wyler was very good and we saw him at the Welcome show and again the next night. Greatly enjoyed the singing duo Kimika and they were liked so well passengers asked to bring them back and they did for the farewell show. Enjoyed Bert Stratton who always created a crowd at Crooners with a nightly sing-a-long. Enjoyed Princess Idol as well. Some evenings there were so many options it was really hard to see and do it all. Guess I just have to go back :) The juggler/comedian was upstaged a bit by a very cute 4 year old boy named Gavin at the late show. Also enjoyed the hypnotist. Enjoyed a drink or two watching and participating in Bert Stratton's shows. Of course we did the Movies under the Stars and watched Shrek 2 along with a lunar eclipse happening that evening so it was sort of a double feature that night. It was such a beautiful evening and a very relaxing thing to do. Also caught the Wizard of OZ sing along and yes we did blow the bubbles and boo at the wicked witch. :) Had to go up on deck after dinner to catch a bit of the Monday Night Football, which was very well attended. Wow lots of people there and impressive to see on that big screen. Really liked and enjoyed the Cruise Director James Lay and his staff. One of the better CD's that I have encountered. Not So Good: The only thing we did not care for was the Personal Choice/Anytime dining. Before the cruise I was open to it and had done much reading on the best way to approach it since I had requested Traditional Early and was waitlisted #547 when I booked 4 months ago. It occurs to me that many people still want this type of dining if the waitlist for that one seating was that high. I eventually got down to about #200 or so. I also talked to people who had Traditional and many times not everyone would show up at the table for dinner so in effect the dining experience for the Traditional diner was also compromised. I found the service lacking in the PC dining rooms. The wait staff always seemed so rushed. We did however on one evening have excellent service in the Coral dining room like the Princess I remembered. I wish I could have had that wait staff every night. I still prefer traditional dining as I like to develop a rapport with the waiter and other tablemates. We enjoyed the entrEes at dinner but the appetizers and soups in general were just fair in our opinion and desserts lacked selection unless you like soufflEs. However the New York cheesecake on the 'always available' side of the menu was very good. Enjoyed the French Onion soup. I do have to say that all of the beef dishes were excellent from the beef tenderloin on the first formal night, Beef Wellington and Prime rib...also enjoyed the chicken kiev. So I guess what I found was the service was very uneven when dining in the PC dining rooms and found the Palm Dining worse than the Coral. My first choice would still be traditional dining and next time & if I am waitlisted I would still approach the Maitre'd on the ship when we embark to see if there would be room. We did like the variety, quality and taste of the food served at the breakfast buffet and the lunch buffet in Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe. We did not do Cafe Caribe for dinner as I kept hoping that we would hit a good table and wait staff in the PC dining rooms. I will definitely try it next time. We did have one evening of excellent waiters and before I left the table I thanked him for doing such a great job. I realize that dining preferences are very personal but this was our experience...another sailing or another Princess ship it could be totally different. PORTS: For those of you who have San Juan substituted for Princess Cays do not miss the approach into San Juan past the old fort EL Morro. The port side is the side to be on to view this. We however found a great spot for picture taking and viewing on deck 15 all the way forward past all the cabins to the end of the hall through the door at the end out on deck above the staff pool area. Just a note since we did not go to Princess Cays we were given the port taxes back as a shipboard credit. It came to about $40.00 /couple and that bought us a few drinks. St. Thomas: Did the taxi thing to Red Hook to take the ferry over to St. John. Grabbed the taxi right at the pier and the taxi driver Trini was very helpful and even phoned ahead to St. John to make sure a taxi would be waiting there to take us to Cinnamon Bay Beach. Cost of the taxi from the port to Red Hook was $8.00 per person one-way and cost of the taxi from St. John's port to Cinnamon Beach was $3.50 per person one-way. St. John's taxi driver's name was Puff Daddy. Cost of the ferry was $3.00 per person one way and to save time we purchased return tickets before going over. We went with a couple we met on our Cruise Critic thread, Michael and Sheryl...and had fun doing this. However the water was pretty rough for snorkeling and later we found out that some of the ships shore excursions were canceled by Princess but we still enjoyed the beautiful beach that it was. St. Maarten/St. Martin: Took a taxi to my fav beach Orient and it did not disappoint. Spend a few hours there taking in the sun and sights :) and then made our way back to the ship to change and do some shopping for some jewels of which I found a couple. We took the water taxi from the pier to the downtown area of Philipsburg for $5.00 person for the day. They are presently working on the shopping area in Philipsburg and are making it into a strictly pedestrian mall without traffic. Should be ready when we make our next visit on Jewel of the Seas in April/05. Room Steward: Had one of the best room stewards ever on this cruise Gabor from Hungary. I asked for two copies of the Princess Patter one to carry around with me and the other to take home for the photo album. When I said I liked the chocolates he made sure there were two on each pillow every night. Did ask for and were brought and used the Princess robes. I did tip him personally extra at the end of the cruise. Disembarkation: Thought it started a bit late when I reference it to RCI ships. Called the first colour Aqua at about 8:30 - 8:45 a.m. We disembarked about 9 a.m. and found our luggage quite quickly. Luggage is lined up on the floor no conveyer belts in Fort Lauderdale like in Port Canaveral and Miami. No problems with security and customs and everything went quickly. Headed outside to find the taxi line, which was a bit confusing. Price for the taxi from pier to airport was about $11.50 plus tip. We managed to grab one and were at the airport by 9:30 a.m. for a 12:15 p.m. flight. It did however take us about 1½ hours to check in and go through the security line which was quite long. We were at our gate by 11 a.m. Some small differences I noticed between Princess & RCI --  Muster drill ...liked the system on Princess better. No standing in the hot, south Florida sun enduring the heat and humidity with those life jackets on. They send everyone to a lounge for the drill. Cannot view your on board account on the TV on Princess like on RCI. What DH and I did was midweek go to the Passenger Service desk and request a printout to make sure things were correct. That way it eliminated surprises the morning of disembarkation. Princess ships still have the infamous curtain in the shower stall where RCI's new ships have a shower door. Like the door idea better. Much more storage area in the Princess cabin. No need to put the luggage under the bed as there is like a walk in closet area in the Princess Cabin. Liked this very much. Drink prices were cheaper on Princess. It was nice you had an option of different size drinks. The Martinis for instance were only $4.95 (Crooners what a great bar) and they were around $8.00 on RCI. The Coke cards were only $20.00 on Princess and about $40.00 on RCI. More pool options on this Princess ship including two adult-only pools. Princess public areas are an understated elegance while on RCI rooms like the dining rooms and atriums are more dramatic. Almost forgot the coffee. In our opinion is so much better on Princess...also the cappuccino was very good at $1.75 cup and in a very large cup. Enjoyed this very much. Must not forget those wonderful chocolate croissants at breakfast. Noticed they only appeared every second morning. Summary Liked this ship very much. Attended the Captain's Circle party for past Princess passengers and they must be doing something right since the most traveled passengers had 51 cruises all with Princess as did the second place with 51 cruises but not as many sea days. Some of my favourite spots on the ship...aft pool and Outrigger Bar...Crooner's Bar, Spa Pool on deck 16 and Cafe Caribe as it was less crowded for breakfast and lunch. Both my husband and I enjoyed our cruise greatly. Met many interesting and friendly people willing to share their cruising experiences. It was a very relaxing cruise. Liked it enough that we did book on board with the future cruise consultant Marcia for the $100.00 deposit per person and the on-board credit. I was also able to extend the privilege via the 'share the wealth' coupons to family who were not with me. Looking forward to sailing on Princess again. To anyone out there who has Caribbean Princess in their future...have a great cruise on a great ship! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Let me tell you a few things about our wonderful week on the Caribbean Princess from 10/16-23 in the hope that they may make your next cruise better or bring back some good memories of your own. Since so many reviews have been written, I ... Read More
Let me tell you a few things about our wonderful week on the Caribbean Princess from 10/16-23 in the hope that they may make your next cruise better or bring back some good memories of your own. Since so many reviews have been written, I will steer clear of an exhaustive review, but will give you our impressions based on our unique experience. First and foremost, I have never had a bad cruise, and certainly this was a great one. I greet each cruise with much anticipation (thanks, Cruise Critic!) and my expectations are always exceeded. For me, the best part of the cruise experience is not the ship or the food or the entertainment, but the people. The camaraderie and espirit on a ship is simply wonderful. With that, here are our thoughts: OUR GROUP: Bob and Kathy (40s) and Judy (MIL), all from suburban Indianapolis. We are all veteran cruisers of Princess, Celebrity, RCI and Carnival. We are pretty typical midwesterners--we appreciate good service but are low maintenance; we like good food, but are not gourmets; we like to be entertained, but have two left feet when it comes to dancing; we dabble in games of chance on board, and occasionally would like to win. EMBARKATION: Nonstop Indy to FLL morning of cruise and in line by 11 a.m. We had filled all forms out online. CSR passed out form asking us to sign and confirm that we did not have flu-like symptoms (form was more descriptive!). We heard later that if you indicated yes, you could be quarantined to your room. The doors finally opened at noon. Even though there were probably 800-1000 in line by that time, things moved very quickly. Once the doors opened, we were onboard in 15 minutes. CABIN: We were in Aloha 740 and 744. These are inside aft, Cat. JJ. This was a "bonus" vacation for us. The fall rates were so low that we decided to cruise on the cheap. With credits and discounts, we were able to cruise for $50 a day. Of course, the MIL paid more for a single, but still very good. We chose this cabin because we had been in this location on the Grand last year and really liked being able to walk out the back door to the aft pool. Guess what? When Princess inserted the Riviera Deck between Aloha and Lido on the Caribbean Princess, that eliminated the backdoor on Aloha. As a result, we had to double back and go up the stairs to go out the back. No big deal. As for the cabin, it was identical to Grand and Golden insides except that the closet/bath area had been redesigned and was a bit more functional. Of course, everything was in great shape. We especially appreciate the refrigerator and safe. We brought a few drinks of our own and added to our stash during the week. We met Ruben, our steward, and requested fresh fruit and robes, which were quickly brought. One note...two essentials are an alarm clock and an extension cord. The only clock in the room is on the phone, which is on the desk. While it is great to sleep in, if you have an inside cabin, you have no idea what time it is with no natural light. the extension is needed because there are few outlets, especially in the bath. POOLS: The Personal Choice concept applies to the pools more than anywhere else. There are four pools/areas, each of which takes on its own personality. All have hot tubs adjacent and bars close by. The forward spa pool has a very "resort" feel, with marble and stone figurines and fountains, tiered wooden benches and a very quiet sedate tone. This pool also is accessible from the spa and gym. No kids...very upscale. The party pool has the ubiquitous pool band (Cruze Control in our case), pool games and two levels of lounge chairs. This is where we spent most of our days. (Tip: when you are cruising, watch along the bow of the ship for flying fish to skirt along the water.) We are not huge party people, but found lots of great people on the upper deck and kept coming back every day. The service also was absolutely great. We did not find any drop off because of the automatic gratuity. MIL had a drink sticker and had no problem at all with it either. (Bar tip: Dos Equis and Beck's were $12.60 for a bucket of 5....cheaper than at my local bar.) The MUTS pool showed movies all day and night. In the morning, there were cartoons, then older movies during the day and first run features at night (more later). This was very nice for those seeking an alternative. The only problem I noted was the volume level. The MUTS pool is adjacent to Horizon Court, i.e. many outside tables are located there. If you like to enjoy breakfast outdoors around the pool, you must endure the decibel-drilling shrill of cartoon laughter. Not a complaint, as there are other places to eat, but Princess may want to consider turning down the volume or having a quiet time until 10 or 11 a.m. (at some times, they ran a volume-free video of deep sea diving or other nature film....very engaging without the noise). Finally, the Aft pool presents a very peaceful alternative, especially for those wanting to avoid the sun. Since this pool is located under the "shopping cart handle" aka Skywalkers, there is usually shade. If you want a nap, I guarantee this is the place. It is mesmerizing to sit aft and watch the wake of the ship....you will be asleep in 6 minutes or less! DINING: We usually do PC, but elected for the late seating this time because of the increased pax load. We really enjoyed it. This is not a knock on PC, which we still appreciate, but there is something very nice about getting to know your tablemates and waitstaff over the course of the cruise. We will probably do fixed seating again for this reason. We also enjoyed late seating because it gave us a chance to see an early show, have a nice dinner and then see a later show. As well, we were never rushed to get ready for dinner and could enjoy sunsets. That was a very nice pace. As for cuisine, we found the food to be very well done. We always found many good choices, our selections were well prepared and the service was impeccable. On several occasions, I ordered an additional entree to share. The portions are small enough so that this is possible and encouraged. Highlights? That is a matter of personal taste, but the fettucine is excellent, and we usually ordered that as a side to split. The Beef Wellington and lobster were wonderful. Desserts were very good, although the selection seemed to be a bit more limited than on prior cruises. As far as the MIL is concerned, as long as the Love Boat Dream is offered, everything else is irrelevant. We also had dining room lunch and did tea on a previous cruise...each of these should be done once if you have the chance. Cafe Caribe is a wonderful addition. We did not fully understand the set-up until late in the week, but there is a completely different menu in here for lunch and dinner from Horizon Court. Especially for lunch, it is far superior. On one lunch occasion, the Mexican-themed lunch included fajitas, chili con carne with huge chunks of beef and garlic shrimp...outstanding. The nicest thing about Cafe Caribe is that it is a serving line....you pick up a plate and proceed in order through a line. The only problem is that the line is convex, so that you cannot see what is being offered. Princess could solve this (and save a lot of food) by posting the menu at the start. Otherwise, people tend to grab the first thing offered and then find other items down the line. Finally, since I promised not to dwell on the negative, I will not talk about Horizon Court or the coffee! (Note to coffee drinkers: go to the lobby bar on 5 in the morning for complimentary real fresh-brewed coffee.) If you do go to Horizon for breakfast, bypass the lines and go to made-to-order omelet station on either side of the eggs. It takes a few minutes, but it well worth the wait. The pool grill and pizza parlor are both consistently good. (Note to Princess: Add some additional "ballpark" choices for poolside munching, e.g. popcorn, hot pretzels, nachos.) Finally, we dined at Sterlings. While others raved, I found the cut of meat to be no better than in the dining room and the service not as attentive. Please note that others did not share this view. It was good for a change of pace, in any event. ENTERTAINMENT: This was the highlight of the cruise. The selection of lounge acts was outstanding. In our case, Fernandez (a hypnotist), Scott Weyler (a comedian) and Bert Stratton (piano man) were tremendous. We did not miss a show. Each had us captivated. The quality of these entertainers amazed us and was far greater than we had seen on previous cruises. We had heard a lot about Bert on these boards and he certainly lived up to billing as a first-rate entertainer and very personable musician. See www.bertstratton.com. The others were new to us, but will certainly be making the circuit on other cruises. Because the entertainment is such a hit-and-miss thing, we hope that our experience is evident that Princess is raising the bar with the level of entertainment generally. Three other notes in this regard. First, the International crew show should not be missed. This was begun to fill time when the ship had extra sea days during a recent hurricane. It features crew member performances a la Star Search. Great show. Second, the cruise staff was very good at encouraging passenger involvement. This is a fairly young staff (Graham is gone; James Lay is in charge), but they make up in enthusiasm what they lack in polish. Third, the production shows just don't cut it. We went to them. They were technically proficient, but wholly uninspired. I wonder if time has passed by the need for these. It just seems that Princess may be better off investing its entertainment budget in other directions...for instance, I would love to see a play on board or more individual entertainers. I should also mention here that Kathy and Judy were pleased to find nickel slots and gave them quite a workout in the casino before finally surrendering to the inevitable. SPORTS: A somewhat off-topic note. The selection of TV channels is very limited. The treatment of sports fans is even more limited. Churchills, the former sports bar, is now a cigar bar. As a St. Louis Cardinals fan and NFL fan, I was disappointed to learn that I could not see the NLCS or NFL games on the cruise (Monday Night Football was shown, as was the ALCS). In talking with a crew member, he explained to me that this is a common complaint of passengers. Princess has a satellite, of course, but they choose not to buy the feed. Instead, they get ESPN International. As a result, you can watch Spanish soccer games till the cows come home, but little else. Princess does not understand Americans affection (affliction?) with our brand of football. Princess, get a clue. This is a moneymaker. Pax will go to Churchills and pay for drinks while watching football. On an even-more off-topic note, I am surprised that the TV system does not offer pay-per-view options like this. Since this ship is sailing exclusively in the Caribbean, the satellite coordinates would not be an issue. This could have been a revenue producer for Princess, just as it is for almost every hotel. For a new ship with a dedicated sailing path, Princess dropped the ball on this technology. MUTS: Of course, you can't go on the Caribbean Princess and not have an opinion about Movies Under the Stars! I was really excited about this. In fact, it probably was the reason we booked. After going, I can say (1) I loved it at times; and (2) the presence or absence of MUTS will probably not impact future cruise decisions. In other words, it was nice, but not that nice. The highlight for me was watching the Monday Yankees/Red Sox game. There were probably about 500 or more pax packed into the area--there are three levels of seating plus the pool. We were in San Juan that night, next to the Celebrity Century (those people had cruise ship envy!). I also watched the Tina Turner concert one night. The picture is incredibly crisp and the sound is exceptional. Still, I am not sure Princess has figured this out completely yet. As noted, the noise in the morning is a real problem. I noted that people seemed to stay away, and I think this is a reason. As well, the movie selection was curious. During our cruise, the only "second run" films being shown were Shrek 2 and 13 Going on 30. The former was shown at least six times. By the end of cruise, I was thinking that immigration wasn't going to let us get off the ship unless we could recite the dialogue. In the morning, Finding Nemo was shown every day as far as I could tell. The afternoon movies were a hodgepodge of old dramas, etc. Old movies are great, but when I am sailing under a bright Caribbean sun, something more upbeat might be appropriate---Vacation, Caddyshack, Cool Runnings, Stripes, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, etc. Something where the plot doesn't matter, you can watch for ten minutes and move on if you choose. Also, a few hours of music videos would be great. These were shown only at dusk. Let's just say that MUTS is great technically, but Princess still needs to work on the application. OTHER ACTIVITIES: I could write a book about everything we intended to do, but did not. Scholarship at Sea included Ceramics by the pool, computer classes, wine tastings, etc., but we never got off our b..ts! Our tablemates went to the art auctions and were very pleased with their purchases, as well as the way things were run. We did the galley tour before and wished we had again. Karaoke was high on the to-do the list, as was Princess Idol, the passenger makeover show, bingo, trivia and Skywalkers. We did do an open booking for a future cruise...a no brainer. INTERNET: As a dedicated surfer, the new facilities were a welcome change. Unfortunately, the satellite was down for most of our cruise. Still, the facility is top notch. The 35-cent rate is reasonable. The staff was helpful when a billing adjustment was required. (Wow, the purser's desk was helpful!) The speed is slow, but this was a nice improvement. GYM: Wow. 20 treadmills looking out over the bow from 16 stories high. If that doesn't inspire you, nothing will. Each unit also has a flat screen TV monitor (wireless headphones upon request). There also are stairclimbers, rowing machines, weights and a bunch of other stuff that I don't know how to use! There was never a wait. Lots of free classes too. PORTS: Everyone has different ideas about what to do, so let me offer what we found helpful. First, San Juan was substituted for Princess Cays, and was a 4 to 11 p.m. call. We had low expectations, and they were met. Old Town is gradually being cleaned up, but there is not much to do on your own after dark (and before 10) here. If you have this itinerary, you can walk to Old Town, look at the craftsmen, grab some free rum drinks and return to the ship for dinner. In St. Thomas, we took the ferry to St. John and ultimately to Cruz Bay. This is paradise. Do this on your own. It is cheap, easy and safe, and you can take your time. St. Maarten is undergoing restoration downtown. Don't let the construction throw you. Take the water taxi and enjoy a nice walk through the shops....even I enjoyed it. Of course, I especially enjoyed it because there are vendors selling $1 Heinekens about every block. That makes the shopping experience quite enjoyable! CRUISE CRITIC FRIENDS: We were fortunate to meet a number of people on this board who we later met on-board the ship. It was great to share our experiences with them. We had a party on Sunday and ran into many of them throughout the week. One of our friends (I'm not telling!) was quite a hit at the hypnotist's show! DEBARKATION: Easy and quick. We had a night flight out of FLL, so we waited to disembark, but were called by 9:30. No problems. POST-CRUISE: If you spend the day in FLL, I recommend dropping your luggage at the Marriott Marina (or renting a car) and taking the water taxi to Las Olas. The water taxi is like a tour boat ($5 RT) and takes you past some beautiful homes on the Intercostal waterway. You can get off at Stop 12 or 18 for restaurants and shopping. This is a great way to spend the day if you have a later flight. 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Sail Date October 2004
This cruise was for our 20 year anniversary so we really wanted to splurge and not cut too many corners like we've had to do on previous vacations. Unfortunately, our splurge did NOT start with the hotel we booked for the night before ... Read More
This cruise was for our 20 year anniversary so we really wanted to splurge and not cut too many corners like we've had to do on previous vacations. Unfortunately, our splurge did NOT start with the hotel we booked for the night before in Ft Lauderdale. We stayed at the Ramada Inn Cruiseport. I DO NOT recommend this hotel at all. It was old, under renovation and room was extremely musty. I can't think of anything positive except that their shuttle service to the port was prompt and efficient. My hubby forgot something in the room and they had no problem turning around to get it. That was probably the only nice thing they did. Once we got to the port and the line started moving, it was less than an hour to get to our cabin. I'm not sure having our documents done in advance online made the lines move any quicker though. Our first "splurge" was for a balcony cabin. What were we EVER thinking before by not paying the extra for this! We will never go back to a port hole, window or inside cabin, ever. To be able to walk out onto the balcony and watch the sunrise, or sunset...is just priceless. We also have a tradition of dragging our mattress out and sleeping under the stars wherever we go....so did that too one night. Shhhhh...not sure whether that was a no-no or not. The room was nice, nothing spectacular, but plenty of storage space, etc. Much larger than a standard hotel room and like I said, the balcony was definitely a plus. The Aloha deck balcony was pretty private also and the room conveniently located near the stairs and elevator. We immediately called the concierge to make our reservations for Sterling Steakhouse, Movies Under the Stars and our highlight of the trip, "the Ultimate Balcony Dinner". ****I cannot stress how important it was to call ASAP.**** We had to reserve for Sabatini's at the restaurant itself, so that was our next stop. More on the balcony dinner later. There are limited seats in both the restaurants and the movies, and they are all SO worth it. Most of the food onboard was great. Service wasn't always as good as it could have been. I still tend to wonder whether the tip included deal is working or not. When they know they are going to get their tips, do they not work as hard? The dining room food far exceeded the buffet food, but all were very good and plenty of variety. We did the personal choice dining which was ok, food was the same either way, but I think we'd have enjoyed the fixed dining more because you get to develop a report with your fellow diners and waiters and we didn't' seem to get that as easily this way. The last two days of the cruise we found a waiter that we loved and would have sat in his area each night had we met him sooner. Hubby's favorite I think was the salmon and whitefish he had most mornings at the buffet. The grill out by the pool was also good, as was the pizza and ice cream. You will not starve. I'm actually having withdrawals from not having my 8 meals a day. Ok, 6 meals a day....no, I really think it was 8! My scale says EIGHT. Contrary to rumours, it is NOT required that you eat something every nautical mile! The desserts were incredible also. The love boat dream is everything everyone has said about it. I only had it once though when they mentioned it was thousands of calories. Sterling Steakhouse was incredible. Like others have mentioned, the ambiance isn't that great, but the food was wonderful. I had the 12 oz filet and hubby had the 22 oz porterhouse. Where else can you get meals like that for $15?? Many others said...I'm not paying anything extra when I can get the food included. Believe me...these people missed out on an incredible meal from start to finish. Waiters were attentive and efficient and there were even a few non-steak meals for those who don't like Turf. Sabatini's was a dining experience in itself. It's difficult to even explain! Let's just say that about 80% of the menu is served to you. Between the 8 appetizers, 3 salads, 2 soups, pizza, bread, entrees and dessert, we just about needed a wheelbarrow to get out of this place. Good idea not to eat too much before dining there. Once again, well worth the extra $20. We aren't heavy drinkers, so I really can't say too much about the quality of the drinks. Plenty of choices out there, but not cheap either. IF we were drinkers, we would have splurged there also. We also did not opt for the coke card because we didn't' drink soda, but it's a good deal for those that do. We found that the water and ice tea, available at both buffets to be more than adequate. We did buy one bottled water for our excursions. Ok, now for the Ultimate Balcony Dinner review. First of all, they only do TWO of these per night. Yes, two, that's only 14 per cruise. Why? I don't know. Maybe because its a trial? So that is why we had to call IMMEDIATELY. Thank you to whoever gave us this advice from another review. You need 2 days notice I think they said. Since our anniversary was Thurs. we chose to have it that day, which was also one of the formal nights. It's $100 extra (a MAJOR splurge) but what they do, is about 1/2 hr before, set your table out on the balcony with white linen, china, crystal, etc. They give you a nice centerpiece of flowers, a split of champagne. They had asked in advance about cocktails, so they brought them first. You sit out there on your balcony...and Alex (who was very sweet) just started bringing course by course to us, waiting outside our door anticipating when we would be ready for the next one. One of the professional photographers came in and took our picture (one included in the price). They started with canapes, then appetizer, salad, main entree and dessert. The main entree was, and I am not exaggerating here...16 oz lobster AND 12 oz filet mignon, EACH, along with fresh veggies. There was no way we could eat all this food. We were made to feel so special and it was a wonderful way to spend our anniversary evening. Took a good 2 hrs. Took lots of pictures, including pics of every course if anyone is interested. We had the nice music playing on our tv to add some ambiance, and even got up and danced at one point. Once again, had many ask why we would do this instead of ordering room service for free. But there was no comparison. This was awesome. We did tip our waiters, Alex and David because they did a great job. (They looked like brothers, but laughed everytime we mentioned that.) The ship like everyone else has said is HUGE and beautiful. I don't think 10 minutes went by when we didn't see someone cleaning, painting, touching up every inch of this ship. It was kept very clean. They do offer tours and that helps a bit figuring out the lay of the land (or lay of the sea?) so to speak. There are alot of "you can't get there from here" issues, so its good to learn about them early on. The pools were all nice, the adult pools were definitely quieter. All the action was at the main pool and that was always fun to watch. Good Caribbean music going on at the main pool also. Entertainment - Highlights...Bert Stratton, the piano sing a long guy who was next to the Martini Bar and Crooners. He was entertaining, funny and really drew a huge crowed every night. Fernandez, the hypnotist was hilarious and kept us laughing for pretty much the entire hour. We enjoyed his first show better than his "adult" show. Maybe we were expecting something a bit more. The Let's Rock show as ok, the International Crew Show was GREAT, kind of like a Starsearch. Scott Wyler was excellent and HIS adult show was hilarious and worth staying up late for. Movie under the stars was a great concept and we enjoyed it very much. Other things we partook in were the Passenger Feud show (pretty good), horse racing (very comical), and bits and pieces of other shows. The Halloween costume party was also great. The TREE costume was incredible. Those of you on this cruise will know what I mean. All was pretty top notch and enjoyable. There were plenty of choices for dancing and/or music to listen to into the wee hours of the night. The disco (Skywalkers), accessible by a moving sidewalk, seemed to be a hotspot for many. Had to go see it, just to see it. Didn't spend much time there. I spent alot of time looking at all the artwork that I couldn't afford that was set up in the Explorer's Lounge. Took pictures instead! The auctions seemed to be alot of fun for those willing to spend their money there. So much to see, so little time to see everything. The boutiques on board were very nice and each night they had tables set up featuring different items. One night, t-shirts, another loose gems, another watches. List goes on and on. We used the stairs alot but never really waited a long time for the elevators. Seemed that there was alot less waiting time in the Aft of the ship. Only time we encountered crowds were around the photo gallery area and sometimes in the buffet. We found it easier just to go to the area with the food you desire, rather than stand in line. Tip: Buy your photos at a time when lots of other activities are going on. Restrooms were hard to find at times, but never a big issue for us. Casino was a bit smoky, but they did have one non-smoking blackjack table there so we spent a bit of time there. First three nights won quite a bit on the tables, and spent our money wisely for a change in the gift shops and in the ports rather than giving it all back. The last 4 days we went downhill FAST as far as gambling goes wondering whether they let you win early on and then take it all back! Glad we got some things to show for our winnings. The Cooking Show was a must see as was the galley tour and fruit and vegetable carving demonstration. Missed the ice sculpture demo. I bought the cookbook ($28, including autographs of the Head Chef and Maitre De) which has been oooo'd and ahhhhh'd over by my co-workers for days now. The Champagne waterfall was also spectacular and a Princess tradition from what I've heard. Port experiences. In San Juan we took a tour (found online) that I arranged for my cruise critic friends while still at home. It was a 14 passenger van and we toured Old San Juan and several other areas that I don't remember the names of. We went to a very nice two story open air restaurant on the beach for a wonderful authentic Puerto Rican style dinner at sunset. Our tourguide was very knowledgeable of the area and gave a good narrative of where we were, etc. It was alot of fun, very reasonably priced and a nice way to get to know our new friends also. In St Thomas we booked the Champagne Catamaran Sail to St John. Unfortunately, it rained the entire time, we were not able to even GET to St John and only found mediocre snorkeling (in the pouring rain) at Christmas Reef. The captain and his crew were very nice though, they had a nice spread of food and plenty of free drinks for the trip home. They did their best I suppose under the conditions, but it really felt like we didn't' get our money's worth. Can't predict the weather I suppose. I was really looking forward to going to St John though. Oh well. In Saint Maarten, we rented a car (did that online in advance) and toured the island on our own. Price was reasonable, car was clean and comfortable. The views were spectacular and we found several areas to take some beautiful scenic pictures that will soon be on my wall. We found several secluded beaches to hang out on, including Orient Beach which was everything it was supposed to be. We really were not impressed with the beach itself though. We thought the others we found were much nicer. If, however, you are wanting to do (or see) the clothing optional feature, that's the place to go. One BIG tip....LISTEN when they say do not leave anything of value in your car or unattended at the beach. We learned this the hard way when my husband's watch and two traveler's checks (had them wrapped in towels to dry) were stolen from our locked trunk. This was at Pic Paradise (top top top of a mountain). Of course, the checks were replaced, but not the watch. Kids are there just waiting in the bushes for tourists like us. Someone else who had just driven up had to shoo these kids away from their car. The car also was screaming RENTAL CAR, RENTAL CAR, TOURIST, TOURIST. So listen when they say to be careful in that respect. Otherwise, this was our favorite island. We luckily, did our shopping last after returning the car. Lots of great deals on jewelry, camera equipment, linen and more. Disembarking was very organized and we were off the ship quickly. They gave consideration to those that had early flights (as long as you informed them in advance). As much as we enjoyed this cruise, I think we might try a different line the next time around. I'm sure there's plenty more to say, but I wonder how many of you lurkers actually made it to the end of THIS one! Email me if you have any questions. I'll be more than happy to respond. Special thanks to all of those that I met before the cruise on Cruise Critic. Had a great time meeting everyone from Cruise Critic and will definitely research the same way next time....Alyce Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Princess Cruise Lines will be the only cruise line I will even consider in the future. Just got back 2 days ago (Cruise 10/2-10/9 2004). I cannot say enough. We have been on others, nothing compares to the beautiful ship with all the ... Read More
Princess Cruise Lines will be the only cruise line I will even consider in the future. Just got back 2 days ago (Cruise 10/2-10/9 2004). I cannot say enough. We have been on others, nothing compares to the beautiful ship with all the extras, i.e. deeply padded chairs on the balcony, to the wonderful service, exceptional dining and cleanliness of the Caribbean Princess. Extras from the Movie screen that is over one of the pools that even during the daytime is crystal clear with excellent sound. They showed movies, concerts and yes, Monday Night Football. It was surreal. The cuisine in the 7 restaurants was incredible. Everything from buffets to upscale Italian to steakhouses and you could eat when and where you wanted. With over 3100 on board I had my doubts but there was never a LINE. I am a former 5 Diamond 5 star Hotel Concierge, so needless to say I am picky, but I have to tell you this Ship was exceptional in every way. Do yourself a favor and go as soon as possible, I know we will be back on board for many Princess Vacations to come. We are already planning our next Princess Cruise. Congrats to The Caribbean Princess and Captain Romano for a job well done! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Our cruise departed on Sept 18, 2004. It was supposed to be 7 days to the Eastern Caribbean. Hurricane Jeanne caused an itinerary change to the Western Caribbean. My wife specifically did NOT want to go to Mexico or Jamaica. I contacted ... Read More
Our cruise departed on Sept 18, 2004. It was supposed to be 7 days to the Eastern Caribbean. Hurricane Jeanne caused an itinerary change to the Western Caribbean. My wife specifically did NOT want to go to Mexico or Jamaica. I contacted our travel agent when I saw the itinerary change and was told after she contacted Princess that I could lose 25% of my money if I cancelled now (I had the top travel insurance), or just go as they rerouted it. I told the travel agent what I thought of this, my main purpose was to go to St. Thomas which was now off the list of stops. Obviously, the complaint must have had some impact at Princess. We had booked a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck. We were supposed to have Platinum check-in. When we arrived, there were two couples at the Platinum check-in table that were just taking forever. The Dolphin check-in had no one, so we went there. The woman was rude and told us that our room was changed. We weren't on Dolphin anymore. She didn't exactly come across as this was a good thing. We didn't realize until we got to the room that they changed us to a MUCH nicer room. They upgraded us to a Penthouse Suite, from the mini. This was on Riviera deck. The suite was fantastic, much better than I had anticipated. My wife an I laughed when the comedian and other people were picking on their rooms. Ours was quite large, and extremely nice. I have to say that it wiped out our hostility quickly. OK, we weren't going to the place we wanted to go, but damn it was comfortable. The perks were fantastic, came in real handy too. Free laundry and dry cleaning, free internet, plus a lot other goodies. The internet came in handy, especially since the hurricane was still a threat. Nice to check in on things. My job is in computers, so I tend to check in daily regardless of where I'm at. I figure 10 or 15 minutes a day isn't too much, doesn't spoil my vacation. The only negative thing about the room was the noise from above. We must have been below one of the buffet rooms. Heard table dragging and other loud noises quite a bit. We were so tired at the end of each day that it didn't matter, we crashed anyway. Wonder if Dolphin deck had the same noise issues. This was our first cruise so we had no idea what to expect, or what to do. Really liked the Cruise Director and other staff. Food was excellent. I wouldn't say that the breakfast sucked like someone else here did, it was a buffet breakfast, I expect things to get a bit "down hill" from single servings. We usually ordered breakfast sent to our room, which was great, no problems and fresher than the buffet. We saw two comedy acts and a couple of other highly touted shows. Really liked the comedy acts, could have done without the others. Nice, but not our forte. Liked all of the class type of activities, just wish we could have been to more. Makes us want to go back! Wanted to go to the ballroom lessons but went to some other things scheduled at the same time. The ice carving demo was really cool (pun not intended). Would be REALLY nice if someone ever taught you how to even start something like that. Cozumel surprised my wife, she liked it even though she didn't want to go there. Found some great jewelry, which was our reason for wanting to go to St. Thomas. Jamaica was an experience. Is that place NEXT to the sun or what? HOT and humid. Went horseback riding. Not a good idea. It was fun, but our butts are killing us now. My horse wanted to knock me off in the worst way. Running the horse through the ocean bareback sounds romantic. Not!! Horses crap all the time. Picture huge crap balls floating up and sticking to your legs while you're riding in the surf. We stunk when we got back to the ship. Went straight to the shower and scrubbed ourselves. Didn't even go shopping that afternoon, stayed on the ship. Should have went to Dunn's falls. (Next time!!) The ship stopped at Grand Cayman to drop off supplies for humanitarian help. Couldn't get off the ship, but got a view of the hurricane damage through the binoculars. Headed off to our last stop at Nassau, Bahamas. We were 300 miles from the hurricane when we hit 12 foot waves. The ship was bobbing up and down like a cork. I'm glad our room was in the center of the ship, now I see why the end rooms are cheaper. You go flying in rough seas. We were at the center pool watching a movie when we heard the kids screaming below. They were having fun, but... not a good thing. The ship was rocking back and forth in the waves and the pool actually drained down to about 1 foot on each side. When it rocked back, the water drained back into the pool and washed out the other side. The kids were actually flying in and out of the pool with each wave. All they had to do was smack their head against the pool and they'd be dead. We left at that point and went to the front to check out the Lotus pool. The Lotus pool was empty and covered with a net. Don't know if they drained it, or all the water just flew out (wouldn't doubt this). Went back to the center pools to see what's up, but they both had nets over them already. I take it that the staff didn't think it was too bright of an idea to be popping in and out of the pool either. About 20 minutes later the captain announced that we weren't going to Nassau now either, and were headed away from the hurricane. We didn't get too disappointed there. Sure, we didn't go where we wanted and now had one less stop, but the 12 foot waves really leave an impression with you. We were burned out anyway and were just going to relax until Saturday. Friday night we packed and headed off to the pool area. I had checked the internet several times during the day to see what was going on with the hurricane. When we left, it was headed north and away from the Bahamas. Bad surprise when seeing it loop back and toward us and Fort Lauderdale. We would be about 100 miles from it if we came in as scheduled. Let's see... 12 foot waves when 300 miles from it. Being docked in a harbor and only 100 miles away, what would that translate to for waves? The captain made an announcement after most people packed and had put their luggage in the hallway. Couldn't understand him, heavy Italian dialect. We caught "Port closed", "for your safety", "out to see for two days", "arrive Monday 6am". Ughh. Well, it sure beat coming into port and getting stuck at a closed airport while a hurricane batters the state. Quite the experience! I have to say that Princess did an excellent job under the circumstances. Beautiful ship, great activities and food, and great hospitality. Would we go back, yup. In fact, she even wants to take the Western Caribbean route again. This time, Dunn's falls. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
I write this immediately after our return from sailing Caribbean Princess September 27, 2004. This is our 7th cruise. We have cruised Carnival and Royal Caribbean before, as well as two other now-defunct lines. Embarkation and ... Read More
I write this immediately after our return from sailing Caribbean Princess September 27, 2004. This is our 7th cruise. We have cruised Carnival and Royal Caribbean before, as well as two other now-defunct lines. Embarkation and Debarkation: Both were painless. We waited very little. Ports of Call: Due to Hurricane Jeanne, the original itinerary was changed to a 5-day cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, with 2 days at sea. Costa Maya is a very small town, apparently built 3 years ago. Everything closes when the ships leave. They only recently installed phones, a gas station and electricity. I think only a few hundred people live in the town of Mahajual where Costa Maya is located. The town is about 3.5 hours from Playa Del Carmen and the ruins of Tulum. All the shops are at the pier (the usual port shops: jewelry stores, a real estate office and souvenir shops). The little shopping area is cute and can be seen quickly. The ship offered about 3-4 shore excursions. We took a safari to the beach, with lunch included. The tour company, Pelicanos, was very good and the tour guides (Felix and Paris) were some of the best we have had. They provided a lot of information about the town, the people who live there, the history of Mexico, etc. The beach was nice, although not as nice as the beaches in St Thomas. The lunch offered as part of the excursion (fajitas, pico de gallo and guacamole, with an open bar), was excellent and very authentic. Our second stop was Cozumel. It is much bigger than Costa Maya. There are two piers in Cozumel: Punta Langosta and Puerto Maya. The ship can dock at either one. We docked in Puerto Maya, which is a long walk to downtown, but only a $5 cab ride. The shopping area around Puerto Maya pier is large. They have the usual shops (jewelry, alcohol, souvenirs, etc), but it is much larger than Costa Maya. Be prepared to bargain for everything. The port shopping area had good food. There is a restaurant called Pancho's that overlooks the pier and has excellent food, strong drinks and a band playing Mexican music. There are also commercial establishments like Fat Tuesdays, Del Sol, Diamonds International, etc. The Ship: This is a beautiful ship. We have sailed Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas and this is comparable in beauty. I think Explorer is a little more grandiose because of its atrium, but both are equally luxurious. Service onboard Caribbean Princess was outstanding. The ship has pools all over. There is one pool all the way in the back of the ship (aft). This pool has a lot of motion because of its location all the way back. There is also a pool right outside the gym/spa. Both these pools are adults-only. There is a pool for children located near the back pool (near the adults only pool). That is a strange location for a kids' pool because, from the all-adult pool, you can hear the kids screaming. I would think adults who go to the adult pool are trying to get away from screaming kids. If that is the case, this back pool is not the place to be. Use the Spa pool instead. There are also pools in the middle of the ship. Although I had heard people complain about not finding lounge chairs on deck, we did not experience this. There were plenty of lounge chairs all over the ship. There is table tennis, regular tennis, a mini golf area, a golf simulator, a giant chess board and a movie screen outside. The movie screen cannot be seen very well during the day. The gym was great. We worked out every day and had no problem finding an available treadmill. They have equipment like any other gym. There was plenty to do all day and all night. During the day, they had ceramic painting, classes, line dancing lessons, bingo, etc. At night, the ship had a piano bar with an excellent pianist from Holland who could play pretty much any song you requested. There were musical shows, comedy, karaoke, tropical music, etc. Skywalker's Lounger, the dance club, was smoky like any disco. Cabins were bigger than Royal Caribbean's cabins. We had plenty of room for our luggage, clothes and to move around. We had a nice balcony. There is a particular, musty smell in the Horizon Cafe area. As if the carpet were dirty. It was not unbearable and we got used to it, but it was one thing we noticed as soon as we first toured the ship. Boutiques and shops were what you would expect in any ship. The internet cafe was large, although connectivity was erratic. Some days you connected right away, but not always. The musical shows at the Princess Theater were ok. They did have a very good singer the last night, a lady Jacqi something. They had two funny comedians. Food: The food was the best we have had in a cruise. It was all very tasty. Sabatini's, the Italian restaurant, was outstanding and well worth the $20 per person cover charge. You try everything on the menu, everything: three types of pasta, pizza, salad, numerous appetizers, soup and then you pick an entrEe. The choices were sea bass, lobster, shrimp, a seafood combo, chicken, veal, etc. I had the lobster and it was delicious. My husband had the seabass and it was also very good. Our waiter, Arnold from Hungary, was great. Dessert choices were not too Italian. Only tiramisu was Italian. However, they were all tasty. The Sterling Steakhouse was also good, although I liked the Italian place better. We had anytime (personal choice) dining so we did not have assigned dinner time. The regular dining rooms for anytime were very good too. The Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe also had great food. They even had sushi for lunch. The desserts were delicious. Service all over the ship was great. They had an ice cream bar, which was good. However, I don't think you should have to pay for the ice cream. It was not that much better than regular ice cream. They also had a pizza bar and a grill by the pool. Both were standard fare. If there is one thing that was bad was the coffee. Yes, what I had heard from other reviewers is true. The coffee was awful. You can order cappuccino or expresso, which were strong and good (but you have to pay for these). But the regular American Coffee was like water. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
As most folks know by now, the 9/4/04 cruise was diverted from the Eastern Caribbean to the Western, as well as being shortened from 7 to 5 days. While it was disappointing to not be able to go to the Eastern Caribbean, it sure was a plus ... Read More
As most folks know by now, the 9/4/04 cruise was diverted from the Eastern Caribbean to the Western, as well as being shortened from 7 to 5 days. While it was disappointing to not be able to go to the Eastern Caribbean, it sure was a plus to have beautiful sunshine, instead of hurricane force winds. Yes, the ship only had approximately 1900 passengers, due to the many cancelations, but that really had a positive affect as far as wait times and availability of pool chairs. I've seen several reviews of people spitting out sour grapes, but I've always felt the results of a cruise are what YOU make it. The Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship. We sailed on the Grand in 9/03, and it's almost a carbon copy of that ship. We ended up going to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The weather was great for both of those ports and there is always plenty to do at them, if you are not afraid to go search for activities. We went with Captain Marvin's snorkel and sting ray cove trip, which is a great time. We did this last year and had just as much fun this year. In Cozumel, we just walked around town and did the "flee market" thing. Back to the ship. I found the food to be fine. The midnight buffet/bistro (Caribe Cafe) could have had a few more selections, but that's just my personal preference. My wife said she felt the selection was fine. The dinning rooms were great. We ate in the Coral Dining room with PC, and had a great time each night, sitting with a different group of people. It was fun to meet people from all over the country and share a few laughs. We didn't have anyone complaining about the food, ship, staff, etc. Since this was our second Princess cruise, we opted not to try and go to all the shows. Our main goal was to sit and relax around the pools and do whatever we wished, even if it meant doing nothing. We did get a "free show" the last evening, as the comedian Sarge was sitting next to us in the Caribe Cafe. He was a riot. I can only imagine how funny he was on stage. We did get to go to the Captain's Circle party, which was fun. Who can complain about free drinks and food!! We'll definitely cruise again on the Princess line. I can't blame them for the hurricane hassles. They did their best to make everyone feel like this cruise was as good as anyone else's, even though it had to be shortened. I commend them for refunding 50% of the cost, as well as giving $100 per person shipboard credit. That really made our trip inexpensive! For those of you trying to decide whether or not to cruise Princess, my suggestion is to not listen to anyone else and make your own decisions. There's pluses and minuses to every cruiseline. Coming from a person who never had any desires to take a cruise, I can only tell you I've been on 2 Princess cruises in the last 12 months and I'm hooked!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
This was our 1st cruise so we had nothing to compare it to. We originally were scheduled to go to the Eastern Caribbean but due to hurricane Frances it was changed to a Western Caribbean cruise before we boarded. I was a little ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise so we had nothing to compare it to. We originally were scheduled to go to the Eastern Caribbean but due to hurricane Frances it was changed to a Western Caribbean cruise before we boarded. I was a little disappointed b/c we wanted to go to St. Thomas, St. Marten and Coco Cay. We were scheduled to go to Cozumel, Ocho Rios and Nassau; but did not make it to Nassau due to the weather. We had already registered prior to arriving at port which made checking in go very smooth and fast. We were on the Rivera deck 14 room 239. We had a room with a balcony. I have heard horror stories about how small the rooms and bathrooms were so I was expecting the worst. The room was a nice size and the bathroom was as expected (about the size of a bathroom in a travel trailer). I cannot stress enough how wonderful our balcony was. Our cabin steward; Cornel, was very nice and accommodating. We choose personal choice dining and LOVED it. It was nice to be able to go to the dining room and eat anytime. We got to meet several couples this way. The only time we had to wait for a table was the 1st formal night and we only waited 5 minutes. My husband loved the food served in the dining room. I am a very very picky eater and there was something new for me to have every night. The buffet food was good but the layout was very unorderly. We also learned that ice cream was served for free every day at 3:30-4:30 in one of the buffets, otherwise if you wanted ice cream you had to pay for it. The fast food court was really nice. They had the best hot dogs!!! The ship was beautiful and huge. There were several pools and hot tubs. There are 2 pools for adults only. The movies under the stars was great but you need to make reservations asap as this fills up quick. The shows in the lounge were ok. The comedians; we had 3 different ones, were great. The ship is huge and I only felt crowded one time and that was on the first extended night they had a variety show by the crew members. We ended up taking a tour at Cozumel to the Maya ruins in Tulum. The ruins were neat but the ocean was awesome. We got to swim there for awhile. It was beautiful, like what you see in the movies. Here is where I am disappointed with Princess....In Ocho Rios we did the Dunn River Falls climb. It was great. We climbed a waterfall!!! It was a guided tour. Once we were done we had to walk through a village of natives trying to sell you stuff. They are very pushy. This had to be the most uncomfortable I have been in my whole life. After saying no not interested to several, one grabbed my arm and began pulling me toward his tent and another grab my husband (my husband is not a small guy). We could not get back together. In the tent he was very persistent I buy something and tip him. To get out I bought a t-shirt and my husband ended up buying a wood carving. We spent $20.00, which was not bad but the uneasy feeling stayed with me. We were last back to our bus and almost everyone else had the same experience. To Princess's credit they did say the natives could be pushy and to be careful but I had no idea it would be like it was. I cannot believe Princess would offer a tour where they're passengers were assaulted. Since they cancelled Nassau and closed Port Everglades we recvd 2 extra days at sea. We were allowed a free 10 min phone call if you could catch a phone line (6 phone lines for 3600 people). Also we had 15 free internet minutes. We enjoyed the extra days at sea. We loved our 1st cruise experience and will definitely sail this ship again!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
As a start I would like to say our group consisted of 9 people. My in laws who have sailed once before, my BIL it was his 1st cruise, my parents who have sailed on over 30 cruises, myself 15 cruises, DH 6 cruises, 3 year old and 1 year old ... Read More
As a start I would like to say our group consisted of 9 people. My in laws who have sailed once before, my BIL it was his 1st cruise, my parents who have sailed on over 30 cruises, myself 15 cruises, DH 6 cruises, 3 year old and 1 year old children. As a somewhat experienced cruiser (I know many of you have sailed more than I have) we traveled to FL on Thursday to have extra time to relax before the cruise. We never received any correspondence from Princess regarding our cruise. My father called Friday at 1 pm and there was no change (they actually still told him we were going to Princess Cays???). We saw on the TV about 4pm that Port Everglades and Port of Miami will close at 3am Saturday. Called Princess again, they were having a meeting to determine what to do. Called again about 5pm and were told we would be leaving on Monday night at 10pm and going western, Costa Maya, Cozumel. They were offering a full refund or 30% refund and future cruise credit. We spoke with the rest of our group in New York, who were supposed to fly out Sat. morning. They were able to change their flight to Monday morning. Since we were already in FL we all decided to go. We arrived at the pier at 12:45 pm, check in was wonderful.. in less than 20 minutes we had dropped off our bags, filled out the health form, checked in, scanned our luggage (2 bottles of wine, 2 liter of soda, no problem) and were on the ship!!! We had an inside room, D520, and was very pleased with the size. We even had a crib in the room, it was at the foot of one bed in front of the refrigerator. The shower was very small, reminded me of the Costa showers, but the closet was HUGE!!! Even with 4 of us in the room we had plenty of shelves, drawers, and hanger space. Our room steward Willy was very good. We had traditional 1st sitting dining, at a table for 9, Luminata was our waitress and she was excellent!!!! She took excellent care of our 1 and 3 year old (had both the booster seat and high chair ready every night). Everybody enjoyed the food in the dining room, it was excellent!!! My personal favorite was the rack of lamb. Thank you everyone on the board for telling me about the Love Boat Dream, yum, yum.... My 3 year old was in the Princess Pelicans kids program and enjoyed the program. He colored a T-shirt, did finger painting, had his face painted, played on the bikes, loved Ice Cream time... I'm sure there was much more. We spent most of our day times up on Deck 17 were there was a hot tub, small pool, and kids pools with a small slide. The only day this area was crowded was the last at sea day. The all fresh water pools are great, I wish all cruise lines would do this. One feature, or lack there of, on this ship was that it was NOT stroller friendly. There were areas of the ship that you just couldn't get there, one notably was Deck 16 AFT behind the kids area. We enjoyed this space since it was shady and they have a small wading pool under a roof that we liked for our 1 year old. We had to carry the stroller up or down the stairs to get there!!!! There were also other areas around the ship that just dead ended. I just found there were too many areas on the top decks that you couldn't get from one end to another without running into stairs or trying to find an elevator! I had never been to Costa Maya, so when I found out we were going Western I was open minded. Well, now that I have been there I won't be in any hurry to go back. We were there and the Explorer of the Seas were there. 6,000 people is WAY more than you need at this small compound. Basically it is a horseshoe of shops around the pool, bars and waterfront (I would by no means say beach, beach means sand to me and there is no sand, only rocks). The shops are much more expensive than Cozumel where we went the next day. I wish I had known ahead that we were going to Costa Maya because I understand that in the town is a very beautiful beach we would have enjoyed. Cozumel, there were 6 ships in that day, so it was very crowded. Where else can you enjoy a six pack of Corona in a barrel bottle for only $3 (from the Cozumel grocery store)!!!! It was very hot, but that is to be expected. We didn't go to any shows, since we had small children with us. My husband very much enjoyed the Monday night football on the Movies under the Stars, it had quite a turnout. Didn't see too many other movies full during the rest of the 5 days. Also, for those you who have been waiting, one night at 11:45 they had the Rocky Horror Picture Show on the Movies under the Stars. On our shortened cruise we didn't have the Wizard of OZ though . Overall, we greatly enjoyed the cruise the food and service we received were excellent. I just wish we had the opportunity for 7 days to enjoy the ship rather than our hurricane shortened 5 day cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
Myself (32) and wife (30) enjoyed an extended cruise vacation due to Hurricane Jeanne. We were supposed to have a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise, instead we ended up with a 9 night Western Caribbean cruise with a stop in Cozumel and Ocho ... Read More
Myself (32) and wife (30) enjoyed an extended cruise vacation due to Hurricane Jeanne. We were supposed to have a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise, instead we ended up with a 9 night Western Caribbean cruise with a stop in Cozumel and Ocho Rios. Embarkation: FAST. From the moment the doors opened to the moment we were in our cabin was 30 minutes. Very fast indeed. Loved it when we got on the ship and greeted by the staff. They had staff working the elevators during embarkation so it was real fast getting to your deck and cabin. Dining: We chose anytime seating. The thing we missed most was having the same wait staff all week. Last year on Voyager of the Seas, our waiter learned our names almost instantly and was beginning to know us by mid week. It was more personal. Plus to Anytime Dining was that we were able to eat at an hour in between the normal traditional dining times. We hardly ate at the buffets. We LOVED the burger joint and the Pizza joint at the main pool. We mostly ate lunch there. Public Rooms: Lounges in this ship were very nice. We loved the night club Skywalkers. We were there every night until the wee hours. All public bathrooms had automatic everything. Had to get used to turning on the water at work. Entertainment: Did not see much entertainment in the main theatre because the theatre was too small. I also think that due to anytime dining, this also increased the number of people that would end up at particular performances. With normal dining ships, there is a late show and an early show which I think helps distribute passengers more evenly for the shows. Cabin: No complaints. Loved having an empty refrigerator to puts drinks in. Bring your own wine and champagne on-board. Also loved the open closet layout. The closet was very open and seemed more like a walk-in closet than a closet. It did not block the entrance to the cabin. Fitness and Recreation: Was there any on this ship? The running track which was very poor was only open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. All other times you had to run on the main deck (7). The gym was lacking a decent free weights area. We loved this ship and met a bunch of people on the ship. We had loads of fun. We did miss a Promenade deck where you can just walk and shop. The deck layout on this ship was a bit confusing at first. Still somewhat confused by the end of the week. Movies under the Stars was great. Pools are great. The two main pools on deck are 7ft. deep which I hear is uncommon on ships. I feel that this ship is geared toward older people. Question: We will cruise Princess again? Answer: Most likely. We will be cruising Royal Caribbean next year but will most likely venture back to Princess at some point over the next five years to give it another try. No complaints from us at the lack of ports due to Hurricane Jeanne and I absolutely loved the extra 2 days at sea. No complaints there as well. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
What a wonderful cruise. Traveled with my husband, daughter 19 and son 16; my brother, sister-in-law and niece (11) from NJ. We never cruised before. My brother cruised on Princess 10 years ago with his wife. Pre-cruise: Stayed at ... Read More
What a wonderful cruise. Traveled with my husband, daughter 19 and son 16; my brother, sister-in-law and niece (11) from NJ. We never cruised before. My brother cruised on Princess 10 years ago with his wife. Pre-cruise: Stayed at Marriott Marina night before cruise. Very nice hotel. Right across from port. Free shuttle & breakfast for AAA [members].  Embarkation: - only problem we had. Electrical problem in the port - had to wait 2 1/2 hours in line to board the ship. But as soon as we got on and saw this beautiful ship it was all forgotten. Definitely worth the wait in line. Bought the soda cards for the kids as soon as we got on). (definitely well worth the $20) Ship is absolutely beautiful. Our room was B250 and B246 . 11th deck. Room was very nice. If you have 4 people I would definitely recommend getting 2 rooms. Bathroom was small (like everyone said) but after a day we got used to it and it was really fine. Lots of shelves for toiletries etc. My daughter loved the shampoo and conditioner. Steward was Samuel who was really nice. Anything you asked for you got immediately. Balcony was great. Definitely a must if you smoke. (I do - my husband does not - so he was happy about that) It was very hot during the day but at night there was a nice breeze. My husband and I sat out there every night. And in the morning when we got to port it was beautiful seeing the islands. Room service - I like my coffee first thing when i get up. I called and it was there within 2 minutes. And personally I thought the coffee was fine. Ordered room service on port days. Left order on door and it was there by 7:30 a.m. Never a problem. My kids ordered more from room service than us - son ordered two cheeseburgers one night at 2 a.m. and it was there within 15 minutes. And the chocolate cake is so good (My sister-in-law did that a few times). Ship was full but never seemed crowded. Pools: There were alot of people in the two pools on deck 15. We liked it best at these pools because there was always action going on and plus it was right by the Horizon Court Buffet. Chairs by the pool were definitely taken by the time we went up which was usually around 11 but if you walked around a few times you always seemed to find one and then shortly thereafter you got a few more. This was definitely not a problem for us. The pools were very nice. This was definitely a family cruise so there was alot of kids but it never seemed to bother me. And everyone on the ship was so nice. I couldn't believe all the people i met from NJ. Always was chatting with someone new. Dining: We had anytime dining. As soon as we boarded we made a standing reservation for 6 pm every night in either the palm or coral dining rooms. Always had the same waiter. Food was very good. We ate way too much. You could order as much as you wanted.- some nights we ordered two dinners. Horizon Court and Caribe were typical buffet food but good. Most mornings we ate in the Horizon Court Buffet. Pizza was very good. (but of course not as good as Star Pizza in Orange which is the best pizza in Jersey). Burgers, hotdogs and fries by the grill were also good. My kids did have ice cream at Scoops which they loved. Was kind of pricey. Small sundae for $3.75 but they said it was worth it. Our travel agent treated all 7 of us to Sterling Steakhouse. (my sister-in-law used to work with her at AT&T and then she moved to Florida to become a travel agent). Better be hungry when you go there. It was really good. I had a 10 ounce filet which you could cut with your fork. We were so stuffed that night we couldn't have desert. And oh the deserts were to die for. We had the Love Boat Dream every night.(chocolate moose in a heart shape). It was the best desert. And the baked Alaska and cheesecake were so good too. (boy i am making myself hungry). (Also our travel agent had different trays sent to our room: chocolate covered strawberries, little canapes, cookies, etc. - it was really nice. There was always something on the menu for picky eaters. My son is one of those. He loved the steak and spaghetti & meatballs (always available). Sabatini's - we did not go to. Drinks: . My daughter wanted the coke cup (so she could fill it with soda and vodka). (where there's a will, teens will find the way - LOL). Anyone under 21 cannot order drinks. They do check the cards. So basically if she wanted a drink I or my husband had to order for her. At dinner it was no problem for anyone to drink in the dining room. The waiters did not really care. We usually allowed my daughter a glass of wine with dinner. And one night a couple bought our whole table after dinner drinks (nice shot glass to take home - $5.00 filled with anything you wanted) ( My niece had made friends with their daughter) Activities: We played Bingo - alot of fun - $20.00 for (i think) four games. I won $150.00 but had to split with four other people. We also played Family Feud - we were the Jersey Cruisers. But of course we didn't win. But lots of fun. Games at the pool were also fun. My daughter played Battle of the Sexes. She was the one with the light blue flowered bikini with tons of fruit stuffed in her suit. She had a lot of fun. There was always something going on at the pool. Even if you didn't participate it was alot of fun to watch. Horse racing was also fun. Portraits: Definitely have your portraits taken. They come out so nice. We had quite a few taken on the 2nd formal night. They also take them getting on and off the boat at all the ports, dinners, etc. 8 x 10 were $20.00. I bought 6 pictures. (Family, individuals of my kids and one with my two kids together). And also a group 5 x 7 of the seven of us (which was also $20). I thought they were very professional. My daughter also had the black and white taken. Since my sister-in-law spent close to $300 they gave me my daughter's black and white proofs for free (cost for those proofs was $39.95). Entertainment: We tried to see everything we could. We had dinner at 6 and caught the 8:30, 10:45 and sometimes midnight shows. We were very tired by the end of the trip. Comics were good (Sarge was the best - we saw him 3 times and each show was different). My husband loved the cigar bar. Got quite friendly with the bartenders. Casino was very large. My sister-in-law won $150 on the slots. The last night someone won pretty big at the crap table. Cruise Director (Graham Seymour) was a riot. If you have him you will really enjoy the cruise. He was always joking and making fun of someone .I laugh when i think of him. Ports: Did not book any excursions prior to going on cruise. St. Thomas was nice. We took a cab into town to do some shopping. As soon as we got out of the cab a local came up to us (Pasquale) and offered us a tour and then to Sapphire Beach for 2 1/2 hours. $20.00 for adults and $15.00 for kids. We met him at 12:00 and he took us in a open bus on a nice tour. stopped a few times for pictures - then stopped up at the peak looking down at Megan's Bay for more pictures. There was also some shops there with a bar and food. Very nice. Then dropped us at Sapphire Beach and picked us back up at 4:00 pm. and took us back to the ship. We decided to go to Sapphire Beach because of all the reviews on these boards and mainly because my kids wanted to jet ski. It was very pretty to look at but there was alot of seaweed and it was very rocky. You definitely need water shoes. And there was only one vendor there with 4 jet ski's so we never got to do that. Everyone said Megan's Bay was really nice and they also had jet ski's there. We even had Pasquale (the tour guide) making some calls to see if he could get us to jet ski since he told us we would be able to do that. He was really nice. He wanted to take us over to the Mariott Hotel where he could get us jet ski's but we decided to stay at Sapphire Beach and jet ski in St. Martin the next day. St. Martin - we loved this the best. Took a cab from the ship $3.00 per person to Phillipsburg and shopped in the morning. My daughter had her hair braided at a Salon - $60.00 - 57 braids. Nice job. Then we went over to Little Divi Bay around 12.($3.00 per person cab fare) That was so nice. Water was so clean and no rocks. We could have stayed there all day. My kids finally got to jet ski and they loved it. Princess Cays: Had a great time. Water was great - lots of chairs. Nice barbecue. We were the last tender at 3 pm My kids rented the snorkeling equipment and did see a lot of nice fish. As far as smell: we did notice a smell on certain parts of the ship. You would walk by, smell it, and then it was gone. Really not that big of a problem. My husband thought the smell was coming up from the drain in the sink in the bathroom. He filled sink and then plugged it and smell seemed to go away. It was such a wonderful trip. I can't think of one thing to complain about except having to come home. Also my kids loved it and would go again in a flash. Now I am doing research for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Embarkation: Not counting the power outage it was great. Early in the morning a construction crew at the Marriott hit a power line which left Princess' terminal without power. This caused delays with the passengers that just returned ... Read More
Embarkation: Not counting the power outage it was great. Early in the morning a construction crew at the Marriott hit a power line which left Princess' terminal without power. This caused delays with the passengers that just returned to Ft. Lauderdale on getting off our ship and delays for us getting on. Princess used Terminal 2 just across the parking lot but did have to wait for their boat to leave before we could enter. Once it was all set up we were checked in and on the ship within 30 minutes. Definitely not Princess' fault and had no effect on the trip. This ship is beautiful and kept very clean. I still doubt I saw every inch and even still was turned around on which direction I was going late in the week. Half the time we didn't even know the ship was moving. Never noticed a foul odor. Our cabin was AA mini-suite on Dolphin Deck with an completely exposed balcony. We loved it. It was nice to get some sunshine and the humidity wasn't trapped so we always felt the ocean breeze. The cabin was plenty of room for my husband and I, even extra storage. I loved having the bathtub! Thanks Willy you made it great. Shore excursions: the only ones we booked were in St. Thomas and it was golf for my husband which he really enjoyed although he said the course could have been in better shape in some places for the price $170.00. I did a discover scuba tour which was the best thing I have done in a long time. I enjoyed it so much I am actually going to get my certification. It was a nice way to see if you liked scuba without investing a lot of money or time. After a short lesson we did actual scuba diving from the beach to about a 40 foot depth - we even saw a sea turtle. There were local vendors with souvenirs, food, drink and a nice bathroom to change in - no shower though. Food - what can you say always too much. We also had anytime dining and NEVER made a reservation. We waited the last night only for about 8 minutes for a table with 8 of us. We enjoyed it tremendously and it would be a deciding factor if we were thinking about two different ships. We ate in Sabitini's which okay. We enjoyed the company - Mike, Kelly, Pete and Pam the most! We didn't make it to Sterling's but everyone said it was fantastic. The buffet area (this includes Horizon and Cafe Caribe) always has food, there is a small card in your cabin with the food hours everywhere which helped us a lot. We did eat in there more than on other cruises. They always had the same food as in the dining room, just serve yourself. Some nights it was hard to decide but it was good. Scoops, the ice cream place is no different then eating at Baskin Robbins or Cold Stone. About the same prices too. Who wants to know about the balcony dinner - FANTASTIC. It is $50 per person. You call the concierge and set it up. They come in and set your balcony with beautiful flowers. They pretty much pick everything except your entree and drinks. They give you a half a bottle of champagne and one other drink of your choice - alcohol or not. The entree is filet, lobster or both. We got both and couldn't finish it. You get two waiters to help you and they even brought a extra dessert when they noticed the Happy Birthday sign on our cabin door. Their attention to detail is fantastic. You can order more drinks but they will charge you which I thought was silly but whatever. You get one of the ship's photographers that comes to take a picture at your choosing. We had him come at the beginning to catch part of the sunset. He took three pictures and we couldn't decide so he printed all 3 and we then went to the photo gallery to pick the one we wanted - this is included in the price. It was worth every penny, beautifully presented! Entertainment was good. We loved the comedian Sarge and saw him 2 or 3 times, all different shows. The production shows were okay. I am a little picky with those so it was more me thinking that the Caliente needs some work but the 2nd show Rock (something) was much better. Graham the cruise director is a riot. All the things said on the board about him is true. He even does a morning show that you watch 6am to 10am on your cabin TV that is hilarious. We did not use the gym but we did frequent the spa. I am a spa goer and I can tell you out of all the cruises we have done this is the best spa ever (2 different RCI ships and a Carnival ship). From 11am to 3pm there is free sushi in the spa that you can help yourself too without a spa appointment. You can use the thermal suite without a spa appointment too! Being that this spa is run by Princess rather than an outside agency they seem to be better. There is a dedicated space and great Technicians. Ladies a technician by the name of Bong - a man - was fantastic. Had I had him at the first treatment I would have requested him all week. I enjoyed line dancing, horse racing, came in 4th in the Video Poker tournament. You can do as much or as little as you want. Make your vacation your own. Be sure to be involved on your Cruise Critic thread and set up a meeting it was nice to put a face to the names we have chatted with for months. The two main pools always were bubbling with activity. Both the spa pool and terrace pool are adults only and they do run the kids off. Movies Under the Stars was great! You just need to call the concierge to pick your day and time, they will deliver your tickets - its free. The best seats are up a level so walk up the stairs, not Sony do you see better but you get a better breeze! They bring around free popcorn, but there is no butter or salt. Then there is a bar open for you to purchase drinks and a candy girl comes by to sell candy - just like the movies with better service. We loved it, saw 13 going on 30 and calendar girls. We ended our week with a fantastic dinner with Janet, Gil, Ginny, Mark, Ryan and Christie and hope to keep in touch with all those we met. In fact we were the last ones out of the restaurant this night and they never even rushed us or asked us to leave. Definitely would cruise with Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
We have never cruised before and after researching all the ships, decided on the Caribbean Princess. We were amazed on how wonderful this ship was. unfortunately, Hurricane Francis sent us on a Western Cruise instead of Eastern. We were ... Read More
We have never cruised before and after researching all the ships, decided on the Caribbean Princess. We were amazed on how wonderful this ship was. unfortunately, Hurricane Francis sent us on a Western Cruise instead of Eastern. We were disappointed. But this was by far the best vacation we ever had. Despite the change in itinerary, Princess kept us out of harms way at all times. We love them for that. We were not thrilled with the ports of call, but made the best of what we had. The first stop was Princess Cays. It was absolutely beautiful! The most beautiful water I have ever seen. The most colorful Iguana's were running around. Just gorgeous! Next was Jamaica...not fond of this country, we just took a party sail boat out for a cruise. Wow! was it awesome! The 2 Jamaican guys running the boat made everyone happy. They served us rum punch and we even bought a few beers...RED STRIPE..it was very good and the Jamaican music kept you in vacation mode! We snorkeled in beautiful waters and docked at Margaritaville for 1/2 hour where we got off and checked out the place. I had to take a 2 hour nap when I got back to the ship...fantastic time! Montego Bay was ok... not a lot to do, probably should have visited 7 mile beach, but chose to get back on the ship and enjoy the pools and hot sun. Cozumel was all shopping. We were not docked where you can find a beach, unless you spent $26.00 for a cab to go to the other side of the island to a beach. Not a lot of time for this, so we got back on the ship once again and enjoyed it's amenities. Took another 2 hour nap! We were then made aware of the extended time of the cruise by the captain. We were to stay docked at Cozumel for a night to wait for the hurricane to pass. unfortunately, it was a very slow hurricane and we had to stay out at sea for a couple days. The weather was beautiful and very hot. Never did we have to worry about the storms. Princess opened up the phone lines and internet service for 2 days free to all it's guests to take care of business. (That's over 3100 guests). I never could get a phone line out, but managed to finally send home an e-mail at 3:00am to family letting them know we were safe. You just have to sit back and enjoy life and not worry about craziness, since there isn't anything you can do about mother nature. We were safe and that's all that matters. They fueled up in Mexico and had plenty of food for all for those extra days. We were well taken care of by Princess. We thank them for that. They never charged anyone for the extra days.....they gave a lot! How can you complain? The ship was very clean and most of the workers were very pleasant. A lot of reviews complain about the service, but no one ever talks about how rude some passengers can be. The most issues are with the children who are so unruly! Running and yelling throughout the ship and are out of control. I only blame the parents. These are the ones who complain about the service and the food. Go figure! We also brought our 12 year old son. He wasn't happy at first with the kids programs, but managed to find a few friends and make the best of things. Needless to say...he had the best time of his life. You see...it's what you make of it, not what you hope to happen. If you expect the Royal Treatment, then book a cruise on the Queen Mary! There is NO perfection in this world...just make of it what you will. As for the food..it wasn't all we expected. It was very good. I would have liked more Lobster nights, but who wouldn't! The room we had was off the back of the boat with a balcony. It was absolutely beautiful. Yes the shower was small, but the balcony was huge. This was not a suite...just a basic room. We watched the sun rise and sunset and was totally covered in case it rained. Very private. Our friends told us we didn't need a balcony room since you never were in your room. They were so wrong. To wake up in the morning and have coffee on the balcony watching the sunrise is priceless. To unwind at night with a drink and watch the moon over the sea...once again...priceless. Needless to say, the naps on the balcony were worth the money. So private and so relaxing....isn't that what vacations are for? The pools are usually packed, but it was so hot, who wouldn't be in them. The entertainment crew was awesome. There was always something going on at one of the pools or you can chose a pool and deck for quite times. It's what ever you want to do. We chose the pool with the Caribbean band that kept you moving to the music and in sync to the fact you were in the Caribbean on a dream vacation. Very Nice! There were many lounges to chose from at night, either soft music and dancing, comedy shows, or entertainment of some sort. We chose the Fussion Lounge every night for Karaoke, Hore Racing, games, or the Princess Idol contest. The options were there for whatever your mood was. There were movies under the stars if that is what you preferred or the Theatre where you could enjoy a show. The casino was good, but we don't gamble ( I have better things to spend my money on). The dining rooms were nice, many to chose from. You could pay extra to Dine in the Sterling Stakehouse or Sabatini's. We did both. Both were excellent. There was the Horizen Buffet and the Cafe Caribe that was buffet and the Palm & Coral Dining Rooms for reservations. We ate everywhere just to try them all. They were all different, so you just have to find what you like. Breakfast was the buffet or you can be served by waitstaff in the Coral dining room which was excellent. There was a buffet from 11pm til 4pm in the Cafe Caribe and an all night Bistro also in the Cafe Caribe that served Strip Steaks and omelets, etc. We didn't find this until our last night. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Please research the boat before you board so you know all they have to offer. I believe some of the reviews that are bad are because they didn't know all of the options they had on this ship. As for Graham Seymor (the ships tell it all guy) He was awesome! Just turn your TV on every morning and he will clue you in to everything that is happening for the day. He is soooooo funny. Also, read your Princess Patter that is delivered to your room every night. You can plan your day by this. I have to say...I did expect a lot. Had a few disappointments, but all in all...it's what you make of the vacation that really matters. I will comment on the other ships we saw at the ports. None that I saw could have topped the one I was on. Some have a waterslide in their pool...big deal! The decks were so distraught and I would not want to be on them. There may be a ship out there that could be better, but We Will Book our next Cruise with Caribbean Princess! And we will do this soon! Just relax and enjoy your life! Time is too precious to complain about. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Caribbean Princess Review - Western Itinerary - 7/31/04-8/7/04 PART 1 Let me start by saying that several Cruise Critic members helped make our cruise so much more because of all the great advice, tips etc. So those who have not ... Read More
Caribbean Princess Review - Western Itinerary - 7/31/04-8/7/04 PART 1 Let me start by saying that several Cruise Critic members helped make our cruise so much more because of all the great advice, tips etc. So those who have not cruised before, or even those who have cruised before and want to know more - keep reading these boards and ask any questions you want because there is always someone here with answers galore! The day before and Embarkation - July 30 and 31 - Ft. Lauderdale - Port Everglades We flew into Miami and rented a car to FLL as we got a free flight due to the pile up of air miles, as well as we were coming from Seattle and it is the only direct flight we could get close to FLL. We flew on the same flight with our new friends from this Board - Marlinmike and Wife! We also managed to get a paid upgrade to First Class for our 5 hour and 45 minute RED EYE trip! We all arrived blurry-eyed in Miami. There was a princess rep who met us at the gate. He helped us find baggage claim and was generally helpful with directions for us to the Budget Rental Car location. Marlinmike and Wife took a shuttle to their Hotel and we collected our luggage and were off to our Budget Rental location near the Miami Airport. We parted ways knowing we would meet up again the next morning at the ship. It was nice to have instant new friends even before boarding the ship! We were off in our rental car to FLL. We stayed at the Airport Sheraton Hotel. I got it for $55 on Priceline and I can say it served its purpose. The rooms are very clean and the bed was very comfortable. We took a five hour nap to catch up on some missed sleep. We got a complimentary Buffet Breakfast in the morning before leaving for the ship because our room was not ready when we arrived and we had to wait about and hour. The night before leaving for the ship we went to find the Budget 17th Street drop off location (that we so kindly got directions to from Chris and Sydney - thanks again!) It was in a weird little location and would be very easily missed if you'd never been there before. We also took Chris and Sydney's advice on shopping at the Publix Grocery Store nearby as well as the liquor stores. We bought 24 diet cokes, 12 large water, Crystal Light lemonade mix, Instant Margarita Mix, 2 bottles of wine, Green Olives, cocktail napkins & 24 Negro Modelo Beers (one very good Mexican beer). Now you are wondering how we got all of this on the ship, right? Well... We took Chris's advice again and wrapped up our beer in beautiful white and silver anniversary wrapping paper (I brought from home) with a beautiful wired ribbon. I even put a card on top and wrote it ourselves as an Anniversary Gift! We fit the rest of the beverage items into a medium sized roller suitcase and we checked all our other luggage (except our documents, passports etc.) and rolled this "BAR ON WHEELS" right through the x-ray line and onto the ship! No one said a word except what a beautiful Gift we had!!!! Thanks for the idea Chris - You are a legend now!!!! This preparation probably saved us at least $3 to $400 easily! We didn't have to buy the soda cards and Our cabin was so great, we usually enjoyed cocktails there most of the time. We did order a few drinks from the bars, but usually we mixed the drinks up in our cabin. I also pre-ordered a bottle of Grey Goose that was delivered to our stateroom after calling room service when we arrived on-board. Morning of Embarkation went great, except for the fact we may have arrived about 30 minutes too early. We got there at approx 10:15 am and were with the 1st 50 people in line in very HOT, HUMID, SWEATY weather. They opened the doors about 11:25 or so and soon we forgot that we were hot as inside the building they had great air conditioning. We continued to the counter for the Baja Deck and got checked in, showing our cruise documents and Passports. We were issued our cruise cards and advised to go aboard the ship. Just a quick trip through the x-ray line an then up the escalator and you get your Embarkation picture taken and then on-board you go! Oh, one quick note and I know it has been mentioned before, when you get in the lines to check in - just go to the shortest line, no need to go to Express as it will probably be longer since most of us use the Princess Cruise Personlizer beforehand. Total Embarkation time 10-15 minutes tops! After on board we went straight to our Stateroom - Baja - 749/Starboard - It was everything we imagined. The balcony was huge and very private. (A table & four chairs and 1 lounger fit with room to move around too - I think it was 11' x9'). I immediately picked up the phone and made reservations for 7pm for the Palm dining room for the first night, 2nd night and 4th nights and then I called room service and made reservations for our Balcony dinner on Tuesday night for our anniversary. It was easy to get through as I am sure I was one of the first on-board to be calling. Don't wait because it gets busy and reservations will be hard to come by. Although, I must say - the rest of the week we made no reservations and had no problems getting into the dinning room at 7-7:30. We only went to the Palm dining room because others we had talked to had been to Coral and Island and told us they thought Palm was much more organized and better service. I'm sure it depends on a lot, but we felt very comfortable going to the same dining room each evening and looked forward to the great service we received. The food was great, lot's to choose from or you can order it all, like my good Cruise Critic Friend LunaMoon did. She was an order-a-holic and very hilarious when she got one of each desert one evening. What was it again???? Baked Alaska, the Love Boat Dream and 3 different kinds of ice-cream? We met with our room Steward (ess) Rose and gave her a few $$ to make sure we always had ice and 4 beach towels. She was very sweet and very accomodating! Throughout the cruise she was pretty invisible and made us great towel animals!!! After reservations were made and meeting with Rose, we had some time before our meeting with our Roll Call at Morgan's Bar at 3pm, so we went exploring. One stop we made proved to be a big image changer for me. We went to the Lotus Spa to confirm our Spa appointments for the next afternoon and I entered the "If they could SEA me now" makeover contest. Of course as easy as 1,2,3 - I won! (you know when you just have a feeling you are going to win?) When we returned to our stateroom later there was a letter in our mailbox indicating to contact Claire Lovely (yes, it really is her name and she is lovely). I contacted Claire and we set up a time to meet at the spa in the morning. I had below shoulder length - fairly long curly hair and let's just say that I don't anymore. They cut my hair a little above shoulder length and gave me a manicure and did my make-up. We shot a video of it all - you know, the before and after thing. It was a great experience and I was a little shocked at the haircut after having long hair for so long (thanks to Lotus Spa, especially Michelle for such a great haircut), but the reaction I got from people was so positive and nice I thought - I should have done this a long time ago. Anyway the next day they had a show in Club Fusion with the man who won and another lady who won a make-up makeover. It was very fun and I also got Champagne and flowers! The entire Cruise Critic friends were there to support me it was very fun and funny at the same time! Needless to say they entire rest of the cruise I was known as the Makeover lady! Meeting the Roll Callers!!!!!! - 4 of the couples on the roll call met at Morgan's Bar - Deck 17? Aft overlooking the Terrace Pool and on top of Outrigger's bar & Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe. It's a small bar, but a very cool place to meet! Upon our meeting (and mind you this only added to the fun) it started to sprinkle rain, the rain got a little heavier, no problem, we took cover under the bar. THEN, it came.... A HUGE DOWNPOUR of SIDEWAYS, BLOWING WIND AND RAIN. We all had to make a run for it to the inside elevator lobby - Which was only about 30 feet away from the bar. All eight of us counted to 3 and with cocktails in hand RAN (laughing all the way inside) We got inside by the elevators WE WERE ABSOLUTELY SOAKED and laughing so hard about how wet we all were - it was great! We continued our meeting right there. So if any of you are looking for a great place to meet your Roll call members, try the elevator lobby aft on floor 17 - It works just fine! People from Cruise Critic we met were: Marlinmike/Wife, LunaMoon/Husband, Julie &David. (We all met Poetrylady and Friends later) PART 2 First night at Dinner was in the Palm Dinning room where we got a table for two. Dinner was great, I think we had Prime Rib, Fettuccini, Caesar Salad, Shrimp Cocktail and The Love Boat Dream for desert. We had the shrimp cocktail every night, as well as the Caesar salad. Half way through our meal the maitre'd sat another couple next to us who proceeded to tell us that the Caribbean Princess was one of the worst ships they had ever been on. Mind you, it has only been 7 hours into the trip and we (first time cruisers) were being told by the sourpuss trolls that this magnificent vessel with all the amenities anyone could ever imagine or ask for, was the reason they wanted to turn around and go home immediately. Let me see, the husband said he wanted to turn around and go home immediately and his wife said "It broke my heart what I saw when I first boarded" You would have thought they boarded the SS Minow and were headed for Gilligan's Island! What the h*ll were they talking about? Thank god we were almost done with our meal, we just had to get away! I kindly stated "Oh, come on...You've got to be kidding?" and advised them we did not want to listen to anything bad and that we were on one of the most beautiful ships and going to most beautiful places, how could they beat this? And, that was it - no more was said and we got away....and I mean we got away and didn't say goodbye or anything - we were almost running! Woke-up on Sunday morning to room service delivering our eggs benedict for two out on our balcony, as well as some tomato juice to doctor up into Bloody Mary's - Let's get this parted started! YES YOU CAN order anything you want to room service, even if it's not on the room service menu. For instance to get the eggs benedict that we had each morning all you need to do is write it down on the breakfast order form and hang it on your door, just make sure you are very specific, or you will not get what you what. For instance, if you want ketchup, write it down, if you want half -n- half, write it down, if you want large, small, medium, write it down - you get the picture. Also, make sure you check a time on the bottom and realize they will probably deliver it 10-15 minutes before the earliest time. The first Day was our Princess Cay day, but I had to get my makeover first. I spent a couple hours getting my hair done and makeup and nails all pretty, shooting a video of it all and then my husband and I boarded the tender for Princess Cays only to sweat all my make-up off on Princesses lovely blue and white striped beach towels! Princess Cays was a nice beach day. We pre-rented floats on the Cruise Personalizer and it was great to just float in the beautiful water. We were only there for a little over two hours, but we enjoyed the BBQ, floating, Mr. Suncat smoking a cigar relaxing on his lounge chair in the shade and drinking the four ice cold beers we brought over in our small folding cooler (thanks to Rose for the all the ice)! We got off the tender and went over the bridge to the right and found plenty of chairs and someone nice let us share the shade under one of the little palm tree leaf huts. The BBQ consisted of hamburgers, chicken burgers, ribs, sausages, hot dogs, great salads, cookies, brownies, and all the fresh fruit you can imagine. It was a nice day, but we had to head back at 3:30 to get ready for our 4:30 spa treatments. The Spa was very relaxing and we used the tile, heated lounge chairs prior to and after our treatments. I had pre-booked our treatments on the Cruise Personalizer, The Sea Essence Duet was for me and my husband had a Deep Tissue Massage, both treatments were good and we were charged less as it was considered a port day. Dinner this night was in the Palm dining room again, but this time we met two great ladies, mom and daughter, Jan and Karen. We sat next to their table for 2 and viola it became a table for 4. We had a great time at dinner and told them we had the same 7pm reservations for tomorrow, so they changed their reservations so we could dine together! - This night we had swordfish and the usual staples, Shrimp Cocktail, Caesar, etc... YOU WILL NOT GO HUNGRY. PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO EAT EVERYTHING! Yes, try it, but have a little self control, otherwise you will be miserable! You'll have to forgive me on the entertainment end of things, we did a lot, but I cannot tell in what order, what night, but here's what we did on any given night.... We saw comedians - Sarge, Scott Wyler, James, the kid Michael - We unfortunately missed Mike Wilson. We went to a couple rounds of horse racing. Graham says "and the crowd goes wild" just a few times!!!! We spent a few dollars in the casino and entered the Black Jack tournament We saw some of Princess Idol We went and most of our party of CC members participated in "Island Night" (ask LunaMoon aka BL/Banana Lady and Julie and her husband David what their part in the show was?) LunaMoon aka BL, had to be the star of this whole show, lip syncing to RESPECT while suggestively pealing her banana microphone and taking a bite! Graham's eyes were popping out at this point and so were Mr. Moon's! I think she was the overall winner of this competition - She had all our votes - I almost lost it here... It was so damn funny! Here's Marlinmike's video showing Banana lady in action! http://www.marlinmike.com/caribbean%20index.htm - You need Windows Media 9 We spent a few late, late evenings at Skywalker's - the people watching up there was great!!! All of the cruise employees seem to end up there after their shifts to relax a little. It was nice to see them not having to entertain 24 hours a day! They have extremely grueling jobs and they are all great at them! FYI - Drinks of the day per Graham's "Be Very Afraid" Morning show were: Ja'Maican Me Crazy Rum Punch - Orange & Pineapple Juices and Grenadine w/a dark rum float. Fun on the Beach - Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Orange and Cranberry Juice Ocean Breeze - Vodka w/Blue Curaco, Pinapple Juice, sweet & sour topped w/sprite. or "Windex" as Graham would say... Mai Tai - light rum with amaretto, pineapple juice and sweet & sour. Starwberry Daiquiri - White rum with Strawberries and lime juice. Margarita - Tequila, Triple Sec, Lime and Lemon Juice poured over cracked ice. Homeward Bound - White rum, Peach Schnapps, Orange Juice and Cranberry Juice. PART 3 - First Formal Night and First Sea Day Let's see - where did I leave off. Oh yah...Day 3 was the first formal night a Sea Day and my day to make my "makeover" appearance in Club Fusion in the "If they could see me now" show. Day 3 was a great Sunny Sea Day - We got up late today - 8am... - Had our regular room service breakfast, Bloody Mary's, Coffee and Egg's Benedict and headed out to the Terrace Pool by 9am. We found 2 lounge chairs just outside Cafe Caribe and settled in the shade for a couple hours. It's beautiful back there watching and listening to the wake! I left and went up to the top deck to catch some sun and then we had a Sushi and Chinese Food Lunch from Horizon Court. We saw our CC group out there around 12 and that's when I told them I would be in the Club Fusion show at 3:15. I went to get my hair and make-up done again for the show at 1:30 and they all came to see me at the show. It was pretty embarrassing as they show the video of before and then a bunch of film shot running around the ship and then the final product. It was a great time though. I appreciate the great haircut and make-up, especially as it was formal night and I was all ready to go... They also gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne. After the makeover show we played the horse races with Graham (yes Graham is really as great a CD as they all say he is). He can make any kind of snide comment he wants and it's all ok in the end because of his English accent! It's quite something to behold. He is a comedian, actor, dancer, singer, "know it all" kind of guy that there is no way you can dislike - He is Crazy! The horse races are also in Club Fusion and they are fun, plus you get freebies like Princess Playing Cards (WOW) Well...they make great souvenirs! Went to Dinner at the Palm dinning room again in our formalwear and planned to meet our new friends Jan and Karen at 7pm. We met Jan and Karen and low and behold down the aft stairway walks Luna & Mr. Moon - they joined us for dinner as well. We all had 7pm reservations so they put us altogether. Very accommodating! Hmmh - I think tonight we ate....Halibut? My god it's all running together. I do remember Luna ordering to her hearts content though, especially the deserts and at one point she was going to have the entire left side of the menu which consisted of 5 or 6 entrEe's and 2 salads and 3 appetizers! (She is not a large women so I don't know where she planned on putting all this food!) Crazy! After dinner we went to Scott Wyler in the Explorer's lounge. Earlier in the cruise - I think the first day, we meet a couple on the promenade deck who knew Scott Wyler personally, that's why they chose to come on the ship. Scott has over 250 punch lines and is very good. We caught his R rated show on Cozumel/Thursday night and everyone was so tired at midnight I think it would have been better to do the show earlier in order to follow his act better. He even admitted this night was tough as everyone has a really long hot, margarita infested day and they may not even be awake! I think it was the same night - we went to the Midnight James "the kid" Michael Show in Club Fusion? Like I said before - it's all running together now! Anyway our whole (all 8 of us) group meet there and sat in the front row. You know what happens when you sit in the front row at an adult comedy show - I am sure my good friend Julie will not tell you, so....I will. This poor helpless, Julie, very innocent, beautiful, little gal was picked by James Michael to come be his assistant on stage. Note...This guy is crazy, sweating profusely - out of his mind, very quick witted, potty mouth comedian, magician. He was telling dirty jokes and doing magic at the same time. All of his jokes had very adult content to them and they were pretty gross, but still funny. Anyway, Mr. Michael has little Julie up on a stool in her beautiful black full length sexy beaded formal gown, sitting up on a stool. He hand her a wrapped condom (she just about looses her mind here, as she is so innocent, you know and now she is known as CL - Condom Lady) He asks her to open it and she really doesn't want to, but there's the peer pressure you know and the crowd is cheering and clapping and she really has no choice, so she does, all the while making a face as though this is a very foreign thing to her...???? At this Point Mr. Michael blind folds her and indicates he is pouring vodka into a cup. She is holding the cup and he stretches the condom over the opening of the cup and then asks "CL" to think dirty thoughts. He keeps saying this and as he is saying it the condom start to get bigger and bigger. She of course can't see this as she is blind folded, and of course everyone else is laughing. It was very funny to watch. Julie/CL was a very good sport! PART 4 - Jamaica, Marlinmike's Suite Party and the Balcony Dinner Experience! We woke up and we are mysteriously docked in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We decided not to jump right up this morning, and took our time deciding what we were going to do. Our main mission was to go procure some Rum, Coffee and visit Margaritiville and we had all day to do it, so we order our breakfast again and left the ship around 10:30am. We just walked off, if was nice not having to tender. We caught a cab/bus to town for $6. Went shopping and were harangued by the locals, "You make deal with me, YOU BUY, lady you BUY NOW!" That was enough, thank you! We ended up buying only 1 bottle of Appleton's Rum as we thought it to be too high of a price, boy were we right. We got back to the port and you could buy Duty free in the liter size for $11 and we paid $15 (after bargaining with them forever) for a 5th. So do not buy in town, buy Duty free or on the Ship, it's a much better deal! Also, beware; all the Cuban cigars in the little town area they drop you off at are NOT REAL!! (No big surprise). We know as my husband is a cigar distributor. OVERALL - THIS WAS THE DOWNFALL OF THE TRIP - I SEE NO NEED TO STOP HERE AND WOULD HAVE RATHER HAD ANOTHER SEA DAY! While shopping we ran into Marlinmike and Wife and we all decided to catch a cab to Margaritiville together. Margaritiville is Wild!!! It's mostly younger, of course, but a very rowdy, drunk atmosphere. I thought it was fine and the Margarita's were great! I bought several souvenirs here for my Margarita loving friends and we took a bunch of pictures of the slide, trampolines in the water etc. and decided to head back to the ship so Marlinmike and Wife could get back to prepare for the Cocktail party they were throwing in their San Juan Penthouse Suite!!!!!!!! We got back to the ship, took a quick dip to cool down in the main pool (met with BL and Mr. Moon, by chance) (met with Karen and Jan, by chance) shared a pice of Pizza and then got ready for our evening of cocktailing and the balcony dinner and then island night ( I think I made a reference that Island Night was on Cozumel night before, but I was wrong - this was the night!!!!) We met the best people off this board and we had a great time at Marlinmike's & Wife's cocktail party. They are great people and we are lucky we live only a few miles away from each other near Seattle. We were still in port (Montego Bay) and their San Juan Suite was port side Mid Ship on the Riviera deck (correct Mike?). The Suite is Magnificent, Huge Jetted soaking Tub, Full shower, 2 TV's sitting area, wet bar w/sink granite coutertops! It's literally a small condo! Our party was great. We all ended up out on their balcony, literally yelling at all the late comers running back to the ship. We noticed we should have already been underway and started yelling (I should say BL did most of the yelling and the rest of us did most of the ducking out of site!) "LATE, LATE, LATE you're late". (or something to that effect) Nobody took us seriously, in fact we got most of the people on the Port side out on their balconies and we had quite a large party going now. Everybody started talking to each other from balcony to balcony and we even got a wave from all those on the Bridge! Everybody wanted to see what we were yelling at and it became quite a funny scene! We left the cocktail party and headed for our stateroom - Cabin B-749 "The 10 year Anniversary" Room! We had our Ultimate Balcony Dinner scheduled for 7pm. The Room Service arrived precisely at 7pm. They put white linen table cloth on the outdoor table and took the small end table from our room to place the bucket holding the ½ bottle of Moet Chandon. There were candles, flowers, fine linens, silverware, water glasses, wine glasses, champagne glasses and our own 6 foot inflatable palm tree as the back drop! I called to make the reservation and pre-ordered cocktails, a Martini for Mr. and a Cosmopolitan for myself. These drinks were included. They also ask if you want Steak - Filet Mignon or Lobster or both, and what do you think we did? - Both of course! First the Room Service manager for the entire ship comes in to introduce himself and to advise he would like to know exactly how we enjoy our services and to please let him know personally if there is anything he can do further. (Very Nice Touch - he came back again at the end of the meal to make sure everything was satisfactory). 1st course - CanapE's 10 per person and the Cocktails 2nd course - Very Very Very Very Large Crab cake baked in a Puff Pastry type shell (we ate the whole thing and regretted it later and we were too stuffed to even come close to finishing the main course) 3rd Course - Beautiful Butter/Bib lettuce salad with tomatoes, pears sugared walnuts, fried goat cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. This was a perfect salad, but way too large! 4th Course - Main Course - A HUGE FULL Lobster tail and the biggest cut of filet mignon I have ever had! Cooked to perfection. The side dishes were new potatoes, carrots broccoli and they were all cut into almond shapes. (I"LL POST PICTURES SOON) 5th Course - Desert - we could not eat it, we could only taste it. It was 4 different kinds of Mouse, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut and Vanilla with a presentation like no other, edible crepe fan laced in chocolate with a small edible crepe dish of strawberries with a mint sprig! It's hard to image all of this - I know. All I can say is: DO THIS - especially for a special occasion. It is the best $100 dinner you will ever have! After all this food we went to Island Night at the Terrace Pool - See my previous post for Island Night events!!!! - It's not to be missed! Day 4 Grand Cayman We got up early today as we had made arrangements to go with Captain Marvin's to Sting Ray City and the snorkel of the Barrier Reef. We tendered to shore at 8:45 am and walked to the left of the pier a couple of blocks to the Captain Marvin Location. This was a great Snorkeling experience and the Sting Rays are very Cool! This is not to be missed for a first timer to Grand Cayman. I just wish we had more time in this beautiful port. It is so clean here. We had the tour guide drop us off at Seven Mile Beach on the way back into town and we ate at a small burger place on the beach and downed a few Sting Ray beers. You know - I don't usually drink beer, but when it's hot, I don't think there's a better beverage of choice! These beers went down too easy! After lunch of Swordfish burger and Cheeseburger - we decided to walk as far down the beach as possible towards the town. With beer in hand we walked and took more self photos of us two on the beautiful white sand beach! THEN - it started to rain, and you know...when it rains, it pours. We sought cover under a bar on the beach and caught a cab the rest of the way into town. We did approximately 15 minutes of shopping and caught the very last tender back to the ship - What a great Day we had. Tonight was the second Formal and we again made it to the Palm at 7pm without reservations - no problem - I think they knew us by now! We ate dinner and went to Sarge in the Princess Theatre. It was a great Evening. I think we ended up in the Casino - and yes we lost - but it has never been so fun loosing! As for employees on the ship. We met quite o few very accommodating all around nice people. I think we did see Sydney's Devonish at Skywalker's, but we did not speak. The people we got to know the best were Scott and Claire, Donna (Senior Assistant CD) and Graham from going to the horse races) oh and Rose our cabin stewardess extraordinaire - of course! Scott is the Deputy Cruise director - He helped Graham with the Horse races and also was MC for anything Graham or Donna weren't MCing. These people do a great job on this ship and they have such a long working period - some up to 11 months, then with 2 months off and then back on a new ship! I know Claire and the woman who sis my make-up will be on the Sapphire in a few weeks as it starts it's Mexican Rivera trips! PART 5 - Cozumel and the last Sea Day I bet all of you thought "she's never going to finish this"!!!! Well, Thursday morning we woke up at our leisure and we had no plans in Cozumel but to go shop and have a few Margaritas'!! After watching all the excursion boats and the Cozumel Ferry pass us by we had our usual breakfast, (by the way, room service breakfast was the way to go for us, we never went to the dining room - we ordered very specifically and were not disappointed) - There's nothing like making the most out of your balcony stateroom and getting that great breakfast delivered. After our breakfast and our morning ritual of the "BE VERY AFRAID SHOW" by our favorite CD, Graham Seymour we got ourselves together and headed to catch a taxi to town. 3 words about Graham's show "DON'T MISS IT". It's very entertaining and actually quite helpful for shopping, events etc. It's a verbal format of the Princess Patters, WITH AN ENGLISH ACCENT! When you disembark at Cozumel, it is the only port that required picture ID to get back onto the Pier, so don't forget those passports! (or certified B-certificates & picture id). Walking off the ship onto the dock, we of course see our CC friends Julie & David. It was weird out of 3500 people we always seemed to run into each other. We made our way through the tunnel of liquor, as I like to call it. I think others call it "Duty Free", but I think they should at least consider calling it, "The Duty Free Tunnel of Liquor". (Yes, I am loosing my mind a little). We caught a cab to town for $6. They will take up to 4 people for $6. We were dropped off in the center of the town in the shopping area. We shopped for souvenirs; I bought some Vanilla and little wooden Fish and turtles for the gals at work. Other than that we didn't do much more shopping. We did stop in a very nice Cigar shop in Cozumel, very close to Carlos and Charlie's. Darling husband was able to purchase a few Cuban cigars to enjoy back on the ship! While we were shopping we became quite hot! It must have been the hottest day of the week, so we grabbed a couple beers to quench our thirst and DH was offered a free shot of tequila (of course we ended up liking the tequila and purchased a bottle). After our shopping and beer adventure we visited both, Senor Frog's and Carlos & Charlie's. These establishments are directly next to each other. I think Senor Frog's is almost directly above Carlos & Charlies'. Anyway - what a party we encountered here! It was a little older crowd than we witnessed at Margaritaville earlier in the week. Both of these places had great Margaritas and very fun atmosphere's with really attentive service. Unlike Margaritaville were you had to wait at the bar forever before some decided to serve you (at least that's how we felt when we were there). We took quite a few pictures here. Soon it was time to head back to the ship to get ready for our CC Cocktail party in our Stateroom! We caught a taxi back and grabbed two more beers (yes we were in no pain at this time) I quickly picked out a silver bracelet and a silver necklace for myself. (I have a name for this kind of shopping; it's SWI "Shopping While Intoxicated - It works well, especially when you are in a hurry) We made it back to the pier and boarded the ship without incident! We had time for a cool swim and then headed to our stateroom to greet our guests! The stateroom parties were fun. I think we had 10 people in our room and on the balcony and at one point we took a balcony picture with all 10 of us out there and still had room for more! We ordered cheese and crackers and guacamole and chips from room service. This is the day they were showing the "Makeover Show" on the Ship's television network, so we had that playing for everyone to laugh at. After the party we went to dinner AGAIN in the PALM DINING ROOM. After dinner we were in the Black-Jack tournament and lost in the first round! Oh well, easy come, easy go. After we lost, we actually went and TOOK A NAP for a couple hours then caught the midnight Scott Wyler adult Comedy show. After Scott Wyler we headed for the Horizon court for a late feeding of the worlds largest sandwiches! We took the sandwiches back to our room and then I do not remember anything except that I woke up and it was the last day of our cruise. Whew! YES WE JUST NOW BEGAN TO REALIZE JUST HOW MUCH WE PACKED INTO THE WEEK! Last Day... We spent the morning as we usually do and then headed for the Terrace pool. I got two chairs in the shade and one in the sun so we could catch a few rays and then sleep comfortably in the shade. We ate lunch of Pizza and headed back to our cabin at 4pm to pack up everything. This was a nightmare as I think we brought everything including the kitchen sink! It took us 2 ½ hours! Yuck! We finished packing all the while listening to Graham's instruction show on packing up and disembarking (It was sad - I was ready to stay at least a couple more days). We went to the Palm around 7:30 and again, we run into CC Friends Luna and Mr. Moon! They have a table for 2 right next to us and BL is ordering up a storm again while Mr. Moon looks on... Our whole group agreed to meet later in the evening and we ended up at the Wheelhouse Bar to say our Tearful goodbye...... We met and talked about how wonderful it was to meet such nice people and how much we'd miss each other. You would never expect such a bond could be made in such a short period of time, especially because what we are all thinking before we meet other CC members is: "If they're weird, we can just meet and move on!" This didn't happen...Quite the opposite.... As Bob Hope would Say "Thanks for the Memories" We love all our CruiseCritic Friends and hope to meet again someday! Our last moments were spent walking the promenade, DH smoking his Cuban and thinking about what a wonderful week we'd had! There was a visit to Churchill's lounge, a visit to the Casino (Where we saw Julie & David AGAIN!) and then we walked around and took a few photos. We ended our time at Skywalkers and then called it a night. Congratulations if you picked this ship to sail - YOU'LL HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE. We were off the ship about 9:30 the next morning and out into the Street to wait for the Budget Van to pick us up. AGAIN, We run into Julie and David and Luna and Mr. Moon!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
This was our 1st cruise of 4 from an american port and 2nd on Princess. This ship is great and huge compared to most even though we knew are way around due to sailing on its twin the Golden last year in the Med. Since this is our 1st ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise of 4 from an american port and 2nd on Princess. This ship is great and huge compared to most even though we knew are way around due to sailing on its twin the Golden last year in the Med. Since this is our 1st trip from an american port one thing that really sticks out with americans rather than the european set, bad tattoos. We saw a lot of bad tattoos ranging from old gang member types to young teens who just have to have a lil green stamped on there body for that "Cool Look". Overall the food was great and I was surprised that most people did clean up quite well for dinner. We had personal choice and waited only once to get a table without ever getting reservations for 3 but I would say make the reservations to save any headaches. Sabatinis is great at $20 extra a person and I think the wait staff is really what makes it fun besides the great food. Did not eat at the Steakhouse since we could not get a reservation the last 2 nights but when passing I did notice that it seemed empty so I guess we could have eaten without them. Second handedly I did hear the food was bad at the Steakhouse but I caution that this is hard to believe. I did overhear a woman complaining about food to another. Let me just say this I took a tour of the kitchen that was offered and am simply amazed at all the food that is cooked and served and think these critical comments on bad food are way overstated. On a scale of 1-10 I rate all food and buffets a 9 and never saw anything bad or tasted anything that wasnt 1st rate whether it be the poolside pizza or sit down lobster. Princess Cays was fun and clean and it seems that Princess built this and spent alot of money to establish this rec area. Only drawback I see is the cost to rent stuff. I would rather there be a $30 fee and just give you scuba gear, or sail boats or what ever to use without signing up for it. Also a great outdoor type buffet set up and its all good. This is an all day affair like huge private beach and shopping. Grand Caymen the shopping was great and we opted for the stingray city snorkel which was very fun and a lil scary but you get used to the Stingrays after a while. Jamaica, went to the rum tour and somewhere else I can't recall but it was great fun but the main problem if any is the bus ride- bus holds 25 and the driver was great but its a long winding road trip for several hours each way on bad 2 lane roads filled with pot holes and many obstacles. Overhead complaints by the locals that they only get 1 ship a week due to increasing tour problems since the roads are bad, and you seem to see alot of poor people with a bad national infrastructure which people on vacation generally don't want to see. I think this is a correct move to leave out Jamaica since if they can't even try to spend a little money to improve their roads people will not want to go there. Did the catamaran snorkel at Cozumel which was alot of fun since this had limited space on the cat and is not overcrowded and they stop at a private beach and had food and facilities and horse rentals for $20 which we did and was fun and all in 4 hours. The ship is docked and you can walk to a new shopping area connected with the cruise docking area with other ships and is nice and large with new clean shops and restaurants which we ate at ponchos and was good. I was a little disappointed since Cozumel has a very quaint old original shopping area but you would need to take a taxi to this area and we did not have the time. Formal nights were fun and all were dressed very well. Maybe 20% tuxes and the rest dark suits. Ladies make sure your guys have a dark or black suit with fancy shoes and ties they will thank you afterwords when they realize this was the better decision. All the shows were great and especially a magic show and I can't remember the guys name but it was themed on the Jim Carey Mask movie zoot suit character. Seemed R rated with many "I dislike kid jokes". He also had a adult only show at midnight. This was good since it just seemed different than the typical cruise shows. We spent most nights in the casino and lost maybe $2k over the cruise but had fun in doing so. I saw a $2400 winner on a slot machine and did win back alot while playing fun blackjack with balloons on the felt which does have different black jack rules that can help the player. Overall it was a fun cruise and I would say pack and go you will enjoy it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
This was my first cruise. I am confident that our honeymoon could not have been any better! We had an absolutely incredible time. Cruisers: Me and husband (first time cruisers in our 30's) Cabin: We had a mid-ship, starboard side ... Read More
This was my first cruise. I am confident that our honeymoon could not have been any better! We had an absolutely incredible time. Cruisers: Me and husband (first time cruisers in our 30's) Cabin: We had a mid-ship, starboard side balcony cabin on the Baja deck (B607) and our cabin steward was fantastic. The room was what I expected and I am very glad we "splurged" and got the balcony. It made the room feel so much larger when we opened the blinds, and I loved sitting on the balcony and reading (occasionally dozing off)! Dining: We did traditional dining (second seating) and really enjoyed our tablemates. The dining room staff had to politely kick us out each night! For any first time cruisers - I highly recommend at least starting out the cruise with traditional and then changing to PC if you don't enjoy it. Our waiters were a lot fun and they made dinner even more enjoyable. The dining room food and the buffets met my expectations, but Sterling Steakhouse definitely exceeded it! The steaks were excellent and it was well worth the extra $15 each. Ports: Princess Cays: very nice, clean beach with plenty of lounge chairs. We enjoyed the snorkeling near the rocks and had a great day. Montego Bay: went shopping and then to Margaritaville. Had a really nice, relaxing day. Grand Cayman: Sting Ray City and reef snorkeling with Nativeway Tours - basically perfect! We rented Jet Skis at Seven-mile beach and had a blast; I could hardly get over the incredible color of the water!!! Then to top off a perfect day, we had a late lunch and cocktails at Breezes - awesome!!! Cozumel: Dolphin Swim and snorkeling at Chankanaab National Park - could not have been better!!! Entertainment: We really enjoyed two of the comedians and the live music was great! The show Caribbean Caliente was very entertaining. Overall, we had an absolutely fantastic time. The crew on this ship is great and the service was top notch. We felt a little funny about filling in excellent for almost item on our cruise evaluation form on the ship, but it was an honest representation of our overall impression. Yes, there were times when there was "room for improvement" and things seemed a bit crowded, but overall we were more than pleased. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
HURRICANE FRANCES CRUISE--the 9 day Pre Cruise: Stayed at Embassy Suites 8/27 ( a little worn around the edges, but had a room with a view of the port and good breakfast) $55 on Priceline. Ate at Outback, then shopped across the street for ... Read More
HURRICANE FRANCES CRUISE--the 9 day Pre Cruise: Stayed at Embassy Suites 8/27 ( a little worn around the edges, but had a room with a view of the port and good breakfast) $55 on Priceline. Ate at Outback, then shopped across the street for water, wine, Lysol at Publix, Eckerds, Crown Liquor. Took cab to port. Embarkation: Lined up at 11:30 and learned we would be going on W. Caribbean instead of Eastern because of hurricane frances. some people were learning this for the first time. Many had done this itinerary before and were looking forward to shopping ports. embarkation went smoothly, we were on Lido deck eating at 12:20.The Coral dining room is usually open for lunch but was closed for private event. Room: we had a tiny inside cat. J C424 right behind atrium elevators. Speaking of which, my husband and I got stuck in an elevator the first cruise day in between floors, we had to call on the elevator phone to get us out. Got a free bottle of wine for it after complaining to passenger services and captains club. Had no noise at all from elevators.Found bathroom small as well as room, just a bed 2 small nightstands, a built in desk and chair. storage was good. great to have a refrigerator. Ship: very lovely, but a bit crowded, the Princess theater is too small for the size of the ship. Movies Under the Stars is fun.Loved the rear adult pool, very peaceful. The main pool areas get crowded but there is always seating to be found. Skywalkers was always empty and Club Fusion played country music and wasn't much busier. Dining: Had PC, made a standing 7 pm reservation for 2 never had a problem. If we wanted to eat earlier we sat with others or went to the other dining room. I preferred the Coral, but we ate in both. Did not do Sabatinis or Sterlings. Buffet was limited, beverage stations poorly situated, and service poor at buffet. Preferred CCL buffet to Princess here. Itinerary: We stopped at 4 ports instead of 3, I went to the Library first thing and got travel books on the ports we would be stopping at. Very few excursions sold out probably because of the change. The Library is very nice. There are plenty of excursion offerings. Princess Cays was lovely, got off on first tender, lunch was fine, did some snorkeling, brought my own tube. Enjoyed the tide pools around the right side. Jamaica, my least favorite place, went to Rose HAll Beach club excursion, it was OK. In Cayman we took a cab to the Westin (real nice pool and beach area--just act like you belong there--if you stay at ES precruise get 2 of their light blue pool towels, they are the same color as the Westin) and hung out, then returned to town by bus. ($11 total for 2) I did some snorkeling there and then again at Eden Roc in town. We bought Godiva liqueur for $14 a bottle, they have all the flavors (white chocolate, cappuccino.) Cozumel we went to Playancar to snorkel for 1/2 day then went shopping. Had a very nice time, saw plenty of fish. Entertainment: Not crazy about the entertainment except for Sarge who was excellent. Art Auction: my husband attended, some pieces went for $19,000! The art was a little strange though. Casino: Didn't see any big winners Bars/Drinks: Do they put any alcohol in these? The martinis were GOOD! Coffee: the atrium bar has decent coffee and pastries (free) in the mornings. Health/Fitness: Walked around the promenade a couple of days, got on the treadmill--it was never crowded. the spa area is ok but not as good as CCL. had a facial, felt it was overpriced and just OK. Princess Staff: Because we had 2 additional days at sea, Princess allowed free internet, we had to line up and wait and the phone lines were limited, still they made a terrific effort. Captain kept us informed and far from the storm and winds. We were not charged anything for additional days, including the gratuities, I just hope people tipped their stewards additionally as we did. Disembarkation: very smooth, we were at the FLL at 9:00 and checked in for 11 am flight. All in all a great cruise, the best weather and calmest seas. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
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