1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Princess Cruises
  4. Princess Cruises Cruise Reviews

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

This was the Hurricane Frances cruise that was supposed to go to Eastern Caribbean for 7 nites that ended up going to the Western Caribbean for 9 nites(Great decision). This was our 5th cruise and 1st cruise with Princess. Overall, we were ... Read More
This was the Hurricane Frances cruise that was supposed to go to Eastern Caribbean for 7 nites that ended up going to the Western Caribbean for 9 nites(Great decision). This was our 5th cruise and 1st cruise with Princess. Overall, we were extremely satisfied. My wife and I were accompanied by my 2 daughters and 2 sons. Pre-cruise: Since I arranged for my own airfare we arrive 2 days before sailing and stayed at Holiday Inn at Ft. Lauderdale, on the beach. Got rooms on Priceline for $50! Rented Minivan for 2 days from Thrifty for grand total of $100.36. Best part was I was able to drop-off family and luggage at port then return vehicle. After returning vehicle was able to get a free transfer to port from Thrifty. Very convenient at the right price...$3.00 tip!! Embarkation: On line early at 11:30. This is where we found out about change in itinerary. Personally, I did not matter to me. Once the doors opened embarkation was quick and smooth...they definitely have their act together! Excursions: Unfortunately, we found the excursions pricey...especially when family consists of 6 people. We did not take any. Did hear 2nd hand that people enjoyed themselves. Room: Had a mini-suite which accommodated 4 and a guaranteed room for my 2 daughters. They ended up on the deck below (Emerald) with an outside obstructed view room. Not bad considering the $$$ I paid!! Both rooms were roomy, but the mini-suite was GREAT. The mini was like having a room at the Mariott. Go for it if u can! Service: Excellent. Rico our room steward was superb. We opted for Traditional 1st seating (6PM). We sat at table 105 and our waiter was Konrad (Polish) assisted by Arek. They were truly professional and very entertaining, making our dining experience very enjoyable. We sorely miss them! Elsewhere, service was also superb. They made us feel special. Entertainment: entertainment was great, especially Sarge and the husband and wife team from U.K.. We enjoyed these shows. I will say that the musical "Caliente" was a bit disappointing. Totally disappointed in the Cruise Director; Princess needs to improve immensely in this area. Basically, I think he was the biggest joke on the ship! Kids program: Unfortunately, this was another area that we were disappointed. We were on Carnival 3 years ago and found their program much, much better. Improvement is needed in this area. Sad part was they allowed no food or drinks into the area but at the same time they provided nothing for the kids to munch on!!! Not Good! The Ship: An awesome vessel. Best ship I have been on to date. Only problem was that our room was towards the Aft, resulting in a lot of walking ( no need to go to the Gym ). There Gym was spacious and well utilized. The 5 pools on board attracted different crowds which was good. The Aft and rear pools were ADULTS only; less crowded and quieter. The middle 2 pools was where all the action (activities) took place and constant music. Many of the young crowd would be found hear due to its proximity to the pizza and burgers. If you plan on cruising with this ship I suggest you do some homework and learn the ship before you board. You will have a jump-start on everyone! Food: Good quality and plentiful. I found the bacon to be sub-par, otherwise no complaints at all. The pizza is GREAT!! Thin crust and plenty of cheese. It will make all you Atkins people very happy. There was plenty of fresh fruit for the normal 7 days; it started dwindling thereafter due to the fact that we were there an extra 2 days due to Frances. You know they were running low when canned whole figs are being served. Overall: A Great cruising experience!!!!!!!!!!! Go for it!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean Date of Cruise: 21-28 Aug 2004 CRUISE LINE shuttle SERVICE FROM AIRPORT This is a wonderful service, cost was $20 per person to/from ship. Highly recommend using this service. All we had to do was go to ... Read More
Itinerary: Western Caribbean Date of Cruise: 21-28 Aug 2004 CRUISE LINE shuttle SERVICE FROM AIRPORT This is a wonderful service, cost was $20 per person to/from ship. Highly recommend using this service. All we had to do was go to baggage claim and there was a person there holding "Princess Cruises" sign. We picked up our luggage from the carousel, stood to the side, followed the person guiding us to the shuttle, but our luggage by the bus, it was loaded by the driver, get on the bus and enjoy the 10 minute ride to the ship. When we arrived at the ship, the bus driver unloaded our luggage, and we got in line to embark. EMBARKATION Embarkation was very and easy and ran very smoothly. When we first arrived, everything was "overwhelming," huge ship and very long line. But the line moved very fast, I would say we were only outside in line for about 15 -20 minutes, and being out of the sun, made it very enjoyable. We entered a large warehouse type setting, and check in was so easy. You went to the line that had your "Deck Name," and we were checked in within 5 - 10 minutes, (ensure you take care of all your boarding & immigration information on the "Princess Cruises" website, it makes everything so much easier). After receiving our passenger cards, we went to the security area, put our carry on items on the conveyer belt and go through security screener (just like when you go to the airport), went up stairs and onto the ship. THE SHIP The ship was beautiful, very big and overwhelming at first sight. However, we all enter through the same location, making it very crowded and elevators overloaded, because everyone was trying to get on the same elevators. Some of the crew directing passengers to their quarters were rude, but the majority were extremely friendly and very knowledgeable. Everything was new, shiny and clean. There are 17 decks on this ship, so be prepared to do a lot of walking if you can't get on an elevator, which sometimes was hard to do. We stayed on the Caribe Deck (deck 10) which was perfect. THE ROOM This cruise we stayed in an interior room - C517 (Caribe deck). The room was very nice, your standard room, but we had more moving room on this ship than the other 2 cruises we went on. The room was laid out so much better, every space was utilized in a wonderful way. We chose to have two twin beds, which gave each of us a night stand which had plenty of drawer space, and there was more drawer space in the dressing table. There was plenty of closet space (which we were able to store our two large suitcases) and space in the closet area where the safe was. We felt we had more than enough room for the two of us. Our room steward was fantastic, and kept us updated on daily events and always making sure we had everything we needed or wanted. The only complaint we had, was that children and some young adults, would run up and down the hallways, but it wasn't that big a deal, we never heard any other noises. It was very peaceful. THE FOOD We were not very impressed with the hot breakfast or lunch buffet food in the Horizon dinning room. The food that should have been hot, was maybe room temperature. We felt there were a lot of choices, but sometimes there were items that did not appeal to our taste, but we did not starve, we always found something to eat. The way the food was set up was a little confusing, and people were all over the place cutting in and out of people, which made it very congested at times. The ice in big plastic container with a spoon, was uncalled for, don't understand the logic in that. We chose to have the "Traditional" dining, and we were told by our travel agent, and I saw it, that we were "Confirmed," however, when we checked in we were told we were "Not Confirmed," and would have to speak with the Head Waiter, which we did, and the next day after returning from the Private Island, we had a confirmation table. We sat with some very nice people who we enjoyed tremendously. The food in the "Island" dining room was very good, however, everyday, there were a few items on the menu that did not appeal to our tastes, and my husband will eat just about everything. We had a wonderful waiter for our table, Eduardo, he was funny, polite, very knowledgeable, and made our dining special every night. We did not eat at any of the specialty dining rooms (Sabatini's or Sterling Steakhouse), because they were always booked, we tried but could not get in. We have decided that the next time, we will make our reservation as soon as we get on the ship. There was no "Midnight Buffet," which we had on our other cruises. THE PORTS Our first stop was Princess Cays, the private island. We got up early, ate breakfast, and took the first launch over. We had a really nice time, didn't do much, but hang out in the water and the sun, but we loved it. We only stayed a few hours and did a little shopping right there before taking the launch back to the ship. Our next stop was Montego Bay, Jamaica, which were not even going to go and explore, but at the last minute we decided to take a morning excursion, "Taste of Jamaica and Bellfield Plantation (with lunch tour). We had breakfast before leaving the ship to go to the shopping area to catch our bus tour. Our first stop was the City Centre Plaza (shopping area), then off to the plantation. The tour of this over 300 year old plantation was very interesting, with a breathtaking view of the beautiful blue ocean. After the first portion of our tour, we had a traditional Jamaican lunch, which consisted of: Jerk Chicken and Jerk Pork, beans and rice, plantains, salad, fruit, and coffee or tea. The food was absolutely delicious, and the entertainment by the women tour guides was wonderful. After lunch, we were shown how the sugar cane was stripped and processed during that time. We then got back on our tour bus, and were let off at our pick up location, and did some more shopping. We are so glad that we decided to go into Montego Bay, we had a wonderful day. Our third stop was Grand Cayman, British West Indies which we were the most excited about going to. We planned a morning excursion to the "Butterfly Farm and Nautilus Semi Sub." So we got up, had a good breakfast, as we knew we would be gone most of the day, took the first launch over, met up with the person taking us to the bus for our excursion, which by the way, we had to walk a very long distance to get too. We boarded our bus, without a tour guide, were dropped off at the "Butterfly Farm" and then our bus left, which I am glad that we did not leave our backpack on. We were a little disappointed by this tour. After completed our tour of the very small "Butterfly Farm," we boarded another bus, which dropped us off at the Nautilus part of the tour, must say we were not impressed by this tour either. After that tour, we again boarded the bus, and were dropped off at the same location that we picked it up from. We had to walk the rest of the way into Georgetown, and had very little time for shopping. The place was so crowded, as there were "four", yes I said "four" cruise ships in, which made everything very crowded. However, we did, however, find the "Harley Davidson" and Lladro shops (which we bought items from), and we picked up some tee-shirts at other shops along the way. We would have loved to have more time in Grand Cayman, but everyone had to be back in time for a 4:00 p.m. departure. Our last stop was Cozumel, Mexico, which we had not been to since 1994 in the evening, so we didn't see much of anything. We did not plan any excursions here, we just wanted to shop and enjoy the sights, which we did. When we got off the ship, we immediately noticed how beautiful it was there and that the pier we were on was not the one we got off at in 1994, it was a new pier. We did have to walk quite a ways to take a taxi ($6.00 each way) to the "Forum" shopping area. We then noticed that the shops were very familiar to us, and we knew that we had been in these shops before, so we asked one of the employees if there was another pier that the cruise ships use to come to and he said yes, the one across the street. Cozumel has really prospered, and is so beautiful. We had a wonderful time. We had a wonderful time in all our ports. ENTERTAINMENT All the shows we attended were fantastic and beautiful, we always got there about 30 minutes before the show was to start, as it got crowded very quickly. I, however, did not enjoy a few of the comedians, I felt they were a little "Raw" for my taste, however, my husband liked them. I prefer the singing and dancing shows. My favorite show was "Kimba," they are so talented. The cruise director, Graham Syemour, was fantastic and so funny. We always saw his morning show. BOUTIQUE SHOPPING The boutiques were very nice, and had a lot of merchandise. The fine jewelry store was beautiful. I especially loved the "Fire Opal," and was tempted to purchase one, but didn't. I also so another wonderful stone, "Parieba Topaz," which I also, did not purchase. Maybe the next Princess Cruise. We felt the boutique prices were very reasonable. We did find some very nice items to purchase in the boutiques, and the "Inch of Gold" deals were fantastic. We purchase a really nice chain for my husband, and some very nice "Amber" jewelry for our daughter and myself. TIPPING The $10 per person per day tipping system is wonderful. You do not have to worry about making up your tipping envelopes and ensuring each person receives them. We especially like the idea that if you wish to give extra to a particular employee, you can, and as we did to our waiter "Eduardo" and room steward. EXTRA INFORMATION When we cruised with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, the ice cream and cokes were free, not the case on the Princess cruise, which was very disappointing. We did not purchase the $20 soda sticker, and every time you got a soda from the bar, there was a 15% gratuity fee. We recommend bringing your own coke with you, if you can. Unfortunately, when you're flying in, that is difficult to do. We decided that if when we cruise again and have to fly in, we will go down the evening before and get our soda and water to take to the ship. We did not care for any of the pictures that were taken of us. It was like "Cattle Call," just hurry up, stand still or face this way and "Click." You could make an appointment and have pictures done, but it was always busy. DISEMBARKATION This went very well. On Thursday evening, you receive a package with all your luggage tags, custom forms, and any other information required. The luggage tags are based on your flight times. You are requested to have your luggage outside your door on Friday evening beginning at 5:00 p.m., but we put ours out around 8:30 p.m. after returning from dinner. We chose to begin our luggage packing Friday morning, as we were at sea all day, and just kept out our dinner clothes, pajamas, toiletries and clothing for the next day. This worked out wonderful, because all we had to do after dinner on Friday evening, was come back to the room, change, and put our luggage outside our door. Disembarkation begins Saturday morning approximately 8:30 a.m., everyone goes to a location and waits to hear their luggage tag color called. We had to show our room key as we were leaving the ship, and go to the same warehouse where we checked in, locate our luggage, which can be very tedious, (I suggest putting something on your luggage that will make it stand out), we had to turn in our customs papers before we left the building with our luggage. We then took our luggage to the shuttle, it was loaded by the driver and off we went to the airport. OVERALL EXPERIENCE We had a wonderful time, so glad we went on this much needed trip. We had an amazing time, and can't wait to go again. We would travel on Princess Cruises and this ship again, and I think we would do more on the ship the next time, but relaxing and doing the ports was so much fun. Thanks Princess. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
WOW!!! First of all, I'd like to thank all of the Cruise Critic members, especially Chris, Sydney, Sue, Bill, and Rob. I've been reading all of your posts and reviews, and I've never felt more prepared for a vacation. ... Read More
WOW!!! First of all, I'd like to thank all of the Cruise Critic members, especially Chris, Sydney, Sue, Bill, and Rob. I've been reading all of your posts and reviews, and I've never felt more prepared for a vacation. Since this was our first cruise, I won't review everything since that's already been done so well. I'll just give some of my impressions along the way. We flew in on Friday to avoid any problems with travel delays and had a great room at the Marriott Marina overlooking the port. Spent most of the evening staring out at where our ship would be docked in a few short hours. The anticipation from hearing construction news/rumors, seeing the ship come out of dry dock, seeing the wedding and christening, reading Spongerob's first reviews from the inaugural, and finally Chris and Sydney's reviews a few weeks ago had me feeling like a little kid on Christmas Eve. I have no idea how I fell asleep that night. Woke up early Saturday morning, and saw the presents had already been placed under the tree. What a beautiful sight! But it wasn't time to open them yet. I ran down to the Publix for a few last minute things before we headed over to the port. We walked there from the hotel, and since our luggage has rollers, it couldn't have been easier. There's a new gate almost directly across from the hotel's parking lot, so it probably took us 10 minutes tops. At this point the anticipation was killing us. We were in line around 11:30, and the doors opened sometime before noon, but I have no idea what the exact time was. Everything just went so fast. But some of the things I hope I never forget... the thrill when the doors opened to the terminal, getting our first cruise cards, passing through security and know we were almost there, the walk across the gangway, and seeing our room (C327) for the first time. For the past 7 months my wife thought we had an inside cabin. I'll never forget the look on her face when she opened the door and saw our balcony. Priceless. This was our 10th anniversary so I immediately called and scheduled the Ultimate Balcony Dinner for Tuesday night's sail away from St. Thomas (it was incredible, I'll get to that later). I also reserved our tickets for Movies Under the Stars. Headed up to Horizon Ct for lunch then went to the spa to schedule our couple Rasul (again, incredible, not sure how much I can write about that one though :) To tide us over we both did the 5 minute back massage and it was a great way to start the cruise. I think it was only $5 a piece, so it was definitely worth it. I have to get to a block party now, so I'll try to post the rest of my review later tonight. I'll probably spend most of the time at the party talking about how great our cruise was. Maybe I'll get a couple referral credits out of it... :) On the first day, my wife entered a drawing for a free makeover. She said, "Oh look, guys can enter it too." I tend to enter just about every drawing I see, so I said why not. And wouldn't you know it, I'm the one that won. Turns out, the make over is part of one of their shows, If They Could Sea Me Now. They filmed the whole thing. One male (me) and one woman got their hair and nails done, and then the female winner gets to get their make up done as well. Then you come back the next day, they redo and touch up everything, and then throw you into Club Fusion to show the video and do some interviews. It was then shown in the staterooms later in the week on a continuos loop. I've never seen my wife laugh so hard in my life. Moral of the story, read the fine print. Everything was explained on the sign up form and I didn't see it. I bet my wife did... The couples Rasul was awesome. There were 4 different kinds of mud that are to be applied to different areas of the body. This is done in a steam room with seating for two. I think the steam portion lasts half an hour. Then your room has a private shower, which was just as fun getting all the mud off. After that, they give you some water, and let you lay on the thermal beds, which was very relaxing. We did it on a sea day, so I think it was about $65 a person, but given it was our anniversary and 1st cruise, it was well worth it. The Ultimate Balcony Dinner was just that. We scheduled it for 6:30 on the day we were in St. Thomas. It was perfect timing. We had the photographer show up with the cocktails and canapes, and were able to get our picture taken with St. Thomas fading in the background. Then we ate dinner as the sun set over the ocean. What a night. An 8x10 portrait, cocktails, canapes, crab cake appetizer, a great salad with pears, walnuts, and mesculin, a split of Moet & Chandon, incredible surf and turf, and a chocolate mouse assortment for dessert. You get your own personal waiter, and his assistant. I believe their names were Arturo and Dennis. They were great. They anticipated all of our needs, and we never had to wait any longer than we wanted to. The whole dinner had just the right pace - I think it lasted somewhere around 2 hours. The head of room service (I don't know his official title), Christain, stopped by our room throughout the evening to make sure everything was perfect. They provide all of this great service without ever making you feel like they're intruding on your evening. They do a great job of anticipating your needs without watching you the whole time. If you ever need them for anything, they're waiting in the hallway just for you. Now that's service! And our picture was delivered to us before our dessert arrived. Total cost was $50 a person, and I gave them a $20 tip. Pricey, but when you look at everything you get, and the intangible experience, it's definitely worth it. Christain told me they only do 4-8 per cruise, so book it right when you get on. The good thing is, other than the suites, they don't mention it anywhere. Again, I really owe the Cruise Critic members for this one, I never would have known about it otherwise. We had a bit of a problem with our dining assignment, and I don't think we were the only ones. We were confirmed for traditional late, but when we got our cruise cards, it had an A for anytime on them. I originally had some concerns about anytime dining after reading some of the earlier reviews, but it looked like they had the kinks worked out in the most recent reviews. So I decided not to fight it, and just went with the flow. I'm glad I did. Anytime worked perfect for us. We generally ate around 7:30, and only had to wait 10 minutes during the 2nd formal night. Other that that, we got right in. Got a table for two one night, and the rest of the time we sat at tables that held between 4-8 people. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people each night. Service was always good. Some were better than others, nothing great, but never had a bad night either. I rented a tux, and while I didn't see a lot of them, I never felt out of place. It was perfect for this cruise, but next time I might consider just bringing a nice dark suit. The pizza was awesome. It reminded me of what I've had in New York. Plus the pizzeria is now open until midnight. Boy I could really go for a slice of their pepperoni right now. Graham Seymore was every bit as good as advertised. Loved his morning shows, and Island night was a blast. He runs the horse races, and everyone that came away from him after placing their bets had a smile on their face. The cruise was great without him, but he just made it that much better. If I wasn't set on which ship I was going on in the future, he would be the deciding factor. I did get a chance to talk to him after Island night, and I thanked him for posting on Cruise Critic from time to time. He said he still has to figure out the new format, but hopes to be on soon. I hope so too. We didn't do any of the excursions since we spent the money on dinner and massage, but that was fine with both of us. We walked into town in both St. Thomas and St. Martin, and both of them were probably about a mile and half each way. Just enough to get some exercise in, but not enough to get worn out. We liked St. Martin the best. They've really put a lot of money into improving the port and downtown areas. There's a beautiful sidewalk that runs from the dock all the way to downtown and the beach. Don't miss the Belgian Chocolate shop on Old Street. The chocolate is incredible. They make it fresh everyday, and deliver it to the ship for free. Before returning to the ship, we stopped at Sharky's after reading about it in Chris's review. It was a nice end to the day, and it was fun watching the people returning to their ships. We talked to a passenger from Celebrity, and she was telling us how they were all in awe of our ship. Sounds like she leaning towards trying Princess next time. We had a beautiful day at Princess Cays. The sand on the beach was very soft, but the sea bed on the right side was very rocky. Left side was much better if you're planning on doing some swimming. We are definitely hooked on cruising, but I think I was hooked before we left. The reviews on here are written so well that you can almost imagine being on the ship. But still there's nothing that matches the thrill when you first pull away from the dock, and then sail past the condo crazies as the captain blasts the horn. We didn't do a future booking, but it wasn't because we don't want to go on another one. If we could go on the next cruise on Saturday, I would do it. We played bingo on the last day, and there were two games. One was for $2500, and the other was for a free cruise for 2. We played for the free cruise like our lives depended on it. We got down to 3 numbers, but couldn't do it. I guess that gives us extra incentive go back to work Monday and make some money. We've spent the last couple days thinking about what we were doing last week at this time, and the people that are in OUR cabin right now. It hurts. I've even checked the webcam a couple times already. But we've got a lot of great memories, and I'm sure it won't be long before we're on another cruise. We've got two kids, ages 7 and 4, and we've never spent more than a day or two away from them. Being able to Escape Completely :), no cell phones, no tv, and knowing that the kids were safe with their grandparents, really made for a perfect vacation. Again, I can't thank you guys enough for helping make our cruise so special. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
First, thanks to all who have provided so much information on this board. I found this site just days before my wife and I sailed on the Caribbean Princess 7/24. I found myself reading into the late hours trying to absorb as much as I ... Read More
First, thanks to all who have provided so much information on this board. I found this site just days before my wife and I sailed on the Caribbean Princess 7/24. I found myself reading into the late hours trying to absorb as much as I could. This was our first cruise together. I had cruised once before in 1977 on Carnival to Bermuda for a senior class trip. That was a whole other experience. This was our first extended vacation without our 7 and 5 year olds and while tough being apart we had a great time. It really reminded us of how much we enjoy spending time together. Link to our pictures: http://community.webshots.com/user/belcherwm Here are some quick thoughts/tips: Carry your deck map with you until you are comfortable getting around. Make sure the elevator goes to the deck you want to go to before you get on! Get the soda sticker and bring alcohol to mix your own drinks. We brought 1.75 liters of rum in our checked luggage and it lasted the week. The drink of the day sticker gets you a discount. Small is $3.25 with one shot; large is $6.50 with three shots. Do the math. If you want to order two or more entrees or appetizers do it. Don't be "boxed in" by the menu. Also, try a little of everything. Caribe deck has the biggest side balconies, at least 9x9. To get to the observation areas on top of the bridge go all the way forward on Lido Deck 15. Usually the port side door is unlocked. Promenade Deck 7 outside takes you all the way around the ship. Get up around 5:30 am and watch as the ship comes into St. Thomas or St. Maarten. Just beautiful. If you want something ask. The crew will do their best and usually come through. Do as much as you can and enjoy it because it goes by fast! I'll give just a short review. We flew into to FL at 1:30 pm and were in our stateroom by 2:20 pm. Taxi to the Terminal was $13 including tip. Would have been less, but there was a line driving through the security gate. Embarkation was awesome and easy. The sheer size of the ship was just unbelievable. Once we dropped our carry-ons we started exploring. Had a quick snack fro Cafe Caribe or Horizon Court, can't remember which because we were trying to get the lay of the land, I mean boat. After a painless muster drill we kept exploring. First dinner was at a table for two in the Palm dining room all the way in the back by the stern. We had been going hard since 5:00am and I hadn't eaten much. Combined with the motion of the ship I had my only bout of queasiness. Fortunately I felt much better as soon as I got some food in my stomach. We loved ordering the different courses for dinner. We ate each night in the Coral or Palm, every night but one by ourselves. The first formal night we went to dinner about 8:30 and the Palm Coral dining room was packed. We went and took some pictures and then waited awhile longer until we finally got a table around 9:30. We shared it with another couple who had been waiting the whole time with us. The service was great and the food was good. I had a couple of entrees during the week that weren't up to par including the grilled swordfish. For the most part we enjoyed the food. We were especially impressed by the offerings in the buffets. We checked out the various nightly activities and went to the welcome aboard show in the Theater. It was good to see who the staff was. We fall into the camp of those who enjoyed Graham. Our routine for most of the week was to enjoy the sun, food and drink during the day and enjoy more food, drink, some shows and then dancing at night. We liked the comedians best as far as the entertainment went. Horse racing w/ Graham was also fun. The two central pools, Neptune and Calypso were always crowded. Terrace at the rear and the Spa pool were not so crowded (adults only), but also shaded from the sun, especially Terrace. We hung out on the sundeck two levels up from Neptune. Great for people watching. We enjoyed the Movies Under the Stars on Tuesday. Saw Calendar Girls, passed on Starsky and Hutch. I arranged a meeting with Rowly Walker, 1st ETO, on Thursday and got to see the inner workings of the big screen and the ships other video and audio equipment. St.Thomas was a bit of a disappointment. We were on our own, no excursions. We went straight to Magen's Bay, $12 per person round trip in a taxi plus $3 admission to the park. It was kind of overcast, but the worst thing was how dirty the beach was. Cigarette butts, bandaids, paper. I even found a small bottle for nitroglycerin. The sand was pretty, but it rained on us so it wasn't so powdery. We left after a couple of hours. It did start to get crowded. The afternoon was spent shopping, a so-so experience. I stepped in some ants along the road so I was ready to get back to my haven on board ship! St. Maarten was much better. We did the power snorkel excursion at Divi Little Bay Resort. It was a little limited in what you could do in the water and a little to short, but overall a fun way to spend the morning on a beautiful beach. We got some advice and directions from one of our hostesses (she said she was called a beach bimbo) and after a quick lunch onboard we headed out for some shopping and then on to MulletBay for some more beach time. We took the bus (van) for $3 each round trip. Taxi was $12 I think. We had a great afternoon and these two beaches put Magen's Bay to shame. We got back around 4pm and hit Sharkey's of course. I was missing my Corona's. I have to admit that we made it to the beginning of the Island Night party, but pooped out pretty early. We enjoyed Princess Cays as well. We did some snorkeling and sailing on a Hobie. We actually were playing so much that we missed the barbecue. They closed it down at 1pm. We were hungry so we packed it in and beat the rush back to the ship around 1:30pm. Got to watch them bring in the tenders and re-hang them. The disembarkation was also very smooth, but we had a long day just hanging out since our flight didn't leave until 6pm. Can't wait for our next cruise! Yes. We're hooked. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
The cruise was wonderful, really beyond my expectations. Of course there were some glitches, but on the whole a marvelous experience. First a little background, we sailed as a party of 8 - my husband and myself- two 50ish professionals, ... Read More
The cruise was wonderful, really beyond my expectations. Of course there were some glitches, but on the whole a marvelous experience. First a little background, we sailed as a party of 8 - my husband and myself- two 50ish professionals, our two sons- 18 and 14 year old, my in-laws - in their 70ies and my brother-in-law and his wife. The purpose of the cruise was to celebrate my in-laws 50th anniversary. My husband and I love to travel and we have cruised once on Princess - Regal Princess to Alaska. My brother and sister-in-law had done a long weekend cruise to the Bahamas on Carnival. My father-in law is a navy retiree, but never been on a cruise and it took some arm-twisting to get him to come. All of us had a great time, especially my in-laws! There was a huge line at the pier when we got there, and we it took almost an hour from checking in our luggage with the porter to getting to our room. In hind site, I think I would pay for a taxi and arrive a little earlier. We meet the rest of our party in line - they live in Florida and had driven to the port. Lunch at the Horizon Court was very hectic and it was hard to find a table. There were only a few times that I felt the cruise was too crowded and this was one of them. I decided to divide the rest of the cruise review into the three most important aspects of cruising: food and entertainment Food - My family of 4 loves all kinds of food. We love to go out to eat but I am also a good cook and picky about where I eat out. The other part of our group is less adventuresome eaters. We didn't get a chance to try any of the specialty restaurants. Coral Dining Room: Considering how many people are served, I thought the food quality was very high for dinner. I liked the fact that the portions were on the small side so that you could have all courses. Our waiter gave good recommendations on the best choices. Some personal favorites included rack of lamb, lobster, roast pork and the sea scallops (served the last night). We also enjoyed the chilled soups and my sons had escargot for the first time. The always available menu was great for the many in our group, they especially enjoyed the shrimp cocktail, Caesars salad and steak. Desserts were fantastic especially everything chocolate. My husband and I ate breakfast in the Coral Room three mornings and I really enjoyed the Lumberjack Breakfast special - a medium done minute steak topped with fried eggs. Our kids joined us once, but they preferred the buffet -typical teenage boys where mass quantities of food are always appreciated. Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe: We enjoyed breakfast here several days and really loved the view of each port while eating. It was great for a quick breakfast will lots of variety. I love papaya and was able to have it for breakfast every day. Previous reviewers were right that during the day the Cafe Caribe area is less crowded and much cooler that Horizon Court. We really enjoyed the sushi/Far Eastern food served in the Cafe Caribe area on the last sea day. It was a great change and of good quality. My in-laws loved coming up to the Cafe Caribe area for a late night snack and made it part of their daily routine. Pizza/Burgers: Had pizza on the first sea day for lunch combining it with a salad from the salad bar at the Horizon court. There was no line and we noticed some of the ship officers stopping by to pick up some pizza while there. I didn't go to the grill but several others of our group did and seem to enjoy it. Room Service: My husband and I are early risers. The best part of our day was ordering coffee and yogurt from room service first thing in the morning and sitting on our balcony enjoying the sunrise. We always had a quick turn around with an immediate answer to our call and delivery within 5-10 minutes. We usually called around 6 am, so there probably wasn't much demand at that time. We gave our sons a roll of dollar bills for room service tips and they had a great time ordering from room service. They were partial to hamburgers and desserts. They brought along a PlayStation2, so they could play in there room and not even have to leave to eat!! They also reported good service. Afternoon Tea: The last sea day, the ladies of our group went to afternoon tea. This was lots of fun and the scones, tea sandwiches and cookies were yummy. Entertainment: There was so much to do and it was impossible to fit everything in. Princess Theater: Our evening ritual was to go to the 8:30 pm show at the Princess Theatre. We usually arrived at around 8 pm to get great seats and took advantage of the bar service prior to the show. We had 2 soda stickers and had no problem ordering sodas especially if one of our group ordered a drink. By 8:15 pm the Theatre really filled up. We really enjoyed the variety of entertainment. Our youngest son usually enjoyed us and our older son meet 2 girls at Princess Cay and went to some show with one or the other. The comedians: Scott Wyler and Philadelphia were very funny. We initially didn't think we would enjoy Kimika - a husband/wife duo but they were very funny and Tina had a beautiful voice. The Caribbean Caliente production show was very enjoyable. I was really tired the night of Let's rock and feel asleep!!! Jonathan Stamp was a great juggler and also very funny. Explorer's Lounge: We were interested in several shows at the Explorer's Lounge and did get to see the James Michael's Magic show. This Lounge was one place we noticed some crowding. You had to get there early to get a seat and several nights we just decided it wasn't worth the hassle to find a seat and missed a few shows. Graham Seymour: I included Graham under entertainment because he really is part of the entertainment. His morning show was great especially the drink reviews! His comic monologue the first evening in the Princess theatre was among the best on the cruise. Graham was our CD on our first cruise on the Regal Princess and he has only gotten better with time! Island Night: We really enjoyed the band, dancing, silly games and Graham singing during Island Night. I strongly recommend stopping in on this event! Specialty Parties: My husband and I went to the Captain's Circle party. It was definitely an older crowd but we sat with a German couple we had met at breakfast one morning and had a nice time. They had free drinks and snacks. Captain Romano was there and one of the cruise staff took our picture with him. He was also our captain on our cruise on the Regal Princess. My in-laws attended a party for couples with 50+ Anniversaries before dinner one night and had a great time meeting the other couples. The longest married couple _ 65 years got a bottle of champagne. Movies under the Stars: We had seen both movies showing this week, but did enjoy watching part of the Tina Turner concert the first night. The experience was enhanced by stopping by the Cafe Caribe and picking up some big plates of cold shrimp and crab legs to munch on while we watched. Pictures: I put this under entertainment because our travel agent gave us a gift of two free casual pictures/room as a gift. Because of this we really enjoyed getting our photo taken going to down to photo gallery to look at the daily pictures. Some nights it was just too crowded there, so we would come back in the morning when there were less people. We also had a large group portrait done for formal night, which we purchased. We go a new digital camera for the trip and brought along an AV jack to plug it into the TV. The last evening, all the adults in our party meet in our room for some beers and a picture viewing which was lots of fun. Lotus Spa: My sister-in law and I went to the Spa in the late afternoon we were in Grand Cayman. We booked 2 massages (hot rock for me and aromatherapy for her) online and I added a pedicure when I got on board. The spa was really lovely and the prices on port days were similar to prices at day spas in our area. I highly recommend this! Gym and Sporting Opportunities: The guys in our group really enjoyed the gym and lifted weights most days. My husband enjoyed the treadmill. I did an aerobics class one day, but my major exercise was walking the steps and strolling the Promenade deck. One the last sea day, the guys played paddle tennis, ping pong and went to the golf simulator. They also played basketball on Princess Cay, but missed having a basketball court on the ship. Disembarkation was very good. We had an early flight out (10:37) and got a red tag. We were called at 8:00am and by 9:00am were sitting in the airport lounge. Overall, we had a great time and would highly recommend Princess for the wide age range of our group. We had thought about booking this cruise through Royal Caribbean, but their prices were higher for the same week. I am glad we went on Princess and the ship was so new, clean and classy! Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
This was a beautiful ship. Getting on and off were both a breeze as long as you had your documents in order. The public rooms were grand; the food was delicious and plentiful, and the service was wonderful. The stewards and food servers ... Read More
This was a beautiful ship. Getting on and off were both a breeze as long as you had your documents in order. The public rooms were grand; the food was delicious and plentiful, and the service was wonderful. The stewards and food servers were efficient and pleasant. There were 4 large pools, 2 for adults and 2 other childrens pools. We had open seating for restaurants which was from 5 to 10 anytime. And this worked out fine as long as the restaurants were not too crowded, which they often were. If you had to wait they gave you a beeper so you did not have to wait at the restaurant. They had $20.00 stickers on your cruise card which enabled you to get "free" sodas (cokes and sprites). The last cruise we went on we got 2 stickers which was a mistake. You could easily share 1 with 2 people. It's still a rip off, but convenient. You had to pay for ice cream at the ice cream bar, which we did not do. You could get plenty of ice cream desserts at dinner. Cabins were plenty big with KING size beds which they called Queen; we had a balcony which was the way to go. We had a wonderful time, but here are my complaints: WAY too many passengers (3400) a full boat!!!! Most public areas were too crowded, and quite a few kids (little & teens) since school was out. Also children were in places they should not have been, casino, bingo, adult pool areas, and adult entertainment. Ship personnel did not seem to care. Public bathrooms were hard to find, and some of them were out of order which was not good. I did not like waiting at the dining rooms. I think for that number of passengers the public rooms were not adequate. We went on the Island Princess last year. That held less than 2000 passengers, and the public rooms were almost the same. It never seemed crowded. I liked that ship a lot better than this one. However it still was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
We arrived at Port Everglades around 11:30am from the Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale. The porters at the terminal were very quick in getting our luggage out. From there we went into the terminal. It looked like it would take us awhile ... Read More
We arrived at Port Everglades around 11:30am from the Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale. The porters at the terminal were very quick in getting our luggage out. From there we went into the terminal. It looked like it would take us awhile to get on, but boarding was very efficient and we were in our room by 12:15. We went up to the Caribe Cafe for lunch. There was a very good selection of salads, fresh vegetables, and hot ham and cheese sandwiches, etc. After lunch we toured around the ship. She was beautiful and very clean. The employees were very helpful and nice. We registered the children in the Teen Center for the activities. They really enjoyed going up there everyday and evening after dinner. They made quite a few new friends on the ship. We were PC dining and we never had a problem getting in a dining room. We never waited all week for a table. The food in the Coral and Palm restaurants was wonderful, and they didn't mind bringing extra if anyone wanted it. We loved breakfast in the Horizon/Caribe. There was something for everyone, and the tables by the windows were wonderful to sit and and gaze at the ocean. We went to the pools after breakfast and we never had a problem finding seats. Some days we sat at the Calypso and some days the Neptune. Our rooms were on the Rivera Aft. and later in the afternoons we would escape the sun and nap on one of the decks back there. This is where we always met up with friends and the kids before dinner. We also had front row seats for Island night since it was so close to our rooms. The shows were wonderful. Graham Seymour was the best Cruise Director anyone could have. His morning show was always a great way to get in the mood for more daily fun. He also surprised us at how good of a singer he was during Island Night. He would always smile and speak to you if you passed him anywhere, anytime on the ship. We loved the ease of leaving the ship when we were in port. We could come and go as we pleased. We came back to the ship after morning shopping for lunch and then headed out to a beach. The sail-a-ways parties were fun too. We never had any reason to complain all week. It was a dream vacation and I wish I was back on the Caribbean Princess now. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
Princess has done it again!!! We had an outstanding cruise on the Caribbean Princess June 12-19, 2004. Added bonus: met lots of nice people from this board! This was the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. We had a mini-suite, Dolphin deck, ... Read More
Princess has done it again!!! We had an outstanding cruise on the Caribbean Princess June 12-19, 2004. Added bonus: met lots of nice people from this board! This was the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. We had a mini-suite, Dolphin deck, midship, and took full advantage of the balcony. Our highlights included the Ultimate Balcony Dinner, Movies Under the Stars, and the America's Cup excursion in St. Maarten. Service was flawless in Island dining room, thanks to great maitre d' Nicola, and wonderful waiter Silvio. We used the gym daily, also took some yoga/pilates classes. Average age was younger than we expected, probably due to the fact it was summer and there were lots of families. Loved the Captain (Romano) and Cruise Director (Graham Seymour). A very well-run ship from start to finish. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our 7 day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean. This was our third cruise, 2nd with Princess. Our other cruise, with Royal Caribbean (RCL) two years ago, left a little to be desired. As such, we were glad to be ... Read More
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our 7 day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean. This was our third cruise, 2nd with Princess. Our other cruise, with Royal Caribbean (RCL) two years ago, left a little to be desired. As such, we were glad to be back with Princess. The ship is beautiful and has a lot to offer. We had an inside cabin on Lido deck. While we found the room to be comfortable, we would suggest one look for a cabin on another deck. As this is the floor with the pools, it seemed to get a lot of traffic. Our room steward did an adequate job, but was not outstanding. The food was fantastic. We decided to go with traditional dining, late seating. Our table was celebrating two anniversaries (our 15th) and a honeymoon. Thus, the superb service in the dining room made the occasion even more special. The waiters even came and sang for us. We also found the service at breakfast and lunch to be good. We found that the menu gave one plenty of options and that the food was generally very good. Items that were particularly well received included lobster, the pasta dishes, the fruit soups, and the desserts. We found that the quality of food at the Horizon Court had improved from our earlier cruise with Princess. We also enjoyed going to tea in the afternoon. While the entertainment was mixed, there was something for everyone. The shows in the Princess Theatre were not that great, but nobody made you sit through them. We took advantage of the other options that were available. We found that the comedians were very good, the juggler was entertaining, and the piano player (Adam James) was fantastic. The band that played at the pool during was good. We were surprised to find Princess Idol to be entertaining: many of the performers were very talented. Activities that we enjoyed included the horse racing, bingo, trivia contests, and art auctions. While we enjoyed the ports of call, we preferred the days at sea. Princess Cay was nice. Unfortunately, it had been closed as a result of hurricane damage during our previous cruise. We did a sail away in St. Martin and a walking tour in St. Thomas. We particularly enjoyed the he sail away. We can not comment about the kids program as our child did not sail with us this time. However, the kids seemed to have fun and did not present any problems. If you want to cruise with children, we found that the kids program on Royal Caribbean to be outstanding. Getting on and off the ship went smoothly for us. In summary, we found the sail on the Caribbean Princess to be an outstanding experience and will sail with Princess again (probably to Alaska in 2005). For all those people who rave about RCL in relation to Princess, I know RCL, I have sailed with RCL, and RCL is no Princess. While we would take our son on RCL again, we find that Princess pays much better attention to detail and that the food is much better. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
My husband and I researched cruise lines exhaustively before settling on Princess. We heard great things about them and they were all true. I am 25 and my husband is 30. We sailed on the new Caribbean Princess from June 26th to July 3rd. ... Read More
My husband and I researched cruise lines exhaustively before settling on Princess. We heard great things about them and they were all true. I am 25 and my husband is 30. We sailed on the new Caribbean Princess from June 26th to July 3rd. Embarkation When we arrived at Port Everglades we were immediately unnerved because the line was literally the longest line we had EVER seen. We thought it would take at least two hours to get through. We had been told that you weren't able to board until 12:00 pm, and so we arrived at about 11:30. We went to the back of the line and waited. At 12:00 sharp the line started moving, and we were on the ship 30 minutes later. I feel bad for those who had been there at 8:00 am and earlier, because they got on the ship maybe 20 minutes before we did, but they had waited SO long. We had express check-in and it really didn't seem faster than the regular check- in, but we found the whole process painless. When we walked onto the ship we were awestruck. She is absolutely divine. We first went immediately to our cabin. Since we were celebrating our honeymoon we were excited that they had decorated our cabin door with balloons and a sign. Note: I had previously alerted Princess that we would be on our honeymoon otherwise we would not have been recognized. Cabin Once inside the cabin we were very pleasantly surprised. I had sailed once before on Disney, but we had a suite then. I had no idea what to expect this time. Our cabin was on the Riviera Deck, and we had a balcony. After having a balcony I would definitely recommend it. It really made a difference. We sipped coffee, and enjoyed breathtaking views anytime we looked out. A perfect backdrop to the perfect cruise. The cabin itself was appointed nicely. Apparently all cabins on the Princess have a refrigerator, which was convenient. We had brought some of our own wine. There was PLENTY of storage. We had a total of five suitcases, so believe me we had way over packed, and had storage space to spare. We put our suitcases under the queen sized bed, the closet was huge, and had a shelf where we put shoes. There was a desk with four drawers, and two nightstands with 2 drawers. Also there was a large cabinet that opened with about 6 shelves for toiletries that didn't fit in the bathroom. The bathroom was super tiny, but fine for us. There was plenty of room for everyday toiletries such as toothpaste, makeup etc. Note: You cannot use a blow-dryer or curling iron in the bathroom. There is not a plug for it. That is what the desk/vanity is for. This was just as well because while my husband was showering I could get ready at the vanity. Almost as soon as we arrived in our cabin our steward Herman arrived. He was wonderful. Very polite. He called my husband Sir James throughout the cruise. Anytime we left the cabin and came back he had tidied everything and made the bed. At one point I paged him and asked for a corkscrew and a spoon. He brought both to our room. Here is some really good advice. It's not as fun to unpack and make reservations before exploring the ship but I recommend it. After we unpacked I set out to make all of our reservations for the week. I had booked before we got on the ship massages for us both and power snorkeling in St. Maarten. However, we wanted to book other things as well. For one thing we had "anytime dining." I had wanted traditional fixed dining but we were waitlisted for that. It did not matter though because I reserved a table for 2 every night at 8:30 in the Palm dining room. The first dinner we had was so wonderful that we requested our waiters Adrienne and Vasilli, at table 89 every night thereafter. In fact we canceled our reservation at the Sterling Steakhouse, which we had booked for Thursday night, because we enjoyed our dinners so much at the Palm. Those who had "anytime dining," and did not make reservations were waiting in line, just like at any neighborhood restaurant on a Friday night. Planning is KEY!!! At Sea Days Our cruise had 3 "At Sea" Days. These were very fun days for us. We laid out at the pools, had a massage, and Jim had a pedicure on the first day. It rained a little off and on, but it never spoiled anything. One bad thing was that we didn't wear enough sunscreen, and didn't even realize how burned we had gotten til later that night. It was sort of a miserable 24 hours. Since we were so burned, we stayed indoors on the second At Sea Day. Our cruise had two in a row. We entered high stakes Bingo. It was 20 dollars for each of us, but we got five cards each. We lost the first five games, and decided to play again later that day. We lost again. It was very fun to play, but we decided not to play again for the rest of the cruise. The jackpot was over $2000.00 at the end of the cruise. I don't believe anyone won it. For those who don't like Bingo, there is lots of other stuff to do. They have activities of all kinds all day. Each night your room steward leaves you the "Princess Patter," which details the next day's events. This is essential to planning your day. Formal Nights Our cruise had two formal nights. Most everyone on board dressed up for them. We had ordered my husband a tux prior to boarding, and it was delivered to our cabin on the first day. Not a lot of men wore tuxedos, but we felt like one of the most elegant couples on the ship. For the first formal night, we bought a wrist corsage for myself, and a boutonniere for Jim. The flowers were beautiful, but a note for the ladies. The wrist corsages are not a good quality, and I ended up pinning mine on my dress. At the end of the evening we put the flowers in the fridge, and Jim's was still nice for the next formal night. Mine was not, and I did not buy another one. I think they were about 15 dollars a piece. Onboard pictures It seemed like at every turn there was someone there to take your picture. Each night they posted them on deck 7, and you could buy them if you chose. Beware, they are $19.95. It doesn't seem like a lot, but by the end of the cruise they had taken about 15 or so formal and non-formal shots of us. I recommend not spending a lot of money on these, especially if you have your own camera. It makes sense to buy one or two of the formal shots if you dressed up, but I can't see spending a lot of money on ordinary pictures. Some of the pictures were only $14.95, of disembarkation and embarkation. Food Service Jim and I had heard a lot about the food prior to boarding. We were assured we would each gain at least five pounds each. Well, we didn't but the food was wonderful. We usually ate breakfast each morning at Cafe Caribe. They had wonderful assortments of fruit, pancakes, eggs, omelets, and so much more. I don't eat a lot of pastries, but if you like them they've got them in abundance. My husband loved them. The Cafe was open 24 hours a day. One night we went up there late, and splurged on a banana split. The ice cream is homemade and so delicious. Oh my gosh, I can't say enough about the food. However, I must add that although I loved the food, I probably wouldn't have noticed if it was not 5 star cuisine, because I am fairly easy to please food wise. However, I will say that the food in the Palm dining room was as good or better than some of the finest dining I've been to in the states. After we got off the cruise and to this day the one item I miss terribly is their coffee. My husband isn't a big coffee fan like me, but even he raves about it. It was literally the best coffee I have ever tasted. We tried to figure out a way to buy some, but they weren't selling. We drank that coffee morning, noon, and night. Misc food info. The room service is free for most items. However, I wasn't terribly impressed with the selection. The Caesar salad was delicious though. I found it a bit disappointing that my husband could not use his soda card for room service. We never had to wait very long for our room service when we ordered it. You can order the coffee anytime from room service. A real plus! About the second or third day of the cruise Jim decided to buy a soda card for twenty bucks. It was a great deal. You could order the sodas from any bar, dining room, or buffet. Pretty much everywhere except room service. Weird! Anyway, at the Cafe Caribe they had waiters come by and you could order a soda from them. They would go to the pool bars to get them. If you really enjoy soda get the card. It is not watered down fountain soda, but straight from the can. Ports of Call We first stopped in St. Thomas which is supposedly world famous for shopping. We hadn't booked any tours for the day, so we decided to explore. We went to a bunch of the shops, but were a little bit tired of all the haggling on the streets. Mostly shop owners trying to convince you that they had the best deal. If you are a real shopper I imagine this would have been fun and exciting. However, we enjoyed our time at Magan's Beach much better. We took a taxi for $6.00 to the beach. It was about a 10 minute drive. One of the scariest rides of my life, and I've traveled in NYC cabs! However, we arrived safe and sound. The beach was beautiful. There was a restroom and changing room. Not the best condition but sufficient. You could rent chairs and floats. There was a gift shop and small cantina that sold drinks and snacks. There was a fee to get on the beach. I think it was $4.00 per person. Also, all the cabs have a flat per person fee wherever you go in town. The basic rate from the ship to town is $6.00. We paid a little more form the beach all the way back to the ship. I think it was $8.00 per person The funniest port of call for us was by far St. Maarten. We had booked the Power Snorkel tour. My husband is from Florida and loves to surf, and hang in the ocean. I for one prefer to observe from the sand. However, I am so glad I worked up the courage to do this. It was one of the funnest things I have ever experienced. Our guide gave us basic instructions,and it was easy. The equipment was top notch. We had individual sea doos to ride around on, and the snorkel played music underwater as you swam. The sea life was beautiful. We saw starfish, and other beautiful tropical fish. After the power snorkel which lasted about an hour, we had a free drink ticket and about an hour to hang on the beach. It was so fun. Princess Cays was a lot of fun too. On the first day of the cruise I had booked snorkeling gear for us for that day. We took a tender to the island. We didn't have to wait too long for the tender, but there was about a 15 minute wait, and about a 7 minute ride over to the island. It's unfortunate because you only have a limited time on the island. I think the last tender left at 3:00 pm to get back to the ship. Anyway, we had to go to Davy Jones' locker to pick up the snorkeling gear. It is on the farthest corner of the locker. When we got there, people were standing in line attempting to rent the gear, but it was booked. I felt bad for them. However, we picked up our stuff and a float and headed out. The gear wasn't even close to being as nice to that at St. Maarten, but it was still fun, and in fact we saw more sea life at Princess Cays. They were serving a BBQ buffet on the island which was pretty darn good. However, our soda card did not work on Princess Cays. Bummer! They did have tea and water for free. The very worst part of Princess Cays is the line to tender back to the ship. We waited for 30 minutes in the hot sun. You would think that Princess would build some sort of canopy in anticipation for such a line. Oh well. It could've been worse. If I had to do everything over again, I would have gotten to the island earlier and left earlier to beat the rush. Live and learn I guess. Misc. info. There is a gift shop with basic toiletries, medicines, etc. However, they do not sell magazines so if you like to read them bring your own. They do have a nice library, but no magazines. The internet cafe is nice, but I sent two e-mails back home, and it turns out they were never received. I paid about 10 bucks altogether for the internet access. However, my husband paid some bills online, and apparently his transactions went through. Go figure. If you can reserve a night for the Movies Under the Stars. My husband and I LOVE the movies, and were really looking forward to this. unfortunately they were showing Starsky and Hutch, which was sorta funny but not really our style. However the cruise line sets everything up so nice for you. There are soft cushions for the loungers especially put out for the movie, along with a blanket. You can buy candy, and popcorn as well. It was very fun. Make sure you book early!!! The ship had HBO in the cabins which we liked, because during our down time in the room we were able to watch some great movies. Also, the ship showed afternoon movies in the Princess Theatres. We went to one show at the Princess Theaters, but left about 10 minutes into it. It just wasn't our thing. A little too theme parkish for us. However a lot of people really seemed to be enjoying it. My husband and I loved the Wheelhouse Bar. Every night they had lovely ballroom entertainers there, and we spent one evening there dancing, and enjoying the atmosphere. Jim and I love to play roulette and so spent a lot of time in the casino. We ended up breaking even by the end of the trip, but we had SO much fun there. There are tons of slots, (not our thing) and all the basic table games. However, we found the drink service to be quite slow. It didn't spoil anything but just don't expect your drinks to come out in a hurry. We used the laundry room twice. Once to wash clothes and once to iron things. It was very handy. You can buy detergent and stuff in the gift shop. I think its like 50 cents a load or something. Worth it to not come home with everything dirty. Also, the laundry room was just down the hall from us which was nice. There is more than one on each floor though so don't worry. There is dry cleaning service, but they charged per item of clothing. The ship itself was beautiful. Yes, it was very large, but fairly easy to maneuver about in. By the second day we pretty much had it figured out. There are ship maps by every elevator. Use them, they help. Speaking of the elevators, they were SLOW. Know that in advance and you're less likely to get frustrated. Disembarkation By far the saddest part of the cruise. We had to be out of our cabin by 8:30 am. The night before we packed everything and left it out in the hall. They came by around midnight and picked up the bags. We were in the yellow disembarkation group, and they called us about 9:15. We had time to eat one more breakfast before departing the beautiful Caribbean Princess. Disembarkation was a breeze. We found our bags easily, and there were about 20 cabs and busses waiting to take us to the airport. We didn't have a transfer, and only paid twelve dollars from the Port to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Cruising with Princess was fabulous. It was as near perfect as I could have imagined. We are definitely cruising with them again. Ultimately cruising is what you make it. Expect the best, leave room for error,plan ahead and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
EMBARKATION: Arrived at the pier around 11:30AM, checked our luggage with the porter, took our carry-on and got in a line where about 500 people were already standing, and thought #*#*! The line however was well managed by Princess ... Read More
EMBARKATION: Arrived at the pier around 11:30AM, checked our luggage with the porter, took our carry-on and got in a line where about 500 people were already standing, and thought #*#*! The line however was well managed by Princess personnel and it moved right along. Within about 10 minutes we were inside and within a couple more minutes we were registering. Registration was fast and simple. We proceeded to security, had our bags checked and our pictures added to our ID cards. We then went up the escalator, had our welcome aboard pictures taken and proceeded onto the ship. Since we had already been on the Golden Princess and the layout is the same we knew exactly where to find our room. We unpacked our carry-on, went up to the Horizon Court and had some lunch. We then proceeded to Sabatini's to make a reservation there. You must go directly to the restaurant on that first day if you want to make a reservation there. They start taking reservations at 1PM so we got there just before then and there were only 3 people ahead of us. We then toured the ship and ended up at the aft pool area, had a couple of drinks and watched the ship leave Port Everglades. SHIP AND CABIN: The Caribbean Princess like the Grand and the Golden is a very large and very beautiful ship, the only difference being the extra deck of cabins which led to a lot of overcrowding during the cruise, the Caribe Cafe which is a very nice touch, and helped relieve some of the main dining room overcrowding. Club Fusion is now replacing the Vista Lounge. It is debatable whether this was a workable alternative as there are many areas in the Club where you do not have a clear view of, or you back is to the stage. It also attracts many teenagers who have nowhere else to go. It would be to Princess's advantage to turn Skywalkers Lounge over to the teen crowd during the summer months, as with all the activities in Club Confusion (as it is called on the ship), it doesn't get much adult business in the evening. That would relieve some of the overcrowding in Club Fusion. We had been upgraded from an inside cabin to a Caribe deck balcony. The room was a little bit larger than an inside. The bathroom was the same size as on the Golden; However, nowhere near as large or laid out as well as the Carnival Glory where we had the biggest and best bathroom we'd ever had. It could be our imagination but the shower seemed to be larger than on the Golden. There was plenty of closet and drawer space to store everything. DINING: The maitre d' at the Palm Dining Room was very cordial and accommodating, but I would not want his job for 3x the salary. At the end of his shift this poor guy must have to guzzle down a couple of double bourbons. How he keeps from losing it with some of the real pushy people is a real accomplishment. However, the Caribbean Princess needs to revamp their personal choice dining rules. We were told they will only give reservations at 5:30, 7 and 8PM. That being the case, they might as well go back to traditional dining and add another seating. We did not get standing reservations as the only one still available was at 5:30PM. During the week we took our chances and went to eat at various times. Whenever we arrived and asked for a table for two the maitre d' would really get frazzled when we told them we did not have a reservation. The first Formal night we arrived at 8PM and found 35-40 people standing around or sitting on the stairs waiting to be seated. In talking we found some of them had been waiting 15-40 minutes, depending on the size table they wanted. We asked for a table for two and immediately were challenged about a reservation. We told them we didn't have one and we were told it would be a few minutes. Fortunately we only had to wait about 5 minutes and they seated us. After we got to our table and ordered, we looked around and saw a dozen or so tables that were all set up, but empty. There were probably many more but we could not see throughout the entire dining room and wondered why all of these people were sitting outside when there were empty tables throughout the dining room. After we ate and were leaving the dining room we still noticed many empty tables and as we exited the restaurant there were still many people waiting to be seated. Several nights later we arrived at the dining room about 6PM and found the same situation with many people standing or sitting, waiting to be seated. when we requested a table for two and didn't have a reservation the maitre d' was cordial but seemed frazzled and just replied that he would see what he could do. He asked if we would mind sitting at a table for eight, where there were four people who had just been seated. We said fine. Again as we were eating we noticed a dozen empty tables and again as we left people were still waiting outside. It appears that on embarkation day many people made standing reservations; however, it appeared that they only intended to show up 3-4 nights out of 7 (kind of like the chaise lounge hogs). This left the dining room full of empty tables and the lobby full of unfortunate people that had to wait to get a seat. Princess needs to do away with reserved seating in PC dining rooms and go to first come first served method. That is the way most of us are accustomed to eating at local restaurants where we live, either you get there early or you wait your turn. But to have 12 to 20 empty tables waiting for people who don't intend to show up and having 30 to 40 people standing in the lobby waiting to get in is completely unacceptable to everyone. Now on the good side, the service in the dining room was excellent. The waiters and wait staff were excellent and did an outstanding job serving us and taking care of every detail. The food on Princess as always was of absolute perfection. We ate breakfast and most lunches in the Horizon Court. They had a great selection of food and as always on Princess it was absolutely terrific. We ate dinner three nights in the Caribe Cafe because of the crowds in the dining room lobbies, and found the service and food there absolutely excellent. Although we prefer eating in the main dining rooms for dinner, we found the Caribe to be less crowded and a lot less hassle. The food there was absolutely awesome. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was fabulous as usual. Previous reviews that we read stated that many people were unhappy with "let's Rock" and "Caribe Caliente" performed by the Princess singers and dancers. However, we saw both of them and left scratching our heads wondering why people were not impressed with them. They did a fantastic job and we strongly advise that you not miss their shows. Although all of the performers were excellent, the ones that stood out in our minds were Scott Wyler, James Michael and Kimika, as must see shows. The various bands and performers in the different lounges were all excellent and as good as we've ever seen on any ship. LIDO DECK: The chaise hogs were up early and out in numbers, but we noticed many people were getting just plain fed up with someone's sandals getting a nice tan for a several hours and were moving them and taking over their seats. On sea days the Lido Deck is just packed out around the two main pools. The pools had so many people in them you were lucky if you could dangle your legs in the water. But with an extra 500+ cruisers on board you just have to put up with the overcrowding. One major thing that we saw that needs to be addressed and corrected immediately were people being allowed to sit on the edges of the pool drinking out of glass bottles. We saw this at least seven or eight times per day and this is an extremely dangerous situation to be allowed to continue. One thing that we looked forward to every day was the band, Deep Blue, who played a wide variety of music out at the pool. What a great band! There was also a solo singer who sang to audio tapes. I don't remember his name, but he was very good and received a lot of applause. ST THOMAS: We had not been there in two years and things have really changed. Very few souvenir shops remain, as they've been replaced by many, many jewelry stores with people outside trying to strong arm you in (it is just like Cozumel now). But, if gold and jewelry is your reason for going, then you will be in heaven, except prices in St Martin are a better deal (just our opinion). Taxi rates have gone up tremendously also. We were going to Coki beach to snorkel which is about 1.5 miles further than the taxi ride into town, but it would have cost us $28 there and back. The ride into town is $12 round trip. Oh, well....it started to rain just after we decided not to go, so that solved that dilemma. If you want a deal on sight-seeing tours I strongly recommend Godfrey's tours. He's excellent and is only half the price of the same tours booked onboard. You can find him at Godfrey@Godfreytoursvi.com ST MARTIN: This has changed in the last two years for the better. A new boardwalk (actually sidewalk) has been added along the beach which is now a lot cleaner and nicer than we remembered. There are also new restaurants, bars and shops along the beach. The food is very good and reasonably priced. To my husband's delight beer is only a $1. We think that there are a lot better deals here than in St Thomas, including liquor and jewelry. We did not have any problem with being hassled to purchase things like I have read on other reviews. One thing I will add as far as shopping. I had never attended the "port and shopping talk" until this cruise. I was so glad I did. Cindy, the Princess Shopping Guru gave us all a lot of great information about both ports and some inside information on certain shops. If you have never gone, thinking it a waste of time I would definitely try it if you are going to be purchasing any high dollar items such as cameras, jewelry, etc. In closing, it was a very nice cruise even with the excessive amount of cruisers which made for mass overcrowding. A cruise is what you decide to make of it, and we were not going to let a few irritations ruin ours. It was easier to work around them than to let them get under your skin. We hope that somehow they work out the problems in the dining room so it is not so stressful on the passengers. As for us, we will not cruise on the Caribbean Princess again due to the overcrowding, but do intend to cruise Princess again in the future as they are a great cruise line, a good value and one of our favorites. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
OVERALL GRADE: my grade: A, wife's grade: A Perspective My wife and I are in our early thirties and have so far vacationed only infrequently. This trip was her first cruise ever and my first cruise as an adult. My two other ... Read More
OVERALL GRADE: my grade: A, wife's grade: A Perspective My wife and I are in our early thirties and have so far vacationed only infrequently. This trip was her first cruise ever and my first cruise as an adult. My two other cruising experiences were as a child and I have only vague memories of those vacations. We chose Princess and the Caribbean Princess in particular because we liked the idea of a large new ship, we liked the ports of call, the price was reasonable, and we were leery of sales pressure, nickel and diming, and crass/cheesy activities that we anticipated on some other lines. The Ship Stateroom (my grade: A-, wife's grade: A- ) We booked a category BD balcony cabin on the Baja deck. The room was very clean and was maintained in an immaculate condition throughout the cruise by the room steward. Storage in the bathroom was ample with countertop around the sink and three small shelves for toiletries. We did not bring and over-the-door shoe storage device for extra storage and would not have used it if we had. The shower was small (my wife had difficulty shaving her legs) but water pressure and temperature were good. The only peculiarity of the bathroom was a relative lack of cold water from the tap. The coldest if ever became was luke warm. We found closet space and storage shelves to be much more than expected. A small safe is located on one of the shelves and it functioned well the entire week. Within the main room, there are two nightstands, a small desk, and a unit in the corner that contains a refrigerator on the bottom, storage in the middle (with two glasses and a bottle of water for sale), and a TV on the top. The only complaint I have about the room is that the location of the refrigerator within the bottom cabinet provides very little ventilation and as a result the refrigerator did not work well at all. Since my existence is absolutely dependent on cold Diet Pepsi, I was forced to find a solution. To make a long story short, one must disconnect the refrigerator door from the cabinet door by gently lifting the refrigerator door 1/4 inch to disengage the sliding connection mechanism and then keep the cabinet door open all the time (one can easily reconnect the doors at the end of the cruise with no harm done). The AC in the room is quite robust and worked nicely. The only clock in the room is a small LCD on the phone. For this reason, we were glad that we brought a full size clock radio. The balconies on the Baja deck are the smallest of the balcony types and contain a plastic table and two chairs. The balcony is completely covered and quite private unless someone peeks around from either side. Looking down one has a view of the 1/2 covered Caribe desk balconies and the fully exposed Dolphin deck balconies (both have loungers in addition to the two chairs and a table). We liked the covered balcony since a break from the sun was frequently welcome. We never slept with the door open, however a bungee cord to keep the door open would not have been necessary. Overall, we loved the balcony and hope to get another in the future. Dining Palm Dining Room - PC with standing reservation for 6:00 (my grade: A-, wife's grade: B+) We dined in the Palm dining room 5 nights, four of which were at the same table. The staff were clearly working hard to turnover the tables rapidly. This was great for us since we tend not to linger over meals. If you prefer a more measured pace, you might not have been happy. We usually arrived at approximately 5:50 and were out the door by 7:00. Service was excellent on four of the nights and just adequate on the other. The overall quality of the food was very good to excellent given the number of patrons. As expected, the cuisine was not "5-star". We had no problems obtaining a table for two each night. The menu order was: Sailaway, Captain's Welcome, Italian, Caribbean, Chef's, Captain's Gala, and Landfall. Sabattini's Tratoria (my grade: A-, wife's grade: A-) We believed the experience was worth the extra $40.00 and have no regrets. You are served small amounts of many different items (the entree is the only selection you make) that add up to a large meal at the end. Service was excellent. Cafe Caribe & Horizon Court (my grade: B, wife's grade: B-) Dining is these venues is hard to evaluate since there was much variability for different meals and between different food items. Dinner time was the highlight and breakfast the lowlight. My wife believes that breakfast was better in Horizon Court than in Cafe Caribe. Neither was crowded except on the first and last days of the cruise. Service with respect to water, beverages, and clearing plates was excellent. Quality of deserts was variable but we were always able to find something to our liking during our late night raids. Trident Grill & Pizza (my grade: A, wife's grade: A-) Burgers, hot dogs, and brats were very good. Whatever they pay the guys who work over the grill, it is not enough. Afternoon Tea in Coral Dining Room (my grade: A-, wife's grade: A-) Tea, scones, little pastries, and little sandwiches. All very good. Coffee everywhere (my grade: N/A, wife's grade: D-) Watered down and bad tasting according to my wife. Room Service (no grade) We attempted to order dining room items to our room but were told by the person who answered the phone that this was not possible (only a limited menu available). We were disappointed since other reviews had mentioned that this was an option. We asked at the guest services desk but did not receive a clear answer. Other Public Areas Pools & Deck Chairs (my grade: A-, wife's grade: B-) The two main pools always attracted a crowd. Likewise, until near the end of the cruise the hot tubs at these pools always seemed to be filled. We were able to find quiet times in the aft pool and the spa pool/hot tubs during the early evening and at night. Deck loungers around the pool were difficult to obtain but there were always many empty loungers in less prime locations. My wife noted numerous instances of saving loungers and was mildly annoyed. All other areas... ... were very clean, well maintained, and tastefully decorated. Club fusion and the wheelhouse bar were underutilized by the passengers but the explorers lounge on a few occasions had standing room only. Perhaps our only complaint is that the forward portion of the Promenade deck is closed after sunset for "safety reasons". One neat location that was relatively undiscovered by most passengers was a deck on top of the bridge that is accessed by going all the way forward on the lido deck and through two sets of doors. Great views but sometimes closed for high winds. Entertainment We do not have much to say about the entertainment since we did not attend many events. Caribbean Caliente Show (my grade: C-, wife's grade: C) I dislike this type of thing even if it were Broadway quality so you may want to disregard my opinion. My wife thought it was cheesy and the sound was loud beyond the point of distortion. She did however like the dancing and the props. Not enough seats on the first night (Thursday), but plenty on the second night. Skywalkers Bar (my grade: B+, wife's grade: B+) Wonderful location and decent crowds on both formal nights. A bit too much hip-hop and rap music for our dancing taste. The new college grad crowd liked the hip-hop (60%) but we prefer more 80s (20%) or trance (10%) or techno (10%). Movies Under the Stars (my grade: A, wife's grade: B+) Well organized and a fun way to spend a few hours. The blankets were not needed and the popcorn was not the best but we had a great time. If you see "Starsky and Hutch" we recommend going a little drunk. The other movie was "Calendar Girls". Ports of Call St. Thomas We did not participate in ship tours and chose to remain on St. Thomas since we felt the travel time to St. John was more than we were willing to devote. We split our time between Coki beach, Sapphire beach, and Magen's Bay beach with taxi rides in between. Coki Beach Dive Club (my grade: A++, wife's grade: A) We booked the discover scuba tour by calling Coki beach dive club directly, this saved us $30.00 each compared to the same activity through Princess. We were met at the gangway by an employee who directed the ship's excursion people onto a bus and then drove us over to Coki in her car. Once there we received very brief instruction on scuba diving and the people on the ship's excursion went out first in groups of 6. We occupied ourselves by snorkeling and were very pleased by the numerous fish. When the people on the ship's excursion returned after about an hour, we went out with the next available dive master and had him all to ourselves since we were the only two who booked independently (despite three ships in port!). In anticipation of this activity, my wife did a discover scuba class at our local dive shop and thus had about two hours of pool diving experience under her belt by the time we got to Coki (I am certified), this worked out very well and put her at ease. Coki is not the best reef in the world but it is good for beginners since the sandy bottom slopes gently downward and there is no need to go deeper that 40 feet or so. We saw many fish, an eel, and much coral. We liked the experience so much that we went for a second dive before the next cruise ship group arrived at 1:00. The people at the dive club were friendly and made sure we had a great time. They provide secure storage of personal effects for their patrons. Sapphire Beach Great beach with OK snorkeling. Fresh water showers to wash off the sand. A few iguanas wandering about. One of the culinary highlights of the entire trip was a blackened Mahi-mahi sandwich (grade: A++) at the beach-bar all the way to the right (as you are facing the sea) near the little jetty. The bar has pools on two sides and is associated with a resort of some type. No secure storage of personal effects. Magen's Bay Somewhat crowded but quite beautiful with clear water. We are glad that we took the time to at least see this area. No secure storage of personal effects. Driving on the island was anxiety inducing and we are glad that we did not rent a car. St. Martin/Maarten Rhino Rider Excursion (my grade: A, wife's grade: A-) We started the day with the ship's Rhino Rider excursion from 8:00-11:00. We were loaded on a tour bus and driven to the dock in Simpson's lagoon. The Rhino's are a little beat up but all seemed to function just fine. We went out in groups of 7 boats, one of which was the guide. We followed in single file to the north end of Simpson lagoon and then crossed under a bridge to enter the sea. At that point we spread out a little and proceeded north along the coastline, past Marigot, to a beach with no other visitors but nice condos in the immediate vicinity. The boats were quick and a lot of fun. The views were unique and quite memorable. Overall, we had an excellent time. My only complaint was the price: for cruise ship passengers, one boat (two people) is $179.00, if booked independently it is only $84.00. They do not allow independent booking if you are on a cruise ship. Secure storage of personal effects is available at the dock in the form of plastic laundry baskets that they store inside the business while you are away. Marigot (Tropicana Restaurant: my grade: A+, wife's grade: A++) After we completed the Rhinos, we decided to not take the tour bus back to the ship but instead called a taxi and proceeded to Marigot the long way past Maho beach and Mullet bay. We did not stop at either location but did see the unrepaired damage to the time share condos at Mullet from a hurricane several years ago. Apparently there is ongoing litigation between the time-share patrons and the owner of the property who received the insurance settlement but then refused to repair the damage!!! On our way to Marigot we saw several impressive mansions that our driver claimed belonged to celebrities such as Governor Schwarzenegger and others. Once at Marigot we walked around the Marina and stopped for lunch at the Tropicana restaurant (recommended in another review). The Tropicana was the second culinary highlight of the trip with an A++ special of Tuna and Swordfish (total bill for 2 $41.00 US). After lunch we looked for a taxi, but had difficulty finding one until we went over to the straw market on the seaside. Orient Beach We then went to Orient Beach where we were greeted not by beautiful naked French girls but by a rainstorm. The rain cleared after about an hour and we walked down to Club Orient and then back to our starting point (rain was again threatening). We hailed another cab (actually a private car posing as a cab) for the ride back to the dock. We liked Orient but do not have much to say since our time there was limited. Princess Cays We were in line for tender tickets at 8:15am and went over on the second boat. Shaded chairs were plentiful at that time and we enjoyed both the beach and the nice BBQ lunch (long lines around noon, and also longer lines on the right side as you are standing on the beach facing the sea). Our last activity was a much better than expected snorkeling adventure on the right side of the beach near the jetty with the covered gazebo. Fish were plentiful and there were many sizes and varieties. Miscellaneous Weather & Seas Seas were calm and we had only two short lived rainstorms. Selling Pressure on the Ship They obviously want to sell pictures, various trinkets, bottled water in the staterooms, and after dinner drinks (a special waiter comes around everyday during dessert and asks if you would like an after dinner liqueur in a special glass). I have little tolerance for sales pitches and found these to be non-intrusive and easy to ignore/decline. Obstreperous Children Generally none. A few ill-timed cannonballs into the pool here and there. Crowds The only crowds we encountered were in the buffets on the first and last days. In our opinion, crowding was definitely not a problem. Sabatini's Reservations We arrived at Sabatini's at 1:00 to make our reservation for Monday night (they do not take phone reservations until after 5:00). The line was already long and agonizingly slow moving. The two employees were confused and were telling people different things with respect to whether or not Sterling steakhouse reservations could be made at the same time. Our complaint was that the employees made no effort to find out what should have been happening. OVERALL GRADE: my grade: A, wife's grade: A Any problems I have mentioned above were small and overall insignificant. We had a fabulous time and would sail on this ship again in a heartbeat Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday. Embarkation: Due to flight delays, we arrived at the pier shortly before 2 pm. There was just one person in line in front of us. We only had ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday. Embarkation: Due to flight delays, we arrived at the pier shortly before 2 pm. There was just one person in line in front of us. We only had birth certificates and picture ID's but had absolutely no trouble. Princess truly does make this process very easy. Cabin: We were on the 14th deck, Riviera, port side, in room 614. (By the way, to tell the difference between port and starboard look for the border on the carpeting in the halls. Port is blue and starboard is red.) I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of storage space in this cabin. We completely unpacked all our luggage--and I do not pack light! The shower stall was very small. Don't bend over or you might get friendly with a venting pipe sticking out on the lower half of the stall!!! It happened to me. My husband and I are relatively thin; I can't imagine using that shower if we were overweight. Our balcony was completely covered and was only sunny in the early morning. There was room for two resin chairs and one small table. Our friends were next door so we requested Marlon, our room steward, to open the door between balconies. This was a nice feature and made for easy communication between cabins. We had what they call a refrigerator. We found out that it is really just a cooler with a dehumidifier. My husband did wish that the TV showed something more than Spanish ESPN, CNN and TNT. I watched the Princess Channels for daily activity information. Public Rooms: We utilized the ship's library on several occasions. It's a great spot to email home from and it's stocked with lots of good reads. The internet connection was easy and cost us about $4 to send one email. The crew is everywhere and always very helpful and friendly. I just wish they wouldn't push cocktails at all hours of the day and in all places. We finally got smart and kept our water bottles in hand when on the pool decks. My husband bought the Coke Card. He did have trouble getting prompt service for Cokes at the bars. It's all about earning the 15% gratuity. The crew works long days and likely for a very small hourly wage. I felt bad for them but I can't drink all day. Dining: We had Personal Choice dining. We made reservations 2 of the seven evenings. The other nights we either visited the Cafe or waited to be seated. We thought the food was fantastic. I am still craving their smoked salmon. And those desserts---never met one that I didn't love, especially the Love Boat Dream. The only problem we had was on the second formal night. Our usual party of four split into two parties. My husband and I opted to eat in the Coral Dining Room. When we approached the maitre'd for a table for two, he told us the wait would be about an hour and gave us a pager. We sat in a nearby lounge and had a couple glasses of wine. Nearly two hours later, we had yet to be called. While waiting we had made friends with other couples who were also sitting patiently with a pager. As a group we went to the Coral and asked what was going on. To our surprise, there were many tables open and we were able to be seated immediately. No apology or anything---I think they forgot to page us or those things don't work! Despite all, we met some great people who then became our evening tablemates and we all enjoyed our meal. My favorite meal of the week was at The Sterling Steakhouse. It was definitely worth the money. Make reservations early in the week--it fills up fast. The Prego Pizzeria was my favorite place for lunch. A must try is the Four Seasons Pizza. How do they make the crust so thin and not burn it??? Afternoon Tea in the Coral Dining Room was spectacular. Awesome service and delicious scones, pastries and sandwiches. I made my husband join me and even he was pleasantly surprised. We made friends with our tablemates and had great conversation. I would have loved to have gone every day but it kind of fills you up before dinner. It's a must do at least once. To summarize on Personal Choice, whenever we ate in the dining room and asked for a table for four, we were seated within minutes. The problems only arise when you request a table for two. This considered, I would still opt for Personal Choice again. I love the flexibility. Entertainment: We thoroughly enjoyed Sarge, Let's Rock, Caribbean Caliente and the comedian Phil Tag. We didn't get Bertified. I really tried. Bert Stratton is wonderfully talented but so quirky! I believe he could do without so many crazy antics. We never did catch Princess Idol. They were having some difficulty on it's first night and did trivia instead. Needless to say, we left. Our Movie Under the Stars was Something's Gotta Give. We were really comfortable and enjoying the film when a scattered heavy rainstorm disrupted everything. We scrambled and all crammed in under the shelter to see the rest of the movie. We didn't see any other film. I think Princess should use this theater during the day more. So often all that showed was a Princess graphic. I would have loved it if they featured the sights and sounds of the musicians down on the Calypso deck. Shore Excursions: In St. Thomas we did the Water Island Bike and Beach Tour. It was a mountain bike ride. We loved Wendy our tour guide. She is very familiar with the Virgin Islands and their history. My only complaint was the multiple stops during the bike ride. We were constantly waiting for others to catch up to the group. In St. Martin we did the America's Cup Regatta. It is so much fun and definitely worth the money. Our boat, The Canada II, came in first place! We had to buy the t-shirts and picture. Because of our elaborate excursions, we had little time to shop or see the rest of the islands. We were disappointed in downtown St. Thomas. The taxi drivers do not abide by traffic laws and the roads are terribly congested. If you are not out to buy jewelry, it's a waste of time. The best views are right from the ship. St. Martin was cleaner and less congested. We only had time to shop right off of the pier. My husband was disappointed that we didn't have time to visit Orient Beach--maybe next time.... Fitness: We loved using the gym. We visited most every day. I opted to participate in Spinning. For $10 Susanna will work your you-know-what off!!! It was one of the best exercise classes that I have ever taken--very invigorating! There are also plenty of tread mills, elliptical trainers, bikes and weights. I rarely had to wait, even at peak times. Because of this gym, I came home weighing a half pound less than when I left. Not bad considering all the food and drink that I enjoyed. I did recommend on our comment card that they put in some fans. With the fitness centers beautiful panoramic view of the ocean also comes the heat of the sun. It was hot! Disembarkation: We had an early flight out of FLL at 11:15 am. The day before we received red #1 tags. We were off the ship before 8 am. This process was smooth and painless. The pain began when we boarded the Princess transfer bus and felt our post-cruise depression setting in. Of course, the best cure for this is to begin planning your next cruise... Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
Just to give you a point of view reference, we are a couple in our mid 30's with no children. We sailed to the Eastern Caribbean May 2004. This was the 5th sailing of the Caribbean. It was apparent that they had worked out all of the ... Read More
Just to give you a point of view reference, we are a couple in our mid 30's with no children. We sailed to the Eastern Caribbean May 2004. This was the 5th sailing of the Caribbean. It was apparent that they had worked out all of the kinks and bugs. We had a wonderful experience and it is a beautiful ship! The staff was extremely friendly and helpful! We spent several hours making pottery with Blue the Potter. Blue is an excellent teacher and she really makes you feel like you created a beautiful work of art! She talks to you, asks you questions and has a great personality! I participated in a couple of the virtual golf tournaments. That was a lot of fun! If you are a golfer, you have got to try the virtual golfing! It is great! I saw a family of four play 18 holes of golf and they looked like they were having a great time. We enjoyed the entertainment from the games, comedians, to the Las Vegas style shows. The entertainment was top notch! Caribbean Caliente and Let's Rock were fantastic original productions. We had the anytime dining and highly recommend it. While we didn't have to wait for dinner seating, we did see where it got backed up around the peak dining hours. We typically went either early or really late. Even if we showed up for dinner at 9:30pm (which we did a few times), they never rushed us and the food was always excellent. I've been on three different cruise lines and I have to say the food and entertainment was the best on Princess! The "Movie under the Stars" is a must!! You lay in a comfortable lounger with a blanket and they bring you free popcorn. It is beautiful sitting there with the wind blowing watching a good movie. We went to both movies and loved it! There was a nice mix of older and middle aged couples on the ship. I really didn't see that many younger children on board. We thought (previously to sailing) that Carnival was the fun ship, but Princess proved us wrong. We had a great time dancing at the Caribbean Party. The entertainment staff spent all night long dancing with fellow passengers. The only two negatives for me: The shower was way too small and I didn't like the fact that they only served tea and coffee in the buffet rooms. Other cruises I've been on offer fruit punch and lemonade, I prefer the variety. What truly made the experience so fantastic is the entertainment staff! They really went out of their way to talk to us, dance with us, and make our time aboard the cruise memorable! We will be sailing with Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
I just returned from 2 weeks on the Caribbean Princess. Overall the two cruises were AMAZING!!! First week was Eastern Caribbean and the second week was the Western. I know that the review reads for Eastern Caribbean so please note that we ... Read More
I just returned from 2 weeks on the Caribbean Princess. Overall the two cruises were AMAZING!!! First week was Eastern Caribbean and the second week was the Western. I know that the review reads for Eastern Caribbean so please note that we did back to back cruises. Personally, I like Western better - love Grand Cayman and Cozumel! The ship is beautifully decorated - many soft pastels, very bright and airy. That is one of things I love about Princess. My sister, brother-in-law and 3 year old niece took an inside cabin on Aloha Deck. My parents and I shared the Grand Suite. It was INCREDIBLE and definitely a splurge. But so worth it for us because of the room we had. My Dad and I really enjoyed spending time on the balcony.....reading, napping and watching the wake of the ship. We flew out of San Diego on Friday and stayed at the Renaissance. Nice hotel and very close to the pier. Ate breakfast at Cafe Bonjour based on feedback from other posts and it was OK. But there is a restaurant in the hotel and an Einstein Bagels is within walking distance. We went to Costco that morning and bought wine, water and soda. No problems taking any of them on board. We even placed a luggage tag on the water and they delivered it to our stateroom! Embarkation was very easy. We boarded after the crowds - around 1:30. Walked right on the ship and made our way to the Grand Suite. The Grand Suite covers half of the back of the ship on the Aloha Deck. Has a separate living room with a sofa bed that I slept on - it was very comfortable. My parents had a bedroom with a king size bed (even though the brochure said it was a queen). Our bathroom was huge - big Jacuzzi tub, shower with 8 shower heads, two sinks in one room, a separate sink and toilet in another room and then my Mom and I each had our own areas to do makeup and hair. The living room had a PC with free internet access and a TV with VCR/DVD player. Grand Suite also had a big dining table for 6 which we used one morning for breakfast. Was a spectacular cabin!! Our only surprise was that we did not receive anything special because we booked this cabin. For the $$ we spent, we expected something!! But we did get suite perks - anyone in a suite or an elite level cruiser gets these - free laundry/dry cleaning, nightly canapEs, champagne on sailaway day (one glass per person), corsage and boutonniere on first formal night, free Internet access, preferred dining reservations (but we had to remind the concierge every time we called for reservations!), priority tender embarkation and use of the lounge on disembarkation day. The best perk was the laundry/dry cleaning. Brought home clean clothes!! First week was Eastern Caribbean. We had some rough seas on the first two nights but had spectacular days in St. Thomas and St. Martin. I went scuba diving in St. Martin and booked via the ship. Princess uses a GREAT dive operator.....Dive Safaris. I highly recommend them. Saw a shark, rays, turtles, barracudas........it was great diving! Shopped in St. Thomas - did go on the sky ride - in my opinion, it was not worth the $15 price tag!! And Princess Cays was wonderful!! Very relaxing! Second week was awesome. Ocho Rios was nice - really like the Island Village - very clean area with a Margaritaville and shopping. It is within walking distance of ship pier. Loved Grand Cayman - I also dove here with Don Foster and they too were great. Had the best time in Cozumel. We docked at Puerta Maya. Nice shopping area and we ate at Pancho's backyard. It was great Mexican food and margaritas with a spectacular view of the ship. Very clean restaurant and beautifully decorated. Then my sister, brother-in-law and I went to Carlos & Charlie's. Had to take a cab. We had a lot of fun!! We had personal choice dining and never had a problem. Just make reservations! You can always change them but at least you know you have a set time in the dining room. And I only saw people waiting for tables on one night out of 14 nights. So I am not sure why so many people had challenges with PC dining. That is the only way I would go and one of the things I love about Princess. Our reservation was at 7:30 in the Coral dining room. We never waited for our table. We sat at the same table and had the same waiter/assistant waiter. I love the food (I know a lot of people don't like it!). I think the selection is good and the portions are perfect.........not too big or too small. For big eaters, just order more entrees! And we ate at Sterling's Steakhouse both weeks. The steaks were wonderful and we really enjoyed our meals. Definitely try Sterling's!!! It is worth it! We did not try Sabatini's because they serve mainly seafood for entrees and some of our family does not eat seafood. Cafe Caribe was nice in the morning. Please know that they say it only serves continental breakfast but that is not true. You can get eggs, bacon, sausage in addition to fruit, rolls, cereals and juices. And it is not nearly as crowded as Horizon Court!! We did go to the Dining Room for some breakfasts and lunches. These meals are very nice because it tends to be quiet in the dining room at these times. If you like Pizza then definitely try it - I LOVE THE PIZZA!!! Very busy at peak times but the line always moved quickly. We had afternoon tea once and really enjoyed it. It wasn't crowded and we were seated immediately. But Princess really does need to do something about the coffee and OJ - neither one are great. In fact the OJ is practically undrinkable! The gym is great! They had 20 treadmills and there was never a wait for one. And they face out the front of the ship - very nice view. And they had ellipticals, bikes, weight equipment. Each piece of cardio equipment has it's own TV and you use wireless headsets to listen to the sound. Was a very nice touch! Aerobics schedule was not great - too many early and late classes - and they charge $10/class for cycling, kickboxing, yoga and pilates. Entertainment was OK. I enjoyed it but miss the shows that they have in the Vista Lounge on the other ships. Club Fusion is a beautiful facility but they don't do production shows in there. Instead, they have live bands. There are two production shows - Let's Rock and Caribbean Caliente- and I really liked them! We saw Sarge the first week and loved him. Second week the other acts were just OK. Island nights for both weeks were DEAD!! Never seen this - was strange. But the setup is nice. They have it at the Movies Under the Stars pool and use the screen and sound system for the party. We did Sing along Wizard of Oz and it was fun - did not see any other movie. Churchill's was a great place to watch the NBA playoffs - very fun and lively! The pools were nice but very crowded on sea days. They are configured a little differently than the other Grand Class ships and have more room around the pools. So it was never a problem to find a chaise lounge. And the back pool is adults only and they have a cute kids pool that my niece loved! First week the CD was Paul McLaughlin. He is OK. Didn't see much of him. Second week was Graham Seymour. He is absolutely my favorite CD and I REALLY REALLY enjoy him. Be sure to watch him on the morning show - you will laugh! And be sure to see him on sailaway night in the Princess Theatre. Overall the service on the ship was good, not great. As usual, I found that the pursers staff are RUDE! Happens every time I cruise and I always write comments on my survey but nothing changes. OH well. Our room steward was OK (Ruben) - not the caliber that I would expect for the Grand Suite. Did love Arsen, Marta and Tamas in the Coral Dining room. And Miguel, Maria and Jose in the Sterling Steakhouse were wonderful! Had 3 spa treatments - steaming stones massage, reflexology and oceanic plunge. Overall pretty good. I booked on port days later in the day (3pm and beyond) and got reduced pricing. So I saw the ports but also saved money on treatments. Highly recommend you do that and book via the website before you go. My Mom got her hair done in the salon and it was SO OVERPRICED!! $45 for shampoo/sets and for updos. Normally I have my hair done for formal nights - not on these cruises!! Disembarkation was easy. We were one of the first groups off the ship since our flight was at 12:03pm. We were at the airport by 9:30 and wished we had booked an earlier flight. But then you risk not making it if the ship is delayed for any reason. Overall I loved the cruises and had a great time. I definitely recommend the Caribbean Princess! The ship is beautiful and it was a vacation of a lifetime for me and my family! Am already booked on my 12th Princess cruise for next year! Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
WE LOVED IT!!!! We had never gone on a cruise before and from the awesome experience we had, this is the only way we want to travel. The ship was gorgeous, the waiters, bartenders, room steward, EVERYONE that worked there was just so ... Read More
WE LOVED IT!!!! We had never gone on a cruise before and from the awesome experience we had, this is the only way we want to travel. The ship was gorgeous, the waiters, bartenders, room steward, EVERYONE that worked there was just so courteous, helpful and totally friendly. The casino was AWESOME as well as those who worked in the casino. The food, well....EXCELLENT. We really liked the personal choice dining, as opposed to the early and late dining times. We never felt rushed to hurry to dinner after coming back from an excursion. In fact we loved the Caribe Cafe and the Horizon cafe. Everyone was so pleasant to deal with. We made friends instantly with the dealers at the casino and they created such a fun atmosphere we made friends in the casino as opposed to at dinner. The ship was always clean, and never was messy anywhere. Employees were so helpful and hard working. I've never seen such a large group so dedicated to their job. Our room steward was the greatest. We loved their Princess Patter newsletter which we would read every night before going to bed to plan what we wanted to do the next night. The excursions were really well organized and reasonably priced. We had a blast. My husband and I have never been more relaxed than we were on this cruise. The big screen on the deck for Movies under the stars was so great. It was more than we ever thought it could be. In fact we were so impressed w/Princess, that they're the only ones we'd cruise with. So many folks that cruised before, commented on how great the embarkation and debarkation was compared to all the cruise lines. We were on the ship after only 10 minutes or less in line and we were off that ship just as quickly. Very well organized. If anyone says otherwise about this ship, they're just flat out crazy. I'd tell them cranky people not allowed, stay home. WE LOVED AND IT!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
We had a wonderful cruise and would rate it a 9 out of 10. Really my only complaints were truly not even ship related. Forget the bus transfers and just get a cab from the airport - you can see the ships from the airport so you know how ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise and would rate it a 9 out of 10. Really my only complaints were truly not even ship related. Forget the bus transfers and just get a cab from the airport - you can see the ships from the airport so you know how close it is - you wait and wait for the bus to fill up and then get the ok to leave - just save your $10 per person and take a cab. Also know that there are rental car offices right at the dock - we wanted to rent a car and I was told by Avis they did not have an office there!!! They do - I guess you need to know the name PORT EVERGLADES. We were checked in and eating lunch in our swimsuits by noon (bring a carry-on with these items in them) Room was fine - a little larger than expected - they provide a safe, hairdryer, and soaps and shampoos etc. Wish they would spring for better toilet paper and tissues though - that thin stuff was lousy. Lots of hangers are available. Bring 1/2 the clothes you think you will need....take it from me. Capris are fine in the formal dining rooms - I saw no one turned away - formal night - don't stress - a nice "Sunday" dress would work if you don't want to get anything fancier - most were dressed in long dresses and suits. But you saw a little of everything. We used the personal choice dining and had no problem. We had reservations for 7 and then we were able to catch at least 2 shows a night. Food was great and if you want to be on a diet it is possible - if you have GREAT WILLPOWER THAT IS! They give you samples of combinations for healthy or vegetarian meals. You had many selections to pick from and we loved all of the meals. Serving sizes were on the smaller size which was a good thing. I am sure if you wanted 2 meals you would get them. We enjoyed their cocktails of the day - we did purchase the drink card for $20 which allows unlimited soft drinks. They are not worth the money, or you should just get one. The soda was fine but you won't use the card that much. They hardly look at your card anyways when you go for your drinks. There was only one crowded night in the restaurant and that was the first formal night. Other nights there were lots of empty tables even though the ship was filled to capacity. We loved all the entertainment - this was our favorite - they had so much available - some nights we caught 3 shows. That Princess Idol was a JOKE - we watched shows on 2 nights - just a step up from karaoke - in reading some of these posts I think people think they are going to be discovered here or something....it is all very light entertainment and at times was painful to listen! They had comedians, the regular type shows, a great singer the last night I am sorry to say I do not remember her name but she gave a fantastic show. There was a hypnotist, several comedians, juggler/comedian, magician - they had several shows - new material. I loved the pina coladas - yummy. I would be glad to answer any questions you might have - don't waste your time listening to Cindy on where to shop - there are no bargains - except for the liquor - but people just seem to want to buy when they are on a cruise. I hate that frenzy at the stops - we horseback rode in Cozumel which was fun and my husband snorkeled in Grand Caymans (great) and Jamaica (fair to poor) - I don't go on a cruise to site see in the Caribbean - it is to relax for me. Hope you have a great trip. ( I was disappointed they did not have more exercise classes available and many of the few they had they charged for ????? I did not like that. Did not use the Spa but people who did seemed pleased. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
This was our 12th cruise & our 2nd with Princess. We've sailed on Royal Caribbean & Carnival. To start, I'll say that Royal Caribbean has always been our favorite, but Princess is definitely right up there as well. The ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise & our 2nd with Princess. We've sailed on Royal Caribbean & Carnival. To start, I'll say that Royal Caribbean has always been our favorite, but Princess is definitely right up there as well. The Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship. We had a wonderful time & I would highly recommend her to anyone who enjoys having a good time. Embarkation was a breeze, we arrived at the port around 11:30 & by 11:45 we were onboard ready to start our vacation. We had a balcony cabin on the Dolphin deck. I've read all the things people had to say about how the balcony on the Dolphin deck is uncovered, ok, so what's their point?? Yes, the balcony is uncovered, but I don't see a problem with that whatsoever. It was beautiful out there. There are 4 chairs, 2 that recline & 2 stationary with a foot stool. There was plenty of closet space as well as drawer space & having the mini-suite with the extra space was great. Food - We originally had traditional late seating (there were 9 of us travelling together), but switched to PC dining on the 2nd night. It worked out fine for us, we made a standing reservation for 8:00 every night & there was never a problem. The food was ok, nothing to write home about, but it was fine. I will say that the pizza & fries out by the pool area were yummy. The kids (6 teenagers) thought so as well. We didn't eat at Sabatini's. We had done that on the Grand Princess. i would say if you're going to Sabatini's & you have young children, try not to take them. We took the kids last time & it's a very long drawn out meal, go alone if you plan on going. My husband & I went to Sterling Steakhouse one night & enjoyed it very much. He had the filet mignon & I had a new york strip & both were excellent. Shows - If James the Kid is performing at the time you're sailing - do not miss him! He's fantastic - very very funny. We didn't go to any of the cabaret type shows, we've done them in the past & now we pass on them. There was a wonderful piano player, but I can't remember his name. Casino - For some reason the casino was not very crowded for our sailing. I asked some of the dealers & they said the casinos had been more crowded for the Eastern Caribbean sailings. I have no idea why unless it was because we had 3 ports back to back & maybe people were tired. Ports - We sailed the Western Caribbean - Grand Cayman, Cozumel & Jamaica. We've been to each of those ports in the past. Jamaica - last time we sailed we (ok, not me, hubby & the kids), climbed Dunn's River Falls & it was a great experience, since they had already climbed the falls, this time they went river tubing. let me tell you, they came back from that trip raving about how wonderful it was & the pictures show them having a great time. They said that the drive to the river was part of the adventure as the roads are very narrow & one lane (for both ways). Grand Cayman - What can I say, we love Stingray City. Last time we took a snorkel boat, this time we went on a catamaran (the Cockatoo). We had a blast. I highly recommend the catamaran. Here's a hint... they have one catamaran sailing I believe it was at 7:30, BUT....when they fill that one up, they open another one around 10:00 & it's not advertised. There were 15 of us who went together & maybe 2 other families, so it was like a privately chartered excursion. Cozumel - We've been to the beaches & have done the shopping previously, but of course there's always Carlos n Charlie's. If you're not into shopping or walking the streets in the heat & you've done the beach in the morning, then head to Carlos n Charlie's. The food is not the best there is, but the fun is never ending. If you like music & craziness this is the place for you. We took all the teenagers with us & they love this place. People dancing on chairs, staff blowing whistles, conga lines, you name it, it's pure fun. Hope this helped a little. I'm sure I've left a lot out, but I have to get back to work now :) Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
I enjoyed a wonderful spring break cruise aboard the Grand Princess from 4/4 to 4/11. This was my 2nd trip on this beautiful ship; the first time was in August of 2001. Since I live about 20 minutes from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale ... Read More
I enjoyed a wonderful spring break cruise aboard the Grand Princess from 4/4 to 4/11. This was my 2nd trip on this beautiful ship; the first time was in August of 2001. Since I live about 20 minutes from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale and about 30 minutes from the port of Miami I must admit that I am somewhat of an avid cruiser. I used to be a dedicated RCI cruiser but have been experimenting with different lines over the past few years. My past cruises with Princess have been on the old Star, Crown, Golden and Grand. I was curious to see if there would be much of a change since Carnival had bought Princess. My last cruise was the Golden during Christmas week of 2002. Embarkation was a breeze, even easier than I ever remember it being. We got to the port at about 2:30 so we missed the early rush. I had filled out all of the paperwork online so we only needed to present our passports (id) and tickets and give an imprint of our credit card. They took our welcome aboard photo and we were on our way. The elevators were pointed out to us and we made our way to our cabins. Does anyone remember the old days when they actually escorted you to your room? We booked 2 balcony cabins side by side, Caribe 735 and 739. Our children, a 10 year old girl and 14 year old boy were in one room and my husband and I in the other. The cabins were clean and in good working condition. There was the normal wear and tear of a ship this age but they really were immaculate. The balconies were a very nice size and while not totally private that never seemed to be a problem. We asked our room steward to unlock the door between them allowing us great access to each others rooms. Joey was our room steward and he was pleasant but quiet. We are pretty low maintenance and really never needed anything special from him. He kept our rooms spotless and always had a smile on his face. The ship is in beautiful condition with the normal wear and tear one would expect on a 5 year old ship. The crew is constantly cleaning and maintaining it. There was some sort of leak in the Princess theater which meant that several orchestra seats were covered with plastic but that was the only real flaw that I noticed. I cannot comment much on the children's program because my odd children never participated in a single event that they offered. They used to partake when they were much younger but, for some strange reason, now like to hang with us old folks. I did read the programs that were going on and I think they really would have enjoyed all that was offered. It was peak spring break week and there were plenty of kids aboard. I especially noticed many, many college spring breakers traveling together. The nice thing about Princess is that they really do limit the number of children allowed on their sailings. My daughter's age group was sold out but because of our platinum status she was allowed. We have been on Carnival during this peak week and the number of children was incredible. This is the first time that we had chosen personal choice dining with our kids. In the past we have always had 2nd seating with them. On our last Grand sailing, my husband and myself only, we had it and really enjoyed it. It was a great decision for us this time! We really had flexibility with going to pre-dinner shows, etc. We never made a reservation but would show up between 7:30 and 8:00. Sometimes we got right in and other times they would give us a beeper. We never waited longer than 15 minutes. When we noticed a long line at the door we would hustle on over to the other dining room and get right in. We always had a table of 4 and really enjoyed the service. The big advantage for us was the actual dining time. While we like to wine and dine, I find the usual close to 2 hour dining experience very long. With PC our dinner was never more than 1 1/2 hours. We were also able to order bottles of wine and they would store them for you. It didn't matter if you went to the same dining room the next evening or not. The food was good, better than average. I mostly chose seafood while the rest of my family really sampled, from lamb to duck to steak. The soups were unbelievable, just as I remembered. Hot and delicious: lentil, french onion, garlic, lobster bisque, artichoke (do not miss these). Bread was average, better for me not to eat it. Dessert is my favorite and they were average. The quality was good. I was most curious to see if the Horizon Court had changed or not over the past year and a half. It is my favorite "buffet" aboard any of the cruise lines I have traveled. I noticed a few minor changes but, overall, the food is still good, abundant and varied. They offer the nicest buffet breakfast of all that I have experienced although I am not a big breakfast eater. The salad bar is fresh and that is always my choice for lunch. I throw a piece of fish on top and am in heaven. The pizza is the same as I remember, okay, not as good as Carnival's ice cream, Haagen Dazs, is always for sale. Everyday from 3:30 to 4:30 ice cream is served in the HC with sprinkles, hot fudge and caramel (yum). Coffee is pretty bad so I just skip it for the week. I did find a decent cup in the promenade bar that keeps it brewed all day long. Drinks were good but I mostly stuck to wine. The activities were fun. We really enjoyed a great sampling of everything they offered. We played trivia, bingo and competed in game shows. My husband and I went to the disco and had fun as usual. I was a bit disappointed in the shows, not because they were bad, but I had seen them before. The production numbers were the same ones that were shown a year and a half ago and I remembered them well. The hypnotist is a riot, the comedian was fair. We always enjoy the talent show but only 4 passengers partook this time. The music was average in the bars. The piano player in the Promenade was great. The deck party was fun and a delicious tropical buffet was served that night with chocolate covered strawberries and bananas. My kids ordered room service around midnight every evening and really enjoyed it. They always tipped a few bucks. My teenage son was in heaven eating day and night! Not many free exercise classes are available unless you like to attend at the crack of dawn. They now charge $10 for spinning, kickboxing and pilates. I didn't use the gym much but my son did and he ran a lot. My husband had 2 massages, I didn't have any treatments. We did not book any excursions through the boat. I like to book my own as to not be stuck on a bus with a million passengers. I booked the royal dolphin swim on Cozumel directly through dolphin discovery and it was awesome ( I highly recommend that you do this). My kids loved it!!! On Grand Cayman we did a quickie tour with a woman who was holding up a sign offering a sampling of the island. We saw the turtle farm, Hell, etc. for $15 a person. We have been to all of these islands so many times so we are not overly excited in these ports. Costa Maya is a little fishing village with absolutely nothing but vendors there. My daughter had her hair braided and we walked around a bit. Princess Cays is the same. We rented snorkel equipment and hung out enjoying the beautiful day. The bbq is just as bad as I remembered. The one thing that seemed different to me was the tendering system. They now use the lifeboats instead of the big tenders. This system is very annoying since you must wait in a huge line. We are always the last to leave the boat, late in the morning, and have never had to wait. For Princess Cays we had to stand in a long line waiting for a tender ticket and then sit in a lounge waiting to be called. This was at almost noon!!! Returning was the same and Grand Cayman also the same. Deck chairs were difficult to find but this had something to do with all of the teenagers aboard. A lot of the chairs were broken but we were able to find some when we looked around a bit. It is very aggravating to have to bring your own towels from your room. I don't know why they just can't have them at the pool. I am not a huge gambler but my husband does enjoy it 30 minutes or so every evening. He plays blackjack and craps and came out a few hundred bucks ahead. I played blackjack once and when I was $75 ahead left. The casino was never overly crowded nor did I find it too smokey. All in all it was a wonderful week. I still believe cruising is one of the best "quality time" vacations for a family. We were together a lot and really enjoyed each other's company. I know that we will return to Princess since there are so many new ships to experience. We unfortunately had to leave on a Sunday and were not able to try any of the new ones this time. The Grand is beautiful and the crew is very nice and friendly. I find the service to be excellent and can't wait for my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
My husband and I went on the Grand Princess from 04/04/04-04/11/04, Western Caribbean. This was our first cruise and one of the most exciting vacations we have ever had!!! We are already planning our second cruise and really can not wait. ... Read More
My husband and I went on the Grand Princess from 04/04/04-04/11/04, Western Caribbean. This was our first cruise and one of the most exciting vacations we have ever had!!! We are already planning our second cruise and really can not wait. Everything was clean and fresh, our cabin was roomy and always had fresh fruit and linens. I loved having a balcony and would never cruise without a balcony cabin,, I highly recommend it.. well worth the extra cost. I was also so impressed with the Food on Princess. The Horizon court had the most spectacular views and the food was always yummy. You will never be hungry on this cruise because the Buffet changes daily with snack foods after 3:30 and an Ice Cream Bar!!! I was also very impressed with their afternoon tea. It was quite traditional and the scones were to die for with the sweet creamed butter!! I usually go to tea in NYC with my girlfriends and this tea was actually better. I also enjoyed the casino and all the vegas style shows, they were terrific. The personal choice dining is the way to go if you don't want to be married to a certain time or scheduled. We never had to wait and both dining rooms were beautiful and romantic. We had a table for two every night. The ports of call were very interesting except... for the Cayman Islands,, there were 7 ships docked with us and it was just too many people. I loved Princess Cays , Costa Maya and Cozumel. Try paradise beach while in Cozumel, it's a very clean and comfortable beach. GOOD FOOD and Sol beer!!! My only complaint, if I was to have one was the amount of children and teens on our ship. I was under the impression that only a few teens and children were allowed on and it did seem a bit much since every time I wanted to use the hot tub there was a teen or child in it. Princess needs to be a bit more strict with this policy. Other then the amount of children, this was an outstanding cruise and I really do look forward to the next one. spendley, NY Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
My family and I just returned from our first-ever cruise aboard the Grand. Overall, a splendid time was had by all. I was very impressed with Princess' embarkation and disembarkation procedures. We arrived at the terminal at about ... Read More
My family and I just returned from our first-ever cruise aboard the Grand. Overall, a splendid time was had by all. I was very impressed with Princess' embarkation and disembarkation procedures. We arrived at the terminal at about noon and were on in about 15 or 20 minutes. We got the call to leave the ship at 8:15 and were sitting in the bus for the ride to the airport in about a half-hour or less. They really have this down to a science. The ship itself is quite impressive. Its exterior is not that aesthetically beautiful, but its sheer size is striking. The interior of the ship is another matter -- it's just drop-dead gorgeous for the most part. The decor and furnishings are very rich and tasteful. The three-level atrium generally had music playing on the bottom level, with a bar and comfortable seating. This level also has a library and computer room, purser's desk, tour desk and a writing area. The ship shows minor signs of age here and there, particularly in some of the exterior areas, but generally it is extremely well-maintained and overall in excellent condition. We had a mini-suite on deck nine and our teenage children had an ocean-view double one deck below. Our cabin was large and comfortable, with plenty of closet and bathroom space. The kids' quarters were considerable more cramped, but sufficient. We had personal choice dining and ate most of the time in the Da Vinci dining room. I had my fingers crossed that the food might be better than I expected, but the reality of cooking for thousands ultimately foiled the chefs' efforts. The menus were quite good, but the quality of the food (although good) did not live up to the menus' promise. The ambience in the dining rooms is very good and the service is excellent, however. The food in the Horizon court buffet was mixed. I had some very tasty things there and some that disappointed a bit. Overall, the buffet generally was satisfactory (with some very nice desserts, btw). The pizza and burger bars were quite good. Thankfully, the coffee was better than some have reported. Service on the ship was good. The waitstaff in the food areas were very cordial and attentive. I did not find the topside waiters serving drinks to be particularly intrusive. Our cabin steward seemed to be around most of the time. We didn't really require much from him other than cleaning the room and turning the bed down, but he did his job well and was very friendly. Room service was very prompt. The ship has plenty of places to swim and sun on the top decks. I personally found the aft portion of the ship wonderful for these purposes -- much less crowded than the center of the ship around the major pools, and the hot tubs on deck 15 offered a wonderful view of the ocean. The big nightclub at the back of the ship offers quite a bit of shade for the pool and sitting areas there, which is nice in hot weather. I used the exercise room and jogging track some. There were usually some people shooting baskets on the sports court. That area of the ship also has a teen-only sunning area and a children's area, as well as the spa. We didn't use these services so I can't say how well they're run. We did see groups of small children participating some type of ship-run activity a number of times. The ship's main theatre is at the front, and was very comfortable. We saw a comedian and two stage productions there. The entertainment seemed top-notch, with excellent stage and sound facilities in the theatre. There is a large lounge with a stage in the back of the ship, but I didn't attend anything there. It looked comfortable, and seemed to be a good venue for watching a show. Live music was generally available in the bars on the promenade level and in the Painted Desert. We just wanted to relax so we really didn't get involved in the organized activities much, but there were always plenty of them. The cruise director tried perhaps a little too hard to be upbeat and chipper, but I guess that's part of his job. Overall impressions. Ships' strengths: Good variety of pools and sunning areas. Bar service readily available at all times. Excellent staff and service throughout the ship. Beautiful public areas. Ships' weaknesses A tad crowded and loud around the major pools at times. Cocktails were a bit weak. Ice cream bar shuts down at 7 p.m.. Ships' elevators were slow. Reservations for the PC dining rooms could not be made between 6:15 and 8 p.m.. Overall, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Grand, although one of its newer sister ships might be a better choice. There is something for everyone on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Grand Princess Western Caribbean April 11 - 18 2004 By Dave and Shirley VanBibber Let me start by saying this was our first cruise and I felt we were well prepared for it. Our travel agent Dick Cooper gave us good advice and found us a ... Read More
Grand Princess Western Caribbean April 11 - 18 2004 By Dave and Shirley VanBibber Let me start by saying this was our first cruise and I felt we were well prepared for it. Our travel agent Dick Cooper gave us good advice and found us a good fare on the Grand Princess for a mini suite. It also helped to read some of these cruise ship reviews. We flew in to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express using their free shuttle for pick-up from the airport. After check-in we walked about ten minutes to an Outback Steakhouse for an early dinner - the snacks from the plane had worn thin by then. After a good dinner we relaxed and decided on early bedtime in preparation of our trip in the morning. Embarkment We enjoyed our continental breakfast at the hotel and were out front with our luggage by 10:15 am for our free transfer to the pier again by the Holiday Inn Express. We struck up a conversation with a family who were also booked on the Grand Princess. We were to run into them almost daily while on board. Upon arrival at the pier we were met by porters who took our luggage and Princess crew members to direct us to the right line. Our line moved swiftly and we could feel the excitement in the air as we boarded the ship. After checking our room out we were able to do some exploring. The pocket size directory card found in our cabin made it easy for us to find our way around the ship. We found the Horizon Court for their Welcome Aboard Luncheon Buffet which was amazing with many choices and a great presentation. Cabin Back to our cabin we were relieved to find our luggage had arrived. The large walk in closet and shelves provided enough space for our belongings. One of the nice things about the mini suite is the full size bathtub. We kept the shower curtain pulled to the side so it made the bathroom seem larger. The Lotus Spa provided toiletries and I especially like their eucalyptus cream. Our queen size bed had a nightstand on either side with a reading lamp. Then there is a desk/vanity table with more drawers. There is a hair dryer on the wall and I found this the best lighted place to sit and do my hair before going out. Our room includes two televisions, one facing the bed and one facing the sitting area. Soon my husband had his electronic equipment hooked up to both televisions so we could either watch the video or view the digital snapshots during our trip. The couch opens up to another bed which we never used since there were only two of us. We were slightly disappointed with our balcony as the internet picture showed 2 lounge chairs, two chairs and a table. Ours had no lounge chairs but two semi loungers, two chairs and a table large enough for two people. The balcony was uncovered so people above could see what you are eating and/or wearing. It was not a real problem and we enjoyed talking to our "neighbors." The Ship The ship appeared to be in very good condition. The staff was often visible working continuously keeping the ship neat and clean. We were impressed by how polite and respectful the staff was at all times. Whenever we encountered staff in the hallways they were pleasant and scurried to move out of our way. We were very pleased with our room steward Edwin. Even when we were gone for a short time our room was neat and clean when we returned and we always had fresh towels. And yes there would be a chocolate on our pillow at night and the covers turned down. . . . really makes you feel special. Dining We chose the Botticelli dining room for traditional fixed second seating. We would recommend this for first time cruisers especially if there is only two of you. We dined at the same table with the same people and wait staff every night. It was a little awkward the first night meeting our dinner companions who were from Mexico and England. They had varying travel experiences and that made for interesting and enjoyable conversation. After a couple days we looked forward to meeting up with our tablemates and talking about our day and interesting to hear about differences between our countries. The waiter and his assistant were very attentive to our needs, always refilling our glassed and cups and took note of our likes and dislikes. Most of our meal had an exotic flair to them and the portions were small but that was fine as you could ask for more and sometimes we were not sure of what we were getting. Breakfast and sometimes lunch we ate at the Horizon Court as we loved their buffet. The fixed seating was a good choice, otherwise we may have eaten every meal by ourselves. Entertainment We heard that Princess offered a lot of planned activities and we found that to be true. You could do as much or as little as you wanted to daily. We enjoyed the nighttime shows and usually ended up in the lounges to dance and/or enjoy the live entertainment. We especially liked the Piano bar player and ended up there most nights. Ports of Call Princess Cay was our first scheduled stop, however we were not able to tender off due to the rough water so we continued on and enjoyed the pool area and relaxed on board. The next day was an at sea day and our first formal night. It was fun to see everyone dressed up and a lot of cruisers had visited the spa for fancy hairdos. After dinner we changed into casual clothes for the shows and lounges afterwards while some people stayed in their dressy outfits. Grand Cayman was our next stop and we tendered off which moved along quickly considering the number of people on board. We took their Highlight tour since we had never been there before and found it to be a real tourist trap. The first stop was just a souvenir store and then we stopped at a town called Hell which was just another small souvenir store with a post office that they encouraged you to send a post card from a unique post mark. We did not have much time there so we just took a couple pictures. The last stop was the Turtle Farm and that was more interesting than the gift shops so far. Most of us elected to be dropped off in town for shopping. We found the Bernard Passman famous coral store and I acquired a wonderful little gold diamond and black coral ring. After wandering around for a while we took a taxi back to the ship to cool off and have lunch as we decided not to eat or drink anything while off the ship. We docked at Costa Maya for our next stop and found it to be a neat little town. The weather was hot and sunny and there were a lot of small shops to wander through. We decided against the excursion to the Mayan ruins as it was an all day affair - maybe another time. The water was a vibrant turquoise color and I am sure even though we took pictures they will not be able to capture the beauty of it. The white sand of the beach seemed to go on forever and a lot of people were enjoying the nice weather. Again we went back to the ship early and relaxed by the pool as it was not crowded with so many people off the ship and there was a great Moroccan band playing nearby, very enjoyable. This was our 32nd Anniversary and our tablemates from England surprised us with a bottle of champagne during our dinner. Princess had given us a cake our first night also to celebrate our anniversary with a card signed by the captain of the ship. We ended our evening at the casino where we cashed in our winnings of thirty-two dollars in nickels: a memorable number. Our last port of call was Cozumel where we were informed the best deals for shopping would be. One of the first things we saw were military armed guards on watch. It should have made us feel safe but it gave us an uneasy feeling and put a damper on our shore excursion. We found a nice silver diamond band for my husband and while it was being sized we took our Atlantis submarine excursion. Submarine was a great choice for non-swimmers who want to see the coral reef and fish. The sub was well ventilated even at 119 ft. below the surface the temperature remained comfortable. Afterwards we took a taxi to town for shopping but we found it dirty and crowded with traffic, tourist and local. We quickly finished shopping and after a bit found a taxi to take us back to the ship. After seeing the other cruise ships at port we are sure we made the right choice by choosing The Grand Princess. She towers above the others and has more balconies available than any other cruise ship we encountered. We were a little nervous about cruising over Easter week that there would be too many children on board but it was not a problem. There were families on board with small children and teenagers but the ship was so big that the only time we really saw them was around the pool areas. Disembarkment All too soon our week was ending and it was time to put our luggage outside our suite before going to dinner. It was color coded and was quickly picked up and taken away. There was a sweet sadness at dinner our last night as we said goodbye to our new friends and exchanged e-mail addresses. The last day we enjoyed breakfast at the Horizon Court and headed down to the lounge area just before our color and tag numbers were called. Disembarkment went as smoothly as embarkment as Princess is very organized. My best tip for you is to mark your suitcases with something bright colored such as a scarf or tape as you have never seen so many black and navy blue suitcase before when you go to find your luggage. Soon the free shuttle picked us up to take us back to the Holiday Inn Express where we spent another night to let the airport clear before heading home. My husband was apprehensive about taking a cruise and brought six books ( that he never read ) and is more excited about taking another cruise than I am. We would not hesitate to travel the Princess line again. This was a trip we will remember and talk about for a long time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
My husband and I recently went on our first cruise and this is our review. Not knowing what to expect, upon entering pier #2, we were amazed at the beautiful ship docked in front of us! I know that this is our first cruise and we were ... Read More
My husband and I recently went on our first cruise and this is our review. Not knowing what to expect, upon entering pier #2, we were amazed at the beautiful ship docked in front of us! I know that this is our first cruise and we were easily impressed, but the Grand is a truly magnificent ship and is in great shape! The embarkation process went rather quickly and we were on the ship in ten minutes, maybe even less! We quickly found our cabin, a balcony room on Lido deck, and unpacked our carry-on bags so we could go check out the rest of the ship. We had a burger at Trident's grill for lunch and grabbed the drink of the day! We then set out for the Promenade bar for our bar-hopping cards. Had a lot of fun playing ping-pong while we waited for our bags to be delivered to our cabin, which also didn't take very long, considering all the luggage that comes on the ship at one time! After setting sail from the pier, we relaxed in our room, showered and headed for dinner at Horizon court. We chose personal choice dining as we preferred to leave our options open knowing we had some excursions planned and didn't want to be rushed back worrying about it. The buffet at Horizon Court is just wonderful with many choices for different tastes. And there was always somewhere to sit no matter what time you got there,and the food was fresh and hot. We saved going to the dining rooms for the formal nights and the last night aboard, we had a romantic dinner for two with no problem getting a table, maybe a five-ten minute wait at most!We ate in the DaVinci dining room where we had terrific service and wonderful, appealing food! Moving on to the ports-of-call: Princess Cays was our first stop. Beautiful Island! We were tendered in which also went very smooth with tenders running back and forth all afternoon. We were served a great bar-b-que lunch and refreshments. We also rented a clear-bottomed kayak and had a great time paddling around looking at fish. We tendered back in at 3:30 as we were leaving at 4:00 and they do leave right on time! Next day was a lazy day at sea, relaxed by the pool and watched all the fun pool games. Next stop was Grand Cayman Island. Also a port where you are tendered in,went very smoothly again. I had booked a tour with a private company for a swim with the stingrays and a snorkel stop at the North Barrier Reef. The company was called Nativeway and we had a great time! They have you go out in smaller groups so there is more one on one with them and the stingrays. It seemed the ship tours were crowded like cattle(40-50) people to a boat and a lot of screaming from scared children and their mothers. Glad we did our own. I would personally recommend this company to anyone. After we were done we walked around town and had a nice lunch and shopped till we dropped! A very beautiful Island! The next day we were at Costa Maya. Docked right at the pier which was interesting to watch although I was a bit intimidated by the"federales" patrolling the water by the ship with machine guns. The port is small and still underdeveloped. The show put on at the little amphitheater was nice. We were intimidated by the vendors begging you to "buy their junk". Got tired of walking around and saying no thank you every 2 minutes. Took a taxi to Mahajual and did not like seeing all the litter and garbage all over,so we went back to the port and back to the ship. The next day we docked in Cozumel. We had booked the Royal Swim with the ship. The guide that took us to Chankanaab Park was very nice and very informative, giving us some background of the area on the way there. This is not to be missed! This was the most spectacular thing we have ever experienced and was well worth the money. If you do it on your own, you pay $119, and the taxi fare to and from the park and the entrance fee, so booking with the ship is more safe and not more expensive, about the same price in the end. We got to interact with the dolphins and do tricks with them, unlike the encounter where you just get to pet them. After the swim, we had a drink and some authentic nachos at a nice little place in the park under some palapas with a wandering mariachi band. Had a great time. Then just walked around the park admiring some small mayan ruins and things. This was our favorite stop by far! Then went back to the pier and had a margarita at Pancho's Backyard. A very pleasant place with very strong drinks!Wandered over to Fat Tuesdays or Swingers, with swings hanging all around the bar and a few more margaritas! By this time we were ready to head back to the ship, not without buying a few things at Los Cinco Sols first. Nice jewelry and trinkets to get here! That night, we had Island Fun night on the back of the ship. They covered the Aft pool and had a band on it. It was really a lot of fun. They had you throw streamers and play party games. We really enjoyed ourselves!The last day was another relaxing day at sea. We needed it after all of the activity the last three days! The next morning, the debarkation went very quickly and efficiently. All in all, this was a great experience for us and we will do it again very soon. As soon as we can afford it! Would highly recommend this ship. Sorry this took so long but you don't want to leave anything out! Wish we were cruisin' again, sincerely Mr. and Mrs. jaxsonbrownie Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Eastern Caribbean (10 Nights) from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Sailing Date: April 19, 2004 Ship: Sun Princess Ports of Call: Princess Cay, St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Barbados, and Antigua. This was our 16th cruise with Princess. ... Read More
Eastern Caribbean (10 Nights) from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Sailing Date: April 19, 2004 Ship: Sun Princess Ports of Call: Princess Cay, St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Barbados, and Antigua. This was our 16th cruise with Princess. Our 41st cruise overall. This was our second time aboard the Sun Princess. Our first sailing was on October 19, 1996. The Sun Princess is a large ship at 77,000 tons, but not huge when compared to today's mega-ships. Although it had been almost seven years since we were last sailing the ship is overall in very good shape. Here are our impressions: Embarking/Disembarking: Check in was the best we have EVER experienced. We arrived via Taxi from our hotel (The Sheraton Yankee Clipper) at 12:30PM. There were plenty of porters on hand to handle luggage. Walked right through Security and had no one at either the Platinum Desk or the Caribe Desk, so we could have used either one. We used the Platinum Desk; found that we are now Elite Members of the Captain's Club, more about that later. Waited for one couple ahead of us at the Boarding Photo spot, had our pic snapped and walked right on board. Total time, less than 10 minutes. Disembarking seemed to move much better than past experiences. Because of any early flight out of Ft. Lauderdale, we were in Red Group #2, which was called while we were still enjoying breakfast in the Regency Dining Room. When we finished eating we returned to our stateroom for a few minutes, picked up our hand luggage and proceeded ashore. When we arrived in the baggage area, our bags were the only ones remaining the Red area. That coupled with the fact that they are red and had straps around them with our names as part of the design of the strap made finding our stuff kind of easy. Customs lines were sort of long both for passport check and exiting with baggage, but we were in our cab to the airport by 9:30 AM with no rush at all. We had plenty of time to make our 11:20 AM flight on Southwest. Ft. Lauderdale airport was less hectic since we arrived back mid-week rather than during the weekend rush. Stateroom: We had an ocean view stateroom #304 on deck 9 (Caribe Deck). The room was clean and well kept. The stateroom stewardess did a fine job. It almost seemed as if she had ESP and knew when we came and went. We never ran out of towels and always had ample ice & water. The staterooms are nice size (about 160 sq ft) and have more than enough storage space for clothes for 10 days. All of our suitcases fit under the bed for storage. We actually had a couple unused drawers! Food: The Regency Restaurant is the main dining room for traditional dining. We were seated at Table #166 which IMHO was in a perfect location for conversation and no through traffic passing by. There is also the Horizon Court & The Grill. We ate all evening meals in the Regency. The quality and variety of food was excellent. The beef dishes were all superb. The lobster was excellent. Overall, the food was the some of best we can recall on recent cruises. Desserts and breads to me, were great. We ate most breakfasts & lunches in either the Horizon Court or Grill. Breakfast was very good, especially the omelet bar. Lunch was generally quite nice with prepared to order hot sandwiches, as well as a fine selection of other buffet items, the hot dogs & burgers from the Grill were also very good. My only negative comment is that the multiple serving lines which Princess uses on most of their ships seem to cause congestion. Shows: There were the usual mix of musical revues and guest entertainers. We enjoy musical production shows and the three presented during the trip were excellent. The guest entertainers were all quite good.. They also had the usual audience participation shows (newlywed game, karaoke, etc). The main show lounge had good sight lines and the seats were comfortable. Seats tended to fill up early. Entertainment: The Cruise Director, Janet Evans, and her staff worked really hard and were very friendly & pleasant. The party band was very good. Their music was very good, and they could play anything from country to rock to Caribbean. The casino was not as big as on some ships, but it never appeared too crowded. As Las Vegas residents this area had little appeal for us. Other: The pool areas were great. I enjoy the fresh water in Princess pools. The exercise room was more than adequate for the amount of use it got. Even though there were only a handful of stations for internet access, they did not seem to be overused especially late at night. This probably had something to do with the .50 per minute charge! The gift shops were well stocked and stayed open generally past 10 pm. The photographers were around the ship but never intrusive. Announcements over the ships intercom were kept at a minimum. We enjoyed Brunch with the Captain on the last day at sea. This was a very special event for Elite Members of the Captain's Club. There were 44 of us on this sailing. Each couple received an autographed picture taken with the Captain at the conclusion of this event and were escorted on a personal tour of the Kitchen by the Chief Chef Ports of Call: Since we have visited most of these ports of call we took excursions on Barbados and Antigua. We did Harrison's Cave on Barbados and The Best of Antigua including Nelson's Dockyard on Antigua. Captain's Club: The Elite Member perks for those who have cruised at least 15 times with Princess are the best in the industry. Along with all the "normal" perks they include robes and slippers, a free stocked refrigerator in your stateroom (stocked free only once), free laundry and dry cleaning, free shoe shines, priority tender boarding, special event that are truly special! They were outstanding enough that we will have to consider Princess any time we consider future cruises. Overall We feel that The Sun Princess was an excellent cruise experience and we give it a 9.8 on a scale of 10. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
We sailed on April 9, 2004 after driving to Ft. Lauderdale the day before. We have sailed eight times, but never with Princess. I traveled with my son, who turned 14 on the ship. I had heard that embarkation was a breeze and that was ... Read More
We sailed on April 9, 2004 after driving to Ft. Lauderdale the day before. We have sailed eight times, but never with Princess. I traveled with my son, who turned 14 on the ship. I had heard that embarkation was a breeze and that was true. Completing forms on line prior to the trip made for a wait at the desk of no more than 10 minutes - then we were off. We walked directly on the ship and were greeted by a beautiful atrium. We had an inside cabin, our first ever, and I was concerned that we would feel claustrophobic. No problems at all, the cabins were small but well laid out. This ship is a dream. At 9 years old, it is in better condition than the ships I have sailed that are 1 -2 years old. It is beautiful, with elegant surroundings, lovely nooks and crannies and plenty of public space. At the same time, it is very manageable and would be a good ship for someone who has difficulty getting around. The entertainment was good, the wait staff was outstanding and the food was delicious, with plenty of it. Every staff member I encountered went above and beyond to please. The cabin steward, teen counselors and dining room staff really went the extra mile to celebrate my son's birthday and Easter. The captain, Alan Wilson, has a real presence on the ship and it shows in the professionalism of the staff. He did a great job of making us feel safe, special and secure. We had a little bad weather a couple of nights - rough seas - but we never became ill and the ship handled the seas very well. If you have the chance to sail this beautiful lady, I heartily recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click