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6,628 Princess Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Reviews

I preface this review with the fact that I cruise exclusively on Princess. I embark on my 10th cruise in September and have three more booked in the coming year on various ships. I have sailed on every class of ship in the Princess ... Read More
I preface this review with the fact that I cruise exclusively on Princess. I embark on my 10th cruise in September and have three more booked in the coming year on various ships. I have sailed on every class of ship in the Princess fleet. All have different advantages and comforts. Everything that has worked so well on other ships has been rolled into the Regal Princess. I'm a ship person anyway. The amenities on this ship are second to none. Anyone cruising today know there is a varied clientele aboard. It seems Princess took the time to accommodate everyone. Let me start with the furniture in dining and public areas. Seating is very comfortable. No narrow armrests, plush upholstery, and even upholstered seating everywhere around the pool areas. Even with my being on a sold out cruise I never felt crowded any time. The showers in cabins are such an upgrade to all other Princess class ships. Shows were by far the best I have seen on any cruise. Horizon Court buffet has set aside an entire serving area for desserts. There are nicely appointed hand washing stations at all entrances and of course hand sanitizer at the entrance of each serving line. The seating is fantastic with both traditional and counter height tables. Areas set aside for outside dining are not just tables lined up along the sides but grouped seating areas giving the effect of dining in an outdoor café. There was so many things to see and try that the seven days on this trip flew by, maybe that's why ill be on a 21 day cruise next year. Some will say my frame of reference is limited as I only cruise Princess but the is by far the flagship of Princess cruises. I am looking forward to the third "R Class" ship in 2017. I've heard it will serve China\Asia itineraries, I've already bought my piggy bank. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I have cruised six other times and this cruise was the absolute worse! I have never experienced such poor service on a cruise ship before! Our room Seward and the waiters in the dining areas were good but any other place on the ship you ... Read More
I have cruised six other times and this cruise was the absolute worse! I have never experienced such poor service on a cruise ship before! Our room Seward and the waiters in the dining areas were good but any other place on the ship you are on your own. I bought the full beverage package and had a hard time getting a drink anywhere. At the pool, casino, bars, if you wanted a drink you had to go to the bar and get one. There just did not seem as if there were any staff in this area. All the entertainment was single acts. I saw one band playing at the pool on the second to the last day. Their big entertainment was watching movies under the stars, big deal! Compared to the other cruises I have taken, it seemed like they had half the amount of staff. I think I will stay with Celebrity and Royal Carribean from now on, they know how to cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Wedding review on the Regal I have been meaning to write this review for 6 months now. Darn it Krista, get on top of things. I’m going to provide two reviews, First for the wedding a second for the cruise. Scroll down if you just want ... Read More
Wedding review on the Regal I have been meaning to write this review for 6 months now. Darn it Krista, get on top of things. I’m going to provide two reviews, First for the wedding a second for the cruise. Scroll down if you just want to know about the cruise. Background information We decided in June/14 to get married aboard a princess cruise ship which we did on January 11, 2015. We would then have any/all bridal party members who wished to join us come on the cruise with us. We ended up with a party of 12 and 8 sailing, including us. The majority (6) of us were under 27 and the remaining two were in their late 50s. None of us had ever been on a cruise before. I had stalked these boards like crazy prior to our leave and found the information incredibly helpful so I wanted to write a review of my own. The wedding: If you are planning a wedding with the cruise, I would change mine from a docked-wedding to either an ashore wedding or an at-sea wedding. Ours was held in Port Everglades because of the 4 people not joining us. The upside- Once the wedding was over there were no more worries, we were able to enjoy our entire cruise with no hesitation and those who did not wish to cruise were able to come. Also, after 3-6 days of cruise food there would have been no promises of me fitting into my dress. Oh dear. Down side- you have to deal with Royal Ocean Events and the Princess Crew do not have much time to correct ROE’s mistakes (and there were so many) though they will try very hard given their extremely limited time to do so. I will detail each piece separately below. Wedding: I want to start off by saying that, because of the Regal Cruise Team, my wedding was perfect. I came away with amazing photos I was more than happy to hand over my money for, a wonderful video and would not change a single thing the Princess did. They are amazing and I am now a permanent and loyal princess customer because of my experience with them on my wedding day. I want to follow that by telling you the actual wedding planning company did everything they could to make my wedding day a disaster. I had the misfortune of dealing with Michelle Pyke of Royal Ocean Events prior to our cruise. She messed up every single thing she could. I was almost not legally married because of her paperwork error and I have found out from the Princess crew that she has done this to other brides as well, who did not catch the error and had to leave the ship not legally married (which is the whole point of a wedding!). I’m still mad. 6 months later and I’m still upset that these people are allowed to put their name next to Princess’ and call themselves an official business. What’s worse is that princess doesn’t seem to want to do anything about it. Letting them know, being told that others have complained, speaking to the help line afterwards, they denied having ever had a complaint against ROE when every single Regal Princess employee I spoke to said they had received numerous complaints and they weren’t surprised, they always have to scramble to fix the mistakes of ROE. That’s a real shame. To give you an idea of what I experienced I’ll list off a handful of the items I dealt with: -Michelle wouldn’t get back to me on things, I would send 4 emails and 2 phonecalls to get a response on ANYTHING I needed and it was a nightmare to get her to confirm anything in writing. -I am from Canada and explained that I did not know the marriage laws and want to ensure this is a legal wedding. On the DAY BEFORE I LEAVE FOR FLORIDA Michelle FINALLY sends me the final paperwork which has in the far right corner of the second (of six) pages “symbolic wedding” checked off with no explanation. I had to call the office 10 times that day to get a response. The receptionist just kept telling me michelle is busy and didn’t care that I had no way of fixing things if it wasn’t dealt with that day. I was leaving my country in 8 hours when I finally got a response from michelle. I HAPPENED to be lucky enough to have decided to go to florida 3 days early so she flippantly emails me “just go down to the courthouse, you’re there early, pick up the license. *gives address*” that’s it. No, I’m sorry, no wow I’m glad you caught that I’ll never make that mistake again. I almost wasn’t legally married, the whole point of this darn cruise, and she did not care in the least. Gosh I’m still mad. -I wasted an entire day going to the least appealing courthouse I’ve ever seen (who puts the wedding registry next to the mental facilities? Seriously.) and signed all the paperwork, was legally married earlier than expected, because I couldn’t trust these people to actually do what I needed them to. -The cruiseship wedding planner, Bobbi (still a ROE employee, but not the same one I had to deal with this entire time) was supposed to call me the evening before the wedding. Of course she didn’t. Of course not. I’m a first time cruiser AND this is my wedding, I have no idea what’s going on and, if it had been a big wedding and I hadn’t had my maid of honour to talk me off a ledge I would have lost it. So I look up the information Michelle gave me and call this planner at 11PM. Well. No surprises, Michelle gave me the wrong contact information and I called the Officiant. Let me tell you that Arlene saved me from losing all my hair from the stress. Our officiant and the Princess employees saved my wedding from ROE. Arlene could have said “wrong number, sorry.” And hung up (if she’d been employed by ROE I’m sure she would have) but she spent an hour listening to me freak out and explained everything to me. SHE met me and the whole wedding party the next day at the ship and she did everything for our “Coordinator” Bobbie -Bobbi, the ROE Coordinator on the ship (who is about my size and I’m a plus size girl), decided that it is appropriate to attend a wedding with skin tight leggings and a tshirt. Seeing her in our photos upsets me all over again. So, clearly, there were issues. Every single one of them with ROE. What a nightmare company they are. Hearing all that, believe me when I tell you princess pulled off a miracle. The Public Relations Officer was wonderful. My hubby mistakenly put all the champagne in one bag rather than separating it one per attendee, but she found it and had it all ready for us at the reception, no problem at all. And she made sure we were ushered onto the ship without a hitch, found our rooms and everything. The walk to the wedding location (we chose Club 6) was interesting. Everyone but Bobbi the “coordinator” left us and Bobbi got us lost on the ship. My maid of honour had to find us a map to get us where we needed to go. The flowers were stunning. I really didn’t expect much given what I paid for, but they were beautiful. My bouquet and maid of honour bouquet were beyond spectacular. Get the upgrade for the extra flowers, it’s so worth it. Arlene officiated amazingly, she let me read my vows first (I never would have made it through if Hubby had gone first) and (because ROE never provided her with the ceremony words I wanted said) she had to wing the whole ceremony and she did excellently. You would never have guessed we didn’t get to practice. Overall I would happily get married aboard a Princess ship again (though I never plan to get married again, but you know, vow renewal maybe), but I would always double check the paperwork, definitely minimize ROE contact and certainly book it later in the cruise so I had the opportunity to work with the on-board staff. Our photos were amazing, the cake was beautiful and stellar, we got the adorable bride and groom strawberries that everyone loved, the flowers were beyond anything I expected, The staffer with DJ equipment did a great job with songs and I have amazing memories. I just truly hope princess fires ROE because holymole, that’s an embarrassment for the princess name. Overview for the cruise: overall not a single one of us had any complaints. I feel like there are 2 types of people on cruises, those who want to have fun and those who want to nit-pick. After 7 days of living in what one can only describe as utter paradise, I can see how the nitpicking starts because you’re so used to perfection that waiting 2 minutes for a drink starts to feel like foreeeever. Nevertheless, it is, in fact, perfection. The ship is clean. And I don’t mean hotel clean, I mean surgical clean. I am a clean freak, I have at least 3 types of hand sanitizer on me at all times, so when I tell you it sparkles, I know what I’m talking about. I’ve never received exceptional service, ate delicious food, enjoyed entertainment that consistently and spectacularly before. The actual cruise and the Princess staff are amazing (Except maybe the front desk staff, but there’s that nitpicking I was referring to and there are many ways around dealing with them, especially if you have an on-board wedding!). Ship information Holymole that’s a big ship. I can’t believe they make them bigger. I have nothing to compare it to so take this with a grain of salt if you’re one of the complainers I mentioned in the overview. I read a lot of complaints about the ship design. It was challenging for the first 24-38 hours but then we figured it out and would whip around the ship no problem. Because of the (absolutely stunning) Piazza, I believe, the central ship elevators only go to certain levels. You have to go to the back/front of the ship to reach all levels. This didn’t matter to us too much. But I don’t have a walker, so maybe this becomes more of a struggle. Our rooms were in between the 2 elevators as well so we had access to both and had very few issues. Again, the ship sparkles with new-ness and cleanliness. I feel like after this I would be disappointed with the older ships based solely on how much I loved the cleanliness of the ship. Nevertheless it was a spectacular experience. I know the whole safety drill at the beginning was mandatory, but I wish they just had a mandatory video you could watch in your cabin, I imagine it gets very tedious to attend those after a certain point. Especially dragging the floaties around and all the halls being clogged with people. I don’t know. I wasn’t a fan. I imagine that isn’t in their control though and it’s important for those of us who are first time cruisers, but if you think I remembered anything other than “Life vest good, drowning bad, no elevators” after it was over, you’re kidding yourself. Activities Holy. Hooooly. This topic excites me all over again. Can I just tell you the fact that they host gameshows you get to be a part of made my life? My maid of honour, best man and myself won the Disney trivia session against someone who works for Disney and it’s one of the top 5 highlights of my cruise that I insist on telling everyone. I’m SO disappointed that the newlyweds gameshow coincided with our lobster night dinner (we picked the late shift) and I had to miss it. SO SAD. We will go back on an anniversary just so I can do that. They had everything. Everything. The groomsmen did steel drum lessons, my maid of honour and I did Zumba, we all enjoyed Movies under the stars where they BRING YOU COOKIES, MILK AND POPCORN WHAT? We missed all the big shows they on the second last day to opt for packing assuming the last day would be a big hurrah. We chose wrong. That’s my biggest regret, wasting the second last day on packing. I think the one strange thing I found is how everything absolutely shuts down at 10:30-11pm. The ship is dead. I’m a night owl so this wasn’t my favourite. There is only the little deli thing open for food (I don’t like sandwiches but of course these were magical delicious sandwiches so I can’t complain too much) and there were maybe 5 non-staffers awake aside from us. We learned to go to bed early. Honestly, if you’re a morning person it’s really not bad at all. I learned to be a morning person and I didn’t even mind. Next time I would bring a boardgame with us, though, for a late night activity. Service I really don’t have much to say on this other than it was what I imagine heaven is like. I could explain in details how amazing it was, but it would be superfluous. Just assume every service imaginable was perfect and you will be correct. But when they threaten all the employees by taking away their days off if they get any complaints at all against them, you can imagine that’s effective in ensuring exemplary service. Human rights issue? Possible, but I’ll figure that out when I’m not on vacation. But please consider what you are doing before you complain. Give the service employees a chance to correct anything you don’t like, it’s only fair. I watched a lady reduce the kitchen staff to tears because she had to build her own eggs benedict. I wish the service staff could rate the customers back and if you get enough dings, you aren’t able to go on that cruise line anymore. Cest la vie. Port & shore excursions First stop was princess Cays. I know a lot of people complain. This island is prettymuch consumerism made into a beach. But I truly don’t mind and absolutely loved it. The beach is stunning, the beach toys are very nifty and the people are super helpful and friendly. I got most of my souvenirs here, put them on my room card, and enjoyed the beach. They have big black butterflies on the island in January. They look like bats when they’re flying at you. If you scream and hide under a table for fear of rabies, people will laugh at you for the rest of the cruise. Everyone on the cruise knew me as either “The bride we saw on the first day” or “That girl who is terrified of butterflies” that’s all I’m going to say about that! Haha. Next stop St. Thomas. Uhm. Well. I don’t know. I wish I had stayed on the boat or just gone to the beach. I will probably stay on the boat because it’s so spectacular next time. The shopping areas are all grocery stores, the alcohol is the same price it is in Canada and the people are extremely rude. I had a lady tell me to get out of her store because I was too fat. (I mean, I’m not small but I’m not like 300lbs or something. Not that that is an excuse to throw someone out of your store). I went back to the boat after that pretty dejected and rather upset. Should have stuck to the beach. Oh well. Half of our cruisemates went to Black Beards Castle. I guess it’s not very castle, but not bad. They enjoyed it. It says you must be able to do 100 steps but they aren’t 100 steps at once, just over a period of a few hours. This would be an island I would suggest booking an excursion beforehand. They all filled up fast. The zipline wasn’t even available the first day aboard the ship. We saved the best for last with St. Martin. I don’t have words. It’s what I imagine heaven being. I still remember waking up in the morning, pulling open the blinds and seeing billions of these white butterflies flying over the crystal blue water. I’m not a romantic kind of person but staring at it actually made me tear up from the beauty of it. I would so very happily come here again. We took a cab tour of the island down to the airplane beach. We had a funny cab driver who gave us interesting details about the island and just enjoyed the ride. All of the people we met were much friendlier than St. Thomas and much less pushy. The island was beautiful. We ate jerk chicken for lunch. It was all and all a wonderful day. I wanted to mention Fort Lauderdale as well. There is a little known bar called the Pirate Republic. You can either take a water taxi or a regular taxi to it. It has the most amazing food and service you will find. I can’t say enough about this place. Mojitos for everyone!! Travel to embarkation Port I’m not sure what this is? We stayed at the Hyatt 66 and had the concierge book us a shuttle for the entire wedding party. The men were at the Pelican and they did the same. Cabin Posted below. Dining I think this is a dangerous category because I could go on for years about how amazing the food was. I’ve been to high end restaurants that weren’t as tasty. Their ability to put out perfect dishes both timely and consistently across the board is amazing. The most spectacular things we had were: The prawns on the first day. It was in a wine butter sauce and cooked til it was still translucent in the center. I imagine it was butter poached. It was, bar none, the best thing I ate. The escargot comes in at a close second. That was almost all we ate that night. This is followed closely by the nightly crème brulee. Our waiter would just bring me two and send 2 to me room because he knew. It was going to happen. I loved him too, haha. The fourth item was the breakfast bacon. Every single piece was crispy perfection. I can’t. I won’t. I am unable to use words to describe the perfection. And my final favourite is a tie between the lunch taco bar which I had every day and the tomato, mozzarella, basil bun panini they had available at the piazza. The only disappointment I had was the lobster. Shockingly, since this is my favourite food. It was overcooked, they only gave you the tail, you had to order red meat with it and it was maine lobster rather than the warm water spiney tail lobster I was looking forward to trying for the first time? I found that very, very strange. Overall, though, it was beyond superb. We never went to one of the cover charge restaurants because we didn’t need to. I would pick day 4 next time to try it out. That was the most lacklustre meal for me, it was a late shore day, but my parents refused to come and we wanted to have dinner with them so dining hall it is! I also tried to get us seats for the chef’s table but I never got a call back and have no idea what happened there. I still don’t know how to make that happen. Disembarkation Well. All the glory of the wedding embarkation was taken from us in disembarkation and we had to stand in line with the peons. I learned an extremely valuable lesson. Don’t bring dufflebags. Bring roller luggage. What a nightmare dragging the giant duffle bag and the big garment back containing my wedding dress everywhere. I went out and purchased spinner cases the next day. I don’t know, what can you expect? They have to get everyone off the ship. It was nice to have a chance to say goodbye to all the staff we met and enjoyed taking one last rip around the ship before leaving. Can’t complain, can’t congratulate. It was just a regular disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We looked forward with great anticipation to our cruise on the Royal. After all, we had chosen this cruise BECAUSE we wanted to experience the Royal. Our overall experience turned out to be an unenthusiastic 'Average" There is ... Read More
We looked forward with great anticipation to our cruise on the Royal. After all, we had chosen this cruise BECAUSE we wanted to experience the Royal. Our overall experience turned out to be an unenthusiastic 'Average" There is no doubt that the Royal is a beautiful ship, and because it is the first of 3 new generation ships for Princess. Of course, there are some things they wish they had done differently. The staff at the Meet and Greet even said this. There are the choke points in the design that slows traffic thru common areas. The 'not promenadable' Promenade Deck, the very small balconies, even in a Mini Suite, but these are not deficiencies that come close to ruining a cruise. The Crown Grill, with it's delicious food and exemplary service is situated next to a live music venue in the Wheelhouse Bar which can and does detract from the Crown Grill experience. As we read other critiques the one common concern by many is the clear evidence that most all lines are cutting corners on some basic service and food quality. This varies by line and ship, but these are the concerns that seem to leave a lasting bad taste the mouths of many cruisers and, it was these problems that lead us to conclude that we will not travel on the Royal again. They are : Food Quality in the MDR- Meals here are just not that good. The selections are not that inspiring, are often not prepared very well and were bland and predictable. Better than a basic Diner ... but really not much. We were disappointed with the quality and variety, and yearned for the meals we have had on prior Princess cruises. Service- The staff in the MDR really tried but Princess has cut staffing. Some wait staff looked harried and were plainly stretched to the limit. Frustrating for them, poor service many times, for the passengers. Careful....they may lose your bottle of wine! Common areas- Beautiful decor & Bar service was good, we found many of the International Cafe staff almost disinterested compared to previous cruises. Additionally Men's bathrooms were routinely littered with paper towels AND for the first time ever often had locker room odors. Additionally, we have always been greeted in dining areas with a cheerful crew member dispensing hand sanitizer or a conveniently located self service unit. NOT in the Royal, and especially in the Horizon Court. When I asked a crew member why were passengers not pro actively encouraged to 'cleanse', I was told that after a day or two, this was not done since 'they should know by now'. This is a potential sickness nightmare waiting to happen, all because it seems that Princess is skimping on payroll. I observed at least 1/2 the passengers entering did not use sanitizers. Our cabin service was very good and our cabin was always impeccably clean by Emma. The entertainment was good, with Cory Simon being the entertainment highlight of the cruise. In room entertainment is much improved over older Princess vessels. To conclude, we enjoyed our cruise BUT we were disappointed with the ship primarily because of the cost cutting by Princess. We can hope that the HUGE savings being enjoyed because of fuel cost savings may be plowed back into the Princess experience on the Royal. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Very pretty ship. Balcony cabins are smaller compared to older Pricess ships. Food was good . Not too much as far as entertainment. Did not like nightly shows . Too loud. Good service aall around. Embarkation went smoothly after got ... Read More
Very pretty ship. Balcony cabins are smaller compared to older Pricess ships. Food was good . Not too much as far as entertainment. Did not like nightly shows . Too loud. Good service aall around. Embarkation went smoothly after got wheel chair for friend travreling with me.Not too many children on board as school had started again right after the holidays.May go again but different itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Coral Princess in the Caribbean----The Good, Bad and the Ugly. Really like the layout of this ship and enjoyed the cruise with one big first time noticeable exception, which I hated to see since we are close to achieving 600 days of ... Read More
Coral Princess in the Caribbean----The Good, Bad and the Ugly. Really like the layout of this ship and enjoyed the cruise with one big first time noticeable exception, which I hated to see since we are close to achieving 600 days of sailing. VERY GOOD: ---We found the Coral Princess to be a vessel I really like, particularly the decor throughout most of the public space and lounges, sea and marine pictures everywhere, dark rich oak beams and molding backed up with lighter backgrounds. I'm tired of pastels and nonsensical modern art hung everywhere on ships. Excellent lounges, lots of room with rich furniture where peace and quiet is found, which makes it a simple enjoyment just to sit and relax in one. Also, super is the abundance of getaway nooks and crannies throughout the ship. The passenger to space ration is great but actually is even better than the numbers suggest. Nice to have some elbow room for a change, for instance the three elevator and stair towers were not ever crowded, even during the first boarding day. Contrast this to the new Royal Princess, where the stairway towers were claustrophobic with consistently long elevator waits; for instance a midship public stair case is non existent. Maybe Princess should begin having the French build and design their ships (Coral) rather than Italians (Royal). Like the good old days of yore, the Coral has a complete wrap around teak promenade deck, fairly wide in many stretches where old fashion reclining deck chairs are provided. The two level Lotus Spar area is great at no extra charge, two well heated hot tubs by the pool and lots of quiet areas above and below, to read and relax in. GOOD: ---The specialty restaurants, particularly Sabatini's, but also the Bayou Cafe and its special "Crab Shack" luncheon were exquisite. Meals in these venues, which you pay extra for, represent top of the line gourmet dining. Well staffed by knowledgeable and friendly personnel and your dining experience takes place in a wonderful, quiet, well decorated environment. Unfortunately, the main dining room(s), are not so good, stink. ---Ample public hot tubs, five in all, the three by the main pool though were usually a little on the cool side and occasionally youngsters using them as swimming pools was not good. ---We had a mini-suite, nice decor and fairly large balcony on deck nine. Our cabin attendant was pretty good and very amenable and friendly even though he was probably burden by way too many cabins to service which often does not translate into fine personal service. Complimentary laundry service was excellent. ---Staff, for the most part were very friendly all over the ship and tried to help, whatever the need or problem. Unfortunately, some areas like in the main dining room, were grossly understaffed. ---Horizon Court, the main buffet area had adequate seating, unlike on the new larger ships, Regal and Royal. Food was mediocre but the friendly and helpful staff partially made up for lack of exceptional quality food. In this case the buffet did not appear to be understaffed, so, in all, it made for a worthwhile dining experience. In fact, out of frustration we abandoned using the Main Dining Room and chose this venue for dinner instead whenever we decided not to eat in the specialty restaurants. ---TV--Nice to have MSNBC and BBS and not just FOX News--One of the things we like about Princess they understand not all guests are cut out of the same political persuasion cloth. ---Internet and library--Very fast and ample bandwidth and easy to use, staffed by an internet guy who knows his stuff. Wish the rates were lower but then, not all that bad if you are an elite like we are as you get some free time plus a good deal on more time if you buy it the first day or so. Library is very large for the size of ship, perfect layout for an exploration type voyaging ship. ---Interdenominational Church Services---Two Sunday services on sea days this voyage. Really enjoyed both, thanks so much for the opportunity to fellowship, Princess. ---Enrichment lectures---One of the things I like best about cruising is the theme lecturers the three lines we frequent usually have on board. Princess used to be super great at this, slipping a little though as of late. During this cruise they had---Dr. Dean Papavassiliou, an historical expert on the Caribbean as well as the famous Pacific navigators, his presentations brought on an impressive crowd. But the only other lecturer they had was a half retired airline captain---Captain Ted McCourt---His subject was not anywhere close to the theme of the voyage, so why was he there? Perhaps because everybody, almost, had to fly to get to or from the ship, so maybe it was an okay subject for some, attendance indicated few were interested though. For me, I was born and raised and made my career in the airplane game, so I found his lectures of interest. His creditability could be challenged from time to time due factual errors, but then subjects this complex are very hard to make a delivery on without making mistakes here and there. Other than that, I learned a bit, would dearly have loved to hear a rebuttal though to some of his points as they were certainly argumentative. In short, his presentations were not ideally suited for the average cruiser booking this voyage. Only a few guests are airplane buffs, industry types and age old pilots like myself. Princess should have put on another cruise specific lecture, instead. ---Shore excursions--We booked a Princess excursion at every port. As usual for Princess, the guides and quality of excursion were top rate. Guides spoke well and were very knowledgeable about the subject they were task with, and coaches were top rated from a vehicle and driver standpoint. Only complaint is that I recall, at least I think I do, the day when Princess didn't pack the coach up to 100% full, which they came close to doing at each port and excursion on this cruise. BAD: ---Theater, okay for daytime lectures, I attended many in the theater, but that is it. For evening shows, count us out. No balcony but good steep stadium seating, unfortunately all isles have only two stairways so that those wanting to sit in the higher levels at mid-theatre had to tip-toe past up to 12 already seated if they were caught having to work into the middle of a row. First comers for the evening shows usually showed up very early, then they took the isle seats and were generally "very" reluctant to even standup in order to allow somebody else to occupy a vacant seat beyond them in the same isle. One nice feature was the little tables on each seat which pulled up, sort of like some first class airline seats do, don't know what they were there for though unless you brought your own drink, no service and hard to get to if there were waiters. All in all, for the big shows, the theater was terrible, we never did take in a top line performance due to this jumble, too bad as some shows were pretty good, we were told. ---Over the last 15 months we have been on 5 cruises counting this one, Regent, HAL, Princess, Regent, Princess, 115 sailing days. 5 captains. Coincidentally, on each voyage unique circumstances developed, such as man overboard one time, un-commanded turn on another requiring emergency reverse thrust and dropping the anchor to avoid hitting the beach, etc. The situation was somewhat the same on this voyage as a lady went missing for the better part of a day, the crew scoured the vessel, of course all passengers were aware due all the announcements asking her to call. Turned out she had been hiding. Anyway, except for this captain, the other four captains were exemplary in their efforts to familiarize the guests with all developments thusly reducing the anxiety factor, such as occurred in this instance which originated over concern for a fellow passenger. This captain was anything but a plethora of information. A day after the lady was found the ships grapevine made everybody aware she had not went overboard. On other occasions the captain would come on and attempt to explain what was going on with missed ports, etc. but most often one had to read between the lines in order to figure out what he wanted to say and what had happened. Very nice person if you meet him at a Captain's Circle event but he needs to do a lot of work on articulation and diplomacy. Perhaps, put him under the tutelage of the captain who commanded the Royal Princess in September 2014, for a stint. ---Princess has now completely adopted the business model of all the large mainstream cruise lines, we are witnessing what is either going to be the success or the degradation of this trend. From a profit motive standpoint it is likely to last. The concept leans toward building more and more very large vessels. The Royal Princess is 3.5 times the size of the Titanic and can hold 4610 passengers, the Coral, about 2000, to procure a vessel like these huge investment dollars are required. In order to fill up these ships most lines have adopted a policy of getting passengers on board for a very low initial fee. Then charging extra for just about everything except the basic stateroom and food served in the main dining rooms and the buffet areas, also there are pizzerias and hamburger grills with no extra charge. The ships function more or less like large floating resorts, with all sorts of premium type restaurants and other meal venues where additional payments are required, not to mention all the boutiques and other retail outlets trying to sell you something. By cutting down the size of, quality of, and service within the main dining rooms and other no extra charge areas, guests are more or less forcibly channeled into the nickel and dime game. UGLY: ----Up until this voyage the Main Dining Room (MDR) on Princess was still tolerable, this time though, either we experienced a fluke or cost cutting has caught up with Princess rendering their product in the MDR undesirable for us. We have never ran into a situation like this before even though the "hand writing was on the wall" that it was bound to come. In my opinion this results from understaffing of both service and kitchen personnel. Each time we tried to use the MDR we were told there was a 40 minute wait time. They gave us a pager, but on the three occasions we decided to carry on and eat in the MDR the wait was only 10-15 minutes, which was not a problem. We don't like traditional seating for a variety of reasons, one of which is we dislike being relegated to eating at either 5:30 PM or 7:45 PM., even if we secure a table for two. Normally nowadays we usually try to get there by 6:30 using anytime dining. Our principal problem(s) trying to eat dinner in the MDR was the lack of service and poor quality meals. For instance, there used to be a sommelier to take your wine order immediately after being seated, this practice gave way to no sommelier--instead, head waiters were given extra training in wine selection, then that gave way to what you have now, wine only if you are lucky enough to get someone's attention and forget about ordering a bottle to be carried over for the following evening, they will lose it for sure. You usually sit there waiting and watching a harried flurry of activity by the understaffed help forging a losing battle trying to keep up. Made dressing up in my tux on formal nights and trying to dine there a joke. So, in order to continue enjoying the cruise we made do, by booking dinner in one of the excellent specialty restaurants on board whenever we felt inclined to really enjoy dinner, if not, simply going up to the Horizon Court buffet. I have a theory that there will be a drift completely away from providing MDR service on the major cruise lines in the future. Instead cruisers will experience more of and larger specialty extra charge venues and expanded no extra charge buffet area service. We only use Princess, HAL and Regent. Regent being an all inclusive voyage, but ironically, the food and service in the specialty restaurants on HAL and Princess are much better than those on Regent which you can hardly ever get into due no extra charge. However, the MDR on Regent is far superior to those on HAL and Princess."   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Have just return from a Great Cruise , good facilities : except the shower was a bit on the small size, with excellent food and good ports of call . Big issues was that we felt concerned by the lack of Discipline of the passengers by the ... Read More
Have just return from a Great Cruise , good facilities : except the shower was a bit on the small size, with excellent food and good ports of call . Big issues was that we felt concerned by the lack of Discipline of the passengers by the crew. There was a split of 85% + of Americans who ignore the Dress Code and the placing of Sunbeds on deck. The cruise offers 2 x Formal nights the remainder being Smart Casual. Formal to some passengers was trouser, polo shirts and some in braces ??? Smart casual was shorts . The information that the cruise line give out about dress both prior to the cruise and in the daily news letter is very specific . I did question with reception about the dress code , they passed this on to the Maitre De who advised me by phone that it was impossible to observe this Dress code as some passengers would not follow the rule and it was impossible for him and the Restaurant Staff to do anything about this. Hard luck if you follow the directive then ..... Flying from UK with weight restrictions and taking Evening Suits was a waste of time . On deck Sunbeds were moved to any spot people chose regardless of whether they blocked walkways and door ways . So if any emergency was to happen and the crew admit they have no control of passengers who chose to ignore rules and common sense if you have to evacuate the ship your life could be in danger !!!!!!!! Much as we enjoyed the experience we WOULD NOT TRAVEL WITH PRINCESS CRUISES AGAIN. Sorry Princess our lives are to precious to take the risk . You need to sort out Crew Training and get ALL passengers to observe and follow the rules you have in place. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We figured right after new years wouldbe a great time to travel. The price was right and the weather back home was cold. Embarkation was so efficient. It took less than a half hour. (Debarkation took kust 15 minutes). Our room was a nice ... Read More
We figured right after new years wouldbe a great time to travel. The price was right and the weather back home was cold. Embarkation was so efficient. It took less than a half hour. (Debarkation took kust 15 minutes). Our room was a nice size and the balcony was fine for sittingoutsid and relaxing. We choose th early dinner and asked to be seated at a table of 8. Our dinner companions were extraordinary people. we were all so different but got along so well. we did some excursions together and watched some shows together. After the cruise I felt I made some new friends for lifei even played mah jongg with one of the woman, a friend from home and someone we met on board. The food for dinner was excellent and very ample portions. Our waiter was wonderful. we had lobster and steak in addition to other things. We had 2 great comedians on the ship and a great instrumentalist. The Princess singers and dancers were so energetic and they must have had close to 10 costume changes for each show. The Horizon Court was a fine buffet. They had smoked salmon for breakfast everyday and knowing how costly that is i was quite impressed. The ship was kept immaculate.. As far as the excursions. We were disappointed because we couldn't get into Costa rica do to the rough seas.but Aruba,Panama, Cartegna and the Grand Cayman were worthwhile. I even swam with the stingrays Now for a few negatives... The outside pool was quite deep and not suitable for standing. i would have liked a bigger pool with a shallowend. The outside deck area was very cowded on at sea days. Also I was not impressed with the cruise director. she had very little personality and was not easily visible. we were on a New Zealand cruise last winter and the social director and his assistant were always walking around the shipi Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our first time on the Coral Princess for my husband and I and we were not disappointed. From the embarkation to our disembarkation, everything went smoothly. Our cabin steward, Ronald, was very attentive to our every need. We ... Read More
This was our first time on the Coral Princess for my husband and I and we were not disappointed. From the embarkation to our disembarkation, everything went smoothly. Our cabin steward, Ronald, was very attentive to our every need. We toured the Panama Canal, Aruba, Cartagena, and Grand Cayman. We were to go to Limon, Costa Rica but because of the high winds, we were not able to get into port and the crew had to quickly do another "sea day" for the passengers. We always choose "traditional" dining because we really enjoy meeting other people from around the world and sharing our stories. Our waiters, Denmark and Alex were wonderful and met our every need. The activities aboard on sea days were also a lot of fun. We enjoy trivia and met a lot of really nice people. We also went to the art auctions where they serve free champagne and you can win free artwork...which we did... I can't wait until our's arrives home. Of course we had to pay the $35 S&H., but for a seriolithograph of artist Anatole Krasnyansky, it was well worth it! The evening shows were awesome and so professional, from the dance productions to comics and magicians....every thing was great. Our shore excursions to the Panama Canal new site and bus tour of Cartagena were well worth the money. Princess once again did not disappoint us and we have already booked another cruise in Sept. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
A group of 12 sailed on the Coral Princess for a Panama Canal Partial Transit Cruise. This was our 8/9th Princess Cruise and first time on the Coral Princess. The ship is a beautiful vessel, just the right size, and we really liked the ... Read More
A group of 12 sailed on the Coral Princess for a Panama Canal Partial Transit Cruise. This was our 8/9th Princess Cruise and first time on the Coral Princess. The ship is a beautiful vessel, just the right size, and we really liked the layout, although there would be a couple of design changes I would make if in charge. Overall the cruise was great; we tend to stay with Princess for we like the relaxing atmosphere and the itineraries. We're easy going and don't expect/demand much other than a good time. As with any vacation, we wouldn't rate this cruise 100%, but the few flaws were minor in nature. We celebrated our 36th anniversary on this cruise and another couple with us celebrated their 43rd anniversary. We booked a full suite to celebrate the occasion, staying in the Tasmanian Suite, D703 on the Dolphin Deck. The suite was lovely and the service was superb. Our cabin steward Bambi did an outstanding job and met all our requirements. The balcony was good size, although we prefer the suites on the Aft of the ship. Positives: Ship, itinerary, specialty restaurants, Gym/Spa, bars, most entertainment. The 2/1 drink specials in the Wheelhouse for Happy Hour. Princess has implemented a great idea and I believe a money maker for them and a money saver for us cruisers. Negatives: Service in the MDR and the food offered wasn't up to par with previous Princess Cruises. Churchhill Cigar lounge; I enjoy a good cigar, but was disappointed with the layout and size. The lounge got pretty crowded with limited seating when they roped off smoking sections on deck due to high winds. International Café: Overall good service, but limited selections to choose from. Additionally, it's location right next to the casino make it quiet noisy to relax and enjoy conversation with the constant noise from slot machines in the background.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our 8th cruise with Princess and we could not have been more pleased ! The Coral Princess is a smaller ship from the other grand class cruisers in the fleet and it offers an intimate and wonderful feel to the cruise overall. The ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise with Princess and we could not have been more pleased ! The Coral Princess is a smaller ship from the other grand class cruisers in the fleet and it offers an intimate and wonderful feel to the cruise overall. The service was friendly and efficient and we were very impressed with how we were consistently greeted by all who we came in contact with. It is true that this is an older crowd (we are 61 years old) on an 11day cruise but we met some wonderful people who shared our enthusiasm for the trip. The food was the best I have ever experienced on a Princess cruise and it was not only tasty but the presentation as excellent as well. All areas of the ship were well attended to and cleanliness was evident throughout. The ports were great and the Panama Canal experience was an absolute must ! We got up at 5:30 AM to insure that we were on the front of the ship as we approached and we were not disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was a perfect cruise. Length was just the right amount of time. Days to relax, days in port! The cabin was typical Princess cabin and always enjoy the balcony! This ship is smaller to accommodate going through the Panama Canal and had ... Read More
This was a perfect cruise. Length was just the right amount of time. Days to relax, days in port! The cabin was typical Princess cabin and always enjoy the balcony! This ship is smaller to accommodate going through the Panama Canal and had a beautiful Atrium, special restaurants and entertainment venues. Much cozier ship. We really enjoyed the on board entertainment - shows were very good and comedian hilarious. Food was excellent in the dining room and the service outstanding. This staff is superior - from our cabin stewardess, our many waiters and waitresses and the bar staff. As always the pizza is fabulous and addictive! Beautiful to watch arrival into Cartegena on port side early in the morning. Columbia was amazing just wish we'd had more time in port (left at 1:30) and had to do the usual gem store visit but Old Town is fascinating and beautiful. If you go to Dungeons head to stalls 1-5, they have more local art. Be sure to be up early to watch approach into Panama Canal. Go to either floor 10 or 11 and through doors usually closed to staff only because you can go out on front deck of ship for an amazing view. This is an incredible experience and an amazing engineering feat! The tour we took where we went to the observation deck at the Canal gave an up close view and education. Tour was ok (boat ride on lake). but would probably have chosen to go on train or to Panama City. Our tour guide did recommend going to the grocery store where ship docked in Colon. Great coffee recommendation - Duran - and only $2.50! It's delicious and brought home lots for gifts. Enjoyed Costa Rica and took Airal Tram, great local lunch and excellent shop. Also great coffee - Brit - light roast but $11 here but so good!! Had a joyful ride down the Martha Brea and the best guide on our special river raft. Captains sell interesting gourds they carve and then they customize them for you (about $20).   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My husband and I traveled with two of our first time cruiser friends. Although we had two separate reservations, we had our reservation linked with theirs, so Princess put them in a cabin next door to us. This was a great surprise when we ... Read More
My husband and I traveled with two of our first time cruiser friends. Although we had two separate reservations, we had our reservation linked with theirs, so Princess put them in a cabin next door to us. This was a great surprise when we arrived. We arrived at the pier around 12 and were met by the most obnoxious and rude sheriff’s deputies. Being from NYC, we have some of the nicest police officers in the country so this came as a complete shock in a place like Florida. In hindsight I wish I had taken down the names so that I could list them here but unfortunately I did not think of it then. Suffice it to say it was a blond female deputy who felt that the world was her oyster since she was in uniform directing traffic. She proceeded to get nasty with my husband who looks like he’s in his early 20s at most. She must have thought he was our driver as he was dropping us off before going to drop off the car. She even ended by saying I can’t wait to see you on the I-95 one day! All he did was say ok, yes, sure to all her requests. She was shocked to hear me say serenity now, insanity later. :) But I digress…Just beware if you travel from Port Everglades. There weren’t many cars or people at the pier so we thought we were early. After spending time looking for another friend’s aunt who was meeting us to pick up something, we went to check in around 12:45. There were no lines! Needless to say we were shocked. Check-in went smooth and once we boarded, we were told our rooms were ready. On all prior cruises I’ve taken with any cruise line, rooms are not ready when you board. We were extremely happy. After dropping off our things, we headed to the buffet and caught up with my husband and other friend. The crew in general had a much more positive attitude and appearance. This was a bit of a surprise for us as we’d noticed that Princess crew normally do not say hi or pay attention to guests or smile much. We were pleasantly surprised. Little did we know what they had in store for us. The restaurant and buffet staff onboard the Coral could not do enough. Dining room hours were 5:15 PM - 10 PM which was unheard of. One night we arrived at dinner at 9:30 as we were busy with all kinds of entertainment on the ship. They had a different souffle most nights, same as the night in question. We ordered three but were told they’d take 25 minutes to make, although they’d make them for us. By this time it was well past 10 PM. We told them we will not keep them and will order something else. The waiter came back and let us know that the chef had apologized and said we will have our souffles the following night and to just let the maître d’ know. The following night when we arrived, we didn’t say anything, but before we ordered our desserts, the maître d’ came over, apologized and said we will have the souffles then. The waiter counted how many we wanted and sure enough we had souffles as well as the regular desserts that night. One night while watching a movie under the stars, my husband went looking for some potato chips for me in the buffet around 10. They went to deck 9 to get some from room service as they didn’t have any at the buffet. My husband did not even ask. It’s all the little things that made such a big difference! As with other Princess ships, there was food 24/7. Buffet was serving food 5 AM – 11 PM. The 24 hour international café had sandwiches and desserts for late night snacks which came handy on a few nights. The pizza was outstanding, desserts delectable, and lobster dinner delicious. There were two different ice cream and a sorbet every night. The buffet food was different than the dining room as is usually the case with Princess. Activities were plentiful, entertainment varied and excellent, art auction fun and entertaining. Movies under the stars were lovely and enjoyable, very relaxing in a beautiful setting. Activities consisted of games, dance classes, live music, lectures, port talks, photography classes, casino games, shopping events, bands, DJ dancing, Zumba, karaoke, and bingo all free plus some other paid activities. Susan Rawlings, our cruise director was the perfect hostess. She was charming, lovely, funny, caring, attentive, sweet, and fun. The cruise director staff were more involved in getting people going than I've noticed on other ships which was great. Aris was funny, lively, interesting, and fun; a great showman with a great personality. Melissa was sweet, fun and funny. Norman was a gracious host, helpful and fun. Klaus and Neville were hysterical together. Hilberto was attentive and accommodating. Max was funny and entertaining. Karim was sweet and accommodating. The food was exquisite, the variety outstanding. The extended hours from 5:15 to 10 allowed for much more flexibility with our anytime dining. The activities were continuous. Movies under the stars were a mixture of new and old in a perfect setting. We loved the opportunity to win things at different cruise games. Mardi Gras was a lot of fun following the dancers and musicians from the show to the atrium and dance with the dancers and crew. The shows were wonderful. Princess crew outdid themselves. There’s nothing I can say to express how wonderful this experience was. Nothing we asked was out of reach. Princess spoiled our first time cruiser friends for all other cruise lines. As for us, we have chosen our favorite cruise line! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We just got home from a wonderful 11 day Panama Canal Cruise on the Coral Princess. This was our 18th cruise and our 12th with Princess. We can't say enough about how much we enjoyed this trip. Princess has mastered the art of a ... Read More
We just got home from a wonderful 11 day Panama Canal Cruise on the Coral Princess. This was our 18th cruise and our 12th with Princess. We can't say enough about how much we enjoyed this trip. Princess has mastered the art of a speedy embarkation. From the time our cab dropped us off until we were walking onto the ship took 20 minutes. Our cabin steward, Noel, was there to greet us and found out our preferences. Great, frieindly service from him every day. Our cabin and balcony was always clean and we loved our bed! In fact, we are going to buy the same type of mattress for our bed at home. The linens were first class and so luxurious......almost hated to get out of bed in the morning. The entertainment was great every night, even when we went to the entertainers second show, it was always new material and top notch! The stops were all perfect. We had been on a Panama cruise before and enjoyed it immensely. Even though we had been to all the places before, we booked different excursions and had a ball! We highly recommend the Aerial ride to the top of the mountain in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We spent a few hours at the top, had lunch in the restaurant, used the waterslides and pool; the views were fantastic! What a relaxing day! We chose anytime dining for the first time. We found that even though they call it anytime dining, there are basically two seatings and you are all served appetizers, entrees, and desserts, etc. at the same time. Next time we will just stick with our Late Sitting Dining. The weather was perfect, the staff on this ship are by far the friendliest we have EVER encountered....always smiling and greeting everyone. It will be very hard to out-do this cruise experience but we are going to stick with Princess for all our future cruises. The only negative thing on this trip was that there were a a few hundred people from Quebec on the cruise. We are Canadians and thought that there would be a bit of comaradrie between us, but they made it very clear from the begininng that they wanted nothing to do with you unless you spoke French. We tried to converse numerous times, with different people, and even those that spoke English were completely antisocial. Oh well.....next time we won't even try! We highly recommend the Coral Princess! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
The Island Princess is a great ship to cruise the Panama Canal. We did a b2b in Jan.& Feb 2015 The food was excellent: The change in menu from a North American buffet to a Mexican variation was a nice touch. Entertainment: The ... Read More
The Island Princess is a great ship to cruise the Panama Canal. We did a b2b in Jan.& Feb 2015 The food was excellent: The change in menu from a North American buffet to a Mexican variation was a nice touch. Entertainment: The 'On the Bayou' show was outstanding to bad the Universal lounge is being removed along with other amenities it will not be thes same in the Princess Theatre. The lecture (Mike) was informative (ex. presentations on old t.v. shows, and 50's music) a nice change of pace. The Service, is what you expect from the Princess line, excellent. Our Stateroom attendant introduced himself and shared the cruise amenities when we were settling.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
The Caribbean Princess is an older ship and this is precisely why she is so amazing. I've never cruised before and one of the most important factors is finding one's way around a large floating city. From what I understand, newer ... Read More
The Caribbean Princess is an older ship and this is precisely why she is so amazing. I've never cruised before and one of the most important factors is finding one's way around a large floating city. From what I understand, newer ships are not as well appointed or marked. This ship is very well marked and we rarely got lost after the first day- the carpet on the port side of the ship (our side) had a red border (Starboard was blue) which really helped us find our way home. The staff was sincere and friendly, the activities and entertainment fun and thank goodness because we had horrible weather and rough seas. This is a really good ship for newbies. The spa is relaxing and offers many services, they are polite and capable, the food was great no matter where we ate (except on Princess Cays- the food was similar to wedding reception food.) Wine selection at the Vine bar excellent. Ask for Tatiana and Raoul! I wish we could have used our little balcony more, but the weather did not permit. I felt like the staff is all settled in and everything was easy and comfortable I loved it. I never felt like I had to "sit up too straight," although in the formal dining room, our waiter did put a napkin on my daughter's lap because she forgot. The maître de sang for us and it was all so crazy and wonderful. I wish our cruise was longer. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My wife and I are seasoned cruisers, platinum on Carnival several on Royal Caribbean. We are both over 50, but we still know how to have fun....was not to be had on this unimpressive ship. Oldest group of fellow passengers I have ever ... Read More
My wife and I are seasoned cruisers, platinum on Carnival several on Royal Caribbean. We are both over 50, but we still know how to have fun....was not to be had on this unimpressive ship. Oldest group of fellow passengers I have ever seen....most looking like they were hating life. Ship was boring, boring, boring. I felt bad for the handful of young people on the ship. Thank God we were with another fun loving couple who came with us on this cruise, so we still made our own fun and laughs....got plenty of dirty looks from the geezers because of it. I have long hair, got the evil eye from a lot of the oldsters. Food was mediocre in the buffet, have come to expect that on any ship anymore....dining room was better. Our balcony cabin had a storage closet that, I kid you not, reeked of urine, as if someone in the night missed the bathroom and just headed for the closet.....smell was never addressed by the cabin steward. We were near the back of the ship on Aloha deck, was quiet, little foot traffic, quite a bit of ship movement though. Entertainers tried to drum up some energy, but you could see by the look on their faces that it was futile. The only music poolside was an occasional DJ, who looked like he wanted to hang himself when he went on break. Embarkation was sloooooow. We had to sit in a large lobby until 12 noon. Getting off was WORSE! We were stuck sitting in the closed casino from 8 a.m. until almost NOON! Worst, most disorganized disembark I have ever witnessed. Even after exiting the ship, we got stuck in another long, winding line to exit customs. ALL my other cruises we have just walked off the boat, showed our passports, and done. This was a certified mess....the port of Fort Lauderdale in and of itself is awful. Chaos. By the time we found the shuttle to get back to the car, it was after 2 pm when we got out of there.....then had to drive 4 hours home. Sucked. We got a very good deal on the price of this cruise, the only saving grace. Going back to Royal Caribbean....sorry we strayed!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This cruise ship, as reported here, is truly for the elderly and they cater to that crowd. We are older, but we are not dead. We decided to go because of the price of the balcony $199.00 and the $250. OBC. We have been on nearly 20 cruises ... Read More
This cruise ship, as reported here, is truly for the elderly and they cater to that crowd. We are older, but we are not dead. We decided to go because of the price of the balcony $199.00 and the $250. OBC. We have been on nearly 20 cruises and this was an opportunity to try another cruise line so we did. YYAAAWWWNN. The crew tried to do activities, but no one wanted to play the poolside games so most were cancelled. The passengers are elderly and RUDE, disorderly and cantankerous. and YES, they acted very entitled as stated. We were on THEIR ship and they would let you know...lol. there was one very loud couple on the ship which I gravitated towards because they had signs of life and I wanted to suck it out of them...lol. But, the prudes on the ship looked at these people like they were trash, where I just saw a couple trying to have a good time. FUN NOT PERMITTED on the caribbean princess..lol!!! The staff is very indifferent. That Natasha in the dining room is a real treat....NOT!!! She should not be anywhere near passengers. Fernando from mexico in the buffet and Paul from romania in the Crown Grill were really nice. The food was so bad at dining I wish we had used all of our ship credit and just eaten at the crown. The food was a little better but Paul made up for all the days and nights of bad indifferent staff. The little latin guy at the front desk was so nasty and a sarcastic POS. The staff only spoke to who they wanted to speak to. once they spoke to the people in front of us and behind us, but not to us even though I gave eye contact and smiled. she just looked on past and said hi to the people in line next....wow! Before each show in the theater the CD would take the time to sell something and take up more time than was necessary after ALL the shows started late in the first place. It's like now that we have you trapped let us sell you something. The shows were a comedian who was bad the first night and not as bad the second night, but bad all the same...lol. The magic show.....well. There was only one dance and singing show on the last night. we skipped it and went to bed because we were just ready to get the cruise over with and go home already...lol. Don't get me wrong the ship is GREAT for senior citizens. This cruise product is truly for them and we can't complain about that. But, the staff could change their attitudes, but old people are old people. what can you do about that? They had the sanctuary for an upcharge that no one used to relax in....why? the whole ship is a sanctuary...zzzzzz...lol. This ship was so dull, even the souvenirs were boring. We had a hell of a time spending that 250 OBC...lol nothing to buy and the store was waaayyy over priced. The alcohol was priced right, but how much of that do you need? Princess Cay had nice band, but once again no one danced or paid attention to them. The DJ in the skywalker was really bad. He had the nerve to play that same boring playlist poolside...why? If we scattered off the floor in the disco, what made him think we wanted to hear it poolside. The main band seemed like they had a lot in them, but had to hold back on account of the crowd they had to cater to...too bad I think they had a lot to offer. We made the mistake of buying buckets of beer the first two days. Don't do that, just go to the wheelhouse (3pm) and skywalkers(11pm) everyday and partake in the 2-for 1 deals and you'll come out waaayy better. we had a balcony on the aloha. rooms was small. I asked for a robe at time of booking and got it essentially on the 3rd day. room service was stale if you could get through on the phone. when I got through, they acted like I had just disturbed them. The bartenders are the same way. I think they are rude because they know they will get tipped either way. Even if no one was in line they still would not acknowledge you same at the crown grill when I went to make reservations, they did not look up. same in the shops. the international cafe was terrible with bad service. they never spoke one word you just say what you want they get it and look over your head to the next person as they serve you. If I had been paying gratuity with anything other than the ship credit I definitely would have been in line with the elderly changing my gratuity rates...lol. over all, it was worth seeing that I don't EVER want to cruise Princess again. I'm glad I saw it at this rate. Any other rate would have irked me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: I am a “mature”, adventurous solo traveler. I’ve cruised 43 times on many different cruise lines, but the majority of my cruise experiences have been on Princess. I saw a bargain for the four-night ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: I am a “mature”, adventurous solo traveler. I’ve cruised 43 times on many different cruise lines, but the majority of my cruise experiences have been on Princess. I saw a bargain for the four-night “getaway” cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Princess’ private island in the Bahamas and booked the cruise. January in New England deserves a “getaway” when possible. TRAVEL TO EMBARKATION: I used Amtrak in the Northeast for half the trip, and flew to Ft. Lauderdale for the southern half of the trip. Both experiences were excellent. Local friends provided cheerful transportation to the cruise pier for me HOTEL: I stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton, very close to the cruise terminal, airport, and Amtrak station. Outstanding, incredible service and suite. Warm, friendly staff, good food, probably better than the cruise at times. SHIP INFORMATION: The “Caribbean Princess” is a large multi-deck cruise ship which has been in service for quite some time now, and unfortunately looks it as far as the interior of the ship. It badly needs an update to refresh dated color schemes, replace tired soft goods, clean or replace bathroom floors, fix nicked and chipped furniture. The crew apparently loves it, however, as I saw many familiar faces at all levels of the crew staffing from other cruises, and they recognized me as well. There is a huge representation of many nations among the crew, and I envy their multilingual ability. Many are quite young, and some could use a bit of extra polish when it comes to dealing with older experienced cruise guests. Outwardly, the ship appeared to be in good repair – paint was fresh, decks in great shape and clean, and no signs of rust or wear and tear visible. ACTIVITIES: Onboard activities featured the usual mix of “infomercial” sessions selling everything from tooth whitening to acupuncture – anything to make more money for the cruise line – and on to the art auctions, another money-making attempt. In keeping with the warm-water itinerary cruise, there were the usual pool and outdoor deck activities day and night – some sinking to the level of the Carnival party-animal cruisers. All the fitness activities, such as walking, yoga, workouts, seemed to be far too early in the morning. Princess seems to equate physical fitness with getting up at dawn – totally ridiculous when one considers the available evening and late-night activities most people enjoy on cruises. Zumba was offered on the two sea days, to the delight of a huge crowd of enthusiastic dancers – far too many for the small lounge area we were crammed into. The second session was held on the open deck area near the main pool, again a huge crowd, and those in the shade were fine – but those of us in the front in the sun really got an extra workout. The “audience” around the pool loved the show, and it was great fun in the fresh salt air – just a bit warm and humid. I did not go on the cruise for the activities, other than being a Zumba fan, but honestly did not see much that would enrich people or create much interest unless one enjoys hearing about what the ship has for sale. The main “activities” seemed to truly be sitting in the sun, enjoying the tropical sunshine and pools, walking around the outer decks in the fresh air, gambling, drinking, and eating. There were some group dance classes as well. Princess is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and there was quite a party in the Piazza one night at sea. The very amiable and well-spoken captain made a speech, and there was a balloon drop, followed by some wonderful lively dance music – the smallish Piazza floor space was packed, with people dancing everywhere, and observers lining the staircases and railings from decks above. A live orchestra played some marvelous Big Band style music in the evenings, and many couples enjoyed dancing to this. Unfortunately for solo women travelers, there are no “gentlemen hosts” aboard to dance with. There are several shops on board, with the typical assortment of cruise clothing, souvenirs, sundries, duty-free goods. A new jewelry store has opened, and there were also other luxury goods for sale, such as watches and more jewelry, in other small shops. A large shop sold perfume and cosmetics, and just walking through the shop was wonderful for the delicate fragrance. I have often wished somebody would create a perfume and name it “Cruise Ship”, as the perfume shop is divine in that aspect, as is the overall aroma found on ships at sea. Social groups also had their meetings scheduled daily, and bridge players found their cards and tables easily. In this current age of technology, a huge number of people seemed engrossed in their cell phones, IPads, laptops, and provided their own activity and entertainment the entire cruise in this manner. I especially enjoyed the backstage tour, offered on a sea day afternoon, hosted by some of the dancers and entertainment staff. The tour included being on the stage, seeing the sets, how the lighting worked, what the dancers see from the stage, and backstage in the dressing rooms with their intricate costume storage system. Overall, there was something for everybody – you could participate nearly 24 hours a day in some type of activity, or just enjoy the cruise at your own pace and relax with a good book, conversation, balcony wave-watching, or book a future cruise. This was an unexpected social activity, as many people enjoy getting the on-board booking discounts and “deals”. There is a small waiting area for the future cruise consultant, with brochures and videos about the cruises – but most people seemed to enjoy comparing notes about their travels, talking about cruising, and having some great social interactions while waiting. The average wait time, I’ve noticed, was at least 30 minutes for the very competent and friendly agent, but nobody cared about the time since we could all visit to pass the time. For those belonging to the repeat-cruiser’s Captain’s Circle program, there were special cocktail parties and gatherings as well, depending on the level held within the program – something every night. If all this wasn’t enough, there was a lecture about the ports. Most shipboard lectures or informational programming repeated on the cabin TV, which was very convenient and provided even more entertainment if one required it. Good selection of programming on the TV, which seemed to have better than average reception at sea. Internet was available, and seemed far faster this cruise than ever before. Maybe it was the close proximity to land, but the system runs via satellite. Perhaps Princess has updated its internet hardware. SERVICE: My cabin steward, Shekhar, is among the top two best stewards I’ve ever had in all my cruises. Flawless, prompt, cheerful, efficient service no matter what I needed or what the hour – he always seemed to be right outside in the corridor, smiling and asking if he could be of service. Wish the cruise line could clone Shekhar, or make him director of training. Guest services staff did a fine job most of the time, and the shop staff were also courteous and very helpful. I speak several languages, and enjoyed conversing with them in their native language as much as possible – good practice for me! One very kind young woman found the T-shirt I wanted in my requested size after a day of searching, very graciously. Spa staff were nice, but seemed burned out. I had a simple manicure, but it was not the best quality. Great instructor for the Zumba class, however, very nice and enthusiastic. Service in the dining room and buffet varied – some staff were wonderful, and others needed more training or vacation from burnout. Dining room service at my table at least was friendly and efficient, but very slow. Every cruise I take, it seems there is less staff in the dining room, and thus the slow service. Some of the buffet restaurant waiters appeared to be in a coma early in the morning, and just stood and stared out the windows. Helpful and friendly photography staff, far above the usual. PORT AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: I did not take any of the shore excursions offered, having planned to just enjoy the beach on my own. However, there were a lot of different options as far as local tours, rental of water sports and beach equipment, and land-based tours of Ft. Lauderdale pre- and post-cruise. Ft. Lauderdale, as a port, looked much like any other coastal Florida seaport or beach resort city. It was big, with traffic, and had its high-end stores as well as ordinary citizen areas. Nice airport, and nothing seemed to be all that distant as far as arriving or departing by train or plane or car. The one beach I visited briefly in Ft. Lauderdale was gorgeous. Enormous cruise terminal complex, with good security and information signs to guide arriving guests to the right ship and pier area. Princess Cays was a lovely, almost sanitized private beach resort with everything to make visitors happy and comfortable. There was a craft market, beach buffet with BBQ, water sport equipment rentals, plenty of swimming beaches with clean sand, gorgeous views, enough room for everybody, shady small clamshell sunshade shelters to rent, and every other amenity to make a day on a tropical beach pure paradise. The only minor downside was the huge ship needing to anchor about a 10 minute tender ride offshore, but the tenders ran constantly and nobody complained. The ride on the open top deck of the tender (actually the lifeboats) was as much fun as anything else offered that day. Lifeguards were on duty at the swimming beaches, and there were plenty of palm trees and other native shrubbery to offer shade from the hot tropical sun. The ocean water was incredible shades of blue, and very clean - very popular with those snorkeling in the 80+ degree water. EMBARKATION: I arrived after the first huge mob was processed, perhaps an hour after boarding began, and my luggage was cheerfully collected when I was dropped off by friends. With my top level Captain’s Circle membership, I went to the expedited check-in lane, and was courteously processed and on the ship in about 10 minutes, with almost no waiting at all. My luggage arrived at my cabin in about 30 minutes. This port has the staffing and facilities for today’s huge ships, and the boarding process is carried out in air-conditioned comfort and efficient technique. The usual ship’s photographers have their photo opportunity on the way into the ship, which one can either use or not as they choose. Staff on the ship were plentiful to guide arriving guests to elevators, stairs, or wherever they want to go once on board. It is a bit of a hike up the long gangway to enter the ship. CABIN: I had a regular balcony cabin, midship location, and midway up the ship. The only minor glitch with the cabin was the balcony having only half a “roof” – the deck above came out halfway over my balcony space, and I prefer a full covering. Not a problem, as there was good weather and some shade at all times. Book above Caribe deck level if you want full covering over your balcony. The first two balcony decks on this ship feature stepped-out balconies, and they do not have full overhead coverage. I had the twin beds linked to form a king, which was extremely comfortable, with nice bed linens. Only the pillows seemed a bit tired and I personally don’t like feather pillows. The two fiber-filled pillows were definitely needing replacement, but adequate. The cabin was clean, except for the grout in the bathroom tile floor appearing a bit dark and soiled. Towels were clean, but nearly threadbare and very scratchy. Shower gel and shampoo are in neat dispensers in the small shower. Top-level loyalty club members receive extra bath and toiletry amenities. Lots of places to store things in drawers and shelves. There is a safe in the closet area, and plenty of decent wooden hangers in the open closet. Small upholstered chair, vanity/desk and mirror with a desk chair, mini-fridge, shelves above that, flat-screen TV of good size. The balcony had two nice adjustable lounge chairs with small ottomans, and a table. Huge balcony. Very quiet at night in this particular cabin area, thankfully. It was a comfortable, quiet retreat the entire cruise. Not far down the corridor was a convenient guest laundry facility. Princess updated to a card-swipe payment system (copper tokens dispensed by the machine and inserted into washer or dryer) in the laundry rooms – it’s $3.00 US per wash or dry, charged to your cabin account, and laundry products are also available for several dollars. Used to be $2. The new system saves time by not having the guest hike down to the guest service desk to get quarters to feed the washers and dryers, and is far more convenient – just 30% more expensive. Top-level loyalty program guests have free laundry service, but this doesn’t always work with things like underwear or delicate items. Bring your own powdered detergent in baggies, as well as dryer sheets, and save some money in the guest laundry. Cabin stewards park their linen and service carts in the hallways outside the cabins seemingly 24 hours per day, so perhaps there is no other place to put the carts. This makes navigating the narrow hallways a challenge for those on scooters, with walkers, or with wheelchairs. Two people walking cannot pass each other side by side due to the narrow corridors filled with the service carts. Large wire cage-type linen storage units are also parked at the top of the stairways on many decks, which further obstructs walking and through traffic, at various times of the day. I did not like to see open carts with clean linens this close to a lot of people who walked by coughing and sneezing on the uncovered clean linens. I have mentioned this to Princess numerous times from other cruises, but the same thing happens repeatedly on every cruise. DINING: The “premium dining” restaurants on board serve food that used to be standard on cruises 25 years ago. Buffet food is definitely a variety with something for all tastes. I saw some gluten-free and sugar free items, more than the last cruise. I did not use room service this cruise, the premium restaurants, or bar service or wine at dinner, so can’t comment on those. Buffet Dining: I was usually one of the very first in the buffet early in the morning for breakfast. The only problem I repeatedly encountered was lukewarm to cold “hot” items, as well as the pastries, which were left out uncovered far too long, and they dried out and became stale and hard as rocks. There was usually a wait for waffles. These are ongoing problems with Princess buffets for years now. The breakfast items did not vary much from day to day, but there is quite a variety, and nobody left hungry from what I could see. Lunch had its own huge variety, with themes at times, and there are the usual American, Asian, Indian food items available. Again, many of the hot items were not at the right temperature, and were cold or lukewarm. There are no trays, just a medium-sized oval plastic plate, smaller desert-sized plates, small bowls, and all the food you want has to somehow fit on or into these containers as you work through the food lines. It can be messy and a challenge to balance this, especially in rough seas. Waiters will help those requesting it, however. The plates and bowls available at all meals either seemed to be too hot to touch, or wet or both. One breakfast buffet line had a stack of filthy bowls with dried and baked-on egg yolks in the bowls, as well as other dried-on food bits. I showed this to the head waiter and he was horrified and quickly removed the stack of bowls. I did not use the buffet for dinner this cruise, but in the past there have been a lot of different items available and it is a good option for those wishing to get their food faster and have more choices at times, as well as not needing to dress up on formal nights. Dining Room: I had the traditional dining, table for six, at 5:30 PM in the Coral Dining Room. It is a nice big dining room, with twinkling lights in the ceiling, and big windows. It is also extremely noisy, and one has to almost shout to converse with those at the table. Good waiter and helper, who both were very overworked due to obvious cuts in dining room staffing, and this made the service slower than it should have been. I know the waiters have to give their little speech about what they recommend for dinner, but I find it annoying and unhelpful most of the time. The menu options are reduced from past cruises – or perhaps just cut back due to the short length of this cruise. I was very disappointed in the offerings, as much of it was “comfort food” or “home cooking”. I can get spaghetti, meat loaf, roast turkey, fried chicken, salads, and ice cream at home. When I cruise, I want something new, elegant, or just plain nice – not ordinary! However, this is not a premium cruise line, and they are obviously trying to save money. The dining room is not the place to cut costs, however. There were more “available every night” type items, such as the fried chicken, than creative or “gourmet” selections. It seemed that every meal was loaded with red and green peppers as some kind of filler. The food portions were large, and presented very nicely, and served at the proper temperature. Soups were very good. This cruise featured some sort of chocolate theme, and some of the deserts were marvelous. There was the usual selection of main course from all the food groups – meat, poultry, pasta, fish, vegetarian, but no lobster the entire cruise. Some of the appetizers were peculiar mixtures of what appeared to be leftovers. The usual beverage selection was available, plus alcoholic beverages for purchase. The same dish of bread and rolls appeared every night, with no variety. Overall, I would describe the food as what one could get in a nice big-city chain restaurant, but very far removed from the true Continental cuisine served on this cruise line many years ago. Since Carnival obtained the Princess brand, the overall quality of everything has gone down, and this is especially noticed in the onboard cuisine. The last night of the cruise, the usual baked Alaska parade took place, an event I wish Princess would stop. It takes the waiters away from their serving, and thus makes people captive at the table when they would prefer to leave for the shows. The music is tinny, blasting and blaring in volume to the point that it is painful to hear, and completely obliterates any chance at speech. The baked Alaska is overdone, with melting ice cream, if anybody really wants it. It is a cheap, noisy spectacle which ruins the meal for me, and I feel sorry for the waiters who are trying to get their tables served and are already behind due to less staff. On top of this, the maitre’d seemed inspired and compelled to make a long, boring speech about the “excellent” food and service, and then one of the lounge singers showed up and sang at least four songs, keeping us trapped for another 20 minutes and missing the show. Some people did get up and leave, including me, as we are free to do, but it wasn’t my idea of a quality dining experience. The last night of the cruise usually finds people depressed about the end of the trip, and needing to pack, or wanting to cram a bit more fun into the last hours on the ship, and being deafened and trapped in the dining room after a mediocre meal sure doesn’t help the situation. ENTERTAINMENT: Considering the majority of the cruisers were probably late 20s to 40s, the music and entertainment were appropriate for them. I have seen all the production shows on other Princess cruises, and was surprised that they did not change over the past few years. The shows are noisy, with extremely high volume loud rock music in most cases, and full of dizzying strobe lights which flash through the audience at times. Good costumes and dancing, but perhaps I’ve just outgrown the 20-something rock scene in middle age. Clever use of projected graphics, shapes, colors, lights, and other theatrical techniques in the theater. The lead singer in the production shows sings several notes off-key, and has a forced, terrible vocal technique. I heard her on the “Ocean Princess” last year, and she has gotten even worse. Good dancers, but some are a bit stocky for a show dancers and look heavy when they dance. There were other acts with magicians and comedians, but I do not enjoy this type of entertainment and did not go to the shows. The lounge singers were very good. I can’t stay up late enough to go to the late-evening music and dance and other entertainment, but from what I heard from others, it was lively and good. The whole cruise had a Caribbean, tropical, party flavor to it, but it had somewhat of a forced cheerfulness to it. The younger cruisers got right into the spirit of it all, but some of us who are middle-aged did not enjoy it as much. I went for the boat ride and food, and being close to the sea and going to the beach on the island, and that was plenty of entertainment for me, plus enjoying my balcony. One can either party until they drop or go to the other extreme and relax for the entire cruise – the choice is yours, and there is an activity level suitable for everybody. Movies under the stars on the enormous top deck outdoor screen kept movie fans happy. There is the Serenity adults-only retreat area on top of the ship for those who like quiet time and space. I don’t know what kids did, as I did not see many of them. The Piazza entertainment was “street entertainer” short acts, with far more audience than could easily see what was happening. I heard some of it, but it’s not my type of entertainment. There were also cooking and ice-carving demonstrations in the Piazza at various times. Some cruisers were perfectly content to find a seat someplace in or outside on the ship, and just read or worship their IT devices, or talk to other cruisers. DISEMBARKATION: The ship provided clear written instructions about what to do, when, and how to do it to get off the ship comfortably. If one did not like their assigned debarkation time, a simple request at the guest services desk took care of it. The convenient walk-off express departures were available as soon as the ship was cleared, assuming one could haul all their own bags. This can be requested any time during the cruise with a quick stop at the guest services desk, or a phone call from the cabin. I used this, and was off the ship in 5 minutes with the earliest group, and in a cab to the airport five minutes after that. It was perfect, efficient, and handled very well. SUMMARY: This cruise was a good four-night getaway, and very popular with both Floridians and those escaping the cold northern long winter. The prices were a deciding factor for me, and a real bargain, especially close to sailing date. It is not a luxury cruise, however, and the food and slightly tired shipboard environment definitely showed that. It is probably best for those who either are young or think and feel young, with a party and tropical atmosphere. Princess has mercifully cut back on the loud and intrusive announcements during the day and early evening for various activities (most of which are aimed at making money for the cruise line). Unfortunately, every announcement by every crew member seemed to contain the word “excellent”, an apparent effort to brainwash guests into giving the cruise experience a top rating. It does not fool me after 23 cruises with Princess. This particular cruise was blessed with calm seas, sunshine and blue skies, which made being outdoors in the tropical balmy climate a pleasure. Lots of people enjoyed their balconies on the cruise, too. Unfortunately, the ship’s no smoking on balcony policy was ignored by some, and the odor of cigars and cigarettes was very noticeable depending on the wind. Smoking in cabins is also forbidden, but people ignored this in various cabins and the odor was quite noticeable. The casino is not enclosed, and the smokers in their polluted most of the center of the ship where the public areas, Piazza, and shops are located, and it absolutely reeked. The smoky air was sucked into the stairwells, too, and filtered throughout the ship. Be aware of this if tobacco smoke bothers you, or you don’t want to smell it. It was very bad on this cruise. Princess has a very good, middle-of-the-road brand of affordable cruises for people with realistic expectations or experience with cruising, but they are sadly going downhill with the food, most noticeably. For longer cruises, however, Princess offers some of the most port-intensive and economical ways to see the world of any of the cruise lines. The Captain’s Circle loyalty program also has a lot of perks as one ascends through the ranks. There was one rather ugly problem in the dining room, stemming from a bad miscommunication from Princess about the dress code. Pre-cruise information stated four casual nights, and we all apparently packed for that. However, there was a formal night on one sea night, and very few people had appropriate clothing. Many were disappointed in not being able to dress up, as formal photos were being offered. The real problem with the dress code, however, was the statement about no shorts being allowed in the dining rooms in evenings, at least. One guest at my table wore very nice Bermuda shorts, such as the men wear in Bermuda for business and office attire, and he had a nice shirt with the shorts. The maitre’d did not want to allow him in the dining room, and an argument began which ended right at our table, in our faces, at the start of dinner. Totally inappropriate behavior on behalf of the staff, and it could have been handled with far more tact and grace than it was with this middle-aged passenger. I noticed some women of various ages appeared nightly in the dining room wearing shorts, some of which were extremely short and revealing, and they were always allowed in with no comment or restriction. However, the men had to wear long pants. This caused a lot of comment and dissent throughout the cruise, despite the written policy forbidding shorts. Another dress code issue involved sleeveless tank top type undershirts on the men. Some of them apparently brought nothing in the way of proper shirts, and lived in these undershirts 24 hours a day for the entire cruise. It was disgusting and revolting to have to sit next to some hairy, flabby, warty man in an undershirt when eating. This type of revealing undergarment does not belong in public dining venues on a cruise ship, and really should be restricted. Some women wore the same type of shirts, and the results were not always very appetizing to look at, either. Yes, it was a tropical cruise, and relaxed in ambiance and clothing – but there are still some things which are best worn at home, on the beach, at a pool, in private – but not in a public dining venue in close quarters on a cruise shop. It doesn’t do much good for the cruise line to publish its dress code rules and then not follow up on enforcing these rules – perhaps they don’t want to lose paying guests in these hard economic times. After four days at sea with a relatively good experience overall, it took four days to get home due to the travel disruptions from the huge blizzard in the northeast. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Cruised with wife and another couple. Embarkation OK but our friends got on board in the regular line than we did with preferred boarding(why call it preferred?). Cabin was Aloha deck regular balcony about midships. OK but a little ... Read More
Cruised with wife and another couple. Embarkation OK but our friends got on board in the regular line than we did with preferred boarding(why call it preferred?). Cabin was Aloha deck regular balcony about midships. OK but a little dated; mattresses was quite sunken on both sides. Always need to mention the TINY shower princess has in anything under a mini suite. FOOD: OK if not great with the exception that my wife had barramundi the first night which made her sick. I had it before and warned her as I am you. Buffets were universally crowded, but the pizza is really good. Hand dip ice cream and popcorn is a nice touch for an evening snack. Good salads and sweets in the International Cafe. Entertainment: Enjoyed all the lounge bands and piazza entertainment ( be sure to get seats early as the are only on deck 5 and limited). Production shows were very good and Phil Tag the comedian is just great! Watched the College Champ. game on the big screen (not crowded). Over all thought crew was very friendly and helpful. No problems encountered. Debarkation was smooth with lines moving well at customs.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Background - third cruise ever, first two were on Carnival, this was our first on Princess. Price and OBC was too good to pass up. My boyfriend is 63 and I'm 39 so there's two age groups reviewing here. I knew that Princess was ... Read More
Background - third cruise ever, first two were on Carnival, this was our first on Princess. Price and OBC was too good to pass up. My boyfriend is 63 and I'm 39 so there's two age groups reviewing here. I knew that Princess was going to be and older crowd and more subdued, THIS IS WHAT I WANTED. I was so stressed out from the holidays, my job, going to college, my family, my dog, you name it, and I just wanted to get away and relax. I knew that Carnival was not going to fit the bill this time. Hotel - we flew in the night before and stayed at the Extended Stay America on 17th. Very clean room which is all I wanted. We booked a king (Orbitz) and they gave us 2 doubles. Ok. Around the corner from Total Wine & More and Publix so we stocked up on water, diet soda and wine. Debarkation was a breeze. The only 2 shuttle times left with Extended Stay ($4 pp plus tax) was 10:30 and 1:30. We took 10:30. Stood outside for a few minutes and then we were all let in. We were the first non-preferred (first-time Princess guests) people in line and in the boarding sitting area. Sat for awhile, I forget how long, and then we were onboard, it was before noon. Get on the ship, I immediately started looking for the MDR for lunch. They were trying to funnel everyone into the elevators up to the Lido deck. Nope, I want the MDR. One guy flat out lied to me and told me the MDR didn't open for lunch until 1:30. I knew they CLOSED at 1:30, thanks Cruise Critic! Finally found the Coral dining room. Our first lunch was TERRIBLE. I told my boyfriend that if the rest of our cruise food was going to be like this, I was going to be PISSED. His cod was rubbery and you couldn't cut it even with a knife. My london broil was grey and rubbery. Gross. Went to the room - we had a window room on the Plaza deck. TINY. When they push the twins together to make a king, the nightstand gets turned to the side and the drawer space becomes unusable. The closet space was great but dang, that cabin, so small. In our window cabin on Carnival Imagination, the bed was parallel to the window so my boyfriend could get up in the middle of the night and look out the window without disturbing me. On Princess, it was perpendicular so he had to kneel in bed to look out. Not crazy about it. The rooms are also worn, the carpet seriously needs updating, walls were beat up, our sheets had stains on them and the bathroom had mold on the shower, sink and under the toilet rim. I seriously wished I brought along some Ti-D-Bowl or something. The hallways are also worn. Don't get me wrong, the main common areas are great, BEAUTIFUL, just the hallways and rooms where we were, seriously gut these rooms and hallways in the next dry dock. Bed wasn't uncomfortable so there's that. Steward - I'm not the type that needs to make friends with my steward, just keep the room clean and the ice bucket full and I'm happy. This guy disturbed every afternoon nap, and even though I told him several times that we were on late dinner, disturbed us when we were getting ready for dinner every night. Even when I put out the Do Not Disturb tag. I didn't remove our tips but I didn't leave anything extra like I usually do. No robes in the room that I ordered pre-cruise. A note about this ship - does it even have stabilizers? We rocked to and fro like crazy. I don't get seasick, thank goodness. Very weird. Front Desk - I did some laundry in the laundromat. $3 for a wash and $3 for a dry. One of the dryers wasn't working and I didn't realize it until I had already paid twice to dry. Front desk sent someone to fix it while we were in Princess Cays and my wash was finally dry by the time we got back but they refused to refund the wasted $6. Yes, it's only $6 but it's about the customer service! Dining Room - we were on late seating in the Palm dining room. Most of the tables in our section were empty all 5 nights but service was soooo slow. The server in the section next to us had two 8 tops and 1 2 top and they all were always finishing dessert when we were getting our entrees. Frustrating, but we made the best of it. And yes, the food quality DID improve over that first day's lunch, thank goodness! Entertainment - I read some reviews from some other cruisers on the same cruise, they didn't think the comic was funny - we did. We also enjoyed the movies in the Princess Lounge but didn't get to see one under the stars. Weather - Our two port days were sunny and our two sea days were overcast and drizzly. Go figure. Ports - I loved Princess Cays because all I wanted to do was lay on a lounger and read a book. We went in the water - it was a bit chilly but became comfortable once we got used to it. Very rocky, next time I would bring water shoes. I was eaten alive by sand flies on Princess Cays. DON'T FORGET YOUR REPELLENT LIKE I DID! Ouch. Nassau - we did the beach day at the British Colonial Hilton the first time we were in Nassau. That was in August so it was worth it. I didn't think it would be worth it in cooler weather so this time we decided to do something different and walked to the Queen's Staircase and Fort Fincastle and took pictures. We then walked over to Junkanoo Beach to check it out. We stopped at Fat Tuesday's (overpriced but it was nice to sit by the water and those drinks were strong!!) and then walked back to our ship. If we had our suits with us, we would have stopped at Junkanoo Beach, it looked decent for a free beach! We then walked back to the ship. Fellow passengers - the only place my fellow passengers annoyed me was on the last day at the buffet. I stopped for a quick lunch and people were cutting in line and pushing ahead of me. That was the only time I ate at the buffet. It was Italian day, it wasn't that great. So would we do it again, yes, at that price, it was worth the little quirks. But for full price - heck no. We would definitely go for a balcony next time, our balcony on Carnival Pride spoiled us FOREVER. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This constituted our 3rd and 4th cruise with Princess. The second cruise was quite nice. The first and these last two were safety hazards. This cruise was a "combination" where we went from Ft Lauderdale to Grand Cayman and Ocho ... Read More
This constituted our 3rd and 4th cruise with Princess. The second cruise was quite nice. The first and these last two were safety hazards. This cruise was a "combination" where we went from Ft Lauderdale to Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios then back to Fort Lauderdale. Then out again to Princess Cays. We had booked a nice interior rum but left the option for an upgrade. Our second mistake. The room they gave us was an unobstructed view but at the bottom of the ship. As soon as I saw that I tried to get our original room back, but they said NO. We discovered that the room was set up for 4 people rather than two and used buck beds mounted to the wall. (Be sure to read the fine print). We had the beds set up so we could sleep together. Mistake 3. We had about 8 inches on each side of the bed to get out. SO you had to carefully slide sideways to get into the bed. The main problem was when you tried to get up, you nearly always hit your head on the bunk bed that stuck out about a foot from the wall and about 4 foot from the floor. My wife hurt her shoulder and I got a concussion. Yes, dizzy and eyes did not focus evenly. So we complained. They said they were sorry but there was nothing they could do. I asked others aboard ship about it and they said Princess had removed the bunk beds for them to help. When I asked, Princess said NO. When I then explained that with a quarter and a little help, I could remove them. They responded that doing that would leave a relatively small piece of metal that would stick out into the room about 8 inches - so it would be unsafe. I guess that long metal bar that stuck out 12 inches or so and was 6 foot long was considered safer. So they in essence admitted that the room was unsafe. We complained to the desk and elevated to the top officer in charge, but she "could not help me" as "no other rooms were available." From talking with passengers and stewards, we discovered that was not exactly the truth. Evidently the other rooms were all "in maintenance." In fact the company was contacting as many people as possible and offering deals to them for the latter portion of the cruise. And the officer was not authorized to help. Neither was she authorized to make any compensation. When we talked to the lady that schedule future cruises, she related how she also hit her head on those beds and it made her very mad. But she advised that we should never allow them to upgrade us as this often resulted in an official upgrade to a noisier, less comfortable room. And said that people "should not try to get something for nothing." So now, I had a head ache and was called cheap.... or worse? We then realized that the only way to have the room was to set the beds against the wall. They when you got up, you normally didn't hit your head. The room was over the launching area and evidently a staging area. So all day and night we heard boxing etc being moved. On mornings in port, we were woken about 4 am in the morning. But the other main safety issue was that for the first 5 days of the cruise, we could not always get out of the room. The lock would hang up - especially if we used the dead-bolt. It took me several minutes of juggling with it each time. Could you imagine being locked in your room during an emergency aboard ship? We complained they worked on it 6 different times. On the day we were required to check in with customs, it hung up again worse. So I called and an officer came down and got very frustrated. He called through the door that I just needed to turn the knob. I told him that if I could do that, I would not have needed to call. He found the lock to be hanging up a lot - the bolt stuck out and he could not get the door closed for quite a while - and he was getting worried. So later the entire lock was replaced and we then could use it properly. So for the first 6 days of the cruise, we spent more time with the complaint group than we did with any other activity. With essentially no satisfaction. The steward mentioned when we arrived to put out the little card if we wanted service. But we found that was useless as he only cleaned on his schedule. While telling our tale to others we discovered another couple who could not close their door for 3 days. And two ladies who were locked in the public restrooms on two occasions. We did discover how to "speak Princess." To speak Princess, just say "NO" either politely or directly. We demonstrated this to many during meals. For example, they had served banana-nut pancakes on morning. So I asked if they could do that again but they said "no" but they could give me sliced bananas, which they did. Our table was not full, so when we met another nice couple we tried to get them set at our table - IF the other couple did not come again. The man in charge of seating said NO. Those other people may come on this night. I once again explained that IF they did not, could they join us. "NO." It became a joke for many of us. At least one other couple said they had gone on 10 to 25 cruises with Princess, but they agreed that this was probably their last as it was our. We tried to contact Princess after we got home - as the staff recommended. No joy at all... With the first cruise we took a few years ago with Princess, the steward broke a glass in our room and did not warn us - my wife found a shard jammed into her foot. She limped the entire cruise and could not do activities very much. With both that cruise and these two, when we tried to work with Princess about any correction or encouragement, we met with either "NO" or quiet.... Now you see why this critic is labeled "Our Last Princess Cruise" Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Ah....the snow and cold in NW Ohio. This was a quick get-away and planned at the last minute. The port of calls were unimportant. The ship could have gone in circles for all we cared. Extremely good prices. We have a cruise planned in ... Read More
Ah....the snow and cold in NW Ohio. This was a quick get-away and planned at the last minute. The port of calls were unimportant. The ship could have gone in circles for all we cared. Extremely good prices. We have a cruise planned in April, but couldn't pass up the deals on these short cruises to no-where. Actually, we did stop in Nassau and the Princess Cay, but it just didn't matter. The food and entertainment were scaled back as you would expect, but the service was just as top notch as any long cruise I have been on. I have seen some somewhat less enthusiastic reviews (on Cruise Critic) about these short cruises on Caribbean Princess. I guess I am not sure what these folks were looking for, but we had a fantastic, relaxing, and memorable time on Caribbean Princess and can't even wait to go back in April (same ship-and as we found out....some of the same crew). The crew is all hopped up about the Princess 50th anniversary and the atmosphere was just ..... rejuvenating. All I can say is...if ya got a few days for a long week-end, it is the perfect get away...No....I do not work for, or have any personal stake in the cruise industry. Just appreciate the value of a great vacation get away that did not break the bank. Thank you Princess, for what you do... Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was a 5 night cruise to Princess Cays and Nassau. We cruised with a group of 50 from Canada. This was our 9th cruise on Princess and we have cruised on a number of other lines as well. Our group had first sitting (we usually prefer ... Read More
This was a 5 night cruise to Princess Cays and Nassau. We cruised with a group of 50 from Canada. This was our 9th cruise on Princess and we have cruised on a number of other lines as well. Our group had first sitting (we usually prefer late sitting) and I did find it a bit rushed in the dining room. We had great waiters and they were very attentive and friendly. Our cabin steward was also outstanding. The ship did show some wear and tear, but it wasn't enough to bother me. We usually sail on cruises that are 14 nights or longer so this cruise was too short! We had never been to Nassau before and we enjoyed our Princess excursion there very much and we enjoyed our day at Princess Cays. We rented a bungalow and enjoyed our lunch there. We brought the table outside to enjoy the atmosphere. If I were to do a short cruise again, I think I would be linking another one to it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
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